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« August 2015 | Main | October 2015 »

September 30, 2015

Derrick Rose's Week So Far: Money, Sex And Surgery

The elbow applied to Derrick Rose's face during the Bulls' first preseason practice couldn't have come at a better time.

The surgery scheduled for Wednesday and the amount of time Rose will miss took center stage, sending Rose's opening press conference comments and his outstanding civil suit to the sidelines. That's nice news for the Bulls' sometimes star.

Rose's comments last Monday cast him in a poor light in some circles, but he merely was voicing the mindset of many professional athletes and entertainers. The American Way also was on display.

As everyone knows, Rose is a product of Englewood, a kid who didn't grow up rich and advantaged. But he possesses skills that few humans enjoy, skills that are worth a fat paycheck. He's not a neurosurgeon - far from it - or a hedge fund CEO. They make big bucks as well and live their lives, for the most part, in anonymity.

We tend to celebrate bright, young minds that create startups in Silicon Valley. An IPO or a buyout from Facebook or Apple for millions, if not billions, of dollars might be in the cards.

Craft beers have made a nice dent in the beverage market, and when Lagunitas, a company valued at approximately $1 billion which houses one of its two breweries in Chicago, sells half of its business to Heineken, we sit back and marvel at the mind-boggling success of a company founded in the owner's kitchen in 1993.

Imagine if the Lagunitas CEO had said, "[I'm just] making sure my family is financially stable as far as you see all the money that they're [Heineken] passing out . . . Just telling the truth. Just knowing that my day will be coming up soon, and it's not for me. It's for [my son]."

Of course, those are Rose's words from last Monday, and as soon as they left his mouth, he added to his image of a me-first, selfish, arrogant super-athlete. But how many of us would not be reluctant to anticipate earning a fortune for unique skills that few others have? Most of us just wouldn't lick our lips in public.

What Rose didn't say is that he already makes in the vicinity of $20 million per annum from the Bulls, and far more from Adidas, and he hasn't played all that much in his injury-plagued career. Who does he think he is? Michael Jordan?

However, if D-Rose's son is so dear and important to him, why would be cavort around Beverly Hills acting out his sexual fantasies to which even he admits? Notwithstanding Charles Barkley, Rose is a role model. If not for kids everywhere, certainly for his son.

But there it was for everyone to read about. He had a woman friend. She claims the relationship lasted a couple of years. She says that Derrick encouraged her to partake in couples and group sex. Her account is that one night in 2013 she was drugged at Rose's California home and later raped by Rose and at least one of his friends.

The suit filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles claims she didn't go to the cops because she was too ashamed.

According to Rose's attorney's filing, he didn't deny that the woman was involved in group sex. The filing claims the woman "consented to the actions she now claims were non-consensual."

The court document also includes this: "The Plaintiff consented to sexual interaction with more than one co-defendant on more than one occasion, consented to sexual interactions on the day in question . . . [The woman] became upset a few weeks or months later because she felt she should be reimbursed for one of the sex toys she purchased and used during the day and night in question."

Surely a guy who can afford a Beverly Hills home could have bought her a new sex toy. What a great role model!

So now you might be able to understand why reports of Rose's orbital surgery would be far more appealing to him than the sordid details of the outstanding lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Rose is unflappable. It's almost as though this is much less stressful than shooting a couple of free throws to send a game into overtime.

"I will be proven innocent, but at the same time, it hasn't affected anything," he told the media on Monday. "It's not true. I take it as motivation. I feel like the devil is just working. I feel like I'm on the right track as far as where I want to be in my life. And I feel like when you're that focused people try to take you down. I'm very confident that I will be proven innocent."

Derrick, get this straight. You are not on trial. No jury or judge will determine your guilt or innocence. You are a wealthy man being sued for what at the very least is reckless behavior. You are not being charged with a crime, but, my God, is this the way you treat women? Is this the "right track" that you mentioned? What are you thinking?

Bulls general manager Gar Forman weighed in on Monday, indicating that he either is one of the dumbest guys in the building or is simply uninformed, in which case incompetency is at work.

"In regard to Derrick's situation, we understand that there's a process that he'll need to go through, but Derrick's part of our family and Derrick has our full support," he blurted. "We don't anticipate him missing any time. There's nothing being brought up of that nature."

Umm huh. So what's a few sexual escapades between friends out there in Beverly Hills got to do with anything, much less a run at an NBA title? More importantly, once he's old enough to understand, how will Rose explain this to his son?

By the way, how did the surgery turn out?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:48 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The Port Authority kept secret four meetings between Gov. Chris Christie's former top staffer at the bi-state agency and representatives of United Airlines when it initially made his calendars public, WNYC has learned.

"The hidden meetings were between then-Port Authority Deputy Director Bill Baroni and Jeff Smisek, who at the time was CEO of United Airlines, and Jamie Fox, a former United lobbyist and the current Christie transportation commissioner. They were redacted from documents requested by The New York Times in December 2013 and posted on the Port Authority website."

(Background on the ongoing federal investigation of United here.)

This is a hugely dramatic example of why the calendars of public officials - transparently showing how they are spending the public's time - are hugely important.

To wit:

Illinois Times today sued Gov. Bruce Rauner after Attorney General Lisa Madigan ruled that the governor must turn over his appointment calendar in response to the paper's request made under the state Freedom of Information Act.

The newspaper asked for Rauner's appointment calendar last spring after the governor walked out of a Holocaust remembrance ceremony. The newspaper's request came after the governor's press office ignored an emailed query asking where the governor had gone while a Holocaust survivor spoke at the annual ceremony held at the Old State Capitol.

Rauner gave the newspaper a redacted version of his appointment calendar showing that he had attended a meeting in the governor's office while the ceremony continued. The governor redacted the names of the person, or people, with whom he met. The newspaper subsequently appealed to the attorney general, who ruled that Rauner must disclose the names of the people who attend meetings memorialized in his appointment calendar, which is prepared by public employees on public time using public equipment.

Rauner had claimed that the calendar was maintained for the governor's convenience, but the attorney general determined that the calendar is the public's business.

(Rauner now claims he left the ceremony to meet with the four leaders of the General Assembly.)

Other media outlets, including the Associated Press and the Chicago Reader, have been unsuccessful in convincing Rauner to release his appointment calendar showing with whom he has met. Rauner has also refused to tell the Chicago Reader the names of lawyers in private practice who have done work for the state and been paid with public money.

In refusing to release his calendar to Illinois Times, Rauner had claimed that providing unredacted copies would pose a security risk and that someone who intended to harm the governor could discern patterns from the calendar that would provide opportunities to physically hurt Rauner. The attorney general's office, after examining Rauner's unredacted appointment calendar, determined that was nonsense.

Quite. (Speaking of the Reader, here's another example of how informing a public official's calendar can be - in this case, Rahm.)

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Back to United:

"Several key meetings were also missing from [then-Port Authority chairman David] Samson's public calendars, including the Italian dinner with Jeff Smisek and the two United Airlines executives who resigned as a result of the investigations. A meeting between Samson, Smisek and Christie in August 2013 is also missing from Samson's calendar.

"Other documents released under Freedom of Information requests suggest Samson did much of his business as Port Authority chair using an e-mail system from his private law firm, then known as Wolff & Samson."

Speaking of e-mail:

The Chicago Tribune filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that Mayor Rahm Emanuel violated state open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business conducted through private e-mails and text messages.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, asks a judge to order the mayor to comply with a state Freedom of Information Act request from the Tribune and produce the documents. The lawsuit also seeks to have Emanuel declared in violation of the Illinois Local Records Act for failing to preserve emails and texts he sent or received while doing city business.

The lawsuit claims that, in recent years, Freedom of Information Act requests from the Tribune to the mayor's office "have been met with a pattern of non-compliance, partial compliance, delay and obfuscation." Emanuel's use of private phones and personal email, the lawsuit alleges, allows the mayor to do the public's business without scrutiny and contributes to a "lack of transparency."

The lawsuit is the second the news organization has filed against the Emanuel administration in recent months. In June, the Tribune sued the mayor's office over its refusal to produce some e-mail chains related to a multimillion-dollar no-bid Chicago Public Schools contract now at the center of a federal criminal investigation.

Speaking of Hillary . . .

It's only time to move on because we all know by now that she used private e-mail for the same reason as Rahm and the Port Authority dude. She's guilty and refuses to acknowledge so; add that to your calculations when deciding for yourself who should be our next president.

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Back to United:

WNYC reported separately on Monday that "United Lobbyist, Now Christie Cabinet Member, Tried to Stop Bridgegate Probe."

The Chicago Way meets The Soprano State.

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Fantasy Fix: Get Used To It, Chicago
Derek Carr popular pick.

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BeachBook

Everything Wrong With The Politico-Media Complex In One Blog Post.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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TweetWood

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See also: The Illinois Policy Institute.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Calendrical.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:34 AM | Permalink

Yogi Berra Was A World-Class Shill

"In 1993, Berra's sons, Larry, Tim, and Dale, and Tim's wife Betsy, formed LTD Enterprises," Carlo DeVito writes in his 2014 Yogi: The Life & Times of an American Original.

"According to business reporter Patricia Winters Lauro, their intention was 'to market their father's career after they realized that Mr. Berra was inundated with about 100 letters a week, most of them seeking his autograph. As sports memorabilia grew in popularity, the sons decided they were better suited than agents to protect and promote their father's image. LTD now runs a thriving mail-order business and has a Yogi site on the World Wide Web, complete with a Yogi store, a whole range of memorabilia, and Yogi links to to favorite sports sites.'

"I couldn't sell widgets, but I can sell Yogi Berra - it's so easy," said Dale.

Oh, but it started decades before that - when he was still playing. Let's take a look.

1987 Miller Lite, With Jason Alexander.


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1957 Florida Orange Juice.

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1959 Camel Cigarettes, Puss 'N' Boots Cat Food.

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Date Unknown, Yoo-Hoo.

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1970 NP-27 Foot Spray.

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1976 AMF Magic Screen.

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1980 Stove Top Stuffing.

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1980s The New York Daily News.

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1987 Kinney Shoes.

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1992 Pringles.

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2002 Aflac.

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2003 VISA.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:40 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Get Used To It, Chicago

After three weeks in the fantasy football crucible, we're learning a few things, in most cases thing we should have known already, but probably ignored:

Don't bet against Rex: Buffalo Bills Coach Rex Ryan is a complete nut, but has his team at 2-1 and has helped create unforeseen fantasy relevance for a number of players, including QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Karlos Williams, TE Charles Clay and long-lost WR Percy Harvin.

Big Ben is injury-prone: The pre-season hype had Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT, throwing for 5,000 yards and 40-something TDs this season, but there wasn't much talk about how incredibly frail he can be. Throughout his 12-year career, he's played a full 16-game slate only three times. With an MCL injury keeping him out a minimum four weeks, he's not looking like such a draft steal right now.

Devonta Freeman just need a chance: The small-statured (5-foot-8), fleet-footed ATL RB was stuck behind dinosaur Steven Jackson and other backups last year despite buzz about his playmaking skills. Even this year, ATL put rookie Tevin Coleman first in line ahead of Freeman, but with a rib injury to Coleman, Freeman stepped up big this week (see below). Good luck winning the starting job back, rookie.

Larry Fitzgerald is not dead: In case you thought it was just an anemic Bears defense that helped Fitzgerald look renewed, he did it again in Week 3, collecting 134 yards and two TDs on nine catches. With 333 yards and five TDs, he has roughly 50 more yards than he had in his first six games last year, and three more TDs than he had in the entire 2014 season.

Week 3 Winners

QB: Tyrod Taylor, BUF.

As mentioned above, he was on hardly anyone's draft list, and only then as a very late round backup. Heading an invigorated offense, he has 714 yards passing and eight total TDs in three games. Maybe not Tom Brady stats, but if he's still available on the waiver wire, he's a lot cheaper.

RB: Devonta Freeman, ATL.

How good was his breakout week? 141 yards rushing, three TDs, 52 yards receiving. I still think Coleman will get some work when he's healthy, and it will be interesting to see what happens when the defense stacks up more often on run plays against Freeman, but the next great dual-threat has arrived.

WR: A.J. Green, CIN.

After a quiet start to the season, Green busted out with 227 yards and two TDs in a game that started slow and turned into a shootout late. QB Andy Dalton isn't terribly reliable, but he can air it out when he has to, and may have rediscovered his rapport with Green.

TE: Greg Olsen, CAR: Somehow the Panthers are 3-0 and this former Bear continues to be the No. 1 receiving target of QB Cam Newton. His 134 yards and two TDs last week led all TEs - yes, even including Gronk.

Week 3 Losers

QB: Russell Wilson, SEA.

The Seahawks did destroy the Bears as planned, but not because Wilson had a great week. There was nothing wrong with his 235 passing yards, one TD and 28 rushing yards except that it was terribly pedestrian for a guy we thought would take over games with both his arm and legs this year.

RB: Justin Forsett, BAL.

Is the problem a weakened offensive line, or is Forsett just coming back down to earth after an inflated 2014 stat campaign? Week 3 was his worst yet, with just 13 rushing yards and 16 receiving yards. He faces top run defense PIT this week, so may see time on the fantasy shelf.

WR: Sammy Watkins, BUF.

A lot of guys in Buffalo are climbing the fantasy charts, but Watkins is falling. Is Taylor forgetting he's on the field? His 39 yards receiving last week came on just one catch. That demonstrates how quickly he can pile up fantasy points on a handful of catches, but he needs to be fed more often.

TE: Tyler Eifert, CIN.

One of the biggest plays at TE Weeks 1 and 2 fell hard in Week 3, with zero catches on just three targets. I thought he would get at least a small share of whatever didn't go to Green, so it will be interesting to see this is just a one-week issue or a longer famine.

Week 4 Big Play

Arian Foster, RB, HOU: There is no guarantee he'll play this week (there were reports he would see playing time last week, which didn't happen), but it seems like he's very close to returning much earlier than expected from a groin injury. HOU has found no other answers at RB, so he could come up this week against an ATL defense that was beaten all day by DAL RBs last Sunday.

Expert Wire
* The Big Lead likes Derek Carr, QB, OAK this week. Carr had a decent season last year, and was a frequent back-up pick in drafts this year, but the sudden spike in interest is due mainly to the fact he's facing the Bears this week. Get used to it, Chicago.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:16 AM | Permalink

September 29, 2015

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Over the next month, some Chicago aldermen are expected to argue Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed $588 million property tax increase could be largely avoided by closing down the city's tax increment financing (TIF) districts," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times.

"Ald. Danny Solis (25th) will not be one of them . . . As Exhibit A, Solis points to the Pilsen Industrial Corridor TIF district in his ward.

Solis said the businesses that have located in the Pilsen Industrial Corridor TIF, bringing 5,000 jobs with them, would not have done so without the city's initial investment to clean up the property made possible by the TIF.

The district is now home to the Chicago International Produce Market, which was moved to make way for the University Village housing development, and hundreds of other small, mostly light industrial businesses, Solis said.

The Pilsen TIF is expected to generate $10.2 million this year, which should grow to $11.6 million a year by 2019.

That's money that Solis is allowed to put toward projects benefitting his ward, as long as they are located within the boundaries of the TIF district.

In this manner, Benito Juarez High School received some $15 million for a performing arts expansion, while Dvorak Park received funding for a new play area.

Solis said he also has been able to use TIF funds for an addition and new playground at Whittier Elementary School.

The city also pulled $6.4 million out of the TIF district to finance major renovations at its animal shelter on Western Avenue.

A list of 2015 spending shows money going toward street resurfacing projects, alley construction, sidewalks, lighting, traffic signals, bridge repair and a feasibility study for what Solis calls a "poor man's 606" bike and pedestrian path.

"We wouldn't have been able to do this without [the Pilsen TIF]," Solis said.

There's also funding for a small business improvement fund to be used for building facades and another fund for a job training program.

And not to be overlooked, there's $22.9 million set aside over the next five years to pay debt service on bond issues where the money was already spent.

I'm not sure why Brown let Solis write his column for him without questioning his claims or pointing out that the alderman's use of TIF money amounts to the slush funding of goodies instead of the kind of projects TIF was originally designed for, but what's worse is that Brown didn't do his homework. It took me a few seconds - at most - to locate this via this spanking new thing called Google:

For example, consider the Pilsen Industrial TIF. Passed in 1998, the Pilsen TIF was intended to preserve the industrial job base in the factories and warehouses in the large manufacturing area near the Stevenson Expressway and Western Avenue. So far the TIF's record on protecting industry has been mixed. It got off to a good start, allocating about $3.5 million to help American Linen build a new operation, but it's gone downhill ever since. Yes, the city spent another $9.5 million in TIF funds to help build the Chicago International Produce Market at 2404 S. Wolcott. But the produce market was relocated from the old South Water Market on Morgan, which is being converted into Chicago University Commons, an upscale complex of loft condominiums, so it was one step forward and another one back in terms of protecting industries from residential encroachment.

Then, starting in 2004, things really went off track. First $5 million went to help Target build a store at 1940 W. 33rd. And then 25th Ward alderman Danny Solis got the City Council to amend the TIF so that a consortium of developers - Mota Construction Company, Kimball Hill Suburban Centers, and former HUD head Henry Cisneros - could build a 391-unit condo development on five acres at Peoria and 18th Street. Many Pilsen residents criticized Solis for using the TIF as a tool to spur gentrification, the very thing it was supposed to curb. Solis insisted that there just weren't that many factories and warehouses looking to come to Pilsen - TIF or no TIF.

The annual statement doesn't weigh in on this debate. Instead it dedicates page after page to mind-numbing legalese, a few confusing fiduciary charts, and a hard-to-read map of the district. Finally, on page 19 of the 39-page report, you get to the good stuff: a list of vendors.

The Pilsen TIF was one of the busier TIFs in the city last year. All told, the city doled out about $7.5 million in TIF funds to 19 vendors, ranging from HNTB Corporation, a sewer design company that got a professional service contract of $15,306, to Acme Refining Scrap Iron and Metal Company, which sold some land to the city for $785,500, to V & V Supremo Foods, which got a job-training contract of $32,889, to Rubin Brothers Inc., which got another job-training contract of $129,414.

What the report neglects to mention is that almost all of the vendors who received TIF funds contributed money to Daley or Solis. In some cases the contributions were checks from the company. In other cases they were personal donations from company officers. Since 2004, for instance, Acme has donated $11,000 to the 25th Ward Regular Democrat Organization, whose president is Solis. Since 2001 V & V has donated $3,400 to Solis's organization and Rubin Brothers $4,050. If you broaden the count to include the developers building the condos on 18th Street, you see that Mota has contributed $31,150 to Solis's organization since 2004 and Kimball Hill $4,000. Cisneros sent a check for $2,500 on August 16, 2005, just a few months before he announced the condominium plans.

Of course, the money Solis and Daley got from the vendors is just a small part of the millions they've raised over the last six years. After his 2003 reelection Daley said he would no longer take contributions from contractors doing business with the city, though before this week's fund-raiser he had still managed to raise about $2 million. Solis has raised about $1.1 million over the last five years, about $70,000 of it from the TIF vendors alone.

ProTip 1: Always check the clips first.

ProTip 2: If Danny Solis says your mother loves you, check it out.

My work here is done for today.

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Yogi Berra Was A World-Class Shill
From foot spray to cat food, he never met a product he wouldn't hawk.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Doi.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

Yogi Berra Was A World-Class Shill

"In 1993, Berra's sons, Larry, Tim, and Dale, and Tim's wife Betsy, formed LTD Enterprises," Carlo DeVito writes in his 2014 Yogi: The Life & Times of an American Original.

"According to business reporter Patricia Winters Lauro, their intention was 'to market their father's career after they realized that Mr. Berra was inundated with about 100 letters a week, most of them seeking his autograph. As sports memorabilia grew in popularity, the sons decided they were better suited than agents to protect and promote their father's image. LTD now runs a thriving mail-order business and has a Yogi site on the World Wide Web, complete with a Yogi store, a whole range of memorabilia, and Yogi links to to favorite sports sites.'

"I couldn't sell widgets, but I can sell Yogi Berra - it's so easy," said Dale.

Oh, but it started decades before that - when he was still playing. Let's take a look.

1987 Miller Lite, With Jason Alexander.


*

1957 Florida Orange Juice.

*

1959 Camel Cigarettes, Puss 'N' Boots Cat Food.

*

Date Unknown, Yoo-Hoo.

*

1970 NP-27 Foot Spray.

*

1976 AMF Magic Screen.

*

1980 Stove Top Stuffing.

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1980s The New York Daily News.

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1987 Kinney Shoes.

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1992 Pringles.

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2002 Aflac.

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2003 VISA.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:10 AM | Permalink

September 28, 2015

The [Monday] Papers

This is tonight and I'll be there helping out. Hope to see some Beachwood readers!

Join us at Revolution Brewery for the release of our ground breaking new website dedicated to making Chicago’s police...

Posted by Chicago Justice Project on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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Chicago Perpetrates Stupidity
"When CPS released its enrollment projections earlier this summer, neighborhood schools across the city braced for hits - and the loss of the dollars that come with each student," Catalyst reports.

"But 10th-day enrollment numbers were even worse than projected: 16 district-run schools - all but two of them high schools - lost more than 100 students this year."

That is distressing in itself, but here's the real kicker:

"The lower enrollment means district-run schools will receive about $15.9 million less than was projected in July. (Unlike in previous years, CPS officials are not holding schools harmless if fewer students enroll than was projected.) Those additional cuts include about $13.3 million in funds set aside for per-pupil disbursement, as well as 52.5 fewer special education aides and 16.5 fewer special education teachers. For each lost teaching position, CPS estimated a $105,000 reduction, and for each lost aide position, another $50,000.

"Twenty-seven schools are slated to lose at least half a million dollars - which includes the cost of special education staffers - on top of what was already cut in July."

Click through for all the gory details.

And consider: Cutting funds to schools with declining enrollment only hastens - perhaps even creates - a death spiral. Less funds mean fewer teachers and programs, making those schools less attractive to parents. Struggling schools ought to get more funds to my way of thinking. Also, smaller class sizes is a good thing. That should be a benefit to smaller enrollment.

But more importantly:

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See also:

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Sort of related:

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The Blackhawks & Their Barbarous Fans
On The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour. Now!

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Coal Field Hell-Raiser
Downstate Agnes was no lady.

Back To Meaningless Baseball
In The Cub Factor.

Making Place
The architecture of David Adjaye, at the Art Institute.

Please, Seahawks, Don't Hurt Us
In SportsMonday.

Berra, Berra Bad Memories
In The White Sox Report.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Ride, Besnard Lakes, The Vibrators, Twin Peaks, Truly, Klingande, ASAP Rocky, Destroyer, Major Lazer, Temple of Void, Danny Brown, King Parrot, Cattle Decapitation, Wavves, Warren Haynes, The Scorpions, Dweezil Zappa, Young Roddy, The Shook Twins, Aer, Starset, Caspian, Overkill, Symphony X, Queensryche, Jackson Mud, Avant, and Breaking Benjamin.

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BeachBook

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If I ran one of the papers in town, I'd partner up with this guy - and others like him.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, September 27, 2015

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Overprojected.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:21 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Please, Seahawks, Don't Hurt Us

Week 4 of the season (I suppose it is still Week 3 until the Packers and Chiefs wrap things up tonight but I am moving on as quickly as possible) and already the imagination is curdling.

Of course there are a few clever observations to offer up in the aftermath of the Bears' 26-0 loss to the Seahawks. One can start with the line for next week's game.

And let's briefly zero in on the two lowest lowlights from yesterday. First, the Bears were shut out for the first time in almost 200 games (since 2002). Second, the Bears totaled 10 punts - and nine completions.

Also, it must be noted that no NFL team has made the playoffs after starting 0-3 since 1998. Since then, 82 teams have started 0-3. None have bounced back into the post-season.

One more thing: the Bears were totally screwed in the first half, right? The punt obviously bounced off the Seahawk blocker and Sherrick McManus recovered it before it went out of bounds at the Seattle 12 yard line. Someone needs to roast NFL head officiating honcho Dean Blandino, who claimed there wasn't conclusive video evidence that the call was wrong.

Get on that Coach Fox! I will help pay your fine after you tear that guy a new one! Maybe Mike Pereira will pitch in too!

Speaking of the coach, one play on Sunday was more irritating than all the rest. If you are playing to win a football game, as opposed to simply trying to hold down the score, there comes a time in every game when you have to skip the punt and go for it. I don't care if the play is well back in your own territory and I don't care if the "to go" number is higher than you'd like.

Actually the Bears had that moment at a time when they were neither deep in their own territory nor facing an insurmountable amount of yardage to cover. When they punted on fourth-and-one at their own 46 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter they were saying "We give up. Please, Seahawks, don't hurt us." I'm sure it made Fox happy when the defense rose up in the red zone a couple times in the fourth quarter and forced field goals, thereby making it possible for the coach to boast that his team had lost by less than four touchdowns.

The rest of us would rather the team take at least one shot for goodness sakes.

Lots of talk in the aftermath of this one is about "building for the future." Lets tackle that load of nonsense yet again shall we?

There is no building for the future in the NFL. There is only this season. Teams that try to "rebuild" just end up losing now and suffering critical injuries later. How many times do high draft picks, especially quarterbacks, have to wash out before people figure out that teams are only built incrementally, with smart draft picks piling up and teams being competitive and then at some point catching a big break or two?

Let's be clear: The Seahawks made a whole bunch of good draft picks, almost all of them not in the top 10, to build up their awesome offense. Then they got lucky and were able to land Russell Wilson in the draft.

Let's wrap this up with what will become a weekly feature this season- Reasons for optimism: Um, well, hey wait a minute, defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff returns from suspension this week! Looks like the smart bet will be on the Bears no matter what the oddsmakers say.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:40 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Ride at the Riv on Friday night.


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2. Besnard Lakes at the Riv on Friday night.

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3. The Vibrators at the Red Line Tap on Saturday night.

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4. Twin Peaks at the Vic on Friday night.

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5. Truly at Schubas on Saturday night.

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6. Klingande at the Hawthorne Racecourse for the Mad Decent Block Party on Saturday night.

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7. A$AP Rocky at the Aragon on Sunday night.

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8. Destroyer at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.

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9. Major Lazer at Mad Decent on Saturday night.

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10. Temple of Void at Reggies on Friday night.

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11. Danny Brown at the Aragon on Sunday night.

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12. King Parrot at Reggies on Friday night.

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13. Cattle Decapitation at Reggies on Friday night.

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14. Wavves at the Vic on Friday night.

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15. Warren Haynes at the Vic on Saturday night.

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16. The Scorpions on Rosemont on Saturday night.

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17. Dweezil Zappa at the Genesee Theater in Waukegan on Thursday night.

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18. Young Roddy at Subterranean on Friday night.

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19. The Shook Twins at Schubas on Sunday night.

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20. Aer at the Concord on Friday night.

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21. Starset at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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22. Caspian at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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23. Overkill at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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24. Symphony X at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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25. Queensryche in Rosemont on Saturday night.

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26. Jackson Mud at Schubas on Friday night.

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27. Avant at the Shrine on Friday night.

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28. Breaking Benjamin at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

Coal Field Hell-Raiser

"We Were Not Ladies. We Were Women tells the story of 1930s labor leader Agnes Burns Wieck and her role in the Illinois Mine War.

"The 1930's was a tumultuous time for workers and Illinois was no exception. Illinois miners were deeply divided in a bloody conflict which lasted for years, later to be known as the Illinois Mine War. Instigated by John L. Lewis, the controversial president of the United Mine Workers of America, the mine war involved rival unions, coal companies, the state militia, and even former Governor Henry Horner.

"Through her leadership, Agnes Burns Wieck forged a new role for women in the labor movement and confronted John L. Lewis face-to-face to challenge the violence in the Illinois coal fields.

"The documentary features interviews with historians, first-person accounts, and reenacted performances to tell Agnes' remarkable story."


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See also:
* The Southern: WSIU Radio Presents Broadcast Premiere Of Documentary.

* Sixteen Tons Of Dark Downstate History.

* Minewar.org.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:10 AM | Permalink

Making Place: The Architecture Of David Adjaye

In support of architect David Adjaye's first comprehensive museum survey, curator Zoë Ryan describes how a life-sized pavilion, large-scale models, full-scale fragments, and a vast array of media combine to create the perfect museum experience of David Adjaye's architecture. (September 19 - January 3, 2016)


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See also:

* The New Yorker: How The Architect Of Washington's Forthcoming African-American Museum Evolved A New Style.

* Smithsonian: Q&A.

* David Adjaye Associates.

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Plus:

A 2013 talk at the Architectural League in New York City:

"Adjaye Associates, in its own words, seeks to create 'buildings [that] belong to yet diverge from their contexts, absorbing and animating difference rather than homogenizing it. Sensitivity to materials, color, shape, and light informs the work on all scales.

"In this excerpt from his November 21, 2013, Current Work lecture, David Adjaye presents four completed and current projects at a range of scales and uses: a new building for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, affordable and resilient Asem-Pa houses developed for the Lower Ninth Ward in post-Katrina New Orleans, a live/work adaptive re-use project in London's East End, and the plans for The National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall.

"These projects represent a series of platforms for Adjaye Associates that have in part allowed the firm to research shifting and hybridizing topologies, new dimensions of buildings, and the possibilities in small scale interventions."

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And:

A 2010 lecture by Adjaye at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:26 AM | Permalink

Back To Meaningless Baseball

Finally! September baseball that is completely meaningless.

With the Pirates pretty much icing up the home field wild-card game, we are back to not really caring what happens during the last week of the season. So let's all take this week to relax, maybe step away for the team for a few games and enjoy life a little.

Because that game on Wednesday, October 7, is going to be a real doozy. The ghosts of playoff pasts may not haunt these happy-go-lucky Cubs, or this manager, or this management staff, but they haunt the fans. They haunt the fans a lot.

The Week In Review: The Cubs went 3-3 for the week, taking two of three from the Brewers and losing two of three to the Pirates. Oh, and they clinched a wild-card playoff berth.

The Week in Preview: The Cubs play a few more games yadda yadda yadda. It's like the Reds and Brewers or something, and maybe the Royals for a game? It's "just hope no one turns an ankle" time.

The Second Basemen Report: Starin Castro started four games this week, with Javy Baez and Tommy La Stella getting one start each. Still pretty amazing that Chris Coghlan no longer gets a sniff at second these days. I can't figure out if any of what has happened at second base has been by design, completely by accident, or something in the middle. My guess is that it was accidentally by design.

In former Cubs second basemen news, Johnny Evers is still the last Cub second baseman to win the World Series. And apparently he was known as one of the smartest players in the game and had a pretty surly temper with umpires. I wonder what he would of done with Joe West. Maybe this. Johnny Evers is missed.

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe had some issues with AC/DC and what they did to the field. Or at least what the fans did while they were watching AC/DC. Of course, Joe kind of backed off his comments the next day in that smooth Poppa Joe way, but he kind of made his point. Couple this with him giving the his business bosses some noise about the varying start times at the park and you can see a manager stepping out for his team a bit against the powers that be. Maybe something comes of this down the line? IDK. I just know he's a pretty great manager.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Everyone's favorite Castro (sorry, Fidel) continues to rip it up in September. The resurrection process has to be considered complete. Maddon, and Castro to a big extent, found a way for this guy to hit rock bottom from a baseball standpoint and then rise again to possibly be a better player than he ever was before. This has got to help his trade value come the offseason, but first things first, he'll be the starting second baseman in the playoffs - at least for one game.

Kubs Kalender: On Sunday in Milwaukee, the Brewers are handing out these retro Knit Caps. Going to probably be a lot of Cubs fans getting those hats. I kind of think they are cool.

Ameritrade Stock Pick Of The Week: Shares of Cub Fever are going to be trending upward the next two weeks.

Over/Under: The number of games the Cubs win this week: +/- Who cares.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that this could be the year.

* Touch 'em all: The Cub Factor archives.

* Know thy enemy: The White Sox Reports.

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Marty Gangler is our man on the Cub. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:52 AM | Permalink

Berra, Berra Bad Memories

The Yogiisms and the lovable gnome of a man are not what I remember most. No, the havoc Lawrence Peter Berra, who died last week at the age of 90, wreaked on a consistently talented White Sox team in the 1950s is what I recall most clearly.

As the current sorry edition of White Sox players - most of whom no doubt recognize Berra solely from AFLAC ads - gazed from their dugout at Yankee Stadium prior to last Thursday's game as New York manager Joe Girardi, a former Yankee catcher for four seasons in the '90s, along with three present Yankee catchers laid a flowered wreath in the shape of Yogi's number 8 in the catcher's box at home plate. No doubt nostalgia hung from every rafter of The Bronx shrine, but aging Sox fans could be excused for recalling the manner in which Berra extinguished hopes and dreams.

Let's go back to a balmy summer night at Comiskey Park on August 27, 1957. The Yanks, who led the second-place Sox by 4 1/2 games, were in town for a crucial three-game series to face a White Sox team that had won six straight. After seven innings, the score was tied at 6.

Up stepped Berra with Mickey Mantle and Enos Slaughter on base in the top of the eighth. Sox left-hander Paul LaPalme delivered, and Berra deposited the ball into the right field seats. If memory serves me, it landed in Yogi's favorite location - the upper deck. New York added three more runs in the ninth for a 12-6 victory, and they followed up the next two nights with one-run decisions over the Sox, effectively ending the pennant race. The White Sox may have won a more-than-respectable 90 games that season, but the Yanks won 98.

This was typical Yogi Berra behavior. One of the greatest bad-ball, late-inning hitters in the history of the game, he had a flair for the dramatic. He both hit for average and power. But what's most impressive about Berra is that he made contact 19 out of every 20 plate appearances.

Consider that he faced Sox lefty Billy Pierce, another stalwart figure of the '50s who died earlier this year, 195 times. In today's game, a manager likely would sit Berra against a left-hander of Pierce's stature, opting to play the lefty-righty strategy. That would have been misguided.

Pierce was able to strike out Berra a mere 13 times, while Yogi hit .284 against the Sox ace with nine home runs.

While hitting 358 career round-trippers, Berra never fanned more than 38 times in a season. He went to the plate 8,359 times and walked back to the dugout after striking out on only 414 occasions.

Today's game with pitch counts and relief pitchers who throw in the high 90s is vastly different than when Yogi played. Yet the hardest thrower of Yogi's era, Cleveland's Bob Feller, who was just as fast as today's hurlers, faced Berra 97 times and managed to strike him out only three times.

Comparing Berra's career to today's hitters, we note that 105 players have struck out at least 100 times this season through Saturday's games. Is there any other statistic that says more about the way the game has been transformed? Just five hitters - Wally Post, Woodie Held and Hall of Famers Mantle, Orlando Cepeda, and Harmon Killebrew - fanned more than 100 times in 1959. Can the pitching be so much more dominant today than it was 56 years ago?

Perhaps. Although today power hitters are handsomely rewarded. You also rarely see hitters choke up or make other adjustments when the pitcher gets ahead in the count. In Berra's day, adjustments were made.

Yogi played on dominant teams, appearing in 14 World Series. He has 12 more hits with 71 than any other Series contestant, coming on more at-bats than any player in history.

However, there were times, such as 1960, when Yogi didn't come out on top. On Bill Mazeroski's famous Game 7 walk-off homer, Yogi, playing left field, helplessly watched the ball disappear far over the wall in old Forbes Field.

And the great Henry Aaron had one of the best comebacks in verbal Series history in 1957 when Yogi, who as catcher incessantly talked to the hitters, pointed out that the trademark on Aaron's bat wasn't in the proper position. "Didn't come up here to read," replied Henry. "Came up here to hit."

Before we depart from the Days of Yogi and White Sox annals, let's return to that 1957 season and the aforementioned relief pitcher Paul LaPalme, who, by the way, shares a distinction with current Sox reliever Zach Duke: both were starting pitchers for the Pirates early in their careers, and both lost 16 games in a season while pitching for Pittsburgh.

Aside from serving up that late-season home run to Berra, LaPalme also yielded one of the most bizarre home runs in White Sox history. It came on May 18 in Baltimore, and John Snyder's White Sox Journal provides a lucid description:

White Sox pitcher Paul LaPalme costs his team a victory against the Orioles in Baltimore by throwing a pitch a half-minute too early. The contest was originally scheduled for the afternoon, but was switched to nighttime to avoid conflict with the Preakness. The game started at 7 p.m., and it was agreed beforehand to end play precisely at 10:20 p.m., regardless of the score, in order to allow the Sox to catch a midnight train for Boston.

Heading into the bottom of the ninth the White Sox led 4-3 with about 30 seconds remaining before the 10:20 p.m. deadline. League rules did not call for a suspended game, so the Sox would have won the game by stalling, or by issuing an intentional walk.

LaPalme threw a pitch over the plate, however, and Dick Williams hit it for a home run. Time was called by the umpires immediately after the home run.

Nothing quite that dumb has befallen this season's ballclub, but there certainly have been lapses in most departments. In Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Yankees, John Danks pitched well, but he got little support. Three of the first four White Sox hitters to start the game reached safely with Jose Abreu driving in Adam Eaton for an early 1-0 lead.

Can you believe that the Sox failed to get another hit the rest of the afternoon? That just doesn't happen. Yankee starter Adam Warren walked the bases loaded in the fifth, bringing Abreu to the plate. You sensed that this would be the deciding moment of the game, and it was. Abreu struck out, and the Yankees pushed across two runs off Danks in the bottom of the sixth on a base hit, stolen base, and doubles by Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez.

Talking about A-Rod, Danks walked him in the fourth, and with two outs, the 40-year-old Rodriguez stole second. Danks got the next hitter, but Girardi said later, "If they didn't pay attention, I wanted him [Rodriguez] to get into scoring position."

Assuming the Yankee manager knows what he's talking about, apparently we expect too much if we think our athletes should "pay attention."

Abreu, who is trying to join Albert Pujols as the only players in history to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 in each of their first two seasons, didn't help his cause much in the four games in New York. Abreu had opportunities such as the one on Saturday, but he left nine runners on base in the series and drove in just one run in the four games.

He needs one homer and three RBI in this, the final week of the season, to reach Pujols' mark. Kansas City will visit The Cell for three games beginning Tuesday. The Royals simply are resting and preparing for the playoffs. Detroit will close out the season in a three-game battle for last place in the Central Division.

Yogi's well-known "it's not over until it's over" doesn't apply to the present group on the South Side. For them it was over shortly after it started.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:24 AM | Permalink

September 26, 2015

The Weekend Desk Report

"After a public flameout on the Chicago River last year, the organizers of the Great Chicago Fire Festival will attempt to hold a fire spectacle Saturday that's smaller in scope and in a less-prominent location," the Tribune reports.

"An estimated 30,000 onlookers witnessed Redmoon Theater having trouble igniting three model houses on the river last year to bombastically repurpose the Chicago Fire of 1871 before concluding the evening with a fireworks display. Redmoon executive artistic director Jim Lasko blamed soggy conditions and logistical difficulties with the electronic trigger system while one alderman dubbed the inaugural festival a 'fiasco' and questioned the use of city funding.

"On Saturday, the free festival will be held from 5-9 p.m. at Northerly Island in a space with a capacity for 10,000 attendees. There will be various dance and music performances and an artisan bazaar before the finale: The burning of one mansion sculpture larger than last year's model homes."

Rauner's mansion? 'Cause that's the only way I'm interested.

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"Lasko said the chance for error is much less this year because the setup is powered by humans."

Sure, blame last year's fiasco on the robots.

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"Still, Lasko has less money to work with this year to make the theatrics happen, compared to last year's budget of more than $2.4 million. For last year's event, the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events provided $100,000 in funding from its 2013 budget and $250,000 from its 2014 budget, said Jamey Lundblad, department director of marketing and communications. The Chicago Park District chipped in more than $1 million, a Park District spokeswoman said."

Couldn't they have chipped that (taxpayer) money into CPS instead?

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"Lasko said Wednesday that this year's budget is about $900,000, down from the $1.2 million budget he reported to the Tribune in July. More than 40 percent of the budget is going to 'pay people to lead, teach and create,' he said.

Lundblad said the cultural affairs department provided a $100,000 grant to support youth-engagement summer programs at Park District sites, as well as logistics advice for the event and in-kind promotional support.

"The Chicago Park District has been working more closely with Redmoon on this year's culminating event, as it is taking place at Northerly Island," a Park District property, Lundblad said in a statement. The Park District gave $75,000 for summer programming.

Lasko said the festival is also relying on backing from Allstate and the Pritzker Foundation, among other contributors. A monthlong Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for $25,000 concluded Wednesday with $25,744 pledged among 121 backers. The Kickstarter money will go to busing performers to the site and other accommodations, Lasko said.

You know, I could literally keep this website going for about 40 years with that kind of dough. And I think what we do here is of far more service to the public than burning a mansion on Northerly Island.

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"Lasko said representatives for Redmoon, which is based in East Pilsen, spent time in neighborhoods asking residents what they want to overcome."

Stupid festivals?

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"The sentiments were written on shingles placed on the house. The burning of the house will represent overcoming obstacles and hope for the future, Lasko said."

And after it's over, nobody's lives will have changed - except those making bank on the whole deal.

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"Lasko said he's heard Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be at the event, as he was last year, but a mayoral spokeswoman could not confirm Thursday that Emanuel will attend, only that he's been invited."

He's still gaming out the optics. Plus, his name is on a lot of those shingles.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #70: The Blackhawks & Their Barbarous Fanbase
An opportunity for heroism missed. Plus: The Score's Finest Hour; The Psychology Of Bases & Fandom; The Devil's Manager; Seahawks Game-Planning A Slaughter; 'Night, Sky; Chicago Fire Fired; and The Chicago White Sox Are Still Playing For Some Reason.

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Shining A Light On Imprisoned Coders, Bloggers
Activists targeted by governments need support from global digital community.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "This week, Jim and Greg talk to shock-rock legend Alice Cooper. Jim and Greg were very excited to speak with Cooper and discuss his on-stage persona, sobriety, music catalogue and relationships with other famous artists."

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Weekend BeachBook

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Local school makes the list - and it's not University of Chicago.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, September 26, 2015

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Whole lotta elotes.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:26 PM | Permalink

Taken Offline: New Project Shines Light On Coders & Bloggers Imprisoned For Online Free Expression

The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Thursday launched the Offline project, a campaign devoted to digital heroes - coders, bloggers, and technologists - who have been imprisoned, tortured and even sentenced to death for raising their voices online or building tools that enable and protect free expression on the Internet.

The Offline project initially presents five cases of silenced pioneers, including the personal stories of technologists like Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian programmer who wrote software for uploading photos to the Web.

While visiting Iran, Malekpour was kidnapped, thrown in prison, beaten, tortured and given a death sentence by an Iranian court. His case, and other cases of coders and online journalists imprisoned by governments for their work in the digital world, have received little attention in the mainstream media and online community.

Offline aims to change that by collecting these important stories and providing links and resources about what the online community can do to support them, defend their names, and keep them safe. More cases will be added to the project in the future.

"Oppressive regimes are silencing those whose work or voices they wish to squelch by throwing them in jail. Offline will shed much-needed attention on these technologists and encourage digital citizens to join campaigns advocating for their freedom," said Danny O'Brien, EFF's international director. "We see a clear connection between innovators who work to build an open Internet in relative safety and colleagues doing similar work who have been silenced and cut off from the online world we share. We hope to strengthen that association in order to help keep all technologists safe regardless of where they live or travel."

Offline was created in response to an alarming increase in the number of technologists detained or threatened with prison for their work. Another example is tech pioneer Bassel Khartabil, a Palestinian-Syrian software developer who wrote and shared free code as well as information about his home country of Syria. He was arrested and charged in a bid to stifle access to news and free expression.

"It's a tragedy that our friend and co-developer Bassel is imprisoned, when Syria and the world so badly need his skills and commitment to open, peaceful collaboration," said Jon Phillips, Bassel's colleague and organizer of the #freebassel campaign. "Until he is free, maintaining the visibility of his situation is vital to shielding him from harm and keeping his spirits up."

Advocacy and campaigns on behalf of imprisoned technologists can make a difference. Saeed Malekpour's original death penalty was reduced to life imprisonment in 2012 after an international outcry over his sentencing.

"Our past experience has shown that when you shine a light on these prisoners of conscience, sentences are often reduced and conditions improved," said Jillian C. York, EFF's director for international freedom of expression.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:53 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #70: The Blackhawks & Their Barbarous Fanbase

An opportunity for heroism missed. Plus: The Score's Finest Hour; The Psychology Of Bases & Fandom; The Devil's Manager; Seahawks Game-Planning A Slaughter; 'Night, Sky; Chicago Fire Fired; and The Chicago White Sox Are Still Playing For Some Reason.


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SHOW NOTES

* Benchwarmer Bob Lurtsema.

* Blackhawks goalie Joe Palmer.

3:40: Blackhawks Bollix Brand.

* Bobby Hull vs. Stan Mikita.

* For Stan Mikita, All The Blackhawks Memories Are Gone.

* @JulieDiCaro.

* The Score's Finest Hour.

* The Score Gets It Right, On The Beachwood Radio Hour #68: The Media Is Blowing The Patrick Kane Story.

* Which One Is The Rapist?

Which one is the rapist?

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, August 30, 2015

* Ick, now.

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* The Psychology of Fandom.

* The Alcohol Industry Needs Alcoholics To Survive.

25:43: The Devil's Manager.

Please don't.

* Most Managers Are Headed To The Hall Of Mediocrity.

* "One of Starlin Castro's first calls when he got demoted from his starting shortstop job last month was to former Cubs teammate and mentor Aramis Ramirez."

* The Joe Maddon Movie: The Devil's Manager!

* Patron Cubs Saint Rick Sutcliffe.

* Quintin Berry, Tsuyoshi Wada and Trevor Cahill were September 1 call-ups, making them ineligible for playoff rosters barring an injury.

50:18: Seahawks Game-Planning A Slaughter.

* 1 1/2 Bears having a plus-season.

1:04:20: 'Night, Sky.

* Tamika Catchings Carries Fever Past Sky Into East Finals.

* Minnesota Reaches Fifth Straight West Finals.

1:06:03: Chicago Fire Fired.

1:09:29: The Chicago White Sox Are Still Playing For Some Reason.

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STOPPAGE: 11:22

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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 12:27 PM | Permalink

September 25, 2015

The [Friday] Papers

Thoughts on the latest twists and turns in the Patrick Kane case coming up.

Meanwhile . . .

Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill
Strong garbage game.

Stark Class Gaps In College Graduation Rates
"If you're going to enroll someone, you should do the absolute best you can to graduate them, or else don't take their money."

United Pilot A Black Woman From Chicago
"At age 10 she knew she wanted to fly after attending space camp, even though she had never seen a Black female pilot. She heard that a funeral was being held in the area for Janet Harmon Bragg, a pilot who circumvented racist attitudes about Black pilots and in the 1940s helped to build an airfield in the then-all-Black town of Robbins, Ill."

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Van Go, Obin IIIs, Acumen Nation, Melanie Martinez, Robert Plant, and State and Madison.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:45 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Van Go at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Sunday.


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2. OBN III's at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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3. Acumen Nation at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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4. Melanie Martinez at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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5. Robert Plant at Northerly Island on Wednesday night.

Kot: Robert Plant Showed Showed Why Zep Snub Was A Good Thing.

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6. State and Madison at the Beat Kitchen on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:39 AM | Permalink

American Master: United Airlines Pilot Nia Wordlaw, A Black Woman From Chicago

Chicago area native Nia Wordlaw is one of 15 women featured in American Masters: The Women's List premiering nationwide Friday night at 9 p.m. on PBS & locally on WTTW. The film is available same day on DVD via Perfect Day Films Inc. at shoppbs.org and will be available to stream on the American Masters website September 26.

Wordlaw is one of approximately 25 black female pilots flying for a major airline in the U.S. today.

She attended Lindop Elementary School (Broadview, IL), Oak Park and River Forest High School (Oak Park, IL), Lewis University (Romeoville, IL) and is an alumnus of Southern Illinois University, where she did her flight training. She moved to Houston in 2007 and is currently employed by United Airlines.

The trailer:

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Wordlaw.

wordlaw.jpgBy Greenfield-Sanders Studio

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"At age 10 she knew she wanted to fly after attending space camp, even though she had never seen a Black female pilot. She heard that a funeral was being held in the area for Janet Harmon Bragg, a pilot who circumvented racist attitudes about Black pilots and in the 1940s helped to build an airfield in the then-all-Black town of Robbins, Ill."

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"When she met a black female pilot at the service, she hugged her and cried. Now, as a pilot who's been flying commercially for 15 years, with regular routes to South America, Africa and Europe, Wordlaw said she hopes she can be a role model to kids who stare at the sky like she once did.

"She is that role model to at least one local teenager. Her 13-year-old son dreams of being a pilot one day, just like his mom.

"'It just makes a difference to see someone who looks like you,' she says in the documentary, noting that she has been hugged and kissed while walking through airports in her uniform."

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Warren Mercer:

I enjoyed the story on Nia Wordlaw. I know how it feels to be above the clouds and to realize that there must be a higher power somewhere.

My job has taken me from Taiwan to Sweden and everywhere in between. I loved to fly and it showed. I was a supervisor at Westinghouse working on a nuclear reactor in MI when the towers fell. That day gave me the impetus to fly even more.

I have never given in to fear. I overcame my mom being gunned down in front of me at 2-years-old (she survived), to people being murdered on my front porch by the time I was 18. Growing up on welfare forced me to dream big. All of my dreams that I ever had came true.

The only one that I ever had and wanted to do was go to Paris in the springtime. I went on my 34th birthday. I finished HS, college, and a four-year apprenticeship at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard as an inside machinist. I made supervisor shortly after going to work for Westinghouse in the mid-90's. Isn't it wonderful when your dreams come true!

Tonight's program was an accolade to the triumph of the human spirit in women, but it spoke well about the human spirit in us all. Godspeed to you all! In an ode to R, Kelly - "I believe I can fly." And it shows.

2. From Shirley Cody, Nashville:

I watched the documentary tonight; how awesome and inspiring!!! Kudos on a job well-done concerning the lives of these amazing women!!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:37 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill

Strong garbage game.

bootsgrillexp.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:05 AM | Permalink

New Data Reveals Stark Gaps In Graduation Rates Between Poor And Wealthy Students

A new report released Thursday provides a detailed look at the graduation rates of low-income college students. At many colleges, low-income students graduate at much lower rates than their high-income peers.

At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, only 35 percent of Pell Grant recipients graduate college, a rate that is more than 20 percentage points lower than that of their wealthier peers. And at St. Andrews, a liberal arts college in Laurinburg, North Carolina, only 13 percent of Pell Grant recipients graduate, more than 50 percentage points less than students who don't receive the grants.

The study found 51 percent of Pell students graduate nationwide, compared to 65 percent of non-Pell students. The average gap between wealthy and poor students at the same schools is much smaller: an average of 5.7 percentage points. That's because many Pell students attend schools with low graduation rates.

(You can now look up whether poor students are graduating at the same rate as their classmates in our newly updated interactive database, Debt by Degrees.)

Ben Miller, the senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, said that schools with large graduation gaps deserve greater scrutiny.

"Colleges have responsibility to ensure that the students they enroll are well-served," said Miller. "If you're going to enroll someone, you should do the absolute best you can to graduate them, or else don't take their money."

The new report comes on the heels of recently released federal education data that has brought new focus on how low-income students fare at college, including how much federal debt they take on and how much they earn after graduation. The graduation rates of low-income students were not included in that data.

The group behind the new report, the Education Trust, collected the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients - typically students whose families make less than $30,000 a year - for a selection of more than 1,000 colleges across the country.

A spokesman for University of Missouri-Kansas City said many of their students are low-income and that the school is working to do better. "We are not satisfied with that gap," said spokesman John Martellaro. "We are investing more resources in our student success programs in an effort to narrow that gap." (Read the school's full statement.)

St. Andrews did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

At more than a third of the colleges studied, schools were able to serve their Pell students almost as well as non-Pell students, with a gap of less than 3 percentage points.

Other schools have managed to graduate Pell students at an even higher rate than their non-Pell peers. According to the new data, nearly 90 percent of Pell recipients are able to graduate Smith College, compared with an 85 percent graduation rate of non-Pell students. And at Western Oregon University, Pell recipients have a graduation rate of 50 percent - nearly 10 percentage points better than their peers.

Both schools worked hard to ensure high graduation rates, including improving admissions policies and bolstering financial aid, as well as increasing advising and support services for students at school, says the new report.

The Pell Grant program is the nation's largest need-based student grant program, giving out billions of dollars annually. Yet for years, the data on Pell recipient graduation rates was mostly hidden from the public eye.

Although colleges are required to give the government graduation-rate data that's broken down by gender and race, the data is not required to be reported by income or Pell Grant status. Since 2008, schools are required to disclose Pell graduation rate data if it's requested by prospective students.

"It's kind of astounding when you think about how much money is spent on the Pell Grant program," said Andrew Kelly, the director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute. "We don't have any idea about how much of that money goes to producing degrees. We don't know what happens to Pell recipients after they enroll."

In order to collect Pell graduation rates, the Education Trust filed requests for data through state higher education systems as well as with the schools themselves. Some of the data was purchased from U.S. News and World Report. However, only around 1,150 schools were included in the report, out of the more than 7,000 institutions in the country. The survey also did not include data from for-profit colleges, where many Pell-recipients attend school.

Sisi Wei contributed to this report.

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FYI: One of the "standout institutions" in the report is Western Illinois University; you can look up the data for Chicago and Illinois schools here. You can peruse or download the raw data file here.

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See also:
* As Pope Pushes To Help The Poor, Catholic Universities Leave Them Behind.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

September 24, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

Wednesday's column went up a bit late yesterday, so if you missed it, here's some Patrick Kane stuff.

Also recommended: @JulieDiCaro.

Private Benjamins
Chicagoans requesting the removal of gang graffiti or complaining about rats in their alleys would have their calls fielded by a private company rather than the city-run 311 operation under a proposal Mayor Rahm Emanuel floated Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"His idea of privatizing the 311 call center came in his 2016 budget address, saying it would save the city 'about a million dollars a year' to replace union workers with outside contractors."

Why do I get the feeling we're about to get 211?

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"The mayor later said bringing in an outside operator would save the city the cost of making much-needed upgrades to the technology at the nonemergency information center, which would cost considerably more than the operations savings."

Wouldn't a private contractor seek to recover the cost of upgrades through its contract with the city?

There's both an operating, and then there's the long-term capital," he said. "Chicago invented 311. We need about $40 (million) to $50 million to modernize it in the coming years, which we don't have. So there's an operating cost savings of $1 million, we think appropriately. There's also a capital expenditure that only a private operator can do."

Well, the mayor has a way of finding $50 million at the drop of a hat when he wants to, so that's a real load. And again, a private contractor is going to recover the cost of modernization somehow. Rethinking 311 might be a good idea, but finding cheaper workers isn't necessarily the answer.

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"Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, said he's worried about giving a contract to a company that would provide the equipment and the manpower for such an important city service. And he wondered whether there would be real savings with a private contractor if the company had to factor in the cost of making technology upgrades."

I just said that!

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"Sawyer said that despite extensive discussion in recent weeks between members of the City Council and the Emanuel administration about the budget plan, many aldermen didn't learn about the proposal to privatize 311 until Monday night."

They should've called 311.

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"And the details were not spelled out in budget documents, which showed a proposed reduction of only about $237,000 on 311 services next year. It also showed the same number of employees. City budget spokeswoman Molly Poppe said only a small savings was reflected because the change would happen later in the year."

That makes no sense - the budget under consideration is for the whole year!

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Uber 311: The operator closest to you will return your call.

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Meet your new 311:

311_1.jpg

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P.S.:

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Pope Preaches About Global Warming While Church Leases Drilling Rights
"One U.S. archdiocese, Chicago, told Reuters it planned to review its energy shareholdings in light of the Pope's message."

I Am A Retail Warrior: Doggy Dress Code
"Let me remind you I work in a dog supply store," our very own Jane Harper writes. "It's a boutique, yes, but it's still a dog supply store. Pets are welcome, which means I do a lot of squatting down to scratch ears and I often come home covered in fur and drool."

Local Book Notes: RAT BIT SLEEPING CHILD!
Plus: Smell Chicago Later & Paging Doc Hollywood.

Bang'n On King Drive
Footworkin' the Billiken.

Fantasy Fix: Bad Luck vs. No Luck
Still buying Good Luck.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Cutler's Dog Days
Daughter already a punchline.

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BeachBook

"Neighborhoods that were once considered hubs of relatively inexpensive motels and single-room apartments — Venice...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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Dealers, owners feel frustrated and betrayed by VW scandal

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, September 24, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Pointed.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:41 AM | Permalink

Bang'n On King Drive

"Once a year, on the second Saturday of August, thousands of Chicagoans descend upon Martin Luther King Drive on the city's South Side to behold the Bud Billiken Parade, the oldest and largest African-American parade in the United States," Thump notes.

"Launched in 1929 by Robert S. Abbott, founder of historic black newspaper The Chicago Defender, it's a celebration of youth and education, traveling down King Drive from 39th Street to 55th and heralding the start of the school year with performances by local dance groups.

"As a showcase for a variety of Chicago dance styles- stepping, bop-ing, drill teams, hip hop, and more - the Bud is also a site of historical importance for Chicago's footwork scene.


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Yeah, but is it really just an ad for Adidas?

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Anyway . . .

"In a recent interview with Thump, RP Boo - a founding father of the footwork sound - remembers being one of the first footwork producers to spin at the parade in the mid-'90s. 'I saw the dance crew House-O-Matics come down to the parade with a bunch of house music, and I said to myself, They look good,' he recalls. 'Two years later, I met the House-O-Matics president Ronnie Sloan, and he said, 'Hey, can you DJ for me at the parade?'

"Before long, dance battles were taking place beside, between, and sometimes on parade floats, and as well as at the tennis courts in nearby Washington Park.

"According to Marcus Hendrix, founder and president of the K-Phi-9 dance troupe, core footwork dance moves like 'the holy ghost' and 'the dribbles' evolved from the routines of local fraternity dance troupes. New dances inspire new tracks; new tracks inspire new dances. The footwork cycles continues."

See also: Remembering DJ Rashad, Chicago's Footworks Ambassador To The World.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: RAT BIT SLEEPING CHILD!

"Born to bourgeois Jewish parents in Chicago in 1899, [Vera Caspary] went out to work almost as soon as she turned eighteen and rarely stopped churning out copy from that day until she died," Michelle Dean writes for The New Yorker. "There was no college and no finishing school, no slow courtship of traditional critical respect. She had to make a living, so she wrote.

"Her first jobs had her writing the materials for scam correspondence courses on everything from ballet to salesmanship to screenplay writing. She did a little journalism, of the 'RAT BITES SLEEPING CHILD!' sort, but credited a job at the Trianon ballroom in Chicago with opening her mind to experiences not her own. 'I became both editor and staff of Trianon Topics,' she explained, 'an eight-page tabloid-sized weekly devoted to clean dancing.' She worked the way most journalists once did: she hung around, talking to every sort of person who came through the place. And though she could not print scandals, she found that "through the gathering of inane and trivial news I was educated and profoundly changed . . .

"Caspary's first novel, called The White Girl, tells the story of a black woman passing as white in Chicago. It was praised by a number of African-American newspapers, even as white papers mostly ignored the book. 'There are many Solaria Coxes in America,' the Chicago Defender wrote, 'and Miss Vera Caspary, who happens to be a former Chicagoan, must have met some of them. She knows them far better than most white people get to know them.'"

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"Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Clifton Webb along with Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. The screenplay by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, and Betty Reinhardt is based on the 1943 novel of the same title by Vera Caspary."

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Smell Chicago Later
"Adam Mack will speak about his new book, Sensing Chicago: Noisemakers, Strikebreakers, and Muckrakers, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave.," the Society of Midland Authors has announced.

"Mack is an assistant professor of history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In his new book, published this summer by the University of Illinois Press, Mack explores the role of the senses in the rise of Chicago from the Civil War through the end of World War I.

"He examines from a sensory rather than purely visual perspective five events: the Chicago River; the Great Chicago Fire of 1871; the 1894 Pullman strike; publication of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle; and rise and fall of the White City amusement park.

"His vivid recounting of the smells, sounds and tactile miseries of city life reveals how input from the five human senses influenced the history of class, race and ethnicity in Chicago.

"At the same time, he transports readers to an era before modern refrigeration and sanitation, when to step outside was to be overwhelmed by the odor and roar of a great city in progress."

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From the University of Illinois Press:

"A hundred years ago and more, a walk down a Chicago street invited an assault on the senses. Untiring hawkers shouted from every corner. The manure from thousands of horses lay on streets pooled with molasses and puddled with kitchen grease. Odors from a river gelatinous and lumpy with all manner of foulness mingled with the all-pervading stench of the stockyard slaughterhouses.

"In Sensing Chicago, Adam Mack lets fresh air into the sensory history of Chicago."

Seemingly related:

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St. Louis, World-Class City?
"At first glance, St. Louis, Missouri, or any American city, for that matter, seems to have little to do with foreign relations, a field ostensibly conducted on a nation-state level," Southern Illinois University Press says.

"However, St. Louis, despite its status as an inland river city frequently relegated to the backwaters of national significance, has stood at the crossroads of international matters for much of its history.

"From its eighteenth-century French fur trade origins to post-Cold War business dealings with Latin America and Asia, the city has never neglected nor been ignored by the world outside its borders.

"In this pioneering study, Henry W. Berger analyzes St. Louis's imperial engagement from its founding in 1764 to the present day, revealing the intersection of local political, cultural, and economic interests in foreign affairs.

"Berger uses a biographical approach to explore the individuals and institutions that played a leading role in St. Louis's expansionist reach. He shows how St. Louis business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, and investors - often driven by personal and ideological motives, as well as the potential betterment of the city and its people - looked to the west, southwest, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific to form economic or political partnerships.

"Among the people and companies Berger profiles are Thomas Hart Benton, who envisioned a western democratic capitalist empire hosted by St. Louis; cotton exporters James Paramore and William Senter, who were involved in empire building in the southwest and Mexico; St. Louis oil tycoon and railroad investor Henry Clay Pierce, who became deeply involved in political intrigue and intervention in Mexican affairs; entrepreneur and politician David R. Francis, who promoted personal and St. Louis interests in Russia; and McDonnell-Douglas and its founder, James S. McDonnell Jr., who were part of the transformation of St. Louis's political economy during the Cold War.

"Many of these attempted imperial activities failed, but even when they succeeded, Berger explains, the economy and the people of St. Louis did not usually benefit. The vision of a democratic capitalist empire embraced by its exponents proved to be both an illusion and a contradiction. By shifting the focus of foreign relations history from the traditional confines of nation-state conduct to city and regional behavior, this innovative study highlights the domestic foundations and content of foreign policy, opening new avenues for study in the field of foreign relations."

Paging Doc Hollywood
"The world of science has long been dogged with communication problems, like how to convince the world, for example, that humans really are changing the planet's climate. Or that we really did evolve slowly over time rather than springing forth suddenly and fully formed," Josh Logue writes for Inside Higher Ed.

"What's missing, Randy Olson argues in his new book, Houston, We Have a Narrative (University of Chicago Press), is a nuanced understanding of narrative. A deep-seated grasp of and appreciation for narrative, Olson writes, would give scientists the tools to not only argue more persuasively, but produce better work as well. And Hollywood, argues the former marine biology professor and current writer and film director, is the place with answers."

The [U.S. Grant] Papers
"Famous for his military acumen and for his part in saving the Union during the American Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant also remains known for his two-volume memoirs, considered among the greatest military memoirs ever written," Southern Illinois University Press says.

"Grant's other writings, however, have not received the same acclaim, even though they show the same literary skill. Originally published in the thirty-two volumes of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, the letters and speeches are the major source of information about Grant's life and era and have played a key role in elevating his reputation to that of the leading general of the Civil War and the first of the modern presidents.

"In this collection, editor John F. Marszalek presents excerpts from Grant's most insightful and skillfully composed writings and provides perspective through introductory comments tying each piece to the next. The result is a fascinating overview of Grant's life and career.

"With this compendium, Marszalek not only celebrates the literary talent of one of America's greatest military figures but also vindicates an individual who, for so long, has been unfairly denigrated.

"A concise reference for students of American history and Civil War enthusiasts as well as a valuable introduction for those who are new to Grant's writings, this volume provides intriguing insight into one of the nineteenth century's most important Americans."

Related:

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Surviving India's 9/11
"Douglas O'Keeffe, a gay leatherman in Chicago, has been working as a flight attendant for the past 20 years. On Nov. 26, 2008, he and his crew were on a layover at the Trident-Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, India, when a terrorist attack by Pakistani extremists threatened to take their lives," Windy City Times reports.

"His book - Gunfire and Silence, Surviving India's 9/11, on sale since early August - tells the true story of how he and his crew managed to survive."

I also kept thinking in my head again and again, "This is an airline layover, how can this be happening! This simply can't be going on!" But at the very last moment it was, "Well, this is it. I'm dead."

The Evangelical Jew
"The modern alliance between Evangelical Christians and Jews is both praised and vilified, but one thing is certain, it owes much of its present day flavor to one man, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews," Tuly Weisz writes for Breaking Israel News.

"In his recent biography The Bridge Builder, journalist Zev Chafets provides a candid and personal account of Eckstein's early struggles within the Jewish community alongside his more recent philanthropic triumphs.

"Most Jews are not aware of the price I had to pay within my own Orthodox community," Eckstein told Breaking Israel News in a recent telephone interview.

"Through many anecdotes and personal stories, The Bridge Builder outlines the rejection Eckstein frequently faced from the Jewish community and his earnest desire to be accepted.

"As a young rabbi in Chicago, Eckstein was thrown out of a Torah learning center where he went to study each day, for his work with Christians."

On Newsmax TV:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:31 AM | Permalink

I Am A Retail Warrior: Doggy Dress Code

Three or four times a year, the schedule for the following week is released and, with no warning, we see that one morning an hour-and-a-half before the shop opens we are all scheduled for a "staff meeting." I find the nomenclature somewhat amusing because, aside from the two owners, the staff consists of me, a guy who works two days a week at the most, and an older man who is well past retirement age and has already announced when he'll be retiring in 2016. Staff meetings almost always occur on my day off, which means I have to drag my ass out of bed way too early to attend a meeting that is almost always exactly the same, and while I appreciate being paid for it, it doesn't set a great tone for the remainder of the day.

Staff meetings usually cover a few main topics: Store standards, which we all know by heart, but apparently need reminders on from time to time; the outlook as we pass from one season to the next; and, my least favorite part, work attire.

Let me remind you I work in a dog supply store. It's a boutique, yes, but it's still a dog supply store. Pets are welcome, which means I do a lot of squatting down to scratch ears and I often come home covered in fur and drool.

One of my bosses in particular seems to be the leader of the attire police. We are not allowed to wear jeans, which is understandable (though many of our human customers show up in their yoga clothes). T-shirts are out, though there are times one can get away with "nice knit shirts." We are not to wear sneakers. We are to, at all times, look "sharp."

The subject of attire sometimes only comes up twice a year, as repeated individual infractions are generally addressed privately. Each spring, we are told we may wear shorts or Capri pants with nice shirts and shoes. (The entire staff almost died of embarrassment the year my boss started wearing khaki slim-fit Capris. I think he finally stopped because my older colleague wouldn't stop calling him "Pinnochio.")

Shorts must completely cover the knees. This is not a problem for the guys - men's shorts are generally longer. I still haven't figured out what's offensive about knee caps, but the struggle to find remotely fashionable women's shorts that go past one's knees is real, people. It can't be done.

I made a concerted effort to buy the longest "boyfriend style" shorts The Gap had to offer this summer. I even bought some a size larger than I'd normally wear, because, while they look a bit like I'm wearing someone else's clothes, they at least hang to my mid-knee. He didn't say anything all summer, but when it was time for the fall meeting, my "nice" shorts were banned for length. For nearly five years I've tried to tell him that women's shorts don't come in the length men's shorts do. It's an argument I've yet to win.

During our busier season, which is starting now, we are expected to dress to impress. Long pants (but "not so long you walk on them - it's hardly expensive to get them hemmed!"), preferrably button-down or polo shirts for the men, and cardigans, plain shirts with fashionable cuts and necklines, or patterned shirts that are currently in style for me.

So, basically, the complete antithesis of what I'd wear in real life - jeans and a t-shirt. I have figured out how to wear Doc Martens under my long pants without breaking the dress code - something I'm secretly proud of.

I have actually asked whether we could just have uniform shirts. At one time, many years ago, employees wore polos with embroidered logos on them. I keep getting shot down - it would, apparently, seem too contrived.

I understand not wanting employees showing up in ripped jeans and stained shirts. But I think the three of us who work with any regularity all know that. My own family thinks the dress code is absurd. Both of my parents, who dress nicely and age-appropriately every day, have expressed the opinion that the particular boss for whom our dress code is an issue has "a terrible sense of fashion." If my Brooks Brothers father and Talbots mother find fault in his attire, he sure as hell doesn't need a role in the fashion police.

The real issue, at least for me, is that, despite the fact I make decent money for a retail warrior, I really can't afford to change my entire wardrobe two to three times a year, especially when I don't wear those clothes on my own time.

My mother has suggested I tell him to give us a "clothing allowance." Pretty sure that's not going to go over even remotely well.

Not only is it not financially feasible for me to update my wardrobe every six months, I don't have the space for all my work clothes and personal clothes. I donate things I no longer wear, but my room is overflowing with clothing. I refuse to give up my personal style during my non-working hours, and I have no choice but to have a steady supply of clothes that make me feel like a complete dork when I'm in them. Honestly, there's something wrong when this is an actual life problem.

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To end on a humorous and completely unrelated note, I helped a very sincere young guy find the perfect collar for his dog the other day. Why did he need it? The dog was being baptized the following weekend. You can't make this shit up, folks.

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Previously in I Am A Retail Warrior:
* 15 Things We Wish Customers Knew.

* I Am Not Your Friend.

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Previously in Life At Work: Barista! Tales From The Coffee Front; At Your Service; I Am A Security Guard; I Am A Roofer; Working The Door; I Am A Wrigley Beer Vendor; I Am A Pizza Delivery Guy; and the original Life at Work.

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Jane Harper is our pseudonymous retail correspondent. She welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

Pope Preaches About Global Warming While Church Leases Drilling Rights

Casting the fight against climate change as an urgent moral duty, Pope Francis in June urged the world to phase out highly-polluting fossil fuels.

Yet in the heart of U.S. oil country several dioceses and other Catholic institutions are leasing out drilling rights to oil and gas companies to bolster their finances, Reuters has found.

And in one archdiocese - Oklahoma City - Church officials have signed three new oil and gas leases since Francis's missive on the environment, leasing documents show.

On Francis's first visit to the United States this week, the business dealings suggest that some leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church are practicing a different approach to the environment than the pontiff is preaching.

Catholic institutions are not forbidden from dealing with or investing in the energy industry. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' guidelines on ethical investing warn Catholics and Catholic institutions against investing in companies related to abortion, contraception, pornography, tobacco and war, but do not suggest avoiding energy stocks, and do not address the ownership of energy production interests.

A Reuters review of county documents found 235 oil and gas leasing deals signed by Catholic Church authorities in Texas and Oklahoma with energy and land firms since 2010, covering 56 counties across the two states. None of the Texas leases in the review were signed after the pope's encyclical.

Those two states have been at the forefront of a boom in U.S. energy production in recent years, often through the controversial hydraulic fracturing production method, known as fracking.

It was not clear whether production on the Church leases was through fracking - a process that involves injecting sand, water and chemicals underground to crack open rock formations - or more conventional drilling methods.

The Church authorities receive a royalty ranging from 15 to 25 percent of the value of what is taken out of the ground, according to the leases, which are public documents filed with county clerk offices. Reuters' search method did not capture leases signed before 2010 but which may still be in force.

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"There may be some kind of inconsistency here between what the Pope has said and what the Church is doing in U.S. oil and gas country," said Mickey Thompson, a consultant and former director of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

He added that since the Church often acquires its mineral rights through donations from parishioners, there could be "legal or fiduciary reasons" it has sought to lease them out. It was unclear if that was the case with the leases signed by Church institutions in Texas and Oklahoma, including the three leases signed in Oklahoma since June.

A USCCB official and a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City archdiocese both declined to comment.

The Vatican does not have direct power over investment decisions taken by dioceses in the United States, a responsibility reserved for their bishops.

Members of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy have fallen out of line with papal administrations before. Last year, for example, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke was moved out of a senior post in the Vatican after clashing with Francis's more liberal views on homosexuality and Catholic re-marriage.

MORAL DISSONANCE

A Reuters examination of financial disclosures by U.S. Catholic institutions in August found that they have millions of dollars invested in energy companies, from hydraulic fracturing to oil sands producers. One U.S. archdiocese, Chicago, told Reuters it planned to review its energy shareholdings in light of the pope's June message.

But the Church's direct links to the fossil fuels industry through the Oklahoma and Texas lease deals highlight a potentially deeper moral dissonance in the wake of the pope's unambiguous attack on human-caused climate change.

Francis began his first visit to the United States on Tuesday.

In Texas, dioceses that granted oil leases in recent years included Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

Pat Svacina, a spokesman for the Diocese of Forth Worth, said the diocese received $31,661 from its leases in fiscal year 2015. He declined to say whether the diocese was considering reviewing its oil and gas leasing program in light of the pope's encyclical.

"The way the leases are written it is very difficult to cancel a lease that is in production," Svacina said. "The Diocese always reviews the viability and desirability of renewing a lease at the conclusion of a current lease," he added, without elaborating.

In Oklahoma, about one quarter of the roughly 165 Church lease deals signed since 2010 were granted by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, with most of the rest granted by the Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma and the St. Gregory's Catholic University of Oklahoma.

DONATED RIGHTS

Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley signed the most recent deal on Sept. 3, giving privately held oil company Comanche Resources rights to operate on 160 acres in Major County in exchange for 18.75 percent of the value of the oil and gas produced.

The two-year extendable lease also permits Comanche to lay pipes, build storage tanks, power stations, and other installations.

Coakley signed similar deals with energy companies Continental Resources and Lance Ruffell Oil in July and August, with royalties of 25 and 20 percent respectively.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese declined to comment, and efforts to reach Coakley were not successful. The spokeswoman also declined comment on behalf of the Catholic Foundation, where Coakley serves as chairman.

An official at St. Gregory's said the university had been given significant mineral rights by donors, adding that the royalties collected had averaged about $405,000 over the past three years, or 3.7 percent of revenue. The official asked not to be identified.

While the Church provides little data on its finances, information from other Catholic institutions in Oklahoma and Texas showed oil and gas royalties yielded a small portion of overall revenue in recent years, partly reflecting a slide in energy prices.

A review of audited statements issued by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City between 2010 and 2013 showed that the oil and gas royalties made up 2 percent of total revenue, or $1.6 million, over that period. That share peaked in 2012 at 5 percent, or $704,399, according to the audited statements. The other Oklahoma institutions did not provide data.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Jordan McMurrough, said the archdiocese had been collecting small energy royalties on its mineral rights since the 1950s, but that they currently make up less than 1 percent of revenue.

"The archdiocese currently does not plan changes to its long-standing practice of granting oil and gas leases," he said, adding that Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller "is well aware of and deeply respects" Pope Francis's encyclical.

He said one-third of the archdiocese's mineral rights were donated, with the rest "by acquisition for church purposes over the years."

Officials at the other dioceses in Texas did not respond to requests for comment.

Other companies that have signed energy leasing deals with the Church in recent years include Apache Corp, Cabot, Chesapeake, Devon Energy, and Range Resources.

All have been active in a fracking boom over the past several years.

A spokeswoman for Apache Corp confirmed the company has "a very limited" number of leases with the Church, but declined to comment further. The other firms did not respond to requests for comment.

Fracking has led to a surge in U.S. production by making new reserves available to the industry, and contributed to the slump in world energy prices. But the drilling boom has raised worries about pollution, climate change, and potentially damaging earthquakes from wastewater injection - fears that the oil industry says are overblown.

The American Petroleum Institute has said technological advances and efficient regulation have allowed drillers to raise production without contaminating water supplies or increasing emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas.

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See also:
* The Archdiocese Of Chicago Is Acting On The Pope's Environmental Message.

* Obama Unleashes Drilling Rigs While Fighting Global Warming.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

September 23, 2015

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Jay Cutler's Dog Days

Ouch . . . My Hamstring
In a game that felt like the Arizona Cardinals won 51-17, the Arizona Cardinals won 48-23. A demoralizing afternoon in which the Bears not only lost the contest, but their number one receiver (prior to) and their number one quarterback (during) the game.

And that one really would have hurt if Arizona offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin hadn't called (effective) passing plays well into the last two minutes of the game despite an insurmountable lead . . .

Oh.

At this point I'm confident in saying that Bruce Arians was having a little fun at the expense of this franchise after losing out on the Bears head coaching job to Marc Trestman in 2013.

While it may have looked like Bears quarterback Jay Cutler injured his face during a gutsy/foolhardy attempt to tackle Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson running back an intercpetion, word on the street is that this injury is leg-related.

Let me rephrase that.

This injury is leg?

Related?

Hearsay is almost what we've got to call it, because according to Coach John Fox, Cutler "allegedly" sustained a "mid- to lower- central-ish body event that cannot necessarily be classified as an injury" and his return to "Week One's game against the Packers" is "questionable."

To be clear, I see no need to mock the injury itself.

Yes, I Photoshopped a picture of Cutler getting smashed face first into the ground by Jefferson with a thought bubble that reads "Aaarrgh! The corner of the pack of Marlboros I stuffed in my football pants is so pointy!"

Yes, I also Photoshopped a picture of Cutler in the hot tub of the trainer's room during the third quarter watching a feed of the Fox broadcast with a thought bubble above his head saying "Fuck this shit, smoke 'em if you got 'em" as he took a drag off a cigarette while resting his leg on the edge of said tub.

Yes, after learning that the planned namesake of Cutler's pending daughter is that of a dog that Kristin Cavallari met on the street, I created a bullet point list of possible names for the unborn child . . .

But I digress . . .

No I don't, here's part of that list:

  • Bernese Pyrenees Cutler
  • Terry R. Cutler
  • Eating Disorder Cutler
  • Porkchop

Mailbag
With this season already seemingly in the crapper, I decided to open up some fan mail and take the temperature of the average Bear fan.

So, Chicago. What are your thoughts on the first two games of the season? Where do you think this team's headed?

Back in my day, players didn't pull their hamstrings in public. Exposing something above the ankle is unseemly. Jay Cutler is a harlot.

- Ethel, of the Hegewisch area

Uh, not really the most forward-looking letter. And I feel like we're overly focused on Jay.
What about the rest of the team?

I thought Vic Fangio was good at defense! Why am I still fat?

- Gene, Lemont

Ok. Getting closer.

Gene, you are still fat because you eat one bag of buttered popcorn during each of your bowel movements.

I'll reach down a little deeper into the bag and see if the next one yields something football-related.

Why did the Bears cut Willie Young? He was one of the bright spots last season.

- Joss, Wheaton

Good enough!

After doing some digging, I learned that Willie Young, Bears sack leader in 2014, is in fact still on the Bears and has recorded exactly one tackle in the two games of the 2015 campaign.

Goddammit I wish that was a fake stat, but sometimes you just can't make this stuff up.

You see, this particular flavor of the 3-4 scheme doesn't put much emphasis on "quarterback pressure," or "sacks," or "winning," so the adjustment in philosophy left last year's most effective defensive player effectively without a job, but not actually without one. They just put him in a position to fail.

Orders From Headquarters
The Bears head west this week to take on the Seahawks in CenturyLink Field. While the eye test tells you that Seattle is a much better team, both squads are 0-2.

One of the contributing factors to Seattle's early struggles is the absence of safety Kam Chancellor, who has been holding out for an extra 900k in salary, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rappaport.

When Chancellor's teammate Michael Bennett was asked if he'd ever consider holding out for more money, he responded candidly by saying he'd considered it this offseason.

"My situation is different than his. I've got three kids. I've got a wife," said the defensive end as he glanced around Seahawks practice facility impatiently, clutching a woman's handbag. "My wife wouldn't let me hold out, so I had to come to work."

When asked why he was carrying a purse, at practice, while in full uniform, Bennett's frustration begin to bubble over.

"Dammit. She said I only had to hold this thing for a minute while she went to the bathroom. Now I gotta carry it all over the damn place. This shit SUCKS!"

He scanned the area with purpose and turned back to the assembled group of beat reporters.

"You know what?" he said with renewed purpose. "She's outta time. Lady . . . is out . . . of . . . TIME. I'm gonna set this down. RIGHTNOW!"

"Yeah, you tell that bitch who's in charge!" said Seahawks beat reporter John Boyle.

Bennett high-fived him and just as he began placing the purse on the ground, Mrs. Bennett appeared behind him, as if by magic.

"Hello Michael," she said bluntly as her husband froze in place with the purse just inches from the turf. "And just what . . . do you think . . . you're doing?"

"AH! Nothing snuggleberries!" the startled man blurted before leaning into Boyle and hissing some brief advice. "Run, you stupid sonofabitch, get GONE."

The writer made a break for it as the defensive end returned to his wife, awkwardly offering the purse with both hands.

"Just making sure your bag didn't, uh, leave, or something . . . here you go!" He handed it off to his spouse and immediately began doing windsprints. "See honey, I'm working! I'm working! You can relax!"

"That's what I thought," said Mrs. Bennett as she began walking with purpose in the direction of the escaping John Boyle.

When a description of the exchange was told to Jay Cutler by Michael's brother [Bears tight end] Martellus, the Bears quarterback shook his head in disgust.

"That's brutal, man. But I guess I don't have any room to talk." He took a long drag and donned a ten thousand-yard stare. "I've got a friggin' daughter named Fifi on the way."

Kool-Aid (1 of 5 Mugs Of Irish Coffee)
I often fantasize about living on the West Coast, rolling out of bed and accurately exclaiming "Hey, the Raiders are on" before pouring whiskey into my Folgers.

Ah, 10 a.m. Pacific kickoffs. Seems so much classier swigging straight from the bottle at 11:45 a.m. Central.

Despite the fact that Seahawk signal-caller Russell Wilson hates his own boners*, he does possess the capacity to both throw the football and run with the football, while Jimmy Clausen throws mostly sideways passes and falls out of the end zone onto the one-yard line.

I feel like those of you who watched last week's second half will get the reference.

The Bears have some bright spots to look forward to in the run game. Matt Forte will likely rack up thirty receptions for approximately 27 yards.

That said, Beast Mode will run forward . . . a lot.

When he is asked by the CBS sideline reporter why he is spending so much time in the endz one, Marshawn Lynch will respond, "I'm only here for the third time so I won't get fined."

Nom, nom Skittles.

The Seahawks are a much better team than the Bears and the Bears are down at least two of their major offensive pieces. Nobody on defense has the size to match-up with Jimmy Graham and Seattle's return unit is going to run roughshod over Chicago's soft tacklin' special unit.

And given their slow start, the Seahawks will be desperate for a win.

But other than that, things should be fine.

Er, I mean our favorite team is probably gonna get crushed.

Seahawks 34, Bears 6

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* Or at least using them to enter someone.

About The Author
Carl Mohrbacher has been committing near-sentences at the Beachwood Reporter since 2010. His other current projects include growing a Cubs playoff beard, teaching pre-K level falconry and buying craft beer based entirely on how cool the drawings on the label look.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:33 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Given the press conference held today by the lawyer for Patrick Kane's accuser, now would be a good time to listen to the new edition of The Beachwood Radio Hour, posted late Tuesday, about how the media has blown covering the case.

There's also some fun stuff, so let me know what you think.

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Hint: Sometimes the media should report on sensitive, ongoing investigations and then stick their work in their back pocket for publishing at a later, more appropriate date - like when the twists and turns have context from which meaning can be derived.

"It was never my intention to comment or try this case in the media," [Lawyer for Kane's accuser, Thomas] Eoannou said. "However, during the course of this investigation, multiple leaks to the media have occurred. Leaks from law enforcement about the physical evidence, the DNA, the lack of Kane's DNA have all been troublesome to say the least."

Patrick Kane has not been charged with any crime.

Eoannou called into question the reports, published by various media outlets using unnamed sources who wished not to be named due to their inability to speak publicly on the matter.

"It was reported yesterday, quote, 'DNA tests found DNA evidence of at least one person, and possibly one or two more, in her genital area, but no traces of any DNA from Kane,'" he said. "It was also reported, that quote, 'Two unknown semen samples in Kane's victim's rape kit,' close quote."

Kane, who is under investigation by police following accusations of rape by Eoannou's client, has maintained his innocence in the matter and only spoken to the press once publicly. However Eoannou said the covert battle being fought in the press is more than concerning.

"The consequence of all of this has been to discount my client to the public," Eoannou said.

I'm not taking his client's side, I'm just saying that up until today, we've learned essentially nothing from what's been reported so far via sources purportedly close to the investigation. There are plenty of stories to write about this case without trying to give a play-by-play of what's going on (appropriately) behind closed doors, much of which will later prove to be false. It's the height of journalistic recklessness, especially given the impact on future rape victims.

"It's atrocious. In this case, it has been absolutely devastating to my client. This is supposed to be a secret investigation," Eoannou said. "People in the media - and I'm not saying anybody here - have been discussing people's semen in her undergarments. She is absolutely devastated. This is a classic example for why victims don't come forward in rape cases."

Again, for all I know Kane is 100 percent innocent and the accuser is a pathological liar. I have no idea, and neither do you. But is this really the way we want to see these cases reported?

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As Pope Pushes To Help The Poor, Catholic Universities Leave Them Behind
Six of the top 20 nonprofit colleges that are most expensive for low-income students are Catholic institutions.

Look At The Milwaukee Zoo's New MillerCoors Baby Giraffe!
Talk about labor: 5-foot-9, 157 pounds.

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Including: "This is it, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel? Show some joy."

Dear media: There is a time for joy, a time for discipline, a time for sincerity (even earnestness). How do you know what time it is? Ask these guys. Or just be human.

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One year at the High Holidays as a kid, the Temple was playing this:

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Street legal.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:13 PM | Permalink

Look At The Milwaukee Zoo's New MillerCoors Baby Giraffe

Ziggy and Bahatika's first.


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This is it, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel? Show some joy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:15 AM | Permalink

As Pope Pushes To Help The Poor, Catholic Universities Leave Them Behind

Pope Francis has made serving the poor a central tenet of his papacy.

"Wealth makes us poor," he told Cuban worshippers on Sunday, urging them not to forget "the smallest, the most abandoned."

As the pope makes his first visit to the United States, he might want to reiterate that message to the nation's Catholic colleges.

Six of the top 20 nonprofit colleges that are most expensive for low-income students are Catholic institutions, according to a ProPublica analysis of recently released federal data.

At almost half of all Catholic colleges, low-income students graduate with more than $20,000 in federal loans. (See our Debt by Degrees interactive, which shows how American colleges compare in how much federal student loan debt students accumulate.)

At Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., where Pope Francis is scheduled to speak on Wednesday, the school's poorest students pay over $31,000 a year in tuition, even after discounts from scholarships - more than any other research university in the nation. Students also graduate with a significant amount of debt: $26,000. And just 12 percent of its students are low-income.

Gerald Beyer, a Christian ethics professor from Villanova University said schools should be doing more. "Empowering the poor is a key part of Catholic social teaching, and education is an essential means of achieving this goal," he said. "Catholic institutions need to rethink their own policies."

Several schools, including Catholic University, said financial struggles have limited their ability to provide aid. Catholic University recently laid off a handful of staff members. The school also points to its relatively modest endowment: $308 million.

"We are unfortunately not a school with an endowment that starts with a B," said Christopher Lydon, vice president for enrollment management and marketing at Catholic University.

Notre Dame, Boston College, and Georgetown - all Catholic schools with endowments worth more than a billion dollars - offer more generous financial aid to their poorest students.

But like Catholic University, the schools don't enroll many of them. The percentage of students who receive Pell grants - federal grants for students whose families typically earn under $30,000 - is less than 14 percent at each of the schools. Nonprofit four-year colleges on average have around 40 percent Pell grant recipients.

The wealthier Catholic universities say that they are working hard to enroll more low-income students. Georgetown and Boston College have need-blind admissions and guarantee to meet the full needs of students through financial aid.

Notre Dame, which has an $8 billion endowment, recently announced a $20 million fund to cover college expenses for low-income students. The school also has begun to enroll undocumented students and give them funds to match Pell grants, for which they are ineligible.

"Notre Dame is devoting considerable resources to attracting and, as importantly, supporting students from low socioeconomic households," said the school's spokesman, Dennis K. Brown.

Some Catholic universities with modest resources stand out for serving the poor. Just down the road from Catholic University sits Trinity Washington, which has some well-known graduates, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi. The women's university has a tiny $11 million endowment. But nearly 65 percent of its students receive Pell grants. The poorest students graduate with on average $16,000 of debt from federal loans.

Trinity Washington's president, Patricia McGuire, believes that other Catholic schools should follow a similar path. "There's a whole group of schools that want to be in the Ivy Leagues and want to be considered prestigious, and then there's the rest of us who believe education is not about competition," she said. "Every institution needs to examine its own conscience about whether it could do more for students on the margins."

Anthony Carnevale, a professor at Georgetown and the director of the university's Center on Education and the Workforce, says the lack of low-income students is being driven by college ratings and competition for high-performing applicants.

"Christianity, let alone Catholicism, is supposed to be about taking care of each other and throwing the money changers out of the temple, but Jesus didn't have to run a college," said Carnevale. "The only way for colleges to survive is to become more and more selective, and in this country, it means whiter and wealthier."

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See also:
* Debt By Degrees: Which colleges help poor students most?

* Colleges Flush With Cash Saddle Their Poorest Students With Debt: A ProPublica analysis of newly available federal data shows that some of the nation's wealthiest colleges are leaving their poorest students with plenty of debt.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:06 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Bad Luck vs. No Luck

Almost without argument, the most disappointing fantasy football performer of the first two weeks has been the Colts' Andrew Luck.

In the preseason, Luck was considered the top fantasy QB by a clear, if not wide, margin. After a season of more than 4,700 passing yards and 40 pass TDs last year, you were not in the minority if you thought he could and would do better this year.

Yet, through two games, he has 493 passing yards and three TDs against five INTs. The yardage is not bad at all, but he has only accomplished it playing from behind and chasing his own mistakes

For some of this, you can blame Andre Johnson, who is new in Indy this year, and looks nothing like the top receiver he was a few years ago. However, it also appears more likely that Luck, after a couple of strong years to open his career, is having something a regression, forcing passes where they have no business going.

Still, as we noted last week, it's too early to panic. Luck has plenty of opportunity left to pay back his late second-round draft value - although don't expect a complete reversal in a Week 3 match against a tough Tennessee pass defense. In short, I wouldn't trade Luck after two bad games, and if someone else in my league is selling him, I'm buying.

Week 2 Winners

QB: Tom Brady, NE.

Probably not the last time this year we call him a winner of the week. His 466 yards passing against what was supposed to be a stout Buffalo defense led all passers, and he also threw three TDs, Just another stop on Brady's campaign to scorch the Earth and punish the NFL this year.

RB: Matt Jones, WAS.

He was not even on most draft lists, even as a deep sleeper, but getting a chance in Week 2, he ran for 123 yards and two TDs. Kinda looked like he stole the job of starter Alfred Morris, though WAS coach Jay Gruden didn't say that in so many words. Still, this guy will be busy, and he was only 22% owned in Yahoo! leagues last time I checked.

WR: Travis Benjamin, CLE.

Otherwise known as Johnny Football's favorite downfield target, Benjamin was ridiculously productive in Week 2 with 115 yards receiving and two TD catches, plus a kick return TD. We'll have to see if he maintains the same rapport with Josh McCown, who returns from injury in place of Manziel.

TE: Crockett Gilmore, BAL.

Like Jones, another completely unheralded fantasy find. He had 88 yards receiving and two TDs last week. His two TD routes might look similar to something Martellus Bennett ran last year for the Bears, since the BAL offensive coordinator is none other than Marc Trestman. Gilmore is more of a blocking TE and despite 10 targets through two weeks, I'd be surprised if he becomes the latest pseudo-Gronk. Still, worth keeping an eye on.

Week 2 Losers

QB: Tony Romo, DAL.

Drew Brees had a rough week, failing to take advantage of Tampa and getting injured, but the bigger loser was Romo (or maybe his fantasy owners and real DAL owner Jerry Jones). He'll be out six to eight weeks with a collarbone injury after looking like a genius for roughly the first six quarters of the season.

RB: Jeremy Hill, CIN.

I know DeMarco Murray, PHI, is the obvious choice, with two yards rushing on 13 carries - how is that even possible? But at least Murray collected more than 50 yards receiving. Hill, a borderline first-rounder in fantasy drafts this year, netted only 39 yards in Week 2, and worse, lost two fumbles. He was supposed to be the clear No. 1 in Cincy, but now we have to wonder.

WR: Mike Evans, TAM.

A preseason top 10 receiver and really QB Jameis Winston's only quality WR target, yet he had no catches after returning from injury in Week 2. This is all on Winston. The possible bright side is that TAM's starting TE might be out this week, and he had been Winston's favorite target, so maybe Evans will be allowed to step up.

TE: Jimmy Graham, SEA.

Just one catch for 11 yards last week after an encouraging 51 yards and a TD in Week 1, but he does have a great match-up in Week 3. Who could that be? Da Bears.

Week 3 Big Play

LeVeon Bell, RB: PIT vs. STL.

I was tempted to choose the Seattle defense - or even anyone on the Seattle offense - against the woeful Bears, but I like Bell in his return from suspension, even against a pretty strong defense. Bell is a dual threat running and receiving and he'll be busy.

Expert Wire
* SI.com lists Sam Bradford, QB, PHI, among its sliders (that's a bad thing). Bradford had been looking like a sleeper candidate heading what was presumed to be a prolific offense in Philly, but the offense looks lost and Bradford looks most lost of all.

* CBS Sports says to start Carson Palmer, QB, ARI, after he destroyed the Bears last weekend. Palmer was a backup draft pick most experts thought could pay off as a fantasy starter if he stayed healthy. He's had a strong couple of weeks, which makes me think he's do for an injury, but he certainly does have a decent match-up this week against SF.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:20 AM | Permalink

September 22, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #68: The Media Is Blowing The Patrick Kane Story

Anonymous sources, reckless rumors and uninformed speculation. Plus: My Only Japonais Story; United Airlines Has Finally Gone Too Far; Steve Reads The New York Post; and Steve Looks At Tinder.


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SHOW NOTES

* Strawberry Rock Show.

* 4/4 time!

1:32: The Rubs at Cole's on Friday night.

3:21: The Continuing Reckless Reporting On Patrick Kane.

* Why I Hate Reporting On Investigations.

* The Score Gets It Right.

* Which Is The Bigger Joke, Sports Mockery Or DNAinfo Chicago?

* Worst Press Conference In The History Of Chicago Sports.

* Ray McDonald's Mother, Lawyer Come To Ex-Bears' Defense.

* Ex-Bear Ray McDonald Charged With Domestic Violence.

* And Now: The Problem With The DNA Test Reporting.

* Trowbridge on Kane.

33:45: Faintlife at Transistor on Friday night.

35:00: My Only Japonais Story.

38:23: United Airlines Has Finally Gone Too Far.

* Or did Rahm make them?

* Hyperwalkspeed.

48:12: Heavy Times at Cole's on Friday night.

49:18: Steve reads the New York Post.

53:41: Steve looks at Tinder.

1:00:27: Neil Young at Northerly Island for Farm Aid on Saturday night.

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STOPPAGE: 2:22

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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 2:49 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The new boss of the Chicago FBI has not only investigated his fair share of public corruption but also has literally written the agency's book on it," the Tribune reports.

"In 2003, while supervising investigations into public corruption and government fraud for the Washington field office, Michael Anderson rewrote the bureau's Public Corruption Field Guide, the operations manual for running a corruption probe. In his climb up the ranks, the 20-year FBI veteran has led investigations into super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and government fraud surrounding that city's reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina.

"Anderson, 48, will take over as special agent in charge of the Chicago FBI in mid-October after serving three years as the head of the bureau's New Orleans division, according to the FBI. He succeeds Robert Holley, who retired last month after less than two years in the post."

Yeah, that seemed like a weird deal having been on the job for such a relatively short period of time, but I think he had reached the FBI's mandatory retirement age of 57, though it doesn't appear it was ever reported that way.

Which also means it makes sense that Holley only retired from the FBI, not from work.

"Holley has accepted a position at Discover Financial Services and will be a part of its Global Security Team," the Tribune reported just last month.

As far as the new guy goes, let's hope this passage from NOLA.com when he first got the job in New Orleans isn't hyperbolic:

"Michael Anderson has a thing for crooked politicians. Just look at the walls of his office at the FBI's Lakefront headquarters, which are festooned with mementos of celebrated corruption cases: Framed posters of All the President's Men and Serpico. A Time magazine cover about the Abscam sting, which netted five congressmen and one U.S senator. Rolling Stone bidding adieu to the 'worst Congress ever.' Signed original political cartoons mocking lobbyist-gone-bad Jack Abramoff and one of his co-conspirators, former U.S. Rep. Bob Ney."

Welcome to town, Michael. Go get 'em.

Cop Shop
"After 29 disciplinary investigations, multiple suspensions and four arrests by his own department, Richard A. Rizzo has been fired as a Chicago cop," the Sun-Times reports.

That's a helluva lead.

"The Chicago Police Board voted 8-0 Thursday night to fire Rizzo for failing to secure his police 9mm Ruger handgun on Dec. 2, 2012, when his girlfriend threw the weapon onto Cicero Avenue during an argument at a gas station in Burbank after a Toys for Tots motorcycle parade.

"Rizzo's lengthy disciplinary record and rap sheet also played a role in his firing, according to police board records released Friday."

I would think. But what took so long?

Rizzo's "disregard for public safety, taken together with his four previous disciplinary suspensions (one-day, ten-day and thirty-day suspensions) for off-duty domestic altercations, and a fifteen-day suspension for insubordination), are sufficiently serious to constitute a substantial shortcoming that renders his continuance in his office detrimental to the discipline and efficiency of the Chicago Police Department," wrote Fredrick Bates, a police board hearing officer.

Rizzo, 46, couldn't be reached for comment.

He didn't attend two police board hearings on the case, so he never mounted a defense.

Between 2005 and 2011, Rizzo was arrested four times on charges including battery, aggravated assault with a handgun and child endangerment. But the police department never attempted to fire him. Instead, police superintendents Phil Cline and Garry McCarthy suspended Rizzo between one and 30 days for various infractions.

Go read the rest of it - and then wonder what Cline and especially McCarthy have to say for themselves.

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Speaking of the police board, here's exciting news:

Join us at Revolution Brewery for the release of our ground breaking new website dedicated to making Chicago’s police...

Posted by Chicago Justice Project on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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Koschman Cops
Speaking of holding police officers accountable . . .

"Now that Nanci Koschman has settled her last legal claim over her son David Koschman's death, one question still unsettled is whether anyone from the Chicago Police Department will face any punishment over the handling of the politically explosive case," the Sun-Times reports.

"So far, not a single police officer has faced even a reprimand in the two years since special prosecutor Dan K. Webb concluded his investigation into Koschman's death and into the police department's failure to seek criminal charges against Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew for throwing the punch that killed Koschman 11 years ago."

Eleven years ago - and the obfuscation continues.

"At Mayor Rahm Emanuel's direction, police Supt. Garry McCarthy asked City Hall Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to investigate and recommend whether anyone from the department should be fired or otherwise disciplined.

"But two police unions - representing sergeants and lieutenants - filed grievances that have stalled Ferguson's investigation since last October, and all six cops [whom special prosecutor Dan Webb considered charging] remain on the job."

Oh, but that's not all:

"Three hold high-ranking positions under McCarthy: Area North Deputy Chief of Patrol Dean Andrews, Area South detective Cmdr. Joseph Salemme and Lt. Denis Walsh, who supervises detectives on the North Side."

That's Denis "Schrodinger's Files" Walsh.

Click through to the Sun-Times story for more on what is - and isn't - going on.

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United Airlines Has Finally Gone Too Far
Taking the joy out of life one step at a time.

Good Riddance, Sábado Gigante
Obamas praise gigantic stew of racism, misogyny.

They Just Held A Worldwide Triathlon Here
Terminator good, U.S. men bad.

Black Lives' Burden
Growing up poor - and rich - in Chicago.

Small Donor Program Would Reshape 2016
How democratizing campaign finance would impact the candidates.

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BeachBook

An impeachable breach of the Constitution. And yet, Obama's been far worse.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, September 21, 2015

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"Many lonely people wish they had social plans or a bigger network of friends to call upon. But sometimes, even when...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, September 21, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Data rates may apply.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:36 AM | Permalink

New Study Shows Potential Impact Of A Small Donor Matching Program On 2016 Presidential Race

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in their fundraising, and have a powerful incentive to focus more on small donors, under a proposed small donor public financing system, according to a study released on Tuesday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

Using candidate filings with the Federal Election Commission through July, "Boosting the Impact of Small Donors: How Matching Funds Would Reshape the 2016 Presidential Election" examines the impact of a program that matches small contributions with limited public funds for candidates who agree not to accept large donations.

"Right now, the vast majority of funds raised in this election are coming from big donors writing checks exponentially larger than most Americans can afford," said Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG Education Fund Director. "It doesn't have to be that way. A small donor matching system would put democracy back in the hands of ordinary Americans."

U.S. PIRG Education Fund's study examines the impact of a small donor matching system similar to those proposed in the Government by the People Act (H.R. 20) and the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 1538). Both of these bills propose a program that would match small contributions with public funds at a rate of six-to-one or more, and establish lower maximum contribution limits for candidates who volunteer to participate and demonstrate viability by meeting qualifying thresholds for small donor fundraising.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Without a small donor matching system, candidates received 33 percent of their funds from donors giving less than $200. Under the proposed system, 74 percent of the total funds would come from small donors and their corresponding matching funds.
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has raised 77 percent of his contributions from small donors compared to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 18 percent, but Clinton is currently outraising Sanders by more than three to one. With a small donor matching system, Sanders would close the gap significantly, trailing Clinton in fundraising by just 7 percent.
  • Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush raised $11 million directly from his campaign committee, about a tenth of the total raised by his Right to Rise Super PAC. While Bush's direct fundraising is on par with that of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, only three percent of his contributions come from small donors, and a matching system would give Cruz, Paul, Rubio, and Carson a commanding lead.
  • Bush is the only candidate who would have raised less money directly for his campaign under a small donor matching system that requires candidates to accept lower contribution limits.
  • Under a small donor matching system, Sanders and Clinton would raise nearly as much as Right to Rise, the largest Super PAC in the 2016 presidential race.
  • Clinton, Bush, and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley raised the largest share of their funds from donors giving $2,700, the maximum federal contribution limit. A small donor matching system would provide a powerful incentive to focus more of their efforts on small donors.

Small donor matching programs have a track record of success. New York City's program allowed participating candidates in the 2013 city council race to raise 61 percent of their contributions from small donations and matching funds. That year, 92 percent of candidates running in the primary participated in the program.

"With Washington insiders and wealthy donors dominating our democracy, everyday Americans are yearning for a voice again in our government," said Congressman John Sarbanes (MD), the author of the Government by the People Act. "There's no question that by creating a small-donor matching system, we can give candidates a viable way to fund their campaigns, and most importantly, give ordinary people more power in our democracy"

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 85 percent of Americans think the current system for funding campaigns needs 'fundamental changes' or that 'we need to totally rebuild it.'

"Americans of all political stripes are ready for reform. It's time that we start talking about concrete solutions for fighting big money in politics like amplifying the voices of small donors," said Scarr. "This study demonstrates the promise of a small donor empowerment program that would put regular voters back in control of our elections."

U.S. PIRG recently joined 12 other leading government reform organizations to release a comprehensive policy agenda to curb the impact of big money in our elections that includes small donor matching as a key recommendation. Click here to see the "Fighting Big Money, Empowering People Agenda."

Chicago voters weighed in on small donor matching programs through an advisory referenda in February, supporting the concept with 79% of the vote.

Click here for a copy of "Boosting the Impact of Small Donors: How Matching Funds Would Reshape the 2016 Presidential Election."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:19 AM | Permalink

Black Lives' Burdens

"For as long as I can remember, certain relatives of mine were always dismayed and often enraged by the daily headlines and nightly news stories of crime," Khalil Gibran Muhammad writes in his New York Times' review of Black Silent Majority.

"As a kid I heard countless tales of the terrible outrages visited on black people by other black people: burglarizing homes, pulling guns and shooting at one another, too often claiming innocent bystanders in the crossfire. Some of these stories were personal testimonies of victimization. In my '70s childhood on Chicago's South Side, I was taught that some black people behaved despicably."

You'll have to click through to see where he's going with that.

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By contrast:

"In her new memoir, Margo Jefferson, a former critic at The New York Times, chronicles a lifetime as a member of Chicago's black elite, a world she celebrates and problematizes by christening it (and her book) Negroland," Tracy K. Smith writes for the Times.

"'Negroland,' she writes, 'is my name for a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty. Children in Negroland were warned that few Negroes enjoyed privilege or plenty and that most whites would be glad to see them returned to indigence, deference and subservience. Children there were taught that most other Negroes ought to be emulating us when too many of them (out of envy or ignorance) went on behaving in ways that encouraged racial prejudice.'

"That warning - that manner of instilling in children the understanding that with privilege comes responsibility - strikes me as the true impetus for Jefferson's book. For once we become accustomed to delicious glimpses of Negroland's impeccable manners and outfits, the meticulously orchestrated social opportunities and fastidiously maintained hairstyles, what we begin to notice is the cost and weight of this heavy collective burden."

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Here's Jefferson on Fresh Air:

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And:

"U.S. medical schools typically send out books to their incoming first-year class to give students a glimpse of the profession they're about to embark upon," Virginia Linn writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"Rush Medical College in Chicago, for example, mailed to its class of 2019 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the true story of a poor black woman whose cells - taken without her knowledge in 1951 - have been used to develop everything from the polio vaccine to gene mapping."

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Here's Lacks author Rebecca Skloot on WKNO-TV, public broadcasting for the Mid-South:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

United Airlines Has Finally Gone Too Far

"Inside one of the busiest concourses at O'Hare International Airport, the recorded announcement cautioning travelers that 'the moving walkway is now ending'' means what it says," the Tribune reports.

"United Airlines has started to remove all eight moving walkway belts in Concourse C of Terminal 1 at O'Hare. The airline says the equipment, originally installed more than 20 years ago as a convenience for tired, bag-toting passengers, now just gets in the way."

United Airlines, you are just the worst.

The moving walkways were one of the few pleasures of O'Hare airport; a joy in life that was also quite useful. They should make the whole airport one big moving walkway!

"The walkways in C inhibit passenger flow across the concourse,'' United spokesman Luke Punzenberger said. "Removing the walkways will make it easier for customers to move both lengthwise and across the width of the concourse.''

Oh, of course. We know what that means.

"Eliminating the moving walkways will free up space for other uses, possibly including new, more creative retail stores and upscale food-and-beverage concessions aimed at luring travelers to more appealing spending options and producing more revenue for the city."

Maybe focus more on being a freakin' airport and not a shopping mall! Christ.

"Individuals who do not follow walkway etiquette - walk left, stand right - create traffic jams. And every year hundreds of walkway users at U.S. airports get hurt taking tumbles, according to safety authorities. Meanwhile, children can't seem to resist the temptation to behave like the walkways are an amusement park ride."

Oh please!

In addition, research indicates that the walkways do not save travelers significant time because people tend to walk slower when using the devices.

"Overall, the speed of those on the belt is less than if the belt wasn't there,'' said Seth Young, director of the Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State University.

Young conducted empirical observations at several airports for his doctoral dissertation years ago, he said. He found that normal walking speed is approximately 3 mph through an airport. A typical moving walkway belt travels at 1.4 mph., which is how fast a person would move if they just stood on the belt - or about half the pace of a normal walk speed at an airport.

People walking on a moving walkway stride at roughly 2.24 mph, Young found, indicating that they slow down from their normal 3 mph rate. The bottom line of the study was that typical users of a moving walkway travel at 3.66 mph, gaining a minor speed increase over the 3 mph speed of not using the walkway at all.

"A good number of folks - about one-third of all pedestrians - just stand there and travel the 1.4 mph speed of the belt,'' Young said Friday in a phone interview. "And eventually the 'walkers' get backed up behind the 'standers' and slow down as well.''

"So overall, the speed of those on the belt is less than if the belt wasn't there,'' Young said.

Later research at Princeton University validated Young's findings.

Feel free to repurpose this tweet as a response to that:

The only bad thing about the walkways was the feeling of being back on dry land when stepping off. They oughta put these on downtown sidewalks! Thanks, United (and Tribune) for taking more fun out of life. The transformation of humans into solely commercially exploitable machines is almost complete.

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They have 'em in Toronto!

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They have 'em in Newark!

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They have 'em in Houston!

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They have 'em in Paris! World-class!

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Dancing!

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AGREED. TIMES 1,000.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:35 AM | Permalink

Good Riddance, Sábado Gigante

"There were songs. There were silly hats. Confetti and El Chacal, even. But the man of the three-plus hours did not cry," Yvonne Villarreal writes for the Los Angeles Times.

"Mario Kreutzberger, better known under his stage name Don Francisco, closed the decades-long book on Spanish-language mainstay Sábado Gigante with an emotional send-off celebration Saturday night at Univision studios in Miami.

"After 53 years of being a familiar glow - lit up by zany sketches, scantily-clad women, bizarre TV characters such as El Chacal, and Kreutzberger's raucous stage persona - that had been a fixture inside millions of Latino homes on Saturday nights, Sábado Gigante will beam no more."

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From Wikipedia:

"A new episode was produced every week throughout the show's history, with no reruns and only rare pre-emptions due to special programming (most notably by Teletón USA, an annual 24-hour telethon held each December, which Kreutzberger has hosted since its inception in 2012). On April 17, 2015, Univision announced that Sábado Gigante would be cancelled after 53 years, with its final episode (titled Sábado Gigante: Hasta Siempre) airing on September 19, 2015. For the first time during the show's run, the final episode aired live in Chile, Mexico and the U.S."

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From the San Antonio Current:

"For over half a century, tens of millions U.S. and Latin American viewers tuned in each week to watch Don Francisco host the three-hour Univision program. The show features a high-energy mix of music and comedy performances, contests, games, pageants and celebrity guests. At the center of the mayhem is Francisco, a television titan on par with Oprah Winfrey or Johnny Carson.

"Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger - his parents are German-Jewish holocaust survivors - created the show 1962 in his native Chile. The show was first known as Show Dominical and aired on Sundays, before moving to its permanent Saturday home in 1963 where it became a sensation first in Chile then throughout Latin America.

"Though Sábado Gigante has waned in popularity in recent years, the show attracts nearly 2 million viewers each week in the United States and over 40 million viewers each week across Latin America."

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But Aura Bogado writes in the Guardian that "Latinos outgrew Sábado Gigante's racism and misogyny long before it ended."

[C]oupled with a certain willing silence over the show's problematic themes, sketches and host, that melancholy illustrates how Latino misogyny and racism is perpetuated in the US. Sábado Gigante and its host are representative of some of the worst supposed Latino culture, and both should have been rejected ages ago.

This is really the must-read of all Gigante pieces.

To wit:

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And yet:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:00 AM | Permalink

They Just Held A World Triathlon In Chicago

"Gwen Jorgensen won the ITU World Triathlon Series' Grand Final [in Chicago] on Friday for her second straight season championship," KSTP-TV reports.

"Jorgensen, from St. Paul, Minnesota, has won 12 straight events. She finished the 1,500-meter swim in Lake Michigan, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run in 1 hour, 55 minutes, 36 seconds."

Highlights:


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"It is hard to picture Gwen Jorgensen as a menacing presence," Philip Hersh reports for the Tribune.

"She is a former accountant from Wisconsin, a willowy 29-year-old with 125 pounds stretched over a 5-foot-10 body, a woman given more to bashfulness than bravado.

"'I'm just Gwen, just an ordinary person in my mind,' she said.

"She may not look or feel the part, but Jorgensen has morphed into the Triathlon Terminator.

"Jorgensen runs rivals into the ground so thoroughly during the last of the sport's three phases that she is dominating the scene as no other woman has in the 15 years since triathlon made its Olympic debut."

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Meanwhile, U.S. men fall short:

"It has been an increasingly rough ride for the top U.S. men on the international triathlon circuit in the 26 seasons since Mark Allen became the sport's first official world champion and the last from the USA," Hersh reports.

"It got even rougher last month for the top U.S. man much of the last eight seasons, Jarrod Shoemaker. A day before a qualifying race for the 2016 Rio Summer Games on the Olympic course, Shoemaker crashed while training on his bike, broke his collarbone and underwent surgery that involved inserting a plate to stabilize the bones.

"Seven weeks later, he was racing the triathlon World Series final Saturday in Chicago, where an Olympic qualifying spot was the reward in the unlikely event a U.S. man finished in the top eight.

"No one claimed it, meaning none of a probable three U.S. men's spots for Rio will be awarded until the spring."

Men's highlights:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:36 AM | Permalink

September 21, 2015

The [Monday] Papers

I'm not going to get to a column today, but here's a bunch of other stuff you should read:

* Farmers Still Fucked 30 Years After Farm Aid Founded.

From Champaign to Chicago.

* Variety Comics Ending 41-Year Run.

Huge clearance sale at Chicago's oldest comic book store.

* Coming Soon: Instant Cup-O-Game Seven.

In The Cub Factor.

* Gates Of The Lord: The Tradition Of Krishna Paintings.

Wife of India's richest citizen is sponsoring a landmark exhibit in Chicago.

* Time For Reinsdorf To Go.

In The White Sox Report.

* Bears No Cubs.

In SportsMonday.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: The Rubs, Faintlife, Heavy Times, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Matt & Kim, Low, Pelican, Chk Chk Chk, Mavis Staples, Willie Nelson, Exmortus, Marty Friedman, Melk, Halestorm, Wrath, Omnium Gatherum, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jack Johnson, Banda Cuisillos A Veses Lloro, Mike Peters, Burton Cummings, Imagine Dragons, Hori, Andreas Kapsalis, and The Verve Pipe.

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BeachBook

“To this day I’m scared of it,” said Ruben Sevilla, 28, who deployed twice with the 2/7 and now works for a warehouse...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, September 20, 2015

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People died so immensely wealthy corporate executives could buy yet another summer home and European vacation.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, September 19, 2015

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New York Times extrapolates Iowan Republicans from 12 people, call it a news.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, September 19, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Day-to-day.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:26 PM | Permalink

Farmers Still Fucked 30 Years After Farm Aid Founded

"It started with an offhand remark made by Bob Dylan during his performance at Live Aid, the massive fundraising concert held at Wembley Stadium, London, and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, in the early summer of 1985," the History Channel notes.

"As television viewers around the world phoned in donations in support of African famine relief, Dylan said from the stage, 'I hope that some of the money . . . maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe . . . one or two million, maybe . . . and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks.' Dylan would come under harsh criticism from Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof for his remarks ('It was a crass, stupid and nationalistic thing to say,' Geldof would later write), but he planted a seed with several fellow musicians who shared his concern over the state of the American family farm.

"Less than one month later, Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp announced plans for 'Farm Aid,' a benefit concert for America's farmers held in Champaign, Illinois, on this day in 1985."

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The History Of Farm Aid 30 Years After Its Founding In Illinois.


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"Neil Young looked even more grim and purposeful than usual when he took the stage Saturday at Northerly Island," Greg Kot writes for the Tribune.

"Farm Aid was wrapping up its 30th year, but Young wasn't exactly celebrating. The executive board member in the black hat came out fuming as he went after the corporate farm system, naming names and waving his guitar as if he were wading into hand-to-hand combat with his band huddled in front of the drum riser. Young sang from the perspective of a Monsanto executive, recast as the bogey man: 'You're gonna need big money to stand your ground/Or we're gonna bury you, how does that sound?'"

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Guarino for the Guardian: Farm Aid At 30: Decades Later, America's farmers Still Hard-Pressed.

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See #FarmAid30.

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See also:
* Select performances at The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

* The Farm Aid YouTube channel.

* Farm Aid on Facebook.

* FarmAid.org.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:52 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Rubs at Cole's on Friday night.


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2. Faintlife at Transistor on Friday night.

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3. Heavy Times at Cole's on Friday night.

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4. Neil Young & The Promise of the Real at Northerly Island for Farm Aid on Saturday night.

Kot: Farm Aid At 30 Not In A Celebrating Mood.

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5. John Mellencamp at Northerly Island for Farm Aid on Saturday night.

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6. Matt & Kim at the Goose Island Block Party on Saturday night.

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7. Low at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

Photos, Loerzel.

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8. Pelican at the Goose Island Block Party on Friday night.

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9. Chk Chk Chk (!!!) at the Goose Island Block Party on Saturday night.

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10. Mavis Staples at Northerly Island for Farm Aid on Saturday.

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11. Willie Nelson and Family at Northerly Island for Farm Aid on Saturday night.

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12. Exmortus at Reggies on Friday night.

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13. Marty Friedman at Reggies on Friday night.

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14. Melk at Subterranean on Friday night.

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15. Halestorm at the Riv on Friday night.

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16. Wrath at the Red Line Tap on Friday night.

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17. Omnium Gatherum at the Tree in Joliet on Thursday night.

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18. Old Crow Medicine Show at Northerly Island for Farm Aid on Saturday.

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19. Jack Johnson at Northerly Island for Farm Aid on Saturday.

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20. Banda Cuisillos A Veses Lloro at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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21. Mike Peters at the Old Town School on Saturday night.

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22. Burton Cummings at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Friday night.

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23. Imagine Dragons at Northerly Island for Farm Aid on Saturday.

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24. Hori at the Chicago Cultural Center for the World Music Festival on Saturday.

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25. Andreas Kapsalis at the Chicago Cultural Center for the World Music Festival on Sunday.

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26. The Verve Pipe at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

Variety Comics Ending 41-Year Run

"The oldest comic book store in Chicago, Variety Comics, is closing after 41 years; their last day open will be on October 31st," Bleeding Cool reports.

"It opened in the summer of 1974, in Chicago's rundown Lincoln Square neighborhood. In 1975, it was bought by Rich Vitone, who ran it until illness stopped him in 2009. After he died in 2011, the store was taken over by Vin Nguyen and Victor Olivarez.

"And forty years worth of stock is on sale from now, throughout October, comics, statues, toys, supplies, books and magazines."

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"Business is down," said co-owner Vin Nguyen. "It's sad but you know, it is what it is."

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CHICAGO'S OLDEST COMIC BOOK STORE CLOSING AFTER 41 YEARS IN BUSINESS.Variety Comics was present at the dawn of...

Posted by Variety Comics on Monday, September 14, 2015

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Variety's closing sale has begun today 09/15/15.ALL BACK ISSUES ARE 50% off !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here's an sample of a few of the create back stock being released!

Posted by Variety Comics on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

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All Indy titles on the big rack are only $1.00 !!! Image!Dark Horse ! Dynamite!BOOM !And more all for $1.00...

Posted by Variety Comics on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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SEMI-INTERESTING EVENTS IN VARIETY COMICS HISTORY, Part1 by John Stangeland, author of Warren William: Magnificent...

Posted by Variety Comics on Thursday, September 17, 2015

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Lots more fun happening on that Facebook page, check it out!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:02 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Bears Not The Cubs

Can't I just write about the Cubs this week?

I mean, despite the tough loss yesterday, the local baseball team that was the inspiration for the name of the local football team (I still wish Mr. Halas had stuck with "Staleys," but that name was awfully connected to Decatur), has more than a few things going for it. The Bears on the other hand? Zip, zilch, zero, donut.

For one thing, I'm pretty sure all the Cubs understand the rules, as opposed to, say, the Bears cornerbacks.

Guys, if you fail to turn around and make a play on the ball, if you grab a receiver's arm or hand or just run into him before the ball gets there, that will be a pass interference penalty. At the very least, stop with the theatrical whining about obvious flags. And guys, that is a call the refs want to make. They want big pass interference penalties to pump up the offenses and it sure worked well during your pathetic performance against the Cardinals.

Hey, Kyle Fuller in particular, this is your second year in the league. You seem to have a few skills. But what the hell is your major malfunction late in man-to-man coverage? It should be obvious to you from viewing film week after week that your basic technique is decent until the end, when you have been too chicken to turn toward the ball and make a play and/or too undisciplined to wait until the ball comes down before bringing your arm crashing down to try to strip the ball away from the receiver.

The only upside here? John Fox saw exactly what we saw. Fuller, who took a seat on the bench in the fourth quarter (actually, I think he was standing on the sideline but "took a seat on the bench" is a more evocative put-down), won't be playing anymore just because he was a first-round pick last year.

Of course, he'll probably still be playing anyway because the Bears staff has to be worried about back-up cornerback Terrance Mitchell being killed by an opposing wide receiver after he was obliterated by Larry Fitzgerald's stiff-arm late in Sunday's game. Coaches, you may have to save that young man from himself.

The (new) Cubs don't make critical mistakes at critical times time after time after time after time after time, sorry. And they don't compound those mistakes with awkward efforts at remediation that result in crushing injury. The only thing worse than Jay Cutler's pulled hammy on Sunday was the realization that without him, the Bears were really going to get killed.

What a fun football season this is. Already!

The Cubs take care of the basics. The Bears, well, need we say more than a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown? I'm sorry, I forgot to say "game-opening kickoff return." It takes a special kind of incompetence to not only fail to bury a dim-witted returner inside the 20 after he brings out a kickoff from just inside the back line of the end zone but to also give up a touchdown! Insert your own infuriated interjection here.

Just when the Cubs have needed it this year, one of their leading players has come up with a big play and his teammates have backed him up well enough to ensure pivotal victory after pivotal victory.

The Bears defense did manage one really big play on Sunday. Jared Allen, ladies and gentlemen! Unfortunately his teammates on offense then completely failed to do their part. When the Bears settled for a field goal to trail by eight at halftime instead of getting a touchdown to make it a four-point deficit, they took a sure-to-be-defeated mindset into intermission.

Finally, we are extremely excited about watching the Cubs in October. That one just speaks for itself, doesn't it?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:12 AM | Permalink

Gates Of The Lord: The Tradition Of Krishna Paintings

"Curator Madhuvanti Ghose discusses the first U.S. presentation of the art and aesthetics of the Pushtimarg sect of Hinduism, an exhibition featuring over 100 paintings and pichvais celebrating Shrinathji, a form of Krishna. On view through January 3, 2016."


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On Thursday:

Chicago arts and culture writer Victoria Lautman discusses Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings with Madhuvanti Ghose, Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art.

6 p.m. - 7 p.m., Fullerton Hall, free with museum admission.

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Book:

"The Pushtimarg, a Hindu sect established in India in the fifteenth century, possesses a unique culture - reaching back centuries and still vital today - in which art and devotion are deeply intertwined. This important volume, illustrated with more than one hundred vivid images, offers a new, in-depth look at the Pushtimarg and its rich aesthetic traditions, which are largely unknown outside of South Asia.

"Original essays by eminent scholars of Indian art focus on the style of worship, patterns of patronage, and artistic heritage that generated pichvais, large paintings on cloth designed to hang in temples, as well as other paintings for the Pushtimarg. In this expansive study, the authors deftly examine how pichvais were and still are used in the seasonal and daily veneration of Shrinathji, an aspect of Krishna as a child who is the chief deity of the temple town of Nathdwara in Rajasthan. Gates of the Lord introduces readers not only to the visual world of the Pushtimarg, but also to the spirit of Nathdwara."

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Vanity Fair: Why Nita Ambani, Wife Of India's Richest Citizen, Is Sponsoring An Exhibit In Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:52 AM | Permalink

Coming Soon: Instant Cup-O-Game Seven

After another week of baseball magic, it's pretty certain the Cubs will make the playoffs. With this as a fact, the next issue is not who the Cubs will be playing. Nope. That is irrelevant to what we will be discussing here. The issue here is where do you watch the playoffs. Because this isn't a "We'll see how the series goes" type deal. This is a one-game, team-defining, possibly season-ending game. The Cubs haven't played a game of this type in like forever. It's like Instant Cup-O-Game Seven. So where do you watch the game? What are the pros and cons of each location?

Watch at home with friends/family.

Pros: Easy bathroom access, your own food and drink; access to your own DVR to replay anything you want; the ability to drink heavily without having to drive home, having to explain way too many things to people you know.

Cons: Listening to that family member who thinks he/she knows everything and thinks the sky is always falling and the Cubs will never win.

Go out to a bar.

Pros: More food and/or drink options than at home; high-fiving strangers if the Cubs do something good.

Cons: It's expensive; listening to that random Cubs fan who thinks he/she knows everything and thinks the sky is always falling and the Cubs will never win; listening to that random Sox fan who thinks he/she knows everything and thinks the sky is always falling and the Cubs will never win; having to explain way too many things to random people; no access to your own DVR to do your own replays; the Uber ride/drunken stumble home.

Go to the game.

Pros: You are there.

Cons: Crowds and all that crap and it'll probably be in Pittsburgh and be super expensive anyway and really not going to happen.

Stay home by yourself.

Pros: Pretty much everything.

Cons: None that I can think of.

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The Week In Review: The Cubs went 5-2 for the week, winning three of four from the Pirates and two of three from the Cardinals. And the two games they lost could have gone the other way. Like Cottonelle, these guys are on a roll.

The Week In Preview: The Cubs are home for three each against the Brewers and Pirates. The Pirates have four against the Rockies before coming to town. Instant Cup-A-Game Seven hangs in the balance.

The Second Basemen Report: Starlin Castro started five games this week with Tommy La Stella getting the other two. And like the Springfield tire dump, they are both on fire.

In former Cubs second basemen news, Dandy Little Gloveman Mickey Morandini last played second base for the Cubs in 1996. These days he is the hitting coach for the Reading Fightin Phils, the AA affiliate of the Phillies. Twenty-three years ago this week, he made the first unassisted triple play in the NL in 65 years, and the ninth in major league history. Here it is:

He is missed.

Mad(don) Scientist Big Poppa Joe got pissed at the Cardinals last week. He also gave Pedro Strop a day off at the beach. I'm not sure which one is better. I'm just really glad he is the manager of the team I hope wins.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Everyone's favorite Castro (sorry, Fidel) is still ripping it up in September, batting .419 for the month. Not only has he got a bunch of hits lately, but he just looks so much better out there at the plate since getting benched. The walks will never come like from the rest of this lineup, but as he is batting .261 now it kinda seems like the season wasn't really lost for him. So, somehow, Big Poppa Joe got him out of the regular shortstop role and is still making this a feel-good season for Starlin.

Kubs Kalender: Saturday is Kris Bryant Debut Bobblehead Day. But it seems like this promotion should have been done like 10 days prior to this Saturday, AMIRITE?

Ameritrade Stock Pick Of The Week:
Shares of World Series Fever traded higher this week on heavy speculation.

Over/Under: The number of games the Cubs lose when they get blown out and are never in it: +/- not many.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that someone is going to hang some plastic in the locker room this week.

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* Touch 'em all: The Cub Factor archives.

* Know thy enemy: The White Sox Reports.

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Marty Gangler is our man on the Cub. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:15 AM | Permalink

September 20, 2015

Time For Jerry To Go

Sitting in the September warmth last Thursday as one of the announced crowd of 12,406 at the miserably named U.S. Cellular Field, I couldn't help but think that my beloved team is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

This was even before heralded closer David Robertson was tagged for a ninth-inning, three-run homer off the bat of Billy Butler, giving the Oakland A's a 4-2 win and a split of the four-game series.

I can understand if most observers realized long ago the irrelevancy of this team and its franchise, but there is this emotion called loyalty which gets in the way for many of us. Some might call it stupidity.

However, last week ghosts from across the street might have been stirring. Not White Sox ghosts from the old ball park called Comiskey which, of course, resided exactly where we had parked our car last Thursday. Cardinal ghosts.

Perhaps the fact that an NFL game would be played a few days later less than three miles away featuring the remnants of that ancient Cardinal football team had something to do with thinking, "How is this White Sox mess ever going to be salvaged?"

The Cardinals, you see, were original members of the National Football League, one of three franchises - the Bears and Packers being the other two - remaining from the league's first season in 1922. For the next 37 years, the Cardinals pretty much played bridesmaid to the more popular Bears.

There certainly were high points, such as a league championship in 1925, and another one in 1947 featuring the backfield of Paul Christman, Charley Trippi, Elmer Angsman and Pat Harder. But for the most part, the Bears were the favored darlings of football fans in this city. Sound familiar?

The death knell for the Cardinals occurred in the 1950s. The team, whose home was Comiskey Park while the Bears played at Wrigley Field, had a decade record of 33-84-3. (Ties were just that. No overtime.)

Meanwhile, the Bears were 70-48-2. Papa Bear George Halas coached the team with an iron hand. Furthermore, no one - especially poorly paid players - had recourse ever to complain to ownership, since the buck stopped with Halas and he was the owner.

The Cardinals had their own Papa - Pop Ivy, their coach. And like the White Sox of today, they had some notable players, like Ollie Matson, Heisman Trophy recipient John David Crow, and quarterbacks Lamar McHan and King Hill. Also similar to our current Sox, the Cards had a Night Train, he being Dick (Night Train) Lane, a Hall of Fame defensive back. Today the Sox have Night Train Veeck, manager of fan engagement. But Night Train's granddad, Bill, also was a Hall-of-Famer.

So there are obvious similarities between the 2015 Chicago White Sox and the departed Cardinals. The Bears, who played in the NFL championship game in 1956, losing 47-7 to the New York Giants, were entering a new phase because of quality young players like Mike Ditka and Ed O'Bradovich to join standout veterans such as Bill George and Rick Casares. The across-town Cubs of today boast an even more impressive array of young talent.

Seats for football games at Wrigley Field usually were filled with home attendance averaging more than 44,000 in 1959, while the Cardinals attracted about 23,000 enthusiasts - not including the near-capacity crowds when they played the Bears - at Comiskey. The Cardinals even played games in Buffalo and Minneapolis in the late '50s as the NFL tried to stymie the invasion of the American Football League, which began play in 1960.

For a late November game in 1958 against the Rams, only 13,014 fans showed up at Comiskey.

The Bidwill family owned the Cardinals, and they control the franchise to this day. The patriarch Charley, whose daddy was a Chicago alderman, died in 1947, putting his wife Violet in charge. However, son Bill more or less pulled the strings, and he has continued to do so for the past 68 years. He obviously pulled the right ones at Soldier Field on Sunday as his Arizona team embarrassed the Bears.

Bill fully understood that his team was second fiddle in Chicago. Once the AFL existed, the NFL was more than happy to have the Cardinals move to St. Louis to thwart the new league from settling in the Gateway City. After 27 years in St. Louis, Bidwill, ever the opportunist, left for the growing metropolis of Phoenix.

I'm not suggesting that the White Sox should contemplate investigating greener pastures in another location. This is a different time. The Cardinals paid rent for Comiskey while U.S. Cellular basically is controlled by Jerry Reinsdorf. But the Cubs are only scratching the surface of potential success for the future while our guys are in the throes of a third straight losing season without an apparent strategy for righting the ship.

Rick Morrissey in the Sun-Times last week called for Reinsdorf to "clean house" by replacing manager Robin Ventura, general manager Rick Hahn and president Kenny Williams. Why did he stop there? The Chairman and his group have owned the franchise for the past 34 years. They won a World Series once, and that was glorious. They qualified for post-season play four other seasons. So 29 of the 34 years he's owned the team, the athletes have packed up and gone home after the regular season.

Reinsdorf, of course, still has his Bulls, where his son Michael is chief operating officer. Is there anything misguided about owning just one pro sports franchise in a town?

Jerry paid Bill Veeck and his investors about $20 million for the White Sox in 1981. Today Forbes values the franchise at $975 million. That's a nice return for The Chairman and his group of investors. We should all do as well. Wouldn't it be refreshing if new ownership could be found to at least bring a different perspective, a new approach, and a much-needed change?

No matter what you think of the Ricketts family, there's owner Tom in the box seats, rooting for the team along with the other fans. Anyone strolling by 3600 N. Clark sees the activity and construction and changes that are taking place. Things are happening both on and off the field.

Many Sox fans still recall Bill Veeck strolling throughout the grandstand, talking to fans and getting a feel for the average guy's sentiments about his ballclub. He had a weekly Sunday morning radio show during the season where fans could call in to talk about baseball and the White Sox.

Reinsdorf always has been aloof. He grants a few long interviews which usually receive a lot of hype because they are so rare. That's his style, and he's entitled to it. But the fans are entitled to a breath a fresh air, a sense of a new beginning, and an end of more of the same.

Without it, you have to wonder whether history will repeat itself.

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

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1. From Rory Clark, in Phoenix:

In answer to your query . . .

Wouldn't it be refreshing if new ownership could be found to at least bring a different perspective, a new approach, and a much-needed change?

I'd settle for someone, anyone, who gives a shit. Reinsdorf doesn't. Not about the Bulls and not about the Sox.

Thanks for having the courage to say it.

And on another note . . . Bill Bidwill doesn't give a shit, either. He got lucky by getting Bruce Arians as a coach. But he has the Halas mentality about money, and still pays people with food stamps. I make more than most of his players. We're lucky to have Carson Palmer, but if he goes down we are screwed.

Bidwill walked into a new stadium for free - $330MIL from taxes; $115MIL from naming rights (U of Phoenix). He dresses like an old man, so the money isn't going for clothes. :)

So I wonder how much money is enough for this guy?

He could buy some players with the interest on the money from the stadium alone. Not to mention TV rights payments. Cheapskate.

Loyalty? Yep.

My definition of loyalty since I moved to Phoenix:

LOYALTY
Giving your heart to someone who cuts it into a million pieces.

That's what it's like to be a Bears fan, a Bulls fan, a Sox fan, and forever a Cubs fan (although things are changing).

Thank God for the Blackhawks lately, but only after 50 years of the same crap - owners who don't give a shit.

Love reading your column!

2. From John Station:

I totally agree with you. Five post-seasons in 34 years demonstrates that somebody doesn't really care very much. I don't think I'll be going to any more White Sox games so long as Jerry and the present crew own the club. I've wasted too much time and money to date, waiting for different results. 2005 was great, but it seems like a fluke to me now.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 PM | Permalink

September 19, 2015

The Weekend Desk Report

Here's what I wrote in an e-mail exchange on Friday:

"The Buffalo prosecutors can charge the case with or without the accused - though the DA there is known to be exceedingly cautious and is also, I think, running for judge. So his political calculation, because apparently he's a political animal, is whether he'd alienate more women voters by prosecuting than Pat Kane fanboys.

"HOWEVER, it really isn't up to him in that it's going before a grand jury. If the grand jury doesn't indict, it will only be because the prosecutor has purposely presented the weakest version of the case . . . because, as you know, a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if the prosecutor tells it too.

"I don't know what to think of settlement talks. My gut tells me the talks are going on and the Kane lawyer is lying . . . or somehow playing semantics. And my guess is that the prosecutor delayed the grand jury to let settlement talks proceed - even though one doesn't have to have anything to do with the other. A political dance is going on right now, and I haven't seen a single reporter really do a good job on this. The Buffalo News reporters are horrible, and the Trib just did that story about settlement talks that I found unsatisfying.

"In the podcast, I think Coach is wrong when he guesses that the Blackhawks must know something we don't. No. The likelihood of that is near zero. But the Blackhawks are all in now on Kane's innocence, in my view, given what they've said, what they've allowed, and what captain Johnny Toews is saying.

"Truly, I don't think I can watch that team anymore. At first, it would just have been Kane. Now the whole team is dirty to me. Even if Kane is innocent."

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You can hear me and Jim "Coach" Coffman discuss the Kane situation on The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #69. It's not all glum, either; we also discuss the Bears (okay, a little glum) and the Cubs (not glum at all!). Plus: Chicago's MVP, Elena Delle Donne.

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Also, this:

See what I mean? Don't even want to watch Toews anymore.

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P.S.:

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Weekend CPS
"Chicago Public Schools will need to start sending out layoff notices by Thanksgiving if a state financial bailout doesn't materialize, district CEO Forrest Claypool acknowledged Friday," the Tribune reports.

First, think about how different you would read this story if "acknowledged" was replaced by "claimed." So just use "said."

Second, given that it's CPS, expect layoff notices on the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Ever since they formed in 1977, experimental art-punk band Wire has had a tremendous influence on music. And unlike most first wave punks, the group continues to release challenging music into the 21st century. Wire joins Jim and Greg for a special live performance and interview."

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Weekend BeachBook

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Ripple.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:40 AM | Permalink

September 18, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #69: The Bloom Is Off The Blackhawks' Rose

Worst press conference in Chicago sports history. Plus: John McDonough Is Tone-Deaf; Dueling Settlement Sources; City Psyched Bears Now Losing The Right Way; The Curious Case Of The Cubs; Chicago's MVP; The White Sox Did Something This Week; The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week; The Waco Brothers Did Something This Week; We Don't Care About Illinois And Northwestern Football.


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SHOW NOTES

* Revie Sorey.

1:33: Worst Press Conference In Chicago Sports History.

* Sports Illustrated: Patrick Kane's Press Conference Reveals Blackhawks' Tonedeafness.

* Haugh: Here's A Question Regarding Patrick Kane News Conference: Why Bother?

* Sporting News: Blackhawks, Patrick Kane Make Things Worse In Baffling Display.

* CBS Sports: Blackhawks Did Themselves No Favors During Patrick Kane Conference.

* Baffoe: The Deal With Patrick Kane.

* Rosenbloom: Wait, I Found Another Embarrassment In That Blackhawks-Kane Disaster.

* Isaacson: For Fans And Chicago Blackhawks, Cloud Surrounds Patrick Kane's Arrival.

* Potash: Blackhawks Falter Miserably In Press Conference Loss.

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On settlement talks:

WGRZ-TV Buffalo, Aug. 13: Source: No Settlement Talks In Kane Case.

Buffalo News, Sept. 8: Grand Jury Review Postponed In Kane Case; Financial Settlement Discussions Continuing.

WIVB-TV Buffalo, Sept. 9: Settlement Talks Underway.

CBS2 Chicago, Sept. 16: Patrick Kane's Attorney Denies Reports Of Settlement Talks.

Sun-Times, Sept. 16: Patrick Kane's Lawyer Denies Talk Of Settlement.

Tribune, Sept. 17: Attorneys For Patrick Kane And His Accuser Seek Resolution, Sources Say.

WGN-TV, Sept. 17: Conflicting Reports Of Settlement Talks In Patrick Kane Investigation.

20:01: City Psyched Bears Now Losing The Right Way.

* Most pessimism ever.

* Local reversal.

36:35: The Curious Case Of The Cubs.

* Starlin Castro.

* Javy Baez.

* Bullpen Day.

48:45: Chicago's MVP.

54:23: The White Sox Did Something This Week.

54:28: The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week.

54:34: Jim's T-Shirt.

jimwaco.jpg

55:15: We Don't Care About Illinois And Northwestern Football.

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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 12:15 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Well, if you want to know what I think about the Patrick Kane press conference fiasco, it's up on The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #69: Worst Press Conference In Chicago Sports History. I can't say I said anything different there than what everyone else is saying; the unanimity of thought regarding how embarrassing, offensive and tone-deaf it was is remarkable. Of course, Jim "Coach" Coffman weighs in, too.

New Cast, Same Show
"A top Chicago Public Schools executive is leaving his post as new district CEO Forrest Claypool shapes his leadership team," the Tribune reports.

"Out is Tim Cawley, CPS' chief administrative officer and a former technology executive who was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011 and became a major figure at district headquarters who embodied a corporate-oriented approach to managing school operations.

"Cawley's authority often put him at the center of school-related flaps. He helped represent the city in contract talks that eventually resulted in the first Chicago teachers' strike in a quarter century and was a central advocate for a costly contract to privatize school custodians that spurred a flood of complaints about unclean buildings."

But Rahm Emanuel told us Cawley was indispensable; that's why he was granted a waiver to continue living in Winnetka while working at CPS despite the district's residency requirements. How will we get along without him?

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"CPS representatives, who have regularly denied Cawley would leave his job amid questions about his status, did not respond to a request for comment Friday."

I wonder if they'll sit for the new film, Cawley High.

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Not everyone will get that reference, but I don't care. I just had way too much coffee and reference restraint is the first thing to go.

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"Before coming to CPS, Cawley was managing director of finance and administration at the Academy for Urban School Leadership. CPS pays the group millions to serve as a network of so-called turnaround schools that emerged under Mayor Richard Daley as a way to shape up struggling buildings. David Vitale, the school board's last president, once also was AUSL's board president."

I just tried really hard to come up with an acronym using C, P, S, A, U, S and L but the closest I got was Cashing In On The Public School Revolving Door, which failed to meet PARCC expectations.

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"In the face of a requirement that most CPS employees live in Chicago, Emanuel endorsed a waiver to allow Cawley to temporarily remain at his Winnetka home after his appointment.

"[Claypool aide Ron] DeNard, who took over Cawley's fiscal responsibilities, won a similar arrangement."

At least the rules will continue to be applied differently on a consistent basis - totally waivable to the district's highly paid executives and unyielding to everyone else.

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"Cawley said he has since moved into Chicago."

Yes, into Bruce Rauner's old place.

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"Cawley, who was paid $215,000 a year, said he'd be around for a few weeks to help with the transition," the Sun-Times reports.

Like helping DeNard set up his direct deposit account.

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"[Cawley's] Aramark contract has had mixed results. Principals and parents roared in the months after the private custodial management company took over, saying that schools were filthy and that school leaders were picking up the slack. Nor were the cost savings as large as estimated after about 3 million square feet of school space, including 22 entire school buildings, were forgotten in the original count. The Philadelphia-based company, however, has stood by its work and CPS has kept the $260 million three-year deal."

Where's the mixed part?

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"In June, when he went before the pension board, Cawley warned that without [a $500 million] loan, class sizes would jump to 35 students in a room, 3,000 teachers would have to be laid off and furlough days would be triggered systemwide.

"Those cuts have not yet materialized. After CPS's request was rejected, the district turned its attention back to Springfield for help filling a $480 million budget hole."

Pension board 1, Cawley 0.

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In an e-mail Friday to "colleagues, friends and family," Cawley wrote:

I've already begun talking to people about new opportunities and adventures, and I welcome any thoughts you might have.

Dude's looking for job leads!

Here are some suggestions:

1. Aramark.

2. The Academy for Urban School Leadership.

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P.S.:

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair
You break it, we fix it.

Trolling The GOP Debate
With special appearances by David Axelrod.

Everyone's Juicing
"Amazingly enough, world-class athletes are merely the fine layer of frost atop the iceberg's tip when it comes to the steroid economy."

The Verdict Is In: The MSM Was Wrong About Occupy
The Occupy movement was dismissed by the mainstream media, but it's message - and nomenclature - is now front and center in American politics.

Committee Insider: Obama Nobel Prize Fell Short Of Hopes
Aspirational award didn't work.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Signal-to-Noise, The Agonist, The Cribs, Chance the Rapper, Mahmoud Ahmed, Aziz Sahmaoui, Eluveitie, and Ace Frehley.

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BeachBook

GM was represented by Anton Valukas, Reid Schar and Anthony Barkow of Jenner & Block.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, September 17, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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WLS apparently thinks this is in question.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Appreciative.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:04 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Signal-to-Noise at the Elbo Room on Sunday night.


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2. The Agonist at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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3. The Cribs at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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4. Chance the Rapper at Thalia Hall for Oreofest on Sunday night.

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5. Mahmoud Ahmed and Aziz Sahmaoui at Millennium Park on Sunday night.

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6. Eluveitie at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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7. Ace Frehley at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:41 AM | Permalink

The Verdict Is In: The MSM Was Wrong About Occupy

The Occupy movement was dismissed by the mainstream media, but it's message - and nomenclature - is now front and center in American politics.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:33 AM | Permalink

Trolling The GOP Debate

With special appearances by David Axelrod.


"Didn't your wife use to be an illegal immigrant?: Chasing 'Ronald' Trump at the GOP debate. Presented by Nimrod Kamer, directed by Jason Lester."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:26 AM | Permalink

Committee Insider: Obama Nobel Prize Fell Short Of Hopes

The effect of giving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack Obama fell short of the nominating committee's hopes, and several awards in the past 25 years were even more questionable, the committee's former secretary says in a new book.

Geir Lundestad, lifting a veil on the secretive five-member panel, also reveals that former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, late Czech president Vaclav Havel and several rock stars were among those who were considered for the award but never won.

Lundestad writes in Secretary of Peace that the prize to Obama was the most controversial during his time as director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute from 1990-2015. He attended committee meetings but had no vote.

"Even many of Obama's supporters thought the prize was a mistake," Lundestad wrote, adding that many Americans viewed the award as making Obama a spokesman for international peacemaking values rather than their own interests.

"In that sense the committee did not achieve what it hoped for," he wrote, noting Obama himself rarely mentioned the prize.

The award, made by the committee in particular recognition of Obama's vision of ridding the world of nuclear weapons, was widely criticized in the United States as premature. It came just nine months after he took office.

Lundestad, a professor of American history, said he had strong doubts before the award but denied Norwegian media reports that he regretted it. The five-member committee was unanimous in awarding the prize.

In the past 25 years "there were no obvious mistakes," Lundestad said. But two or three were questionable, such as the 2004 award to late Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai, he added.

Maathai was the first to get an award for environmental protection, with a campaign to plant millions of trees across Africa, but "it's far from given that she was the best candidate," he wrote.

He said former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy should perhaps have shared the 1997 prize awarded to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and its coordinator, Jody Williams. It was Canada that launched the process that led to a treaty to eliminate landmines, signed in Ottawa that year.

Lundestad noted that campaigning rock stars such as Bono, Bob Geldof and Sting had all enjoyed a high profile in international politics. "In the 2000s several such names were in fact considered, but the conclusion was that these artists were better suited to receiving Grammy prizes than Nobel Prizes," he wrote.

He said he wanted to push for greater openness around the prize, which has a 50-year secrecy rule.

"We plan to read the book first before making any comment," said Annika Pontikis, spokeswoman of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm which oversees prizes from Chemistry to Literature.

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"Apparently, Obama was so embarrassed by the committee's choice he had aides contact the organization to enquire whether it would be a faux pas if the president skipped the award ceremony in Olso, Norway," deathandtaxes reports.

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The award was "aspirational," Independent Journal notes, "intended to give the new president 'a boost.'"

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See also: The Growing Campaign To Revoke Obama's Nobel Peace Prize.

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And:

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Me, October 10, 2009:

"I'm fairly certain that Barack Obama himself thinks this is a crock. He may be a phony, but he's not a dummy.

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"I'm reminded of Obama's statement to frenzied reporters upon his seating in the United States Senate: 'I'll let you know when I actually do something.'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:44 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair

You break it, we fix it.

cellphonerepairmandevonexpbw.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:46 AM | Permalink

September 17, 2015

Everyone's Juicing

Earlier this month, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it had busted 16 underground labs and seized 134,000 steroid tablets and pills, 8,200 liters of injectable steroid liquid (that's 140 kegs worth), and 1,400 pounds of the raw powder from which steroids are made. In Arizona alone, four labs and 150,000 doses of all types were taken by DEA agents in an undercover operation that spanned 20 states and four foreign countries.

There are, clearly, a lot of steroids out in the world. Investigators suspect there are hundreds more labs churning out performance-enhancing drugs. According to the DEA, most of the material used to make steroids isn't even in the U.S. - it's in China. As big as it was, the DEA inquiry offers a view through the smallest of keyholes of this illicit business.

One reasonable inference from the amount of steroids seized might be: there must be a heck of a lot of athletes who are doping. And that's true.

This month, the British Parliament released a previously unpublished study by the World Anti-Doping Agency that used anonymous surveys to estimate the prevalence of doping at some recent competitions. It estimated that between 29 and 34 percent of the athletes at the 2011 world championships in track and field in Daegu, South Korea used performance-enhancing drugs that season. As many as half of the competitors at the 2011 Pan-Arab Games in Doha, Qatar had recently juiced, the study found. (I was at those Pan-Arab Games, and privy to the barely noted fact that nine gold medals were stripped before the event even ended.)

Amazingly enough, world-class athletes are merely the fine layer of frost atop the iceberg's tip when it comes to the steroid economy.

To illustrate, and speaking of ice, take Iceland. As part of this recent operation, a lab was busted there. Iceland sent five athletes total, all skiers, to the last Olympics. (Compare that to nine people who were arrested at the steroid lab.) It's unlikely that an underground steroid economy in Iceland subsists on elite athletes alone. So who is driving this tremendous market?

One answer is non-elite athletes. In years of reporting on performance-enhancing drugs, I've frequently been asked why athletes in smaller sports or facing lower stakes would dope, given that there's little money in it for them.

My answer: people like being good at sports, and anyone who has ever scheduled their life around training for a sport, no matter how big or small, would never have to ask that question.

My alma mater, Columbia University, launched a steroid probe into the football team way back in 1988, when the team had not won a game in five years. Two players admitted to steroid use as part of that internal investigation.

More than a decade later, while I was a Columbia student-athlete, two students were busted for selling steroids on campus, and one claimed he sold to an athlete.

This is a university that gives no athletic scholarships and whose greatest sports successes (post-Lou Gehrig) have come in the pool, on the track, and in the fencing hall. I happen to know about these incidents only because I went there. And still, my reporting has shown that there are nowhere near enough sub-elite athletes to account for the booming trade in illegal steroids. So, again, who is driving this market?

In my observation, the main customers for what's being churned out of the illegal labs the DEA took down are gym-goers who want to get stronger and look different, supplemented by people in professions where physical strength is prized, such as police officers and soldiers.

For a 2008 Sports Illustrated article on steroids that I co-wrote with L. Jon Wertheim, I spent several days in England with a man named Tony Fitton. Despite not having a college degree, in the 1980s Fitton was given a faculty position at Auburn University, in the National Strength Research Center.

Fitton was already well-versed in steroid use. Years earlier, he had disrupted a study on the training effects of steroids when he began buying the treatment medication from other participants.

At Auburn, Fitton's job consisted mostly of helping legendary strongman Bill Kazmaier train. "I didn't even have a bloody typewriter," Fitton told me. He was, though, a rather brilliant kitchen chemist. He scoured pharmacology and medical texts, often experimenting on himself. He once noticed that a blood pressure drug in trials was causing a peculiar side effect - it made patients' eyebrows grow together. Fitton figured that if the drug could regrow hair, he could sell it to steroid users to help with the bald patches that sometimes develop from steroid use. Today, you know that drug as minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine.

Fitton was also providing steroids to elite athletes. In the course of reporting that story, several NFL players admitted they'd been his clients - but I was surprised by what I saw when I got my hands on his old business ledger, and other documents related to his dealings. The ledger recounted about a year of his sales, and while college football and NFL players, power lifters, professional wrestlers and bodybuilders were among the buyers, the ledger was filled with a diverse smattering of customers, from gym owners to policemen and soldiers to droves of guys who just wanted to have bigger muscles.

Years later, when I met with a convicted steroid dealer in Florida who'd been selling to a chiropractor working with the Washington Capitals, he told me that police officers and military personnel were steady clients. And, while he also sold to some competitive athletes, he said that young men who wanted to change their physique comprised most of the demand. He, himself, began taking steroids after admiring Arnold Schwarzenegger carrying a tree trunk in the 1985 film Commando.

A year before that movie hit the theaters, Fitton was caught by a customs agent bringing steroids across the border from Mexico, and became the first person to be federally prosecuted for steroid smuggling. Steroids weren't even controlled substances yet, but they did require a prescription, and he had more than 2,000 boxes worth of the steroid Dianabol in his car.

In 1997, he was arrested again - he told me his supply was coming via commercial airline pilots who picked up steroids in countries where they could be purchased legally. By that point, Fitton had been arrested for steroid distribution three times, and had jumped bail twice. He was sentenced to four months in prison, but his punishment was delayed, because a legal dietary supplement company was happy to employ him and had arranged a chance for him to advise the Green Bay Packers on strength training. The Packers declined to comment on why the team would allow Fitton any contact with their players.

Fitton, who was ultimately deported, might seem like an odd hire for a supplement company, but the supplement industry has a history of overlap with the steroid world. Patrick Arnold, the chemist who created designer steroids for BALCO, was better known in the workout world for having made muscle-building supplements, including androstenedione, the substance that first started performance-enhancing drug trouble for Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire when a reporter spotted it in his locker.

At the time, it was legally available over the counter, and after it was mentioned in relation to McGwire in the news in 1998, sales reportedly exploded by 1,000%, thanks to people at home who wanted to be as muscly as Big Mac.

Pick up any muscle mag at the grocery store, and you'll get a sense of the target market. While many famous magazines are barely more substantial than pamphlets these days, Muscular Development, for example, can still stop a door.

Past issues of the magazine have featured Q&A's in which an expert will give specific "how to" advice on dissolving steroids for injection, or how long particular dosages will be effective, and how to limit the possibility of liver damage. Much of the magazine is filled with advertisements for dietary supplements that are clearly attempting to evoke steroid use.

An advertisement for a website called legalsteroids.com shows products using nicknames of traditional steroids - "D-Bol" and "Winni-V" (Dianabol and Winstrol) - but with slightly altered chemical formulas from the familiar substances. Somatropin is a pharmaceutical name for human growth hormone; legalsteroids.com will sell you what it calls Somatroph HC. I asked an online customer service representative of the website how the company could make "legal steroids" and he said: "We've been able to take the effective parts of the illegal steroids and make it legal.'' I've asked a company spokeswoman how, exactly, this is done but have not heard back.

It remains unclear what's in these sorts of products. Some supplements may actually be designer steroids. Supplement makers want their products to work, and the industry is lightly regulated, so steroids have been known to show up in over-the-counter products.

The ads often depict muscle-bound men, and sometimes show photos of extremely fit and scantily clad women. An issue might feature a wide range of lifestyle advice to men, from the bizarre - don't tattoo genitals because a medical report found (surprise!) there can be some unpleasant repercussions - to ads with the familiar tone of women's magazine advice columns. One example gives four rules: "#1 - Respect Gym Etiquette;" "#2 - Train Hard & Listen More Than You Talk;" #3 - Let The Women Come To You (Animal Instinct 101);" and "#4 - Don't Be Caught With the Wrong Supplements."

The content is tailored for men who want to be stronger, and feel more energetic and better about themselves as well as turn the heads of women and other men. That, of course, is a far larger portion of the male population than the number of athletes dreaming of Olympic gold.

It is also a market segment that is destined to grow as the Baby Boomers age. The number of men in their 40s who got prescriptions for testosterone more than quadrupled between 2001 and 2011, according to data published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. And guess what's often cheaper and easier to get than prescribed, pharmaceutical grade testosterone? Chemical analogs of testosterone - that's what steroids are - that someone sells on the black market or markets as a dietary supplement. In the course of my reporting on this subject, I've bought both testosterone and illicit steroids sold as supplements. The latter was quicker and cheaper to get.

Law enforcement agents and steroid peddlers I've spoken to over the years say there's no end in sight to the burgeoning market for steroids. There is loads of money to be made, legal risks are minimal - steroids aren't exactly DEA's top priority - and there's no shortage of people who want to look like the statuesque models they see in the magazines.

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Previously:
* Why It's So Hard To Catch Track & Field Cheaters.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:54 PM | Permalink

The Blue & Örange Kool-Aid Report: Dancin' In The Ruins

Primer
Hi there!

I'm Carl and this is a sports-themed column primarily focused on the Chicago Bears, one of nearly a dozen franchises that participate in the National Football League.

If you've read this column before, welcome back! And more importantly, what is wrong with you?

Why would you subject yourself to this nonsense a second time?

If you're new to the BAOKAR, it's very nice to meet you and thank you for reading.

I'd like to provide a couple of quick tips to help maximize the "fun" within our upcoming shared literary experience.

I should mention out of the gate that I'm an insane person. My best friend, the ghost of [former Cubs manager] Lee Elia likes to say "I have a rich internal life."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I can always count on Lee to put a positive spin on things.

[Editor's Note: Hi, I'm Steve, Editor-in-Chief of The Beachwood Reporter. Any writing within square brackets belongs to me and indicates I've had to correct/remove something wildly inaccurate, or unforgivably racist. I don't know why Carl has such a problem with people from Papua New Guinea, but I usually have to remove one to two thousand words of PNG-related hate speech per column. Oh, and as of this writing Lee Elia's not dead.]

With that in mind, please understand that extracting much of the "humor" buried in the BAOKAR is only possible if you live somewhere between my left ear, and right ear.

The links in the BAOKAR are provided to help explain some of the more esoteric [read: completely unknowable] references. For example, I bring up a minor Blue Öyster Cult hit from 1985 down the page.

Trust me, you won't know what I'm talking about.

More importantly, even after learning what I meant, you'll wonder why the second track on the worst BÖC album ever was top of mind when I wrote that sentence, in a column that is ostensibly about football.

Again, insane person.

However, the embedded links smattered throughout the next 1,500 words should provide a glimmer of insight into what in the hell I was thinking when I committed my stream of consciousness to print.

In addition to the links, look for footnote symbols like an asterisk "*" or a penis-shaped eggplant emoji.

When you see one, jump to the bottom of the page, look for the same symbol and tack that sentence onto the last one you just read*.

Please note that this column contains few, if any, accurate stats. You can get that stuff anywhere, so I'm not going to add to the noise.

That said, many of the quotes from players and coaches are partially factual - or at least the first sentence is. I usually take a quote, tweet or soundbite and extrapolate it in some bizarre direction which hopefully makes you laugh.

Well, I really only care if it makes me laugh. In addition to being crazy, I'm also kind of a dick.

For your own sake, never reference the BAOKAR as a journalistic source. Everything contained here is for entertainment purposes only. Especially as it pertains to hypothetical wagering insights into upcoming Chicago-area cock fights.

Lastly, the rating system in the "Kool-Aid" section of the column is an indication of how amped I am about the upcoming week's game. It's a five-point scale that is assigned a beverage loosely based on the name or location of the opponent.

If I give the game a "four out of five shots of Jack Daniels whiskey" for an upcoming game against the Titans (both from Tennessee, get it?), it means I'm pretty stoked.

Conversely, when the 2015 Bears are 4-10 going into the week 16 game at Tampa Bay, I'll probably give it a lower rating, like "one out of five goblets of sea water" and use the word "AAARRRRR" a lot because I'm out of things to say by that point in the season.

And extra lastly, sometimes I include crudely Photoshopped pictures, like Ego Ferguson eating a six-foot party sub or something.

So, look forward to that brand of "fun" in the coming weeks.

In Case You Missed It
For the first time since he arrived in Chicago, quarterback Jay Cutler was not the focus of the off-season narrative. In fact, he was such an afterthought that some unusual behavior flew completely under the radar.

For example:

  • During a July 15 press conference, the Tribune's Brad Biggs asked Cutler about any changes to his off-season routine under the new coaching administration.

    CUTLER: You know, nothing real different. I'm focusing on my footwork, trying to build a rapport with some of the new guys, gettin' blazed, listening to mid-80's Blue Öyster Cult; Club Ninja in particular. It's been fun getting to work with a young group of receivers; Kevin [White], Marquess [Wilson], the whole crew.

    BIGGS: It seems like you've been working well with Marquess during camp - wait. Did you say you were getting high and listening to Club Ninja?

    CUTLER [shrugs]: Yeah, Marquess is a great receiver and even better dude. I'm excited to see more of him on Sundays.

    BIGGS: That's . . . not a good BÖC album. I'm mean, by all accounts it's just awful. How torched are you getting?

    CUTLER: Huh?

    BIGGS: What?

    CUTLER [Begins humming the chorus to "Dancin' in the Ruins"]: All right, thanks guys [lights cigarette, leaves podium].

  • Cutler didn't wear any pants during the Bears-Colts pre-season game, even while on the field. After being replaced by Jimmy Clausen, Cutler removed his helmet revealing that he had done his hair in cornrows. Nobody on either sideline or the broadcast seemed to notice other than opposing quarterback Andrew Luck, who rubbed the top of his head and gave a thumbs-up in the direction of Cutler from across the field.

    Cutler responded by rubbing his chin and pointed back at Luck as if to say, "'sup, bro. Love the beard."

  • Just prior to its cancellation, Jay Cutler briefly replaced Jim Bob Duggar on 19 Kids and Counting.

The main point of interest in the summer of 2015 was the complete revamp of the Bears defense.

In addition to signing Broncos coaches John Fox and Adam Gase, former 49ers defensive guru Vic Fangio was hired to retool the historically bad D*** featured by Chicago during the past two seasons.

Known for a base 3-4 (pronounced "negative one") scheme designed to confuse offenses prior to the snap, Fangio's earlier success seems to have inspired confidence in Bear fans.

But questions persist about the current roster's ability to execute a defense that requires skill and versatility up front.

In fact, expect questions like "Why the hell is Lamarr Houston covering Amari Cooper on a go route?" and "Shea McClellin still has a job?" to come out of your own mouth in the coming weeks.

However, I'm sure a lot of people also said the sentence "Well, that loss went better than expected" following the 31-23 defeat against the Packers last Sunday, so while 2015 will clearly be a year of transition, the long-term arrow is pointing up.

Glowing Endorsement
If the arrow is pointing "up" the week after the shiny new defense gives up 31 points, you have to ask yourself: How f-ing bad were things last year?

For answers as to how f-ing bad things were, at least inside the locker room, we turn to the Internet.

We'll never really know for sure, but if you read between the lines and parse the "athlete speak" of the following Twitter quotes, it's pretty clear that the majority of the Bears players were unhappy with their former head coach.

  • Matt Forte: "The mentality of this offense . . . is nobody had that stupid look on their face [when down 31-16] like before. I hope that motherfucker dies of colon cancer."
  • Former Bear Tim Jennings: "What does def coordinator Vic Fangio provide the #Bears that wasn't here before? A dick and balls."
  • Brian Urlacher: "Even though I didn't play for Marc Trestman and don't work for them anymore, you can get my take exclusively on Fox Sports One."

Based on these subtle cues, I'm assuming that Marc Trestman won't be using many Bears players as professional references going forward.

Cardinal Sin
Following an injury-plagued finish to the 2014 season, the Cardinals managed to live up to Bears 2014 expectations by disappointingly getting bounced in the first round by the Carolina Panthers.

Led by the coach the Bears probably should/could have hired instead of Marc Trestman, the Cardinals bring a roster that feels stocked with 46-year-old players like Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Cory Redding.

As the season goes on, it's going to take either a miracle or the work of the devil himself to keep this roster upright.

So were you surprised the Bears didn't hire you, Bruce Arians?

"I was," said Arians on this week's press conference call, sounding not at all surprised.

When asked if things worked out better for him by landing in Arizona, Arians was slow to reply.

"There's no doubt," he said, clutching his cursed monkey paw. "They always do . . . things always work out . . . but for a price . . . "

After a prolonged silence, a combination of quiet laughter and intermittent sobbing were heard on the other end of the call.

You still with us, coach?

"Oh I'm with you," Arians quickly replied. "I'll be with you . . . forever."

Uh, good. Glad to hear it.

Looks like strange things will be afoot at the Circle-K this weekend.

Kool-Aid (3 of 5 Bacardi and Arizona Iced Teas)
I don't know what you call that drink, but a bottle of Bacardi and a gallon of Arizona Iced Tea costs a total of $14 at the Walgreens by my house, so I'll just call the savings "delicious."

It's kind of a wonky matchup.

On paper, the Cardinals should stifle the Bears offense, having bottled up the Saints in Week One, but I (and anyone else who watched the Bears-Packers game) really liked what I saw in the Chicago run game last Sunday.

Even if they can't get the ground attack going, I think the receiving aptitude of the Bears running backs and the mid-range passing threat that Martellus Bennett offers are going to pay some dividends as the contest wears on.

That said, the Cardinals have weapons of their own. Not the least of which is the dark magic Bruce Arians possesses in the artifact he stole from the people of the Djuzazi jungle in the area formerly known The People's Republic Of The Tanzania.

Expect another well-played home loss.

So thanks for that, Lucifer.

Cardinals 23, Bears 20

About The Author
For shit's sake, were the first 700 words of this column not enough?

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* And that's how a footnote works. Apparently you've read at least one book. Nice job! Now you're ready for Infinite Jest**

** Okay, this is quickly becoming an Inception-esque David Foster Wallace-themed joke. If this made any sense to you, e-mail me and I will literally buy you a beer.

*** Despite a short-lived career, Jamal "Historically Bad D" Jacobs remains one of my favorite stars of '80s adult films.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:57 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

With great regret considering the topics on my agenda, I have to attend to other business today. I'll still be on social media and this week's podcasts are coming over the next couple of days, as well as a slew of posts once I get back on the horse.

Meanwhile, new on the site:

The Blue & Örange Kool-Aid Report: Dancin' In The Ruins
"I don't know what you call that drink, but a bottle of Bacardi and a gallon of Arizona Iced Tea costs a total of $14 at the Walgreens by my house, so I'll just call the savings 'delicious.'"

Meet Chicago Quartermaster Seaman Maribel Torres
Raising the foxtrot flag on the signal bridge of aircraft carrier USS George Washington.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: This Mud's For You.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:36 AM | Permalink

September 16, 2015

Meet Chicago Quartermaster Seaman Maribel Torres

PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 9, 2015) - Quartermaster Seaman Maribel Torres, a native of Chicago, raises the foxtrot flag on the signal bridge of aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

Washington is operating in Southern California waters, preparing to deploy around South America as a part of Southern Seas 2015.

torres.jpg

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Clemente A. Lynch/Released)

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Previously:
* Chicago Navy Commander's Continuing Promise.

* Meet Chicago Sailor Joshua Johnson.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:59 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Motorola Solutions, a leading supplier of public safety communications devices, announced Tuesday it would follow the lead of other high-profile local companies and relocate its corporate headquarters - and 800 jobs - to Chicago," the Tribune reports.

"With this move, Motorola Solutions not only returns to its Chicago roots, but the company is doubling down on Chicago's future," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

Gee, that sounds familiar. Let's take a look.

Sept. 1, 2015: "Sprint is doubling down on its commitment to Chicago."

August 20, 2015: "Rahm Emanuel plans to 'double down' on winning future NFL drafts, the mayor said during an appearance Thursday on WSCR-AM 670."

April 14, 2015: "In Chicago, we are doubling down on bridging the financial education gap from the classroom to the kitchen table." (Actually, that was from Arne Duncan, John Rogers Kurt Summers and Barbara Byrd-Bennett, but same thing.)

March 12, 2015: "As the mayor said, we should be doubling down on mass transit investments, not cutting."

October 8, 2014: "Mayor Rahm Emanuel indicated Wednesday he's ready to double down on the Great Chicago Fire festival."

July 21, 2013: "The new program represents a doubling down by the city on efforts to expand the number of CNG cabs in service."

November 21, 2012: "The Bulls are doubling down on the Near West Side." (He even has some reporters doing it.)

June 20, 2012: "One of the mayor's favorite terms is 'doubling down' on Chicago, which explains why he was smiling when Huron did just that."

May 13, 2012: "We are doubling down on investments at O'Hare Airport."

April 26, 2012: "While other states have cut back, the city of Chicago is doubling down on our children."

There's more, but that's all I had time to look up this morning.

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Back to the Trib:

"Willemien Kets, professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, said the trend will continue as long as millennials want to live in the city and companies want to hire millennials."

This is an example of newspaper folks feeling like they need to contact an expert to tell them something really super obvious, like, um, as long as companies want to hire millenials, they, um, will. It's one of those conventions that helps build the structure of what is really just a facsimile of reporting.

And here's where it turns really weird:

"While the move to the city makes sense for companies interested in attracting a younger workforce, Kets says it may be a bit shortsighted. At some point, millennials will want to have children and could very well end up in the suburbs, turning them into commuters, or perhaps prompting another corporate exodus out of Chicago."

There's a lot going on there, including the presumption that tech-savvy professionals will abandon the city once (if) they have children - and then that companies will follow them. What about the generation after millennials? Won't companies want to stay in the city to attract them? And would Kets say now that companies that moved to the suburbs were shortsighted because they are now moving back? And what of all the experts who explained those moves to the suburbs decades ago? Was everyone wrong?

More interesting to me is this:

Emanuel continues to aggressively woo suburban firms, reaching out to CEOs and influential investors in local corporations, including Warren Buffett. He has touted the arrival of nearly two-dozen suburban operations or headquarters since February 2012, when he unveiled his economic growth plan, which trumpeted the need for regional cooperation. Some of those firms received state or city tax-break packages.

In March 2012, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development issued its study of the 21-county tri-state area, which called intraregional business attraction efforts "petty and destructive."

In the global competition to attract business and talent, regions that collaborate to establish a brand, develop industry hubs, streamline transportation, foster a cultural scene and revitalize neighborhoods have a competitive edge, experts say . . .

[G]reater Chicago's tepid growth rate is outpaced by a number of metropolitan areas with cohesive regional strategies. Denver, for instance, ranked No. 6 in economic performance among the nation's 100 largest metros since its pre-recession peak, while Chicago was No. 77, according to Brookings Institution data.

I hate the suburbs, and wouldn't mind seeing them dry up. But "victories" for Rahm's ego are not the same as productive economic moves that are good for everyone - and not necessarily good for the city if the result is simply displacing people who are already here. Go read the whole thing.

Raining, Pouring
"Morton Salt plans to close its longtime packaging and warehouse facility on North Elston Avenue next month, the company announced Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

I'd rather have Morton than Motorola.

Nabisco Mobility
"The upcoming elimination of 600 jobs from the Nabisco Bakery at 73rd Street and Kedzie Avenue in Chicago Lawn will likely have a devastating effect on many Chicago families. Workers are waiting to hear which jobs will be eliminated in the latest chapter in an exodus of factory jobs from the South Side, according to a new piece by the Chicago Reporter," Chicagoist notes.

"The positions will be lost to Salinas, Mexico, where Deerfield-based Mondelez International is spending $130 million to upgrade a facility."

And where the mayor in Salinas is apparently doubling down.

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For those scoring at home, that leaves net jobs gained on today's items at 177 - and the biggest losers are blacks in North Lawndale, not whites in Schaumburg.

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See also: Nabisco Plant Worker Asks Emanuel, Obama To Save Chicago Jobs.

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Fantasy Fix: Don't Panic
Week 1 winners and losers.

Skateboarding Championships In Chicago
Rahm probably had nothing to do with this one. But I'd rather have this than the NFL draft. It'll probably cost us less, too.

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BeachBook

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MSNBC cashing in on Trump too.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

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“[T]he top 100 ranked players enter 330 winning lineups per day, and the top 10 players combine to win an average of 873...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Make it rain, make it pour.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:31 AM | Permalink

September 15, 2015

Fantasy Fix: Don't Panic

After the first week of the NFL season, it's always fun to look around your fantasy league to see who panics first. A lot of things that happen in Week 1 won't happen again - or at least to such an extreme - for the rest of the season.

Is Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN, destined to deliver duds for the rest of the year, like he did in Week 1, with 31 yards rushing and 21 yards receiving? I don't think so, and he should start rebounding in Week 2 against a Detroit defense that gave up almost 500 yards of offense in Week 1. So, if whoever drafted Peterson in your league is panicking and puts him on the trading block, go make a deal.

Will Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, NYG, fail to deliver on high draft position after posting a measly five catches, 41 yards and no TDs? Very little went right for the Giants offense in Week 1, but I'm thinking that may have more to do with a solid Dallas defense. In Week 2, OBJ and the Giants face an Atlanta defense that was positively porous against the pass last year. Game on.

These are just two examples, but basically, whatever happened in Week 1, don't panic about it if it went poorly for you, and don't invest too much in it if you had an amazing week. It takes at least two weeks to make a trend.

Week 1 Winners
QB: Marcus Mariota, TEN.

Four TDs. Wow. Again, let's see how things go this week before we make him a fantasy starter. Actually, he has a pretty good match-up against the perpetually messed up Browns in Week 2. Hmmm.

RB: Carlos Hyde, SF.

In the 49ers-Viking Monday night match-up, you could have sworn the the starting RBs switched jerseys. While AP struggled, Hyde reeled off 168 yards rushing.

WR: Julio Jones, ATL.

One of the least surprising great performances of Week 1: 141 yards and two TDs from a guy who could easily become the No. 1 WR in fantasy football if he stays healthy.

TE: Tyler Eifert, CIN.

Had the breakout game we were hoping for, with 104 yards and two TDs. The biggest deal about this performance: Nine catches on 12 targets. He is already looking like a go-to receiver for the Bengals even with A.J. Green in the mix.

Week 1 Losers
QB: Peyton Manning, DEN.

I know some of you were expecting this to be Andrew Luck, but Manning's 175 yards passing and no TDs was by far the more out-of-character performance. The Broncos' offensive line didn't give him much time or room to work. Worth keeping a careful eye on this situation in the weeks to come.

RB: Frank Gore, IND.

Indy's backfield still looks like a place where running backs go to die. Gore had only eight carries for 31 yards, though a lot of that was due to the Colts falling behind the Bills to the shocking tune of 24-0.

WR: Calvin Johnson, DET.

Everything we have been hearing suggested the Lions would be better throwing the ball this year and that Megatron would have a comeback season. Not a good start, with two catches on only four targets and just 39 yards.

Week 2 Big Play
Russell Wilson, QB, SEA: We were wondering if having Jimmy Graham at TE would indicate a more active passing game, and sure enough Wilson threw a career-high 41 passes in Week 1. This week he faces a Green Bay defense that failed to embarrass Jay Cutler until very late in the game. With Wilson's new penchant for passing and his ability to break out a big run or two, I like the former Badger in his return to our cheesiest state.

Expert Wire
* SB Nation has RBs to target on the waiver wire. The most interesting one is Danny Woodhead, SD, who looked more like the starter than starting RB and rookie Melvin Gordon, actually getting the goal-line opportunities that were supposed to go Gordon's way.

* Bleacher Report likes Mariota among top QB projections for Week 2. So, maybe Mariota isn't a bad play this week either, but assuming he's your QB-2, I can't imagine your QB-1 had such an awful week that you're ready to bench him. Even after Peyton Manning's awful week, I'd still give him another to revert to form.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:08 PM | Permalink

Street League Skateboarding Adds Women To World Championships In Chicago Next Month

Street League Skateboarding on Tuesday announced that the coming SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship - the official street skateboarding world championship as recognized by the International Skateboarding Federation - will include a women's division allowing the world's best female street skateboarders to compete for the title of SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Champion.

This historic announcement not only opens the competitive aspect of the sport up to all the world's best street skateboarders, but further solidifies the competition framework for skateboarding. With the fast-paced growth of skateboarding, an accurately defined and credible pathway for both male and female competitive skateboarders around the world to achieve World Championship status is imperative.

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"SLS has been developing a road map for competitive skateboarding that brings the best of the best under one roof," says SLS president and COO Brian Atlas.

"Adding a Women's Division to SLS is the natural next step for League progression and another way SLS is working to grow skateboarding globally. The women competing in SLS will be on the most elite stage in skateboarding, skating for the chance to be crowned World Champion. It is an important first in skateboarding history that we look forward to further developing."

Since its inception in 2010, SLS has taken street skateboarding from a disparate collection of independent events to a global competitive platform built on a premium qualification system of amateur-to-professional progression.

The development of this Road to Super Crown structure has been greatly strengthened under a unique partnership with the ISF, reinforced by a long-term partnership with Skatepark of Tampa to incorporate the Tampa Pro, Tampa Am and Damn Am Select Series into the SLS framework as talent feeder events.

Preceding the official season of arena events, the SLS Nike SB Pro Open takes place for the best international hopefuls to earn their way into the Tour alongside veteran SLS Pros.

From its inception as an invitation-only event series for the most elite street skateboarders, SLS introduced their concept to evolve the sport and grow the SLS Nike SB World Tour into a year-round qualification program reaching all of the very best in street skateboarding.

SLS's unique and proprietary ISXTM instant scoring system translates the language of skateboarding to its ever-growing global fan base by considering not just the trick complexity, but the essential skateboarding characteristics of the athlete's personal style and technique.

For the first time in history, women will have the opportunity to compete in the true street skateboarding contest that defines the only World Champion as recognized by the ISF.

Curated in conjunction with the Women's Skateboarding Alliance, the women's division at the SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship in Chicago on October 4th will bring together the world's most accomplished female skateboarders to battle it out for the title of World Champion and for the highest first place prize purse in women's skateboarding.

"SLS has grown so quickly in the last six years," says 2013 SLS Super Crown World Champion Chris Cole. "Having the opportunity for all elite skateboarders from anywhere in the world, male and female, to compete in SLS is a natural next step for SLS knowing the progression and forward thinking of the League. This will only help accelerate the growth of skateboarding, exposing it to more people."

SLS is the only skater-owned elite contest in the world and is built on a vision to bring the best in skateboarding to its core audience while also making the contest entertaining and understandable for the casual fan.

With the inclusion of a dedicated female event, the SLS Nike SB World Tour has unquestionably elevated itself to the most comprehensive skateboarding competition series that the sport has ever seen.

"For competitive street skateboarding, we believe there is no better place to start than SLS," says Gary Ream of the ISF. "Not only do they have the support of the top skateboarders, but they have also revolutionized the competition format in a way that is perfect for skateboarding on this global stage - specifically a clear path for a young skateboarder, male and female, to compete their way all the way to champion."

The top eight male pros for this year's SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship have been determined through their outstanding performances throughout the league season, which included gaining championship points from a set of two ISF-sanctioned qualifier events and two SLS Nike SB World Tour contests.

Reigning champ Nyjah Huston is set to defend his title in what will certainly be an explosive championship taking place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

Selected for their professional performance throughout the past year and contributions to street skateboarding as a whole, the female roster competing for the first-ever female title of SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Champion and a $30,000 first-place cash prize purse with one-of-a-kind Nixon watch will consist of Leticia Bufoni, Lacey Baker, Pamela Rosa, Samarria Brevard, Alexis Sablone, Vanessa Torres, Marisa Dal Santo and Alana Smith.

The women's contest will be webcast live around the world on StreetLeague.com on October 4th starting at 1:45 p.m.

In partnership with FS1, the women's contest will also have it's own dedicated one-hour premiere special telecast on FS1 and FOX Sports GO on October 18th in the USA.

The first contest including women in SLS is shaping up to be a truly historic moment in skateboarding fans won't want to miss.

Fans in the United States can watch the 2015 SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship on FS1 and customers of participating cable and satellite TV providers may access the live stream of the Tour stops through the FOX Sports GO app for iOS, Android, Windows and Kindle devices, as well as on desktops through FOXSportsGO.com.

International fans can catch entire the official live webcast exclusively on StreetLeague.com.

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Leticia Bufoni.

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Lacey Baker.

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Pamela Rosa.

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Samarria Brevard.

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Alexis Sablone.

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Vanessa Torres.

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Marisa Dal Santo.

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Alana Smith.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:34 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"In a survey of 500 leaders of large corporations in seven countries, three-quarters reported the existence of change fatigue in their organizations, and 39 percent said it is highly prevalent - but perceptions varied depending on where respondents perched on the food chain," the Tribune reports.

"The further away leaders are from the effects of change, the more blind they are to it and ill-prepared to mitigate the fallout, said Tyler Durham, partner and president of Ketchum Change, a unit of global communications firm Ketchum that specializes in change management consulting."

This is about CPS, isn't it?

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"Change fatigue happens when employees are so battered by change that they can no longer handle it productively. Burned out or apathetic, 'they foot-drag, ignore or destructively oppose change because they know they won't be able to adjust to today's change before tomorrow's is making new demands on them,' says the report. Or they quit."

Yup. CPS.

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"The most common impediment to effectively managing change is failure to gather input and ideas from employees across the business, according to the report, which was called the Liquid Change Study."

You mean the most effective way to manage change isn't to have Rahm Emanuel come up with ideas all by himself - or with the help of his kitchen cabinet of hedge funders - and then use brute force to implement them?

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"Companies in the iceberg, or solid, state don't change fast enough and are so cautious about managing risk that they risk becoming obsolete."

Now you're talking about newspapers.

"Gaseous state organizations are 'constantly moving rapidly toward the shiny penny,' but employees don't feel that they have a confident, grounded strategy."

Also newspapers.

"The goal, he said, is to become a liquid state employer, which 'behaves more like a graceful river,' maintaining a strong common core of beliefs, strategy and vision as it moves toward new opportunity."

This might sound like management consulting gobbledygook, but I believe in it.

I actually have a favorite management consultant, W. Edwards Deming, who used to say "The worker is not the problem. The problem is at the top! Management!"

Rauner's Illinois
"Today, the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children was joined by advocates from a broad range of human and state services to release a new report called Lack of Budget Is Dismantling Critical State Services, highlighting the profound impact of the state's ongoing fiscal crisis on a wide range of critical services, from child care to environmental protection and prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome," the advocacy group says.

"The report also provides a snapshot of the level of state funding required to close the current funding gap, and the increasingly destructive human costs of the budget impasse . . .

"For example, due to the budget impasse and the lack of revenue, the following state services are being dismantled:

  • No state funding leaves 91% of domestic violence services unfunded, causing service providers to lay off staff or reduce staff hours, putting 75,000 survivors of domestic violence at risk statewide - 20,000 in Cook County alone.
  • No state funding has left Illinois' only Sudden Infant Death Syndrome prevention provider with only one staff member, making it impossible to provide low-cost, portable cribs to families who can't otherwise afford them, and leaving hundreds of families vulnerable to accidental infant deaths.
  • No state funding means sixteen Teen REACH afterschool programs have already closed, leading to more than 1,500 youth losing access to high-quality tutoring and academic support, connections to mentors, and safe, structured environments. An additional 572 students are at immediate risk of losing their Teen REACH afterschool programs. Without state funding, all 15,000 students at 122 sites across the state risk permanently losing afterschool programs that keep them on track to graduate and safe from violence.
  • No state funding means that the state conservation police officer force has been reduced by 1/3, leaving Illinois' hunting, fishing and wildlife laws in danger of going unenforced, and ending vital soil conservation programs that prevent health hazards for infants stemming from pollutants in waterways.

All being held hostage to Gov. Bruce Rauner's demand that the state enact reforms such as lessening employers' responsibility to workers injured on the job.

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Also:

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Dancing Baby Beats Prince
Big win for fair use.

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BeachBook

Violent Misogynist Terrence Howard Planning Move From Chicago Penthouse To Winnetka.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, September 14, 2015

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Fake journalists type novels.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, September 14, 2015

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Change management.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:35 AM | Permalink

Important Win For Fair Use In 'Dancing Baby' Lawsuit

Appeals Court Affirms That Copyright Owners Must Consider Fair Use in Online Takedowns

A federal appeals court in San Francisco today affirmed that copyright holders must consider whether a use of material is fair before sending a takedown notice. The ruling came in Lenz v. Universal, often called the "dancing baby" lawsuit.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represents Stephanie Lenz, who - back in 2007 - posted a 29-second video to YouTube of her children dancing in her kitchen. The Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" was playing on a stereo in the background of the short clip. Universal Music Group sent YouTube a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), claiming that the family video infringed the copyright in Prince's song. EFF sued Universal on Lenz's behalf, arguing that Universal abused the DMCA by improperly targeting a lawful fair use.

On Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that copyright holders like Universal must consider fair use before trying to remove content from the Internet. It also rejected Universal's claim that a victim of takedown abuse cannot vindicate her rights if she cannot show actual monetary loss.

"Today's ruling sends a strong message that copyright law does not authorize thoughtless censorship of lawful speech," said EFF legal director Corynne McSherry. "We're pleased that the court recognized that ignoring fair use rights makes content holders liable for damages."

Today's ruling in the Lenz case comes at a critical time. Heated political campaigns - like the current presidential primaries - have historically led to a rash of copyright takedown abuse. Criticism of politicians often includes short clips of campaign appearances in order to make arguments to viewers, and broadcast networks, candidates, and other copyright holders have sometimes misused copyright law in order to remove the criticism from the Internet.

"The decision made by the appeals court today has ramifications far beyond Ms. Lenz's rights to share her video with family and friends," said McSherry. "We will all watch a lot of online video and analysis of presidential candidates in the months to come, and this ruling will help make sure that information remains uncensored."

Keker & Van Nest LLP serves as co-counsel on Lenz v. Universal.

Here's the full decision from the Ninth Circuit.

More on this case here.

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Here's the video, which now has more than 1.3 million views. Good job, Prince!

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"In her suit, Ms. Lenz argued that her use of Prince's music was protected by fair use, which allows the use of copyrighted material under certain conditions like commentary, criticism or news reporting," the New York Times reports.

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Gizmodo explains:

The key part of Lenz's legal case revolved around Universal's blanket issuance of a DMCA notice, without first even considering if Lenz's use constituted fair use - something that's required under the DMCA.

Currently, big rights-holders like Universal and the RIAA use algorithms to generate DMCA takedowns - basically, they have computers trawling YouTube and Google, looking for video clips that violate their intellectual property, and send DMCA notices to whoever's hosting the video.

But in doing so, they aren't first considering if use of the material constitutes 'fair use', like a parody (or a baby dancing to said work).

Organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have long pointed out that companies abuse the DMCA, by sending out (absurd) takedown notices without evaluating each case, and just hoping that the host will be intimidated into taking down the offending clip.

According to the precedent set in Lenz's case, rights-holders will have to evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis, to see if it constitutes fair use. That means no more giant automated take-downs, which is a big win for an uncensored internet. And all because of one dancing baby.

And we think that's exactly what Prince meant when he told us to not let the elevator break us down. Only he was the elevator.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:45 AM | Permalink

September 14, 2015

The [Monday] Papers

"The average NFL team is worth $1.97 billion, 38% more than last year," Forbes reports.

"The gain was fueled by a $39 million increase in national revenue for each of the league's 32 teams. The NFL is unlike any other sports league in that from an operating standpoint every team is immensely profitable. In 2014, operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) averaged $76 million for the league's 32 teams, ranging from a high of $270 million (Cowboys) to a low of $25 million (Atlanta Falcons)."

And that doesn't even count the free Wi-Fi Rahm gives the league whenever they bring the draft here.

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Also, Rahm gives the league use of Grant Park rent-free.

If only one of those schools Rahm closed was named Draft Town Elementary.

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Forbes' latest team valuations put the Bears at No. 8 in the league at $2.45 billion, which just goes to show you that winning isn't remotely necessary to building a fortune in the sports world.

This, however, is:

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That's how they get you.

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Also, can we get our $432 million back now?

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Also:

"The overwhelming conclusion of decades of economic research on the subject is that using public funds to subsidize...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, September 13, 2015

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As for Sunday's opener against the Packers, I have a few thoughts. But first, here's our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman's take: "Congratulations, Bears, on not being totally embarrassed this time around but of course a loss is just a loss."

Still, Coach is more sanguine than I am about this team. Sure, we all thought they'd get blown out, but they played to the spread. Big deal. Making predictions about a season based on one game is so Bears Fan. The fact that the humiliation was kept in check does not foretell a better future than expected - except maybe for the Packers, who hadn't won a season opener in four years (and on the road, at that).

As the also far-more-sanguine-than-I Matt Spiegel said on The Score this morning, the Bears are about to go 0-16 in moral victories. (Or would that be 16-0 in moral victories?) (Right, like could you go 16-0 in actual victories but 0-16 in moral ones? Maybe if you're the Patriots. - Tim Willette)

Also, the fact that Jay Cutler limited his mistakes to the crucial one that cost his team the game instead of spreading a bunch out through the day is hardly comforting. In fact, the game plan demonstrated the same lack of trust the new coaching staff has in Cutler that the old one had.

And Cutler wasn't supposed to matter this year! LOL.

What's not even remarkable is how many of us saw it coming. So many people on Twitter predicted the pick on that particular drive that I didn't even bother crafting a line about it myself.

The popular notion that the pick wasn't Cutler's fault because Packers linebacker Clay Matthews made an extraordinary play is pure nonsense. Look at the video - Cutler should never have thrown that ball, and in fact he said after the game that he knew it was trouble the moment it left his hand. That describes a huge mistake by the quarterback, not a great play by the defender.

I also got a kick out of folks joking that the Bears failure to score inside the red zone late in the game, when they passed the ball on four straight downs, was a Trestmanesque mistake - even as folks praised the relative professionalism of the new staff.

Journesia strikes again!

To wit, here's a representative slice of commentary about Marc Trestman's first game as Bears coach, which, unlike John Fox, he won:

"We've seen mirages before - the first game last year, a 41-21 win over Indianapolis comes to mind - and then we've seen the reality later, such as Marshall crying, Cutler pouting and Lovie Smith getting canned.

"With a new coach, who came by way of the Canadian Football League after a life of bouncing around assistant jobs in the NFL, and the cloudy past of Cutler, the Bears are an afterthought nationally. That's fair. To me, that makes this team dangerous."

Trestman started that season 3-0 and was lionized for finally bringing a professional passing offense to the city.

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Now, this is more like it:

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The general sentiment, I guess, is that the Bears at least lost the right way: By running out the play clock on every offensive down to keep Aaron Rodgers' time with the ball to a minimum and making Cutler a game manager who mostly hands the ball off, just like in the Lovie Smith era - without the crushing defense and stellar special teams. Accordingly, even Lovie's worst teams always seemed to be "in it," but at the end of the season the record was the same as if they'd aired it out - maybe worse.

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The truth is this: Ryan Pace has had an awful start as general manager, what with the Ray McDonald signing; the failure to adequately stock this team with offensive linemen, wide receivers, and every level of defense; the specter of a non-impact draft; imposing silly secrecy rules on his coach and players (forcing first-round pick Kevin White to lie to reporters about his season-threatening injury) because as a scout he reportedly used to scour media reports for the tiniest edge in revealed owies and game plans; and the thing about the grilled onions and peppers, which, to be fair, might not be his fault.

Oh, and switching to a new defensive scheme without rostering players who actually fit that scheme, "forgetting" about Jeremiah Ratliff's pending suspension, and somehow thinking Tim Jennings and Mason Foster couldn't help this team.

But yeah, they kept it close for awhile on Sunday, just like NFL teams tend to do before superior teams step on the gas.

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Chicagoetry: Spur
He utilized all the stock maneuvers of the Digital Revolution.

The Cub Factor: Division Week
Like Packers Week, only with a chance of winning.

Houston Soon To Be More World Class Than Chicago
Chicago officials were not immediately available for comment.

The White Sox Report: Olt Days
Slim pickings.

The [Riotous] Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Against Me!, De La Soul, New Politics, Ice Cube, Ultimate Painting, Holy Sons, CoCocoComa, Earth, Tommy Stinson, Motörhead, Drive Like Jehu, Pegboy, Disappears, Government Issue, Of Montreal, The Coathangers, Yelawolf, Merle Haggard, Faith No More, Anthrax, Alkaline Trio, System of a Down, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Runnies, L7, Kongos, Skating Polly, Andrew W.K., Less Than Jake, Rancid, GWAR, Modest Mouse, Alexisonfire, Hailu Mergia, Babes in Toyland, Gymshorts, Damian Marley, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Cliff, Stephen Ragga Marley, Cypress Hill, Barb Wire Dolls, Speedy Ortiz, Every Time I Die, Bwana, La Santa Cecilia, Eleventh Dream Day, Oreofest, The Devil Wears Prada, Hum, The Damned, The Lawrence Arms, Rick Springfield, Loverboy, Foreigner, Billy Idol, CIV, Iggy Pop, Taking Back Sunday, Northern Faces, Foxing, Beach Slang, Have Mercy, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Prodigy, The Dead Milkmen, Tenacious D, and No Doubt.

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BeachBook

Dude was beating Obama for U.S. Senate seat until divorce papers were unsealed late in the race and then sensationalized by Axelrod's media pals.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, September 14, 2015

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"His child care tax credit echoes the sorts of tax-policy-as-welfare proposals of conservatives like former Republican Senator (and 2012 presidential candidate) Rick Santorum."

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, September 13, 2015

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ObamaCare to Crapify Health Insurance at 26% of Employers with “Cadillac Tax”

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, September 13, 2015

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Bush to Obama a seamless transition. #legacy

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, September 13, 2015

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Hoping to generate extra revenue.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, September 12, 2015

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Not sanguine.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Bears Not Totally Awful

One game does not a season make. Yeah, it was the Packers, and yeah, it was at home, but let's work within the context of this season, shall we? This Bears season is a little more promising after Sunday's 31-23 loss.

Believe me when I tell you that I was sorely tempted to start today's effort with something along the lines of: "What have we done to deserve year after year of Aaron Rodgers kicking Bears ass not long after year after year of Brett Favre kicking Bears ass?"

I used to think the worst stretch of Chicago North Side sports fandom was 2003 to 2006, when not only did we watch the Cubs gag but were treated to the Red Sox winning it all in '04 (and ending a real curse, The Curse of the Bambino), the White Sox doing the same in '05 and Tony LaRussa leading an 83-win Cardinal team to another title the following season.

But this thing with Rodgers, come on. And our guy Jay has now led the Bears to a nightmarish 12 losses in his 13 games versus the Packers as the local signal-caller. Congratulations, Bears, on not being totally embarrassed this time around but of course a loss is just a loss.

On the other hand, the team is one game into the season and a fan can already tell that this coaching staff is far better than previous models. Speaking of the coaching staff, here is why we need to play every season to win, version 18.0. Does anyone think Adam Gase will still be an offensive coordinator in 2016?

The answer is no. The Bears offense played better, smarter football in the first half on Sunday than they did in any first half last year. The Packers knew the Bears would do everything they could to establish the running game, adjusted their defensive scheme accordingly, and then the Bears still found ways to move the football. Also, Gase got his calls into Cutler early all day and had him up at the line of scrimmage with plenty of time to assess situations play after play. Anyone see Ravens-Broncos later Sunday? Gase's former team struggled mightily without him at the helm.

In the coming offseason, someone will hire this guy as their head coach. So the Bears sure as hell better play their one season with Gase at the helm of the offense with urgency. And while I was initially irritated that the Bears gave up a 2017 sixth-round draft choice for a tight end prospect (Khari Lee in a trade with the Texans late in the preseason), I have come around to believing that at least a few measures to improve this year at the expense of a little bit of future team-building capability is OK.

All of that being said, it was sure hard to understand the Bears passing the ball three straight times from the two-yard-line midway through the fourth quarter with a chance to score a touchdown and a game-tying two-point conversion. Coach John Fox made the right call to go for it on that fourth down in part because a field goal wasn't going to help and in part because when the Bears didn't make it, the Packers were still buried inside their own 10.

Sure enough, the defense held and the Bears had another shot to go down and tie it with under six minutes to go. And they started a potential drive with yet another slick third down play. On the day, the Bears converted an impressive 11-for-17 third downs.

But as Bears fans have seen a million times before, if Cutler throws a certain number of passes in a row, he gets overconfident. He was lucky his ill-advised pass on second down of the series at the goal line wasn't picked off and then he threw the inevitable pick. Clay Matthews returned it a ways, the Packers went down and scored again and the game was essentially over.

The interception itself was more a result of Packer defensive coordinator Dom Capers' smart scheme (sending Matthews across to pick up the tight end in coverage in rarely seen fashion) and Matthews' execution than it was a failure on Cutler's part. But it was still a failure and given the way Cutler talked about it afterward it seemed he was not completely surprised by the maneuver.

Woe is us, Bears fans. But whoa with the ultra-gloomy forecasts for this season. This team has a shot to be decent and in an NFL that is once again riven with parity, decent will at least be entertaining for a good long while this fall.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:00 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Against Me! at Riot Fest on Friday.

Polished and ferocious.

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2. New Politics at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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3. De La Soul at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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4. Ice Cube at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

Kot: Ice Cube Delivers N.W.A. Nostalgia.

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5. Ultimate Painting at the Silent Funny House on Saturday.

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6. Holy Sons at the Bohemian National Cemetery for Beyond The Gate on Thursday night.

Loerzel: Photos.

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7. CoCoComa at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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8. Earth at the Bohemian National Cemetery on Thursday night.

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9. Tommy Stinson at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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10. Motörhead at Riot Fest on Friday night.

Setlist.

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11. Drive Like Jehu at Bottom Lounge for a Riot Fest aftershow on Friday night.

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12. Pegboy at Chop Shop on Saturday night.

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13. Disappears at the Bohemian National Cemetery on Thursday night.

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14. Government Issue at the Double Door on Friday night.

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15. Of Montreal at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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16. The Coathangers at Riot Fest on Friday.

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17. Yelawolf at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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18. Merle Haggard at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

Setlist.

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19. Faith No More at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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20. Anthrax at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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21. Alkaline Trio at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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22. System of a Down at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

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23. Rodrigo y Gabriela at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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24. The Runnies at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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25. L7 at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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26. Kongos at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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27. Skating Polly at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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28. Andrew W. K. at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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29. Less Than Jake at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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30. Rancid at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

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31. GWAR at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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32. Modest Mouse at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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33. Alexisonfire at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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34. Hailu Mergia at Promontory for World Music Fest on Sunday night.

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35. Babes in Toyland at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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36. Gymshorts at Bric-a-Brac on Sunday.

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37. Damian Marley at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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38. Snoop Dogg at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

Setlist.

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39. Jimmy Cliff at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

Setlist.

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40. Stephen Ragga Marley at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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41. Cypress Hill at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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42. Barb Wire Dolls at Riot Fest on Friday.

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43. Speedy Ortiz at Riot Fest on Friday.

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44. Every Time I Die at Riot Fest on Friday.

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45. Bwana at the Mid on Friday night.

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46. La Santa Cecilia at Mayne Stage on Friday night for World Music Fest.

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47. Eleventh Dream Day at City Made Fest in Andersonville on Saturday night.

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48. Oreofest at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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49. The Devil Wears Prada at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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50. Hum at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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51. The Damned at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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52. The Lawrence Arms at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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53. Rick Springfield at Northerly Island on Thursday night.

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54. Loverboy at Northerly Island on Thursday night.

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55. Foreigner in Tinley Park on Saturday night.

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56. Billy Idol at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

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57. CIV at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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58. Iggy Pop at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

Yuk.

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59. Taking Back Sunday at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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60. Northern Faces at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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61. Foxing at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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62. Beach Slang at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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63. Have Mercy at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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64. The Airborne Toxic Event at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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65. The Prodigy at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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And now we commence the list-ending joke band trilogy . . .

66. The Dead Milkmen at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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68. Tenacious D at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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69. No Doubt at Riot Fest on Friday night.

Don't sing - it hurts.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:17 AM | Permalink

Houston Gaining On Chicago

Hidden in the haze of the petrochemical plants and beyond the seemingly endless traffic jams, a Texas city has grown so large that it is poised to pass Chicago as the third biggest in the United States in the next decade.

Houston has been one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities for years, fueled by an energy industry that provided the backbone of the economy, low taxes and prospects of employment that have attracted job seekers.

But Houston also embodies the new, urban Texas, where political views have been drifting to the left, diversity is being embraced and newer residents are just as likely to drive a hybrid as a pickup truck.

Houston's move is also indicative of demographic shifts unfolding in the United States that will increase the population and political clout of the Lone Star State over the next several decades.

Within eight to 10 years, Houston is forecast by demographers in the two states to pass Chicago, which has seen its population decline for years, as the third-largest city.

Houston is projected to have population of 2.54 million to 2.7 million by 2025 while Chicago will be at 2.5 million, according to official data from both states provided for their health departments. New York and Los Angeles are safe at one and two respectively.

Houston has long been associated with the risk takers in the oil industry and more recently as one of the better cities to find a job.

"Texas has a long tradition, and Houston has it in spades, that we are not so much interested in where you are from. We want to know what you can do," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said in an interview with Reuters.

Chicago officials were not immediately available for comment.

Apart from domestic migration, about one in five Houstonians is foreign born and more than 90 languages are spoken in the city.

"We have that international mindset that the rest of the United States never saw," said Parker, a former oil executive and city controller who has a collection of urban achievement awards and rodeo belt buckles in her office.

On Houston's fringes are petrochemical plants that fuel the economy, space agency NASA that attracts aerospace jobs and a port that handles more foreign tonnage than any other in the United States.

In between is a mass of relatively unplanned urban sprawl, strip malls, ethnic enclaves, trendy restraints and burgeoning green spaces lying under an umbrella of oppressive heat that lasts more than half the year.

ROLLER COASTER ECONOMY

The energy industry, which accounts for about 40 percent of Houston's economy, has sent the fortunes of the city on a roller coaster ride for decades.

With oil currently at around $45 a barrel, the brakes have been slammed on job growth, and a slight chill has entered into the booming construction sector.

Since 1969, Houston has been one of the most successful major U.S. cities in terms of per capita personal income growth. Since about 2003, about 650,000 jobs have been created in the Houston area, according to the University of Houston.

The Houston-area unemployment rate has remained below the national average for years, according to government data, while the Chicago-area has recently been above it.

However, Houston's growth, coming with few zoning restrictions and a loose regulatory system in Texas, has led to persistent problems in air quality and traffic congestion.

'HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN?'

Mayor Parker, who is leaving office after six years due to term limits, made headlines when she was elected the first open lesbian to run a major U.S. city. She capitalized on the media attention as a chance to promote the city as a good place to do business, she said.

The city purchases more renewable energy than any other in the United States, said Parker, who has launched a $250 million project to put bike and hike trials along the bayous, or small rivers, that run through the city like veins.

On social issues, residents in one of the most racially diverse U.S. cities are seen as "tolerant traditionalists" who espouse conservative values and open minds when it comes to social issues, according to a poll from the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Houston's Rice University.

Residents generally have a positive view of immigrants, favor same-sex marriage and are more progressive than the state's socially conservative Republican leadership, it said.

The city ranks near the top in the United States in terms of resettling refugees from abroad and when the price of oil picks up again, it will see a fresh wave of migration from those seeking employment.

"If you see the way the crowd is going, you might as well jump in front of it and make it a parade," Parker said.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

Chicago officials were not immediately available for comment!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 AM | Permalink

September 13, 2015

Division Week

Um, guys, what's going on with this bullpen?

The Week In Review: The Cubs went 4-3 for the week taking two of three from the Cards and splitting four games with the Phils. Four of seven would normally be fine, but somehow it felt worse because 1) It's the Cubs, which makes everything feel worse, and 2) They either blew leads in all the losses or came storming back to tie it up only to lose the leads again. There is clearly no quit in this team at the plate but those were three punch-in-the face losses.

The Week in Preview: The Cubbies get a day off Monday before heading to Pittsburgh for four against the Buccos and then three back home against the Cards. It's Division Week!

The Second Basemen Report: Four starts by Starlin Castro, two by Tommy La Stella, and one by Javy Baez. What, no Chris Coghlan?

In former Cubs second basemen news, everyone's favorite ex-Cub second baseman Darwin Barney is now a Blue Jay and in the thick of a pennant race. Apparently he's good in metric. He is happily missed by his former teams.

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe is not happy with the schedule the Cubs have pending next year. Maybe just have the squad dress up as the time you want it to be, Joe.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Everyone's favorite Castro (sorry, Fidel) is still ripping it up in September. Castro is battling .435 for the month and even has a walk (!) for an OBP of .458. And it's September 13th, people. He could be really Castro-ey for a couple weeks and still be looking good for the month. If nothing else, he has probably shown enough to be traded over the offseason. So good job, Starlin!

Kubs Kalender: On Wednesday the Cubs play the Pirates on Roberto Clemente Day and they are giving out these shirts. Man that dude had a hose.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of The Week: Shares of Optimism traded just a bit lower this week.

Over/Under: The number of pitchers that are trustworthy in the bullpen right now: +/- .5.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that someone has to pitch the 8th and 9th innings.

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* Touch 'em all: The Cub Factor archives.

* Know thy enemy: The White Sox Reports.

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Marty Gangler is our man on the Cub. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:27 PM | Permalink

Olt Days

Ted Williams is credited with the proclamation that "the hardest single thing to do in sport is to hit a baseball," which makes sense since Teddy Ballgame was arguably more skillful at it than anyone who has ever lived.

Most probably Williams' comment was intended to boost his already substantial ego, although as far as anyone knows he never had to elude a charging 300-pound lineman while trying to throw a pinpoint pass to a downfield receiver. Nor did the venerable Williams ever have to sink a three-point buzzer-beater while being guarded by a 6-10 defender.

But Williams had a point. Hitting a baseball clearly is an acquired skill that few of us have mastered. The same could be said of fielding a hard-hit ground ball, as the White Sox too often demonstrate.

Sunday's 7-0 loss to the Twins, giving Minnesota two wins in the three-game weekend series and a 13-6 thumping for the season series, is a case in point. Not only did the Sox display the difficult challenge in striking a speeding sphere with a rounded wood club, being shut out for the 11th time, but they also failed to defend effectively.

Speedy Twins' outfielder Aaron Hicks hit Chris Sale's first pitch to the left of third baseman Mike Olt, who deflected the ball toward shortstop Tyler Saladino, who had no chance to throw out Hicks. Sale retired the next two hitters. Granted, Olt was playing on the infield grass in the event that Hicks laid down a bunt. No one also would argue that the ball wasn't hit sharply. Nevertheless, this is the big leagues, and Olt, and certainly others, have gloved similar grounders and turned them into outs.

Two singles followed, plating Hicks for the Twins' first run, and then Torii Hunter lined a 3-2 Sale pitch into the left-field stands for a four-run lead. Had Olt handled Hicks' grounder, Sale would have escaped unblemished.

Two innings later with two outs, Twins rookie slugger Miguel Sano smoked a Sale delivery to center field, where Adam Eaton took two steps back, then realized the ball was landing four steps in front of him for a base hit. Again, that should have retired the side. Instead Sale was called upon for additional work which included three more hits, accounting for two more runs.

So there the Sox sat, behind by six runs without being charged with an error, but clearly deficient in the defensive department. Sale was gone after three innings, and who would blame him if he wondered what life would be like with a good ballclub behind him.

One Sox defender who has been basically consistent this season is shortstop Alexei Ramirez. He's not about to win a popularity contest at The Cell; he's hitting 24 points below his career average of .274, and his OBP is an unimpressive .281, far below his lifetime mark of .310.

But he does generally pick up the ball. Ramirez has handled 607 chances this season. Of all shortstops, only Elvis Andrus of Texas has more. Alexei's glove touches about 15 percent of all balls put into play against the Sox, and he's been charged with 15 errors, the same number he had for the 2014 season.

There's a statistic called the Range Factor, a measure theoretically to determine how much real estate a fielder covers. Ramirez ranks fourth in this department for all MLB shortstops. So even though Alexei has committed a few miscues on the most inopportune occasions, he compares favorably with major league shortstops of whom there are plenty of good ones, especially young stars such as Houston's Carlos Correa, Detroit's Jose Iglesias, Boston's Xander Bogaerts, and Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons.

Ramirez isn't the best shortstop in baseball, but he is a seasoned veteran who capably handles what I think is the most important position on the field. And that is one reason that this White Sox team will be so difficult to fix.

The Sox have a club option of $10 million to sign Ramirez for one more season. If they do so, he would be the sixth highest paid player on the team behind John Danks, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson and Adam LaRoche. Of course, this assumes that those five will return, which is unlikely.

While $10 million is a lot of money, in the world of baseball, it's doable. If the White Sox had a viable alternative, general manager Rick Hahn no doubt would write Ramirez his buyout check for a million dollars and thank him for his eight years of service on the South Side.

However, the heir apparent is Tim Anderson, the team's top draft choice (17th overall) in 2013, and he isn't ready to become a major league shortstop. Maybe in 2017. Maybe never. But not in 2016. Anderson hit a productive .312 at Birmingham this season, but he also made 25 errors in 110 games, and that won't cut it at The Cell.

Of course, already on the roster are Saladino and Carlos Sanchez, both of whom are shortstops playing third and second base, respectively. But on a team that's been near the bottom in runs scored all season long, inserting either of those .230 hitters as your everyday shortstop in 2016 fails to provide any additional pop. While Saladino and Sanchez have shown they can handle the glove, neither would represent an upgrade over Ramirez.

So Ramirez is likely to stay right where he is because of no viable alternatives and also because the team has more pressing needs, like more punch from their third basemen and catchers. In order to get it, Hahn will have to part with a pitcher or two, most likely Jose Quintana, and hope that Erik Johnson and Frankie Montas can fill the void.

Baltimore's injury-prone catcher Matt Wieters - he's played in just 63 games this season - will be a free agent who might be a good fit for the Sox. The free agent market for a third baseman is pretty much bare.

Olt got five starts at third base last week as the Sox obviously want to take a good look at the guy who hit 12 home runs for the Cubs last season while striking out close to half of his at-bats. A first-round pick of the Rangers in 2010, he's made better contact in his brief stint with the Sox, but failing to glove that grounder on Sunday impressed no one.

Of course, we'll see some changes. But the biggest change this team needs is for its current core of players to play better. Especially hit better. But catch and pitch better as well. It's not going to be easy.

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

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1. From Edward Becht:

As a Sox fan of 70 years, this is the first time I have written anyone concerning our team. I have been fortunate because I have witnessed, in person, two World Series' with the Sox, '59 and '05. I have an opinion (who doesn't) about our Sox.

I have not been at the Cell since the signing of Adam Dunn and I probably won't be there again before I die. Let me tell you why I think the Sox are not "fixable." We have a front office that is still living on the World Series championship, despite the fact that we have three starters who couldn't start on any other team. I refer to third, second and catcher. If we are speaking the American League, add a fourth in the DH.

All the hoopla about the signings for this year was a joke that the press fully played into. I present you with Adam LaRoche, another NL left-handed hitter circa Dunn. I present you with a steroidless Melky. Melky is nothing like that drug-induced player he was. If any other team had a GM that paid for these guys, they would be gone.

I never thought I would say this, but God bless the Cubs. The change there is a product of hiring a good front office. Basically we have been playing with a 7-man lineup for 5 years. However, Kenny Williams appears to be untouchable. Hahn is just a front man.

If we want to get better, change the top of the organization. I would never pay to see this product in person.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 PM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Spur

Spur

"There are two kinds of spurs
In this world, my friend:
Those that come in through the door
And those that come in

Through the window."

He was a Rat,
But he had some skills,
So we partnered up
To do some business.

When he betrayed me,
I left him to die
In the desert

Where even the rain burns.

But he utilized
All the stock maneuvers
Of the Digital Revolution

To track me down.
He came in through
The bathroom window.

I heard the spurs
Go jingle-jangle-jingle.

I'd let my guard down
And was vulnerable, so
To the Rat

I was candy. Then

He left me
To die
In the desert.

I had to find a way
To survive.

I had a reputation
For keeping my pistols clean,
A reputation that, over time,
Acquired a modest gleam.

I perhaps became
Too recognizable: Stetson
Hat, short cheroot,

Mexican poncho.

I was good, I was bad,
I was ugly.

I had skills.

But I had no clue
I'd earned so many "friends,"
Whose "admiration"

Curdled to envy
As my legend spread.

And envy
Put in action
Is a stone-cold killer,

Especially coming from
Long-lost chums
After the same till.

Then, in a relatively simple
Twist of fate,

The Rat realized there was more
In it for him
If he kept me alive.

Lo: it was all
About him.

He hoped
I'd forget
He was the first

To betray,
Insult compounding
The injury.

Kid: they
Fuck you over
Then count on you

Forgetting,
Hoping they can
Do it again.

It's ugly stuff,
But best learned hard
In the burning rain.

Yo: then Ju-Ju Eyeball
Smelled the boiling blood

And couldn't help
But join the fray.

I sure remember Ju-Ju:
Old School all the way,
A knife-sharp

Holy Roller with a radar
For loot, mojo filter
On his short cheroot.

When he was paid
To do a job
He did the job.

Ju-Ju was dread.

I had some measured respect
For the Rat

(Wide sombrero,
Pistol on a string),

Which complicated the issue,

But Ju-Ju Eyeball
Was always too hard
For his own good,

Couldn't help
But join the fray.
He was easy, because

I always
Hated his guts
Anyway.

I meant to survive.
Hard lessons learned
In the burning rain;

Of course
Time's best guru
Is the reverend pain.

It won't suffice just
To take it from me, but
One thing I can tell you is

You got to be free.

When the showdown came,
I'd honed my game:

Ju-Ju was candy.

Lo: the price
Of an education
Gets steeper by the year,

But that,
And pure will,
Have sharpened

My ear.

I listen
For spurs
In my sleep.

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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 5:38 PM | Permalink

September 12, 2015

Boeing Plans To Finish Some 737s In China

Boeing Co. is planning to move final production work for some 737 jetliners to a new facility in China, and is timing an announcement to coincide with the first U.S. state visit of China's president, Xi Jinping, later this month, according to a published report.

The report in Aviation Week on Friday appeared to surprise elected officials, unions and industry leaders in Washington state, where Boeing now builds all 737s. The governor's office, labor leaders and the industry association told Reuters they had not heard of the plan.

The International Association of Machinists District 751 said it was concerned about potential job losses. Boeing had not shared details of the plan, it also said.

Boeing declined to comment on the report, but issued a statement that left open the possibility, saying that it is always looking to expand and improve productivity.

2015-09-12T000633Z_1_LYNXNPEB8B004_RTROPTP_3_BOEING.JPG"One way we do this is by working with partners around the world, including in China, our largest international market," the company said.

"However, we do not comment on options we may be exploring."

Moving work to China from Boeing's plane-production stronghold in the U.S. Pacific Northwest would represent a bold step for the Chicago-based company, which so far has set up one full assembly line outside Washington state, in South Carolina.

But the move would be in line with increased global sourcing of aerospace parts and supplies. Foreign contracts and operations are seen as helpful in winning fierce sales competitions with European rival Airbus Group NV.

Airbus is due to inaugurate this weekend its first U.S. final assembly line, in Mobile, Alabama. The $600 million factory, which sports a large U.S. flag, allows Airbus to lay claim to employing American workers, as foreign automakers did after building U.S. plants.

Airbus, with major manufacturing in Toulouse, France, also has final assembly lines in Hamburg, Germany, and Tianjin, China.

Boeing also has relied on foreign suppliers to help cement sales relationships. Three Japanese industrial giants produce portions of Boeing's 777 and 787 aircraft, and Japan's major airlines have been almost exclusively Boeing customers.

According to Aviation Week, Boeing's China facility would paint 737 aircraft built at its Renton, Washington, factory, conduct flight testing, and perform some interior installation.

But the move could conflict with a deal Boeing struck with machinists in 2011. In exchange for ratifying a contract, Boeing said it would build the 737 "in its existing Renton facility."

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Yes, yes it did.

*

Here's the link to the Aviation Week article (subscription required) that Reuters didn't provide because legacy media still has its head up its butt when it comes to the Internet.

*

A long-standing problem with "business reporting" is demonstrated in this passage:

But the move would be in line with increased global sourcing of aerospace parts and supplies. Foreign contracts and operations are seen as helpful in winning fierce sales competitions with European rival Airbus Group NV.

That's true if you only look at business through the prism of the executive suite, which is like analyzing a sports team's trade only through the prism of how the move may increase a franchise's profits instead of considering team performance on the field. Why not just come out and say it? To wit:

Such global sourcing takes advantage of the ability to evade U.S. labor and environmental laws that offer at least some manner of protection from unsafe working conditions and poverty wages while building business partnerships with despots whose human rights abuses and authoritarian governments needn't get in the way of overpaid American executives whose greed is never satiated.

But yeah. Yay! Boeing. Chicago.

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See also:
* Chinese Workers Foxconned.

* China Labor Watch.

* Sweatshops In China.

* Wall Street Journal: China Toy Factory Workers Protest Over Unpaid Wages.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:31 AM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Yeah, I forgot this one yesterday. Or more like, I couldn't find it because I didn't remember it quite right. Here it is:


*

And from a member of the Beachwood Nation who rather go through the war anonymously:

Predictable 9/11 patriotic overkill around MLB.

Salute the flag, then bomb Syria. It never ends.

*

Here's how baseball games will be conducted in the near future:

Before the game: National Anthem

1st inning: Video tribute to Heroes of the Marines

2nd inning: Singing of Onward Christian Soldiers

3rd inning: Billy Graham sermon highlight

4th inning: Video tribute to Heroes of the Seabees

5th inning: Clip of John Wayne killing a Jap

6th inning: B-52 flyover

7th inning: God Bless America

8th inning: West Point Cadet pillow fight

9th inning: George Bush - Mission Accomplished

Nicely done, my friend.

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Beachwood Sports Radio: Bears Grim March To Hell Begins &The Normalization Of The Cubs
The Coming Meatball Explosion. Plus: White Sox Reportedly Still Playing; The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week; The Chicago Sky Head To The Playoffs.

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Boeing's China Con
"Such global sourcing takes advantage of the ability to evade U.S. labor and environmental laws that offer at least some manner of protection from unsafe working conditions and poverty wages while building business partnerships with despots whose human rights abuses and authoritarian governments needn't get in the way of overpaid American executives whose greed is never satiated.

"But yeah. Yay! Boeing. Chicago."

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Time to sharpen those #2 pencils. With classes back in session, it's time for Jim and Greg to present some more of their favorite Back-To-School songs. Plus, we remember the late, great neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report

"Taking it to the Streets. Learn how to obtain and benefit from federal jobs with Mary Watkins, president of Blacks in Government Chicago."

Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

*

"Property Tax Appeal Workshop. As Chicago faces a historic property tax increase, experts from the Cook County Assessor's Office give tips on how you can submit an appeal to lower your rates."

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Weekend BeachBook

"You have a record of nothing - that's what you got a record of."

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, September 11, 2015

*

The real Yi-Fen Chou is an engineer in Chicago.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, September 11, 2015

*

Take that, McDonald's.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, September 11, 2015

*

*

*

He has never been charged with a crime.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, September 11, 2015

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Weekend TweetWood

*

*

*

*

*

*

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Outstanding clerking.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:18 AM | Permalink

September 11, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #68: The Bears' Grim March To Hell Begins

Including: The Coming Meatball Explosion. Plus: The Normalization Of The Cubs; White Sox Reportedly Still Playing; The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week; The Chicago Sky Head To The Playoffs.


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SHOW NOTES

* Jim Osborne.

2:21: The Bears' Grim March To Hell Begins.

* Bill Barnwell of Grantland gives the Bears a break.

* Roger Goodell has no joy.

* Bears schedule.

* Jeremiah Lester.

* Cubs Karma.

* The curious Packers point spread.

* Lefty Rosenthal.

* Epic Fales.

* The Coming Meatball Explosion.

* Proposal: Pundit relegation.

* Epic Foles.

47:20: The Normalization Of The Cubs.

* Critiquing Joe Maddon.

* Loony lineups.

* We give up.

58:12 Chicago White Sox Reportedly Still Playing.

* Robin Ventura, for one, wants Robin Ventura back.

59:39: The Chicago Fire Did Something This Week.

59:46: The Chicago Sky Head To The Playoffs.

STOPPAGE: :27

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Never forget.


*

Nine . . . Eleven.

*

David . . . Spade.

*

Seth MacFarlane's 9/11.

-

Here it is:

*

Oh, but . . . ohhhh.

*

Are you saying 9/11 didn't change everything?

*

Iraq lobster.

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Remix.

*

Bin Laden in Heaven.

*

Stewie vs. bin Laden.

*

72 virgins in paradise.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood
Scene one, take one, booth one.

Homeland Security vs. Library Freedom
"Used in repressive regimes by dissidents and journalists, Tor is considered a crucial tool for freedom of expression and counts the State Department among its top donors. But Tor has been a thorn in the side of law enforcement; National Security Agency documents made public by Snowden have revealed the agency's frustration that it could only identify a 'very small fraction' of Tor users."

Obama Blocks Release Of New CIA Torture Details
President plans to continue declaring detainees' accounts of their own torture classified.

India TV: American Sikh Beaten, Called 'Bin Laden' In Chicago Suburb
Has lived here for 20 years.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Black Pussy, Biters, Ratatat, The Academy Is . . ., Black Fast, Victor Wooten, Avatar, Dr. John, and Belinda Carlisle.

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BeachBook

#tbt It already happened, Kristen.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, September 10, 2015

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Ratatat.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Black Pussy at Reggies on Tuesday night.


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2. Biters at the Double Door on Wednesday night.

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3. Ratatat at the Riv on Tuesday night.

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4. The Academy Is . . . at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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5. Black Fast at Reggies on Wednesday night.

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6. Victor Wooten at SPACE in Evanston on Sunday night.

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7. Avatar at the Tree in Joliet on Sunday night.

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8. Dr. John at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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9. Belinda Carlisle at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:08 AM | Permalink

India TV: American Sikh Beaten, Called 'Bin Laden' in Chicago Suburb

"An elderly Sikh-American man was brutally injured and allegedly called a 'terrorist' and 'bin Laden' in an apparent hate crime case in [suburban] Chicago."


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See also:
* India West: 'I Never Expected Racism To Happen To Me,' Says Sikh Victim Of Racial Attack.

* Daily Herald: Sikh-American's Father Urges Education After Darien Road Rage Attack.

* The Burr Ridge Doings Weekly: Sikh Man Who Was Attacked In Darien Returns Home From Hospital.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:26 AM | Permalink

Obama Administration Blocks Release Of New CIA Torture Details

U.S. government officials have blocked the release of 116 pages of defense lawyers' notes detailing the torture that Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah says he experienced in CIA custody, defense lawyers said on Thursday.

The treatment of Zubaydah, who lost one eye and was waterboarded 83 times in a single month while held by the CIA, according to government documents, has been the focus of speculation for years.

"We submitted 116 pages in 10 separate submissions," Joe Margulies, Zubaydah's lead defense lawyer, told Reuters. "The government declared all of it classified."

Margulies and lawyers for other detainees said that the decision showed that the Obama administration plans to continue declaring detainees' accounts of their own torture classified.

A Central Intelligence Agency spokesperson declined to comment.

After the release of a U.S. Senate report on CIA torture in December, the government loosened its classification rules and released 27 pages of interview notes compiled by lawyers for detainee Majid Khan in which he described his torture.

Khan, a Guantanamo detainee turned government cooperating witness, said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his "private parts" - none of which was described in the Senate report.

Khan said that guards, some of whom smelled of alcohol, also threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks and leather belts.

"The CIA has apparently changed its mind about allowing detainees to talk about their torture," said Wells Dixon, Khan's lawyer.

CIA and White House officials opposed releasing the Senate report, but Senator Dianne Feinstein, who then chaired the Intelligence Committee, made public its 480-page executive summary.

A month after the report's release, government lawyers said in a January 2015 court filing that the CIA had issued new classification rules that permitted the release of "general allegations of torture," and "information regarding the conditions of confinement."

But they said the names of CIA employees or contractors could not be released. Nor the locations of the secret "black" sites where detainees were held around the world after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Margulies said the 116 pages of notes he submitted for clearance were limited to Zubaydah's description of his torture and did not include prohibited information.

Margulies said he followed "the rule to the letter" and accused the CIA of trying "guarantee that Abu Zubaydah never discloses what was done to him."

Zubaydah, a 44-year-old Saudi national, has been held in Guantanamo for nine years and not been charged with a crime.

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Previously:
* Doc Of Rages.

* 'Incommunicado' Forever: Gitmo Detainee's Case Stalled For 2,477 Days And Counting.

* They Said No To Torture.

* The Trews: What Should We Think About CIA Torture.

* The Tortured History Of The Senate Torture Report.

* Torture USA.

* The Best Reporting On Detention And Rendition Under Obama.

* Primer: Indefinite Detention And The NDAA.

* The Senate Report On CIA Interrogations You May Never See.

* Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out.

* Torture USA.

* The Prison That Just Can't Be Closed.

* Barack Obama's Secret Island Prison.

* Guantanamo Prisoner Lifts Lid.

* Read The Fucking Torture Report, People.

* American Torture Story - Chicago Chapter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:04 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood

Scene one, take one, booth one.

flaggoldennuggetexpbw.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:06 AM | Permalink

September 10, 2015

First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail

Since Edward Snowden exposed the extent of online surveillance by the U.S. government, there has been a surge of initiatives to protect users' privacy.

But it hasn't taken long for one of these efforts - a project to equip local libraries with technology supporting anonymous internet surfing - to run up against opposition from law enforcement.

In July, the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was the first library in the country to become part of the anonymous Web surfing service Tor. The library allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their internet traffic through the library, thus masking users' locations.

Soon after, state authorities received an e-mail about it from an agent at the Department of Homeland Security.

"The Department of Homeland Security got in touch with our police department," said Sean Fleming, the library director of the Lebanon Public Libraries.

After a meeting at which local police and city officials discussed how Tor could be exploited by criminals, the library pulled the plug on the project.

"Right now we're on pause," said Fleming. "We really weren't anticipating that there would be any controversy at all."

He said that the library board of trustees will vote on whether to turn the service back on at its meeting on Sept. 15.

Used in repressive regimes by dissidents and journalists, Tor is considered a crucial tool for freedom of expression and counts the State Department among its top donors. But Tor has been a thorn in the side of law enforcement; National Security Agency documents made public by Snowden have revealed the agency's frustration that it could only identify a "very small fraction" of Tor users.

The idea to install Tor services in libraries emerged from Boston librarian Alison Macrina's Library Freedom Project, which aims to teach libraries how to "protect patrons' rights to explore new ideas, no matter how controversial or subversive, unfettered by the pernicious effects of online surveillance." (The Library Freedom Project is funded by Knight Foundation, which also provides funding to ProPublica.)

After Macrina conducted a privacy training session at the Kilton library in May, she talked to the librarian about also setting up a Tor relay, the mechanism by which users across the Internet can hide their identity.

The library board of trustees unanimously approved the plan at its meeting in June, and the relay was set up in July. But after ArsTechnica wrote about the pilot project and Macrina's plan to install Tor relays in libraries across the nation, law enforcement got involved.

A special agent in a Boston DHS office forwarded the article to the New Hampshire police, who forwarded it to a sergeant at the Lebanon Police Department.

DHS spokesman Shawn Neudauer said the agent was simply providing "visibility/situational awareness," and did not have any direct contact with the Lebanon police or library. "The use of a Tor browser is not, in [or] of itself, illegal and there are legitimate purposes for its use," Neudauer said, "However, the protections that Tor offers can be attractive to criminal enterprises or actors and HSI [Homeland Security Investigations] will continue to pursue those individuals who seek to use the anonymizing technology to further their illicit activity."

When the DHS inquiry was brought to his attention, Lt. Matthew Isham of the Lebanon Police Department was concerned. "For all the good that a Tor may allow as far as speech, there is also the criminal side that would take advantage of that as well," Isham said. "We felt we needed to make the city aware of it."

Deputy city manager Paula Maville said that when she learned about Tor at the meeting with the police and the librarians, she was concerned about the service's association with criminal activities such as pornography and drug trafficking. "That is a concern from a public relations perspective and we wanted to get those concerns on the table," she said.

Faced with police and city concerns, library director Fleming agreed to turn off the Tor relay temporarily until the board could reconsider. "We need to find out what the community thinks," he said. "The only groups that have been represented so far are the police department and City Hall."

Fleming said that he is now realizing the downside of being the first test site for the Tor initiative.

"There are other libraries that I've heard that are interested in participating but nobody else wanted to be first," he said. "We're lonesome right now."

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Months after revealing the Chicago Police Department set up sobriety checkpoints almost exclusively in African-American and Latino communities, the Tribune has found that the pattern continues," the paper reports.

"Between March and August, Chicago police scheduled 14 roadside checks, pulling over drivers randomly to check for drunken driving and other violations. Nine of the checks were in majority black police districts. Four checkpoints occurred in a predominantly Latino districts. There was one in a majority white area. That's despite the fact that the Tribune has in the past shown some predominantly white districts in Chicago had more alcohol-related crashes than many minority districts."

Consider:

No corner of the city had more checkpoints than the Harrison District on the city's West Side, where police have scheduled three of the random stops since March. An earlier Tribune analysis of state traffic data found that the majority black district ranked 10th out of the city's 22 districts for the number of alcohol-related crashes in recent years.

The Englewood District followed closely behind in crashes, yet police scheduled two roadside checks in the predominantly African-American South Side district in recent months. On March 20, police scheduled a checkpoint in the majority black Grand Crossing District even though the area has had the fewest alcohol-related crashes in the city.

Meanwhile, no checkpoints were scheduled in the majority white Jefferson Park District despite ranking third citywide for the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities. Police officials have maintained the lack of checkpoints there has nothing to do with the fact that roughly one-fifth of the city's police officers and their families live there.

Rahm?

"[We] respect the hard work of the men and women who protect us every day and do it in a way that's also consistent with our values of being fair and progressive."

Oh wait, that's him defending his proposed $500 million property tax increase.

"I want to be clear as mayor what our values are. And there is no place for discrimination. No place for racism. And no place for expressing discriminatory or racist views. You represent the city of Chicago and all of the people that pay your salary."

Oh wait, that's him commenting on a cop who said Michael Brown deserved to be killed.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office declined requests for comment."

There it is. Good job, Rahmie.

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From the Trib in May:

"A Tribune investigation found that in Chicago, 84 percent of the roadside checks were scheduled in areas populated mostly by minorities while roadways in areas with more DUI-related crashes that are predominantly white are checked less often, or not at all."

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FYI, from a Trib editorial in May:

"The Chicago Police Department has good reason to use checkpoints. But it should review how they are assigned. Targeting minority motorists, even unintentionally, can produce needless resentment and distrust of law enforcement. If there's unfair enforcement - really, no checkpoints in Jefferson Park? - it could have significant consequences, letting impaired drivers operate more freely in some areas than others."

So funny - the editorial board's concern is that drunk drivers are operating more freely in some areas than others, which misses nearly the entire point of the paper's investigation, which found yet another bracing example of how the criminal justice system is tilted against people of color. For all they care, the disparity could have found that police districts with fewer trees are targeted more than districts like leafy Jefferson Park - if even unintentionally! Equal up those checkpoints!

Guess what: I'm 99.99999 percent sure no member of the editorial board is black and lives in one of the targeted districts. But then, you shouldn't have to be to see the disgrace of this situation - even more so to see that Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy haven't done jack shit to remedy it. It's about values.

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P.S.: Maybe the objective of the checkpoints isn't really to catch drunk drivers, but to have an excuse to pull over people of color.

Me, in May:

"Like other municipalities across the six-county area, Chicago police conducting roadside sobriety checks have written far more tickets for minor offenses than they have made drunken driving arrests."

Given that, it's not even accurate to call them roadside sobriety checks anymore. They are simply harassment stops.

My guess is that this is part of the police department's crime-fighting strategy far more than an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Me, again, from May:

"The results provide fodder to critics who have long questioned whether the stops are effective - or justify the infringement on thousands of drivers who are stopped by police each year only because they are in a checkpoint zone. They also wonder whether the primary motivation for the checks is to rack up violations and revenue or to find other criminal activity."

Look, if the goal was to crack down on drunk driving, you'd go to where the drunk drivers are.

Now, if the goal is to raise revenue, you'd go to where the drunk drivers not likely to challenge the charges in court are.

If the goal is to use drunk driving as a pretext to, say, take guns off the street by stopping "suspicious" drivers, you'd go to where the guns are.

If the goal is to harass black people, you'd go to where the black people are.

If the goal is to police high-crime areas tightly by essentially creating police states where vehicles can be stopped at all times and citizens questioned, which I suspect is really going on, you're probably violating the Constitution - and giving white drunk drivers more leeway to harm others while instilling more fear and distrust into black drivers, who disproportionately live where the crime is, for some strange reason.

I strongly advise you read the Trib's stories and the rest of my May column.

Con College
A faithful member of Beachwood Nation writes:

We call this oddly appropriate public service programming, though it comes just a smidge too late to save College of DuPage from its leadership flimflams.

Maybe it's just a profound lack of self-awareness.

In what seems a variant on bordellos running abstinence seminars, COD actually is hosting lecturer Frank Abagnale, the world-known con man (Catch Me If You Can) on Sept. 22.

This appears to be a totally accidental and unrelated collision of cosmic hilarities. He teaches everyone how not to get conned financially, though it's a little late for all the suited skunks taking fat paychecks from COD.

Maybe someone in the crowd will ask how to prevent terrible university presidents from ripping off taxpayers as they pull the ripcord on golden parachutes.

Well done, my friend.

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The Andy Kaufman Award
Here to save the day.

European Luxury In Oak Brook
At the Drake.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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It's learning.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Here to save the day.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:52 AM | Permalink

European Luxury Takes Center Stage As The Fully Revamped Drake Hotel Oak Brook Makes Its Debut

The historic and iconic Drake Hotel Oak Brook is celebrated a return to elegance with its full unveiling this past June

Since the early 1960's, The Drake had stood as an integral part of the Oak Brook community, serving as a hotel and event space for locals, professionals, and prestigious guests from around the world before falling into disrepair. Seeing an opportunity to revive the town's longtime landmark to its former glory, Jim and Tely Nagle decided it was time to intervene.

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The husband and wife team purchased the property in 2013 and have spent the last year and a half rigorously renovating it to meet the needs of modern life. In keeping with the hotel's crest "Ubi Tempus Quietus," which means "where time rests," they've managed to breathe fresh life into the 4-story, 10-acre property while keeping its heritage and classic touches firmly at heart.

"We've been honored with the chance to restore this property back to the way it was," says Jim. "It has meant so much to so many over the years, and now they'll get to relive old memories while making new."

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The expansive estate epitomizes history set to a high standard, offering its guests 84 chicly renovated bedrooms with club-like amenities. From business conferences to weddings both intimate and elaborate, The Drake has 11,300 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space available to impress. Its soaring windows, natural light, luxurious European touches, and intrepid staff are dedicated to making every event a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The on-site restaurant and bar is the perfect place to indulge in breakfast, brunch, High Tea, or dinner amidst an atmosphere that is both classic and modern. They've stripped all of the building's woodwork back to the original stain, restored the vintage dining chairs, and refreshed the Breakfast Room's grand mural depicting early American history - the same iconic mural that decorates rooms of the White House.

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In addition to all the internal reworking, Jim and Tely chose to incorporate a few other modern touches to enhance the building's European feel. Richly tufted oversized furniture, custom art, and an opulent 1,000-flower piece sculpture add fresh drama to the scene, while the beautiful Terrace looks out over the property and golf course.

"We didn't have an outdoor element that really spoke to The Drake's past," said Jim. "But now we're opening up and giving our guests a breath of fresh air."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:07 AM | Permalink

Andy Kaufman Award Deadline

Comedic Award Show Set for October 11, Celebrating 40 Years since Andy's Feature on SNL's Debut

(New York) - The submission deadline for the 11th annual Andy Kaufman Award is next Tuesday, September 15, 2015. Comedic artists are encouraged to submit their entries online at andykaufmanaward.com.
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The Andy Kaufman Award will take place on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at the UCB East in New York City where the finalists will perform in front of a live audience and a panel of notable judges.

Interested comedians must submit a video of them performing original material. Video submissions must not exceed six minutes in length, and the use of vulgarity is discouraged.

A panel of industry experts will evaluate video submissions based on originality, creativity, spirit and commitment. Approximately six contestants will be selected to compete in the finals on October 11.
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"We are ecstatic about this year's award show falling on the same day that Andy was a guest on the first broadcast of Saturday Night Live, exactly 40 years ago. It has been such a pleasure over the past decade to watch the new, unconventional comedians that my brother inspired, and this year I'm challenging the artists to take more risks and push the envelope even further, as Andy did." says Michael Kaufman, producer of The Andy Kaufman Award. "Andy was all about involving the audience in his performance, and he did that by eliciting a range of emotional responses, not just laughter."

The winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award will receive a $2,500 cash prize, a personalized trophy and exposure to a variety of industry professionals. Two Boots Pizza is supporting this year's Andy Kaufman Award, and they are creating a special Andy Kaufman pie to commemorate the award show.

The Andy Kaufman Award was created by Andy's father, Stanley Kaufman, and Andy's manager, George Shapiro, to showcase comedians with unexpected material who refuse to define themselves as conventional stand-up comics. The award will honor a winner who best captures Andy's legacy of originality, creativity and spirit.
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Submissions are open to individuals 18 years of age or older who are legal residents of the United Sates. The complete list of rules and guidelines are available at andykaufmanaward.com.

For more information, contact Steve Schulkens at 504.401.6990 or steve@schulkens.com

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Here to save the day.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

September 9, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Chicago-based United Continental Holdings, parent of United Airlines, on Tuesday replaced its CEO and two other top executives, saying the departures are linked to internal and federal probes associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey," the Tribune reports.

Whatever's going on must be quite serious, because United is in a run of record profits, though its competitors are going gangbusters too - expanding fees and contracting leg room is doing wonders for the industry.

"United officials would not elaborate Tuesday, except to say the investigations are ongoing and the company will cooperate with the government. It also said the investigations 'do not raise any accounting or financial reporting concerns' about United."

So it's not about money? If it was, after all, I'm pretty sure they'd have to file some sort of notice with the SEC.

"Oscar Munoz, 56, president at railroad company CSX and longtime United board member, will take over as president and CEO, replacing Jeff Smisek, a former Continental executive who has headed United since its 2010 merger with Continental. Smisek receives nearly $5 million plus other benefits on his way out."

Whew, so he'll be okay. That does seem kinda low, though, relatively speaking. Don't outgoing CPS CEOs get a better deal?

"United, headquartered in Chicago's Willis Tower, said earlier this year that the company and some of its executives received subpoenas from a federal grand jury for information about dealings with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. United said at the time that, in response, it was conducting its own internal investigation."

Aha.

"The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a joint venture between the two states since 1921, manages bridges, tunnels, airports and transit activities in New York City and Northern New Jersey.

"Former Port Authority Chairman David Samson's activities have been the subject of document requests from the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey, including Samson's votes on United Airlines projects at Newark Airport at the same time United was restarting flights from Newark to Columbia, S.C., near where Samson has a vacation home.

"United began direct flights from Newark to Columbia, reportedly called the 'chairman's flight,' after Samson became chairman and canceled the flights days after he resigned last year."

Dude, you shoulda called it the For The Kids Flight. That's how Chicago pols do it.

"Besides Smisek, also stepping down in connection with that investigation Tuesday were the airline's executive vice president of communications and government affairs, Nene Foxhall, and its senior vice president of corporate and government affairs, Mark Anderson."

The PR person is out too? That's odd.

Let's turn to a Bloomberg article from April for more:

United Airlines Inc. was seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in public investment for the airport in Newark when its chief executive dined with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's top Port Authority official in September 2011.

Jeffery Smisek wanted funding for several projects, including an estimated $600 million extension of the PATH train from downtown Newark to the airport, as the airline worked through its merger with Continental Airlines.

Halfway through dinner at Novita, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, Port Authority Chairman David Samson surprised the group with a request of his own. He complained that he and his wife had grown weary of the trip to their weekend home in Aiken, South Carolina, because the best flight out of Newark was to Charlotte, North Carolina, 150 miles away. Until 2009, Continental had run direct service from Newark to Columbia, South Carolina, 100 miles closer.

In a tone described by one observer as "playful, but not joking," Samson asked: Could United revive that route? An awkward silence fell over the table.

Though the United CEO didn't agree to the request at the dinner, according to the accounts of some who attended, the airline ultimately added the money-losing route that became known as "the chairman's flight." Now federal prosecutors are looking into whether its genesis crossed the line from legitimate bargaining into illegal activity.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey is investigating whether United employees made improper attempts to influence Samson at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, according to people familiar with the investigation . . .

At the Novita dinner described by people involved in the investigation, Samson was joined by Bill Baroni, the Port Authority deputy director. Smisek was accompanied by Nene Foxhall, United's executive vice president of communications and government affairs, and Mark Anderson, the airline's senior vice president of corporate and government affairs.

Bingo.

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Also from that Bloomberg article:

"Previously undisclosed details - gleaned from Port Authority records, people involved in talks between United and the authority and others close to the investigation - indicate that United agreed to add the Newark-to-Columbia flight after Samson twice threatened to block Port Authority consideration of one or more of the airline's favored projects.

"The new details about the origins of the flight shed light on the expansion of a federal investigation into Port Authority actions. The probe initially focused on the intentional lane- closing that clogged traffic near the George Washington Bridge in 2013."

That's the Chris Christie thing.

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The kicker:

About a month after the dinner, United rejected the flight request as an unprofitable route. But Samson pressed on, according to people familiar with the situation. At the time, United was negotiating an extension of its Newark lease with the Port Authority and needed approval, and funding, to build a wide-body maintenance hangar for its new generation of jets.

After making requests for the flight, Samson ratcheted up the pressure, according to the documents, working through a United lobbyist to communicate in early November that he'd removed one of the airline's requests from the agenda of that month's Port Authority board meeting. The lobbyist, Jamie Fox, is now New Jersey's transportation commissioner.

On Dec. 7, 2011, the day before the next board meeting, Samson inquired about the flight once more and said he'd pulled a United item from the agenda again, the documents show.

It's unclear whether Samson was bluffing or actually followed through with the agenda changes.

At the board meeting on Dec. 8, the Port Authority approved United's new hangar and pledged $10 million toward the $35 million facility.

Within weeks, United had moved ahead with plans to resume the Columbia flight. Managers from Columbia Metropolitan Airport traveled to United headquarters in Chicago for a routine meeting in January 2012. The airline's representatives surprised them by saying United was interested in flying again between Columbia and Newark, said Dan Mann, executive director of the South Carolina airport.

The twice-weekly flight began on Sept. 6, 2012. Two weeks later, the Port Authority approved a study to extend the PATH rail to the Newark airport. (The proposal, whose estimated cost has ballooned to $1.5 billion, is now in jeopardy.)

Another Chicago miracle.

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Back to today's Tribune:

While news of the shake-up was a surprise in the airline industry, it could be good for United, said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with Atmosphere Research Group.

"I see this as a positive development for United and especially for its employees," he said. "Frankly, I think the board was tired of seeing United be the laughingstock of the industry."

Yeah, possible pending indictments - or plea deals - are always good for boosting a company's credibility.

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"The board appointed Henry L. Meyer III, United's lead independent director, to serve as nonexecutive chairman of the board of directors . . . He added, 'The board thanks Jeff (Smisek) for his service to both United Airlines and Continental Airlines.'"

Thanks, Jeff! Good luck with the investigation and everything!

*

"The resignations also complicate the fortunes of Mr. Christie, a Republican, as he moves ahead on his presidential bid, by underscoring the accusations of cronyism that have dogged his administration since the bridge scandal broke," the New York Times reports.

"The governor has distanced himself from other figures implicated in the scandal, saying they had deceived him. But Mr. Samson, despite his resignation, has remained one of the governor's closest advisers."

More interesting, for our purposes:

"Several months ago, United asked the law firm Jenner & Block to conduct an internal investigation into the airline's dealings with Mr. Samson and the Port Authority. At the time, lawyers close to the case predicted that it would lead to the resignation of Mr. Smisek and possibly other executives, in the hope that the airline could avoid prosecution."

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Bonus callback:

"United discontinued the flight to South Carolina within days of Mr. Samson's resignation from the Port Authority."

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Not just the chairman's flight:

"Records also indicated that federal investigators were looking into United's introduction of flights to the Atlantic City airport. The Port Authority had taken over the operations of that airport, which had been run at a loss by one of Mr. Samson's clients."

So we're already running government like a business. And vice versa. It's all the same.

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A Lesson For Chicago Schools
Newark District's Booby Prize.

Fantasy Fix: Answers To Burning Questions
Will Jay Cutler be the Bears' starting QB by season's end? Click through!

Meet Chicago Sailor Joshua Johnson
Kenwood Academy grad serving in Bahrain.

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BeachBook

Unsurprising. But who cares?

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

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Unsurprising. But does anyone care?

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If your mother says McDonald's is offering all-day breakfast . . .

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The counselor is in.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:48 AM | Permalink

Meet Chicago Sailor Joshua Johnson

MANAMA, Bahrain - A 2013 Kenwood Academy High School graduate and Chicago native is helping the U. S. Navy keep sea lanes safe and open in the Middle East, serving on the mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM-3).

Seaman Apprentice Joshua Johnson is a Navy information systems technician and lives and works at a Navy base in Manama, Bahrain, where the Sentry is based. Bahrain is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Arabian Gulf.

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A Navy information systems technician is responsible for computer and communications systems.

"I am gaining lots of experience and knowledge in the Navy," said Johnson.

The Sentry was commissioned in 1994 and is the second Navy ship to bear this name. It is one of the Navy's 11 Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships that are designed to remove mines from vital waterways and harbors.

"I like this ship, because it's a small, close-knit community," said Johnson. "Resources and people are easily accessible."

The Sentry is 224 feet long, 39 feet wide and displaces 1,312 tons of water. It is powered by four diesel engines and can reach speeds of more than 16 mph.

With approximately eight officers and 80 enlisted comprising the ship's company, jobs are highly varied which keeps the ship mission ready - this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the propulsion system.

As a member of the crew, Johnson and other Sentry sailors know they are part of a forward-deployed naval forces team that is heavily relied upon to help protect and defend America on the world's oceans.

"It's good to see other places and cultures outside the U.S. and overseas pay is very generous," said Johnson.

In addition to the Sentry, three other Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships are forward deployed in Bahrain along with ten Cyclone-class coastal patrol ships.

The world is increasingly complex and crew members aboard the Sentry, as well as the other forward-deployed naval vessels in Bahrain, assist with assuring international sea lines between the Middle East and Europe remain open and help protect against possible maritime threats.

As a Sailor with numerous responsibilities, deployed halfway around the world away from friends and family back home, Johnson said he is learning about himself as a leader, Sailor and a person.

"I've strengthened my people and technical skills since serving in the Navy," said Johnson.

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Previously:
* Chicago Navy Commander's Continuing Promise.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:44 AM | Permalink

The Newark School District's Booby Prize | Lessons For Chicago

What happened with the $100 million that Newark schools got from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg? Not much. A new book delves into how the project went wrong.

For the last 50 years, a combination of poverty and commonplace corruption has plagued Newark's public school system. In 2010 fewer than 40 percent of students in third- through eighth-grade were performing at grade level. And most students did not graduate from high school.

That year, when journalist Dale Russakoff learned that Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire Facebook founder, wanted to give $100 million to turn around the failing school system in Newark, she was amazed, "almost electrified," she said. Hearing then-Mayor Cory Booker, Governor Chris Christie and Zuckerberg talk about it on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she thought they sounded like they knew exactly what they were doing. She soon learned they did not.

Russakoff spent four-and-a-half years reporting and writing The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools? which is being published this week. Her book, she says, "tells the story of Zuckerberg's gift, how it came about and the forces that it unleashed, both intended and unintended."

Russakoff talked with The Hechinger Report about The Prize and why Newark did not become an education success story. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

You write that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Newark's then-Mayor Cory Booker set out not just to fix the Newark schools, but to create a national model for how to turn around an entire urban school district. What happened?

Thinking that way was part of the problem. Education in any city is not something that you can bring a model to and fix it. It's a very human, granular, history-based challenge. And to see it as something that you can have a start-up model for, that you can create a proof point and then scale up nationally, is just a complete misconception.

The goal of improving education in Newark is not a hopeless one. But viewing it as something that can be imposed from the top down as opposed from the bottom up, or at least in combination, was really a very central flaw.

Their idea of improving the systems that govern education was intelligent, because the district is antiquated and even dysfunctional. The system needed to change. But they did that to the almost exclusion of working with the incredibly human issues that children bring into the classroom every day because they live in a world of concentrated poverty. That was a serious problem.

Zuckerberg pledged $100 million to the Booker-Christie cause, on the condition that city officials raise a matching amount. Where did that money go? Is it making a difference in students' lives?

Almost $50 million went to the teachers' contract. The idea was to make teachers more accountable for student performance and to shed the teachers who were ineffective.

I'm sure that the reformers feel that money helped kids, but if you look at the classroom level, it's hard to see an effect yet.

And $25 million went to expanding charter schools in Newark. Some of those charter schools are excellent, which is good for kids.

There was $20 million that went to consultants who received, in general, a thousand dollars a day for carrying out various management reform efforts. There was this notion that consultants had the answers, and you could hire expertise, and pay for it at enormous prices, on the assumption that this was going to bring the magic answer, the silver bullet to Newark. And it was an enormous amount of money that went towards something that really didn't have a lot of returns. I don't think you could find any way that consultant money helped children.

A lot of the controversy you describe is over former superintendent Cami Anderson's One Newark plan, which required students to change schools and travel long distances to get there. What was the problem?

There are tremendous numbers of parents and teachers in Newark who felt that the schools needed radical change, but there was no acknowledgement that those people should be playing a role in this One Newark process.

I asked Cami Anderson about the lack of communication and she said the One Newark plan is, as she kept calling it, 16-dimensional chess, which was a way of saying it's incredibly complicated. She said if you brought families in, of course every family was going to have some issue and if you fixed that issue you would create an issue for someone else. She felt it was important to make the decisions that she thought were the best for the families and the kids. In doing that, she missed a lot of input that was critical.

What is the significance of the title The Prize?

The Prize ended up having many meanings to me. I learned early on that people who had been in Newark for generations talked about the Newark school district budget as the prize. It's the biggest public budget in the city. At the time the reformers arrived there were 7,000 employees of the district and hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts. The patronage politicians, the political bosses and, of course, the elected officials all wanted to control the Newark public schools to enhance their own power.

But then there was Cory Booker, Chris Christie and Mark Zuckerberg. If, through their reform effort, they could take the Newark school district and turn it into a model for all urban school districts, that would be a prize for the education reform movement.

And I saw the children and their right to an education as the ultimate prize.

The subtitle of the book is Who's in Charge of America's Schools? I think that's the prize all those forces will keep fighting for.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

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See also:
* Alex Kotlowitz's review for the New York Times.

* Diane Rado's review for the Tribune.

* Dale Russakoff discussing her book on NJTV:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:56 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Burning Questions Answered

Week 1 of the fantasy football slate is upon us. Thus far, it's all been guesswork, and we're about to start getting some answers. So, what are the questions?

Here are a few, with my own prediction of what the answers will be:

* How long will it take second-teamer Johnny Manziel to win the starting job?

Six weeks.

* With his starting RB suspended, how many passes will Ben Roethlisberger throw?

48.

* Who will be the leading rusher in the NFL after four weeks of play?

Adrian Peterson.

* Who will be the leading receiver (yards) in the NFL after four weeks?

Alshon Jeffery.

* Who will be the leading receiver (TDs) after four weeks?

Odell Beckham, Jr.

* Which team will have the best defense (fewest points against) after four weeks?

Houston.

* Who will be the leading receiver (yardage and TDs) in Week 1?

Rob Gronkowski.

* Who will be the leading passer (yardage) in Week 1?

Tom Brady.

* How many TDs will Adrian Peterson score in Week 1?

Three.

* Will Jay Cutler end the season as the team's starting QB?

No.

Expert Wire
* USA Today likes Julian Edelman in Week 1. I do believe the Pats will scorch the earth at least in the early part of this season, and Edelman will be busy, but Gronk will be busier.

* CBS Sports.com starts its deep sleeper list with Marcus Mariota. Mariota has been going late in every draft I've been in, and maybe I'm missing the boat, but I don't see the attraction this year. Jameis Winston will be the better rookie QB, and I still think he could be a mess.

Fantasy Baseball Update
If you've gotten this far and you're still in contention, you probably don't need any help from me in what is likely the final week of the regular season in most fantasy leagues, but I feel compelled to point out that two very talented arms are coming off the DL to start on the same day this week - Saturday: Jose Fernandez, SP, MIA, and Marcus Stroman, SP, TOR.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:07 AM | Permalink

September 8, 2015

SportsMondayTuesday: Good Job, Bears Fans

Bears fans have just about done it. They have just about made it through an entire preseason without playing the sucker.

The call went out before the exhibition season even started: don't do it this time people, don't let baseless optimism creep in no matter how inevitable it seems. You've been deceived before but this time memories of recent past failures are seared into your brain.

This time you won't be fooled again and you won't tell yourself any sort of fairy tale of Jay Cutler finally figuring it out and young defenders playing surprisingly well and a great coaching staff organizing surprisingly successful stretches of football.

It is not happening.

On the other hand, this is Chicago, where the motto is "Urbs in Horto (City in a garden)" but the mantra is "It could be worse," i.e., "Sure the wind chill is negative 20 but do you remember when it was negative 60 a few years ago?" Or, "Sure, the Cubs haven't won in 106 years but man, that sure was a fun celebration of 100 years of losing at Wrigley last year."

And, as a point of fact, someday we will look back on this 2015 Bears season and say, "It could have been worse." I'm not sure how, but it will happen.

I've been looking for reasons why and on Monday at least one respected voice weighed in to say the Bears not only won't be the worst team in the league, they won't even be one of the eight worst teams in the league.

"As we do every year in this space, we split the NFL's 32 teams into four groups. Today's list includes the eight teams that should expect to compete for the first overall pick in next year's draft," Bill Barnwell wrote for Grantland. said grantland.com's Bill Barnwell. And lo and behold, the Bears aren't one of them.

I'm fully expecting the second-worst quartile of projected 2015 NFL teams to feature the Bears, and surely something along the lines of "If we were ranking teams 1 through 32, the Bears would clearly hold the 24th spot" could very well be a part of that prediction. But hey, No. 24 is way, way better than No. 32.

Now, some may argue that that would be a mistake, and that the Bears should be aiming for No. 32 and the top draft pick that goes with it. Let's be clear: those people are misguided, misinformed and misanthropic (because you would have to hate Chicago-based humanity to wish a No. 32 finish on this team).

My primary question to those who believe such a thing: So if the Bears had totally tanked this past season and grabbed that worst record in the league and the pick that goes with it, they would have been in position to draft . . . Jameis Winston? Who, besides Lovie Smith, really wants Jameis Winston on their team? I didn't think so.

In a league where the best quarterback, Tom Brady, was drafted in the sixth round and the best young quarterback except maybe Andrew Luck (and the jury is still out, OK? Get back to me when Luck leads his team to a Super Bowl), Russell Wilson, was drafted in the third, let's all acknowledge that drafting first ain't no guarantee of anything.

So there is clearly at least a chance the Bears won't be terrible - or at least that they will be less terrible than maybe even double-digit teams. I don't see any way they finish .500 or even 7-9. But I haven't decided on a final, projected record. Given that I said the Bears would finish 11-5 last season, perhaps you can understand my hesitance to do so. But I'll go on record before game time on Sunday.

Because, hey, it could have been worse. I could have said the 2014 Bears would finish 13-3.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, and Tuesdays after a holiday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Convoy at Red Line Tap on Thursday night.


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2. Toxic Holocaust at Cobra Lounge on Thursday night.

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3. Thee Oh Sees at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

Photos, Loerzel.

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4. Gallery Night at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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5. Royal Southern Brotherhood at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night.

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6. Jackson Browne at Ravinia on Saturday night.

Setlist.

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7. Nick Moss Band at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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8. The Roots at the North Coast Music Festival in Union Park on Saturday night.

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9. D'Angelo at North Coast on Saturday night.

Kot: D'Angelo Improvises A Keeper.

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10. Tycho at North Coast on Sunday night.

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11. Atmosphere at North Coast on Sunday night.

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12. Haywyre at North Coast on Sunday.

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13. Chromeo at North Coast on Saturday night.

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14. Robert Glasper at Promontory on Friday night.

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15. Knife Party at the Shrine for a North Coast aftershow on Friday night.

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16. Tesla in Tinley Park on Saturday night.

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17. SOJA at North Coast on Sunday.

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18. The Chemical Brothers at North Coast on Sunday night.

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19. Porter Robinson at North Coast on Saturday night.

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20. Nahko and Medicine for the People at North Coast on Friday.

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21. Def Leppard in Tinley Park on Saturday night.

Setlist.

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22. Widespread Panic at North Coast on Friday night.

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23. Steve Aoki at North Coast on Saturday night.

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24. Snails at North Coast on Sunday night.

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25. Twenty One Pilots at UIC Pavilion for Spark in the Park on Thursday night.

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26. Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Chicago Jazz Fest in Millennium Park on Sunday night.

Reich: Dee Dee Bridgewater Lights Up Chicago Jazz Festival.

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27. Styx in Tinley Park on Saturday night.

Setlist.

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28. O.A.R. at Ravinia on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:57 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"More than 350,000 Chicago Public Schools students prepared to return to class Tuesday for the start of a new school year that already is riddled with fiscal instability," the Sun-Times reports.

And at Kelvyn Park High School, which is slated to lose an additional $2.2 million from its budget, students and teachers wondered how they're supposed to succeed with ever-shrinking resources.

"We have no college counselor," Sherilyn Flores, a 17-year-old senior, said outside the Hermosa neighborhood high school. "I'm more worried about college this year than any other senior would be."

The cuts have been going on since her freshman year in 2012, she said, adding: "High school doesn't feel like high school anymore."

That's what kids at Robeson High School in Englewood told me two years ago: It just didn't feel like high school. It felt like something less. Much, much less. And that was because budget cuts - and falling enrollment - had essentially eviscerated the school.

Kelvyn Park lost 19 staff positions, including the school's clinical social worker who led a weekly support group for girls who survived sexual assault and abuse, and students, and teachers who coached sports teams and sponsored the National Honor Society, and the lone college counselor who also started a legal clinic to help the school's immigrant families.

"And yet, they are still expected to just get by," Jennifer Velasquez, a Local School Council member and a 2012 graduate of the school, said of Kelvyn Park students. "We know they are brilliant, but why does our mayor and the Board of Education make it almost impossible for low income black and brown students to get the support we deserve?"

Saint Forrest Sets Example
New CPS CEO Forrest Claypool refuses to say if his kids attend public school.

"Claypool wouldn't come to the phone, and his chief of staff, Doug Kucia, hung up on us when we asked him about all this."

Just . . . wow.

Doug Kucia, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

Charter Barter
Speaking of Kelvyn . . . go back through this thread to understand in part what's happening between charters and neighborhood schools:

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And then check out this series of tweets from Raise Your Hand to gain a better understanding of how we got here and where Rahm intends to keep going:

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Garbage Mayor
"As he prepares to levy a suburban-style garbage pickup fee on Chicago residents, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is announcing changes in the way the city collects trash," the Tribune reports.

"That reduction will not shrink the city's yawning deficit - which Emanuel plans to help close with a property tax increase of between $450 million and $550 million - because the Department of Streets and Sanitation 'will redirect the savings into other city services,' according to the mayor's office."

1. Why?
2. What other city services?

Apparently unasked - and certainly unanswered.

Smells like teen bullshit to me.

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Two years ago, the Sun-Times notes, city inspector general Joe Ferguson said Emanuel was overstating the savings from moving garbage pick-up from a ward-by-ward system to a unified grid system by $42 million.

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"The savings generated will free up resources for other vital services like tree-trimming and rodent control, the mayor's office said."

Again, why not put the money toward deficit reduction? (By the way, how can we have a deficit when Rahm bragged during the last campaign that he had balanced four budgets in a row - as required by law? Answer: Depends on what you mean by "balanced.") I know we need trees trimmed and rodents controlled, but this sounds like a bit of shimmy and shake to me.

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"The pledge to redirect the savings to city services should ease the fears of Chicago aldermen who are concerned that the decision to impose a garbage collection fee will ultimately pressure the city to reduce the size of city crews."

Why? I don't get the connection.

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"At the time [of Ferguson's report], Emanuel responded with a promise to do better. Now he's delivering - just in time to try to show Chicagoans that the fee they will soon be paying for garbage collection is being used more wisely."

1. He's delivering - two years later.
2. The money that will be collected by the fee will be used more wisely than the money that hasn't been collected up to now?
3. If changing garbage collection will save $7 million, why introduce the fee?

Because we have to close the deficit.

Then why not throw that $7 million into deficit reduction too?

Rats and trees.

Did the rodent control and tree-trimming budgets just get cut by $7 million?

I'm telling you, something stinks here.

Carter Country
I think it's safe to post this now . . .

STEVE: Former President Jimmy Carter Says He Has Cancer - Just Like America's Spirit.

Too soon?

TIM: Not for me, but yeah, probably.

"Carter announces there's a cancer on the post-presidency"

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #67
Dyett And The Problem With Process.

Plus: Mac Sabbath, The Hamburglars, Neo's Last Dance, Hey Ya, and I Worked In Florida.

Who Are The Real Troublemakers?
A new Art Shay exhibit takes a look.

The Cub Factor: Joltin' Joe
Best Cubs manager ever?

The White Sox Report: Life After Death
Another glimpse of The Plan. Plus: Baseball on Corn Island.

SportsTuesday: Good Job, Bears Fans
Not getting fooled again.

Farmers Insurance Keeps Trying To Recruit Me
Trust me, I'm not your man.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Convoy, Toxic Holocaust, Thee Oh Sees, Gallery Night, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Jackson Browne, Nick Moss Band, The Roots, D'Angelo, Tycho, Atmosphere, Haywyre, Chromeo, Robert Glasper, Knife Party, Tesla, SOJA, The Chemical Brothers, Porter Robinson, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Def Leppard, Widespread Panic, Steve Aoki, Snails, Twenty One Pilots, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Styx, and O.A.R.

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BeachBook

America, everybody.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, September 7, 2015

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Narrative is fiction. Journalists are in love with it. Hence, a problem.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, September 6, 2015

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Ribbish.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:19 AM | Permalink

Farmers Insurance Keeps Trying To Recruit Me

Dear Steve,

I am a District Manager for Farmers Insurance Group looking for a successful, business-minded individual with a strong desire for personal growth, career fulfillment, and financial success.

That is not me.

Based on my initial review of the resume you posted online, I believe you may be an excellent fit for our career opportunity in sales with Farmers Insurance and Financial Services. We are currently developing new agencies in the greater Chicago area.

I must need to rewrite my resume.

Whether starting a career or searching for a new opportunity, Farmers will help you capitalize on your strengths in a highly supportive and consultative environment. Allow me to share with you some history of this exceptional team and answer some of the questions you may have:

Each of our 55 team members owns his or her own business and is very successful. Our top team member earns more than $600,000 and the average income is more than $150,000. You control your own destiny with Farmers Insurance. Your earning potential is unlimited.

Go on.

Training and Growth: When working with Farmers you receive extensive sales training, product training, and support from your district office throughout your career. Our proven systems will teach you an integrated approach designed to provide real value to your prospects and clients. This will help you create more business and exceed the expectations of your clients.

Doesn't revenue depend on the hardship of others - or placing the fear of hardship into their hearts? Whatever it is, it's not nice!

Getting Started: Our flexible training program allows you to begin your career on a part-time or full-time basis. Through the first three years, Farmers provides an excellent subsidy program with a base guarantee of $91,800 for hitting the minimum requirements. This program is in addition to your commissions.

Go on.

Growth Opportunities: There has never been a better time to be with Farmers. Our expanding markets and innovative products create the opportunity for dynamic and rapid growth.

Because the world is going to hell in a handbasket?

Commitment to Diversity: Different ethnic populations have distinct needs and face varying issues when they seek insurance and financial service products. At Farmers, we understand that focus on diverse markets makes excellent business sense. We offer exciting monetary incentives to agent candidates who are bilingual in one of our target emerging markets.

I'm willing to learn.

Qualifications: We require highly motivated individuals willing to invest their time and energy into creating a profitable and rewarding business. You must have a desire to succeed, have an independent spirit and strong work ethic. Candidates must also have a clean credit and criminal history.

Yeah, that's not me.

If you are interested in being in business for yourself but not by yourself, while providing Insurance and Financial Service products, apply today by e-mailing me at Chicago@agentrainjobs.com. Please be sure to attach the most current copy of your resume.

I thought you just looked at my resume.

Sincerely,

Joseph Strauss

District Manager
Farmers Insurance Group

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2015

Joltin' Joe

Here is an e-mail exchange I had with Beachwood grand poobah Steve Rhodes on Labor Day. It's just another homage to the great and powerful Joe Maddon.

Rhodes: Before the season, I was really eager to see Joe Maddon's lineups. Then I was befuddled. Then amazed. Then perturbed. Then amused. Then baffled. I'm giving up. Start Kris Bryant at catcher if you want, Joe. It doesn't seem to matter.

Gangler: I know. They make no sense. Except they are brilliant. They make it no big deal to put guys in the correct position once every four games. And what is the correct position? Who really knows. But the players don't feel like they did anything wrong or feel slighted to be moved around either in the field or in the lineup. It breaks the conventional wisdom of your No. 3 hitter is your best hitter and your 4th hitter is the biggest power guy. So then when someone is scuffling you just drop him a bit and it's not like a demotion or anything. Plus it's almost like using small sample size to benefit you. And you can double switch and pinch hit at the top of the lineup and not just the bottom to get a good matchup if it presents itself. It's so weird. The only for-sure spots (90% of the time) are leadoff and 9th.

Rhodes: That is exactly right - and I hadn't thought before about how guys don't get upset getting moved around because everyone gets moved around every day. Remember the dramas surrounding moving Soriano and Sosa and even Castro back in the day or Corey Patterson? None of that. Sure, part of it is that they are young. But I bet in 10 years Rizzo and Bryant won't care either.

And I'm sure it's all based on analytics and matchups, of course. It just looks random to us. I think what he does is decide which eight guys he wants in the batting order on a given day against a given pitcher and so on, and then figures out where to play them to fit them in. Just my guess.

It sure is at times a pretty fragile OF defense, but they hit enough homers to compensate. Different ways to win - the Twins are just getting their OF of the future together right now with Rosario, Buxton and Hicks. That will be their OF next year. Defensively, no ball will drop in. They are fast and awesome. But it's not clear they will be able to hit. The Cubs can put Schwarber and Bryant in the same OF and still win. It's just really interesting to me. And why I think this might be Joe's greatest managing job . . . I don't know enough to say about each year in TB, but doing this here with this franchise, just strikes me as the greatest managing job of his career . . . and I'm guessing he'll go down as greatest Cubs manager ever, right?

Gangler: The greatest Cub manager of all time will be the guy that is there when they win the World Series. But Joe is on his way already.

Rhodes: Of course, I should have thought of that. True. So maybe the next guy! #billygoat

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The Week In Review: The Cubs went 5-2 for the week. They lost two of three to the Reds and then ripped off four straight wins, sweeping the D-Backs and taking the first game of a 3-game series with the Cardinals. And it was a Dan Haren start against the Cards that they won; it should probably be worth two wins.

The Week In Preview: The Boys in Blue have two more with the Cards and then head to the City of Brotherly Love for four with the Phils. Ideally they should knock a 4-spot off the magic number (now at 18) by themselves by week's end.

The Second Basemen Report: Seven games this week and three different second sackers. Javy Baez and Starlin Castro each got three starts, with Tommy La Stella getting the other one. The three-headed monster approach worked well this week. Everyone hit while they were in there. Seems like a platoon (tritoon?) of some sort, or a match-up thing, or a hybrid "Plamchup"? But Big Poppa Joe is Midas these days.

In former Cubs second basemen news, Ryne Sandberg last played second base for the Cubs in 1997. He had a falling out with the team a while back and then was the manager of the Phillies for a bit, but then resigned earlier this season. The news these days is that Ryne met with current management this week. My guess is that the fanboy in Tom Ricketts can't help himself but to try to get Ryno back into the fold somehow. Maybe as some kind of walking statue? He wasn't ever really missed.

Mad(don) Scientist: We talked a bit about Big Poppa Joe in the open but I will add that the moving guys around is a good way to give them some rest here and there and let everyone contribute. Not to mention no one can tune out on a ballgame because anything can happen in any given game.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Someone is batting .444 for the month of September . . . sure, it's an odd plamchup deal, but Castro doesn't seem lost for the season and you had to think that a demotion like that could have possibly knocked him out mentally. Sure, he's still a butcher in the field, but his bat could possibly help down the stretch, or at worst make some other team think he's still decent enough to take him off the Cubs' hands next season.

Kubs Kalender: The Milwaukee Brewers changed their fan appreciation weekend because they knew an ass-load of Cub fans would come up for the last home weekend up there and ruin everything. They are probably right, but they didn't see this coming when the schedule came out? Still, this is pretty great.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of The Week: Shares of past Cubs futility traded higher this week. Thanks, Ryno.

Over/Under: The number of games Kyle Schwarber can miss before you should get a little antsy: +/- 2.5.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that magic numbers are cool.

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* Touch 'em all: The Cub Factor archives.

* Know thy enemy: The White Sox Reports.

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Marty Gangler is our man on the Cub. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:26 PM | Permalink

Life After Death

So this is what it was supposed to look like. Now I get it.

Heading out for the week for three games against the Twins followed by another trio in Kansas City, Robin Ventura's bedraggled crew appeared poised to return home with its collective tail between its legs. The only positive aspect was that no one would be watching because of the Cubs and the start of the football season.

And after dropping the first two to the Twins including a limp 3-0 shutout on Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija fell right into his August doldrums on Thursday in his initial September start. Given a 1-0 lead, Samardzija served up a waist-high fastball to Twins' rookie outfielder Eddie Rosario in the third inning with the bases loaded. The kid deposited the offering high into the right center-field stands. Here we go again!

But wait. Something unexplainable happened as Samardzija shut down the Twins the rest of the way, pitching into the seventh inning after pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck walloped a two-run triple to left center in the top of the frame, giving the Sox a 5-4 lead. Three relievers including closer David Robertson took over from there, blanking the wild card-contending Twins as the Sox triumphed 6-4.

On to Kansas City for more of what-could-have-been. Terrific starting pitching by John Danks (complete game) and Jose Quintana (seven shutout innings) was backed by lots of hits and solid defense as our - dare I say resurgent? - fellows blasted the league's winningest team 12-1 and 6-1 on Friday and Saturday.

Following Rosario's grand slam, Sox pitchers allowed just two earned runs in the next 24 innings. Ohhh, if this were only June!

Yet there was more good news on Sunday. Right-hander Erik Johnson, the huge flop a season ago when he vied for a starting spot in the Sox rotation, made his 2015 debut after being named the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher.

Johnson was a different guy than the one who was gone by May in 2014 due to five shaky starts and a 6.46 ERA.

This time Johnson worked quickly and threw strikes. Sixty of them to be exact, compared to just 26 balls. Included were plenty of first-pitch strikes. The 25-year-old product of the University of California-Berkeley was poised and apparently confident against the Royals, who lead all of baseball with a .272 team average.

The Sox kept up the offense, staking Johnson to a 6-1 lead. Johnson wound up leaving after six innings, giving up three solo home runs as the Sox weathered a late Kansas City rally and won their fourth in a row 7-5.

Better yet, Johnson escaped serious injury when the final hitter he faced, Alex Gordon, sent his broken bat right at Johnson's head. The kid threw up his hands to protect himself as Alexei Ramirez made a nice play to nail Gordon, who initially was ruled safe before the call was overturned.

Johnson had done his job. Matt Albers eventually came on to clean up a mess created by Jake Petricka before Zach Duke and Robertson nailed down the victory in the eighth and ninth. Something tells me that this was according to the original plan concocted by general manager Rick Hahn months ago when snow was covering the ground.

As long as we're focusing on the What-If Department, you couldn't help but wonder what the year would have looked like if he Sox had opted to sign Kansas City's designated hitter Kendrys Morales instead of Adam LaRoche.

Hahn inked LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million deal back on November 25 although Morales also was available, having been released by Seattle at the end of October. As we are all too aware, LaRoche has struggled all season with his .213 batting average, 12 homers, and 44 knocked in.

Last weekend, each time Morales' stats were flashed on TV, Sox fans could be excused for groaning. The switch-hitting Morales is leading the Royals with 99 RBI (he drove in their only run on Friday) while hitting .292 with 17 home runs. The Royals are shelling out $10 million less for Morales than what the Sox are paying LaRoche for two seasons.

Despite what has transpired, signing Morales was a risk. Perhaps Morales is best known as the ballplayer who hit a walkoff grand slam back on May 29, 2010, and then badly fractured his lower left leg in an attempt to leap onto home plate and into the arms of his grateful Angels teammates.

Morales didn't play again until 2012 because of complications from surgery for an extreme injury. Walkoff home runs continue to be celebrated, but don't be misled. For each celebration the athletes have the memory of Kendrys Morales in the back of their minds. They are ecstatic to be sure, but they're also careful.

Returning from his injury, Morales still could hit - 22 homers and 73 RBI in 2012 - although the Angels traded him to Seattle where he had a solid season in 2013. But Morales slipped last year playing for Seattle and Minnesota, hitting just .218, far below the numbers put up by LaRoche in 2014. Being able to play first base to spell Jose Abreu also contributed to LaRoche's appeal.

Morales is a former Cuban baseball star who fled the country on a raft in 2004. Prior to that he had been jailed because Cuban authorities alleged that Morales had contacted an agent while playing for his country's national team in Olympic competition in November 2003. He would never be allowed to play again in his native country. According to his Wikipedia entry, Morales tried to flee Cuba as many as eight times before he was successful. To say that Morales has experienced adversity is like saying Hemingway could write. At 32 and healthy, you can understand why Royals general manager Dayton Moore took a chance on Morales. Needless to say, it's paid off handsomely.

Another intriguing player in Kansas City over the weekend was 22-year-old third base prospect Cheslor Cuthbert, who filled in for the injured Mike Moustakas on Friday and Saturday. What makes him interesting in addition to being the Royals' 11th top-rated prospect is that Cuthbert grew up on Big Corn Island, about 40 miles off the coast of Nicaragua.

My lifelong friend Tom Weinberg bought a strip of property on Corn Island about 40 years ago - he discovered the place in the book Bargain Paradises of the World - and today he has a home there with basic necessities and nothing more.

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Getting to Corn Island is easier today than when Tom first visited. A flight into Managua and then another smaller plane to the island does the trick. But Tom used to travel from the mainland by boat, which could be an adventure in rough seas.

I've never been to Corn Island, but Tom has regaled me with stories and descriptions of life on the island - it measures just 3.9 square miles - including the fact that the 8,000 inhabitants love their béisbol.

"There's a tradition of playing baseball [there]," Tom told me. "Why I don't know. But they have a nice ballpark. Everyone, including the players, walks to the park for games on Sundays. Sometimes they have doubleheaders. Maybe even a tripleheader. Anywhere from 100 to 300 fans might come to the games. They practice during the week."

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There are six or eight teams in a league on Corn Island that play from October to June. Players range in age from their teens to their 40s. An all-star team from the island won the Nicaraguan championship a few years ago, and Tom thinks that this is where Cuthbert was noticed. The son of a lobster fisherman, the Royals signed him for $1.35 million in 2009 when he was just 16. That's a lotta lobsters.

"A guy gets a name like Cheslor Cuthbert because of the many generations of island people whose ancestors were originally slaves and/or pirates," Tom wrote in an e-mail. "The island was a British colony for a long time in the 17-1800s."

When I see a guy like Cuthbert coming to the major leagues, I think about all the corners of the U.S., Central and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and who knows where else that are scoured for talent. When I heard that a kid from Corn Island was playing third base for Kansas City, I was amazed that such a remote island paradise could produce a big-league ballplayer.

Then consider all the emphasis that we place on developing our children - the vast majority of whom have little of the natural ability of a Cheslor Cuthbert - with travel teams, expensive instruction, and thousands of dollars in equipment and support.

Cuthbert and others like him grew up without all the bells and whistles, but they have one thing that money can't buy: talent. And it always seems to rise to the top regardless of where it comes from.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:56 AM | Permalink

September 6, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #67: Mac Sabbath & The Hamburglars vs. Rahm Emanuel

This is what it's all about, people. Plus: I Worked In Florida; Dyett And The Problem With Process; The Only Sin Is Not Being Yourself.


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SHOW NOTES

* Strawberry Rock Show.

* Tsuyoshi Wada.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #67.

* Mac Sabbath at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Thursday night.

* This is what it's all about, people.

3:40: I Worked In Florida.

* Times Co. Agrees To Sell Regional Newspaper Group.

* Lakeland.

* I lived on this lake.

* Peebles Bar-B-Que.

* The Senior Professional Baseball Association.

* Bud's Place now, apparently.

24:22: The Hamburglars at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Thursday night.

* Why go through the world being Rahm Emanuel when you can be a Hamburglar?

28:20: Dyett High And The Problem With Process.

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* Now Playing: Eric Zorn and the Process Servers.

* Process is a tool invoked against you by people who are exempt from it themselves.

* A process that isn't legitimate isn't a process at all.

2011: Dyett's Death By A Thousand Cuts.

44:53: Absolutely Not outside the East Room last Sunday.

46:30: The Only Sin Was Not Being Yourself.

* iCloud sucks donkey balls.

49:44: Local Music Notebook: AHHH! No, Mysterious Mystery Train & Chicago's Punk Astronomer.

* BREAKING: St. Anthony Hospital Sues To Stop Riot Fest.

56:50 Hey Ya: Young Poets Break It Down.

Hey Ya by Miley Cyrus.

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Hey Ya by M&O.

1:08:45: Exclusive! The Real Reasons The Corpse Flower Didn't Bloom.

1:10:26 From The Beachwood Vault: James Brown vs. Jerry Ford.

STOPPAGE: 13:54

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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 1:35 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

3:36 P.M. Sunday UPDATE: The Beachwood Radio Hour #67: The Hamburglars vs. Rahm Emanuel. This is what it's all about, people. Plus: I Worked In Florida; Dyett And The Problem With Process; The Only Sin Is Not Being Yourself.

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1. The Architecture Of Segregation.

"Fifty years after the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development - and nearly that long after the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 - the fight against the interlinked scourges of housing discrimination and racial segregation in America is far from finished. Economic isolation is actually growing worse across the country, as more and more minority families find themselves trapped in high-poverty neighborhoods without decent housing, schools or jobs, and with few avenues of escape.

"This did not happen by accident."

See also:
* HUD Refuses To Prosecute Widespread Discrimination It Spends Millions To Find.

* Living Apart: How The Government Betrayed A Landmark Civil Rights Law.

2. Civil Rights Group Backed By Telecom Industry Seeks To Block Net Neutrality, Instantly Contradicts Itself.

You know who that group is in love with? Bobby Rush (D-AT&T).

3. Israel's Funniest Palestinian Writer Decamps To The Midwest.

"Before I visited Kashua in Champaign, where he recently extended his contract with the University of Illinois for three more years, he warned me, 'It's one of the most boring places you'll ever go to.'"

4. Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles Through The Lens Of Art Shay.

"With this exhibit, we hope to get people thinking about who the troublemakers really are when people take to the streets for peace, economic justice and democracy."

5. The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #67: The Cubs Have Issues!

Infield, outfield, starting pitching, relief pitching. Plus: I Hate John Fox; The Secret Seven-TE Spread; Fangio's Folly; Rappin' Roger Goodell; Rah! Rah! Sis-Boom-Bah Humbug; and The White Sox, Fire And Sky Reportedly Did Things This Week.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Led by singer/songwriter Alicia Bognanno, Nashville's Bully draws upon the sound of the '90s alternative era to create blistering two-minute anthems. Bully joins Jim and Greg for a discussion and live performance."

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Bonus Bully!

Bully at Pitchfork in July:

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Bully at the Metro in January:

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Weekend BeachBook

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"[T]he SEC states in its filing that A[xelrod]SGK was engaged as a communications firm to 'either put pressure on the...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, September 4, 2015

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And they keep coming from Illinois.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, September 4, 2015

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Go ape.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

September 5, 2015

Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles Through The Lens Of Art Shay

A groundbreaking documentary photo exhibit that sheds new light on protest movements in Chicago between the late 1940s and early 1970s will be presented this fall from Sept. 17 to Dec. 19 at Roosevelt University's Gage Gallery.

The exhibit features the work of Art Shay, one of the world's great living photographers. Shay opened his mammoth archive in Deerfield to Roosevelt University historian Erik Gellman, whose research focuses on 20th Century protest movements in America.

"The provocative photos in this exhibit, most of which have never been seen before, are likely to change what we know and how we think about protest movements in Chicago," said Gellman, the show's curator. Gellman spent the last year culling photos from Shay's archives.

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Early Cold War protests, Chicago's Freedom Movement marches, the 1968 Vietnam War demonstrations, photographs of Richard J. Daley and the Chicago police, as well as struggles by the Black Power Movement, are featured in the show.

The opening night reception includes a dialogue with Shay.

The unusually organized show is centered on a 12-inch-high strip, comprised of hundreds of Shay's most telling protest images. The photo strip traverses around Gage Gallery's spaces. Above and below it are larger break-out shots by Shay of history-making street activism.

"We are breaking some rules on what a photo exhibit should look like and how the story should be told in order to capture the complexity of Chicago protest," said Gellman, who worked closely with Erica DeGlopper, the curator of Shay's photographic archive, in order to identify the most relevant photos and unique design for the new Gage Gallery show.

"With this exhibit, we hope to get people thinking about who the troublemakers really are when people take to the streets for peace, economic justice and democracy," said Gellman.

A photographer for Life magazine, Time, Sports Illustrated and many other national publications, Shay has photographed seven U.S. Presidents and also is well-known for his long friendship and collaboration in documenting Chicago with the late writer Nelson Algren.

"Art Shay is someone we envision as both roaming the streets of Chicago with Nelson Algren and photographing many of our nation's celebrities," said Gellman, who has been amazed to learn how deeply Shay documented Chicago's protest history.

"Those who think they know Art Shay's photographs may be surprised. His body of work serves to show us that protest in Chicago is much, much more complicated than we have been led to remember."

An associate professor of history at Roosevelt University, Gellman is the author of the books The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor's Southern Prophets in New Deal, published in 2011, and Death Blow to Jim Crow: The National Negro Congress and Militant Civil Rights, published in 2012. He is currently working on a book that chronicles post-World War II protest movements in Chicago.

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Bonus Gellman:

"In an August 7 [2014] segment on Chicago Tonight about the history of the discriminatory lending practices that Chicago's Contract Buyers League fought against in the 1960s, Erik S. Gellman, Associate Professor in the Roosevelt University Department of History & Philosophy and Associate Director of the St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies, discussed the similarity between the recent subprime mortgage crisis and the struggles of the Contract Buyers. Gellman's segment begins at 6:37."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:19 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #67: The Cubs Have Issues!

Infield, outfield, starting pitching, relief pitching. Plus: I Hate John Fox; The Secret Seven-TE Spread; Fangio's Folly; Rappin' Roger Goodell; Rah! Rah! Sis-Boom-Bah Humbug; and The White Sox, Fire And Sky Reportedly Did Things This Week.


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SHOW NOTES

* Tsuyoshi Wada.

1:00: The Cubs Have Issues!

* The Second Basemen Report!

* Flux-y.

* Darwin James Kunane Barney is currently an Oklahoma City Dodger.

* Javy Baez's New Swing:

* Babe Schwarber Out, Action Jackson In.

* Joe Maddon Won't Say It, So We Will.

* Our hero.

* The key to this whole thing.

* Hector Rondon Makes A Point With 100-MPH Fastball.

* Of course Addison Russell has hit two home runs so far today. He still came into today with a slash line of .240/.299/.385.

* No. More. Onesies.

* The Cubs had plenty of costume parties before Maddon got here - and they didn't always go well.

34:40: I Hate John Fox.

* Alshon Jeffery's Injury Is A Mystery Wrapped In Bears' Nonsense.

* Fox, Pace Keeping Cards Close; Alienating Fanbase.

* Oskee.

* The Secret Seven-TE Spread.

* With the benefit of an extra game, only the Minnesota Vikings (4-1) had a better preseason record than the Bears (3-1). John Fox, Coach of the Year!

* Fangio's Folly.

54:05: Rappin' Roger Goodell.

* NFL Suspensions Overturned Or Reduced Under Roger Goodell - Pre-Brady.

57:37: Rah! Rah! Sis-Boom-Bah Humbug.

1:03:07: The White Sox Did Something This Week. So Did The Fire. And The Sky.

STOPPAGE: 4:08

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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 2:43 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Mac Sabbath at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Thursday night.


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2. The Hamburglars at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Thursday night.

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3. Absolutely Not outside the East Room on Sunday.

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4. Wovenhand at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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5. Chelsea Wolfe at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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6. Dirt Tusk at Quenchers on Sunday night.

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7. Defeater at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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8. Four Year Strong at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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9. Expire at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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10. Speak Low If You Speak Love at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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11. Liz Ridgely at Subterranean on Tuesday night.

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12. Varuna at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office

The view from Lakeview.

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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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:47 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Yes! Yes! This is what it's all about. It's like, there's too much cool stuff to keep track of.


I had a similar reaction to the top two shows in this week's installment of The Week In Chicago Rock. It's this sort of thing that preserves my sanity - just knowing that there are people out there who do this, and fans who get it. Yes! Yes! This is what it's all about.

Programming Note
This week has totally overwhelmed me. Over the long holiday weekend - it's a holiday weekend, right? I think I heard something about that - I'll try to turn out, one at a time, the posts I'm working on about Dyett, Rahm's budget, Patrick Kane, Ken Dunkin and the big vote in Springfield, child care funding and more.

Also, me and Coach record The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour at noon, so it should be up later in the afternoon, and a new Beachwood [News] Radio Hour is in pre-production. So stay tuned.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office
The view from Lakeview.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Mac Sabbath, The Hamburglars, Absolutely Not, Wovenhand, Chelsea Wolfe, Dirt Tusk, Defeater, Four Year Strong, Expire, Speak Low If You Speak Love, Liz Ridgely, and Varuna.

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BeachBook

23-year-old Chicago dude.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, September 3, 2015

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#tbt James Brown laid the foundation for rap. Jerry Ford let Nixon beat the rap.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, September 3, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Stay tuned.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

September 3, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

It was quite news day yesterday and there's a lot to get to, but I have to get to a meeting this morning first. For now:

* Hey Ya: Young Poets Break It Down.

* Former Minnesota Governor Talks 2016 With Henry Rollins.

* AAHH! Fest A No-Go, Mystery Train A Mystery & Chicago's Punk Astronomer.

* When What's Happening!! Happened.

* Sony Softened Concussion To Placate NFL.

* The World's Wooliest Sheep.

More later.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Wooly.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:06 AM | Permalink

The World's Wooliest Sheep

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Around 40 kilograms (88 lb) of wool has been sheared from a sheep found near Australia's capital, the RSPCA said on Thursday, making him unofficially the world's wooliest.

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The animal, named Chris by his rescuers, was discovered on the northern outskirts of Canberra on Wednesday and was said to be struggling to walk under the weight of his coat.

Tammy Ven Dange, chief executive of RSPCA ACT, the Canberra division of the animal charity, estimated Chris had more than five years of wool on him and likely little contact with humans.

The 40.2 kilos of wool removed from Chris mean that he was unofficially the carrier of the world's heaviest fleece, possibly shattering the current record set by New Zealand sheep Big Ben, found to be carrying nearly 29 kilograms of wool in 2014.

Big Ben dethroned fellow Kiwi, Shrek, who gained national celebrity in his home nation, meeting then Prime Minister Helen Clark and becoming the subject of several children's books before his death in 2011.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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See also: The Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival 2015!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:39 AM | Permalink

Hey Ya: Young Poets Break It Down

The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine are pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Nate Marshall, Erika L. Sanchez, Danniel Schoonebeek, Safiya Sinclair, and Jamila Woods.

Among the largest awards offered to young poets in the United States, the $25,800 prize is intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry and is open to all US poets between 21 and 31 years of age.

"Our winners this year are five poets who are accomplished in the most capacious and meaningful sense of the word," says Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine.

"They are not only gifted writers but also keen educators, activists, leaders in their communities. Each of these distinctive and skillful people, both at and away from the writing desk, is devoted to illuminating us in significant and inspiring ways."

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Nate Marshall's first book, Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. He is a co-editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015). He is a visiting assistant professor at Wabash College, a founding member of the Dark Noise poetry collective, and a Cave Canem fellow.

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Erika L. Sanchez is a CantoMundo fellow and winner of the 2013 Discovery/Boston Review Prize. She has received scholarships from the Fulbright Program and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her nonfiction has been published in Al Jazeera, Cosmopolitan, the Guardian, NBC News, Rolling Stone, Salon, and many others. Sanchez lives in Chicago.

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Danniel Schoonebeek's American Barricade (YesYes Books, 2014) was named one of the year's 10 standout debuts by Poets & Writers. Schoonebeek hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn and has served as editor of the PEN Poetry Series since 2013. His second book, a travelogue called C'est la guerre, is forthcoming from Poor Claudia in 2015.

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Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and earned her MFA in poetry at the University of Virginia. Her first full-length collection, Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), won a Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. She is currently pursuing a PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California, where she is a Dornsife doctoral fellow.

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Poet, singer, and teaching artist Jamila Woods has been called "a modern-day Renaissance woman" by the Chicago Sun-Times. She is the associate artistic director of Young Chicago Authors and a founding member of its Teaching Artist Corps. Woods is a member of Dark Noise, a collective of poets and educators of color, and the frontwoman of the Chicago-based soul music duo M&O. She lives in Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:09 AM | Permalink

Sony Softened Concussion To Placate NFL

Sony Pictures Entertainment executives altered the script of its forthcoming movie Concussion, about football-related brain trauma, to avoid antagonizing the National Football League, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Citing e-mails between Sony studio executives that were leaked by hackers last year, the Times said marketing plans for the movie were positioned to focus on the story of a whistleblower, rather than a condemnation of the sport.

Sony said on Wednesday that the New York Times story "contains many misleading references" and that nothing had been "softened" in the film to placate anyone.

The movie, starring Will Smith as a pathologist who diagnosed a degenerative brain disease in U.S. football players, is due in movie theaters in December. A first trailer was released on Monday, and the movie is seen as a potential Oscar contender.

The NFL in April settled a lawsuit brought by about 5,000 former players who accused it of covering up the dangers of concussions.

"Will (Smith) is not anti-football (nor is the movie) and isn't planning to be a spokesman for what football should be or shouldn't be," Dwight Caines, the president of domestic marketing at Sony Pictures, wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 6, 2014, to three top studio executives about how to position the movie, according to the New York Times report.

"We'll develop messaging . . . to ensure that we are telling a dramatic story and not kicking the hornet's nest," it quoted the e-mail as saying.

Another 2014 e-mail quoted by the Times said some "unflattering moments for the NFL" were deleted or changed, while another note said a top Sony lawyer had taken "most of the bite" out of the film.

Sony said the Times article and headline had been written "by individuals who have not seen the film (and) contains many misleading references."

"As will become immediately clear to anyone actually seeing the movie, nothing with regard to this important story has been 'softened' to placate anyone," Sony Pictures Entertainment spokeswoman Jean Guerin said in a statement.

The NFL declined to comment on the report but said in a statement it was encouraged by the focus on player health and safety.

"We all know more about this issue than we did 10 or 20 years ago. As we continue to learn more, we apply those learnings to make our game and players safer," it said.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:43 AM | Permalink

Former Minnesota Governor Talks 2016 With Henry Rollins

"Punk rock icon Henry Rollins joins Jesse Ventura on Off The Grid to talk the state of politics today, the 2016 elections and why Bernie Sanders has their vote.

"Plus, Rollins sounds off on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, why he had to 'clean up after Bush,' and the death of protest music."


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Including: Why Ventura became pro-gay marriage when he was a pro wrestler.

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Rollins vs. Antonin Scalia on the 14th Amendment.

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Rollins did USO shows to protest the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

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"If I was Iranian, I'd hate us too."

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See also:
* Bernie Sanders' Newest Fan: Jesse Ventura.

* Rollins On Sanders: The Sanest Of All The Men And Women Running.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:20 AM | Permalink

When What's Happening!! Happened

"What's Happening!! is an American television sitcom that aired on ABC from August 5, 1976 to April 28, 1979," according to Wikipedia.

"The show premiered as a summer series."

Here's a promo for the premiere, uploaded to YouTube this week by The Museum of Classic Chicago Television:


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"With good ratings and reviews, and after the failure of several other shows on the network, What's Happening!! returned in November 1976 as a weekly series. It remained a regular show until 1979; ratings were modest. What's Happening!! was loosely based on the Eric Monte-penned film Cooley High."

Monte also wrote Good Times.

"Unlike Good Times, a contemporary show that also had an African-American cast (and was also produced by Eric Monte), What's Happening!! only rarely and mildly ventured into social commentary. Most episodes focused on the goals of teenage males: meeting girls, finding afterschool jobs, and planning for the future."

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"The Doobie Brothers appeared as themselves to perform a concert at their former high school, Jefferson High, where Raj, Rerun, and Dwayne attend. Incidentally, one of the band's members (Patrick Simmons) stated he remembered Rerun from one of his old classes, saying 'Glad you came back!' Rerun responded, 'Came back? I'm still here!'"

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Rerun was originally written as a skinny white kid and 30 other things you probably didn't know about What's Happening!!.

Including:

"Mabel King, in particular, believed that the show's popularity offered the perfect opportunity to set some strong examples of black television characters. She didn't like that she was a single mother working as a maid, and contended that the lack of strong family models on black sitcoms was 'one of the biggest tragedies on television.'"

This is why, sadly, The Cosby Show was such a big deal.

"As such, King departed the show after just one season . . . Similar sentiments led to the eventual absence of parental characters on other African-American sitcoms, notably Good Times."

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Ebony cover story, June 1978: "On balance, What's Happening!! is the Archie comic book gang in blackface."

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Fred Berry as Rerun.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:29 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: AAHH! No

"AAHH! Fest won't be rocking Union Park this month as organizers say they've had a 'very demanding year,'" the Tribune reports.

"The West Side festival, which featured comedian Dave Chappelle and Chicago natives Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and Jennifer Hudson last year, will return in September 2016, fest spokeswoman Micaeh Johnson said in an e-mail to the Tribune. Auditions slated to be held this month were canceled."

From last year's Fest:


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Wilmette Talks To Winnetka
"Mega country star Toby Keith kicks off the return of WTTW/11's Soundstage on public television stations with Thursday's first taping at the station's Grainger Studio in front of a live SRO audience," Reel Chicago reports.

Really? Toby Keith? There's a bunch of guys from the AAHH Fest! who are suddenly available, maybe give one of them a call.

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WTTW: Whites Talking To Whites.

The Mystery Of Mystery Train
"The book I wish I could read again for the first time - and the book, I've long felt, I most wish I had written - is Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music, by Greil Marcus," Dwight Garner writes - and beautifully so - for the New York Times.

"Anecdotally, I'm aware that Mystery Train has meant a lot to many people. Less anecdotally, I'm aware that most critics and serious listeners think it's almost certainly the best book yet written about American music in general, and about rock in particular.

"This may seem like only moderate praise until you consider that for some, myself included, that's not so far from remarking that Mystery Train is the best book ever written about being alive."

The book Garner describes is one I could easily make my bible. Unfortunately, I own Mystery Train and I've tried to read it a handful of times and I can never get past the first few pages before wondering if there's a wall of drying paint somewhere I could go watch instead.

Magic Mando
"Mandopop needs no introduction and even less in the way of PR," the Georgia Straight writes.

I wouldn't be too sure of that! Mandopop.

Moving on:

"When the six nonthreatening boys of Magic Power arrive in Vancouver on Saturday on a rainbow of sugar, hair gel, and EDM beats, this city will weather its biggest hormone throb since the 'Chinese Beatles' - or Mayday, as the band is otherwise known - showed up for last year's blockbuster Pacific Coliseum gig."

Um, ok.

I'm just here to tell you that the band's Andrew Yeh was born in Chicago.

Oh, and boy is this awful:

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Far Out
Adler astronomer plays guitar in Ditch Club.

Now, this is more like it:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

September 2, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday accused Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration of 'walking away from the children of the city of Chicago' by making it harder for low-income families to qualify for inexpensive child care, while announcing he had set aside $9 million to keep the service in place for some of the kids," the Tribune reports.

"Rauner aides put in place new rules this summer that mean many families that used to be eligible for the state-subsidized Child Care Assistance Program no longer are. It was one of numerous cuts the Rauner administration said it made given the lack of a state budget amid the Springfield stalemate.

"Emanuel estimated the change affects about 9,000 children in Chicago, roughly 90 percent of those who used to qualify. The mayor said his administration had 'scraped together' $9 million to keep child care programs running for 5,000 kids who lost their eligibility, but called on Rauner to reconsider the new standards."

Grown men playing games with children.

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The problem with Rauner is obvious: He hates unions more than he loves the children of the state he governs. The cause of the budget stalemate isn't an inability to put together a budget with the Democrats who control the General Assembly, but his insistence that the budget include his raft of non-budget anti-labor measures. He refuses to disengage the two. Children suffer.

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The problem with Rahm, in this case, is a little less obvious: How did he manage to "scrape together" $9 million? I'm glad he did, but that's three times the amount of purported savings he supposedly achieved from closing half the city's mental health clinics. There is also the obvious point that Rauner is acting no differently than Rahm when it comes to budget priorities that hurt the most vulnerable first instead of last. You kind of want to say to Rahm, "Now you know how it feels." Except he doesn't, because all he feels is a political problem. His kids, like Rauner's, are safe.

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"The $9 million will be incorporated in Emanuel's 2016 city budget, which he will present Sept. 22."

Which, by the way, is likely already written if it is to be presented in 20 days, illustrating yet again why this week's public budget hearings are nothing but a PR exercise.

But still, the $9 million has to come from somewhere.

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"Early in his first term, Emanuel made a three-year $36 million investment in early learning programming through the city budget," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times.

"The city had planned to scale back its funding commitment to $6.6 million next year, which it had expected to accomplish without reducing services because of new funding sources, including some federal grants it has received."

So the $9 million comes from cuts the city was going to make in lieu of federal grants it hadn't before received, as well as "new funding sources?" I'm glad for that, but I'd sure like to see the legerdemain. And, certainly, the city could do better.

"Emanuel proposes to keep funding for prekindergarten programming at $15 million, directing the difference to providers in high-need areas that might be in danger of closing because of the state cuts. I'm glad there's somebody out there who recognizes this is important."

Knowing what I know about Emanuel, his track record and what people tell me privately, I don't believe for a second he's "somebody out there who recognizes this is important." It doesn't square. What he does recognize, though, is that he'll take the blame for anything disastrous that happens to kids who would otherwise be in child care because he's the mayor. I have been assured numerous times from people in a position to know that Rahm sees everything through a political prism. I know it's hard for some people to believe that, but the man's heart is cold as a meat locker.

"When I asked him whether he thought Rauner was aware of the ramifications of his changes before he put them in place, Emanuel said he didn't know whether it was intentional on the governor's part or the work of his advisers," writes Brown, who was granted a telephone interview with the mayor.

But he quickly added: "He owns it. That's what I do know."

The same never seems to be true when it comes to Rahm and his cuts.

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"Statewide, the program serves about 90,000 families," Bonnie Miller Rubin wrote for the Tribune last month.

"Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration said the overhaul was necessary because there simply is not enough money to pay the bills. Since the revisions went into effect, 885 children have been rejected for subsidies, according to the Illinois Department of Human Services, which administers the program.

Given the current fiscal crisis, the state faces tough choices, Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said. "The governor's turnaround agenda would create more jobs and free up resources inside government so more can be spent on the most vulnerable."

So the idea is to pay workers less and use that savings to increase subsidies to their children's child care?

Catherine Kelly, you are August 5th's Worst Person In Illinois.

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"Rauner asked for cuts to the child care program when he submitted his budget proposal in February. Democrats instead sent him a spending plan without the cuts. Rauner vetoed it, and his administration has pushed the cuts through on its own."

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"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has ousted the head of Illinois' child care program less than a week after the veteran administrator said publicly that the new governor's cuts to child care assistance would be 'devastating' to working families and hurt the economy," the Tribune reported about two weeks after Miller Rubin's article.

"Linda Saterfield, the state's child care administrator since 1998 who has worked for Republican and Democratic governors, was removed from her role as associate director for the Office of Early Childhood and reassigned to oversee a different office within the Department of Human Services, according to a memo she sent to co-workers Monday.

"Department spokeswoman Veronica Vera said Wednesday that the decision to reassign Saterfield came from Human Services Secretary James Dimas, who 'transferred Linda for internal personnel reasons.' Vera denied the move was because of Saterfield's remarks about Rauner's cuts."

Nobody believes that, and I'm not aware of the Rauner administration asking for corrections from every media outlet that put two and two together.

Last week, Saterfield appeared on behalf of the Rauner administration at a hearing on the governor's cuts to the child care program.

While the state is operating without a budget, the administration has used its authority to raise copays and set tougher income requirements for new applicants to save money. Advocates for child care providers and applicants tried to have the new rules overturned by a committee of lawmakers, who summoned Saterfield to be quizzed about the impact of the cuts.

Saterfield said Rauner's new rules had led to the denial of more than 1,100 applicants who had tried to join the subsidized child care program. Asked if her office had studied the impact of those denials on families or the economy, Saterfield replied: "Yes, devastating."

Saterfield said it's possible that some people who were rejected would have to quit their jobs as a result. When asked what impact the denials would have on the state's economy, Saterfield said: "For every dollar that we invest, we save seven. So I think the economic impact is pretty significant."

That sounds like a better deal than what Rauner is offering.

*

"The bipartisan committee failed to reach the three-fifths vote needed to overturn Rauner's rules.

"Days after her testimony, Saterfield was reassigned to the Department of Human Services' Office of Adult Services and Basic Support, where she will be associate director, the same title she held at the early childhood office. The move is not a demotion, and Saterfield's salary will remain the same, Vera said.

"In her memo to co-workers, Saterfield said she had been notified that the department is 'taking a new direction with leadership for child care.'"

Saterfield ended up retiring instead of accepting her new assignment.

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You know who Rauner hasn't had reassigned? His wife.

"Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking heat from all over for his budget proposal - including from his wife," Shia Kapos reported for Crain's back in February, when the issue first surfaced.

The Ounce of Prevention Fund, an early-childhood nonprofit headed by first lady of Illinois Diana Rauner, issued statements to the media and supporters this week criticizing cuts proposed by the governor that target the state's Child Care Assistance Program and Early Intervention programs.

A statement to the media reads, "We are opposed to the many proposed cuts in health, social service and education programs that would directly impact vulnerable children and families and their communities. We will oppose any changes to the Child Care Assistance Program that would adversely affect low-income families."

Maybe to keep the peace at home, the letter also offers a warm fuzzy, saying, "We were pleased to hear the governor and General Assembly are close to resolving the FY2015 budget deficit for the Child Care Assistance Program." And it reiterates, "Care for children will be severely compromised without immediate action."

Last week, after the Ounce issued a new "alert" about the cuts, Mary Mitchell wrote for the Sun-Times:

But don't think this is a real Rauner vs. Rauner showdown.

As president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, part of Diana Rauner's job is to keep the organization focused on its mission of supporting early learning programs for at-risk children.

Right now, that mission is being threatened by her husband's budget ax, but you don't see Diana Rauner out front on this issue.

I'm not so sure about that - here's Diana discussing the cuts with Bruce last week over beers:

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Neo's Last Dance
A look back - and ahead.

Fantasy Fix
Snap Up The Backup.

The Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival
Sheep shows, shearing demos and fibers arts.

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BeachBook

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She grew up in suburban Chicago.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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The world is a propaganda battlefield.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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Rachel Maddow is the biggest $7 million a year poser going. As Jon Stewart would say, stop hurting America.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Seemingly related:

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And equally close to Milwaukee.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Play offense.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 PM | Permalink

Neo's Last Dance

"Goth and punk kids in Lincoln Park don't have to worry about scaring off trixies anymore at Neo," Eater wrote in July.

"Instead they'll have to avoid them in Wicker Park. The popular after-hours nightclub near Clark and Fullerton is moving out of its home where it's spent the last 35-plus years. The club's lost its lease and will (at least) temporarily move the party down to Debonair Social Club on Thursdays and Saturdays starting on Thursday, Aug. 6.

"Neo owner Cal Fortis said there are plans to build a daycare center near the space: 'We go from legendary punk club to daycare center.'

"The club is scheduled for 'one last dance' in Lincoln Park on July 30."

Here is the last dance:


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Neo Thursdays launched at Debonair on August 6.

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The next Neo Thursday is . . . Thursday!

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Also: Helter Skelter Saturdays.

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One final remembrance from July:

Just us and 750 of our closest friends. Y'know, Thursday. #NEO36

Posted by Neo on Friday, July 24, 2015

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"Neo has been a staple of the area's alternative scene for over 30 years. Come in and experience a place where the drinks are strong, the music is a way of life, the dancing is unlike anywhere else, and only sin is not being yourself."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:51 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Snap Up The Backup

I started to write this column with the point that Kirk Cousins, QB, WAS, would make a nice late-round draft pick or early waiver wire pick-up, largely based in the probability that Washington would turn to him as a starter at some point this season after giving up on Robert Griffin III.

Well, it happened sooner than I thought - before the fourth pre-season game. Cousins has been named the starter, and has some potential to prove himself a fantasy bargain. He's not a fantasy starter yet, and probably not even a QB-2 in many leagues, but his stock could rise quickly.

That leaves me thinking, who are some other backups who are worth a bottom bench spot even if it's not yet clear how much they will play?

Here are three of the obvious ones:

Johnny Manziel, QB, CLE: Josh McCown is the starter, and with CLE's middling talent throughout the rest of the offense, he's not even very fantasy worthy, but Manziel showed some flashy playmaking ability and improved decision-making in two pre-season games. He'll probably miss the rest of the preseason with what is supposed to be a mild elbow injury, but would be ready to move into a starting role early in the regular season if CLE decided to give him a chance. I like him more as a waiver wire pick once the season starts, though his name recognition probably is getting him late-round draft attention.

Darren McFadden, RB, DAL: I know what you're thinking - fool's gold. However, Joseph Randle, who was given a chance to win the starting job outright, has done very little to impress in the preseason, and McFadden, for all his injury-prone faults, very likely will get an even share of the backfield workload. McFadden, in his best games, looked a lot like DeMarco Murray did last year as the Cowboys' workhorse RB. I like him as a very late draft pick, or higher up if you do decide to take Randle early and need the handcuff.

Ty Montgomery, WR, GB: Don't feel bad if you have never heard of him. With Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and even Jeff Janis in front of him on the WR depth chart, the rookie was not slated for much attention this year. However, Nelson's now likely out for the year, and Cobb, who has some injury history. may be questionable to start Week 1. There's a good chance this third-round pick will be the No. 2 WR for GB for that first game, and the No. 3 WR going forward. With Aaron Rodgers at QB, No. 3 is not a bad place to be.

Expert Wire
* SB Nation likes Joique Bell, RB, DET, a starter who has been overshadowed by his backup, much-hyped rookie Ameer Abdullah. Bell was a nice pass-catching RB the last two seasons, and will get many more carries this year, even if Abdullah earns himself a handful of big plays.

Fantasy Baseball Note
* Only a week or two left of the regular season in many leagues, but the Sept. 1 roster expansions give you one last chance to mine the waiver wire for a tiny bit of fantasy gold. Best of the bunch might be Chicago's very own Javier Baez, 2B/SS, Cubs. Baez has been tearing up the minors of late, and striking out much less often than we remember. It remains to be seen if that will translate to the major-league level, but with Starlin Castro playing pretty inconsistent at 2B, Baez likely to get several starts in the next two weeks.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

The Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival 2015!

Spend the weekend with us as we celebrate the multi-purpose wool- and fiber-bearing animals as well as the wonderful and renewable products that they provide for us.

One of the Midwest's major events for sheep producers and fiber enthusiasts is set for September 11-13. It's a full weekend of activities - full of entertainment, shopping and education and it's all at Jefferson Fair Park, Jefferson, Wisconsin, just 30 miles west of Milwaukee off I-94.

girl-&-sheep.jpgAuction Becomes Pinnacle Of Festival
Please help fund our scholarship and educational seminars by attending the Shepherds' Auction in the Activity Center, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 12. Started in the early '90s to fund scholarships, the auction has generated thousands of dollars of financial support for college students and educational programs sponsored by the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative.

Food, Food, Food
Check out the new food vendors at Jefferson this year! In addition to the kitchen in the Activity Center, River's Edge (remember their pies!), Charlie's (it's all about corn dogs and lemonade), Ayers Tropical Sno and the FFA Alumni with their ice cream snacks, we're joined by Creme de la Crepe with everything from "Crepizza" to Crepes with peanut butter and jelly to Pizza and even funnel cakes. It's not just about the fiber this year, how about that food!

The Stock Exchange
A new marketing opportunity for sheep producers is being offered this year. Called The Stock Exchange, the newly established venue provides buyers and sellers an inexpensive marketplace for private treaty sales of all types of sheep

Wonders of Wool Classes
Three full days! Seventy-plus classes for all experience levels taught by 37 nationally recognized instructors. There are a few classes left to register for. Ease of registration thru the website!

Make It With Wool
If fashion is your thing, Wisconsin's Make It With Wool competition will be held on Saturday. This is the place to see designers of all ages compete for a chance in the national spotlight. Watch the judging results in the 'Best of Wisconsin' fashion show at 3 p.m. Want to enter MIWW? Go to the website for complete details of the age categories and criteria, including the quilt, wall hanging and novelty classes.

"Art Under Foot"
A delightful display of hooked rugs will again be featured this year. These fibers arts projects have been sponsored by the Cream City Rug Hookers and the Wisconsin Quilt History Project, Inc. A collection of wool quilts and wall hangings will be shown on Saturday & Sunday, sponsored by the WI Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts.

Fun Events for Everyone
This year there will be a special day for kids called "Wooly Y." And don't miss the Crook & Whistle Stock Dog Trial, sheep shearing demonstrations, sheep shows, lead class competition including the costume class, classes for new and experienced shepherds, fleece show and sale, Sunday demonstrations of traditional fiber arts by the Marshall Pleasant Spinners, daily stock dog shows, and so much more!

Country Store
Come to Jefferson prepared to shop! The Country Store will feature over 130 exhibitors from across the country, offering everything from baskets to drop spindles; yarn to jewelry; rug looms to roving. New expanded shopping hours: Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p/m.

Walk & Knit
After everyone found out how much fun this event could be, this year there will be 11 full teams complete with matching t-shirt who will be walking as fast as they can and knitting at the same time. It will be held Saturday at 4:30pm. Come and see the fun!

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Admission is only $8 per person, weekend passes $15. Kids 8 and under free. Parking free. Camping available on the festival grounds.

Registration and entry forms, plus complete festival information is available online.

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Shearing demonstration:

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FYI, PETA: Inside The Wool Industry.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

September 1, 2015

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel faced a largely hostile crowd Monday night as he held his first public budget meeting in four years, with protesters who want to reopen a Bronzeville high school taking another opportunity to showcase their cause," Bill Ruthhart reports for the Tribune.

"For 90 minutes, individuals in the crowd of about 750 people at Malcolm X College on the West Side each got one minute to ask questions of, or direct comments at, Emanuel and his top City Hall aides before they unveil a 2016 spending plan on Sept. 22."

1. That's a lot of people; I could be wrong, but it strikes me as much larger than the crowds at Richard M. Daley's public budget hearings.

2. There has to be a better way than giving people one minute to ask questions or make comments; that just illustrates how these hearings are simply theater designed to give the illusion that the mayor is actually interested in other people's ideas - and actually listening. I'd be interested to learn on September 22 if a single idea in the budget came from one of these meetings (there are two more) - or from the citymade hashtag #chibudget2016.

"[M]uch of the event was dominated by demonstrators and protesters who sought to take advantage of a rare opportunity to engage directly with their mayor, who's known more for carefully orchestrated press events rather than unscripted public forums with constituents."

The fewer opportunities the public has to interact with their elected officials, the more the pressure is going to build and then go off in a big way at events like this. Same with the media when they get a chance to exact some revenge on someone who's done nothing but disrespect them.

"As Emanuel walked out to sit on a stage in the middle of a gymnasium, many in the audience chanted, 'Rahm don't care!' The mayor had been scheduled to offer opening remarks but instead waited until the end after many in the crowd had spent the start of the meeting shouting down the moderator for announcing the time limit on comments.

By far, the topic discussed the most was a bid by activists to reopen Dyett High School. For 15 days, a dozen people have engaged in a hunger strike, forgoing solid food to try to push Emanuel to reopen the high school with a focus on green technology.

"We've got two people who went in the hospital and one who just left. They're hungry, and you don't have enough guts or integrity to even see them," said Frances Banks, who said she lives in the Kenwood neighborhood. "If any of them die, the blood will be on your hands!"

The crowd then erupted into a chant, "The blood is on your hands." Another speaker asked Emanuel when he would meet with hunger strikers.

When the mayor didn't step forward and the moderator attempted to move onto another question, the crowd chanted, "Answer the question!" Emanuel eventually agreed to meet with protesters on the issue after the budget hearing, along with Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, school board Vice President Jesse Ruiz and senior CPS officials. Both Emanuel's office and the activists said the mayor made no commitments during the meeting.

"The community has spoken on this, but the mayor said, 'If you give us a little more time, we'll come up with a resolution.' But there was no commitment," said Jitu Brown, an organizer and participant in the hunger strike. "And we explained to him that we're going to continue this hunger strike until we win and the community wins."

Emanuel declined to answer questions after he left the meeting.

Sigh.

"Emanuel had the opportunity to speak directly to three of the hunger strikers before the event. As he made his way around the room greeting people in their seats, the hunger strikers approached Emanuel.

"We told him, 'Let's end this hunger strike right now,' " said Marc Kaplan, 63, one of the strikers. Emanuel responded, "I'll be right back," explaining that he wanted to greet others in attendance. But the mayor did not return to talk to the three.

Just to be fair about the context:

"Others grilled the mayor about the lack of transparency over the city's tax-increment financing districts," the Sun-Times reports.

"The question I have for our mayor is: Where is our money?" one speaker said.

Emanuel began explaining that most of the money goes toward public schools, transportation, libraries and other entities, but he was drowned out by audience jeers.

"I have three teenagers at home," Emanuel joked. "I'm really OK with this."

I think the sentiment holds.

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Some video:

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"More security than I've ever seen for something like this."

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"A raucous group of protesters."

Well, Rahm and his appointees have the luxury of not having to be "raucous" to be heard; they just do what they like. And another word for protesters might be citizens, or parents.

With the exception of the Tribune article, the media framing is through the prism of the mayor, who in their telling just wanted everyone to be polite - after all, he was there to listen!

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Filling out the picture:

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I Am A Retail Warrior
I Am Not Your Friend.

The Real Curse Of Downers Grove
It's Hollywood.

The Chinese Guide To The Fighting Illini
What the fuck is Oskee?

Do You Own Your Cell Phone Location Data?
The Supreme Court should say Hell Yes.

Chicago Sons Was A TV Show
With Jason Bateman.

The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly
Mob Museum explores FIFA corruption.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Penthouse Sweets, Exegesis, Vulfpeck, Manwolves, Lady Lamb, Atlas Aria, Naked Raygun, Cheap Trick, Urge Overkill, Santana, Foo Fighters, and The 1910 Fruitgum Company.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Autoplay.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:41 AM | Permalink

The Real Curse Of Downers Grove . . .

"I saw more people die in high school than in the rest of my life," Downers Grove South graduate Michael Hornburg tells the Daily Herald.

"One kid died in a car crash," he said. "One kid drowned in a quarry. The girl who sat next to me in typing class, she was kidnapped outside of an arcade and was found murdered inside a garbage bag in Lisle. So there was a lot of murder and mayhem and people getting killed on a scale I never experienced again."

A movie based on his book The Curse of Downers Grove is out Tuesday on Blu-ray, DVD and video on demand.

We asked Hornburg if he had seen The Curse of Downers Grove and if he approved of the huge changes made from his original book, all about a high school senior named Chrissy who becomes slightly obsessed that she might fall victim to "the curse."

Chrissy's sagely grandmother, a dominant figure in the novel, has been expunged from the movie, as has Chrissy's mother's insatiable appetite for male attention.

"Chrissy's grandmother is the moral center of the book," Hornburg said. "Chrissy is always going to her for advice. That's sad they didn't keep her in the movie."

Hornburg admitted that if this had been his first experience turning a book into a movie, he'd be much more outraged by the changes. But he's been on this horse before.

His 1996 novel Bongwater, a quasi-autobiographical work centered around the grunge music scene in Portland during the '80s, became a 1998 movie starring Luke Wilson as an aspiring artist who falls in love with smoking pot, prompting his girlfriend (Alicia Witt) to head to New York with a heroin addict (Jamie Kennedy). The movie also featured Jack Black, Amy Locane, Brittany Murphy, Andy Dick and Jeremy Sisto.

"In books, you're trying to create an emotional feeling," Hornburg said. "In movies, people want to be rocked out of their seats. It's a completely different thing. I had previously gone through this with Bongwater. I was in complete shock over that.

"That experience prepared me to be more open and more understanding and more ready for what (the film) was going to be. You just have to distance yourself from the movie. I understand that they have so much money invested in this that you have to let them do what they want."

And what was it they wanted for the movie?

"They always wanted more drama, more tension! More tension! More tension!" he said. "That's just the theme in Hollywood. They want things scarier and scarier. That's just how it works."

The Curse of Downers Grove that Hornburg wrote - he described it as a lighthearted high school tale like Clueless turns into a fairly violent homage to Sam Peckinpah's home invasion thriller Straw Dogs.

* IMDB describes the movie as "A teen angst thriller at a high school gripped by an apparent curse that claims the life of a senior every year."

* Bret Easton Ellis wrote the screenplay, which is why some promo material say "From the author of American Psycho."

* The book dates back to 1996; "Full of humor, wit, and the sacrilegious worldview of a savvy teenager, Downers Grove paints a searing portrait of the American dream in all its broken glory."

* Filming took place in the Lincoln Park neighborhood - of Pomona, California.

* Katie Rife of the A.V. Club gives the movie a C-, writing that The Curse Of Downer's Grove is very impressed with its own cleverness, which it flaunts with flourishes like the always-distressing omniscient voice-over; dream sequences that wouldn't be out of place in a mid-'90s VH1 rock block; a sentimental slideshow of our leads that, like most of the film's male characters, is creepily fixated on [lead actress Bella] Heathcote; and a wholly unnecessary minute-and-a-half long post-credits stinger. Like the most popular student at a suburban high school, it thinks it's something special. But it won't make it in the big city."

* With Tom Arnold.

* ImDontai reacts to the trailer:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:38 AM | Permalink

The Chinese Guide To The Fighting Illini

Because the University of Illinois has 4,500 undergrads and post-grads from China in its student body, the school will simulcast Illini football games this fall in Chinese. For our Anglo readers, we've thoughtfully translated several phrases that are likely to recur on the air from the student announcers so you can recognize the words when they are repeated.

Yesu! Nandao women meiyou RENHE REN shui keyl gan shang tuishai de jiaoluo? Jesus! Don't we have ANYONE who can catch a fade to the corner?"

Women tebie xiaozu xi. Our special teams suck.

Shi women yinggai zhe guoge changge ma? Which national anthem are we supposed to sing?

Ta de di san ge he. It's 3rd-and-3. (There is no known translation for "Now PASS the fucking ball!")

Ni dui zhe ci quan zhan de jieshu, xia? What's the over and under on this dog show?

Shi bushi laibuji zhuanyi dao xibei? Is it too late to transfer to Northwestern?

Women yinggai za xiangle qiu. We should pound the ball.

Zhishao beike man bei jiegu, dan tamen weisheme bu zhixing ta ma? At least Beckman was fired but why didn't they execute him?

Wo bu renwei wo jianguo zheme duo de lao bai de ren zai tong yige difang. I never seen so many old white people in one place.

Tixing wo, weisheme women xuyao yige wan sai. Remind me why we want a bowl game.

Shenme ta ma de shi Oskee? What the fuck is Oskee?

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Comments welcome. Huanying pinglun.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:23 AM | Permalink

EFF To Supreme Court: Police Need A Warrant For Americans' Cell Phone Location Records

Florida Case Allowing Unconstitutional Mobile Phone Tracking Needs Review By High Court

Americans have the right to expect that digital records of their daily travels - when they left home, where they went, and how long they stayed - are private information, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court of the United States.

Weighing in on one of the most important digital privacy rights cases of the year, EFF is asking the court to hear arguments in Davis v. U.S., a federal criminal case from Florida that examines whether police need a search warrant to obtain historical cell site location information (CSLI).

These records show law enforcement which cell phone towers your phone has connected to in the past. In this case, police obtained 67 days of records about defendant Quartavious Davis without a warrant and used them to implicate him in various robberies.

In the brief filed Monday, EFF and other advocacy groups argue that the ubiquity of cell phone use in this country - along with a clear increase in law enforcement demands for cell site records and conflicting court rulings about the need for search warrants - means the U.S. Supreme Court should grant review in Davis's case.

"It's time for law enforcement to recognize that Americans' physical location information is sensitive, and private, and protected by the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures,'' said EFF senior staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury.

"Cell phones are an integral part of modern life and carry detailed information about where we go and when we travel. Many federal and state courts have already ruled that cell site information is protected under the Fourth Amendment. We are urging this country's highest court to afford all Americans this important protection from law enforcement unless there's a search warrant.''

The request for Supreme Court review comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found Davis did not have an expectation of privacy in historical cell site records, meaning police did not need to obtain a search warrant before requesting and receiving his location data.

This decision conflicts both with an earlier decision from the Florida Supreme Court, and a later decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which found people do have an expectation of privacy in these records, so police need a warrant to get them.

More critically, the Eleventh Circuit's decision ignores the modern reality of cell phone use: nearly everyone carries one, leaving a digital trail that could potentially be accessed at any time.

Without a strong ruling from the highest court, the public and police are left with conflicting guidance about the level of constitutional protection for this sensitive location information.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled in Riley v. California that cell phones hold vast amounts of private information, potentially the sum of an individual's private life, and searching that data requires a search warrant,'' said EFF senior staff attorney Jennifer Lynch.

''We believe it's high time that the government recognize that cell phones not only hold our private data, they also generate data - stored with cell phone companies - about our private movements and travels. The government shouldn't be allowed unfettered access to this information without first going to court and obtaining a warrant.''

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See also: Court Rules Cell Phone Data Isn't Yours.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:55 AM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: Chicago Sons

1. Tachuelita TV.


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2. Oops Dance Girl TV.

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3. Gang Albanii TV.

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4. Chicago Sons.

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5. World Star Hip Hop Questions Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:34 AM | Permalink

I Am A Retail Warrior: I Am Not Your Friend

Several weeks ago, I received a call from a woman in another state. After my (required) lengthy and extraordinarily perky greeting, she said, "Hi, Jane! This is 'Anita Perkins!'"

Who? I have a lot of regular customers and I deal with a lot of distributors and owners of other businesses, but I definitely don't know an 'Anita Perkins' (not her real name).

But, being the retail pro I've become, I responded with a cheery, "Hi Anita! How are you? What can I help you with?"

It turns out Anita was in "my" store just after Christmas of 2014 (our absolute busiest time of the year) and purchased numerous expensive leather and Swarovski dog collars for her many expensive pure-bred dogs (all of whom happen to be a breed of which I'm not particularly fond). I have no memory of Anita, the sale we made to her, which was, I'm sure, sizable, or much of anything from around, say, October through March, when we tend to rake in the money that's used to allow us to get by in the lean months. But, since we're in the midst of those lean months now, a decent sale would be a great thing.

Anita and her husband recently decided to foster yet another dog of the same breed. I may not be crazy about the breed (whose name may or may not rhyme with "Mocker Manual"), but fostering is admirable, so I'm a little happier about helping Anita upon hearing this. And not only are they fostering a dog, they're fostering a senior dog and have agreed to be a sanctuary home for it, which means they'll care for it until it dies - something not a lot of people are willing to take on. Anita is improving in my eyes at this point - but it won't last.

"So Francie-poo, our foster, needs her own fancy collar. Since I can't come in, is there a way you could show me what the options are?"

We do this for customers from time to time. If they're looking for a specific product, we take photos of things we think may suit their needs and text them copies in the hope they'll then make a purchase over the phone.

"I'll be happy to take some pictures on my cell phone and text you," I tell her. This was a terrible mistake on my part - I should have had one of my bosses use one of their phones.

"Great!" she chirps, and gives me her cell number.

I choose five collars that I think will look nice, based on the coloring of the dog as described by her (yellow, more or less), and send her a message that she should call me AT THE STORE (number provided) if she's interested in any of them or would like to see other options.

Two minutes later, I get a text.

"Is the one on the far left blue?"

I should never have texted back, but I did.

"Yes. That one is blue, the one next to it is seafoam green, then bright pink, then a darker green."

Minutes pass. My cell phone buzzes again.

"Janet, (Yes, I've somehow now become 'Janet' rather than 'Jane') I hate the dark green collar (which is a best-seller for us, but whatever). Let me show my husband the pictures and I'll get back to you."

"Great!" I respond. "Please call me AT THE STORE tomorrow to let me know what you decide!"

Several hours pass. My cell phone buzzes. I recognize the out-of-state number. Why is she texting me? The store is about to close.

"Hi Janet! It's Anita! Do you have a collar in gold?"

My heart sinks. Although my instinct is to call her from the store phone to confirm we have one in gold, I know she wants a picture. There's no one there but me to take it. I snap a picture of the gold collar and type "Here is the gold collar. Please give us a call AT THE STORE tomorrow if you'd like to order it. Thanks!"

At approximately 9:30 that night, my phone buzzes. I'm hoping it's a friend or even family member. It's Anita.

"Janet, we LOVE the gold collar. Is it possible to get it with more crystals?"

Does she think Creature Comforts is Wal-Mart, and open 24 hours a day? She knows I don't own the shop, so why is she texting me at this time of night? I decide to wait until morning to respond.

I respond by calling her from the store's number. I can special order the collar with the gold leather with more crystals if she would like, but I will have to check the cost with the manufacturer, and get back to her on that. I emphasize that it's JANE calling. I leave the message on her voice mail. I ask her to call me AT THE STORE regarding how she would like to proceed.

Two-and-a-half hours later, my cell phone buzzes.

"Janet, it's fine as it is, we'll take it! Also, we have large male dog who weighs over 100 lbs. We would like to get a special collar for him, too. But it needs to be boyish. Can you send pictures of any suggestions you might have? What size would he need?"

Before I can respond, it buzzes again.

"I think he'd look great in red!"

At this point, I should know that Anita doesn't understand boundaries, and I am, essentially, screwed. I take pictures of several very nice red leather collars, text them to Anita, and she's delighted with one of them. She texts me again regarding size. I consult my boss, who tells me what size we need. I text Anita regarding the right size.

"Are you sure? That sounds small," she texts, regarding a collar that is more than two feet in diameter.

"I'm sure," I text back. "We do not have it in stock, but I can special order it and we will ship it when it comes in."

"I need to double check with my husband on the size," she responds.

"Take your time. Please call us AT THE STORE when you know what size you need," I text.

"I'm going to call you to give you my credit card information for the collars," she responds.

Anita calls me at the store. I graciously take her information and explain that, since we don't yet know what size she'll be ordering, I need to charge for the larger possibility. She says this is not an issue, she's willing to pay that amount either way. I also charge twice for shipping, as she wants the gold collar right away, and we'll have to ship the red one once the manufacturer has made it to order. Again, not a problem. She will let me know what size she wants after (again) consulting with her husband. I tell her to give me a call AT THE STORE when she has made a decision. She thanks me for being helpful. I mail out her gold collar and write up the order for her red collar, making a note that she will be calling back to confirm size, as I will be off the next day and someone else will likely take the call.

Just after 10:30 p.m., my cell phone buzzes. Anita has sent me a text to let me know she needs the size I told her she needed. I respond that we will place the order and it will arrive in about six weeks. She thanks me. The next time I'm in the shop, I rewrite the order with a definitive size and breathe a sigh of relief. It's done. There is absolutely no reason for Anita to text me again.

Five days pass. At 7:30 a.m. on my day off, my cell phone buzzes.

"Hi Jane! (Apparently the note I included with the gold collar clarified this name thing for her.) Just wanted to let you know we got Francie-poo's collar last night and it's BEAUTIFUL! I love it! I put a picture of her wearing it on Facebook, and told all my friends I got it from Creature Comforts!"

Despite the fact it's (a) my day off, (b) before 8 a.m., and (c) SHE'S TEXTING MY PERSONAL PHONE AGAIN, I politely respond that I'm glad she likes it and let her know that Creature Comforts has a Facebook page to which she is welcome to post a picture of Francie-poo in her collar.

"I'll do it as soon as I'm home later today!" she responds, leading me to wonder where the heck she is at that hour of the morning.

I roll over to go back to sleep. My cell phone buzzes within five minutes.

"I can't find your Facebook page," she texts. I direct her to the page and try to go back to sleep again.

Less than five minutes pass before the phone buzzes again.

"I tried to post the picture to your page, but I can't see it," she texts. "I must have done something wrong."

At this point, I know I'm not going back to sleep. I get up, check the page for work, look at "Posts to page," and see her post at the top.

I have given up on actually speaking to her on a day when I'm at work, on the shop phone.
"It's there. It's under 'Posts to page'. It looks lovely on Francie-Poo. Smiley emoticon."

I then text my boss, asking him to move it from its current location to our main page so Anita and all her friends can see it. She's put a little caption with it, thanking me by my correct name for all the help. I can only hope she won't give my cell number to any of her friends who are looking for collars.

This whole saga has lasted nearly a week. I am no longer receiving texts from Anita. For now. Six weeks will pass far too soon, and my cell phone will begin buzzing regarding the arrival of the red collar. I have resolved to enjoy every minute of every day until then.

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Previously in I Am A Retail Warrior:
* 15 Things We Wish Customers Knew.

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Previously in Life At Work: Barista! Tales From The Coffee Front; At Your Service; I Am A Security Guard; I Am A Roofer; Working The Door; I Am A Wrigley Beer Vendor; I Am A Pizza Delivery Guy; and the original Life at Work.

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Jane Harper is our pseudonymous retail correspondent. She welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Complicit With Segregation.
SPORTS - USA Gymnastics Bans Illinois Coach.

BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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