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« September 2014 | Main | November 2014 »

October 31, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #24: The Maddoning Is Happening

Cubs could still screw this up. Plus: As The Bulls Turn; Go Ahead, Sleep On The Blackhawks; and The Phil & Marc Show.


SHOW NOTES

* 15.

* Matt Notabattacola.

1:40: Cubs Could Still Screw This Up.

* So long, Ricky Rentamanager. You knew what this was about.

* Wrong Way Ricketts.

* Financial fakery.

* Theme trips.

* Joe Maddon's one rule.

* MIA: The White Sox.

* Terry Bevington Can Feel For Rick Renteria.

18:00: Bochy's Toolbox Of Concepts.

* MadBum.

23:54: As The Bulls Turn.

* Rolling deep.

* @Noah'sKnees.

* Repairing Rose.

* Team Turmoil: The 1993 Oilers.

32:43: Go Ahead, Sleep On The Blackhawks.

* Hall-of-Fame Hossa.

* Darling vs. Ranta.

* Chicago's gorilla goalies.

37:00: The Phil & Marc Show.

* Vandy Jay.

* Handcuffing Jay.

* All About Jay.

* Losing Lamarr.

* Missing Matt.

* A Lovie loss.

* Tom Brady balled.

* Gronkowski gronked.

* Rev. Sharpton!

* Shea McClellin is going as a vampire for Halloween because he's sucking out our souls.

* DSM5: Meatball Sports Fan Anger.

* Buffone from Barrington.

* Ed from Elmhurst.

* Doug and OB from Meatballville.

* Memo to Phil Emery: Shea McClellin has never gotten on a roll.

55:00: Joe Maddon's First Lineup Card.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:15 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Everything - well, still a lot of things - in progress, including The Beachwood Radio Hour #29, The Week In Chicago Rock and as much emptying of my election notebook as I can manage between now and Tuesday. Be patient, and send food.

For now:

* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.

Frighteous.

* The Political Odds.

Frightful.

* Dirty Wars.

Frightening.

* The College Football Report: Huffing Paint And The HAL 9000.

Frightanic.

* TrackNotes: Binging On The Bacchanalia.

Fraught.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #24: The Maddoning Is Happening
Cubs could still screw this up. Plus: As The Bulls Turn; Go Ahead, Sleep On The Blackhawks; and The Phil & Marc Show.

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BeachBook
* MSNBC Is Worse Than FOX Because They (Presumably) Know Better Pt. 1,283,482.

Rachel Maddow is putrid. Somerby's caught her pulling this shit for years. MSNBC viewers are in as much of a fantastical bubble as FOX viewers.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Maddoning.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:47 PM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Huffing Paint And The HAL 9000

It's Week 10, the first week of the Playoff Committee rankings and we are only a few days away from the first outbreak of full-on hysteria as teams move up and down the charts. Today we'll make some predictions about the outcome of some of the more critical match-ups:

On Thursday, #2 Florida State notched a win on the road over #25 Louisville. The Seminoles scored a W off the field as well: the lawyer for RB Karlos Williams, the team's leading rusher, heard from the lawyer of Williams' alleged victim of domestic battery. The victim's lawyer informed the Tallahassee Police Department to drop the probe into the incident.

We can only imagine the Tallahassee PD will be happy to oblige, given the department's lackadaisical pursuit of alleged offenses by FSU players.

Before we get into the remainder, we highly recommend digging into Deadspin's analysis of the AP Poll looking for media bias, especially in favor of the SEC.

Also, despite retiring the BCS HAL 9000, any hopes we had of simplifying the Top 25 rankings were smashed this week when we realized that some schedules will list the teams ranked by Playoff Committee position while others will stick to the Associated Press poll. For now, we have no idea which ranking appears next to the teams below. Some things we just don't have the time to figure out.

#7 TCU (-3.5) vs. #20 West Virginia, 2:30 p.m.
Our pick: For the sake of all the couches in Morgantown, we can only pray the Horned Frogs pull this one out. The WVU administration should probably start scheduling all home games before noon. Even the mid-afternoon start time allows far too much time for swilling moonshine and huffing paint.

#3 Auburn vs. #4 Ole Miss (-2), 6 p.m.
Our pick: Can we postpone this game? This is effectively a first-round game in the Playoffs. The teams are a combined 13-2, play in the strongest division in the strongest conference in the country, and one of the two will (probably) appear in the conference championship game which will effectively serve as the play-in game for the "final four" (or whatever we're calling it) unless the Committee gets smart and puts in two SEC teams. Which it won't. Because human beings are susceptible to influence and general stupidity whereas computers don't give a damn. Ah, BCS HAL 9000, we hardly knew ye. Well, that's not true. We came to resent and distrust thee and could never figure out your math, but we felt certain there was some internal logic to the process.

Stanford vs. #5 Oregon (-8), 6:30 p.m.
Our pick: Perfect opportunity for the Ducks to lose, fall out of the Top 5, win out the rest of the way, land a spot in the playoffs and get trounced by one of the aforementioned SEC teams and/or Michigan State in a rematch.

Oklahoma State vs. #9 Kansas State (-12), 7 p.m.
Our pick: Kansas State, the Oregon of the Big 12.

#12 Arizona vs. #22 UCLA (-6.5), 9:30 p.m.
#17 Utah vs. #14 Arizona State (-6.5), 10 p.m.
Our picks: We'll take an exacta on this pair, with Arizona getting the points and an Arizona State cover. (In fact, you could get creative and put the same amount down on a two-team tease to get 'Zona to +12.5 and ASU to -0.5. Either way, you win money. See, gambling is easy. You just have to pick the right side.)

Of the remaining ranked teams in action, we look to the Chicken's picks:

* All the Big Ten ranked teams. You know, all two of them.
* Duke. Yes, Duke. Duke is ranked. Take that one in.
* Oklahoma over Iowa State. The Cyclones are better suited to the American or Conference USA. Maybe even the Big Ten.

Squawk.

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Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:07 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Dirty Wars

1. Dirty Wars.

Investigative reporter and author Jeremy Scahill is scheduled to be in town on Saturday and Sunday.

Details from Chicago Area Peace Action:

WHERE:

SATURDAY DINNER
St. Francis Xavier Parish Gym
549 Ninth Street, Wilmette

SUNDAY COFFEE TALK
Loyola University Crown Center Auditorium
1001-25 W. Loyola Ave., Chicago

WHAT: An urgent conversation on the intertwined topics of democracy, surveillance, the free press and the seeming endlessness of U.S. conflict abroad.

WHY: Bombings in Syria and throughout the Middle East, drone attacks, nuclear weapons spending and breaches of American civil liberties make this poignant and timely.

WHO: Jeremy Scahill is an investigative reporter, war correspondent, and author of the international best-selling books Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (2013) and Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (2008). He is also a founding editor, along with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, of the online news site The Intercept.

SPONSORED BY: Chicago Area Peace Action (CAPA) the Chicago affiliate of Peace Action, the nation's longest standing grassroots peace and justice organization. Sunday's event is co-sponsored with the Theology Department of Loyola University Chicago.

HOSTED BY: CAPA with the generosity of St. Francis Xavier and Loyola University Chicago

For more on the event and its sponsoring organization, please visit the Facebook Page for the Annual Dinner and the Facebook Page for the Sunday Coffee Talk Chicago Area Peace Action.

2. Mail Call.

"Galway Kinnell, who was recognized with both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for a body of poetry that pushed deep into the heart of human experience in the decades after World War II, died on Tuesday at his home in Sheffield, Vt. He was 87," the New York Times reports.

"He held several teaching positions early on, the first at the University of Chicago as a poetry instructor for correspondence students who mailed in their efforts for his appraisal."

3. Awesome Amy.

"In her early days of learning sketch comedy at Second City in Chicago, Poehler started dating Matt Besser, with whom she'd go on to form New York City-based sketch group Upright Citizens Brigade. Besser turned her on to Black Flag and Fugazi. 'He talked about the spirit of Ian MacKaye and how Fugazi never charged a lot for their shows,' she writes. 'He wanted the Upright Citizens Brigade to feel like that - owned by the people.'"

4. Guyville Goes On.
This time by Gina Arnold.

5. Dybek.

From the Society of Midland Authors:

"Stuart Dybek, one of Chicago's most acclaimed writers, will speak about his two new books of short stories during a Society of Midland Authors program on Tuesday, Nov 11, at Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor. Dybek will speak at 7 p.m. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m.

"Dybek has won the Society of Midland Authors' award for adult fiction two times - for his 2003 book I Sailed With Magellan and his 1980 book Childhood and Other Neighborhoods. He is also the author of the 1990 book The Coast of Chicago.

"This spring, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published Dybek's first books in 11 years: Ecstatic Cahoots, which includes 50 micro-stories, and Paper Lantern," a set of love stories. Dybek is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University."

6. Like A Boss.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:07 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein

Frighteous.

frankensteinwindowfrancisco.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:37 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Bacchanalia To Binge On

When the Internet tells me the four things I should never buy at Trader Joe's, I listen, even though I've never been in a Trader Joe's.

The 'net also tells me, as it is wont to do, that the only way I am ever going to meet my obligation to catch up on Game of Thrones, which I have never seen, is to binge watch. Don't hold me to it, but I promise I will.

This weekend, I will be binging on horse racing, coming to you live and in progress, as this is Breeders' Cup World Championships weekend. The Thoroughbred racing bacchanal that makes us zombie-like - but always in control - and flexes our wagering muscles, compels us to be the wisest of wiseguys.

I might be jaded, seeing as they do this every year, but there are a few nice angles to consider. Horseplayers always look for angles.

Once again, we're at Santa Anita Park, for the sixth time in 12 years and this time on real dirt, just like Soldier Field, even though the intent of the world championships, which this is not, was to bring the game hither and yon to all corners of the nation. The people's championships? No.

They say it never rains in California, but there's a 10 percent chance this weekend. This is just the kind of wager BC officials are willing to make to spend this weekend in shirtsleeves. As Albert Brooks asked in Real Life, where would you rather spend the winter, in Green Bay or Phoenix?

I hope my friend Cathy in Appleton, just a very long field goal this side of Lambeau Field, doesn't take offense at that. But she digs the game, and the Breeders' Cup, so I think I'm alright with that.

Alas, her favorite, Vyjack, won't be running this weekend. I might owe her some money, because out of respect, I had the big gelding in the Kelso Stakes and at 9-1 to boot. It was a sensational win. As Natalie Wood once said, "I believe, I believe."

I can't talk about them all, but I'll be happy to talk about the Breeders' Cup Classic.

We don't have a Zenyatta against the boys. We don't have the thrilling Goldikova in the mile. And, sadly, we don't have Wise Dan in the mile this year, although that's selfish. He's got an ankle that may have ended his remarkable career.

While these are no superstars, I think the Classic will be an intriguing, competitive race. Fun to watch. Lots o' handicapping fun.

NBC Sports Network (2:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. in a flirt with prime time) on Saturday will be talking a lot about California Chrome. Rightfully so.

He's drawn the 13 post, which means he will have no excuses. His game is to stay a bit outside, in the clear, change gears, and then make a big move at the quarter pole. He'll have the chance in this one, although a horse who depends on trips afforded by others doesn't excite me. He'll take money, despite a lackluster performance in the Pennsylvania Derby. That makes this kid happy. But trainer Art Sherman seems competent, 'Chrome's a battler . . . he might have one more big one in him.

The horse to beat is Shared Belief, one of seven three-year-old upstarts, which says a lot about the lack of staying power of older horses. The others are V.E. Day, Bayern, Toast of New York, Tonalist, Candy Boy and California Chrome.

They're saying Shared Belief is working lights out, even after he took a mugging in the Awesome Again by a pair of Bob Baffert trainees, Sky Kingdom ('Chrome rider Victor Espinoza up) and Fed Biz. They took 'Belief wide - so wide he had to go through Chavez Ravine to win the race. But he was so good and tough, I think I saw him down a Dodger Dog on the far turn. Espinoza was suspended. What about Baffert? Charisma equals immunity.

Shared Belief is a horse worth firing up the tee and vee to watch.

I won nice money on V.E. Day in the Travers, but that might be a high-water mark he won't hit again.

Bayern needs the lead to run away, fast early pace, controlled middle pace, and the dash home. Can he get this from the seven-hole? Against 13 other good horses?

What about Tonalist? Son of the Pulpit son Tapit, out of the Pleasant Colony mare Settling Mist. He's 5-1 on the morning line, and if people forget him enough to higher odds, I will take that all day long.

After spoiling 'Chrome's Triple Crown bid in the Belmont, Tonalist ran into Wicked Strong in the Jim Dandy and V.E. Day's career day in the Travers. He recovered with a 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, beating Zivo, also in this race, by almost two lengths. He is as quality a horse as you could want and from the 11-hole; Joel Rosario should be able to do anything they both please. He's a closer, which might come in handy should Bayern, Moreno and Cigar Street implode the race up front.

Wiseguy plays? Horses and angles.

Cigar Street/12-1 morning line: Loves to win. Looks like he can rate, should be near the lead. Consistent triple-digit Beyers, except two back with a bumping excuse. His odds may be great.

Imperative/30-1 morning line: As OTB Greg says to watch for, on the up-and-down trend, he's due for an up. Probably impossible, but will two dollars hurt you?

Moreno/20-1 morning line: Hard to see this battler and Whitney winner so little thought of. He was hassled in his last two, and likes the lead. He's no stranger to triple-digit Beyers. The rap is he's an Eastern horse; he bombed in this race last year albeit on the fake stuff, but the son of Ghostzapper cannot be counted out. A couple pilasters at those odds.

V.E. Day/20-1 morning line: A stone closer, this race could very well set up for him. Know what that means? Steak sandwich instead of hamburger needing help.

Zivo/15-1 morning line: Third off the break, has beaten a few of these, three triple Beyers straight, Eastern horse problem, working well. Be a wiseguy.

Picks? I knew you'd ask.

Your Superfecta is Shared Belief, Cigar Street, Tonalist, V.E. Day, California Chrome.

I know that's five. Hey gang, let's box!

P.S.: The Polish Prince
Speaking of boxing, quick on the heels of the Breeders' Cup, Chicago's own Andrzej "The Polish Prince" Fonfara returns to the UIC Pavilion to battle Doudou Ngumbu in a light heavyweight tilt. Fonfara comes in off a hard-fought decision loss for the WBC title against Adonis Stevenson. If you go, you'll see firsthand how Chicago's Polish-American community comes out for this guy. He's great, a technician of the sweet science. If you can't make it, Showtime has all the action.

I told you it's a binge weekend.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

October 30, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"Chicago elevator inspectors failed to complete more than three-quarters of their required annual inspections last year, resulting in about $772,040 in lost inspection fees, according to an audit released Wednesday by the city's Office of Inspector General," the Tribune reports.

"This is a program that has had a long, chronic history of performance deficits," said Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. "Our audit shows that they are not meeting their own standards necessary to ensure the safety of elevators citywide."

Think of the children, Rahm. Think of the children.

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It's always funny 'til someone gets hurt.

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Chicago's elevators vs. Chicago's El. Discuss.

Ald. Scareston
"Cook County prosecutors are investigating a longtime South Side alderman who offered raffle tickets to people who vote in next week's election, a move the alderman on Wednesday conceded was wrong," the Tribune reports.

"In a Facebook posting that has since been removed, 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston offered a raffle ticket - with the chance to win multiple prizes of gift certificates from local stores - to anyone who brought a voting receipt to her office."

Was one of the prizes an "I Voted" sticker?

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"The state's attorney's election fraud unit has opened an investigation and is looking into the matter," spokesperson Sally Daly told the Trib.

"State election law states that anyone who promises money 'or other valuable consideration' to anyone to vote, register to vote or influence their vote "shall be guilty of a class 4 felony."

Huh. Isn't every politician offering "valuable consideration" to anyone who votes? And some more valuable consideration than others?

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"'I'm owning it,' Hairston said when asked about the offer. The alderman's admission came a day after FOX-32 TV news broadcast a story about the posting.

"Hairston said she was awaiting a response from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners on the propriety of the offer when it was posted on Facebook. 'I didn't wait for the official word before posting,' Hairston said when asked if she had done anything wrong."

I tend to like Hairston and can hardly get exercised about this. So I won't bust her here for cutting unusually inquisitive reporters short saying "I'm done."

I would, however, like to know how long it was taking the election board to issue their ruling.

"Lance Gough, the executive director of the city elections board, did receive a call from Hairston asking about the propriety of the offer, said Jim Allen, the agency's spokesman. Hairston was told the board could not offer advice and was referred to the state's attorney's office, he said."

Oh.

Well, I guess the state's attorney's office will issue a ruling soon.

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Can the state's attorney's office investigate the Sun-Times while it's at it? A fraud has been perpetrated upon the people.

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Speak of the devil . . .

"After voting early on Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked whether voters should be offered prizes to boost turnout," the Sun-Times reports.

Really? Who the fuck asked him that?

"'Here's what I think: The reward is, you participate in a democracy. That's what comes with being a citizen and a responsible citizenship. And that's our requirement,' the mayor said."

Just as the question wasn't worth asking, the answer wasn't worth publishing.

"Asked whether he's worried that voters may be 'turned off' by the negative tone of the governor's race, Emanuel said, 'I know that the Democrats are doing an effective job of reminding people what's at stake. That's why I voted Yes on the minimum wage.'"

And neither was that.

And why is that tacked on to an article about Hairston's get-out-the-vote raffle? Because it's Fran Spielman, who probably did the asking but conceals that from readers, as if the questions came from God, and it's just another legacy newspaper still stuck in the mud of legacy story structures.

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Faces Of The Child Migrant Crisis
Coming to the Daley Center.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Bye-Curious
Yada, yada, yada, ACL tear.

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BeachBook
* Wallenda TV Exec: Contingency Plans In Case Of 'Failure.'

* 'Operation' Inventor Needs Operation.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Fired up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:39 AM | Permalink

Faces Of The Child Migrant Crisis

In the past eight months alone, approximately 50,000 Central American children crossed from Mexico into the United States. These record numbers have pressed the United States with the challenges of state and federal budgets, manpower, housing logistics, and overwhelmed legal systems processing requests for asylum.

faces.jpg

Pictured: A Honduran boy at a shelter in Tapachula, a border town in Chiapas. After running away from home, he had no place to go and resorted to prostitution to survive. Now at the shelter, he can attend school and have a safe place to sleep at night. (Photo by Michelle Frankfurter)

This exhibit is comprised of 20 prints by photographer Michelle Frankfurter with additional work by Dominic Bracco, Donna Decesare and Ross D. Franklin.

The images document the children's dangerous travel via freight train, termed la bestia or "the beast," which is the most common travel route for Central Americans fleeing to the United States through Mexico.

This project includes portraits and stories of individual migrants - some as young as 9 - and captures their stops in various shelters along the way.

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The photography exhibit Faces of The Child Migrant Crisis opens November 3 at the Richard J. Daley Civic Center and runs through December 5, 2014.

The exhibit also features text and photographs to contextualize the current crisis. Produced by HumanEYES USA, the exhibition has been brought to Chicago by ART WORKS Projects.

"Overwhelmingly I got the sense that, even in their own countries they were insignificant, overlooked, not valued," Frankfurter says. "When in Mexico, it's even worse for the Central American immigrants, they are hounded and despised. They are sometimes kidnapped, raped, tortured or extorted. When and if they to make it to the United States, it's no bed of roses for them either."

Frankfurter and Molly Roberts, the exhibition curator and founder of HumanEYES USA, believe it's important to understand the causes that drive people to flee Central America.

"Gang and cartel violence have spread throughout these countries where they have effectively run all state authority out of town. Children live in fear of gang-recruitment," says Galya Ruffer of Northwestern's Center for Forced Migration Studies.

It is predicted that more than 90,000 unauthorized children will arrive at the United States border in 2014.

"The City of Chicago has committed to welcoming migrant children," says Leslie Thomas, executive director of Art WORKS Projects. "Our hope is that by bringing these powerful photographs to a very public space we will all learn more about our newest neighbors and will welcome them to our richly diverse community.

Says Roberts: "Now is the time for these photographs to be seen so that American citizens can put a face to the refugee crisis occurring at our southern borders."

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Thomas is scheduled to host a preview and book signing for Frankfurter's new book, Destino, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 3 at 625 N. Kingsbury St.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:05 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Bye-Curious Activities

News And NOOOOOOOOOtes
Cue the Michael Jackson, it's officially bad.

Bad for the Bears anyway, but I've got some good news, so let's take care of a little business before we get doing.

The marketing department has been diligently working towards monetizing our efforts and we've begun to have some success.

In addition to the blood and hair donations I've been making to the orphanage each week, we're welcoming a select group of sponsors to this weekly segment.

Now, live reads usually work better in an audio format, but I think you'll find that I've developed creative ways to weave the spots into the story in an organic manner.

Not only do I personally endorse each product that sponsors the BAOKAR, you'll find yourself unable to resist the big, big taste of Northern Outpost's Bat Jerky; Canada's leading name in meat-related snacks.

In addition to the loss of pride, a football game, some key players and likely/God willing Mel Tucker's job, the Bears lost any to claim belong part of the "NFC Contender" discussion.

"Obviously, we're disappointed with the outcome," said Bears head coach Marc Trestman. "But we have to look at the things we did well. From a statistical standpoint, we won the second half. Outscored New England 16 to 13."

Sure, the sub has sprung a leak.

We had to seal twelve souls in the engine room to keep the vessel from sinking to the bottom of the Pacific, but that was a damn fine batch of mac and cheese the cook dished out at lunch today, huh?

And when you've got a leak, think Viper Diaper adult undergarments. Guam's number one bladder control product for tattoo artists.

Viper Diapers: Feel The Wave, Ride The Snake.

I know it's rote that the coaching staff has to put some kind of positive spin on this kind of loss, but let's save measurables for another day.

Here's a number that matters: The Bears lost two starters for the season due to injury.

It's also rumored that Santonio Holmes may be going to prison for performing rebroadcasts, retransmissions, and accounts of a Kansas City Royals game, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.

If like many Bears fans attempting to avoid the ingestion of any more of Sunday's action, you turned off the TV, and then threw the TV on the ground, and then threw your kid's TV out the window, and then threw your phone out the window at your kid's TV, and then threw your wife's tablet into the washing machine, and then drove your car directly into the nearest Comcast hub preventing anyone on your block from watching the rest of that game . . . [inhale] . . . then you may not have caught the manner in which Lamarr Houston ended his season.

Long idiotic story short, the D-lineman severely injured his knee celebrating a sack of the Patriots' second-string quarterback, whose name eludes me.

Let's call him Joe McJoe or Football Face or something.

Yada, yada, yada. ACL tear.

And when the BAOKAR leaves you in stitches, sew up your sides with . . . huh? Singer Sewing Machines' check bounced? Okay, screw them. Moving on.

Back to the good news, Houston is hardly alone in the pantheon of dimwitted sports injuries. Here are few notables from years past.

  • Bears special teamer DeDe Lattimore slips a disc reaching for an authentic D.J. Williams jersey at Dick's Sporting Goods in an attempt to fool the coaching staff into starting him at linebacker.
  • Rex Ryan smacks Geno Smith over the head with a Microsoft Surface after reviewing the day's third interception. Smith is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a concussion and Ryan was fined $25,000 for calling the blunt instrument an "iPad" in the postgame press conference.
  • In the midst of the recession, Cleveland citizens were hit hard. Former Browns running back Montario Hardesty takes an ill-advised leap into the stands and is eaten alive by hungry members of Cleveland's "Dawg Pound" following his lone touchdown of the season.
  • George W. Bush severely sprains index finger catching a flying shoe during a press conference in the Philippines.
  • Putting former Cub Rod Beck's famous "you can't pull fat" theory to rest, B.J. Raji misses two weeks due to stretch-mark related complications.
  • Luke Skywalker severs his nipple trying while twirling a lightsaber like a baton in an attempt to catch the eye of his sister.

Bye-Curious Activities
With the Bye Week upon us, Bears fans will have the opportunity to use Sunday afternoon to take in some non-football forms of television.

Or you could watch some other football teams play.

I guess you've got your pick of either watching football, not watching football, or watching slightly less football. The world is your oyster.

I like to use this kind of football downtime to reconnect with my closest friends.

Let's see, what's happening on Facebook today . . . my wife's aunt loves Jesus a metric fuck-ton*; an ex-girlfriend got married to a guy she cheated on - which I know because it was with me; an uncle is posting dozens of deluded right-wing conspiracy theories; a cousin is posting unrealistic bleeding heart liberal gun ban ideas; I don't give a shit that you dyed your hair, Susan; what the hell is my mom doing in my feed? Unfriend.

Rather than risk anything resembling human contact, we asked our reader[s] to write in and tell us all about their Bye Week plans.

  • "Buying an oil drum of whiteout so I can finally edit that hand-typed manifesto. You have no idea how many times 'there' should be 'their' until you re-read that stuff." - Ted K., Evergreen Park
  • "Catch up on the last season of Ink Master, answer some e-mails and travel back in time to assist John Connor's human resistance defeat the sentient robot horde." - Elon M., Los Angeles
  • "Brains!" - Zom B., Atlanta
  • "I'm making a personal commitment to update my LinkedIn profile, work on my elevator speech and fax out 31 copies of my resume before Halloween." - Mel T., Chicago

Embrace Tso-lutions: The Art Of Zen Fandom
Woe is us, Bears fans.

But even in the deepest valley of the 2014 season there are some reasons to be optimistic.

For reals-eese, the record could have easily been 2-6 if things had gone the way everyone thought it would in San Francisco.

And let's not forget how things turned out after some fast starts some recent years.

Perhaps Chicago is simply flipping the script on its recent "save the worst for last" approach.

In addition to my strangely out of character fact-based information above (why is the "strikethrough" button is so far away), I'd like to propose some strategies to turn this thing around.

It can be done, it must be done, it is the will of Gharlock The Stormbringer that our mighty legion, the City of Wind's Brotherhood Of Steel will lay waste to the NFC . . .

Sorry, I was listening to Manowar there for the last 20 minutes.

Like I was saying, here are some concrete ideas to put this thing right.

  • Get a time machine, pull some Edge Of Tomorrow shit against the Packers after the Bye and . . .

Ugh. I already did the bullet point thing twice this week. Nevermind.

To tell you the truth, I don't even think Odin The Allfather can help us this year, but there are reasons, yes . . . [shifts eyes nervously] . . . many reasons . . . to feel optimistic about the second half of the season.

Thinking . . . thinking . . .

Hey, the Tampa Bay is on the schedule, kick ass! There's a "W!"

And that "W" will be brought to you by the smooth flavor of Bucca-near Beer, Florida's only alcoholic beverage to contain less than 2.5% crystal meth.

Bucca-near Beer: In Florida, it's basically O'Doul's.

We have yet to play the Vikings, so we're one Teddy Bridgewater high ankle sprain from winning at least two more and, uh, let's not forget that the Lions will stop at nothing to crap down its collective leg during the second half . . . oh, dammit. Jim Schwartz is the D-Coordinator for the Bills.

Yeah. One win against Detroit. Why not.

Packers, Saints, Cowboys. Huh.

Has anyone put in a waiver claim on Gharlock The Stormbringer? He ran a 4.4 forty.

Kool Aid (0 of 5 - Regular Old Kool Aid)
Let's take the bye week to dry out a little; give that liver a breather. It's going to need its strength for weeks 13 through 16.

Bears 0, Liver 1.

* Jesus and I have a slightly more sophomoric relationship.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:07 AM | Permalink

October 29, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration will not refund $7.7 million in red light camera tickets it collected after quietly lowering the yellow light standard, the city's transportation chief said Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"The mayor told the Tribune earlier this month that he would consider refunds, but Chicago Department of Transportation chief Rebekah Scheinfeld made it clear that would not be happening - even though the city made a determination in September to restore the longer yellow light standard.

"These were violations of the law, they were legitimate tickets and we stand behind them," Scheinfeld said at a City Council hearing on red light cameras. "But going forward we want to make sure the situation is not distracted with continuing questions about this, and that we have full public confidence."

Stop distracting the situation with continuing questions, people. It's ruining people's confidence.

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"She was responding to a question from Ald. Jason Ervin, 28th, during the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee hearing in the wake of a series of Chicago Tribune investigative reports. Those stories documented alleged bribes, unexplained spikes in tickets and a $7.7 million windfall for the city this year from the 77,000 tickets issued under the yellow light change.

"The city had previously ordered its longtime camera vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., to throw out any tickets if the yellow light interval fell below the city's three-second standard, according to city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson.

"But when new vendor Xerox State & Local Traffic Solutions took over for the fired Redflex in February, the city directed the vendor to accept tickets that showed yellow light times above 2.9 seconds, Ferguson said in a recent review prompted by Tribune stories."

I wonder whose idea that was. Rahm's?

"Scheinfeld told aldermen Tuesday that the decision was based on the advice of 'professional engineers' working for CDOT but did not identify who specifically in the Emanuel administration ordered Xerox to go with the lower standard."

So Rahm.

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"She repeated her previous statements that the city relied on national electrical standards that allow for deviations in the hundredths or thousandths of a second. She said the time of yellow interval for most of the tickets fell milliseconds below the 3-second threshold and were 'imperceptible to the human eye.'"

But not to your checkbook.

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Let us repeat, now: Someone in a position of authority who works for the city came up with the idea to change the yellow-light standard for what must have been no other reason than to nick another hundred bucks each from 77,000 poor saps. Then someone else, or the same person, in a position of authority who works for the city approved the idea. Perhaps that someone is running for re-election.

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"Don Bransford, a red light camera critic who testified at the hearing, said the extra $7.7 million 'coincidentally helped the city meet projected red light camera revenue for the year. But Scheinfeld said the decision was made by CDOT based on engineering standards 'independent . . . of the Department of Finance.'"

And, she added, it was just coincidence that those engineers had the red-light camera page of the budget placed on their desks one morning, with "FYI! ☺" in red marker written on the top.

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Also, CDOT engineers suddenly figured this out independently when the city was changing over from Redflex to Xerox? The fact is that Redflex has a history of shortening yellow lights to increase revenue. It's not a new idea. In fact, it's not new to Xerox, either.

From The Newspaper on May 21, 2014:

Redflex Traffic Systems uses a special spreadsheet to calculate precisely how much profit a city can expect from red light cameras on an intersection-by-intersection basis. WTKR-TV reported about the "violation calculator" that Redflex used to provide the city of Chesapeake, Virginia with the dollar figure it could expect after signing a contract with the Australian firm.

The violation calculator is a more refined version of the criteria red light camera companies have always used. In 2001, a team of attorneys in San Diego, California used a court subpoena to obtain a copy of the confidential site evaluation performed by vendor Lockheed Martin (which now operates as Xerox). The decisions on where cameras were installed were based on finding high volume, downhill approaches where the yellow time was less than 4 seconds (view document).

Redflex promised that within ten days of signing the contract, the firm would send the city a list of the most profitable intersections based on an eight-hour video assessment of each prime location.

"Completing a detailed video analysis will ensure that Redflex and the city truly develop and implement a comprehensive 'approach strategy' that will provide the city with detailed information for accurate fact-based decisions on possible program expansion efforts," the 2009 Redflex proposal explained.

The video survey is an old fashioned method of calculating profit, however. Redflex found that it could achieve 85 percent more accurate results with its violation calculator.

"Redflex has also developed an additional analysis approach that is truly unique to Redflex," the proposal explained. "Redflex sought the guidance of a renowned professor from Texas A&M University and the development of a 'Violation Calculator' that factors in not only the quantitative violation analysis, but the engineering factors at an approach level that would also influence driver behavior."

The factors measured include the yellow duration, traffic volume, the speed limit and 85th percentile approach speed, the percentage of heavy vehicles, whether the signals have backing plates and the average duration of the green signal. The shorter the yellow time, the less visible the signal and the more deficient the engineering, the greater number of tickets will be issued, and the greater the profit for the city.

Back to the Tribune:

"I love the red light cameras," said Ald. Deb Mell, 33rd. "I think it's great."

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Sorry to be distracting, Rebekah Scheinfeld, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions here. Let's turn to the Sun-Times report.

"On Tuesday, Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) appeared to be reading from a list of scripted questions as he asked transportation commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld whether refunds were justified."

FOIA that script!

In fact, it's quite common for aldermen to read from scripts prepared by the mayor's office. When people like me say that city council meetings are political theater, we mean it literally.

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"Burnett then read another question: Why not just call a halt to the controversy by making all yellow lights four seconds long, as they are already are at intersections where the speed limit is 35 m.p.h. or greater or where 'unique geometric configurations' require it.

"We don't think this would solve the problem. There's always going to be some variance in the performance of a traffic signal because of that variance in the electrical current - no matter what it's programmed to be. Whether it's 3.0 seconds or 4.0 seconds," she said.

A) But why did the city shorten yellow-light times? That is still unanswered. Because the answer is: To make more money.

B) If the standard is going to be 3 seconds, shouldn't that also be the standard for violations? If I go through a yellow light that changes to red in 2.9 seconds, I shouldn't get a ticket. Simple as that.

"[City inspector general Joe Ferguson] recommended that CDOT 'restore a prior hard 3 second yellow-light threshold for violations' to ensure clarity and consistency."

Exactly.

"When Xerox took over earlier this year, CDOT gave the new contractor the go-ahead to accept tickets with a yellow light duration of 2.9 seconds to account for slight variations from the signal power source. That generated roughly 77,000 tickets."

Again, this was a decision the Emanuel administration made quite consciously.

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Previously in Rebekah Scheinfeld:
* "One Northwestern University traffic expert who reviewed the Tribune's findings called her assertion 'nonsense.'"

* "Asked why hearing officers hired by Emanuel's administration to enforce the traffic laws are routinely throwing out the tickets if the time is allowable, Scheinfeld said the hearing officers are independent."

* "[T]he inspector general on Friday revealed that Scheinfeld's department had ordered changes early this year as the program was transitioning from Redflex to Xerox control."

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Fantasy Fix: Forecasting Is Dead
But Martellus Bennett and Kyle Orton are quite alive.

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BeachBook
* Chicago Tree Trimming Backlog Is Two Years.

* Everything You Need To Know About The Emery-Trestman Mid-Season Press Conference.

* Peppers Defensive MVP For Packers So Far.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Have it your way.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Forecasting Is Dead

It hasn't been a good year for fantasy forecasting. As I've noted probably too many times, the unexpected has ruled this season, and expert projections have been so wildly off week to week as to be useless.

And that was before Ben Roethlisberger's Week 8. After his 522 passing yards and six TDs against the Colts, we all just need to fly by the seat of our pants the rest of the way.

I'll amend that comment: If you actually started Big Ben last week on your fantasy team, I'm going to shut up and listen to what you're saying the rest of the season. There was absolutely no reason to trust the Pittsburgh QB going into Week 8. He had thrown for more than two TDs only once all season, and in four out of seven weeks had thrown one TD or none. Since passing for 365 yards in Week 1, he had broken 300 yards only once.

Meanwhile, he was facing an Indianapolis defense that had allowed a total of two passing TDs in the previous four weeks, and was coming off a shutout of Cincinnati.

Big Ben was not even owned in 75% of Yahoo! leagues before Tuesday.

In Week 9, Pittsburgh will face off against Baltimore, which we have to assume won't roll over the way the Colts defense did - right?

More amazing fantasy feats from Week 8:

* Tom Brady is on a roll, and it's not just because he's coming off a 51-point splurge against the Bears. Though clearly the Bears are good for what ails any opposition, Brady actually has been lighting up the fantasy scoreboard for the last month, with 14 TDs in Weeks 5-8 after just four in the first weeks of the season. He's suddenly looking like the Tom Terrific of old rather than the fantasy bust of 2013 and early 2014. And if you think it's all just because Rob Gronkowski is finally healthy, well, in WRs Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, the Pats' have found the reliability they had been missing at the wide-out position.

* Martellus Bennett was not the best TE of the week, let alone the best in his own game, in which Gronk caught three TDs. However, Bennett continued an impressive fantasy season with six catches for 95 yards and one TD. He's now on pace for 94 receptions, more than 1,000 yards and eight TDs. Plus, as the Bears try to redraw their offense in the coming weeks, you've got to think Bennett will be fed even more passes as Jay Cutler finally, hopefully, stops forcing the ball to his WRs.

* Former Bear and current Bill Kyle Orton had himself a week as well, throwing for four TDs against, okay, the Jets. Orton probably is not to be trusted unless you're really in trouble at QB, but it's worth noting that WR Sammy Watkins, subject of so much pre-season hype, is beginning to come around, with 279 yards and three TDs in his past two games. Fellow WR Robert Woods also is a reliable target, and with injuries clouding the RB position, Orton might be giving Watkins and Woods a lot of work the rest of the way.

* Jeremy Maclin had been having a decent season before Week 8, though not really the breakout season many expected. But 187 yards receiving and two TDs may change that opinion. Maclin has never had a 1,000-yard receiving season, but is now on course for close to 1,300 yards and 12 TDs, which also would be a career high. True, Philly has a lot of weapons, but with DeSean Jackson gone, Maclin looks to be the top target in town.

Expert Wire
* SI.com eyes young receivers, including Big Ben target Martavis Bryant.

* Bleacher Report has DeMarco Murray atop its Week 9 RB rankings. What a surprise.

* CBS Sports.com highlights top RB add, rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:27 AM | Permalink

October 28, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

Am I missing something or is the lead buried here?

"A little-known Cook County commissioner said Monday he's preparing to run for Chicago mayor, hoping to tap into the support of 'disaffected Chicagoans' who feel Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn't lived up to his promises and doesn't take their concerns seriously," the Tribune reports.

"Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia, 58, is a former Southwest Side alderman and state senator who lost a bitter 1998 contest to Tony Munoz, a candidate backed by the Hispanic Democratic Organization allied with then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. Four years ago, Garcia made a political comeback and won election to the County Board."

Okay. Pretty rote, and I could quibble with a couple things, but let's zoom right to the very last sentence.

"Garcia had $3,160 to start the month and reported raising $15,000 since then, including $12,000 from County Board President Toni Preckwinkle."

So Chuy is Preckwinkle's guy? Sure, 12 grand ain't a lot, but it's a signal.

Also, Chuy reportedly met several times with Karen Lewis recently. Is Chuy her guy?

If Preckwinkle and Lewis - and their operations - both back Chuy, he becomes viable.

Also, wouldn't that be a rebuke to Bob Fioretti?

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"I think this city is not headed in the right direction," Garcia told Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times political portal. "I'm hearing from people all over the city that the mayor's vision and style are not what the city wants."

(Ring, ring)

REPORTER: Hello?

CHUY: Hi, is Early & Often there?

REPORTER: Huh?

CHUY: Early & Often, the Sun-Times political portal. I have something to tell it.

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"Who exactly would support Garcia is unclear," Early & Often writes.

No it's not. Chuy is a progressive darling. (He was an early name in the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau's compilation of potential mayoral challengers listed in our Political Odds feature.) The question is whether he can garner support outside of the city's small progressive community.

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"He's stronger than you may think," Rich Miller writes on his Capitol Fax blog.

Early and Often could not be reached for comment.

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"But I'd like to take this opportunity to point out something to the 'progressives' who are so upset at the mayor, particularly over his refusal to support a $15 minimum wage," Miller also writes. (Why progressives is in quotes I don't understand; would you put liberals or conservatives in quotes?)

"So, they're bashing Emanuel for backing a $13 minimum while dumping millions to support Gov. Pat Quinn - who supports a $10 minimum wage?"

Um, yeah. What's so hard to understand about that? They're not going to support Quinn against Bruce Rauner because Quinn only supports a minimum wage $10 higher than Rauner does?

Also, the "progressives" in question live in Chicago. They want a higher minimum wage here and, in fact, are part of a national movement fighting for $15 an hour.

Finally, the minimum wage arguably should be higher in Chicago than Cairo, given the differences in the cost of living.

"Kinda screwy if you ask me. [Also, Rahm has given the progressive darling Quinn $225K since March - more than any other Illinois politician.]"

Quinn is hardly a "progressive darling." Progressives are almost as disenchanted with Quinn as with Obama. But they should give up their support of Not Rauner because that places them alongside a candidate ostensibly backed by their biggest nemesis - outside of Rauner?

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Miller also underestimates Fioretti's support; or maybe it's a disgust with Rahm that is far broader than just among the usual progressive suspects that he underestimates.

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It's not just about money, even though that's what too many reporters are obsessed with. Look at how much Rauner is spending to beat Pat Quinn, only to find himself doing worse than Bill Brady four years ago. Sure, Rahm Emanuel has better name recognition than Rauner (though barely, at this point); he also has a much higher disapproval rating. I'm not saying it isn't an uphill climb for Chuy, but that's more about getting started so late, as the third choice behind Preckwinkle and Lewis, and an alternative to Fioretti, than anything else. It's the dynamic, that makes it a tough go - and that's why raising money will be a problem. But not the other way around.

Code Of Silence
"Newly hired UNO chief executive Rick Cerda declined comment and referred questions to public-relations consultant Chris Mather, a former spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel who also declined comment. UNO board chairman Freddy Santiago did not return calls. Mullins declined comment, and Francisco d'Escoto could not be reached."

Rahm Bomb
"Arguing that the 'world is different' now, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday defended his decision to randomly search the bags of riders at 145 CTA train stations in a hunt for terrorists bearing explosives," the Sun-Times reports.

Different from last month? Last year? Come on.

"At a time when fears of homegrown terrorists are growing and the Islamic State is gaining steam, the mayor said it only makes sense to put would-be terrorists on edge and tilt the scales in the CTA's favor."

First, it's moves like this that stoke fears of homegrown terrorists. Second, the Islamic State? Seriously? Attacking the CTA? Please.

"Asked how the random searches can be conducted without racial or ethnic profiling, the mayor said: 'Police have addressed that and will continue to address that.'"

They won't at all be looking for people who look like they belong to the Islamic State!

"Denying that the searches were prompted by any specific threat, police staged a mock demonstration of a search that randomly selected every 10th rider and escorted that passenger to a table where that person was handed an explanatory brochure."

As if your CTA commute isn't enough of a pain in the ass.

"Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), chairman of the City Council's Transportation Committee, said he's all for random bag searches on the CTA that put terrorists at risk of being caught or afraid they might be apprehended.

"Right now, we have these homegrown terrorists. It's a way of trying to possibly catch one of these homegrown terrorists before anything happens," Beale said.

Um, shouldn't we leave that to the FBI? They're the ones designing the plots.

"Pressed on whether he's concerned about racial or ethnic profiling, Beale said, 'Not at all. History has shown that homegrown terrorists can come in any nationality."

In fact, they're usually white! Let's swab every Caucasian.

Oh yeah, we're not looking for that kind of terrorist.

"We definitely want to make sure there's no profiling going on, but this is in the best interest of the safety of people within the U.S."

A relieved nation gives its eternal thanks to Anthony Beale of the 9th Ward.

*

BREAKING: CPD will start swabbing CTA users for Ebola for the duration of the highly contagious election season.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Coathangers, AJ Avila & Terror Amor, Cherry Glazerr, together PANGEA, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Meg Myers, Papadosio, Method Man, Bruce Hornsby, Ballyhoo!, Mozes and the Firstborn, Tribal Seeds, Run and Punch, and Banda Nueva Raza.

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BeachBook
* Public School Propaganda Again!

"Everybody swears by the NAEP. But nobody is willing to tell you what the NAEP data show!" TRUE. The achievement gap isn't because poor minorities are doing worse; they are demonstrably doing much better. It's just that the affluent are doing better by more.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Quarantinied.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 AM | Permalink

October 27, 2014

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Coathangers at Logan Square Auditorium on Friday night.


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2. AJ Davila & Terror Amor at Logan Square Auditorium on Friday night.

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3. Cherry Glazerr at Logan Square Auditorium on Friday night.

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4. together PANGEA at Logan Square Auditorium on Friday night.

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5. Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

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6. Meg Myers at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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7. Papadosio at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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8. Method Man at the Concord on Thursday night.

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9. Bruce Hornsby at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.

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10. Ballyhoo! at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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11. Mozes and the Firstborn at Logan Square Auditorium on Friday night.

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12. Tribal Seeds at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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13. Run and Punch at the Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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14. Banda Nueva Raza at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:19 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #29: The Sun-Times Is An Even Hotter Mess And Endorsements Are Even Bullshittier.

Nothing clangs when they walk. Plus: Slowing Rauner's Endorsement Roll, Anatomy Of A Tribune Editorial, RahmNation, and CPD Swabbies On The CTA.

* Anatomy Of A Tribune Editorial.

Yes, an editorial is an opinion, but it's supposed to be an honest one, arrived at through factual argument, not sleight of hand

* SportsMonday: Bye-Bye Bears.

Hey Phil Emery, you're compiling a list of potential replacements as we speak, right?

Our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman appeared on WBEZ this morning to talk Bears. We'll bring you that audio on Tuesday if you missed it.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #23: It's All Cutler's Fault.

Pre-New England, but still relevant and certainly prescient. No more equivocation. Plus: Dennis Rodman Was Drunk All The Time; Worst World Series Ever; Joakim Knee-Ah; Taking The Blackhawks For Granted; Little Big Ten; and Cubs Prepare To Block Their Own Views.

* The College Football Report Top Ten: Army Training, Sir!

With girl-on-girl action.

* Surviving The In-Laws At Thanksgiving.

Worst-case scenario: Pay for a hotel.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: The Coathangers, AJ Avila & Terror Amor, Cherry Glazerr, together PANGEA, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Meg Myers, Papadosio, Method Man, Bruce Hornsby, Ballyhoo!, Mozes and the Firstborn, Tribal Seeds, Run and Punch, and Banda Nueva Raza.

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My Profession Is Filled With Idiots
How my horribly tortuous career in America's newsrooms began made it into this Poynter piece. It really didn't ever get any better.

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BeachBook
* Chief Keef Blasts Interscope, Calls Staff 'White Honkies.'

* New Jersey: Red-Light Cameras Are A Scam.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Grave.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 PM | Permalink

Surviving The In-Laws At Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is approaching, which means family will be coming to visit. While you may be on fabulous terms with your in-laws, finding it difficult to spend extended periods of time together is not uncommon. So, how do you make it through a visit from your in-laws?

Diane Gottsman is a national modern manners and etiquette expert, sought out industry leader, accomplished speaker, author and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas.

Some of Diane's tips to help you make the most of your time with your in-laws:

Create a flexible itinerary. Offer a few ideas on different activities to consider. Having planned events during their stay allows little time for sitting around. Last-minute planning may also make them feel unimportant.

Go to the movies or a sports event. If conversation with your in-laws isn't your strong suit, opt for entertainment options that don't require a great deal of personal interaction. By choosing to attend a local play, or attend an art exhibit, you are spending time and creating memories with your in-laws, while successfully avoiding awkward lulls in conversation.

Set up a special afternoon . . . without you. Buy tickets to a city tour or a local wine tasting. Give them suggestions for favorite delis, walking trails and small coffee shops, providing them the opportunity to explore the city by themselves. Offer to meet up for dinner later at one of your favorite restaurants.

Have a back-up plan to recharge. If you know you can become overwhelmed at times by visitors, have a pre-planned errand, chore or phone call to make, allowing yourself some breathing room. Discuss this beforehand with your spouse so you don't leave him or her guessing as to the reason for the sudden departure.

Host a gathering in your in-laws' honor. Invite friends with similar interests to meet your in-laws. Your friends will create lively conversation over dinner and help the evening go smoothly, creating a buffer so you don't have to entertain alone.

Allow your in-laws to get involved. While we all want to be host of the century, don't forget your in-laws are family. More often than not they will want to help out when it comes to dinners or children. Allow your in-laws to pick up the kids from school and take them to their after school activities. Ask if they would like a special night with the grandkids, so that you and your spouse can go out for dinner. It's a win-win for both parties.

Retire to your room early. Make your end of the day routine well known, even if it means retiring to the comfort of your own bed with a glass of wine. Simply say, "Today has been great, I am going to start winding down. Feel free to stay up as late as you would like. See you all in the morning!" This will allow you to reclaim your evening, by relaxing in your room.

Worst Case Scenario. Pay for a hotel, or point them in the direction of modestly priced lodging. If you have consistently had bad experiences with hosting your in-laws, it may be worth the expense to offer to pay for comfortable accommodations close to your home. Say, "Our home is so small, and the kids really need their own space. We'd like to make your stay as pleasurable as possible." If money is tight, you might say, "We look forward to your upcoming visit. I'm happy to research hotels close by if you give me a price point to stay within? We'd also like to offer the use of our car while you are here." Bottom line, weigh your risk of hurting the relationship versus hurting your marriage.

"Though a one week stay with your in-laws may seem overwhelming, it's in everyone's best interest to maintain a healthy relationship," Gottsman says.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:35 PM | Permalink

The College Football Report Top Ten: Army Training, Sir!

1. Army recruits.

Army football recruits, that is. No doubt the Army doesn't take out regular grunts on a party bus as part of the recruiting pitch.

The Colorado Springs Gazette obtained documents showing that Army "wooed recruits this year with an alcohol-fueled party, a dinner date with female cadets, cash from boosters and VIP treatment on a party bus complete with cheerleaders and a police escort."

The bus dropped the future cadets at a local bowling alley, where the party began in earnest. After a few frames and more than a few beers, the cheerleaders aboard the bus reportedly spiced up the ride back with some girl-on-girl action.

While some have decried the lack of NCAA involvement in penalizing the recruiting offenses, we imagine the team took care of business just fine in-house. The cadets involved "appeared before the Commandant's Disciplinary Board" and were "dealt with harshly."

From this point forward, we're replacing cliches such as "taken behind the woodshed" with "appeared before the Commandant." We can only imagine.

5. Minnesota kickers.

Maybe the Gophers should ramp up the practice routine. Just a thought.

11. LSU.

LSU upset #3 Ole Miss in front of 102,312 Tiger faithful in Death Valley. The Rebels drew a delay of game penalty while lining up for a game-tying field goal in the final seconds, ruining any hope of an overtime comeback. Ole Miss elected to try a Hail Mary instead, resulting in an interception with one second remaining at the 2-yard line.

Life just isn't fair.

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19. Michigan State.

A superfan for the #5 Spartans flew over the field Saturday trailing a banner reading "U OF M - KEEP BRADY HOKE - PLZZZ." Michigan State rolled the 3-4 Wolverines, adding a late touchdown to spite the visitors for planting a spear (or a tire iron, or something) in the field during Michigan's pregame antics.

31. Brad Doughty.

Some guy you've never heard of lit up Old Dominion on Saturday. Quarterback Brad Doughty led Western Kentucky, a CFR favorite, to a 66-51 win in a game that saw him break WKU records for passing yards (now at 2,871) and touchdowns (now 24) in a single-season. Who did he surpass? Brad Doughty. In both categories. You could say the guy is having a pretty good year.

57. Fort Worth Fireworks.

TCU exhausted the fireworks supply at Amon G. Carter Stadium during a 82-27 rout over Texas Tech. We can only imagine that the proprietor of Fort Worth Fireworks, "The absolute closest place to the City to buy Fireworks!," loved seeing that final score.

99. Technical difficulties.

Blown calls and technical issues marred the Ohio State-Penn State game. In the first quarter, officials ruled OSU intercepted a pass on what replay showed was an obvious drop.

Following the game, officials acknowledged that "technically the play was not thoroughly reviewed" due to "technical difficulties."

We should point out, however, that technically, the play was reviewed: the replay booth began the game with only one overhead shot making it all but impossible to overturn the blown call. You could read the jerseys though, so that's something.

Later in the game, the Nittany Lions learned that the play clock is not so much a rule as a guideline. Among all the other plays that can be reviewed, checking to see if time expired before the snap is not an option. A "breakdown in officiating mechanics" broke OSU's way during a 49-yard field goal in the second quarter. In the replay, the play clock hits zero and you can get to three-Mississippi before Ohio State snaps the ball.

Not only did the officials fail "to properly monitor the play clock" during the kick, so did everyone else: neither the announcers nor the players noticed in the moment. Officials admitted the "slight delay" between the play clock and the snap "far exceeded tolerance," begging the question: What's the tolerance? What does the rule book say, "close enough?" We demand details.

Related: Former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira believes (as in, vehemently) SEC officials are listening to a "mystery man" who speaks to them via the officials' headset during the game.

100. Forthcoming reactions to the Playoff Selection Committee Rankings.

The committee will release the rankings for the first time on Tuesday, which will lead to all manner of tiresome commentary. Analysts can, and will, link every member of the committee to a school with playoff aspirations. The only surefire sign of conspiracy will be if Air Force makes the list. Air Force Lieutenant General Mike Gould of the Air Force sits on the committee and we're pretty sure whatever Gould says goes.

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Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:38 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Bye-Bye Bears

Anyone who watched Sunday's embarrassing 51-23 Bears loss to the Patriots couldn't help but take note of the offense's shortcomings. Those first-half failings took their deserved place in the white-hot spotlight after the game.

But if the Bears' defense and special teams can't avoid utter incompetence when games go to hell like yesterday's did in the waning minutes of the second quarter, the offense has no chance.

So here we are with the season already teetering on the edge of irrelevance. If the Bears lose to the Packers when they return from their bye in two weeks, they fall to 3-6 overall and say bye-bye to any chance to contend this season. And even if they miraculously turn themselves around in prime time in Lambeau, they still will have to win six of their last seven games just to finish 10-6 - not bloody likely.

So barring that sort of miracle, here is what happens when the post-season starts: head coach Marc Trestman hangs onto his job but overmatched defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is fired along with clueless special teams coach Joe DeCamillis. In fact, hey Phil Emery, you're compiling a list of potential replacements as we speak, right?

Better yet, how about the Bears pull a Cubs and try to trade all their best assets right now! Tank this season, set up a great draft pick (hey . . . Chicago hosts the draft in 2015!) and look out world! It will be tough to post a worse record than the terrible Raiders and Jaguars (and thereby have a shot at the No. 1 pick) but Bears, you owe it to your fans to try!

And then the columnist took a few deep breaths. We know yesterday's game totally sucked, but it isn't quite the end of the world. We can see it from here but we're not there yet.

Returning now to the defense and special teams: Did you see that blitz the Patriots ran when the Bears trailed 24-7 and had 2nd-and-5 at their own 15 with about 1:40 remaining in the half? That was after return man Chris Williams' brutal decision to try to return Stephen Gostkowski's usual soaring kick-off resulted in him being buried 10 yards further back than where the Bears would have been had he just taken a knee.

The blitz involved a pair of defensive backs rushing in from Jay Cutler's left and immediately collapsing the pocket. The quarterback tried to move up but was taken down by a Patriot linebacker (who then kicked Kyle Long in the groin - when Long then grabbed the guy's leg and pulled him back along the ground about a foot, Long was flagged for unnecessary roughness - it would have been good if Long had actually committed roughness, let alone the unnecessary kind, but I suppose I'm quibbling).

That was the sort of blitz we are desperate to see from the Bears; the sort of blitz that might have made sense at some point during the long Patriot drive that was the first nail in the coffin after the Bears pulled within 17-7 in the aforementioned second quarter. But Tucker's defense never ever ever runs that sort of aggressive stunt, even when his unit is single-covering guys like tight end Rob Gronkowski. Hey Mel, if you decide your best bet is to just stick a safety on the other team's biggest threat, then at least send an extra rusher or two. This isn't that difficult.

So the Bears give the ball to Forte for about the 25th time in the first half and he gains a little yardage but is still way short of the first down. A punt ensues. And then the one guy on the Bears roster who is there because of his supposed special teams prowess, cover-man Sherrick McManis, totally blows contain on the huge Julian Edelman punt return that sets up New England's fourth touchdown.

The game was essentially over when the Bears got the ball back down 31-7 with about a minute left in the half. So it feels like overkill to crush the quarterback for what happened next. We're doing it anyway. That was just a brutal fumble! On first down Jay Cutler faced heavy pressure. At that point, 95 percent of quarterbacks would have tucked the ball into their gut and gone down. It would then have been second-and-long and the Bears probably would have run out the clock.

Instead our man Jay, with multiple guys hanging on to his legs and feet, has the ball up in his hands in an apparent effort to push out some sort of improvised pass to a back or a tight end. Instead, a Patriot rusher of course swats it loose and a Patriot linebacker of course returns it for a touchdown.

The one thing you can say about a loss like this: it was a team effort. Every unit contributed. And every unit isn't good enough for a Bears team going nowhere.

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Trestman: F
"The Bears were beaten virtually from the first snap on and in every phase of the game," John "Moon" Mullin writes. "They were not up to the intensity or preparation level of a truly elite team despite having a talent base rivaling that of the New England Patriots."

View From Patriots.Com
"There was no urgency to the Jay Cutler-led offense."

57 Seconds That Defined A Season
Pats Declaw Bears With Blitzkrieg In Second Quarter.

Hoge Nails It Again
"Plenty Of Blame To Go Around As Bears Season Continues To Slip Away."

Emblematic Play Of The Season

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Bonus!

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:48 AM | Permalink

October 26, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Hour #29: The Sun-Times Is An Even Hotter Mess And Endorsements Are Even Bullshittier

Nothing clangs when they walk. Plus: Slowing Rauner's Endorsement Roll, Anatomy Of A Tribune Editorial, RahmNation, and CPD Swabbies On The CTA.

SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

:55: Eddie and the Hot Rods at the Double Door on Tuesday night.

1:57: The Sun-Times Is An Even Hotter Mess.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #28: The Sun-Times Is A Hot Mess.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #27: Endorsements Are Bullshit.

* McKinney's resignation.

* Every beat a blog.

* LeapSource story was not ready for publication.

* The height of hypocrisy.

* A thought exercise:

SUN-TIMES REPORTER TO JIM KIRK: So I have a few questions for you about McKinney.

KIRK: Just use my statement.

REPORTER: Oh. Okay.

KIRK: Don't give up so easily! C'mon, be a reporter! This is Chicago. Try harder.

REPORTER: Oh, okay, um, McKinney said that . . .

KIRK: . . . Sorry, no comment.

* Ann Marie Lipinski vs. Michael Cooke.

* Carol Marin has also refused to comment, instead only writing this column which cleverly didn't tell us anything we didn't already know.

* No one ever followed up with the Tribune and NBC.

* Everyone got promoted while I lost a major (still unreplaced) revenue source and future partner.

* GTCRauner hired Randy Michaels to run a post-Tribune venture. A lot of local journos went to work for him despite his misogynistic history. Would they have done so if he lost his Trib job due to racism or anti-Semitism instead of sexism?

* "Nothing clanks when he walks."

* Steinberg vs. McKinney.

* Wemple vs. McKinney.

* McKinney on Bourbon Street.

* McKinney petition.

39:44: B-Real at the Concord on Thursday night.

40:24: Endorsements Are Lies.

* The [Endorsement 2014] Papers to come.

* @BeachwoodReport.

* How to craft a Rauner endorsement.

* Shame on the Springfield State Journal-Register.

Do Anything You Wanna Do.

51:20: Anatomy Of ATribune Editorial.

1:02:30: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

1:03:32: RahmNation.

1:07:22: CPD Swabbies On The CTA.

* If it turns pink, you're a terrorist!

1:11:08: The Beer Thinker: An Oktoberfest For The Rest Of Us.

1:11:50: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #23: It's All Cutler's Fault.

* I did pick the Bears to beat New England, though.

STOPPAGE TIME: 16:36.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 PM | Permalink

October 25, 2014

Anatomy Of A Tribune Editorial

The Illinois Rauner Republican Party sent this Tribune editorial out Saturday morning via its e-mail account that uses a Quinnochio header, but it's the paper's editorial board that is being dishonest.

To wit:

"The race for governor is about whether incumbent Pat Quinn or challenger Bruce Rauner will be Illinois' CEO for four years."

No it's not. It's about who will be Illinois' governor for four years. A governor is a chief executive, but one whose job is wholly different than that of a corporate CEO. If you don't understand how, you don't deserve to be writing editorials for a major metropolitan daily.

Though relatively trivial, this is just the first example of how the Tribune puts its thumbs on the scale. (Yes, an editorial is an opinion, but it's supposed to be an honest one, arrived at through factual argument, not sleight of hand.)

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"It is also a referendum on the future of the 67 percent personal income tax increase that Quinn and fellow Democrats enacted in 2011, on whether that tax will start to recede Jan. 1 as written in the law, and on the huge implications for Illinois' struggle to grow jobs."

It's fun to call the "Quinncome Tax" a 67 percent increase, but it's also incredibly disingenuous, particularly for journalists. Folks concerned with the numerical illiteracy of journalists, for example, preach regularly that it's highly misleading to cite huge increases in percentages when the numbers you are working with are small. To illustrate: If Illinois were to see one case of Ebola this year and two cases next year, it could be said that the number of Ebola cases doubled! It could also be said that Ebola increased 100% in just one year!

In the case at hand, Illinois' flat tax for personal income taxes, which applies the same rate to the richest taxpayers as the poorest, went from 3 percent to 5 percent. A two-percent increase certainly sounds less dramatic than a 67 percent increase.

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"It is also a referendum on whether voters ought to hold this state's politicians to their words."

This is rich. No one has told more provable lies during this campaign than Bruce Rauner. Which words of Rauner's should we attempt to hold him to when it comes to the minimum wage? The ones that want to do away with the minimum wage, the ones that are "adamantly, adamantly" against raising the minimum wage, or the ones spun in damage control that support raising the minimum wage only after a set of conditions more unrealistic than Jay Cutler never throwing another interception again are met?

(I wonder, too, which Payton Prep story the Tribune believes, and if they think what he did was okay and his lies and evasions about what he did are okay.)

That's not to say that Pat Quinn has been honest about his fake "temporary" tax increase. He hasn't. But I'm not endorsing Quinn, so I don't have to find a way around his dishonesty. I recognize it. If only the Trib could do the same with the guy they're telling people to vote for.

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"Many Democrats who raised taxes in 2011 counted on all of us to forget about that by 2014."

Democrats suck, but I don't think that's the case at all. They counted on us to realize that there's no other way out but to maintain a certain level of revenues until the national economy turns around, lest we induce the state into a heart attack.

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"We've forgotten nothing. Who pledged what to Illinois voters is the issue on which races for governor and the legislature may well turn. Here, then, is the anatomy of your Quinncome Tax:

The denial: Months before legislators voted to raise the personal income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent, and the total corporate rate from 7.3 percent to 9.5 percent, Quinn ruled out such a big grab. From the Daily Herald of July 29, 2010:

"At a news conference, Quinn denied a Bloomberg News report that quoted Budget Director David Vaught as saying the governor planned to raise the income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent. The governor said he does support an increase to 4 percent to support education. 'That is all that I propose and all that I support,' an audibly irritated Quinn said. 'I'm going to veto anything that's not my plan.'" And in related questioning:

Reporter: "Are you saying that you would veto anything more than 1 percent?"

Quinn: "I'm going to veto anything that isn't my plan. Because I want my plan . . . "

Reporter: "Is that a yes?"

Quinn: "I just told you."

True. Quinn has been just as cagey during the campaign. He'll never say "Yes," just variations on "I just told you."

Yes you did, Pat. You just told us "Yes." Why so afraid to say it?

On the other hand, that's closer to the truth than Rauner has gotten about his plan by a mile. As Amanda Vinicky said at the outset of one of the debates, only Rauner's campaign has gotten his budget plan to add up - and only after using quantum mathematics they aren't willing to share.

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"The pledges: In January 2011, House Speaker Michael Madigan sold his lame-duck caucus on passing a big and temporary tax hike. But on the night of 1/11/11, Madigan let others do the promising:

Senate President John Cullerton: "The purpose of this bill is to raise enough money so that we can continue to pay our pensions without borrowing the money. To pay off our debt. To have enough money to pay the interest on that debt. And, for the first time ever, establish caps on how much we can appropriate . . . We have just come through the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. And we have not paid our bills."

In the House, Barbara Flynn Currie, the Democratic majority leader: "Remember, the point of this income tax increase is not to expand programs, not to do brand-new things in Illinois state government. It is only intended to pay our old bills and deal with the structural deficit."

Cullerton again: "We are going to have our bills paid. It's going to absolutely boost our economy and create jobs when we pay those people what they're owed . . . A portion of this tax (increase) is going to expire in four years. This, again, is a temporary tax." He also said that "by raising this money," lawmakers would "improve our bond ratings."

Thirty Senate and 60 House Democrats voted yes. Of those 90 Dems, 58 are still in the legislature. No Republican voted yes.

Um, okay. And the problem with those statements is what?

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"The reassurance: At a next-day news conference, Quinn invoked the word 'temporary' three times, including, 'I want to point out that the, I guess, 1 point of the income tax, 1 percent, is temporary for four years. It will fall to 3.75 percent at the end of that time' - that is, after Dec. 31, 2014."

True. Quinn should have made clear, of course, that when it came time for the "temporary" tax increase to expire, it would have to be revisited to make sure it was the time to let it roll back. Who knew what would happen in the interim? Another economic shock? The lack of a proper recovery? The Tribune Company promises plenty too and adjusts later to economic conditions. We all knew this would happen. Quinn was wrong to elide it. But grow up.

*

"The paybacks: Four of the 12 House Democrats who as lame ducks voted for Quinn's tax hike subsequently landed good-paying, taxpayer-funded jobs through the governor.

Two others landed government jobs elsewhere. Our favorite: State Rep. Bob Flider of Mount Zion in 2010 campaigned against even Quinn's proposed 33 percent income tax hike. He called it "the absolute last thing we need to be doing," and urged that Illinois instead "eliminate waste" and make "hard choices." He then lost his election and, on his last day in office, voted for the 67 percent hike. Today Flider is the director of Quinn's Department of Agriculture.

True. This I will not argue with; it's a perfect example of why Quinn has been such a disappointment to those of us who thought Illinois had gotten itself a reform governor quite by accident - the only way it seemed possible.

*

"The manufactured crisis: Having structured their increase to start receding, Quinn, Madigan and Cullerton should have used the additional $31.5 billion in revenue to stabilize state finances and absorb their scheduled tax rollback in future budgets. They didn't. The result, according to state data analyzed by the Civic Federation of Chicago, is a current budget that underfunds agency costs by $470 million . . . yet also increases spending by $528 million. After Nov. 4, expect lawmakers who've raised spending (and not zeroed out the state's past-due bills) to sound a panic: This is a crisis! We can't let income tax rates start to recede!"

As far as I can tell, that $528 million - 1.5 percent of the budget - is due to spending on Medicare, education and human services.

Should we cut back on spending for needy kids and the elderly? Is that what the Tribune is advocating?

Besides that, Rauner is repeatedly lying about Quinn cutting education funding and pledging to increase it (even more, I guess) should he be elected, so I'd like to see him and the Trib square that circular argument.

*

"The potential lame-duck vote: In May we devoted two editorials, one titled 'Knock knock. Your promise is here,' to the many Democrats who have unequivocally stated that they will not vote to kill the Jan. 1 rollback that Quinn signed into law. Since May, more Democratic candidates have made that promise. Their promises are online, in editorials and in responses to Tribune questionnaires.

"If Quinn wins, they'll face pressure to trash those promises. Governors can be persuasive (see above, The paybacks)."

So the argument here is: Don't vote for Quinn because if he wins, Democratic lawmakers will be tempted to break their promises. Because Quinn isn't ineffectual at all, he's super persuasive!

Hypothetical: Rauner wins. Will Democratic lawmakers be any less tempted to break their promises and give a Republican governor a huge victory that would cause incredible pain to their base?

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"The Nov. 4 election: The bottom line is that Democrats asked Illinoisans to work one additional week, or 2 percent of each year, for the state."

Oh, come on. How much longer would Illinoisans be working if the state budget were even further in the tank than it is? How many extra hours are social service caseworkers working? How many additional weeks will Illinoisans work if the minimum wage isn't raised? Just gimmicky rhetoric.

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"They said their hike was temporary."

And the Tribune said they weren't going to put up a paywall. But that's where most of its stories - and this editorial - sit!

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"And they said they would use the extra revenue to fix Illinois."

I'm not sure they promised to get the whole job done. Again, "temporary" means the issue will be revisited. Should lawmakers have just made the increase permanent? Sure. But then, when future lawmakers would then try to roll some of that increase back, the Tribune editorial board would scream, "No! You promised! You said it would be permanent!" Right?

It was a cheap thing for Democrats - and the governor - to do. It was done out of an abundance of cynicism over the belief that voters can't handle the truth. And also that they'd get unfairly hammered by, say, the likes of the Tribune editorial board.

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"Today, though, the Democrats who brought you the Quinncome Tax instead preside over the state with the worst credit ratings, the worst-funded pension system and a pile of unpaid bills that will rise this year."

And yet, the Tribune will endorse Rahm for mayor just as it did Richard M. Daley for two decades! What's bad for the state apparently is good for the city.

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"The pols can't credibly pretend that extending their tax increase will bring more employment to one of the nation's least-friendly states for business."

Simply not true.

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"In a subsequent editorial we'll explore how Illinois could let the increase roll back as Quinn's 2011 law provides and do a smarter job of managing Springfield."

I can't wait.

*

"For four years, Quinn and his party's leaders have made choices: what to pledge and whether to fulfill those pledges. Choices should have consequences."

Like Rauner's choices to clout his daughter into Payton, lie about state education spending, and evade reporters trying to pin him down on the issues.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:32 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

"The newest Chicago Police counterterrorism effort will involve assigning officers to high-traffic CTA train stations to randomly check riders' bags for explosives," the Sun-Times reports.

"Starting the week of Nov. 3, officers will ask 'randomly selected' individuals if they are willing to have their bags screened before they pay to enter a station, police said in a statement Friday. If someone declines the screening, they will not be allowed to ride the train."

First, by "randomly selected," officials mean profiled. After all, officers will be deciding on their own who looks "suspicious" and pulling them aside, right? Selection will be anything but random.

Second, if you refuse to "willingly" allow such a screening, you won't be allowed to ride the train. So now allowing such screenings, which might otherwise be described as "searches," are a condition of using public transportation.

Third, there is no reason to believe this is anything but a waste of time, energy and money.

"While there are no credible threats to Chicago or to the region's public transportation facilities, Chicago is taking this step, as other major cities in the United States and around the world have already done, to ensure the safety of residents and passengers," police chief Garry McCarthy said in a statement.

The statement wasn't available to answer questions, but one that comes to mind is this: Why take this step if there are no credible threats?

Another is this: Why stop there? Why not "random" baggage checks along, say, Michigan Avenue or at Navy Pier or the Willis Tower observatory deck?

("Random" checks already take place in their own fashion in our city's poorest districts.)

Also, if I refuse to submit to a check, am I permanently banned from the whole of the CTA, or just the trains, or just that train right then and there? In other words, what's to prevent me from boarding the train with an unswabbed bag at a different station or taking a bus?

See what I mean? It's ridiculous. Part of me wonders if this isn't just a scare tactic - after all, they're only starting at one station (a leisurely pace which also tells me they aren't all that worried about CTA bombers), like when police departments announce increased DUI patrols that are often meant to scare drivers into carefulness and often don't actually come with increased patrols.

Still, we don't really know what the CPD has in mind. We just know it's a further encroachment on our civil liberties. I, forone, don't want the CPD "randomly" swabbing and rummaging through my stuff or anyone else's. That's the definition of a police state. Chicago is already the most surveilled city in the world, and now we know that, thanks to the NSA, America is the most surveilled country in the world. When do we start standing for freedom again?

Score another one for the terrorists, who continue to enjoy watching us destroy ourselves from within.

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Programming Notes

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #29: Sun-Times Mess Even Hotter; Endorsements Even Bullshittier.

Nothing clangs when they walk. Plus: Slowing Rauner's Endorsement Roll, Anatomy Of A Tribune Editorial, RahmNation, and CPD Swabbies On The CTA.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #23: It's All Cutler's Fault.

You can't keep going back to him thinking he's gonna change, honey. And no, you can't fix him. It's time to move on.

Plus: Dennis Rodman Was Drunk All The Time; Worst World Series Ever; Joakim Knee-Ah; Taking The Blackhawks For Granted; Little Big Ten; and Cubs Prepare To Block Their Own Views.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Eddie and the Hot Rods, B-Real, King Diamond, Sha'Miracle, Gone Hawking, The White Buffalo, Anberlin, and Makaya McCraven.

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Petitioning Ferro
Jim Kirk has a lot to answer for too. He's both the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times. (Has he made the proper arrangements to wall himself off from conflicts of interest with himself?)

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg celebrate Halloween by dabbling in the dark arts with Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll. Later they review a new release from Fleetwood Mac enchantress Stevie Nicks."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: 3rd Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence.

"Women and activists share stories of domestic violence, honor survivors and encourage victims to seek help at this event hosted by Stand Up & Speak Out."

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

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TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Bar none.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:45 AM | Permalink

October 24, 2014

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Eddie and the Hot Rods at the Double Door on Tuesday night.


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2. B-Real at the Concord on Thursday night.

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3. King Diamond at the Vice on Tuesday night.

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4. Sha'Miracle at Subterranean on Sunday night.

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5. Gone Hawking at Subterranean on Sunday night.

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6. The White Buffalo at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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7. Anberlin at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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8. Makaya McCraven at the Constellation on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:56 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #23: It's All Cutler's Fault

No more equivocation. Plus: Dennis Rodman Was Drunk All The Time; Worst World Series Ever; Joakim Knee-Ah; Taking The Blackhawks For Granted; Little Big Ten; and Cubs Prepare To Block Their Own Views.


SHOW NOTES

* Base 23.

1:15: Rodman Was Drunk All The Time.

* The tyranny of the storyline.

* Michael Jordan was a bully.

* Rodman was a freak - of an athlete.

8:50: It's All Cutler's Fault.

* No more equivocation.

* Jay Cutler is a delusional liar.

* Brandon Marshall: Right message, wrong messenger.

* All-22 Slideshow: Dolphins vs. Bears.

* It was Clint Eastwood in Magnum Force.

* Blame Cutler, not Trestman.

* Trestman took the car keys away from Cutler.

* The Establishment.

* It's Cutler's sixth season with the Bears, and his eighth in the NFL.

* Jay will throw us the ball.

* It's learning.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Home Failed Advantage.

30:39: Worst World Series Ever.

* Bochy, Lincecum, Peavy.

39:39: Joakim Knee-ah.

* vs. Derrick Rose.

* Chicago Jo.

* Get Emilio.

* That's Coach pounding on the table.

* Derrick Rose Falls, Entire Bench Runs Over To Make Sure He's Not Broken.

51:23: Taking The Blackhawks For Granted.

* Antti Ranta!

55:04: Little Big Ten.

* And Kyle Orton!

* Illinois is irrelevant.

* NU has one young fan.

1:04:05: Cubs Prepare To Block Own Views.

* Contract with rooftop owners goes to 2023.

* Crane Kenney.

STOPPAGE TIME: 7:16.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:56 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

A Papers column per se will not appear today, though I am working on some posts related to recent events that may appear at some point today or through the weekend.

Meanwhile:

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #23: It's All Cutler's Fault.

You can't keep going back to him thinking he's gonna change, honey. And no, you can't fix him. It's time to move on.

Plus: Dennis Rodman Was Drunk All The Time; Worst World Series Ever; Joakim Knee-Ah; Taking The Blackhawks For Granted; Little Big Ten; and Cubs Prepare To Block Their Own Views.

* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.

Skully Bungalow is also the name of the femme fatale in my new goth Chicago noir play, The Belt That Screamed Murder.

* In production: The Beachwood Radio Hour #29.

* The College Football Report will not appear today but will return on Monday.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Eddie and the Hot Rods, B-Real, King Diamond, Sha'Miracle, Gone Hawking, The White Buffalo, Anberlin, and Makaya McCraven.

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BeachBook
* The Intellectual Norms Of Newspapers.

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TweetWood

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Ballin'.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow

Enter at your own risk.

skeletonsbunalowportpkhalloween14bw.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:15 AM | Permalink

October 23, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

I was out all day Wednesday and when I got home I learned that Dave McKinney had resigned.

You can find my running commentary, again, on Twitter.

I've been collecting the most interesting and salient reporting and commentary along the way and will have more at some point - not sure if it will be today. Trynta make a living.

I will say that both here and on Twitter I've been pushing my last podcast a little hard, but there's a reason for that. While I know most of you would rather read about this than listen to me yak about it, I really think in all un-Minnesotan self-promotion that my podcast is the best distillation of the whole chain of events that's out there. For one thing, I sample from all of the coverage of the last couple of weeks in chronological order to try to simplify and explain the saga and its twists and turns. For another, I show how the Sun-Times shifted its rationale for returning to the endorsement game several times in what I believe is a pretty damning way. Also, I show how the endorsement itself was the height of silliness; if you're gonna pull a stunt like this, at least do it cogently. Finally, I call out the weasels, which is always enjoyable.

(I also tell the story of perhaps my greatest regret in journalism; not going with the story in 2002 of then-Sun-Times publisher David Radler corrupting the endorsement process to give the paper's nod to Rod Blagojevich instead of Paul Vallas in that year's Democratic primary. Find out what I knew, who lied to me, and why I stood down.)

The podcast before that was about endorsements, too, and I think an important one - the main point being how the city's editorial boards are undermining reporters (and enabling lying pols who stiff the media).

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The Ballad Of Bruce Rauner
Utterly brilliant. I'm not sure I've ever seen a campaign summed up so well in 3:51.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: You Just Kick The Ball
Our very own Carl Mohrbacher takes us on another wild ride through Bearsville.

Chicagoetry: Sixteen Movies Ago
Heavy with greed.

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BeachBook
* Rauner Ad: Hello, Springfield.

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Non-Sun-Times TweetWood

Most disingenuous governor's race in modern Illinois history.

*

But I'm still gonna use "okay" instead of "OK" because "OK" isn't a word.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A-Okay.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:00 AM | Permalink

Song Of The Moment: Plutocrat (The Ballad Of Bruce Rauner)

The Rauner campaign in 3:51.


LYRICS

VERSE 1
Some rich guys buy fancy cars
Some spend their money on old guitars
Some go in for private planes and boats

Well, I like houses - I own nine
And I drink $6,000 wine
And I'm tryin' hard to buy your November votes

Yeah, my wristwatch cost me eighteen bucks
I wear Carhartt clothes when I hunt for ducks
And I even drive around in a beat-up van

But I'm a straight-up, blood-suckin' billionaire
Who hates payin' taxes for Medicare
And I bank in the Cayman Islands anytime I can

CHORUS
So, Springfield, get out the welcome mat
What this state needs is a plutocrat
A slashin', burnin', union-bustin' guy

I'll hammer and shake that capitol dome
Like it's a grandma stuck in a nursing home
Hey, grandma, it's time to say goodbye

VERSE 2
Well, I'm mighty proud of one thing I did
Tryin' to educate my suburban kid
I had Arne Duncan lend me a helping hand

He took my call without hesitatin'
Then my kid got a spot at Walter Payton
And I gave that school 250 grand

I want charter schools in every town
where the kids are poor and black or brown
You know I've even got a school named after me

And I could have sent my own kid there
But I'm a wealthy man, and it's only fair
That her school be largely white and bourgeoisie

CHORUS

VERSE 3
Now I know it's become the latest craze
But I try not to talk about marryin' gays
Social issues bring my numbers down

Same is true for reproductive rights
I don't want to pick any needless fights
I'll be a blank slate until I win that crown

I've got my own economic plan
But like H.G. Wells' Invisible Man
The details . . . well, they're mighty hard to see

And I do my best to avoid the stage
If they want me to talk about the minimum wage
'Cause I'd rather have those people work for free

CHORUS

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Previously by The Blue State Cowboys:

* Good King Rich.

* Radio Blago.

* Rahm: Too Big To Fail.

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See also:
* The Blue State Cowboys.

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Previously in Song of the Moment:
* Iron Man
* The Story of Bo Diddley
* Teach Your Children
* Dream Vacation
* When The Levee Breaks
* I Kissed A Girl
* Theme From Shaft
* Rocky Mountain High
* North to Alaska
* Barracuda
* Rainy Days and Mondays
* Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
* Baby, It's Cold Outside
* Man in the Mirror
* Birthday Sex
* Rio
* My Sharona
* Alex Chilton
* Surfin' Bird
* By The Time I Get To Arizona
* Heaven and Hell
* Sunday Bloody Sunday
* Lawless One
* Tell It Like It Is
* The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
* Lake Shore Drive
* On, Wisconsin!
* Anarchy in the U.K.
* Ballad of a Thin Man
* White Riot
* Know Your Rights
* Chicago Teacher
* Youngstown
* Over The Cliff
* Almost Gone (The Ballad of Bradley Manning)
* Party at the NSA
* V.E.N.T.R.A.

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See also:
* Songs of the Occupation: To Have And To Have Not
* Songs of the Occupation: Johnny 99

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: You Just Kick The Ball

Home Failed Advantage
Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins felt devastating, but rather than taking this one entirely to heart, fans should view it as an irritating loss in the midst of a middling season.

Sort of like the scent of vas deferens being cauterized near the end of a vasectomy. You knew what you were in for when you cut the check to "The Offices of Dr. Spermslayah."

No use complaining about the smell at this late juncture.

Yes, the Bears are a befuddling 0-3 at home almost halfway through the year, and yes, as fans we should be upset.

But let's put the game in historical perspective.

There have been many worse losses; several of which belong to the annals of recent memory.

  • 2013 Week 17 vs. Green Bay. After hitting an inexplicably wide open Randall Cobb for a decisive 4th-down score in the final seconds of what became the season's final game, Aaron Rodgers pulls down his pants and starts suggestively gyrating at the Bears wives/girlfriends section of the stands, prompting Jasmine Vichenko, the then-squeeze of Chicago safety Major Wright, to run to the middle of the field and grind on the pants-less QB until completion, which led to the birth of a child that Wright was legally responsible for under some archaic line item within the family law that binds all Florida residents.
  • 2009 Week 8 vs. Arizona. The Bears get their asses handed to them so badly that during a brief pre-halftime interview with sideline reporter Pam Oliver, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner began thanking his lord and savior for another victory. "I gotta say thanks to Jesus. You knew I was going to do it, Pam," said the steadfast Christian athlete. Bears fans of all religions were instantly put off by the presumptuousness of the statement, only to become immediately dismayed as the camera cut to Jesus in the stands of Soldier Field clearly mouthing the words "You got it, bro" back to Warner.
  • 2007 Week 6 vs. Minnesota. After tying the game with a late pair of touchdowns, the Bears and Vikings appeared to be headed for overtime. However, the thighs of Chicago's special teams' unit were mercilessly whipped into submission by a young Adrian Peterson, who was really only breaking tackles the way it was taught to him by a parade of shady male authority figures who visited the home of his mother back in the late '90s, and they should have really known that it wasn't a good idea to get Daddy Peterson angry near the end of his long day at work, and you need to get him the remote as soon as he settles in unless you want to catch hell, that thing absolutely cannot be lost somewhere in the couch, and they need to swear that they'll never say anything to Mike Florio or anyone else outside of the house because it ain't no nevermind . . .
  • 2005 Season NFC Divisional Round vs. Carolina. Steve Smith robs Chicago mascot Barry the Bear at gunpoint for his precious salmon. Later Smith smokes the Chicago secondary, like so much lox and bagels, en route to a 29-21 Panther road victory.

Missed Connections
Following the game, it was widely reported that tempers flared, frustrations boiled over and personal insults were hurled within the Bears locker room.

And according to ESPN's Jon Greenberg, Brandon Marshall was reported to have said the word "unacceptable" 16 times during a three-minute interview.

Read the transcript and judge for yourself.

Greenberg: Brandon, the offense really struggled to gain traction today. Why do you think . . .

Brandon Marshall: [ring tone - 'My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and I'm like, it's better than yours, damn right, it's better than yours'] Hold on a sec, Jon. I've got my wife on the horn here . . . [puts phone on speaker] Ya-ellow! Hi hon! Heads up, you're on speaker. Listen, I'm at work. Can I call you back in like an hour?

Michi Nogami-Marshall: Hey baby, I'm picking up some things at the store for dinner, do you need anything?

Brandon: Um, I don't know, maybe some kale, or cheddar cheese, I'd have to look in the fridge . . . I tell you what babe, I'll give you a call in a little bit. I'm kind of tied up.

Michi: Well I'm at Target now. I'm thinking of making a whitefish casserole with a Lavaburst Hi-C drizzle or maybe a peanut butter sauce . . .

Brandon: Wow honey . . . that sounds just . . . [places hand over receiver and grimaces] . . . that sounds really different. But listen, ya' know, the whole professional athlete thing. I've got to watch what I put in my body. Eating something that, uh, adventurous, could be just . . . [makes the 'I don't know what to tell this person' face while shaking head] irresponsible . . . ?

Kyle Long: [walking past locker] Christ, Marshall. You'll probably bleed some kind of weird syrup out of your ass if eat that lingonberry tuna fin surprise, or whatever the hell she's talking about. Don't do it dude, that shit sounds reprehensible [continues walking].

Michi: What was that? Brandon, you're breaking up . . . ugh. This phone sucks. Did you just say my cooking was "unacceptable[1]?"

Brandon: No, sweetie. I appreciate that you're making dinner. I didn't say your, concoction was unacceptable[2] . . .

Michi: [in that mock dude voice all chicks use] Oh. My "concoction" is "unacceptable[3]." [end bad dude/bro voice] Brandon, you're being kind of a dick. I'm trying to do something nice . . .

Brandon: No, no, no. You're misunderstanding me babe. "Unacceptable[4]" is not what I'm trying to say . . .

Michi: Unacceptable[5]?! Unacceptable[6]!! You know what, you're not my [expletive] dad and you sure as [expletive] ain't my boss. You call my cooking "unacceptable[7]" one more time and you can just [expletive] set up stakes on the couch tonight.

Brandon: Michi, calm down. I didn't call you're cooking "unacceptable[8]," let's table this until I get home. I really don't want to get in a fight right now . . .

Michi: [click]

Brandon: Dammit . . . friggin' T-Mobile. Oh, and thanks a ton, Kyle! You know that woman stabbed me one time, right?

Long: [from across room] Ha! You're about to shanked in your own shower, bro!

Brandon: Guh . . . [shaking head] . . . dick.

Robbie Gould: [wandering in] When you say something like that to your wife, expect it to hurt when you get home. If you're playing with her heart, it's supposed to hurt. That is, if you've got a pulse.

Brandon: Where the hell'd you come from Dr. Phil? Just . . . you know what . . . you, just worry about you for a minute. You just kick the ball, okay? Just do what you do, and let me worry about what I do, when I'm at home.

Gould: I heard you call that food "unacceptable[9]." That's bull, dude. A woman cooking you a hot meal is "acceptable" at worst.

Brandon: You're messing with me now, aren't you.

Gould: Ahhh! Ya' know I don't have a poker face. Got your back, m'man. Bros before hos! [taps three fingers over his heart twice in what appears to be a gang sign] Oye ese!

Brandon: Okay, okay. Get the hell outta here, buddy. I'll see you in film Tuesday.

Greenberg: So Brandon, about the game.

Brandon: Oh, right. Yeah, that shit was a disaster.

So as you can see, the word "unacceptable" was only used nine times and the situation was wildly exaggerated by the media.

Same Old New England
Anecdotally, I don't think Tom Brady has lost to the Bears in any head-to-head match-ups. It sure doesn't feel like he has.

Factually, that theory seems to bear out; he is 3-0 against Chicago in his career. I should really start reading things on the Internet before I type stuff on it for public consumption.

So what do we know about the 2014 Patriots?

I think Vince Wilfork is still employed by them, and if he isn't he was likely traded for a second-round draft pick in the offseason despite having his tibia removed in February. You know how the Pats do.

When asked about his team during the mid-week conference call, Tom Brady reassured the Chicago media that despite his status as a "happily married man," he could still "totally slay ass" if called upon by the team.

"It's all about doing whatever it takes to help us win," said Brady. "Whether Coach Belichick needs me to hand it off, throw a block out of the Wildcat, or bury my dong in the cum dumpsters of a hundred local floozies between Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning, I'm all about the New England Patriots."

Okay, duly noted.

Despite a mediocre start and expectations for the team diminishing on the national level, New England has had a resurgence of late.

"As a group, we're enjoying the roll we're on right now," continued Brady. "Obviously, we took a blow when [running back Stevan] Ridley went down with the knee injury. But [Shane] Vereen stepped up big and really carried the load last weekend. When I needed a partner to spitroast this chickenhead I know back in Foxborough, we really established a strong ground game and teamed that bitch like nobody's business."

Huh.

I guess the takeaway is that despite the roster turnover, not much has changed since we saw the Pats in 2010.

I don't know what Troy Brown is up to these days, but don't smell his fingers if he offers. No matter how trustworthy he looks.

Kool Aid (2 of 5 - Samuel Adams)
I'd be lying if I said that I expected anything big out of this game, at least out of the Bears, but for better and worse they've been defying the odds this season in all ways possible.

I'm going to take some kind of stance here and say that it is utterly . . . conceivable? . . . that the Bears pull out a win this weekend in Massachusetts.

I mean, I don't think they will, but heck I've got to write about it so I might as well watch the game! I'm not saying you need to, but I'll be there.

Stop by my place if you want to get all voyeuristic and watch Tom Brady bend the Bears defense over like a cheap stripper.

Yeah! Enthusiasm.

Patriots 31, Bears 17

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

October 22, 2014

Chicagoetry: Sixteen Movies Ago

Sixteen Movies Ago

Sixteen movies ago
I was heavy with greed.
Had a sextet

Of moods, generally.
Weeping at orbs.
Clowning with trees.

Seven movies ago
I was peering
At the labyrinth

Of the CTA map
Above every electric train door.
Heavy with greed,

As I say.
Documents in the darkness
Heavy with grief,

Heart distended
Like a bay window
Over the boulevard.

Eleven mornings ago
I meditated to dawn,
A teetering

Faun, vulnerable
In the daylight,
Blessed by darkness.

Wet leaves, dry gourds,

Shrouds; hood ornaments
Fashioned after clouds;
Burnt-orange lamplight

Incumbent, reminiscent
Of candle-glow,
Every shadow

A god of light.
Eleven movies ago
I heard a god.

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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 9:00 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Last night the Tribune held another of its "Trib Nation" events with Rahm Emanuel. I hate these things, and here's why: Rahm would never participate if he'd be facing a real reporter ready to grill him on all the questions he's dodged in between appearances. He knows, instead, that he'll get a brand-burnishing schmoozefest with his pal, Bruce Dold, the paper's editorial page editor (and also the person who will write the Tribune's inevitable re-election endorsement in February). Once again, it's the editorial page undermining the reporting staff - as I've talked about in our last two podcasts.

Check out our Twitter TL and/or the hashtag #tribnation to see what questions I submitted as an example of why I concluded this was, indeed, a wank.

(Also included: retweets from the Tribune's top two editors that bolster my case.)

Ferro Follow
Last Friday, Robert Feder reported that "In recent weeks, sources said, Ferro has been exerting pressure on editors regarding coverage of Rauner."

That's a big enchilada to put out there without details and/or a follow-up. How so? Phone calls? E-mails? Directly or through intermediaries? What kind of pressure? Threats to employment? Pleas for fairness? Which editors? The city desk? The top editors? And how did the editors respond? Sure would like to know more. You'd think sources would be able to tell you.

On Monday, Greg Hinz reported that "My colleague Rich Miller has his own thoughts, which will publish later today. Check out his piece about how he was dismissed by the Sun-Times after penning a column critical of Mr. Rauner."

That piece has yet to appear. That's also a big enchilada to leave out there. C'mon, guys! As Hinz also wrote, "a lot of unanswered questions remain here."

Treasurer Turkey Trot
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set Wednesday to appoint an investment executive and former chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to be the new city treasurer," the Tribune reports.

"The mayor's move to name Kurt Summers Jr. to replace Stephanie Neely as treasurer comes just four months before Neely was set to stand for re-election. By appointing Summers, the mayor could give him a leg up to win the seat outright in the February city elections, as incumbents are believed to have an advantage."

*

Could give him a leg up? That's the point. This is a rich Chicago tradition.

Believed to have an advantage? Love that passive construction. Believed by whom? Just believed. Beyond that, not only believed but proven.

Why so timid? Neely couldn't hang on for four more months and allow a fair election to go forward? That's the question to ask. How long has the mayor known she was leaving? When did he first contact Summers? How was this all arranged? Come on!

"Summers and the Emanuel administration have been tight-lipped about the appointment."

First, "tight-lipped" is journalese. Why not just say they refuse to discuss the appointment - or at least how it came about? There's your story. I'll give it a shot:

"Mayor Emanuel is set to appoint a new city treasurer Wednesday but refuses to explain how he came to choose a longtime Democratic operative four months before an election in a classic Chicago move typically used to blunt competition at the ballot box.

"Similarly, the new treasurer, Kurt Summers, refuses to explain how he got the job and the outgoing treasurer, Stephanie Neely, refuses to discuss the details of when and how she decided to leave office at such a politically opportune time instead of simply not running for re-election."

*

The Tribune does sort of flick at the issue at hand later in its article, after reciting Summers' biography from a website, which could have been handled simply by providing a link. Here's what the paper then says:

"Emanuel's appointment of a new treasurer comes after he appointed two members of the City Council in 2013 to replace outgoing aldermen: Natashia Holmes to replace Sandi Jackson in the 7th Ward and Deb Mell to replace her father, Richard Mell, in the 33rd Ward. Prior to that, the mayor appointed a panel to interview applicants and submit a list of finalists from which he selected the new aldermen."

Well, the appointment doesn't really come after those aldermanic appointments, except in the sense that everything that's happened on the planet since then comes after. Maybe the point is this:

"Summers' appointment is just the latest by Emanuel that follows in a long tradition used most prolifically by his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, whose old-school machine politics the current mayor often says the city must move beyond. In fact, that's how Neely got the job in the first place . . . "

I think that's the point the Tribune is trying to make, but seems unwilling to make directly.

Another way to go at it: "The job of city treasurer is ostensibly an elected office independent of the mayor, but once again a Chicago mayor has made behind-the-scenes arrangements to do his best to maintain the position as just another appointment under his control."

That's the point. Get to it.

*

That could have been a question for Bruce Dold to ask last night too, instead of, you know, asking about Hillary.

*

Also wouldn't mind seeing an article about how other cities fill vacancies like this, and even if they elect treasurers in the first place. Ditto for city clerks.

Neely vs. Rauner

*

Bruce loves Stephanie but Stephanie loves Rahm. Which is awkward because Bruce and Rahm also love each other.

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Fantasy Fix: All-Futures Team A Mockery
At least Forte is delivering.

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BeachBook
* Kyle Orton Was The Most Pivotal Quarterback Of Week 6.

* Derrick Rose Falls, Entire Bench Runs Over To Make Sure He's Not Broken.

Priceless image.

* Stanley Kubrick's High-Contrast Images Of Chicago In 1949.

* Small Bar On Division Closing.

Soccer hangout and craft beer headquarters falls to douchebags.

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TweetWood

*

*

*

Then it turned out the numbers didn't add up. Oh, CPS, you are so incompetent and corrupt all at the same time. And you're in charge of educating our children; how stumblebum charming. I feel a rom-com coming on . . .

*

Click through for an education.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Appointment tipping.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: My All-Futures Team Is A Mockery

Going into Week 8 looks like a good time to revisit my experiment in mock drafting only on hype and future potential. I undertook that experiment at the beginning of the season because I wanted to see if it produced better results than leaning on history and fantasy experts who mostly lean on history.

The reason why the timing looks good to check in is that few of the guys I picked seemed to wake up from season-long slumbers in Week 7, though I don't know what that suggests for the rest of the season.

What I have learned from this experiment, in short: My all-futures team kind of sucks. You can find the original column here, but in any case, let's revisit that mock draft:

Round 1, Pick 2: Matt Forte, RB, CHI.

Among the fitful Bears, he's had the best fantasy season, with strong week-to-week totals both running and receiving. In Week 7 he only had 49 yards rushing, but added a TD. More importantly, his dual-threat capability delivered even in a loss as he had six receptions for 60 yards and a TD. He's the second-ranked RB in both ESPN and Yahoo!, and would be No. 1 if not for DeMarco Murray's magical, out-of-nowhere, possible MVP season. My first pick didn't miss.

Round 2, Pick 23: Giovani Bernard, RB, CIN.

The hype machine was almost right about Bernard's readiness to break out. His 401 yards rushing, 177 yards receiving and four TDs in six games point toward year-end totals of a top 20 player, though honestly I was expecting a little more.

Round 3, Pick 26: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, MIN.

This is where things go bad. Patterson started the year with 103 yards rushing and a TD in Week 1, looking exactly like the multi-threat maestro the futures market suggested he was, but since then he has virtually disappeared from the fantasy tote board amid QB injuries in Minnesota. His first receiving TD in Week 7 now looks like the exception rather than a hint of life in a lost season.

Round 4, Pick 47: Shane Vereen, RB, NE.

Sure, he just had two TDs and 108 total yards in Week 7 with backfield mate Stevan Ridley out for the season, but he mostly has been a huge disappointment, as the Pats haven't used him as much in the passing game as expected. Hard to say if his luck has changed or he will continue to be underused.

Round 5, Pick 50: Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF.

The hype was so big that his fairly good season still doesn't measure up, but his 122 receiving yards and two TDs in Week 7 for a team now hit with injuries in its backfield bode well. Still have faith he'll be a second-half gem.

Round 6, Pick 71: Andy Dalton, QB, CIN.

Started off strong, with more than 550 yards passing in his first two games, but an injury to star WR A.J. Green has hurt his fantasy value. With last week's 126 yards and no TDs against Indianapolis he really hit bottom. I was hoping for an absolute minimum 12 TD passes in his first six games; half that makes him a bust.

Round 7, Pick 74: Michael Crabtree, WR, SF.

What was supposed to be a rebound year after an injury-shortened 2013 hasn't happened. He has yet to record more than 82 yards receiving in a single game, and his three TDs leave him behind the pace for hoped-for double-digits, and even his career high of nine in 2012.

Round 8, Pick 95: Coby Fleener, TE, SD.

Another potential breakout fizzled. Even though his QB is having a great year and is in fact throwing to his TEs in the red zone, fellow TE Dwayne Allen has been the star, with 305 yards receiving and five TDs to Fleener's 214 yards and three TDs. If he ends up around 7-8 TDs and 600 yards receiving that's still pretty good for a starting fantasy TE, but I would have swapped him for Allen by now.

I still think a bit of willingness to gamble on hype and breakout potential can be a good thing as you draft a fantasy team in any sport. But maybe more than a bit is a bit too much.

Expert Wire
* Sporting News gives a five-star rating to a New England defense about to take on the Bears.

* Bleacher Report eyes must-start players for Week 8.

* ESPN's Talented Mr. Roto on his Week 8 rankings.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

October 21, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

Still awaiting the next installment of the Sun-Times saga involving its hinky endorsement process and unanswered allegations that owner Michael Ferro pressured editors over their coverage of Bruce Rauner; that installment, teased by his Crain's colleague Greg Hinz, is expected from Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax Blog.

In the meantime, you can catch up with my analysis that irrefutably shows the Sun-Times is not being straight with you - and quite frankly, isn't very bright - on The Beachwood Radio Hour #28: The Sun-Times Is A Hot Mess.

Among the highlights: The Sun-Times's shifting and conflicting explanations of why they got back in the endorsement business; the paper's broken promise to readers about their process; and the weaselly shiftiness of publisher/editor Jim Kirk and editorial page editor Tom McNamee.

The Great Suburban Sell-Off
According to Robert Feder, the Tribune is buying all of the Sun-Times's suburban papers.

This is shocking because it was widely believed - and I think pretty much proven - that the suburban papers were the only ones making money. So what's the deal? Some possibilities:

A) The Sun-Times is hard up for cash. Very hard up.

B) The Sun-Times owes a shitload to the Tribune for printing and distribution and this is the only way they can meet that obligation.

C) Michael Ferro is an idiot.

D) Ferro's group is getting ready to cash out.

I would vote for all of the above.

Two Broken Clocks Twice A Day
"Facing off for the final time in the contentious race for governor, Gov. Pat Quinn decried 'savage cuts' in a Bruce Rauner budget, while the Republican challenger repeatedly branded the Democratic chief executive a 'phony' and a 'failure,'" the Tribune reports.

Those are the only truths the candidates told all night - they are both right on those counts.

But you can stop reading the Trib right there; for the best analysis on the planet, check out @BeachwoodReport or just peruse the hashtag #ilgovdebate.

So Long Stephanie
City Treasurer Stephanie Neely Exits As She Entered: A Tool.

And yet, Bruce Rauner is super pissed Pat Quinn didn't put her on his ticket.

Legacy Habits That Won't Die
Here's another example of how traditional newspaper story structures do a disservice to readers.

Midway through "Chicago Blows Through Police OT Budget By $23 Million," the story abruptly shifts to an increase in cable taxes and then to a series of other tacked on items. That's a how a "meeting story" is written. It doesn't have to be, though. A chart of agenda items and discussion thereof might work. Or simply separate items as blog posts. (I've been saying for years: Every beat a blog.) Even a series of bullet points, for godsakes. It's almost as if the paper doesn't care if anyone reads these stories (and they are written that way too). Stop being so bored by the news; it's contagious.

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It's almost as if reporters (and editors) are just checking boxes instead of envisioning folks actually reading their work. How can you better convey what might seem to you to be mundane budget hearings you think no one cares about? Here's a clue: Everybody cares about how their tax dollars are spent; everybody cares about their safety; and everybody who has cable or wants cable but can't afford it cares about cable bills. Making a trifecta of hot-button issues that make people's blood boil is quite a feat.

Cop Shop
By the way, we shouldn't assume it would be better to hire more full-time police officers instead of running up overtime. For one thing, no one is really talking about the actual long-term costs. Those costs would be worth it, of course, if lives were saved. (Just like other social service spending we never talk about that saves lives.) But as counter-intuitive as it may seem, there is no proven correlation between the number of officers on a police force and reductions in crime. And even if there were such a correlation, crime is trending downward (I hate to tell you for the umpteenth time) - and neighborhoods where crime is the worst are already pretty saturated with cops. It's an important discussion to have, but we're still having it fact-free.

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See also:
* Chicago Homicides & Police Personnel.

* Police Staffing In America's 5 Largest Cities.

* More On The Police Manpower Debate.

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Exclusive! Bears Edge Patriots In Epic Ending!
Get the scoop with most excellent commentary here!

Millionaires Not So Sweet On Halloween
Going as Scrooges.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Hunters, Uh Bones, Ultimate Painting, Angus & Julia Stone, Pomplamoose, White Fence, Eddie Motta, Satan, Blue Dream, Yelle, The Ladies & Gentlemen, Coven 13, The Glitch Mob, Skrillex, Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio, and Plumb.

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BeachBook
* Russia Investigates More Than 200 McDonald's.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Debatable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:35 AM | Permalink

Bears Edge Patriots In Epic Ending!

All types of yardage from Alshon Jeffery and the re-emergence of Marquess Wilson help team overcome Tim Jennings' big helmet and Jay Cutler's picks.


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Plus:

Hip Hop Handicapper Says Take Bears +7.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:37 AM | Permalink

Millionaires Not Sweet On Halloween

The majority of investors with $5 million or more in net worth, not including primary residence (NIPR), do not plan to buy candy or treats for Halloween, according to the latest survey from Spectrem Group's Millionaire Corner. Overall, however, investors at lower wealth levels tend to be supportive of buying sweets.

Middle-Aged Investors Have a Sweet Spot

Investors age 41-50 are eager to purchase candy and treats for Halloween: 76 percent of middle-aged investors will stock up on sugar compared with 57 percent of investors age 61 and over.

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Single Investors Avoid a Sugar High

Most single investors plan to avoid the candy aisle this Halloween compared with investors who tied the knot: Only 45 percent of single investors will purchase Halloween sweets, compared with 72 percent of married investors.

Chocolate Is Loved By Most

On October 31, kids can expect to see a lot of chocolate in their trick-or-treat bags and buckets. Seventy-four percent of investors plan to purchase chocolate from brands such as Hershey's and Reese's.

For charts and a full summary of the latest Investor Pulse data, to discuss data breakdowns by wealth, age or marital status, or to schedule an interview with Cathy McBreen, president of Millionaire Corner, contact Natalie Bisaro.

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Methodology
Investor Pulse from Spectrem's Millionaire Corner is fielded each month to approximately 1,200 investors. A set of questions, which changes monthly, is asked regarding interesting topical issues. The resulting research is analyzed and segmented by: age, gender, household net worth, retirement plan ownership, occupation, investment risk tolerance, marital status, investment knowledge, household income. Spectrem's Millionaire Corner conducts the survey through an online panel and specifically targets selected wealth segments. The survey is completed by the person primarily responsible for making the day-to-day financial decisions within the household.

About Millionaire Corner
Millionaire Corner is an independent online resource for investors and about investors. With its Best Financial Advisors service, investors are able to search for financial and investment advisors to assist in growing their wealth.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at Subterranean on Saturday night.


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2. Hunters at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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3. Uh Bones at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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4. Ultimate Painting at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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5. Angus and Julia Stone at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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6. Pomplamoose at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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7. White Fence at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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8. Eddie Motta at Mayne Stage on Thursday night.

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9. Satan at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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10. Blue Dream at Reggies on Friday night.

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11. Yelle at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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12. The Ladies & Gentlemen at Township on Friday night.

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13. Coven 13 at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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14. The Glitch Mob at the Aragon on Friday night.

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15. Skrillex at the Mid on Saturday night.

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16. Gaslight Anthem at the Aragon on Thursday night.

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17. Alkaline Trio at the Metro on Saturday night.

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18. Plumb at Logan Square Auditorium on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:46 AM | Permalink

October 20, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Hour #28: The Sun-Times Is A Hot Mess

Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail And In The Newsroom.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

:48: The Sun-Times Is A Hot Mess.

* Honoring the legacy.

2:04: The Cairo Gang at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

3:10: The Sun-Times Can't Shoot Straight.

* Beachwood Radio Hour #27: Endorsements Are Bullshit.

How editorial boards invalidate their own newsrooms. Plus: Debates Are Bullshit; Bruce Rauner Hates Homework; The Guns That Didn't Smoke; Red-Light Rahm's Yellow Lights; How To Become A Judge In Chicago; Fight The Power Of The Storyline.

* Sun-Times: Why We Will No Longer Endorse In Elections.

* Did The Sun-Times Just Endorse Bruce Rauner?

* Why yes, they sure did. And then they denied it.

* Tom McNamee, Weasel.

* Jim Kirk, Weasel.

* Rauner gets a two-fer; Sun-Times back in the endorsement business!

* Why We're Back In The Endorsement Business.

* And the trifecta: The actual endorsement.

* Ignore all our previous editorial stances and vote for the guy who stands for everything we've argued against!

* The Sun-Times quadruples down!

* Unemployment Rate In Illinois Drops For Seventh Consecutive Month.

* The Sun-Times is smarter than everyone else!

* An inadequate flat tax and making life easier for business is the status quo!

* The Sun-Times has first-hand experience with private equity!

* Satire is dead. The Sun-Times keeps killing it.

* The Sun-Times has apparently never seen a smart business plan, which is pretty believable.

* Pat Quinn is not a man of integrity! Stop lying!

* The Combine's stealth candidate.

33:20: Negative Scanner at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

33:42: Ferro vs. Sun-Times.

* Feder | Act Surprised: Sun-Times To Endorse Rauner.

* They'll be back for Rahm!

* Marek | Did Rauner Camp Interfere With Sun-Times Reporter?

* Is the Sun-Times with McKinney or against him?

* Bruce Rauner actually got a raw deal.

* The Sun-Times failed to properly disclose McKinney's "arrangements."

* The Sun-Times mismanaged the situation from the start.

* Kirk | Election Coverage Fearless And Fair.

* Hardly.

* Paul Vallas has seen this before!

* Michael Cooke is now the editor of the Toronto Star.

56:58: Gregory Porter at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

58:22: Publishers Endorse.

* Editorial boards sit on their hands.

1:00:00: What Really Happened?

* Mr. Hinz says he doesn't know but it sure sounds like he does.

* An (Almost Complete) News Blackout.

* Arrangements question partially answered.

* Fixed.

* The Cliffhanger: Rich Miller says he lost his Sun-Times column after writing critically about Rauner. I eagerly await his coming post about that - and more, he says, about the endorsement.

STOPPAGE TIME: 11:37:874.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:57 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Brandon Marshall Is Unacceptable

It would be good if someone on the Bears other than Robbie Gould would tell Brandon Marshall to shut up.

Marshall's yammering Sunday, both inside and outside the locker room, was just the latest example of this selfish player making himself the center of attention at the expense of the team. Previous episodes this season alone involve him embarrassing the team's medical staff by saying he played with an injured ankle when he shouldn't have and his tone-deaf press conference at the height of the domestic violence hullabaloo a few weeks prior.

The veteran wide receiver turned up the volume in the aftermath of the brutal 27-14 loss to Miami. He did so despite the fact that quite simply, he didn't have anything to say. All of that "unacceptable" crap, hey Brandon, everyone knew that already.

Marshall could also be heard telling someone "you just kick the ball." And the obvious context there was that someone who kicks (and I think everyone is guessing it wasn't rookie punter Pat O'Donnell) had made himself heard in the midst of his teammate's rants.

An intervention is necessary and I vote for Jermon Bushrod to lead the way. Someone needs to tell him it is time to talk to Mr. Marshall. Surely Bushrod, who has no problem expressing himself during his weekly Monday appearances on the The Mully and Hanley Show on The Score, can help Marshall understand that he currently sucks at the loquacious leader role. It is time for someone else to be heard, at least for a little while.

I think I speak for all of Bear fandom when I say that if we could just have Marshall simmer down for a couple weeks, we could work our way back to acceptance of his never-shutting-up ways (as long as he catches a half-dozen touchdown passes along the way). A diva's gonna diva after all.

The interventionist can't be Gould (he really does just "kick the ball," unfortunately) and at this point it really can't be Jay Cutler or Marc Trestman. Those two need to head into a bunker together and stay awhile. Maybe then they can come up with a better plan than the one that had them heaving a low-percentage deep throw to Alshon Jeffery when all they needed was a yard on third down the first time they had the ball - and then running one of their worst plays of the season to stymie their second possession.

That was the brutal flanker-type screen they threw to rookie Ka'Deem Carey that resulted in a 10-yard loss and nearly became a turnover. They ran that play out of the pistol formation (the quarterback starts halfway further behind center than when he's in the shotgun - hence the lower-caliber weaponry) that Colin Kaepernick runs so well for the Niners. Except Cutler obviously wasn't comfortable with it and he threw a horrible backwards pass to his running back.

Maybe they can come up with a better plan or maybe the coach isn't really a quarterback guru or a master play-caller or maybe the signal-caller simply isn't good enough to lead a winner. We might as well focus on the former possibility for a better game plan this week because if the latter one is the case, Bears fans are screwed not just this season but for a few more before the guaranteed money in Cutler's contract runs out.

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DeJay Vu
That most certainly wasn't where the ball had to go.

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"The Dolphins entered Sunday having picked off a pass in only one game this season, but [Reshad] Jones was ready for his chance, based on what he had seen studying Cutler," Chicago Football reports.

"After watching film all week we saw [Cutler] was looking where he threw the ball," Jones told reporters. "He was always looking at his receivers and never looking off. I tried to take advantage of that and it paid off."

Reminiscent of Charles Woodson saying in 2012 that "We understand that Jay is excited about his new weapons, but it's the same-old Jay. We don't need luck; Jay will throw us the ball."

Now here's Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon after the game Sunday:

"One thing you know about Cutler is he's going to try to make big plays. When you're focus is doing that you'll make an error. He's a phenomenal quarterback, but you can force him into making a mistake."

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Bennett may have failed to run his route deeper (and isn't it funny how we always have to debate this point after every Cutler interception), but Cutler seems intent on throwing the ball where he thinks receivers should be instead of where they are.

"We've got to protect the football," Marshall said after the game. "We've got to protect the football. We've got to execute the game plan. We've got to adjust when things don't go as we saw on the film."

Right message, just the wrong messenger.

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And it could've been worse. From another play:

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No-Name Defense
"We don't have an identity," Tim Jennings said. "We don't know who we are."

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No-Man's Land

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Shea's Day
Shea McClellin didn't take long to remind us why we so enjoyed his stint on the injured list. There he was falling down in coverage as Ryan Tannehill completed his first touchdown pass. There he was being blown backwards by wide receiver Mike Wallace as Wallace took the ball around the end in the first half. McClellin did at least make the tackle on the latter play so I suppose it wasn't all bad, just mostly bad.

(As Trent Green pointed out on the national broadcast, Kyle Fuller also screwed up on that play by playing man-to-man when he should've been playing zone and coming up to help. But still . . . )

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The Rat

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Weekly Snub
Apparently the Bears assign a player each week to antagonize the fans. Last week it was Lamarr Houston, this week it's Kyle Long.

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By the way . . .

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See also:
* NFL: Ryan Tannehill Picks Apart Bears In Dolphins' Road Win.

* Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel: The Dolphins Have Their Swag Back.

* CBS Sports: Bears In Meltdown Mode.

* Hoge: For Trestman, It's Not Just About A Broken Offense Anymore.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:39 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Area Police Top Poll

1. Morgantown's First Responders.

#22 West Virginia upset the Baylor Bears (#12) in an impressive 41-27 victory in Morgantown, which fans promptly stomped and burned to the ground. The usual couch-burning ritual ensued following the game, but even the notoriously riotous Mountaineer fans seem to have taken it to another level: local police had to use tear gas to disperse the crowds. Classy.

2. Alabama.

'Bama players would probably like to play A&M every weekend. The #7 Tide put up 45 points in the first half en route to a 59-0 romp that saw the #21 Aggies surrender 602 yards. Even the backup quarterback got in on the action with a fourth quarter touchdown.

3. The Pick.

In an unlikely classic in which #2 Florida State was a heavy favorite (by 9.5), the #5 Irish nearly pulled off an upset but a penalty in the end zone reversed the winning touchdown. Officials called Notre Dame for illegally "picking" the Seminole defender, allowing Corey Robinson to catch the game-winning touchdown. ESPN weighed in with a full explanation of the controversial so-called "pick play," a common staple among college offenses, including analysis from the likes of Steve Spurrier and others. We can recall the last time a play - not a play in the game, but an actual Xs and Os play - got this much attention.

Brian Kelly, not surprisingly, was not pleased and is still whinging about it to the media.

4. The Will Muschamp Death Watch.

Well no, not really. Just the hyperbolic kind. Muschamp's Gators took a drubbing at home in The Swamp to Missouri, at one point trailing by 42. The Tigers led 20-0 at halftime despite gaining only 99 yards. Let's just say, that is an unusual stat line typically reserved for the doormats of the Southeastern Conference, not one of the traditional powerhouses.

5. Headline: "Arkansas State's Tyler Greve Added To Rimington List."

Now, we know Arkansas State. But there are other unfamiliar capitalized words in there that prompted us to click on that link. In fact, the Report was put straight by a loyal Beachwood reader several years ago for remarking that the Red Wolves were a I-AA team. (They are not. Not anymore, anyway. Arkansas State took a circuitous route to the big leagues. Starting in 1992, the team played as a I-A independent, spent two years in the Big West Conference - twice, as in two separate stints - and eventually joined the Sun Belt. But we digress.) The Rimington Trophy apparently goes to the nation's best center. As Tyler Greve plays center, this make sense. Dave Rimington played center for Nebraska from 1979 to 1982, and must have been pretty good because they give away a crouching bronze dude every year in his honor.

Now you know how we felt. "Ah, Rimington. That's what that is. OK, good to know."

6. Our Obligatory SEC Comment.

We have to bring it up, because you're seeing it everywhere else too: the SEC has four - count 'em, four - teams in the Top 5. Has never happened. There you go. Queue the Select Committee controversy.

In related news, committee member Archie Manning stepped down - or perhaps hobbled away is a more apt metaphor - due to complications from a knee operation.

7. Carson-Newman University Head Coach Ken Sparks.

Sparks overtook Bear Bryant for sixth on the all-time wins list on Saturday. Sparks' Eagles rattled off 28 points for a second-half comeback win over the Tusculum College Pioneers for his 323rd career W. Both play in the Division II South Atlantic Conference, based around tiny schools in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Our favorite SAC member? The Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters.

Lincoln Memorial is located in Harrogate, TN - not the most likely place in the country for a memorial to Lincoln, making the school all the more endearing.

8. Nebraska.

#19 Nebraska completed a TD pass to its QB on the way to a 38-17 thumping of Northwestern.

9. Minnesota.

Among the Big Ten games played, an otherwise unremarkable match-up in most seasons produced high drama as Minnesota preserved an unbeaten record in conference (3-0, 6-1 overall) in a 39-38 shootout with Purdue. The Gophers needed a fourth quarter field goal - the only points scored in the final frame - to eke out the win. Minnesota will now receive votes until it does its usual end-of-the-season dive and backs into a low-rent bowl.

10. Illinois.

Did not lose.

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Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:48 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

I'll talk about the Sun-Times endorsement controversy as well as the bizarre specter of a reporter hiring a former U.S. attorney to investigate a campaign's alleged threat to his employment on The Beachwood Radio Hour #28, which is still in production due to circumstances this weekend beyond my control. Hope to get that posted this afternoon. You can also check out @BeachwoodReport for some running commentary on each situation.

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UPDATE 7:50 P.M.: It's up.

The Beachwood Radio Hour #28: The Sun-Times Is A Hot Mess.

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SportsMonday: Brandon Marshall Is Unacceptable
Right message, wrong messenger.

The College Football Report: Area Police Top Poll
Congratulations, Morgantown First Responders.

The Beer Thinker: An Oktoberfest For The Rest Of Us
Setting pumpkin beers aside.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in production!

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BeachBook
* Behind Private Equity's Curtain.

"Hundreds of billions of public pension dollars have essentially been moved into secrecy accounts."

* 77 Things I'd Rather Do Than Listen To A 77-Song Wilco Rarities Box Set.

"It's hard to know how to feel about the songs sometimes because the lyrics are part beautiful poetry, part nonsense. These two extremes are frequently squished together into the same song, too. For example . . .

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Acceptable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:50 AM | Permalink

The Beer Thinker: An Oktoberfest For The Rest Of Us

After deeply immersing myself in the world of pumpkin beers the last few years, I decided to all but swear off that love-it-or-hate-it seasonal style this October, and focus on a whole different seasonal - the Oktoberfest beer.

The real, traditional Oktoberfestbier is only made in Munich. However, the basic Oktoberfest-style beer is the marzen, which many brewers all over the world cook up on a regular basis. Marzen comes from the German word for "March," suggesting it's traditionally brewed in the spring, but consumed straight through the summer to the beginning of fall, with its flavor evolving the longer it's left in the barrel.

Most of the marzens you'll find on shelves in the fall will have a prevalent caramel or toffee kind of flavor, bready or nutty in the background, and an overall malty sweet element. If you're a hophead, marzens are not your thing, considering they rarely taste hoppy or spicy at all.

Most of the beers I've chose to highlight here stick pretty closely to that flavor profile, with one notable exception.

Metropolitan Afterburner: I've gone on about this one before - it really is one of my favorite beers of any style, so any other marzen has a lot to live up to. Having said marzens aren't hoppy, slight hop bitterness is probably one of the things that makes this one distinctive. But, the real strength is how it blends that hint of hoppy with a bunch of other flavors, including a just-right caramel flavor that's there from start to long finish. Incredible balance.

Revolution Oktoberfest: Very malty at the start, giving way to a different kind of almost fruity sweetness. After the malt sweetness at the top, it achieves the tighter balance of flavors you would expect from a marzen. I've tried this beer three autumns in a row now, and I think Revolution is doing something in the mix every year to make it better. The tweaks are working. Also: One of my favorite labels of any beer.

Half Acre Lager Town: I haven't had this one in close to a year, so I don't know if it's changed much, but I saw one thing in my notes that was worth calling out: It's the same mix of flavors as the others, yet also contains a hint of smokiness that gives it a little extra something to stand out from other marzens I've tried.

Lakefront Oktoberfest Lager: You can't have a list of German Oktoberfest beers without one from Milwaukee. This is simply a well-balanced lager. Unlike the others, it's hard to pick out one flavor that makes it particularly distinctive, though if you take a whiff, you would think you're about to drink something with a strong flavor of toasted bread. Instead, it's just really smooth.

Goose Island Oktoberfest: Of all the marzen flavors, toffee is the one that steps up in this beer. It actually tastes a little like Goose's Mild Winter Ale, which also has a toffee element to it, but this one is sweeter, and there's maybe a hint of hoppiness to it. Also of note, it appears almost orange in the glass, different from the more copper-like hue of other marzens.

5 Rabbit Vida y Muerte: Which of these things is not like the others? This is a marzen, but as with its other beers, 5 Rabbit has brought distinctly Latin ingredients to the table. Dulce de leche delivers a rich milk caramel and honey flavor, while milk sugar adds sweetness. A purist might argue it's not true enough to the traditional style to be consider an Oktoberfest beer, and maybe 5 Rabbit recognizes this, too, as it brands it as a Day of the Dead beer. Until recently, I hadn't had this one in about three years. Glad I found it again.

Beer Wire
* The big local beer event of the week looks like the interview/reading/beer sampling slated for Tuesday at the new Lagunitas brewery. Lagunitas founder Tony Magee will be interviewed by the Tribune's Josh Noel. Magee has published a new edition of his brewery biography, So You Want to Start a Brewery, outlining his founding of Lagunitas in California at a time when craft beer didn't represent much of a market opportunity. The new edition includes an epilogue on the opening of new, massive Lagunitas brewery and tap room in Douglas Park. Magee's been a pioneering, sometimes divisive (at least on Twitter) figure in the craft beer world for more than 20 years, so this should be interesting.

* Monk's Pub in the Loop is hosting a breast cancer charity event Wednesday. One of Green Flash's co-founders is a breast cancer survivor, and the brewery has been making the rounds the last few years with its Treasure Chest Raise a Glass to Find a Cure events. I haven't been to Monk's Pub in years, but what seemed years ago like a lawyer-trader bar recently has been gaining more of a craft beer reputation.

* Rockwell's Neighborhood Grill hosts its Freak-Nasty Foundersfest this Thursday, featuring an epic range of beers from Michigan's Founders brewery. Just off the Rockwell Brown Line stop, this place is an underrated craft beer haunt. It doesn't have as long a list or as many taps as some, but good choices.

* Goose Island is opening a tap room at its Fulton Street brewery on the Near West Side. Funny, because though it seems like Goose is a little behind the tap room trend, it started Chicago's original craft beer tap room in the form of its Clybourn Avenue brewpub more than two decades ago.

* Paste magazine recently offered its own Oktoberfest beer rankings, with high regard for Half Acre Lager Town.

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Previously in The Beer Thinker:
* Tapping Lincoln Square
* Size Matters
* Lagunitas Changes Everything
* Make Beer, Not War
* Collaboration Brewing
* Summer Brew
* Mothership Goose
* The Pumpkin Is A Fruit, An Ale And A Lager
* Barreled Over
* Craft Favorites
* The Best Beers Of 2013 That I Can Remember.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:50 AM | Permalink

October 18, 2014

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Cairo Gang at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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2. Negative Scanner at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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3. Gregory Porter at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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4. Foxygen at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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5. The Lucky Dutch at the Double Door on Tuesday night.

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6. Ryan Adams at the Chicago Theatre on Thursday night.

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7. Femme Chicago at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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8. Lucki Eck$ at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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9. The Funs at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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10. Placebo at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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11. Zola Jesus at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.

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12. Elijah Ford and Marc Ford at the Double Door on Tuesday night.

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13. Brandi Carlile at the Old Town School on Monday night.

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14. Jamie N Commons at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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15. Electric Six at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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16. Basic Cable at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.

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17. No Age at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.

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18. Nnamdi's Sooper Dooper Secret Side Project at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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19. X Ambassadors at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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20. Finch at Bottom Lounge on Monday night.

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21. Helen Earth Band at Bottom Lounge on Monday night.

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22. Charli XCX at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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23. Bombay Bicycle Club at Park West on Tuesday night.

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24. Kalico Skies at Mojoes in Joliet on Wednesday night.

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25. Bad Rabbits at the Vic on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:33 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #22: The Giants Are A Better Story Than The Royals

And Brian Sabean is the game's best (and most underrated) GM. Plus: Cubs Entering "Competitive Phase" - For Fourth Place; Why The NCAA's Best Athletes Should Drop Out Of School; Miami Is A Trap Game!; Coach Q vs. Tom Thibodeau; The Chicago Fire Make A Great Father's Day Gift.


SHOW NOTES

:07: Mercury Morris.

* Dave Duerson.

2:09: The Giants Are A Better Story Than The Royals.

* The Best (And Most Underrated) General Manager In The Game.

Though some of Sabean's moves have been strongly criticized by Giants fans and the media, the team has had a winning record 13 of the 17 seasons he has been general manager.

* Along with Bruce Bochy, in the World Series three of the last five years.

* Jake Peavy vs. A.J. Pierzynski.

* Trevor Ishikawa.

* We'll never be Royals.

* Flashing the leather.

* Kirk Reuter.

* Cubs entering the "competitive phase."

* Predictions.

* Ned Yost = Ozzie Guillen.

18:32: The College Football Report!

* Todd Gurley vs. The NCAA.

* Jameis State.

* The diminished draft value of running backs - and running quarterbacks.

* Michael McCann: Winston's Best Move Is To Drop Out Of School.

* Jameis Winston, pitcher.

32:30: Miami Is A Trap Game!

* The Reverend - Darryl Sharpton!

* Huge test for OL.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Mojitos Over Miami.

* 8-8.

* Carl's Wild Card Weekend Fishing Trip Is Back On!

40:42: The Blackhawks Are Gonna Be Fine.

* Coach Q vs. Tom Thibodeau.

* Antti Ranta.

* Finnish porn.

43:05: Tom Thibodeau Is Nuts.

* It's Thibodeau on 11!

* Medical team should stand by.

* Paging Coach Q!

52:45: Chicago Fire Make A Great Father's Day Gift!

* The Revolution Will Be Clouted.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:30 AM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Nature at work. Nurture at work. Nature wins.

Market Update
Is this the kind of public-private partnership the mayor had in mind?

Springfield Follies
Of course, we all know it's exactly the kind of public-private partnership Bruce Rauner has in mind. Wonder how Rahm will be voting next month . . .

Tasteloss
Guess Jeff Tweedy has kids to clout, too. And, for that matter, so does Mia Birk.

Seriously . . .
. . . WHO hasn't been?

Credit Crunch
Finally this week, at least we know no one tried to steal the president's identity.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Tasty.

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The Beachwood Radio Network

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #28 is in production!

In light of recent events you may or may not have heard about yet, The Beachwood Radio Hour #27: Endorsements Are Bullshit is still available for your listening pleasure (as are most of our podcasts, though we still need to restore some early editions, which we hope to do soon). Edition #28 will update that sentiment based on this weekend's related breaking news, which you can also catch up on via @BeachwoodReport.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #22: The Giants Are A Better Story Than The Royals.

And Brian Sabean is the game's best (and most underrated) GM. Plus: Cubs Entering "Competitive Phase" - For Fourth Place; Why The NCAA's Best Athletes Should Drop Out Of School; Miami Is A Trap Game!; Coach Q vs. Tom Thibodeau; The Chicago Fire Make A Great Father's Day Gift.

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The College Football Report: Jamies State
Incidentally speaking.

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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Mojitos Over Miami
You need a straw-ready beverage when your plans include skeptically eyeballing things at the other end of the room.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Cairo Gang, Negative Scanner, Gregory Porter, Foxygen, The Lucky Dutch, Ryan Adams, Femme Chicago, Lucki Eck$, The Funs, Placebo, Zola Jesus, Elijah Ford & Marc Ford, Brandi Carlile, Jamie M Commons, Electric Six, Basic Cable, No Age, Nnamdi's Sooper Dooper Secret Side Project, X Ambassadors, Finch, Helen Earth Band, Charlie XCX, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kalico Skies, and Bad Rabbits.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "While the charts are dominated by old standards like Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett, there are a ton of exciting, new and lesser-known acts that deserve your attention. Jim and Greg bring you Buried Treasures. Later they review the 17th release from Detroit rocker Bob Seger."

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BeachBook
* Unable To Meet The Deductible Or The Doctor.

"Some people enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act are hesitating to use their insurance because of the high out-of-pocket costs, including this Chicago woman."

* Kadner: An Education On School Funding.

"If a politician opens his mouth to talk about school funding in Illinois, chances are good he's lying. That's the one hard and fast recommendation I have for voters and taxpayers after writing about education financing in this state for nearly 25 years."

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TweetWood

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Posted by Natasha Julius at 7:45 AM | Permalink

October 17, 2014

The College Football Report: Jameis State

Jameis Winston has ruined the 2014 college football season. The 2013 Heisman winner spent the summer stealing crab legs, kicked off the season being benched for screaming obscenities (and lying about same) on the quad, and now finds himself in more controversy as 2,000 items bearing his signature have surfaced.

While it's unclear how many of the items are for sale (on eBay and elsewhere), the James Spence Authentication website certifies all 2,000 as legit, far more than the 900 as previously reported. (Authentication services claim to certify autographs as a neutral party unrelated to memorabilia dealers. That dealers created the market and the need for such services speaks volumes.)

Not that the number of items matter. If Winston accepted cash for signing the merchandise, he violated NCAA rules - and it's not the volume of signatures, but the size of the payment that determines the penalty. Under the NCAA rules, improper benefits between $100 and $400 result in a one-game suspension; more than $700 results in a four-game suspension. But the rules don't clarify an upper limit that, if surpassed, would force a player to sit out an entire season.

If Winston didn't accept payment outright, but knew the items would go up for sale, punishment would likely resemble that handed down to Johnny Manziel last year. (Johnny Football served a half-game suspension for the season opener.) At the other end of the spectrum, Georgia running back Todd Gurley may never play another game in college for allegedly accepting cash payouts for signing memorabilia. Scouts project Gurley as a first-round draft pick in the NFL this spring, and whatever fallout he suffers is unlikely to make a significant impact on his value.

The Gurley controversy broke when a Georgia local shopped the story around (along with an alleged video of Gurley signing a miniature Bulldog helmet) to various media outlets in an attempt to recoup money lost due to the devaluation of merchandise bearing the running back's signature. Bryan Allen, a former memorabilia store owner, claimed Gurley made similar arrangements for payouts from so many local dealers that the bottom dropped out of the market for the goods. That Allen is a Florida fan may or may not be incidental.

FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher defends Winston, claiming he has "never taken a dime for anything". That Fisher's team tops the rankings and looks to defend the national title may or may not be incidental. Regardless, Winston is probably still the nation's best player and key to FSU's title hopes.

So as we enter Week Eight, most of the talk will swirl around Winston and his latest scandal, his draft status, and comparable issues today and in recent seasons including Gurley but extending to comparisons (despite one paling to the other) of the Penn State disaster. The whirlwind has even sucked in former Heisman winners Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson, both of whom have decried Winston's behavior and faulted him for failing to live up to Heisman standards. That Jackson and Walker played for rival schools (Auburn and Georgia) may or may not be incidental.

Another former Heisman winner, quarterback Charlie Ward, has taken a more positive stance in the press and believes Winston "will learn through his consequences." That Charlie Ward played for Florida State may or may not be incidental.

Yet we expect the ongoing case (or disciplinary review, or whatever the powers involved choose to call it) of sexual assault against Winston will continue to remain in the background for a host of reasons, not the least of which being the slow-play tactics from Winston's camp.That Jameis Winston has retained a premier lawyer to prolong the delay before Winston must appear for a "student code of conduct" hearing may or may not be incidental.

Regardless of all the distractions off the field, the inevitable reckoning is nigh for #5 Notre Dame in Saturday night's match-up against the #1 Seminoles. The Irish are double-digit underdogs (assuming Winston plays; if not, Vegas boards put FSU as favorite by about a touchdown) in Tallahassee, meaning a loss to FSU won't hurt ND's championship hopes much. Lose, and that was what everyone thought would happen. A win would be a huge "statement" or "signature" or some such: an upset, in short. Really, all the Irish have to fear is injury or an outright blowout. Even an ugly loss won't do much damage provided both teams win out.

We're taking a pass on this week's picks. We can't muster up much energy after hearing and watching nonstop coverage of "Jameis State" this weekend. We can only feel for the other teams going at it this weekend.

The Chicken is similarly exhausted, but managed to squawk out a few selections:

Notre Dame at Florida State (by wherever the line ends up)

Texas A&M at Alabama -11

Georgia at Arkansas +4

Washington +21 at Oregon

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See also: SportsTuesday: Todd Gurley vs. The NCAA.

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Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:36 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

1. The Colors Of Bowmanville.

Red, gold and green.

2. Democalypse 2014: Funding Or Die.

Oh God, the e-mails . . .

3A. In . . .

* The College Football Report: Jameis State.

3B. . . . production.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour.

4. Only Half The Equation.

In its morning e-mail newsletter, Crain's promotes this column by Joe Cahill with the teaser "Can We Get A Real Republican Candidate In Chicago, Please?"

A real Democrat would be nice, too.

5. More Metra Madness.

Dear God, someone please make it stop.

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BeachBook
* Only 4 Percent Of Drone Victims In Pakistan Identified As Al-Qaeda Members.

* Kadner: The Cost Of Saving On Mental Health Care.

* Chicago Outlaws President Caught After 17 Years On The Run.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Stay puft!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:28 AM | Permalink

Democalypse 2014: Funding Or Die

Not being the change you want to see.

From Goopy to Rich Richman . . . Barack Obama, everybody!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:39 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: The Colors Of Bowmanville

Red, gold and green.

firehydrant.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

October 16, 2014

Mojitos Over Miami

Como Se Lamas
I was planning on opening up this week's column with a Princess Bride reference, courtesy of David Diehl. I feel like anyone who watched the Fox broadcast and compared the former NFL lineman to the guy filling in for Thom Brennaman will understand.

I didn't realize they made shirts with a size 38 neck.

But it turns out when you search the term "David Diehl Fox," you get a gift from the heavens:

Episode six of the second season of Renegade starring Lorenzo Lamas like five links down.

Thanks, The Internets!

A couple of thoughts on the intro to Renegade.

I bet the Falcons would consider offering Lorenzo Lamas a tryout at tight end. He has the proverbial "football body." This kind of move is not without precedent - just ask Keanu Reeves.

Lamas has got to have better hands than Atlanta's number 80, Levine Toilolo, who I'm told that due to an unwillingness to read the words on the TV screen, I drunkenly called "Larry Toblerone" every time he dropped the ball, which was like five times.

For best effect, read the next two sentences in the voice of Jon Gruden.

This Renegade intro is big on gratuitous ab shots . . . just look at that shred! I call Larry Fitzgerald "Detective Reno Raines" because every time he prowls the Arizona desert hunting touchdowns, he pours a gallon of water over his head wearing only jeans.

A weak tie-in to football? Perhaps.

But I'd get off my floor (where I am usually laying on Monday evening) and start throwing money at the television like it was a stripper without zits on her box if Jon Gruden made a legitimate Reno Raines reference mid-broadcast.

Despite my outward enthusiasm, I take some issue with the Renegade intro. Could be my scouts training, or just my natural pragmatism.

I was taught that when one "prowls the badlands; an outlaw, hunting outlaws" pouring a gallon of life-giving water over your head should only, ONLY, be done in sexy emergencies.

For example, when you need to lube up in order to emerge from a novelty cake that has been mistakenly dropped off at an abandoned repo lot just outside of Badlands City, instead of that bachelorette party in Tempe.

Unless this is the dire situation you are facing (and we've all been there once or twice), conservation is key.

Assuming that the tumbleweed caught on a cattle skull next to the abandoned desert highway is any indication, the Badlands City Department of Parks & Recreation will not be installing a water fountain in the area any time soon.

Also, dudes used to spend a lot more time wearing jeans with no shirt. I'm pretty sure Fred Dryer* and other members of the '72 Rams would go to the Playboy mansion in this outfit exclusively, but by around 1994 it had become more of an anomaly. I blame grunge music.

Detective Reno Raines might have been the last guy to rock this look.

So what in the world does all of that have to do with the Bears win over the Falcons last Sunday?

[Editor's Note: Wow. 550+ words into a sports column and so far only references to an obscure '90s vehicle for the lead in the movie Breakin'. Not I might add, Miami Vice, which would have made some amount of sense because the Bears are playing the Dolphins this week. It's a wonder Deadspin hasn't bought out your contract.]

[Carl's Retort: First off, Lorenzo Lamas was in Body Rock. Secondly, Breakin' was the one with Shooter McGavin and Ice-T. Thirdly, Falcons owner Arthur Blank was an independent financier for both Body Rock and Renegade. I'm getting there!]

[Editor's Note: Huh. Is that true?]

[Carl's Retort: Um. No.]

The point is this.

Renegade, Hunter and the Bears-Falcons game were all given timeslots typically reserved for top viewing and no match-up between 2-3 teams should be flexed to the 3:25 p.m. game.

[Editor's Note: Honestly, I wrote that last part, we just ran out of time. There were another few paragraphs about MacGyver - it had to be stopped.]

. . . And I Feel Fined
This week Bears safety Ryan Mundy was fined for last week's helmet-to-helmet hit on Falcons receiver Roddy White. The tackle initially drew a flag, but after some discussion amongst the crew, the flag was picked up and the official ruled that the "contact was with the shoulder."

However, the league had a change of heart after receiving a fax attributed to Mundy on Monday afternoon.

Partnering with the crack investigative team employed by the parent company of the Beachwood Reporter (Viacom), the BAOKAR was able to obtain an original copy of the note.

whomp_LuvRyan.png

When reached for comment, Mundy responded indignantly.

"This is undoubtedly the most absurd accusation I've ever encountered. I'm a college-educated 30-year-old. I know how to use commas. Is anyone else concerned with the fact that there are likely thousands of men named 'Ryan' who have a last name that starts with the letter 'M' in this country? I'm told the inbound fax number had an Atlanta area code. Is anyone looking into this? Hello?"

Unfortunately, the forensics team at the BAOKAR was unable to pull a testable print from the note and compare them to Mundy's, who happily provided a fingerprint sample to Det. Joe Friday on Tuesday.

The circumstances were indeed suspicious, but given the current political climate, the league was in no mood to take chances and swiftly handed down the fine.

"Yeah, that good whomp cost his beotch ass some dough," said Roddy White to reporters on Wednesday.

Fish Eye Lens
This week the Bears take on Miami's Dolphins.

Led by Bill "Laser" Lazor, Miami is the only team in the NFL coached by a former American Gladiator, though it should be noted that newly promoted Raiders head coach/former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was the leader of the X-Men in the mid-'70s.

Aside from the risk of being concussed by a shot from the tennis ball Gatling gun that linebackers coach Mark "Malibu" Duffner keeps on the Miami sidelines, one of the main concerns for the Bears this week should be containing fleet-footed receiver Mike Wallace.

The scouting report on Wallace is that he's "not a good route runner" and that Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill "does not have a strong arm."

While it's not exactly a lightning-thunder relationship, this lightning-noodle combo does manage to pick up big yards with creative uses of slants and screens.

Anyone who watched Bears-Packers games in the late '90s knows that somewhere on the planet Packers halfback Ahman Green is completing his third lap around the globe untouched by a Bears defender.

Beware.

Kool-Aid (2 of 5 - Mojitos)
Not exactly a drink that's in season, but I think this is another one of those games where you'll be giving this game the side-eye for about three hours.

Whether it's your TV or the guy you're pretty sure is attempting to serve you a summons, you need a straw-ready beverage when your plans include skeptically eyeballing things at the other end of the room.

The outcome of this game will depend largely on what kind of performance we get out of the defense this week.

The staunch, no-name, ass-whooping linebackers who caused elite receivers to drop the easiest of passes (see Week 6)?

Or a front line lead by a defensive end who is clearly gutting out a semi-lethal respiratory disease (see Weeks 3-5)?

As is my want, I select the former and believe we will see Robbie Gould get a ton of work.

Bears 26, Dolphins 17.

*I didn't even have to use the word "shirtless" to Google up a half-clad picture of Fred Dryer.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:24 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Under Metra's plan for annual fare hikes over the next 10 years, a portion of the additional revenue will be used to pay for a $2.4 billion modernization program that Metra says is critical for maintaining safe and reliable service. The goal of the program is to rebuild and replace the fleet of locomotives and passenger cars," the Tribune reports.

"The rest of the initial fare increase will be used primarily to cover a $27.3 million deficit in Metra's 2015 budget, officials said.

"If approved by Metra's board Nov. 14, the first fare boost of nearly 11 percent would go into effect Feb. 1."

Gee, that sounds like a lot. But Metra must have done its homework and fairly concluded such a dramatic plan is also the most sensible one.

Chairman Martin Oberman said a 'top-to-bottom review' of Metra's fare system will be done. The last time a detailed analysis of passenger counts occurred was 2006, he said.

"We should look at it from scratch and make sure it makes sense," Oberman said.

Yes, you should - before you come up with the plan!

Ten years of annual fare hikes!

During which Metra will study . . . the fare structure!

From top-to-bottom!

Including the 10 years of fare hikes?

Marty Oberman, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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And that's not even the point of this particular Tribune article; the continued use of what our very own Natasha Julius calls "scrapbooking equipment" to collect - or not - fares is. Metra just can't figure out another way make sure every rider is paying for their trip.

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Now would be a good time revisit Natasha's "A Modest Transit Proposal: Kill Metra."

Civic Federation: Yup, Rauner Is Lying
Will he retract his attacks and pull his ads?

Previously: Rauner keeps lying.

Thought Bubble
If you could run any kind of political campaign you wanted with unlimited dollars, what kind of campaign would you run?

Bruce Rauner is running his. He has unlimited dollars to spend. No constraints. And he's behind Pat Quinn.

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To put it another way: Pat Quinn is, in Bruce Rauner's own words, the worst governor in America. Yet, with unlimited dollars to spend to unseat him, Rauner is losing. Does that make Bruce Rauner the worst challenger in America?

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The Blue & Orange Kool Aid Report
Mojitos Over Miami.

The NSA's U.S. Corporate Partners
"'Exceptionally Controlled Information' that can only be disclosed to 'a very few select' people in government."

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BeachBook
* White House Pool Reporters Test Own News Distribution System.

"The move comes amid unhappiness with the level of control exercised by Obama administration press staffers."

* Obama's Cynical, Stilted Response To Ebola.

Outdone by Cuba.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Three-hole punches.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:08 AM | Permalink

The NSA's "U.S. Corporate Partners"

Newly disclosed National Security Agency documents suggest a closer relationship between American companies and the spy agency than have been previously disclosed.

The documents, published last week by The Intercept, describe "contractual relationships" between the NSA and U.S. companies, as well as the fact that the NSA has "undercover" spies working at or with some U.S. companies.

While not conclusive, the material includes some clear suggestions that at least some American companies are quite willing to help the agency conduct its massive surveillance programs.

The precise role of U.S. companies in the NSA's global surveillance operations remains unclear. Documents obtained by Edward Snowden and published by various news organizations show that companies have turned over their customers' e-mail, phone calling records and other data under court orders. But the level of cooperation beyond those court orders has been an open question, with several leading companies, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, asserting that they only turn over customer information that is "targeted and specific" in response to legal demands.

The documents do not identify any specific companies as collaborating with the NSA. The references are part of an inventory of operations, of which the very "fact that" they exist is classified information.

"SIGINT" in NSA jargon is signals intelligence, the intercepting of data and voice communications. According to the document, "contractual relationships" can mean that U.S. companies deliberately insert "backdoors" or other vulnerabilities that the NSA then uses to access communications. The existence of deals to build these backdoors is secret.

The NSA's efforts to break encryption and establish backdoors were disclosed last year, but left open the possibility that the companies didn't know about the activities. This new disclosure makes clear that some of those relationships are cooperative.

The documents also describe a program codenamed Whipgenie. Its purpose is to safeguard one of the NSA's most important secrets, the "relationships" between "U.S. Corporate partners" and the agency division that taps fiber optic cables. It refers to the dealings with U.S. companies as ECI - exceptionally controlled information.

The Whipgenie document details one company's involvement in "domestic wire access collection" - an apparent reference to eavesdropping inside the United States. Under current law, such surveillance is only allowed after the government obtains a court order. But the document said that at least one "Corporate Partner" was involved in a "cooperative effort" to break into U.S. communications. This information, it says, is itself classified and should be closely guarded.

The Whipgenie document makes clear that the program being shielded from public view involves data that moves through the United States. (E-mails and other information from one foreign address to another frequently hopscotch across international borders as companies use the cheapest routing for traffic.)

In 2008, Congress authorized the agency to collect information that traveled through the United States. But the agency is supposed to discard entirely domestic communications that it picks up "incidentally."

A draft document indicates that the NSA targets U.S. manufacturers of commercial equipment used for communications. The document obliquely refers to covert operations by NSA agents aimed at what is termed "specific commercial entities." Those companies are identified in the document only by the letters: A, B, and C.

Sentry Owl, the program that protects this particular bit of spying, is among the most closely guarded secrets in the intelligence community. Documents describe it as "Exceptionally Controlled Information" that can only be disclosed to "a very few select" people in government.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Mike Rogers, who head the congressional intelligence oversight committees, did not respond to requests for comment on whether they had been briefed on the program. Sen. Ron Wyden, an outspoken critic of NSA activities that impact U.S. residents, also declined to comment.

In a statement, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said NSA surveillance is authorized by law and subject to multiple layers of oversight. She added: "It should come as no surprise that NSA conducts targeted operations to counter increasingly agile adversaries."

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Previously:
* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* 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 9:14 AM | Permalink

October 15, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner sharply clashed Tuesday night over who could better improve the lives of African Americans during a South Side debate focused on education, crime, jobs and taxes," the Tribune reports.

"Rauner is trying to make gains among black voters who historically cast Democratic ballots in large numbers in Illinois. The idea come Nov. 4 is to get one-fifth of the Chicago vote, an essential element for Republican success statewide.

"Gov. Quinn in my opinion is taking the African American vote for granted," said Rauner, going so far to say that the Democratic governor "could have and should have" made Stephanie Neely, the black city treasurer of Chicago, his running mate but threw her "off his ticket" in favor of former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas.

Well, why didn't you put Stephanie Neely on your ticket then?

Also, was Neely really ever on Quinn's ticket? I know her name was batted around, but I don't remember her being chosen.

And, Stephanie Neely? She's the city treasurer. How does that qualify her to be a heartbeat away from the governorship? Sure, lieutenant governor is a waste of a job per se, but you never know when someone in that job will have to take over the state. Like Pat Quinn.

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That was just the way Rauner opened the debate; it got funnier as it went along. For the city's best commentary, analysis and fact-checking on the rest of it, take a gander at our Twitter timeline.

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I'm appreciative to be included in this USA Today article, but I don't think a national audience is going to know what that tweet means.

Forrest Fires
"Even before his first day on the job in spring 2011, CTA President Forrest Claypool said his top priority was to clean up the transit agency, in large part by sweeping out rule-breakers and employees who failed to regularly show up for work," the Tribune reports.

"He hasn't wavered on that goal. Claypool has handed out pink slips at a rate that has increased annually, dismissing roughly 900 employees between 2011 and mid-2014, or more than 8 percent of the agency's total positions, according to a Tribune analysis of dismissal data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

"Claypool, an attorney and longtime political figure in Chicago, took over the CTA in May 2011, and the CTA fired 142 employees that year. Terminations increased to 202 in 2012, then soared to 361 firings last year, records show. In the first half of this year, the CTA has fired 230 workers - 40 percent more than it had through June of 2013."

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I'm super in favor of more people getting fired in life - provided we have a full-employment economy that doesn't send folks into destitution. And also provided that white-collar employees lead the list. But this doesn't sound right. To wit:

"In one case, [union leader Robert] Kelly said, a motorman with more than 25 years' experience and a spotless work record was fired in May for stopping a train at the wrong spot, opening the doors, then quickly closing the doors when he realized his mistake.

"We absolutely don't want to see anyone hurt,'' Kelly said. "But how do you go home and tell your wife who you've been married to for 28 years, 'I was fired today. I misberthed the train.'"

Agreed. I'd like to know if this really happened and, if so, hear Claypool's answer to that question. Apparently he wasn't asked. Only a spokesman talks in this article, and he just spouts nonsense.

*

"[Union trustee Javier] Perez said records support the union's contention not all the firings have been justified. He said 148 fired bus workers have been ordered reinstated through arbitration since 2011, 'and we are waiting to get more people back to work.'"

Is that true - 148? That doesn't strike me as a good batting average for Claypool.

Red X Rahm
"We asked Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office several times about City Hall's opinion on the red 'X' program, and whether any money could be found in state or local budgets to fund the initiative in the future," WBEZ reports. "The office did not return our requests for comment."

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Fantasy Fix: A World Of Pain
Infirmary central.

I Fight Surveillance
Counter-Surveillance Success Stories.

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BeachBook
* One Year After CPJ Report, Little Has Changed Between Obama And The Press.

* Obama Takes Leak Prosecutions To 11.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: No clown tips, bro.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:32 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: A World Of Pain

The injuries are really starting to pile up, which means fantasy football scores are really starting to come down. Pretty soon, an RB averaging 5.5 points a game or a WR-3 on a run-oriented team will start looking like waiver wire steals.

The casualties of Week 6 included Stevan Ridley, RB, NE; Victor Cruz, WR, NYG; and Knowshon Moreno, RB, MIA, all lost for the remainder of the season. Already spending Week 6 at the infirmary were recognizable names like Calvin Johnson, WR, DET; A.J. Green, WR, CIN; Montee Ball, RB, Den; Reggie Bush, RB, DET; and Donald Brown, RB, SD, though all are expected to return to action soon.

This is the long way of explaining why Mohammad Sanu, WR, CIN, caught 10 passes for 120 yards and a TD (Green's replacement); Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN, amassed 100 yards rushing last week (Ball's replacement); and Theo Riddick, RB, DET, caught five balls for 75 yards and a TD (Bush's replacement).

More on the wounded and who may step up in the absence in our Week 6 recap:

* Ridley's injury theoretically should mean more work for Shane Vereen, RB, the pass-catching specialist in the Patriots backfield. However, Vereen has been something of a disappointment so far this year, as the Pats, amid their offensive struggles, have thrown to him less and handed off to him only in brief stretches. Don't forget, the Pats also have Brandon Bolden, RB, who, like Ridley, fits the three-yards-and-a-dust-cloud ground game the Pats have been relying on of late.

* It must have been nerve-wracking for Broncos fans to see Hillman back starting at RB. He has a history of gaffes, and in fact lost a fumble last week. Yet, he did something Ball hasn't done this year in rushing for 100 yards. With Ball likely to miss at least three more games and Denver suddenly giving its RB more to do, Hillman looks like a potentially high-risk, high-reward fantasy play the next few weeks.

* The injury to Cruz, who also had been having a subpar season, opens the door for a fantasy sleeper to emerge. Rookie Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, NYG, spent the first four weeks of the season injured, and hasn't been targeted all that much in his two active weeks, but is reputed to be a yards-after-catch monster. Sleeper-aware fantasy team owners with roster room stashed him away in recent weeks, though curiously he's still available in more than 60% of Yahoo! leagues.

* Moreno's absence may not cause much of a stir, and finally give owners of Lamar Miller, RB, MIA, reason to relax a little. Miller, despite showing flashes of power in the run and pass games, has sacrificed touches to free-agent signing Moreno, but he should be a fantasy riser over the next several weeks, getting about the same amount of attention Matt Forte gets in the Bears offense. (Guess which team Miller matches up against this week.)

Expert Wire
* The Big Lead says Raiders receiver Andre Holmes is no one-hit wonder.

* SI.com agrees that Bolden will be the new Ridley, rather than Vereen.

* Bleacher Report weighs Rams RB Tre Mason as a breakout candidate.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

I Fight Surveillance

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched IFightSurveillance.org, a new site showcasing digital privacy advocates from around the world who are leading the fight against mass surveillance. The site includes figures from the organization's growing list of Counter-Surveillance Success Stories, a set of guides showing how individuals and organizations have taken on state and corporate spying in their own countries - and won.

Translated into 16 languages, IFightSurveillance.org highlights images and quotes from activists, business leaders, lawyers and technologists. Examples include:

  • Vladan Sobjer, whose organization, SHARE Defense, helps Serbians learn about encryption.
  • Ron Deibert, whose group, the Citizen Lab, analyzes malware and digital threats to vulnerable groups from Bahrain to Iran.
  • Anne Roth, whose own unjust surveillance by German law enforcement led her to work for better protections for her fellow citizens.

"Too often, the debate over surveillance is seen as a 'domestic' issue, only of concern to citizens of the country doing the spying," EFF International Director Danny O'Brien said.

"The truth is that mass surveillance isn't confined to national borders, and neither is the response to it. Technologists, activists, and internet users are all working to fight back against mass surveillance. Wherever you are, whoever you are, there are people close to you working to stop the spying, and you can join them."

The site provides five concrete steps activists can take, including using encryption software to protect themselves; supporting a decentralized internet; and signing onto the 13 "Necessary and Proportionate Principles," a global framework to protect human rights in an age of mass surveillance. Visitors are encouraged to use the site's social media tools to share their stories of standing up for privacy and to learn about the more than 400 privacy rights organization that have endorsed the 13 principles.

IFightSurveillance.org's companion site, Counter-Surveillance Success Stories, delves into greater detail about the work of the global coalition, spotlighting battles for privacy in Zimbabwe as well as countries across North America and Europe.

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Previously:
* Illegal Spying Below.

* 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 12:54 AM | Permalink

October 14, 2014

Paul Lynde vs. Halloween

"Here's a promo for The Paul Lynde Halloween Special on the ABC Network, which aired on Friday, October 29, 1976 at 8 p.m. The special featured the rock group KISS, Donny & Marie, Tim Conway, and more. Main voiceover by Ernie Anderson. Ending voiceover by Ed Jordan. This promo aired on local Chicago TV on Wednesday, October 27, 1976."


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More Halloween video from The Museum of Classic Chicago Television:

WFLD: Happy Halloween.

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Son of Svengoolie's "Halloween Draculathon."

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The Halloween That Almost Wasn't.

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

* Fuzzy Memories TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:15 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: Todd Gurley vs. The NCAA

The NCAA is actually doing Georgia running back Todd Gurley a favor by suspending him indefinitely. Hopefully Gurley, who was carrying the ball so well for the Bulldogs early in the season that he was universally seen as a top Heisman Trophy candidate, will recognize it as such, although reports this week seemed to indicate that was not the case.

Of all the dim-witted NCAA rules, perhaps the most ridiculous (and again, we never use that word lightly around here) is the one prohibiting athletes from making money by signing various bits of sports memorabilia. How can this possibly be okay in free market America? I know the powers-that-be have enabled the NCAA to operate as a cartel protecting college sports profits for fat cats for decades now, but it still boggles the mind that they think it is okay to tell a young man he can't profit this way.

The bottom line for Gurley, though is that he won't be making significant dollars while he is trapped in the college sports system anyway. The money-making begins when he joins the pros.

And the good news is, the young man is a junior. Therefore he will be eligible for next year's NFL draft (the collectively bargained rule is that guys have to be three years out of high school to be eligible to go pro - another outrageously socialistic restriction by the way). And he has already had time to digitally record his extraordinary ability to carry a football in game action.

So the thing for Gurley to do is to say "Thank you NCAA for opening my eyes. Why on God's green earth would I be threatening my future earning power by carrying the football for the pittance of a scholarship to attend classes I'm not interested in? I'll just hunker down and wait until I am assigned to a pro team next spring and let that first-round draft-pick money roll in.

Unfortunately, Gurley has returned to practice after sitting out for a while last week and is hoping for reinstatement. Hey Todd! You are looking at this the wrong way!

Accept this as a wake-up call; maybe even do a little studying (accounting classes are nice when you need to start thinking about managing future wealth) and go from there. Then take a hiatus from collegiate education after the winter break and start getting ready for the combine.

While we're talking about making money in the NFL, we do have some bad news for Mr. Gurley. The value of running backs continues to plummet. Perhaps he should use some of the time leading up to the 2015 draft working on his pass rush skills. The guys who can pressure the quarterback continue to make the biggest dollars.

Actually, there is still a place for veteran running backs like San Francisco's Frank Gore and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch. They just aren't making as much money as marquee backs used to. And of course the Bears' Matt Forte is a delightfully smooth and deceptive carrier of the football. He has been able to use his abilities to both make big plays for his team and to avoid many of the crushing hits that sideline running backs week after week. We would humbly advise Mr. Gurley to study these three veteran specimens.

The de-valuing of running backs has been seen most vividly in the draft. No running back has been taken in the first round since Virginia Tech's David Wilson in 2011. And Wilson's career is a case in point: he has been plagued by injuries while playing for a team, the New York Giants, which tries to make sure multiple backs share carries.

The fewer bruising tackles Gurley breaks in college, the better chance he has to one day join the ranks of veteran NFL running backs. In fact, it is clear he shouldn't take any more collegiate hits. The best thing that could happen at this point would be for the wrong-way NCAA to do him the biggest favor of all: Make his suspension definite - for the rest of the season and, if he's smart, the rest of his college career.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, except when he's our man on Tuesdays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:49 AM | Permalink

Faye Wrubel vs. Paris Street: Rainy Day

"When conservator Faye Wrubel examined Caillebotte's masterpiece 'Paris Street; Rainy Day' in the Art Institute's conservation studio after it had traveled from Paris to New York and back to Chicago in the exhibition Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, she discovered, among other things, that the varnish had yellowed over the decades, significantly altering the painting.

"Watch as Faye's deft touch, hard work, and expertise return the painting - and Paris - to the artist's original vision."


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See also:
* If Not For Faye Wrubel, We'd Be Lacking In Our Understanding Of Gustave Caillebotte's Relationship To Impressionism.

* 1986: Resurrecting Mural Takes Faith - And Major Surgery.

* Faye Wrubel At Chicago Ideas Week.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:58 AM | Permalink

The Onion vs. Gone Girl

So, on top of everything else, I have this couple to worry about.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:32 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

On the same day that Karen Lewis's campaign apparatus announced that she would not be running for mayor, researchers from the University of Minnesota announced their findings that Chicago's charter-school experiment was a bust.

The Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, at the University of Minnesota Law School, titled its report "Charter Schools in Chicago: No Model for Education Reform."

It begins like this:

"Charter schools have become the cornerstone of school reform in Chicago and nationally. Arne Duncan, who led Chicago schools and was a strong proponent of charters, became Secretary of Education. As Secretary, Duncan has championed policies to dramatically expand the use of charters throughout the United States.

"Chicago, however, remains one of the nation's lowest performing school districts. Sadly, the charter schools, which on average score lower that the Chicago public schools, have not improved the Chicago school system, but perhaps made it even weaker.

"Further, charters, which are even more likely to be single race schools than the already hyper-segregated Chicago school system, have not increased interracial contact, an often-stated goal of charter systems.

"Finally, the fact that Chicago charters use expulsion far more often that public schools deserves further study. In the end it is unlikely that the Chicago charter school experience provides a model for improving urban education in other big-city school districts."

Tell us something we don't know!

Which is the point. We know these things to be true. Charters have been studied to death for decades now. The data is in. Shouldn't that matter?

With Karen Lewis in the race, it might have. Wouldn't you have loved to have seen that debate - not just on the campaign trail but face-to-face? Think of the ratings! Rahm vs. Karen, tonight on . . . every channel in the city! I wonder what the debate schedule would have looked like - presuming Rahm would have been shamed into agreeing to debate, which is a big presumption.

The news of Lewis being unable to run and the report on the failure of Chicago's charters also comes on the heels of Rahm's Department of Aldermen cockblocking democracy to keep off the ballot a non-binding referendum about whether voters would prefer an elected school board.

Hey, maybe we should start with an elected city council!

After all, Rahm is intent on buying up the few seats he doesn't already control.

The mayor's shenanigans over a non-binding referendum that merely takes the temperature of voters - and isn't Rahm's vision of the school system predicated on "choice?" - lead me to believe not only that Rahm fears the question and wishes to quell, like his predecessor, even the smallest hint of dissent (in a city now full of it, even if some of it is a quiet seething), but that he probably has internal polling showing he'd lose control of the school board if voters (and CPS parents) had their druthers.

"Why does all of this matter?" Mark W. Anderson asks at NBC Chicago.

"Simply this: Chicago is the only city in Illinois without an elected school board. Instead, the board is selected by mayoral appointment and confirmed by City Council. That means, for all intents and purposes, the Chicago Board of Education is a wholly owned subsidiary of the fifth floor of City Hall, and almost complete control of how the school system is run in Chicago resides with the mayor."

Think about that for a second; they have elected school boards in Winnetka! They have elected school boards in Wilmette! They have elected school boards in Lake Forest and Highland Park and Tinley Park and Orland Park and Peoria and Springfield and Cairo. The only city in Illinois without an elected school board is Chicago. And how's that working for everyone?

"That means that if Mayor Emanuel wants to shut down 50 neighborhood schools without much debate, he can. If he wants to funnel millions of dollars into privately run charter schools, he can. If he wants to pour millions into selected schools in well-off neighborhoods while starving schools in poorer neighborhoods, well, that's his choice."

And only his choice. Voters may have (mistakenly) put Rahm Emanuel into office, but they didn't sign on to radical one-man rule. After all, it was Rahm himself who said voters wanted a break from the past. Instead, Rahm has tried to hold power even more tightly than Richard M. Daley did, which was once unimaginable. Karen Lewis, in turn, is the only one who has effectively stood up to the mayor.

That's not to say that Bob Fioretti can't make the case. But how is it that no one else in a city of almost 3 million people has the stones (a few clowns notwithstanding) to challenge a guy who is more unpopular than traffic on the Eisenhower?

I know. The money. But guess what? Bruce Rauner has pumped $17 million of his own money into his campaign for governor and is on track to finish worse in his race against Pat Quinn than Bill Brady did four years ago.

Illinois is a well-documented graveyard for rich spenders who have lost campaigns. Do the names Jim Oberweis, Blair Hull, Jack Ryan, Rod Gidwitz, Andy McKenna and Al Hofeld ring a bell?

I understand those folks weren't running for mayor of Chicago, and that the dynamic in the city is different than in the state. The dynamic is also different, though, when the incumbent has had an approval rating as low as 19 percent.

Chicago is supposed to be a tough town. But all I see is a town of cowards.

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A lot of people thought Harold Washington couldn't win. A lot of people thought Jane Byrne couldn't win. A lot of people even thought Richard M. Daley couldn't win. He was known as Dirty Little Richie back then. A lot of people thought Rahm Emanuel couldn't win. I'm not sure the exception isn't the rule.

Besides that, Rahm was losing in the polls to Karen Lewis. And she wasn't even the people's first choice.

If not now, when?

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"Enrollments in Chicago charters increased by more than nine times between 2000 and 2013 and, with strong support from the current administrations in both Chicago and Washington D.C., the system continues to grow," the Minnesota report says.

"Indeed, the system actually uses a loophole to bypass the 75-school limit included in the state's charter law and there are now more than 120 charters in Chicago. The legislature is now considering lifting the cap entirely.

"This has happened despite the fact that very little research actually supports a central tenet of the charter school movement - the claim that charters enhance student performance.

"Prior work on this question in Chicago is mixed but most evaluations imply that students in charters do no better than their counterparts in traditional public schools. Most research also shows that charters increase racial separation in school systems."

Please read that last sentence again. And now, one more time. Thank you.

"This study, using comprehensive data for 2012-13, shows that, after controlling for the mix of students and challenges faced by individual schools, Chicago's charter schools actually underperform their traditional counterparts in most measurable ways. Reading and math pass rates, reading and math growth rates, and graduation rates are lower in charters, all else equal, than in traditional neighborhood schools. This is true despite the fact that, because students self-select into the charter system, student performance should exceed what one sees in traditional schools, even if charters do no better at teaching their students."

Wow. Charters suck.

Karen Lewis will be missed during this campaign.

The Closer
Whenever I see stories like this, I wonder if Rahm's mental health clinic closures are to blame.

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

Devon Allman vs. Luther Allison
Plus: Stewart Copeland and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra vs. Oozing Wound. In Local Music Notebook.

Paul Lynde vs. Halloween
Starring Pinky Tuscadero and KISS!

The Onion vs. Gone Girl
So now I have to worry about this couple?

Faye Wrubel vs. Paris Street: Rainy Day
Yellow journalism.

Todd Gurley vs. The NCAA
Getting suspended is the best thing that ever happened to him.

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BeachBook
* Massive Oswego Party Leads To Underage Drinking Charges Against 45 Teens.

Should've had it at the Moon Tower.

* Gibson's Is The Top-Grossing Independent Restaurant In Chicago.

Pulls in a quarter of what Bruce Rauner makes each year.

* The U.S. Government Tried To Kill James Risen's Last Book.

Now they want to put him in jail.

* Condoleezza Rice Got A New York Times Story Killed.

Even worse, Jill Abramson agreed to it.

* These Are The E-Mails Snowden Sent To First Introduce His Epic NSA Leaks.

"We are building the greatest weapon for oppression in the history of man, yet its directors exempt themselves from accountability. NSA director Keith Alexander lied to congress, which I can prove."

* Robbie Fulks On Lou Whitney.

"Music is one more foul shithole of an industry, all in all, no better, no more ethical, and certainly no more glamorous than shoe repair, public accounting, or pornography. You are treated in precise accordance with your perceived value as an economic unit, and your past contributions are not esteemed. I didn't mean to end my appreciation of my friend's life on such a sour note, but that's where I leave him, standing against the foul tides there in his small shop on Main Street in Springfield, doing his best for band after band day after day for a modest rate, honoring the high performers in his field regardless of how their stock in the greater world might rise or fall, lifting your spirits on the phone."

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Normals need not apply.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:51 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Devon Allman vs. Luther Allison

"If Devon Allman's last album Turquoise will 'punch you in the teeth,' as he described his 2013 Ruf Records debut album, Ragged & Dirty (October 14, 2014, Ruf Records) will be more inclined to sooth your soul," S. Victor Aaron writes for Something Else!.

"That might sound like a paradox for an album so named as it is, but Allman's first recording since his Royal Southern Brotherhood supergroup with Mike Zito and Cyrille Neville made waves obviously inspired him to become a one-man supergroup with his solo career.

"Like his famous father and late uncle, there are rock, blues and soul sides to Allman; Gregg and Duane Allman's perfect blending of the three practically gave birth to Southern rock.

"On Ragged & Dirty, does the same kind of blending, but gets an end product that's distinct from the Allman Brothers. 'Half The Truth' points the way, a hard rocking guitar that totally respects the blues changes, and Marty Sammon's B3 organ adds a crucial R&B element.

"That song also signals that this record isn't necessarily region-bound: Allman went to Chicago to find his backing band for this project and it's produced by the drummer, the Grammy winner Tom Hambridge. Even the album title points to the Windy City, as it's taken from a Luther Allison song of the same name."

Let's see how he does:

Luther.

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Devon.

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Synchronymphony
"For rock drummer and composer Stewart Copeland, there has been musical life after The Police," Classicalite reports.

"Copeland, who once drove the rhythms of that iconic '80s rock band, has quietly been composing film scores, chamber music and even operas. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform one of his biggest projects to date, an original score for the classic silent film Ben-Hur: a Tale of the Christ, during a screening of the film at Orchestra Hall on Tuesday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m."

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Earth Suckage
"Oozing Wound Announce Tour, Making You Think Of All Your Past Injuries."

Here's a taste:

Yum.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

October 13, 2014

Bears Fans Are Who They Are

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a million times and I must be a Bears fan.

It's easy to bask in the glow of this one, but don't forget: Jay Cutler is still Jay Cutler. The reason he's so frustrating is that he has games like this in between games like that.

What we witnessed on Sunday was every bit the Same Old Jay as last week, when he seemed to have finally been abandoned even by the Cutler dead-enders.

If Jay was a Seinfeld episode, he'd be this one:

Similarly, Brandon Marshall is who he is - a drama queen. Just when it seems he's put his sketchy past behind him and become an upstanding citizen, he'll commit a selfish act or two under the guise of being a leader, be it playing hurt when he shouldn't or claiming he's only in it for the platform.

Mel Tucker is who he is, which is Jay Cutler. Good Mel showed up on Sunday - Awesome Mel, really - but Bad Mel is still around, too.

Who is Reggie Herring? He's the Bears' linebackers coach, which most of us didn't know until Sunday. Now we know. We hope this is who he is.

Now we know who Darryl Sharpton is, too, and we hope to get to know him better.

Jared Allen, it turns out, is still who he is - when he has a returning-from-injury Jeremiah Ratliff next to him.

Chris Conte, sadly, is who he is.

Kyle Fuller, happily, is too.

And this team is who they are - a .500-ish team vying to be King of the Tomato Cans; a B+ bunch that, just like Lovie's teams, is solidly in the 6-10 to 10-6 range.

I had them pegged at 10-6 in the preseason, but when the defense didn't blossom the way I hoped it would, I downgraded my prediction to 9-7. Last week I thought they looked more like 8-8.

And if we've learned our lesson, that's still about right.

The Kool-Aid's Half-Full
The offense has been as much a mystery - even more - as the defense this season. Maybe it wasn't clicking because Marshall's ankle injury was holding them back. Maybe Jay didn't like Brian de la Puente's butt. Maybe once Jermon Bushrod returns from his owie, this squad can finally put 30 points on the board. The arrow is pointing up.

Meanwhile, the defense that was so lacking in depth a week ago is suddenly drowning in it. The thing about getting pressure from the defensive line is that it makes the secondary's job so much easier; Matt Flynn should've had a much better day against the Bears' back four.

As for the linebackers, we can only say: WTF?

Either the second- (and third-) string is better than the first, or the first-string would've been even more dominant thanks to the refreshed defensive line.

Briggs, Bostic, Williams, consider it severance pay! Hit the road.

The Kool-Aid Is Half-Empty
The Bears - and Jay in particular - seem to play better on the road. They are still 0-2 at home this season. Now they come home to face Miami, and that should make everyone nervous. They will be the favorites, but the Bears have always done the opposite this year. They are Bizarro Bears.

Also, a false start on the first play of the game Sunday after a week of working on eliminating pre-snap mistakes isn't a good sign.

Also, add a blocked extra point to the very special season the Bears' special teams are having.

Also, the Falcons are reeling, having now lost three in a row after winning their first three. On the other hand, the Dolphins were three seconds away from beating the Packers on Sunday. It's a trap game!

Still, Carl's Wild Card Weekend Fishing Trip is back off.

Pundit Patrol
Sometimes - most of the time - we lose perspective. For example:

Actually, Jordan Mills is one of the best football players on the planet. Only 1,696 humans make NFL rosters every season.

Maybe Mills is near the bottom of that bunch, but let's rephrase it that way. Fans start to forget just how talented and elite these athletes are.

* I briefly listened to the WBBM radio call from Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer. It wasn't that much different than listening to Hawk Harrelson; the refs are always out to get the home team. It wasn't long into the first quarter when I thought I heard Thayer starting to weep. I actually turned to the Falcons radio call instead and you know what? They gave an honest account of the game, which is what any fan who isn't a meathead wants.

* Last week David "Caveman" Kaplan tweeted that Matt Forte's early success showed how important it was to establish the run. Last week the Bears lost. This week Forte ran 17 times for 80 yards while catching 10 passes for 77 yards. The Bears rushed 28 times overall, though that's a bit misleading - five "rushes" were by Cutler and two were by Jeffery. This team, like most successful NFL teams these days, has to establish the pass to win. Establishing the pass is what sets up the run and makes Forte so devastating.

* "Tucker used pressure schemes early to speed up the decision-making of Matt Ryan behind a patchwork line, but the best play he ran was the Opponent's Dropped Pass, which was successful at least seven times in helping stall drives," Dan Bernstein writes in a column that strikes the right, even-keeled tone.

"To be fair, the Bears' defensive backs were closing fast to deliver the kind of hard hits that interfere with receivers' concentration. Ryan Mundy clobbered Roddy White, Chris Conte brought his weekly big shot to knock himself out of the game, and all three linebackers starting in place of the regulars looked speedy enough, if occasionally overrunning plays."

The View From Atlanta
"The offense, considered the strength of the Falcons' team, has scored just three touchdowns over their last nine quarters," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. "They continued to misfire on third downs and had seven dropped passes that killed drives. Wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones had two drops each. Tight end Levine Toilolo had three dropped passes."

Also:

"On the Bears three-play 80 yard drive in the second half:

"'That was probably the turning point in the game. Absolutely the turning point in the game. You can't fight back from a 10 point deficit coming out at halftime, starting fast and end up giving up the big touchdown that quickly in the second half. We've got be better across the board as a football team.'"

Friendly Confines
Playing in Atlanta was actually a perfect formula for the Bears: A road game that felt like a home game - attended by only the most faithful fans.

Even on the radio, it sounded like a home game to me. Who knew?

"No, I wasn't surprised [to see so many Bears fans in the stands]," Marshall told reporters after the game. "I thought that was amazing, and that's why I always say that I love the city of Chicago. I'm always appreciative for this opportunity to be a Chicago Bear."

Ha. Tell it to Lamarr Houston.

More to the point, Jared Allen:

"Defensively, we realized it was like a home game. Once we got the lead, we knew we had to take it. We had some good situational advantages, and we got into those. We were able to take advantage."

Miscellaneous
* Proposition: Kyle Fuller is the Bears' best player. He's consistently dependable. Is anyone else on this team?

* In the case of Conte, you have to wonder if MRI means Must Retire Immediately. Though, to be clear, the pending MRI is on his shoulder, not his oft-concussed head.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 PM | Permalink

The College Football Report Top Ten: Mississippi vs. America

1. Mississippi State.

All of Starkville celebrated a dominant win by its newly minted #1 Bulldogs over SEC West powerhouse Auburn. Lou Holtz brought the cowbell.


The #2 Tigers were just the latest Top 10 victim: Mississippi State has already defeated #8 LSU and #6 Texas A&M, with upcoming games against #7 Alabama and #3 Ole Miss.

And that's how you go from unranked to No. 1 in just five weeks, "the quickest rise in the 78-year history of the AP poll."

2. Ole Miss.

Not to be left out of the party in the Magnolia State, #3 Ole Miss beat #14 Texas A&M, 35-20. Mississippi's "Land Shark" defense forced three turnovers, including two picks of A&M QB Kenny "Trill" Hill.

The Rebel Land Shark, by the way, was among the ideas considered by the Ole Miss Mascot Selection Committee in 2010 as the replacement for the school's infamous "Colonel Reb" in 2010, as was "Hotty and Toddy" and 10 other variants of Rebels.

Ole Miss eventually settled on the Rebel Black Bear. Our favorite was always Admiral Ackbar, Leader of the Rebel Alliance. Unfortunately, he was unavailable, as you can see here:

Damn. We could've had it all.

3. The Union.

Don't get cocky, Mississippi. Your state still sucks and your Rebels were rebelling against the good ol' USA.

4. Florida State's Defense.

They totally shut out Justice.

5. Baylor.

The Bears mounted a furious comeback against #9 TCU, pulling out a 'W' after scoring 24 unanswered points in the final 11 minutes. The final score: 61-58.

6. Vince Young.

Texas went down to rival Oklahoma 31-26 in the Red River Showdown, but the former Longhorn QB defeated this turkey leg.

7. Minnesota.

The Gophers seized control of the Big Ten West with a 24-17 win over Northwestern. A two-possession sequence nicely summed up the Wildcats' season to date: NU fumbled a kick return, recovered at their own 3-yard line, drove 97 yards for a touchdown to the tie the game at 17, and promptly surrendered a 100-yard return for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff.

8. MATS.

While UMass has posted a 1-6 record straight up in 2014, Massachusetts Against The Spread is an impressive 5-1 against the spread.

(This week, in a battle of Mid-American Conference basement-dwellers, UMass triumphed over Kent State 40-17. The Minutemen broke a 12-game losing streak while the Golden Flashes dropped to 0-6 on the season.)

9. The Citadel.

Statistical highlights from The Citadel's 63-56 victory over Charlotte in double overtime:

* The Citadel rolled up 689 total yards; Charlotte notched 679.

* Each team had 36 first downs.

* The Citadel had 78 rushing attempts.

* Citadel QB Aaron Miller threw for just 135 yards, but ran for 197. (Charlotte QB Matt Johnson threw for 358 yards and ran for 15.)

* Charlotte's Austin Duke caught 12 balls for 254 yards.

That's college football, baby!

10. Montana State.

"UC Davis may have found a quarterback and a rejuvenated running back during its Big Sky Conference homecoming game against No. 11 Montana State on Saturday," the Sacramento Bee reports.

"But the Aggies also learned that they couldn't keep pace with the Bobcats' big-play offense and their gifted sophomore quarterback, Dakota Prukop, in falling 77-37 in a game that featured a slew of highlight-reel plays to keep the crowd of 7,152 entertained.

"The two teams combined for 1,346 total yards, 63 first downs, 16 touchdowns and a handful of school records."

That's college football, baby!

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Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:54 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"The Emanuel administration quietly issued a new, shorter yellow light standard this spring that generated 77,000 red light camera tickets that would not have been allowed before the rule change, the city inspector general announced Friday," the Tribune reports.

"The administration defended the $100 tickets - and the nearly $8 million in revenue it will collect from them - as valid. But the city agreed to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson's recommendation to end the new practice of issuing citations with yellow light times below 3 seconds."

Three seconds happens to be the federal safety guideline. Seems like a good place to draw the line. But no.

"The Tribune reported Thursday that its analysis of overturned tickets and interviews with experts suggested the Emanuel administration had made a subtle, but significant, change when it switched camera vendors this spring from the beleaguered Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. to Xerox State and Local Solutions. Hearing officers were suddenly throwing out hundreds of tickets that showed yellow light times at 2.9, below the 3-second minimum required by the city."

So when the city dumped Redflex because of bribery allegations, it decided to twist the knife into drivers' backs even more. As I wrote last week, can we get the bribers back?

"The city would not answer questions this week about whether it changed the yellow light standards, and Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld declined to explain the mystery in a recent interview with the Tribune, saying only that the tickets were valid because they fell within an acceptable standard for electrical deviations."

Is it possible the city would not answer questions because they knew what they did was really shitty? I mean, if they were proud, they'd be lining up to answer questions.

"But in a broader review about problems with the red light program sparked by Tribune reports, the inspector general on Friday revealed that Scheinfeld's department had ordered changes early this year as the program was transitioning from Redflex to Xerox control."

Rebekah Scheinfeld, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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"At the City's request Redflex categorically rejected any captured event with a recorded yellow light time below three seconds," Ferguson wrote. "However, after Xerox took over the operations of the RLC program, the City directed Xerox to accept RLC violations with yellow light times above 2.9 seconds."

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From the Beachwood vault (see the item Red-Light Rahmpage):

"[Ald. Scott] Waguespack recalled that when he and a handful of aldermen began asking questions about the red light program, the mayor's aides didn't like being asked," John Kass writes for the Tribune.

"And they wouldn't give any answers. Who was in control? What's the policy need for the red light program? They refused to tell us," Waguespack told me.

If the mayor's office could eliminate the city council, it would.

On second thought, it already has.

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The Sun-Times, incredibly, sees progress.

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The red-light program might be the best embodiment of the Emanuel administration: Lying through their teeth while sticking it to the little guy and dismissing the few aldermen interested enough to ask questions as pests. Oh, and also, fake reform that just makes things worse.

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Bears Fans Are Who They Are
And so is everyone else.

Jim "Coach" Coffman's SportsMonday will appear tomorrow as SportsTuesday.

The College Football Report: Mississippi vs. America
Colonel Reb vs. Admiral Akbar.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: JD's Revenge, Sharon Van Etten, Lucius, The Afghan Whigs, Robin Trower, Brett James & The Vintage Youth, Delta Spirit, Bayside, Made in Heights, Odesza, the Augustines, Tokimonsta, TAPES, The Bots, and The Front Porch Step.

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BeachBook
* What I Saw As A Bears Ball Boy.

* Rejected By Ivy League Kindergarten.

* Warren On Obama: He Protected Wall Street, Not Families.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Not yellow.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:10 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. JD's Revenge at the Promontory on Saturday night.


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2. Sharon Van Etten at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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3. Lucius at the Metro on Wednesday night.

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4. The Afghan Whigs at the Metro on Friday night.

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5. Robin Trower at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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6. Brett James & The Vintage Youth at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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7. Delta Spirit at the Vic on Saturday night.

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8. Bayside at Mojoes in Joliet on Friday night.

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9. Made in Heights at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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10. Odesza at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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11. Augustines at Double Door on Friday night.

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12. Tokimonsta at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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13. TAPES at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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14. The Bots at Double Door on Friday night.

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15. Front Porch Step at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:41 AM | Permalink

October 11, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Hour #27: Endorsements Are Bullshit

How editorial boards invalidate their own newsrooms. Plus: Debates Are Bullshit; Bruce Rauner Hates Homework; The Guns That Didn't Smoke; Red-Light Rahm's Yellow Lights; How To Become A Judge In Chicago; Fight The Power Of The Storyline.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:25: L'Assassins at Livewire last Friday night.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

4:35: Endorsements Are Bullshit.

* How editorial boards invalidate their own newsrooms.

24:54: Dick Diver at the Burlington last Thursday night.

26:56: Debates Are Bullshit.

* @BeachwoodReport

* #ILGOV2014

* #BruceysFridayMoneyDump

* Bruce Rauner: Climate change denier?

* Bruce Rauner hates homework.

* Bruce Rauner: Applying for half the job.

* Business has no term limits.

* Bruce Rauner: Education funding facts are funny things.

* The post-debate public comes out dumber than they were going in.

48:07: Ausmuteants at Bric-a-Brac last Sunday.

49:33: Defending Brucey!

* LeapSource story took giant leaps with questionable sources.

1:01:94: Warpaint at the Vic last Sunday night.

1:02:06: Another Gun That Didn't Smoke.

* The [Wednesday] Papers.

* Fight the power of the storyline.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #21: The Bears Have Become Drama Queens.

* The real smoking gun.

* The Problems And Politics Of Pat Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

1:14:00: Vicious Attack at Livewire last Saturday night.

1:15:38: Red-Light Rahm's Yellow Lights.

1:18:49: How To Become A Judge In Chicago.

1:22:18: Local Music Notebook: B.B. King & The Banjo Slayer.

1:22:45: Local Book Notes: Algren Is Back.

1:23:15: Jerry Angelo Is Addled.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #21: The Bears Have Become Drama Queens.

* Jerry Angelo is a liar.

* I just figured out what that annoying click is; I noticed it last week too. Now that I know what the problem is, I can solve it. Let that be a life lesson.

* The Blue &Orange Kool-Aid Report: The Team Of Misfit Toys.

* TrackNotes: The Soul Of Cigar.

STOPPAGE TIME: 30:22.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:01 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #27: Endorsements Are Bullshit.

How editorial boards invalidate their own newsrooms. Plus: Debates Are Bullshit; Bruce Rauner Hates Homework; The Guns That Didn't Smoke; Red-Light Rahm's Yellow Lights; How To Become A Judge In Chicago; Fight The Power Of The Storyline.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #21: The Bears Have Become Drama Queens.

Mercurial and mysterious. Plus: No One In A Shootout's Got Swagger Like Kane; No One On Bulls' Got Swagger Like Dougie McBuckets; Theo Epstein's Latest Under-The-Radar FAIL.

* The College Football Report: The Nerfing of America Continues.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Team of Misfit Toys.

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If Only They Delivered The News This Way

But seriously, maybe the most awesome thing I've ever seen on local TV.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "After finding surprising inspiration in Thin Lizzy in a hotel room, veteran singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo joined forces to form The Both. Tune in for a conversation and live performance. Later Rivers Cuomo and Weezer are back with a new album."

Wow, this sounds insufferable all the way around!

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: Pot & Chess.

Live from the Heartland

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) discusses the Illinois budget and medical marijuana reform in this discussion brought to you by producer Katy Hogan.

Saturday at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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E. Lynn Tucker Solutions: Chess Champs

Nationally-ranked chess champions from Faraday Elementary and Marshall Metro High School showcase their skills and their awards with host Lynn Tucker.

Saturday at 2 p.m. on CAN TV19.

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BeachBook
* Elmhurst College Sorority Girls Learn The Cover-Up Is Worse Than The Non-Crime.

* One Reason It Was Obvious You Wouldn't Get To Keep Your Health Insurance If You Liked It.

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TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Handshake drugs.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

October 10, 2014

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Mattson 2 at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.


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2. Elle Varner at the Shrine on Thursday night.

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3. Jungle at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.

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4. Nubiles at Bric-a-Brac on Sunday.

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5. Broken Prayer at Bric-a-Brac on Sunday.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:57 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #21: The Chicago Bears Have Become Drama Queens

Mercurial and mysterious. Plus: The Swagger Of Patrick Kane And Dougie McBuckets & Theo Epstein's Latest FAIL.


SHOW NOTES

:00: The Chicago Bears Have Become Drama Queens.

Starring:

* Brandon Marshall as Dr. Feelgood.

* Jay Cutler as Jay Cutler.

* Guest starring Devin Hester as Fredo.

* Lamarr Houston as New Brian.

* Tim Jennings as The Soda Jerk.

* Mel Tucker as The Vanilla Man.

* Chris Conte as The Head-Banger.

* Jerry Angelo as The Co-Conspirator.

55:25: No One In The Shootout's Got Swagger Like Kane.

59:25: Dougie McBuckets Also Has Swag.

1:08:41: Theo Epstein's Latest FAIL.

* He's no St. Louis.

* He's no San Francisco.

* John Mallee is the Cubs' 4th hitting coach under Theo Epstein. And yet, we get stories like "Why John Mallee Makes Sense As The Next Cubs Hitting Coach" and "Cubs Believe Mallee Is A Keeper" with no explanation for why the Cubs fired Bill Mueller assistant Mike Brumley, causing Mueller to quit. (Remember when Mueller was the guy who made sense as the next Cubs hitting coach?) But in the eyes of the Chicago media, Theo can do no wrong, so the story is never about his (long list of) mistakes.)

* Fight the power that is the storyline!

STOPPAGE TIME: 18:36.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:57 PM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Condi's Kegs 'N' Eggs, The Cowbell Compromise & The Golden Hat

We're jealous of Condoleezza Rice's weekend schedule. Rice told ESPN that she watches 14 or 15 games every week, including live games on Saturday and recordings on Sunday.

She must start early. As the point person on the College Football Playoff committee for the Big Ten and Conference USA, she's watching games that kick off at noon eastern though she lives on the West Coast.

We hope she's perfected her kegs 'n' eggs recipe.

Less Cowbell
If Mississippi State fans keep up with the incessant ringing during home games, the Cowbell Compromise may be at risk.

Not familiar with the Cowbell Compromise? Learn more at respectthebell.com.

We know Midwesterners may struggle to understand; the closest Big Ten fans get to the brazen inanity of cowbells is . . . jangling car keys.

Bo Can Crack The Champagne
Bo Jackson's record in the SEC for best yards-per-carry is safe.

Jackson averaged 6.6 yards per run, best ever in the conference among backs with at least 400 attempts. Georgia running back Todd Gurley's career mark stood at 6.2 as of Saturday - and that's where it looks like it will stay.

Georgia has suspended Gurley this week while it investigates possible rules violations linked to accepting cash or other benefits for autographs, memorabilia or "the use of his likeness."

So it looks likely we won't see Gurley play again until next year - in the NFL.

And The Winner Of The 2014 Carl Mikovich Duck Commander Independence Bowl Sportsperson Of The Year Is . . .
Sam Burns.

"(Bowl) executive director Missy Setters called me and explained the award. She then said, 'It's yours if you accept it.'

"I said, 'Heck yeah, I accept it."

Heck yeah, Sam. Heck yeah.

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Picks To Click

#11 Oklahoma (-14.5) vs. Texas, 11 a.m.

We were about to write up our comment by referring to this legendary match-up of rivals by the "Red River Rivalry" slogan. Apparently, the game has been rebranded (again) as The AT&T Red River Showdown. The Nerfing of American continues. We vastly prefer the original: The Red River Shootout.

We talk about this game every year, but this time around we discovered a new nugget: The winning team not only takes home the Governor's Trophy (which is a blue ribbon steer or something), and the Red River Shootout/Rivalry/Showdown Trophy (some block of wood in circulation since 2003), but also the prized Golden Hat. The Golden Hat!

Our pick: Despite getting burned by the Sooners last week, we'll back them again.

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#13 Georgia (-3) vs. #23 Missouri, 11:30 a.m.

Our pick: The Gurley-less Bulldogs will still have enough to beat Mizzou.

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#2 Auburn (-3) vs. #3 Mississippi State, 2:30 p.m.

The level of "fratricide," in Condi's words, in the SEC this year is off the charts. Four teams from the SEC West rank in the top three!

How many other conferences, much less a conference division, can claim - have ever claimed - that? Okay, maybe we're being unfair given that Ole Miss and MSU tied for third place overall, but still.

Also: Not saying told-ya-so, but we picked the Bulldogs (listed among "Others Receiving Votes" in the preseason Top 25) as a "team we like." Then again, we were skeptical of Auburn. Let's call it a wash.

Our pick:The Tigers. War Eagle.

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#5 Baylor (-8) vs. #9 TCU, 2:30 p.m.
Bettors in Vegas really like Baylor and TCU. We're confused. We'll sit this one out.

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#3 Ole Miss vs. #14 Texas A&M (-2), 8 p.m.
Hard to pick against the #3 team in the country, yet something says A&M is somewhat better than #14 and Ole Miss not quite as good as #3. We'll stay away from this one too.
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Chicken Pick'n

Tennessee Chattanooga vs. Tennessee (-26), 3 p.m.

Colorado State (-2.5) vs. Nevada, 9:30 p.m.

Wyoming (+5) vs. Hawaii, 10:59 pm.

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Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:32 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

This column is in production! It will appear either today or tomorrow.

The Beachwood Radio Hour #21: The Bears Have Become Drama Queens
Mercurial and mysterious. Plus: The Swagger Of Patrick Kane And Dougie McBuckets & Theo Epstein's Latest FAIL.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago
Behind the props.

Onward Internet's Astroturf
Secretly funded by AT&T and the cable industry.

The College Football Report: Condi's Kegs 'N' Eggs
Including: The Cowbell Compromise & The Golden Hat.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Team Of Misfit Toys
Even the bobbleheads are wack.

TrackNotes: The Soul Of Cigar
Unconquerable, invincible, unbeatable.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Mattson 2, Elle Varner, Jungle, The Nubiles, and Broken Prayer.

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Beachwood Insider!
Jim "Coach" Coffman about to enter Beachwood HQ in AnySquared Studios on the fringes of Mustache Square to record The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour.

coach2.jpg

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BeachBook
* Uber Flunks The Better Business Bureau Test.

There's a reason for regulations.

See also: This Is Uber's Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft.

And: Obama Campaign Manager Revolves Through Door To Uber To Fulfill Lifelong Dream Of Flacking For A Shady Rideshare Company That So Represents The Hope And Change He Foisted On Nation In 2008.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Fruition.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago

Behind the props.

dumpsterdiving.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.
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* 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.
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* 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.
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* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
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* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
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* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
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* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
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* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
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* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:11 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: The Team Of Misfit Toys

Fate placed me in Charlotte on Sunday, unfortunately under circumstances which had nothing to do with the Bears.

Oh, there were "bears" involved, but most were not the kind with a capital "B."

In any case, I've found that the road puts you in a weird headspace.

You ask yourself questions; quandaries that normally don't bubble to the surface within the confines of a normal routine.

Like, how many times can I turn the ball over in the last 500 seconds of a football game before it becomes statically impossible to win?

Or, when you're presented a "very special offer" on a plane, why is It always a credit card? Why can't it be muffins?

Or, is beating off to Facebook pictures of ex-girlfriends illegal if it's in a hotel room or is the Best Western the international waters of morality?

And in an unrelated follow up question, are penalties for e-voyeurism harsher if the Facebook drone you have commandeered is piloted across state lines?

And also, Stephanie if you're reading this, both I and your bathroom drywall appreciate you opening the vent in the glass block exterior when you shower. Humidity is death on ceilings. Now if you would, can you please move the 128-ounce bottle of Mane 'n Tail on your window sill six inches closer to the shower head? Thanks!

Yup, the mind is a mystery.

But enough with hypothetical deeds.

The following things are factual excerpts from my trip. I find them all more interesting without context.

1. I watched highlights of the game and later the Bengals-Patriots tilt at Sidelines, Charlotte's premier destination for anyone looking to hang with lots of cool dudes. Dudes who love rugby, dudes who love tennis, dudes who are really into amateur filmmaking and dudes who will stop at nothing to participate in Star Wars cosplay.

Most importantly, dudes who love football and bartenders who fill up a rocks glass halfway when you order Johnny Walker Black.

2. I spent much of the following day dressed in business attire next to a dumpster behind a doll store while '90s slow jams were piped into the loading dock at 80 decibels*.

3. In an attempt to show me some "really great shit," a person I was traveling with fired up his laptop and cranked its bone-stock speakers to the max.

He expected this would drown out the music playing over the airport bar's PA. I was not appropriately dazzled by the lyrics of his favorite Jackson Browne song and, yada, yada, yada, I missed my flight back to Chicago.

4. I was paid for this.

Crapple Turnover
Another Sunday, another hour of yelling things like "SON OF A WHORE" and "YOU GODDAM PIECES OF [FORK]" at the television.

Once again, the Bears offense moved the ball effectively, only to give said ball away at critical junctures.

Lately, the Bears offense has provided all the fun of someone approaching you with a wheelbarrow full of fresh buffalo wings and watching them dump the delicious payload over a cliff, into a tire fire, just as the wings were close enough to smell.

Woo-hoo! I love chicken wings, this day is going so great! I wonder if they have any blue cheese dressing - hey, what the hell are you doing?

SONOFABITCH! I was going to eat those! And I'm still not technically obese! And is that my wheelbarrow?!!

DAAAAAAMMMMMNNNIIIIIIITTT!!!!!

So what are we going to have to do to get these guys up for the second half?

If only there were some kind of incentive we could use to motivate the skill players into additional productivity.

Maybe signs made of neon-pink posterboard that say things like "The End Zone Is That Way" or "Put The Ball In There" in Magic Marker are a step in the right direction.

Somebody needs to come up with something before the weekend, because the Bears have a date with a smack-talking old friend.

Return-er To Sender-er
This Sunday, Chicago collides with the Atlanta Falcons and former Bear Devin Hester.

Those of you born before 2002 will remember Hester as the greatest return man of all-time and the 7,894th greatest wide receiver of all-time.

During a post-game interview earlier this season, Hester made it clear that he didn't feel he was a fit in Marc Trestman's offense and later inferred that he did not enjoy playing with quarterback Jay Cutler.

"I'm going to say it, man. I wasn't happy the last three or four years in Chicago," Hester said. "Things weren't going the way I expected . . . I have a quarterback now who, he loves even the walk-ons."

Hester, nodding enthusiastically, elaborated.

"He loves walk-offs too . . Ewoks...we're taking a Chinese-themed cooking class this month called 'Wok-tober.' He lives in Milwaukee. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk."

Hester's head continued bobbing for a very long time, to the point where sideline reporter Alex Flanagan became visibly concerned.

As the camera man began to flag down local medical personnel, Flanagan held up a hand to stop him and smoothly moved behind the still-nodding return man with the polished skill of an assassin.

Quick as a cat, she pulled the mask from the imposter's head revealing that it wasn't Hester at all, but rather a rogue Billy Dee Williams bobblehead that had escaped the island of misfit toys and short-circuited.

The real Hester had been interviewing with Deion Sanders for five minutes.

"Shit," muttered Flanagan. "Scooped by Prime Time again."

She lit a cigarette and exhaled forcibly.

"We should have known something was up when he was wearing a Bears uniform."

Kool Aid (3 of 5 - Rum and Coke)
For those of you have done a tour of the Coca-Cola plant in Atlanta, let me know how it was sometime, when I express interest.

There are still breweries left in the world I haven't visited. I'll leave the non-alcoholic beverages to the kids and the priests.

This is another one of those "if we plan on fooling the public into believing that 9-7 will cut it in the NFC we better get our ass in gear and notch a win" kinda match-ups.

Both teams show flashes of brilliance and yet have ended up in the mushy middle of the pack.

The Bears are going to come into Atlanta looking to make a statement.

That statement is "Hey America, we're a 3-3 football team."

And for one week, I think they're right.

Bears 27, Falcons 20.

* In case you're wondering, no, I'm not a Jehovah's Witness, and no, none of the dead dolls wanted to hear "the good news."

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:11 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: The Soul Of Cigar

This is the lull before the two-day horse racing storm.

We try to keep our minds clear of all the wiseguy posturing that could lead one to the conclusion that every horse in the 2014 Breeders' Cup (October 31 - November 1) has an equal chance to win. They don't, so don't be confused.

And there are sundry developments in the pitiable world of Thoroughbred horse racing, such as a prominent trainer with yet another drug suspension; Arlington Park bitching and moaning about being foiled again in its mission to monopolize Illinois racing; Shared Belief, one of this year's racing stars, getting mugged in the Awesome Again Stakes in his final prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic; and the hard-working Wicked Strong is finished for the year.

But none of this tedium amounts to a hill of beans as we contemplate and mourn the passing of Cigar, an important, ultimate champion, the best since Secretariat, and the "unconquerable, invincible, unbeatable" runner whose 16 consecutive victories dead heats him with the revered Citation.

The 24-year-old two-time Horse of the Year and four-time Eclipse honoree died Tuesday at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington after undergoing spinal surgery to relieve compression and osteoarthritis in his lower neck vertebrae.

By all accounts he was a gentle and friendly soul, allowing visitors to the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions, where he had resided since 1999, to pet him and offer the occasional carrot or mint. His primary jockey, Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey, had dropped by while in town to cover Keeneland races for NBC.

"It's a sad, sad day for me. I did get to see him on Sunday," Bailey said. "I fed him some carrots, but I knew he wasn't doing too good."

His accomplishments are legendary. In 33 races, he won 19; 15 of them stakes, 11 Grade Is. He was in the money another nine times, amassing $9,999,815 in total winnings. He won all the big races in his sights at most of the important race tracks in North America, including Arlington Park, and even won the 1996 Dubai World Cup.

Bailey, rider for 19 of Cigar's 33 races, and the entire streak, said Cigar changed his outlook on the animals responsible for his livelihood.

"For the first half of my career, until Cigar, I had like a doctor-patient relationship. I rode the horses. I worked them out in the morning, and I went home. There was nothing else - until Cigar. He made me fall in love with horses."

The Palace Music colt out of Seattle Slew mare Solar Slew, was foaled April 18, 1990. Owner and breeder Allen E. Paulson, once owner of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., named him for a term representing an intersection in the air, part of air traffic control lingo. Cigar went unraced as a two-year-old.

"Cigar was the type of horse that was never going to be a precocious 2-year-old or an early 3-year-old. He was by Palace Music, so that's one of the reasons he was on turf, but we also had to manage him, work through some of the things that he went through. We knew he'd get better with age," said his first trainer, Alex Hassinger.

His racing career started slowly. Under trainer Hassinger, and later under Bill Mott, Cigar was considered a turf horse, although his maiden win came in his second race, by more than two lengths, on the dirt at Hollywood Park. He bounced around California, winning two inconsequential races his three-year-old year, 1993. At the end of that season, he had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips.

After four well-spaced and lackluster turf losses that didn't commence until July of his four-year-old season, Mott and owner Paulson switched him to dirt.

Hassinger recalled Mott's due diligence. "I remember Bill Mott called me up after he'd started him four times [on turf], and he said, 'You want to tell me about that maiden win on the dirt?' I told him he went six furlongs in 1:09 and 2 without (Pat) Valenzuela shaking a stick at him. He said, 'Okay, thanks.' And that was it."

As 1994 ran out, the streak began three days before Halloween with an eight-length win in a one-mile Aqueduct allowance race. He ended that season with a seven-length, 115 Beyer gem, at better than 4-1(!), over Devil His Due and Punch Line in the NYRA Mile Handicap, now known as The Cigar Mile. He would never again have a Beyer Speed Figure lower than 108, most of them in the hundred-teens, and even recording an other-worldly 121 in the Oaklawn Handicap. He raced just about everywhere. Santa Anita, Bay Meadows, Gulfstream, Saratoga, Pimlico, Suffolk Downs, Hollywood Park, Arlington Park, Belmont, Del Mar, Canada's Woodbine, and Nad Al Sheba in Dubai. Interestingly, he never raced at Churchill Downs. Being a California turf horse precluded his running in the Triple Crown or the Saratoga summer Jim Dandy-Travers parlay.

His race comments during the streak are precious: Led throughout. Drew off, ridden out. As rider pleased. Steady hand ride. Cruised in hand. Handily. 4 wide, ridden out. Rated, easily. Lost ground, drew clear. Much best, driving.

During the streak, he led every race at the three-quarter pole, usually by lengths, winning only in Dubai by anything less than a full length. His magnificence throughout his unbelievable run, chronicled by unrivaled racing photographer Barbara Livingston, is unmatched.

Cigar had gears, patient to bide his time on the backstretch and then make his bid to take control of the race on the turn. Finding more as the wire approached. He only ran two of the races on the lead the whole way: his five-year-old debut in an allowance race at Gulfstream and then the Grade I Donn Handicap three weeks later on the same track. He won the Donn twice.

As an older horse, he obviously did more than you could ever ask of a Thoroughbred: Gulfstream Park Handicap, Oaklawn Handicap, Pimlico Special, Massachusetts Handicap (twice), Hollywood Gold Cup, Woodward (twice), the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

In 1995, Cigar swept the Woodward and the Jockey Club Gold Cup in Belmont's fall meet, and was well on his way to Breeders' Cup glory.

In the 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont as the number 10 horse, you could see the aggressiveness and power of the heavyweight champion, the irrepressible Cigar, under a tight hold by Bailey on the sticky, muddy going. You'll jump out of your chair at the 1:29 mark of the video as race caller Tom Durkin shouts out Cigar's move on the turn, the slingshot to the rail and the pulling away down the stretch, and then Durkin knighting him as "the unconquerable, invincible, unbeatable CIGARRR!" as he consumes the finish line. It was his twelfth win of the streak and the last of his five-year-old campaign. He won Eclipse Awards for both U.S. Outstanding Older Male Horse and United States Horse of the Year.

Cigar enjoyed another three months off, returning to Gulfstream in February 1996 to notch his second Donn Handicap, registering a 117 Beyer right off the bench!

The lure of a $5 million purse, international prestige, a horse who's going good, rested with a race under his saddle. All had to play a part as Mott and Paulson booked the long flight to the United Arab Emirates for the March 27 inaugural Dubai World Cup, the feature of the finest international racing festival Middle East money could buy. We've learned since, through experience, that American horses who make the trip usually return with little semblance of good form or success, even if they win there.

But we're talking about Cigar. After a decent start, Cigar and Bailey (watch for the blue cap, red shoulders and white silks on Bailey, third from the rail as they enter the stretch) wisely stayed with the front contingent of runners. Out of the turn and into the stretch, it appeared Cigar, with his patented rush, had dispatched all foes, only to have Soul of the Matter and Gary Stevens sneak up on him another three or four lanes outside. Soul of the Matter drifts further inside, giving Cigar the opportunity to eyeball him, and you can see the champion bear down even harder. He used the last furlong in its entirety to finally repel Soul of the Matter.

"Even now, if you watch it on TV, you think Soul of the Matter is going to go right by him. But I could feel Cigar's engine revving beneath me. He wasn't going to let him get by," recalls Bailey, who said the World Cup was Cigar's finest performance. It was the 14th win of the streak.

Except for Cigar and Citation, it's impossible for a horse to run, or win, at the highest level of the game for the duration, as these two did. Citation's trainers, Hall of Fame father-son duo Ben and Jimmy Jones, had a horse who could run fast and often. And cover a milk route in his off time if you asked him.

By the time Cigar came around, horses did not run as often, but this one did race every three or four weeks for entire seasons. The fact that Bill Mott was able to keep him in such top form for so long is testament to how great a job he and his staff did. If you remember that Cigar fired every time after a season-ending vacation or short freshening, well, the record screams.

Cigar won his second Massachusetts Handicap - win number 15 - on June 1, 1996. Handicap races are contests in which race officials assign weights based on the record and quality of the horse; the better the horse, the higher the weights. By now, Cigar was routinely carrying 124-130 pounds, and getting older.

He missed the June 30 Hollywood Gold Cup with a foot bruise, but would still need a prep for the August 10 Pacific Classic.

Just as it had done 23 years earlier for Secretariat in the Arlington Invitational, Arlington Park came to the fore and created the self-explanatory Arlington-Citation Challenge. It was one thing to get Cigar to Arlington, but having him in a race that could tie him with Citation for most consecutive wins was a true tour de force. The $1.05 million purse was also a requirement.

(Citation was 5-1 in six races in Chicago. His 16-race streak came basically in the middle of his 45-race career. Win number seven was the Stars and Stripes at Arlington Park, 23 days after he completed his Triple Crown in 1948. His next two, including the American Derby, came at old Washington Park in Homewood.)

True to his style, Cigar, breaking from the challenging 10 post, put on his trademark burst in the stretch and beat Dramatic Gold by more than three lengths in front of more than 34,000 fans. He had done the impossible and tied Citation for win number 16!

Bailey was concerned with the 130 pounds Cigar carried.

"He's been asked to do some difficult things, asked to carry 130 today. I told you about him losing some ground in the first turn and I'll tell you what, a 16-, 18-minute post parade didn't help any. He overcomes it all. Everything you throw at this horse, no matter what it is, he shrugs it off. He just wins," Bailey said in the post-race press conference. It was on to Del Mar and the Pacific Classic.

Off at 1-9 with little except the respectable 6-1 Siphon expected to challenge, Cigar became trapped in the dreaded pace duel. Not wanting to let Siphon get a clear lead and run away uncontested, and being pressured by Dramatic Gold on his outside, Cigar stayed step for step on a blisteringly fast pace. At the quarter pole, Siphon ran out of gas. Cigar fought valiantly but the two had burned up on the front end and Dare and Go, at 39-1, opportunely sprinted past to beat Cigar by 3.5 lengths. The streak was over.

Mott didn't blame Bailey or Cigar, chalking it up to the forced pace. Bailey this week blamed himself: "That one's on me. I put him on that pace. I got to thinking he could do anything."

Cigar came back a month later to win the Woodward. In the Jockey Club Gold Cup, seeking to avoid the same pace meltdown as in the Pacific, Bailey and Cigar stayed back in the second tier as Louis Quatorze and Skip Away battled in front. Alas, as LQ melted away on the rail, Cigar's valiant run ran out of real estate as three-year-old Skip Away, who would become one of the best horses of his generation, held on by a short head. The young guns had come callin'.

Once again, as Secretariat had done 23 years earlier, Cigar would run his final race in Canada. But this was on the biggest stage of all, the Breeders' Cup Classic, a concept and a race that didn't exist when Secretariat was electrifying the world.

As the entire pack kept with another very swift pace, Cigar made his patented move on the turn and headed for the wire. Brave as he could be, the wire just came up too quickly as he finished third a head and a nose behind Alphabet Soup and Louis Quatorze.

Time for retirement, Cigar again swept the Older Horse and Horse of the Year Eclipse Awards for the second straight year. The super horse was given the astronaut treatment in New York City, with the Budweiser Clydesdales leading his luxury van to the doors of Madison Square Garden, where he paraded farewell, Bailey up, to racing.

He was assigned to Ashford Stud for breeding but proved to be infertile. Curlin broke his money earnings record in 2008.

People like to compare athletes in any sport. How do we interpret Cigar's fantastic career?

The filly Personal Ensign won 13 races and retired undefeated. Rapid Redux won his 22nd consecutive race as recently as 2012, but it was most definitely on the minor-league level. Peppers Pride stayed home in New Mexico to finish 19-0 for her career. Camarero tore it up in Puerto Rico for a Joe DiMaggio-ish 56 straight wins in the mid-1950s.

We won't forget Zenyatta. She won 19 straight from 2007-2010 with her lone defeat coming in the Breeders' Cup Classic in her last race. She beat top competition once, against the boys, winning the Classic in 2009 over Gio Ponti, who was better as a turf horse. I will forever contend that Zenyatta's connections always protected her streak by running the same races against the same horses on the same tracks (predominantly artificial surfaces). She never traveled east of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and never came close to the consistent string of Beyer Speed Figures Cigar earned.

Cigar took on all comers at the top level of the sport, just as Citation did. He beat Unbridled's Song, now a top sire, and Star Standard, Holy Bull, Wekiva Springs, Heavenly Prize, Soul of the Matter, Halling, Concern and Thunder Gulch. He was a distance horse, winning at the classic 10 furlongs six times. He bulled his way on or near the front, win or lose, toward the finish line in every race he ran. He tried to tell Mott something during four mediocre turf races on New York's deeper courses: "I prefer dirt." Cigar was not put into a position to excel in those races. Once he was, he returned the favor, eminently.

Blood-Horse put Cigar at number 18 on its list of the top 100 horses of the 20th century. Fair enough, he wasn't the best of all time, 18 seems about right. But he dominated his generation and his time as only the greats do, are able to do. Audaciously do. We need to remember just how much he gave us, both on the track and to the thousands he greeted in his retirement.

We sure could use a horse like Cigar these days. Or one even remotely close.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 AM | Permalink

October 9, 2014

Onward Internet's Astroturf

On a recent Monday evening, two bearded young men in skinny jeans came to a parklet in San Francisco's trendy Hayes Valley neighborhood and mounted what looked like an art installation. It was a bright blue, oversized "suggestion box" for the Internet.

The boxes, sometimes accompanied by young people in futuristic costumes, have been popping up on both coasts for weeks, soliciting messages of support - but their sponsor has been a mystery. The website for the campaign, Onward Internet, does not say. Their domain registration is private. And the site includes no contact information, only an animated video heavy on millennial lingo: "The internet was made to move data . . . we got blogs, likes, selfies and memes, OMG, BRB and TTYL."

The lone hint at a larger message is oblique. "The Internet is a wild, free thing," the site says. "Unbounded by limits, unfettered by rules, it's everyone's responsibility to ensure that the Internet continues to advance."

Turns out Onward Internet may be the latest stealth entrant in the increasingly nasty battle over net neutrality, which will determine how the government regulates Internet providers.

The production agency for Onward Internet wouldn't say who their client is, but an employee for the company that rented the space for the Hayes Valley installation let slip that "It's something called the National Cable and Telecommunications Association" - the principal trade group for the telecom industry.

Telecom companies have been the fiercest opponents of a proposal under which the government would treat broadband like a utility, making it easier for regulators to keep internet providers from blocking certain sites or saddling some content providers with slower speeds or higher fees.

As the Federal Communications Commission nears a decision on new rules, suspicions have grown that industry players are funding independent groups to create the appearance of diverse, grassroots backing. Think tanks have been accused of being co-opted. Nonprofits have been criticized for concealing who they represent. In one case, the telecom industry was accused of fooling unwitting businesses into joining a coalition against broadband regulation.

NCTA officials did not respond to questions about Onward Internet and would not confirm they're behind it. "What led you to the conclusion that this is an NCTA effort?" asked Brian Dietz, a vice president for the organization, before he stopped responding to e-mails.

It's unclear what the lobbying giant hopes to get out of this particular campaign, but the Onward Internet website, call-in line and Twitter feed are collecting messages of support from visitors who would have no way of knowing they're backing a telecom industry campaign.

"Sorry we can't come to the phone right now," the call-in greeting says. "We just got wind of the juiciest celebrity rumor and we're working to confirm it. So please leave your suggestion for the future of the internet at the beep and visit Onward Internet dot com next month to see what we've done with it."

Many in the tech community have pinned their hopes for saving net neutrality on the reclassification proposal that would give the FCC more power over internet providers. Their belief is that it would make it harder for internet providers to charge content providers more for faster service, and thus protect tech start-ups from being squashed by established brands that have the resources to pay a premium.

That's why there was surprise in Silicon Valley when a nonprofit called CALinnovates, which says it represents the interests of technology companies and start-ups, entered the debate by taking a stance against the government regulation plan.

"We'd never heard of them until then," said Julie Samuels, executive director of Engine, a nonpartisan startup advocacy group.

CALinnovates filed comments with the FCC opposing the plan. The group's executive director Mike Montgomery wrote a column for the Huffington Post, echoing warnings raised by the telecom industry that more regulation would hamper innovation.

"Would we even know what an iPhone is if Steve Jobs had to run his pricing models past the FCC?" Montgomery asked. "Would Twitter be fomenting revolution if Jack Dorsey needed to check with regulators about what kind of data can be shared online and by whom?"

Most notably, the nonprofit got a flurry of press coverage for a poll it commissioned that found Americans don't support more regulation: "Only one in four Americans believe that government policies can keep up with the pace of innovation that we are seeing with technology, such as the Internet."

The group's stance gave the anti-reclassification camp a backer from within the tech community - a boon for one of CALinnovates' supporters, AT&T.

In an interview with ProPublica, Montgomery declined to say to what extent his organization is funded by the telecom giant, which is listed as a "partner" on its website. Asked if AT&T consulted with him about his net neutrality stance, he said "We have input and advice from all of our members."

Later, a spokesman for the nonprofit released a statement to ProPublica saying, "CALinnovates' position on net neutrality was based on a thorough economic and legal analysis and reflects CALinnovates' independent thinking on matters important to the tech industry."

The organization's telecom-friendly position didn't seem to mesh with its advisory board, which includes some of Silicon Valley's more prominent names. Ron Conway, for example, is a well-known angel investor who has been a strong backer of government action to protect net neutrality.

Asked about the apparent contradiction by ProPublica, Conway's spokesman lauded "diversity of viewpoints" and CALinnovates but said his boss was on "opposite sides" with the nonprofit.

Days later, Conway resigned from the CALinnovates board.

Outside of CALinnovates, Montgomery has worked for other organizations with telecom ties. Before heading up the nonprofit, he worked for a lobbying firm and political candidates that have taken money from AT&T.

Montgomery said he did not feel he needed to disclose CALinnovates' AT&T ties in his columns on net neutrality.

"We receive support from all of our partners," he said. "I think you'll see a diversity of opinion if you spend some time reading all the things I write."

The FCC has been taking public comments and hosting forums on net neutrality for months, and is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.

Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu - who coined the term net neutrality in 2003 and is a proponent of government regulation to protect it - said he worries astroturfing efforts may lull some lawmakers into inaction.

"The effect of the astroturfing is to make everything foggy," Wu said. "It propels the argument that if things are cloudy, government should stay away (and) let the market decide."

After publication of this story, Brian Dietz, a vice president for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, issued a comment on behalf of the organization. He said that although the NCTA is interested in soliciting comments on net neutrality, it also wants to hear about other Internet-related issues.

"We know that network neutrality is important to Internet users and we share the vision that the Internet remains an open and unfettered experience for all to enjoy," he said in his statement.

"We've kept NCTA's brand off Onward, Internet because we want to collect unbiased feedback directly from individuals about what they want for the future of the Internet and how it can become even better than it is today. The cable industry is proud of our role as a leading Internet provider in the U.S. but we feel it's important to hear directly from consumers about how they envision the future so we can work hard on delivering it."

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:36 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"A Tribune examination of overturned red light tickets revealed evidence that the city of Chicago has quietly cast a wider net to snare drivers since switching camera vendors earlier this year amid a bribery scandal," the paper reports.

"A before-and-after analysis of photographic evidence and interviews with experts suggests the transition to a new vendor last spring was accompanied by a subtle but significant lowering of the threshold for yellow light times.

"City hearing officers have noticed the trend and are increasingly tossing tickets because the yellow light time stamped on the citation is less than the 3-second minimum required by the city, the Tribune analysis showed."

Get well, Karen Lewis.

*

"Xerox State & Local Solutions took over the program in March. Since April, hearing officers have cited short yellow lights as the reason for throwing out more than 200 of roughly 1,500 rejected red light tickets, according to their written notations. In the four years before that, under the old vendor, judges blamed short yellows only 37 times out of more than 12,000 successful appeals, according to their written notes.

"It's a rate 50 times higher than when the old vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., ran the program."

All is forgiven, Redflex! May we offer a bribe to get you back?

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"'Right now we are having a big problem with these red lights, and the city needs to get this straightened out,' administrative law judge Robert Sussman said during one hearing in August where he tossed two successive red light camera tickets because of short yellow times.

"I am getting 60 to 70 percent of my Xerox photos that come up, they are under 3 (seconds)," Sussman said. "When the city starts getting this stuff right, I will start finding liability again like I was doing before. But right now, I just can't do it until the city becomes more reliable . . . Something is going on here. I mean this has to be taken care of."

"City officials said the yellow light times being rejected by judges as too short are in fact valid because they fall within an allowable variance that is caused by fluctuations in electrical power.

"It's showing 2.9, it records 2.9 on the data bar as you see on the violation," Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said in a recent interview. "But that actual performance is probably 2.998 - or something like that - where the variation is in the hundredths or thousandths of a second, which is imperceptible."

Um, that just makes it worse, Rebekah. Now you're telling me that I'm gonna be out a hundred bucks not for misjudging a yellow light a second but for misjudging a yellow light by two-thousandths of a second.

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"Scheinfeld said Xerox made a business decision 'to truncate' the measurement as it appears on the ticket to a tenth of a second, 'and that is all well within the national standard for any type of allowable variance.'"

I'm not sure if that means Xerox made a business decision to save ink by not printing the the full number on tickets or if that means Xerox made a business decision to make more money by aggressively penalizing poor schlumps who don't have atomic clocks in their heads.

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"Asked why Xerox had so many tickets with yellow times below 3 seconds when Redflex tickets - which showed measurements to the hundredths of a second - almost never showed a time below 3 seconds, Scheinfeld declined to answer, citing an ongoing investigation by the city's inspector general."

A) Didn't she just tell us it was a business decision?

B) Funny how she just remembered upon the asking of this question that there was an ongoing investigation and therefore shouldn't comment.

Nothing about that investigation, by the way, precludes her from answering the question.

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"In the course of uncovering troubling and unexplained spikes involving tens of thousands of tickets during Redflex's tenure, the Tribune reported in July that it found hundreds of cases where yellow light times fluctuated between 4 and 3 seconds. But the Redflex tickets rarely went below 3 seconds, the newspaper found."

Again, better off with the bribe company.

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"Asked why hearing officers hired by Emanuel's administration to enforce the traffic laws are routinely throwing out the tickets if the time is allowable, Scheinfeld said the hearing officers are independent."

See, if the hearing officers were under Emanuel's control, they'd be upholding those tickets despite the evidence! Our guys would be ignoring the law!

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"City officials have not yet complied with a Sept. 5 Tribune request for a database of recent red light camera tickets. Those records would help identify how many drivers were ticketed under short yellow lights."

My guess is they're just within two-thousandths of a second of the timing requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

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"Because fewer than 10 percent of all ticketed drivers ever bother to appeal red light tickets, it is possible that thousands of drivers have been dinged for fines they wouldn't have received before Xerox took over in April."

The city is probably analyzing the data themselves so they can figure out how to preempt the Tribune - or at least spin it.

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"The city of Chicago sets all its traffic lights based on the shortest allowable time under federal safety guidelines, which suggest yellow intervals ranging from 3 to 6 seconds depending on the speed of traffic."

Rewritten: "The city of Chicago sets all its traffic lights based on the highest revenue-generation possible under federal safety guidelines."

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"City officials have refused to answer questions about whether the city or Xerox made any changes to the yellow light criteria."

Which can only lead us to conclude they did.

Another NRI Gun That Didn't Smoke
"For months, Gov. Pat Quinn has defended a $54.5 million grant program he launched shortly before the 2010 election as a way to address street violence in Chicago and dismissed Republican criticism that it amounted to a political slush fund," the Tribune reports.

"But as a legislative hearing into the troubled Neighborhood Recovery Initiative resumed Wednesday, e-mails surfaced that revealed the program was a top priority of the Democratic governor's campaign staff in the weeks leading up to Election Day four years ago."

That may sound ominous, but if the Tribune is highlighting the "worst" of the e-mails in this article, it's another win for Quinn.

The e-mails, involving Quinn's 2010 campaign manager Ben Nuckels, media advisers, pollsters and former Quinn chief of staff Jack Lavin show that from Sept. 10 through Oct. 8, the anti-violence program was a top issue of weekly and twice-weekly re-election campaign discussions.

The grant program - found to be rife with mismanagement and lack of accountability in a February state audit - was listed as a "stateside," or state-government issue, in calls among top Quinn campaign staff, the e-mails show.

Moreover . . .

I don't get it. The grant program was listed as "stateside," or a state-government issue, among campaign staff. Isn't that just a statement of fact? Why is the Tribune - by continuing with "moreover," as in, "even worse . . . ," inferring that such a characterization illustrates some sort of wrongdoing on the part of Quinn's staff?

Continuing:

Moreover, e-mails between Nuckels, Lavin, Quinn's then-campaign spokeswoman and the governor's brother, Tom Quinn, show that the grant program was part of discussions over a media strategy to bolster support in the African-American community in Chicago.

"The Gov's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative will also help on the jobs and anti-violence messages," said one e-mail from Lavin dated Sept. 5, a month before the program was publicly unveiled at a[n] Oct. 6, 2010 news conference.

Should the campaign not plan on touting a program it believes will create jobs and save lives? It would be different if the e-mails described the way the program was designed for political benefit instead of saving the most lives. But they don't. Another non-smoking gun.

Just because you have the e-mails doesn't mean you have to build a story around them. Or, and I know news organizations hate doing this but, the story could be that the e-mails are innocuous. That might actually be news, given that we already know what a shoddy operation the grant program really was. Maybe the administration didn't know that.

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There is a smoking gun of sorts hidden in this article, though. It's this, in the 16th paragraph:

The e-mails also showed one senior adviser questioning the effectiveness of the grant program. Jerry Stermer sent a post-election e-mail on Jan. 27, 2011 to Lavin and then-Quinn budget director David Vaught noting social service interest groups may complain that money spent on the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative cost them additional dollars.

"They and many others will also start talking immediately about the Neighborhood Recovery as being funded by dramatic reductions in existing programs that are clearly accountable and successful - as you know I am not at all persuaded that any of the ideas in neighborhood recovery have any solid evidence to show they achieve their goals," Stermer's e-mail said.

That, in fact, is exactly what happened, as I recounted in The Problems And Politics Of Pat Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

This is the danger of committing to a particular narrative in your head; you often end up missing the real story.

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North America's Collision Repair Experts Weigh In On The Hefty Costs Of Hitting A Deer
That buck could cost you lots of dough.

Also, don't accept rides from Greg Walter.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Will appear on Friday due to our very own Carl Mohrbacher having a Planes, Trains & Automoblies experience on Wednesday.

It ended something like this:

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BeachBook
* Whiting Lands Mascot Hall Of Fame.

Chicago stuck with freakin' Lucas Museum. Get well, Karen Lewis.

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TweetWood

Or the Whiting mascot people.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Mascots welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:46 AM | Permalink

North America's Collision Repair Experts Weigh In On The Hefty Costs Of Hitting A Deer

LEAWOOD, KS - It's the annual battle of the bumpers versus the bucks, the does against the doors. Both parties lose when car and deer collide, but a measure of defensive driving can reduce the risks.

CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts says the frequency and severity of deer-related accidents are growing as quickly as the deer population in some markets. And, with the cold-weather months providing peak season for deer-vehicle crashes, this risk is on the rise.

"In fact, more than 40 percent of CARSTAR store owners report a 25 percent increase in deer-related accidents, while some nearly 12 percent report a 50 percent increase and five percent have seen a whopping 75 percent increase in their areas," said Dean Fisher, Vice President of Operations for CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts.

"That deer-related accident can be costly - nearly 70 percent of CARSTAR store owners estimate that the average cost of a deer-related collision repair is between $2,500 and $4,999, while some five percent of repairs are between $5,000 and $10,000."

deer.jpg

A recent survey by State Farm confirms the trend. U.S. drivers are three percent more likely to hit a deer in the next 12 months versus last year, particularly in October, November and December. The cost is on the rise, too, and is expected to be nearly 14 percent higher than last year.

A new trend is emerging, and one that doesn't bode well for driver or deer - the serial deer crash driver. Once a driver has been in a deer-related accident, their chances of having another one are going up. Many of these drivers live in deer-filled areas, drive in the early morning or early evening when deer are out, or just happen to be unlucky with bucks.

Greg Walter, a suburban Atlanta resident, is just one example. He's had 17 deer-related accidents over the last decade!

"I'm not sure why they target my vehicle, but they sure do," said Walter. "I've totaled several company cars, and it's gotten so bad that some of my colleagues put deer heads on my car door like a WWII fighter pilot. I've tried different headlights, deer whistles, everything. I think I just need to have a retainer at my local CARSTAR shop."

Drive Defensively To Avoid Deer Dangers

This year, some 1.5 million drivers will hit deer, and November is the peak month for deer-related accidents. But drivers can avoid an accident with a buck by following some smart driving tips this fall and winter.

Early morning and dusk are the worst times for deer accidents, as visibility is limited and deer are frequently on the move. It is important to drive defensively and anticipate the potential for deer in the road.

The auto experts at CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts, who repair thousands of vehicles each year from deer-related accidents, offer the following tips to reduce the deer danger:

1. Use extra caution at dawn and dusk and around golf courses, fields and wooded areas.

2. Remember that deer travel in packs - if you spot one, there are likely more behind it.

3. Don't swerve to avoid striking a deer, as that increases the risk of hitting another vehicle or losing control of the car.

4. If there is no opposing traffic, use high beams at night to better illuminate deer.

5. Don't rely on devices such as deer whistles, which are attached to the outside of a car, to try to scare off deer with an ultrasonic or high-frequency sound. They have not been proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.

6. If a deer remains on the highway after you strike it, report the incident to the game commission or a local law enforcement agency, as the deer poses a danger to other motorists. If the deer is still alive, don't go near it because a wild animal with sharp hooves can inflict injuries.

7. If an accident with a deer does occur, it pays to be protected. Many drivers don't realize that carrying only collision coverage does not cover damage from a deer accident, leaving them with a damaged vehicle and a large repair bill. To fully cover any potential damage, drivers should carry comprehensive insurance that covers such crashes. For those driving an older vehicle who feel their cars aren't worth the cost of the insurance, it's smart to keep an "accident fund" if something does occur.

If a driver ends up stranded with a damaged vehicle after a deer collision, they can always call 1-800-CARSTAR. CARSTAR will send the tow truck, call their insurance company and help the car owner get back on the road.

CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts offers high-quality, reliable repair service at more than 430 locations in 30 states and 10 Canadian provinces. Just call 1-800-CARSTAR when you need a vehicle repair, and they will send the tow truck, contact your insurance company, arrange for a rental car and repair your car. For more information and store locations, visit www.CARSTAR.com.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

"No thanks, Greg, I'll just wait for a cab."

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 AM | Permalink

October 8, 2014

Local Music Notebook: B.B. King & The Banjo Slayer

"After recently falling ill and having to cancel his remaining tour dates, B.B. King has spoken out to his fans," FDRMX reports.

"I'm back at home now listening to music, watching movies and enjoying some down time. I think I'm busier at home now than on the road talking to friends calling to check up on me. I do appreciate everyone's calls and concern. I want to tell you, I'm doing alright."

"The 89-year-old Blues legend had eight shows ahead of him when he suddenly fell ill last week. King has suffered from Type II diabetes for two decades, which has resulted in stamina problems in the past. He was rushed to the doctor for evaluation on October 3rd, when he was unable to finish his performance at the House of Blues in Chicago. The musician was diagnosed with dehydration and exhaustion, and his remaining tour dates were cancelled the next day, including a show at his very own B.B. King Blues Club in New York.

"Many are relieved to hear of his recovery in light of some recent struggles onstage. His St. Louis show back in April was apparently so shaky that his representatives chose to issue a statement the following day.

"The combination of the rigors of the very long drive and high blood sugar due to his medication error resulted in a performance that did not match Mr. King's usual standard of excellence," they explained.

From that St. Louis show:

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Banjo Slayer
"Chicago-based guitarist Rob Scallon, who became an Internet sensation in May when he released a video for his ukulele cover version of Slayer's 'War Ensemble,' has returned with yet another unconventional rendition of a Slayer song, this time with his banjo take on 'Angel Of Death,'" Blabbermouth reports.

Click through to learn how Scallon - and Slayer - make money off his banjo covers.

Meanwhile, here it is:

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Also, here's Scallon playing the eight-string:

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See also:
* Scallon's YouTube channel.

* On Bandcamp.

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Note: Scallon plays Reggies on December 11th.

Speedy's Diner
From a DCist interview with Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis.

DCist: I remember you made a comment during a show, probably in Baltimore, about how you made the mistake of having a milkshake before the show . . . again. Do you make this mistake regularly?

SD: I think I made that comment in Chicago because I always go to Chicago Diner there which is the best vegan fast food place in the country, in my opinion. I always get a milkshake and I can't help myself and I drink the whole thing. Then when you're onstage and you're singing, you're using your core, you're using your abdomen. I've been in the unfortunate situation of throwing up in my mouth a little bit onstage just due to overeating any time before the show.

Here's Speedy Ortiz at Pitchfork.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:09 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative has been a political liability for Gov. Pat Quinn since a state audit tore apart the grant program in February, but newly released e-mails show top aides to the governor worried about its potential political cost as far back as 2011," the Sun-Times reports.

Uh-oh.

That's when former Quinn chief of staff Jack Lavin, the governor's former chief operating officer Andrew Ross and the director of the Illinois Finance Authority, Chris Meister, worked to insulate the governor and help contain a brewing, NRI-related tempest involving Chicago Ald. Deborah Graham (29th) in her 2011 aldermanic race.

The disclosure comes in e-mails Ross released to a legislative panel probing the botched $54.5 million program that is now under federal investigation.

Ross is among seven witnesses subpoenaed by the Legislative Audit Commission, which Wednesday begins two days of hearings aimed at wresting testimony from Quinn's former inner circle about why the anti-violence program was beset by political cronyism and questionable spending.

Ross' e-mails show that he, Meister and Lavin, to varying degrees, appeared to mobilize to buffer Quinn and Graham from any potential political fallout from a WBEZ-FM report in February 2011 about a pair of NRI grants disbursed to organizations linked to the alderman.

Uh-oh.

Auditor General William Holland's February audit of NRI showed $780,000 went to an organization, Kingdom Community Inc., that is headed by Graham's pastor, the Rev. John T. Abercrombie, who could not be reached Tuesday.

The other grant went to an organization called Learning Network Center, which WBEZ reported was linked to a political supporter of Graham's who helped circulate her nominating petitions.

Uh-oh.

Ross' e-mails show that Quinn's cadre of advisors was focused on a campaign press release from Graham's aldermanic opponents, who vowed to speak out jointly at a Feb. 15, 2011, news conference against the "questionable appropriation of anti-violence funding directly benefiting the incumbent alderman."

Uh-oh.

"The potential exposure for the governor's office from the factually incorrect press release alludes to a scenario where the governor and Alderman Graham made these funding decisions of [sic] their own," Meister wrote, noting that four of Graham's opponents had "received . . . either directly or through affiliated organizations state and federal funds."

Wait a minute. That's it? That's the smoking gun? That e-mail states that the political claims made are factually incorrect and that Quinn and Graham did not make these funding decisions - at least on on their own.

How misleading was that windup? And the headline: "E-mails Show Quinn Aides Had Political Concerns Over NRI In 2011."

A more accurate headline would have been "E-mails Show Quinn Aides Had Political Concerns Over False Attacks On NRI In 2011."

Sheesh.

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That's not to say I don't believe something hinky was going on with those particular grants. It's to say the story is falsely framed. Find another way to introduce us to today's hearings, please.

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By the way, here's the WBEZ report the Sun-Times didn't link to.

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The Tribune went with the standard political theater angle. AP went with the standard bore-our-readers-to-death angle.

We're in a digital world, now. Please break out of standard story construction. Maybe a chart listing the start-times for each witness along with what we know so far about their involvement in the NRI, including what they've said, if anything, so far. Include links and video. Maybe highlight what Holland's audit says about each of them.

Do the same for the pols, of course. Let us know who the clowns are.

And then fact-check the claims about the NRI made by both Quinn and his team and Rauner and his team.

Or something. That's just one idea. But please, it's 2014. Let's at least act like it's 2007. (And I don't just mean a live blog.)

Department Of Aldermen
On the docket for today's city council meeting, according to the Tribune:

"Approval of three non-binding referendum questions for next March's city election. Voters would be asked whether employers in Chicago should be required to give paid sick leave to workers, whether Illinois elections should partly be funded with public money and whether city workers convicted of domestic violence should be required to get treatment.

"Those questions were endorsed Tuesday by mayoral allies, who denied they were once again trying to fill the ballot with enough questions to prevent voters from being asked if they favor an elected school board, something the mayor opposes and a question that could end up being considered a rebuke of the educational policies of his hand-picked Chicago Public Schools board."

Name those mayoral allies and tell me just how they denied it. For example: With a straight face? Then ask: Would you be willing to repeat that under oath under penalty of perjury? Take a polygraph? Because we all know it's a straight-out lie.

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Why should voters be asked if city workers convicted of domestic violence should be required to get treatment? Shouldn't that be left up to the courts - or the HR department? Or, stay with me here, the city council? Maybe hold hearings, that sort of thing.

Because using domestic violence as a political tool is disgusting.

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I'd like to see the media push this one hard and document to the extent possible the lengths Rahm Emanuel has gone to in order to keep the elected school board question off the ballot.

Here is some history, via Ben Joravsky and the Reader:

2012: Moore And Emanuel Block Elected School Board.

2013: The Mayor Gets The City Council To Bury The Elected School Board Issue (Again).

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Ald. Patrick O'Connor says aldermanic proponents of an elected school board referendum are racist; Ald. Joe Moreno says they're lazy.

Just. Wow.

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Scenes From A City Council. The details aren't important.

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Our Hero

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Brother Oberweis
"State Sen. Jim Oberweis, the Republican challenger for U.S. Senate, has been standing on a street corner on the South Side, handing out ice cream to potential voters as part of his effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin in the Nov. 4 election," the Tribune reports.

"That's what Oberweis, heir to the dairy company that carries his name, told a group of about 100 people at a City Club of Chicago luncheon on Tuesday."

Which corner and for how long?

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B.B. King & The Banjo Slayer
Plus: Speedy Ortiz and the Chicago Diner milkshake. In Local Music Notebook.

Fantasy Fix: A Case Of Bad Reception
Including: Why Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan are both must-starts this weekend. (Hint: The Falcons have a terrible defense too.)

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TweetWood

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Really, CTU?

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Roll snide.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:40 AM | Permalink

October 7, 2014

Fantasy Fix: A Case Of Bad Reception

We've been paying so much attention to the fact that the ranks of fantasy football running banks have been turned upside down this season that we've hardly even discussed how something similar is happening among wide receivers.

Try finding the pre-season No.1 at WR - Calvin Johnson, DET - among the current top 10 fantasy receivers. He isn't there. Until last week, you would not have found the pre-season No. 2 - Demaryius Thomas, DEN - among the top 10 either, and it took a historic output in Week 5 to get him into the top 10. Then there's Brandon Marshall - well I won't repeat what every sportscaster in town has been talking about, but you get the gist.

The list of top five receivers by fantasy points in ESPN PPR leagues after the first five weeks contains some recognizable - but still surprising - names:

1. Antonio Brown, PIT.

2. Jordy Nelson, GB.

3. Julio Jones, ATL.

4. Steve Smith, BAL.

5. Jeremy Maclin, PHI.

Nothing against these high scorers, but coming into this season, we had reason to doubt every single one of them. Brown's breakthrough 2013 was largely due to two or three outstanding weeks, rather than consistent performance; Nelson has been inconsistent the last two years after a 15 TD output in 2011; Jones is coming back from a devastating injury that cut his 2013 season short; Smith is 105 years old (well, not really, but seriously, he's ancient for the NFL and even more for the position he plays); and Maclin, despite eternal promise, has never had more than 964 yards receiving in a season (he currently has 429).

I'm not sold on the potential for most of these guys to end up in the top five at the end of the season, but if we've learned anything this year, it's that everything we thought we know about fantasy football is wrong.

More WR tidbits in our Week 5 recap:

* Calvin Johnson, otherwise known as Megatron, re-aggravated a nagging ankle injury in Week 5, and could be out for Week 6, possibly longer. (He's currently questionable for Week 6.) After two TDs in Week 1, he's been on the decline, totaling only three receptions and 19 yards combined the last two weeks. It's a bad situation for Megatron owners, who feel compelled to start him when the Lions declare him active. Time for Detroit to do us all a favor.

* Demaryius Thomas' big week - a franchise record 226 yards receiving and two TDs - comes after he had looked very pedestrian this season, averaging fewer than 50 yards receiving up to last week. Something tells me Thomas's numbers will jump again this week against the Jets, though he has not-so-great match-ups in the following two games against San Francisco and San Diego, so we'll see how quickly he can get back into the top five.

* Brandon Marshall's days as a fantasy dud (and an overall downer for Bears fans) might be over if the team makes good this week on Coach Marc Trestman's pledge to give Marshall more opportunities. There's still reason to be concerned, though. There has been talk he's run a couple wrong routes in recent weeks that have led to INTs, and then there's that pesky ankle injury. He could still be a risky fantasy bet in Week 6, but like Megatron, you've got to start him if he's active.

* Chargers RB Brandon Oliver might have been the biggest find of Week 5. He replaced Donald Brown, who got knocked out of last week's game, and went on to rush for 114 yards, collect 68 yards receiving and score two TDs. Most interesting thing here is that one of the league's most crowded backfields at the beginning of the season is now counting on a rookie, who could be the clear RB-1, or at least a very viable RB-3, going forward.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report notes that Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman should be a hot waiver wire pick-up after starter Montee Ball went down with an injury in Week 5.

* CBS Sports looks at fatherhood as the possible cause of a middling season for Drew Brees.

* Sporting News sees the defenses of both the Bears and the Falcons as having terrible match-ups this week. They are playing each other. Sounds like Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan will be must-starts.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:27 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Algren Is Back

"The great Chicago writer Nelson Algren gets the documentary treatment with not just one but two feature-length projects debuting this month: Mark Blottner and Denis Mueller's 20-years-in-the-making Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, The Road is All, and Michael Caplan's Algren," Reel Chicago reports.

"Blottner and Mueller's The End is Nothing preview[ed] Oct. 3 in advance of its festival run and Caplan's Algren has its world premiere Oct. 14 in the 50th Chicago International Film Festival."

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Here's the trailer for Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, The Road is All:

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Here's the trailer for Algren:

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Gangsters & Grifters
"Al Capone and his criminal legacy are known across America, if not around the world, but how many people know about Joe Aiello or Ruth Steinhagen?" Agate Publishing says in a press release.

"Chicago's criminal underworld is often discussed in mythical terms, but few books outline the real scene as it existed in the '20s, '30s, and '40s. Gangsters & Grifters: Classic Crime Photos from the Chicago Tribune paints a complete portrait of the gangsters, bootleggers, grifters, hoodlums, bandits, femme fatales, and wiseguys who populated Chicago in the early twentieth century.

"Buried for decades in the Chicago Tribune archives, more than 70 glass-plate negatives and original photos of grisly crime scenes, mugshots, police raids, criminals in repose, and other aspects of Chicago's seamy underbelly are compiled in this book. Many of the photos in this collection have never before been seen outside of the Tribune. In order to provide historical context, many photos are paired with captions excerpted from contemporary news accounts that appeared in the Tribune.

"Travelers from Chicago know well that the name of their home city often evokes the same reaction wherever they go: a mimed machine-gun burst, or the words 'mobsters,' 'gangsters,' or just 'Al Capone.' The fact that gangland culture, more than 80 years after the end of Prohibition, is still so strongly associated with Chicago is a testament to the public's enduring fascination with this infamous era.

"Gangsters & Grifters: Classic Crime Photos from the Chicago Tribune is a unique addition to the historical records of organized crime in Chicago."

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We wonder if a few decades from now the Tribune will publish a coffee-table book titled Vice Lords & Latin Maniac Kings: Classic Crime Photos from the Chicago Tribune.

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Take a look.

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Mmmm, Pig's Blood
The first 100 copies of Noise In My Head: Voices From the Ugly Australian Underground, the first book release from HoZac Records, "come with pig's blood hand-numbered butcher wrap."

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The Want Will Be Very Real
"The Guild Literary Complex, following its enduring aim to foster dialogue through literature and its diverse and emerging voices in Chicago, presents its next free monthly edition of Palabra Pura that takes place on Wednesday, October 15 at La Bruquena Restaurant (2726 West Division Street, upstairs) from 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m., with an open mic kickoff reading beginning at 7:30.," the GLC says in a press release.

"This upcoming reading series features three Chicago artists - Bobby Biedrzycki, Adriana Galvan, and Kevin Kane - who will get together during that evening to engage with curator Cyn Vargas' suggested theme 'want.'

"As she clarifies, 'Want could be a person, thing, words we long to hear, a new place. Want is at the core of what we do and say. It drives us or it stuns us.'

"Winner of the 2013 Guild Literary Complex Prose Award for Fiction, Vargas invites us all to join the Guild Complex for a night filled with fictional stories about 'narrators wanting something or someone and what they do to try and get it,' as well as the consequences of their potential failure or success. Come and take part of this evening's reading during which the 'want will be very real.'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:23 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The most easily disprovable falsehood of this year's gubernatorial campaign also is one that the mainstream media has not bothered to correct, possibly because the purveyors of the tall tale push back so hard when somebody tries to write the facts," Capitol Fax impresario Rich Miller writes in his weekly column for Crain's.

"The Associated Press in April uncritically reported a statement by Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, who 'criticized Quinn for cutting funding to schools by some $600 million - cuts that led to teacher layoffs and larger class sizes.'"

Miller goes on to show that state education spending has actually increased under Quinn; I recommend you click through to read how that's happened.

But in my view "the most easily disprovable falsehood of this year's gubernatorial campaign" is that Rauner didn't clout his daughter into Payton Prep. While Miller did disprove Rauner's claim about education funding, it took a lot of expertise to do so. The Payton lie is staring us in the face. (The real sin with Rauner's claim about education spending is that, having had the claim disproven by the facts, he continues to make it.)

Besides, Rauner has made so many fantastical claims that it's hard to pick one as more easily disproven as another. As I've said before, Rauner is running a deeply disingenuous campaign almost wholly based on falsehoods gilded by the art of evasion, spin and reversal.

For example, Rauner is now running an internet ad stating that "Quinn didn't raise the minimum wage. We have a plan to do it."

For someone who said in a campaign forum that he wanted to cut the state's minimum wage, as well as someone caught on tape saying he was "adamantly, adamantly" against a minimum wage hike, that's a lot of gall.

His subsequent gymnastics on the issue have been deeply dishonest; the notion that he supports a rise in the minimum wage if coupled with other reforms - including tort "reform," a change in the corporate tax structure, and workman's comp "reform" - is a neat trick that has both eluded the media and is intended to make people think he supports a minimum wage, albeit under some conditions that will produce enough extra revenue for employers to cover the additional labor costs.

Those conditions, though, might as well include Jenny McCarthy learning to split the atom and the Cubs winning the World Series. And even if those conditions are miraculously met, why would he then want to stymie the economic wonderland he'd have created by forcing employers to give up more of their immense profits? I'd be surprised if, deep or even not-so-deep in his heart, he even believed in a minimum wage at all. Which is a position even political candidates are allowed to have, but not allowed to hide.

But now Rauner has a plan. I clicked on "Learn more" to see what that plan was. There is no plan there.

More recently, a Rauner ad accuses Pat Quinn of allowing murderers to be released early from prison, even though an AP fact-check states clearly that no murderers were released early. The ad has not been pulled or amended.

So when Rauner says Quinn will say anything to maintain power, well, it sounds like he's just projecting. The pattern is that Rauner will say anything to get elected. Just look at how he took the GOP for a ride during its primary, assuaging fears that he was a closet liberal and then 24 hours after winning the nomination putting up an ad with his pseudo-Democratic wife Diana assuring general election voters that, sure, he was Republican, but just barely so.

Rauner is also willing to spend as much of his personal fortune as it takes to win - his version of the Friday news dump is to choose that day each week lately to transfer another $1 million out of his billfold and into his campaign fund - and if money is speech, well, that means he's willing to say as much as it takes to win.

As I've said and written before, I'm no fan of Quinn. He's been a royal disappointment. I would have like to see even Dan Hynes or Lisa Madigan knock him off in primaries, and Lord knows I'm no fan of the names Hynes and Madigan. I am a fan of competence, however, in lieu of change agents.

Quinn is far from "honest as the day is long;" he has his own unique relationship with the truth. But it's not borne of a businessperson's DNA and practiced so consciencelessly as to be pathological. Quinn is at least uncomfortable with his lying. He squirms. That's a low bar, sure, but this is Illinois.

At the same time, I found this NBC Chicago/Sun-Times piece to be, gulp, grossly unfair to Rauner.

* * *

"Republican Bruce Rauner had a quick answer when asked to assess blame for the fast collapse of a once-promising business venture created and backed by his one-time Chicago investment firm," the Sun-Times version of the report says.

Christine Kirk.

The accomplished CEO he recruited from a high-flying national accounting firm couldn't make their business-outsourcing firm, LeapSource, based in Tempe, Ariz., profitable because he said she didn't share his vision of what makes a "good company."

"The only thing Chris did on a consistent basis, on a timely basis, was spend," Rauner said. "That's the easy thing to do.

"The hard thing is getting customers; the hard thing is cutting expenses; the hard thing is laying people off. But that's what good companies do when times are tough, and she just would not do it," said Rauner, who sat on LeapSource's board.

That statement comes from a June 2005 deposition that arose from litigation over a messy corporate divorce between Kirk and Rauner and his business partners at Chicago-based investment firm GTCR.

Her lawsuit against him, GTCR and several of its partners offers a firsthand look into Rauner's business philosophy. It's a philosophy Rauner has fine-tuned over the years that he repeatedly has said forms a cornerstone of what kind of Illinois governor he would be as he runs to unseat Gov. Pat Quinn. The lawsuit was settled in 2008 after a judge threw out most of the counts for a variety of legal defects.

The court case provides an unusual window into Rauner's actions while under the stress of immense financial pressures, his attitude toward claims of hostile work environment and the tactics he employed when it appeared certain that Kirk intended to sue to challenge the start-up's dismantling.

That's an awful long lead-up to the central allegations of the article. To not have led with the central allegations - which we shall see shortly - leads me to believe that the reporters weren't 100 percent confident in the veracity of the allegations. It's a hedge - as is the classic "provides a window" and "offers a look." Really? You have no idea of knowing if this is typical behavior or anomalous behavior. It's just a way to rationalize publishing what you really want to publish. Which is this:

Kirk alleged in the lawsuit that Rauner threatened her personally and through a LeapSource board member - a claim she made in a sworn deposition. That former LeapSource board member confirmed in a deposition that "threatening things . . . were said to her" and that he had been involved in some of those conversations. Rauner denied the allegations through a spokesman.

The lawsuit alleged that Rauner told Kirk in February 2001: "If you go legal on us, we'll hurt you and your family."

Kirk also alleged that Rauner, wary of a her possibly suing, relayed a similar threat to her a few days earlier through another board member, Thomas Gilman, a consultant and ex-top executive at Chrysler Financial.

"I will bury her," Rauner is alleged to have told Gilman.

"I will make her radioactive," Rauner allegedly told Gilman, according to the complaint. "She will never get another job anywhere, ever. I will bankrupt her with legal fees. I don't know if she has a family or not, but if she does, she better think twice about this."

Gilman declined to comment.

It's certainly possible Rauner made those exact statements. But anyone can make an allegation - and in this case it wasn't even in open court or in the court filings, but in a sealed deposition. The explosive nature of unfounded allegations often contained in such documents is such that repeating what is in these records does not always come with the same kind of libel protection that usually attaches to public documents.

"[S]ometimes litigants or their lawyers may slip a copy of the papers to reporters," my Associated Press Stylebook And Libel Manual says. "Publication of the material is dangerous because often the litigants come to terms outside the court and the case never goes to trial. So privilege may never attach to the accusations made in court papers."

(I figured this out in my first reporting job in Florida, to the consternation of my editors who wanted to rush some allegations from a sealed deposition into print without giving proper thought to what we were doing; because we were working for a New York Times Co. regional newspaper, we were able to consult, at my instigation, with a New York Times lawyer. The material stayed out of the story.)

My bible, The Reporter's Handbook, published by Investigative Reporters & Editors, says of civil case files involving businesses generally: "Remember, however, that everything in the files is not true, and shouldn't be reported as such."

I would contend that NBC Chicago and the Sun-Times are reporting the claims of Kirk and Gilman as such - even though both refused to comment for the story.

I simply wouldn't trust what one or two people said in a deposition nine years ago unless there were a slew of lawsuits in which the language and tactics used were uncannily similar and seemed to show a pattern. (An example of that would be the reporting by Jim DeRogatis and Abdon Pallasch on civil lawsuits filed against R. Kelly, which fit together in ways that could only lead to one unmistakable conclusion.)

The depositions are a good lead, but they don't prove anything.

To put it another way, if your mother says in a deposition that she loves you, check it out.

* * *

Back to the story:

A federal judge threw out most of the lawsuit, including the counts containing the allegations involving the threats. The judge, though, did not make a determination on the credibility of those allegations.

It appears that nobody did.

What makes the LeapSource case unique among the dozen subsidiaries that went bankrupt during Rauner's watch at GTCR is that in this case, his own voice is accessible through excerpts of his court deposition - most of which is still under seal - and in transcripts from a series of board meetings that Kirk recorded in her closing weeks as CEO.

Just because you have the transcript of Rauner giving a deposition doesn't mean you have to use it.

But the Phoenix lawyer who once represented her said GTCR's promise of a partnership with her to make a financially viable company was an empty one that hurt his one-time client, who was paid $600,000 a year to head LeapSource.

What I think is typical of investment banking firms, they do a very good job of taking care of themselves, and they can be very ruthless in their treatment of everybody else," said the attorney, Scot Stirling.

That sentiment would be more in line with the pattern we have seen in Rauner's business dealings and, in fact, how private equity works as a whole. You don't need the allegations of personal threats to show that.

In his deposition, Rauner saw things differently.

"She would say whatever she felt she needed to say to get us to continue to fund the business, that we were very close to a sale, that we were very close to an investor, that . . . we had a lot of clients signed up or virtually signed up," Rauner said.

"We were trying to be pretty believing and tried to be pretty patient, and we would keep going. And then we would explore whatever came up, whatever she brought up, and it would end up, in my judgment, being a house of cards," he said.

So Rauner chose the wrong CEO. Not everyone is going to bat 1.000, but picking the right executive is not only the business skill Rauner most prides himself on, but the essence of GTCR's business model.

Rauner has gotten extremely wealthy on that model, but I'd be curious to know just what his batting average really is - beyond the fact that a dozen companies went bankrupt on his watch, which might be typical for a private equity firm of GTCR's size. I still don't feel like I have a complete and concise picture of Rauner as a business chieftain.

But back to our story:

Shortly before her firing, Kirk recorded a board meeting in February 2001, where discussion about the company's precarious finances was sidetracked after she brought to the board's attention allegations that a LeapSource manager routinely brought a gun to work in his car, had a violent temper and had threatened to "take someone out" at work, according to a transcript in the court record.

Kirk also alleged the same employee, Matt Appel, wound up striking his secretary, causing her to quit, and posed "some big risks" to GTCR "from a litigation perspective," the transcript shows.

"Whether it's true or not, it's a hostile work environment, it's well documented and it's not a good thing," Kirk said in the transcript.

Rauner expressed sympathy for the former secretary but also suggested LeapSource's precarious financial condition trumped concerns about the manager and any liability related to the secretary being struck.

"In a normal operating company, there would be certainly channels on how to deal with that and no company and no civil person would want to have anything to do with an employee like that," Rauner said at one point, according to the transcript. "The flip side is, we as a board . . . are you know, debating issues of whether LeapSource has its lights on on Monday. I mean, and so, you know, whether the secretary sues or not, you know, pales by comparison."

The Sun-Times is inferring if not outright saying that Rauner was wrongly dismissive of allegations that an employee struck a secretary, kept a gun in his car and threatened to "take someone out."

I read it differently. Where the hell is Kirk? She hadn't dealt yet with an employee who, according to her wavering, may or may not have struck a secretary, and threatened to take someone out while keeping a gun in his car in the office parking lot?

Rauner is right. A well-run company, or even a poorly run company, would have procedures in place to deal with just such situations. But if the company doesn't open for business on Monday, the point is largely moot, outside of notifying the police of a possible threat.

There is no evidence that Appel ever was disciplined.

Why? Were the allegations not true? Or did Kirk fail to act?

"It is clear from the partial transcript that Bruce went into the phone call completely unaware of Appel's alleged behavior," [Rauner spokesperson Mike] Schrimpf said. "He was disturbed to learn that no executives at the company had done anything to address the issue with Matt Appel when they had first come to learn of it. That is what would have happened in a normal operating company."

This might be the first time all campaign that I agree with Schrimpf.

(By the way, Appel did speak to NBC and the Sun-Times, and denied the accusation. Kirk refused to comment and therefore her role in the situation could not be ascertained.)

And, ultimately, a federal judge ruled that Kirk didn't prove her case, at least in a fiduciary sense.

Rauner and GTCR succeeded in having nearly all of Kirk's case against them tossed out because in part it wasn't proven they had "breached the fiduciary duties of loyalty and due care, which, indisputably, are the touchstone of corporate governance," U.S. District Judge Robert C. Broomfield wrote in his opinion.

But the Sun-Times wants you think otherwise. (Always look for the closing quote to see which way a reporter or their news organization leans.)

But Broomfield characterized the way in which Rauner and his co-defendants conducted themselves.

"At the end of the day, it appears that plaintiffs were displeased because at nearly every step of the way, from negotiating the original purchase agreement to the wind-down operations, defendants chose to 'play hard ball,'" the judge said.

In this case, the Sun-Times uses "hard ball" as a pejorative, though it's not clear the judge intended it as so. For Rauner, well, playing "hard ball" is exactly what he says he'll do in Springfield.

* * *

Playing "hard ball" as a pejorative is also the lead of the broadcast version of the story - though the judge seems to have been criticizing Kirk, not Rauner in that statement. The lawsuit, which was actually about the financials of severing of LeapSource from GTCR, simply stemmed from Kirk being "displeased" about Rauner's hard-nosed but standard business negotiations, the judge said by my reading.

Here's the NBC version of the story:

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Pat Rauner Vs. Bruce Quinn

A few Quinn allies have latched on to this quote as evidence of Rauner's heartlessness:

"The hard thing is getting customers; the hard thing is cutting expenses; the hard thing is laying people off. But that's what good companies do when times are tough, and she just would not do it," said Rauner.

But isn't cutting expenses and laying people off just what Quinn has done during tough times?

That's just what Rauner accuses Quinn of doing in his new ad - to fatal results!

From the press release accompanying the ad:

DCFS Funding Has Been Cut By $115 Million Since FY2010

In FY2010, DCFS Funding Stood At $1,297,400,000. ("State Of Illinois Enacted FY2014 Budget," Civic Federation, 10/2/13, p.28)

In The Enacted FY2015 Budget, DCFS's Funding Is $1,181,622,000, A Decrease Of $115.8 Million Since FY2010. (State of Illinois Budget Summary - FY2015, Commission on Government Forecasting And Accountability, p. 39)

Quinn Proposed A 5 Percent Cut To DCFS' Budget For FY2013. "The Legislature has reduced DCFS funding by nearly 10 percent in five years, and Gov. Pat Quinn's budget proposes cutting another 5 percent, although about 2 percent would be offset by increases in federal funding." (Christy Gutowski and Bill Ruthhart, "DCFS Poised To Do More With Less," The Chicago Tribune, 4/22/12)

However, The General Assembly Cut DCFS' Budget By $50 Million, Threatening Layoffs. "Thursday some 375 employees of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services got some good news, their layoff notices were revoked. But it's unclear how long they will be spared thanks to a $50 million budget cut for DCFS passed by the Illinois legislature back in May."(Kendall Downing, "Massive DCFS Layoffs Averted For Now," WPSD, 10/12/12)

$25 Million Of The Cuts Were Replaced In A Supplemental Appropriations Bill. "A year after crippling budget cuts, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is finally getting some good news. Help is on the way. 'The biggest trauma that was inflicted was not knowing whether or not they were going to be able to provide services in their community to their children and families and what would happen to this very vulnerable population,' said Carlene Hawkins, AFSCME President Local 265. A bill passed Thursday, gives the DCFS $25 million dollars." ("DCFS Gets $25 Million In Funding," CBS 4, 2/7/13)

Without The Extra $25 Million, DCFS Would Have Been Forced To Lay Off 2/3rds Of Its Staff. "Now the General Assembly has to act. If it doesn't, up to 1,957 DCFS workers - two-thirds of the staff - could lose their jobs in March, the agency says."(Editorial, Editorial: Don't Trim At-Risk Kids Out Of State Budgets," The Chicago Sun-Times, 2/9/13)

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Quinncidence
Push-polling on the NBC Chicago/Sun-Times story.

Follow that link for the Rauner campaign's response, too. I wonder if they made this case to NBC Chicago and the Sun-Times or are just making it now.

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Spin Sin

Rich Miller also doesn't appear to be buying it either, though I disagree on him with the potential impact:

While many of the allegations in the Sun-Times story appear to be bogus or directly contradicted by other evidence, particularly since they were tossed by a judge, if Rauner loses the spin war on this thing he may very well be toast. Done. Put a fork in him. Ergo, the vigorous pushback.

I don't care about the spin war and neither should you. We need a fact war, and for that, it's clear, we need more facts.

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Algren Is Back
Plus: Gangsters, Grifters & Pig's Blood. In Local Book Notes.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: L'Assassins, Dick Diver, Ausmuteants, Warpaint, Vicious Attack, Al Stewart, Erasure, Suicide Silence, John Fullbright, The Screamin' End, The Fauntleroys, Tawdry Hepburns, Twenty One Pilots, Christopher Owens, Coheed and Cambria, The Wood Brothers, Stick Figure, Slaughter and the Dogs, Alterbeast, Chelsea Grin, Daedelus, Liam Hayes and Plush, Vintage Trouble, and Affiance.

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BeachBook
* Matt Forte's Fumble Was The Most Damaging Play Of Week 5.

Jay Cutler's fourth-quarter interception was the fifth-most damaging.

* Neil Young On Obama: What Happened?

Obama happened; should've been reading the Beachwood!

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Entry-level tips welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:43 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. L'Assassins at Livewire on Friday night.


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2. Dick Diver at the Burlington on Thursday night.

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3. Ausmuteants at Bric-a-Brac on Sunday.

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4. Warpaint at the Vic on Sunday night.

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5. Vicious Attack at Livewire on Saturday night.

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6. Al Stewart at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles on Sunday night.

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7. Erasure at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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8. Suicide Silence at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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9. John Fullbright at the Vic on Thursday night.

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10. The Screamin' End at Martyrs on Thursday night.

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11. The Fauntleroys at City Winery on Thursday night.

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12. Tawdry Hepburns at Martyrs on Thursday night.

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13. Twenty One Pilots at the Aragon on Friday night.

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14. Christopher Owens at Park West on Friday night.

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15. Coheed and Cambria at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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16. The Wood Brothers at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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17. Stick Figure at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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18. Slaughter and the Dogs at Reggies on Sunday night.

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19. Alterbeast at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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20. Chelsea Grin at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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21. Daedelus at the Concord on Thursday night.

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22. Liam Hayes and Plush at Park West on Friday night.

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23. Vintage Trouble at Park West on Saturday night.

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24. Affiance at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

October 6, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

"In 17 years on the board of the Jesse White Tumblers, attorney Robert Kuzas made some powerful allies in Chicago's black community," the Sun-Times reports.

"Now, those friends have helped Kuzas - who is white - secure a Cook County judgeship from a district created two decades ago to help get more African Americans elected to the bench from the West Side."

Well, that was two decades ago. A lot has changed since then. For example, I'm sure Kuzas is a longtime West Side resident who has done a lot of great work in the area and got his shot at the bench fair and square.

"Kuzas leased an apartment on the downtown edge of the district to run for a vacancy created last November with the sudden retirement of Judge LaQuietta J. Hardy-Campbell, who was one of the subcircuit's 10 judges, nine of them black. The timing of Hardy-Campbell's retirement left potential candidates just 19 days to collect the signatures of 1,000 registered voters to get on the March primary ballot."

Oh.

"Kuzas managed to do that with the help of a political army. And he got the endorsements of black political figures including Secretary of State Jesse White and White's protege, Ald. Walter Burnett (27th).

"Mable Taylor, an attorney who is black, also was seeking seat. But three Kuzas supporters challenged Taylor's petitions and got her knocked off the ballot, leaving Kuzas with no opponent in the Democratic primary."

Robert Kuzas, Jesse White and Walter Burnett, you are Today's Worst People In Chicago.

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"He's also unopposed in next month's general election. That means he will become one of two white judges in the seventh subcircuit, which stretches west from the Chicago River downtown across the West Side to Berwyn, Cicero and River Forest. The other white judge - elected two years ago, also without opposition - is William Gamboney, who was the attorney for disgraced former police Cmdr. Jon Burge."

Oh for Christ's sake!

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"Kuzas declined to comment on his judicial race, saying only, 'I've wanted to be a judge since law school.'"

And you found a way to do it. Congratulations.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #26: Raunocchio & Rahmocchio
Phoney balonies. Including: Brother Oberweis, Olympic Bid Hangover, Rahm's Rigged Red-Light Refunds, and The Age of Chicago's Poverty.

The College Football Report: Katy, Butt Chugging & Bud
Mississippi up for grabs, Tennessee leading from behind.

SportsMonday: Jay Is As Jay Does
Unlike a box of chocolates, you always know what you're gonna get.

The Cub Factor
There will be a season-ending Cub Factor at some point.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
In production!

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BeachBook
* Chicago Fire Of The Vanities.

See also @BeachwoodReport for our wildly popular #greatchicagofirefestival tweets.

* Losing The Birth Lottery.

A compelling case for open borders.

* Science Says Those Grammar Rules You Learned In Middle School Were A Waste Of Time.

Expert grammarians have long agreed - only ignorant editors stand in the way.

* Corporate America Healthiest In Decades Under Obama.

President 1%.

* Boeing's Job Cuts Have Unions Questioning Billions In State Tax Breaks.

Not just unions; taxpayers too.

* Indiana Facility Steps Up In Chicago Air Traffic Control Crisis.

"'When we went to open Friday morning, our ATC supervisor wasn't able to contact anyone at Chicago Center, so he came to me and said 'we've got a problem,' said Michael Lang, 434th Operations Support Squadron air traffic manager."

* A Typical Chicago City School Gets Half The Funding Of A Wealthy Suburban School.

Half.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Judgemental.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:29 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Jay Is As Jay Does

The missed 35-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter might very well have been the worst kick of Robbie Gould's career in terms of degree of difficulty (ultra-low) and the circumstances. It was as pivotal as Jay Cutler's brutal interception with his team up three midway through the fourth. Get the field goal there, take a 17-point lead, kick off to Carolina with less than 1:30 left in the second quarter, make them take possession at the 20 at best (without the momentum of a missed opposing field goal) and there would have been a great chance that last Panther drive didn't happen.

Take the glorious 17-point lead (the one that forces foes to score three times to go back in front) into the second-half and the Bears' Win Expectancy Rate (I'm just making that up as I sit here but you know what I mean) skyrockets.

But it is tough to slam the kicker for the miss because it is so rare (going into the season Gould had made 86.2 percent of his field goal attempts in his career - the third-best such number in NFL history). The same reasoning is in order regarding Matt Forte's brutal bobble, given that his overall fumble rate (per carries) has been one of the lowest in the league throughout his career.

Of course, the same does not hold true for Cutler's second pick and that is why everyone has come crashing down again on the embattled quarterback in the aftermath of the Bears' discouraging-to-say-the-least 31-24 loss to the Panthers on Sunday.

It wasn't just that Cutler threw another second-half interception. It was that it was such a bad pass at such a bad time. The defense had been on a roll, forcing three straight punts on the Panthers' three previous possessions. If the offense could have just avoided giving the Panthers offense short fields in their final few possessions, there was plenty of reason to believe the defense could have closed this one out.

But no, lightning-rod Jay found another way to ensure he would take the vast majority of the blame for a loss that is a sizable setback for the now 2-3 Bears. He didn't quite take complete ownership of the gaffe after the game, talking about how "we" have to stop committing second-half turnovers and that "high passes down the middle are never good." But he didn't piss anyone off either. I suppose that's a tiny bit of progress.

Just once you would love the guy to say something like "I just want the fans to know that no one feels worse than I do when I throw passes like that. All I can say is that I will work even harder in the coming week to be better. And I will donate three-quarters of my salary to starving kids in Africa." Yeah, that would be good.

And now, as Bill Belichick would say, and say, and say "It is on to (Atlanta)." Or it is after a few notes:

* Another week, another set of ridiculous personal foul penalties. What the hell were those "blind side block" calls? So guys who want to make blocks out in the open field now have to stop and assess whether the people they want to block are aware enough of the pending contact? Really?

Perhaps the Bears coverage units can adopt a strategy along the lines of once a guy realizes he can't make a tackle, just stand there facing mostly away from opposing players, enticing them to make contact with you and then flopping like nobody's business if they come anywhere near. It would be better than what they have going at this point.

Can anyone else recall seeing calls like that ever in a previous Bears game?

* Pass protection held up quite nicely until the very end. It is becoming more and more apparent that Michael Ola was a major find, as the rookie free agent has now filled in capably at two different positions along the line. Of course, that just makes the losses worse: the Bears now have enough offensive line depth to give themselves a chance even when three guys go down in four weeks. And yet they are still 2-3.

* Local player alert! There was Jason Avant, still making his way in the league after more than a decade of professional pass-catching. The Far South Side Carver alum starred as a wide receiver at Michigan way back when and then was a solid option for Donovan McNabb in Philly for many years before he became a journeyman the past few seasons. It is always great to see a Chicago Public School grad still making plays long after most players have bowed out.

And it is certainly more fun to think about Avant at this point than the home team's receivers.

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The New Urlacher

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He Is Who He Is

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See also:
* Arkush: Bears Woes Start With Cutler.

"After getting torn apart by Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the defense had three takeaways, two sacks and seven pass breakups, which included consecutively tipped passes by rookie tackle Ego Ferguson. Newton had a 69.7 passer rating in the first half.

"Now, Newton isn't Rodgers. But the defense, which lost starters Chris Conte (concussion) and Bostic (linebacker), still held the Panthers to a season-best 321 total net yards and forced five punts, including three consecutive in the fourth quarter when the Bears led 24-21 . . . Five of the Bears' 13 touchdowns on offense have come after defensive takeaways."

* Fishbain: Second Half Dooms Bears Again.

"Panthers safety Thomas DeCoud, who picked off a Jay Cutler pass and returned it 35 yards in the fourth quarter, told reporters that Carolina's defensive players were able to figure things out after halftime.

"'It all came to fruition in the second half, you've seen certain things before and they were repeating certain plays,' he said. 'We were able to get in position and make those plays in the second half.'"

* Wiederer: Bennett's Missed Block Winds Up Haunting Bears.

Was looking at Jumbotron.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:08 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Katy Perry, Butt Chugging & Bud

1. Katy Perry.

Katy Perry appeared on ESPN's College GameDay bedecked in bizarre football attire and brandishing corndogs. In the pregame, she disrupted Lee Corso's shtick of donning a mascot's headgear, gave the Ole Miss mascot a full-body hug, and was spotted chugging beers and bodysurfing in an Oxford bar following the game.


If ESPN intended to play up Perry for ratings, she made a masterful PR turnabout by seizing the spotlight in true party-girl fashion. Well done, ma'am. Well done. This Hotty Toddy is for you.

2. The Magnolia State.

All of Mississippi went up for grabs Saturday, with huge wins by Ole Miss and Mississippi State, which climbed to a tie for #3 in the rankings. Rebels fans tore down the goalposts and paraded down the street. Maybe it was all that star power - for some reason, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth (who?), Octavia Spencer (ditto?), the NBA's Vince Carter (still in the league!) and Mike Conley joined Perry in Oxford, mingling at tailgate parties and on the sidelines.

3. Horned Frogs Show Chameleons How It's Done.

#25 TCU nearly pulled off a fake play for the ages on Saturday. Tied at 21 in the second quarter, The Horned Frogs dropped back to receive a kickoff from Oklahoma. No one seemed to notice as returner B.J. Catalon lay down in the O of the "Frogs" in the end zone, perfectly disguised against the purple field and wide open after he popped back up to receive the throwback pass. Sadly, a holding call brought the play back from midfield, but still.

TCU went on to upset the Cowboys (#4), 37-33.

4. Texas A&M's Backup Quarterback.

The Aggies (#6) backup QB Kyle Allen took some time during a 48-31 blowout loss to Mississippi State (#12) to chat up a coed staffer on the sidelines. Way to stay focused, kid. Where's your clipboard? For that matter, where's your headset? At least pretend like you're paying attention to the game.

5. Tennessee.

Fans of the Volunteers have just taken it to the next level in binge drinking. A few weeks ago, a man was arrested for drinking his underage son under the table in what was apparently intended as a teaching moment, and now the hottest selling T-shirt on campus shows UT mascot Smoky "butt chugging." Google that term at your own risk.

6. Underdogs And The Under.

The 'dogs fared well against the point spread, posting a 32-24-1 record in Week 6, with the under turning in an even better record, at 35-21-1.

The entire Top 25 turned upside down, with huge wins by #11 Ole Miss over #3 Alabama, 23-17, the aforementioned Horned Frogs and MSU, and shocking home losses by #8 UCLA (to unranked Utah, 30-28) and #16 USC to unranked Arizona State, 38-34.

7. Pat Fitzgerald And Chris Gadone.

Coach Fitzgerald seems to have turned things around, as the Wildcats bounced back from an ugly start to the season and upset #17 Wisconsin 20-14 in Evanston. The secondary stepped up by making four picks, more than making up for NU's olé defense against the run: Badger RB Melvin Gordon racked up 259 rushing. But the game ball should go to Wildcats punter Chris Gadone. On a damp, blustery day Gadone lofted seven punts for a net of 35.9 yards including four inside UW's 20. The return game for Wisconsin was nonexistent, totaling only 21 yards on two runbacks.

8. Alvin "Bud" Dupree.

First, Alvin should get a Top 10 mention every week for being named Alvin and nicknamed Bud. That's a killer combo. This week, Bud gets the nod for a fantastic pick-six to cap Kentucky's wild comeback victory over visiting South Carolina.

UK trailed 38-24 with 11:45 remaining in the fourth quarter but went on an absolute tear to win 45-38. At 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the SEC, why not Kentucky? (Wait, did we just say something optimistic about the Wildcats?)

9. The Slowest False Start Penalty of All Time.

10. Connor Halliday.

The Washington State QB threw for 734 yards and six touchdowns in a loss. The Huskies fell 60-59 to Cal, despite the record-breaking performance by Halliday, who eclipsed virtually every stat in history, including FBS total yards passing and the Division I total, which had stood since 1990 and 2012, respectively.

Maybe WSU should try running the ball a bit, though. Otherwise, at this pace, Halliday's arm is going to fall off by Week Eight.

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Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

October 4, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Hour #26: Raunocchio & Rahmocchio

Phoney balonies. Including: Brother Oberweis, Olympic Bid Hangover, Rahm's Rigged Red-Light Refunds, and The Age of Chicago's Poverty.

SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:39: Soupcans at Permanent Records last Saturday night.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

* Sound Opinions: "Perhaps the most essential element of rock 'n' roll: The Guitar Riff. Jim, Greg and some listeners break it down and name their favorites. Then they review a new double album from another guitar legend, Prince."

6:37: Robert Plant at the Riv on Thursday night.

9:45: Raunocchio & Rahmocchio.

* Phoney balonies.

* Rauner lied to Bernie.

* Rahm's push poll.

23:25: Blake Mills with Fiona Apple at Mayne Stage on Sunday night.

24:30: Sun-Times Exploits Suicidal Man For Money.

26:58: Brother Oberweis.

* We'll talk about Rauner courting black votes next week.

29:42: Shovels & Rope at the Vic on Thursday night.

30:58: The [Thursday] Papers.

* The CPD Is Spying On You.

* Olympic Bid Bills Coming Due.

* Rahm's Rigged Red-Light Refunds.

41:30: Coves at the Double Door last Friday night.

42:47: The Age Of Chicago's Poverty.

* Heat Wave.

* Why schools and museums are more important than neighborhood jobs.

51:50: Local Music Notebook: Just Do Me.

53:21: Local Book Notes: Gangstanomics.

54:17: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #20: The NFL Is Decadent And Depraved.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Tales From The Crypt.

* The College Football Report: Scooby Snacks & Rat Packs.

55:07: Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.

55:33: Scary Face Pancakes Are Back At IHOP.

55:47: The Weekend Desk Report.

* I would be more interested in both spectacles if a blindfolded Nik Wallenda walked across the Great Chicago Fire Festival.

* I suck and there's a weird clicking at certain points in this podcast and I don't know why.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

I would be more interested in both spectacles if a blindfolded Nik Wallenda walked across the Great Chicago Fire Festival.

Elite Exceptionalism
Why doesn't Wallenda have to conform to the city's law requiring tightrope workers to wear a safety harness?

Because "he belongs in a unique and elite class of performers," a city spokesperson told the Tribune's Eric Zorn.

Two Chicagos.

Cold Hard Facts
Global warming will be disproven once again this weekend, as will the equally scientific notion that crime is down.

Oh Brother
Zeke Emanuel wants to kill you at 75; Rahm just wants to make you poor.

Maybe Try Locking The Doors
"FAA Chief: No Quick Fix To Prevent Another Fire Like Chicago."

That's okay - next year we're having The Great Chicago Air Traffic Control Fire Festival.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Firing line.

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The Beachwood Radio Network

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #26: Raunocchio & Rahmocchio.

Phoney balonies. Including: Brother Oberweis, Olympic Bid Hangover, Rahm's Rigged Red-Light Refunds, and The Age of Chicago's Poverty.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #20: The NFL Is Decadent And Depraved.

And it's really grinding Coach's gears. Segments also include: Pondering The Packers, Panthers Prognosis, Jerry Angelo's Kids, All About Jay, Being The Blackhawks, and Bulls Rolling In The Deep.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Perhaps the most essential element of rock 'n' roll: The Guitar Riff. Jim, Greg and some listeners break it down and name their favorites. Then they review a new double album from another guitar legend, Prince."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: Farm Chicago.

Did you know that, on average, your food travels 1,500 miles before you get a chance to eat it? Angela Mason of Windy City Harvest and other local urban agriculturalists discuss the movement to grow food locally and what the benefits are for the environment and the economy.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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BeachBook
* Vintage Chicago.

* How Stupid Can CNN Get About Muslims? This Stupid.

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TweetWood

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Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:36 AM | Permalink

October 3, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #20: The NFL Is Decadent And Depraved

And it's really grinding Coach's gears. Plus: Pondering The Packers, Panthers Prognosis, Jerry's Kids, All About Jay, Being The Blackhawks, and Bulls Rolling In The Deep.


SHOW NOTES

:58: Pondering The Packers.

* Packers Roll Over Vikings, Ponder In Yet Another Thursday Night Dud.

* Call 911: Coach is on fire.

* Grinding Coach's gears.

grindsgears.jpg

* False narratives.

Establishing the run; winning the time of possession battle.

* Don't make your offense play defense.

* Martellus Bennett scored; Marc Trestman's strategy worked.

* Willie Young forgot his tackle box at home.

* Tucker Time lasted one week.

20:30: Panthers Prognosis.

* Cam Newton ready to take off the fig leaf.

* All about Jay.

* 38-31.

* Trestman's changed, man. It used to be about the music.

* Bill Belichick is moving on to Cincinnati.

* Jerry Angelo: Trading Greg Olsen was a mistake.

* Jerry Angelo: Cutler Inconsistent In The Clutch.

* Jerry Angelo: Guy I traded for sucks; guy I traded away is great!

* Jaworski vs. Cutler.

* Bears offensive coordinators = Cubs managers.

* Terry Shea is now a "consultant."

* Gary Crowton was last seen in Winnipeg.

* Ron Turner is the head coach at Florida International University.

* John Shoop is the offensive coordinator for Purdue.

* Mike Martz is an analyst for Fox Sports.

* Mike Tice is the offensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons.

* See also: Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinators: A History of Incompetence.

* Missing Angry Matt Slauson.

* WTF North Carolina.

"[A] Mecklenburg County district judge found [Greg Hardy] guilty in July of assaulting and threatening to kill Nicole Holder, who told authorities Hardy was upset over her brief relationship with rapper Nelly after she and Hardy broke up," the Charlotte Observer explains.

"Under North Carolina law, defendants convicted of a misdemeanor by a judge can appeal for a jury trial. It's referred to as a trial de novo, which is Latin for 'anew.' In such cases, the appeals court holds a trial as if no prior trial was held."

41:46: Being The Blackhawks.

* Cap city!

* Patrick Sharp and the Knives!

* Theo Coffman!

* Preseason Power Play: 0-for-17.

* Jonathan Toews = Derek Jeter.

* Kevin Dineen.

50:00: Bulls Skulls.

* They call him Mister Thibs.

* Minor League Moniker Madness.

* The College Football Report: Scooby Snacks & Rat Packs.

* Joakim Cutler.

* Rolling in the deep.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Tales From The Crypt.

STOPPAGE TIME: 1:08.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Soupcans at Permanent Records last Saturday night.


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2. Robert Plant at the Riv on Thursday night.

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3. Blake Mills with Fiona Apple at Mayne Stage on Sunday night.

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4. King Dude at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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5. Shovels & Rope at the Vic on Thursday night.

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6. Fleetwood Mac on the West Side on Thursday night.

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7. Every Knee Shall Bow at Livewire on Thursday night.

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8. Fink at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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9. Perfume Genius at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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10. Mø at the Concord on Tuesday night

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11. La Roux at the Concord on Wednesday night.

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12. Within Temptation at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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13. Paloma Faith at Park West on Wednesday night.

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14. Amaranthe at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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15. Ailing at Cobra Lounge on Tuesday night.

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16. Tim Kinsella at the Co-Prosperity Sphere last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol

Gene's Sausage.

cowrearview.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:54 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"Nik Wallenda to Wear Blindfold for Tightrope Walk Between Chicago Skyscrapers."

Big deal. The city council does its job blindfold every day.

That's all for me! Leaving on a high note ...

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The Beachwood Radio Network

* The Beachwood Radio Hour is in pre-production!

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* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #20: The NFL Is Decadent And Depraved.

And it's really grinding Coach's gears. Plus: Pondering The Packers, Panthers Prognosis, Jerry's Kids, All About Jay, Being The Blackhawks, and Bulls Rolling In The Deep.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol
In Lincoln Square.

The College Football Report: Scooby Snacks & Rat Packs
Adults are just the worst.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Soupcans, Robert Plant, Blake Mills with Fiona Apple, King Dude, Shovels and Rope, Fleetwood Mac, Every Knee Shall Bow, Fink, Perfume Genius, Mo, La Roux, Within Temptation, Paloma Faith, Amaranthe, Ailing, and Tim Kinsella.

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BeachBook
* Vice Requires Writers To Get Approval To Write About Brands.

Is there an honest shop out there anywhere?

* Knowledge Should Not Be Trapped Behind A Paywall.

Nor should journalism.

* Schlafly Beer Coming To Chicago.

With a name like Schlafly, it must be good.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Square the flat circle.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Scooby Snacks & Rat Packs

The Arizona Wildcats gave us a preview Thursday night of what promises to be a crazy weekend of football. 'Zona upset #2 Oregon - again - this time in Eugene, 31-24. This was the second straight win by the Wildcats over a Top 5 Oregon team, and featured a spectacular play by LB Scooby Wright III to clinch it. (Yes, there are two other Scoobys - Scoobies? - out there.) The Wildcats were underdogs by three touchdowns (+21.5) in what most expected to be a high-scoring shootout (82 o/u) featuring the Ducks scoring machine, quarterback Marcus Mariota. But Anu Solomon, Arizona's redshirt freshman QB, made the biggest impact, aided by diminutive (listed at a generous 5'7") RB Terris Jones-Grisgby.

This Week In Criminal Justice
The Kentucky Wildcats proved that even on the police blotter, they are hopelessly outgunned in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky suspended four players who were charged with disorderly conduct for discharging an air pistol near a dormitory last Sunday night. After getting off to a promising 3-1 start, UK's season looks shot. A witness identified the players by noticing one wearing a special T-shirt - one that was only given to Kentucky's special teams players.

This Week In Charlie Weis
The Charlie Weis Death Watch is over in Kansas. The Jayhawks mercifully dismissed Weis and installed defensive coordinator Clint Bowen as interim head coach. KU hasn't played a game under Bowen yet, so it's impossible to know what impact he will have on the field, but we love his attitude at the podium. Interviewed about his new position, Bowen said: "Game day is too fun, game day is too exciting. If a kid makes a great play, I can't change that. I'm not going to be a Tom Osborne standing there with my arms crossed. It's not what I do. It's not what I want to do." Yes! College football is fun! Finally a head coach who gets it!

This Week In McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey inexplicably stopped by the Texas Longhorns' practice to dispense some, um, whatever it is that McConaughey does. Not quite "time is a flat circle" but close.

This Week In Rat Packs
What does this guy, this guy, that guy, and Johnny Football have in common? Well, they hung out together once. That's it. That's the story. Add Manziel, another sports figure, a few rappers, place in an exotic (if Miami counts as exotic) locale, toss in a few B-list celebrities, and presto!

This Week In Booster Clubs
A booster group for Florida State fired the club's comptroller after the cash drawer turned up $500,000 to $700,000 short. Just a half million between friends, no big deal, right? Somebody had to pick up the bill for all those Tomahawk Thursdays!

Michigan Death Watch
Michigan (2-3) surrendered the Little Brown Jug for only the second time in the last 24 years in a 30-14 loss to Minnesota last Saturday, only intensifying the call for athletic director Dave Brandon and head coach Brady Hoke to go. But few are talking about the loss in Ann Arbor this week; they're talking about Hoke allowing QB Shane Morris to re-enter the game after sustaining a concussion. Brandon's defense of Hoke isn't helping.

"I don't think Brady deserves any blame for what happened on the sidelines," Brandon told the Detroit Free Press. "Because Brady is responsible for coaching."

Apparently that doesn't include responsibility for the health of his players.

"I will take the full responsibility," Hoke said, "but at the same time I'm not clearing guys to go play."

In other words, I will take full responsibility but it's not my responsibility and I'm not taking it!

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I guess we can expect Brandon and Hoke to fire the medical staff, then. But Hoke says the medical staff should be absolved because Morris was responsible for clearing himself.

Really. And he's not even pre-med!

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So Morris should be fired - though he'd apparently have to fire himself.

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Hoke, interviewed immediately after the game, on his QB's toughness: "Shane's a pretty competitive, tough kid, and Shane wanted to be the quarterback, and so believe me, if he didn't want to be, he would've come to the sideline or stayed down."

Of course, the kid was too dazed to even know there was a sideline - or that he was in the middle of a football game - but nevermind.

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Brandon and Hoke may be going down on the same ship. UM reportedly started searching for a new AD earlier this week and we imagine a new coach will soon follow. Although a petition demanding Brandon resign has reached 10,000 signatures, the money is on his side. Millionaire alum Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, vouched for Brandon in an he still has Brandon's vote for whatever that's worth. (Not much.) If Hoke's players have spit the bit, he'll know it. Michigan goes on the road (6 p.m., Michigan favored by 2) to face Rutgers, the first meeting between the two schools. Rutgers (4-1, 0-1) lacks the talent level but could easily beat an uninspired UM team. The Scarlet Knights will host the Wolverines in a sold-out High Point Solutions stadium that will be keyed up for an upset. If the Maize and Blue leave with an L, Hoke and Brandon might as well pack their bags.

Michigan beat writer Nick Baumgardner summed up the fans' exasperation best: "They're tired. Of both. And when I say tired, I mean this: Outside of 2011, Michigan has been mediocre or worse on the football field for the past seven years. Seven years. Think about that."

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Related: A study released by Harvard University and Boston University found that college football players suffer 26 various head injuries for every one concussion reported.

"In my mind, the most important finding is that college football players are intentionally playing through the vast majority potential concussions," Chris Nowinski, co-founder of the concussion education group Sports Legacy Institute, told ESPN. "Their intention is influenced by a lack of understanding of the injury [and] the culture of their position, as well as a learned perception that their coach may not support reporting a concussion."

Key Match-Ups
The schedule is chockablock with head-to-head match-ups in the Top 25. Here's a quick look:

#6 Texas A&M vs. #12 Mississippi State, 11 a.m.

Our pick: Kenny Hill is the trillest.

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#14 Stanford (-2.5) vs. #9 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m.

Our pick: This seems like the right time of year for the Irish to lose against a quality opponent, dropping them out of the running for the national championship, only to finish the year with a single loss and thus remain hypothetically in contention. This means, given the four-team playoff format, Notre Dame may actually be in contention when all's said and done. It's as if we just saw the next two months flash before our eyes.

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#3 Alabama vs. #11 Ole Miss, 2:30 p.m.

Our pick: ESPN College GameDay invades picturesque Oxford, MI this weekend, meaning that the game will be the backdrop to the atmosphere rather than the other way around. Why? This video should explain it all about Ole Miss fans.

These people invented a cheer that doesn't mean anything, even in English.

If tailgating had a holy grail, it would be entombed somewhere on the grounds of The Grove in Oxford.

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#4 Oklahoma (-5) vs. #25 TCU, 2:30 p.m.

Our pick: This is everyone's upset special. We say no. Boomer Sooner!

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#15 LSU vs. #5 Auburn (-8), 6 p.m.

Our pick: How good is the SEC West? Every team in the division but Arkansas appears in the Top 25 this week. That's ridiculous. For the first time in history, a conference division has six ranked teams taking the field in three head-to-head match-ups. We can't figure out all the conference and national title implications, so let's just say the results will be significant. As for this one? We'll take the Tigers.

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#19 Nebraska vs. #10 Michigan State (-6.5), 7 p.m.

Our pick: Not to leave out the Midwest, the evening slate includes a match-up between two of the Big Ten's top teams. Sparty has yet to play in conference, while the 'Huskers are 1-0 following a win over Illinois. With so little quality data to draw from, we're leaning toward MSU.

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The Chicken's Picks:

UMass vs. Miami Ohio (-3.5)

South Alabama (-3.5) vs. Appalachian State

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State (-17)

Virginia Tech (-3) vs. North Carolina

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Mike Luce is our man on campus - every Friday and Monday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:58 AM | Permalink

October 2, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"The Chicago Police department has finally acknowledged that it had purchased cell-phone interceptor devices back in 2008, raising serious privacy concerns among activists who question how they are being used," CBS2 Chicago reports.

And also among non-activists!

"The devices, known as IMSI Catchers and sold commercially under names like Stingray, mimic a cell phone tower and connect to mobile devices without the user's knowledge.

"The existence of the eavesdropping device, which is basically a small electronic box and a laptop, in Chicago was reported by CBS Chicago earlier this month. It can sweep up data on texts, calls, technical details and more."

Here's my favorite part:

"Ten months ago, the CBS 2 investigative unit asked whether CPD had such devices. The department denied it, even though the purchase orders clearly indicate the devices were in the department's possession for several years."

Go read the whole thing. But not on your phone!

Olympic Debt
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has borrowed more than $21 million to start paying for the former Michael Reese hospital site that was bought as part of former Mayor Richard M. Daley's failed bid for the 2016 summer Olympics," the Tribune reports.

"City Hall must now find the money to pay off both those loans and the $14.2 million or so due next year for principal and interest on the South Side property. Taxpayers will be on the hook for as much as $134 million during the next decade - the $91 million purchase price plus about $43 million in net interest and development costs - unless the city can find a company to start developing the land."

#ThrowbackThursday: "Daley On Olympics: Taxpayers Will Be Protected."

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At least we didn't actually get the Olympics; the city would be in bankruptcy court about now if we did.

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Then again, the Chicago media shouldn't be allowed to report on continuing costs of Daley's folly without acknowledging their own role as accomplices.

Red Light Rahm's Rigged Refunds
"City Hall has promised 126 refunds to drivers tagged for $100 fines during suspicious spikes in red light camera tickets discovered by a Tribune investigation but upheld thousands of other tickets issued at the same times - all without explaining what caused the sudden surges," the paper reports.

The refund letters dated last week are the first public acknowledgment by the city that some drivers were targeted in error by a camera system prone to ticket spikes - some lasting weeks - that the city says it never noticed.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration offered to review nearly 16,000 tickets issued during spikes exposed by the Tribune in July, and about 3,300 responses came back. A Tribune review of who got those letters and the way the appeals are being conducted raises new questions about the city's effort to restore confidence in Chicago's beleaguered camera program.

The city ignored tens of thousands of tickets by limiting its review to the 12 intersections with the most dramatic spikes highlighted by the Tribune. Even then, the city left thousands of drivers out of its review because of how it defined the duration of the surges. In other cases, the city included tickets when cameras were performing as expected - potentially increasing the likelihood those tickets would be upheld on review.

The examinations themselves, conducted by an outside auditing firm, were done in private and focused on whether the videotape of the violations showed drivers broke the traffic law. The examiners did not consider whether the camera system was working properly, as an administrative law judge might do in a regular appeal.

More broadly, the city's limited focus on potential refunds for a subset of drivers never addressed the fundamental questions about the oversight, reliability and fairness of a program already mired in a federal corruption investigation into allegations the city's ex-vendor paid $2 million in bribes to get the business.

Go read the whole thing. But not on your phone!

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The Age Of Chicago's Poverty
How poverty on the North Side looks different than on the South Side.

Doing The Jacksons
The Reverend, His Daughter, Michael And His Brothers.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Tales From The Bears' Crypt.

Running Scared
Role reversals in NFL backfields.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Tales from the crypt.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:38 AM | Permalink

The Age Of Chicago's Poverty

Despite decades of effort - including declaring a war - to alleviate poverty, the struggle to survive day-to-day with low wages and unemployment persists for millions of people.

And though medical advances and the wider availability and lower cost of food have extended the lifespan of even those who struggle financially, this means that many individuals simply live poorly longer, given the lack of economic mobility in our society.

The result is an intersection of poverty with age that shows us not all poor neighborhoods are created equal and, perhaps more importantly, should force us to rethink how we deal with poverty.

The distribution of households below poverty level in Chicago is not terribly surprising: Most are densely concentrated on the South and West Sides, as they have been for nine decades. The rest are mostly sprinkled in Rogers Park and Uptown on the North Side and South Chicago on the Southeast Side.

AgeOfPovertyFig 1.jpg(ENLARGE)

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While each of these areas are quite poor, the visual landscape between them could not be more different. In Rogers Park and Uptown, poverty takes on the form of densely filled apartments (often architectural mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s), including a rapidly declining number of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) buildings. However, they are also often located a short distance from the lake, public transportation, clinics and soup kitchens.

On the other hand, the impovershed neighborhoods on the South and West Sides feature boarded-up homes, vacant lots and severely limited amenities nearby. The appearance in these areas is far more wretched and isolated than the impoverished pockets on the North Side areas, where the proximity to other amenities and residents of the city presents a type of poverty more integrated into mainstream socioeconomic life.

Further, the age differences between these impovershed areas are stark. Median age is a vital gauge for a neighborhood in that it can be one of the best predictor of its longevity. A lower median age often indicates a large proportion of children - and thus a stability to the population, which isn't likely to change or move any time soon. A higher median age implies a shift in neighborhood composition sooner rather than later as younger people come to supplement a population that is essentially dying off, though it has become increasingly difficult to estimate the timing of such change as individuals live longer.

The days of children of homeowners inheriting the houses of their parents are very much gone, and generational shift often triggers a change in racial/ethnic or economic composition of neighborhoods. The history of Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods is essentially a history of such generational shifts, going back to the older European (Italian, Irish, Greek, Czech and Polish) and Asian (Japanese and Korean) neighborhoods of previous generations.

According the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age in Chicago is an estimated 33.1, meaning half the population is younger than 33.1 and half is older. Somewhat surprisingly, this measure varies greatly by neighborhood. In one census tract in Garfield Park, the median age is 16.5, which means that a very large proportion of the population there is pre-teen children and teenagers. On the flip side, a Lakeview census tract has a median age of 62.7, which indicates an overwhelming proportion of the population there is near or has reached retirement age.

Overall, the distribution of median age shows that those neighborhoods consisting of an older population are largely located on the peripheral areas of the city for both the North and South Sides: Sauganash, Forest Glen, Norwood Park and Edison Park on the North Side, and Mount Greenwood, Morgan Park, Roseland, Pullman, Avalon Park and Calumet Heights on the South Side.

AgeOfPovertyFig2.jpg(ENLARGE)

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These areas largely consist of single-family homes dotting a landscape similar to that of middle-class suburbs, and it is not unusual to find government and school administrators living there. There are also small pockets in the Loop, Uptown, Chinatown, Dunning, Lincoln Square and Jackson Park where the median age is substantially higher than that of the city.

Areas featuring younger residents and lower levels of poverty are, unsurprisingly, concentrated in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Bucktown, and parts of Wicker Park and East Ukrainian Village.

The neighborhoods with older residents and lower levels of poverty are found in Sauganash, Forest Glen and Edison Park on the Northwest Side; Beverly and Mount Greenwood on the Southwest Side; and portions of Hyde Park on the South Side. While these older neighborhoods have been historically known to be stable hubs for upper middle-class residents of the city, much of the aforementioned younger areas had at one point been filled with immigrants and working-class residents until gentrification at varying stages for the past several decades.

AgeOfPovertyFig3.jpg(ENLARGE)

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The most visible concern with the current pattern is that those areas with high levels of poverty and lower median age tend to be contiguous to one another, creating a large impoverished area consisting of children. Also, older high poverty areas are often surrounded by younger higher poverty areas, creating neighborhoods largely made up of children and senior citizens.

That composition begs the question as to whether impoverished areas like Garfield Park, North Lawndale and Englewood are home for enough wage-earners. If this indeed is the case, economic development in these areas is not likely to come from job creation, as often argued by politicians and policymakers.

Chicago has a painful history of seeing first-hand what it is like to have intensely concentrated poverty. Even after dismantling massive public housing, the city still houses neighborhoods where poor living and economic conditions are the norm. While some neighborhoods turned for the better over time, others remain with conditions comparable to that of many Third World cities. If equity in quality of living is to be a priority for civic leaders, constant monitoring of the shift in population and flexible government structure that can accommodate this shift must be in place.

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Kiljoong Kim is the Beachwood's sociologist-in-residence. He recently earned his Ph.D at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He welcomes your comments. Read more in the Who We Are archives.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Doing The Jacksons

"You may remember 15 years ago the Rev. Jesse Jackson making national headlines with a well-publicized affair with one of his staffers," our favorite press release this week says.

"The affair led to a child named Ashley Jackson. Ashley was considered a miracle baby because her mother, Karin Stanford, was a cancer survivor who was told she would never have a children.

"Now, Ashley (AJae) is all grown up and ready to take on the world musically. She is set to release her new single 'Just Do Me' (as in just being herself) this Tuesday, October 7th via iTunes.

"We can work on quotes from both Reverend Jackson and her mother if interested. Jesse is very supportive of his daughter's career."

*

Yes, let's "work on some quotes" from Reverend Jackson about his love-child's first single, "Just Do Me."

Krewella's Sobering Split
"Rain Man - one third of EDM superstars Krewella - has split from the group and is suing his former bandmates to the tune of $5 million, The Hollywood Reporter reports," inthemix notes.

"According to court documents obtained by The Hollywood Report this morning, Rain Man - real name Kris Trindl - has been muscled out of the group by sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf and their manager Jake Udell, following problems that arose from his alcoholism. According to Trindl, the sisters used his struggle with alcohol to 'conspire' to have him removed from the group, so that they could reap a bigger share of the group's profits.

"He's not taking the split lightly: Trindl is suing the group for the damages, submitting that he has a 'contractual right to receive his one-third equity share in any commercial exploitation of the Krewella name.' The dollar amount on that? 'Trindl has been damaged in an amount that is not as of yet fully ascertained but which Trindl believes exceeds $5,000,000.'

"The 18-page court documents, which you can read [by clicking through to the story], chart Krewella's rise from their Chicago beginnings to their current superstar status."

*

Actually, they began at Glenbrook North High School "in the leafy Chicago suburb of Northbrook," as the court docs describe.

Secret Jackson 5 Stash
"The Minneapolis label Secret Stash Records has released a never-before heard version of the Jackson 5 song, 'Big Boy,'" Minnesota Public Radio reports.

"The song already has the distinction of being the Jacksons' first single, but that version was recorded by Steel Town Records with professional musicians playing backup. This newly-found recording is an earlier demo tape featuring an 8-year-old Michael Jackson, along with his brothers Jermaine, Tito, Jackie and Marlon singing back-up and playing instruments. It's believed to be the earliest recording of the group.

"That recording was made by the label One-derful!, a vital part of the 1960s Chicago soul scene known for its work producing and promoting black performers, including the Jacksons.

"Eric Leaner, the son and nephew of One-derful! founders Ernie and George Leaner, first heard that such a demo might exist from a writer for Chicago Reader."

*

If you follow the links, you can both listen to the song and learn that the Reader writer is Jake Austen.

Sold Out For Jesus
"One of America's longest running gospel labels, Tyscot Records, has started a Christian hip-hop division, Tyscot Loud," Cross Rhythms reports.

"First signing to the company is Chicago-based rapper T.S.O."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:22 AM | Permalink

Tales From The Crypt

Marc's Little Secret
Looking back, we should have known something was up when the Bears attempted an onside kick with the lead.

For those of you who missed the first half of Sunday's contest, (presumably because you were either returning to town from international travel or hastily concluding the burial of your mother-in-law), there were about 40 minutes of this game in which the outcome was still in doubt for most of us.

But not for one observant individual.

And I don't mean that Marc Trestman was photographed sounding a ram's horn while wearing a "Happy New Year 5775!*" hat.

I mean he was perceptive.

Trestman figured out much more quickly than the rest of us that the Bears were going to need at least one extra possession to run with the Packers, and unless that creepy puppet master who controlled N'Sync got her hands on Aaron Rodgers and ran him directly into the Packers end zone for a safety, the defense wasn't going to make that extra bite at the apple happen.

Looking back, it was a moot point. Jay Cutler would go on to throw approximately 17 picks, the defense would put a stop to nothing but optimism and punter Pat O'Donnell was last seen speeding out of the Museum Park marina on his boat The Legs n' Bacon**.

Which begs the question, what could the Bears have done differently?

Post Mortem Boredom
The Chicago sports talk scene spent most of the week discussing the supposed key swing plays that could have pushed the outcome in the other direction, and to some extent they're right.

Things would have turned out differently if, say, Martellus Bennett was awarded an extra touchdown, ya' know just cause he's such a handsome gent, and the game ended at halftime.

Yay! Bears win 24-21!

The trend in fan feedback spilled into the contents of this week's mail bag. Many of the letters not marked "Leftover Anthrax From 2002" featured tasteful nudes [Editor's Note: we hope these were nude photos. Many appeared to be just pictures of raw chicken covered in pepper].

Those that contained legible English carried a common theme of "what if."

What if they had made flag?
- Joline, Moline IL

Great question Joline and thanks for writing in! Before we get down to brass tacks, I just want to point out a typo that I found in your question.

It's spelled "Jenny."

Regarding the coaching staff's use of the challenge flags, I saw Mel Tucker wiping his tears with one towards the end of the game, which appeared to be their best use at the time.

You know that retarded ball Cutler hucked to Marshall that got picked? What would have happened if they got on the same page?
- Gary, Gary IN

Ah yes.

If I remember correctly, Cutler's second pick was the result of a cross-up between him and Brandon Marshall.

Marshall made a double move and broke for the end zone, while Cutler threw the ball into an area of the field populated by four Packer defenders and the six-foot-tall animatronic nacho that serves as the Green Bay mascot.

Cutler clearly thought that Marshall was going to "sit down" or was going to run a hook route. He didn't and then the nacho guy ate the ball, resulting in six points for the Packers.

Also, I spoke with a friend who suffers from Down's Syndrome after reading your letter.

He takes offense to your use of the word "retarded" in describing the ball, noting that no self-respecting developmentally challenged individual would ever do something stupid enough to land them in the clutches of a Green Bay Packer.

When is your band releasing its debut album?
- Carl Last Name Withheld, Arlington Heights IL

I'm glad you asked. Normally, I wouldn't eat up precious digital real estate discussing my non Bears-related side projects, but since my public demands it I suppose I must oblige.

[Editor's Note: We removed over 22,000 words of tentacle-themed erotica from the last three weeks of The Blue and Orange Kool-Aid Report in 2013.]

During the recording of "Tit Hungry Studs," the living members of Tasty Blast decided to go on hiatus, citing "creative differences."

[Editor's Note: I played keyboard in Tasty Blast. We all left due to "irreconcilable ability to work with the asshole bass player."]

It's just as well, because right now I'm like, totally busy finishing up a project that I've spent five yours bringing to life.

Carl Mohrbacher Presents: Smooth Up In Ya On Ice - The Unauthorized BulletBoys Biopic.

We're planning to open at the Admiral Theater next summer. Bring the kids!

Paws, Play and Rewind - Carolina News 'N' Notes
Like most people on Earth, the good folks of Chicago don't have much of a scouting report on the Carolina Panthers.

Other than 6,000 ESPN pieces on the addition of a suffix to Steve Smith's name (it is Esq.), the only thing we're sure about as it relates to North Carolina's football team is that if Cam Newton is injured, a former Browns quarterback will be placed at the helm, presumably Jake Delhomme.

Here's a primer on the NFC South's only land animal.

  • Defensive end Frank Alexander was suspended 14 games for illegally downloading that "rahw RAHW rahw" noise on the Pirate Bay.
  • Coach Ron Rivera (known better in some circles by his rap name "Riva-Boat") has flatly denied that "Unleashing The Newt" is a British sex move, but rather a quote that was taken out of context.
  • A press release on Tuesday confirmed that despite Steve Smith's departure, the Panthers have several wide receivers on their roster.
  • "Hey guys, remember me? Guys?" said tight end Greg Olsen during the weekly media conference call.

Kool Aid (3 of 5 - Mastiff Oatmeal Stout)
I understand that after last week, it's going to be a little tough to immediately jump back on the bandwagon.

You'll need something a little more substantial to swish around while you skeptically watch this shootout.

While you're deciding whether to emotionally reinvest in this season, try this drinking game: First person unable to make a Panther-related pun in the voice of the Crypt Keeper has to drink.

Over the last two weeks, the Carolina defense has been cat-atonic.

They've been widely criticized for failing to put in a meow-nce of effort.

Their front four have been unable to consistently purrrr-essure opposing quarterbacks.

When the hell is Trestman going to work Josh Mourge-an into the offense?

Ego Ferguson needs to get his shit together or . . . he's not going to make the . . . team?

Drink, buddy.

Bears win by a whisker.

Bears 38, Panthers 35.

* If this joke doesn't make any sense to you, go make a Jewish friend, or at least hire an accountant.

** This vessel's bumper sticker reads "My Other Job Is A Foot Job."

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:35 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Running Scared

I've never experienced a fantasy football season in which so many running backs who started the season off the fantasy radar have become extremely relevant so early in the schedule.

Some of this is due to RBs like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice getting into off-the-field trouble, but injuries to the likes of Jamaal Charles, Ben Tate and Doug Martin have played a role, too. Then, you also have the just plain weirdness of a season in which RBs that seem to have everything going for them - put Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy and LeSean McCoy in this group - are vastly underperforming.

It all adds up to RBs who were once assumed to be no more than handcuffs suddenly making the grade as fantasy RB-1s, and third-stringers and other heretofore complete unknowns getting a look as possible bye-week replacements.

So, are we seeing a new class of top tier RBs emerging, or is their current production just a matter of quickly passing circumstances? That and more in our review of Week 4:

* Jerick McKinnon, RB, MIN, was the latest no-name to make an impact, tallying 135 yards on 18 touches in Week 4. He only had two fewer touches than nominal No. 1 RB Matt Asiata, and showed more explosiveness. Yet, McKinnon probably will remain a week-to-week decision based on the Vikings' likelihood to run the ball, which they did a lot of last week, particularly after QB Teddy Bridgewater was injured in the second half. Week 5 could again be a good one for McKinnon at Green Bay, but in the long-term, he looks like the clear No. 2 to Asiata.

* Knile Davis, RB, KC, the back-up to Charles, ran for more than 100 yards for the second straight week even though Charles returned from injury and had a great week himself with 92 yards rushing and three overall TDs. It looked a lot like a time-share, with Charles barely getting more touches, 18 to Davis's 16. That's not a pleasing development for owners who selected Charles No. 1 overall in their drafts, but consider that Charles just returned. Assuming he stays healthy, he could get a growing number of handoffs and passes as the weeks go on. The good news for both players is that the Chiefs really need to lean on their RBs in all facets of the offense.

* Pierre Thomas, RB, NO, pretty much disappeared in Week 4. Just a week after it appeared he would get more work with an injury to fellow RB Mark Ingram, Thomas only got two handoffs and two passes, while unsung RB Travaris Cadet cashed in six receptions for 59 yards. I've seen interviews with coach Sean Payton since that suggest Cadet usage had a lot to do with running a hurry-up offense while losing to Dallas, so maybe Thomas will get busy again soon. The bad news is the Saints look pretty awful so far, and could be coming back to the hurry-up soon, too.

* There wasn't much good for our Bears in their 38-17 loss to the Packers, but TE Martellus Bennett again shined, catching eight passes for 134 yards. Despite anger management issues during training camp, and what might have been a related lack of love from fantasy experts around the same time, Bennett is second in receptions among TEs this season with 29, fourth in receiving yards with 295, and tied for second in TDs with four. In other words, if everyone else stayed away during the draft, and you took him as a back-up, you got the steal of the day.

* Going into Week 4, everyone was still pretty worried about Aaron Rodgers; then he predictably eviscerated the Bears' defense for 302 yards and four TDs. Will the critics change their tune or chalk up the solid performance to facing a mediocre defense? Personally, I think Rodgers has been fine this year - two of his four games have been 300-yard outings, and he's got nine TDs to just one INT. He's still on pace for a 4,000-yard, 35 TD season, and we probably haven't seen his best game yet - that might come when the Bears go to Green Bay next month.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! says it's finally the right time to be in the Bishop Sankey business.

* CBS Sports notes that TE Larry Donnell's success has caught even fantasy team owner Larry Donnell by surprise.

* Bleacher Report says McKinnon may be ready to break through.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:15 AM | Permalink

October 1, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

The Papers will return on Thursday, along with a bunch of other stuff on the site.

We can tell you, though, that Scary Face Pancakes Are Back!

BeachBook
* Sun-Times Shames Suicidal Man To Sell Papers.

TweetWood


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The Beachwood Tip Line: In the zone.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:50 AM | Permalink

Brace Yourselves: Scary Face Pancakes Are Back At IHOP!

Hello Steve,

Brace yourselves; Scary Face Pancakes are back at IHOP!

The beloved holiday favorite is only available until October 31, and on Halloween, IHOP is giving kids a special treat by offering Scary Face pancakes for free to children 12 and under from 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.

IHOP hasn't forgotten about the adults, offering them a treat as well this October - the return of the perennial fall favorite, pumpkin pancakes!

Please see the press release below for more information. Photos are available upon request. If you are interested in visiting your local IHOP to take photos of your own, please let me know and I would be happy to coordinate the details for you.

Thank you,
Kelsey

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE HAUNT IS ON FOR THE SPOOKIEST DECORATED PANCAKE WHEN "SCARY FACE" PANCAKES REMATERIALIZE AT IHOP RESTAURANTS, OCTOBER 1 - AND ON HALLOWEEN, FOR KIDS UNDER 12, THEY'RE FREE!

As an Added Bonus, Seasonal Favorite Pumpkin Pancakes, though not in Costume, Return to the Menu through January

GLENDALE, CA - IHOP Restaurants may want to change their name to the "International Haunted House of Pancakes" this October, with the return of their frighteningly delicious "Scary Face" Pancakes! This customizable treat, beloved by children, will return to the "Just for Kids" menu from October 1 through the rest of the month.

As an added treat, on Halloween itself, Friday October 31, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., kids can enjoy their petrifying playful pancake portrait for FREE at participating IHOP restaurants.

An order of the "Scary Face" pancakes is sure to keep the kids entertained! Each order comes with one of IHOP restaurants' world famous buttermilk pancakes decorated with a beaming whipped topping smile and eyes, and a strawberry nose. Then, kids can use a kit of delicious toppings - eight pieces of sweet candy corn and two mini Oreos - to finish decorating the face any way they choose.

Young guests can let their imaginations run spooky as they create frightening or funny face combinations. From candy corn horns to vampire teeth, the possibilities are endless - that is, if they can resist eating the warm, fluffy pancake right away!

"Wouldn't it be great if you had a neighbor who gave out delicious buttermilk pancakes instead of just candy for trick-or-treating? This Halloween, your local IHOP restaurant will be that neighbor!" said Marie Grimm, VP Culinary and menu, International House of Pancakes, LLC. "We're very excited to see what our young guests will create this year! And as a treat for our older guests, we've returned our most popular seasonal favorite pancake, pumpkin pancakes, to the menu. They're so good, it's just plain scary!"

So be sure to stop by your local IHOP restaurant to enjoy a "Scary Face" pancake before the end of October - you don't even have to say "trick or treat!" - and savor pumpkin pancakes while you can . . . because they too will vanish!

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Screen-Shot-2013-10-25-at-2.00.28-PM.png

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From 2011:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:47 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Corporate Spies Like Us.
SPORTS - Why Was This Game Even Scheduled?

BOOKS - Postdictatorship Argentina.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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