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« February 2016 | Main | April 2016 »

March 31, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"Federal officials announced on Wednesday that a sweeping settlement had been reached to reform the Newark Police Department after a three-year investigation uncovered a pattern of unconstitutional practices, including improper searches and stops and excessive use of force," the New York Times reports.

"The proposed reforms, which must be approved by a judge, include putting cameras on officers and in police vehicles, increasing training, and revamping department policies on the use of force and search-and-seizure practices.

"The agreement also calls for the installation of a monitor to oversee the department's compliance with the terms of the settlement and the creation of a civilian oversight committee, which the city, New Jersey's largest, has already taken steps toward putting into place."

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The three-year investigation seems far larger in scope than what the U.S. Department of Justice has planned here; let's hope not. Rahm Emanuel's hiring of Eddie Johnson as police chief only underscores how unremittingly unreformed the Chicago Police Department remains and is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. The mayor's unwillingness to do what must be done makes it even more crucial that the feds get this right.

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"Under the settlement, the [Newark] Police Department will remain under federal oversight until it is in compliance for two consecutive years."

The Chicago Police Department should get at least as much guidance.

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"Justice Department investigators waded through thousands of reports on police stops and use of force, mostly complaints from between 2006 and 2011, when Garry McCarthy was chief of the Newark police department. McCarthy left Newark in 2011 to become police superintendent in Chicago, where he served until Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired him last December over police abuse problems," the Atlantic notes.

(Memo to Atlantic: That's objectively not why Rahm fired McCarthy; he clearly made a political sacrifice.)

"The DOJ investigation found that roughly three-fourths of pedestrian stops by Newark police were done with no stated legal basis."

Sounds familiar. From an ACLU report issued last March:

[T]he Chicago Police Department has a current practice of unlawfully using stop-and-frisk:
  • Although officers are required to write down the reason for stops, in nearly half of the stops we reviewed, officers either gave an unlawful reason for the stop or failed to provide enough information to justify the stop.
  • Stop and frisk is disproportionately concentrated in the black community. Black Chicagoans were subjected to 72% of all stops, yet constitute just 32% of the city's population. And, even in majority white police districts, minorities were stopped disproportionately to the number of minority people living in those districts.
  • Chicago stops a shocking number of people. Last summer, there were more than 250,000 stops that did not lead to an arrest. Comparing stops to population, Chicagoans were stopped more than four times as often as New Yorkers at the height of New York City's stop-and-frisk practice.

In the face of a systemic abuse of this law enforcement practice, Chicago refuses to keep adequate data about its officers' stops. Officers do not identify stops that result in an arrest or ordinance violation, and they do not keep any data on when they frisk someone. This failure to record data makes it impossible for police supervisors, or the public, to identify bad practices and make policy changes to address them.

The ACLU and CPD have since come to an agreement on keeping data about the stops. As a result, the number of stops has dropped dramatically amid complaints by cops about the paperwork (since modified) and an "objective" media with built-in assumptions that defy the point - as well as the actual research on stop-and-frisk's effectiveness.

Or, to put it another way:

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And yet, one of Eddie Johnson's top tasks - handed to him by Rahm Emanuel - is to get those street stops moving again.

Help us, DOJ, you're our only hope.

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Obama Breaking Promise, Says Pardons Attorney
Geez, get in line. Fill in the blank: "Obama Breaks Promise To _____."

Has any president even come close to breaking as many promises as this one?

Anyway, here's the story:

"Two years ago, President Obama unveiled an initiative to give early release to potentially thousands of federal prisoners serving long sentences for low-level drug crimes.

"The initiative has barely made a dent, and a resignation letter from the president's recently departed Pardon Attorney lays out at least one reason why."

You'll have to click through for the rest.

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Why So Many Baseball Experts Whiff On Predictions
Hint: Free agent signings are overrated.

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BeachBook

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Funny how stories about Andy MacPhail seem to always skip right over his time with the Cubs.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Dold's best friend. They both live in LaGrange.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Your only hope.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:28 AM | Permalink

Why So Many Baseball Experts Whiffed With Last Year's Predictions

For Major League Baseball teams, spring brings the promise of a better year. For the baseball media, it means putting their expertise to the test and forecasting player and team performances.

Most of these forays into the future will be quickly forgotten, and for baseball's prognosticators, the public's amnesia is fortunate: they're prone to swing and miss with great frequency.

In fact, last season featured some of the most surprising final regular season standings in the last 60 years - at least, when compared to how the media experts envisioned things panning out.

A close look at the final 2015 MLB standings finds American League West teams finishing in almost inverse order of some pre-season forecasts. The previous season's bottom dwellers - the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros - captured first and second, respectively.

In the American League Central division, the story was much the same. The favored Detroit Tigers, division winners the four previous years, collapsed, finishing last. The White Sox, seen by many as the "winner of the offseason" player acquisitions, were only a game-and-a-half better than the Tigers. The Cleveland Indians, picked by Sports Illustrated to win the World Series, finished third in their division.

And in the National League East, the Washington Nationals were nearly everyone's pick to claim the division flag, but finished seven games behind the Mets, who surged after their trade deadline acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes from the underachieving Tigers.

Isn't that what we expect and love about baseball: its unpredictability?

Yes. But the division races in 2015 were unpredictably unpredictable. After breaking down the numbers, we pose a couple of reasons why this may have happened.

From Mediocre To Abysmal Predictions

Last spring, we examined the accuracy of nine media sources that predicted MLB's division races between 2009 and 2014.

For the nine sources, we found that the average correlation between the predicted finish and the final standings was .49. Perfect predictions would yield a correlation of 1.0, while perfectly awful predictions would produce a -1.0.

A .49 correlation isn't anything special. A budding MLB Nostradamus could produce exactly the same correlation over the six years by simply taking the previous year's final standings for each division and using it as the next year's prediction.

But compared to 2015, the mediocre 2009 to 2014 media forecasts were positively clairvoyant.

This spring, we analyzed the 2015 preseason predictions from Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and a panel of baseball experts who attended the NINE Spring Training conference in Tempe, Arizona, in March 2015. All of them fell well below the .49 average achieved by the media prognosticators in our previous study.

The strongest correlation between preseason rankings and the final standings was Sports Illustrated's forecast that produced a .23 correlation. The NINE experts were next with at .12, while Sporting News finished in the cellar with a .08 correlation. For perspective, Sporting News' average correlation for all years from 1955 to 2015 was a solid .60.

Yes, 2015 was a very tough year indeed.

We also wanted to see exactly how these poor predictions stacked up, historically.

So in the second part of our study, we examined the preseason/final standing correlations for three publications over several decades: Sporting News and Sports Illustrated from 1955-2015 and Street and Smith's Baseball Yearbook from 1962-2007. Combined, the publications produced an average yearly correlation of .58, vastly better than our 2015 sample. When individual years were examined, only the years 1984, 1990 and 1991 produced a poorer correlation than 2015.

Splashy Free Agent Signings Build Hype

So why was 2015 such a bad year for MLB predictions?

Here we leave the data behind and move to the slippery slope of speculation.

The 2015 season saw the blossoming of young teams like the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs, the rebound of steadily solid teams with injury-riddled 2014 campaigns like the Texas Rangers, and unrealistic expectations for teams active in off-season player shuffling like the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres and White Sox.

There is also the element of luck. Balls batted into play fall for hits in greater numbers one year than other. High flies drift over the outfield wall with more regularity some seasons. Injuries can destroy one team's chances and hardly influence another's. The baseball gods smile and frown at whim.

Deities aside, media prognosticators could have been overreacting to the impact of high-profile free agent signings - a tendency pundits have shown in the past.

When we broke up our data sets, we found that predictions were weakest from 1977 to 1992 - the era when free agency emerged and took effect.

The average correlation for this era was .40, compared to a .58 average for all other eras. The shuffling of marquee players from team to team certainly produces big headlines. But it also may cause media observers to overestimate the difference a handful of players can make.

pablo.jpg

When we examined the 30-team era - from 1998 to 2015 - the average yearly correlation moved up to .56. This coincided with the rise of sabermetrics, which allowed journalists and front offices to begin using advanced statistics to precisely evaluate the contributions of individual players. This may have helped media prognosticators do a better job of evaluating the true impact of off-season transactions. For example, the Wins Above Replacement statistic shows how, most of the time, the addition of a couple of new players is unlikely to significantly move the win needle.

We also found that some teams are more predictable over time than others.

Over our decades-long study, the easiest teams to predict were the Astros (.79), Athletics (.78), Mets (.77), Blue Jays (.76) and Mariners (.71). Dramatically more difficult to forecast were the Diamondbacks (.10), Dodgers (.20), Cardinals (.20), Giants (.30) and Reds (.30).

The pattern is fairly clear: four of the most predicable were expansion teams that went through a long period of predictably poor play before finally finding some success. When we examined what place in the standings was easiest for media sources to predict, it was last place by a clear margin. In other words, very bad teams are the easiest to spot. On the other hand, four of the hardest to predict were National League stalwarts (Dodgers, Cardinals, Giants, Reds) that weren't likely to finish last very often.

What stands out from our study of division standings predictions over the past 60 years is just how bad a year 2015 was for MLB division diviners. The year 2016 will have to be better - at least, that's what we're predicting.

And for the record, our money's on the Cubs or the Pirates to win it all.

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James Walker is the executive director of the International Association for Communication and Sport, Emeritus Professor of Communication at Saint Xavier University; Robert Bellamy is a professor in the Department of Journalism and Multimedia Arts at Duquesne University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:31 AM | Permalink

Obama Isn't Following Through On Pardons Promise, Says His Former Pardons Attorney

Two years ago, President Obama unveiled an initiative to give early release to potentially thousands of federal prisoners serving long sentences for low-level drug crimes.

The initiative has barely made a dent, and a resignation letter from the president's recently departed Pardon Attorney lays out at least one reason why:

"The position in which my office has been placed, asking us to address the petitions of nearly 10,000 individuals with so few attorneys and support staff, means that the requests of thousands of petitioners seeking justice will lie unheard," wrote Deborah Leff, who resigned in January.

Leff also wrote that her office was denied "all access to the Office of White House Counsel," which reviews prisoners' applications before the president gets them.

Since his announcement two years ago, the president has granted early release to just 187 prisoners.

Leff's resignation letter was obtained by USA Today.

Dysfunction in the Office of the Pardon Attorney is nothing new; we reported on problems in the office that stretch back to 2001.

Take the case of Clarence Aaron, a black man sentenced to three life terms for a cocaine deal, even though he wasn't the buyer, seller or supplier. Aaron's appeal for clemency was denied by then-President George W. Bush, even though the prosecutor's office and sentencing judge supported clemency.

Why? From our original story:

Records show that Ronald Rodgers, the current pardon attorney, left out critical information in recommending that the White House deny Aaron's application. In a confidential note to a White House lawyer, Rodgers failed to accurately convey the views of the prosecutor and judge and did not disclose that they had advocated for Aaron's immediate commutation.

Rodgers was removed in 2014 and replaced by Leff. Obama ultimately ordered Aaron's release in April 2014.

The pardon office's problems go far beyond just one case or one attorney. White criminals are four times as likely to get a presidential pardon as minorities, a ProPublica analysis found.

We also found that it's helpful to know somebody important:

A statistical analysis of nearly 500 pardon applicants during the Bush administration suggests that advocacy makes a difference. Applicants with a member of Congress in their corner were three times as likely to win a pardon as those without such backing. Interviews and documents show a lawmaker's support can speed up a stalled application, counter negative information and ratchet up pressure for an approval.

Reacting to our stories, the Department of Justice announced in August 2012 that it would commission a study testing racial disparities in presidential pardons. Nothing further has been publicly disclosed about that effort and it's unclear whether the study was ever completed.

We have contacted the department to ask them the status of both that and for further comment on Leff's resignation. We'll update as soon as we hear back.

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

* Obama Can Pardon Turkeys, So Why Not Immigrants?

* Obama Finally Lets Clarence Aaron Go Home.

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

* Obama Issues 12 Pardons. That's Still Far Fewer Than Predecessors.

* Obama Grants Clemency To 22 Prisoners This Week, But Has Denied Thousands.

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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 12:09 AM | Permalink

March 30, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

Today in #TopCop:

More commentary/analysis at @BeachwoodReport - I went on a bit of a tweetstorm last night.

More to come.

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Boeing's Bilious Baloney
"Since Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner announced a drive to cut the workforce six weeks ago, his team has taken steps expected to eliminate 4,000 jobs by June - and that may be only halfway towards the total cuts this year.

"An internal Boeing document obtained by the Seattle Times reveals that at least one company unit is targeting a 10 percent workforce reduction overall."

That would be the (ostensibly) Chicago-based Boeing.

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"Many older, highly experienced blue-collar workers will be leaving the company as part of the cuts."

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It wasn't widely reported, but Bernie Sanders won the Washington caucuses 72-27 over Hillary Clinton.

See also: Boeing Refuses To Disclose Any State Department-Clinton Foundation E-Mails.

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"Jon Holden, District 751 president of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union, expressed surprise when informed of the potential scale of the job cuts.

"We have not been notified of these types of reduction numbers," Holden said.

He said the coming cuts highlight a lack of accountablity for the $8.7 billion in aerospace tax breaks extended to Boeing in 2013 to make sure Boeing built the 777X here.

"This should make it clear to the Legislature why it is important to tie guaranteed job numbers to tax incentives like the other states have done," Holden said.

Likewise, Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), is exasperated that "we're the only state that's not attaching accountability requirements" to corporate tax breaks.

Of course, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois gave Boeing about $60 million in tax breaks to come here.

Further:

"Consider Boeing, one of Illinois' biggest publicly traded companies by revenue ($87 billion in 2013). It estimates that its 2014 effective tax rate will be about 23 percent," the Tribune reported in 2014.

In government filings, however, the Chicago-based airplane-maker lists "total income tax expense" and breaks down how much of that cost is "current" and how much is "deferred." In 2013, Boeing said its total income tax expense was $1.65 billion on $6.23 billion in pretax profit, mostly in the U.S.

Even so, nearly all of that income tax expense was deferred, or pushed into the future.

Here's why, according to the company:

"We make a very significant investment in new airplane design, development and production before we receive the revenue from sales," Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said, citing spending in the U.S. on its new 787 airliner. "Our current taxes are lower and deferred taxes higher in these periods of investment. That's only logical."

Boeing's deferral strategy has made it a target of such groups as Citizens for Tax Justice. The group and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy this year released a report in which Boeing was listed among companies that consistently were profitable but had paid little if any taxes for years.

Emphasis added.

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"What strikes you about Boeing is they seem remarkably good at finding ways to pay little or no tax year after year after year," Matt Gardner, executive director of the institution, told the Trib.

Emphasis added.

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See, for example, Boeing Paid No Federal Income Tax Last Year and Boeing Has Big Tax Refund Coming From Uncle Sam - Again.

See also CEOs Who Make More Than Their Companies Pay In Taxes and When Boeing's CEO Was Named The Worst Person In Chicago (Item No 10).

And who can forget Washington Just Awarded The Largest Tax Subsidy In U.S. History b/w Boeing Profits Jump 25%.

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From the Beachwood vault:

"Several accounts of United's move downtown approvingly recall the city's wooing of Boeing headquarters from Seattle a few years ago, glossing over the fact that, upon reflection, Illinois's incentive package of $63 million didn't look so hot compared to Denver's $18 million package and Dallas's $14 million package. So we overpaid by about $45 million."

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Finally: Smithsonian Hall To Be Renamed For Chicago Company That Pays No Taxes.

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Is Jimmy Rollins For Real?
Real enough for your fantasy squad.

From Russia With Love?
Examining the cable channel RT America and the free press.

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BeachBook

This is one of the greatest things I have ever seen. A fantastically reported story to boot.

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Bootlegs, please.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Text and data rates may apply.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:32 AM | Permalink

Can A Russian-Funded Cable Network Actually Promote Free Press In The U.S.?

With the recently announced shutdown of Al Jazeera America, the alternative cable news scene is in flux.

Launched as a corrective to the politicized and spectacle-heavy programming of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, Al Jazeera America positioned itself as a fact-based, unbiased news source. Even though the network won awards for reporting, the Qatari government-funded channel suffered from the public perception that it had an anti-Western, pro-Islamic stance. Amid lowering gas prices and reports of other financial woes, the channel announced it would shut down its U.S. operations at the end of April.

As Al Jazeera America closes shop, it's worth wondering how this change will affect the position of RT America - previously known as Russia Today America - in the U.S. market. Like Al Jazeera, RT America has fashioned itself as a serious alternative to the politicized media circus promoted by the top three cable news stations. Unlike Al Jazeera, it runs ad-free, which arguably gives it even more potential for influence-free programming.

But RT America has some inherent contradictions: it offers a "Russian state perspective" in its news programming while simultaneously airing some of the most progressive shows on U.S. cable. As Julia Ioffe writes in the Columbia Journalism Review, RT America often acts as a "shrill propaganda outlet" for the Kremlin - an identity that clashes with its desire to compete in the international news market.

At the same time, according to Ioffe, RT America understands that in order to effectively compete with other progressive, unbiased networks, it needs "to be taken seriously." This realization, she explains, has led to some good reporting.

It's a crazy notion - and a bit mind-boggling to consider - but RT America might be offering some of the most progressive, uncensored cable media programming in the U.S. today.

Certainly some will not be able to look past the paradox that a nation that has one of the lowest scores on the press freedom index could also be funding a valuable alternative to mainstream cable news.

But when it comes to distorting the news, is the network any more culpable than mainstream cable networks? And can U.S. audiences overcome their inherent prejudice that RT America is just a propaganda arm for the Russian government?

The RT America Paradox

Thus far, most coverage of RT America has focused on its ties to the Kremlin. But there's a distinct difference between the news arm of the Moscow-based Russia Today and RT America's opinion shows.

In short, the opinion and talk shows that populate RT America seem to have editorial freedom, while the news arm of RT does not.

One stark example took place over coverage of the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine.

RT news anchor Liz Wahl resigned on air, citing disagreements with RT's editorial policy. More recently, Moscow-based Sarah Firth - who worked for RT, not RT America - resigned in protest over the way that the network was covering the Malaysian Airlines crash in Ukraine.

In contrast, Abby Martin, former host of Breaking the Set, an opinion show that aired on RT America from 2012 to 2015, openly criticized Russian military intervention into Ukraine in March of 2014. Yet she went on to continue to host her show for another year before moving on. In a note for Media Roots, she explained she was leaving the show to pursue more investigative reporting and added "RT has given me opportunities I will be eternally thankful for."

This suggests a divide at RT America over freedom of expression in opinion shows versus news coverage. It's a distinction that is important to note and to critique. But it's also one that suggests that the assumption that all RT America programming is tainted by propaganda may itself be an unfounded bias.

The RT Difference

While Al Jazeera America and RT America both angled to offer an alternative to mainstream U.S. news media, there are many ways that RT has followed a different - and potentially more successful - path.

First, RT America made the smart move to remove Russia from its name. Al Jazeera refused to adjust its name to appeal to U.S. viewers and distance itself from its financial backers.

RT America has also differed radically in the sort of programming offered. Balancing out its daily news programming, RT America airs analysis and commentary shows by Larry King, Thom Hartmann, Jesse Ventura and former MSNBC host Ed Schultz - all established personalities with significant appeal to American audiences.

In addition, RT America has carved out a niche with millennial viewers, with two shows aimed at a younger audience and hosted by younger talent. The first, Watching the Hawks, is a news magazine show hosted by Tyrel Ventura (Jesse's son), Sean Stone (Oliver's son) and Tabetha Wallace.

When they were announced as new hosts for a show on RT, many dismissed the development. Wallace told me, for instance, that she is often derogatorily called "Putin's princess," since it's assumed the Russian leader controls her.

But I believe Watching the Hawks has fed viewers a consistent diet of cutting-edge stories on politics, media and culture. They often target corporate abuse, like pieces they've run on HSBC and on Dow-Dupont.

Meanwhile, Wallace has reported on the annual gathering of veterans called "The Bikers of Rolling Thunder," and she covered the 70th Hiroshima Peace Ceremony. In my opinion, both segments are solid examples of stories that had been largely ignored in the mainstream U.S. media.

The second millennial-oriented show on RT America is Redacted Tonight, a satirical news program hosted by political comedian Lee Camp.

Camp - described by Salon as "Jon Stewart with sharper teeth" - appeals to an audience that has become increasingly dissatisfied with mainstream news.

Since 9/11, satire news has increasingly been taken more seriously than "real" news (even though it doesn't exactly live up to that standard). Nonetheless, Jon Stewart was voted most trusted journalist after Walter Cronkite died. And viewers of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report scored higher than viewers of network news in knowledge of public issues.

Taking advantage of the fact that RT airs no advertising, Camp goes after any and all corporate and political malfeasance he can uncover. And he makes his audience laugh while doing it.

Recent episodes highlighted how the media claimed Hillary Clinton won the first Democratic debate even though Bernie Sanders won every poll, and pointed to the ongoing inability of the U.S. public to have a meaningful conversation about Israel and Palestine.

These sorts of shows were missing on Al Jazeera America. The network never attempted to break into the "fake news" market, despite the fact that it's a growing source of news and entertainment for young viewers. Nor did they provide the sort of hip, inquisitive programming found on Watching the Hawks.

Arguably, these two shows could build a young base of viewers for RT America.

A Network Of Independent Personalities

While skeptics may think that these shows can't possibly be free of Kremlin influence, many of the top-billed hosts for RT America - Larry King, Jesse Ventura, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz - all share a history of being independent thinkers.

Take Hartmann's show, The Big Picture. Hartmann, a radio and TV personality and author of over 25 books, has made his career as a progressive political commentator. His two writers work in RT America's Washington, D.C. studio, and they both told me that they have zero restrictions on what they cover each night.

When I asked Hartmann, he said, "No one at RT has ever told me what to say and what not to say."

Meanwhile he explained that in any given week, The Big Picture covers at least three stories that simply would never appear on mainstream cable news. And yet, despite the fact that The Big Picture also airs on the progressive cable network Free Speech TV, his presence on RT America has to contend with assumptions of censorship and control.

King has also done a series of interviews where he's had to justify his ties to the network. In each case, he has explained that he hates censorship and that his own show is completely free of any editorial control. He has also openly disagreed with Russian policies: "I certainly vehemently disagree with the position they take on homosexuals - that's absurd to me."

No one asks anchors on NBC how it feels to work for a weapons contractor. Numerous studies, including one out of the University of Michigan, have shown that the link between GE and NBC has led to biased reporting.

Not only is the U.S. media influenced by corporations; it's also influenced by the federal government.

In 2006, journalists Amy and David Goodman reported that "Under the Bush administration, at least 20 federal agencies . . . spent $250 million creating hundreds of fake television news segments that [were] sent to local stations." They also documented how the government paid journalists in Iraq for positive reporting, and provided canned videos to air on cable news.

Given these examples of political and corporate influence on mainstream networks, it is worth wondering why RT gets criticized for bias while other networks get a free pass.

Camp says he was drawn to RT in the first place precisely because of the editorial freedom. He knew he wouldn't have to worry about pressure from advertisers.

As he explained in the opening of one episode:

People [ask] me why Redacted Tonight is on RT and not another network . . . I'll tell you why: My anti-consumerism, anti-two-party-corporate-totalitarianism isn't exactly welcomed with open arms on networks showing 24/7 Wal-Mart ads.

A New Cultural Cold War?

RT America has certainly embraced its paradoxical role of pushing media boundaries in the U.S. that likely wouldn't be tolerated on Russian soil. But before we fall into Cold War dichotomies of U.S. press freedom and Russian media censorship, it's important to note two key realities in the 21st-century media landscape.

First, while it's important to hold RT America accountable for its coverage of Russia's intervention into Ukraine, it's worth noting that the U.S. media could equally be held accountable for its own coverage of the 9/11 attacks and the lead-up to the U.S.-Iraq War.

In 2015, four out of 10 Americans still believed there were weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq - a level of disinformation that requires media compliance. These statistics show the long-lasting impact of media bias in shaping public opinion.

Furthermore, the current U.S. news media is filled not only with bias but also with outright lies. Fox News, the most-watched cable news network, lies about 60 percent of the time, according to Politifact. For NBC and MSNBC, the score isn't much better: 46 percent.

One wonders how RT America would compare.

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Sophia McClennen is the director of the Center for Global Studies at Penn State. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously in RT America (and Russia Today):
* The American Autumn On RT.

* Global Views: School Closings Protest.

* RT Special Coverage: The Prison That Just Can't Be Closed.

* Obama Averages 1 Fundraiser Every 5 Days.

* The Illinois State Senator Too Rich For His District.

* Obama Approves More Arms Sales Than Any President Since WWII.

* The Verdict Is In: The MSM Was Wrong About Occupy.

* Smithsonian Hall To Be Renamed For Chicago Company That Pays No Taxes.

* McGruff The Crime Dog Get 16 Years For Pot And Guns.

* Obama Cracks Down On Truth.

* Obama Promises Disappear From Web.

* Occupy America.

* Trolling The GOP Debate.

* Sochi Sour Grapes: Western Media Wins Gold Medal For Buzz Killing.

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See also in Al Jazeera:
* How The White House Was Won.

* 24 Hours With Al Jazeera America.

* How Al Jazeera America Reported On The Flint Water Crisis - A Year Ago.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:40 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Is Jimmy Rollins For Real?

The White Sox have invested in a 37-year-old shortstop coming of the worst year of his career. Should you do the same?

Jimmy Rollins held virtually no fantasy value in 2015, and sat on the free-agent sidelines most of the winter until the Sox signed him in February. In his prime, he surpassed 20 HRs and 30 SBs in the same season four different times, making him an annual resident in overall top 20 fantasy rankings. Even as recently as 2014, he hit 17 HRs and had 28 SBs, delivering near-top-tier fantasy value at the shallow position of SS.

Yet, he has shown his age in recent years via a plummeting BA and OPS (.224 and .643, respectively, last year were both career-lows) and games missed due to injuries. When the Sox signed him, it seemed like a decent investment in veteran help and a hedge bet while they waited for younger talents like Tim Anderson, Carlos Sanchez and Tyler Saladino to fully develop and claim infield jobs.

Instead, Rollins has been arguably the best-performing SS in the Cactus League this spring, with four HRs, 12 RBI, .341 BA and .975 OPS. Anderson and Sanchez both have been sent to the minors, so Rollins very likely is your Opening Day starter on the South Side, and there's reason to believe he will hold some decent fantasy value this summer.

I'm basing this belief not only on his spring performance, but also on the likelihood that The Cell's hitter-friendly dimensions will help him collect a few more HRs. While Rollins often has been a leadoff man or No. 2 hitter, for better or worse he has never been much of an OBP guy (his career-high of .349 coming in 2008, the year he helped lead the Phillies to the World Series). He often has indulged an inclination to swing for the fences, and while that inclination didn't play well in cavernous Dodger Stadium, Rollins' home field last year, it might work better for him at The Cell. After hitting 13 HRs last year, 20 doesn't seem like an over-inflated expectation for this year.

He also could still have some fantasy value to contribute in the SB category. Rollins has stolen 40+ bases in a season four times. It's true he may no longer be the prolific base-stealer of his younger years (he has no SBs in spring training, and had a career-low 12 in 2015), but given the chance it wouldn't be a surprise to see him steal 15-20 bases this year.

So, we are talking about a potential 20 HR/20 SB player. I left Rollins out of my fantasy SS rankings last month because it wasn't even clear to me he would make the team, and to be honest his apparent desire to be a home run-hitting leadoff man a la Rickey Henderson (nobody's as good as Rickey, says Rickey) always kind of pissed me off. Now, with the season-shortening injury to Jhonny Peralta, SS, STL, I probably would add Rollins to the list, somewhere in the range of No. 10 to No. 15.

The best thing about all this is that you don't have to spend a premium draft pick on Rollins on the hope he pays off with a 20/20 season. Rollins has been drafted in only 3% of all Yahoo! leagues, and even when drafted his average draft position is in the 21st round. So make him your last or second-to-last pick, or don't pick him at all and just pay close attention to the waiver wire. The old man in the infield may turn out to be one of 2016's biggest fantasy bargains.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

March 29, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

I think I can best sum up the police chief fiasco this way:

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A lot of folks, including me, reminisced over the weekend about other hiring foul-ups. In fact:

Many of us remembered firstly the Bears' botched hiring of Dave McGinnis.

But I also thought of a previous police chief hired outside the proscribed process: Jody Weis.

"A career FBI agent stepped gingerly into his new role as Chicago's top cop Thursday, pledging to rebuild public trust in a department tainted by brutality and corruption while assuring street cops that he has their back," the Tribune reported on November 30, 2007.

(If every new police chief's job is to rebuild trust, did trust ever exist? And why is it never rebuilt?

(Consider, too, how familiar this sounds: "Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday tapped J.P. 'Jody' Weis, the first outside superintendent in almost five decades, as he acknowledged that his police force has suffered from diminished public confidence.

("Weis, 49, who climbed the ranks of the FBI, will face the delicate balancing act of having his officers fight violent street crime aggressively while demonstrating sensitivity to minority communities that view some officers as overly forceful and abusive . . .

("At the same time, he said he does not want officers 'to shy away from assertive, quality, good policing, and assertive policing oftentimes will lead to complaints.'")

Weis, like new interim-ish Supt. Eddie Wilson, was chosen in what seemed to me at the time - and still does - as an extra-legal maneuver.

Maddeningly, the media largely didn't care. One had to read to the 35th paragraph of the Tribune's article (out of 42) to get to this:

"By city ordinance, the Chicago Police Board is responsible for vetting applicants for the police superintendent's job and submitting the names of three finalists. The mayor then selects one or rejects all three and asks for more candidates.

"But Daley acknowledged Thursday that as the board did its work this time, he conducted a search of his own.

"'I interviewed many people,' he said. 'I went out and reached [out] and talked to people all over this country . . . I looked at every resume that was submitted to the Police Board and even submitted to me.'"

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And Daley's personal search was extensive.

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Also of note from the link: "Weis wasn't Daley's first choice and probably not his second, third or fourth either, according to sources familiar with the talent hunt here in Washington."

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See also: Police Chief Blues.

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Weis's predecessor, Phil Cline, was hired properly.

"The hunt for a police superintendent to lead Chicago's struggle against a high homicide rate was narrowed Friday to three men - the department's acting superintendent, the police chief in Winnetka and a police commissioner from New York," the Tribune reported in 2003.

"The Chicago Police Board voted unanimously Thursday night to send Mayor Richard Daley the final choices to succeed Terry Hillard, who retired Aug. 15. Daley is expected to make a choice in two to three weeks after he interviews the finalists.

"The field is surprising to some because it includes two candidates from outside the department and none of the finalists is black. Many insiders had said it would be difficult for the mayor to appoint a white superintendent in a city that has significantly more minorities than whites.

"The finalists include Acting Supt. Phil Cline, who has been running the 13,500-officer department since Hillard's retirement; Joseph DeLopez, who became chief in Winnetka in 2002 after rising to deputy superintendent with the Chicago Police Department; and Garry McCarthy, a New York Police Department deputy commissioner."

Yes, that Garry McCarthy.

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A few days later:

"Mayor Daley said Tuesday he will not tinker with the established process for selecting a new police superintendent despite harsh criticism from some black leaders because no African-American candidate is among the three finalists.

"Daley said he will not consider any additional names submitted by a panel of black leaders being formed by Rev. Jesse Jackson.

"'They could have done it two months ago' when the search for a successor to Terry Hillard began, the mayor said. 'Where were they two months ago? This is a process. If you want to start changing the process because you don't like the outcome, it's very unfair.'"

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What I hadn't remembered is that when Garry McCarthy did get the job, in 2011, it was also handled personally by Rahm, outside of the process set up by city ordinance.

"[A]rriving at a choice for police superintendent is a more complicated process because of the formal role played by the Chicago Police Board, which must interview candidates and recommend three superintendent finalists," the Tribune reported then.

"Emanuel has been running a separate but parallel selection process while the police board goes about its work. He has been outspoken about picking his own top cop, sending a message that he expects the board's list of finalists to contain his own picks. The police board, which is appointed by the mayor, does not have a record of opposing the mayor on the top cop selection."

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Of course, Rahm has claimed to have reformed the police board in the last year as he changed up its membership, but notice that in his nomination of Lori Lightfoot to be board president, the duties described omit any role in hiring police chiefs.

Lightfoot has proclaimed her independence, but at the very least she takes her talking points from City Hall.

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On Sunday, the police board issued this statement:

"The Police Board has not received formal communication from the Mayor regarding the three nominees it submitted for the position of Superintendent of Police. The Board will be taking no action until it receives such notification. Until then, we will have no further comment."

In other words, the city body responsible with researching, vetting and nominating to the mayor finalists for police chief vacancies was the last to know that the mayor acted as if it didn't exist.

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On Monday, the police board issued this statement:

"Today, the Chicago Police Board received formal notification of the Mayor's decision to not appoint any of the three finalists for Superintendent previously provided by the Board and to appoint Eddie Johnson as the Interim Superintendent. We will convene as a Board as soon as we are able and decide appropriate next steps. While we appreciate that this is a topic of great importance and interest, the Board needs to take the time necessary to make the best decision possible given the importance of this issue for our City. Until that time, we will have no further comment."

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Today, it posted this notice:

"The Police Board has scheduled an executive session for March 31. This executive session is closed to the public pursuant to Sections 2(c)(1), (3), (4), and (11) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. The agenda for this special closed meeting is as follows:

1. Formulate actions in the appointment and selection process for the Superintendent of Police in order to nominate three candidates and submit those nominations to the Mayor as required by Section 2-84-030(1) of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago."

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Remember, the point of the police board's role in selecting the city's police chief isn't just to add some sort of oversight to the process - though that helps. It's to involve citizens (who always get lip service about community involvement except when it comes to community involvement) in the decision-making.

To wit:

Chicago Police Board President Lori E. Lightfoot announced today that the focus of the upcoming Police Board meeting will be on receiving additional community input on the search for a new Superintendent of Police.

When: Thursday, January 21, 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Chicago Public Safety Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue

Format: Community members will be given the opportunity to directly address members of the Police Board as it moves to hire a new Chicago Police Department Superintendent. Members of the public who sign up in advance to speak will be called first. Members of the public who sign up as they enter the meeting will then be called, time permitting. To ensure that as many people as possible can participate, individuals will be given an opportunity to speak for up to two minutes per person.

"A large number of people asked questions and offered comments on a wide range of important issues at our January 12 community input session," said President Lightfoot. "We welcome additional public comment and will give it our full consideration as we move forward in interviewing candidates and selecting three nominees for the Superintendent's position," she continued.

Members of the public wishing to sign up in advance to speak at the meeting must contact the Board's office at 312-742-4194 by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20.

As required by city ordinance, when there is a vacancy in the Superintendent's position, the Police Board is responsible for nominating three candidates for consideration by the Mayor.

The application for the Superintendent position was made available on December 10; candidates were given five weeks to complete and return the application to meet the January 15 deadline. The Board is now reviewing applications and will be interviewing a select group of candidates.

The Police Board is an independent body of citizens appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council.

So all of that was just theater - and a waste of everybody's time.

What say you, Ms. Lightfoot?

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Technically, Eddie Johnson is just the interim - replacing the previous interim, John Escalante. But LOL: "The Mayor is asking the Police Board to conduct another search and make its recommendations at a later date."

This time, Johnson will actually apply for the job - and he'll have a pretty good shot at getting it!

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Suggestion to Chicago mayors: Attempt to change the police board ordinance or comply with it, but don't just ignore it.

Suggestion to media: Press the point.

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

Exclusive! Joe Maddon's 2016 Entrances
Maddon will arrive to the series opener here against the Phillies in May in an electric car powered by his own urine.

Young Chop: Chicago Is Big On Gangs
"I get a lot of Snapchats from these preppy white kids wanting to gangbang."

Chicago Hustle & Flow
"Set in one of the largest underground music scenes in the nation, this book takes readers into the heart of gangsta rap culture in Chicago. Geoff Harkness presents gripping accounts of the lives, beliefs, and ambitions of the gang members and rappers and illustrates how class stratification creates and maintains inequalities, even at the level of a local rap-music scene."

Hill Street Blu-Ooh-Oohs
Now with lyrics.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Cat got your tongue, Escalante?

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Unclear on the concept.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Free processing.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:51 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Chicago Hustle & Flow

"Geoff Harkness, assistant professor of sociology at Morningside College, recently received the 2015-2016 Midwest Sociological Society Distinguished Book Award for his book Chicago Hustle and Flow: Gangs, Gangsta Rap, and Social Class," the Sioux City Journal in Iowa reports.

"Harkness [received] the award [this month] at the Midwest Sociological Society annual meeting in Chicago."

The book was published in 2014, but for some reason it's never made it onto the Beachwood, so let's take a look.

From the publisher:

"Set in one of the largest underground music scenes in the nation, this book takes readers into the heart of gangsta rap culture in Chicago. Geoff Harkness presents gripping accounts of the lives, beliefs, and ambitions of the gang members and rappers and illustrates how class stratification creates and maintains inequalities, even at the level of a local rap-music scene."

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From Charis Kubrin, in the American Sociological Review:

"Harkness's approach is wonderfully refreshing. The focal point of many rap studies, at least in sociology, is song lyrics. Chicago Hustle and Flow moves us beyond that literature. And in engaging prose, Harkness navigates easily between stories of rappers and the academic literature from scholars in a range of disciplines.

"Perhaps most noteworthy is Harkness's focus on Chicago's rap microscene as his study's unit of analysis."

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Harkness earned his Ph.D from Northwestern in 2010. He's also researched athletes in the Middle East.

Library Cops
"Over the years, libraries have fined patrons for not bringing back books and offered no-questions-asked return periods. They've published the names of book scofflaws in local newspapers. They've paid personal calls on people who hold onto books past their due dates, and even sicced the police on particularly recalcitrant readers. And they still don't really know how to get their books back," Helaine Olen writes for Slate.

"Librarians have been playing with this issue for a century-and-a-half, and there is little consensus," says Wayne Wiegand, author of Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library.

It doesn't seem hard. Once fines reach such heights as to be prohibitive upon the borrower, you aren't going to get that book back. That's when an amnesty works. So perhaps amnesties shouldn't be open to everyone, but to those with books long outstanding.

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"Chicago has offered two amnesties over the past five years, recovering more than 120,000 items. Getting decades-old overdue books isn't unusual during amnesties. A 1983 Philadelphia amnesty netted $1.5 million worth of books and other library property, including a book originally checked out in March of 1922."

Free Improv
"Improvisation rattles some listeners," the University of Chicago Press says.

"Maybe they're even suspicious of it. John Coltrane's saxophonic flights of fancy, Jimi Hendrix's feedback drenched guitar solos, Ravi Shankar's sitar extrapolations - all these sounds seem like so much noodling or jamming, indulgent self-expression. 'Just' improvising, as is sometimes said. For these music fans, it seems natural that music is meant to be composed.

"In the first book of its kind, John Corbett's A Listener's Guide to Free Improvisation provides a how-to manual for the most extreme example of spontaneous improvising: music with no pre-planned material at all.

"Drawing on over three decades of writing about, presenting, playing, teaching, and studying freely improvised music, Corbett offers an enriching set of tools that show any curious listener how to really listen, and he encourages them to enjoy the human impulse - found all around the world - to make up music on the spot."

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Writes Peter Margasak for the Reader:

"He tells the reader what to listen for, how the size of groups can impact interplay dynamics, and how every musician has his or her own vocabulary and tendencies. He also provides a few lists of good recordings to start with. Plenty of passages quickened my pulse a bit and got me excited to check out a concert, if only to reassess my relationship with the music."

The Green Ghost
"Until now, much scholarly work on Burroughs has focused on the sensational aspects of his life and on his innovative writing," the SIU Press says.

"The Green Ghost, by Chad Weidner, uncovers the ecological context of literary texts by William Burroughs. By rereading canonical and ignored texts while pushing the boundaries of ecocritical theory and practice, Weidner provides a fresh perspective on Burroughs and suggests new theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the work of other Beat writers."

Catholic Stuff
"When I arrived at the University of Chicago in 1985, there were two female professors at the Divinity School," Gillian T.W. Ahlgren writes for the National Catholic Reporter.

Neither of them was in historical theology or the history of Christianity, so it was important for the words and methods of people like Teresa, Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, and others to supplement the instruction that I was receiving at Chicago. They always showed me not only that women belonged at the core of theological discourse but also that women brought different questions to the table, as well as a broad set of experiences that needed careful and thorough integration into the theological arena.

After my first year of graduate work, however, I found myself weary and discouraged, and I sought advice from my advisor, Bernard McGinn. Schooled in Teresa's own melodious language of subjectivity, all I could say to him was that it felt to me that my studies were causing me "to lose the simplicity of my soul." I appealed to the example of St. Francis (who was rumored to have said, "Preach the gospel at all times; use words when necessary"), and told him that I was considering taking a year off. Bernie wisely referred me to his wife Pat. And fortunately I found out about the University's Tinker Field Research Grant for Latin American and Iberian studies.

And then, divine intervention.

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I mean, I don't believe in it, but this writer does, so whatever. I mean, really, it's just a coincidence what happens next. God doesn't really intervene that way. Can you imagine? But whatever.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:15 AM | Permalink

Hill Street Blu-Ooh-Ooh-Oohs

I noticed MeTV is re-airing Hill Street Blues episodes now, so tonight I wrote lyrics to accompany the theme song:

Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blues
Hill Street Blu-ooh-ooh-oohs
Hill Street Blues

Hill Street Blu-ooh-ooh-oohs
Hill Street Blues

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:04 AM | Permalink

Exclusive: Joe Maddon's 2016 Entrances

The local fanboy press corps went gaga when Joe Maddon arrived at spring training one morning in a hippie van, but that's nothing compared to what the Cubs skipper has planned for the regular season, the Beachwood has learned. On tap:

* On the home opener against the Reds, Maddon will parachute out of Air Trump One onto home plate to meet the umpires with his lineup card.

* Maddon will make his first trip to the mound at Wrigley to change pitchers on a hoverboard that explodes into flames.

* Maddon will arrive for the April series against the visiting Brewers through a tunnel dug from the Murphy's Bleachers, dressed as El Chapo.

* Maddon won't even show up when the Padres come to town in May, managing the game via Skype from Harry Caray's.

* To relieve stress before the season's first home series against the Cardinals, Maddon will pick up the whole team on the way to Wrigley along with as many strangers as it takes to set a Guinness world record for squeezing passengers into a crappy van.

* Maddon will arrive to the series opener here against the Phillies in May in an electric car powered by his own urine.

* Maddon will arrive to the series opener in Atlanta in June in a TransAm full of beer from Texarkana.

* To open a series against the Mets here in July, Maddon will commandeer an ice cream truck in Humboldt Park and play "It's A Small World (After All)" on a loop all the way to the park.

* Maddon will travel to the South Side and the North in a tricked-out Hoveround scooter for the Crosstown Classic.

* When the Rangers come to town in August, Maddon will arrive at the park on police horseback, except the horse will be a mime.

* In every visit to the mound against the Rangers later that month, Maddon will act out one of Kramer's entrances into Jerry's apartment.

* In September against the Giants, Maddon will zip line into Wrigley from the Northwest Tower in Wicker Park.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:49 AM | Permalink

Young Chop: Chicago Is Big On Gangs

"When it comes to violence in Chicago, more rappers are becoming shooting victims, and Young Chop believes it's because the gang life is a reality.

"Maybe it's because we [are] more in the street shit than most niggas. Chicago is big on gangs and shit." He told DJ Vlad, "That shit means something to these niggas out here. I don't know why, but it just means some shit to these niggas."

He explained, for most, the gang life was not a choice, however, the need to be gang-affiliated even began spreading to the suburbs. "Everybody in this motherfucker gangbanging. I don't give a fuck if you're from up north, suburbs. I get a lot of Snapchats of these preppy white kids want[ing] to gangbang. They don't know what the fuck they're throwing up, but everyone wants to gangbang."

Here's the interview:


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And, from 2014:

"Chicago's Young Chop sat down with VladTV and revealed a dilemma he had early in his career between continuing high school or dropping out to be a professional producer.

"While he makes it clear that he doesn't want to downplay the importance of education, Chop feels that school simply isn't for everyone and believes he made the right decision by dropping out and perusing music full-time.

"However, he says he wants to go back and get his GED."

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And: Young Chop: I Gave My Mom $15,000 From My First Big Check.

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See also:
* More Young Chop on VladTV.

* Chicago Week On Sway.

* Lil Herb, Talib Kweli On Chicago's Guns, Poverty, & Violence.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:42 AM | Permalink

March 28, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

I'm making my way through #TopCop coverage. All I can offer for now is what I said on Thursday on Ken Davis's Chicago Newsroom, before the mess (lightly edited for clarity):

Steve: If he gets this wrong, if it doesn't work out, if there are problems in the first few months or the first year of a new police chief, I mean what more could Rahm withstand?

There's a couple of questions - one is, who wants to work for Rahm Emanuel as a police chief? It's hard enough to work for the guy in any position, but as police chief, he called Garry McCarthy every morning, I don't know 6 or 7 in the morning or whatever to find out what went on overnight, and he probably was on the phone with McCarthy three or four times a day and he was probably berating him over and over.

And you know, one of the things I said even a couple of years ago is that one of the problems with Rahm Emanuel is he has three jobs. He's the mayor, the police chief and the schools' chief, right, you know. And so if you take a job like this, because I think applications were down from what you might expect . . .

Ken: It was only 30 something I thought, yeah.

Steve: I think there's a couple of reasons for that. One is if you take a job like this you have to know that Rahm is really the show and he's on you. He is on you every minute of the day and you've got to be willing to put up with that. And then I think the other thing that would account for a low number of applications is with the Department of Justice embarked on their probably year-long investigation . . .

Ken: That's going to consume your first year here.

Steve: You know, and then when that's done chances are good that there will be a consent decree in which the DOJ will essentially run the department for a while.

Ken: That's exactly right, yeah, yeah.

Steve: So it may not be that attractive of a job, but I think the guy from DeKalb County in Georgia who seems to be the frontrunner, he seems to be a very charismatic strong personality. The question is I think Rahm's hesitancy would be is this guy too big really of a personality for the job. He's a CNN commentator and that sort of thing.

Ken: This is really the crux of the matter isn't it? I mean even Garry McCarthy has made it fairly clear in these post superintendent interviews and public appearances, you know, [city general counsel] Steve Patton was running the police department. It was like he couldn't do anything without running it past the mayor's lawyer first, and I imagine that for a guy with an ego the size of McCarthy's that really rubbed him very badly. And you know, if you're going to come in and run this, what is it 13,000-member police department you had better have an ego bigger than Texas, right.

You've got to be so strong and so confident in what you're doing. And if you make a decision and then you get a phone call saying, "Ah, I don't think we're going to do that," that's just a deal-breaker. It's got to be. But on the other hand, you're the mayor. You're the guy who has been elected. People want you to be accountable for everything that this guy does, or woman.

Steve: Well, I mean that's the trick. That's the trick of how much you delegate. You know for Rahm he sees everything through a political prism. His concern is everything that happens within the police department or with crime or how it's going to impact him politically, and when you get that kind of hyper-sensitivity, that results in a lot of micromanagement. You have to be willing to say, "Okay, you're the police chief," at least to some extent.

Ken: And it is interesting in a way that this guy who came into the job as mayor with such blue-ribbon credentials really had never run anything like this, so he was learning on the job. And that raises the final question I have for you, which is about a 90-minute discussion that we need to condense it down to about 90 seconds. Is Rahm Emanuel learning on the job? Can Rahm Emanuel be rehabilitated? Can he actually even if he's only a two-term mayor, at the end of the two terms is it possible that he will actually go out with some positive feeling and people will think, Hey, you know, he had a rough start but he ended up being a much better mayor than I thought? Is that even conceivable?

Steve: Um, I want to say 'no'. I mean, I know that's a harsh thing to say, but . . .

Ken: It's okay. I've asked this question a lot and the answer has been 100% no.

Steve: I feel like he's not learning at all, and he'll make some comments or give a speech and he will say all the right things, and then two days later he's back to the same old Rahm. I think he is who he is and that's . . .

Ken: When we've had these conversations on the show and we've had this brief conversation many times and the answer has always been no, my explanation is that Rahm has always been a political operative all his life but he's never been a politician.

Steve: Absolutely right.

Ken: And boy those are different skills.

Steve: Absolutely right.

Ken: As Ben Joravsky once said, I can't believe how many of my conversations now are beginning with - 'Say what you will about Daley, but . . . '

Steve: [Laughs] Right. I know. I know.

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SportsMonday: Blue Demons Blackout
DePaul women's season ends in the dark.

See also: DePaul's Sweet 16 Comeback Ends Falls Short.

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!
Political theater as news - it's shitty and cynical.

Public Universities Should Help The Public
"There's a stark disconnect between personal aspirations and institutional expectations in many of our public universities that severely limits their role in serving local communities."

The Illinois Badger
A very under-studied animal!

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Making Movies, Mala Rodriguez, Yung Lean, Crowbar, Los Crudos, Blue Oyster Cult, Ted Leo, Waka Flocka, The Cult, Chon, The Subdudes, and the Red Riding Hood String Quartet.

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BeachBook

Natalie Moore on point, as she has always been, about murder rates, "black-on-black" crime and the media's ham-handed coverage of both.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, March 27, 2016

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This is a nice piece.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, March 27, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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It's by Ackerman, so the Chicago media will ignore it.

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At this point I would welcome Jim Belushi back into the fold. #Enough

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They were anyway.

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B2: Belly Button.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Top notch.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:09 PM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Making Movies at the Double Door on Thursday night.


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2. Mala Rodriguez at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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3. Yung Lean at the Concord on Saturday night.

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4. Crowbar at Reggies on Thursday night.

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5. Los Crudos at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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6. Blue Oyster Cult at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Friday night.

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7. Ted Leo at the Dr. Martens store on State Street on Saturday.

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8. Waka Flocka at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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9. The Cult at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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10. Chon at the Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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11. The Subdudes at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night.

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Catching up with . . .

The Red Riding Hood String Quartet at Constellation last Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:20 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Blue Demons Blackout; Blackhawks Back

First, a quick women's basketball note (we will begin today's regularly scheduled Blackhawks column shortly): DePaul bowed out of the NCAA tournament with an 83-71 loss to Oregon State at a regional semifinal in Dallas on Saturday.

The Blue Demons did a good job limiting the scoring of Oregon State's powerful 6-6 center Ruth Hamblin, but she was still a force in the middle with nine rebounds and three blocked shots to go with her 13 points. And while DePaul was busy doubling Hamblin down low, Beaver guard Jamie Weisner was going off from the outside, totaling a career-high 38 points.

Every time it looked like DePaul might mount a rally, Weisner drained one of her career-high seven three-pointers to make sure her team stayed comfortably in front. The Blue Demons finished the season with 27 victories against nine defeats and are looking forward to next season, when they lose only two seniors from a talented roster led by junior guard Jessica January.

And with those three paragraphs, we have provided more comprehensive coverage of the by-far best basketball team in town's final game than any other local media outlet except DePaul's school paper. By contrast, the Los Angeles Times had a front sports page story Sunday about the UCLA women's team's Sweet 16 loss. It is more evidence that local sports news consumers need to look elsewhere than the Tribune, Sun-Times or ESPN Chicago for anything approaching comprehensive coverage, even of the local scene.

And now for the Hawks:

Big win last night (3-2 over Vancouver)! Not quite huge but still, even if the Hawks can't catch either the Blues or the Stars - and that will be tough with those teams tied atop the division with 99 points apiece with six games remaining - the Hawks at minimum want to stay ahead of the fourth-place Predators. Sunday night's victory gave the Hawks 95 points to the Preds' 91. The Predators have played 75 games to the Hawks' 76. The Stars and Blues have also played 76 games.

If the Hawks can stay in front of Nashville, they will probably travel to either Dallas or St. Louis to start the playoffs. That is far from ideal but it is better than entering the playoffs as a wild card and potentially having to start by going all the way out to LA to face the Kings or Ducks.

Perhaps the biggest hole in the Hawks' lineup all year has been at fourth defenseman. Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson have held down the top three spots but no one has stepped up to fill the skates of Johnny Oduya, who manned the blue line so well for last year's Stanley Cup champs.

Fans still rightfully question whether Trevor Van Reimsdyk can provide the absolutely critical defense that a successful playoff team needs at that spot. But he showed again last night that his ability to create offense might outweigh concerns at the other end.

He was the Hawks' No. 1 star in this one with two first assists that set up the Hawks' first two goals, which were scored by Tomas Fleischman and Teuvo Teravainen.

As for the game-winner late in the third, it was Jonathan Toews who handled the set-up. He resisted the urge to try a low percentage pass across the slot to Marian Hossa at the end of an odd-man rush and instead held the puck long enough for Andrew Ladd to enter prime scoring territory.

Toews then slipped a smooth pass back to Ladd, who fired it into the net for the game-winner.

Goalie Scott Darling back-stopped a good-enough defensive effort with 23 saves.

With the win, the Hawks clinched their eighth consecutive playoff berth. Next up is the Wild in Minnesota at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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Ladd Scores Game-Winner As Blackhawks Hand Canucks 8th-Straight Loss.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:53 AM | Permalink

Public Universities Must Do More - The Public Needs Our Help And Expertise

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has been in the national headlines for months, culminating in its central role at a recent debate in the city when Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton slammed government officials for dismissing the health of residents.

Sadly, not every marginalized community can depend on a political debate to highlight its cause. But in the absence of media frenzies and heavy-hitting politicians, to whom can beleaguered citizens turn?

Before Flint's water issues hit the big time, help arrived from two unexpected sources - Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, an assistant professor at Michigan State University and director of the Pediatric Residency Program and Hurley Medical Center, and Professor Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech. Their interventions put the Flint water crisis on the map, ultimately leading to the national attention it's received.

Hanna-Attisha and Edwards both work for large public universities. Yet it was their personal actions - not those of their institutions - that gave the citizens of Flint a voice. How much more could have been achieved if public universities themselves had spearheaded efforts to address the water crisis in Flint from the get-go?

This is a question I've grappled with for some time - both in my current position at Arizona State University and previously. At the University of Michigan, for instance, I led a center that sought to connect academic research on risk to ordinary people who could use it. We were successful, although the only record of that now resides on the internet archive site Wayback Machine. Even with this success, there were many times that I felt it was despite the institution we were a part of, rather than because of it.

'Costs Of Doing Science' For The Public Good

Unfortunately, as I've experienced firsthand, there's a stark disconnect between personal aspirations and institutional expectations in many of our public universities that severely limits their role in serving local communities. And it seeps down through the academic community.

For instance, three of the Ph.D. students working with Marc Edwards' team recently concluded that despite being motivated by a personal desire to serve the Flint community that "Our experience in Flint has shown us some unpleasant costs of doing good science. It can mean burning bridges to potential funding and damage to your name and professional reputation."

This is a deeply disappointing lesson for scientists - and engineers-in-training - to learn firsthand. Yet I suspect it'll come as no surprise to most academics.

In most top-tier research universities, faculty members are evaluated against three criteria: research (how much money they've brought in, how many peer-reviewed papers they've published, how prestigious those publications are), teaching (how many students they've taught, how well they're rated) and service (essentially how many university committees they've served on).

Within this framework, there's little room for acts of public good. Even in the "service" bucket, what you do outside the "academy" is often considered inconsequential. These criteria actively discourage public service because it doesn't directly bring in dollars or students or add to the prestige of the institution (more often than not as judged by the U.S. News and World Report rankings).

And yet, despite this, I'm surrounded by academics who consider public service part of their vocation. Even in their article, Marc Edwards' students stated with certainty that "Academic researchers are supposed to contribute to the public good."

Public Universities' Obligations To The Public Good

A commitment to public service is perhaps most readily associated with the U.S. land grant universities - established by the Morrill Act of 1862. This network of universities is charged with making the benefits of developments in agriculture, "home economics" and "related subjects" (the relevant legislation is a little old) accessible to the public and others through extension services.

However, while land grant universities - including Michigan State and Virginia Tech - have an institutional responsibility to public service, what constitutes such service is not always clear. Many, for instance, continue to focus on connecting agricultural and rural communities with academic knowledge. Some extension units, such as the one at Michigan State, have a much broader mission to improve the lives of state residents. Yet even engaged faculty members can struggle to define the social mission of a land grant university.

Things are murkier still for non-land grant public universities, though their role was originally envisaged as serving the public good through innovation and economic growth. As ASU president Michael Crow and ASU professor William Dabars note in their recent book Designing the New American University:

Accessibility to our nation's college[s] and universities served as a springboard to intergenerational economic mobility and a catalyst to innovation, which in turn brought prosperity to a broad middle class.

That's a clear vision of public service, but it's largely blind to responsibility at the local level. Crow and Dabars argue that even this big-picture conception has been diminished in the increasingly competitive world of university rankings. The metrics against which public universities measure themselves increasingly fail to take into account activities that don't directly benefit the institution.

This institutional self-interest may help explain a seeming reticence on the part of Michigan's two top universities to publicly address conditions in Flint - at least until the past couple of months when institutional engagement from both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University markedly picked up. And both schools are now publicly active in helping Flint residents.

Yet Flint is just one marginalized community out of many struggling with the impacts of polluted air, water and soil. There are many other communities in Michigan and beyond that could be served far more effectively than they currently are by their local public universities.

Shifting Values To Value Public Service

Of course, serving the public good doesn't necessarily come cheap. But even before worrying about balancing the books, public universities could take steps toward institutional cultures that place a greater value on supporting local communities.

  • Promote a culture of community service. Within the current three-legged university evaluation system of research, teaching and institutional service, serving local communities risks being inconsequential at best and harmful to academic careers at worst. But by adding a fourth leg of community service to faculty expectations, universities could reward those who connect their expertise with people who need it.
  • Support communication and engagement. Even if a stronger culture of community service existed within our public universities, many academics lack the skills necessary to bring their research knowledge to bear on issues of concern to the public. That's changing, with university support for platforms like The Conversation and communication/engagement training programs such as RELATE becoming more widespread. Yet in most institutions, more could be done to train faculty and students in how to communicate and engage effectively.
  • Give marginalized communities a voice. Our public universities collectively have the ears of hundreds of thousands of faculty and staff, millions of students and tens of millions of alumni and donors. What they say and do - or don't - makes a difference. Using this influence to support local communities - especially those with no voice of their own - has not traditionally been part of a public university's role. But it could be. By highlighting the needs of the needy and the ignored through social media and more conventional media platforms, public universities are uniquely positioned to provide amplification for these marginalized communities' voices. In the case of Flint, for instance, early, frequent tweets from the nearby universities could have helped mobilize action to protect the community sooner.

Baking In Commitment To Social Responsibility

Even in our public universities, money matters. If being responsible to local communities is seen as jeopardizing productivity and funding, it'll be a tough sell.

This tension between people and profits is something the business world has long struggled with. It underpins the institutionalization (admittedly imperfectly in many cases) of ethical business practices such as corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.

You might expect public universities to be more socially responsible than businesses - their mission, after all, is the public good, not profit. But it's surprisingly hard to find strong formal frameworks of socially responsible practices associated with higher education.

Businesses tend to have prominent codes of business conduct that establish the boundaries of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. These are much harder to find at universities, in part because such codes are buried deep within institutional policies, but also because many are devolved to individual schools, departments and research leaders.

Even without profit as the top goal, money, prestige and power can be corrupting motives. As a result, while there are often good underlying intentions within our public institutions, it's easy for practices to emerge that are not socially responsive or responsible - especially where people and communities end up standing in the way.

I suspect that this is by default rather than by design. From experience, public universities are by and large made up of people with strong individual social consciences. They want to serve the public good. It's just that, somehow, the institution gets in the way.

This gives me hope that, with sufficient determination, these public institutions can transform themselves. Universities such as ASU, my own academic home, and others are already demonstrating that reimagining the role of public universities in our society is possible. The question is, can universities change enough to serve local communities, as well as society as a whole?

Because, for every Flint, there are thousands of other communities that you and I have never heard of, and maybe never will, but that still need all the help they can get to ensure a decent quality of life for those that live in them.

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Andrew Maynard, is the director of the Risk Innovation Lab at Arizona State University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:41 AM | Permalink

DePaul's Sweet 16 Comeback Falls Short

DALLAS - DePaul battled back, but time ran out on the Blue Demons' comeback as they fell 83-71 to second-seeded Oregon State on Saturday in the NCAA regional semifinal.

For the third straight game, Jessica January led DePaul's offensive effort with 20 points with seven coming in the final 10 minutes. The junior eclipsed the 20-point mark for the fifth time in her career including in DePaul's final two games of the season.

Jacqui Grant tied a season-high with 15 points, Mart'e Grays added 14 and Chanise Jenkins added 10 points.

Oregon State, who entered the game averaging just 6.6 3-pointers a game, knocked down 10 triples in the game and shot .400 (10-of-25) from behind the arc. Jamie Weisner scored a career-high 38 points and 10 rebounds. She was 14-for-20 from the field including a 7-of-10 effort from 3-point range.

Sydney Wiese and Ruth Hamblin each added 13 for the Beavers, who shot 50.8 from the field.

Grant scored DePaul's first seven points and January added the next two as the Blue Demons jumped out to an early 9-2 advantage in the opening three minutes of action.

Oregon State (31-4) answered DePaul's scoring outburst with a 16-2 run over the next five-plus minutes and led 18-11 with 1:53 to play in the opening quarter.

Grays knocked down back-to-back triples to end the quarter as DePaul trailed by just four - 21-17 heading into the second quarter.

Oregon State opened the second quarter with a 13-6 run and led 34-23 with 6:27 to play in the half, but the Blue Demons would not go away, using scrappy defense and knocking down big shots including a deep three from January with seconds left in the half. DePaul went to the locker room down 45-38.

The Beavers lead ballooned to as many as 16 points (62-46), but the fearless Blue Demons battled back and got within eight (66-58) when Brooke Schulte completed the three-point-play with 7:51 to play.

With DePaul looking to seize the momentum, Oregon State put together a 10-2 run to make the score 76-60 with 4:01 to play in the game.

The game was the final for Chanise Jenkins and Megan Podkowa. The Blue Demon duo are part of the most successful senior class in DePaul history. The pair led DePaul to three-straight BIG EAST Regular Season titles, two BIG EAST Tournament championships, four straight NCAAs which included two Sweet Sixteens.

Jenkins finishes her career ranked 12th in scoring and second in assists. The 2016 BIG EAST Player of the Year also holds the DePaul record for 3-pointers in a game (10) and led the Blue Demons in scoring this season with 522 points. Her 1,605 career points finishes as the 11th most in school history.

Podkowa concludes her career one of DePaul's best 3-point shooters as well as rebounder and shot blocker. Her .412 3-point field goal percentage ranks third all-time. Her 743 rebounds rank ninth and 128 blocks rank fifth. The Glenview, Ill. native boasted a .481 (52-of-108) 3-point field goal percentage this season, which sets a new DePaul standard.

The Blue Demons finished their season in the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the program's history and second time in the last three years. DePaul won its third straight BIG EAST regular season title and defeated four ranked teams - all on the road this season.

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Post-game news conference.

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See also: Illinois Team Secretly Makes Sweet 16.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News

It's shitty, and it's cynical.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit Crap News, Tim.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Is Going To Paris.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Grow Some Balls; Tell The Truth.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! MP Is A Wanker Santa.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! New Year's Rant.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The 'Environment" Beat.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

The Illinois Badger

With their night-time travel habits and proximity to the ground, badgers are often hard to spot, which makes studying this predator a complicated endeavor.

"This is a very under-studied animal," said Chris Anchor, senior wildlife biologist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. "Once you realize the animal is in the area, they have generally already moved on. However, the information we could learn from a badger is indispensable."

Wildlife biologists were able to catch a badger near Northwest Cook County, and the Forest Preserves and Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, have once again collaborated to study the animal's health, behavior and habits.

"We are very happy to once again work with the wildlife biologists from the Forest Preserves of Cook County as part of our collaborative efforts to learn more about the health of Illinois wildlife," said Jennifer Langan, senior staff veterinarian for the Chicago Zoological Society and clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois. "This is a very unique and exciting opportunity as these animals are rarely handled or even seen in Illinois."

CZS veterinarians surgically implanted a transmitter in the animal, allowing wildlife biologists to track where the animal moves, how it uses its habitat and where it feeds. Additionally, veterinarians collected samples as part of a thorough health assessment and for long-term disease investigation. This information will provide valuable data to characterize the health of badger populations and investigate new diseases that may threaten the conservation of this unique carnivore in our part of the state.

Within the implanted transmitter is a coiled antennae that emits a specific signal. Using a directional antennae to pick up the signals, a process called triangulation, researchers will be able to track and learn how the badger is interacting with and surviving in its environment.

"Badgers are an apex predator, and they expose themselves to many other types of animals, either directly or indirectly. Because of this, badgers are great bio monitors and will be able to help us learn what they are naturally exposed to," explained Anchor.

Because badgers are an apex predator, their presence is an indication of the health of various habitats in Cook County. By understanding the badger's habits, researchers will be able to better identify how conservation and restoration efforts can continue to benefit the health of badgers and the biodiversity of all wildlife and humans.

"There is so little information known about badgers, especially badgers in an urban setting," said Anchor. "Just about all of the information we're going gain from this study is going to be novel and helpful for conservation efforts."

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Rare Badger Receives Transmitter At Brookfield Zoo.

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Previously in Chris Anchor: An Urban River Otter Is Here!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

March 26, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

"As they enter the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament this weekend, the University of Connecticut Huskies have won 71 consecutive games. Seventy-one! And they won national championships in 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015 - that's 10 times in the last 21 years, and nine times in the last 15. Now, that's major news. Only it isn't . . . because this is the UConn women's team," sports economist Andrew Zimbalist writes Saturday in a New York Times Op-Ed.

"Even if this year's Huskies win the tournament, the NCAA will pretty much ignore them, too. Certainly it will neglect them financially. Over at the men's tournament, the NCAA pays for success: Each game a team plays (not including the championship) earns the team's conference roughly $260,000 this year plus $260,000 each of the five following years. So the total value of a victory in the men's tournament is approximately $1.56 million. By contrast, a win in the women's tournament brings a reward of exactly zero dollars. That's right, zero dollars."

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One of the teams playing in the women's Sweet Sixteen on Saturday is DePaul University - a team that remains all but invisible to Chicago sports media but is getting a fair amount of attention from the media covering opponent Oregon State. Top search results:

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 2.05.13 PM.png

Game time is 5:30 p.m.

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The Return Of America's Muscle Horse
"With American Pharoah gone, California Chrome has a chance to dazzle America, capture hearts at low prices all over again," our man on the rail Tom Chambers wrote today in TrackNotes.

Tom has already e-mailed me an update:

GIDDYUP!

'Chrome did it!

Espinoza sent him right away like he was chasing a desperado and he rated in third, 3-4 wide all the way. Pulled away at the eighth pole looking VERY strong. His saddle cinch slipped too.

I really hope he comes back to America and does some real damage.

Click through to read Tom's column even if that result is in - and read to the end to learn about the tragic death of Jeff Lukas, son of famed trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg are back from their annual music-finding mission to the SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin, TX. Tune in to find out what bands will make the most noise in 2016. Later, they review a new album from Hüsker Dü leader Bob Mould."

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Weekend BeachBook

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Now you can flip.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: The Return Of America's Muscle Horse

If you think TrackNotes has been in hibernation, you'd be about right.

But real bears are never totally unaware of the goings-on around the den. So as Spring sprungs, we can declare that the new Thoroughbred horse racing season has just now taken on a personality of its own, with some interesting and even exciting races so far.

This is important because, like a grizzly who has eaten way too many fermented berries, it did take some time to sleep off the hangover of American Pharoah's campaign for the ages last year. No season carries over into the next in any sport, although Pharoah's might have if he'd have been running in 2016, but he's not, so no loitering, move it along.

Kentucky Derby speculation is rampant, of course, but we'll get to the Run for the Roses later.

First, Saturday is the biggest, or is it longest, day in racing. Fall in you jarheads at oh-six-thirty sharp, start the joe and speed handicap the first race from Dubai, the $1,000,000 Godolphin Mile, post time 7:20. Then we'll bivouac stateside after noon mess for the Louisiana Derby card, heavy on Louisiana-breds, from New Orleans' Fair Grounds.

At Dubai's Meydan Racecourse, it'll get interesting early when undefeated filly Polar River (by Congrats out of the Empire Maker mare Bayou Tortuga) takes on a bunch of boys in the $2,000,000 UAE Derby. She's 3-5 on the morning line. Frank Conversation, a Triple A+ runner from the Northern California circuit, will try to win his third straight. And look out for Argentinian (MAN, couldn't Obama have taken a couple of tango lessons?) Vale Dori, another filly who just suffered a tough beat to Polar River in the UAE Oaks.

But the race of the day will be the American-savory Dubai World Cup, 10 furlongs for a $10,000,000 purse.

You've got 'Pharoah foil Keen Ice, beneficiary of the Frosted-American Pharoah speed duel in last year's Travers Stakes. Mshawish, winner in 2016 already of Gulfstream's Hal's Hope and Donn Handicap in his last two. Mubtaahij (bred in Ireland but based in the U.S. last year), winner of last year's UAE Derby but nothing else in 2015. Frosted, a high stakes-level runner coming off a soap opera of a 2015 campaign. Hoppertunity, who's either hard luck or suffers from seconditis, although he beat quality Imperative and Donworth by a nose in the hard fought San Antonio in February. Candy Boy's probably too highly placed here, and the Empire Maker colt Teletext, bred in Kentucky, has been running in South Africa.

And then we come to the American muscle car, California Chrome, just short as 2014's Triple Crown darling. They say he's looking mighty good these days. Looking at that JPG, I have to agree.

After shipping in to Meydan less than a fortnight before last year's World Cup, our 'Chrome ran a tough, courageous second with a fairly wide trip from the nine post. Soon after the race, owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn took 'Chrome to England, all the while yappin' that he would ultimately be pointed to the ultra-prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

After pictures of 'Chrome in a gaunt, listless state began showing up, U.S. fans of America's Horse went into a tizzy, demanding that our boy be brought back for some good ol' home cookin'. Coburn was already in negotiations to sell his share of the horse. Mismanagement! we all cried.

Citing a foot bruise, 'Chrome never ran in Europe. But he did book first class on Horsey Air to none other than Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in what turned out to be a quixotic and failed attempt to prepare for and run in the Arlington Million. Never willing to abandon their claim of 'Chrome's affinity for the turf, his connections cited a turf win at Del Mar in the November 2014 Hollywood Derby. But a California turf course is like running on the 18th green at Cog Hill, nothing like the deep courses of Europe or Arlington.

'Chrome finally made it home for well-deserved R&R.

Mismanagement? From his late arrival at Meydan last year to so many strange surroundings, yes. Call Skilling if you want, but I remember lots of thunder and lightning, literally, in his days in Arlington Heights.

But after his Belmont Stakes loss and a gassed loss in the (money grab) Pennsylvania Derby, he burned a 113 Beyer Speed Figure in the '14 Breeders' Cup Classic finishing a tough third. Since then, he won the Hollywood Derby less than a month later and has won three of five. With 'Pharoah gone, 'Chrome has a chance to dazzle America, capture hearts at low prices all over again.

I'm going to say this horse has a ton of heart and talent, which could be enough. But we do need an angle, and mine is that 'Chrome has been in Dubai for weeks. Apparently it's been Midnight at the Oasis on the luxurious, cushiony Meydan oval but don't worry, crusty trainer Art Sherman has imbued the old adage "women weaken legs" into the big lug as he prepares for a potential $6 million payday.

And, he's already won the ungraded Trans Gulf Electromechanical Trophy (?) at Meydan to be ready for the Cup. Along those same lines, Frosted has been there even longer and won the Grade II Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 earlier in the festival.

The others? Maybe Special Fighter (Ireland), but he's on the downside of the up-and-down angle. Mshawish looks to have the ammo of momentum and Beyers and a short freshening. I'll take 8-1 on him. Keen Ice? If the foreigners control the pace, he'll never be able to run into a crawl-slow-faster-pour on the coals scenario, and he's been many lengths the worse since the Travers.

But I'll be all ISO on California Chrome. Noon post, sometimes they run late. TVG for sure, but you may have to search for a stream.

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The Louisiana Derby is the plantation set's 1.5-prep-cycles-out points opportunity for Kentucky.

I don't know much about these, that's why we watch.

The morning line has the Uncle Mo colt Mo Tom favored at 5-2, but I wonder if his many recent Beyers in the mid- to upper-80s signals that he's plateaued. Gun Runner is right behind at 3-1 with Greenpointcrusader at 7-2.

I don't know if Tom's Ready is ready, Tom, but he's a Fair Grounds veteran who will need a breakthrough race. I'm diggin' on Uncle Walter, who gets the blinkers and Fair Grounds-savvy Robbie Albarado; and another Uncle Mo colt Forevamo, who has shown nothing but steady Beyer growth.

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There are many Kentucky Derby lists out there, from the matter-of-fact to the poetically waxed.

I'll just mention what I've seen, Bloodhorse videos a small scroll down and behind the green buttons.

  • Current favorite Mohaymen (Number 6) looked professional and scary without even kicking in the turbo in an impressive win in the Fountain of Youth in late February.
  • Bob Baffert's Cupid (Number 4) was nearly left behind at the start of last week's Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, but he rushed up in the first steps in a brilliant move and took the lead on the rail into the clubhouse turn. Controlling the race from there, Cupid then had to contend with a charging Whitmore. Luckily Cupid saw him, they came eye-to-eye on the dance floor and Cupid roared away for the win, a 96 Beyer in the scrapbook.
  • West Cost wiseguy Mor Spirit, another Baffert trainee, got schooled by Danzing Candy in the March 12 San Felipe at Santa Anita (Number 3) and learned what happens if you're not sharp when the doors open. Seeming to pout on the backstretch, he got caught behind others. Finally passing the slow pokes, he was a distant third in the stretch, but woke up and pumped up for second. It was a loss, but he showed a great closing flash.
  • On the other hand, if Danzing Candy gets a good Derby trip . . .

  • Always a good sign, Destin threw a triple-digit 100 Beyer that same day in the Tampa Bay Derby (Number 7) in a gutty win. Rating in third most of the way, he slowly took command on the turn and smoothly outworked Outwork by two. JJ Castellano was reining Destin in, so maybe he has more.
  • She took my breath away a couple, three weeks ago. But the marvelous filly Songbird, arguably the best horse in the country, probably won't run in the Derby. They say she's pointed to the Kentucky Oaks. All you have to do is watch the six horse in the March 5 Santa Ysabel. Carefully conserving energy while controlling the race, she takes charge into the turn with Mike Smith stone-still in the irons. Easy-as-you-please, Songbird glides through the wire, galloping out another quarter in the fashion of the goddess she is. Even her return to the winners circle was impressive! I'll remember that race for a long time.

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There is much sadness in the racing world with news that Jeff Lukas, 58, passed away this week in his adopted hometown of Atoka, Oklahoma.

The Antigo, Wisconsin native Lukas was the son of legendary, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

One of the backbones of his father's training organization, Lukas was primarily responsible for the development of the great Lady's Secret, winner of the 1986 Breeders' Cup Distaff and so many other stakes races.

In 1988, he trained Winning Colors to victory in the Santa Anita Oaks, Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby.

In late 1993, two-year-old Tabasco Cat, aptly named considering the bitter, salty vinegar that stuff is, got loose on the shedrow and began steamrolling down the path, full speed. Hoping he could calm the horse, Lukas stepped in front. Realizing it was hopeless, he stepped aside. Instead of going the other way, Tabasco Cat ran right into him, throwing him into the air. The resultant fall and banging of his head critically injured the young Lukas.

Tabasco Cat was one of those just plain mean horses, much like Man o' War and War Admiral. "He was a badass horse, a dangerous horse, man. You couldn't manhandle him, you couldn't play around with him. I was putting blinkers on him once and he threw his head and knocked me flat on my ass. And he did it on purpose. Two people had to be around him at all times," said trainer Dallas Stewart, one of the many of today's top trainers to apprentice in the Lukas barn. Tabasco Cat went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1994.

Jeff attempted to come back to training but it was determined unsafe for him. He ended up working in a bank owned by longtime associate David Burrage.

By all accounts Jeff Lukas was on the edge of superstardom as a trainer. All the great trainers Lukas turned out, Stewart, Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Mark Henning. Jeff Lukas would have been one of them.

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See also: Tim Layden's longform report on Jeff Lukas for Sports Illustrated, Out of the Darkness.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:51 AM | Permalink

March 25, 2016

The [Friday] Papers

The Tribune's Bill Ruthhart writes today about how Rahm Emanuel coped with another bad week, concluding:

"The political spin lesson in Emanuel's strategy: When bad financial news abounds, the teachers are talking walkout and a policing scandal continues to drag on, try to change the subject to two things everyone likes - kids and parks."

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I discussed Rahm, Anita Alvarez, the CTU, the next police chief, the Illinois Supreme Court's pension ruling, and Michael Ferro, the Tribune and Sun-Times on this week's edition of Chicago Newsroom, hosted by Ken Davis. You can watch it here, please ignore my always-stupid hair, which was really flat for some reason (maybe the rain).

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P.S.:

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The Truth About Emory's University's Affluenza
Tribune Op-Ed vs. Snopes.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #95: The Joe Maddon Show Has Jumped The Shark
Plus: The United Center Curse; Reminder: Ricky Renteria Is The White Sox Bench Coach; Illinois Team Secretly Makes Sweet 16; Triton Lays An Egg; Finding Value In Vegas, Baby; The Everton Minute; and The New York Times Smokes Out The NFL.

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Beachwood Photo Booth
Man at Marie's.

The (Pretty Lousy) Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: El Famous, Bonnie Raitt, Zoned Out, The Radiomen, David Grisman Sextet, Joe Purdy, and Greg Dulli.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Spin your wheels.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:18 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. El Famous at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.


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2. Bonnie Raitt at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.

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3. Zoned Out at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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4. The Radiomen at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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5. David Grisman Sextet at City Winery on Sunday night.

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6. Joe Purdy at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Greg Dulli at the Old Town School last Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:45 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's

Mayfair manifesto.

marieschristmas.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:55 AM | Permalink

March 24, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #95: Bulls Dragging Blackhawks Down To Their Level

United Center curse. Plus: Reminder: Ricky Renteria Is The White Sox Bench Coach; The Joe Maddon Show Has Jumped The Shark; Illinois Team Secretly Makes Sweet 16; Triton Lays An Egg; Finding Value In Vegas, Baby; The Everton Minute; and The New York Times Smokes Out The NFL.


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SHOW NOTES

* Dick Dent.

2:20: Hate-Watching The Bulls.

* Bulls Shocked And Shot Down By Knicks, 115-107.

* Jimmy Butler: My Performance Of Late 'Saddening, Terrible.'

* Jimmy Butler & Ludacris.

* From Wikipedia:

"Before the 2011 draft, one NBA general manager said about Butler, "His story is one of the most remarkable I've seen in all my years of basketball. There were so many times in his life where he was set up to fail. Every time, he overcame just enormous odds. When you talk to him - and he's hesitant to talk about his life - you just have this feeling that this kid has greatness in him."

Butler's father abandoned the family when he was an infant. By the time he was 13 years old and living in the Houston suburb of Tomball, his mother kicked him out of the house. As Butler remembered it in a 2011 interview, she told him, "I don't like the look of you. You gotta go." He then bounced between the homes of various friends, staying for a few weeks at a time before moving to another house.

In a summer basketball league before his senior year at Tomball High School, he was noticed by Jordan Leslie, a freshman football and basketball player at the school, who challenged him to a three-point shooting contest. The two immediately became friends, and Butler began staying at Leslie's house. Although his friend's mother and stepfather, who had six other children between them, were reluctant at first, they took him in within a few months. Butler would later say, "They accepted me into their family. And it wasn't because of basketball. She [Michelle Lambert, Leslie's mother] was just very loving. She just did stuff like that. I couldn't believe it."

As a junior at Tomball High, Butler averaged 10 points per game. As a senior and team captain in 2006-07, Butler averaged 19.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and was subsequently voted his team's most valuable player.

17:44: Reminder: Ricky Renteria Is The White Sox Bench Coach.

19:37: Blackhawks Lay Big Bricks.

* Big Bricks.

* Scott Darling.

* Darling Says Struggling Blackhawks 'Definitely Frustrated.'

* Corey Crawford's Status For Upcoming Blackhawks Trip Uncertain.

* Morrissey: A Few Boos For The Blackhawks Fans Who Are Booing Their Team.

* The United Center Curse.

* Maybe they were just saying "Q"?

30:42: Drake LaRoche's Uniform Hanging In Chris Sale's Locker Is All We Have Left Of Our Fallen Soldiers.

33:21: The Joe Maddon Show Has Jumped The Shark.

* Wittenmyer: DJs, Pimp Suits And Mimes, Oh My: Are Cubs Enlarging The Target?

39:12: Illinois Team Secretly Makes Sweet 16.

47:24: The No. 1 Triton Trojans Lay A Freakin' Egg.

* Lady Trojans Enjoy Resurgent Season.

48:39: Meet The New Sweet 16, Same As The Old Sweet 16.

* 538: Texas A&M Pulled Off A 1-in-3,000 Comeback.

* SBNation: A Frame-By-Frame Breakdown Of A Truly Miraculous 44 Seconds.

51:37: Finding Value In Vegas. Baby.

54:43: The Everton Minute: Teens Charged Over Flares At Carlisle V Everton Match.

55:06: New York Times Smokes Out NFL.

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STOPPAGE: 2:00

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

I have a busy day scheduled so the Papers will return on Friday.

In the meantime, the rest of the site is chock full of groovy stuff . . .

Kankakee Statues Take Mayberryesque Turn
Frenemies engaged in small-town battle.

Soused By Southwest
Jonathan Langford's Bad Luck.

Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide Finale
Revisiting The Rankings.

24 Years In BabyTV
Another banner year in the Bender baby household.

Here Comes Spring Trout Season!
Catchable-sized rainbow trout.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Maybe if it was Rock Star Energy Drink reporter, I'd apply.

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Please note: Victims now plural. There is rarely just one.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Always.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:36 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Bad Luck Jonathan Langford

1. Plug Pulled On Jon Langford At SXSW.

2. Former Belle Woke Up In Chicago.

3. "The way the Chicago five-piece moves effortlessly from straight up country to Delta blues, into delicate folk that bends and twists into surging electric jams, is absolutely hypnotic."

4. Under The Influence With Twin Peaks.

5. Dissona Drum Playthrough.

6. "The entire II LP, the second album by Like Rats - featuring members of Chicago powerviolence/grinders Weekend Nachos - is now playing in its entirety [here]."

7. WGN Thinks You Should Know Meat Wave.

8. Pop Singer Genevieve On Why She Left The Band Company Of Thieves To Pursue Her Solo Career.

9. "The work of Jason Finkelman, a berimbau player from Illinois, was also inspirational. We share a joint interest in improvisation and how musical bows can function in free musical spaces."

10. Chicago's The Hood Internet Rejects Physical Media Out Of Necessity.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:13 AM | Permalink

24 Hours With BabyTV

5:30 a.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

6 a.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

6:30 a.m.: Harry & Rainbow.

6:45 a.m.: Tillie & Larry.

7 a.m.: Hide & Seek & Peek Aboo.

7:15 a.m.: The Notekins.

7:30 a.m.: Preschool Basics.

8 a.m.: Breakfast Club.

8:30 a.m.: Breakfast Club.

9 a.m.: Breakfast Club.

9:30 a.m: Breakfast Club.

10 a.m: Baby First Favorite.

10:30 a.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

11 a.m.: Art & Music.

11:30 a.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

Noon: Preschool Basics.

12:30 p.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

1 p.m.: Early Bloomers.

1:30 p.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

2 p.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

2:30 p.m.: Hola Bebe.

3 p.m.: Family Fun Time.

3:30 p.m.: Harry & Rainbow.

3:45 p.m.: Tillie & Larry.

4 p.m.: Hide & Seek & Peek Aboo.

4:15 p.m.: The Notekins.

4:30 p.m.: Preschool Basics.

5 p.m.: Baby First Club.

5:30 p.m.: Baby First Club.

6 p.m.: Baby First Club.

6:30 p.m.: Baby First Club.

7 p.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

7:30 p.m.: Art & Music.

8 p.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

8:30 p.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

9 p.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

9:30 p.m.: Baby First Bedtime.

10 p.m.: Baby First Club.

10:30 p.m.: Baby First Club.

11 p.m.: Baby First Club.

11:30 p.m.: Baby First Club.

Midnight: Baby First Club.

12:30 a.m.: Baby First Club.

1 a.m.: Baby First Club.

1:30 a.m.: Baby First Club.

2 a.m: Nighttime Programs for Baby.

2:30 a.m.: Nighttime Programs for Baby.

3 a.m.: Nighttime Programs for Baby.

3:30 a.m.: Nighttime Programs for Baby.

4 a.m.: Nighttime Programs for Baby.

4:30 a.m.: Early Bloomers.

5 a.m.: Developmental Programs for Baby.

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Previously:
* 24 Hours With QVC
* 24 Hours With Tru TV
* 24 Hours With Current TV
* 24 Hours With The Military Channel
* 24 Hours With The Hallmark Channel
* 24 Hours With TVGN
* 24 Hours With Retroplex
* 24 Hours With Penthouse TV
* 24 Hours With The DIY Network
* 24 Hours With BET
* 24 Hours With CNBC
* 24 Hours With WWMEB
* 24 Hours With PRISM TV
* 24 Hours With Al Jazeera America.
* 24 Hours With Fuse.
* 24 Hours With Pop TV.
* 24 Hours With BET Soul.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:36 AM | Permalink

Here Comes Spring Trout Season!

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is pleased to announce the 2016 spring inland trout fishing season at Axehead Lake (Park Ridge), Belleau Lake (Park Ridge), Sag Quarry East (Lemont) and Green Lake (Calumet City).

The Forest Preserves will be purchasing and stocking approximately 500 pounds of rainbow trout for Sag Quarry East; 1,250 pounds for Axehead Lake; and 1,250 pounds for Belleau Lake; while the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be purchasing and stocking 700 pounds for Green Lake. These are catchable-sized rainbow trout, in the 1/2 - 1 lb. size range.

The Forest Preserves trout lakes will be closed to all fishing from Monday, March 28, until sunrise on Saturday, April 2. The lake closings allow the trout to disperse throughout the lakes prior to opening. As part of the IDNR's stocking program, fishing for and possession of any trout is illegal from March 15 until 5 a.m. on April 2.

Once the season opens, there is a five trout per day creel limit with no size restrictions. No more than two lines per person with no more than two hooks per line may be used.

A valid Illinois sport fishing license with an Inland Trout Stamp is required for anglers 16 years of age and older. An Illinois sport fishing license is not required for Illinois residents who are disabled and have a State of Illinois disabled I.D. card showing a Class 2 or 2A disability or a Veterans Disability Card, and Illinois residents who are on active military duty and are home on leave.

For a list of all of the lakes and waters open to public fishing within the Forest Preserves, visit fpdcc.com/recreation/fishing and download our Fishing Guide. The guide includes maps that show the location and depths of each lake, and list principal fish species.

For further information, the public can contact the Forest Preserves' Fisheries Section at 708-403-6951.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide: Revisiting The Rankings

It takes months - okay, weeks - to compile a fantasy baseball draft guide, and between the end of January and the opening of the regular season, I often start to re-evaluate some of my rankings. Some of this is based on spring training performance of various players and some of the more detailed news and analysis you start hearing once spring training starts (though I don't need to tell you it's never advisable to build a draft strategy entirely around spring training performance, right?).

Overall, the rethinking is more a reflection of ongoing thought about what I've compiled. With that in mind, here are some players whose draft rankings I've been thinking about a lot lately:

Mikel Franco, 3B, PHI: I'd be lying if I said I haven't paid attention to his fantastic spring. Seven HRs, 18 RBI are tops this spring. Though I had him ranked No. 11 at 3B, which makes him a fantasy starter in a 12-team league, I didn't really figure him as a breakout candidate for 2016. But now, after watching him this spring and reading more about him, I'm wondering if I should nudge him up the rankings by a spot or two. Maybe he's closer to that 30-HR, 100-RBI season than I originally thought.

Corey Kluber, SP, CLE: I made the point in my original ranking that he had pretty stellar season last year despite going 9-16, yet ranked him at No. 16 among SPs, making him a definite SP-2. He's also had a dominant spring, but I'm looking more closely now at his 2015 numbers: 245 strikeouts, and career-best 1.05 WHIP and .231 BAA, and think he should be around No. 12 or so on my list, a borderline SP-1.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL: Did I park him at No. 12 in my rankings because I was wounded he hadn't lived up to my own buzz about him? Maybe. His wrist problem, which limited his playing time and potentially his power last year, is reportedly now fully healed. He can't move too much in my crowded 1B rankings, but I'd consider nudging him to No. 11.

Randall Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, OF, STL: There are so many OFs that No. 30 on my list could have easily been someone else besides Brett Gardner, NYY, and my sleeper could have easily been someone else besides Jorge Soler, CUBS. None of these Cardinals made my top 30 list, but each of them was impressive in small sample last year: Grichuk had 17 HRs in 323 ABs, Piscotty hit .305, and Pham wielded both power and speed in barely 150 ABs. My current thinking is I like the first two as OF-3s in a fantasy lineup, with Pham as a sleeper to stash on the bench.

Robinson Cano, 2B, SEA: Tough to do much better than No. 3 in my rankings, and his overall 2015 numbers were not what we hoped for in total, but I'm thinking more about the second half of last year, when he righted himself after a really lousy first half and hit .331, with 15 HRs and 49 RBI after the All-Star break. Maybe that makes him look like a little bit more of a steal as the No. 3 2B, and I wouldn't blame you if you drafted him ahead of Jose Altuve, HOU, and Dee Gordon, MIA - though you'll need to find SBs at other positions if you do.

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Previously in the Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide:
* The (Tied At The) Top 40.

* First And Third.

* Middle Infield.

* OF.

* Starting Pitchers.

* Catchers!

* Closers!

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Dan O'Shea is our fantasy fixer. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:35 AM | Permalink

Kankakee Statues Saga Takes Mayberryesque Turn

Approximately 60 miles south of Chicago is Kankakee, Illinois. Close enough to the big city some may think of it as the most southern tip of the Chicago megapolis. Closer to Central Illinois with all the visual characteristics of America's heartland, others will think of it as rural America. Kankakee's population of 27,000 is 1/100 of Chicago's population and only slightly larger than the average American small town of 15,000. In 1991 Reader's Digest called it the best town to raise a family.

Like Chicago, Kankakee has a history of political corruption. During the Prohibition Era, Chicago politics were often dictated by Al Capone, the boss of Chicago's mob. Len Small, Kankakee's Prohibition Era political leader and former Illinois governor, is likewise remembered for his connection to Capone, and the consequences of his actions still impact Kankakee today.

There is hope for this conflicted hamlet. If one looks deep into the hearts and minds of Kankakee, a person will see America's favorite small town, Mayberry, where villainous attempts are defeated by Andy, Aunt Bee and little Opie, the local heroes. In the eight seasons of The Andy Griffith Show, Aunt Bee was known to take up a cause now and then. One these episodes is titled "Aunt Bee the Crusader." In it she takes up a movement to stop plans for the construction of a highway that will force the family's egg man from his property. In another episode, "Politics Begins at Home," she runs for Mayberry's city council only to altruistically step aside for a more qualified candidate. Shirley St. Germaine is Kankakee's Aunt Bee.

Like Aunt Bee, St. Germaine is a responsible citizen and activist. A member of the GFWC Woman's Club of Kankakee, her most current cause is to stop her club from raising funds to erect life-size bronze statues honoring three Illinois governors who came from the town: Len Small, George Ryan and Sam Shapiro. St. Germaine believes raising money to honor the nefarious Small and Ryan is amiss.

"I keep thinking of the Willis children," St. Germaine told me.

Aunt Bee had a best friend who sometimes was her nemesis. If you recall, her name was Clara Edwards. Dondi Maricle is St. Germaine's Clara. Aunt Bee competed with Clara In cooking and garden contests and one time over a part in a local theater production. Their friendship was severely tested.

St. Germaine told me Maricle and she have been lifetime friends and now are divided over the governors statues.

Maricle is the Kankakee woman's club president. The statues were her idea.

"I want people to remember the good, not the bad, and Kankakee is the only city in Illinois that has contributed three governors," she told me.

Corruption is expensive. Illinois has paid deeply for two of those governors. According to Reboot Illinois, an April 2014 study estimates Illinois corruption costs $1,308 per citizen. The money wasted in one year's corruption could cover 37% of Illinois' total deficit. When you add up the manpower and hours of the 10 years of the licenses-for-bribes scandal investigation, with its 79 separate indictments and convictions, and the seven-month George Ryan trial, the cost of one man's malfeasance is mind-boggling.

On Saturday, the Kankakee woman's club held a St. Patrick's Day fundraising dinner for the statues. Tickets were $50 per person and included a catered corned beef and cabbage dinner, a silent auction of a decorated basket full of bounty from local merchants, entertainment from a bagpipe band, and George Ryan as guest speaker. Yes, the ex-con, ex-governor, spoke at a fundraiser dedicated in part to a statue of him.

Aunt Bee would have been outraged, and so was Shirley St. Germaine. Since the fundraiser was announced several weeks ago, she has publicly stood up against it and believes the club's money should be used for more worthy causes.

About 100 people attended the event, according to Maricle.

Said St. Germaine: "It was more like 60 people. and 10 of them were George Ryan's family."

A couple of club ladies who did not want to attend sat outside in a car and counted the number of people entering the banquet hall, she said. It looks to me like Aunt Bee has a couple of covert operatives. Good for them!

When asked what Ryan talked about, Maricle said, "He spoke about raising money for the water park."

Central Illinois' Mayberry has a water park that bears George Ryan and his late wife's name. According to the Kankakee Daily Journal, "When he was governor, he engineered the state's $12 billion dollar infrastructure program, Illinois First, which included a multimillion dollar investment that led to the construction of the Splash Valley Aquatic Park."

The park is now in need of serious repairs before it can re-open this summer.

"One million is a lot of money, but we should be able to get that," Ryan said, according to the Journal.

Yes, the governor whose idea of fundraising is shaking down contractors and truck drivers for campaign contributions is back at fundraising.

If some local flim flam had tried that in Mayberry, not only would Aunt Bee speak out, so would have Floyd and Goober. Kankakee has it concerned citizens too who spoke out on the Outrage of Kankakee County Facebook page.

"Who in [their] right mind would offer to help bail out the park district when their executive director is under criminal investigation?" wondered commenter Donald Mitchell.

"It was a dumb idea anyway!" posted Kristin Hoagland.

"[I]t sounds like the Park District has some serious issues and why pump money in when they can't get their act together," wrote Steven Dale Elliott.

Mayor Nina Epstein has said that problems at the water park are just "the tip of a very deep iceberg."

This stuff would have been way over the head of Barney Fife. Andy would have had to reach out to Mount Pilot for someone specializing in forensic accounting.

According Maricle, the woman's club raised $5,000 from the St. Patrick's Day event.

Ooh wee! That's a long way from the $117,000 needed for the life-size bronze statues. Central Illinois' Mayberry has more serious fiscal problems than Andy Griffith's sublime little hamlet. Of course, in "Don't Miss a Good Bet," a con man named George dupes several people, including Aunt Bee and Andy, out of $100 each to use for a treasure hunt. Sound kind a familiar, y'all?

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Previously:
* The Statues Of Kankakee.
* Now Even Statues Of Dirty Illinois Governors Want Your Money.
* Ex-Con George Ryan To Personally Appeal For Statue.

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Ed Hammer is a retired police captain and author of the book One Hundred Percent Guilty. He can be reached through his website.

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Also by Ed Hammer:
* George Ryan's Park Bench
* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies
* George Ryan's Other Jailhouse Interview
* Bugging The Chicago School Board
* Cop vs. Teacher
* Signs of Change
* Pols vs. Teachers
* The Terre Haute Redemption
* Rahm's War On Teachers
* About Those Indicted Nurses
* Body Language Bingo: A Guide To Watching The Presidential Debates
* George Ryan's Day Of Independence
* The Ironic George Ryan.
* George Ryan Is Unrepentant.
* Must Like Puppies.
* ILGov2014: The George Ryan Connection.
* Exclusive: Trump Puts Lion Killer On VP Short List.

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See also: Honoring A True Illinois Hero.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

March 23, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"As predictably as the first blossoms of Spring, the lineup for the 25th anniversary edition of Lollapalooza has arrived, though the connection between what will happen in Grant Park from July 28 to 31 and the scrappy, daylong touring alternative-rock festival that started a quarter of a century ago is merely a matter of corporate branding at these points," Jim DeRogatis writes for WBEZ.

"This year, 170 bands will somehow squeeze into Grant Park between the countless companies tirelessly marketing themselves to the snookered demographic of (mostly) young, privileged, and horny drunks for an expanded four days of Walmart on the Lake. The headliners - and you're forgiven for thinking you've heard this before, because you have, today and in years past- include Radiohead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, LCD Soundsystem (back after a brief five-year "retirement"), and Lana Del Rey, to which I respond with a resounding: YAWN."

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DeRogatis notes in his post that "the New York Times' ace team of music critics - Jon Pareles, Ben Ratliff, and Jon Caramancia - announced that this year, they're opting out of covering the big festivals. They specifically cited Coachella and Bonnaroo, not even deigning to mention Lollapalooza, though the paper has covered it in the past."

From the Times:

Each year, shortly after New Year's Day, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival announces the lineup for its late-April dates. In response, the pop-music critics of The New York Times look at the names on the list - last year's Grammy winners, makers of breakthrough records two years ago, slow-boiling Spotify stars whose rise has been deeply commented on by us and hundreds of others - and we rub our foreheads. A few weeks later comes Bonnaroo's announcement, for early June, and we have still not sorted out Coachella.

We delay putting our hands up because we are trying to figure out intelligent ways to cover the big, cross-genre, medium-cool outdoor pop festivals, which look increasingly alike in their vision of a codified, consensual, safe and purchasable bohemia. Eventually one of us goes, at least to Coachella - because it's the first of the season - and often to Bonnaroo. We come back with some complaints that boil down to our area of greatest knowledge: music. Some clever person reminds us that these festivals aren't about music. And because we are nobody's fools, we say sure, right, of course, but then we still feel short-handed. We have lots of dialogues, internal and otherwise, about what music critics are for. They're for, among other things, registering seismic pop events. But they're also for not registering them, as a critical gesture.

This year we are not registering them.

I get the objections, but I don't know if refusing to cover the festivals is the answer - after all, you're still journalists with a duty to report on how massive amounts of people (spending gobs of money) are entertaining themselves. Maybe hate-cover them? You know, like we all sometimes hate-watch a TV show?

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This, on the other hand, I like:

Instead of covering the biggest festivals reflexively, we'll cover a number of smaller festivals with purpose.

But then, you should have been doing that all along.

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I know, I know, there's only so many hours in a day, so many days in a year. Idea: A festival beat with a dedicated reporter (or three).

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"Want to see LCD Soundsystem? You can catch them at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Panorama and Way Home. Major Lazer? Coachella, Sasquatch, Firefly and Panorama. ASAP Rocky? Coachella, Firefly and Panorama. Gary Clark Jr.? Coachella, New Orleans Jazzfest, Governor's Ball and Way Home."

I would submit that there's a festival bubble. In a few years it will burst and something else will break through, as music-lovers seek a new kind of experience. Only those festivals with distinct styles/brands/vibes will survive. (I would have pegged Pitchfork as a long-term survivor, but now that it's owned by Conde Nast - I assume Conde Nast gets the festival along with the site - its days as a cool destination could be numbered, if it hasn't become passe already.)

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Trump's Cubs
Another Beachwood thought experiment.

Stanley Fish, Enfant Terrible
"One of the 20th century's most original and influential literary theorists, Stanley Fish, dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is also known as a fascinatingly atypical, polarizing public intellectual; a loud, cigar-smoking contrarian; and a lightning rod for both the political right and left."

Flint Water Team: The Cost Of Good Science
"It can mean burning bridges to potential funding, and damage to your name and professional reputation. There also are emotional costs associated with distinguishing right from wrong in moral and ethical gray areas, and personal costs when you begin to question yourself, your motives and your ability to make a difference."

Proviso West Grad To Serve Aboard USS Paul Hamilton
"Homeported in Pearl Harbor, Paul Hamilton is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy."

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BeachBook

My guess is No.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Spacey.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:23 PM | Permalink

We Helped Uncover A Public Health Crisis In Flint, But Learned There Are Costs To Doing Good Science

Our team of more than two dozen students and research scientists at Virginia Tech has spent much of the past year analyzing and publicizing unsafe drinking water in Flint, Michigan.

Our "open science" research collaboration with Flint residents revealed high levels of lead, Legionella and damage to potable water infrastructure due to a failure to implement corrosion control treatment.

Despite Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency messages that the water was safe, we fought to educate residents about severe public health risks. That work led to a declaration of a public health emergency, first by the city of Flint and later by the state of Michigan and President Barack Obama; garnered hundreds of millions of dollars in relief for Flint residents; and informed a national debate on "safe" drinking water in America.

Our work, by any measure, succeeded. But at the same time, this experience has forced us to confront broader questions.

We have learned that as well-trained scientists and engineers, we can be agents for positive change. However, we have also learned that many obstacles make it hard to do good science - not only in crisis situations, but every day.

Why We Had To Get Involved

By now the details of Flint's water crisis are well-known.

In 2014, a state-appointed emergency manager decided to stop buying treated Lake Huron water from the city of Detroit, and instead to treat and distribute Flint River water to city residents.

The MDEQ, which was responsible for ensuring that Flint's water met federal standards, violated federal regulation when it did not require the city of Flint to properly treat the water - which we now know is highly corrosive - to minimize leaching from lead pipes.

Citizens in Flint could smell, taste and see that their water was contaminated almost immediately following the switch. But when they tried to bring their concerns to public officials' attention, they were ignored, dismissed and ridiculed.

We became involved in April 2015 when Lee Anne Walters, a Flint resident and mother of a lead-poisoned child, contacted Marc Edwards, our research adviser at Virginia Tech. After the city detected elevated lead in the Walters family's water, and she was refused help by MDEQ, Walters took her case to EPA Region 5 employee Miguel Del Toral, who collaborated with our lab to sample her tap water.

Walters sent us samples from her home, and we found lead levels that on average contained over 2,000 parts per billion of lead - more than 130 times the EPA's maximum allowable limit of 15 ppb.

Lead is a neurotoxin that is especially harmful to children's developing brains and nervous systems. According to health experts, there is no safe level of lead exposure.

Based on his findings and the Walters' lead data, Del Toral wrote an internal memo to his colleagues at EPA and MDEQ in June 2015, which was ignored. When the memo was leaked to the press, MDEQ brushed off the concerns of Del Toral and the public with a statement that told everyone to "relax."

We saw city officials dismissing public concerns, knew that the city was not treating the river water to prevent corrosion, and found high lead levels in samples from the Walters' home. We believed there was an urgent threat to public health, and no one else seemed to be doing anything to help the citizens of Flint.

We set a plan in motion to help citizens in the best way we knew: with science.

As a first step, we mailed 300 sampling kits to citizen activists in Flint. Over just four weeks, Flint residents helped us gather and analyze 861 water samples - more than 12 times the number that city officials collected in six months.

flint3.jpg Students in the Flint Water Study pack water testing kits to send to Flint residents. Flint Water Study/Facebook, Author provided

Our results clearly showed a widespread lead-in-water problem.

MDEQ questioned whether our testing was reliable. In response, Flint citizens organizing the sampling developed quality control procedures, such as taping the kits closed once samples had been collected and signing their names across the tape, to make it clear that no samples had been tampered with.

flint1.jpgVirginia Tech students process water samples from homes in Flint. Flint Water Study/Facebook, author provided

We went to Flint several times to confirm and expand these findings by taking and analyzing more water samples. Again MDEQ tried to discredit our results, calling us lead "magicians" who could "pull that rabbit out of that hat anywhere they go."

This struck a nerve. As scientists, we spend significant amounts of time making sure our results are accurate. In response to MDEQ's claims, we became completely transparent about what we were doing and how we were sampling for lead. Because we took this approach, people in Flint trusted us.

flint2.jpgGraffiti in Flint rejecting Professional Service Industries (PSI), a firm city officials proposed hiring in January to test residents' tap water. LeeAnne Walters/Flint Water Study, Author provided

Meanwhile, both MDEQ and EPA were sluggish to respond to our questions and reluctant to share data with us. We filed several Freedom of Information Act requests to gain access to agency records and were alarmed by what we found.

For instance, MDEQ had misinformed the EPA about having corrosion control treatment in place. We also found that the state agency had thrown out two critical water samples - including one from the Walters home - so that Flint would meet the requirements of EPA's Lead and Copper Rule. The rule, enacted in 1994, requires cities to monitor drinking water at customer taps and take action to reduce corrosion if certain numbers of samples contain lead or copper above specific levels.

Our findings, combined with data on blood lead levels in Flint children released by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Hurley Medical Center, finally prompted city, state and federal officials to declare emergencies in Flint and switch back to Detroit water.

A Culture Of Compliance

One hard lesson we learned is that people in our field - environmental engineers and water managers - helped cause Flint's crisis.

Somewhere along the line, in deciding what compounds to regulate and how to control them, the U.S. system for regulating drinking water has become extremely complex. There are now more than 150,000 public water utilities in the United States. Our National Primary Drinking Water Standards cover more than 80 contaminants, and EPA is reviewing some 100 others to determine whether they should also be regulated.

Individual utilities are responsible for monitoring and reporting to state agencies, which in turn report to EPA regional offices. With this segregated approach and so many things on their radars, a culture has developed that seems to be geared more toward meeting regulations and standards than toward protecting public health. This is especially true in programs like MDEQ's that are "understaffed, underfunded and [have personnel] lack[ing] knowledge and experience," in the words of Yanna Lambrinidou, a medical ethnographer and adjunct assistant professor of science and technology studies at Virginia Tech.

As the U.S. Government Accountability Office has reported, the EPA does not have enough power or resources to properly oversee sampling that cities carry out to show they are complying with the Lead and Copper Rule. Professors Edwards and Lambrinidou and others have documented that, as a result, agencies in charge of proving that regulations are met have developed techniques for gaming the system to avoid collecting water samples that contain enough lead or copper to trigger action.

Well-known techniques that took place in Flint include preflushing water from taps the night before sampling and using small-mouthed bottles, which artificially lowers lead concentrations in samples, as well as failing to identify and test homes known to have sources of lead in their plumbing from lead services lines or older brass components that contain significant amounts of lead.

At a recent national conference, one of our team members spoke with a utility manager about how his utility sampled for compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule. The manager was proud that his utility had never found a violation. But when our team member probed further, the manager acknowledged that a couple of homes in their distribution system had lead levels high enough to be of concern. However, he argued that the utility did not need to report these high levels:

Flint Water Study Team Member: So, do you inform the homeowners if the lead levels are high?

Utility Manager: We don't need to inform homeowners if the 90th percentile is below 15 ppb. [If fewer than 10 percent of homes produce lead readings above 15 ppb, the Lead and Copper Rule does not require the utility to take action.]

FWS: Yes, but, if you were a parent in a home which was tested over 15 pbb, wouldn't you like to know?

UM: I understand what you are saying, but that is not how the rule works.

FWS: I know, but would you agree that it is a problem and that the rule should change? Isn't it important to inform homeowners if they are over the action level?

UM: Yeah, but that is not up to me. Our job is to follow the rules and regulations.

We are concerned by this attitude and believe we need to change it so that everyone involved is more focused on protecting public health than only complying with regulations.

Conflicting Incentives For Scientists

As budding academics, we are proud that our group went "all in" for Flint. We provided accurate technical information that was desperately needed, developed legitimate research questions and uncovered government wrongdoing.

We did not have a direct funding source when we got involved, and there was a real risk that we would not be able to raise money to support our work. But Edwards chose to move forward because the risk to Flint families and their children was much greater. He spent more than $150,000 from his own discretionary research and personal funds to cover our costs, and the National Science Foundation later backed us with a $50,000 RAPID Response grant.

If Edwards had not been able and willing to do this, people in Flint might very well still be getting unsafe Flint River water from their taps.

Academic researchers are supposed to contribute to the public good, and scholars are supposed to have academic freedom to explore important questions without undue interference. But at the same time, they are under tremendous pressures to meet metrics such as publishing papers and bringing in research dollars. This pressure can make researchers less independent and less willing to pursue roads less traveled.

We are worried that a reward structure has developed that supports mainly self-promotion and dissuades the altruistic motives to do science for the public good that attracted many of us to the profession in the first place.

Our experience in Flint has shown us some unpleasant costs of doing good science. It can mean burning bridges to potential funding, and damage to your name and professional reputation. There also are emotional costs associated with distinguishing right from wrong in moral and ethical gray areas, and personal costs when you begin to question yourself, your motives and your ability to make a difference.

What Scientists And Engineers Can Do

Things have started to change in Flint, but fixing its water system will take years, and its citizens will need continued support in many areas - including nutrition, health care and education - to manage the effects of lead poisoning over the coming decades.

From our perspective, it is hard not to feel that the regulatory system is broken, or at least critically flawed. Only an active and engaged public can drive reform forward, and make the EPA and state agencies more responsive to fulfill their mission statement and truly protect the public.

As academic researchers, we do not always have an active role in fixing such regulatory shortcomings, but we can help influence change in unconventional ways. The Flint crisis showed that listening to the public is critical if we wish to do our jobs better as scientists and engineers and serve society.

Engineers don't take oaths similar to medical doctors' Hippocratic Oath, but maybe we should. As a start, we have all made personal and professional pledges that include the first Canon of Civil Engineering: to uphold the health and well-being of the public above all else. In doing so, we affirm Virginia Tech's motto, "Ut prosim," which means, "That I may serve."

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Previously:
* The Best Reporting (So Far) On The Flint Water Crisis.

* Item: Flint Hint.

* How Al-Jazeera America Reported The Flint Water Crisis - A Year Ago.

* A Flint Journal Reporter Explains How The Water Crisis Happened.

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See also:
* Race Best Predicts Whether You Live Near Pollution.

* How The EPA Has Failed to Challenge Environmental Racism in Flint - and Beyond.

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William Rhoads, Rebekah Martin and Siddhartha Roy are doctoral students in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:40 AM | Permalink

Stanley Fish, Enfant Terrible

One of the 20th century's most original and influential literary theorists, Stanley Fish, dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is also known as a fascinatingly atypical, polarizing public intellectual; a loud, cigar-smoking contrarian; and a lightning rod for both the political right and left. The truth and the limitations of this reputation are explored in Stanley Fish, America's Enfant Terrible by Gary A. Olson. At once a literary biography and a traditional life story, this engrossing volume details Fish's vibrant personal life and his remarkably versatile career.

Born into a tumultuous family, Fish survived life with an emotionally absent father and a headstrong mother through street sports and trouble-making as much as through his success at a rigorous prep school.

As Olson shows, Fish's escape from the working-class neighborhoods of 1940s and 1950s Providence, Rhode Island, came with his departure for the university life at the University of Pennsylvania and then Yale. His meteoric rise through the academic ranks at a troubled Vietnam-era UC-Berkeley was complemented by a 1966 romp through Europe that included drag racing through the streets of Seville in his Alfa Romeo. He went on to become an internationally prominent scholar at Johns Hopkins before moving to Duke, where he built a star-studded academic department that became a key site in the culture and theory wars of the 1980s and 1990s.

Olson discusses Fish's tenure as a highly visible dean at the University of Illinois at Chicago who clashed publicly with the state legislature.

He also covers Fish's most remarkable and controversial books, including Fish's masterpiece, Surprised by Sin: The Reader in Paradise Lost, which was a critical sensation and forever changed the craft of literary criticism, as well as Professional Correctness and Save the World on Your Own Time, two books that alienated Fish from most liberal-minded professors in English studies.

Olson concludes his biography of Fish with an in-depth analysis of the contradictions between Fish's public persona and his private personality, examining how impulses and events from Fish's childhood shaped his lifelong practices and personality traits. Also included are a chronology of the major events of Fish's life and never-before-published photos.

Based on hundreds of hours of recorded interviews with friends, enemies, colleagues, former students, family members and Fish himself, along with material from the Stanley Fish archive, Stanley Fish, America's Enfant Terrible is a clearly written narrative of the life of an important and controversial scholar.

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Excerpt:

"Stanley's annual schedule was unimaginably grueling to many faculty. He would jet from university to university, giving workshops, papers and presentations, both in the United States and abroad. He was in great demand and he knew it, so he pushed the boundaries of what universities would pay to bring in a humanities professor to speak. Whatever he was offered by a university, he would demand more - and he usually got it. The host who invited him would scramble to meet his fee, asking various campus departments and entities to contribute to the event until the requisite fee had been collected. Throughout his career he must have visited almost every notable university in every state of the union."

From Scott McLamee's must-read review at Inside Higher Ed.

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New York Times Opinionator.

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Here's Fish lecturing in 2014 at the school where the book's author is president. (The subject is academic freedom; he discusses the saga of Steven Salaita right off the bat.)

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Local background:

* UIC Looks To New Dean To Put The School On The Academic Map.

* Stanley Fish: Paradox 101 | Is UIC's New Dean Tearing Down The Ivory Tower, Or Clambering His Way Up?

(Letters in response to this piece.)

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:28 AM | Permalink

Proviso West Grad To Serve Aboard USS Paul Hamilton

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Navy Midshipman Vashthai Wallace from Chicago participated in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps ship selection draft as a future member of the U.S. Navy's Surface Warfare Officer community.

More than 280 midshipmen at 70 Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps units around the country have selected to serve in the Navy as surface warfare officers. Each selecting midshipman is ranked according to his or her grade point average, aptitude scores, and physical fitness.

"The Hampton Roads Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps is one of the largest officer training battalions in the nation, consisting of over 250 Sailors, Marines and Midshipmen," said Wallace. "It is comprised of a three-school consortium that includes Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Hampton University, Regent University and Tidewater Community College."

According to their rankings, each midshipman provided their preference of ship or homeport to the junior officer detailer at the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee. If these preferences were available, they were assigned as requested.

"The SWO selection process to me means selecting a platform that I would enjoy beginning my career on for the first two years," said Wallace. "I did my absolute best to uphold the standard of excellence so that I could receive the best options available to begin my career as an officer in the United States Navy."

Wallace, a 2012 Proviso West High School graduate, has selected to serve aboard the USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60). Wallace is majoring in aviation management while attending Hampton University. Upon graduation, Wallace will receive a commission as a Navy Ensign and report aboard Paul Hamilton as a surface warfare officer.

Homeported in Pearl Harbor, Paul Hamilton is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups and underway replenishment groups.

The midshipmen's selection of their ship is not only a milestone for them but also an important day for the ships in the fleet. Not only do the midshipmen choose where they are going to start their Naval career, but the ship they choose will also gain a motivated, eager, young officer to help lead and improve an already great team.

"This is an exciting day," said Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command, which oversees the NROTC program. "We have some of the finest talent in our nation and we have the opportunity to marry them up with some of our finest teams in our fleet."

Evans also told the midshipmen that they should be excited, because they have a great future ahead of them on some of the Navy's best platforms around the world.

While NROTC units are spread out across the country and vary in size, they all teach midshipmen the values, standards, abilities and responsibility that it takes to become a Navy officers and lead this nation's sons and daughters in protecting freedom on the seven seas.

"NROTC has helped and grown me professionally by instilling moral values, discipline and proficiency in my everyday life," added Wallace. "It has helped me personally by molding me into an esteemed young woman who does not give up on her aspirations and goals."

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"Why Being There Matters"
On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world's oceans give the Navy the power to protect America's interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world's oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America's finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

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Note: Links added by Beachwood.

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Previously:
* Chicago Navy Commander's Continuing Promise.

* Meet Chicago Sailor Joshua Johnson.

* Meet Chicago Quartermaster Seaman Maribel Torres.

* Meet Chicago Navy Commander Chad Hennings.

* Meet Chicago Navy Seaman Desmond Cooke.

* Meet Chicago Airman Dominique Williams.

* Whitney Young Grad To Serve Aboard USS Essex.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:28 AM | Permalink

Trump's Cubs

"Donald Trump has threatened to run attack ads against the Ricketts family after the Cubs owners contributed money to a super PAC opposing the GOP candidate," Sports Illustrated notes.

"In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump laid out exactly what he meant last month when he said the Ricketts 'better watch out' when spending against him.

"Well, it means that I'll start spending on them," Trump said. "I'll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they're doing with the Chicago Cubs.

As many have pointed out, it's an odd thing to say at a time when the Cubs are the darlings of Major League Baseball and the favorites to win the World Series.

But it got us to thinking: What if Trump ran the Cubs?

* Team no longer called the Cubs. Just the word Trump across their chests.

* No road games. Teams should have to come here to play.

* At Trump Stadium, each base will be renamed: Trump Home, Trump First, Trump First Again, Trump First Again Again, because Trump is never Second or Third.

* Fine print on season tickets allows Trump to re-assign seating whenever he finds someone willing to pay more.

* No more Mexicans on the team because they are rapists. They can be on the grounds crew, though.

* Trump will petition MLB to change National League to Nationalism League.

* The Chicago Trumps will fight with anyone who looks like they don't belong in the game, including the opposing team's black players, because they might be ISIS.

* Trump Steaks On A Stick here! Get yer Trump Steaks On A Stick!

* All game film produced by Leni Riefenstahl's closest living relative.

* Aaron Carter replaces national anthem singer Wayne Messmer. Last line changed to "home of The Donald."

* Scott Baio replaces Jim Belushi as celebrity mascot.

* Mike Ditka still gets to sing the seventh-inning stretch. And it's "root, root, root for the Trumps, if they don't win you'll be sorry."

* That no-good hippie Joe Maddon is out. He was terrible, frankly. Terrible manager. Ugly glasses. We're gonna get a world-class manager. Let's bring Dusty Baker back, he sounds like my kind of guy. I've never met him, but I'm sure he's a good-looking guy, right?

* Cheerleaders.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

March 22, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The Illinois attorney general has asked Peabody Energy in a letter to explain how it would cover $92 million in future cleanup costs in the state if the company sought bankruptcy protection," Reuters reports.

"Peabody, the country's largest coal producer, said in a regulatory filing last week that it may have to seek bankruptcy protection, citing poor economies in countries that import coal and other factors weighing on the coal industry."

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Madigan is right to question Peabody. From the Beachwood vault:

* Bankruptcy Lawyers Strip Cash From Indiana Coal Miners' Health Insurance.

* Impact: Plan To Divert $18 Million From The Health Insurance Of Retired Indiana Coal Miners To Pay Bankruptcy Lawyers Is Dead.

* Big Company Spins Off New Company. Loads It Up With 8,400 Retirees. New Company Goes Bankrupt. Retirees Lose Benefits.

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Previously from Crain's: State Places A Risky Bet On Coal Company's Health.

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Lady Trojans
Triton Women's Basketball Team Enjoys Resurgent Season.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Fascism at home. No separation of powers between executive and legislative branches.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Mini.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:26 AM | Permalink

Triton's Women's Basketball Team Enjoys Resurgent Season

The resurgence of the Triton College women's basketball team was a great source of pride for the school and the community this season. The Trojans finished with a 23-10 record, their first 20-plus win season since 2003. The team's great play earned them a berth in the Region IV District D championship game at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove earlier this month.

One of the driving forces behind the Trojans' turnaround season was the presence of first-year head coach Kellee Robertson. Under her watch, the program improved by 18 wins from the previous season. Robertson was unanimously named North Central Community College Conference (N4C) Coach of the Year.

"What you put into this is what you'll get out of it, that's how we looked at the season, and we put a lot of work into it. I'm very proud of our girls for that," said Robertson.

On the floor, the talented group was led by the strong play of freshman forward Coleanna Funches (Proviso West) who averaged 15.8 points and 14.3 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Alondra Chavarria (Leyden) tallied 14.1 points, 4.8 assists and 4.7 steals per game for the Trojans. Sophomore guard Tashianna Walton (Proviso West) led the team in scoring with 18.1 points per game.

Sophomore Candace Madison (Proviso West) has verbally committed to play basketball at Lane College in Tennessee next season. Madison will receive an Associate of Arts degree from Triton this spring and plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in business.

Walton has received offers from several schools to play basketball and hopes to finalize her plans soon. Sophomores Courtney Marshall (Oak Park-River Forest) and Aarielle Price (Michelle Clark) also hope to continue their collegiate basketball careers next season.

Congratulations to the ladies and the coaching staff on their great season, in which they earned several individual honors and set school records.

Postseason Awards

NJCAA District D All-Tournament selections: Tashianna Walton and Coleanna Funches

NJCAA District D All-Region 1st Team selection: Coleanna Funches

NJCAA District D All-Region 2nd Team selection: Alondra Chavarria

1st Team All-N4C Conference selection: Coleanna Funches

2nd Team All-N4C Conference selection: Tashianna Walton

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School Records Set

Career Points Scored: Candace Madison (Proviso West), third all-time with 980 points.

Most Rebounds, Single Season: Coleanna Funches, 429

Most Steals, Single Season: Alondra Chavarria, 149

Most Blocks, Single Season: Taylor Pate (Proviso West), 129

Most Blocks, One Game: Taylor Pate, 11 vs. Morton

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The Triton College women's basketball team was recognized by the Triton College Board of Trustees for their great season during the board's monthly meeting Tuesday, March 15.

(L-R) So. Aarielle Price, So. Courtney Marshall, Head Coach Kellee Robertson, Triton College President Mary-Rita Moore, Fr. Taylor Pate, Triton College Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Stephens, So. Tashianna Walton, So. Candace Madison, Fr. Coleanna Funches and Assistant Coach Joshua Jackson

Approvedbball.jpg

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Previously: Lady Triton Trojans Reach First Regional Title Game Since 1994.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:01 AM | Permalink

March 21, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

Here we go . . .

What if it's David Duke? I mean, what's the difference?

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So the key question for Rauner is: What would it take for you not to support the Republican nominee? Who would it have to be to make you say no?

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We now have a governor willing to endorse a candidate who thinks Mexican immigrants are rapists, Muslims should be banned from entering the country, accepts the support of white supremacists and encourages violence against dissenters (especially, it seems, those who are black). Go to it, media.

We're All Living In Trump's America Now
Newspaper Claims The Unabomber "Arguably Did Less Damage" Than Madigan.

Young Chicago Republican Not Scared Of Trump
"Democracy thrives when voters are given a diverse offering of candidates to choose from and are encouraged to engage in robust discussion about them," Jillian Rose Bernas writes in a Crain's Op-Ed. "In 2016, the Republican Party is delivering just that."

Donald Trump's campaign to abolish democracy is just good old-fashioned democracy!

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Bernas is the vice president of the Chicago Young Republicans and running for state representative of the 56th district ("which includes much of Schaumburg, as well as parts of Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Roselle").

Trump Takes All
"Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump did better getting convention delegates from Illinois than he might have because the Republican State Central Committee voted last year that the top vote-getter in the state would get all 15 at-large delegates," Bernie Schoenburg reports for the Springfield State Journal-Register.

"The other option, said Fred Floreth of Springfield, the 13th Congressional District representative on the central committee, was to split up those at-large delegates proportionally."

You can click through to get the details on the delegate dispersal.

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"Floreth surmised that some who voted for the winner-take-all plan 'may now regret that decision.'"

Trump Chumps
"By 2005, Deutsche Bank had emerged as one of Trump's leading bankers," the Wall Street Journal reports.

That year, the German bank and others lent a Trump entity $640 million to build the 92-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. Deutsche Bank officials badly wanted the deal because it came with a $12.5 million fee attached, said a person familiar with the matter.

Trump charmed the bankers, flying them on his private Boeing 727 jet, according to people who traveled with him.

But when the housing bubble burst, the relationship frayed.

In 2008, Trump failed to pay $334 million he owed on the Chicago loan because of lacklustre sales of the building's units. He then sued Deutsche Bank. His argument was that the economic crisis constituted a "force majeure" - an unforeseen event such as war or natural disaster - that should excuse the repayment until conditions improved.

His lawyers were inspired to invoke the clause after hearing former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan describe the crisis as a "once-in-a-century credit tsunami," according to a person who worked on the case for Trump.

Trump also attacked Deutsche Bank's lending practices and said that as a big bank, it was partially responsible for causing the financial crisis. He sought $3 billion in damages.

Deutsche Bank in turn sued Trump, saying it was owed $40 million that the businessman had personally guaranteed in case his company was unable to repay the loan.

Deutsche Bank argued that Trump had a cavalier history toward banks, quoting from his 2007 book, Think Big And Kick Ass In Business And Life.

"I figured it was the bank's problem, not mine," Trump wrote, according to the lawsuit. "What the hell did I care? I actually told one bank, 'I told you you shouldn't have loaned me that money. I told you that goddamn deal was no good.'"

And that worked? Be right back - gotta get down to the bank.

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"The court rejected Trump's arguments but the suit forced Deutsche Bank to the negotiating table. The two sides agreed to settle their suits out of court in 2009. The following year, they extended the original loan by five years. It was paid off in 2012 - with the help of a loan from the German firm's private bank."

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Trump Tower Chicago Is Still Allowed To Exist
Donald's welcome.

Ivanka's video.

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Eminent domain, anybody?

Throwback Trump
"As the feud between Rosie and the Donald cools, the Chicago Tribune reports [link dead] a new brouhaha involving the billionaire," mouseprint.org reported in 2007.

"This time, it seems that Mr. Trump is trying to renege on pre-construction discounts he offered to get friends and family to buy in early at the forthcoming Trump International Hotel and Tower project in Chicago. This is the project that 2004 Apprentice winner Bill Rancic was overseeing.

"At the time of these early sales, some insiders paid as little as $500 a square foot for their units. Now that units are selling as high as $1300 a square foot, Mr. Trump apparently feels he offered too great a discount to the early buyers. So, starting a few months ago, Trump's lawyer began notifying the buyers that their deals are null and void 'in accordance with our rights under the contract, including, without limitation, paragraph 12 (b).'"

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Illinois Team Secretly Makes Sweet 16
You wouldn't know it from the local media, but there was a team from Chicago that had a thrilling weekend at its top tier NCAA basketball tournament.

How Bourgeois Equality And Jewelry Changed The World
Battle Bots and Bagwomen too. In Local Book Notes.

The Real Heroes At The Cell
Hint: They're not in the locker room.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Mavericks, The Deep Fried Pickle Project With Mr. Mayor And The Highballers, The Ocean Blue, Mavis Staples, The Flat Five, Dave and Phil Alvin & The Guilty Ones, Stick Figure, Raging Fyah, Kung Fu, Manic Focus, Rick Springfield, and Super-Unknown.

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BeachBook

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"If a lawyer spends his career in a large firm representing corporate clients, that is considered a politically neutral...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, March 20, 2016

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This is journalism!

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"[Chicago is] a very corrupt, brutal city."

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, March 20, 2016

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Greg Kot's take.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, March 20, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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That point should be right away.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Bank it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Illinois Team Secretly Makes Sweet 16

People have been complaining about sports sections not covering women's sports for a long time. Some of those complaints have merit, some don't.

But this morning was ridiculous.

You wouldn't know it from either the Sun-Times website (which I was actually able to scroll through relatively smoothly - have they actually, finally managed to achieve basic operational competence with that thing? It's a technological miracle!), or its printed sports section this morning, but there was a team from Chicago that had a thrilling weekend at its top tier NCAA basketball tournament.

This team was seeded sixth in its regional and took care of business in the first round on Friday, overwhelming James Madison 97-67.

Then on Sunday afternoon, the DePaul women's basketball team stepped up huge. They earned a spot in the Sweet 16 with a pulsating 73-72 upset victory over No. 3 Louisville.

The win was more impressive than any of the upsets in the men's tournament second round because in order to boost attendance, the NCAA has the top-seeded teams in each of its women's basketball regional quarterfinals host the games. So not only did DePaul knock off a higher-seeded team, it did so on that team's home court.

The star of the game was the awesomely named Jessica January, the DePaul guard who scored 18 points in the first half alone and finished with a season-high 25 overall. She hit the free throw that broke a 72-72 tie with 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter and then the Blue Demons held on. Ashton Millender and Chanise Jenkins each scored 12.

The Blue Demons then had to survive an extremely nervous final few moments. Louisville star Myisha Hines-Allen was able to drive into the lane and was about to put up a shot when she ran into several DePaul defenders. The whistle blew and the call was "offensive foul." After running out the last second-and-a-half, the Demons had survived and advanced.

Yes, that was a proper reference to the fourth quarter by the way. The women's game switched to four 10-minute quarters this year after decades using the classic two 20-minute halves.

Let's be clear about one more thing: This was an upset but not a surprise. Doug Bruno has spent 30 years building a great program at DePaul that just keeps getting better. His teams go to the tournament virtually every year including three trips to the Sweet 16 since 2010.

So maybe just maybe a competent sports editor would have allowed for something special happening and at least carved out a little space for a decent story on the victory.

In fact, given general fatigue with the unrelentingly stupid Adam LaRoche story and with the Hawks losing and the Bulls not playing, a prominent story was obviously warranted.

Instead, the Sun-Times print sports section had nary a word about the triumph. You have to dig deep into the innards of the paper just to find the box score that the paper barely managed to squeeze into its last page of agate.

The Tribune print sports section at least managed a headline near the bottom of page 4. But it was followed by boilerplate wire service copy. The game doesn't seem to appear anywhere on the Trib's website, though if you look hard enough you can find a link to a Chicago Now blog post from last Thursday asking "When Will DePaul Women Get Their Due As NCAA Contenders?"

The DePaul women return to action on Saturday against Oregon State in a Dallas Regional semifinal. The local papers are probably way too cheap to send a full-time writer to cover the game but it shouldn't be too tough to find a freelancer who will be in Dallas that day to churn out some decent original copy.

Hey local sports sections, maybe the team will even win again and you'll have another chance to celebrate a triumph by Chicago's most accomplished basketball team - by far - this season. Heck, maybe you can even find space on your website or lead a page with it.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our SportsMonday correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

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1. Addendum from Jim Coffman via an e-mail conversation:

There isn't even anything about the DePaul women on the ESPN Chicago homepage. The game was televised on ESPN 2.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Mavericks at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.


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2. The Deep Fried Pickle Project With Mr. Mayor And The Highballers at the Tonic Room on Friday night.

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3. The Ocean Blue at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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4. Mavis Staples at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.

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5. The Flat Five at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.

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6. Dave and Phil Alvin & The Guilty Ones at FitzGerald's in Bewyn on Saturday night.

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7. Stick Figure at the Concord on Saturday night.

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8. Raging Fyah at the Concord on Saturday night.

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9. Kung Fu at Martyrs' on Saturday night.

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10. Manic Focus at the Concord on Friday night.

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11. Rick Springfield at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Friday night.

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12. Super-Unknown at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

The Real Heroes At The Cell

Being a single dad 35 years ago living on a school teacher's salary, my second job was hawking concessions at Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field in the summer and at Soldier Field and the old Stadium in the winter.

In those days Chicago's soccer team, the Sting of Karl-Heinz Granitza, played indoors at the Stadium where I was climbing the aisles one frigid January afternoon selling my load of popcorn. Sales were slow, and my two young boys were back at my apartment on the North Side with a sitter to whom I was paying more than the commission I was making. So early in the second half I decided to check out at the concession's cashier window.

Turned out that this might not have been the wisest choice since the union steward - we vendors were SEIU members - spied me as I headed for the exit.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?" he bellowed.

This was a physically imposing guy with a quick temper and less-than-stellar reputation. Staying on his good side was one of the cardinal rules of the job. Looking back, if it wasn't abject fear I experienced, let's just say I was more than taken aback.

"Look, I've got two kids at home, and popcorn wasn't going too well today, so I'd like to go home," I meekly offered.

Either my explanation or some unbeknownst (to me) event in this guy's Saturday resulted in a raging tirade.

"I don't give a fuck about you or your kids," he informed me. "Get out of here and never come back!"

A vendor friend advised me that episodes like this were not uncommon occurrences. He said, "Just show up next week. He will have forgotten all about it" So I did, and the union boss simply assigned me another opportunity to peddle popcorn which any self-respecting pigeon would reject.

The Adam LaRoche saga made me think about that afternoon so many years ago. Obviously bringing my boys to work with me was out of the question, but returning home most expediently was foremost in my mind.

Almost everything I've listened to or read points out - with good reason - that millions of Americans go to work every day without the slightest inclination or thought of having their kid tag along. The workplace doesn't operate this way. Leaving your child at home or at school doesn't qualify under unfair labor practices reviewable by the NLRB.

Could the White Sox and Kenny Williams have behaved differently? Most observers are in agreement that this isn't the first dust-up Williams has had with individuals in the organization. See Frank Thomas and Ozzie Guillen. Williams apparently lacks the ability to think ahead. He may need to hone his skills when it comes to timing and gauging how others might react to his edicts. Maybe Jerry Reinsdorf needs to reassess the wisdom of Williams' position in the club's hierarchy, but we all know that is unlikely to occur.

Be that as it may, the sense of entitlement on the part of athletes once again makes us wonder at the world in which these guys live. Are we led to believe that LaRoche would not have signed for $25 million in the first place unless he was allowed to bring his son to the ballpark every day? Or have the kid come on road trips? Or have a locker next to his dad?

Consider the Cuban defectors who left their kids - to say nothing of their wives and other immediate family - back home, not knowing when they would see them again, for the chance to play in the big leagues and make the kind of money LaRoche was paid.

Years ago the Sox and other teams often would have a Father-Son Day at the ballpark, usually on Father's Day. Between games of a doubleheader, the Sox players and their kids would stage a simulated game on the infield. It was very cute. I have no inside knowledge, but I would guess that those special days were one of the few times the players' kids were on the field or in the clubhouse.

But this is a different time. There are no more scheduled doubleheaders. Catchers can't be bowled over at the plate. We wait until strangers in New York rule whether a runner has beaten a throw to first. And utility infielders are paid a million-five.

What hasn't changed is that employees still don't bring their kids to work. Nor is this even an issue in the workplace. This is the reality for folks who toil for their weekly paycheck, but today's athletes seem to operate in their own world, oblivious to how the rest of us conduct our lives.

At least that is the impression Chris Sale painted when he led the circle-the-wagons movement in support of LaRoche last Friday. Sale was the right person to lead the charge since he and Jose Abreu are the team's MVPs, and Abreu's English is marginal.

Furthermore, no one doubted Sale's sincerity - we have no idea how Abreu felt about the situation; did anyone ask him? - when he said LaRoche's son was an important and valued component of the ballclub. The kid created no distraction. In fact, the players liked having him around every single day, according to Sale. In his opinion, it was Williams who should have walked out the door, not LaRoche.

I admire Sale's ability to throw a baseball in the mid-90s followed by a changeup to strike out yet another flailing hitter. Seeing his passion for the game and his desire to pitch as far into a contest as possible are part of the package.

Certainly Sale has every right to express himself. But if he had simply alluded to the rarity of having a child in the workplace, he surely would have sounded somewhat aware of the special circumstances surrounding the affair.

Sale also failed to mention that the presence of the LaRoches didn't prevent the team from losing 86 games last season. My hunch is that in their absence, the ballclub won't lose as often this summer. They might even win 86. And unless I'm mistaken, that's the point, to win as many games as possible.

Fans don't care what Sale and his mates think of Kenny Williams. They shouldn't spend time being concerned whether everyone gets along in the clubhouse. However, expecting each player to be prepared to use his ability to contribute to a winning ballclub is another story. Are we to believe that having a 14-year-old child on the premises every day enhances the chances for success? If that's the case, you can begin to understand why the Sox were so lousy last year.

Not that I would have anyway, but I'm certainly not marking my calendar for SoxFest next January in order to hear what the ballplayers have to say. Nevertheless, I will visit The Cell often this season - cognizant that the heroes are not the young men on the field, but the working parents seated around me who have spent $200 (or more) to bring their kids to the ballpark. The same moms and dads who will walk out the door for work the next morning, leaving their kids behind.

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Previously:
* Adios, Adam.

* The Amazingly Immature And Idiotic Adam LaRoche Affair.

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Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:13 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: How Bourgeois Equality And Jewelry Changed The World

"Twenty years ago, Donald McCloskey, a brash and brilliant economist at the University of Iowa, surprised the academic world (and his family) by transitioning to Deirdre," The Chronicle of Higher Education notes.

"In a 1996 profile in The Chronicle, McCloskey is quoted as saying, 'I expected to lose my job. I was prepared to move to Spokane and become a secretary in a grain elevator, but I didn't have to.'

"No, she didn't. McCloskey has continued to thrive as a scholar. The final installment of her trilogy on the Bourgeois era, Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, will be published in May by the University of Chicago Press."

Which is interesting, but click through to read the interview - which is about writing.

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From her publisher:

"Few economists or historians write like McCloskey - her ability to invest the facts of economic history with the urgency of a novel, or of a leading case at law, is unmatched. She summarizes modern economics and modern economic history with verve and lucidity, yet sees through to the really big scientific conclusion."

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And about the book:

"There's little doubt that most humans today are better off than their forebears. Stunningly so, the economist and historian Deirdre McCloskey argues in the concluding volume of her trilogy celebrating the oft-derided virtues of the bourgeoisie. The poorest of humanity, McCloskey shows, will soon be joining the comparative riches of Japan and Sweden and Botswana.

"Why? Most economists - from Adam Smith and Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty - say the Great Enrichment since 1800 came from accumulated capital. McCloskey disagrees, fiercely.

"'Our riches,' she argues, 'were made not by piling brick on brick, bank balance on bank balance, but by piling idea on idea.'

"Capital was necessary, but so was the presence of oxygen. It was ideas, not matter, that drove 'trade-tested betterment.' Nor were institutions the drivers. The World Bank orthodoxy of 'add institutions and stir' doesn't work, and didn't.

"McCloskey builds a powerful case for the initiating role of ideas - ideas for electric motors and free elections, of course, but more deeply the bizarre and liberal ideas of equal liberty and dignity for ordinary folk.

"Liberalism arose from theological and political revolutions in northwest Europe, yielding a unique respect for betterment and its practitioners, and upending ancient hierarchies. Commoners were encouraged to have a go, and the bourgeoisie took up the Bourgeois Deal, and we were all enriched."

And It Stoned Me
"The French Revolution, the English Renaissance, the birth of the Soviet Union and the rise of Japan - each one began with a gem. At least that's the viewpoint of the jewelry designer Aja Raden in her book Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World (Ecco/Harper Collins, $27.99)," the New York Times notes.

My reaction? Here we go again. Take a mundane item and plug it in: How ___ Shaped The World. Dirt. Grease. Salt. Insults. Beer. Ketchup.

I'm only writing this item for this:

"Ms. Raden studied ancient history and physics at the University of Chicago - 'What are you going to do with those degrees?' she asked rhetorically. She was head of the auction division of the House of Kahn Estate Jewelers in Chicago and then senior designer for the Tacori jewelry company in California."

Noted.

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From the publisher:

"As entertaining as it is incisive, Stoned is a raucous journey through the history of human desire for what is rare, and therefore precious.

"What makes a stone a jewel? What makes a jewel priceless? And why do we covet beautiful things? In this brilliant account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire.

"What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry - which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamor and success - has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars . . . "

Battle Bots And Bagwomen
"It's Best Not to Interrupt Her Experiments consists of a series of poems featuring women - some fictional, some nonfictional. There are bounty hunters, Battle Bots champs, werewolves, homunculi, escape artists, archers, and CIA bagwomen. Even Lucy, now an adult, attempts to come to terms with her systematic torturing of her childhood pal, Charlie Brown, and wonders why she never let him kick that football," writes the Portuguese American Journal.

The author, Carlo Matos, teaches at the City Colleges of Chicago.

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"As adults we know that being the leader of the gang only looks fun."

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FYI: "A former fighter, [Matos] now trains and coaches cage fighters and kickboxers."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:00 AM | Permalink

March 20, 2016

No. 1 Triton Falls In National Championship Game

DANVILLE, Ill. - What the Triton College men's basketball team accomplished this season may be tough to duplicate. For the past three months the Trojans played with the pressure of being the No. 1 ranked National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II team in the country, answering every challenge presented to them.

Triton won an astounding 30 games in a row entering Saturday's NJCAA Division II national championship game against Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). But the hopes of a storybook ending and the team's first ever national title were dashed by the Eagles as the Trojans' historic season ended with an 83-76 loss.

Triton finished as national runners-up with a 34-3 record, winning the most games in a season in program history. The three losses are the fewest in school history, equaling the mark set by the 1971-72 squad.

"It was an incredible season," said Trojan head coach Steve Christiansen. "Outside of the outcome of this game, it almost felt like a fairy tale. I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of our program. It's been a long time and a lot of hard work by many to help get us to this point. The enjoyment these young men gave me, our coaching staff, our fans and our school cannot be taken away."

Against the Eagles, the Trojans ended the first half on a 6-0 run which included baskets by Nick Norton (Downers Grove North), Dante Thorpe (Washington D.C.) and Greg Carter (Morton), cutting the halftime deficit to 37-36.

Triton grabbed the lead one minute into the second half on field goals by Percell Washington (Forman) and Josh Doss (Taft) to go up 40-37.

However, Kirkwood's Josh Bartlett got hot from three-point range, draining three triples during a 13-4 run that put the Eagles up 50-44 with 15:57 remaining, a lead they would not surrender.

The Trojans' offense had to fight for every scoring chance, going without a field goal for a seven-and-a-half minute stretch that allowed Kirkwood to increase their lead to 61-48 midway through the second half.

Eddie Miles (Hales Franciscan) did everything in his power to keep Triton afloat. The sophomore scored the next six points to cut Kirkwood's lead to seven. Miles at one point scored 16 of Triton's 22 points during an eight minute span. He finished with 26 points and was named to the all-tournament team.

Eric Gillespie was also an all-tournament selection. The sophomore (Warren) hit a pair of threes to trim the deficit to 79-76 with 27 seconds to play. Kirkwood (31-4) gave Triton life by missing several free throws down the stretch.

After the Gillespie three, the Eagles' Nick Richards missed a pair of free throws. John Joyce (Taft) grabbed the rebound off the second miss, but the Trojans missed a potential game-tying three-point attempt with six seconds left.

Richards, who missed five free throws in the final minute, was able to connect on a pair from the charity stripe to put the game away.

Washington and Carter finished in double-figures with 10 points apiece for Triton. Thorpe added eight points.

For the game, Kirkwood shot 50 percent from the field (27-54). The Eagles were 24-of-39 from the foul line (61.5 percent). The Trojans ended up shooting a respectable 26-of-59 from the field (44.1 percent). Triton shot a solid 18-of-21 from the free throw line (87.5 percent).

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Triton Sophomore Eddie Miles (22) attempts a shot during the NJCAA Division II Championship game Saturday night. Photo/Courtesy F&S Sports.

Layup.JPG

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Previously in Triton:
* Triton Men's Basketball Team No. 1 For First Time.

* Lady Triton Trojans Reach First Regional Title Game Since 1994.

* No. 1 Triton Men Advance To Juco Dance.

* No. 1 Triton Seeded No. 1 In Juco Dance.

* Triton Advances To Elite Eight In Little Big Dance!

* Trojans Defense Shuts Down Parkland To Earn Spot In The Final Four.

* No 1 Triton Plays For National Championship Tonight.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:44 AM | Permalink

March 19, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

"Teenage sexual assault cases at St. Paul's Prep School, in Maryville, Missouri, and in Steubenville, Ohio, have captured national attention, but it's not an extraordinary situation for a high school to deal with. Sexual assault happens at similar rates in high schools as in colleges - impacting around 1 in 5 female students," the Huffington Post reports.

"For all the national scrutiny of colleges mishandling rape cases, advocates working on the issue frequently say high schools 'are in the dark ages' in comparison, and federal officials are taking notice."

HuffPo's deep dive includes a south suburban Chicago case:

After a girl was allegedly sexually assaulted in the boys locker room of Thornton Fractional North High School in the Chicago area in September 2014, the accused perpetrator was kept in the same class as the accuser, a federal lawsuit against the school district says. The principal knew about the assault, the suit says, and told his supervisors. But still no restrictions were put on the alleged offender, and there was no information disclosed to community members that a rape was reported on school grounds.

The school responded in court that keeping the alleged assailant and the girl in the same class and on field trips was not a problem because she wasn't sexually assaulted again. It wasn't until the boy threatened to shoot her in the head a couple of weeks after the alleged assault that he was expelled, according to court papers.

The case has not been reported on by the Tribune or Sun-Times, according to a search of newspaper databases.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #94: The Amazingly Immature And Idiotic Adam LaRoche Affair
Plenty of children in the White Sox locker room, it turns out. And they all have lockers.

Plus: We Will Miss Martellus Bennett; The Bulls Are Just Boring Now; The Blackhawks (Temporarily) Stink; March Madness Moolah - Who Gets It; Triton Advance To Final Four; and The Everton Minute: Next Six Matches Crucial!

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No. 1 Triton Plays For National Championship Tonight!
Defeats No. 2 South Suburban College in Final Four game; on a 30-game consecutive win streak.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: RNDM, Melanie Martinez, New Order, SWMRS, Face The Fire, Red River, Along The Parallel, Hog Dang, Kills Again, The Whiskey Bends, Jeff Carey, Dressy Bessy, Invisible Cartoons, Thought Crusade, Y&T, Paradoxx, and Fall Classic.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "1991 was the year punk broke again! Twenty five years later, Jim and Greg explore what made 1991 so special: Nirvana, N.W.A., Lollapalooza and more. Plus a review of the new collaboration between punk veteran Iggy Pop and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age."

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Weekend BeachBook

Bernie Sanders: Protest, yes; disrupt, no.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, March 19, 2016

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Indiana's "Illinoised" billboard creator lived in Chicago and now works for Illinois.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, March 19, 2016

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Rauner pension hypocrites.

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Weekend TweetWood

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The concept is good but the execution could have been more clever, I admit.

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Get your hands off those yard signs or I'll staple you!

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: No rest 'til Brooklyn.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:05 PM | Permalink

No. 1 Triton Plays For National Championship Tonight

DANVILLE, Ill. - For the first time in school history, the Triton College men's basketball team will compete in the national championship game. The Trojans held off South Suburban College 82-77 Friday night in an epic National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II semifinal that featured the top two teams in the nation.

Triton, ranked No. 1 overall, has now won 30 consecutive games, improving to 34-2 overall. The Trojans will meet Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) for the NJCAA Division II crown tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Danville. The Eagles (30-4) are ranked sixth in the nation. Kirkwood rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit to stun Essex County (NJ) 77-66 in the other semifinal contest.

"We are excited about the opportunity to play for the national championship," said Triton head coach Steve Christiansen. "Kirkwood is a proud program who has the most wins of any team in tournament history. We'll have to bring our A-game, but I'll take my group of guys up against anyone, anytime."

Against South Suburban in the first half, the Trojans were plagued with foul trouble as starters Eric Gillespie (Warren), Percell Washington (Foreman) and Josh Doss (Taft) were forced to the bench with two fouls apiece.

However, Triton's depth shined as the bench weathered the storm. The Trojans finished the half on an 11-2 run to take a 38-36 lead at intermission. Greg Carter (Morton) and Dante Thorpe (Washington, D.C.) in particular gave Triton valuable minutes. Carter scored 13 points in 24 minutes while Thorpe added 14 points in 20 minutes played.

Triton did not relinquish the lead in the second half but had to hold off a furious South Suburban (33-3) rally. A Gillespie three-pointer from the corner gave the Trojans what appeared to be a comfortable 75-66 advantage with just under three minutes to play. But the Bulldogs went on a 9-1 run as Javon Mooring hit a basket and was fouled with 50 seconds left to trim the Triton lead down to one point. Mooring, the nation's leading scorer, had a chance to tie the game from the foul line, but missed the free throw.

On the Trojans ensuing possession, Doss drove through an opening left of the lane for a tremendous two-handed dunk to put Triton up 78-75. South Suburban had one final chance to draw even, but Nick Norton (Downers Grove North) came up with a clutch blocked shot in the closing seconds.

The Trojans would seal the game from the free-throw line as Triton shot 35-of-40 (87.5 percent) from the charity stripe.

Gillespie paced the Trojans with 19 points, including a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Doss finished with 11 points and made all five of his free throws. Eddie Miles (Hales Franciscan) chipped in nine points. Norton added eight points in another balanced Triton attack.

If you can't make it to Danville, tonight's national championship game will be broadcast live by WRRG 88.9 FM, Triton College Radio, with Region IV Hall of Famer, Tim McKinney, calling the action. You can also listen to the games via the Tuneln Radio App by searching WRRG or by clicking on the "WRRG Streaming Broadcast" icon on the Triton men's basketball homepage. You can also Click HERE to watch the live stream of the game.

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Triton College sophomore Josh Doss (20) slams home a dunk during the first half of the Trojan's 82-77 NJCAA D II tournament semifinal victory over South Suburban College on Friday night.

Joss Doss.JPG

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Previously in Triton:
* Triton Men's Basketball Team No. 1 For First Time.

* Lady Triton Trojans Reach First Regional Title Game Since 1994.

* No. 1 Triton Men Advance To Juco Dance.

* No. 1 Triton Seeded No. 1 In Juco Dance.

* Triton Advances To Elite Eight In Little Big Dance!

* Trojans Defense Shuts Down Parkland To Earn Spot In The Final Four.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:35 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. RNDM at the Double Door on Tuesday night.


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2. Melanie Martinez at the Vic on Thursday night.

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3. New Order at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday night.

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4. SWMRS at the Chop Shop on Thursday night.

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5. Face The Fire at the House of Blues for the St. Paddy's Day Massacre on Thursday night.

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6. Red River at the House of Blues for the Massacre on Thursday night.

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7. Along The Parallel at the House of Blues for the Massacre on Thursday night.

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8. Hot Dang at the House of Blues for the Massacre on Thursday night.

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9. Kills Again at the House of Blues for the Massacre on Thursday night.

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10. The Whiskey Bends at the Tonic Room on Wednesday night.

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11. Jeff Carey at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Dressy Bessy at the Empty Bottle last Friday night.

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Invisible Cartoons at Martyrs' last Friday night.

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Thought Crusade at Beat Kitchen last Saturday night.

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Y&T at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles last Saturday night.

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Paradoxx at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles last Saturday night.

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Fall Classic at Township last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:13 AM | Permalink

March 18, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #94: The Amazingly Immature And Idiotic Adam LaRoche Affair

Plenty of children in the White Sox locker room, it turns out. And they all have lockers. Plus: We Will Miss Martellus Bennett; The Bulls Are Just Boring Now; The Blackhawks (Temporarily) Stink; March Madness Moolah - Who Gets It; Triton Advance To Final Four; and The Everton Minute: Next Six Matches Crucial!


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SHOW NOTES

* John Thierry.

* The 1994 Chicago Bulls.

2:22: The Amazingly Immature And Idiotic Adam LaRoche Affair.

* Adam LaRoche Retired Over White Sox's Request To Limit Son In Clubhouse.

* General consensus based on LaRoche's Twitter feed: A Trumpster.

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* #FamilyFirst.

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* Reinsdorf Prohibits White Sox Personnel From Discussing LaRoche Drama.

* Where's Robin?

* If By Exclusive You Mean That Adam Eaton Gave You Some Bullshit Quotes:

* LaRoche issues a statement. The statement could not be reached for comment.

* He had his own locker!

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19:19: We Will Miss Martellus Bennett.

* ESPN: Bears Trade Bennett To Patriots.

* What Bennett told the New England media:

"I don't think it didn't work out in Chicago," he said. "I thought I played very well in Chicago. I put up great numbers, did some great things, made my first Pro Bowl there. I mean, statistically, I thought it was a great job."

Asked if the Bears believed he didn't fit into their plans, Bennett said, "You'd have to ask them.

"We were cool. I think it's just time for change. I don't take it personal. I'm all about the future so I'm a progressive person.''

* @MartysaurusRex:

* Bears Pox's Team Now.

* LOL: John Fox's "We not me" culture.

* LOL: Emma: Move Of Martellus Bennett Became Necessary.

* On Marty Bennett's character.

The kind of role model we should embrace.

45:20: As Opposed To These Misguided Jock Straps:

Dude.

Please explain life to me, Kyle Long, based on what you've learned in locker rooms all these years.

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For reasons already articulated by Coffman at this juncture of the podcast, this is just a really unworkable answer; who gets to do the policing and what do those in the minority do if they object? Must everyone live under Chris Sale's rules? There has to be an organizational policy. Period.

* See also: The White Sox Report: Adios, Adam.

51:48: The Bulls Are Just Boring Now.

* Except For Dougie McBuckets, Who Is On McFire.

53:17: The Blackhawks (Temporarily) Stink.

* Look To Break 4-Game Losing Streak Tonight Against The Jets.

56:20: March Madness Money - Who Gets It.

1:00:50: Triton Advances To Final Four!

1:02:02 The Everton Minute: Next Six Games Crucial!

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STOPPAGE: 3:16

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:11 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Here we go again . . .

"Chicago police officer who fatally shot a baseball bat-wielding college student and accidentally killed his neighbor in December did not initially tell investigators that the teen had swung the bat at his head, police reports obtained by the Tribune show."

"It wasn't until Officer Robert Rialmo was re-interviewed two days after the Dec. 26 shooting that he first alleged 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier had twice tried to hit him with the aluminum bat - once with a downward swing and again with a backward swipe - before the officer opened fire, according to a detective's supplemental report.

"In an earlier statement the morning of the shooting, Rialmo had said only that LeGrier had the bat raised over his head and refused commands to drop it."

It is simply inconceivable that when being interviewed, the first thing out of an officer's mouth wouldn't be "He swung the bat at me." Especially in the post-Laquan McDonald environment Rialmo was operating in.

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"Basileios Foutris, who represents LeGrier's father, Antonio, in a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer and the city, said the differing statements showed Rialmo was adding details to justify the use of force."

It would certainly seem so.

"Foutris noted that in a counterclaim filed earlier this year against the teen's estate alleging emotional trauma, Rialmo gave an even more vivid account of the alleged attack, describing how he felt the whoosh of air as the bat passed inches from his head."

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"But Rialmo's lawyer, Joel Brodsky, said it's 'not surprising' for police to initially write down a more bare-bones version and then come back later with more details."

The actual threat that would justify shooting someone is not a detail - it's the whole enchilada. It's the everything. The color of the bat is a detail.

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"Brodsky also said Rialmo has told him he believes he did mention the bat swing in the first interview and that the detective taking the report may have just neglected to write it down."

We'll have to see what that detective has to say about that, but again, that would be the first thing you write down.

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"'The second time is when you get all those little details,' Brodsky said."

Again, the threat is not a little detail, but what the whole case turns on.

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"At noon on Dec. 28, more than 48 hours after the shooting, Rialmo returned to the Area North police headquarters to 'clarify details,' the reports state."

Like the part about Quintonio LeGrier swinging a bat at him. Turns out he did, Rialmo remembered.

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"Rialmos' partner, Anthony La Palermo, also gave two statements to investigators, records show. In both interviews, he said he was looking down at the steps as he stood behind Rialmo and never saw LeGrier swing the bat."

Are you sure you don't want to clarify that, Anthony?

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"Joel Brodsky, an attorney for Rialmo, said his client had not changed his story," the Sun-Times reports.

"The police reports are summaries of detectives' interviews with Rialmo, Brodsky said, and might leave out details that the officer provided."

A detective who would leave out the part where LeGrier swung a bat at the officer would be the worst detective in the world.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #94: The Adam LaRouche Affair
Is in post-production.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock
Well look who's here!

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Triton Advances To Final Four
Takes on South Suburban College tonight.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Little details welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:10 PM | Permalink

Trojans Defense Shuts Down Parkland To Earn Spot In Final Four

DANVILLE, Ill. - The phrase "offense wins games, defense wins championships" is often said in sports, especially in basketball. The Triton College men's basketball team showed why during their National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II quarterfinal win over Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.) Thursday night.

The Trojans played half-court, man-to-man defense at a championship level, holding the Cobras to 18-of-54 shooting (33 percent) from the field and never trailed in their 66-48 victory at Danville Area Community College, earning a trip to the Final Four.

Triton (33-2) has now won an unprecedented 29 games in a row and will next take on Region IV rival, South Suburban College in the semifinals Friday at 8 p.m. in Danville. The Bulldogs (33-2) are winners of 19 straight contests. Their last loss came at the hands of the Trojans 91-55 on Jan. 3 in River Grove. South Suburban earned a date with Triton by defeating Schoolcraft College (MI) 79-76 on Thursday.

Against the Cobras, The Trojans quickly quieted the pro-Parkland crowd that made the short 35-mile trip to Danville. Triton jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a Nick Norton (Downers Grove North) three-pointer, followed by baskets from Eric Gillespie (Warren) and Percell Washington (Foreman).

Triton enjoyed a 33-22 halftime lead thanks to a late three from John Joyce (Taft).

In the second half, it was more of the same as the swarming Trojan defense held Parkland in check. Triton built their advantage to 16 points early in the half and the Cobras could not sustain any consistent offense to put a serious dent into the Trojan lead.

Triton had four players in double-figures led by Eddie Miles' 16 points. The sophomore from Hales Franciscan could not be stopped in the paint as he shot 7-of-11 from the field. Dante Thorpe (Washington, D.C.) had another strong game with 12 points off the bench. Washington finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Norton contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

For the game, the Trojans dominated the glass, outrebounding Parkland 46-28.

If you can't make it to Danville Friday night, all Triton national tournament games will be broadcast live by WRRG 88.9 FM, Triton College Radio. You can also listen to the games via the Tuneln Radio App by searching WRRG or also by clicking on the "WRRG Streaming Broadcast" icon on the Triton men's basketball homepage.

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Previously in Triton:
* Triton Men's Basketball Team No. 1 For First Time.

* Lady Triton Trojans Reach First Regional Title Game Since 1994.

* No. 1 Triton Men Advance To Juco Dance.

* No. 1 Triton Seeded No. 1 In Juco Dance.

* Triton Advances To Elite Eight In Little Big Dance!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:55 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock

Well look who's there!

cat.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:00 AM | Permalink

March 17, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

A colleague sent me an e-mail this morning asking for my thoughts about the way the New York Times was found to have edited a story about Bernie Sanders' legislative strategies after it had been posted in a way that diminished his successes.

My response:

"It shows how journalists equate their own biased judgement for objectivity, i.e., senior NYT editors said themselves the piece didn't cast enough doubt on how Bernie's legislative strategies would translate were he to become president. I'm sure they thought that was an objective journalistic instinct. Was not. The original piece was fascinating - I didn't know that Sanders was so successful a legislator."

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I also believe news organizations should show their editing changes online - as I said in this Columbia Journalism Review article, be your own NewsDiffs, which is the site that outed the Times. To not do so is to deceive readers. This is Sunshine Week in the industry, but I don't see news organizations considering how to be more transparent about their own work. This would be a good place to start.

(The next would be for journalists, particular editors-in-chief, to stop refusing to comment or responding with canned statements - also known as e-mails - when they are asked about their work, newsrooms or organizations. It's as infuriating as it is hypocritical, and doesn't engender the trust and goodwill of the public.)

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A few minor tweaks were made to my recent Crain's Op-Ed after it was posted. I'd love for readers to see those changes and allow for them to open to public discussion (in this case an explanatory sentence was added following a link so readers had a better ideas what I was referring to, and a sentence was amended for clarification; not necessarily much grist for public debate, just sayin'). Doesn't bother me any. But reporters - and editors - get their back up. Also, the digital world is used to seeing, for example, delete marks deletions right there in the open; the print world isn't used to any such thing - or to having their internal decision-making made transparent.

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From Times public editor Margaret Sullivan:

"The executive editor, Dean Baquet, also responded to Erik Wemple of the Washington Post on Tuesday night, and Ms. Steinhauer responded to the Rolling Stone piece. Both said, in essence, that the changes were routine efforts to add context to an evolving story."

It was nothing of the sort. An examination of Bernie Sanders' record in the U.S. Senate is as static as an article can be; nothing about it is evolving.

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"Ms. Steinhauer, in a response to my e-mail, suggested that I speak to editors because 'it was an editing decision.'"

No doubt, Steinhauer no doubt made that suggestion out of fear and cowardice. It was an editing decision that involved her story - and in fact undercut her reporting, writing and judgement. Surely she has thoughts on that - and could also shed light on the process behind how the changes came to be.

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See also:

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Radioactive Rahm
"[W]ith friends Hillary and Bill Clinton in town regularly to campaign in recent days, Emanuel kept his public distance," the Tribune reports.

"Clinton aides said that neither the former president nor the former secretary of state held any private meetings with the mayor while they were here. Emanuel also would not say Wednesday whether the Clintons had invited him to campaign with them.

"I've got to be honest. People elected me to be mayor," Emanuel said. "There were enough candidates over the last three months. They didn't need another candidate."

I thought you said you had to be honest?

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"Sanders sought to make Emanuel a political liability in Illinois, mocking the mayor's closing of nearly 50 schools, labeling his record as 'disastrous' and calling on Clinton to reject his endorsement. The Vermont senator also aired a TV ad in which a Chicago school principal criticized the mayor as being a chief backer of the city's 'corrupt political system' and another TV spot that featured Emanuel's opponent in last year's runoff election, Cook County Commissioner Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia.

"In the end, the attacks didn't move the needle enough to keep Clinton from taking Illinois, as she easily won suburban Cook County and Chicago while racking up big margins in the city's majority African-American wards.

"It wasn't too effective, because Hillary still won," South Side Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, said of Sanders' anti-Emanuel efforts. "But I think it did create some damage to the Clinton campaign in the city of Chicago."

Beale's quote seems to contain two opposing ideas. The Emanuel attacks certainly were effective, helping in their own small way to shrink Clinton's initial tremendous lead here to a close call. It simply wasn't enough to put Sanders over the top in raw numbers, though Clinton ultimately claimed just one more delegate than he did.

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"A Chicago Tribune poll published in early February showed Emanuel's approval rating at a record-low 27 percent. The same poll had Alvarez's job approval at 30 percent."

Kim Foxx for mayor!

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"Asked if he would have suffered the same fate as Alvarez had he been on the ballot Tuesday, Emanuel joked, 'Well if I was, I would have spent more money than I did last night.'"

I don't find that funny; I find it frightening.

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Adios, Adam
Our very own Roger Wallenstein on how the departure of Adam LaRoche probably went down. In The White Sox Report.

Terrific Reporting On Trump
ProPublica's compilation.

No. 1 Triton Advances To Elite Eight
JUCO brackets, y'all.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

I could've done better than Mickey Mouse as the punch line; I was tired.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The last shall be first.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 PM | Permalink

Terrific Reporting On Trump

If elected president, Donald Trump has promised to "open up" libel laws so he can sue news organizations like they've "never got sued before." While the First Amendment is still intact, we compiled a list of some articles he might have his eye on.

Trump's Bad Bet: How Too Much Debt Drove His Biggest Casino Aground

The Washington Post, January 2016: In 1988, when Donald Trump took control of the Taj Mahal (the Atlantic City hotel-casino, not the Indian palace!), he promised to finance his operation without junk bonds. Banks, he said, would line up to give him loans. They didn't. So Trump took on the junk bonds he said he wouldn't need, and the hotel-casino sank into debt. By 1991, the Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy, the first of several for Trump. The move affected Trump's personal finances more than he's indicated on the campaign trail - and left bitterness in Atlantic City.

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For Donald Trump, Lessons From A Brother's Suffering

The New York Times, January 2016: In 1999, Donald Trump's nephew, Fred Trump III, had a son born with cerebral palsy. It was yet another tragedy for Fred. Eighteen years earlier, his father Freddy (older brother to Donald) died of alcoholism at age 43. At first, the Trump family said they would pay for the infant's medical bills, but when it was revealed that Donald's father had cut the boy's side of the family out of his will, Donald stopped covering his medical treatment. His parents sued, and Donald Trump told the Times the suit was settled "very amicably."

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He'll Take the Low Road: Trump's Tortured History With Scotland

The Atlantic, December 2015: In 2012, Trump opened a golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, ("The world's greatest golf course," per its website), in part to rebuild ties with his mother's native country. When a wind farm went up around the course, Trump wrote to the head of the Scottish government decrying the wind farms. He claimed his motivation was "to save Scotland." He took his fight all the way to the U.K. Supreme Court - which in December blocked his efforts to shut off the wind turbines.

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Donald Trump Billed His 'University' As A Road To Riches, But Critics Call it A Fraud

The Washington Post, September 2015: Trump University, which started in 2004 but never actually got licensed, promised get-rich-quick guidance in hotel ballroom workshops. One three-day workshop cost $1,495; a "Gold Elite" package, which came with a certificate and a picture with a life-size poster of Donald Trump, cost one man $34,995. The workshops led to three lawsuits against Trump alleging fraud, including one brought by the New York attorney general in 2013 for $40 million that's still pending.

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Ex-Wife: Donald Trump Made Me Feel 'Violated' During Sex

The Daily Beast, July 2015: In the early 1990s, when Trump and his first wife Ivana were going through an acrimonious divorce, Ivana said under oath that Donald had raped her once. She later clarified her position to a book author, saying that she did not mean "rape" in a "literal or criminal sense," but did feel violated. When the Daily Beast asked Trump to comment on these allegations last summer (not long after he called Mexicans "rapists"), Michael Cohen, special counsel for the Trump Organization, threatened the reporter and said (incorrectly), "You cannot rape your spouse."

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TrumpNation: The Art Of Being The Donald

Timothy L. O'Brien, October 2005: Timothy O'Brien's 2005 book on Donald Trump estimated that the businessman was worth between $150 million and $250 million - not, as he claimed, somewhere around $3.6 billion to $6 billion. Trump sued O'Brien in 2006 for defamation. In a 2007 deposition, Trump explained that he calculated his net worth based on his feelings. Trump lost his last appeal 2011. Last week, Trump acknowledged he had no case. "I did it to make his life miserable, which I'm happy about," he said.

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After 15 Years In Court, Workers' Lawsuit Against Trump Faces Another Delay

The New York Times, June 1998: A class-action lawsuit filed against Donald Trump in 1983 alleged that Trump owed $4 million to a union welfare fund for Polish workers - about 200 of whom were allegedly undocumented - who worked on Trump Tower. One of the witnesses described 12-hour days in hazardous conditions. Trump said he didn't know about the workplace environment, or that there were undocumented workers. The case was delayed for years, finally settled in 1999 and sealed. Trump did not comment on a 2015 Daily Beast article about the litigation.

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Short-Fingered Vulgarian

Spy Magazine: The now-defunct Spy magazine came up with the moniker "short-fingered vulgarian" to describe Trump and used it multiple times from the late 1980s to early 1990s. (It has re-emerged with a vengeance in the 2016 election.) Spy magazine co-founder Graydon Carter told Politico that Trump sent him photos as recently as April, his fingers circled, with a note: "See, not so short."

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Angered by Attack, Trump Urges Return Of The Death Penalty

The New York Times, May 1989: Donald Trump took out full page advertisements in four New York newspapers on May 1, 1989, calling for the execution of black and Hispanic teenagers who had been arrested in the so-called Central Park jogger case. The 600-word ad came a few weeks after a female jogger in Central Park was sexually assaulted and beaten. "I want to hate these muggers and murderers," Trump wrote in the ad. "They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes." The teenagers were later exonerated and awarded $41 million in a settlement with New York City.

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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 8:41 AM | Permalink

Adios, Adam

The conversation this week may have gone this way.

"Rick, I really need to talk to you," began the beleaguered Adam LaRoche. "These back spasms have been killing me, and I've had a lot of time in the past ten days to do some thinking. Rick, I think I'm going to call it quits."

"Oh my god, Adam, this is a shocker," gasped Sox GM Hahn. "What's going on?"

"Look, I've had a great career even though last season was pretty painful," said LaRoche. "I've played for six different teams, and people have treated me great. But there are so many aspects of my life to consider. I just think this is the best decision for me and my family."

"I know Kenny Williams talked to you about the time your son Drake spends in the clubhouse. I can talk to Kenny, and we can work something out."

"That's just one thing on my mind," responded LaRoche. "You know, when I was a kid and my dad was pitching in the big leagues, he brought me to the ballpark all the time. And I think it paid off. I saw how professionals conducted themselves. Barry Bonds was with his dad Bobby all the time when he was a kid. Hell, Willie Mays was his godfather, and look at the career Barry had."

"Well, that may be true, but what about school?" asked Hahn. "What would happen if everyone had their kids in the clubhouse as often as you do. We'd have to hire tutors."

"You have a point, Rick, but that's precisely why I think it might be better for me to go home to be with my wife and kids."

"Geez, Adam, I always knew you were a man of principles, but, for crying out loud, you're passing up thirteen million dollars," exclaimed Hahn. "I'm well-paid, but not like you. I have no idea how it feels to have five hundred thousand dollars deposited in my bank account every two weeks!"

"You're missing the point, my friend," said LaRoche. "I've made seventy-one million already in this game. What's another thirteen?"

"What if your house needs a new roof? What if your car breaks down? On second thought, forget I said that," stammered Hahn.

"Then there is this DH thing," countered LaRoche. "I hate it. You know, I won a Gold Glove in 2012. I've always prided myself on my defense. Everyone can see that I'm a better first baseman than Abreu. That's not a knock on him. He's becoming the face of the franchise. He's younger than I am, and he would be pissed if you used him as a DH. But I never knew what to do with myself last year waiting until my turn at bat came up. Was I in the game or wasn't I? I felt incomplete. It wasn't fun."

"I get that," admitted Hahn. "You never hit .207 before with only 12 dingers. But we know you're better than that. Not only did you win that Gold Glove four years ago, but you were sixth in MVP voting. Those skills just don't disappear. I figured you'd be a good candidate for Comeback Player of the Year."

"Yeah, and you probably thought Adam Dunn was going to come back as well," said LaRoche. "His contract was longer than mine, but he was just 34 when he quit. I'll assume responsibility for my lousy season, but face it: you guys have terrible luck signing left-handed hitting National Leaguers to be your DH. I understand why Dunn walked away."

"But you came to spring training in such great shape," sighed Hahn. "We were so optimistic."

"You ever had back spasms?" asked LaRoche. "I've heard that the only way a man can come close to experiencing the contractions a woman feels during childbirth is to have back spasms. My back is killing me. In addition, you don't want my kid around here. The boos last season were painful. Being a DH has no appeal for me. The travel is tough. I have plenty of money. I'm just 36 with my whole life ahead of me. I don't need this."

"But the guys," pleaded Hahn, "won't you miss the guys? The camaraderie. The banter. The thrill of being a major league ballplayer."

"Sure, I'll miss some of them," admitted LaRoche. "But that only goes so far. I have my family and lots of friends away from baseball. Now I can spend more time with them without the pressure of hitting more than .207 and hearing fans say I'm stealing because I make so much money."

"OK, I get it," Hahn relented. "You have your principles. I respect you and wish you nothing but the best."

The two men rose out of their chairs, shook hands, and LaRoche departed to clean out his locker.

Hahn whipped out his cellphone and speed-dialed Kenny Williams, who answered immediately.

"Kenny," began Hahn, "I have great news."

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Roger Wallenstein is our expert White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

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1. From Tom Chambers:

Did the LaRoche kid travel with the team? Does the kid have a babe in every city in the league?

Did the kid do anything beside shag balls and play catch? Like cork bats, sharpen spikes, doctor baseballs, heat balm the rookies' jocks or put shoe polish inside the band of Chris Sale's hat? Was the old man spending more time entertaining the kid than working on his $63,000-per-point batting average? As a growing teenager, was the kid pigging out too much at the postgame spread? "HEY! Who ate all the rumaki?!"

Could he have been made the bat boy? Does the bat boy have to be 18? How does the Sox bat boy program work and how much time do the Sox bat boys actually spend in the clubhouse? Who are the Sox bat boys, at least last year's? Did the Sox incur any legal liability by having the kid around so much, presumably not on the payroll? If the kid can play at all, why isn't he in school playing ball?

Did Ventura approve the kid being around? Did Ventura approve the locker? Were any of the White Sox players uncomfortable or even resentful of the kid being around? Especially the players who work for years to make it to The Show and have to watch out for this kid. Is this why the Sox will never win under Ventura?

How much time did Adam really spend in the clubhouse with his old man's teams? How much time did Ozzie's kids spend in the clubhouse? Who does LaRoche think he is, Dusty Baker?

Me? I'm just curious!

2. From Bill Sullivan:

I am a little more cynical and harsh than you and others. I only wish this had happened last year at this time. If LaRoche was really a man of principle he would have negotiated his contract down last year and made it more of a performance contract.

He earned $71 million over his career, I think he and his family and his family's families can live quite well and never do a day of work.

The real unfortunate thing about this matter is that for some reason the LaRoche parents decided to put their son into the middle of all of this. And you have to ask yourself, do you really want your offspring around when the other players are being baseball players and getting a little foul? And do you really want your son around when you are being booed, not just once, but repeatedly? Maybe that is part of the maturation process that I missed. Lastly, do MLB players kids not have to go to school or do they all have tutors? Just asking.

Editor's Note: My understanding is that Drake LaRoche is home-schooled.

Your piece was perfect and the comment by Mr. Chambers was spot-on. One had to even laugh.

The last question in closing: What is Ventura doing in all of this and many other things?

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

Triton Advances To Elite Eight In Little Big Dance!

DANVILLE, Ill. - There has been a target on the backs of the Triton College men's basketball team since becoming the top ranked National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II team in mid-January. The Trojans have taken the best shot from all of their opponents and Tuesday night's NJCAA National Basketball Tournament opening round game vs. MCC-Penn Valley (Kansas City, Mo.) was no different.

A strong second half propelled Triton to a 79-70 win over the Scouts at Danville Area Community College (DACC) in Danville, Ill.

With the win, Triton (32-2) increased their school record win-streak to 28 straight games. The Trojans will next play Parkland College from Champaign, Ill., in the quarterfinal round Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the DACC. Triton defeated Parkland 71-66 when the two teams met in River Grove back in December.

Against MCC-Penn Valley (16-16), Triton was down by as many as nine points in the first half and trailed for only the fourth time this season at halftime. However, the Trojans outscored the Scouts 42-30 in the second half en route to the victory.

A Josh Doss (Taft) three-pointer gave Triton a 61-55 lead with 10 minutes to play. However, the Scouts answered back with a quick 8-1 spurt to grab a 63-62 edge with 8:12 remaining.

From there, Triton's defense stepped up during an 11-0 run that gave the Trojans a 73-63 edge with just over four minutes left in the contest. An Eric Gillespie (Warren) transition layup capped the run for the Trojans. The sophomore guard scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the second half.

Triton once again had balanced scoring as Percell Washington (Foreman) finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Region IV Tournament MVP Nick Norton (Downers Grove North) added 11 points and nine boards. Guard Dante Thorpe (Washington, D.C.) was a spark off the bench with 12 points.

If you can't make it to Danville for the game Thursday, all Triton national tournament games will be broadcast live by WRRG 88.9 FM, Triton College Radio. You can also listen to the games via the Tuneln Radio App by searching WRRG or also by clicking on the "WRRG Streaming Broadcast" icon on the Triton men's basketball homepage.

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Triton College players prepare to take the floor during their 79-70 victory Tuesday night in their NJCAA tournament opening round game against MCC-Penn Valley.

Hands In.JPG

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Previously in Triton:
* Triton Men's Basketball Team No. 1 For First Time.

* Lady Triton Trojans Reach First Regional Title Game Since 1994.

* No. 1 Triton Men Advance To Juco Dance.

* No. 1 Triton Seeded No. 1 In Juco Dance.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 AM | Permalink

March 16, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

Honestly, I expected Foxx-Alvarez and Dunkin-Stratton to go down to the wire. I even joked on Twitter that the latter would be decided in court. I thought the whole night would go that way, with Bernie Sanders eking out a win over Hillary Clinton. Nope. (Although in the delegate count, which Clinton's people emphasized over states won before results came in, Hillary merely beat Bernie by one.)

But overall, I think the night can best be summed up this way:

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For more outstanding primary night commentary, see @BeachwoodReport.

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The Political Odds
Updated (slightly) to reflect recent developments.

Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide: Closers!
Hector Rondon vs. David Robertson.

Whitney Young Grad Selects Navy Ship
Jessica Morales will serve on the USS Essex.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Point-and-shoot.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide: Closers!

RPs are everyone's least favorite position to draft, and as with most years this position once again looks like a bit of a crapshoot. Also, one very big name has fallen off the top of the heap due to suspension. Choose your strategy: Either go with the names you know and take them early, or wait until late and gamble on unproven arms that nevertheless will see many save chances with good squads.

RP

1. Craig Kimbrel, BOS.

Coming off his worst year as a pro, though it sure doesn't sound like it: 39 saves, 87 strikeouts in 59 IP, 2.58 ERA, 1.04 WHIP. Move to a better team helps, but not as much a slam dunk as you might think. This ranking is more about his reliability than anything else.

2. Trevor Rosenthal, STL.

Don't know why others rank him outside the top 5 after a career-high 48 saves, also second-most in MLB in 2015. Cards may not win 100 again, but they're always good and a stingy starting rotation will hand him plenty of leads.

3. Jeurys Familia, NYM.

My logic is the same here - NL-best starting rotation will hand him a pile of leads. Had 43 saves, five blown saves in 2015 in his first full season as a closer, and 1.85 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 86 strikeouts in 78 IP. Wouldn't be surprised at all if he leads MLB in saves.

4. Kenley Jansen, LAD.

Quietly untouchable last year with a 0.78 WHIP and 36 saves. 80 strikeouts in 52 IP, the latter number reflecting time lost to injury. Is he stronger, more durable this year?

5. Aroldis Chapman, NYY.

Might be the easy No. 1 choice were he not such a damn fool. Even suspended for 30 games, he has a definite shot to be MLB's best closer. Coming off a season of 33 saves, 116 SO in 66 IP (!) and 1.63 ERA, but 1.15 WHIP hints at occasional disastrous outings.

6. Mark Melancon, PIT.

MLB-best 51 saves last year reflected how many close, low-scoring games the Pirates had on the way to 98 wins. Not sure that will happen again, and 62 strikeouts in 76 IP leaves him outside the top tier, but certainly reliable and not a real injury or character concern.

7. Ken Giles, HOU.

One of the toughest calls on the list, as he flashed brilliance closing for the hapless Phils with a 1.80 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 70 IP, and now gets a much better squad to feed him leads. But relatively unproven, as evidenced by five blown saves in 20 chances.

8. Wade Davis, KC.

Plenty of people ranking him No. 1, and he showed some gaudy stats last year: 0.94 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 78 strikeouts in 67 IP, but hasn't had a full season as a closer yet, and maybe I'm starting to believe all this stuff about the World Champs being lousy this year.

9. Jonathan Papelbon, WAS.

If Nats somehow revive under Dusty Baker, he could end up with 50 saves, but he's not as reliable as he used to be and you can do better above than his career-low 56 strikeouts last year. Still, a decent RP-1 for teams that wait until late to draft closers.

10. Hector Rondon, CUBS.

Ranking is more a reflection of how Joe Maddon uses pitchers than of any disbelief the Cubs will win 100 games. Rondon deserves more work after 30 saves, 1.67 ERA, 1.00 WHIP in 2015, but I bet we still see Travis Wood and others in the 9th inning mix.

11. David Robertson, WHITE SOX.

He had 34 saves, blew seven chances, and had a 3.41 ERA last year, but 0.93 WHIP and .196 batting average against were solid, which is why he's getting top five consideration elsewhere. Like Sox, however, too much uncertainty for me to get excited.

12. Zach Britton, BAL.

His 2015 stats of 36 saves, 1.92 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 79 strikeouts in 65 IP suggest a possibly underrated closer. Bu, my top 19 closers are all on teams I see contending or at least posting winning records, As with Robertson and Sox, hard to know which way BAL is heading.

13. Cody Allen, CLE.

Was a bit hyped last year after 24 saves in 2014, and certainly delivered some better numbers - 34 saves and 99 strikeouts in 69 IP - though ERA, WHIP and BAA all rose slightly. If CLE contends, he's probably a bargain at this ranking.

14. Houston Street, LAA.

32-year-old veteran has had 40+ saves two straight years, but ERA ballooned from around 1.50 in 2014 to 3.18 last year and 57 strikeouts in 62 IP is definitely outside of RP-1 stat benchmarks. Also, just not clear LAA puts together a winner this year.

15. Andrew Miller, NYY.

36 saves and 100 strikeouts in 61 IP as NYY closer in 2015, but he makes the list only because Chapman is suspended. Could prove interesting to hold if either A) Chapman proves rusty on his return, or B) Yanks trade him to a team that gives him the closer job outright.

16. Santiago Casilla, SF.

35-year-old had career-high 38 saves last year after SF finally let him handle most of the chances. He could get a lot of opportunities with improved SF starting rotation. Yet, 62 strikeouts in 58 IP and a somewhat high 1.28 WHIP limit his attractiveness.

17. Francisco Rodriguez, DET.

"K-Rod" is ironically no longer much of a strikeout pitcher, but still a really reliable closer who managed a career-best 0.86 WHIP last year and .189 BAA (best since 2005) on the way to 38 saves for a pretty lousy MIL squad. DET looks at least a little better.

18. Brad Boxberger, TAM.

His 41 saves last year were fourth-most in MLB and an impressive feat for a team with just 80 wins, but ugly 3.71 ERA, six blown saves and 10 losses as a closer are not at all reassuring, and he's not enough of a dominant strikeout pitcher to get a higher rank.

19. AJ Ramos, MIA.

Notched 32 saves and 87 strikeouts in 70 IP. Six blown saves don't help his case, and MIA was making him compete for the closer job this year against Carter Capps, who, lucky for Ramos, is now out for the season. Still, makes his hold on the job seem tenuous.

20. Shawn Tolleson, TEX.

First-time closer last year had 35 saves and blew only two chances, and did a lot of it in a hitter-friendly park. Bottom line is he'll be a good option again if TEX contends again, though 2.99 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 72 IP are more RP-2 level.

Sleeper: Roberto Osuna/Drew Storen, TOR.

As a 20-year-old last year, Osuna saved 20 games in the heat of a pennant race. TOR will be great again, and Osuna is looking at potentially a great year, though I think he's still wet behind the ears and may need to be handcuffed to Storen, a proven closer foolishly swept out of his job last year in WAS before getting traded.

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Previously in the Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide:
* The (Tied At The) Top 40.

* First And Third.

* Middle Infield.

* OF.

* Starting Pitchers.

* Catchers!

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Dan O'Shea is our fantasy fixer. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:56 AM | Permalink

Whitney Young Grad To Serve Aboard USS Essex

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Navy Midshipman Jessica Morales from Chicago, participated in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps ship selection draft as a future member of the U.S. Navy's Surface Warfare Officer community.

More than 280 midshipmen at 70 Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) units around the country have selected to serve in the Navy as surface warfare officers. Each selecting midshipman is ranked according to his or her grade point average, aptitude scores, and physical fitness.

"My NROTC unit is based on the Ann Arbor University of Michigan campus that trains young men and women to become naval officers in the Navy and Marine Corps," said Morales.

According to their rankings, each midshipman provided their preference of ship or homeport to the junior officer detailer at the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee. If these preferences were available, they were assigned as requested.

"The selection process is a nerve-racking yet exciting time where I get to explore the options of the surface Navy and have a say in where I will begin my Naval career," said Morales.

Morales, a 2012 Whitney Young Magnet High School graduate [See page 19], has selected to serve aboard the USS Essex (LHD 2). Morales is majoring in political science while attending the University of Michigan. Upon graduation, she will receive a commission as a Navy Ensign and report aboard Essex as a surface warfare officer.

Homeported in San Diego, Essex is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and it is the fifth ship named for Essex County, Massachusetts.

The midshipmen's selection of their ship is not only a milestone for them but also an important day for the ships in the fleet. Not only do the midshipmen choose where they are going to start their Naval career, but the ship they choose will also gain a motivated, eager, young officer to help lead and improve an already great team.

"This is an exciting day," said Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command, which oversees the NROTC program. "We have some of the finest talent in our nation and we have the opportunity to marry them up with some of our finest teams in our fleet."

Evans also told the midshipmen that should be excited, because they have a great future ahead of them on some of the Navy's best platforms around the world.

While NROTC units are spread out across the country and vary in size, they all teach midshipmen the values, standards, abilities and responsibility that it takes to become a Navy officers and lead this nation's sons and daughters in protecting freedom on the seven seas.

"My four years in NROTC have brought many achievements and failures, all which have helped me assess myself as a leader, a learner, and a young professional," said Morales. "I have been put under pressure that has helped me grow, but through that stress I have also found friendships that I'm confident will last a lifetime."

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"Why Being There Matters"

On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world's oceans give the Navy the power to protect America's interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world's oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America's finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

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Note: Links added by Beachwood.

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Previously:
* Chicago Navy Commander's Continuing Promise.

* Meet Chicago Sailor Joshua Johnson.

* Meet Chicago Quartermaster Seaman Maribel Torres.

* Meet Chicago Navy Commander Chad Hennings.

* Meet Chicago Navy Seaman Desmond Cooke.

* Meet Chicago Airman Dominique Williams.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:52 AM | Permalink

March 15, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Bernie Sanders on Monday told NBC's Chuck Todd that he ran as a Democrat to get more media coverage," Politico reports.

"During a town hall-style event in Columbus, Ohio, the independent Vermont senator said, 'In terms of media coverage, you have to run within the Democratic Party.' He then took a dig at MNSBC, telling Todd, the network 'would not have me on his program' if he ran as an independent."

True. Consider the implications. The media treated Sanders - and Donald Trump - as non-serious candidates for a long time. Trump got tons of coverage anyway; Sanders barely got any. If Sanders had run as an independent, he wouldn't have gotten any coverage at all.

But the more Americans are exposed to him, the more many of them like him. Sadly, the same seems to be true of Trump (and in equal parts, the more Americans are exposed to him, the more many hate him), but it speaks to the power of media as gatekeepers in a way that should force a reconsideration of how that role is handled.

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Also, Sanders isn't really a Democrat and Trump isn't really a Republican, and yet both threaten to take over each party. Fascinating.

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"Money also played a role in his decision to run as a Democrat, Sanders added.

"To run as an independent, you need - you could be a billionaire," he said. "If you're a billionaire, you can do that. I'm not a billionaire. So the structure of American politics today is such that I thought the right ethic was to run within the Democratic Party."

Money, too, serves as a gatekeeper - along with the parties themselves.

The Political Odds
See who the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau likes tonight.

The Ohio Miracle
"Ohio has indeed gained several hundred thousand jobs since Mr. Kasich took office, and he turned an imposing budget gap into a surplus while also cutting income taxes, all accomplishments that back up his boasts," the New York Times reports.

"But a closer review of his record shows the reality is more complicated. Other states recovered from the recession more quickly than Ohio did. He closed the budget shortfall in part by cutting aid to local governments, forcing some of them to raise their own taxes or cut services. And increasing sales taxes helped make the income tax cuts possible."

This seems to be a fairly well-established pattern - states balance budgets on the backs of local government, and income tax cuts are subsidized by sales tax increases. The result: Shifting the tax burden to those who can least afford it. We see it over and over and over. And it never works. Learn, dammit!

Objectively Speaking
"Actually, many people are alarmed [about Donald Trump], but it is difficult to know that by observing media coverage, where little journalistic alarm over Trump is expressed," Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept.

"That's because the rules of large media outlets - venerating faux objectivity over truth along with every other civic value - prohibit the sounding of any alarms.

"Under this framework of corporate journalism, to denounce Trump, or even to sound alarms about the dark forces he's exploiting and unleashing, would not constitute journalism.

"To the contrary, such behavior is regarded as a violation of journalism. Such denunciations are scorned as opinion, activism, and bias: all the values that large media-owning corporations have posited as the antithesis of journalism in order to defang and neuter it as an adversarial force."

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I disagree with Greenwald on this one. I have found plenty of alarm expressed in the mainstream press - oodles and oodles of columns and commentary, for example. That may not be the same as in news reports, but it counts.

I have also seen a growing number of news reports describing the increased violence - and threats of violence - at Trump rallies, as well as pieces wherein reporters themselves describe their experiences being spat upon and harangued. Perhaps these pieces should have come sooner, but maybe we've just reached a tipping point.

Greenwald also ascribes the problem to large media outlets, but I'm certain this is a far bigger problem at small media outlets that serve large swaths of America.

Finally, I see the objectivity issue a bit differently. I disagree with Greenwald that we should all just admit our biases and write subjectively - and I find it odd coming from someone whose work is so factually rigorous. The issue is how we define objectivity. To many reporters, repeating what a public official has said is an objective form of reporting, regardless of whether the official's claim can be shown to be untruthful. To me, the most objective a reporter can get is to vet such a claim and state outright that it is false, if that's what the reporting proves. To me, objectivity is in both the pursuit of the facts regardless of a subject's party or ideology, and in the clear stating of a reported conclusion, if such a conclusion can be made. And such a conclusion ought to be the goal of any reporter.

Today's Worst Person In Chicago
Meet Richard Cooke, who might judge you one day.

Imagined Narratives, Part A Zillion
"So the citywide trend appears to be (for now) exactly the opposite of what that CBS 2 report claims," Rich Miller writes at Capitol Fax.

Fauxgressive Fauxdorsement
Oh No, Proco Joe.

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Fioretti Watch

* Bob Fioretti Pads His Resume With False Law Professor Claim.

* Maybe Jesse Jackson was out of town last spring and nobody told him.

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* "He's a real guy."

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* Chris Christie: The Bob Fioretti Of Presidential Politics.

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* Speak of the devil.

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Chicagoetry: All The Panthers Are Rose
Only one can be Leader.

March Madness Money: Who's Getting Paid
Hint: It's not the athletes.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Wussy, Chvrches, Turnover, Megadeth, The Who, Reginald Robinson, Kill Ritual, AWOLNATION, Simmer Down Sound, Radkey, Chelsea Grin, Hippie Sabotage, The Infamous Stringdusters feat. Nicki Bluhm, Daughter, Tommy Roe, Lake Street Dive, Chris Montez, Vivian Green, Jennifer Nettles, Carly Rae Jepsen, Fall Out Boy, and Waste.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Chicago Way.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:25 AM | Permalink

March Madness Means Money - It's Time To Talk About Who's Getting Paid

The NCAA men's basketball tournament starts Tuesday. From then until the final on April 4, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting will bring you every game, focusing on the buzzer beaters, the Cinderella stories, the athletes overcoming the odds.

It'll all end, as it always does, with confetti guns and net-cutting, and a video montage of highlights played over "One Shining Moment."

What you won't see much about is who benefits financially by participating in a tournament that generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the NCAA. Yes, the players earn scholarships, as will athletes in nonrevenue sports, whose schooling is also funded through tournament profits.

But one thing that gets very little attention is the fact that the men who put the basketball players through drills every day stand to go home with substantial bonuses on top of their already handsome salaries.

If the media - including CBS and Turner, but other sports news outlets as well - started to note that routinely, it would add balance to coverage that makes it seem as if the whole tournament is just played for laughs.

Why be the killjoy at the national party that is March Madness? And why accent coaches' pay in particular?

Money-Making Machine

The answer is that coverage of the tournament focuses on the competition - the games themselves - and the surrounding hoopla so narrowly that the overall image of the three-week event is incomplete to the point of being disingenuous.

It all looks like so much fun and nothing else. But here's the real deal. The tournament is the primary money-maker for the entire NCAA, accounting for more than 80 percent of the governing body's $871.6 million in revenue in 2011-12, the last year for which the NCAA has posted audited numbers on its website.

Most of this money comes from the lucrative television contracts owing to the very high ratings the games draw. In 2006, for example, CBS and Turner agreed to pay $11 billion to host the tournament for 14 years beginning in 2010 - about $771 million annually.

Where do these millions of dollars go?

Not to the cities, whose taxpayers bear some of the costs of hosting the games. Research shows the host cities don't get much indirect economic benefit to show for it either.

In fact, much of what the NCAA makes goes back to athletic conferences- college sports leagues, for the uninitiated - and schools.

As the sports governing body puts it on its website: "All but 4 percent of NCAA revenue is either returned directly to member conferences and institutions or used to support championships and programs that benefit student-athletes."

In other words, a healthy chunk of the whole college sports scene is paid for by March Madness, the single biggest moment in the college sports calendar.

Of course, the athletes themselves don't get compensated beyond their scholarships, despite how much money they bring in. They are playing for pride, for the chance to be champions and for the attention that brings.

However, a lot of other people - in addition to working for all those things - do get compensated. And at the top of this list are the guys on the bench with the players - their coaches.

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North Carolina Coach Roy Williams, according to a contract extension signed in 2015, earned a $25,000 bonus for the Tar Heels earning a bid to the NCAA tournament./Reuters

See, while tournament money doesn't go directly from the NCAA to coaches, it does go to schools, who pay the salaries of coaches, who often receive bonuses for various performance metrics, including their teams making and advancing in the NCAA tournament.

Many of the 68 schools that will play in the 2016 tournament are public universities and colleges, which means two things.

One, those coaching salaries, many in the millions, are the people's money, and the public has a right to know how its cash is being spent. It's arguable that the media - particularly independent news organizations reporting on the tournament - even have an obligation to remind the world of coaches' contracts at this time of year.

Two, in most cases, the salaries and bonuses of those coaches are a matter of public record. It's not hard to request the contracts of basketball coaches or find them online, so the media's task would not be onerous. Often, journalists may be so caught up in game coverage they don't think to check - that's my excuse for why I didn't look up the coaches' contracts when I covered the Final Four in 2012 with the Associated Press.

Nonetheless, it took me just two clicks to locate the contract of Kentucky's John Calipari, which the school posted on the web. He'll get an extra $100,000 if the Wildcats make the Sweet Sixteen, another $175,000 if they reach the Final Four and $375,000 more if they win the national title.

To review, if Kentucky wins the national title, its coach gets $650,000 in bonus money. Its players get nothing.

Worth mentioning on TV?

USA Today has a notable tradition of creating a database of tournament coaches' salaries that includes a "maximum bonus" column, and it isn't the only paper that has shone a light on the hundreds of millions of dollars generated by the NCAA tournament and the people it benefits.

Yet those stories tend to be one-offs that fade away quickly at a time when Americans fill out 40 million tournament brackets and typically wager about $9 billion - more than double during the Super Bowl - most of it illegally.

Once the ball is tipped, fans care mostly about winning.

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Fans are expected to wager $9 billion during the tournament, more than double bets on the Super Bowl./NCAA brackets via www.shutterstock.com

But the purpose of the bonus exercise wouldn't actually be reform - it would be about creating well-rounded sports coverage and informing the public.

It's the difference between a single story, or series of stories, as in the case of recent reporting on college sports finances by the Washington Post, and a steady reminder that could change the nature of how the media frames the sports landscape.

If CBS/Turner made the first move toward that by flashing an infographic on the screen early in each of the NCAA tournament's 65 game with the coaches' salaries and potential bonuses at stake, then discussed it for 30 seconds, it would help the American public understand at deeper level the business side of March Madness.

It also would send a message that the media is willing to be transparent about financial implications of the events it covers. That's nothing more or less than good reporting.

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John Affleck is the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Pennsylvania State University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: All The Panthers Are Rose

All the Panthers Are Rose

A leaden lion
And a leather lion
Lurk through a savannah

Of spun gold.
Only one can be
Leader.

Mind: the tiger
Is suzerain
Of the jungle,

The savannah
Is suzerainty
Of the lion.

From the low branch
Of a distant copse dangles
The tail of a dozing

Cheetah. Soft eyes
Open. A single emerald copse
Festoons the horizon.

Spun grass, swaying
In the rising sun,

Rolling under their feet forever.
A black tiger burns
In the nearby forest

(A sort of jungle).
In this instance,
All the panthers are rose.

All the lambs
Are gazelles, each with
A target on its back.

The lions' wives
Fight for supremacy,

Wives--leaden
And leather--
Determine the leader.

Lion by lion, tiger by
Brightly burning tiger,
The stalking, the bleeding

For gazelle meat and sex

Cycles on: death
Of necessity, not sport,
Dreadful yet

Merely natural.
No miracle of mind,
No intelligent design:

Simple, quantum folly,
An accident
Of imagination, pure

God hunger.

A fang evolves
From stardust alone,
From the remnants

Of the looming sun.

Soft eyes open,
Afire with stardust.
Each louche cheetah

Disdains all

Yet remains on guard.
They only doze
Up in the copse.

All the panthers are rose
As the cheetahs doze.
Spun gold, gold leaf,

Flexible strands
Of tall, gold grass
Sway as the lady lions

Swerve,

Leather with perhaps
Some leverage over leaden.
The panthers remain

In the forest, of course.
I mean, for God's sake,
Rose on gold?!

Nowhere to hide!
See: at dusk, the copse
On the broad horizon

Becomes the heart
Of the setting sun.

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

March 14, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Wussy at the Red Line Tap on Saturday night.


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2. Chvrches at the Riv on Sunday night.

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3. Turnover at the Double Door on Saturday night.

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4. Megadeth at the Aragon on Sunday night.

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5. The Who on the West Side on Thursday night.

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6. Reginald Robinson at the First Unitarian Church.

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7. Kill Ritual at the Elbo Room on Friday night.

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8. AWOLNATION on the West Side on Saturday night.

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9. Simmer Down Sound at the Double Door on Saturday night.

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10. Radkey at the Double Door on Saturday night.

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11. Chelsea Grin at the Subterranean on Saturday night.

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12. Hippie Sabotage at the Concord on Friday night.

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13. The Infamous Stringdusters feat. Nicki Bluhm at Park West on Friday night.

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14. Daughter at the Metro on Friday night.

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15. Tommy Roe at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Sunday night.

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16. Lake Street Dive at the Vic on Saturday night.

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17. Chris Montez at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Sunday night.

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18. Vivian Green at City Winery on Friday night.

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19. Jennifer Nettles at the Genesee Theater in Waukegan on Thursday night.

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20. Carly Rae Jepsen at the Metro on Saturday night.

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21. Fall Out Boy on the West Side on Saturday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Waste at the Burlington last Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:41 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

The Papers will be delayed today - or possibly not appear at all - because I did a shit-ton over the weekend. See:

* Michael Ferro Is Killing Chicago Journalism.

My latest Op-Ed for Crain's. Feel free to share and/or comment there.

(See also Michael Miner's Reader post about how Tribune editor Bruce Dold delivered the bad news and why senior Chicago writer Bryan Smith ought to be worried.)

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #74: Smells Like Free Speech Spirit

Talkin' #TrumpRallyChi. Including: Now You're Trump; Obama Has Been A FOIA Disaster; and Hillary (And Obama) vs. Trump.

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Obama Worst FOIA President Ever
"FOIA has been a disaster under his watch."

2015 A Banner Year In Illinois Corruption
"We catalogued 27 convictions, 28 indictments, the launching of 11 corruption investigations, and the sentencing of 30 convicted elected officials, government employees, and private sector individuals who engaged in schemes that ripped off taxpayers' money."

SportsMonday: The Bounce-Back Bears
Rebuilding quickly in a most un-Cubslike fashion.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #93: The Bears Are Pox's Team Now
Pace, Fox make their moves. Plus: Fighting Lovie; Jimmy Butler And Derrick Rose Finally On Same Page!: Shout To The New Blackhawks Guys!; Dear Cubs: Enough With The Brotherhood. Geez; White Sox: Borrrrring; Bryce Harper Wants to Bring Pimping To MLB. So Do We; Triton Top Seed In Little Big Dance; and The Everton Minute.

Highway To Hearing Hell
What AC/DC and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have in common.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day
Someone keeps wanting us to.

Trainspotting Guy Lives In Chicago, Talks
"Writing is a selfish bastard's game."

The Rise And Fall Of Ultimate Fighting
MMA is essentially a media sport developed to appeal to mass audiences and deliver profit to the organizations behind it.

Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Timberdoodle
Dude has one strange mating ritual.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Coleman Hell, Cory Henry, Kevin Garrett, Matt Woods, Roger Clyne, Ty Segall and the Muggers, Goldlink, Simon Townshend, The Empty Pockets, and Crash Dive.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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American Exceptionalism.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Exceptional.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Bounce-Back Bears

They might just be doing it the best possible way. The Bears might be rebuilding on the fly in the manner that gives them the best chance to bounce back the fastest.

They are doing it without ever losing on purpose, i.e. pulling a Cubs-style tank job. And they are making it clearer and clearer that they allowed themselves one year and one year only (as opposed to say, three) of sub-standard football (during which time they still fought for every victory they could get). Next year it will be playoffs or bust.

Let's run down the latest developments, shall we? With pleasure.

It was pointed out in the aftermath of last week's signing of free agent inside linebacker Danny Trevathan - who is 26 years old by the way, he is just starting the heart of his career - that he has had health issues including a brutal knee injury a couple years ago.

So what did the Bears do? They hedged and came to an agreement with another promising inside linebacker, Jerrell Freeman, on Saturday. They are of course hoping the two will line up together but if one gets hurt at least they will have the other.

Trevathan comes to Chicago from Denver and Freeman, who is 29, last suited up for Tampa Bay.

This is what teams must do free agency in the "Rash of Injuries" Era in the NFL. No longer should it be said that teams with many players sidelined by injuries are plagued by bad luck. Many players suffering injuries is the new normal. Players are too fast and too strong for there to be much pro football played without significant casualties week after week.

And therefore when teams add free agents they can certainly consider whether the player is talented enough to make a real impact on the field. But they must also consider whether the player is affordable enough for the team to continue adding depth as free agency progresses.

Another big consideration has to be the free agent's age and sure enough Sunday night they Bears announced that they had reeled in giant defensive end Akiem Hicks, who is also all of 26 years old. Hicks was drafted by the Saints when Bears general manager Ryan Pace was there and played with the Patriots last year. He stands a mean 6-feet-5 and most recently weighed in at 324 pounds.

In case all of this isn't cool enough, Hicks and Freeman both spent portions of their football careers in Saskatchewan! I had to check the spelling on that because I think that is the first time I have ever mentioned the sparsely populated province of Canada located between Manitoba (home of Winnipeg) and Alberta (Calgary and Edmonton). I'm sure you appreciated this North American geography lesson and you are welcome. One new Bear played in Saskatoon, home of the CFL Roughriders and one in Regina - nice!

The Bears are doing what we hoped they would do - they are re-stocking their defense and building depth with free agent signees and giving themselves freedom in the draft. And they are seemingly doing so at prices they set.

Of course the signings of the two inside linebackers probably means this is goodbye to Shea McClellin. Ah Shea, who was the first pick made by short-time GM Phil Emery in 2012, I would say we hardly knew ya but we actually knew ya too well. McClellin, who had played defensive end and outside linebacker in college and then switched inside with the Bears in 2014, turned out to be a jack of all trades, master of absolutely none.

McClellin has reportedly met with the Jets and will probably sign with someone on the cheap and be hailed as a potential bargain and if nothing else more depth for his new defense, just like Freeman. But we will know that Freeman is the way better choice, won't we? Or maybe not.

The bottom line is, at least the Bears made the choice and then acted on it, decisively.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is a master of many trades, and not a jack at all. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:53 AM | Permalink

Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Timberdoodle

Throughout 2016, the Forest Preserves of Cook County invites visitors to see some of the most interesting native and migrating birds in the preserves.

Each month during the Forest Preserves' 2016 Bird the Preserves initiative, a new bird will be highlighted. Visitors will have the opportunity to spot the bird of the month at an event or program, and learn what makes that bird so special. The March Bird of the Month is the timberdoodle, also known as the American woodcock.

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To see the March Bird of the Month, check out these great events:

Timberdoodle Trek
Friday, March 18, 2016 - 6:30 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Road, Barrington Hills

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Woodcock Walk*
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 6:15 pm
Wayside Woods, 8874 Lehigh Ave, Morton Grove
*Hosted by the Chicago Audubon Society

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Big Year Woodcock Watch*
Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 6:30 pm
Wolf Road Prairie, 11264 31st St, Westchester
*Hosted by the Chicago Audubon Society

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Timberdoodle Trek
Friday, April 1, 2016 - 6:45 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

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In addition to learning about the featured Bird of the Month and enjoying birding programs and events, birders of all skill levels can explore the preserves with teams competing in the Forest Preserves' Big Year birding competition.

During the Big Year competition, the preserves compete instead of the people. Participants will visit their team's preserve and log all bird sightings in eBird, an online birding checklist program. All are welcome to join these searches and binoculars will be available for loan.

The competition runs from March 1 to Dec. 31, and is a great way to challenge yourself and explore a local preserve, make new friends and experience what birding is all about.

To learn more about the Big Year competition, visit fpdcc.com/2016-Big-Year.

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On May 7, each of the Forest Preserves' six nature centers will be hosting The Big Sit. Visitors can join in at any time between 5:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to see how many birds can be heard or spotted from within a 17-foot circle. Citizen science events like The Big Sit can help ecologists make better decisions about the conservation of bird habitat.

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Previously: Experience Birding In The Cook County Forest Preserves!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:34 AM | Permalink

March 13, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Hour #74: Smells Like Free Speech Spirit

Talkin' #TrumpRallyChi. Including: Now You're Trump; Obama Has Been A FOIA Disaster; and Hillary (And Obama) vs. Trump.


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SHOW NOTES

* Strawberry Rock Show.

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* Ringo Deathstarr at the Empty Bottle.

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2:25: #TrumpRallyChi.

* John Kass owes everybody a retraction.

* The First Amendment.

So Kass is wrong in reverse.

* I AM PRO-UNDERGRADUATE JOURNALISM SCHOOL.

* Marlins Suspend Ozzie Guillen For Pro-Castro Comments.

* Dusty Baker: 'Latins And African Americans Bring More Speed.'

* It appears the plan was to disrupt Trump's speech and then, at some point, exit the arena (or be escorted out by security). See Politico's Inside The Protest That Stopped The Trump Rally.

* But protesters exulted in "shutting down" the rally.

Our goal tonight was to show Donald Trump that his bigotry and racism is not welcome here. Not on UIC's campus. Not in...

Posted by Stop Trump - Chicago on Friday, March 11, 2016

* Well-intended people can be fascists too.

* "Chicago high-school student and frequent demonstrator Cameron Miller, 18, said he and others met twice last week at a local Dunkin' Donuts to examine a floor plan of the pavilion, with the idea of storming the stage in unison during Trump's speech," the Washington Post reports.

* See also: How Activists Mobilized To Shut Down Trump In Chicago.

* From Bob Somerby at his Daily Howler on protesters at Trump rallies:

Within the current tribalized context, those highly energetic "protestors" are playing on Our Team. That said, do you think it's a good idea to "interrupt" a campaign speech a dozen times; to "get close to the stage and begin yelling directly at" the candidate; to "crumple a campaign sign" as you do?

More questions:

Do you think conduct like that is best described as a "protest?" Do you think that conduct fits within the basic framework within which we try to conduct "government by the people?"

Personally, we don't think it's a great idea to do politics that way. We'd be inclined to use the word "disruption" to describe that approach, rather than the word "protest."

Personally, we aren't inclined to find that conduct heroic, bright or politically helpful. We aren't inclined to regard that conduct as "principled" in any serious way.

* "Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning."

* Worth considering.

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* To a larger audience than at the UIC Pavilion, with scenes of protesters in the streets that I dig but which frighten many Americans (I'm not saying don't protest, I'm saying think strategically to accomplish your goal).

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* I don't like a lot of this Mark Brown column in the Sun-Times, but this will not help Bernie Sanders' cause:

"Many of those who were celebrating on the arena floor were shouting 'Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!' and taunting Trump's supporters as they tore up Trump signs."

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* Tweets that make me uncomfortable in their patriotic claim to represent Chicago, which likes to shut people up, though you can only say that approvingly because if you say it as a critique you will be attacked, or Now You're Trump (and I like some of these people):

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Disagree - and passively watching is not the only alternative. False choice. But again, the point is that some protesters themselves are making the claim they shut down Trump. They are the ones that need some civic lessons.

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Yes. He said, "I think the people from Mississippi ought to come to Chicago to learn how to hate."

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But can hardly get a decent alderman elected. Not impressed.

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Proud to be a Chicagoan, Til Chicago Wins,,, #DumpTrump #AnitasNext

Posted by Brian Sleet on Friday, March 11, 2016

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But not enough to prevent the elections of fascistic mayors.

"Lots of democracy."

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Shhh, you're not supposed to say this.

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Chicago elected Rahm Emanuel twice after 22 years of Richard M. Daley.

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36:47: UFO at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

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38:20: #TrumpRallyChi 2.

* What I believe:

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* The petition to shut down the rally - and UIC's response.

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47:07: E6 at Durty Nellie's in Palatine.

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48:13: #TrumpRallyChi 3.

* In Chicago, the mayor runs the city council and judges get placed on the bench by pledging party fealty to the Central Committee of the Cook County Democratic Party.

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* Greenwald/Atrios.

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* This is not about respectability politics, by the way, which I abhor. It's about principles and tactics.

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55:42: Obama Has Been A FOIA Disaster.

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55:58: Hillary (And Obama) vs. Trump.

* How Hillary Clinton Helped Obama Fuck Up Libya.

* Hillary Clinton Needs To Answer For Actions In Honduras And Haiti.

* Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve The Black Vote.

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* I'm always just a bit more interested in those in power than those seeking it.

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1:01:24: Helloween at the Concord.

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* Contact me here!

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* Vocal fry.

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* Bonus tweet.

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STOPPAGE: 4:18

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:30 PM | Permalink

March 12, 2016

The Rise And Fall Of Ultimate Fighting (And Why Boxing Is Now So Passé)

UFC fighters Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey are becoming household names and Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is rapidly making the move from minority to mainstream sport.

Although MMA only emerged in the 1990s, its growth has been, quite simply, phenomenal; it is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

According to a recent report, MMA is second only to adventure racing when it comes to growing participation, recording a 19.5% increase since 2013.

While viewing figures are still to be released for the recent UFC 196 McGregor v Diaz fight in March - in which Irishman McGregor was defeated by a rear naked chokehold in the second round (after previously beating Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds) - it was widely anticipated that this would be the highest selling pay-per-view bout in UFC history.

The pre-fight press conference alone attracted over 2.9 million views, and despite his defeat, McGregor still made history as the first UFC fighter to earn $1 million for a fight (Diaz earned $500,000).

The rise of women's MMA has also been dramatic. Having only introduced women's divisions in 2012, UFC has also massively grown the popularity of WMMA.

mma1.jpg

Ronda Rousey is still one of the sport's most bankable athletes, despite suffering a shocking defeat to Holly Holm in UFC 193 in November 2015.

Holm was herself beaten by Miesha Tate at UFC 196, also with a rear naked choke.

In spite of its phenomenal growth, many people remain unclear as to what MMA actually involves. This is perhaps unsurprising given the rapid transformations that the sport has undergone within a relatively short time period.

Raw Beginnings

Often referred to as "ultimate fighting" or "cage fighting" (a term despised by anyone involved in the sport), MMA is essentially a combination of bare-handed Oriental martial arts and Western combat sports involving combinations of standing and striking techniques along with grappling and fighting on the ground.

This can involve techniques of Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, and submission wrestling, with many participants also drawing on a variety of martial arts such as Judo, Savate or Sambo, often depending on their country of origin. Everything martial arts goes, with many fans drawn to its incredible mix of athleticism and risk.

While MMA has links to the Portuguese sport of Vale Tudo ("anything goes" established in the 1930s) and the English No Holds Barred (NHB) contests of the 1990s, its emergence as a sport in its own right can be largely attributed to the American promotion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The first ever UFC event took place in 1993 after business executive Art Davie proposed the idea of an eight-man single elimination tournament to screenwriter and director John Milius and Rorion Gracie of the famous Gracie Jiu Jitsu family (founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). The idea was picked up by Semaphore Entertainment Group and the first event took place in Denver, Colarado - a state that had no boxing commission, meaning that there was no legal way to regulate the fight. With no weight categories or time limits, and only strikes to the crotch and throat - and eye-gouging - forbidden, MMA was a complete rejection of amateur combat styles.

Initially, the UFC focused on pitting fighters from different martial arts backgrounds against each other in order to determine which martial art was superior. MMA was not considered a sport, merely a fighting contest that offered a montage of different combat sports, under new rules of engagement.

Despite initially drawing relatively significant TV audiences (the first UFC competition drew a pay-per-view audience of 86,592) throughout the early 1990s, the UFC struggled to survive because of negative public perceptions of its brutality and high levels of violence.

Arizona Sen. John McCain famously referred to MMA as "human cockfighting" and was successful in getting MMA banned in all but three states.

cockfighting.jpg

Having struggled considerably through the 1990s, the UFC brand was sold to Zuffa in 2001 and MMA as we now know it began to emerge.

This included new rules to make MMA more acceptable and appealing to a wider audience, including new weight classes, rounds, time limits, a list of over 31 fouls and eight possible ways for a fight to end.

This "civilizing" offered an element of legitimacy to MMA. There was also now a recognition that certain styles of martial arts were susceptible to the strengths of others and rather than pitting different disciplines against each other, the prowess of individual fighters using all styles was promoted. All of these factors allowed MMA to be recognized as a proper sport.

Aggressive Promotion

So what is it about MMA that makes the sport so attractive? There are many factors but it could be argued that the media has played a central role in shaping the sport and stimulating its growth. While the development of most sports has been driven by the athletes and a governing body, MMA is essentially a media sport developed to appeal to mass audiences and deliver profit to the organizations behind it.

There is no doubt that the UFC has driven MMA into the mainstream, utilizing an aggressive strategy to bring the sport to new markets.

Like boxing before it, MMA promotes the cult of personality, with fighters trash talking opponents, and the theatrical design of the octagon (though also a key safety feature for fighters) adding to the drama and spectacle.

Despite this spectacle, and the increasing sums of money involved, MMA is also still marketed as rawer than boxing, which is seen as an Establishment sport with its grand multimillion-dollar promoted fights.

Ultimately, however, it is perhaps the unpredictability of MMA - as exemplified by the recent surprising defeats of some of its biggest stars - that makes it so appealing.

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Jenny Flinn is a lecturer in events management at Glasgow Caledonian University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:24 AM | Permalink

Highway To Hearing Hell

AC/DC has postponed their U.S. tour after singer Brian Johnson was warned by doctors that he was at risk of "total hearing loss." This is unsurprising, perhaps, given the decades that the Australian band has been pumping out the hard rock decibels. But deafness isn't only a concern for rock musicians, or drum and bass DJs - from classical violinists to pop singers, in recent years it's become clear that anyone around music a lot has reason to be equally worried.

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The largest study into noise-induced hearing loss in musicians was published in 2014. Three million Germans were examined, including 2,227 professional musicians. They found that the musicians were about four times as likely to report a new noise-induced hearing loss compared to the general population.

Many studies into classical musicians have also found evidence of problems. One study from the 1990s found that violinists and violists have more hearing loss in their left ear compared to their right ear. This loss of hearing is caused by the musician's own instruments, as the violin is placed under the chin with the left ear almost touching the instrument. Five studies have found that between 37% and 58% of classical musicians experience hearing loss. For rock and pop the numbers are similar, with studies finding that just under half of musicians suffering from a hearing loss.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Whether you are exposed to factory noise or listening to music, risk to hearing arises from a combination of how loud the sound is and how long you are exposed to it for. If you visit a nightclub that is thumping out music on the dance floor at 100 dB (A-weighted), the exposure is potentially damaging after just 10 to 15 minutes. In a quieter part of the club, but where the music is still loud enough that you have to shout at your friends (say a level of 90 dBA), you could be there for a couple of hours before having to worry about your hearing.

In the United Kingdom, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations sets limits for exposure to noise. The lowest action level is an exposure of 80 dBA averaged over a working day; about as loud as a heavily trafficked street. When this action level is exceeded, employers must provide information and training and make hearing protection available. When the upper action level of 85 dBA is exceeded, then employers need to take action to reduce the noise and hearing protection becomes compulsory. Of course music frequently exceeds 80-85 dBA, but what counts in assessing the risk to hearing is the average exposure.

One of the earliest studies into classical musicians worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to measure levels during concerts and rehearsals. They found average levels ranging from 79-99 dBA. The exposure varied depending on where the musicians were in the orchestra, and it also changed with what pieces were being played.

A huge orchestral work such as Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique" will expose musicians to much higher noise levels than a small classical orchestra playing a piece by Haydn.

Exposure to high noise levels often causes temporary deafness - something many people have experienced after going to a loud gig or nightclub. While hearing usually recovers after a few hours or days, repeated loud exposure leads to permanent hearing damage. Initially, this damage is subtle and unlikely to be noticed by the listener. Problems only become significant in middle age when the noise-induced hearing loss combines with the natural loss of hearing due to aging. Often, one of the first signs is when someone finds it hard to pick out a conversation in a noisy pub or restaurant - unfortunately, once that's noticed, it's too late.

While reports often focus on the loss of hearing sensitivity, loud music can also create tinnitus (ringing in the ears). For example, one study showed that professional musicians were one-and-a-half times more likely to suffer from tinnitus. At its worst, this condition can be very distressing and lead to sleep deprivation.

What Can Be Done?

Fortunately, there are steps that musicians can take to reduce their risk. With acoustic instruments, one immediate threat is any loud instruments close by. In the wind band I play in, the trombones are right behind me, and these are one of the loudest instruments in an orchestra. Moving further away quietens the sound, but if that isn't possible, then two other approaches are available.

Often orchestras employ perspex screens to block sound from the loudest instruments.

Alternatively, there are "musicians ear plugs." These decrease sound without completely blocking everything out. I've found these are useful in rehearsal, but get in the way of balancing the sound in a concert (not really an option for AC/DC's Johnson, then).

As the risk to hearing is about the average across a day, wearing ear plugs during rehearsal only helps. Professional orchestras also look at how they schedule music, to ensure that musicians are exposed to a mixture of quiet and loud pieces (again, not really an option for Johnson).

Earbud Generation

Given how loud their instrument are, drummers are particularly at risk, but using quieter practice pads when not performing, and ear plugs, can go some way to lessening potential hearing loss.

For rock and pop musicians, using in-ear monitors rather than loudspeakers also has the potential to reduce noise exposure, because the sound within the ear can be better controlled.

Improved technology means that the number of musicians such as Johnson having to give up performing could decrease. But student musicians and wannabe pop stars need to be educated about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss. The increasing use of headphones will also work against this - for musicians and everyone else. Unless people are careful with the volume level on their portable music players, hearing loss caused by music will increase.

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Trevor Cox is a professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:20 AM | Permalink

March 11, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

Due to a shitload of unforeseen circumstances, there was no Friday papers column. The Weekend Desk Report will post in this space on Saturday.

In the meantime, enjoy this:

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And here it is . . .

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The Weekend Desk Report
I'm thinking about dealing with Friday night's Trump rally in The Beachwood Radio Hour #74, which has been in pre-production for a couple weeks now and keeps getting away from me - thus, it's content is ever-changing!

Like millions of others, I have some thoughts on the free speech issues raised last night as well as ancillary issues of protesting and political strategy. I think some of what I have to say might actually be fresh - there's a lot of easy, emotional groupthink out there amidst both pro- and anti-Trump forces that needs examination and, maybe, a little more smarter thinking. I'd like to talk through this instead of - or along with - writing about it, in part because, well, it's easier, and I have a lot on my plate this weekend. But the moment seems to demand it. We'll see.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #93: Bears Are Pox's Team Now
Pace, Fox make their moves.

Plus: Fighting Lovie; Jimmy Butler And Derrick Rose Finally On Same Page!: Shout To The New Blackhawks Guys!; Dear Cubs: Enough With The Brotherhood. Geez; White Sox: Borrrrring; Bryce Harper Wants to Bring Pimping To MLB. So Do We; Triton Top Seed In Little Big Dance; and The Everton Minute.

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Weekend Beachwood Music Special
Highway To Hearing Hell.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Rock Around the Clock: Time to wind up those pocket watches and chronometers. Jim and Greg take you on a fourth-dimensional voyage as they explore their favorite songs about time. Then they review the second album from Grammy winning rapper Kendrick Lamar."

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Weekend BeachBook

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I couldn't get this new, heartwarming story about the Yum-Yum Donuts stand that used to sit outside Wrigley Field to embed, so click through, you won't be disappointed.

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I'm proud of you Sir"

Posted by Skinny-G de Alcatraz on Friday, February 5, 2016

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Weekend TweetWood

The river runs green with Trump's blood!

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:25 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #93: The Bears Are Pox's Team Now

Pace, Fox make their moves. Plus: Fighting Lovie; Jimmy Butler And Derrick Rose Finally On Same Page!: Shout To The New Blackhawks Guys!; Dear Cubs: Enough With The Brotherhood. Geez; White Sox: Borrrrring; Bryce Harper Wants to Bring Pimping To MLB. So Do We; Triton Top Seed In Little Big Dance; and The Everton Minute.


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SHOW NOTES

* Trace Armstrong.

1:10: It's Pox's Team Now.

* Pace, Fox make their moves.

* Danny "Trejo" Trevathan.

* On "overpaying":

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* Malik Jackson: Broncos Could Have Kept Him, Brock Osweiler, Danny Trevathan.

* Uh-oh.

* Yup.

* Police: Cardinals Bobby Massie Was Impaired, Confused During DUI Arrest In Tempe.

* Bobby Massie: Bears Signed Him To Play Right Tackle.

* Kyle Long Helped Recruit Massie To Bears.

* Bernstein: Bears Look Past Numbers For Bobby Massie.

* Bears Put Disenchanted Martellus Bennett On Trading Block.

* Rumors Abound About Martellus Bennett And The Packers.

* Jets Build Running Corps, But Still Lack A Quarterback.

30:32: Fighting Lovie.

* Coffman: The Return Of Lovie Smith.

* Greenstein: Illinois Fans Giddy About Lovie Smith, But Industry Is Skeptical.

* Kaplan:

50:35: Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose Finally On Same Page!

53:11: Shout Out To The Blackhawks' New Guys!

54:27: Dear Cubs: Enough With The Brotherhood. Geez.

55:47: White Sox: Borrrrrrrring.

56:08: Bryce Harper Wants To Bring Pimping To MLB. So Do We.

* Flying Bat Photo.

* Goose Gossage Swears At Cloud.

* Olney:

1:02:58: Triton Top Seed In Little Big Dance.

1:04:20: The Everton Minute: Sunderland Match Postponed.

* Liverpool Echo: Everton Investor Farhad Moshiri: 'I'll Make Decision On New Stadium, Buy New Players And Keep Our Best Stars.'

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STOPPAGE: 5:10

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 PM | Permalink

Trainspotting Guy Lives In Chicago, Talks

"Author Irvine Welsh catapulted to fame when his first novel, Trainspotting, became a blockbuster movie in 1996 starring Ewan McGregor and directed by Danny Boyle. The gritty story chronicles the lives of a group of unemployed heroin addicts in Scotland," WTTW reports.

"Since then, Welsh has continued to write about many of the same working-class themes and follow many of the same characters in his books. There is even a follow-up to his acclaimed film in the works.

"We're going to shoot the sequel this year. We're all getting back together, 20 years later" said Welsh. "Everybody's back. The toughest part was getting myself and the screenwriter and the producer and the director together. The actors were OK. Once they realized that the background team were all kind of singing from the same song sheet, they were quite happy."

"And while he's been called the best storyteller in Britain, for about 10 years now he's lived in Chicago. (Don't miss an upcoming appearance by Welsh at the Chicago Humanities Festival on March 8.)"

From that appearance, with Jessa Crispin at the Bottom Lounge:


*

Here's that appearance on Chicago Tonight:

*

And here's Welsh talking with Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis at a Sound Opinions screening of Trainspotting, in two parts:

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Also:

July 2013 Robert Plant is playing Grant Park and I meet up with Otis Clay in the VIP section and we all agree to try and...

Posted by Jon Langford on Sunday, January 10, 2016

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Finally:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:18 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Coleman Hell at Subterranean on Thursday night.


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2. Cory Henry at Martyrs' on Wednesday night.

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3. Kevin Garrett at Martyrs' on Thursday night.

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4. Matt Woods at Martyrs' on Thursday night.

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5. Roger Clyne at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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6. Ty Segall and the Muggers at Thalia Hall on Monday night.

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7. Goldlink at Chop Shop on Wednesday night.

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8. Simon Townshend at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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9. The Empty Pockets at City Winery on Thursday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Crash Dive at the Red Line Tap last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:15 PM | Permalink

The Trumpification Of The U.S. Media

Outside the United States, the prospect of Donald Trump being elected president is typically met with a mixture of amusement and alarm. After all, how can a billionaire reality TV star become the most powerful leader in the world when he proposes building a giant wall to prevent Mexican immigrants coming across the border and banning all Muslims from entering the country?

But having been a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin for the last two weeks, I've spent far too much of my time watching television news coverage of the election campaign. Once you switch on it's hard to avoid seeing or hearing Trump, listening to what other candidates think about Trump, or being exposed to policy issues that aren't viewed through the prism of Trump's politics. In fact, flicking between any one of the news channels there's little on offer besides election coverage - with Trump as the lead protagonist.

True, we're in the thick of the primary season, so perhaps a heightened emphasis on horse-race journalism is only to be expected. But my impressionistic observation of Trump's dominance holds true for far longer than a fortnight.

As reported in The Economist, between the beginning of 2015 and Feb. 26, 2016, Trump received over 400 minutes of airtime on the ABC, NBC and CBS evening newscasts, compared to less than 100 minutes for both his main Republican opponents, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders combined received less than half the coverage Trump did.

Since Trump is the clear frontrunner in the Republican race it is only right - journalists may argue - that he dominates the coverage and sets the agenda. But it is arguably a reliance on news values to determine campaign agendas that perpetuates the Trumpification of election reporting.

Out Of Control

In the United Kingdom, by contrast, broadcasters have to abide by strict "due impartiality" requirements in coverage of politics. Although sometimes misinterpreted, this does not result in major parties and candidates receiving equal airtime because the "due" allows for journalistic discretion. But, at the very least, it promotes a greater editorial sensitivity in exercising journalistic judgements about achieving "balance" and maintaining public confidence in the impartiality of broadcasters.

Since U.S. broadcasters are not subject to such regulatory obligations, commercial news values can supersede (or trump!) any imperative to police the impartiality of how leaders and parties are reported. And that distorts coverage in favor of politicians who have mastered the art of what Frank Esser has called "self-mediatization": the ability to set the media agenda by appealing to the news values of mainstream journalists.

This is perhaps Trump's most successful campaigning strategy. From provocative speeches in campaign rallies to cheap personal attacks on his opponents during television debates, the Trumpification of politics is a perfect fit for the commercial goals of U.S. broadcasters. In a recent Fox News television debate for Republican primary candidates, almost 17 million viewers tuned in - the highest ratings received for any of the primary debates - but rather than exploring the policy positions of the remaining four candidates, most of the questions were either directed at Trump or revolved around him.

Many Republican voters seem to be selecting a businessman rather than a Washington insider as their preferred candidate. There is a genuinely huge story here: just as Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders is relying on donations from citizens rather than big businesses, Trump's ability to self-fund* and defy the party establishment is a fundamental challenge to the way U.S. election campaigns are typically funded and directed. But while this might represent a refreshing change from previous election cycles, the media attention it's devouring comes at the expense of actually discussing what's really at stake.

Post-Truth

Of course, the spectacle of candidates evading policy issues or misleading voters is nothing new to contemporary politics. The 2012 U.S. election was characterized as heralding an era of post-truth politics. But when a candidate such as Trump emerges, this so-called era of post-truth politics becomes an altogether more dangerous proposition than anything we've seen in recent years.

Clearly Trump's angry rhetoric connects with many people's anxieties about immigration and national security, but the impractical solutions he proposes need to be more thoroughly questioned, probed and challenged by journalists, rather than implicitly accepted and legitimized.

The politics of reactionary populist fear is hardly unique to the United States. Many of Europe's democracies have lurched dramatically to the right as the continent's refugee crisis deepens - most recently Slovakia, where an openly neo-Nazi party now sits in parliament.

But where the United States differs from most other advanced Western democracies is in the formal rules policing broadcast news coverage, which for many American voters is still their principal source of information about the election. The American approach to election reporting is shaped almost entirely by the pursuit of commercial news values, rather than a journalistic attempt to balance party perspectives and the views of competing candidates.

This doesn't mean the media is single-handedly responsible for the Trump phenomenon, which has emerged at a fraught time in an always-complicated political culture. But the U.S.'s dominant media system has had little impact on diminishing the opportunity for a politician with such contempt for policy to emerge as a credible Presidential candidate.

Relying on news values alone might sound like a reasonable and professional strategy for choosing election stories in a competitive industry, but it's far from politically neutral. Editorial priorities can help directly shape campaign agendas and delimit the range of issues that get discussed and debated. No one wants an over-regulated or stifled broadcast media, but whatever one's political persuasion, surely exercising some degree of balance in election coverage can only be good for safeguarding democratic debate - whether in the United States or elsewhere.

* Editor's Note: Politifact rates the claim that Trump is self-funding his campaign as half-true.

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See also:

* CBS CEO On Donald Trump: 'It May Not Be Good For America, But It's Damn Good For CBS.'

(In 2012, Les Moonves, president and chief executive of CBS, memorably said, "Super PACs may be bad for America, but they're very good for CBS.")

* Leaked Audio Catches Mika And Joe Chatting With Trump During Break: 'Nothing Too Hard, Mika.'

* And:

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Stephen Cushion is a reader in the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:50 AM | Permalink

Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever

Documents are the lifeblood of investigative journalism, but these problems aren't of interest only to reporters. The Freedom of Information Act is supposed to deliver on the idea of a government "for and by the people," whose documents are our documents. The ability to get information from the government is essential to holding the people in power accountable.

This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the law, which has been essential in disclosing the torture of detainees after 9/11, decades of misdeeds by the CIA, FBI informants who were allowed to break the law and hundreds of other stories.

President Obama himself waxed poetic about FOIA on his first full day in office in 2009, issuing a statement calling it "the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government." He promised that his would be "the most transparent administration in history."

But Obama hasn't delivered. In fact, FOIA has been a disaster under his watch.

Newly uncovered documents (made public only through a FOIA lawsuit) show the Obama administration aggressively lobbying against reforms proposed in Congress.

The Associated Press found last year that the administration had set a record for censoring or denying access to information requested under FOIA, and that the backlog of unanswered requests across the government had risen by 55 percent, to more than 200,000.

The Republican-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee looked into the state of the public-records law and in January issued a report with a simple, devastating title: FOIA Is Broken.

Incredibly, it took my ProPublica colleague Michael Grabell more than seven years to get records about air marshal misconduct from the Transportation Security Administration. As he pointed out, his latest contact in the FOIA office was still in high school when Grabell filed his initial request.

After a reporter at NBC4 in Washington sought files related to the 2013 Navy Yard shooting, Navy officials actively strategized about how to thwart the request. The Navy only apologized after it mistakenly forwarded its internal e-mail traffic to the reporter.

When a Mexican journalist asked the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2014 for files related to its role in the capture of drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the agency sent a letter back demanding $1.4 million in fees to search its records.

"There's a leadership void that has gotten worse," veteran FOIA lawyer Scott Hodes told me. "It's not treated as an important thing within the administration."

Why is the law failing so badly after all the promises about transparency? My experience and the experience of other journalists suggests the reason is twofold: incompetence and neglect.

When I probed a bit more into what had gone wrong at FEMA, the agency's entire FOIA apparatus started to look like a Potemkin village of open government.

The FOIA staff was never trained properly, a FEMA spokesman told me. Of 16 positions in the office, eight have long been vacant for reasons that are not entirely clear. The backlog of requests at FEMA has ballooned to 1,500. That's more than double what it was less than two years ago.

Spokesman Rafael Lemaitre promised that the backlog was "frankly unacceptable to senior leadership here at FEMA, who have been aware of the problems and are taking actions to correct it . . . Obviously the Freedom of Information Act is a very vital resource for taxpayers. Frankly, we haven't done a very good job of fulfilling that promise."

Over the past two years, whenever I periodically called or e-mailed for updates, agency staffers either ignored me, said their systems weren't working or told me they didn't have any new information.

My request outlasted the tenure of my original contact in the FOIA office. When I called 14 months into the process, I was told she had left the agency - fair enough, as people change jobs all the time. But my request had apparently not been handed off to anyone else. No one seemed to know what was going on.

Last year, the federal FOIA ombudsman found that FEMA took an average of 214 days to process complex FOIA requests, the third-worst in the Department of Homeland Security. (That compares to an average processing time for complex requests of 119 days across the rest of the government.)

"A lack of responsiveness prompted lawsuits that cost the agency a bunch of money," said James Holzer, the head of the ombudsman's office, who praised FEMA officials for at least recognizing the problem.

A hiring freeze at the agency after sequestration didn't help matters. But officials told Holzer's investigators last year that the eight long-vacant positions in the public records office would be filled as early as last fall. Today, those jobs remain empty. The FEMA spokesman didn't have an explanation for what's taking so long.

When I tried to find out whether anyone had been held responsible for the fiasco, I didn't find much more transparency.

"I cannot discuss any personnel issues, unfortunately," the spokesman told me.

Has the agency at least set a specific goal for when it will get through its backlog? "Our target is to get these cleared as quickly as possible - I don't have a date for you."

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Previously:

* Obama Worst FOIA President Ever.

* How Obama Undermined FOIA Reforms.

* Obama's FOIA Fail.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* Only Nixon Harmed A Free Press More Than Obama.

* Why Reporters In The U.S. Now Need Protection.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* EFF Wins FOIA Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

* Oscar And Pulitzer Award-Winning Journalist Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama: No Questions, Please!

* Sunlight Wins 13 Years Of Federal Contract Data.

* Workshop On Government's Openness Is Closed To Public.

* Government Could Hide Existence Of Records Under FOIA Rule Proposal.

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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 8:50 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day

Someone keeps wanting us to.

keephavinagoodday2etcbw.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 AM | Permalink

2015 A Banner Year In Illinois Corruption

The year 2015 was a banner year for public corruption in Illinois, according to a report published Thursday by political science researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Highlights of the report include:

  • the arrest and guilty plea by former Congressman Dennis Hastert;
  • the indictment and conviction of Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett;
  • the indictment of a Chicago policeman for the shooting murder of an unarmed teenager;
  • the federal probe of the hiring practices of Cook County Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

"No matter how you slice it, 2015 was a bad year for public corruption in our state," said Dick Simpson, a political science professor at UIC and one of the authors of the report.

The other authors are Thomas J. Gradel, Leslie Price and Ion Nimerencu.

"We catalogued 27 convictions, 28 indictments, the launching of 11 corruption investigations, and the sentencing of 30 convicted elected officials, government employees, and private sector individuals who engaged in schemes that ripped off taxpayers' money," said Simpson, who is also a former Chicago alderman.

A large majority of the convictions and other legal actions documented in the report are the work of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago and Cook County and the northern third of the state. A number of the convictions were handled by the U.S. attorneys from the Central and Southern Districts of Illinois. The researchers were also able to document six public corruption cases handled in 2015 by the Cook County State's Attorney.

In addition, the report contains a day-by-day almanac of reported corruption events in Illinois, beginning in early January with a fight involving Chicago police officers through the end of December when a Lynwood police officer was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct for allegedly punching a handcuffed man in the face.

"In our previous anti-corruption reports, we established that Illinois has for several decades experienced the third largest number of public corruption convictions in the nation behind California and New York," Simpson said.

"This report, entitled 2015, a Banner Year for Corruption in Illinois, Anti-Corruption Report #9, is the first report we have done that focuses on only one year."

It is also a follow-up to Simpson and Gradel's book Corrupt Illinois, by Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson.

Additional highlights of the report include:

  • The resignation of Congressman Aaron Schock, a Republican from Peoria after the publication of news stories about his alleged misuse of campaign funds and spending $40,000 of taxpayers' money to decorate his Washington office like a Downton Abbey set;
  • The release of former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., a Democrat, from federal prison for stealing $750,000 in campaign funds, and the entry into a federal prison camp of his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson, who was convicted in the same fraud scheme as her husband;
  • The sentencing of Ald. Howard Brookins' chief of staff to 15 months in prison for taking a $7,500 bribe to secure the Brookins' approval of a liquor license;
  • The conviction of Karen Finley, CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems, who pleaded guilty to funneling cash and other personal financial benefits to a Chicago official and his friend, knowing that the payments would help persuade the City of Chicago to award red-light camera contracts to Redflex. Earlier she pleaded guilty to a similar scheme in Ohio. The city official, John Bills, was found guilty in January, 2016. Last September, the City of Chicago sued Redflex in an attempt to recover $300 million from the firm;
  • The suicide of Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Gliniewicz, who killed himself while under investigation for stealing money from a youth program he ran. To hide his suicide, he staged the shooting to look like a murder by three suspects he was tracking. Investigators suggested it was an attempt to cover up his own crimes.

Also, the authors note that public opinion polls show that only 25% of the public in Illinois trust their state government. It's the lowest level of trust of any state. By comparison, 81% of the residents of North Dakota have confidence in their state and its leadership.

"This loss of faith in government," Simpson said, "is not only caused by the budget stalemate in Springfield and lowered bond ratings in Chicago, but also by the astounding level of corruption from City Hall to the statehouse to even doctor's offices."

Concludes Simpson: "The high level of corruption we have documented in 2015 suggests that additional reforms are still needed, such as: public funding of political campaigns; a fair remap of all legislative districts; increased citizen participation in elections and government; strengthening inspector generals and creating a suburban inspector general; fundamental changes in the Chicago Police Department; preventing public officials from representing private individuals and corporations for profit before other units of government, and making public information available in more usable forms on the Internet in a structured, open and searchable manner."

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Previously by Dick Simpson:
* Judges For Sale.

* Rahm Emanuel: Bossier Than The Daleys

* Corrupt Illinois.

* Winning Elections In The 21st Century.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:04 AM | Permalink

March 10, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"A federal judge again chided City Hall lawyers Wednesday for not moving quickly enough to turn documents over to the advocacy group whose lawsuit is blocking construction of movie mogul George Lucas' proposed $400 million lakefront museum," the Sun-Times reports.

"Those lawyers want U.S. District Judge John Darrah to lift an order barring construction from beginning at the site - a parking lot south of Soldier Field. But a lawyer for Friends of the Parks complained the group can't respond to the city's request and doesn't know when the city will turn documents over.

"Why don't you just turn it all over?" Darrah asked the city. "What's the secret?"

Well . . . there's one tiny vulnerability in the blueprints we don't want anybody to see.

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"City lawyer Sydney Schneider told the judge it's moving as fast as it can to respond to Friends of the Parks' 'very broad' document request."

Don't they just have a folder labeled "Star Wars Stuff?" The city needs a better filing system.

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The city reportedly claims there are 16,000 documents to sift through. Sixteen thousand? The only way that's possible is if it includes every draft of The Phantom Menace.

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"At an unrelated news conference Wednesday at CTA headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked why his administration was 'dragging its feet' on discovery in the Lucas Museum case.

"I would not describe what we're doing as dragging [our feet]. If anybody, I'd like to start digging and building in that process," the mayor said.

We're just trying to figure out how to do that without telling anyone!

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"We want to produce these documents. We just want to do it the right way," city attorney Schneider said, according to the Tribune's report.

Perhaps in a narratively artistic way?

Help us, Judge Darrah, you're our only hope!

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"Darrah seemed puzzled about the delay because at two recent hearings the city began pressing for an accelerated filing timeline."

This week's hearing completes the confusing trilogy!

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"Darrah ruled Feb. 4 that Friends of the Parks adequately states a claim, quashing hopes from the Lucas side that the lawsuit would be tossed out. No construction can begin at the site until a standstill order previously put in place is lifted."

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Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide: Catchers!
"Our Chicago Cubs enter 2016 with the sort of problem no fantasy baseball team ever has: They have four catchers, and at least three of them - Miguel Montero, Kyle Schwarber, and prospect Willson Contreras - seem worthy of playing time (though Contreras is likely to spend the season in the minors as the Cubs let David Ross have a farewell tour)," our very own Disco Dan O'Shea writes.

"Most fantasy teams won't keep more than two catchers on their rosters, and plenty of team owners are fine just having one, then playing waiver wire roulette if they end up needing a replacement for a stretch during the season.

"If you do like to keep an extra catcher on your bench, there are plenty of choices this year, though keep in mind there is only one truly safe bet for high-level fantasy production at this position."

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BeachBook

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Art Institute's Martha Tedeschi.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, March 10, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Including a donation from Gibson's criminal justice wing.

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Not sure he'd even get nominated today.

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I thought we all agreed on no more aisle-facers.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Overpromise, underdeliver.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:45 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide: Catchers!

Our Chicago Cubs enter 2016 with the sort of problem no fantasy baseball team ever has: They have four catchers, and at least three of them - Miguel Montero, Kyle Schwarber, and prospect Willson Contreras - seem worthy of playing time (though Contreras is likely to spend the season in the minors as the Cubs let David Ross have a farewell tour).

Most fantasy teams won't keep more than two catchers on their rosters, and plenty of team owners are fine just having one, then playing waiver wire roulette if they end up needing a replacement for a stretch during the season.

If you do like to keep an extra catcher on your bench, there are plenty of choices this year, though keep in mind there is only one truly safe bet for high-level fantasy production at this position (and his name ain't Schwarber).

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1. Buster Posey, SF:

Probably the biggest "duh" of any position ranking and really the only guarantee of high-level fantasy production. Led all catchers in RBI (95), BA (.318), OPS (.849) and hits
(177) last year. In fact, had 39 more hits than any other catcher.

2. Kyle Schwarber, CUBS.

Is this ranking reflective of all the hype, or just proof of how shallow the position is? A bit of both. Though he's relatively untested vs. lefties and has a lot to learn, 16 HRs and .842 OPS (second to Posey) in 232 ABs tough to ignore and enticing for projection purposes.

3. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL.

We're buying more on his 2014 breakout of .301 BA, .837 OPS and 53 doubles than his injury-shortened 2015 campaign, in which his BA sank to .264. If he gets hits every day and stays healthy, that's more fantasy value than you'll get from many catchers.

4. Salvador Perez, KC.

Though he suffered fatigue last year after 2014's postseason trip, he produced almost the same stats in 2015: 21 HRs, 70 RBI, .260 BA, .706 OPS. Fatigue and let-down could come this year after the WS win, but still one of the netter power bets at catcher.

5. Travis d'Arnaud, NYM.

Doesn't get Schwarber's press, but the other rising young star at catcher. 12 HRs, 41 RBI in 2015 after 13/41 in 2014, but he only had 239 ABs last year amid injury. Plus, his BA rose from .242 to .268, always a good sign, and .825 OPS was among top tier at catcher.

6. Brian McCann, NYY.

Career-high 26 HRs and 94 RBI last year probably won't be matched, but still has 20-HR power at age 32. His .232 BA last year is the clearest indicator that he's a guy who can carry a team's power stats for a week when he's hot, but do nothing for you when he's not.

7. Russell Martin, TOR.

A lot of people see his career-high 23 HRs last year as reason for a higher ranking, and 77 RBI were good for third among catchers. But he's 33 and, like a lot of older catchers, isn't likely to see more than 500 plate appearances.

8. Matt Wieters, BAL.

Hard to know what to make of him after a lot of busted promise and injuries, but he has flashed 20-HR power during his career, and hitting prowess above average for catchers, which at least suggests he will, perhaps like Lucroy, give you something every day.

9. Stephen Vogt, OAK.

Late-blooming 31-year-old had 18 HRs and 71 RBI last year, and gets enough games at 1B and DH that might minimize wear and tear. Not a whole lot to say except his level of power makes him a fantasy starter at this particular position.

10. Yasmani Grandal, LAD.

Some fantasy buzz around another young catcher eyeing a breakout. 16 HRs, 47 RBI in 355 ABs last year suggest room to grow given more chances, and he's 27 this season. BA has risen three straight years, though was still only .234 in 2015, so we'll see.

11. Yadier Molina, STL.

Two injury-plagued seasons in a row have him on the outs among fantasy experts, but he should be healthy to start the year and seems capable of something like .280 BA, 80 RBI if he's retained any of his affinity for clutch hitting. Got a feeling I should rank him higher.

12. Miguel Montero, CUBS.

Another elder statesman who will be 33 this season. His 15 HRs, 53 RBI in a 2015 shortened by injury and the need for David Ross to catch Jon Lester were promising, but with Ross still around and Schwarber needing work, don't know that we can expect more.

13. Welington Castillo, ARI.

The guy left out of the Cubs' catcher picture last year was shipped to SEA and then ARI, where he exploded, managing a career-high 19 HRs, 57 RBI and .813 OPS. Hard to tell if that was an anomaly, but probably worth a bench pick.

14. Derek Norris, SD.

Had a little hype around him going into 2015, and wasn't bad, with 14 HRs and 62 RBI, but we were looking for a little more. His 515 ABs last year were third-most among catchers, so there may not be more stats to get out of him, but another decent bench pick.

15. Devin Mesoraco, CIN.

25 HRs, 80 RBI in 2014 had us salivating going into last year, but injury erased his season and he's already suffered a groin injury this spring, so wondering about his readiness. A potential HR treasure here lying in the deep, but a risky bet for sure.

16. Francisco Cervelli, PIT.

His .295 BA and 138 hits (third-most among catchers) suggest he was doing a little something almost every day, though not much beyond that to get excited about, given his seven HRs and 43 RBI.

17. J.T. Realmuto, MIA.

Intriguing 2015 rookie campaign featured seven triples (!), 10 HRs, 47 RBI, 21 doubles in 441 ABs. Hard to predict triples for sure, but that's decent extra-bases bang for a bench catcher you'd probably take in the last round or two of the draft.

18. Yan Gomes, CLE.

After 21 HRs, 74 RBI in 2014, we were definitely hoping for more than the 12/45 we got last year. Certainly a power threat during his hot stretches and maybe even a steal here if he rediscovers his 2014 magic, but certainly not a starter at this point.

19. Wilson Ramos, WAS.

Another potential steal here, as his 68 RBI last year were a career high and 15 HRs second-highest of his career, but BA plummeted the last three seasons to register at .229 last year, and I don't see any of his numbers going higher.

20. Nick Hundley, COL.

Had a nice 2015: 10 HRs, 43 RBI, .301 BA in 366 ABs, but look at his numbers in his stat-inflating home park: 7 HRs, 33 RBI, .355 BA, .957 OPS. He's shadowed by rookie slugger Tom Murphy, but Hundley could be an attractive fantasy option with 100 more ABs.

Sleeper: Blake Swihart, BOS.

Finally getting a chance to start after half a decade as a promising prospect, Swihart looks like a good bet to build on his 2015 debut numbers of five HRs, 31 RBI, 37 runs in 288 ABs.

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Previously in the Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide:
* The (Tied At The) Top 40.

* First And Third.

* Middle Infield.

* OF.

* Starting Pitchers.

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Dan O'Shea is our fantasy fixer. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

March 9, 2016

Local Music Notebook: Random Notes!

"It's early on a Friday morning and Cullen Omori is outside his Chicago apartment smoking the first of several cigarettes," Ben Homewood writes for NME.

"It's cold and he has nothing much to do and nowhere in particular to go. Cullen's well used to days like this one. In December 2014 his band, cult indie trio Smith Westerns, broke up leaving the 25-year old feeling bored and aimless one day, morose and insecure the next.

"'It got pretty dark at times,' he says, puffing out his cheeks. In between occasional cleaning shifts at a hospital, he struggled to find the confidence to work on new songs and couldn't kick drug and alcohol habits picked up over five years on the road.

"Unqualified to do anything else, he questioned everything. Smith Westerns had been his life - he didn't know it any other way."

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"Synthetic Romance" from the forthcoming New Misery (March 18/Sub Pop).

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Reggies Rock Review
"Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band put on a big damn performance in the Windy City on Friday night."

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"We Live Dangerous."

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Random Notes
Night Ranger . . . Typesetter . . . UFO . . . Ana Popovic . . . The Kickback . . . Beach House . . . Alice Cooper.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Sex With Strangers

"A little over a decade ago, a forgotten book was suddenly remembered," Daniel A. Gross writes for the New Yorker in "The Custodian Of Forgotten Books."

"Its second life began when a fiction writer referenced it in a book of her own. A blogger read the new book, then tracked down a copy of the old one, and wrote about all this on his Web site. An archivist read the blog post and e-mailed it to a small publisher. By 2009, Jetta Carleton's The Moonflower Vine, first published in 1962, was back in print.

"Most novels are forgotten. Glance at the names of writers who were famous in the nineteenth century, or who won the Nobel Prize at the beginning of the twentieth, or who were on best-seller lists just a few decades ago, and chances are that most of them won't even ring a bell. When The Moonflower Vine resurfaced and ricocheted around the publishing world, it became an unlikely exception.

"What's strange about the journey of that book - and about our moment in the history of publishing - is that its rediscovery was made possible by an independent blogger, named Brad Bigelow. Bigelow, fifty-eight, is not a professional publisher, author, or critic. He's a self-appointed custodian of obscurity. For much of his career, he worked as an I.T. adviser for the United States Air Force. At his home, in Brussels, Belgium, he spends nights and weekends scouring old books and magazines for writers worthy of resurrection.

"'It can just be a series of almost random things that can make the difference between something being remembered or something being forgotten,' Bigelow told me recently. On his blog, Neglected Books, he has written posts about roughly seven hundred books - impressive numbers for a hobbyist, though they're modest next to the thousands of books we forget each year. 'It's one little step against entropy,' he said. 'Against the breakdown of everything into chaos.'

"Jane Smiley's 2006 book 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel contains essays about a hundred works of fiction. Bigelow recognized ninety-nine of them; The Moonflower Vine, about a family that lives on a farm in Missouri, was the exception. He was probably not alone in that, but he seems to have been just about the only person who did something about it. 'Not one editor in New York, to my knowledge, was moved to seek out the novel,' Robert Nedelkoff, the archivist who e-mailed Bigelow's blog post to an editor at the Chicago Review Press, told me.

"That editor, Yuval Taylor, made an offer to Carleton's descendants for republishing rights. (Carleton, who was born in 1913 and worked in copywriting, died in 1999. She never published another novel.) They consulted a writer friend, who called his agent, who landed a deal with Harper Perennial. The Moonflower Vine was reborn."

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Jane Smiley on The Moonflower Vine and its author, Jetta Carleton.

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Sex With Strangers
"Laura Eason has written one of the most-produced plays in the country right now, Sex With Strangers," Christopher Arnott writes for the Hartford Courant.

"She's a writer and producer on one of the most-talked-about TV series of the last few years, House of Cards. She's achieved that success the hard way, by writing deep and meaningful characters and placing them in complex situations.

"Hartford already has an inkling of what Eason can accomplish. The playwright adapted Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer for Hartford Stage in 2010, refusing to dumb down the story and delivering it full-bodied, replete with a dead cat and a grisly murder.

"Sex With Strangers marked a departure for Eason. While many playwrights might create a provocative, two-character work for essentially practical reasons - such a play would be easy to produce at economy-minded small theaters - Eason was already comfortably ensconced at a well-established company, Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre, which had the ability to develop elaborate, large-cast productions.

'Lookingglass, which Eason led for six years as its artistic director and has also served as a playwright, literary manager, co-developer of artistic development and performer, is best known for its expansive adaptations of such imposing literary works as Ovid's Metamorphoses, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Studs Terkel's Race and Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the Looking Glass.

"'I did not write Sex With Strangers with Lookingglass in mind,' Eason said during a phone interview from New York where she's a writer and producer on Netflix's House of Cards.

"Indeed, her friends would refer to the script as her 'Steppenwolf play,' more in the spirit of a different Chicago theater ensemble, renowned for contemporary realism. When Eason moved from Chicago to New York a decade ago, she made a conscious break from the sort of writing she was best known for.

"Writing a two-hander was, for her, 'kind of novel. I came from doing abstract performance work and adaptations. It was a fun challenge.'"

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Here's a sample:

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Unrelated, but maybe not:

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San Jose Scofflaws
"The city of San Jose's library system is facing $6.8 million in unpaid fines across its 23 branches," CBS San Francisco reports.

"That figure is roughly five times the amount of unpaid fines logged a few years ago in Chicago, a city nearly three times San Jose's population."

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Trauma Queen
"For more than thirty years, Marjorie Leigh Bomben has been a member of the Chicago Fire Department, starting her career as a candidate paramedic working on an ambulance in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods. Now a paramedic field chief, Bomben looks back on thirty years of service in It's Not the Trauma, It's the Drama: Stories by a Chicago Fire Department Paramedic," Firehouse.com reports.

"Bomben's tales range from funny to gory, from the dangers paramedics face to the history of a venerable old firehouse. Some, of course, are about saving lives. Others are about simply staying alive."

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White Rabbit Welles
"Citizen Kane is a great excuse to study a lost America, the culture and politics of Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the early years of the twentieth century, the involvement of the talented pianist Beatrice Welles, Orson's mother, in the women's movement and the artistic life of the time, the lapse of Orson's father, the rich and adventurous Richard Welles - the first man in town to drive an automobile - into drink and heart disease," Michael Wood writes for the New York Review of Books.

"It's good too to ponder the image of the five-year-old Orson dressed as the White Rabbit and telling the shoppers at Marshall Field's department store in Chicago that he has to hurry - 'or else it will be too late to see the woolen underwear on the eighth floor!'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The Obama administration has long called itself the most transparent administration in history. But newly released Department of Justice documents show that the White House has actually worked aggressively behind the scenes to scuttle congressional reforms designed to give the public better access to information possessed by the federal government," Vice reports.

"The documents were obtained by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports journalism in the public interest, which in turn shared them exclusively with VICE News. They were obtained using the Freedom of Information Act - the same law Congress was attempting to reform. The group sued the DOJ last December after its FOIA requests went unanswered for more than a year.

"The documents confirm longstanding suspicions about the administration's meddling, and lay bare for the first time how it worked to undermine FOIA reform bills that received overwhelming bipartisan support and were unanimously passed by both the House and Senate in 2014 - yet were never put up for a final vote."

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This was wholly Obama's call.

"The bill unanimously passed by a vote of 410-0, one of the few pieces of legislation during President Barack Obama's tenure to receive bipartisan support."

410-0!

Not a single legislator opposed the measure. Not a single one! Not even the most awful, horrible, stupid bastard there. Not a one.

And then Obama, who is already going down in history as one of the worst presidents for journalists ever.

"[T]he administration 'strongly opposed passage' of the House bill and opposed nearly every provision that would have made it easier for journalists, historians, and the public to access government records."

Drone Nation
"The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade," USA Today reports.

"The report by a Pentagon inspector general, [was] made public under a Freedom of Information Act request."

Trib Chatter
"So much for bolstering the separation of Tribune Publishing and rival Chicago Sun-Times parent Wrapports," Lynne Mark writes for Crain's.

"As of this week, the newspaper companies are both part of a new digital initiative that relies on Wrapports technology subsidiary Aggrego for content-sharing arrangement covering sports, entertainment and politics, according to an Aggrego source familiar with the effort. McClatchy is also part of the venture, the source said."

In case you're unfamiliar with Aggrego, it resides in the lower circles of content hell.

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Click through to Crain's for the details on the partnership. I'll just highlight here my favorite part of Marek's article:

Tribune Publishing's new owner and non-executive chairman, Michael Ferro, said last week that he was donating his stake in Wrapports to a charitable trust to avoid any conflicts of interest and to keep it "out of my control." He declined to provide any details about the charitable trust that is receiving his majority stake in an interview at the time with the Chicago Tribune.

Wrapports is a private company majority owned by Ferro while Tribune Publishing is a publicly-traded company.

A spokeswoman for Tribune Publishing referred questions on the new arrangement to "the Sun-Times," without further explanation. "I would direct your inquiry to a rep at the Sun-Times for more details on this," said Tribune Publishing Director of Corporate Communications Dana Meyer.

Newly appointed Chicago Tribune Publisher and Editor Bruce Dold didn't respond to a request for comment.

Tim Landon, CEO of Sun Times Network, which is also an Aggrego concern, didn't return calls seeking comment.

Sun-Times Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk would only acknowledge that Aggrego continues to be linked to his paper's website, which was revamped last week.

Wrapports Chairman John Canning didn't immediately have a comment . . . McClatchy Chief Financial Officer Elaine Lintecum declined to comment on any new arrangement with Aggrego.

That's six media bosses refusing to comment - seven if you include Ferro's refusal to detail his purported charitable giving. Is that a record for one story?

I love too how the Tribune Publishing spokesperson is sending the reporter to the Sun-Times.

It's only going to get worse.

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About Mary Schmich's Rolodex
Millennials are dumb and lazy even though she's the one out of ideas.

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Plus: They don't need no stinkin' Rolodexes. #GreatestGeneration

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Sex With Strangers
In Local Book Notes. Plus: Chicago's Trauma Queen, White Rabbit Welles & The No Longer Forgotten Novel.

World Surf Tour Opening On Australia's Gold Coast As Bodhi Waits For His Set
The planet's best surfers together again.

No. 1 Triton Gets No. 1 Seed In Juco Dance
Draws MCC-Penn Valley in opener.

Why Is It So Difficult To Rein In Wall Street?
Answer: Bankers' bullshit.

Local Music Notebook: Random Notes!
Featuring: Night Ranger, Typesetter, UFO, Ana Popovic, The Kickback, Beach House, Alice Cooper, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, the Smith Westerns, and Cullen Omori.

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BeachBook

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"As a 29-year-old gay man, I spent the better part of two decades agonizing over that question and finally, when I was...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

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Motive? Or just for kicks?

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Trade war.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:11 AM | Permalink

About Mary Schmich's Rolodex

I ran across my old Rolodex the other day, its black cover grimy with dust, the old cards gray with age, the ink on the cards faded, and the sight of this ancient artifact made me wonder: Does anybody use a Rolodex anymore?

Uh-oh.

To which anyone younger than 35 might reply: What's a Rolodex?

Is Bob Greene back?

No. It's just the Tribune's Mary Schmich waxing nostalgic for an inefficient office device in a way that is metaphorically perfect for a newspaper column.

Once upon a time, before smartphones and computers, before Outlook and Google, before we reduced friends and acquaintances to 'contacts,' working people logged names, addresses and phone numbers onto index cards in a little rotating file.

See, that was a time when friends were friends because we wrote their names down on a card that stayed on our office desk instead of typing them into a device we carry with us that can be used to contact them in all sorts of ways - from anywhere! Ah, the past. It was so much better!

Also, "working people" logged those names. It took brawn.

That's right, kids. You had to turn that knob by hand. Flip through cards with your fingers. Heavens to Betsy, you even had to know how to alphabetize!

In other words, Millennials are so lazy they can't turn a knob - though they can download a video on their phone to a web page instantaneously. Even without knowing how to alphabetize because kids today are stupid!

Can you imagine having to work that hard just to call someone?

See, Mary wants you to think it was hard work to flip through a Rolodex and punch buttons on a phone to reach someone. It took real effort, not like today!

On the path to full-fledged adulthood, getting a Rolodex was right up there with getting your first paycheck. It made you feel efficient and worldly, and the fatter your Rolodex got, the more important you felt. Showoffs kept more than one.

I don't know a single person who has ever thought getting a Rolodex was a signifier of adulthood, but maybe it was to Mary! It made her feel efficient. The vast majority of people whose jobs didn't come with Rolodexes were losers.

Back in those days, when half of humanity wasn't just a Google search away, losing your Rolodex - or having it stolen - was like losing a box of diamonds.

If you can't imagine what that was like, kiddos, just think about how you feel when you lose your phone!

A friend tells the story of a colleague who, in that dark age, quit his job on the spot after an argument with his boss. Before marching out of the office forever, however, he stormed back to his desk and grabbed his Rolodex.

Jerry Maguire took a goldfish, so I don't know how that's such a big deal.

Not every Rolodex was alike. (The word is a trademark, by the way, a fusion of 'rolling' and 'index.')

Sort of like how iPhone is a fusion of "internet" and "phone." And not every one is alike!

There were big ones and little ones, ones with covers and ones without. Most, but not all, twirled.

Oh. My. God.

Not every Rolodex user was alike either.

It was almost as if every Rolodex user was a different human!

Rolodex neatniks typed information on their cards. Rolodex slobs scribbled. I was among the latter group, as I was reminded when I stumbled on mine the other day.

That's when I thought, hey, I could milk a column out of this!

Despite its disarray, as I flipped through my Rolodex for the first time in 15 or so years, the past wafted forth, like a genie from a bottle.

Do genies waft from bottles? Wafting is really more about odors.

There were sources for stories I'd forgotten I'd written, friends who had switched jobs and homes many times since our Rolodex days.

If you don't know what that's like, just imagine scrolling through your contact list and finding all sorts of people you've lost touch with!

There were the dearly departed: The editor of my first newspaper. A friend who died in a car crash. My mother.

You put your mother in your Rolodex? So you wouldn't forget her number when you wanted to call her from work? What did you do when you were at home - or did you keep one there, too?

There was Jon-Henri Damski, a columnist for the Windy City Times who wrote about gay issues back when that was risky. Johnny 'Red' Kerr, the great basketball player and commentator. Kurt Vonnegut. All gone now, but in my Rolodex, their old phone numbers live on.

I used to have the phone number of a famous author and a couple other people!

Every name that passed by revived an experience, a relationship, which is why I haven't gotten rid of the Rolodex, even though I'll never call most of those people again.

But you just stumbled upon it for the first time in 15 years! It's almost as if you forgot it existed, which is somehow why you haven't gotten rid of it!

But back to the question: Does anybody use a Rolodex anymore?

You clearly don't. I mean, if you love it so much, why not?

When I asked around my office, several people of an age I'll call "vintage" said they still had one, somewhere, in a drawer or a box, but didn't use it.

Several people also thought, Gee, Mary, out of column ideas again?

A 42-year-old said he'd skipped the Rolodex phase and gone straight to a PalmPilot, a device that now seems equally quaint.

Not really.

When I spot a Rolodex on someone's desk, I imagine it's there as homage to the past, like a manual typewriter, but a 38-year-old in my office swears she still uses hers.

I have three. I still occasionally consult them. I'm not about to transfer hundreds of names into my phone. But if you aren't carrying the contact information you truly need with you at all times, you aren't doing your job.

"We do get requests," says Don Schmidt, who runs Atlas Stationers in the Loop, a shop founded by his grandfather in 1939.

But not a lot of requests. The store, which sells a small modern version of the file, is likelier to hear from longtime Rolodexers in search of replacement cards, which are hard to find. Some sizes have disappeared entirely, Schmidt says, though others show up periodically on eBay.

Schmidt dates the decline of Rolodex to the 1990s and the beginning of the digital revolution.

Um, duh?

He keeps his own in his "office museum" at home.

But the old has a way of becoming new again. There was a time when Schmidt thought his old-fashioned stationery business might not survive a digital age. But, he says, sales are stronger than ever, helped by millennials who love journals and greeting cards and can be fascinated by a fountain pen.

"Millennials are doing a backlash against digital," he says.

How quaint, but no. Appreciating stationery and fountain pens isn't a backlash; analog aesthetics and digital nativity are not mutually exclusive.

Who knows? Rolodexes could become the next hip accoutrement.

Don't do that. Don't try to do that. Millennials are gonna walk around with a Rolodex strapped to their person, or perhaps tucked away in a fanny pack?

And if they do, I've got some empty cards to sell, for the right price.

Ah ha ha ha ha! The big ending! Boom!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:00 AM | Permalink

World Surf Tour Opening On Australia's Gold Coast As Bodhi Waits For His Set

COOLANGATTA, Queensland/AUS - The world's best surfers are converging on Australia's Gold Coast for the opening stop of the 2016 WSL Championship Tour, to be held from March 10-21.

Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Carissa Moore (HAW), reigning WSL champions, will lead the men's and women's fields respectively.

The trailer:


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De Souza clinched an emotional maiden world title in the final event of the 2015 season, the Billabong Pipe Masters, and is the latest champion to emerge from the current "Brazilian Storm" group. In a sport that has traditionally been dominated by champions from Australia, South Africa, Hawaii and the Mainland USA, De Souza backed up compatriot Gabriel Medina's (BRA) historic 2014 WSL Title, stewarding a Brazilian contingent that now occupies 40% of the WSL Top 10.

The Brazilians will be challenged by the world's best surfers, inclusive of 11-time WSL champion Kelly Slater (USA), 2015 threats Julian Wilson (AUS) and Jeremy Flores (FRA), returning-from-injury Jordy Smith (ZAF), recent Eddie champion John John Florence (HAW) and a host of others.

Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time WSL Champion and 2015 WSL runner-up, last week announced that he would be taking a 'personal year' in 2016, surfing in select events while recharging after one of the most intense seasons in history. Fanning will be on hand at the opening stop of the season.

Moore's emphatic win in pumping surf at the final stop of the 2015 season, the Maui Pro at Honolua Bay, secured a third world title for the powerful Hawaiian. With her dynasty firmly established, the Hawaiian icon will look to further solidify in 2016. However, six-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) will return from injury this season to challenge alongside compatriots Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Tyler Wright (AUS) as well as 2015 runner-up Courtney Conlogue (USA).

The opening stop of the tour since 1998, the Gold Coast is home to the world-renowned "Superbank," a man-made, sand-bottom pointbreak that offers righthand waves in excess of a mile long. The venue has already enjoyed one of the best cyclone seasons in history this year, and all are anticipating an electric start to the 2016 season.

Owen Wright (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS) and Alejo Muniz (BRA) have withdrawn from the opening event of the season due to ongoing injury rehabilitations. They have been replaced by Adam Melling (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) respectively.

The Gold Coast will be webcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the WSL app.

The event is also being carried by our LIVE broadcast partners Fox Sports Australia, CBS Sports in the United States, ESPN Brasil, Globosat, Edgesport, Sky NZ, Sport TV, Canal + Deportes, Channel Nine, MCS, Starhub, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable 250 & 1250 in Hawaii.

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Photo fun.

2016-03-09T023510Z_2_MTZSPDEC39R26QDI_RTRFIPP_4_SURFING-QUIKSILVER-PRO-GOLD-COAST.JPG

2016-03-09T023510Z_2_MTZSPDEC39R26QDJ_RTRFIPP_4_SURFING-QUIKSILVER-PRO-GOLD-COAST.JPG

2016-03-09T023515Z_2_MTZSPDEC39R26UDK_RTRFIPP_4_SURFING-QUIKSILVER-PRO-GOLD-COAST.JPG

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QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Ryan Callinan (AUS)

Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adam Melling (AUS)

Heat 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS)

Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW)

Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS), TBD

Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), TBD

Heat 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Davey Cathels (AUS)

Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA)

Heat 9: Nat Young (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)

Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS), Taj Burrow (AUS), Kanoa Igarashi (USA)

Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)

Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS), John John Florence (HAW), Jack Freestone (AUS)

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ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Alessa Quizon (HAW)

Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW)

Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Chelsea Tuach (BRB), TBD

Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Sage Erickson (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)

Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS)

Heat 6: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS)

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ABOUT THE WORLD SURF LEAGUE

The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world's best surfing on the world's best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Men's and Women's Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport's rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels.

Showcasing the world's best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

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The WSL Trophy At 40: Behind The Glory.

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Bodhi waits for his set.

991POB_Patrick_Swayze_024.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:24 AM | Permalink

No. 1 Triton Seeded No. 1 In Juco Dance

The Triton College men's basketball team now knows who their opening round opponent will be in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Tournament in Danville, Ill.

The top seeded Trojans (31-2) will face Metropolitan Community College (MCC) Penn Valley from Kansas City, Missouri, in the first round on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

The MCC Scouts are 16-15 this season under head coach Marcus Harvey. His team will compete in the national tournament for the eigth time in his 14 seasons at the helm. The Scouts defeated North Arkansas 99-91 on March 5 to claim the NJCAA District 13 title.

Triton, ranked No. 1 in the nation and winners of 27 games in a row, advanced to the nationals by virtue of their 59-47 win over Black Hawk College-East on March 5 at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

For the Trojans, the national tourney appearance is their sixth in school history and third during head coach Steve Christiansen's 12-year tenure.

This is the third time that the two teams will meet in the national tournament. Triton and MCC-Penn Valley faced off at the 1997 and 2004 tournaments.

For the complete tournament bracket, visit the official NJCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament page.

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See also, from the Danville Commercial-News: National Tournament Seedings, Pairings Are Set.

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Previously in Triton:
* Triton Men's Basketball Team No. 1 For First Time.

* Lady Triton Trojans Reach First Regional Title Game Since 1994.

* No. 1 Triton Men Advance To Juco Dance.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

Why Is It So Difficult To Rein In Wall Street?

Reforming Wall Street has become a key issue in the ongoing presidential primaries.

Bernie Sanders in particular has used his rival's close ties to the financial industry, including speaking fees and political donations, to suggest Hillary Clinton wouldn't rein in Wall Street. At the same time, Sanders has tried to highlight his own independence, declaring:

If I were elected president, the foxes would no longer guard the henhouse.

Clinton has tried to dispel the notion that Wall Street donations affect her judgment or independence, claiming her regulatory plan is actually tougher than Sanders'.

These exchanges underscore a crucial point: Almost a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, the reforms that many Americans have demanded remain incomplete.

Claims of independence, including by Republicans such as Donald Trump, are one way for candidates to suggest that they would be able to bring about real change.

Who would be the best candidate to do so is an important question. But first we must understand this underlying dilemma: Why has it been so difficult to reform Wall Street following the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?

This led us to a more fundamental question: Whose voice matters most in determining how the financial industry should be run?

Given how much anger there still is at Wall Street, the answer may be surprising.

An Authoritative Voice

In a forthcoming research paper, we argue that major change has been so difficult because Wall Street's top executives ensure that the authoritative voice on the financial industry remains theirs. In other words, no one else understands how it works, so no one else can tell it what to do.

Consequently, other stakeholders, such as customers, investors, policymakers, academics, other businesses and society at-large, have been sidelined.

But how do the executives manage this? Based on systematic analysis of data from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and media, we found that how industry elites use public rhetoric shines some light on this, revealing clear patterns.

First, executives highlight only the positives of their banks to help make strong claims of expertise. A quick glimpse of this can be seen in this 2010 quote from former Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne defending his bank (which nearly collapsed during the crisis before being acquired by JPMorgan Chase):

Our capital ratios and liquidity pool remained high by historical standards . . . Subsequent events show that Bear Stearns' collapse was not the result of any actions or decisions unique to Bear Stearns . . . The efforts we made to strengthen the firm were reasonable and prudent.

Second, they work to gain trust by using language that suggests care for stakeholders, including clients but also society. As just one example, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told the commission why he and his bankers should be trusted:

Throughout the financial crisis, we continued to support our clients' financing and liquidity needs. For example, we helped provide state and local governments financing to cover cash flow shortfalls . . . JPMorgan Chase is also at the forefront in doing everything we can to help families meet their mortgage obligations.

Complementing this, they focus on discrediting others - whether regulators or other market players - by forcefully questioning their expertise and trustworthiness. For example, former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack projected blame on the state to question its expertise:

From a policy perspective, (the financial crisis) made clear that regulators simply didn't have the tools or the authority to protect the stability of the financial system as a whole.

Similarly, the judgment and motives of market players are questioned to deflect blame, as in this statement from Richard Fuld, former chief of the famously bankrupt Lehman Brothers:

Lehman's demise was caused by uncontrollable market forces and the incorrect perception and accompanying rumors . . . Those same forces threatened the stability of other banks - not just Lehman . . . This loss of confidence, although unjustified and irrational, became a self-fulfilling prophecy and culminated in a classic run on the bank.

Essential Actors In A Complex System

In summary, industry elites rhetorically construct themselves as essential actors in the field due to their expertise in managing their organizations in a complex system and their trustworthiness in terms of caring for multiple stakeholders. Simultaneously, they sharply critique the failings and motives of others.

This really matters because, in a domain that outsiders find difficult to understand, using such public rhetoric reinforces what social psychologists call "epistemic authority" - in this case the authority of elite financial industry executives.

The idea is simple: Those who are considered to have expertise and are trustworthy rank high on epistemic authority. Their voices carry more weight and acceptance on crucial matters related to their field. And those who are lower down in this hierarchy are unable to pose a credible challenge.

Research from social psychology shows that those with higher epistemic authority on a subject are turned to earlier as a source of information, given priority, inspire higher confidence and are more likely to lead to actions that reflect their wishes.

Hence this is how Wall Street can both be reviled by much of American society yet maintain its status as the primary authority on the financial industry.

Challenging this authority requires strong political will. Campaign donations and lobbying play an augmenting role to ensure we don't even get close to posing a credible challenge. "The Blob" of regulating agencies (from the Treasury Department to the Securities and Exchange Commission) moves together with an "army of Wall Street representatives and lobbyists that continuously surrounds and permeates them," according to former Congressional staffer Jeff Connaughton. The result is that no credible challenge is mounted, and the epistemic authority of industry executives prevails.

Who Gets The Final Word

After the crisis, the Dodd-Frank act sent a signal that reform was needed, but it did not go far enough, and in fact many parts of it are already under legal challenge from Wall Street.

The diluted nature of these changes shows how much authority industry executives have acquired since the Great Depression. Many of the regulations imposed in its aftermath, such as Glass-Steagall, have been repealed.

To reform the industry, some critics target its internal culture, creating the right incentives and capital requirements.

While all these issues are important, how do we get started?

Our research suggests the key obstacle to initiating radical change is that the top executives maintain the final word on "their" industry, while others whose lives are greatly affected by it have little voice. While other factors such as donations and lobbying certainly also play a role in preventing change, little attention has been paid to the importance of authority.

It is this authority that allows them to reduce the power of the state to regulate their industry by using their perch as "experts" to question the government's capacity to do so effectively. Fuld, for one, continues to defend the expertise of his Lehman team while blaming the entire crisis and his own bank's collapse on the government. Such rhetoric contributes to an environment where state bodies have little authority to intervene in the industry in the first place, and the donations and lobbying take care of the rest.

The financial industry also undermines tougher rules by taking key jobs at regulatory bodies - a problem known as the "revolving door" between Wall Street and Washington. Three recent Treasury secretaries, for example, were former executives at Goldman Sachs - hence Sanders' concern about the foxes guarding the henhouse.

Other academics have documented the disproportionate power of the financial industry on other businesses; about a devotion to financial industry practices leading to long-term erosion of investment, competitiveness and prosperity; and more broadly about how its practices have reshaped everyday life in society and contribute to socioeconomic inequality.

But unless we can find a way to overcome the financial industry's epistemic authority so true reform is possible, its negative repercussions on the economy and society will not change.

It Takes A Team To Rein In Wall Street

And that is perhaps why many voters see presidential candidates' independence from the financial industry as crucial.

Among the many other salient issues, the fact that not much has been done to change things after a financial crisis that damaged so many lives continues to raise hackles. It also likely breeds resentment against a system that has allowed things to continue as if nothing happened. That may lead people to extreme positions against what they perceive as an unfair system and into the hands of outsiders who embody that anger.

As one GOP voter put it: Democrats "are as eager to see Sanders nominated as I am to see Trump."

But voters may be confusing simple claims of independence - such as on donations - with actual substantive plans for reform. Beyond the claims, actual change will depend on who is able to challenge the authority of the industry elite.

So here it may be more useful for voters to consider who each candidate would pick to lead the agencies charged with regulating the financial industry and advise the president on these issues. Sanders' assertion that he'd steer clear of resumes that include Goldman Sachs tells us who he wouldn't pick but not who's on the short list.

Thus, the key question is: Who would put together the right team to counter the dominance of industry elites? A team comprising those who stand outside the immediate circle of top industry executives (i.e., no conflict of interest) and yet can counter their epistemic authority (i.e., with expertise and trustworthiness)?

That will be tough. But creative ways of building such a team will be needed. Such efforts are essential to challenge the industry, push it to pay more attention to other stakeholders - as opposed to navel-gazing - and ultimately lead to a more positive impact on the economy and society.

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Suhaib Riaz is an assistant professor of management at the University of Massachusetts-Boston; Sean Buchanan is an assistant professor of business administration at the University of Manitoba; and Trish Ruebottom is an assistant professor of strategic management at Brock University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Dr. Quentin Young, the crusading progressive physician to President Barack Obama among others, died Monday at his daughter's house in California," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"Young, 93, was a lifelong Hyde Parker and the physician to Obama, former Mayor Harold Washington and to writers like Studs Terkel and Mike Royko."

Young made quite a few interesting appearances in the Beachwood over the year that bear revisiting. (Some external links, sadly, are dead.)

January 19, 2010: "The race to fill the U.S. Senate seat that was held by Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts may be (in part) a referendum on President Obama, but it's also (in part) very specifically a referendum on his health care reform package. Voters there surely know that that the health care bill in Congress is at stake. You might think that that would be enough to rally Democrats in a blue state like Massachusetts to the cause, but I wonder how many Democrats would like to sink this version of health care too. I haven't had time to check any polling data, but in the aftermath of tonight's results, that would be interesting to look at. After all, the esteemed Quentin Young, a longtime Obama confidante (and MLK's Chicago doctor), repeated on Monday his lament that 'What's coming out of Congress is really bad. It's rotten.'"

July 8, 2010: "Quentin Young is right, of course; if only we elected a change agent as president."

May 15, 2012: "Catching up with Quentin Young joining activists opposing Rahm's closing of six city mental health clinics."

Nov. 2, 2012: Sadly, this was Young's final Beachwood appearance.

"In a stunning political maneuver, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority elected former TV reporter and gubernatorial aide Kelly Kraft as its new CEO," Crain's reports.

Quinn was worried that the fix was in, so he put the fix in. And now the ISFA is doubly broken.

"The governor dumped one of his board members, Manny Sanchez - without telling him beforehand - to pave the way for a 4-3 vote in favor of Kraft for the $175,900-a-year post," the Tribune reports.

"Quinn's replacement for Sanchez, longtime ally and renowned physician Quentin Young, joined the governor's three other appointees in supporting Kraft. The mayor's appointees voted against her."

To review: Pat Quinn wanted to reward a political ally wholly unqualified for the job by installing her in the post so he could control the authority instead of Rahm Emanuel, who wanted to install a wholly qualified lackey of his own so he could control the authority. But one of Quinn's appointees wasn't playing along, so Quinn replaced him - with heretofore unsullied Dr. Quentin Young, who for unknown reasons decided to play the good mope and join the authority, which was apparently in need of a health-care professional, and give Quinn the vote he needed to pull one over on all of us.

"Kraft was a TV reporter for about a decade before joining state government in 2009, the same year she filed for personal bankruptcy," the Tribune notes. "She was selected over Diana Ferguson, a Yale graduate who served as chief financial officer at Sara Lee Corp. and Chicago Public Schools."

Crain's helpfully posted both of their resumes: Kraft. Ferguson.

Now, make no mistake, Ferguson is a piece of work.

But Kraft is a better fit to be the authority's spokesperson, not its executive director.

Ultimately, though, this is a battle of insiders for control of a public agency with no interest in the public. Otherwise there would have been a third candidate whose only qualifications were the experience, skill and gumption to do the job with complete disregard for the wishes of Quinn and Emanuel.

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Now, I saved this one for last.

Aug. 27, 2008:

"In my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much," Michelle Obama said in her speech last night. "That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service."

Really?

"One of Michelle Obama's signature efforts has been working to relieve crowding in the emergency room, the second-busiest in Chicago," the Washington Post reports.

"Backed by a federal grant, Michelle Obama in 2005 launched the South Side Health Collaborative, under which counselors advise patients with noncritical needs that they can receive care elsewhere at a reduced cost. The medical center said in a report that some patients 'make frequent visits to the ER because no one in the family has a personal doctor . . . '

"[A] hospital report quotes Michelle Obama as saying, 'The world is seeping in, and our salvation will be the success of our partners' at local clinics.

"Obama's program has enjoyed favorable news media coverage in Chicago and was eventually expanded into a broader program, the Urban Health Initiative . . . Critics, however, describe the program as an attempt to ensure that the hospital retains only affluent patients with insurance.

"If you put enough money into it, you could save a whole bunch of community health centers," [Quentin] Young said. "But to date, they haven't."

"Edward Novak, president of Chicago's Sacred Heart Hospital, declined to discuss the center's initiative in particular but dismissed as 'bull' attempts to justify such programs as good for patients. 'What they're really saying is, Don't use our emergency room because it will cost us money, and we don't want the public-aid population,' Novak said."

This is where things get cozy. Susan Sher, former corporate counsel to Mayor Richard M. Daley, hired Michelle Obama for a job that had not previously existed ("We really didn't know what this office would be, so it was really her creation," Sher said). Michelle Obama worked with Sher at City Hall - that's right, Michelle worked for Daley, though little has been reported about what she actually did. Once ensconced at the University of Chicago Medical Center, Michelle turned to an old friend: David Axelrod.

"In December 2006, the medical center hired a public relations firm, ASK Public Strategies, to help sell the Urban Health Initiative. ASK is co-owned by Axelrod, Obama's chief campaign strategist. ASK was selected on the recommendation of Michelle Obama . . . ASK started work in January 2007; the next month, Barack Obama launched his campaign.

"The firm delivered its report in May 2007 saying that, while nurses were generally favorable about the Urban Health Initiative, 'primary care doctors were more negative, viewing it as a break with UCMC's community commitment.'"

Axelrod's survey research found that "While most of those surveyed expressed favorable views of the center and its program, critics complained of arrogance and a lack of empathy . . . More than a few staff members - particularly medical staff - express strongly worded concern or disappointment with UCMC in its commitment to the community . . .

"One survey question asked for reaction to a particular criticism that had been leveled:

"'This new health initiative is not really about helping the residents of the South Side of Chicago. It is simply a way for the University of Chicago Medical Center to save money and reduce costs by serving fewer poor people without health insurance.'"

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"'I've had some complaints from my constituents,' said Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, a former teacher who represents Chicago's 4th Ward and who will be an Obama delegate at the Democratic National Convention. 'It's hard to know whether this is motivated by the interests of the patients or by the financial interests of the medical center.'

"Asked her personal conclusion, Preckwinkle paused. 'They have decided they need to have as many paying patients as possible," she said. 'That's all I'm going to say.'"

Michelle Obama, an American success story.

P.S.
Actually, that wasn't all Preckwinkle had to say. In a Sun-Times story, she said "I've heard complaints from a handful of constituents, but I've also had calls from people in the health care profession complaining. The medical professionals who have come to me are accusing the university of dumping patients on its neighboring institutions . . . Whether it's being implemented in the way that's in the best interest of the patient, I can't tell you."

Oh, but you just did.

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Michelle's TreeHouse
Let's just segue into this:

"TreeHouse Foods may be the biggest company around here with zero brand recognition. And that's exactly the way its executives and customers like it," Crain's reported recently."

"Chances are you've seen its products - soup, salsa, salad dressing, single-serve coffee pods and such - selling under store brands at Target, Costco, Kroger, Jewel and Trader Joe's. There's another reason you've never heard of it: The company doesn't want you to know which products it manufactures, and the retailers don't either. You won't find 'TreeHouse Foods' anywhere on the packaging.

"But the Oak Brook-based maker of private-label foods is finding it more difficult to hide. Following its $2.7 billion purchase of ConAgra's private-label food business, TreeHouse is the largest producer of store-branded grocery items in North America by a wide margin, with projected 2016 revenue of about $6.5 billion. In 2005, when it was spun off from Dean Foods, its $700 million in sales came entirely from nondairy creamer, cheese sauces and pickles."

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Here's why I was interested in TreeHouse. From the Beachwood vault:

April 27, 2007: "'Not long after Barack Obama entered the U.S. Senate, for instance, his wife was offered a position on the board of TreeHouse Foods, a Westchester-based maker of specialty foods,' the Tribune has reported.

"In 2006, the company paid her $51,200 for her board activities, according to the Obamas' just-filed federal income tax return. Factoring in stock options and other payments, the value of her compensation package for serving on the TreeHouse board last year was $101,083, a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows.

"TreeHouse packages pickles and other private-label foods for retailers. By far its largest customer is Wal-Mart. Barack Obama has been sharply critical of Wal-Mart's business and labor practices - criticizing the giant retailer last fall for paying low wages and poor benefits while making big profits."

(As you'll see in the YouTube clip later in this column, Walmart haranguing Democrats have done quite well by the poster-chain for everything wrong with America.)

May 23, 2007: "'Michelle Obama resigned her position as director of TreeHouse Foods on Tuesday, ending the relationship with the Wal-Mart supplier that had threatened to become a problem for the presidential campaign of her husband, Sen. Barack Obama,' the Tribune reports."

Somehow resigning her position during the campaign erased her past in the minds of both the Obamas and the media. And if the senator from Illinois wasn't running for president, she would have kept the gig and that would have been alright.

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Also:

Defendant is Oak Brook-based TreeHouse.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, August 22, 2014

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Clinton/Emanuel Country

That reminds me, Bill Clinton is in town today.

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The "strategic coordinator" of the 1994 crime bill? Rahm Emanuel. (Click through and you'll see Rahm is nothing if not consistent, sweater or no.)

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And, of course, the legislative driver of the 1994 crime bill was good ol' Uncle Joe Biden. #UniteBlue.

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U.S. Can't Find Anyone At Citigroup To Pin Fraudulent Loans On
"The Justice Department has faced years of criticism for failing to prosecute banking executives over conduct leading up to the financial crisis, even while it secured billions of dollars in settlements with big banks," Reuters reports in an article the Beachwood is carrying today.

The government cases came out of a task force formed by President Barack Obama in 2012 to probe misconduct that contributed to the financial crisis.

Obama said he was creating the group to "hold accountable those who broke the law" and "help turn the page on an era of recklessness."

In February 2015, then-Attorney General Eric Holder said he had given federal prosecutors a 90-day deadline to try to develop cases against individuals related to mortgage bonds and report back if they could be successful.

Despite that push, no such cases have emerged to date.

Here's the thing: Criminal activity no doubt occurred.

"The totality of the evidence and testimony obtained showed that Citigroup knowingly and purposefully purchased and securitized loans that did not meet representation and warranties or in many cases were outright fraudulent loans," the report said.

And who knowingly and purposefully did all that? Nobody.

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No. 1 Triton Men Advance To Juco Dance
The Trojans have won 27 consecutive games, and boast an overall record of 31-2.

What's A Planet?
Apparently not Pluto! At the Adler.

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Our Very Own Helene Smith

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Welcome Home, Lovie

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BeachBook

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Bans criticism of Clinton.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

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Loevy & Loevy.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, March 7, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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HillaryMart.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: #UniteBlue.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:58 AM | Permalink

U.S. Can't Find Anyone At Citigroup To Pin Fraudulent Loans On

U.S. authorities have decided not to pursue criminal charges against any Citigroup executives or employees involved in packaging and selling mortgage-backed securities at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis, a government report shows.

The decision, which followed Citigroup's $7 billion settlement in 2014 resolving federal and state civil claims related to mortgage bonds, was described in a November report obtained by Reuters in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Its release marked the first public acknowledgement by U.S. authorities that executives at a major bank linked to the financial crisis would face no criminal charges for their involvement in selling billions of dollars of toxic mortgage bonds.

The report, by the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Office of Inspector General, one of the agencies in the Citigroup probe, said following the settlement, prosecutors reviewed the evidence to see if any individuals could be charged and determined "there was not enough compelling evidence."

The investigation focused on the bank's practices related to its sale and issuance of mortgage bonds from 2006 to 2007.

The two-page report, which summarized the investigation and called the probe closed, does not name any individuals that were investigated, nor does it elaborate on why individuals could not be successfully prosecuted.

Patrick Rodenbush, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman, noted in a statement that the department in September announced a new policy that "emphasizes the priority in any corporate case of holding individual wrongdoers accountable."

He declined to say, though, if individuals at any other banks investigated for practices related to mortgage-backed securities remained under investigation. The status of any such probe is unknown.

A Citigroup spokeswoman, Danielle Romero-Apsilos, declined comment on Friday and a spokeswoman for the FHFA Office of Inspector General did not respond to a request for comment.

The review of the evidence in the Citigroup case for potential cases against individuals was conducted with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Colorado, one of two U.S. attorney's offices involved in the investigation.

According to the report, the review came at the request of the Justice Department, which asked that all mortgage-backed securities settlements reached with the government be reviewed to determine if individuals could be held personally responsible.

Those settlements have included a $13 billion accord with JPMorgan Chase in 2013 and a $16.65 billion deal with Bank of America in 2014. Most recently, federal and state officials announced $3.2 billion in settlements with Morgan Stanley on Feb. 25, which when combined with a series of related resolutions resulted in $5 billion in settlements with government agencies.

Goldman Sachs in January announced it had reached an agreement in principle to pay over $5 billion to resolve federal and state claims.

The Justice Department has faced years of criticism for failing to prosecute banking executives over conduct leading up to the financial crisis, even while it secured billions of dollars in settlements with big banks.

The government cases came out of a task force formed by President Barack Obama in 2012 to probe misconduct that contributed to the financial crisis.

Obama said he was creating the group to "hold accountable those who broke the law" and "help turn the page on an era of recklessness."

In February 2015, then-Attorney General Eric Holder said he had given federal prosecutors a 90-day deadline to try to develop cases against individuals related to mortgage bonds and report back if they could be successful.

Despite that push, no such cases have emerged to date.

In the case of Citigroup, the $7 billion settlement explicitly did not release individuals at the bank from criminal or civil charges or the bank itself from potential criminal prosecution.

During the probe, authorities gathered 25 million documents related to mortgage securities, obtained internal bank e-mails and documents, and interviewed current and former employees and executives, the inspector general report said.

"The totality of the evidence and testimony obtained showed that Citigroup knowingly and purposefully purchased and securitized loans that did not meet representation and warranties or in many cases were outright fraudulent loans," the report said.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:17 AM | Permalink

At The Adler | What Is A Planet?

Since it's discovery, and 10 years after its reclassification to dwarf planet, Pluto is still plagued by its lack of true planet status. This begs the question, if Pluto isn't a planet, then what is? What made the International Astronomical Union reclassify Pluto in 2006? On March 19th, the Adler Planetarium will be opening their newest temporary exhibition, What Is a Planet?, which explores the answers to these very questions.

The accepted definition of a planet has changed quite a bit over the past 500 years. At various moments the term has been used to describe the Sun, the Moon, and asteroids. And would you believe that Earth - the most familiar planet of all - hasn't always been considered a planet?!

So how do you define a planet? As scientists learn more about how the Universe works, they make discoveries that don't fit neatly into old ways of thinking. In What is a Planet?, visitors will discover that new approaches and perspectives in science can change how we define worlds near and far.

What To Expect:

  • Witness how astronomers and the media reacted to Pluto's demotion in 2006.
  • Learn what the current definition of a planet is and hear what Adler astronomers think of this current definition.
  • Voice your opinion about Pluto alongside skeptics and space enthusiasts through an interactive voting poll in real-time.
  • Explore artifacts from the Adler collections that illustrate the ever-evolving definition of a planet.

This temporary exhibition, which is included with general admission, will be open to the public from March 19, 2016 through January 8, 2017.

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Here's what Science At NASA says about the question!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

No. 1 Triton Men Advance To Juco Dance

The Triton College men's basketball team won their sixth Region IV championship in school history with a 59-47 triumph over Black Hawk College-East on Saturday 5 at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

The Trojans now advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Tournament March 15-19 in Danville, Illinois. Triton will learn who their first opponent will be when tournament pairings are announced by the NJCAA on Tuesday. The team has won a school record 27 consecutive games, boast an overall 31-2 record and are the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.

TritonRegional_Trophy.jpg

In the win over Black Hawk East, Nick Norton led the way to earn Region IV Tournament MVP honors. The sophomore out of Downers Grove North filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.

Sophomore guard Eric Gillespie (Warren) scored nine points and was an all-tournament selection. Eddie Miles also made the all-tournament team. The sophomore from Hales Franciscan only scored five points, but his defensive presence gave the Warriors trouble, as Miles had five steals in the contest.

Josh Doss (Taft) added nine points and 10 rebounds in the winning effort.

The Trojans played stifling defense and used it to generate easy baskets on offense. Triton scored 21 points off of 23 Black Hawk East turnovers.

In addition to the player honors, head coach Steve Christiansen was named NJCAA Region IV District 3 Coach of the Year. For Christiansen, the regional championship was his third in his 12 seasons in River Grove, the first since 2011 when the Trojans finished third at the national tournament. Christiansen recently earned his 300th career win as Triton's head coach.

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See also: No. 1 Triton Ends BHE's Tournament Run.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

March 7, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

"You might think, based on a rare, overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in the Illinois House on Thursday, that creating an elected Chicago Board of Education is a terrific idea. After all, what else would get a landslide 110-4 vote in the usually fractious House?" the Tribune opines today.

"But this proposal is fingernails-on-chalkboard terrible."

Why? Because the bill that passed the House - and has no chance to pass the Senate given president John Cullerton's alliance with Rahm Emanuel - would create a 21-member board. And that's just too much democracy for the Tribune.

Granted, a 21-member board sounds . . . large. But the more the Tribune inveighs against it, the more I like it. To wit:

That's 21 newbies who would wrestle over the helm of a near-bankrupt school district.

Chances are the "newbies" would come to the board with every bit of knowledge - if not more - about education as the appointed boards we've experienced, filled with mayoral hacks and opportunists.

And that's just as many new political fiefdoms for the Chicago Teachers Union to attempt to control with its robust war chest.

Not as robust a war chest as the mayor's of course, but the Trib is trying to scare you. Also, one giant fiefdom emanating from the 5th floor of City Hall hasn't exactly served the city well.

Does Chicago need a school board that is three times the current size? No. That sounds like a bloated governmental body that would be just as ineffective as another that we can think of . . . the one with 50 aldermen.

And yet, the Tribune keeps endorsing mayors who install rubber stamp city councils - and endorses most of the rubber stamps as well.

Yes, we recall that in last year's mayoral elections, voters in 37 wards said through advisory referendums that they wanted the school board to be elected.

But we don't care what the people want!

We understand the anger and frustration over the current board and its predecessors. Their oversight - or lack of it - drove the system to its current position, on the brink of insolvency. The school board over the years has had some of the brightest and most politically involved people in Chicago serve on it. But it has become clear that the who's who haven't always known what's what.

The most glaring example is the board approval of more than $23 million in no-bid contracts that led to a guilty plea by former CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett on a charge of wire fraud. That was a huge amount of money, going to a company that had business ties to Byrd-Bennett. Yet the board members didn't ask questions about the contract, and there wasn't a single vote against it.

How is this helping your case, Tribune? The brightest and most politically involved (is this really what we want?) people who have served on the board utterly failed to flag a $20 million no-bid contract and you're worried about newbies?

We suspect that an elected board, sensitive to voters' (teachers', parents') ire, would be less willing to cut expenses, close schools or reduce payroll than an appointed one.

Mayors who appoint board members (and the superintendent) and direct their agenda, on the other hand, don't think about elections at all!

It's also inherent in the Tribune's thinking that cutting payroll and closing schools is the right thing to do (but not where they send their kids), instead of funding the school system equitably.

An elected board could be stacked with CTU-friendly candidates whose instincts would be to spend and borrow - if that's even possible with the system's junk credit rating - to maintain the status quo.

So the Tribune is worried that an elected school board stacked with CTU-friendly members would be tempted to behave just as badly as our mayorally appointed school boards? Don't change the system, we'll only get the status quo!

The bill's chief sponsor, state Rep. Robert Martwick Jr., D-Chicago, tells us he is mindful of the CTU's clout in possibly controlling board seats. He says smaller districts - to be drawn by the legislature - will encourage grass-roots organizing, "limit the influence of outside money" and guarantee minority representation.

Well, that makes sense. At this point, the Tribune goes silent.

Gov. Bruce Rauner supports an elected seven-member school board but only as part of a GOP-introduced bill that would allow the state to take over CPS if it is deemed to be failing financially. That bill would also forbid board candidates from taking donations from teachers unions or district contractors. The just-passed House bill doesn't go that far.

Is the Tribune suggesting it should? How would a seven-member board be superior to a 21-member board? The Trib doesn't say. How would forbidding teachers unions from contributing to school board candidates be constitutional? The Trib doesn't say.

The vote, however, did give Democrats and Republicans a chance to express their outrage at CPS' fiscal mismanagement just before the March 15 primary . . . and a chance to throw a sharp political elbow at Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

How does that help Chicago Public Schools students and their parents, facing the abyss of a financial debacle and a threatened teachers strike? It doesn't.

Perhaps not immediately, but the vote does give the idea attention and momentum. And if it ever comes to pass, maybe an elected school board would be both more financially strict ($500,000 to a consultant to consider locations for a $30 million selective high school named after the president?) and more amenable to the CTU at the same time. No more credit interest swaps by geniuses like David Vitale and better-resourced classrooms for teachers and students alike. Why is the Tribune so opposed to that?

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Lovie's Back
Our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman weighs in.

GAO To Probe Fed's Lax Oversight Of Wall Street
It's about time someone did.

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The Environment Beat
Hedgehogs and litter.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Ringo Deathstarr, UFO, E6, Helloween, The Söur Brothers, Jake Garratt, Le Butcherettes, Dale Watson, Sinead O'Connor, Accept, Logic, Dr. Unk, Mr. Constant, The Mizzerables, Less Than Jake, Vinyl Theatre, STS9, Gilberto Santa Rosa, The High Kings, Anders Osborn, and Raised On Zenith.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: We can be heroes.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 PM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Ringo Deathstarr at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.


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2. UFO at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Friday night.

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3. E6 at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Friday night.

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4. Helloween at the Concord on Friday night.

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5. The Söur Brothers at Reggies on Friday night.

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6. Jack Garratt at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

A mash-up of "7 Days" by Craig David and "Señorita" by Justin Timberlake.

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7. Le Butcherettes at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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8. Dale Watson at the Old Town School on Saturday night.

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9. Sinead O'Connor at the Metro on Friday night.

This was part of the Sons of the Silent Age all-star tribute to David Bowie.

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10. Accept at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Saturday night.

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11. Logic at the Aragon on Friday night.

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12. Dr. Unk at the Tonic Room on Friday night.

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13. Mr. Constant at the Tonic Room on Friday night.

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14. The Mizzerables at the Double Door on Friday night.

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15. Less Than Jake at the Double Door on Friday night.

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16. Vinyl Theatre at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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17. STS9 at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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18. Gilberto Santa Rosa at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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19. The High Kings at City Winery on Sunday night.

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20. Anders Osborne at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Raised On Zenith at Lincoln Hall last Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:34 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The "Environment" Beat

Hedgehogs and litter.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit Crap News, Tim.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Is Going To Paris.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Grow Some Balls; Tell The Truth.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! MP Is A Wanker Santa.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! New Year's Rant.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Return Of Lovie Smith

Keep it simple Illinois fans: Lovie Smith is a way, way better coach than you could have ever dreamed would be on the Illini sideline next fall. His hiring was finalized Monday morning.

Heck, in Tampa Bay he even finally hired a competent offensive coordinator, something he never managed to do with the Bears (in fact, a big reason Lovie was fired despite going 10-6 in his last season with the Bears four years ago was because that assistant coach was going to be fired again and management decided not to let him hire a fifth OC).

Finding that assistant in Tampa Bay apparently got Lovie fired, but still . . . that was Dirk Koetter of course, who was so good at the job, at least according to Buccaneer management, that they couldn't risk losing him to head coaching another team. So they fired Lovie and gave Koetter the head job instead.

They gave the assistant coach the credit for developing rookie quarterback Jameis Winston last season, when the Bucs were so promising for so long before losing their last four games to fall out of contention in Smith's second year at the helm.

On the other hand, many observers thought it a little strange that Lovie didn't get the credit for believing in Winston from almost Day 1 of last offseason and never wavering in his belief that the team should take him first in the 2015 draft. And Winston has clearly cleaned up his act since his Florida State days. Does Bucs management think it was a coincidence that happened under the overall tutelage of Smith?

Another thing about Lovie, who drove me just as crazy as he drove any other Bears fan during his nine-year tenure at the helm of the local team with his ultra-passive aggressive approach to all questions from outsiders: Just because he doesn't criticize players in public doesn't mean he doesn't criticize them.

That misimpression grew more than a little irritating during Smith's run in Chicago. Does he give guys second, third and even fifth chances? Yes he does; that's one of the reasons they play so hard for him (remember, not only was he 10-6 in his last season here, but he's still the only coach to lead the Bears to the Super Bowl other than Ditka). Lovie holds guys accountable, period. Follow the program to the letter or sit on the bench.

Recruiting shouldn't be terribly tough either. He'll have to hire some tech-savvy athletic department employees, but I hear there are at least a few guys out there trying to land jobs in sports management. Or is it tens of thousands of guys. Something tells me they could probably help the coach create a killer social media package or two.

Here's a sample of a potentially winning pitch just off the top of my head. "Hello star recruit. Surely you are away that none of these other coaches have a clue of what it takes to make it in the NFL like I do (Jim Harbaugh probably does up at Michigan but the rest of them sure as hell don't). Are you serious about playing this game as well as you can and having a chance to play at the next level or not?"

And another thing: "It is amazing how more and more college football coaches are deploying schemes that may work at the college level but do a terrible job preparing guys for the pros. I'm looking right at you Ohio State coach Urban Meyer."

It shouldn't exactly be difficult for Lovie to recruit against that ridiculousness.

And finally, and again just off the top of my head, Lovie should play the race card, and then he should play it again, and again. What, you think Harbaugh wouldn't do that if he was black? Of course he would.

That pitch goes something like this: Did you happen to see what happened at Missouri last season? Columbia, the home of that university, is not far from Champaign by the way. Some African-American students were agitating against what they saw as a school hierarchy not doing nearly enough to combat racism. They weren't getting anywhere. Then the football team got involved and threatened a boycott. Then all the bosses got fired.

It is way, way past time for African-American football players, the guys who are just about always the stars of a multibillion dollar show, to demand a much bigger portion of all those revenues. The only way that happens is if those players come together to assert themselves collectively. What better guy to serve as a leader in that effort than one of the first African-American coaches to ever take a team to the Super Bowl?

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See also:
* Haugh: Lovie Smith, Who Always Believed In Redemption, Deserves Shot At Illinois.

* Rosenbloom: Illinois Views Lovie Smith's Mediocrity And Condescension As A Step Up.

* Hoge vs. Kaplan:

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our case of the Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 AM | Permalink

U.S. Watchdog To Probe Fed's Lax Oversight Of Wall Street

A U.S. watchdog agency is preparing to investigate whether the Federal Reserve and other regulators are too soft on the banks they are meant to police, after a written request from Democratic lawmakers that marks the latest sign of distrust between Congress and the central bank.

Ranking representatives Maxine Waters of the House Financial Services Committee and Al Green of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations asked the Government Accountability Office on Oct. 8 to launch a probe of "regulatory capture" and to focus on the New York Fed, according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

In an interview, the congressional agency said it has begun planning its approach.

The probe, which had not been previously reported or made public, is the first by an outside agency into the perception that government regulators are "captured" by and too deferential toward the bankers they supervise, so that Wall Street benefits at the public's expense.

Such perceptions have dogged the U.S. central bank since it failed to head off the 2007-2009 financial crisis that sparked a global recession. The Fed's biggest critics have since been Republicans looking to curb its policy independence, but the request by Democrats could cool its somewhat warmer relationship with the left.

"We currently do have some ongoing work looking at the concept known as regulatory capture. We're in initial stages of outlining that engagement," Lawrance Evans, director of the GAO's financial markets and community investment division, said in an interview.

The agency will conduct "an assessment across all financial regulators, and the Federal Reserve will be one institution," he said.

It was unclear whether the majority Republicans on the House committee, including Chairman Jeb Hensarling, backed the request from the minority Democrats.

The GAO has not yet determined what agencies might be involved beyond the Fed. The other main regulators that place supervisors inside financial institutions are the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The worry is that these so-called embedded regulators working under the same roof as bankers will have clouded judgment as they watch for risky and inappropriate behavior.

"We will cooperate with the GAO as its work on this report proceeds," said Fed spokesman Eric Kollig.

The New York Fed, which acts as the central bank's eyes and ears on Wall Street, has come under fire for a series of oversights and perceived conflicts of interest in recent years. In one instance, a former New York Fed examiner launched a wrongful termination lawsuit and released some secretly recorded tapes that portrayed her colleagues as being soft on Goldman Sachs.

That in part prompted a congressional hearing in late 2014 in which Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren warned New York Fed President William Dudley to fix his institution's "cultural problem" or, she suggested, he would have to go.

The New York Fed and OCC declined to comment on the lawmakers' proposals, while the FDIC did not immediately respond.

TESTY RELATIONSHIPS

In the letter, Waters and Green said they are particularly concerned about reports of a "revolving door" between the New York Fed and the banks, and "a reluctance to challenge" them. The lawmakers want the GAO to use New York Fed actions between January 2008 and January 2015 as a "case study" for the broader investigation.

"Congress and the financial regulators must fully understand the regulatory gaps and weakness that exist," they wrote, requesting an analysis of six areas including the independence of regulators, their ability to escalate concerns, and incentives they face to take jobs at the banks they supervise.

The central bank, which gained more supervisory powers in the wake of the crisis, has long defended its work but has been open to adjustments.

A year ago, Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed takes "the risk of regulatory capture . . . very seriously and works very hard to prevent" it. Two internal reviews were launched and, in November, one recommended improvements.

Yet the Fed's relationship with Congress has only grown more testy.

Republicans have repeatedly complained about opacity and a lack of responsiveness to requests, and have pushed legislation that would have the GAO "audit" the central bank's policy decisions - a move that Yellen has strongly opposed.

Democrats have also grown more critical since the Fed raised interest rates in December.

At Yellen's congressional testimony last month, Waters, usually a staunch defender of the Fed chair, raised concerns over nearly $7 billion in interest the central bank paid to certain banks last year to help it tighten monetary policy.

The GAO, which reports to Congress, already evaluates the integrity of the Fed's operations including its supervision of some of the world's biggest banks.

The agency is now determining objectives and selecting a team, Evans said, and looking to "explore the issues in the request in a balanced, objective, fact-based, non-partisan, non-ideological way."

Once the probe is completed, the GAO would report to the lawmakers and give them 30 days before it publishes the findings.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:57 AM | Permalink

March 5, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

Here's Donald Trump talking about a presidential bid with Oprah in 1988 (includes praise for the campaigns that year of George H.W. Bush, Michael Dukakis and, yes, Jesse Jackson).

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #92: The Many Fetishizations Of Media Fanboys
No detail too mundane, every lame joke an instant classic.

Plus: The White Sox Are Also Holding Spring Training But Let's Talk About Other Stuff; Memo To Maddon: Up Your Game; Ivy League Not So Smart: Brandi's Brain; Boring Bears Banishing Bennett; I Don't Want To See Athletes' Smelly Naked Dicks; Blackhawks Babble; Bulls Babble; Go Trojans; and The Everton Minute.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour
Is (still) in pre-production.

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Weekend Beachwood Politics: Remember Bill Clinton's Phony Executive Pay Cap? It's Even Less Effective Than We Knew.

Case in point: Apple.

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Weekend Beachwood Sports: Behind The Unpredictable Premier League Year That Put Leicester Top Of The Pile.

More money, fewer Englishmen and a dash of Billy Beane.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "As we move slowly toward spring, the music release schedule starts heating up as well. Jim and Greg review a bevy of new albums, including records by TEEN, Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt, and more. "

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report

"Roe on Trial" Rally

"Advocates call on the U.S. Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights in a rally at Federal Plaza."

Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on CAN TV21 and online.

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Day of Remembrance

"Chicago's Japanese-American community speaks about the impact of President Franklin Roosevelt's World War II executive order to forcibly incarcerate tens of thousands of Japanese Americans."

Sunday at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21 and online.

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CPR Training Techniques

"Learn how to treat sudden cardiac arrest in a series of videos produced by Illinois Heart Rescue that feature local high school students."

Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV19.

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Weekend BeachBook

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Weekend TweetWood

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S/O to the guy with the devil's horns.

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And she was supposed to be the reasonable one.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: To ensure prompt service.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:24 AM | Permalink

Behind The Unpredictable Premier League Year That Put Leicester Top Of The Pile

Few Premier League seasons have produced as many upsets as the one currently unfolding. In August, Leicester City began the English football season at 5,000-1 to win the top-flight league, Chelsea were favorites for the title, and last year's promoted trio (Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich) were strongly tipped for relegation. Yet with 10 games to go it is Leicester who are (still) top of the league, Chelsea languish in mid-table, and other high profile "mega-clubs" have so far failed to sustain a title-push (see Manchester United and Liverpool).

Alex Ferguson famously tried to explain football's twists and turns with the elegant phrase: "Football? Bloody hell!" But dig a little deeper and there are concrete factors that can help us to explain this trend to unpredictability in England's top-flight division.

The most powerful explanation is linked to contemporary patterns of player recruitment, and what appears to be a more even spread of playing talent across the Premier League. Such a trend was, indeed, mooted earlier this season by then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in reference to lowly Bournemouth's capture of Ivory Coast winger Max Gradel.

With the money on offer from the current/impending Premier League TV deal (soon to sit at £5.1 billion) all Premier League clubs, it would seem, are now able to exploit a global labor market of playing talent in ways not previously envisioned.

A relaxation of UEFA Financial Fair Play restrictions also suggests that future spending across the Premier League will remain lavish.

image-20160303-9470-x9plcz.pngBBC/Author provided

You can see from the chart that by February this year total spending passed the £1 billion mark for a single season. While high fees may seem typical for the biggest clubs competing at the top, it is worth noting that within this figure Bournemouth and Sunderland sank around £15m each, while Norwich spent more than £21m in January's transfer window alone.

Stoke City, a team which has never finished higher than ninth in the Premier League, recently outperformed Italian giants Lazio on the Deloitte 2015 rich list. Subsequently, they are now signing players of a higher caliber than before (including Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri and ex-Barca forward Bojan Krkic), while other "mediocre" PL clubs have resisted efforts to prize away their top talent.

Regulating The Game

The ability of top-flight clubs to spend big on foreign talent, coupled with advances in scouting technology and capacity, has resulted in a league dominated by foreign talent. In recent seasons, English players in the EPL have accounted for less than a third of the total playing time.

As a counter-weight to encourage the uptake of British players, regulatory changes have included the Elite Player Performance Plan, passed in October, 2011, which allows top-flight clubs to offer standardized (many would say heavily reduced) compensation fees when recruiting young talent from non-elite academies.

This means that even average Premier League clubs operate with incredible resources and recruitment options, resulting in the relentless expansion of top-flight squads, incorporating layers of reserve and youth team football. For the year ended May 31, 2015, Everton's playing, training and management staff averaged a total of 98 according to data from Companies House, while an average of 38 employees worked in the club's Youth Academy alone (this for a team that finished 11th out of 20).

The FA's controversial decision to allow Premier League B teams to compete in lower league competition, the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, indicates the authorities are more willing to accommodate mammoth squads of playing talent rather than impose restrictions on squad sizes and the stockpiling of talent.

The proliferation of star players, or more importantly potential star players, has resulted in interesting Moneyball-type twists on this season's Premier League narrative. Developed by Billy Beane, Moneyball is the theory that sporting data can be used to source, sign and cleverly combine players currently undervalued in the transfer market, thus allowing clubs with less resources to compete.

With enough due diligence (as with Beane's Oakland A's), it is possible for clubs to scout and secure the right combination of undervalued talent at the right time, allowing teams to punch far above their expected weight.

First perfected in England by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, sophisticated scouting of foreign and local talent is now viable for all clubs in the PL division - not least as even those who finish bottom receive £60m in broadcast revenue.

Holding On

Moreover, once stars emerge, healthy revenues have allowed most Premier League clubs to hold out for radically inflated prices on their players, thus allowing them to build in ways not previously possible. West Brom's resistance to sell Saido Berahinho to Spurs, despite a player protest and a bid in excess of £20m, is a case in point. Accordingly, the efficiency of the market is stalling, and the landscape of successful clubs is undergoing something of a change.

In Leicester's case, their success is largely based upon a squad of previously underrated players who have flourished in a single period: Riyad Mahrez (a reported £330,000 signing from Le Havre), Jamie Vardy (£1m from Fleetwood), Danny Drinkwater (undisclosed) and N'Golo Kante (a still trivial £5.6m) would now command a collective value of somewhere between £50m and £100m. Whether or not Leicester's title tilt remains a one-off remains to be seen, although the potential for such seasons to emerge again should remain intact.

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Thomas Hastings is a research associate in Work, Employment and Political Economy at the University of Sheffield. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:08 AM | Permalink

Remember Bill Clinton's Phony Executive Pay Cap? It's Even Less Effective Than We Knew

Tim Cook got almost $400 million of restricted stock when he was named Apple chief executive in 2011, succeeding Steve Jobs. Regardless of whether Apple shareholders fared well or badly over the grant's 10-year term, all Cook needed to do to collect that stock (worth about $700 million at today's price) was keep his job. It was the kind of deal that pay mavens derisively call "pay for pulse."

But two years later, Apple and Cook retroactively changed the terms of his grant, making about 40 percent of it "pay for performance" based on how Apple shares do relative to those of other companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. Apple quoted Cook as saying he wanted to align his interests with those of regular shareholders.

What Apple didn't say then - and now says only in passing - is that the change also gave the company a chance to get more than $200 million in tax deductions. Under Cook's initial deal, Apple, which declined to comment, would have received no deductions because a 1993 tax law would have barred it from treating Cook's grant as an operating expense.

By my estimate, revising the grant has generated $58 million in tax deductions so far for Apple, which would get $168 million more over the next six years if Cook receives the rest of his performance-based stock at today's price. In return for agreeing to revise his deal, Cook has been collecting some restricted shares each year rather than having to wait until this August for the first half of his grant and until 2021 for the balance.

The Apple change is an example of how U.S. companies, in the process of making shareholders happy by putting executives' compensation at risk, have also managed to make an end-run around the 1993 law that was supposed to limit federal tax deductions on top officers' compensation to $1 million a year per executive.

As Cook's modified deal shows, those pay-deductibility limits are even more porous than we at the Washington Post and ProPublica realized three weeks ago, when we wrote that the deduction cap had failed to put the brakes on executive pay.

Under that 1993 law, "performance-based" compensation isn't subject to the $1 million limit. The law, pushed by President Bill Clinton during his first term, initially covered five "named executive officers" at companies with publicly traded stock. Now, it covers four NEOs per company. (Chief financial officers were excluded in 2007).

Since we last visited the topic, we've learned more about how company compensation trends have changed, particularly in recent years. We had calculated, based on expert advice, that while executive compensation overall continued to skyrocket, the portion subject to the deduction cap had outpaced the pay-for-performance component. In fact, it turns out that the reverse is true. We learned this by hiring compensation data provider Equilar to tease out the details from proxy statements of 40 big companies, including Apple.

Those firms are the members of the "Nifty Fifty" club - the 50 S&P 500 companies with the greatest stock market value - that also disclosed executive compensation for 1992, the year before the limits on deductibility took effect.

Then, average total compensation per executive at the 40 companies was $2.1 million. In 2014, it had jumped to $12.7 million.

Along with aggressively boosting compensation, these companies have moved aggressively to pay-for-performance - so much so that 76 percent of the total compensation in 2014 was tax-deductible. That's far more than if 1992 patterns had held.

The most striking number involves salaries, the only one of today's pay categories that is totally subject to the deductibility limit. Salaries shrank from 23 percent of compensation in 1992 to a mere 8.8 percent in 2014. The biggest growth area: performance-based restricted stock, which made up 40.5 percent of 2014 compensation. Restricted stock made up only 9.7 percent of compensation in 1992, and little of it was performance-based.

"The trend has been to make restricted shares pay-for-performance instead of just vesting over time," said Dan Marcec, Equilar's director of content. He said 83 percent of restricted share grants to chief executives of S&P 500 companies are now based partly or entirely on performance, up from 58 percent in 2010.

Bonuses have also shifted substantially into the pay-for-performance category, Equilar's numbers show. Bonuses made up 21.4 percent of executive compensation at the companies we reviewed in 2014, and 93 percent of that was performance-based.

What's driving this shift? Tax deductions are a factor but not the single factor.

"There has been a lot of scrutiny and pressure from investors and from the say-on-pay rules that are part of Dodd-Frank," Marcec said. That's the financial-reform legislation that was passed after the 2008 financial crisis and that requires, among other things, that public companies offer shareholders a nonbinding vote at least once every three years on top execs' pay packages.

Shareholders have been overwhelmingly receptive to "say on pay" proposals. According to a Conference Board study, 91 percent of the shares voted last year approved "say on pay." Only about 1.5 percent of the firms in the Conference Board's database - 44 of the Russell 3000 companies - failed to get support from a majority of the voting shares.

There is another development pushing performance-based compensation. The Securities and Exchange Commission will soon require companies to disclose the relationship between executive pay and companies' performance. "This has been a major factor," said Matteo Tonello, a Conference Board managing director.

The shift to performance-based compensation has greatly reduced whatever effect the 1993 deductibility limit may have had.

Some senators have called for the law to be amended to end pay-for-performance deductions. So has Hillary Clinton, who is proposing to close a big loophole in one of her husband's signature pieces of legislation.

There are no comprehensive numbers on what proportion of named executive officers' compensation is tax-deductible. Steven Balsam, a professor at Temple University's Fox School of Business, took a swing at the subject four years ago. In an oft-cited paper, "Taxes and Executive Compensation," written for the Economic Policy Institute, he analyzed compensation paid by 7,248 companies in 2010.

However, to simplify things, Balsam counted all restricted stock and bonuses as subject to the deduction cap; we followed his method in our original analysis.

When I revisited the subject with him recently, Balsam told me that he couldn't possibly do a detailed, company-by-company study of more than 7,000 firms. "There was no way to deal with it," he said. "Even if you look company by company, it's not clear what is deductible and what isn't."

In annual proxy statements, companies are required to provide a compensation summary and discussion, but the level of disclosure can vary greatly. And proxies generally note only that a company intends to comply with the deductibility rule, not whether it does.

Balsam's explanation: "Even if companies think that they are making their grants deductible, that may not be the case. Companies have to jump through all sorts of hoops. The tax code is incredibly complex."

Which brings us back to the one restricted stock grant we decided to examine closely - Apple chief executive Cook's.

One of the more interesting aspects of Cook's revised deal is that it has no upside for him.

If Apple's total return - stock price increases or decreases, plus reinvested dividends - is in the top third of companies in the S&P 500, Cook gets all that year's performance-based shares. If Apple is in the middle third, he gets half of them. If it's in the lowest third, he forfeits them.

Even if Apple produces extraordinary results, Cook won't get more performance-based shares than his original grant gave him.

According to Apple filings, Cook forfeited stock then worth about $1.7 million in 2013, the first year his grant modification took effect.

However, Cook has already received about 2.2 million shares as the result of the modification, rather than having to wait until Aug. 24 of this year to get any stock at all. The cash dividends - currently $2.08 a share annually - on those shares exceed the $1.7 million value of the shares he forfeited. Under terms of his grant, as I read it, he doesn't collect any dividends on unvested shares.

Companies, especially big companies, have been moving increasingly to performance-based compensation in an era in which they want to keep "say on pay" voters on their side. They also have to worry about so-called activist investors.

But there's a fringe benefit. While loudly proclaiming their devotion to shareholder value, the companies can quietly take tax deductions that would not be available under "pay for pulse" compensation practices. It's yet another example of corporate synergy - and tax avoidance - at work.

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Previously: Bill Clinton's Phony Executive Pay Cap.

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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 7:48 AM | Permalink

March 4, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #92: The Many Fetishizations Of Media Fanboys

No detail too mundane, every lame joke an instant classic. Plus: The White Sox Are Also Holding Spring Training But Let's Talk About Other Stuff; Memo To Maddon: Up Your Game; Ivy League Not So Smart: Brandi's Brain; Boring Bears Banishing Bennett; I Don't Want To See Athletes' Smelly Naked Dicks; Blackhawks Babble; Bulls Babble; Go Trojans; and The Everton Minute.


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SHOW NOTES

* Pernell McPhee, y'all.

* Rauner/Payton.

* The daughter.

4:10: Media Fanboy Fetishizations.

No way! Nobody sings!

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This camp! Crazy!

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Crazy!

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A batting practice schedule.

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Classic! Only Joe Maddon . . .

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Japanese Fun Day.

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Hilarious! No co-ed rec team has ever done this!

* Next: Backup catcher's dirty socks and the latest knock-knock joke going around the clubhouse.

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18:03: The White Sox Are Also Holding A Spring Training But Let's Talk About Other Stuff.

* Memo to Maddon: Up your game, dude.

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23:17: Eddie Einhorn's Anti-Veeckian Legacy.

28:10: Ivy League Not So Smart.

31:56: Brandi's Brain.

35:16: Boring Bears Banishing Bennett.

Correction: I confused Cespedes with Puig.

* Sports Illustrated: The Government Won't Let Yasiel Puig Fly To Games In A Helicopter.

* All The Cash The NFL Has Screwed Players Out Of So Far In 2016.

* The Shrinking Shelf Life Of NFL Players.

43:39: I Don't Want To See Athletes' Smelly Naked Dicks.

* See the item The Hurt Locker Room.

* Aroldis Chapman To Accept 30-Game Suspension.

52:11: Blackhawks Babble.

* Blackhawks should hold a team meeting to discuss why this story and many others come up blank on the new, revamped Sun-Times website.

55:24: Bulls Babble.

* Coffman: Bulls Resting Themselves Right Out Of The Playoffs.

* This offseason is do-or-die for GarPax.

58:03: Go Trojans.

* Triton Men's Basketball No. 1 In Nation For First Time.

* Lady Triton Trojans Reach First Title Game Since 1994.

1:00:41: The Everton Minute: "Francisco Junior: My Everton Failure, Moyes, Leeds And Losing My Mum."

* BBC: Young, Welsh And Pretty Skint.

* Fanny: Lady bottom.

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STOPPAGE: 3:04

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

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Tom Chambers:

Food for thought: With all of the Joe Maddon antics with the onesies and faux hippie mentality, it doesn't ring true. Was he a hippie back in the day? He's a few months older than me and by the time I was old enough to be a hippie, it was over. If he means the '70s, guaranteed there were substances.

Is Maddon trying to create a diversion in case they don't succeed? He's right if he thinks the fanboy media has already been properly indoctrinated.

Also, no one is saying that he's taking Cubbie Cuteness to previously unimagined heights. I think that DOES put more pressure on the organization because (smart) Cubs fan won't take humorously to the Cubbies having so much fun with pie fights, pin the tail on the donkey, water balloons and air guitar with baseball bats as they lose 11 out of 18 and have to beat Milwaukee to stay out of the cellar as they near Memorial Day.

This Cubbie Kumbaya® is NOT funny to anyone who has been a fan for any number of years.

Didn't Kirby Puckett come out of Triton College? I you mentioned it, I missed it.

Coffman replies: The awesome Kirby Puckett (RIP) played ball for Triton after graduating from Calumet High School and playing for Bradley for a season (where he switched from infield to outfield. So did "One Dog" Lance Johnson. We did not mention these facts and shame on us.

And you nailed it with your thoughts on Maddon apparently trying to actually increase Cutesy Cubbie Bullshit. dude desperately needs to just focus on baseball for a while. There are still 60 guys in camp, you would think he could somehow keep himself busy with just coaching.

Rhodes replies: +1.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:02 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"After a series of primary wins on Tuesday, Donald Trump is the man to beat for the Republican Party nomination for president. And as you surely know, Trump voters are enamored of his carefully burnished reputation as a businessman supposedly worth 'in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS,'" Joe Brancatelli writes for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

"But like his all-caps boasting on Federal Election Commission financial forms, Trump's record doesn't translate to the travel industry. His travel forays over the past 40 years have been a strange brew of missed opportunities, dreadful timing, questionable financial maneuvers, swaggering braggadocio, tear-down-the-competition innuendo and outright failure."

Here's the part that particularly interested me:

Donald Trump's introduction to the world essentially came through travel. He took a $1 option on a down-at-the-heels hotel next to New York's Grand Central Terminal. Armed with a clutch of tax abatements, he and his partner, the publicity-shy Pritzker Family, converted the property into the 1,400-room, $100 million Grand Hyatt. The building was always controversial - the glass facade and ostentatious, multi-level marble lobby were brutal and brassy - and the partnership was always troubled.

Years of private conflict and failed arbitration erupted into a spate of lawsuits in 1993. Trump complained the Pritzkers, who built the global Hyatt chain, were bad partners. In their defense, the Pritzkers simply urged people to read Trump's boastful book, The Art of the Deal. Three years later, the Pritzkers bought out Trump for $140 million. That also freed Hyatt from a New York City non-compete clause. Now a public corporation, Hyatt operates eight Manhattan hotels, including the Grand Hyatt, which recently received a tasteful renovation. Trump's own chain, Trump Hotels, has two New York hotels.

Assignment Desk: Get the Pritzkers on the phone!

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From the links:

"A back-room feud between two giants of the American real estate world broke into the open yesterday when Donald J. Trump, the New York developer, filed a civil racketeering suit against Jay Pritzker, the Chicago financier, over the Pritzker family's management of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City," the New York Times reported in 1993.

"The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, charges that Hyatt used questionable accounting and unauthorized payments to enrich the Pritzkers at Mr. Trump's expense. One goal of these improper practices, the lawsuit charges, was to force Mr. Trump out of the partnership and thus free Hyatt to operate other New York hotels. Mr. Trump is demanding $500 million in damages and the ouster of Hyatt from its management contract.

"Jay Pritzker yesterday defended his family's role in the Grand Hyatt partnership. 'We have a lot of satisfied partners,' Mr. Pritzker said. 'If you want to see what kind of partner Mr. Trump is, read his book," he added, referring to The Art of the Deal, in which Mr. Trump boasted of getting the best of any transaction."

Click through for the ugly details.

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In 1996, the Times reported:

"Donald J. Trump sold his half interest in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York to the Pritzker family's Hyatt Corporation yesterday for $140 million, bringing to an end an often rancorous, 17-year partnership in a landmark property that marked the developer's rise to prominence."

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From Vanity Fair:

"Trump's first major real-estate coup in New York was the acquisition of the Commodore Hotel, which would become the Grand Hyatt. This deal, secured with a controversial tax abatement from the city, made Trump's reputation. His partner at the time was the well-respected Pritzker family of Chicago, who owned the Hyatt chain. Their contract was specific: Trump and Jay Pritzker agreed that if there were any sticking points they would have a ten-day period to arbitrate their differences. At one point, they had a minor disagreement. 'Jay Pritzker was leaving for a trip to Nepal, where he was to be incommunicado,' a lawyer for the Pritzker family told me. 'Donald waited until Jay was in the airplane before he called him. Naturally, Jay couldn't call him back. He was on a mountain in Nepal. Later, Donald kept saying, I tried to call you. I gave you the ten days. But you were in Nepal. It was outrageous. Pritzker was his partner, not his enemy! This is how he acted on his first important deal.' Trump later even reported the incident in his book."

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From Vice:

"He also started to get a reputation, in certain circles, for being a first-class asshole. Blair tells a story of when Trump, upon seeing Hyatt founder Jay Pritzker with a beautiful woman at a party, decided he would steal said woman and arranged a meeting - but when he found out she was just a friend of Pritzker's and not his date, he lost interest."

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See also: Out To Trump The Pritzkers.

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h/t: My dad, who sent me the MSP Business Journal article.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
Both The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour and The Beachwood Radio Hour are is in pre-production.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #92: The Many Fetishizations Of Media Fanboys
No detail too mundane, every lame joke an instant classic.

Plus: The White Sox Are Also Holding Spring Training But Let's Talk About Other Stuff; Memo To Maddon: Up Your Game; Ivy League Not So Smart: Brandi's Brain; Boring Bears Banishing Bennett; I Don't Want To See Athletes' Smelly Naked Dicks; Blackhawks Babble; Bulls Babble; Go Trojans; and The Everton Minute.

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Triton Twin Powers

* Men's Basketball Team Reaches No. 1 In Nation For First Time.

* Lady Trojans Reach First Regional Title Game Since 1994.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market
Where the beef is.

Ex-Con George Ryan To Personally Appeal For Statue
Former governor scheduled as keynote speaker at fundraising dinner.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Kaleo, Ne Obliviscaris, Tinashe, Nana Pancha, Butcher Babies, Cradle of Filth, Tonight Alive, and Set It Off.

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BeachBook

PBS News Hour puts its thumb on the scale against single-payer health insurance, and then refuses to correct its obvious error.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, March 3, 2016

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It's still lost!

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, March 4, 2016

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Just 23% came from the media.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, March 4, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Stop looking at Trumpsters through the lens of traditional voters; this coalition DGAF.

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Assignment Desk: WHY?

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Memories.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:10 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market

Where the beef is.

nicksmeatmarketetcbw.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:02 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Kaleo at Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.


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2. Ne Obliviscaris at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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3. Tinashe at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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4. Nana Pancha at Subterranean on Sunday night.

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5. Butcher Babies at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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6. Cradle of Filth at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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7. Tonight Alive at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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8. Set It Off at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

March 3, 2016

Triton Men's Basketball Team No. 1 For First Time

For Triton College head men's basketball coach Steve Christiansen, visiting Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove is always a little extra special. Christiansen is a native of Hinckley, Ill., just a short 15 minute drive to Waubonsee. So when Triton comes to town, many of Christiansen's family and friends fill the stands to cheer him and the Trojans on.

Last weekend's trip to Waubonsee was even more memorable for Christiansen. The Trojan's 93-59 win over McHenry County College in the NJCAA Region IV District 3 semifinal earned him his 300th career win at Triton. It also earned the Trojans a berth in the regional championship game.

They'll face Black Hawk College-East for the regional title March 5 at 5 p.m. at Waubonsee. The winner earns a trip to the national tournament later this month in Danville.

Christiansen has the second most wins in program history behind the legendary Rich Maack, who won 325 games from 1967-84.

Triton, ranked No. 1 in the nation among NJCAA Division II schools, notched their 26th consecutive win to improve to 30-2 overall.

"Three-hundred is a nice milestone, but it's a tribute to all the great players I've had the privilege to coach and the sacrifices they've made each year," Christiansen said. "It's been an amazing 12 years and I'm hoping it will last for many more."

The top-seeded Trojans dominated McHenry (17-13) from the opening tip, scoring the game's first 13 points. Triton did not allow a point until six minutes into the contest and jumped out to a commanding 30-4 lead midway through the first half.

All-American nominee Eric Gillespie (Warren) fueled the Triton attack with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Sophomore Eddie Miles (Hales Franciscan) also scored 17 points, along with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Dante Thorpe (Washington D.C.) chipped in 12 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

Next up for the Trojans is third-seeded Black Hawk East, currently ranked No. 14 in the nation. The Warriors (26-6) have been on emotional run this season as their program will be discontinued after the season due to budget cuts.

Triton won the team's only meeting in the regular season 71-56 back in November. Gillespie paced a balanced Trojan attack with 17 points while Thorpe added 15 in the victory.

"Although we are excited about playing in the regional final, we are very cognizant of the quality of our opponent," Christiansen said. "Coach Chance Jones and his staff have done an excellent job under difficult circumstances in leading their team to an outstanding season."

If you can't make it to Sugar Grove, the game will be streamed live online by Waubonsee. The website is www.waubonsee.edu/experience/athletics/. Click on "NJCAA Region IV Basketball Tournament" and then select "Watch Live" aside the game listing.

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See also: Triton Men's Basketball Team No. 1 In The Country For First Time.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:01 PM | Permalink

Lady Triton Trojans Reach First Regional Title Game Since 1994

The Triton College women's basketball team has defied the odds all season en route to reaching their first regional championship game appearance in 22 years. In order to win the NJCAA Region IV District D crown Saturday, the Lady Trojans Triton will have to defeat Kankakee Community College for the first team in the school's history.

Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday, at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

The third-seeded Lady Trojans (23-9) earned a spot in the title game with a convincing 87-71 win in last weekend's regional semifinal game over second-seeded Carl Sandburg College, who entered the contest ranked No. 16 in the nation. Triton's 3-2 zone defense held the top three-point shooting team in the country in check. Sandburg (21-8) shot 12-of-41 from long range and with those misses, came plenty of rebounds for the Lady Trojans who had a dominating 56-38 advantage on the glass.

Coleanna Funches, a freshman out of Proviso West High School, had a huge game for Triton with 19 points, 25 rebounds and 7 steals. The performance earned her NJCAA Division II Player of the Week honors.

But the Lady Trojans had another great team effort as four other players scored in double-figures. Taylor Pate (Proviso West) scored 19 points and Candace Madison (Proviso West) finished with 13 points. Tashianna Walton (Proviso West) and Alondra Chavarria (Leyden) scored 12 and 10 points respectively.

Triton led for the final 37 minutes of the game, and enjoyed a 24-point advantage at one point.

"Sandburg is a great three-point shooting team and we executed our plan enough to find success," said Triton head coach Kellee Robertson. "We played a 3-2 zone and dominated the boards inside."

Now for Robertson and the Lady Trojans, the focus shifts to the top seed, Kankakee. The Cavaliers (26-5) were ranked in the top 15 most of the season before dropping out of the rankings in the final NJCAA poll. Kankakee defeated Triton 79-71 in the team's lone regular season meeting on Dec. 17.

"Kankakee is a much different team (than Sandburg) so we will adjust according," Robertson said. "We are excited about the opportunity to play in the regional championship game and I am convinced that the end score will reflect the team that wants it more."

If you can't make it to Sugar Grove, the game will be streamed live online by Waubonsee. The website is www.waubonsee.edu/experience/athletics/. Click on "NJCAA Region IV Basketball Tournament" and then select "Watch Live" aside the game listing.

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See also: Local Connections Spark Triton Women's Basketball Resurgence.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:43 PM | Permalink

Ex-Con George Ryan To Personally Appeal For Statue

Ex-convict and former governor George Ryan will be the guest speaker at the St. Patrick's Day Salute to 3 Governors fundraiser dinner on March 19 at the Civic Auditorium of Kankakee, according to the Bourbannais Herald.

The purpose of the event is to raise $117,000 for three life-size statues to be erected in a Kankakee Park and dedicated to Len Small, Sam Shapiro and George Ryan, three former Illinois governors from Kankakee.

Of course, Len Small has been labeled by some as the worst Illinois governor in history; George Ryan was convicted of 20 federal felonies and linked to multiple highway fatalities.

The fundraiser was initiated by the GFWC-Il Woman's Club of Kankakee. There is an ongoing dispute whether the club is officially sponsoring the fundraiser and event or not.

I spoke with Shirley St. Germaine, a club member and vocal opponent to the statues. "The Woman's Club has never voted for the project," she told me.

St. Germaine said some club members are trying to railroad the project through. There has not been a quorum available to vote on the approval of the project.

According to the Kankakee Daily Journal, club president Dondi Maricle says it's too late to turn back now.

Another source told me they have thus far sold only eight tickets to the St. Patrick's Day event. That's only $400, not including food decorations and other operating costs, a long way from the $117,000 goal.

Is there community opposition to erecting statues dedicated to corrupt politicians? I would certainly hope so. Illinoisans are fed up with corruption. The people of Kankakee deserve to be at the front of the line. Here are some reader quotes from the Kankakee Daily Journal comments section:

* "Find another cause to bring to your forefront. Your group effort should be unanimous."

* "Do not honor convicted felons by putting them on a pedestal."

* "Dishonest and criminal people so falsely honored."

* "Does a sum of $117,000 truly need to go to bronze statues of people of very questionable reputations, namely that of a convicted felon in particular?"

There were no comments in the Daily Journal supporting the fundraiser.

What's next? Will the fundraiser go on? Will George Ryan's easily recognizable and surly baritone be heard on March 19th at the Civic Auditorium of Kankakee urging a handful of devotees to give money for a statue honoring him? Will he be remorseful for his past crimes and contempt for Illinois voters ? And of course, will hell freeze over?

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Ed Hammer is a retired police captain and author of the book One Hundred Percent Guilty. He can be reached through his website.

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Previously by Ed Hammer:
* George Ryan's Park Bench
* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies
* George Ryan's Other Jailhouse Interview
* Bugging The Chicago School Board
* Cop vs. Teacher
* Signs of Change
* Pols vs. Teachers
* The Terre Haute Redemption
* Rahm's War On Teachers
* About Those Indicted Nurses
* Body Language Bingo: A Guide To Watching The Presidential Debates
* George Ryan's Day Of Independence
* The Ironic George Ryan.
* George Ryan Is Unrepentant.
* Must Like Puppies.
* ILGov2014: The George Ryan Connection.
* Exclusive: Trump Puts Lion Killer On VP Short List.
* The Statues Of Kankakee.
* Now Even Statues Of Dirty Illinois Governors Want Your Money.

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See also: Honoring A True Illinois Hero.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:18 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: The Forgotten Algren

"Richard Bales will speak about his forthcoming book, Nelson Algren: The Forgotten Literature, in a Society of Midland Authors program on Tuesday at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor," the society has announced.

"Bales will speak at 7 p.m. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.

"Bales will discuss poetry, book reviews, essays and short stories by Algren that were once published but then forgotten. Although Algren was best known for novels such as The Man With the Golden Arm - winner of first National Book Award for fiction - the Chicago writer was much more than a novelist. Throughout his life, he wrote poetry, and in his later years he made a living by writing short stories, essays and book reviews. Algren was also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and spoke at SMA events.

"Bales is also the author of The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow, in which he used his legal and land-survey skills to solve the mystery of the cause of the Great Chicago Fire. He and his findings became the subject of a Discovery Channel Unsolved History episode."

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Dine And Dash
"Jim Dine, an internationally renowned artist first known for staging Happenings in New York City in 1959 and 1960, has been composing, publishing, and performing poetry as long as he has been making objects," the Poetry Foundation notes.

Dine will read at the foundation on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The event is free.

"The use of text in painting is a natural extension of Dine's writing practice. A creator of paintings, assemblages, sculptures, drawings, and prints, Dine has also authored more than 12 books of poetry. Bassist Marc Marder will perform with Dine."

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Here's Dine and Marder last November:

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French Colonial Illinois
"Fort de Chartres, built in 1719-1720 in the heart of what would become the American Midwest, embodied French colonial power for half a century," SIU Press says.

"Lives of Fort de Chartres, by David MacDonald, details the French colonial experience in Illinois from 1720 to 1770 through vivid depictions of the places, people, and events around the fort and its neighboring villages."

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From Illinois Adventure:

"Located on Illinois Route 155, four miles west of Prairie du Rocher, the site marks the location of the last of three successive forts named 'de Chartres' built by the French during their 18th-century colonial occupation of what is today Illinois."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:25 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Another "16 Shots"

"(Sunday) night, Creed director Ryan Coogler and Selma director Ava Duvernay held their Justice For Flint Event in Flint, Michigan. The benefit was held to help bring attention to the ongoing water crisis that has affected the predominately African-American city," HipHopDX reports.

"Vic Mensa started off his performance with the special Flint edition of his single 'U Mad,' then debuted a new track entitled '16 Shots' about the murder of Laquan McDonald, the 17-year old black teen who was shot by Chicago police."

Here it is (at least the beginning):


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Just for the record, we featured Sherm n Demand's "16 Shots" last November.

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Frequency Festival
"The state of the new music scene here is strong, if last weekend is anything to go by," David Allen writes for the New York Times.

"It was the climax of the first Frequency Festival, conceived by the writer Peter Margasak as an expansion of his Frequency Series, a Sunday-night feature heard regularly at the drink-and-listen space Constellation. Orbiting around Constellation but also taking in other spots around the city last week, the festival presented mostly local performers (some nationally prominent, others headed that way) in seven concerts, of which I caught three.

"All were formidable, none more so than the Spektral Quartet's free Sunday afternoon show at Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago. The foursome of Austin Wulliman, Clara Lyon, Doyle Armbrust and Russell Rolen focuses on new music, but isn't beholden to it. Their latest, chirpy release on the Sono Luminus label, 'Serious Business,' quizzically looks at musical humor through three works from the last two years, and a fourth by an up-and-comer named Franz Josef Haydn."

This was the teaser video for the Spektral Quartet peformance:


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Also from the festival, Chris Wild:

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I've Got To Have More Bagpipe
"Students planning to go the scholarship route for college typically rely on grades or sports, but one East Peoria youth is relying on his ability to play the bagpipes," the Peoria JournalStar reports.

"Egan Dickerson, 15, who attends Peoria Christian High School, said his cousins drew his attention to the bagpipes.

"They went to Monmouth College, and they told me if I wanted to go along with what they are doing and go to college for free instead of having student loans, to learn the bagpipes while I was young," Egan said. "Their system there is if you can play the bagpipes at a sufficient level then you're able to go there with a full ride."

True.

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And here they are:

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Bonus: The greatest bagpipe song ever:

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The Awesome '80s
Score sports talker Dan Bernstein this week argued that the '70s and '90s were super important decades for music, but that the '80s were essentially meaningless, music-wise.

That's something a hardcore music fan would never say; it would be like arguing that the '80s were a meaningless decade for sports. It betrays an ignorance that would be acceptable if not stated with such confidence.

A caller who read a list of significant bands from the '80s was dismissed mostly because, it seemed, Bernstein hadn't heard of most of the bands. That's fine, again, if one understands what one doesn't know about. But you can hardly argue the '90s were seminal because of grunge, for example, without understanding that grunge/alternative would have never happened if not for the seminal independent rock scene of the '80s that lurked under the surface and left of the dial, where Bernstein likely was not to be found. The caller rightly identified the influential bands that came out of the Athens, Georgia, scene (beyond REM) such as Pylon, Minneapolis bands such as the Replacements and Husker Du, and one of Kurt Cobain's all-time favorites, the Pixies, as bands that changed the course of rock 'n' roll and laid the groundwork for the alternative movement of the '90s. (And, of course, the '80s brought us the flowering of hip-hop in powerhouses such as Public Enemy, which Bernstein acknowledged, but then seemed to brush off. We are still living in hip-hop's immense shadow today, though, perhaps even more so than that of punk.)

The '70s had its value too - again, mostly lurking beneath the surface in the Velvet Underground, Big Star, and the CBGB scene. Every decade is important in music. Obviously rock 'n' roll broke in the '50s, and in the '60s the bands we now know as classic laid down the original templates for successive bands to emulate or break. The history-making continued in the '00s, and continues today. It was a silly argument - and an argument inevitably ignorant if based on radio and the charts. That's rarely where history is made.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:47 AM | Permalink

March 2, 2016

Winnetka Dude Wins $750K For Blowing Whistle On Rigged Stock Market

The founder of Winnetka-based Nanex, a real-time financial markets data company, said on Tuesday he will receive a $750,000 whistleblower award for a tip that triggered a $5 million U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fine against the New York Stock Exchange in 2012.

Eric Hunsader, an outspoken critic of high-frequency traders, said he qualified for the award after tipping off the SEC that NYSE gave certain customers a head start on trading information.

An SEC spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for NYSE parent Intercontinental Exchange could not immediately be reached for comment.

The NYSE trading information was described as "real time," even though some people received it before others, Hunsader said on Tuesday. "How can you call them real time feeds if one is faster than the other?" he said.

NYSE, which was acquired by ICE in 2013, agreed to pay the SEC $5 million in a 2012 civil case. The SEC alleged that beginning in 2008, some NYSE customers got an early look at trade order information that ranged from single-digit milliseconds to multiple seconds.

The settlement, citing software issues and compliance failures as reasons for the early look, marked the agency's first financial penalty against a U.S. exchange.

NYSE neither admitted nor denied the charges. The NYSE said at the time that the SEC had not alleged intentional conduct or that investors were harmed.

The SEC told Hunsader in a June 5, 2015, letter that it made a "preliminary determination" to honor the whistleblower claim that Hunsader had filed in 2013, according to an excerpt of the letter that Hunsader shared with Reuters.

Hunsader first wrote to the SEC about his concerns in 2010, but was unaware at the time that he could also file a whistleblower claim, he said.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform law empowered the SEC to award money to whistleblowers who give information to the agency which leads to a fine.

Hunsader launched Nanex, based in Winnetka, Illinois, in 2000.

The SEC, in its letter to Hunsader, did not disclose a dollar amount for the award in its letter, but wrote that Hunsader would receive 15 percent of the sum the agency would collect in the case at issue.

The SEC issued an order in January saying that it would award more than $700,000 to a whistleblower after making a "preliminary determination" about the case on June 5, 2015. U.S. law forbids the agency from identifying the whistleblower's name in the order, or company involved.

Marketwatch reported the pending award to Hunsader earlier on Tuesday.

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See also:

* Zero Hedge: Eric Hunsader Explains To CNBC That 'Markets Are Always Rigged.'

* Bloomberg: High-Speed Traders' Nemesis: Eric Hunsader.

* Washington Post: A Veteran Programmer Explains How The Stock Market Became 'Rigged.'

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:51 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"GOP frontrunner Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States is racist, discriminatory, and a betrayal of American values. It's also very popular among Republican voters," the Intercept reports.

"Exit polls conducted by ABC News on Super Tuesday show that more than 60 percent of GOP voters in five states favor Trump's proposed ban. In Alabama and Arkansas, that figure rises to nearly 80 percent. Trump won seven of the day's 11 state primaries."

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Before Democrats get too smug, though, consider this:

"A Fox News poll this December showed that even among Democrats there was broad support for the measure - as long as it was not identified with Trump himself. Some 45 percent of those polled favored banning Muslims when the plan was not identified as originating with Trump. When Trump's name was mentioned however, support dropped to 25 percent."

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That reminds me of this: "Obama Supporters Actually Hate Obama's Policies."

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Which reminds me of this: Republicans Like Obama's Ideas Better When They Think They're Donald Trump's.

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Another 16 Shots
This time from Vic Mensa. Plus: Frequency Festival, I've Got To Have More Bagpipe, and The Awesome '80s. In Local Music Notebook.

The Forgotten Algren
Poetry! Plus: Jim Dine And Dash, and French Colonial Illinois. In Local Book Notes.

Winnetka Dude Blows Whistle On Rigged Stock Market
Wins $750,000.


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BeachBook

Welcome to Michael Ferro's Tribune Company.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, March 3, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Only if it was on the lakefront.

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What is the Sheet Metal Workers union's interest in this race? A favor to someone else who is important to them, like Madigan and/or Burke?

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Similarly:

Assignment Desk, activate!

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Being deemed acceptable as one of his editors/publishers demands some soul-searching.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Be bigger.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:41 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The editorial staff of Gawker Media, which voted to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East last summer, has approved its first union contract. The vote was 88-2," Gawker reports.

"Ninety of the 99 current members of the bargaining unit cast a vote. The full contract, which will be in effect for three years, can be found here. A number of other digital media organizations are currently negotiating their first union contracts as well."

Now would be a good time for Tribune Publishing newsrooms to get with the times and unionize.

After all, says Gawker, "If we can do it so can you."

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"The dual publisher-editor role is being billed by Tribune Publishing as a 'content-first' initiative aimed at creating 'the largest global audience on all mediums,' according to the company," the Tribune reports. "It also straddles the line between business and journalism, a shift that Dold, a longtime journalist who most recently served as Tribune's editorial page editor, said is already taking place."

It doesn't straddle the line in the least - it crosses it. Making a newspaper's editor the publisher is a method owners have used to abolish the separation of church and state that is supposed to protect the integrity of the newsroom's journalism; reporters and editors now report to the publisher, who also happens to edit the newspaper. We all know what that's about.

"The editor at the Tribune before I came in had been involved in business initiatives," Dold said. "I served with a number of publishers here, including Tony Hunter, and every one of them understood how important our journalism was and how important it was to protect the integrity of that. So that doesn't change at all, whatever the titles are."

Perhaps, but Michael Ferro clearly does not understand how important it is to protect a newsroom's integrity.

Unasked of Dold: Does it trouble you that Michael Ferro dipped into the Sun-Times newsroom when he was the principal owner there and meddled with the paper's political coverage to an extent that highly respected veteran reporter Dave McKinney chose to leave? Does it bother you that veteran Capitol Fax publisher and syndicated political columnist Rich Miller "was dismissed by the Sun-Times after penning a column critical of Mr. Rauner?" Does it concern you that "Ferro ha[d] been exerting pressure on editors regarding coverage of Rauner?"

These are the questions of Dold that have to be asked. Did you raise these issues with Ferro before you accepted the editor/publisher job? Did you receive assurances that he wouldn't interfere with the newsroom?

My guess is that Dold took the money and the power and ran.

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Dold's assurances that integrity would remain intact comes just two days after longtime industry analyst Ken Doctor reported for Politico this:

While old-fashioned investigative journalism took center stage in Los Angeles at the Oscars Sunday evening, hometown reporters for the L.A. Times found themselves scrambling to cover the event.

The Times had been allocated six passes for entry to the Dolby Theater - essential access to tell the story of the night by the big broadsheet located in America's entertainment capital - but until the last minute not one of them was allocated to a reporter.

According to several sources in and around the Times, the passes went to the Tribune Publishing's new brass. Tribune Publishing Chairman Michael Ferro and CEO Justin Dearborn reportedly used the passes, each along with a guest.

The last two were earmarked for publisher Tim Ryan, who was persuaded to do the right thing and gave up his seats after receiving a flabbergasted e-mail from the Times' film desk.

Those tickets - in the cheaper, mezzanine seats - allowed Times reporters Amy Kaufman and Steve Zeitchik into the theater to do their reporting.

That's not even the best part. This is:

Times editor Davan Maharaj, who spent part of Monday putting out the fires sparked by the incident, didn't respond to an e-mail requesting comment; he had told staffers that he was concerned that news of the Oscar ticket flap would make its way into the press.

Maharaj also just added the role of publisher to his job as editor of the Times.

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In fact, "As part of the companywide restructuring, editors will assume editor-publisher roles at eight other Tribune papers, including Jeff Light at the San Diego Union-Tribune."

The editor/publisher gambit is well-known at small papers - and is generally perceived in the industry as a small-paper kind of thing to do to make sure editors are on board with advertisers. Ferro did the same thing at the Sun-Times, making Jim Kirk the editor/publisher. The Tribune's newspapers further degrade their brand with this kind of amateur positioning.

(Reading the Times article on Maharaj is a real kick if you know that Maharaj is widely viewed in the newsroom as a flunky - which was also how Dold predecessor Gerry Kern was seen in many quarters from the get-go when he was installed as editor by Sam Zell and Randy Michaels, which is something to keep in mind when Dold cites the previous editor's involvement in business initiatives.)

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Meanwhile, Ferro has announced that he will put his stake in the Sun-Times into a charitable trust - two words not usually associated with Ferro.

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Eddie Einhorn's Anti-Veeckian Legacy
He took everything done by the most popular owner in Chicago sports and did the opposite. In The White Sox Report.

Terracotta Warriors
"A life-size army of painted clay soldiers buried to guard an emperor's tomb" - now at the Field!

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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