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« February 2015 | Main | April 2015 »

March 31, 2015

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia will meet Tuesday for their final scheduled one-on-one debate before the runoff election, following previous events that have grown contentious as the candidates try to land blows and build momentum before April 7," the Tribune reports.

"The 7 p.m. debate on WTTW-Ch. 11's Chicago Tonight program will mark the third time Emanuel and Garcia have debated head-to-head since nobody was able to get a majority of the votes in the first-round mayoral election in February, forcing the two into a runoff."

If even a single question asked tonight is a question that's already been asked, I'll consider the charade a failure. I don't have much hope.

*

It's almost as if there is a list of pre-approved questions that must not be deviated from. If we can predict with a 90% success rate what will be asked tonight, don't you think the campaigns can too?

*

If I ran the show, I'd make sure that Rahm Emanuel knew he'd be cut off every time he mentioned full-day kindergarten and a longer school day when it's not relevant. And every question he reframes to his own liking will be asked again until he answers it - even if it's the only question that gets asked all night.

*

Please, please, please no lightning round asking these guys their favorite kind of pie. Please. People's lives depend on it.

*

I'll be live-tweeting the affair, as always.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #50: The Fioretti Fiasco, Entitled America & How Road House Explains Chicago
Most humiliating, phony, cynical endorsement ever. Plus: The Mayor 1% Song; Rahm's Debate Spin; Chicago Is Jasper; Lydia Loveless vs. Taylor Swift; and CPS's Flamin' Hot Cheetos are on fire. (With Show Notes!)

Louder Than A Burge
Plus: First Lady of the Black Press & Improbable Libraries. In Local Book Notes.

Chicagoetry: What Christina Hendricks Said
Beneath the United Center.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Diarrhea Planet, Miles Nielsen, Roger Clyne, Alejandro Escovedo & Susan Voelz, Earl Sweatshirt, Dana T. Leong, Lil Herb, Galveston, Bayside, Benjamin Booker, Circa Survive, Halsey, Melodime, and Nicholas Tremulis.

Editor's Note: Don't let the name put you off; Diarrhea Planet might be the best rock and roll outfit on the planet right now.

-

BeachBook
* Access Denied: Federal Officials, Data Increasingly Off Limits To Reporters.

Thanks, Obama!

(P.S. to reporters: He's also a war criminal.)

* Andrew Sullivan: Blogging Nearly Killed Me.

Call the wahmbulance, you got rich and nobody forced you to do it.

* AP Investigation: Are Slaves Catching The Fish You Buy?

Spoiler alert: Yes!

I mean, you never ask a question like that in a headline when the answer to be found in the article is No.

Also, I read the article.

But what's really important here is how global trade agreements need global labor standards or else we're all just like the slave-holding South; we've just pushed the worst labor practices to Third World countries where they're out of sight, out of mind - to us. Those are human beings nonetheless; now we're all Confederates.

To wit:

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Chuy defeats Truman.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:16 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Louder Than A Burge

For the third consecutive year, @kuumbalynx won Louder Than A Bomb. You can see why.


*

-

The City Lost And Found
"American cities underwent seismic transformations in the 1960s and 1970s, from shifting demographics and political protests to reshaping through highways and urban renewal.

"Amid this climate of upheaval, photographers, architects, activists, performance artists, and filmmakers turned conditions of crisis into sites for civic discourse and artistic expression.

"A collaboration between the Art Institute of Chicago and the Princeton University Art Museum, The City Lost and Found explores photographic and cinematic responses to the changing fabric of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles that contributed to a reconsideration of cities in popular media and urban policy during this period.

"This exhibition and publication raise timely questions about the role of art within the social, political, and physical landscape of cities."

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The First Lady Of The Black Press
"Chicago's Ethel Payne was the third African-American journalist to be given White House press credentials. And in 1953, she was one of only two black women in the press corps.

"But her body of work over almost 40 years as a journalist is the true legacy of Ethel Payne. Her life story is captured in James McGrath Morris' biography, Eye on the Struggle."

"While unrecognized by many of the whites in the East Room, fifty-two-year-old Payne was an iconic figure to readers of the nation's black press. The granddaughter of slaves and the daughter of a Pullman porter, the South Side Chicago native at midlife had inspiringly traded in a monotonous career as a library clerk for one as a journalist at the Chicago Defender, the country's premier black newspaper. In a matter of a few years she had risen to become the nation's preeminent black female reporter of the civil rights era, and during the movement's seminal events in the 1950s it had been her words that had fed a national black readership hungry for stories that could not be found in the white media."

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Improbable Libraries
"Improbable Libraries is broken into seven chapters, including divisions for tiny, mobile and animal libraries. It also devotes space to postmodern makeshift library culture - art gallery-like pop-ups - dotted all over the globe. Some of them border on performance art or objets d'art. Johnson sees this as affirmation that 'librarians will always be at odds to bring books to readers.' This book presents myriad solutions and innovations that overcome those odds."

From the University of Chicago Press:

"Librarians are thinking up astonishing ways of reaching those in reading need, whether by bike in Chicago, boat in Laos, or donkey in Colombia. Improbable Libraries showcases a wide range of unforgettable, never-before-seen images and interviews with librarians who are overcoming geographic, economic, and political difficulties to bring the written word to an eager audience.

"Alex Johnson charts the changing face of library architecture, as temporary pop-ups rub shoulders with monumental brick-and-mortar structures, and many libraries expand their mission to function as true community centers.

"To take just one example: the open-air Garden Library in Tel Aviv, located in a park near the city's main bus station, supports asylum seekers and migrant workers with a stock of 3,500 volumes in sixteen different languages.

"Beautifully illustrated with two hundred and fifty color photographs, Improbable Libraries offers a breathtaking tour of the places that bring us together and provide education, entertainment, culture, and so much more. From the rise of the egalitarian Little Free Library movement to the growth in luxury hotel libraries, the communal book revolution means you'll never be far from the perfect next read."

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The Alphabet Of Distant Harbours
"The award-winning Guild Complex continues a new reading platform to foreground Asian/American authors and themes with 'The Alphabet of Distant Harbors' on Monday, April 6, 6:30 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, Garland Room (78 E Washington).

"Curated by Dipika Mukherjee, this spring program features Toni Nealie, Zhou Sivan, and Angela Narciso Torres, and will include an open mic. The program is free of charge and open to the public.

"Dipika Mukherjee states:

"'The Alphabet of Distant Harbours' will bring together writers who explore the suppression as well as expression of identity in the Asian diaspora.

"Zhou Sivan (also known as Nicholas Y. H. Wong) traces the secret lives of 'M' in his poems - Malacca, the Malay Archipelago, myth, Maeterlinck, mother and matter, marriage, Medusa, misanthropes and misbehaving - in exquisitely wrought poetry.

"Toni Nealie, who moved to Chicagoland from New Zealand, raises questions about the shame and fear suppressed through generations and how they continue to manifest in her thought-provoking creative nonfiction.

"Award-winning poet Angela Narciso Torres will read from her significant body of work to explore the varying degrees of elasticity in the distances between continents, families, lovers, memory and reality, waking and dreaming, while invoking her native Philippines and the various landscapes in which she has lived."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:46 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Christina Hendricks Said

CHRISTINA HENDRICKS SAID
A Dream Verite for Albert Maysles, American Film Maker (1926-2015)

Christina Hendricks said
"You're a writer,
You better get in there,"

Referring to the control room
Of the recording studio
Set up beneath the United Center

For the Rolling Stones
To mix new material.
They were in their '75 phase,

A Pirate Circus,
Lotus Petal Stage,
All "buffoonery & tomfoolery"

According to Rolling Stone
Magazine.

How could I explain
To Ms. Hendricks
That I was "just a friend?,"
That I wasn't there to

Help create material,

And that if I was,
I didn't know it and
It wouldn't be cool
To make presumptions

And ask questions.

Or: I'm the new Stanley Booth,
Here to document the process,
Be the one outsider back

In the hotel room
When the first roughs

Of "Brown Sugar" get played
And we all groove together
For Albert Maysles.

This kind of thing.
Maybe she was right!

Hey: it was pretty cool
That Christina Hendricks
Had a clue about me.

So: this must, indeed, be
Just a dream. And it is, indeed,
Just a sleeping dream

Recorded "verite."

After all they were all
Heading to my old apartment
In West Town for a party
Which I was hosting,

Although I had an errand to run
A few blocks away first.
In dreams, that's where

It all goes downhill,
When you have to leave
When you want to stay.

Sleeping dreams:
Articulate a desire,
Thwart the desire.

Get into a roomful of Stones,
And have to leave?
You're toast. "SEE ya!"

Getting back is like
Spinal Tap getting lost
Between dressing room

And stage.

But, for whatever reason,
I had to go. Had to.
After all, it was a dream.

On my way back, a storm burst
Upon the night, creating small

Floods along the alleyway
Behind the old converted house,
Once single-family now a two-flat
Along the easily negotiated

Square block grid system
Of West Town, groovy, groovy,
Groovy old apartment.

I never dream
About my current apartment,

I'm always dreaming
Of going back, back to
An old apartment,
An old neighborhood,

GOTTA get back
Home and then I get close
And I realize "SHIT!

I don't live there
Anymore! I'll get
Arrested!"

Or finally all the way
Back to our family's house
In Naperville.

Again, get close and, like,
"SHIT! I don't live there!
I'm gonna get arrested!"

So this time I'm

Ready to return to my
Groovy old apartment filled
With grizzled old Stones

(I often dream of the Stones.
Always thwarted, but twice
I was actually drumming for them

Onstage but my drums
Weren't secured to the stage
And moved inexorably

away from me

With each beat. Any other time,
We're hanging out but then
I step out of the room

And never get back.
Btw this was Ms. Hendricks'
Debut

In my dreams) ...

OK: so I'm heading back
To my groovy old West Town apartment
Full of grizzled old Stones

But then suddenly I had that long-lost
Beige duffel bag over my shoulder

Filled with wet laundry,
And it kept getting heavier
And I kept going slower
The closer to the party

I got, finally over-shooting
It by a lot or two, then having
To come back south a block

As well,
Slower and slower,
Heavier and heavier.

By

Then I had to pull on the snowy
Grass turf like it was carpet
Or fabric, just to move myself forward
As the bag got heavier

And my tread bogged down
In the midst of a local street band
Playing electric blues ...

-

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

-

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 5:27 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Diarrhea Planet at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.


-

2. Bloods at Schubas on Thursday night.

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3. Miles Nielsen and Rusted Heart at the Abbey on Friday night.

-

4. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers at the Abbey on Friday night.

-

5. Alejandro Escovedo and Susan Voelz at the Promontory on Saturday night.

-

6. Hello Seahorse! at the Double Door on Thursday night.

-

7. Earl Sweatshirt at the Concord on Sunday night.

-

8. Dana T. Leong at Mayne Stage on Thursday night.

-

9. Lil Herb at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

-

10. Galveston at Uncommon Ground on Thursday night.

-

11. Bayside at the Concord on Thursday night.

-

12. Benjamin Booker at the Metro on Saturday night.

-

13. Circa Survive at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Sunday night.

-

14. Halsey at Park West on Friday night.

-

15. Melodime at Martyrs' on Saturday night.

-

16. Nicholas Tremulis at the Promontory on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:27 AM | Permalink

March 30, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #50: The Fioretti Fiasco, Entitled America & How Road House Explains Chicago Politics

Most humiliating, phony, cynical endorsement ever. Plus: The Mayor 1% Song; Chicago Is Jasper; Lydia Loveless vs. Taylor Swift; and CPS's Flamin' Hot Cheetos are on fire. (With Show Notes!)


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

:57: Will Butler at the Hideout last Monday night.

3:55: The Fioretti Fiasco.

* @BeachwoodReport.

* A bad plan vs. no plan.

* Ald. Bob Phonyretti.

12:58: The End of the Ocean at Beat Kitchen last Monday night.

15:06: How We Know Rahm Lost That Debate.

* The Rahmster.

20:55: Mayor 1% - The Song!

25:00 How Road House Explains Chicago Politics.

* Kass and Kadner.

* Entitled America.

* Our Rosty, felon.

* Mike Fucking Royko, putz.

* Chicago is Jasper.

53:04: TV on the Radio at Reckless Records last Monday night.

54:10: Lydia Loveless vs. Taylor Swift.

55:26: Newspapers Dumber Than Readers, Internet.

56:13: CPS's Flamin' Hot Cheetos Are On Fire.

1:04:00: Japan Nite at the Double Door last Sunday night.

STOPPAGE TIME: 8:02

-

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:37 PM | Permalink

Buy Back Bob!

"On March 29th, 2015, former mayoral challenger Bob Fioretti, after years of sparring with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over closing schools and mental health clinics, did an about-face and decided to back him.

"People who went to the closed city mental health clinics felt betrayed as Alderman Fioretti had been one of the few people who championed their cause.

"But they realized, he may have just needed some of Rahm's millions due to his campaign debt so they decided to try to raise some 'Fund's for Fioretti's Friendship.'

"This video shows them attempting to deliver those funds to Alderman Fioretti as he sits down to lunch with Mayor Emanuel.

"To spare him the displeasure of dining with his (former?) nemesis, we brought what we could in order to 'Buy Back Bob.'"


-

Editor's Note: Wonder what Bob is thinking dining at the big boy's table now and watching those he used to support get told to "get the fuck out."

-

Previously:
* Dear Rahm: Save Our Mental Health Clinics!

* Rahm Not Tough Enough To Face Mental Health Clinic Advocates.

* Rahm's Mental Health Problem.

-

See also:
* STOP Chicago.

* The STOP Chicago You Tube channel.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Drop It, DePaul

Isn't there a trustee or someone at DePaul who can speak up and try to stop to the unbelievably ill-advised hiring of Dave Leitao as the school's new men's basketball coach?

Just when you thought a team that had finished last in its conference a half dozen times in a row before skyrocketing all the way to seventh this past season couldn't be a bigger joke, the school's athletic department has announced it will re-introduce Leitao on Monday afternoon.

Let's see, after Leitao bailed out of DePaul about a decade ago just as he could no longer use the players from the previous regime to post inflated results - after his third year on the job - he took the job at Virginia. It is in a coach's fourth and fifth years in a program when fans can really see what sort of job he has done. At that point he has all his own players and all his own schemes in place.

Virginia didn't go well so Leitao was fired and next turned up coaching in the NBA's developmental league (for the inimitable Maine Red Claws). That didn't pan out so he had to go back to assisting, first at Missouri. But Missouri didn't get the job done so he took yet another step back to an assistant's job at Tulsa.

And now he is the best DePaul can do? And I was worried they were going to hire Ty Corbin, the former hard-working DePaul standout player who went on to make two head coaching stops in the NBA. He would have been the sentimental choice. Who could have imagined that the sentimental choice would have been 100 times better than what DePaul is actually doing.

The primary problem here is that athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto apparently has so much clout at DePaul that no one above her pay grade at the institution was willing to point out that of course she shouldn't make this hire after failing miserably on the last two (Jerry Wainwright, who oversaw the program's downfall, and Oliver Purnell, who cemented it).

And sure, DePaul had the misfortune of playing in a super-conference (a Big East that expanded to 16 teams for a while there and always had numerous members in the running for national championships) for a number of years just as its recruiting pipelines ran dry.

But the conference situation is much more manageable now, with peer institutions Xavier, Butler and Creighton added to old standbys Villanova, Georgetown et al in the now 10-team Big East. In fact, one of the reasons that a little improvement (from last to 7th) wasn't enough to save Purnell's job was the fact that everyone saw that as a result of easier competition rather than actual improvement.

Here's an idea for DePaul: just drop men's basketball. Just drop it and say you can no longer be a part of the ridiculous sham that is "amateur" athletics. The sham that sees an industry bring in billions of dollars without any of it going to the stars of the show in monetary compensation.

It was when the University of Chicago up and dropped football in 1939 that organizers of the college game were forced to take a long look at where things were going. The game had become too violent and changes were made to open things up. Thanks to rules changes, the forward pass, which had been mostly frowned upon during the game's first three or four decades, became a much more viable option.

It is a bit of a stretch to completely credit Chicago dropping football with changes in the game. But the move did have an impact. If DePaul can't do better than hiring a retread who has done nothing but move backward since he left the school high and dry for more prestige and money a decade ago, they should really consider just bowing out.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Everything I have to say about Bob Fioretti's endorsement of Rahm Emanuel over the weekend I said on Twitter - at least for now.

Let us turn instead to Chuy Garcia.

The Tribune today profiles Garcia's decade at the helm of a Little Village community development group.

The article's kind of so-so, but this struck me:

"Garcia declined to be interviewed for this story, withdrawing Friday from a commitment to discuss Enlace with the Tribune made earlier in the week by his campaign manager."

Not helping, Chuy.

*

Also from the weekend:

That's not the first time Chuy has done that, by the way.

I want Chuy to win - or, more like, I want Rahm to lose - but nobody should be mistaken about who he is: A Chicago politician. If anyone has forgotten what that means, Bob Fioretti reminded us yesterday.

*

Anyway, the Tribune recounts how the community group Garcia led fell on hard times in 2008 and 2009 after the Wall Street financial scandals scuttled the economy.

The scandals, it should be noted, perpetrated by Rahm's greedy banking friends. Those are the dots to connect. Even then, Rahm's pals were getting rich - and have since gotten richer - at the expense of the neighborhoods.

*

Okay, back to Fioretti briefly:

"When I met with the mayor, it was clear to me that he's a different person than he was before the last election, because I think he's heard what's happening throughout the city. I think he will be a different mayor in the next four years," Fioretti said. "I think he's a little more humble, no doubt about it. For him to ask for my endorsement, that's a lot different from the Rahm Emanuel I've known before."

Right. Rahm has changed. He'll listen more. His strengths are his weaknesses. He's more humble.

That's a story I read every year about Rahm, and it never sticks. Check the clips; it's a mantra wheeled out about once a year in a time of need.

And yet, he never changes. And why should we expect him to? The idea isn't to hope that Rahm suddenly adopts the opposite of every position he holds and becomes a nice guy who embraces democracy at the same time; the point is to elect the person who already most closely reflects your views, values, principles and is already a nice (enough) guy who embraces democracy.

Sheesh. You've never really seen it all in Chicago because money does wonders for cynics' imaginations.

*

You never want to say you actually like an alderman in Chicago. At most, you may have an alderman you hate the least.

-

The Beachwood Radio Hour
Still in production - gonna be a doozy!

Well, maybe not a doozy, I just got waylaid yesterday and didn't finish it.

-

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #44: Alice In Cubsland
Where Javy Baez stays up and Kris Bryant goes down.

Plus: Coach in Vegas; Our Elite Neighbors; We Hate Christian Laettner; McDonald McPunditry; Daft Town Chicago; Bulls' Secret Plan Coming To Fruition; Blackhawks' Secret Plan Not Coming To Fruition; DePaul's Third Strike; and The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week. (With Show Notes)

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SportsMonday: Drop It, DePaul
Men's basketball, that is.

-

BeachBook
* AP Exclusive: Before Leak, NSA Mulled Ending Phone Program.

Because it didn't work - and because they thought Americans would be outraged if they found out about it.

* Obama's Claim That Keystone XL Oil 'Bypasses The U.S.' Earns Four Pinocchios.

He keeps repeating claims already shown to be wrong - which means it's not just a mistake; he's an out-and-out liar. But those paying close attention knew that a long time ago.

* People Hate The Tribune's Heidi Stevens' Hair.

I like it - not that it should be up for debate - and I've had many of the same issues with my own hair. Sometimes before TV appearances the makeup people would try to comb it, which only makes it worse and ridiculous. One time Joel Weisman of Chicago Tonight: Week In Review told me to take the appearance fee, which was then about a hundred bucks, and get a haircut. As if. It is what it is. Trust me, I wear the best version available to me - unless I want to look like a corporate tool whose mother still dresses him. I mean, many if not most of the haircuts of TV people and their guests as well as those who fill are newsrooms are just brutally awful, but fall within the acceptable range of mediocre mainstream mindsets. And the clothes? Geez. Really, people. Y'all got it backwards. You're the problem, not us.

-

TweetWood
A non-Fioretti sampling.

*

*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: U.S.S. Tip Line.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 AM | Permalink

March 28, 2015

The Weekend Desk Report

"Last week Michigan became the latest state to opt out of the federal Smart Snack standards," WBEZ reported this week.

"The rules regulate what can be sold in school fundraisers and vending machines that help schools pay the bill. More than 22 states have pushed for some kind of exemption from these rules since they went into effect last July. So just how stringent are they?

"The snacks must be:

  • "whole grain rich" if they are grain-based, meaning 50 percent whole grain
  • no more than 200 calories
  • no more than 230 mgs of sodium
  • no more than 35 percent sugar, by weight
  • lower in fat, meaning no more than a third of their calories can come from fat

"So all that's left is kale, right?

"Well, not really. In fact, under these new rules, two of the top sellers in some Chicago Public Schools are reformulated Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Kellogg's Pop Tarts."

I'll have what they're having.

*

"To see this in action, all you have to do is drop by a Chicago Public high school vending machine where reformulated Pop Tarts and Flamin' Hot Cheeto Puffs occupy several slots. In an interview with WBEZ Wednesday, CPS's head of Nutrition Services Leslie Fowler said she had no idea schools were selling the snacks."

Maybe they didn't teach her that at Aramark.

*

Oh, lookie here.

I wonder how that turned out.

Oh:

Another outstanding ethics issue tackled in this year's report involves a dispute between two of the nation's largest food service providers, who were competing for the 2013 school food contract, valued at nearly $100 million a year. Food giant Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality charged that CPS school food chief (and former Aramark manager) Leslie Fowler showed favoritism to her former employer in the contract bidding process. The district asked the OIG to rule on the issue at the time, and it concluded that Fowler's actions "did not violate applicable ethics policies."

In its new report, however, the OIG says Fowler "engaged in questionable conduct throughout the award process." This included dining twice with the president of Aramark during the process and telling fellow bid committee members that her boss did not want Chartwells to win the contract. The report further says that Fowler told "staff members that she did not need to review (Aramark's bid) because she had written proposals for" the company herself and Aramark knew what she wanted.

In the process of the Fowler investigation, "the OIG also learned that the administrator prodded subordinates to participate in a party game that made people feel uncomfortable."

Do tell!

*

But I digress.

Back to the story at hand:

The district, she said, has prohibited reformulated snacks for about a year. Still, a list of approved snacks that CPS provided to WBEZ on Wednesday includes Baked Cheetos and Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers. Another list the district sent to WBEZ earlier Wednesday included reduced fat Cool Ranch Doritos as an approved snack. But when WBEZ noted that snack was also "reformulated," the CPS official claimed she'd given us the wrong list.

To add to the confusion, Fowler told WBEZ Wednesday that the "only Cheeto that is approved is the whole grain puff," which are not included on the latest list but are featured in several district machines.

Look, I love Cheetos as much as anyone, but if I had kids ... wait, why are there vending machines in schools in the first place?

When I was a kid, we had to walk five miles - well, five blocks - to a vending machine.

This seems like such a no-brainer for CPS. No pun intended.

*

"New York University Nutrition professor Marion Nestle thinks part of the problem is that the rules encourage companies to hit certain nutrient numbers rather than providing real food.

"This is a classic case of nutritionism," she said. "If you set up nutrition standards, the food industry can do anything to meet those standards and this is a perfect example of that...So this is a better-for-you junk food. And, of course, the question is: is that a good choice? And no, of course, it's not."

"When asked to discuss the issue, Cheeto maker Frito-Lay would not grant WBEZ an interview."

That's odd. Last year the CEO of Frito-Lay North America said he "wants to be part of the fight against the obesity epidemic."

(I love this part: "On the topic of Doritos Locos Tacos, he talks about 'ideating' with Taco Bell, and how 'the product hit all the velocity thresholds' during initial market tests.")

And:

I point out that if he really wanted kids to be healthy, he could just stop selling them chips and soda.

"Totally," he says. "Life's about choices. We provide choices to our consumers.

And if we profit by seducing kids into making bad choices because of the irresistibility of our market-researched and finely tuned factory-produced products, so be it. It's a choice!

*

I couldn't find Greco's compensation information this morning, but I'm sure he could personally stock every CPS vending machine with flamin' hot caviar for years to come without so much as making a dent in his wallet.

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"The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it couldn't comment on the wisdom of selling Cheetos at school."

Really, Ag Department? Not even a plug for products grown by farmers that aren't flamin' hot but are good for you?

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"It's not just kids who are drawn to the orange curly snacks. For cash strapped school administrators, Cheetos can deliver plenty of green. Under the current CPS deal with Avcoa Vending, schools get a 20 percent commission on all sales; and that can add up to more than $10,000 in discretionary spending a year."

Bingo. It always comes back to the same thing, doesn't it?

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Beachwood Radio Sports Hour: Cubs In Aliceland
Where Javy Baez stays up and Kris Bryant goes down.

Plus: Coach in Vegas; Our Elite Neighbors; We Hate Christian Laettner; McDonald McPunditry; Daft Town Chicago; Bulls' Secret Plan Coming To Fruition; Blackhawks' Secret Plan Not Coming To Fruition; DePaul's Third Strike; and The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week. (With Show Notes)

The 2015 Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide Pt. 5: Catchers & Closers
Montero vs. Flowers, Robertson vs. Rondon.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #50
Is in production!

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Back from their trip to Austin, TX for SXSW, Jim and Greg share their favorite bands from the annual music conference. Later, they review the surprise new album from hip-hop titan Kendrick Lamar."

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BeachBook
* Chicago Team To Study Long-Term Stay In Space.

"Throughout the year, Scott Kelly will send blood and stool samples back to Earth to be tested."

How? As e-mail attachments?

* Health Insurers Give In To Public Pressure To Care About People's Health.

HIV meds, for chrissake.

* Bison To Graze At Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

Don't tell Ricketts or Kurtis.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Make it rain.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:54 AM | Permalink

March 27, 2015

The 2015 Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide Pt. 5: Catchers & Closers

The most thankless parts of a fantasy advisor's job - and the most boring aspects of drafting a team - are ranking catchers and closers. Both positions are shallow in fantasy value. Beyond the obvious - catchers being a limited source of power, and RPs being the only source of saves - there is little strategy involved in drafting them (unless it's in trying to guess which closer's team will be good enough - but not too good - to hand him the most save opportunities).

Anyway, if you really need to know:

C

1. Buster Posey, SF.

Exceptional abilities as a pure hitter are fully leveraged in a no-frills offense to maximize his RBI potential. 89 RBI led all catchers last year, 72 runs was second. Interesting 2014 stat: 69 strikeouts lowest since 2011, and third straight year number has declined.

2. Carlos Santana, CLE.

More power than Posey - 27 HRs led all catchers - and still believed to have his best years in front of him. He's really more of a 3B/1B now, but retains the C eligibility for extra value. Interesting 2014 stat: 85 RBI was second to Posey.

3. Devin Mesoraco, CIN.

HR explosion last year - 25 HRs in just 384 at-bats. Likely to see more playing time and have more opportunities to reach that figure again, though he's not a proven quantity just yet. Interesting 2014 stat: .893 OPS led all catchers.

4. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL.

Dual-eligibility at 1B, though lack of HR power makes him more valuable here. His tendency toward run-producing doubles helped him get into position to score 73 runs, leading all catchers. Interesting 2014 stat: 176 hits also led the position.

5. Evan Gattis, HOU.

A bit injury prone, though I am intrigued by his move from the NL to the AL, where he probably will DH. 22 HRs last year in 369 at-bats, and thinking he gets closer to 500 at-bats this year if he stays healthy. Interesting 2014 stat: .810 OPS.

6. Jan Gomes, CLE.

Like Mesoraco, you can question which direction his numbers will go in this year after 21 HRs but 120 strikeouts in 485 at-bats - his fullest season of three so far - but potential is there to do more damage. Interesting 2014 stat: .278 average slid from .294 in 2013.

7. Yadier Molina, STL.

Once so consistent, but now more of a comeback candidate. He could easily be his old self and deliver Posey-like average and RBI, but carries at least a small amount of risk. Interesting 2014 stat: 38 RBI in season lost to injury was fewest since his 2004 51-game debut.

8. Salvador Perez, KC.

Have to wonder how his long postseason will affect his energy this year, given he hit only .229 in the second half last year to finish at career-low .260, but similar to Molina/Lucroy/Posey as a good contact/RBI hitter. Interesting 2014 stat: Career-high 17 HRs.

9. Brian McCann, NYY.

Move to AL and NYY last year looked to help his power numbers, and he did hit 23 HRs, 75 RBI, both bests since 2011, but his 495 at-bats were the most he had since 2008, putting those number in perspective. Interesting 2014 stat: Hit only .232.

10. Wilin Rosario, COL.

He's the reason we show concern for HR direction of Mesoraco/Gomes, since he hit 28 HRs in 2012, but 21 in 2013 and just 13 last year. Still, injury limited him to 109 games, so maybe there's hope. Interesting 2014 stat: 25 doubles somehow a career high.

11. Russell Martin, TOR.

Star free agent whose value doesn't always show in fantasy. Clutch hitting nabbed him 67 RBI, highest since 2008. 32 years old, so how much better can he be? Interesting 2014 stat: .290 average was his highest since 2007.

12. Miguel Montero, CUBS.

Very speculative ranking, as young team and Wrigley's dimensions could help his HRs and RBIs, or could just lead to a lot of lonesome hits and loud outs. His 72 RBI, sixth among catchers, offers hope. Interesting 2014 stat: 136 games played a career high.

13. Wilson Ramos, WAS.

Still has breakout potential, but between injury and middling performance, he has played more than 100 games only one out of six seasons (and it wasn't last season). Interesting 2014 stat: 47 RBI in 88 games suggests fantasy value over a full season.

14. Matt Wieters, BAL.

Talented, but troubled by injury, and likely to start the year on the DL. Still, his 2011-2013 stats: 22/23/22 HRs, 68/83/79 RBIs show proof of value. Just be sure to have a back-up for the beginning of the season. Interesting 2014 stat: .308 average, but only 26 games played.

15. Travis d'Arnaud, NYM.

Finally, a real breakout candidate: 13 HRs, 41 RBI in 385 at-bats during his rookie campaign last year (came up mid-season). OK, maybe still a year away from realizing his full potential. Interesting 2014 stat: A very un-catcher-like three triples.

16. Mike Zunino, SEA.

Wow, another breakout candidate, and with 30+ HR potential. Of his 87 hits last year, 22 were HRs, and spring reports suggest he's improved his swing - who wouldn't, after hitting .199 last year. Interesting 2014 stat: 158 strikeouts in 458 trips to the plate.

17. Derek Norris, LAA.

His .270 average might be his best stat: 10 HRs, 55 RBIs in 127 games last year is fairly pedestrian. But we should expect more this year as an everyday catcher in a fairly stacked lineup. Interesting 2014 stat: Not one, but two SBs - and a triple!

18. Yasmani Grandal, LAD.

More power than Norris, suggested by 15 HRs in 128 games, but average is much lower, just .225 last year. Dual eligibility at 1B, though I wouldn't consider him more than an injury replacement there. Interesting 2014 stat: Three SBs, so he's faster than Norris.

19. Francisco Cervelli, PIT.

I like him as a very deep sleeper because he's going from being the long-term back-up with NYY to an everyday starter with PIT. Only two HRs, so power is not evident, but in 46 games he had a .301 average. Interesting 2014 stat: .802 OPS sounds promising.

20. Tyler Flowers, WHITE SOX.

Early last season, he seemed like an overlooked gem, but faded later, resulting in a .241 average, 15 HRs and 50 RBI. Still makes for an interesting bench option when he's streaking, though not much else. Interesting 2014 stat: 159 strikeouts.

Sleeper: Max Stassi, HOU.

With only 27 at-bats in the last two seasons, this 24-year-old is really still more of a prospect, but with Gattis likely to be more of a DH, Stassi could provide some fantasy value as the year goes on. Interesting 2014 stat: Two of his seven hits last year were doubles.

RP

1. Aroldis Chapman, CIN.

What gets him this spot is 106 strikeouts in 54 IP last year. He's an elite closer, and should manage 40 saves even for the middle-of-the-pack Reds (36 saves last year) Interesting 2014 stat: 0.83 WHIP.

2. Greg Holland, KC.

Not a lot of people believe the Royals will make a repeat appearance in the World Series, but they'll still be good, and Holland's 46 saves, 1.44 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 62 IP offers the complete package. Interesting 2014 stat: Only two blown saves in 65 appearances.

3. Craig Kimbrel, ATL.

The closest thing to a reliably elite closer since Mariano Rivera. ERA, WHIP have ticked higher the last three seasons, while strikeouts have declined over that stretch, but 47 saves in 2014 was second highest of his career. Interesting 2014 stat: .142 average against.

4. Drew Storen, WAS.

Closing for the best starting rotation in MLB should lead to huge number of save opportunities. His 1.12 ERA and 0.98 WHIP last year showed remarkable improvement from 2013's 4.52/1.36. Interesting 2014 stat: Three blown saves in only 14 save chances.

5. Alex Wood, ATL.

SP/RP for those who sacrifice saves to pad other stats. Wood will start exclusively, and should provide wins, strikeouts and ERA at the level near a top 20 starter. Interesting 2014 stat: 170 strikeouts most of any pitcher with RP eligibility.

6. Carlos Carrasco, CLE.

Another SP/RP should be providing starter's stats all year, and could be even have a more dominant line of wins, strikeouts and ERA than Wood, though a lesser known quantity right now. Interesting 2014 stat: 140 strikeouts second among RPs.

7. Trevor Rosenthal, STL.

His 45 saves last year and status as closer for a consistent winner recommend him for this rank more than his 3.20 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, lofty by closer standards. Interesting 2014 stat: 70 IP most of any RP with 39 or more saves.

8. Mark Melancon, PIT.

Quietly amassed a great season - 1.90 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .195 average against, 71 strikeouts, 33 saves. Didn't start 2014 as closer, so reason to think he'll get more saves this year. Interesting 2014 stat: 72 game appearances tied his career high.

9. Dellin Betances, NYY.

In my top five until a few days ago, based on 135 strikeouts in 90 IP last year as set-up man. However, he's struggling this spring, and though he appears to be top choice for closer, he's being challenged by Andrew Miller. Interesting 2014 stat: 0.78 WHIP.

10. David Robertson, WHITE SOX.

A little bit of early injury concern caused him to drop a couple spots in my rankings, but if the Sox are as good as many of us think, he's looking at 40+ saves. Interesting 2014 stat: 39 saves in first year as a closer for NYY.

11. Cody Allen, CLE.

Another late riser in 2014, he notched 24 saves with a 2.07 ERA, but what stands out is 91 strikeouts in 69 IP. Still, has less than a season of experience closing games, so there's a risk factor. Interesting 2014 stat: .194 average against.

12. Fernando Rodney, SEA.

How does the MLB saves leader of 2014 fall this far? His 48 saves last year tied his career high, but he just turned 38. His 1.34 WHIP last year scares me. Interesting 2014 stat: .244 average against was his highest since 2010.

13. Huston Street, LAA.

Cagey 31-year-old veteran usually an RP-2 fantasy option, but was nearly unhittable pre-All Star break last year before trade to LAA. Wasn't as good after, but still had 41 saves overall and a 1.37 ERA. Interesting 2014 stat: .158 average against pre-trade for Padres.

14. Koji Uehara, BOS.

Even older, cagier veteran is an injury risk and may start the season injured. Still, should have a ton of chances with BOS reloaded for a playoff run. 80 strikeouts in 64 IP last year showed he still has pop. Interesting 2014 stat: 0.92 WHIP.

15. Steve Cishek, MIA.

39 saves last year and 84 strikeouts in 65 IP suggests he should be ranked higher, though be wary of an un-closer-like 3.17 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Could surprise in a big way if young Marlins overachieve. Interesting 2014 stat: 58 hits in 65 IP not so encouraging.

16. Kenley Jansen, LAD.

Otherwise an elite closer, he'll start the season on the DL and may miss the first month or so. If you get him late in a draft, he'll probably be a great bargain, as his 44 saves last year suggest. Interesting 2014 stat: 101 strikeouts in 65 IP.

17. Joaquin Benoit, SD.

Another possible steal this low - and another old man, at 37, and an injury risk. Just 11 saves last year, but 1.49 ERA and 0.77 WHIP, and savvy money is on Padres to win a lot this year. Interesting 2014 stat: .151 average against in 53 appearances.

18. Glen Perkins, MIN.

If you wait until very late to draft closers, he's not a bad option, with 34 saves last year, 36 in 2013. He did have seven blown saves last season, and a somewhat ugly 3.65 ERA, 1.18 WHIP. Interesting 2014 stat: Gave up 62 hits in 61.2 IP.

19. Jonathan Papelbon, PHI.

Somehow keeps getting it done for a bad team, with 29 saves, 2.04 ERA and 0.90 WHIP last year. Not as much a strikeout pitcher has he once was. A trade would send his fantasy value soaring. Interesting 2014 stat: .191 average against his best since 2007.

20. Santiago Casilla, SF.

Giants relievers just get guys out, which helps win a World Series or three, but lack of strikeouts brings down their fantasy value. Casilla looks like the primary closer this year instead of set-up man, which may help. Interesting 2014 stat: 0.86 WHIP a career best.

Sleeper: Hector Rondon, CUBS.

If the Cubs excel enough under Joe Maddon to become a wild-card candidate, Rondon could be looking at the 45-50 save opportunities typical of a winner. But that's a big If. Interesting 2014 stat: Only 15 walks in 64 IP after 25 in 44 IP in 2013.

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Previously:
* Pt. 1: The Corner Men.
* Pt. 2: The Middle Men.
* Pt. 3: Outfielders.
* Pt. 4: Starting Pitchers.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:19 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #44: Alice In Cubsland

Where Javy Baez stays up and Kris Bryant goes down. Plus: Coach in Vegas; Our Elite Neighbors; We Hate Christian Laettner; McDonald McPunditry; Daft Town Chicago; Bulls' Secret Plan Coming To Fruition; Blackhawks' Secret Plan Not Coming To Fruition; DePaul's Third Strike; and The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week. (With Show Notes)


SHOW NOTES

* Chuck Foreman.

* Reggie Jackson.

* Jim Brown was No. 32 except maybe in college?

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #43: Kris Bryant Has Ricketts.

* Coach in Vegas.

* MGM Grand Race & Sports Book.

8:38: Our Elite Neighbors.

* Wisconsin, Notre Dame.

* Bracket psychology.

* Gonzaga.

* I Hate Christian Laettner.

* David Kaplan, fanboy.

22:40: Alice in Cubsland.

* Theo Epstein's permanent honeymoon.

* Joe Maddon already infected.

* Baez stays up, Bryant goes down.

34:34: Ray McDonald McPunditry.

* Brad Biggs tanking season; Bears not.

43:47: Daft Town Chicago.

* Jameis Winston.

* Lovie Smith.

* Roger Goodell.

* Rahm Emanuel.

* Choose Chicago.

* Chicago's Big 10 Team.

* Park District Waived Rules For Lucas-Hobson Bash.

* Lucas-Hobson Give $25 Million To Rahm's Kids' School.

* 'Star Wars' Museum: Rahm Emanuel Got Campaign Cash From Disney, George Lucas' Wife, Before Pushing to Donate City Land.

51:13: Bulls' Secret Plan Coming To Fruition.

* GarPaxOdeau seems to be working.

* Bulls Wipe Out Raptors For Season Sweep.

56:11: Blackhawks' Secret Plan Not Coming To Fruition.

58:22: DePaul's Third Strike.

1:00:06: The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week.

STOPPAGE TIME: :40

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:09 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Will Butler at the Hideout on Monday night.


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2. The End of the Ocean at Beat Kitchen on Monday night.

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3. TV on the Radio at Reckless Records on Monday night.

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4. Japan Nite at the Double Door on Sunday night.

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5. Ghost Rat at Phyllis' Musical Inn on Wednesday night.

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6. Psychopathic Daze at Mojoes in Joliet on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater

A Chicago court report.

boyballporchescinetc.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"Rahm Emanuel and Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia clashed in an argumentative second debate Thursday night, a face-to-face meeting in which the challenger tried to put the mayor on the defensive by mocking his leadership of Chicago," the Tribune reports.

Not only that, but the consensus seems to be that Chuy won.

Now, that's not just me seeing things through an anti-Rahm prism. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever tabbed Chuy as a debate winner, while I have done so with Rahm. But I believe there is corroborating evidence.

"In a reflection of how the Emanuel camp viewed his performance, the mayor made a rare visit to the post-debate spin room," the Tribune account says.

Rare, indeed - but telling. Here's why:

*

Back to the Tribune for further evidence:

"While Emanuel didn't go on the offensive much during the debate, he did afterward. The mayor criticized Garcia for only recently coming around to the mayor's idea of backing an expanded state sales tax on services to shore up the city's finances."

And:

Case closed.

*

Rahm also said this in the "spin room" after the debate:

"Attacking somebody is not an attack on the challenges facing the city of Chicago."

FTW:

*

Finally, it's not quite Bernstein and boobs, but Mike Flannery, who retweeted this reply, apparently agrees about his colleague's legs.

Because women must always be judged by their bodies, even in the workplace.

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More essential debate tweets:

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater
A Chicago court report.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Will Butler, The End of the Ocean, TV on the Radio, Japan Nite, Ghost Rat, and Psychopathic Daze.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #44: Alice In Cubsland.

Where Javy Baez stays up and Kris Bryant goes down. Plus: Coach in Vegas; Our Elite Neighbors; We Hate Christian Laettner; McDonald McPunditry; Daft Town Chicago; Bulls' Secret Plan Coming To Fruition; Blackhawks' Secret Plan Not Coming To Fruition; DePaul's Third Strike; and The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week.

* The Beachwood Radio News Hour #50 is in pre-production!

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TweetWood
Non-debate sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Beefy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:04 AM | Permalink

March 26, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

Obama's torturous consistency and other discontents.

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Lydia Loveless vs. Taylor Swift
Which is America's real sweetheart?

Newspapers Dumber Than Readers, Internet
Still angry about loss of hegemony.

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The Trews
The trews is like the news, if the news were true.

* Is Rupert Murdoch More Powerful Than Your Vote?

This is really about Bill O'Reilly vs. Sean Penn with Geraldo Rivera moderating and Brand explaining how it's all about Murdoch's war profits.

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BeachBook
* Walgreens Nixes 'Be Well' At Checkout Line.

At least they didn't try to talk to us about race.

* Tell Obama That, You Know, Torturers Should Be Prosecuted.

At least he's been consistent: "[L]ocal activists remember all too well that Barack Obama, when a state senator, steered a wide berth around the Burge torture issue."

* Whistleblowers And The Press Heavyweights.

* KFC Colonel In Chicago 1977.

* Sweden No. 1 In New Open Government Index; U.S. No. 11.

* Health Store Worker Who Posed With Rahm Emanuel Hates That Mothafucka.

Also says Mayor 1% is a lousy tipper.

* Trolling Dan Bernstein's Boobs.

* Airport Hotel Trades Hands In O'Hare's Submarket.

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TweetWood

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*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Tip big or go home.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:10 AM | Permalink

Newspapers Dumber Than Readers, Internet

"The effort to insinuate more serious standards into the instruments of mass culture was always difficult, even when a rising middle class made possible the notion of increasing cultural sophistication," Steve Wasserman writes for The American Conservative.

"A single story from the near-decade I served as literary editor of the Los Angeles Times tells the tale:

In 1997, Penguin announced that it would publish a volume of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz's selected writings. Years ago, Carlos Fuentes had told me of this remarkable 17th-century Mexican nun and poet. I had never heard of her. Nor was I alone. Much of her work had yet to be translated into English, even some 300 years after her death. It was, Fuentes said, a scandal, as if Shakespeare had still to be translated into Spanish. The whole of Spanish literature owed a debt to her genius. Thus I decided that an anthology of her writings, newly translated by the excellent Margaret Sayers Peden and published under the imprimatur of Penguin Classics, ought to be treated as news. After all, about a quarter of the readers of the Los Angeles Times had Latino roots.

I asked Octavio Paz, Mexico's greatest living poet and critic, to contribute a lengthy essay on Sor Juana. When he agreed, I felt I had gotten something worth playing big on the front page of the Book Review. But when I showed my superiors the color proof of the cover, I was met with incomprehension. Sor Juana who? A nun who'd been dead for almost half a millennium? Had I taken complete leave of my senses? Couldn't I find something by someone living who might be better known to our many subscribers, say, the latest thriller from James Patterson?

Dispirited, I trundled up to the paper's executive dining room to brood upon the wisdom of my decision. When Alberto Gonzalez, the paper's longtime Mexican-American waiter, appeared to take my order, seeing the proof before me, he exhaled audibly and exclaimed: "Sor Juana!" "You've heard of her?" I asked. "Of course," he said. "Every school child in Mexico knows her poems. I still remember my parents taking me as a boy to visit her convent, now a museum. I know many of her poems by heart." At which point, in a mellifluous Spanish, he began to recite several verses. So much for my minders, I thought; I'm going to trust Alberto on this one.

After Paz's paean appeared in the Sunday edition, many people wrote to praise the Book Review for at last recognizing the cultural heritage of a substantial segment of the paper's readers. Their response suggested, at least to me, that the best way to connect with readers was to give them the news that stays news. In the end, it hardly mattered. In the summer of 2009, four years after I left, the Tribune Company, which had bought the Times for more than $8 billion, shuttered the Review. The staff was mostly sacked.

- Submitted by Tim Willette

I have to say I take great issue with much of this essay, however telling the previous anecdote. That stubborn anti-Internet ignorance still persists is depressing - and to me, points the problem back at those pining for the good ol' days of, well, the kind of executives that tried to stymie Wasserman and then dismantled their properties. The Internet is not to blame for that.

To wit:

The arrival of the Internet has proved no panacea. The vast canvas afforded by the Internet has done little to encourage thoughtful and serious criticism. Mostly it has provided a vast Democracy Wall on which any crackpot can post his or her manifesto. Bloggers bloviate and insults abound. Discourse coarsens. Information is abundant, wisdom scarce. It is a striking irony, as Leon Wieseltier has noted, that with the arrival of the Internet, "a medium of communication with no limitations of physical space, everything on it has to be in six hundred words." The Internet, he said, is the first means of communication invented by humankind that privileges one's first thoughts as one's best thoughts. And he rightly observed that if "value is a function of scarcity," then "what is most scarce in our culture is long, thoughtful, patient, deliberate analysis of questions that do not have obvious or easy answers." Time is required to think through difficult questions. Patience is a condition of genuine intellection. The thinking mind, the creating mind, said Wieseltier, should not be rushed. "And where the mind is rushed and made frenetic, neither thought nor creativity will ensue. What you will most likely get is conformity and banality. Writing is not typed talking."

Let us, again, take these one by one.

* The fact that anyone can post their thoughts is exceedingly good; expression ought not be limited, as Wasserman and Wieseltier seem to think. Who are they to regulate who is worthy of actually speaking their minds?

What is missed here is that nobody is forced to read the crackpot blog post; Wasserman isn't making the choice for us anymore. How many Sor Juanas did he miss? Now we can find them ourselves on the Internet.

And if crackpot posts get wide readership, that only reveals to us how many crackpots are out there, which should only deepen the serious thought he finds so lacking.

* Who said everything must be 800 words? I have no idea where that comes from. I can tell you, though, that every printed newspaper review had to be, um, about 800 words.

* How is it determined that the Internet - a distribution technology - privileges first thoughts as the best thoughts? Digital publishing breaks down the limits of time and space existent in the print world - artificially so. A "news cycle" is a made-up thing dependent on publishing schedules as determined by the technology of printing presses. Removing that artificiality is a good thing. News - and reviews, essays, articles - can be published when they are ready to be published. There is no longer a need for "weeklies," "monthlies," "quarterlies." There are "nowlies," and "readilies" if you will - you publish "now" when you are ready to do so.

* It's always shocking to me to find that the golden age was when we all supposedly read Time. Time! Are you fucking kidding me? Time was always a middlebrow publication published by faux intellectuals and New York elites for consumption by Middle America for profit; hardly the repository of serious thought.

* Lack of book reviews is distressing, but at the same time there is probably more coverage than ever if you know where to look . . . on the Internet. Also, why don't all the displaced writers band together to form their own book reviews? To think how dependent they were on the numbskulls who edited their newspapers and the cynical neanderthal business executives who sold them is distressing. If you're so smart, don't you think you could do better?

* Finally, the public isn't necessarily much interested in what you have to say. Should they be? Only if you're interested in them. I get the feeling though, even in that anecdote, that it's about him, not anyone else. Please pay me to write! No one is entitled to that.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

Lydia Loveless vs. Taylor Swift

Which is America's real sweetheart?

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By the way:

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And, previously:

I mean, really. Christ.

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Which one said this?

"I have a very sad job history. My last one was at a restaurant called Grand Day. They were one of those open from 6-3 breakfast places and the owner was a gross sexist idiot who hired me because he thought I was hot and fired me like three days later because I'm an awful server and I seem to be incapable of smiling at customers. My favorite was working in the kitchen at a vegan restaurant. Because I could just listen to Danzig, chop vegetables, and be an asshole all day."

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Writing about ex-boyfriends.

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"My guitar player calls me a bowl of sunshine."

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Finally, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I beseech you:

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Case closed.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:52 AM | Permalink

March 25, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The word 'entitlements' is often used by politicians and pundits to describe government programs and tax money targeted to help the poor, children, the elderly and minorities," Phil Kadner writes for the Daily Southtown.

"But former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-18th, is only the latest in a long line of elected officials forced to resign, or be sent to prison, because they thought they were entitled to more than a good salary and benefits at the public's expense . . .

"I wonder if any of these people ever tried to personally place a telephone call to a government agency to get help like a regular person, without the assistance of an aide or their official title to get special treatment. Have they even tried to find a telephone number that connects them directly to some government employee who can answer a question?

"Of course, they wouldn't stoop to wasting their time on such matters. They have more important things to do."

I thought about this the other day when I was trying to reach, navigate and resolve certain (ridiculous) tax issues with the Illinois Department of Revenue. And, of course, it doesn't end there because the Illinois Secretary of State's Office handles the corporate charters and determinations of "good standing" often harmed by such (ridiculous) tax issues.

And don't even get me started about Medicaid.

If poor folk are scamming the system, I say give them a bonus! They must be brilliant. I'm a reasonably intelligent person and I can tell you getting the system to work right in the first place is exasperating, much less scamming it.

But it's not just government - think Comcast and AT&T, both of whom I've battled like so many others.

To Kadner's point, I was wondering the other day when the last time was that Rahm actually saw a bill. I'm guessing he has people to do that for him, right? The bills go straight to the accountant? So he has no idea what it's like to wonder what the fuck those mysterious charges are for, and how long they've been there. He's never had to work the phones to find a customer service rep whose mission isn't to make your life miserable. At least not for many years.

That's what it means to be in touch with "the people." I'd like to see Barack Obama try to get Comcast to explain why they're still billing for a service that was long ago cancelled. He'd probably find working with House Republicans a joy after that.

Anyway . . . back to Kadner:

"[Jesse] Jackson [Jr.] eventually pleaded guilty to a felony in connection with charges that he spent $750,000 in campaign money illegally for personal expenses such as fur capes, sports memorabilia and those elk heads, among other things.

"He's in federal prison, but the real question that may never be answered is why he felt entitled to something more than the rather lofty title of U.S. congressman and the six-figure salary and extensive benefits that went with the job.

"Now Schock is under federal investigation for his high-flying lifestyle as a congressman. He spent $40,000 decorating his Washington office in a Downton Abbey motif. He accepted rides on a private jet owned by a campaign donor. He allegedly billed taxpayers $90,000 for 171,000 miles in gasoline reimbursement on his personal vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe, which had only 81,000 miles on it, according to the Chicago Tribune."

I'll have the Tahoe he's having!

Kadner is right in that our public officials should be the last ones feeling entitled; being unentitled is supposed to go with the job.

But it's not just a problem with public officials, as Kadner also notes - we have an entire class of people in America who feel entitled, from rich kids born on third base to corporate executives looting the treasuries of their own companies while laying off workers by the thousands.

Even folks from rough backgrounds can fall into the entitlement trap. Take this guy*:

WESLEY: Christ, I'm just like you. I came up the hard way, from the streets of Chicago. When I came to this town after Korea there was nothing. I brought the mall here. I got the 7-Eleven. I got the Photomat here. Christ, JC Penney is coming here because of me. You ask anybody, they'll tell you.

DALTON: You've gotten rich off the peopIe in this town.

WESLEY: You bet your ass I have. And I'm gonna get richer. I believe we all have a purpose on this earth. A destiny. I have a faith in that destiny. It tells me to gather unto me what is mine.

*See, this is why Road House is such a great movie; there's a lot going on here. ("Oh, it's all legal-like . . . ")

Anyway . . . back to Kadner:

"I've heard congressmen complain about how hard they have it. They have to split their time between Washington and their home districts, which means leaving their families behind for extended periods of time. And the cost of renting an apartment or home in Washington is so high that they often have to share expenses, or as in the case of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd, for many years, sleep in their office. There is some merit to such complaints."

There is. That's not an easy life.

Then again, it's an easier life than mine - and my life is easier than many others'.

"[C]ongressmen sometimes seem to forget that while they're flying red eyes from Washington to their home states, there are young men and women who are walking through mountains, trudging through deserts and creeping along on their bellies while being shot at in foreign countries throughout the world where they are fighting for the right of elected officials to show their abs on magazine covers."

Preach it, Phil!

"This sense of entitlement extends to the private sector as well, and that's part of the problem. Entertainment figures and businessmen feel they're entitled to a lot of things that seem extravagant, a waste of money, to those of us who live ordinary lives.

"Elected officials often spend time with such people and get to thinking they're just as deserving, maybe more so, than the fat cats who feel no obligation to the people who have made them wealthy and famous."

This was Dan Rostenkowski's problem. He would hobnob with incredibly wealthy businesspeople - fly on their planes, dine at their clubs - and write the tax laws that enriched them even further and get stuck with a measly six-figure congressional salary. He resented it, as James Merriner recounts in Mr. Chairman.

He forgot his purpose - if he ever really knew it. His job was to hobnob with us regular folk and make the tax laws more fair. The result would have been improving our lives, not theirs. But that's not as much fun.

"The thing that too many of our elected officials seem to forget is that it is an honor to be chosen by the public to serve their interests."

It should be, but is it really? Does anyone truly think Rahm Emanuel is "honored" to be chosen mayor? Rahm and his buddies gain office by manipulating the public, not honoring it. That's what all that money is about - and the commercials, and the lies.

We've never had a mayor more entitled than this one. Just check out his security team. Dude thinks he's president of Chicago, not mayor.

The difference between him and Schock and Jackson, though, is that he's come by his entitlements "honestly." Playing the game by the rules is a lot more prosperous than cheating if you understand how the rules are written to your advantage. And that's why Rahm is the mayor, Jackson is finishing a prison term and Schock is likely about to begin one.

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See also: The [Rosty] Papers.

Really. See that. It's really good, and another depressing window into the minds of our esteemed Chicago journos.

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The first link above to Rostenkowski is to a Michael Miner column from 1992 that includes this:

"I don't doubt that someone abused Andrew Wilson after he was arrested," Royko wrote last week, nearly three weeks into the police board's hearings for Commander Jon Burge and two detectives. "But we don't know who did it, and we'll never know. It could have been the three facing dismissal. It could have been others. Since the city doesn't know, it should let it go."

By the time I got to Chicago, Royko was a putz.

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This is a more powerful reminder, too, of the media blackout about Burge that I've referred to often recently in light of the local press corps' reaction to the Homan Square story. This was the mentality - and still is.

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Back to Miner:

Should the city now have shrugged and said, "Well, maybe they were torturing people at Area 2 and maybe they weren't, but it's water over the dam"? A handful of loud, persistent critics - the sort of people Royko says should "get a life" - thought not. They began campaigning for a serious investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, the kind of investigation that wasn't made back in 1982. The results were striking. One OPS investigator sustained Wilson's allegations against Burge and the detectives. Another concluded that "the preponderance of the evidence is that abuse did occur [at Area 2] and that it was systematic. The time span involved covers more than ten years."

Royko ignored these reports. He probably hasn't read them. He granted that the current hearing "might be justified if these three cops were known to be dirty. But they aren't. To the contrary, they have excellent records."

Go read the whole thing. You'll find a dimwitted Amnesty International reference that is also repeating itself these days.

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These are examples of how this profession has broken my heart - and the hearts of many others.

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Mayor 1% - The Song
A must-listen from Penny and the Jets.

Before Chuy, There Was Miguel
How prescient were these ads?

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Beachwood Music
Playing catch-up.

* Last Week In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Negative Scanner, Hollywood Undead, Klingande, Jazmine Sullivan, and Funktastic.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Whips, Coal Chamber, North by North, Caloncho, Fatal Figures, moe, Sustain, Gregg Allman Band, Kill Coin, Dionysus, Lloyd Cole, Filter, Mat Kearney, Manic Focus, Daryl Stuermer, Judah and the Lion, New Found Glory, Citizen Cope, Joe Renardo, and (ugh) Mike + The Mechanics.

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The Antlers Of Ireland!
At the Art Institute, natch.

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The Trews
* Long Black Vs. Flat White: Can Starbucks Solve Racism?

* If Politics Is Dead, Is The Election Its Funeral?

The Trews is like the news, if the news were true.

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BeachBook
* What The New York Times Paid Ochs-Sulzberger Family Members In 2013 And 2014.

* Aaron Schock Fundraiser: I Feel 'Sad, Angry, Cheated.'

* When Explosives In School Weren't A Big Deal.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The kicker is that the game was at the new A's facility - which is the old Cubs' facility that the team, including Jackson the last two years, used until this season.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: There go the late fees.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:24 AM | Permalink

The Antlers Of Ireland!

"Curator Christopher Monkhouse offers a glimpse of the first exhibition to explore Ireland's long 18th century, featuring paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, firearms, and more."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:00 AM | Permalink

Before Chuy, There Was Miguel

Chicagoans had a chance four years ago to elect a progressive Latino. They blew it.

1. For All Chicago . . . For Every Neighborhood.


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2. Invest In Our Public Schools

Rahm lied - repeatedly. Even after fact-checks like this, he repeated the claim over and over and over.

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3. A Mayor For Every Neighborhood.

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4. The Peoples' Candidate.

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5. Billy Branch!

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6. Economic Segregation.

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7. Accusation: You Don't Raise Enough Dirty Money And You're Too Nice.

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8. Teachers Make All The Difference.

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9. A History Of Saving Schools.

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10. Believe In Our Neighborhoods.

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A different Chicago was possible, but del Valle finished third with only 9.4 percent of the vote. WTF, Chicago?

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Bonus: Miguel Endorses Chuy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:14 AM | Permalink

Mayor 1% - The Song

Don't resent Mayor One Percent
He's the guy lookin' out for you
From Lincoln Park down to Streeterville
Unless your collar's blue


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MAYOR 1%

Chorus

Don't resent Mayor One Percent
He's the guy lookin' out for you
From Lincoln Park down to Streeterville
Unless your collar's blue

He's got the backs of Goldman Sachs
And JP Morgan, too
Mayor One Percent is quite content
To have a city that works for a few

Verse

Drinkin' wine in Montana
With Bruce and Diana
He's closing down neighborhood schools
We'll all go and see him
At the Star Wars Museum
When he rewrites the lakefront rules

His management duties
Get downgrades from Moody's
But his red-light camera fines
Will hammer the poor
And help to ensure
That downtown Chicago shines

Chorus

He gave a gym to DePaul
With a TIF basketball
While young kids have no place to play
Jukin' the crime stats
Strokin' the fat cats
As parts of the city decay

With a wink and a smile
He's on the Mag Mile
Taking checks from Gold Coast friends
And his V-neck sweater
Will make it all better
As the TV commercial ends

Chorus

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

March 24, 2015

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. One-Fourth Of Chicago Home Borrowers Under Water.

"At 25.1 percent, Chicago's rate of 'negative equity' was third-highest among major U.S. cities, according to Zillow, an online real estate marketplace. The area was behind only Las Vegas, at 26.4 percent, and Atlanta, at 26.1 percent."

2. Former GOP Nominee For Governor Wants To Privatize Illinois' Public Universities.

Perhaps he should privatize himself.

3. Man Gets 16 Years To Life For Killing Former White Sox Outfielder.

"A 33-year-old man has been sentenced to 16 years to life in prison for killing a former Major League Baseball outfielder at a homeless encampment . . .

"[Rodney] Craig played parts of four seasons, from 1979 to 1986, for the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. He was the first player to sign and be developed by the Mariners who reached the majors.

"It is unclear how and when Craig ended up living on the streets of downtown L.A."

Truth be told, he only had 10 at-bats for the White Sox. They were the last 10 at-bats in his major league career.

4. Good News For 'Cue.

"Excess meat supply means grocers will have to significantly cut product prices to consumers for the coming spring grilling season, said Chicago-based Allendale Inc chief strategist Rich Nelson."

5. Orange Juice Futures Enter Bull Market Territory.

"Jack Scoville, vice president of Price Futures Group in Chicago said in a note . . . that the demand for orange juice just isn't there."

6. The White Sox Report: Enter Courtney Hawkins.

A spring training report from Arizona.

7. Male Nurses Scarce, But Make More Money Than Women.

"Even in an occupation that women overwhelmingly dominate, they still earn less than men, a study of nurses found."

8. Deerfield Has An Elected Library Board.

This is a subtweet.

9. Why Is Chuy So Happy?

"The West Loop campaign headquarters of mayoral candidate Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia has some fun touches, like the 'emergency mustache' box - 'You never know when you might need one' - and the supporter's painting of Garcia as Superman propped up next to the basket of neighbor-baked banana muffins, each individually wrapped and stamped with a different Chuy-licious, go-get-'em message.

"But there is not much private meeting space in the converted restaurant, where several dozen brown, black and white volunteers of all ages are online and on the phone on Garcia's behalf in the final days ahead of the April 7 runoff. And this, too, the candidate's friend and three-time former campaign manager, Chicago Alderman Ricardo Munoz, blames on the current mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

'"Nobody wanted to rent to us,' says Munoz, who'd volunteered to find his former mentor, now a Cook County commissioner, the right HQ. Owners really feared the wrath of Rahmbo more than an empty building? 'It's the Chicago way,' he says mildly. 'Happens all the time.'"

Welcome to Chicago, Melinda Henneberger.

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"On the airwaves that Emanuel's campaign and the PAC that supports him are indeed blanketing, the anti-Garcia commercials would be almost comical if viewers could see the small-print disclaimers: That raise Garcia voted himself, because he's 'out for himself, not us,'' was as a member of the state senate, in 1998. And his support for the 'biggest property tax increase ever' was as an alderman in 1987, when the city was on the brink of bankruptcy. Then as now, tough choices were the only choice."

Also: Chuy Had Dinner With Newark Mayor On Monday Night.

10. Our Kind Of Town.

"Today, parents, early childhood workers, elected officials and community leaders held a press conference outside of Loop Capital Markets on LaSalle Street, to react to a new report by the ReFund America Project at the Roosevelt Institute, Our Kind of Town: A Financial Plan that Puts Chicago's Communities First.

"The report pushes back against the austerity agenda being pursued by Mayor Emanuel and the credit rating agencies on Wall Street, which recently downgraded the credit rating of the city and Chicago Public Schools, triggering hundreds of millions in possible taxpayer handouts to banks.

"It lays out specific immediately actionable and long-term policy proposals for getting Chicago's finances back on track without unconstitutional grabs at retiree pensions, cuts to vital services, and toxic bank fees and payouts."

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BeachBook
* The True And Horrible Story Of The Indiana Women's Prison.

* Ex-New York Times Energy Reporter Joins Nuclear Energy Lobbying Group.

I'm surprised and disheartened by the mild reaction to this; I'm always disappointed when journalists go into PR, which is essentially what he's doing as an industry advocate (he'll be involved in "strategic planning"). If you must leave the industry, there is a whole world of career options out there; why choose the one most diametrically opposed to the values and principles of journalism? "I'm in the truth business, but I'm thinking of getting into the lying business instead. Pays better."

Also, it tells you something about what kind of reporter a person was. In this case, the reporter was someone completely agreeable to the industry he covered! A guy who never gave them too much of a problem and won't have trouble adjusting to his new role.

By the way, Wald was known as "the dean of the energy press corps."

* Chicago-Based Wilson To Buy Louisville Slugger For $70 Million.

And if you do have to go into PR, or lobbying or whatever, at least go do it for a baseball bat company or something like that, not the frickin' Nuclear Energy Institute. Sheesh.

* As A Silence Falls On Chicago Trading Pits, A Working-Class Portal Also Closes.

Interesting angle. Plus, open outcry - you had to love it.

* FAA: South Suburban Airport Impact On O'Hare, Midway Minimal.

Longest airport approval process ever. (Thanks to Richard M. Daley, and now Rahm Emanuel.)

Chuy?

See also: Save Lives, Build An Airport.

* Taco Bell's Waffle Taco Is Dead.

Nothing good lasts, and that's one of my big problems with this world.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

This is the first of a series of tweets about my early inspirations and journalism heroes. Find the rest at @BeachwoodReport.

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Unite Here Local 1 is inexplicably backing Rahm. Then again, not inexplicable - just enormously cynical. And naive. The worst combination of attributes besides arrogance and ignorance.

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A roundup for folks who aren't on Twitter - or at least those who don't follow Chicago's best education sources, which have been documenting the hell out of this straight from the field.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Get Tip Line tenured.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 AM | Permalink

Enter Courtney Hawkins

We were barely out of the parking lot, and she was on her cell talking to a friend back in Chicago.

"We lost to the Cubs," my wife lamented. "I can't stand losing to the Cubs."

"It doesn't matter," I explained after she got off the phone. "These games are meaningless. They don't count."

This was of little consolation on a day when Camelback Ranch - I don't get it; I thought ranches were for horses and cowboys - was filled to capacity by the announced crowd of 13,101, of whom probably two-thirds were decked out in Cubbie blue. With two outs in the ninth and a three run-lead, the victory-starved, giddy Cub fans were on their feet chanting, "Let's Go Cubs." It could have been an October pennant-clincher. Did I mention that the game was meaningless?

Despite that fact, I was minimally perturbed that 1) we could only score "lawn seats," deciding too late that we were going to Phoenix, and 2) that guys like David Ross, Taylor Teagarden, and someone named Anthony Giansanti went deep against the Sox' "improved" pitching staff. But then, in a meaningless game, you have to factor in the fluffy warm desert air and a humidity barely above single digits.

However, there were some nice touches, like the two delightfully cruel guys wearing Sox jerseys with "Bartman 03" stitched across the shoulders.

In addition, watching second-base prospect Micah Johnson go 2-for-3 with a stolen base while looking comfortable in the field - he made his first error of the spring on Sunday - was refreshing. After Sunday he was hitting .455 this spring, which ranks third in all of baseball. His OBP is a whopping .514. The Indiana U product has earned the inside track to be the team's Opening Day starter, and batting ninth right ahead of Adam Eaton has the potential to drive opposing pitchers nuts, especially with Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu on deck and in the hole.

Of course, this all is practice. Any correlation to reality is pure conjecture.

Hector Noesi pitched effectively against the crosstown club, getting an out in the top of the fifth before taking the rest of the day off. He left with the Sox leading 4-2, the only blemish being Ross's two-run shot in the second. No big deal. When Hector gives up runs, a four-bagger often is part of the equation. Noesi has done nothing to endanger his chances of being the No. 5 starter.

Not part of the equation - at least last year when his ERA was 1.96 - has been Zach Putnam's propensity for basically pitching batting practice in these exhibitions. The first offering out of his hand to open to top of the ninth on Saturday was hammered onto the lawn - by this time we were standing behind home plate - in right center by Teagarden. Two hitters later, Giansanti hit one to left center, giving Putnam a spring ERA of almost 20. Of course, these games don't count. The only way they do is if Putnam finds a one-way ticket to Charlotte in a week or so. Not likely but possible.

Saturday with the Royals was much more pleasant. The ballpark was far more comfortable, quiet and less than half-filled. The announced attendance was 7,734, but no more than four or five thousand were there, and the Royals fans, despite supporting last year's American League champions, were dignified and intelligent.

Brad Penny, owner of 121 big-league wins and a longshot for the rotation since Chris Sale fell off his truck, pitched into the fifth inning on a yield of two runs. Only problem was that manager Robin Ventura summoned Jake Petricka with a man on, and his first pitch to catcher Eric Kratz wound up halfway to Peoria - Arizona, not Illinois - so Penny was on the hook for the loss.

Enter Courtney Hawkins. You remember him. The No. 1 draft choice (13th overall) who did a back flip upon being tabbed by the Sox in 2012. Then-general manager Ken Williams - after changing his laundry - decreed that Hawkins no longer would be a gymnast.

In three professionals seasons, the kid from Corpus Christi has struck out 359 times while hitting .231. However - and this is a big "however" - he has hit 46 minor-league home runs while his strikeouts have been declining.

He stepped to the plate in the seventh inning last Saturday against Franklin Morales, who's spent parts of eight seasons in the big leagues, including last year when he started 22 games for the Rockies. With Eaton on second and an 0-1 count, Hawkins made a near-perfect swing and launched a game-tying blast about 430 feet onto the lawn in left center. Again, we were behind home plate, and the ball flew off his bat like a Rory McElroy drive with a lovely draw.

But wait a minute. This all was inconsequential, it being spring training. Nevertheless, I was on my feet behaving like a crazy person.

There's more. Hawkins came up in the bottom of the ninth in a 4-4 game with Carlos Sanchez on second, and this time Hawkins went to dead center - distance 410 feet - liberally clearing the fence for the walkoff.

This is spring training. Nothing counts. It's all pointless. But I'll remember two homers within about a half-hour totaling close to 850 feet. The 21-year-old Hawkins is headed to Double-A Birmingham within a few days, but by the time Melky's contract expires in 2017, this kid should be ready. I can't wait.

Among other observations from the spring is that the Sox will make a lot more contact at the plate this season. Only four teams fanned more than the Sox last year, but Adam LaRoche and Cabrera make much better contact than the people they're replacing, Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo. Avisail Garcia has whiffed just once this spring while hitting .400, and Johnson is another low-strikeout guy.

Much has been made of the deals to get relievers David Robertson, Zach Duke, and Dan Jennings. Yet as a staff the Sox have been pretty miserable this spring. Only the Rangers have a higher team ERA.

Of course, none of this means a thing. Absolutely nothing. The trio of new relievers have pitched 15-plus innings this spring with an ERA of 6.46. Don't mean nothing.

So what is important for the too-long spring training? For openers, if the Sox can emerge with the minor injury to Sale - notwithstanding reliever Jesse Crain's setback from arm surgery - they can head north in dandy shape. Minimizing the DL is paramount. Ask the Rangers, who said goodbye to Yu Darvish as he heads for surgery.

And the final few roster spots certainly are important to the players vying for them. Geo Soto or Rob Brantly? J.B. Shuck or Leury Garcia? (Bet on Shuck for that one.) Javy Guerra, Daniel Webb, Penny, Eric Surkamp or Maikel Cleto? Take your pick.

Nothing else has significance. But we're not likely to forget those two homers by Courtney Hawkins any time soon.

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See also:
* Robin Ventura Calls Sox Prospect Courtney Hawkins Most Improved.

* White Sox Prospect Courtney Hawkins Opens Eyes.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:14 AM | Permalink

March 23, 2015

The [Monday] Papers

I have to fight with the Illinois Department of Revenue today about them trying to charge me for last year's taxes twice, which they oddly decided to do recently. I mean, I know the budget situation is tough, but do you really need my $67 all over again? Bruce?

The appearance of a proper Papers column today will depend on how much that takes out of me. Given the first two rounds of this battle, my guess is you shouldn't count on it.

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What's weird is how I found out the state was billing me a second time for taxes I already paid: My company was listed as not being in good standing by the Secretary of State's Office. Why? Unpaid taxes.

I was never notified - either of allegedly owing taxes or my company's standing. I found out through my bank, which checked because a snafu by them led to me having to re-open my business checking account. They don't grant a business checking account unless your business is in good standing, though. That's how I found out. Which means I don't currently have a business checking account, thanks to the state.

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In my first go-round on this with the state, I was told the revenue department sent me a "final notice" that I owed taxes but that they sent it to the wrong address. Somehow, though, that's my fault and the bill was sent to collections.

Yes, that's right. A tax bill of $67 was sent to collections - triggering a credit rating notice, no doubt - in the space of weeks in which I was never notified that I owed taxes, which I don't.

(I pay my taxes in September every year; business taxes are due on March 15, not April 15, and I always get a six-month extension. It was in October that the state sent out its "final notice" to the wrong address, unbeknownst to me. It was just a couple weeks ago that I learned about this, after the bank started me on this journey.)

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Not that my once-sterling credit rating isn't completely shot by now, but still. Plus, that $67 morphed into $108 with fines and late payments and . . . I already paid the $67 in the first place! I can't afford to give money to the state that I don't owe.

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It was odd to me to think I had filed my taxes last year without including a check, but that's always possible. So when I first called a few weeks ago - and was met with the kind of obstinance that made me rethink my position on pensions - I handed over my debit card number just to make it go away. This was unusual - I usually fight these things to the death, be it Comcast, AT&T or the other usual suspects, because these corporations and bureaucrats are the enemy and must be dealt defeats, however small, on every hill. We must do this not just for ourselves, but for others.

But even I find myself too tired at times to exert the energy.

However, a few days ago I found my paperwork from last year's taxes and guess what it includes? Confirmation of paying by debit card the first time around via filing my state taxes online. Bingo.

You would think that proof would be enough to get a refund on the second payment. I'm betting it won't, because working for agencies like the Illinois Department of Revenue tends to turn people into monsters.

But we'll see.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour: The Property Tax Polka
The Politics of Plans.

Plus: Rear-End Rahm; Privatizing Tourism; Aaron Schock's Magic Tahoe; Fuck The Obama Library; and Developing Homan Square.

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P.S.: I fought a years-long battle with the IRS over my company's federal taxes and went through the entire appeals process and won. Case closed. That was four or five years ago. Well, guess what? A couple years ago the IRS started sending me notices that I owed money from 2010, which was part of the case that I already settled. Their response? Well, you appealed late fees and fines and got that settled, but you still owe the principal. Um, okay. The principal was $0, which was a big part of my appeal. But somehow they've come up with some other figure. The appeals process is supposed to be the final word. My case went from here to Cincinnati to somewhere in California to somewhere in Utah. Apparently this is the kind of appeals process that lasts a lifetime, though.

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If only our tax agencies were this aggressive with, oh, I dunno, Wall Street? Corporate America? I mean, I know The Beachwood Media Company is the difference-maker that stands between our state and our nation prospering or failing, but unlike these folks, we actually pay our taxes!

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Beachwood Sports Radio: Kris Bryant Has Ricketts
Kubs still Klass Klowns.

Plus: The requisite shout-outs to Tony Snell and Russell Wilson.

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P.P.S.: I know it's often easier to just pay unwarranted fines and fees and so on to just make snafus go away, but I can't stand being made into a chump. It's also about fighting for justice. And I don't believe we should let ourselves be dehumanized by The System.

Years ago, I had a long, long fight with the city over parking tickets that Eric Zorn wrote about. I'm reminded of those columns now:

* City Resident Parks In Twilight Zone Of Bureaucracy.

* City Hall Lends Touch Of Kafka To Ticket Snafu.

The original error, I later learned, was that my original check was applied to somebody else's ticket. Seems like they could have just looked that up. I mean, I provided them with a copy of the check. Which was cashed. By the city.

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P.P.P.S.: In this case with People's Gas, it turned out the meters were crossed.

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P.P.P.P.S.: The Comcast Chronicles.

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P.P.P.P.P.S.: Sprint Is Useless In Wicker Park - And They Don't Care.

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P.P.P.P.P.P.S.: And don't even get me started about MegaPath, which thankfully is no longer my Internet service provider.

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Get Informed And Fight Back!
I'm a big fan of this website.

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BeachBook
* Law Enforcement Tops The List Of Most Appealed FOIA Denials In Illinois.

* Clarence Page Is Wrong About Starbucks.

* The Subtle Racism Of Comics' Skin Tones.

* JBTV To Make Cable Pitch For Local, Live Comedy Show.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Fight for your right to tip.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:26 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Cinderella Spoilers

They almost pulled it off.

The NCAA almost rigged the tournament well enough to completely shut out teams from non-power conferences from the Sweet 16. That way they keep the teams from the prime money-making major conferences front and center in the national sports fan consciousness for another year.

The fat cat bureaucrats at the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the selection committee who dictate how the tournament will be structured pretend to value the underdogs. They give lip service to the Cinderellas. Then they set it up so under-seeded mid-majors run into under-rated power conference teams time after time. Or they simply screw mid-major teams like Murray State, which won 20 games in a row during the regular season and has an impressive record of tournament success during the past decade.

Citing an RPI in the 60s, tournament organizers left Murray State out of the bracket entirely after the team was upset in the final of its conference tournament. The big problem with this is that Murray State can't jack up its RPI because teams from the conferences that would help them do that won't play them during the non-conference portions of the regular season.

One team overcame. A Wichita State squad (from the Missouri Valley Conference) which knows all about power teams refusing to even step on the court, scored the ultimate victory (78-65 over Kansas) on Sunday This was the Shockers team that was rated in the Top 10 for much of last season, had another great campaign this time around and yet still somehow didn't warrant better than a 7th-seed in the Midwest Region.

Wichita State knocked off the chickenshit Jayhawks program that has desperately tried to maintain dominance in the schools' home state in part by refusing to play the team from the smaller school.

It had been since 1993 that the in-state rivals had faced off in any game. Kansas has done the math that tells them anything they might gain from a win over Wichita State in a given year is more than outweighed by even the chance that the Shockers might win. In so doing, the Shockers would make it clear there is another big-time program in the state besides Kansas and Kansas State. And if they deprive their fans of an exciting regional rivalry match-up year after year? As if that even begins to matter.

It was Wichita State that got totally hosed in last year's tournament. Despite going undefeated in its regular season and conference tournament, the NCAA stuck them in a quarter of a regional that also included powerhouse Kentucky. The Wildcats, who featured a half-dozen legit pro prospects, knocked off the Shockers in the round of 32 on their way to the national final (where they lost to UConn).

This sort of thing happens year after year. Unfortunately, so much of the coverage of the tournament is dominated by shills for the NCAA such as CBS, the Turner Networks and ESPN. So there is very little scrutiny paid to the tournament set-up shenanigans that somehow always seem to result in powerhouses like Kentucky being in position to sweep away potential pests like Wichita State.

One other clever little NCAA maneuver is to match up potential Cinderellas against each other in the first round. One example of that this year was No. 5 (Eastern Region) Northern Iowa versus the brutally under-seeded (No. 12) Wyoming Cowboys. No matter what happens in games like that (and in this case, Northern Iowa pulled out the win), one potential Cinderella is eliminated. And then in the round of 16, perennial power Louisville was waiting and sure enough, the Cardinals knocked off UNI 66-53.

Another potential mid-major achiever eliminated! High fives all around the selection committee!

There is one exception to all of this. At this point, it is hard to remember that Gonzaga (West Coast Conference) is not a power conference stalwart. The Zags have been so good for so long that there was no way the NCAA could seed them below the No. 2 spot they got in the South Region. Still, the NCAA was able to arrange it so a strong Iowa team coming off a disappointing conference tournament showing (such teams are always especially dangerous) would probably meet the Zags in the second round (they did but got thumped 87-68) and then one of everyone's favorites, Iowa State, would be waiting in the round of 16.

But Iowa State, in the tournament's biggest upset so far, went down to Alabama-Birmingham in the first round. UAB, now that would have been a fine Cinderella. And it was facing another double-digit seed in the second round. But that team, UCLA, can never qualify as a true tournament underdog. And sure enough, UCLA knocked out UAB yesterday, eliminating one more glass-slipper wearer.

And the selection committee is potentially foiled as a clearly inferior UCLA team (to Iowa State that is) advances to take on Gonzaga for a spot in the Elite Eight next weekend. If the Zags advance, No. 1 seed Duke will probably await. And that is as it should be. A team should have to knock off a top seed (or be a top seed) to make a Final Four.

So the NCAA went 14-for-16 this year (it wasn't long ago that Xavier was a mid-major but it moved into the Big East recently and no longer qualifies) in terms of power conference players in the Sweet 16. My guess is they are satisfied but already starting to plot how they'll stick it to the mid-majors in different ways next year.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Whips at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.


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2. Coal Chamber at Mojoes in Joliet in Sunday night.

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3. North By North at the Double Door on Friday night.

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4. Caloncho at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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5. Fatal Figures at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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6. moe at the Concord on Friday night.

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7. Sustain at Reggies on Sunday night.

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8. Gregg Allman Band at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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9. Kill Coin and Dionysus at Mojoes in Joliet on Friday night

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10. Gallery Night at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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11. Lloyd Cole at the Old Town School on Friday night.

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12. Filter at Mojoes in Joliet on Sunday night.

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13. Mat Kearney at the Riv on Saturday night.

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14. Manic Focus at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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15. Daryl Stuermer at Park West on Saturday night.

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16. Judah & The Lion at the Riv on Saturday night.

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17. New Found Glory at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Sunday night.

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18. Citizen Cope at City Winery on Friday night.

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19. Joe Renardo at the Metro on Saturday night.

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20. Mike + The Mechanics at Park West on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:23 AM | Permalink

March 22, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #49: Property Tax Polka

The Politics of Plans. Plus: Rear-End Rahm; Privatizing Tourism; Aaron Schock's Magic Tahoe; Fuck The Obama Library; and Developing Homan Square.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:30: We Ride Tonight/The Sherbs.

3:41: Property Tax Polka and The Politics of Plans.

* Rahm vs. Chuy.

* Walking back the lie.

* Broadcast the fact-check for higher ratings.

* Rahm has more than a plan - he's got a record.

* What was Rahm's plan, not what is it.

* It's about a governing style, not a plan.

* About those audits . . .

* City Inspector General Bashes City Again For Improper Garbage Collections.

* The FAA lied and Rahm doesn't care.

26:39: The Walls Came Down/The Call.

28:28: Rear-End Rahm.

37:09: Rahm Privatized Tourism Bureau; But Not Its Funding.

40:07: Aaron Schock's Magic Tahoe.

* A refusal to comment? Go harder.

45:10: Fuck The Obama Library.

* Rules are made to be broken by elites.

* Bullshit on a stick.

* Just another Rahm bungle.

* An April surprise?

1:00:24: Developing Homan Square.

* Amnesty International Calls For Federal Investigation.

* For godsakes, I forgot to mention the lawsuit.

* Roti resigns.

STOPPAGE TIME: 13:32

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:36 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #43: Kris Bryant Has Ricketts

Kubs still Klass Klowns. Plus: Shout Outs to Tony Snell, Russell Wilson.


SHOW NOTES

* Coach in Vegas.

2:05: Bulls Stall Out In Detroit.

* No Winners In Thibs Vs. Front Office.

* Fred Hoiberg Creates Bulls Buzz After Iowa State Beaten.

10:37: Russell Wilson Fan Club .

* Source: No Russell Wilson Talks Yet.

13:43: Kris Bryant Has Ricketts.

* Kap's Corner:

* Planet Haugh.

* Planet Morrissey.

* Bryant Set To Get OF Work.

* Mike Olt used to be Kris Bryant.

* Javy Baez On Roster Bubble.

* Jorge Soler: A less durable Sammy Sosa with a Carlos Zambrano head.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:50 PM | Permalink

March 21, 2015

The Weekend Desk Report

Well, if we're waking up in 2018 already, have the Cubs won a World Series yet?

Market Update
Just spitballin' here, but how much do you suppose Governor Rauner's fantasy law that will never pass is costing Illinois? Probably a touch more than defending the actual laws.

We quit.
The point of the Weekend Desk is to bring a little humor to the absurdities of our global corporate power structure through satire and exaggeration. But where our so-called leaders are making up the craziest shit, executing the most obvious scams, and stripping the last bit of shame from their shameless hypocrisies and evasions, you don't need us.

Satire is dead. Long live Planned Parenthood.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Give us just one reason.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
* The Beachwood Radio Hour #49: Property Tax Polka.

The Politics of Plans. Plus: Rear-End Rahm; Privatizing Tourism; Aaron Schock's Magic Tahoe; Fuck The Obama Library; and Developing Homan Square.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #43: Kris Bryant Has Ricketts.

Kubs still Klass Klowns. Plus: Shout Outs to Tony Snell, Russell Wilson.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in production!

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg talk about the birth of rock 'n' roll and the modern label system with Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman. Later in the show, they review the new long-awaited album by Cannibal Ox."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: Chicago Newsroom's Special Runoff Election Coverage.

If you need to know more about the candidates running for aldermen, look to CAN TV.

Each week leading up to the April 7th runoff election, there is a special edition of CAN TV's Chicago Newsroom that features journalists and political commentators who give an in-depth look at four aldermanic races.

This week's guests are former city clerk and 2011 mayoral candidate Miguel del Valle, and Aldertrack's Claudia Morell. They will join host Ken Davis to discuss the candidates and issues in the 10th, 15th, 31st, and 36th wards.

Catch this special edition of Chicago Newsroom:

Saturday, March 21st at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
Sunday, March 22nd at 6:30 p.m. on CAN TV19

Watch more of Chicago Newsroom's special election coverage on demand at cantv.org/newsroom.

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BeachBook
* Mr. T To Renovate Chicago Homes In New Show I Pity the Tool.

* Local People With Their Arms Crossed.

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TweetWood

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Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:04 AM | Permalink

March 20, 2015

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Negative Scanner at the Emporium on Thursday night.


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2. Hollywood Undead at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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3. Klingande at the Concord on Wednesday night.

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4. Jazmine Sullivan at the Concord on Sunday night.

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5. Funktastic at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:08 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"[I]f Obama opts for New York after all he's put Chicago through, it will be more than a slap in the face to the town that made his career," Joe Cahill writes for Crain's.

Chicago would be left with no presidential library but a gaping hole in the principle that public parks belong to the public. Capitulation to the Obama library's demands sets an ominous precedent for handing over parkland to private interests with the right kind of clout.

The process engineered by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and rubber-stamped by aldermen makes a mockery of public control of parkland and the supposed independence of the Chicago Park District. Parks commissioners hopped-to when Emanuel demanded they transfer the land to the city so the city could give it to the library foundation.

These actions came after Emanuel and library backers cynically whipped up public fears that New York would get the project unless Chicago served up park sites. Never mind that numerous non-park properties around Chicago would make fine locations. The University of Illinois at Chicago's proposal for a West Side site didn't get anything close to a fair hearing.

If two jewels of Chicago's park system - both designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted - can be sliced up, what chance do other parks have?

The mayor and others insist no precedent has been set, calling the presidential library a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Something tells me we'll hear the same thing the next time a well-connected party covets city parkland.

Thanks, Obama!

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Meanwhile . . .

"Months before the public was officially told that the South Side sites for the Obama library, museum and academic center would be in parks, City Hall and the Chicago Park District knew they were in play, according to e-mails obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times."

Let me tell you something: From what I've learned, the University of Chicago planned to use parkland from the start - but never bothered to inform the park district and just assumed the mayor would take care of it. But let's see what the e-mails show.

"By the time the U. of C. submitted its first round bid on June 16, all the sites the South Side school was proposing included parkland.

"While the U. of C. did do community outreach, part of its strategy was holding off for as long as possible confirming to the press that they wanted President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle to consider putting their project in either Washington Park or Jackson Park or the South Shore Cultural Center."

The University of Chicago deliberately kept the public in the dark - which is something you only do when you think what you are doing is wrong.

For the most part, though, the e-mails obtained by the Sun-Times are relatively mundane. In this case, the e-mails should have simply been one component of reporting out what really happened behind the scenes, not the end in itself.

For example, the question of why the University of Chicago won't use its own land has never been answered; my understanding is that the university fears an Obama library on its actual campus would be seen as partisan.

Why an off-campus site has to use public parkland also remains a mystery. Were any other designs/proposals considered by the university? What logistical issues led the university in this direction? What are the larger development issues involved - and what involvement has the city had?

Finally, isn't this an Emanuel screw-up royale? It never should have gotten to this point.

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"The Barack Obama Foundation was expected to announce this month where the library will be built. But a source said the uncertainty of Chicago's mayoral race has prompted officials to put off the decision until after the April 7 election," the Tribune reports.

What in the world could this mean?

A) Choosing Chicago would presumably be a huge win for Emanuel, so this means the library is going to New York.

B) See A.

I mean, let's just suppose for a second that the library folks might feel they won't get the same kind of cooperation from Chuy Garcia as they would Emanuel. Would that really be a difference-maker in siting the library? Chuy might be gone in four years. Who knows who takes over in New York. It just makes no sense that Chuy would be even a sliver of the Obamas' algorithm.

Perhaps the Obamas don't want to give Emanuel an election-season gift lest the library itself bet tainted as a political vehicle from the get-go. That, too, seems nearly incomprehensible - he gave him a national park and one of the great closing ads of all time!

Perhaps the library people could just tell us what's going on.

But then, that's not this president's style.

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So the Michael Reese site is being saved for a casino.

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President Bystander hopes the library goes to Chicago, and also wishes someone would have closed Gitmo.



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Programming Note
I don't have the emotional strength to write about the latest Homan Square developments or the mayoral race today, but I'm likely to talk about both on this weekend's Beachwood Radio Hour.

Also:

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour and The Week In Chicago Rock are in pre-production.

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Campaign Lies In Action
Watch how Team Rahm edited a video of Chuy Garcia to turn a thoughtful, nuanced statement into nothingburger it could attack.

Chance The Bomber
Plus: The beauty and decay of Pilsen, and a big birthday bash for Midwest authors. In Local Book Notes.

Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies
A bird. A plane.

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BeachBook
* Gannett Cuts Newsroom Staff After Boosting CEO's Pay.

Journos sit back and take it like they have for decades.

P.S.: Be mad at this, not at Google for inventing a way to index the Internet and sell ads against it. Fools.

* College Of DuPage Signs Off On Deal With PR Firm.

First assignment: Fix the damage done by hiring a PR firm.

* WGN-TV Disappears Vagina Sparks Segment.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: It's them, not you.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:44 AM | Permalink

See How Team Rahm Edited Video Of Chuy Garcia To Create A Wholly Misleading Attack Ad

"For shame, Emanuel. For shame."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Chance The Bomber

Over the transom and through the news.

1. LTAB15.

"Chance the Rapper, a Chicago native and an alumnus of Young Chicago Authors' workshops and performer at 2012's festival, will appear during half-time of the Team Finals at the Arie Crown on March 28."

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March 1st benefit celebrating LTAB's 15th anniversary:


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Previously:
* Louder Than A Bomb 2014.

* Louder Than A Bomb 2013.

* Louder Than A Bomb 2012 - Response To Chicago's Cultural Plan.

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2. Poetry Out Loud 2015.

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3. A Pilsen voice.

"Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski, a native of Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, will read from his debut story collection, Painted Cities, at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23 in Room 700 of Roosevelt University's Gage Building, 18 S. Michigan Ave.

"Published in 2014, Painted Cities captures Galviz-Budziszewski's recollections of life growing up in Pilsen, including memories of gangs, violence, poverty and intense family relationships.

"A resident of Berwyn and a counselor to high school students in Chicago's western suburbs, Galaviz-Budziszewski has been called 'a young writer with genuine voice' by well-known Chicago writer Stuart Dybek and the Chicago Reader has described his work as 'a moving, nuanced portrayal of how a neighborhood shapes people.'

"Free and open to the public, the reading is part of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program's Spring Reading Series and is co-sponsored by Roosevelt's literary magazine, Oyez Review, and the University's Department of Literature and Languages.

"A reception for Galaviz-Budziszewski will be held immediately preceding the reading at 4:30 p.m."

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4. Society of Midland Authors Turns 100.

The press release:

The Society of Midland Authors will mark its 100th birthday at an awards banquet on May 1 and a free public literary celebration on May 2 in Chicago.

MAY 1 AWARDS BANQUET

On Friday, May 1, the Society of Midland Authors will celebrate its annual awards banquet - honoring the best 2014 books by Midwestern authors - at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, with a 6 p.m. cocktail hour and a 7 p.m. dinner, followed by the awards presentation.

Tickets to the awards banquet are $75 can be purchased with a check or through PayPal at www.midlandauthors.com.

MAY 2 CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

On Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Society of Midland Authors celebrates its centennial with a day of literary speakers and panel discussions at University Center, 525 S. State St.. Members of the Society will be selling their books throughout the day. Admission is free. The public is welcome. The schedule of speakers includes:

10 a.m.: Introductory ceremonies

10:15 a.m.: Carla Knorowski, CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, presents the new book Gettysburg Replies: The World Responds to Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, together with essayists who contributed to the book.

11 a.m.: Rick Kogan, longtime Chicago Tribune journalist.

11:30 a.m.: Haki Madhubuti, poet and publisher of Third World Press.

1 p.m.: Harry Mark Petrakis, author of Pericles on 31st Street.

1:15 p.m.: Edward Burke, author, alderman of Chicago's 14th Ward and chairman of the Committee on Finance.

2 p.m.: A conversation between Steve Bogira (Chicago Reader reporter and author of Courtroom 302) and Jonathan Eig (The Birth of the Pill, Get Capone).

2:30 p.m.: Martin Marty, noted University of Chicago scholar on the history of religion.

3 p.m.: A conversation between children's authors Blue Balliett (Chasing Vermeer) and Ilene Cooper (Jack: The Early Years of John F. Kennedy)

3:30 p.m.: Uptown Poetry Slam founder Marc Kelly Smith.

4 p.m.: A panel discussion with novelists Christine Sneed (Little Known Facts), Carol Anshaw (Aquamarine) and Rosellen Brown (Before and After).

The day will also include short tributes to noteworthy authors from the Society's history.

ABOUT THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS

The Society of Midland Authors was founded on April 24, 1915, by a group of authors including Harriet Monroe, Vachel Lindsay, Edna Ferber, Clarence Darrow, Hamlin Garland, George Ade, William Allen White and James Whitcomb Riley. Their goals included creating "a closer association among the writers of the Middle West" and "the stimulation of creative literary effort."

A century later, the nonprofit group includes about 300 authors from 12 Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Noteworthy Society members over the past 100 years include Jane Addams, Edgar Lee Masters, John T. McCutcheon, Ring Lardner, Sherwood Anderson, Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, Willard Motley, Studs Terkel, Carl Sandburg and Leon Forrest.

The Society has given out annual awards since 1957. The juried competition is open to authors who live in, were born in, or have strong ties to the region. Notable winners have included Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mike Royko, Jane Smiley, Dempsey Travis, Leon Forrest, William Maxwell, Louise Erdrich, Scott Turow, Alex Kotlowitz, Aleksandar Hemon, Stuart Dybek, Harry Mark Petrakis and Roger Ebert.

The Society of Midland Authors sponsors literary events, which are free and open to the public, at venues such as the Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library Center and the Cliff Dwellers Club.

A Chicago City Council resolution has proclaimed April 24 to May 2 "Society of Midland Authors Centennial Days in Chicago."

To learn more about the group visit midlandauthors.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:42 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies

It's a bird. It's a plane.

planeblueskygullbw.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING; TWO CLICKS EVEN BETTER!)

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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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:22 AM | Permalink

March 19, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

I wish I would have thought of this conceit sooner - and built an entire graphic around it.

By the way, I would normally root for Wisconsin, because I've always liked Wisconsin, and Madison is a great school and awesome town.

But Scott Walker makes it harder each and every year.

And the NCAA, well, I love the Tournament but . . . these kids should see some of that revenue.

Anyway, here's a buncha stuff.

Feds To Homan?
Amnesty International and a couple Chicago pols have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Homan Square. Perhaps more interesting at the moment is the letter Amnesty sent to Rahm Emanuel asking for access to Homan. Rahm has not replied - nor do I suspect he will until after the election, if at all.

The letter makes for interesting reading; you can see it all here.

Ferguson's Minstrels
What should we take away from Ferguson? Here's Russell Brand to help sort it out.

Kids Do Poetry Out Loud Better Than You
Viewing parties available.

A Maple Syrup Celebration
The Forest Preserves (no pun intended) of Cook County is on it.

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BeachBook
* Under ACLU-Drafted Bill, Illinois Police Must Forget Where You've Been.

* How Big Data Busted Abe Lincoln.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Bracketed.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 PM | Permalink

The Trews: Ferguson's Minstrels

I react to the Fox news reports after a 20-year-old suspect was charged Sunday with shooting two police officers in Ferguson as they suggest Obama and Eric Holder turned Michael Brown's death into 'another 9/11'.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:42 AM | Permalink

Amnesty International Calls For Federal Investigation Of Homan Square

Amnesty International USA called on the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of beatings and disappearances of detainees at a Chicago Police Department facility in Homan Square and to determine whether these allegations of ill-treatment and other abuses are, in fact, systemic throughout the Chicago Police Department.

"International law . . . obligates governments to investigate allegations of human rights violations; disclose the truth about violations; prosecute those responsible; and ensure remedy for victims, including reparations, truth and justice," wrote Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

"In the light of the national conversation around policing, it is clear that the United States government can and must do much more to ensure policing practices both in Chicago and nationwide are brought into line with international human rights standards."

Amnesty International USA sent a letter to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel last month about the facility after the allegations surfaced in The Guardian. To date, there has been no response.

"The report on the Homan Square facility comes as the City of Chicago continues to fall far short in meeting its obligations under international human rights law to ensure accountability and reparations for torture and other ill-treatment by Chicago Police operating under the direction of former Commander Jon Burge from 1972 - 1991," Hawkins wrote.

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See the letter here.

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See also:

* Chicago Politicians Push DOJ To investigate 'CIA Or Gestapo Tactics' At Secret Police Site.

* Chicago's Homan Square: Torture By Any Other Name . . .

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Previously:
* The [Monday] Papers: Suddenly, the CPD is a fine upstanding trustworthy institution.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers: John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #48: Carol Marin's Blinders & What Tom Durkin Really Said.

* The [Monday] Papers: Homan Squared.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:33 AM | Permalink

Youth Poetry Out Loud 2015: They Do This Better Than You

Think poetry and competition don't mix? Nearly three million students and 9,500 schools would disagree with you. That's how many have participated in 10 years of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest - and the 2015 National Finals will take place on April 28 - 29 in Washington, DC.

Poetry Out Loud is the nation's largest youth poetry recitation competition, and next month, high school students who advanced from a field of more than 365,000 students nationwide will gather in Washington, DC to match skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry from Shakespeare to Maya Angelou.

The top finalists and their schools will receive $50,000 in awards, including $20,000 for the National Champion. Award-winning poet Taylor Mali will host the Finals, and the roster of judges includes poets Richard Blanco and Nikky Finney, writer and critic Maria Popova, novelist Brando Skyhorse, and educator Carol Jago. The National Finals will also feature a performance by composer and multi-instrumentalist, Gabriel Kahane.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The program encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. Poetry Out Loud gives students an opportunity to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

The 53 champions will gather at the Poetry Out Loud semifinals on Tuesday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University, 730 21st Street NW, Washington, DC. Nine finalists will advance to the National Finals, also held at Lisner Auditorium, on Wednesday, April 29, from 7:00 to 9:15 pm. Both events are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

"Poetry Out Loud's tenth anniversary is an occasion for much celebration," said Robert Polito, president of the Poetry Foundation, "and a chance for us all to think anew about the role of poems in our lives and our cultures. To memorize and recite a great poem of the past or present, is to 'own' it in the most personal way in your body, your breath, and your spirit. Recitation is obviously an interpretive act, but also is creative, and often even self-transformative."

"For a decade, Poetry Out Loud has proven to be transformative for nearly three million high school students, and tens of thousands of teachers in high schools across the nation. Programs like this are so important, and not just because it introduces the beauty of poetry to young people. NEA research shows that arts education is linked to many positive, long-term academic benefits, social benefits, and workforce benefits," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "Programs like Poetry Out Loud give our nation's youth access to arts education opportunities that will help them learn and succeed in life."

Live Webcast and Viewing Parties

Not in Washington, DC, but still want to see the competition? You can watch the entire semifinals and finals through a live, one-time only webcast. You can also gather fellow poetry fans for a Poetry Out Loud Webcast Viewing Party. Register at arts.gov and find tips on hosting your party, promotional materials, and details on other viewing parties around the country. Follow the Poetry Out Loud National Finals on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL15. For more information on the event, webcast, or viewing parties, call 202-682-5606.

Poetry Out Loud Partnerships

The National Finals are the culmination of efforts by many partners. As national partners, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation have supported the administration of the program, created educational materials, and funded awards for both the state and national finals. State arts agencies have implemented the program in high schools nationwide and organized state competitions, often in collaboration with local arts organizations. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals are administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Schools interested in registering for the 2015-2016 Poetry Out Loud contest should contact their state arts agency. More information is available at www.poetryoutloud.org.

Educational Materials, Contests, and Awards

Poetry Out Loud offers educators free standards-based curriculum materials, which include a poetry anthology with more than 900 classic and contemporary poems, a teacher's guide, lesson plans, and video and audio on the art of recitation. Schools are welcome to download these free resources at www.poetryoutloud.org.

Using a pyramid structure, Poetry Out Loud started with classroom and schoolwide activities and contests between September 2014 and February 2015. State contests were held by mid-March; the 53 champions of contests in every state, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC, compete at the National Finals. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will present $50,000 in awards and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books. Awards include $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. In total, Poetry Out Loud will award more than $100,000 to state- and national-level winners and their schools.

Fast Facts About #POL15

* Poetry Out Loud participation 2005-2015: 2.7 million students and 9,500 schools.

* 2014-2015 participation stats: 365,000 students, 9,000 teachers, 2,300 high schools.

* Top three most popular poems for 2014-15 season: "Abandoned Farmhouse" by Ted Kooser, "Across the Bay" by Donald Davie and "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost.

* Number of repeat state champs at National Finals, 2005-2014: 42. Number of repeat schools at National Finals: 81, including five-timer Arvada/Clearmont High School (WY).

* States with the highest number of participating students in 2015: New Jersey, California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

* Oldest and youngest poets represented in the 900+ poem anthology are Queen Elizabeth I (b. 1533) and Jamaal May (b. 1982).

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See also: Poetry Out Loud videos.

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The 2014 National Champion:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:20 AM | Permalink

A Maple Syrup Celebration

Spring is on tap and so is the maple syrup. To mark this harbinger of spring, River Trail Nature Center will host its annual Maple Syrup Celebration, on Sunday, March 22, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3120 N. Milwaukee in Northbrook.

As daytime temperatures rise above 40 degrees F and nights still drop below freezing, the sap in our sugar maples starts to flow - just the right time to tap them for maple syrup.

Visitors can enjoy a full day of family activities, including:

* Tree-tapping walks in the sugar bush.

* Demonstrations of Native American, pioneer and modern maple syrup production.

* Free maple syrup samples with French toast sticks.

* Food vendors with hot dogs and home-baked goods.

* Puppet shows and other children's activities.

* 3 p.m. "grand finale" feeding program of some of the nature center's resident animals.

River Trail's iconic Sugar Shack has recently undergone a major renovation. It now has a new shingle roof, new lighting and a concrete floor with viewing area that make it fully accessible. The evaporator in the shack gets fired up each year for the Maple Syrup Celebration to demonstrate how it takes 40 gallons of sap from the maples on the property to make just a single gallon of maple syrup.

"Maple Syrup Celebration is a rite of spring," said Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. "This event is a great way to get the family out of the house after a long winter. I encourage everyone to come learn about this beautiful preserve and nature center beside the river, and learn how humans have sustained ourselves from the land for centuries."

Admission to the Maple Syrup Celebration is free. Visitors can park at the nature center. Overflow parking, with a free shuttle to the nature center, is at Allison Woods, Lake Avenue Woods East and Lake Avenue Woods West.

Maple Syrup Celebration is a Nature Express event, part of the Forest Preserves' efforts to make the preserves more accessible to all. A free bus will take riders from the pick-up location at 5515 N East River Rd, Chicago, IL 60656 (accessible from the Blue Line CTA Cumberland stop) to the Maple Syrup Celebration and back. To sign up, visit fpdcc.com/natureexpress/.

And for those who want a preview of Maple Syrup Celebration or can't make it to Northbrook on March 22, the Forest Preserves is holding A Taste of Maple Syrup Fest on Thursday, March 19, 11 a.m. to 2 pm, at Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest. Visitors can learn how real maple syrup is made and enjoy lunch from food trucks with maple-syrup focused menus.

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Sneak Preview
Maple Syrup Days 2011.

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See also:
* The River Trail on Facebook.

* The Sugar Shack on Yelp.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:34 AM | Permalink

March 18, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

I don't know that I have anything new to add to the resignation of Illinois congressman Aaron Schock, but I thought this tease from Politico's Playbook summed up the affair nicely:

"[Schock] billed the federal government and his campaign for logging roughly 170,000 miles on his personal car from January 2010 through July 2014. But when he sold that Chevrolet Tahoe in July 2014, it had roughly 80,000 miles on the odometer . . . [D]ocuments . . . indicate he was reimbursed for 90,000 miles more than his car was driven . . . When Schock transferred the SUV to an Illinois dealership in 2014, it had 81,860 miles . . .

"However, from January 2010 to the end of July 2014, he billed the federal government for 123,131 miles on his personal vehicle. During the same period, the Republican billed his 'Schock for Congress' campaign account and GOP Generation Y Fund, his leadership political action committee, for an additional 49,388 miles. Altogether, Schock sought reimbursement for 172,520 miles on his car, despite the fact that he signed documents that certified the vehicle traveled less than half that distance."

The full Politico article is here.

Also:

"Schock's final hours: His decision to quit was so abrupt that even Speaker John Boehner didn't get a heads up . . . On Monday evening, POLITICO began asking questions about tens of thousands of dollars of reimbursements he received from his campaign and federal government for mileage put on his personal car . . . Asked for his response to those findings, Schock announced his resignation."

That article is here.

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I sent this e-mail to a friend (and political expert) last week - and I'm not pretending I'm the only one to make the point:

Is Aaron Schock going to prison?

I mean, he bilked taxpayers.

Jesse Jr. bilked campaign contributors.

Then again, Schock has admitted it.

Then again, the evidence is right there to see . . . wasn't so with Jr. until the indictment.

Right?

It appears to me that Schock's misdeeds are far more significant than Junior's - which isn't to diminish what Jackson and his wife did.

At the same time, Schock's resignation this "early" into his scandal is exceedingly smart if he wants to avoid a lengthy prison stay; coming clean and reimbursing everyone while giving up one's public office plays far better with the feds than fighting them tooth-and-nail for years. My guess is that Schock will eventually prosper in the private sector. My guess is also that his identity isn't much wrapped up in being a congressman - unlike some others to fall before him.

Journalism Lesson
To think - and again, others have pointed this out - that Schock's unraveling began with this instant classic.

Is there a lesson to be learned for journalists?

I would say Yes. I can't help but think back to the scandal we uncovered at my college paper, The Minnesota Daily, that brought down the school's president. It started with the outgoing managing editor telling the incoming managing editor - me - about rumors of a new fence at the president's mansion that cost $50,000. Was that a lot for fence? We didn't know. But we pulled that thread and eventually uncovered what was essentially a slush fund the president spent from - without knowledge of the Board of Regents to boot. There were the ancillary threads, too; eventually the president resigned and we were named the College Newspaper of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists, though that wasn't unusual for us.

I hope you all aren't sick of my tales of lessons learned from early in my career, but I also had a couple of editors at the Ledger in Lakeland, Florida, who were keen on pulling every thread. That led us in my favorite instance to a wildly unconstitutional sting the sheriff's office was running, in which they sold a million dollars' worth of pot out of a warehouse where they would dismantle brake lights or put kill switches on the vehicles of unsuspecting buyers while making their buy and then just happen upon them on the highway a few miles away offering help. A drug dog that wasn't really a drug dog but would simply bark on the right command would act as if it smelled drugs, a search would commence and the deputies would find the pot they had just sold to the dupes. It was called Operation Corinthian and the drugs came from Pablo Escobar.

That investigation started with a few stray comments from defense attorneys in courtrooms.

I'm not saying local reporters don't do that sort of thing - just that I wish they'd do more. Look at how Tim Novak and his Sun-Times colleagues kept finding threads to pull in the Koschman case. Amazing. That took imagination, too; the imagination to think of so many angles to explore. Similarly, David Kidwell's reporting for the Tribune on red-light cameras has been a marvel; he and his colleagues came up with ways of analyzing data to produce spectacular results - and the work must have been sheer drudgery.

Of course, quite often you pull the threads and find nothing. That's part of the job. I would suggest an important rule, though, is that you don't know what you don't know.

Sadly, some reporters insist they know what they don't. More sadly, they insist such a thing without ever asking a question. Often, because authorities who have proven untrustworthy insist in statements that no wrongdoing is occurring - while refusing to take questions, which is just about the biggest red flag you can come across.

For example.

Lotta threads to pull there.

Maybe if Homan was done up Downton Abbey-style there'd be more local interest.

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See also: Decorating Other Illinois Political Offices.

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Addendum
I once knew a reporter who would often say, "They won't talk to you . . . so-and-so won't talk to you . . . you'll never get so-and-so to talk."

I could never figure out what she was doing in this business. People talk all the time. Sometimes they say amazing things. Sometimes they even tell the truth.

And when they don't talk, that's part of the story - and I don't mean writing "John Doe declined to comment." I mean, "John Doe refused several invitations to respond to the allegations over the course of three days, including blocking reporters from Twitter and pretending on the phone once that he was somebody else so he could say he wasn't in. When approached at his car after work one day, he told this reporter to "Go fuck yourself," got into his car and zoomed away without stopping at the stop sign on the way out of the lot."

I mean, I know not all "no comments" are that colorful, but I'm always in favor of providing the context of public figures refusing to answer questions.

(That's something Washington Post reporter Ben Terris did masterfully in that first Schock story.)

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When I write about this stuff, I'm not trying to be preachy. To the contrary, it's that this is what still inspires me. Also, to some of our lesser talents: Learn, dammit!

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Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide: Starting Pitchers
Sale and Samardzija vs. Lester and Arrieta.

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BeachBook
* Cook County Demands Payment From State For Kids Left Waiting In Jail.

* AP Correction: Accused Murderer Robert Durst Is Not A Former Member Of Limp Bizkit.

* 16 Illinois State Alumni Working In One School.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Club Dread.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:27 AM | Permalink

The 2015 Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide Pt. 4: Starting Pitchers

1. Clayton Kershaw, LAD.

Stat categories in which he tied or set career bests in 2014: Wins, complete games, shutouts, ERA, WHIP. Only his 239 strikeouts, most since 2011's career-high 248, didn't make that cut. The thing is: He'll do it all over again. Interesting 2014 stat: 27 games started, fewest since his rookie year, due to early injury.

2. Felix Hernandez, SEA.

King Felix's story is almost as good: Career-best strikeouts, ERA, WHIP in 2014, and 15 wins was second-highest. SEA offense is improving, so he may get that 20-win season. Interesting 2014 stat: Zero CGs/shutouts second straight year after 16/6 from 2010-2012.

3. Chris Sale, WHITE SOX.

The foot injury gives slight pause, though it really shouldn't. He may miss a start, even two, but has a better chance than ever with an improved lineup and closer supporting him to reach 20 wins. Interesting 2014 stat: 2.17 ERA third overall in MLB.

4. Max Scherzer, WAS.

Workhorse now anchoring the best starting rotation in MLB, and his numbers of the last two years prove he can do it: 39 wins, 492 strikeouts in 434 IP. Will NL game result in fewer IPs? Interesting 2014 stat: 3.15 ERA up from 2.90 in 2013.

5. Stephen Strasburg, WAS.

Second reason why WAS has the best staff in the bigs. 242 strikeouts (tied for NL best) was a career high we all knew he'd get if he could stay healthy enough to notch 200 IPs. Interesting 2014 stat: .245 batting average against was a career high.

6. Madison Bumgarner, SF.

I've always worried that the Giants weak lineup cuts into his win potential, but since he collected 18 wins last year and they won another World Series, I should quit worrying. Interesting 2014 stat: 219 strikeouts, like 18 wins, was a career high.

7. David Price, DET.

271 strikeouts led all of MLB. 15 wins is nice, too, but he was only 4-4 after getting shipped from middling TAM to a better team and park in DET. Interesting 2014 stat: Massive 248 IP also a league high and career high, the kind that might concern some.

8. Corey Kluber, CLE.

AL Cy Young over Felix, Sale, Scherzer, Price - that's how brilliant he was. 18 wins, 269 strikeouts. ERA of 2.44 and WHIP of 1.09 push his value out of the top five, and he's not entirely a proven quantity, but hard to pass up. Interesting 2014 stat: Just 51 walks/235 IP.

9. Adam Wainwright, STL.

20 wins, career-low 2.38 ERA/1.03 WHIP in 2014, but no Cy with Kershaw around. 179 strikeouts make him borderline top 10, though he's consistent fantasy value who likely will be a Cy candidate again. Interesting 2014 stat: 5 CGs second straight year.

10. Jon Lester, CUBS.

This off-season prize had 16 wins and 220 strikeouts between BOS and OAK last year, but will be challenged to repeat those number with a team that may still be on the wrong side of .500. Interesting 2014 stat: Only 48 walks in 219 IP.

11. Johnny Cueto, CIN.

The other hard-luck 20-game winner in the NL last year is probably undervalued here. 242 strikeouts tied for league best, 0.96 WHIP was Kershaw-like. Stats will be hard to repeat with his middling team. Interesting 2014 stats: 2.25 ERA/ .194 BAA both career bests.

12. Zack Greinke, LAD.

Ranked higher elsewhere, but always seems to me to be inconsistent and a slight disappointment - maybe because he never smiles? Yet, his 17 wins were a career high, so maybe I should shut up. Interesting 2014 stat: 207 strikeouts most since 2009 Cy Young year.

13. Cole Hamels, PHI.

Could be a slight bargain here if he gets traded, but Philly's screwy front office won't make you any promises about that. Blame his 9-9 2014 record on his lousy team because his 2.46 ERA was a career best. Interesting 2014 stat: Nine HRs allowed also career low.

14. Jordan Zimmermann, WAS.

No. 3 starter for WAS would be No. 1 elsewhere. Slid from 19 wins in 2013 to 14 in 2014, but was better in almost all other respects. 182 strikeouts, 2.66 ERA, 1.07 WHIP all career bests. Interesting 2014 stat: Zero hits allowed Sept. 28 vs MIA.

15. Matt Harvey, NYM.

Some risk, potentially high reward betting on a guy who hasn't pitched since late 2013 due to injury, but 2012 stats like 191 strikeouts in 178 IP are pretty tantalizing. Interesting 2014 stat: Uh . . .

16. Julio Teheran, ATL.

14 wins each of the past two seasons and strikeouts, ERA and WHIP improved 2013 to 2014. May not get much run support, but with a 2.89 ERA he may not need it. Interesting 2014 stat: four complete games.

17. James Shields, SD.

Eight straight seasons with double-digit wins, and while he left behind the AL champs, he moved to a pitchers' park and a vastly improved team. Interesting 2014 stat: 180 strikeouts his lowest since 2009.

18. Jacob deGrom, NYM.

I don't see the NL Rookie of the Year in a lot of top 20s, but his numbers of 140 IP, nine wins, 144 strikeouts, 2.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP suggest at the very least a 200-strikeout pitcher over a full season. Interesting 2014 stat: Four games of 10 or more strikeouts.

19. Jeff Samardzija, WHITE SOX.

202 strikeouts last year, 2.99 ERA and 1.07 WHIP make you overlook seven wins for the bad Cubs and late-season struggling A's. The Cell is HR-friendly as ever, but he should get run support. Interesting 2014 stat: 0.99 WHIP after move to AL.

20. Jake Arrieta, CUBS.

Could very well be better than Lester based on his hot stretches last year - or he could collapse in a heap with his latest injury. 156 IP does not a full season make, but the 10 wins, 167 strikeouts and 2.53 ERA he managed is enticing. Interesting 2014 stat: 0.99 WHIP.

Sleeper: Michael Pineda, NYY.

Took a long road back to the majors, but was lights-out good in the final month of 2014, with five wins and a 1.89 ERA. Not really a strikeout pitcher, but if the Yankees are contenders, I could picture him with 15 wins and 2.50 ERA.

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Previously:
* Pt. 1: The Corner Men.
* Pt. 2: The Middle Men.
* Pt. 3: Outfielders.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:55 AM | Permalink

March 17, 2015

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Heaters at Thalia Hall for Levitation Chicago on Friday night.


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2. Vic Mensa at the Chop Shop on Friday night.

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3. of Montreal at the Metro on Friday night.

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4. The Pop Group at Thalia Hall for Levitation Chicago on Friday night.

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5. Heat Leisure feat. Ken Babbs at Thalia Hall for Levitation Chicago on Saturday night.

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6. Mary Lattimore and Jeff Ziegler at Thalia Hall for Levitation Chicago on Friday night.

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7. Howard Jones at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Friday night.

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8. Screw City Saints at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Saturday night.

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9. Infected Mushroom at the Concord on Saturday night.

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10. Stoop Goodnoise at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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11. Big Gigantic at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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12. Oren Ambarchi at Thalia Hall for Levitation Chicago on Saturday night.

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13. Alabama Shakes at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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14. The Quiet Hours at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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15. Fifth Harmony at the Vic on Saturday night.

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16. Robby Krieger at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:53 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Rahm Emanuel and Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia engaged in a contentious first debate Monday night, as the mayor accused his challenger of having no plans to deal with the city's financial problems while Garcia contended Emanuel served only 'the rich and powerful,'" the Tribune reports.

"Facing a $550 million increase in police and fire pension payments, Emanuel indicated during the debate that he would take a property tax increase off the table. Later, his campaign clarified that a property tax increase is 'the very last resort.'"

Of course, viewers only saw the lie, not the walkback.

*

Here's an idea: The day after a televised debate, the host channel should broadcast a definitive fact-check of what they broadcast the night before. That might even get more viewers than the original program.

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"Emanuel said he would ask Springfield to broaden the sales tax to include professional services that are now exempt, things like fees for attorneys, accountants and advertising consultants. It's similar to something Emanuel talked about during his last campaign but did not pursue."

Ah, yes - the Rahm Tax.

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"The mayor also criticized Garcia for sidestepping specifics on money issues by suggesting he would create a post-election task force to recommend proposals to raise city revenue, including taxes.

"Let me be clear here, there's a real difference," said Emanuel, who frequently defended his first-term stewardship as mayor. "Chuy, you laid out a commission not a plan."

That's a good line, but let's be clear about the real difference: Chuy is promising that, if elected, he'll actually listen to ideas that a broad range of constituencies bring to the table. Then he can inflict pain borne of a consensus and reflective of his values and priorities, instead of just shitting on people.

*

That said, I rate the debate a draw. Rahm was his usual pipsqueaky self trying to change every question that came his way to one more to his liking and often displaying his tenuous relationship with the truth; Chuy, meanwhile, has yet to demonstrate, and won't before Election Day, a true grasp of the issues.

*

*

To wit:

"I don't know if the mayor can fix it, but a mayor can show some sympathy," Garcia said. "A mayor can show that a mayor cares. That's what I've done. . . . The mayor should have been out there to meet with them a long time ago. You can't just pretend it isn't happening. When people can't enjoy their backyards because planes continually are landing and taking off, it's a serious setback for the most important investment of people's lives."

For real-time debate commentary, see @BeachwoodReport.

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Rear-End Rahm
"For nearly two years, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has had strong evidence that Chicago's yellow light times are too short for traffic conditions, thanks to a series of radar gun surveys the city conducted to support its speed camera program, the Tribune has found.

"Nearly 20,000 drivers were clocked in the 168 spot surveys beginning in mid-2013, most traveling significantly faster than posted speed limits around the city. The previously undisclosed reports were obtained by the Tribune through a public records request.

"The speed findings bolster concerns from national experts who say Chicago drivers are at a greater risk for rear-end accidents due to the combination of red light cameras and 3-second yellow lights that are out of step with national practices."

Thanks, Rahm!

See also: Rahm vs. red-light reporter.

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NFL Draft Madness
"City officials have pledged that no taxpayer money will be used, and that Choose Chicago, the local tourism agency, will cover any services with fundraising," the Tribune reports.

"Three years ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed the city's tourism department and transferred duties to the tourism bureau, whose budget is mostly government grants. Choose Chicago is not subject to public records laws as a nonprofit."

First, government grants don't qualify as taxpayer money?

Second, Rahm has privatized tourism.

Third, by privatized, I mean public money, private operation.

Fourth, how much of city government has Rahm put beyond the public records laws?

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Pundit Patrol
The same editorial board that endorsed Bruce Rauner for governor despite his lack of candor about his budget plans is attacking Chuy Garcia for his lack of candor about his budget plans.

The difference? Rauner touted himself as a financial whiz and began running for the office long before the campaign began. Garcia touts himself as a coalition-builder with a different set of priorities than his opponent and only began running for the office four months ago; he truly won't know what he does until he appoints a budget team and listens to the community.

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Mark "Charlie" Brown of the Sun-Times similarly chastises Garcia, citing Rahm's willingness on Monday night to rule out a property tax increase - you know, the pledge his advisers walked back after the debate. Too bad Brown built his column around that pledge. #TheyNeverLearn

*

"I don't have any sympathy for Emanuel and his cozy relationship with rich guy contributors," Brown writes, "but I haven't seen much to convince me he's selling out the public either."

Um, really?

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"Is a property tax increase on the table for Garcia?

"There are many things that need to be on the table. You cannot move forward until you show Chicagoans where the tax dollars are going," Garcia said.

"That doesn't do it for me."

Um, he said Yes - a property tax increase is on the table. Just like Rahm's city council budget chairman said the other day. And just like Rahm's aides said - urgently - after the debate.

The difference? Chuy knows many Chicagoans don't trust Rahm or his budgets. He's pledging to open up the process - almost certainly bringing back public budget hearings - and give folks a say. Then he'll raise their property taxes.

Rahm will just do it after determining for himself that it's necessary.

*

Is Rahm providing more "details" about his financial "plan?"

Yes, if by providing more details you mean making shit up as you go.

Do I wish Chuy had a better financial plan overall?

Yes. He's severely underestimating the cost of adding 1,000 more police officers to the force (as well as the efficacy) and I doubt he can just end all red-light cameras on day one, both for logistic, contractual and budget reasons.

Is it fair to criticize him for this?

Yes - proportionally. Rahm has proven over the course of not just the last four years but his entire political career to be a serial liar, yet somehow he retains credibility in the eyes of the media (the people he's lied to), while Chuy's respectable scandal-free 30-year run as a rare Chicago pol of integrity apparently means bupkus.

And I didn't even vote for the guy - though I will this time.

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BeachBook
* White House Office To Delete Its FOIA Regulations.

* Schock Withdraws From SXSW Event.

* Rauner: Union Membership Eliminated In Illinois In Four Years.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Just the fracks.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 AM | Permalink

March 16, 2015

SportsMonday: Illinois Is In - And Out - Of The Dance

The status of college basketball in the state of Illinois at this point begs a Princess Bride reference: "Inconceivable!"

That's what Vizzini said when informed that the Dread Pirate Roberts had bested both his swordsman and his giant.

With the NCCA tournament brackets out, we're similarly flummoxed: How can it be that for a second consecutive year, Illinois has failed to qualify a single team for the Dance at the same time that scores of Illinois kids are starring for all sorts of non-Illinois tournament teams?

To wit:

Freshman Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young) is starring at Duke and still projected to be the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft.

Senior Frank the Tank Kaminsky (Benet) has played the starring role in Wisconsin's dream season, including regular season and Big 10 tournament championships and a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs. (Deerfield's Duje Dukan comes off the bench for the Badgers and hit a couple huge threes in the conference tournament semifinal.)

Senior Wayne Blackshear (Morgan Park) is in Louisville's starting lineup; his former high school teammate Kyle Davis plays the point for Dayton.

Freshman Tyler Ulis (Bolingbrook) is a significant contributor off the bench to the Kentucky juggernaut, and after about a half-dozen members of this year's Wildcat express go pro, Ulis will have a chance to really shine in coming seasons.

Junior Fred VanVleet (Rockford) is still starring for seventh-seeded Wichita State.

(One who apparently will not be competing in the Dance is Cliff Alexander of Curie. Alexander has run afoul of the NCAA, which is apparently alleging that his mother took improper benefits in exchange for his attending Kansas. The Jayhawks started holding him out of games about two weeks ago and there seems to be an impasse between Alexander and the NCAA at this point.)

Meanwhile, happy days are here again just to our east. Notre Dame leads a contingent of five Indiana teams that will experience March Madness - a particularly impressive showing given that Indiana was shut out last year, just like we were.

What are the lessons for Illinois basketball?

Better in-state recruiting - a tall order - is obvious, but it isn't the end of the story. Take a look at the Fighting Irish roster, for example.

Sure, Notre Dame has a national recruiting base of which 99 percent of college athletic departments can only dream. But the team that just won the ACC postseason championship and probably deserved better than the third seed it received does not feature guys who were superstars coming out of high school.

There is leading scorer Jerian Grant, the nephew of former Bull Horace Grant (and son of Horace's brother Harvey, who spent most of his decent NBA career with the Bullets), who was reasonably heralded coming out of suburban D.C. But the rest of the team's prime contributors were not heavily hyped.

Five are from Indiana (and none from Illinois) but Notre Dame's statistical/team leaders are from a host of locations. In order to be successful, big-time college teams have to recruit reasonably well in their own state but more importantly, have to dig out a future star or two from wherever they can - and that doesn't always mean from the obvious group of elite prospects unavailable to crappy programs. Plucking kids from the next tier who might like to star on a bad team instead of warm the bench for a good team is a good way to jump-start a struggling team. When Illinois made the championship game in 2005, Illinois recruits Dee Brown (Proviso East) and James Augustine (downstate Lincoln) were prominent, but it was Deron Williams from Texas who put them over the top (and went on to star in the NBA). As a freshman, Williams started 30 of 32 games for the Illini.

So as inconceivable as it may seem, enjoy Illinois' contributions to this year's NCAA tournament - and wonder why so many of our players are dancing while none of our teams are.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:34 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Let the runoff debates begin!

Aww, do we have to?

We know how this will go.

Rahm will filibuster instead of answering questions, and attack Chuy for not putting more meat on the bones of his platitudes. "Where's the beef?" may actually make a comeback.

Chuy will spend 99 percent of his time attacking Rahm as Mayor 1%, and remind us that he is a neighborhood guy and Rahm is not.

Neither will be particularly honest, though Rahm will be far more disingenuous.

Each side will then claim victory - the tweets and press releases have already been written.

I'm planning to live-tweet the whole affair, so keep your eyes peeled to @BeachwoodReport.

Homan Squared
Let's get up to date on the many developments on Chicago's biggest blacked-out story since the mainstream media didn't believe for 10 years that Jon Burge was torturing suspects at Area 2.

* How Does Rahm Know?

"We follow all the rules," the mayor says of Homan Square. "Everything's done by the books."

How does he know? Did he ask police chief Garry McCarthy about Homan? Or is he just talking out of his ass?

Is he saying that the dozen or so victims cited by the Guardian and other outlets - along with at least seven lawyers - are lying?

Does he think Homan should at least be reviewed? Should the claims be checked out? Or is he satisfied to leave it alone?

Finally, does he believe that every arrestee has the right to an attorney? Because even Homan skeptics say the CPD has a decades-long practice of hiding detainees from lawyers.

* Cook County Commissioner: More Questions Than Answers After Homan Tour.

The Guardian also reported on the tour:

On Monday, at least two politicians got an inspection of their own - however carefully orchestrated - when Al Wysinger, a superintendent with the Chicago police, gave county commissioner Richard Boykin and local alderman Willie Cochran a tour of Homan Square with selected members of their staff.

The Guardian spoke with Boykin immediately following his visit inside Homan Square, which he said he found "eerily quiet".

Upon arrival, Boykin said, the elected officials were told the facility had not been "cleaned up" for their visit. However, the commissioner said that he saw no people being held in detention and that they rarely ran into any officers.

Police took the two politicians "to the detention center part of the facility, where people had made allegations of about being in tiny holding rooms, about being in cages and stuff like that", Boykin said. "I must confess [the lock-up area] does look like a cage scenario."

Question: Why is the CPD willing to give a couple pols a "tour" of the facility but refuses to answer a single question from reporters?

More:

One aspect of Homan Square that caught the attention of Boykin and his staff was an apparent lack of a fingerprinting operation, which he said differed from other police facilities he had visited.

"They said though that the lack of ability to finger print in that facility didn't mean that a legitimate arrest wasn't taking place," said Boykin's policy director, Adam Salzman, who was also on Monday's tour. "There were other ways to make a record and verifying the subject's identity."

Ahem.

Boykin said he would attempt to convene a town hall meeting with officers and citizens. He also joined politicians from Chicago to Washington in calling for a US Department of Justice investigation into the allegations of detention inside Homan Square.

The justice department has not responded to multiple requests for comment about Homan Square.

And from DNAinfo Chicago's kiddie report:

There were no cameras in the lockup, he said.

"I asked why were there no cameras in the lockup areas, and [police] said that was something they're going to add," he said.

LOL.

* More Stories, More Victims.

"The Guardian has interviewed nine people who have told strikingly consistent stories about police holding them in Homan Square for hours without providing any way to notify their families or their lawyers as to where they are."

Whoops, that's no longer accurate:

And:

"The story of Marc Freeman's disappearance inside Chicago's Homan Square police warehouse on a marijuana offense last year exists between the lines of his arrest report - as his time in custody was not logged on the books until he surfaced at a police station seven hours after his arrest . . . "

* Carol Marin's Blinders & What Tom Durkin Really Said.

(Hint: Durkin said Homan Square was analogous to a CIA black site.)

* Homan Is Hell.

Flint Taylor had some pretty interesting things to say on This Is Hell!. Best to listen for yourself, but from my notes:

"Here in Chicago, [the story] got a lot of resistance. Our media are playing catch-up . . . 'black site' is a term one of the people used who was taken there . . . by whatever name you want to call it, the real idea is there's a lot of unconstitutional conduct; there appears to be violations of human rights there . . . it's unique in that it's a centralized place, off the books, a place where you can take people who are of special interest . . . sweat them to find more information . . .

"Sarah Gelsomino spent 17 hours looking for [her client] . . . it's been endemic for decades across the city . . . they took several suspects to several stations to throw family and lawyers off the scent . . . we know who the reporters are or were who will take these things seriously . . . Conroy for over 15 years . . . he thought it would be big scandal ... and yet, there was a silence . . . silence through the entire 15-week trial of Andrew Wilson when we were uncovering . . . the 'House of Screams.' Silence. [The Reader was] just befuddled, I guess, that the straight media didn't cover it or even respond to John Conroy's article . . .

"We're fighting on reparations, trying to get it on the mayoral [campaign] agenda . . . it hasn't made it into the debates . . .

"If a major demonstration is taking place, they arrest in advance to get information, you take them to Homan. Hold a day or so, shackle in little cells, see if you can sweat them for more information . . .

"Sort of open secret among attorneys who do this . . . why weren't lawyers not reporting this to the media, making a bigger deal of it? Perhaps some of them tried . . . it wasn't a sexy story for them, and they didn't make the connections that Ackerman's made . . .

"When we we started to uncover torture in '80s . . . different judges pooh-poohed it . . . some lawyers didn't believe it. This couldn't have happened . . . an individual lawyer is more concerned with their client; it's in their interests to not raise a stink . . . other lawyers advise clients to to not talk about this, you have a case in court and the state's attorney might come down on you . . . there's reason to be circumspect . . .

"The WBEZ reporter who did that tried for 20 minutes to get me to say it's exaggerated. The next day, Ackerman comes out with four more people, blacks, how they were mistreated; sounds like more serious physical abuses. If you look at Gitmo, it isn't waterboarding, it's the kind of systemic sensory deprivation, shackling, beating when not getting answers, fear of not knowing where you are, when you get out, lack of contact. I don't [calling it a black site] think it's necessarily an exaggeration . . . it's a developing story, at this point . . .

"Whatever you call it, there is an analogy to a black site in the sense that people are taken there and they don't know where they're going and they're incommunicado from their people . . . it was client who used the term, quotes around black site . . . obviously there's something naysayers can pick on . . . naysayers have to run and hide . . . it's just going to blow over because the local press doesn't want to deal with it . . . "

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Previously in Homan:
* The [Monday] Papers: Suddenly, the CPD is a fine upstanding trustworthy institution.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers: John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #48: Carol Marin's Blinders & What Tom Durkin Really Said.

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SportsMonday: Illinois In (And Out) Of NCAA Tourney
Players, but not teams.

Derrick Rose, Honey Badger
Bigger jerk than Cutler? Plus: NFL Free Agency Gone Wild; The Bears' Trinity; Blackhawks Stand On Heads; Illinois Basketball FAIL; and The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week.

Chicagoetry: Spring Song
Bang a gong.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Echosmith, Immortal Technique, Daniel Romano, Bobby Bare Jr., Marcus Miller, Amicus, Red, and Ben Ottewell.

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Sunshine Week Special
* Illinois FOIA Process Hampered By Years-Long Backlog.

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BeachBook
* Painting Bought For 50 Cents In Indiana Going Up For Auction In Chicago.

* Five Myths About College Sports.

* Kanye West Receiving Honorary Doctorate From Art Institute.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Sunshiney.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Spring Song

SPRING SONG
After Jai Raj Harrisong

Little Darling:

Bang a gong
Of Siddhartha
At the coming
Of spring!

Set the blue birds,
Cardinals and robins
To singing,
Light a scented votive

In the warming breeze.
Desire is resurrected
In the bloom
Of every tulip,

Rose of Sharon
And cherry-blossom.
Snuggle the bosom
Of Mother Earth,

Banish the dearth
Of winter's malice.
Little Darling:
Smiles return,

Barbecues burn.
Seems like years
Since it's been here.
Sip a chalice

Of warm wine,
Let the clover shine:
Dew glazes
The leaves

With song

Like gloss
On a gong.

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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 3:55 AM | Permalink

March 15, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #48: Carol Marin's Blinders And The Homan Blackout

It's not a media conspiracy, it's a media feature. Plus: Rahm's Neighborhoods Now; Chuy's New Rules; I Warned Siska; Wikipedia Sues NSA; The Marionization Of America; and Exclusive! Sneed Is A Fraud.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:34: Echosmith at the Metro on Thursday night.

4:08: Welcome To The Homandrome, Tom Durkin!

* The [Tuesday] Papers.

* Durkin actually confirmed the Homan story, contrary to the what the local press corps thinks.

* Homan is not happening, so it's not a story; Homan happens everywhere, so it's not a story.

* Again, why Homan is distinct.

Previously in Homan:
* The [Monday] Papers: Suddenly, the CPD is a fine upstanding trustworthy institution.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers: John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

24:00: The Carol Marin Transformation Is Complete.

* Loyalty to colleagues, faith in CPD "fact sheets" trumps independent reporting.

* Siska in Crain's: What Chicago Media Should Be Asking About Homan Square.

* The only people refusing to talk are Chicago police officials. And yet, theirs is the story Carol and her colleagues choose to believe.

* Marin: Local media has already reached its police misconduct article quota.

* Who is the real conspiracy theorist here?

* Siska in Crain's: What Should Drive Police Staffing Debate? How About The Facts.

* How the media assigns credibility.

* It's not a conspiracy, it's a feature.

* Social Control in the Newsroom, by Warren Breed.

* Missing the lesson of Burge.

See also: Carol Marin's Blinders.

40:50: Immortal Technique at the Metro last Sunday night.

41:48: Rahm's Neighborhoods Now.

* The [Friday] Papers.

* Redefining Bronzeville.

* That's Pat!

50:44: The Chuy Rules.

* Media sets a different standard for Garcia than it did for Rahm, Rauner.

53:30: Daniel Romano at Schubas on Thursday night.

54:16: Wikipedia Sues NSA.

* Eric Zorn not alarmed by NSA scandals - "not by a long shot."

56:54: I Warned Siska.

* No Mark Brown column, fyi.

59:19: The Marionization Of America.

* Solitary confinement is torture.

* The media's worldview.

* "Why hasn't anyone filed a lawsuit" is an awfully white privileged thing to say, besides the fact that at least one lawsuit has been filed and the issues have been litigated in court. Poor black people are far less likely to file a lawsuit than an aggrieved white reporter.

1:06:24: Bobby Bare Jr. at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Thursday night.

1:07:46: Exclusive! Sneed Is A Fraud.

* Is there any accountability in our newsrooms?

* Do her colleagues really believe in her?

STOPPAGE TIME: 11:50

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:25 PM | Permalink

March 14, 2015

Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End

Goodbye, Snow Tree.

snowtreebliz15.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:51 AM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Special St. Patrick's Day Edition
Oh, look: supposedly broke-ass Chicago still has some green to throw around. Wherever did that come from?

1. You. Probably.

2. Not them.

3. Yeah, like he has a clue.

4. It doesn't come out of the damn ground, that's for sure.

5. Well, as long as it winds up downtown . . .

6. You again.

7. Who cares? Throw enough of it around and in a couple of weeks no one will remember.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Green with envy.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End
Goodbye, Snow Tree.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #42: Like The Honey Badger, Derrick Rose Don't Care

Bigger jerk than Cutler? Plus: NFL Free Agency Gone Wild; The Bears' Trinity; Blackhawks Stand On Heads; Illinois Basketball FAIL; and The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week.

Plus:

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The Week In Chicago Rock
In production!

The Beachwood Radio Hour #48
In production!

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg share some of their favorite under-the-mainstream-radar tunes during this installment of Buried Treasures. Then they review the new album from the Material Girl."

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BeachBook
* Bloomington Stoked About New Hy-Vee.

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TweetWood

*

Posted by Natasha Julius at 12:05 AM | Permalink

March 13, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #42: Like The Honey Badger, Derrick Rose Don't Care

Bigger jerk than Cutler? Plus: NFL Free Agency Gone Wild; The Bears' Trinity; Blackhawks Stand On Heads; Illinois Basketball FAIL; and The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week.


SHOW NOTES

* Sid Luckman.

* The Hebrew Hammer.

1:59: NFL Free Agency Gone Wild.

* Not For Long.

* SI: Chip Kelly Has A Plan.

* Grantland: The Chip Kelly Gamble.

7:07: Bears' Free-Agent Trinity.

* Burned last year.

* Pernell McPhee, Antrel Rolle And Eddie Royal Coming Aboard.

* SportsMonday: Let The Cutler . . . Oops!

* Good cop, bad Fox.

* Jimmy Pickles.

* Cutler fatigue.

* Friedman units.

26:44: Like The Honey Badger, Derrick Rose Don't Care.

* Like You Expected Anything Different From Derrick Rose.

* Tony Snell, Aaron Brooks.

* Tom Thibodeau vs. GarPax.

* Chuck Swirsky's onions.

* Fred Hoiberg.

37:07: Blackhawks Standing On Heads.

* Steve Rosenbloom.

40:44: Illinois Basketball FAIL.

* College football vs. college basketball.

* The Holy Grail: TV money.

57:30: The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week.

* Ludicrosity.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:56 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Echosmith at the Metro on Thursday night.


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2. Immortal Technique at the Metro on Sunday night.

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3. Daniel Romano at Schubas on Thursday night.

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4. Bobby Bare Jr. at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Thursday night.

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5. Marcus Miller at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday night.

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6. Amicus at Mojoes in Joliet on Wednesday night.

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7. Red at Mojoes in Joliet on Thursday night.

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8. Ben Ottewell at the Old Town School on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:18 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

I'm going to delay the new Homan Square column I had prepared for a less taxing look at a WBEZ report from Wednesday that I don't recall getting much attention. It should. Here goes:

Critics of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel contend he focuses too much on what is good for downtown and not enough on neighborhoods.

In campaign speeches the mayor vigorously rebuts that. One of his regular sounding points is the $4 billion spent on seven neighborhoods through a program called Neighborhoods Now.

Well that certainly sounds like a lot of money to spend on seven neighborhoods. Let's keep reading.

Some of the projects are exactly what one would expect from neighborhood development: a grocery store in Englewood, train line updates in Rogers Park, and a wellness center in Little Village.

But some of the projects WBEZ found in the full list might not be what an average Chicagoan expects when you hear Emanuel describe a program guided by the belief that Chicago's success is measured by "whether our families can raise their children in our neighborhoods."

For example, the full Neighborhoods Now list counts the $44 million in private money SOHO House brought to the West Loop. Soho House is a hip membership club. It requires a headshot, application, and approval from a board to join.

Rahm Emanuel: Tough Choices.

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To be fair, there is a Cowshed Spa.

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Plus, the West Loop isn't exactly needy. Certainly not one of the seven neediest neighborhoods in the city. More like one of the seven least needy neighborhoods in the city.

*

Back to WBEZ:

Not all the projects on Emanuel's Neighborhoods Now list are privately financed like the Soho house. Nearly a half-billion dollars, ($457,815,397 to be exact) came from the city budget.

Almost one quarter of those dollars went to an area right around the McCormick Place convention center in the South Loop. It includes two hotels and a new green line L stop. There is also a big stadium where DePaul athletes can play basketball games.

Just to be clear, then: Rahm Emanuel's idea of urgent neighborhood development is a private club in the West Loop and a subsidized basketball arena in the South Loop.

Oh, but it gets worse.

The McCormick Place projects?

Listed as investment in Bronzeville.

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"Pat Dowell is the alderman there for the 3rd Ward. Her office said it expects the hotels to bring more people into the the Bronzeville neighborhood."

Rrrrrrrriiight.

Those convention guests are going north for their site-seeing, not south. Sorry.

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"Harold Lucas with the Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Council . . . said real neighborhood development would have brought bigger investments in community-owned businesses and projects committed to preserving Bronzeville's rich African-American history."

In other words, real investment in neighborhoods includes investing in neighborhoods. It is the epitome of Rahm's economic development strategy - even more so than Richard M. Daley's - that a program he touts as Neighborhoods Now is actually pouring money into downtown with a vague and even mystical notion that somehow there will be a trickle-out effect to nearby neighborhoods (and not even "now," but someday).

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"Emanuel has said if he is re-elected he would double Neighborhoods Now."

River North, you're next!

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"Cook County Commissioner Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia's office didn't respond to repeated requests to describe his specific plans for neighborhoods."

That's because he doesn't have any.

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Nonetheless, if the Garcia campaign was more nimble, it would have a response.

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From the comments:

"Those looking to join Soho House, drop me a line at myakrasia at gmail dot com."

Is there a neighborhood discount?

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Cash On Delivery
"College of DuPage Trustee Kathy Hamilton is blasting the school for using a Chicago-based public relations firm to help it address a growing number of questions concerning oversight at the Glen Ellyn campus," the Daily Herald reports.

"In a memo dated Wednesday, COD board Chairman Erin Birt said the board's legal counsel, Franczek Radelet, has retained Res Publica Group to 'assist us in our communication efforts to ensure the public and media have the facts and to prevent the spread of misinformation.'"

Well that sounds helpful. Nobody likes misinformation.

Among Res Publica's clients: the CTA, the RTA, Metra . . .

So, not very good at their job.

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"Hamilton, a vocal critic of COD President Robert Breuder and Birt, said in a written statement that the board didn't give its lawyers authority to hire a communications firm."

Uh-oh.

"Hamilton said she is demanding to see 'every piece of paper, such as the contract and all emails that led to the P.R. firm's hiring. Further, I want to know exactly what the firm is tasked to do, and when, and how much it is costing taxpayers.'"

Wow. She might have a future as a reporter.

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On Res Publica's team: former Channel 2 anchor Mary Ann Childers.

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Programming Note
Weekend podcasts, Beachwood Photo Booth and This Week In Chicago Rock are all in production. So is that new Homan column.

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BeachBook
* Springfield, Illinois Just Gave The Key To The City To Cobra Commander.

* Chicago's Famed Annoyance Theater Opens In Brooklyn.

* Adler Planetarium Cuts 15 Jobs, Including Astronomers.

COMMENT: From a faithful reader:

If the big shots took a 10% - 15% pay cut from their exorbitant salaries, the cuts could have been averted . . .

adler.png(ENLARGE)

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Makes for an excellent garnish.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

March 12, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

Yeah, this column didn't happen.

But it will on Friday.

Here's some social media commentary to hold you over.

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BeachBook
* The "St. Louis Cuisine" Wikipedia Page Is Goddamned Hilarious.

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TweetWood

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Pretty smart folks . . .

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Clue in.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:32 PM | Permalink

The 2015 Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide Pt. 3: OFs Offer A Clear No. 1

It will surprise no one when I rank Mike Trout, OF, LAA, as the No. 1 overall fantasy baseball player in a few weeks, so even fewer people will be surprised that he's the top fantasy OF:

1. Mike Trout, LAA.

Makes a fantasy adviser's job easy: Won the 2014 AL MVP, as expected, with 36 HRs, 11 RBI, 16 SBs, 115 runs, .287. Can't ask for mush more, though a boost in SBs and average would be nice. Interesting 2014 stat: .377 OBP 55-point drop from 2013's insane .432.

2. Andrew McCutchen, PIT.

2013/2014 stat comparison: HRs - 21/25, RBI - 84/83, doubles - 38/38, average - .317/.314. Biggest difference was in games played - 157/146, suggesting growth if he stays healthy this year. Interesting 2014 stat: 16 SBs. Can he do 30/20 HRs/SBs this year?

3. Giancarlo Stanton, MIA.

Matched career-high 37 HRs, exploded for career-high 105 RBI. Hit a surprising .288 and got a whopper contract with a young team that should score more this year. Still only 25. Interesting 2014 stat: 13 SBs. We knew about the power. This one was a shocker.

4. Carlos Gomez, MIL.

Like McCutchen, remarkable 2013/2014 similarities: HRs - 24/23, RBI - 73/73, SBs - 40/34, average - .284/.284. Unlike No. 2, these numbers might be the best he can do, though he certainly can reach them again. Interesting 2014 stat: 95 runs a career high.

5. Jose Bautista, TOR.

May have discovered the Fountain of Youth, hitting 35 HRs, 103 RBI, .286 average, and scoring 101 runs at age 34 after a two-year slide. Interesting 2014 stat: 155 hits was a career high.

6. Michael Brantley, CLE.

Rankings elsewhere suggest people aren't trusting his breakout 2014: 20 HRs, 97 RBI, 23 SBs, 94 runs and a .327 average. Heading into key 27-year-old season. Interesting 2014 stat: All of them were career highs, but to pick one - 200 hits in 156 games.

7. Adam Jones, BAL.

Machine-like production of 25+ HRs, 80+ RBI, .280+ average four years straight, though SBs slid from 16 in 2012 to 14 in 2013 to seven last year. Interesting 2014 stat: Only 19 walks, leading to .311 OBP, lowest since 2008.

8. Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY.

SBs are most responsible for this ranking. 39 SBs last year was down from 52 in 2013, but HRs were up to 16 from nine in 2013. He was finally healthy most of last year, and can do better in both stats. Interesting 2014 stat: .271 average down 27 points from 2013.

9. Yasiel Puig, LAD.

Mercurial in the best and worst ways. His hot streaks can carry a fantasy team for weeks, but occasional cold streaks, injuries and odd behavior lessen his value. Interesting 2014 stat: HRs down from 19 to 16, despite playing in 44 more games (148 total) than in 2013.

10. Bryce Harper, WAS.

Could this be his big year? Shipwrecked by injury in 2014 and slow to collect stats on his return, he did turn a corner as the season wound down, and also hit three HRs in the postseason. Interesting 2014 stat: 22 years old throughout this season.

11. Corey Dickerson, COL.

Late-season riser who may have helped fantasy teams on the bubble make the postseason. Hit 24 HRs, with 76 RBI, eight SBs, .312 average. Dying to see what he can do in more than 130 games. Interesting 2014 stat: .567 slugging percentage, .592 in day games.

12. George Springer, HOU.

During a brief stay in 2014 before getting hurt, he showcased HR-crown power - in 78 games, 20 of his 68 hits were four-baggers. He may still need to work out some kinks this year to lift a .231 average. Interesting 2014 stat: 114 strikeouts in same brief stretch.

13. Matt Kemp, SD.

New home isn't a hitters' park, but neither was his old home, and he's convinced a lot of us that his MVP-level game is back. Could be a sneaky bargain this low if other Padres get on base and/or knock him in. Interesting 2014 stat: 38 doubles tied career high.

14. Hanley Ramirez, BOS.

SS star is supposed to play left field in Boston. We'll see how that goes, but he should get OF fantasy eligibility early on in any case. Numbers from half a season last year project him close to 20/100/20 HRs/RBI/SBs. Interesting 2014 stat: .817 OPS.

15. Nelson Cruz, SEA.

Last year's 40 HRs, 108 RBI, 87 runs, 166 hits all career highs. His power should survive his new pitchers' park home, but no SB potential, and 2014's .271 average is near his career average. Interesting 2014 stat: .525 slugging percentage his highest since 2010.

16. Carlos Gonzalez, COL.

Another injury-shortened season for the onetime multi-stat star leaves me searching for the right ranking. A 20/100/20 season seems possible if he plays 140 games or so, but he hasn't done that since 2010. Interesting 2014 stat: .238 average in 70 games.

17. Jason Heyward, STL.

Perfect new team for a young player who improved his walk and strikeouts rates last year. 11 HRs, 58 RBI, 20 SBs suggest this ranking is way too high, but I like him for 20/90/25 with 90 runs hitting second in STL. Interesting 2014 stat: .351 OBP high since 2010.

18. Hunter Pence, SF.

He dropped a few spots after his broken hand in spring training. Never a stat leader, he's a great everyday player who somehow is always busy contributing something fantasy-wise. Interesting 2014 stat(s): 106 runs and 10 triples both career highs.

19. Starling Marte, PIT.

Difficult to rank this high with 13 HRs last year probably being the best he'll do with that particular stat, but 30 SBs and .291 average demand attention. Interesting 2014 stat: 41 steal attempts last year were 15 fewer than in 2013.

20. Charlie Blackmon, COL.

Dickerson stole his thunder a bit, but Blackmon, an early-season fantasy surprise we all ignored until the last possible minute, made a name for himself last year with 19 HRs, 72 RBI, 28 SBs. Interesting 2014 stat: Started off with a whopping 1.076 OPS last April.

21. Justin Upton, SD.

His value theoretically goes up with Kemp in the same lineup. I tend to rank him lower than elsewhere because he suffers long slumps between power binges. Thing was: He still ended up with 29 HRs, 102 RBI. Interesting 2014 stat: .833 OPS highest since 2011.

22. Billy Hamilton, CIN.

Another getting higher rankings elsewhere - and with 56 SBs, I get it - but after hitting just .250 last year, he remains one-dimensional, and worse, had too many weeks of one or no SBs between busier stretches. Interesting 2014 stat: 23 times caught stealing.

23. Yoenis Cespedes, DET.

Will his new home park affect his numbers? His slugging percentage and OPS were higher last year in cavernous Oakland than after he got traded to Boston. Health is a recurring issue. Interesting 2014 stat: 100 RBI went largely unnoticed, split between two teams.

24. Matt Holliday, STL.

Very consistent fantasy contributor had a slight downturn last year, going from 22 HRs in 2013 to 20 in 2014, 94 RBI to 90, and .300 average to .272. Still. 20+ HRs five straight years, 90+ RBI in four of last five. Interesting 2014 stat: 37 doubles highest since 2010.

25. JD Martinez, DET.

Nobody seems to believe his stunning 2014 fantasy output - 23 HRs, 76 RBI, .315 average, .553 slugging percentage in 123 games - was for real. We'll see what he can do with a full season. Interesting 2014 stat: .912 OPS was sixth among OFs with 400+ at bats.

26. Jay Bruce, CIN.

Coming back from a big injury makes for a tough ranking. 30+ HRs three straight years before 18 HRs and career-low .217 average in 2014. So we're betting on a rebound. Interesting 2014 stat: 12 SBs, first time in his career with double-digit SB.

27. Christian Yelich, MIA: A top-20 outfielder in waiting. His status as a leadoff man limited his HRs and RBI to nine and 54 - he can do better with both - and 94 runs, 21 SBs and .284 average last year. Interesting 2014 stat: .362 OBP.

28. Jorge Soler, CUBS.

His 2014 stint, while impressive, was just too short for a higher ranking. I think RBI could be his best category, but for that he needs the rest of the young Cubs to get on base - a tall order. Interesting 2014 stat: 14 of his 26 hits were for extra bases.

29. Kole Calhoun, LAA.

Another late-season riser last year offering some great value. With 90 runs in 127 games, he easily would have had over 100 for a full season. 17 HRs, 58 RBI should grow as well. Interesting 2014 stat: .325 OBP stat was pretty low for a guy slated to lead off this year.

30. Brett Gardner, NYY.

A borderline fantasy value and perennial waiver wire injury replacement for years, Gardner finally put it all together last year: 17 HRs, 58 RBI, 21 SBs, 87 runs. Interesting 2014 stat: .422 slugging percentage was a career high.

Sleeper: Avisail Garcia, WHITE SOX.

Injury-shortened 46-game season last year means that outside of Chicago, his fantasy value might be lost in the XXL shadow of Jose Abreu, but a breakout seems imminent. Interesting 2014 stat: 29 RBIs suggests near 100 for a full season.

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Previously:
* Pt. 1: The Corner Men.
* Pt. 2: The Middle Men.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:15 AM | Permalink

March 11, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

I couldn't find a YouTube clip of Family Guy's Chris Griffin somewhat famously saying "I have just been buried in paperwork for the past 72 hours," but I'm about to be buried in paperwork for at least the next few hours so I don't suspect there'll be a column today. Besides, Tuesday's column took a lot out of me. That's several days, weeks and even months of work right there for some columnists in town.

It's important, though. I beseech you: If you haven't read The [Tuesday] Papers about the latest on Homan Square, please do so - and follow the links to my previous coverage.

Also, follow the links to the rest of what's on the site right now - it's really good stuff.

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I'm also still trying to solve a stupid-ass technical issue that arose over the weekend. So I'm kind of in hell.

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What kind of paperwork? IRS, Chase bank, State of Illinois - three different departments, just for starters.

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Frustration with humans: 11. One higher than 10.

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From my personal Facebook feed:

"Boy, did those three young women choose the wrong person to proselytize to this morning. Let's just say I destroyed their God and left them in a puddle of faithlessness."

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If you really want to, you can follow on Facebook my adventures yesterday trying to locate an ink cartridge for my printer. And about my printer.

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This is a different feed from the Beachwood Facebook page, fyi.

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FYI: I still need revenue-generating projects for 2015. No job is too small. E-mail me here.

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BeachBook
* Jimmy Butler Admits He Plays Taylor Swift During Warm-Ups.

* The White House Has Gone Full Doublespeak On Fast Track And The TPP.

* Washington Revolving Door Speeds Up As Obama Officials Head For Lobbying Jobs.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unbury the news.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:48 AM | Permalink

March 10, 2015

Amnesty International USA Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program

Amnesty International USA joined a major new lawsuit today filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a broad group of organizations challenging the National Security Agency's mass interception and searching of Americans' Internet communications, including emails, web-browsing content, and search-engine queries.

The plaintiffs in the case, Wikimedia v. NSA, include the Wikimedia Foundation, the Rutherford Institute, The Nation magazine and Human Rights Watch.

Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA's Security and Human Rights Program, issued the following statement:

"The U.S. government's surveillance is thwarting Amnesty International's ability to do our work to document and stop human rights abuses.

"Our sources are often survivors and witnesses to horrific abuses, and they are taking a personal risk when they reach out to us.

"It's crucial that they feel confident that what they're telling Amnesty International USA is not being heard by anyone else.

"If these witnesses and survivors of abuse fear we are under surveillance, they won't talk to us - and if they don't talk to us, we can't do the work.

"This lawsuit is vital because the threat of mass surveillance makes our work to end torture, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses harder."

Today's complaint and more information on the case are at: www.aclu.org/national-security/wikimedia-v-nsa

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See also this New York Times Op-Ed: Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

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Previously:
* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

* The NSA's "U.S. Corporate Partners."

* 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 10:41 AM | Permalink

The Bigger Brian Williams Scandal: The News He Kept Off The Air

Talk about burying the lead.

Gabriel Sherman's insider exploration of the Brian Williams saga for New York is rife with mundane office politics and power struggles until deep in the story when we get the real news.

Too bad no on seems to recognize it.

Take the Poynter Institute, for example, one of the industry's leading training grounds.

Their headline on Sherman's story: "Brian Williams Reportedly Lobbied To Succeed David Letterman."

We kind of knew that already.

Their capsule aggregation? Here:

More tales of tumult from inside NBC News

Gabriel Sherman's much-anticipated longread about the turmoil surrounding Brian Williams' suspension from the anchor chair dropped Sunday. Among the juiciest tidbits: Williams asked CBS CEO Les Moonves to be considered as a replacement for David Letterman upon the comedian's retirement from "Late Show," according to "a high-level source"; Four NBC and NBCUniversal officials visited Williams at his apartment to notify him he was being taken off the air; Richard Esposito, the investigative producer at NBC News conducting a review of Williams, "delivered a 45-minute presentation at [NBCUniversal CEO Steve] Burke's apartment" that unearthed "more issues" with Williams' disputed claims; Williams can't talk to the press under the terms of his suspension and "can't wait until he can speak" publicly about the situation, according to "a close friend." (New York) | "If Brian Williams proposed to CBS that he take over when Letterman retires, that alone is reason he should not return" (@jayrosen_nyu) | "Last weekend, workers at NBC's Rockefeller Center headquarters briefly wiped away promotional photos of Brian Williams." They went back up the next day. (CNN Money)

What a sad display of the industry's focus on gossipy power dramas instead of the actual, you know, news.

Because what Brian Williams did to the news is the real scoop here. But you had to go deep into the story to get it.

Others complained about Williams's unwillingness to go after hard-hitting stories. Multiple sources told me that former NBC investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and Lisa Myers battled with Williams over stories. In February 2013, Isikoff failed to interest Williams in a piece about a confidential Justice Department memo that justified killing American citizens with drones. He instead broke the story on [The] Rachel Maddow [Show]. That October, Myers couldn't get Williams to air a segment about how the White House knew as far back as 2010 that some people would lose their insurance policies under Obamacare. Frustrated, Myers posted the article on [C]NBC's website, where it immediately went viral. Williams relented and ran it the next night. "He didn't want to put stories on the air that would be divisive," a senior NBC journalist told me. According to a source, Myers wrote a series of scathing memos to then-NBC senior vice-president Antoine Sanfuentes documenting how Williams suppressed her stories. Myers and Isikoff eventually left the network (and both declined to comment).

How is that not what we're all talking about now? I don't even care if he saw a dead body in New Orleans anymore; this is of far bigger import.

And as I discussed on The Beachwood Radio Hour #47, it's particularly appalling because of Williams' amazingly arrogant, blinded reply to a question he once received about the mainstream media's credibility in the wake of its failures in reporting the run-up to the Iraq War.

Watch this (embedding disabled).

It turns out Williams actually was hiding the news behind a curtain in New York the whole time.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:51 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Lemons at Parts and Labor on Saturday night.


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2. 88 Fingers Louie at Reggies on Friday night.

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3. The Juliana Hatfield 3 at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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4. Replicant at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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5. Paper Diamond at the Concord on Saturday night.

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6. Colin Gilmore at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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7. Talib Kweli at the Metro on Sunday night.

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8. Midge Ure at the Old Town School on Saturday night.

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9. The Rhett Walker Band at Abbey Pub on Sunday night.

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10. Limited Wisdom at Cobra Lounge on Friday night.

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11. Reverend Horton Heat at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Saturday night.

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12. Anders Osborne & the North Mississippi All-Stars at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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13. Fake Limbs at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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14. Storm Clouds at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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15. The Life and Times at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Welcome to the Homandrome, Tom Durkin!

Durkin, one of the city's best-known defense attorneys, weighed in on Monday with an Op-Ed in the Sun-Times and then an appearance with Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project on Chicago Tonight.

Let's take these one at a time.

"It is not my practice to defend the Chicago Police Department, as usually I am a critic," Durkin wrote under the headline "CPD's Homan Is No Black Site," which prompted triumphant retweets and Facebook sharing from reporters whose news organizations have yet to ask the CPD a single question.

"But the hyperbolic news coverage of the Homan Square police facility compels me to speak out. Not to trivialize the problems inherent in the CPD's hiding of detainees - a longstanding practice hardly limited to Homan Square - but to equate it with the CIA's black sites and its extraordinary rendition program and enhanced interrogation techniques deprecates the seriousness of that scandal, as much as it diverts needed public debate on the CPD's ruses to keep lawyers from clients as long as possible."

Here we go again.

At least we're beyond the initial denial that anything untoward is going on at Homan; we now seem to have reached general consensus that the abuses documented first by the Guardian and then by other outlets including The Intercept have actually occurred. Now the problem seems to be the refusal to believe that Homan is anything special - the police are violating civil rights citywide and have been for years and therefore that's not a story.

Again, I will reiterate: what makes Homan special is that is indeed an "off-the-books" interrogation center. Unlike police districts where the police do most of their civil rights violating, Homan is not a booking and processing facility. There is no reason to bring arrestees there unless you are trying to hide them - and maybe do a little enhanced interrogation.

By "off-the-books," the original seven lawyers named in the original Guardian article - there are now a dozen - repeated what they've been saying for years, both privately and publicly, which is that they often can't find their clients (or would-be clients) anywhere in the CPD's computers or at station houses. These lawyers then explained that when these folks have effectively been "disappeared," they usually turn to Homan - because that's usually where they've been disappeared to. At Homan, they are often turned away. Meanwhile, arrestees are held for long stretches without being allowed a phone call to seek counsel, often in solitary and with a little ass-kicking along the way.

This must not be hard to believe because everyone seems to believe now that this happens across the city, but can you see what makes Homan distinct?

That's why Homan is likened to a "black site" and other police facilities aren't.

Notice I said "likened," because Durkin, like complainers in the local media, are really hung up on the whole "black site" business. I get it. To the untrained mind, "black site" conjures up the worst CIA centers overseas. No one, however, is alleging waterboarding at Homan. As I explained in this Beachwood Radio Hour podcast, the first Guardian article said lawyers and victims likened Homan to a black site; in some cases it was called a U.S. domestic police version of a black site; in others it was analagous to a black site; in one case, a lawyer explained that before the term "black site" came into vogue, police facilities such as Homan were called "shadow sites." Would that make everybody feel better?

To me, and others, Homan meets the definition of a black site, especially given all the context Guardian reporter Spencer Ackerman provided in his reporting - far more context than we're used to in these parts.

Homan became such a problem that, as Ackerman documented, a coalition including the ACLU, National Lawyers Guild and First Defense Legal Aid worked with the CPD's internal affairs department and counsel's office to amend the General Orders regarding the handling of detainees. And indeed, since doing that, the lawyers in the Guardian story say the situation has improved. What's so hard to believe?

Durkin, however, states, like so many others, that using the term "black site" is diverting our attention to the real abuses doing on in CPD. I'd say it's got everybody's attention!

But understand: the context of the Guardian's reporting on Homan is an extension of its reporting on Richard Zuley, the Chicago police officer who brought his torture techniques to Gitmo and back again.

The thread in Ackerman's work on Homan is how it fits into the cross-pollination of interrogation techniques between the military and U.S. police in the post-9/11 era. It's only natural, then, that parallels about "black sites" and such would come into play - though again, local attorneys and activists have used that term for years to describe Homan. I've been hearing it for about three years, and if other reporters in town haven't, they should get better sources.

Now, if you want to blame national and international outlets that seized on the "black site" terminology to make the story go viral, go right ahead. On the other hand, I haven't seen anything they've reported that's been inaccurate. Also, everyday abuses in Chicago - be it police or political - are still shocking to folks who live in less perverted cultures. Losing your sense of outrage may be considered a sign of savvy to the Chicago media mob, but from the outside it's not a good look.

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Back to Durkin:

"Homan Square is hardly a black site by any stretch of the imagination, and I can speak with some authority on the topic. I represented Jared Chase in Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's shameful NATO 3 'terrorism' trial fiasco. Chase was held at Homan Square for the same 17 hours noted in the Guardian U.K. report that has now gone viral around the world."

First, it was a Guardian U.S. report, not U.K.

Second: So it's true. Durkin has now added another victim to the roster - an estimated 90 percent of whom are poor people of color. Chase was held for 17 hours. What happened during that time?

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"I also represented Ramzi Bin al-Shibh - one of the five accused 9/11 conspiracy plotters in the first military commissions at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, and I was granted access to Bin al-Shibh's classified medical records from his detention at the CIA black sites. While I am precluded from discussing what I saw in those records, even a quick skim of the recently released Senate Intelligence Committee study of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program makes clear that nothing of the sort transpired at Homan Square. It is like comparing an apple to a watermelon."

No one ever made such an allegation. But what's important isn't the degree of behavior that goes on, but the kind of behavior that goes. At what point do we get mad? How far is the CPD allowed to go? Electroshocks to testicles? Stomping on, yes; electrocuting, no.

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"However, there are systemic issues that do support an important, but subtly different, analogy between Homan Square and CIA black sites. The fact is that we have blindly permitted our law enforcement agencies, both local and national, to become intelligence-gathering apparatuses. The merging of these two functions in response to 9/11 is creating more unintended consequences than we may think - Homan Square and its secretiveness being just one example."

Italics mine, because, well, Durkin just conceded an analogy between Homan Square and CIA black sites.

And it's just what the Guardian reported. I wonder how many local reporters read past Durkin's headline.

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"But this spy agency secretiveness did not begin with the War on Terror."

That, too, is acknowledged by the Guardian.

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"A 30-year trail blazed by the War on Drugs provided a good road map and did extraordinary damage to civil liberties. The same war rhetoric, intelligence gathering, electronic surveillance, secretiveness and procedural constitutional shortcuts, both at home and abroad, have morphed into our endless War on Terror - with far greater permanent damage to civil liberties."

Exactly. Glad you came around!

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Might I add that Siska wrote for the Guardian about the technique of "touchless torture," which is mostly what is probably going on inside Homan.

No one has provided more context than the Guardian.

The Sun-Times, meanwhile, is running Op-Eds about a story they haven't even reported on - or linked to.

Like the Tribune's schizophrenic reporting that put the inconvenient lead at the end of the story, it smacks of defensiveness.

The local media's initial reaction wasn't to report the story, but to knock it down. And if that means never asking the police a single question and suddenly putting credibility in CPD statements that even skeptical lawyers found "laughable," well, by God, they're gonna go it!

*

If the term "black site" is what's got you upset, why not report the story for yourselves and give us a different, more appropriate term?

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On Chicago Tonight, Durkin basically repeated his argument: Bad stuff is going on, but let's not call Homan a black site. Host Carol Marin was the odd one on the panel though. Maybe there's a conflict-of-interest when she feels she has to defend her Sun-Times colleagues, because that's clearly what she was doing. On the whole, though, Siska (disclaimer: a friend) got the best of it. Watch for yourself.

First, Siska corrects Marin that it isn't the reporter making the allegations, it's all the sources in his story. That's a giveaway - the local media has had the visceral kind of reaction to Spencer Ackerman and the Guardian and not the actual people making the claims in a typical way that reporters react when they've been scooped.

Next, the CPD as well as the Fraternal Order of Police refused to join the panel. If nothing is going on at Homan, why has the CPD clammed up? And why has the local media accepted their story - Chicago Tonight helpfully let readers know that the CPD's joke of a Homan "fact sheet" could be found on its website, which is essentially saying its credible.

In fact, why would the CPD send someone to be on the show when they know Chicago Tonight will just read their statement anyway - or, well, yeah, just post their "facts" on their website?

(Maybe invite one or two of the lawyers quoted in the Guardian story to be on?)

Then into the meat of the show - which is almost wholly about the term "black site."

Siska says from the outset what I said at the outset of this column and previously - that it's an analogy. Durkin goes on to talk about "real" black sites.

I'm quite certain that likening Homan to a black site does not in any way diminish the horror of CIA black sites, but so be it.

Durkin, though, gets loose himself with talk of "domestic terrorism." Um, maybe it's not "terrorism," though maybe you're talking about a domestic equivalent!

Durkin did say that he and just about every other lawyer in town have gotten the runaround from police for years about finding clients. I wish Marin would have asked if he's ever sued because of it, because that's one of the local press's favorite demurrals:

"Part of my job is that I look through federal and civil litigation every week [and] people sue the cops for a whole lot less than what's being alleged in The Guardian," the Sun-Times's Sam Charles told the Columbia Chronicle. "If it's legitimate, go crazy, but if you're chained to a bench for 17 hours and you don't file a lawsuit, something stinks to me."

Really?

How long did it take for a lawsuit to be filed in the Burge cases? (Hint: About 10 years.) For chrissake, how long until Nanci Koschman filed a lawsuit? (Hint: Too long.)

I can think of a lot of reasons why no one has filed a lawsuit about Homan (there have been lawsuits about non-Homan arrestee issues), as I wrote last week.

But here's the deal: That's not something you decide in your head. Call the fucking lawyers making the complaints and ask them!

When Siska, though, criticized local media - "just like Columbia Journalism Review has done - for falling down on the job, Marin's response was: "So you think there's a cover-up?"

Way to try to marginalize someone into a nutcase.

Later, Marin asked if we'd all learned a lesson from the Burge case - which the local media ignored for about a decade after John Conroy started writing about it for the Reader.

Irony much?

It's not a cover-up, it's a feature. This country's national media couldn't even get the Iraq War right; my God, it happens all the time. Go review the media's shoddy coverage of Chicago's Olympic bid, or the way Richard M. Daley was portrayed as a managerial genius, or the glossing over of Barack Obama's real record in Illinois. It's not uncommon. Nearly every day I point out the media's missteps. Often, a groupthink sets in - like the crime wave that wasn't and the New York mandatory minimums whose reality was ignored. It's an industry problem that we don't talk about - why quality is so low.

(At least we seem to be past the notion that because reporters have been to press conferences at Homan, it couldn't possibly be a site where police take people to interrogate them away from attorneys; as Conroy reminded us last week, reporters were present at Area 2 when Andrew Wilson was tortured.)

(Also, when asked by Marin what the definition of torture was, Siska helpfully cited the United Nations standard, if we want to get all semantic about this.)

Marin - whom I used to really admire! - then says that maybe local reporters haven't been able to replicate the Guardian's reporting. Everyone else has! "We called our sources in the legal community." Sam Adam doesn't know fuck-all about Homan! Call the lawyers the Guardian talked to! Flint Taylor will pick up the phone! So will Sarah Gelsomino! My God! As Siska said, Anthony Hill was on CNN!

Did the change in General Orders not happen?!!! Check it out!

Marin closed by asking if a federal investigation might be in order. Siska said he doubted the Justice Department would do so in Obama's hometown.

"So you think there's a cover-up on that, too!" Marin said.

Jesus fucking Christ. The president was just here to lead a campaign rally for the mayor. I don't know if the DOJ would have cold feet about this, but for one thing they probably endorse it and for another, Marin has spent countless hours with reporters talking about this very dynamic on a range of issues - I know because I've been part of those conversations! Reporters talk all the time about the influence of DOJ here on, say, who will be the U.S. Attorney and which indictments will be approved and so on and so forth. It's just so funny how quickly local cynicism can turn into local naivete when it suits the moment.

Siska has been talking about Homan for years. To local reporters, even. That's how I knew about it. These lawyers have been talking about it for years. Publicly. Who really are the crazy ones here?

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See also:
* John Conroy vs. the Chicago Media. Again.

Or is he now a conspiracy theorist?

* Another day, another Homan story in the Guardian.

What the local media is missing.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

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New York Buried The Real Brian Williams News
And everybody else is ignoring it.

Wikipedia Sues The NSA
Stop Spying On Our Users.

Solitary Confinement Is Torture
The Marionization of America (with a Homan touch).

JJ's Interpretive Jazz Dance 4: The Grand Illusion
Come on in and see what's happening.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Lemons, 88 Fingers Louie, The Juliana Hatfield 3, Replicant, Paper Diamond, Colin Gilmore, Talib Kweli, Midge Ure, The Rhett Walker Band, Limited Wisdom, Reverend Horton Heat, Anders Osborne & The North Mississippi All-Stars, Fake Limbs, Storm Clouds, and The Life and Times.

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BeachBook
* Shut-Down Of Mental Health Clinic Also Spells The End Of In-House Paper.

* Same-Sex Schools Perpetuate Stereotypes About Women And Men.

* Peeps Diorama Contest At Crete Public Library.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Real, spectacular.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:28 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Solitary Confinement Is Torture

Over the transom and through the news. All links added.

1. The Marion Experiment.

"Taking readers into the darkness of solitary confinement, this searing collection of convict experiences, academic research, and policy recommendations shines a light on the proliferation of super-maximum-security prisons and the detrimental effects of long-term high-security confinement on prisoners and their families," SIU Press says.

"Stephen C. Richards, an ex-convict who served time in nine federal prisons before earning his Ph.D in criminology, argues the supermax prison era began in 1983 at USP Marion in southern Illinois, where the first 'control units' were built by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"The Marion Experiment, written from a convict criminology perspective, offers an introduction to long-term solitary confinement and supermax prisons, followed by a series of first-person accounts by prisoners - some of whom are scholars - previously or currently incarcerated in high-security facilities, including some of the roughest prisons in the Western world.

"Scholars also address the widespread 'Marionization' of solitary confinement; its impact on female, adolescent, and mentally ill prisoners and families; and international perspectives on imprisonment.

"As a bold step toward rethinking supermax prisons, Richards presents the most comprehensive view of the topic to date to raise awareness of the negative aspects of long-term solitary confinement and the need to re-evaluate how prisoners are housed and treated.

"Stephen C. Richards, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a Soros Senior Justice Fellow, is the author of numerous journal articles, chapters, and books, including Convict Criminology; Behind Bars: Surviving Prison; and Behind Bars: Rejoining Society after Prison."

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See also:
* Torture: The Use of Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons.

* Solitary Confinement By Definition Is Psychological Torture.

* Rampant Use Of Solitary Confinement In The U.S. Constitutes Torture.

* Touchless Torture.

And:

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2. The Life and Mind of a Family Mass Murderer.

Also from SIU Press:

"Survived by One: The Life and Mind of a Family Mass Murderer is a unique endeavor. It combines the psychological expertise of Robert E. Hanlon, Ph.D, a prominent Chicago-based neuropsychologist, and the raw narration of Thomas Odle, a man serving a life sentence for the murder of his parents, his two brothers, and his sister.

"Familicide is fairly uncommon, making Odle's story all the more compelling . . . Survived by One is a well-written, well-guided, autobiographical narrative of a convicted murderer's life, before, during, and after the pivotal events that shaped his story." - Psychiatric Times

See: Inside The Mind Of A Man Who Killed His Family.

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3. The Naughty Girls Guide To Chicago is on the way.

And we are sad.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:10 AM | Permalink

JJ's Interpretive Jazz Dance 4: The Grand Illusion

Come on in and see what's happening.


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Previously:
* JJ's Interpretive Jazz Dance 1: The Match Game Theme.
* JJ's Interpretive Jazz Dance 2: Roundabout.
* JJ's Interpretive Jazz Dance 3: Also Sprach Zarathustra.

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When J.J. isn't dancing interpretively, he's the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

March 9, 2015

The [Monday] Papers

Bedeviled by several technical issues. Well, two. But that's enough. One is 99% solved and the remaining 1% of the problem I can live with for now. The other is 100% maddening.

Still, for your enjoyment:

* I recommend @BeachwoodReport in particular today for the overnight real-time quotes about Rahm Emanuel's 2011 campaign as well as key excerpts from national media coverage dating back to his Clinton days.

Such as . . . :

Go see the rest. You will be rewarded.

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(Here's another example, as well, from Beachwood Facebook: When Rahm Told Eric Holder To Shut The Fuck Up About Guns.)

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* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

The most extraordinary part of the show, though, is about how New York magazine buried the most golden nugget of all the Brian Williams coverage.

The rest is about the nature of local news and where/how people are supposed to learn about Homan Square, the CIA's fake reforms, the NSA scandals, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is probably the most under-reported story going.

Also: Pander bears in a runoff.

* SportsMonday: Let The Cutler Countdown Begin.

Our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman asks: Does he have one more jerk move in him?

Plus: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #41: Bears Get Boring.

Clearing the drama decks. Plus: Who The Hell Is E'Twaun Moore?; The Big Boy Blackhawks; Tony, Oh!; Joe Maddon Is A Madman; The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso; and The Chicago Fire Do Some Stuff.

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BeachBook
* Wisconsin Grain Silo Renovated Into Three-Story Fort.

* Cubs Commercial 1979: Buy Your Season Tickets Early!

* Soybean Rally Runs Out Of Steam.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Hot takes, cold beer.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:57 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Let The Cutler Countdown Begin

Hauling in a fifth-round pick for Brandon Marshall has to give the Bears confidence they can get something for Jay Cutler.

Something that is, other than dumping his albatross of a contract.

All signs point to Cutler being out of here and let me offer up just one quick "Hallelujah!" It could happen as early as Tuesday, when the annual NFL free agent period begins. And it should happen before March 12th, when the league officially starts its 2015-2016 year. If March 12th passes without Cutler agreeing to re-work his contract (for someone else I would think - I don't think he'll be renegotiating with the Bears), he will be guaranteed $10 million in 2016 on top of the $15 million he is already guaranteed in 2015.

Cutler could muck things up by playing hardball with a contract re-negotiation, but I think he has to know that the Bears are ready to dump him in order to avoid that 2016 guarantee and that if he wants to have any say in where he goes in a trade, he has to be reasonable about the dollars. If not, well, that would be one more jerk move from a guy who many people believe specializes in them.

I think Cutler wasn't as bad a guy as many portrayed him for much of his tenure with the Bears. But Good Lord he was a terrible quarterback, especially this past season. Leading the league in turnovers at age 30 with an offensive line built to protect and an embarrassment of riches in terms of receiving targets and at running back?

I will never understand how the hell that happened, other that the fact that, despite his amazing arm, maybe Cutler just stinks no matter what.

And then the Bears can get to work trying out new potential signal-callers. They signed one this past week - last year's backup Jimmy Clausen. Clausen showed some skills and leadership in his one, brief, injury-marred start last season and he has to be fired up to work with one of the best young offensive minds in the NFL coaching ranks, new Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

But considering what a terrible job "one of the best offensive minds in the NFL" Marc Trestman did last year, we aren't going overboard with our excitement over a coaching hire.
Last year's draft pick, David Fales out of San Jose State, is also still on the roster and will get a look from the new coaching staff. Draft another signal-caller in the third or fourth-round - surrounded by defenders in the first couple rounds and maybe a speed wide receiver in the fifth - and now you're getting somewhere.

It has become apparent the Bears don't truck with the idea that Cutler is their best option. He is their best option from improving from 5-11 last year to maybe 7-9 next season but I'm thinking John Fox and Co. are aiming higher than that.

We are moving closer and closer to a Seahawk-style, pre-season 2012 quarterback competition. Let three or four signal-callers show you what they've got during the, what, first three or four weeks of training camp? Then make one the starter and move on. Everyone you bring in has the potential to take the opportunity and run with it, i.e., improve as they go along. Cutler is long since past improving.

Once the Bears dump their former starting QB, this week will be about who they can get in free agency. If this were a sport other than football, a sport where there are oftentimes slower turnarounds back to success after a bad season or stretch of seasons, you might see the Bears go totally young. But they won't. Given injuries and a host of other factors, NFL teams always have to give themselves a chance to win.

In the 2012-13 campaign, the Seahawks were coming off a multi-season run of bad to mediocre football. They began with a completely untested rookie quarterback (Russell Wilson!) drafted in the third round out of a school (Wisconsin) more known for running the football than virtually any other major college team.

But the Seahawks played great defense, limited mistakes on offense and eventually made the playoffs. It set the stage for the last two seasons of Super Bowl-qualifying football.

If the Bears do half as well (a Super Bowl in their new quarterback's second or third year rather than second and third), their fans will be ecstatic.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:25 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told

Homan Square, the NSA, the CIA, Trans-Pacific Partnership. Plus: Pander bears in a runoff and where Brian Williams hid the news.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

* Happiness is a phone photo of the menu.

2:32: Ultimate Painting at Bric-a-Brac last Sunday night.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

4:51: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

* Homan Square in The Guardian.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* Obamathon, just for starters.

No one else in America got the story so right.

* The NSA on the Beachwood.

* ProPublica.

* Creative Commons!

* Steal Our Stories.

* Weekend Desk tweets.

14:15: Beachwood Under Water.

* The Electronic Frontier Foundation.

* Newsrooms as extensions of the marketing department.

20:26: Lupe Fiasco at Schubas last Monday night.

21:19: The News Brian Williams Hid.

* New York magazine buries the lede.

24:27: Beachwood Back On Land.

* Journalists: Mostly hypocritical, (undeservedly) arrogant jerks.

26:40: In The MSM's Closets.

* Yes, you do have closet in New York. It's in your dressing room.

29:06: Dee-1 at Schubas on Monday night.

29:59: Still In Denial About The MSM's Iraq War Coverage.

* Bob Woodruff, not Scott Simon.

* Journalists completely lacking in self-awareness, criticism.

* It's a mindset.

* What even is the Reader?

37:15: Pander Bears.

* Rahm on red lights, Chuy on the Obama library.

* Chuy's tenuous grasp on the issues.

* Sleazy vs. clumsy.

* Chuy acting like he's the mayor already!

* Chuy just stepped on the real story of Rahm's incompetency.

47: Meghan Trainor at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

* The mixed messages of "All About That Bass."

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #42: Bears Get Boring.

Clearing the drama decks. Plus: Who The Hell Is E'Twaun Moore?; The Big Boy Blackhawks; Tony, Oh!; Joe Maddon Is A Madman; The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso; and The Chicago Fire Do Some Stuff.

(No Trainor, just sayin'.)

51:37: STS9 at House of Blues on Thursday night.

52:36: Homan Square Must-Reads.

* The [Wednesday] Papers.

Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers.

John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:20 PM | Permalink

March 7, 2015

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Ultimate Painting at Bric-a-Brac on Sunday night.


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2. Lupe Fiasco at Schubas on Monday night.

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3. Dee-1 at Schubas on Monday night.

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4. Meghan Trainor at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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5. STS9 at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:50 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

"Private equity giant Blackstone Group LP is in advanced discussions to buy the Willis Tower in Chicago, the country's second-tallest skyscraper, for about $1.5 billion according to a person briefed on the talks," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"If completed, it would be by far the highest price paid ever for a building in Chicago, and well above the $841 million that the iconic black tower - formerly known as the Sears Tower - last traded for in 2004 when it was sold to a group that includes New York investors Joseph Chetrit and Joseph Moinian."

I can speak for all Chicagoans when I say I hope they change the name back. Maybe we can do a Kickstarter to acquire the naming rights.

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"A new owner will have upside on potential naming rights of the Skydeck, as well as for the tower's name," Crain's reports.

"Willis [Holdings] pays a below-market $1 million per year to have its name and signage on the building . . . although it's unclear how much it would cost to buy out Willis' contract."

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The Tribune's Phil Rosenthal on the name game.

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I think that's all most Chicagoans care about when it comes to this deal, but there are a few other interesting aspects.

"Willis Tower has several regular revenue streams unique to its building," the Tribune reports.

"Its Skydeck on the 103rd floor reaped about $25 million in admissions revenue in 2014, an amount that has been climbing annually. Its broadcast antennas brought in more than $13 million in the 12 months ended in November."

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"Along with the distinction of owning one of the world's best-known pieces of real estate comes control of a property that reaps about $10,000 of income every hour," Crain's says.

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"The 1,451-foot tower is often viewed within Chicago as second-tier real estate despite its soaring views and height, given that much of the city's top-quality property is concentrated on the other side of the Chicago River and closer to Lake Michigan," the Journal says.

Tallest second-tier real estate ever.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour
In production!

This Week In Chicago Rock
In production!

Beachwood Sports Radio: Bears Get Boring
Bears stripping team of drama queens. Segments include: Bye Bye Brandon; Who The Hell Is E'Twaun Moore?; The Big Boy Blackhawks; Free Tony Campana!; Joe Maddon Is A Madman; The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso; and The Chicago Fire Do Some Stuff.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg don their stethoscopes for another installment of Rock Doctors. This time they help a newly divorced patient in need of a jolt of musical adrenaline. Then they review the new album from New Jersey punk band Screaming Females."

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TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Squiddish.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:33 AM | Permalink

March 6, 2015

The [Friday] Papers

I'm on Weekend Desk duty tomorrow with Natasha Julius traveling, so if I don't get to a Papers column today - pretty jammed up - I'll just have more for Saturday. If I'm awake and coherent. Something tells me beer is in my future tonight.

Of course, I'll have The Beachwood Radio Hour, which is already in pre-production. That means I'm thinking about it. A little

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour with Jim "Coach" Coffman is already in: Bears Get Boring - Clearing the drama decks. Plus: Who The Hell Is E'Twaun Moore?; The Big Boy Blackhawks; Tony, Oh!; Joe Maddon Is A Madman; The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso; and The Chicago Fire Do Some Stuff.

Beachwood Photo Booth is in: Avondale Chicken. Roscoe lookout.

Also in: Yes, America Fears The Police. Here's Why. Originally published by Politico and ProPublica, and now on the Beachwood. Because that's how ProPublica works.

This Week In Chicago Rock is not in - it is also in pre-production.

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BeachBook
* Chicago Doom Band Indian Confirms Breakup.

* No, The Banks Aren't Losing.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Mmm, squab.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:02 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #41: Bears Get Boring

Clearing the drama decks. Plus: Who The Hell Is E'Twaun Moore?; The Big Boy Blackhawks; Tony, Oh!; Joe Maddon Is A Madman; The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso; and The Chicago Fire Do Some Stuff.


SHOW NOTES

* Bulldog Turner was No. 66.

1:26: Bye Bye Brandon.

* Brandon's best moment as a Bear: "You just kick the ball!"

* Implications for Cutler?

* Implications for Forte?

* Jimmy Pickles will be back!

* Clearing the drama decks.

* Jerry Angelo traded for Jay Cutler; Phil Emery signed Brandon Marshall.

* Bye bye Briggs.

* Lacking in linebackers.

17:45: Who The Hell Is E'Twaun Moore?

* Latest unlikely Bulls hero.

* E'Twaun Moore's career notes.

30:21: The Big-Time Blackhawks.

* West Side Stories.

* Ben Smith got a 45-mile escort to his first game with San Jose.

41:25: Tony, Oh!

* In the NFL, teams can't release injured players.

43:38: Joe Maddon Is A Madman.

* We wanna party with you, Cowboy.

* LaStella! LaStella!

* Bye bye Baez.

* Rizzo, Castro.

* Cody Ross, David Ross, Cody Ransom.

* Koyie Hill.

* Best case scenario: Third place.

56:08: The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso.

* They Called Him Minnie.

59:52: The Chicago Fire Did Some Stuff.

STOPPAGE TIME: :14

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:52 AM | Permalink

Yes, Black America Fears The Police. Here's Why.

This story was co-published with Politico Magazine.

Last July 4, my family and I went to Long Island to celebrate the holiday with a friend and her family. After eating some barbecue, a group of us decided to take a walk along the ocean. The mood on the beach that day was festive. Music from a nearby party pulsed through the haze of sizzling meat. Lovers strolled hand in hand. Giggling children chased each other along the boardwalk.

Most of the foot traffic was heading in one direction, but then two teenage girls came toward us, moving stiffly against the flow, both of them looking nervously to their right. "He's got a gun," one of them said in a low voice.

I turned my gaze to follow theirs, and was clasping my 4-year-old daughter's hand when a young man extended his arm and fired off multiple shots along the busy street running parallel to the boardwalk. Snatching my daughter up into my arms, I joined the throng of screaming revelers running away from the gunfire and toward the water.

The shots stopped as quickly as they had started. The man disappeared between some buildings. Chest heaving, hands shaking, I tried to calm my crying daughter, while my husband, friends and I all looked at one another in breathless disbelief. I turned to check on Hunter, a high school intern from Oregon who was staying with my family for a few weeks, but she was on the phone.

"Someone was just shooting on the beach," she said, between gulps of air, to the person on the line.

Unable to imagine whom she would be calling at that moment, I asked her, somewhat indignantly, if she couldn't have waited until we got to safety before calling her mom.

"No," she said. "I am talking to the police."

My friends and I locked eyes in stunned silence. Between the four adults, we hold six degrees. Three of us are journalists. And not one of us had thought to call the police. We had not even considered it.

We also are all black. And without realizing it, in that moment, each of us had made a set of calculations, an instantaneous weighing of the pros and cons.

As far as we could tell, no one had been hurt. The shooter was long gone, and we had seen the back of him for only a second or two. On the other hand, calling the police posed considerable risks. It carried the very real possibility of inviting disrespect, even physical harm. We had seen witnesses treated like suspects, and knew how quickly black people calling the police for help could wind up cuffed in the back of a squad car. Some of us knew of black professionals who'd had guns drawn on them for no reason.

This was before Michael Brown. Before police killed John Crawford III for carrying a BB gun in a Wal-Mart or shot down 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park. Before Akai Gurley was killed by an officer while walking in a dark staircase and before Eric Garner was choked to death upon suspicion of selling "loosies." Without yet knowing those names, we all could go down a list of unarmed black people killed by law enforcement.

We feared what could happen if police came rushing into a group of people who, by virtue of our skin color, might be mistaken for suspects.

For those of you reading this who may not be black, or perhaps Latino, this is my chance to tell you that a substantial portion of your fellow citizens in the United States of America have little expectation of being treated fairly by the law or receiving justice. It's possible this will come as a surprise to you. But to a very real extent, you have grown up in a different country than I have.

As Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness, puts it, "White people, by and large, do not know what it is like to be occupied by a police force. They don't understand it because it is not the type of policing they experience. Because they are treated like individuals, they believe that if 'I am not breaking the law, I will never be abused.'"

We are not criminals because we are black. Nor are we somehow the only people in America who don't want to live in safe neighborhoods. Yet many of us cannot fundamentally trust the people who are charged with keeping us and our communities safe.

* * * * *

As protest and revolt swept across the Missouri suburb of Ferguson and demonstrators staged die-ins and blocked highways and boulevards from Oakland to New York with chants of "Black lives matter," many white Americans seemed shocked by the gaping divide between law enforcement and the black communities they are supposed to serve. It was no surprise to us. For black Americans, policing is "the most enduring aspect of the struggle for civil rights," says Muhammad, a historian and director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. "It has always been the mechanism for racial surveillance and control."

In the South, police once did the dirty work of enforcing the racial caste system. The Ku Klux Klan and law enforcement were often indistinguishable. Black-and-white photographs of the era memorialize the way Southern police sicced German shepherds on civil rights protesters and peeled the skin off black children with the force of water hoses. Lawmen were also involved or implicated in untold numbers of beatings, killings and disappearances of black Southerners who forgot their place.

In the North, police worked to protect white spaces by containing and controlling the rising black population that had been propelled into the industrial belt during the Great Migration. It was not unusual for Northern police to join white mobs as they attacked black homeowners attempting to move into white neighborhoods, or black workers trying to take jobs reserved for white laborers. And yet they strictly enforced vagrancy laws, catch-alls that gave them wide discretion to stop, question and arrest black citizens at will.

Much has changed since then. Much has not.

Last Fourth of July, in a few short minutes as we adults watched the teenager among us talking to the police, we saw Hunter become a little more like us, her faith a little shaken, her place in the world a little less stable. Hunter, who is biracial and lives with her white mother in a heavily white area, had not been exposed to the policing many black Americans face. She was about to be.

On the phone, she could offer only the most generic of suspect descriptions, which apparently made the officer on the other end of the line suspicious. By way of explanation, Hunter told the officer she was just 16. The police called her back: once, twice, then three times, asking her for more information. The interactions began to feel menacing. "I'm not from here," Hunter said. "I've told you everything I know."

The fourth time the police called, she looked frightened. Her interrogator asked her, "Are you really trying to be helpful, or were you involved in this?" She turned to us, her voice aquiver. "Are they going to come get me?"

"See," one of us said, trying to lighten the mood. "That's why we don't call them."

We all laughed, but it was hollow.

My friend Carla Murphy and I have talked about that day several times since then. We've turned it over in our minds and wondered whether, with the benefit of hindsight, we should have called 911.

Carla wasn't born in the United States. She came here when she was 9, and back in her native Barbados, she didn't give police much thought. That changed when she moved into heavily black Jamaica, Queens.

Carla said she constantly saw police, often white, stopping and harassing passersby, almost always black. "You see the cops all the time, but they do not speak to you. You see them talking to each other, but the only time you ever see them interact with someone is if they are jacking them up," she said. "They are making a choice, and it says they don't care about you, it tells you they are not here for your people or people who look like you."

Carla herself was arrested at a young age - because she was present when her cousin pushed through a subway turnstile without paying. The teenagers were cuffed, thrown in a paddy wagon, booked and held overnight. At 15, Carla, then a student at The Dalton School, a prestigious private academy in Manhattan, had an arrest record.

That experience, along with many others, informed Carla's decision on July 4.

"I am a responsible adult, but I really can't see having a different reaction. Isn't that weird?" she told me. "By calling the police, you are inviting this big system - that, frankly, doesn't like you - into your life. Sometimes you call and it is not the help that comes."

"So, no, I wouldn't call the police," she said. "Which is sad, because I want to be a good citizen."

I moved to the historic Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2011. Before then, I had been living in Portland, Oregon, and when I chose my new home in the gritty big city, it was partly because it was only a block away from a police precinct. That proximity made me feel safer - I figured crime would be less common with so many police nearby. Inadvertently, however, I also picked a prime target area of the city's stop-and-frisk program - a system of policing that caught so many innocent black and brown men in its dragnet that a federal judge found it unconstitutional in 2013.

My block is fairly typical of Bed-Stuy. My neighbors, until recently, were all black and included everyone from laborers to college professors. Both immaculately kept brownstones and boarded-up townhouses line my street. We have block meetings and a community garden. Police are a constant presence, speeding down the street to the precinct or walking the beat. Sometimes, I escort my daughter to the store underneath police watchtowers with tinted windows that pop up around the neighborhood with no warning, then disappear just as suddenly2014their entire existence ambiguous yet alarming. I have witnessed from my window, countless times, police stopping someone, usually a young man, who is walking down the street. These men are often searched and questioned as they go to the bodega or head home from work or school.

A few months ago, a police officer approached my neighbor as he was leaving the bodega and began questioning him. My neighbor is quiet and respectful, but he also is poor and transient. He tends to look disheveled, but the worst thing I've seen him do is drink beer on the stoop.

When he asked why he was being stopped, the police grabbed him and threw him to the ground. As someone recorded the incident on a cellphone, police shot my neighbor with a Taser gun and then arrested him.

He was never told why police stopped him. The only thing they charged him with was resisting arrest. But this arrest cost him his job and a fine he will struggle to pay. If he doesn't pay, a judge will issue a bench warrant, and instead of preventing crime, the police will have created a criminal.

Across the street and a few doors down from me, my neighbor Guthrie Ramsey has his own story. Guthrie was born in Chicago and grew up in a family that did not emphasize the obstacles their children would face. "I was socialized to believe that the police were our friends," he said.

Yet one night, some years ago, while driving his teenage son to a soccer game, Guthrie was pulled over by police. Within minutes, he and his son were sprawled on the ground, with guns drawn on them. The police believed Guthrie fit the description of a suspect. Guthrie, a short, easy-going guy with a contagious laugh, managed to point the police to his University of Pennsylvania faculty ID. That's right: He's an Ivy League professor. And a noted musician.

"It was so frightening. It was humiliating. You get so humiliated that it's hard to even get to the anger," he told me. "You just don't get to experience interactions with the police as a garden-variety circumstance."

These types of stories in black communities are so ubiquitous as to be unremarkable. If my husband is running very late and I cannot get hold of him, my mind does not immediately go to foul play. I wonder if he's been detained.

This fear is not unjustified. Young black men today are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than young white men. Still, it's not that black Americans expect to die every time they encounter the police. Police killings are just the worst manifestations of countless slights and indignities that build until there's an explosion.

Since 1935, nearly every so-called race riot in the United States - and there have been more than 100 - has been sparked by a police incident, Muhammad says. This can be an act of brutality, or a senseless killing. But the underlying causes run much deeper. Police, because they interact in black communities every day, are often seen as the face of larger systems of inequality in the justice system, employment, education and housing.

In the months since Ferguson, many pundits have asserted that black Americans deserve this type of policing, that it is a consequence of their being more likely to be both the perpetrators and victims of violent crime. "White police officers wouldn't be there if you weren't killing each other," former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani argued on Meet the Press as the nation awaited the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting. It should be noted that Giuliani oversaw the NYPD during two of the most notorious cases of police brutality in recent memory, the sodomy of Abner Louima and the death of Amadou Diallo, who was unarmed, in a hail of 41 bullets. Both were black men.

What Giuliani was saying, in essence, is that law-abiding citizens deserve to be treated with suspicion because they share racial traits with the tiny number among them who commit crimes.

Black communities want a good relationship with law enforcement because they want their families and property to be safe. After all, it is true that black communities often face higher rates of crime; in 2013, more than 50 percent of murder victims across the country were black, though only 13 percent of the total population is. But it's also true that crime reduction efforts by black people in black communities have contributed to the recent, historic drop in crime across the country.

So why are black Americans still so often denied the same kind of smart policing that typically occurs in white communities, where police seem fully capable of discerning between law-abiding citizens and those committing crimes, and between crimes like turnstile-jumping and those that need serious intervention?

"You can be protected and served," Muhammad says. "It happens every day in communities across America. It happens all the time in white communities where crime is happening."

During the height of the "Black Lives Matter" protests, a mentally ill man shot and killed two police officers a few blocks from my home. I lay up that night thinking about those two men and their families. No one wants to see people killed. Not by police, not by anyone. The next morning, my husband and I took food and flowers to the grim brick precinct right around the corner from us that the officers were working out of when they were killed.

The officer at the front desk did not greet us when we came in. And he looked genuinely surprised by our offering, his face softening as he told us we didn't have to do this, but thank you. That people who should be allies somehow felt like adversaries troubled me.

The next day, I drove by the precinct on my way to the store. It had been cordoned off with metal barricades. Two helmeted officers stood sentry out front, gripping big black assault rifles, and watching. The message felt clear.

They weren't standing out there to protect the neighborhood. They were there to protect themselves from us.

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Related coverage: For more of Nikole Hannah-Jones' work on race and inequality in the nation's schools and neighborhoods, see School Segregation, the Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:07 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken

Roscoe lookout.

henrestexpbw.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

March 5, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

Someone finally asked John Conroy what he thought of the Guardian's reporting on Homan Square. It was WBEZ on Wednesday, and what he said was devastating:

"I don't think I've seen anything like this before where a reporter comes in and there seems to be such anger at the reporter and a few words in his story, which are provocative but nonetheless the basic facts are borne out.

"Seven attorneys have now said they had clients in which they couldn't reach . . . not seven clients - dozens, scores, we don't know.

"I don't know why there was such outrage that this was reported. People get scooped all the time . . . Get over it."

I'd sure rather be on Conroy's side than Frank Main's.

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"There's been so much blowback by the press here and others saying it didn't happen . . . it couldn't have happened because [there are] press conferences there. The press was in the building the day Andrew Wilson was tortured [by Jon Burge] in Area 2."

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And when the rest of the Chicago media finally picked up the story:

"The dailies covered it like you'd cover a fire, with no context."

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Based on what I've been hearing from local reporters, and based on what I already knew, I believe what Tracy Siska told the Atlantic is true:

"I think that many crime reporters in Chicago have political views that are right in line with the police. They tend to agree about the tactics needed by the police."

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Now, some local reporters went apeshit about what Siska said next:

"They tend to have by one extent or the other the same racist views of the police - a lot of urban police (not all of them by any stretch, but a lot of them) embody racism."

I discuss what he means on The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site. And I agree.

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Now consider what Conroy wrote in the 1996 article "Town Without Pity" about the media's failure to follow his Burge stories:

"The media might have been on the case if the public had demonstrated significant outrage or if individual reporters had felt some kinship with the victims."

Instead, local reporters are mocking the NATO activists identified as victims and ignoring the other 99 percent whose civil liberties are at stake and are people of color.

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On Tuesday, Guardian reported that:

Figures obtained by Chicago's First Defense Legal Aid under a freedom-of-information request found that in 2013, lawyers were able to visit clients in police custody citywide for only 302 out of 143,398 arrestees - a rate of 0.2%. These statistics reveal a very different picture from the portrayal in the Chicago police "fact sheet" which claims that "an individual who wishes to consult a lawyer will not be interrogated until they have an opportunity to do so."

That number is far worse - worse than 0.2% - at Homan, from everything we've seen reported.

Conroy on Wednesday said himself that he had seen these statistics.

"Less than one percent. What happened to the others?"

Some are simply choosing not to call an attorney, Conroy surmised.

Others simply can't afford an attorney.

But when WBEZ host Niala Boodhoo asked if the real problem was detainees simply not being given the opportunity to make a call or see a lawyer, Conroy said:

"Bingo."

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Here's Conroy's interview - listen to the whole thing.

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Eliza Solowiej, the executive director of Chicago's First Defense Legal Aid, said something else newsworthy to the Guardian this week:

"The mayor's office says they are considering giving [arrestees] access to the phones early on, posting our number and a know your rights notice. I expect movement on that this month to show they aren't getting in between people and their lawyers. Opening up the phone lines between their arrestees and legal aid is what it will take to watchdog their promises."

So there's plenty for local reporters to follow-up on, from the General Orders I discussed on Wednesday to Solowiej's stats to the possibility of the mayor's office taking action to the, um, actual story of Homan Square.

And if local reporters find that everyone in the Guardian stories - which now number about a dozen - are lying, then that's a pretty fabulous story too. But you can't knock a story down out of your head; you have to do the reporting for that, too.

*

For example, here's what Siska told the Atlantic about the way CPD handles arrestees:

Siska: We changed that rule. What used to happen at Homan Square is that prior to a year ago, if you get arrested and you get brought down anywhere in any district, you would not pop up in the city computer as being arrested until they processed the police report, which could take anywhere from an hour to 15 hours. If they "arrested" you, then they have to report it. But if they don't "arrest you," nefarious things could happen and they could interrogate you without a lawyer. And they would move you around from district to district. So [for example] if the family shows up or the lawyer shows up and they say you aren't here but you are, they've denied you access. But if they say you're at [district] 17, then move you to 15, and then 12, they can question you without counsel. At Homan Square they don't process paperwork about your arrest. You're just gone. No one knows.

At some point they have to do the paperwork and prosecute you. After they get your confession, you wind up back in the paperwork.

Basu: What's the incentive for doing the paperwork then?

Siska: About a year ago, we changed the rule. After arriving at a CPD facility, [officers] have 20 minutes to one hour to put you into the system, and you appear on the system city-wide. Any officer anywhere in the city can find where you are. And anywhere they move you to, every time you move, [officers] have 20 minutes to one hour to put you in so you show up on a computer. Each time you move, your right to phone calls and Miranda rights starts all over again.

That's pretty detailed inside knowledge. Yet, while Siska has been called by news agencies worldwide, only WBEZ here in Chicago has bothered to interview him.

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Disclosure: Again, Siska is a friend. What he says is still true.

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Meanwhile, the Columbia Journalism Review's local correspondent Jackie Spinner, a former Washington Post reporter on the faculty of Columbia College, weighed in on Wednesday with "The Guardian's Homan Square Story Was Huge On The Internet - But Not In Chicago Media."

Disclosure: Spinner linked to both my podcast about Homan and Wednesday's column.

Spinner wrote:

"The city's two main dailies, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, quickly reported that city police denied any wrongdoing in pieces that offered little original reporting. The CBS affiliate in Chicago also reported the police denial. The local papers and TV stations have since covered protests from groups demanding that the facility be shuttered.

"But more than a week after the initial story, local enterprise reporting remains scant. The most notable examples are a few oddly framed stories, from the Tribune and public radio station WBEZ, suggesting that the focus on Homan Square is misplaced and that, according to local defense attorneys, abusive detentions and interrogations may actually be routine and widespread. If true, that would seem to be worth digging into - but the local coverage, especially in the Tribune, put as much emphasis on possible overreach by The Guardian as it did on police abuse."

That "possible overreach" refers to, presumably, use of the term "black site," which has local reporters jumping out of their skin. But that's what Homan's been called for years, as evidenced in part by real-time tweets I showed on Wednesday.

Be that as it may - and I also discussed on my podcast why I thought use of the term (which didn't come from Ackerman, as incorrectly stated by local reporters) was totally justified, and Conroy noted the facts about it were borne out - it's incumbent on reporters to get past it, unless they are searching really hard for a reason to dismiss the reporting of more than a dozen stories in several outlets outside of Chicago.

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Most interesting to me from CJR, though, was this:

"Craig Newman, managing editor of the Sun-Times, declined to comment for this story. So did reporters I reached out to at both local papers. An editor at the Tribune did not respond to requests for comment."

Are you fucking kidding me?

I'm not sure I can capture all the layers of irony about that in one sentence, but I'll try:

"In an article for the industry's leading journalism review about Chicago journalists' response to the Guardian's journalism, Chicago journalists refused to comment about their response to the Guardian, just as the Chicago Police Department has refused to comment."

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In this interview with MSNBC, Ackerman notes that lawyers and activists tried to interest Chicago reporters in this story for years. I know for a fact that is true.

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Among the questions I hear local reporters asking: If this is happening, why have no lawsuits been filed?

That's a very weird question. First, I'm confused about whether the Chicago media's defense is that this isn't happening or that it's happening everywhere.

I would turn that back on the Chicago media: If you are reporting that it's happening everywhere (and they are) and that Homan Square isn't anything special (it is), then where are the lawsuits?

That's an odd bar to set. The first lawsuit to come out of the Burge tortures was about a decade after Conroy started writing.

More to the point, that's a question to ask the lawyers making the allegations, not to make in your head to justify not pursuing the story.

I can think of plenty of reasons why there haven't been lawsuits from Homan (though there have been other cases arising out of Chicago on the matter):

* Lawsuits take time and money.

* Legal aid lawyers who don't reach their clients don't even know whom they would sue on behalf of.

* Reluctant clients.

* Standards in the law that might advantage police and make cases hard to win.

* Who knows. It's a good question. Go ask it.

But again, from the Tribune, just as I pointed out on Wednesday, it's not as if this isn't being argued in court papers in the rare cases that go to court:

Attorney Michael Deutsch represented one of the three protesters prosecuted under the little-known state terrorism charge that police sought after federal authorities expressed little interest in charging the case. Deutsch and other lawyers challenged the handling of their clients by police, especially their difficulties getting access to the men at Homan Square. They filed a motion to suppress any statements Brian Church, one of the NATO 3, gave while being held at Homan square.

Deutsch said prosecutors withdrew Church's statement to police as trial evidence so the motion was never argued before a judge.

"I think that's the reason (they withdrew it) was to avoid that kind of inquiry into what happened," he said. "If you can't find your client, you can't present yourself so that's what happened with Brian Church. We weren't able to find him for almost 24 hours."

Get it?

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UPDATE 3 P.M.: "First Defense filed suit demanding access to clients during questioning in 2002," Curtis Black writes for the Chicago Reporter, "noting CPD's record of coercing false confessions, hundreds of which had been thrown out of court in the previous decade."

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Another complaint I'm hearing is that the NATO activists aren't credible because . . . they have issues with NATO?

I find this incredibly odd, because no one lost more credibility during the NATO 3 trial than the Chicago Police Department (and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office).

If you don't believe me, just go back and read coverage of the NATO 3 trial and, in particular, Mark Brown's columns (also cited by Conroy) in the Sun-Times - lost to linking through the various iterations of the paper's website but available on databases including through the Harold Washington Library. I can at least offer this slice.

Then again, the Chicago media's stories about the big NATO meeting here focused on keeping order and controlling protesters, not protecting the civil liberties of those who wanted - for good reason - to protest.

That's not a helpful mindset.

Siska to the Atlantic:

"I think The Guardian, especially Spencer Ackerman, comes at it from a civil-rights perspective."

And that produces a different story than focusing on the political triumph of Rahm Emanuel holding an international military security conference here.

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It's odd how the media assigns credibility. Rahm Emanuel and Barbara Byrd-Bennett, for example, have been shown to have outright lied multiple times, yet they can get Op-Eds published in the local papers any time they want - and their statements are still taken seriously and reported at face value.

Has anyone yet shown the NATO activists to have lied?

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And more to the point, again, what about the 90 percent of victims in this story who are people of color? Who gives them a voice?

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Voice lessons.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:57 AM | Permalink

March 4, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

Another day, another Guardian story about Homan Square and the Chicago police. I count 11 stories so far (not counting this solicitation for victims or this Op-Ed about Chicago and "touchless torture") plus the two-part investigation into former Chicago police officer Richard Zuley that got the ball rolling.

Is that enough yet?

And, of course, there have been follow-ups at scores of outlets including the Intercept, Salon, and Al-Jazeera America.

The Chicago media? Denial.

After all, the CPD issued a statement.

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Here's Guardian reporter Spencer Ackerman explaining the stories on Democracy Now!. Highly recommended.

Part 1: Homan.

Transcript here.

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Part 2: Zuley.

Transcript here.

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The thread of the Guardian's stories is the cross-pollination of interrogation techniques between the U.S. military and U.S. police. That's how Ackerman got onto the Zuley story - through Guantanamo Bay working backwards to Chicago - and that's how the use and techniques of Homan became a story for him. That context is crucial. It's not like he and the Guardian just decided to write about Chicago police abuses in general.

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On Tuesday, WBEZ, which had previously dismissed the Guardian's reporting because Frank Main of the Sun-Times has been to the building for press conferences, interviewed (briefly) Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project (disclaimer: a friend, though also the best criminologist in the city).

The interview followed an Op-Ed that Siska wrote for Crain's about the questions the Chicago media should be asking going forward, focusing on this one:

1. In 2012, the Chicago Police Department adjusted General Order G96-01-04, known as the "Arrestee and In-Custody Communications" general order. Why?

In the Crain's piece, Siska gives local reporters a head start.

I can help out with the first question: The order was changed in direct response to the Chicago Justice Project and other organizations including the Cook County public defender's office, American Civil Liberties Union and First Defense Legal Aid bringing the problems of Homan Square to their attention in 2011. We are part of a coalition of organizations that meets regularly with the Chicago Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit and individuals from its general counsel's office. We worked with both over the course of more than a year to have this general order changed so that arrestees could access counsel at the facility . . . That's how I know the Guardian story is true.

He was there. It happened.

Here's the WBEZ interview about those General Orders.

Note: The Guardian included a link to those General Orders in its first Homan story as documented, corroborating evidence.

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Even the attempts by local media to knock down the story contain seeds of confirmation. Consider the end of the Tribune story - could've been the lead! - featuring "head-scratching" reporters and lawyers with no experience at Homan trying to figure out what all the fuss was about:

Attorney Michael Deutsch represented one of the three protesters prosecuted under the little-known state terrorism charge that police sought after federal authorities expressed little interest in charging the case. Deutsch and other lawyers challenged the handling of their clients by police, especially their difficulties getting access to the men at Homan Square. They filed a motion to suppress any statements Brian Church, one of the NATO 3, gave while being held at Homan square.

Deutsch said prosecutors withdrew Church's statement to police as trial evidence so the motion was never argued before a judge.

"I think that's the reason (they withdrew it) was to avoid that kind of inquiry into what happened," he said. "If you can't find your client, you can't present yourself so that's what happened with Brian Church. We weren't able to find him for almost 24 hours."

That story also featured "wary," disbelieving lawyers - why talk to lawyers with no knowledge of Homan instead of lawyers with knowledge of Homan? - calling the CPD's statement denying all allegations as "laughable."

Hello?

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Real-time accounts from 2012 (you can find more at @BeachwoodReport):

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You may not like those activists - though I generally do - but, as I tweeted earlier, civil rights are not awarded by a personality test; if they were, Rahm Emanuel wouldn't have any.

In fact, even the guilty are owed their civil rights in this country ...

That's where the institutional racism - including from the dismissive local media - comes in.

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No lessons learned.

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Getting the point: This interview is well worth your time - it's not long. Excellent explainer.

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Come with me now, on a journey through the land of reading comprehension: The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

It's long, but I'm no longer going to be sheepish about length or sound quality or the (in my view) slow start. Listen to it and I'm pretty certain you will be rewarded.

(The Beachwood Radio Network's shows have been accepted for iTunes, by the way, which will make them easier to listen to for many of you, I'm told; I just have to take the last step on my end to make it happen. Will try this week.)

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Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide Pt. 2: The Middle Men
Baez vs. Alcantara vs. Ramirez vs. Castro.

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BeachBook
* Almost All Arrests In Ferguson Between 2012-2014 Were Black People.

Compare and contrast: Gawker Media has taught us a lot about writing headlines - and it has nothing to do with SEO.

* Silver Room Leaving Wicker Park For Hyde Park, Says Hood No Longer Respects Art.

Colonization complete.

* Plane Spotting At Midway - Chicago's Other Airport.

* Dick Blau Wants His Polka Heartland Exhibit To Be A Feeling Experience.

* The Trews: Government Spying: Who's The Biggest Threat To Your Security?

* Chicago Sex In Cars.

* Bush White House's Repeated Torture Denials Led CIA Torturers To Seek Repeated Assurances.

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TweetWood

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It appears a lot of people do - just not in Chicago newsrooms filled with bruised egos.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Seat yourself.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

The 2015 Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide Pt. 2: The Middle Men

Just when the depth of fantasy value at 2B looked to be drying up, a new group of young stars has reloaded the position, making it one of the most intriguing positions come draft day.

I wish we could say the same at SS, where the talent pool remains somewhat shallow and injury-plagued - though a couple of local guys still make my top 10.

2B

1. Robinson Cano, SEA.

With HRs dropping from 27 to 14 and RBI from 107 to 82 from 2013 to 2014, you can't call his move a Seattle a success yet. Still, he's a model of consistency with his batting average - .313, .314, .314 the last three years, and the Mariners have built a better lineup around him. Interesting 2014 stat: 37 doubles after five straight years of 41 or more.

2. Jose Altuve, HOU.

After a stunning year of .341 batting average, 225 hits, 47 doubles, 56 SBs, there is an argument to rank him No. 1, especially if you look toward middle infield slots to satisfy all your SB need. Interesting 2014 stat: 9 - times caught stealing, out of 65 attempts.

3. Anthony Rendon, WAS.

This multi-category stud won the No. 2 ranking at 3B, and nearly makes an argument for No. 1 here. If he manages a 30 HR, 30 SB season, we'll regret ranking him third, though I think he's a year away from that. Interesting 2014 stat: 111 runs was second at second.

4. Ian Kinsler, DET.

Surprised a lot of us last year who thought playing in Texas for years inflated his stats and that being in Detroit would bring them down. He bettered his 2013 marks in HRs, RBI, runs, doubles and hits. Interesting 2014 stat: 92 RBI was a career high.

5. Kolten Wong, STL.

Rendon-like potential to score across categories, though he had a pretty rough 2014, which is why he's ranked lower elsewhere. 12 HRs, 20 SBs last season suggest 20/20, maybe 20/30, is possible this year. Interesting 2014 stat: 71 strikeouts in 402 ABs.

6. Dee Gordon, MIA.

A lot of people like him higher, and his 64 SBs are hard to ignore. I think he can do it again, but he's a one-trick pony , and I don't think he can manage a .289 average again. Interesting 2014 stat: 12 triples if you like that sort of thing. Could get more in Miami's big park.

7. Jason Kipnis, CLE.

Bombed in 2014 after getting a No. 1 ranking from many. I'm buying that he still has a career year ahead of him and it could be this year. Even a mild comeback could mean a 20 HR, 30 SB year. Interesting stat: 27 years old, so he's in his prime.

8. Brian Dozier, MIN.

How do I have him eighth after 23 HRs, 71 RBI, 21 SBs, 112 runs in 2014, when he led 2Bs in HRs, runs scored and walks? I don't have much faith in his power, and not excited by .242 batting average. Interesting 2014 stat: 129 strikeouts against 89 walks.

9. Dustin Pedroia, BOS.

No power, no speed, and his batting average is now sinking, too. His hopes on living up to this ranking rely largely on the beefed up Boston lineup around him, and I do think it could rejuvenate him. Interesting 2014 stat: .376 slugging percentage was a career low.

10. Josh Harrison, PIT.

Super-sub is another across-the-board scoring option, but don't wait too long. This ranking might undervalue him. A good bet for 15 HRs, 70 RBI, 30 SBs, .320 average, maybe 10 triples, too. Interesting 2014 stat: 57 extra-base hits reminds me of Cano in his prime.

11. Daniel Murphy, NYM.

Down year after a breakout 2013, but injury was a factor. Multi-category potential like Rendon, Wong, Kipnis, Harrison, etc., but a few years older than all of the above. Could be a late-season rental for a contender. Interesting 2014 stat: .322 away-game average.

12. Neil Walker, PIT.

Tied Dozier with 23 HRs last year to lead 2Bs, but as with Dozier, I'm selling high on that number. Still, decent power and potential for 75+ RBI keeps him in the discussion as a fantasy starter. Interesting 2014 stat: 137 games second highest of career - injury hint.

13. Chase Utley, PHI.

Persistent injuries - ankle is already limiting spring activity - and age pose risks. He no longer brings HR value, but stills hustles for doubles and triples (42 combined last year). Worth a bench spot. Interesting 2014 stat: age 35 last year, he turned 36 in December.

14. Jedd Gyorko, SD.

Maybe the biggest 2B fantasy disappointment of 2014, dropping to 10 HRs after 23 in 2013. Great power potential, but must improve sorry .210 average. Nice long-term investment, but don't over-pay. Interesting 2014 stat: 100 strikeouts in 111 games.

15. Mookie Betts, BOS.

Maybe undervaluing a guy many have as a top 10. Gets compared to Rendon, but not ripe yet. May compete with Cuban star Rusney Castillo for playing time this spring, so not a lock to break camp. Interesting 2014 stat: .368 OBP suggests mature eye.

16. Ben Zobrist, OAK.

Fading super-sub still peppers numbers across multiple stat categories, but probably no longer a fantasy starter. Just 10 HRs, 52 RBI last year for Tampa, and new home won't help his power stats. Interesting 2014 stat: 75 walks was second among all 2Bs.

17. Javier Baez, CUBS.

I know he will be valued more in local fantasy leagues, and he does have a very high power ceiling, but can't bring myself to rank him higher after a late-season tryout showed off major weaknesses. Cubs are trying to change his ultra-violent swing, which could prove either brilliant or a disaster. Interesting 2014 stat: .169 average says it all.

18. Brett Lawrie, OAK.

Off-season move could ignite a once much-hyped, now often-injured player. His 12 HRs, 38 RBI in less than half a season suggest top five stats for 162 games, though playing in Oakland could limit HR potential. Interesting 2014 stat: played just 70 games.

19. Howie Kendrick, LAD.

Usually a fantasy bench dweller, but a reliable hitter and run-scorer. Switched LA teams over the winter, but expectations won't change for a consistent, if boring, .290-something hitter with 70-80 runs, 10-15 SBs. Interesting 2014 stat: 181 hits a career high.

20. Brandon Phillips, CIN.

Career-worst year in 2014, and at 33, age and injury loom ever larger. However, I like him as a low-risk bench investment who might just surprise us with something like 18 HRs, 75 RBI and a .290 average. Interesting 2014 stat: 121 games fewest since 2005.

Sleeper: Arismendy Alcantara, CUBS.

All the Baez buzz leaves his teammate as the sneaky value at this position. His .205 average doesn't excite, but super-sub capabilities suggest he'll play, and could contribute extra-base hits and SBs. Interesting 2014 stat: Was just 22, turned 23 during off-season.

SS

1. Ian Desmond, WAS.

Many folks rank him No. 2, which I get, but I like Desmond's 2014 line of 24 HRs, 93 RBI, 24 SBs to grow toward 30/110/30 this year. Still, batting average drop from .280 in 2013 to .255 last year and huge strikeout total concerns. Interesting 2014 stat: 183 strikeouts.

2. Hanley Ramirez, BOS.

In a revamped Boston lineup, he remains the most exciting fantasy shortstop. Bad back has limited his play for years, though he supposedly has done extra conditioning work on it this off-season. Appeared in 128 games last year, but hasn't played more than that since 2010. Interesting 2014 stat: .817 OPS second highest, minimum 400 at-bats.

3. Troy Tulowitzki, COL.

So hard to trust this injury-prone trade chip, but the fact that he managed 21 HRs, 52 RBI, .340 in just 91 games makes it hard to put him any lower. If you take him, just be sure to grab a good back-up. Interesting 2014 stat: Whopping 1.035 OPS in 315 at-bats.

4. Jose Reyes, TOR.

Fought back against an expected career fade last year, with 94 runs, 30 SBs, and a.287 average, bagging all the stats you hope for from SS if you can't pick one of the top three guys. Interesting 2014 stat: Four triples. His years of double-digit triples might be over.

5. Alexei Ramirez, WHITE SOX.

Turned it on after turning 30 a few years ago. SBs and average were down slightly last year, his 2014 line of 15 HRs, 74 RBI, 21 SBs, 82 runs and .273 average could grow in the beefier Sox lineup. Interesting 2014 stat: 158 games four years running.

6. Starlin Castro, CUBS.

Call it a comeback: 2014's .292 average, 14 HRs, 65 RBI brought him back from the brink of being sent down. Turns 25 this month, so he can still improve on those stats. Would be nice to see more than four SBs. Interesting 2014 stat: .777 OPS a career high.

7. Jhonny Peralta, STL.

Got very little notice for a pretty good 2014: 21 HRs, 75 RBI - both second among SSs. His .263 average was a big drop from 2013's .303, and he lacks speed, but still looks like a bargain. Interesting 2014 stat: 38 doubles were more than any other SS.

8. Jimmy Rollins, LAD.

Nice rebound last year when he barely seemed like a bench candidate to open the season. Can he repeat 17 HRs, 55 RBI, 28 SBs at age 36? Switch from Philly to Dodger Stadium may cap his HRs. Interesting 2014 stat: 64 walks a career high in his 15th season.

9. Danny Santana, MIN.

Lurking as the possible next big thing at SS, with a hot bat and speed: .319 average, 20 SBs, 27 doubles, seven triples in just 405 at-bats. That average may settle down, but still a lot to like. Interesting 2014 stat: .825 OPS highest, minimum 400 at-bats.

10. Xander Bogaerts, BOS.

This popular 2014 sleeper pick fizzled for the most part, though 12 HRs, 46 RBI hinted at something. Still just 22, so we'll forgive the .240 average and hope a scary lineup protects him this year. Interesting 2014 stat: 138 strikeouts.

11. Erick Aybar, LAA.

A few years distant from his breakout 2011, when he had 10 HRs, 30 steals and eight triples, Aybar isn't stunning anyone in those categories, but 164 hits, 68 RBI and 77 runs last year all were career highs. Interesting 2014 stat: 16 SBs leaves him as a borderline starter.

12. Elvis Andrus, TEX.

Consistently ranked higher elsewhere, but his SBs fell from 42 in 2013 to 27 last year, runs dropped from 91 to 72 and his average is down three years straight. Once a key piece of prolific Texas lineup, no more. Interesting 2014 stat: 15 times caught stealing.

13. Alcides Escobar, KC.

His primary value comes from 31 SBs, though his .285 average last year was better than the three guys ahead of him. He's almost interchangeable with Andrus as a player with good speed, zero power and not much else. Interesting 2014 stat: 165 hits third at SS.

14. Ben Zobrist, OAK.

See above at 2B. The shallow talent pool at SS buys him a slightly better ranking here, and he probably is good insurance for injury-prone talents like Ramirez and Tulo.

15. Brandon Crawford, SF.

40 extra-base hits and 69 RBI last year are evidence of flashes of brilliance, though total value was mitigated by .246 average. 153 games last year, but didn't always start Interesting 2014 stat: 10 triples tied for tops at SS.

16. Javier Baez, CUBS.

See above at 2B. Pretty much the same story, though if he does bring up his average and his HR numbers, he could very quickly enter the fantasy starter discussion at SS.

17. Jean Segura, MIL.

Sank fast last year after a breakout 2013 campaign, but if he bumps up his average from .246 and increases SBs from 20 to near 30, he'll get back in the discussion, at least as a fantasy bench dweller. Interesting 2014 stat: Only five HRs, after 12 in 2013.

18. Brock Holt, BOS.

Rising super-sub hit .281 in 449 at bats and did a little bit of everything, including 12 SBs. Depending on his role and playing time, he could score a lot of runs off Boston's big bats. Interesting 2014 stat: 98 strikeouts in 106 games.

19. Eduardo Escobar, MIN.

Let's start with his interesting 2014 stat: 35 doubles. Actually, 43 of his 119 hits - more than one-third - were for extra bases, and his .275 average was better than many guys ranked higher. If he gets more than the 433 at-bats he had last year, watch out.

20. Adeiny Hechavarria, MIA.

Didn't do much fantasy-wise last year, but 10 triples tied for tops at SS, and his average improved from .227 in 2013 to .276 last year. Interesting 2014 stat: 148 hits in 146 games last season after 123 hits in 148 games in 2013.

Sleeper: Didi Gregorius, NYY.

The guy - or one of the guys - that could replace that Derek Jeter fellow. He's 24 and has multi-category potential, but hasn't had much chance to realize it year. A low-risk investment, with the hope that the dirt under his feet retains a little of the Jeter magic.

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Part 1: The Corner Men.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:06 AM | Permalink

March 3, 2015

Local Book Notes: Voices Of Protest, Drawbridges

Over the transom.

1. Voices of Protest.

"In September 2014, the Guild Literary Complex sent five Chicago writers to the 2014 Kapittel International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech in Stavanger, Norway," the GLC says in a press release.

"The trip was part of 'Voices of Protest,' a continuing Guild series that highlights the plight of persecuted authors and foregrounds the importance of protecting free speech globally.

"Now, for the first time since their return, the authors will give a special reading of creative work inspired by the trip and lead a community dialogue on free speech issues.

"The program, called Voices of Protest: Home Edition, will take place on Thursday, March 12, 7:30 p.m., and will be co-presented with 826CHI at 1276 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. The program is open to the public and free of charge. (Donations will be accepted.)"

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Previously:

Voices of Protest, October 2013.

Embracing Forbidden Voices: Exiled Authors In Chicago.

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Presently:

"Participating authors include: Adam Gottlieb, L'Oreal Patrice Jackson, Sahar Mustafah, Erika L. Sanchez, and M. Quinn Stifler.

"Each emerging writer was chosen to participate in Voices of Protest due to their professional practices integrating art and activism, which includes work on gender, race, women's rights, peace initiatives, and other issues.

"As part of this program, artists and audience will also discuss the potential of Chicago becoming an official 'city of refuge' in the ICORN association. By providing a persecuted writer with a safe place to stay and economic security for a standard term of two years, Chicago would make an important, practical contribution to the promotion of freedom of expression.

ABOUT THE WRITERS
"Adam Gottlieb is a poet/teaching-artist from Chicago. He got into spoken word at age 14 via the Young Chicago Authors teen poetry slam festival Louder Than a Bomb, and was featured in the documentary film by the same name. He recently graduated from Hampshire College, where he studied poetry and critical pedagogy.

"L'Oreal Patrice Jackson is an artist rooted in theatre, music, movement and writing. As an arts educator she teaches theatre performance, improvisation, storytelling, and multi-disciplinary art. She has worked with Steppenwolf, Writers Theatre, and Columbia College Chicago, among others. Before recently relocating to California, she served as a youth leader for Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a lay Buddhist organization dedicated to peace culture and education, and she was the Education Associate at About Face Theatre, a production company with a focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and ally arts.

"Sahar Mustafah writes about 'the others' - Arabs in the United States and abroad - who are often deemed strange and disparate from the larger racial community. Her work has appeared in anthologies and journals including Great Lakes Review, Word Riot, Flyleaf, Hair Trigger, and Chicago Literati, and she's performed with 2nd Story Chicago.

"Erika L. Sanchez is a Fulbright Scholar, CantoMundo Fellow, and winner of the 'Discovery'/Boston Review Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Pleiades, Witness, Anti-, Hunger Mountain, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Copper Nickel, Boston Review, 'Latino USA' on NPR, and is forthcoming in diode and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Penguin 2015).

"M. Quinn Stifler received a B.A. in Creative Writing and Women's & Gender Studies at DePaul University. Stifler has worked with Threshold, DePaul's student-run literature and arts journal, and is a co-founder and editor of No Assholes Literary Magazine."

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2. Chicago River Bridges.

"Patrick T. McBriarty will talk about his book Chicago River Bridges in a Society of Midland Authors program Tuesday, March 10, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor," the society says in a press release.

"He will speak at 7 p.m. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.

"McBriarty's book, published by the University of Illinois Press, reveals the history and development of Chicago's iconic bridges, from the first wood footbridge built by a tavern owner in 1832 to the fantastic marvels of steel, concrete and machinery of today."

From the University of Illinois Press:

"The first comprehensive guidebook of these remarkable features of Chicago's urban landscape, Chicago River Bridges chronicles more than 175 bridges spanning 55 locations along the Main Channel, South Branch, and North Branch of the Chicago River.

"With new full-color photography of the existing bridges by Kevin Keeley and Laura Banick and more than one hundred black and white images of bridges past, the book unearths the rich history of Chicago's downtown bridges from the Michigan Avenue Bridge to the often forgotten bridges that once connected thoroughfares such as Rush, Erie, Taylor, and Polk Streets.

"Throughout, McBriarty delivers new research into the bridges' architectural designs, engineering innovations, and their impact on Chicagoans' daily lives. Describing the structure and mechanics of various kinds of moveable bridges (including vertical-lift, Scherer rolling lift, and Strauss heel trunnion mechanisms) in a manner that is accessible and still satisfying to the bridge aficionado, he explains how the dominance of the 'Chicago-style' bascule drawbridge influenced the style and mechanics of bridges worldwide. Interspersed throughout are the human dramas that played out on and around the bridges, such as the floods of 1849 and 1992, the cattle crossing collapse of the Rush Street Bridge, or Vincent 'The Schemer' Drucci's Michigan Avenue Bridge jump

"A confluence of Chicago history, urban design, and engineering lore, Chicago River Bridges illustrates Chicago's significant contribution to drawbridge innovation and the city's emergence as the drawbridge capital of the world. It is perfect for any reader interested in learning more about the history and function of Chicago's many and varied bridges. The introduction won The Henry N. Barkhausen Award for original research in the field of Great Lakes maritime history sponsored by the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History."

Back to Midland Authors:

"McBriarty has also written the children's books Drawbridges Open and Close (published last year) and Airplanes Take off and Land (which will be published in April).

"McBriarty and Chicago filmmaker Stephen Hatch co-produced the documentary Chicago Drawbridges, which has been broadcast on public television in Chicago and Milwaukee. McBriarty's website is ptmwerks.com and the website for his film is chicagodrawbridges.com."

Trailer:

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3. Did someone say Obama?

On Heidi Kitrosser's Reclaiming Accountability (University of Chicago Press, 2015):

"It cannot be the case, for example, that unauthorized disclosures of classification information are categorically prohibited by law and also that the President has discretion to classify information as he sees fit. If that were so, she explains, then the President would have unbounded authority to criminalize disclosure of information at will, and the classification system would have swallowed the First Amendment."

And yet . . .

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:37 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Coup at Reggies on Saturday night.


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2. Frank Iero and the Cellebration at Reggies on Sunday night.

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3. Daniel Knox at the Constellation on Saturday night.

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4. Homme at the Constellation on Saturday night.

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5. Protomartyr at the Empty Bottle's Music Frozen Dancing party on Saturday.

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6. Ne Hi at the Empty Bottle's Music Frozen Dancing party on Saturday.

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7. Whores at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. Perfect Pussy at the Empty Bottle's Music Frozen Dancing party on Saturday.

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9. CoCoComa at Bric-a-Brac on Sunday.

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10. The Coop at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Friday night.

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11. Ed Kowalczyk at City Winery on Saturday night.

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12. Brandi Carlile at Reggies on Sunday night.

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13. Prhyme at Reggies on Friday night.

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14. Scott Weiland at the Double Door on Friday night.

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15. Motionless In White at the Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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16. The Twilight Sad at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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17. Funky Meters at the Concord on Friday night.

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18. Defame Me at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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19. Justin Sumler at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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20. Suicide Silence at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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21. Fit For An Autopsy at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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22. Vusi at the Old Town School on Friday night.

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23. JJ Grey & Mofro at the Vic on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:20 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Under the increased scrutiny and pressure of a one-on-one campaign against Mayor Rahm Emanuel, challenger Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia on Monday dropped his monthslong opposition to allowing a Barack Obama presidential library to be built on city parkland," the Tribune reports.

You should know better, Chuy. You grew up here. You're not supposed to sell-out until after getting elected.

"Garcia's decision to back an Obama library no matter the location came after Emanuel's campaign tried to make an issue out of the Cook County commissioner's opposition to the public parcels that would be required for a pair of South Side sites that are part of the University of Chicago's library bid."

You should now better, Chuy. You grew up here. You're supposed to make the incumbent cede the issue. What kind of campaign you runnin'?

"Emanuel's campaign equated Garcia's opposition to the use of parkland to being against any South Side site."

This is true, and this is where Rahm's been the real sleazeball.

From my inbox:

"[Sunday] Rahm had robocalls going out with a tape of a woman talking about how Rahm was doing everything he could to get the Obama library here, but unfortunately, Chuy Garcia totally doesn't want it. That's not an exact quote obviously, but the call definitely claimed that this was a stated, unequivocal position for Garcia. That seemed unlikely to me but it's not like I bothered looking into it. Just now I got a robocall from Chuy, he recorded it, saying how proud he is of the president, that of course he wants the Obama library here, but: 'unfortunately, the mayor's corporate friends have been paying for phone calls that distort my position.' He ends by saying basically let's be clear, let's all work together to bring the Obama library here where it belongs in Chicago."

Clearly, opposing the use of parkland for the Obama library is not the same as opposing the Obama library.

Now, though, I'm not even sure Chuy really meant it when he said he opposed using parkland for the library. Maybe that, too, was a cynical stance.

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From the Tribune:

"I have been consistent and unwavering in my support for the presidential library to come to Chicago," Garcia said Monday. "It appears there are two sites left, a South Side and a West Side site. Whatever the final decision is made by the selection committee and President Obama, I will support."

Asked if that meant even if it's on parkland, Garcia replied: "You heard what I said. There are only two sites. Thank you."

Again, you aren't supposed to defensively snip at the media until you get elected.

*

"Since launching his mayoral campaign last fall, Garcia had railed against using parkland for the library, and he testified against Emanuel's plans to do so at a January public hearing.

"'Our leaders should be stewards of our public parks, not agents for their dismantlement - and Mayor Emanuel is breaking the public trust by supporting this unnecessary land grab,' Garcia said in a January statement that was still posted on his campaign website Monday. 'As I've argued before, that's the mark of a mayor who neither understands nor cares about people and their public assets.'

"Asked Monday why he was reversing his stance, Garcia replied: 'I'm saying what I said.'"

*

On Chuy's website now:

"While it is my view that the library does not have to come at the expense of public park land that has enormous historical significance for everyone in Chicago, I will support the South or West Side site."

So, just to track the evolution in Chuy's thinking: against using parkland, okay with using parkland, against-but-okay with using parkland.

*

"Garcia [last week] mentioned several sites he thought preferable, none of which is even under consideration at this point," according to the Sun-Times's Mark Brown.

Was one in Little Village?

*

Brown is not bothered by Chuy's cynical re-positioning.

"It's pretty obvious that a position that may have made sense earlier for a candidate trying to draw differences between himself and Emanuel in a five-man field was untenable now that the Obama foundation is just weeks from a decision - and flirting with an offer from New York."

So under Brown's formulation, a position that draws differences with an opponent is one that makes sense; the actual substance of the position doesn't matter. This is a hallmark of the way modern political journalists think.

Also, the Obama foundation "flirting" with an offer from New York isn't new. It's not like suddenly the pot has been sweetened by a new contestant.

*

"The great mystery to me is how we found ourselves in this position in the first place," Brown writes.

Yes. A thousand times yes.

Is it just possible that, like with so many other things, Rahm botched this? Isn't that the real campaign issue at this point - that Rahm has endangered Chicago getting the Obama library by not getting all the ducks in a row? My god, remember when we found out the U of C didn't even own all the property for its proposal?

The mayor's competence is the larger issue here.

*

"Whose idea was it to build the library in Jackson Park or Washington Park?" Brown writes. "Was it the University of Chicago? The mayor? Or the Obamas themselves, as insiders have intimated?

"Nobody has ever been very forthcoming about that and whether there was any behind-the-scenes effort by Emanuel to argue the case that it would be better to build the library on something other than park land."

Based on what I have heard, I would put the question to the University of Chicago this way: Why do you prefer a presidential library on an off-campus site rather than on-campus?

That might clear things up.

*

And yes, the issue is also about, once again, a lack of transparency in this administration.

*

Now back to Rahm's campaign blatantly lying (and not getting called on it, as far as I can tell), another consistent trait of this mayor:

"Thirty-six hours ago, Chuy Garcia repeated his opposition to landing the Barack Obama Presidential Library on the South Side," campaign spokesman Steve Mayberry said.

Of course, he said nothing of the sort. That is an out-and-out falsehood.

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Rauner's Ex-Ministers
Did this happen?

I can't find any news of it.

African-American Pastors Join with Parents and Child Advocates to Decry Governor Rauner's "Broken Promises"

Ministers Who Formerly Supported Rauner as Candidate Speak Out About His Betrayal of African-American Families, Call for Governor to Immediately Save Child Care Assistance Program

CHICAGO - A group of African-American ministers who endorsed and campaigned for Bruce Rauner as a gubernatorial candidate are gathering at the Thompson Center Monday afternoon to decry his "Broken Promises" to invest in African-American youth at a press conference sponsored by State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago).

The religious leaders will speak out about how Rauner courted their endorsements by promising to invest in African-American children and teenagers, only to betray those promises in the budget he proposed last month.

The ministers, flocked by parents, children and community advocates, will call upon the Governor to live up to his promises by immediately funding the immediate $300 million gap in the Child Care Assistance Program, which has already resulted in child care center closings and working parents losing the care they need in order to work.

WHAT: A press conference of African-American ministers, parents, children and advocates to decry Governor Rauner's "Broken Promises" and demand that the Governor immediately fund child care to prevent additional families from losing care

WHEN: Monday, March 2, 2015
1 to 2 PM

WHERE: Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph St.
15th Floor
IDs required for access

WHO: African-American ministers who formerly endorsed Bruce Rauner, including Rev. Joseph L. Davis of Mission Mind Ministry, Rev. David Garvin of New Bethel Baptist Church, Bishop Chester McLaurin of Emanuel Bible Center, Bishop William Jackson of Holy House of Prayer, Rev. Ben Davis and Rev. Robert Bailey

State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago)

Parents, children and family advocates

WHY: To speak out about how Governor Bruce Rauner has failed to live up to the promises he made as a candidate while courting endorsements by African-American ministers, and to call upon him to immediately fund the Child Care Assistance Program for the rest of this fiscal year. Parents are already losing access to child care as a result of the $300 million budget shortfall. The over 100,000 working families across the state who depend upon the program will face devastating consequences unless the program shortfall is funded immediately.

Fools.

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Bloom, Brendan Buckley, Milk at Midnight, The Tornaparts, The Felix Martin Band, The Jayhawks, The Paramedic, Robyn Hitchcock, Ryan Beatty, and Jackyl.

They Called Him Minnie
A final fun look back at Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta.

Local Book Notes: Voices Of Protest, Drawbridges
City of refuge, crossings.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Coup, Frank Iero and the Cellebration, Daniel Knox, Homme, Protomartyr, Ne Hi, Whores, Perfect Pussy, CoCoComa, The Coop, Ed Kowalczyk, Brandi Carlile, Prhyme, Scott Weiland, Motionless In White, The Twilight Sad, Funky Meters, Defame Me, Justin Sumler, Suicide Silence, Fit For An Autopsy, Vusi, and JJ Grey & Mofro.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Funkified.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:03 AM | Permalink

They Called Him Minnie

1. Orestes mysteriously became Minnie.

2. Chicago Celebrates The Life Of Minnie Minoso | A statement by Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Minnie Minoso was in the lineages of Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks and Larry Doby. He helped to globalize baseball. He was an outstanding player with both speed and long distance endurance. He helped to change the culture of baseball in America. He was an enduring All-Star.

Ultimately he helped to build the bridge between the Caribbean, Cuba, Latin America and American baseball. He was always a friendly person. We spent time together last week at Ernie Banks' funeral services. Minoso carved out a special place in the heart of Chicagoans and baseball lovers around the world.

The re-acquaintance of Ernie and Minnie Minoso is a global and heavenly celebration. We miss both of them already.

Chicago is celebrating the life of former Chicago White Sox star baseball player Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta, known only as Minnie Minoso. He was the first Cuban - the "Cuban Comet" to play in the major leagues. His speed distinguished him. He first played in Cleveland in 1949, only two years after Jackie Robinson broke MLB's color barrier. He was traded to the White Sox in 1951 and became the first Black baseball player to suit-up in Chicago. He lived a full and complete life, until what is believed to be 90 years. Baseball was Minnie Minoso's life. He said, "I have baseball in my blood. Baseball is all I've ever wanted to do." Minnie Minoso should be in MLB's Hall of Fame.

I am so grateful that the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's Sports Department honored Minnie Minoso during last years Sports Banquet at our annual conference. As always he was energetic and delighted to meet and greet his many fans.

Chicago news reports show that "Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and there is a statue of Minoso at U.S. Cellular Field."

He played in 9 All-Star games and helped the American League win the 1957 All-Star game in the late innings in St. Louis by throwing out a National League runner at third base from his left field position. He won 3 Gold Gloves, ranks 9th all-time for being hit by a pitch 192 times and finished in the top four for consideration as the American League's MVP. He is one of only two MLB players who played the game in five different decades, 1940-1980.

3. The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso.

4. From The MediaBurn Archive:

A Conversation With Minnie Minoso.

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Promoting Opening Day 1976.

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Minnie Minoso Plays Shuffleboard.

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5. Minnie Minoso's final hit (as announced by Harry Caray).

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:22 AM | Permalink

March 2, 2015

SportsMonday: The Big-Time Blackhawks

Let's hear it for the Blackhawks! No matter what may be happening in players' personal lives, and it seems this morning that there is exactly as much confirmed information out there now about Patrick Sharp et al as there was before the weekend, they are going for it on the ice.

To do so, they are picking up veteran contracts, i.e., going well above the salary cap. But it is clear Blackhawk ownership is willing to increase expenses in pursuit of another championship. Too bad we can't say the same about other teams in town.

In the aftermath of Patrick Kane's broken collar bone and placement on the long term injury list, the Hawks received something like $6 million in cap relief. And they used it first to trade for Philadelphia Flyer defenseman Kimmo Timonen. Then they really took a chance and grabbed Phoenix Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette. They made both deals without giving up anyone from their current roster.

And because NHL contracts (and the cap) only cover the regular season, Kane could return to the team as presently constituted during the playoffs. That seems unlikely with his injury, which usually requires at least 12 weeks of rehabilitation time. But hockey players break rehab rules all the time, i.e., what takes athletes in other sports extended periods of time takes hockey players considerably less.

To do all of this, the Hawks had to trash their next draft and do a little potential damage to the one after that. Timonen cost a second-round pick in the next talent disbursal process and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2016. Vermette was considerably more expensive. The Hawks gave up their No. 1 pick later this year and tossed in blue-line prospect Klas Dahlbeck.

The Hawks have figured out something about prospects that Oakland Athletics' general manager Billy Beane determined long, long ago. And that is that in the vast majority of situations, prospects are most valuable early in their tenures. Smart teams trade them before they start having the difficulties that 95 percent of prospects end up having.

It was knowledge Beane used most recently last season to pick up Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs for super-prospect shortstop Addison Reed. It didn't result in a championship for the A's, but it gave them a better chance. And that is all a general manager can do.

Now, Timonen and Vermette are far from sure bets. Timonen will be 40 soon and has missed the entire season due to concerns about blood clots. But he apparently is ready to take the ice tonight in Chicago against the Carolina Hurricanes.

As for Vermette, well, no less of an authority than Jonathan Toews extolled his ability to play two-way hockey and win face-offs (so far this year he has won 56 percent of his draws, among the top 10 in the National Hockey League).

But with big new contracts kicking in for Kane and Toews next year and a restrictive salary cap looming, the Hawks are going to make big changes to their roster after this season. Those changes will involve infusing many more young players into the mix in the 2015-16 campaign and beyond.

Both Timonen and Vermette have contracts that run out at the end of this season. They probably won't be here for the next time around. But if they play as well as they are capable, they just might enable the Hawks to win a playoff series or two, just enough to keep the season going until Kane returns. And then the real fun begins.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:47 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Here's the only thing you need today:

The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

A guide to Homan for our comprehension-challenged local media.

Take the time, it's worth it.

And if you can't take the time, follow the links to the original Guardian story and the Tribune's follow-up and tell me who got it right and who blew it.

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This "fact sheet" is filled with obvious deceits. Can you spot them?

I mean aside from the media quotes exonerating the police without ever asking the police a single question.

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Local media complains about CPD lies and evasions, then gets beat by a reporter from Brooklyn and sides with CPD lies and evasions. Without asking a single question.

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Victims come out of the woodwork - to non-Chicago outlets. Chicago journalists ask: Where are the victims?

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I'm confused. First the problem was that it couldn't be happening or our local reporters - who had been told it was happening and passed on the story - would know. Now it's that everyone knows it's happening, but it's not happening at Homan but all over the city. So it's happening everywhere except where the Guardian reported! Therefore, not a story.

Except the corroborating evidence shows it is happening at Homan. And the Guardian did report in its original story - there have been four or five, none of which local reporters seem to have read - that it was also happening all over the city. The problem is particularly egregious, though, at Homan because it's off-the-books. That's the point.

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Listen to the podcast. It starts out a bit slow and it's a bit rough but it really gets going. Or at the very least, follow the links. See for yourself what a bunch of sniveling cowards we have in this town.

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If I was writing an old-fashioned column and not something quickly in the morning, I'd probably create a clever dialogue between, oh, me and, say, Rats Slobnik about when something is a story, depending on what "everyone" knows and who breaks the story and when the CPD is lying and when they are conveniently telling the truth and all the other ingredients of the media mindset. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury, so this is what you get.

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When a newsroom gets beat, it's like the five stages of grief. First, denial. That's not a story! Then, anger. How dare someone from a British newspaper come in here and try to tell a story about our town! Then, bargaining. Well, some of it might be true but I'm uncomfortable with some of the terms being used, so it's not a story. The newsroom never gets to depression and acceptance - the last two stages - because it never really accepts that it got beat.

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See also: @BeachwoodReport, which you can scroll through to find real-time tweets from lawyers in 2012 complaining about Homan as well as quotes from victims and excerpts from recent court rulings about Chicago police abuses.

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RahmBlows.com
The Tribune editorial board pines for the Rahm of 2011, who told the truth. Really? That's not what the record shows.

Including:

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The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso
Baseball could have been better to him.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #40: West Side Stories
Soap opera switches teams: Bulls Window Re-Opened! Blackhawks Window Slams Shut! Plus: Post-Combine Bears; What Kris Bryant's Status Will Tell Us; White Sox Infield By Committee; Dismembering Ricky Renteria; and The Legend Of Theo.

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BeachBook
* How The Government Outsourced Intelligence To Silicon Valley.

* The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism Launches New Investigation Into Afghanistan Drone Strikes.

* All Snowflakes Look The Same.

"The first time someone called me a nigger was in 2012, during my first winter in the Midwest. I walked into a women's restroom at Chicago's O'Hare airport . . . "

* Homeless Newspaper Not Allowed Into Press Conference About Cop Who Slapped Homeless Man.

Seems quaint now, given what's going on in Los Angeles.

* Food Waste Grows With The Middle Class.

* Pico Iyer Loves McDonald's.

* Journalists Can't Get Basic Facts Right Parts 3,246,973/4/5.

* The Devil's Tool: Slot Machines Have A Long History In McHenry County.

* Chicago Business Files Lawsuit Over Negative Yelp! Review.

* Des Plaines Alderman Accused Of Trespassing In Home.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Rats.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:52 AM | Permalink

The Mesmerizing Minnie Minoso

"Beisbol been berry berry good to me," was the creation of Saturday Night Live, but for Minnie Minoso, it was only partially correct.

Minoso, who died in the early morning hours Sunday, grew up outside Havana, and he very well might have followed his daddy into the sugar cane fields had it not been for baseball. His talent and drive lifted him off the island nation in order to play baseball in the major leagues. For that, Minnie always was grateful. He knew from whence he came.

Yet, like many other pioneer black players - Minoso was the ninth when he broke in with Cleveland on April 19, 1949 - he suffered the indignities like those who came before and after him. While his White Sox teammates shared a hotel during spring training in Tampa, Minnie sought housing with families in the black community. After coming to the White Sox as a rookie in 1951, he lived in homes on the South Side rather than with teammates at Hyde Park's Del Prado Hotel because he wasn't welcome.

Like other black players, he absorbed slurs and prejudice. He challenged pitchers by standing right on top of the plate, and the white guys didn't like it. Minnie led the league 10 different years in getting hit by pitches.

In arguably the best trade in Sox history, general manager Frank Lane brought Minoso to Chicago on April 30, 1951 in a three-team deal as Minoso became the first black player on a Chicago team. One of the players Lane traded was Gus Zernial, who wound up leading the American League in home runs and RBI that season. Nevertheless, Lane was a keen evaluator of talent and knew that Minoso was headed for stardom.

The name itself possessed the alliteration that no storyteller could create. Minnie Minoso. It seems like a fairy tale except this one was real. No Lego character or Power Ranger. The guy played left field for the White Sox. How cool was that.

The Minoso script began in what would be familiar style with his very first at-bat at Comiskey Park in a Sox uniform. Batting third, he hit a two-run homer off the Yankees' Vic Raschi, and so began a love affair that lasted until Minnie was found dead in his car on Sunday near Diversey and Ashland.

Minoso hit .326 that inaugural season with an OBP of .422. He led the American League in stolen bases and triples. Shoo-in for Rookie of the Year, right? Not so fast. He finished a close second to the Yankees' Gil McDougald, who hit 20 points lower and didn't lead the league in anything. In what defies explanation, Minoso finished fourth that year in voting for Most Valuable Player while McDougald was ninth. But McDougald played in New York, and he was white.

Only Hall-of-Famers Richie Ashburn and Sox teammate Nellie Fox had more hits in the 1950s than Minnie. Minnie hit over .300 nine times, drove in more than 100 run three times, led in triples and stolen bases three seasons each, and also won three Gold Gloves. He dearly wanted to be voted into the Hall of Fame but fell short of the required 12 votes from the Golden Era Committee, getting eight and nine the past two ballots. Baseball could have been nicer to him.

Adding to Minoso's tale was the mystery of exactly when he was born, and Minnie, predictably, never set the record straight. It was either 1925 or 1922, making him 89 or 92 when he passed. Whatever year one chooses, his final numbers would have been easily Hall-of-Fame worthy if his major league debut has been four or five years earlier.

Former White Sox owner Bill Veeck, a Hall-of-Famer himself, signed Minoso before the 1948 season, purchasing his contract from the New York Cubans of the Negro League. Bill already had three black players, Larry Doby, whose first game came 81 days after Jackie Robinson in 1947; first baseman Luke Easter; and the ageless, irrepressible Leroy (Satchel) Paige. Veeck was not shy about pushing the envelope but either he felt Minoso needed some seasoning or that three black players on the Indians' roster filled the quota at that time.

So Minnie tore up the Pacific Coast League for a couple of years before being traded to the Sox.

While the history, numbers and statistics tell a story, for those of us who were kids who saw Minoso play, the substance of Minnie was more about our initial introduction and eventual immersion into the game of baseball. Watching this guy was mesmerizing. He was a whirlwind of perpetual motion. He never did anything half-speed. Had I been having sex at that time of my life, Minnie legging out a triple with a couple of guys on base would have been equally satisfying. Check that. Call it a close second.

The Sox have had some exciting, memorable players like Aparicio, Fox, Dick Allen (briefly), Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko. However, none had quite the appeal, charisma, uniqueness or aura that Minoso possessed. He was all about dedication, energy and a love of the game reflected by the way he played it.

Even when he wasn't successful, he was exciting. When he swung and missed, broadcaster Bob Elson would report, "Minnie swung so hard he fell down," or "Minnie went around like a corkscrew."

If he got hit by a pitch, which was often, he frequently picked himself up and stole second just to show the opponent that he couldn't be intimidated. Yankee fireballer Bob Grim in 1955 hit Minoso in the head with a fastball, yet the papers reported that he "wasn't seriously hurt." This in the days when players used a flimsy liner inside their hats rather than a helmet.

Occasionally Minoso would wind up in the hospital, but a couple of days later he'd be back in left field. His face displayed the scars from the wars he fought on the diamond.

My friend Tom Weinberg, who produced the documentary Baseball's Been Very, Very Good to Me about Minoso, interviewed the man in the parking lot at U.S. Cellular Field a few years ago. Minnie was standing at what used to be home plate in the old Comiskey Park, bat in hand, looking north envisioning where the outfield walls once stood. I'm confident those green bricks were just as real to him then as they were decades before.

Minnie reminisced about Opening Day 1960, when after two years of exile in Cleveland and missing the 1959 pennant-winning team, Veeck brought him back to Chicago in the trade with Cleveland. Minoso came up with the bases loaded in the fourth inning against Kansas City and smashed a grand slam to put the defending American League champions ahead 9-2. However, the A's (not the Royals) had eventually tied the game at 9 when Minoso strode to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. He swatted a walk-off home run. You can't make up this stuff. It really happened.

Chicago remained Minoso's home in the 50-plus years since he playing days ended. He was a coach with the Sox for a number of seasons, and the team kept him on the payroll as a goodwill ambassador until the very end. He lived on the North Side not far from Wrigley Field, and he showed up at events to promote the game and the White Sox. When he was at The Cell he mingled with fans and seemed to enjoy the company.

His Cadillac's license plates read MINOSO9, and I'd see him driving down Lake Shore Drive. The final time was last summer near the Field Museum, and I noticed some scrapes and dents in the fenders making me think maybe Minnie might be wise to visit the DMV for a driver's test.

But he was never one to sit still, and driving home at 1 a.m. on Sunday when most people his age were safely tucked away in their jammies was fitting. He had been with people, at a birthday party, staying up late, and living life.

While Minnie often repeated that baseball was very, very good to him, the larger truth is that he was very, very good to us.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:17 AM | Permalink

March 1, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site

A guide to Homan for our comprehension-challenged local media.


SHOW NOTES

00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:10: Koffin Kats at Reggies last Friday night.

2:25: Explaining Homan.

* "How do you think the local media will react?" "Oh, they'll try to knock it down. That's their mindset."

* Spencer Ackerman lives in Brooklyn and works for Guardian US.

* The context: Zuley.

* Siska Guardian Op-Ed.

* Touchless torture.

* Tribune: Abuse Citywide, Therefore Homan Not A Story.

18:48: Brooke Fraser at the Bottom Lounge last Friday night.

20:16: What The Guardian Originally Reported.

* What is a black site?

* The distinction between Homan and district station houses.

* No one said Homan was hidden by a cloaking device; Area 2 was a far more public building and Burge tortured people there in secret too.

* The nature of Homan is exactly why some detainees are brought there.

* Now we have a roster of victims, through follow-ups by the Guardian and other non-Chicago outlets.

* Dear Trib: Lawyers familiar with Homan are more useful to talk to than lawyers who aren't, duh.

* Being able to retrieve your property isn't the same as being able to see your client or family member, duh.

* The CPD itself calls Homan secretive.

* Ackerman states that abuses such as those at Homan are happening citywide. Multiple times. But again, there's a reason why Homan is distinctive.

* Ackerman states that the abuses at Homan are just the latest example of abuses that have happened historically - and throughout Chicago police facilities.

* The CPD itself says most detainees at Homan are involved in drug cases, which in Chicago - and America - means mostly poor and of color.

* "Unlike a precinct . . . "

* The CPD refused to provide any records or answer any questions to refute the allegations.

* A coalition including the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild and First Legal Defense Aid got fed up and went to CPD to complain about Homan. The result: CPD actually changed its General Orders on arrestee procedures. Were those lawyers lying?

* Real-time tweets from lawyers about Homan and not being able to find their clients.

* Even the lawyers the Trib talked to called the CPD statement "laughable."

* A team of attorneys could not find Church through 12 hours of 'active searching.' No booking records existed. It took contacts in the mayor's office to even learn of Homan Square.

* The Tribune's cherry-picked attorney.

* Enough sources yet?

* Cook County Medical Examiner mysteriously discovers a cause of death after the Guardian publishes.

* Former Chicago police chief.

* Police used to use the term "shadow sites."

1:04:36: Koffin Kats.

* From Esquire to Glenn Beck.

* How do you knock down a story like this without ever talking to the cops?

1:09:15: Koffin Kats.

* The unlearned lessons of Jon Burge.

* Is the Chicago media racist? Yes.

* These abuses happen all across the city - almost exclusively to poor people of color.

* In the absence of a CPD response, the allegations stand. As they should.

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See The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:20 PM | Permalink

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - Yes On Vouchers For After-School Programs.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.


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