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« May 2016 | Main | July 2016 »

June 30, 2016

Fantasy Fix: The RP Market Heats Up

With a month or so to go before the MLB trading deadline, there have been numerous reports and rumors about fantasy-relevant RPs potentially being traded.

Here's a look at a few of the names being batted about, and how a trade could affect their fantasy value:

Aroldis Chapman, NYY: The Yankees are nine games back in the AL East with one of the best closers in the game coming up for free agency at the end of the year.

The latest reports suggest the Yankees want too much for the Cubs to trade for Chapman, but he still could land in Miami, Texas or elsewhere.

In either of those locations, he'd become closer for a team in the thick of post-season contention, which should only mean more save opportunities than he's gotten in New York.

Andrew Miller, NYY: Not a closer now. Could a trade make him a closer? Maybe.

The Cubs seem intent to stick with Hector Rondon as closer, so a trade to the Cubs might not help Miller's fantasy case, but if he goes to Miami, Texas, Houston or (perish the thought) St. Louis, he is likely to immediately become one of the top fantasy closers the rest of the season.

Fernando Rodney, SD: I'm secretly rooting for Rodney to return to the Cubs after being lights out so far this season, but again, he would likely play a set-up role.

But if the Yankees are too stubborn to trade Chapman and/or Miller, Rodney becomes the top target for all those teams mentioned above.

Going from a team 13 games under .500 to a contender should do wonders for his fantasy value, and boost his ownership in Yahoo! leagues from 78% earlier this week closer to 100%.

UPDATE: Rodney traded to the Marlins.

Ryan Madson, OAK: Has handled most of the save duties in Oakland after seeming to split the job when Sean Doolittle returned from injury earlier in the season.

He's a second-tier closer - with a 3.00 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, he's not near the caliber of Chapman or maybe even Rodney.

If he's traded, I think it will be more likely to make him set-up man, killing his fantasy value, at least for saves.

Sean Doolittle, OAK: If Madson is traded, Doolittle's fantasy value would soar, since he likely would become Oakland's full-time closer.

If it's Doolittle who gets traded - and the Cubs might be interested - he likely will go from getting about one save chance a week to none at all.

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Disco Danny Ford O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:28 PM | Permalink

June 27, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Nones at Township on Friday night.


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2. Wreckin' Ball at Cobra Lounge for the Motoblot Festival on Saturday night.

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3. Tight Phantomz at the Burlington on Saturday night.

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4. Prism Tats at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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5. Medicine Hat at the Elbo Room on Friday night.

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6. King's X at Reggie's on Thursday night.

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7. Party at the Moon Tower at the Elbo Room on Friday night.

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8. GDot Markee at the Promontory for God Said It Was Good on Friday night.

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9. Suppression at Mousetrap on Sunday night.

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10. Witch House at the Dollhouse on Saturday night.

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11. Joe Walsh on Northerly Island on Friday night.

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12. We Were Promised Jetpacks at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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13. Assembly of Dust at Martyrs' on Saturday night.

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14. Blue October at House of Blues on Friday night.

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15. Thrice at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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16. Boney James at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond on Friday night.

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17. Thomas McClary of the Commodores at RiverEdge Park in Aurora on Friday night.

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18. Ariana Grande at the B96 Summer Bash in Rosemont on Sunday night.

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19. Daya at the Summer Bash on Sunday night.

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20. Meghan Trainor at the Summer Bash on Sunday night.

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21. Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples at Ravinia on Friday night. (No video available.)

Kot: Dylan Mellow, Staples Feisty.

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22. Phish at Wrigley Field on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:40 PM | Permalink

Breakfast In America: Lowest Common Denominator™

I'm not mentioning my Breakfast In America Facebook page for a shameless plug (or am I?), but something interesting happened because of it. Last week I shared two articles:

* Article about Iceland's rise in international soccer - One view.

* Player in Sweden sent off for farting - 90 views.

And yet . . .

Iceland: A country with a population of 400,000 that survived the Euro 2016 group stage, whereas our country of 300 million would have difficulty achieving that.

Sweden: A country where "it's rude to leave food on your plate" sends off a player who didn't waste a fart.

I see how you are. Fine, I'll just go to the Lowest Common Denominator™*.

Here are some recommended changes to the English Premier League:

  • Refer to Manchester United not as ManU, but ManUre. (Okay, we already do that.)
  • Refer to Arsenal as Arse. (Ditto, yet their failure to win the league makes it appropriate.)
  • Refer to Everton as "The Next Aston Villa." (Which is like referring to an NFL team as "The next Cleveland Browns," but worse.)
  • Refer to Middleborough as Middlebutt.
  • Refer to Hull City as Full City. (Like manager Steve Bruce's belly.)
  • Refer to Southampton as "Liverpool AAA Affiliate." (They like selling players instead of pushing for a top four finish.)
  • Refer to Swansea as Swansuck.

* ™ Trademark owned by The Trump Organization

Sugar In The Cherry Kool-Aid: AFC Bournemouth is linked to many players, but outside of the great signing of Emerson Hyndman, they've been more successful selling marginalized players. The Cherry Nation has the officially licensed AFC Bournemouth Ladle™ for the official start of the transfer season starting July 1.

Population Of The Cherry Nation: Still three. Me, my high school friend who lives in Montana, and new Bournemouth signing American Emerson Hyndman.

Percent Sugar In The Cherry Kool-Aid: 30%

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Previously in Breakfast In America:
* Which EPL Team Are You?

* Know Your Terminology.

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Breakfast In America on Facebook.

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Breakfast proprietor Eric Emery welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:29 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

There was no Weekend Desk Report because I've been in Minneapolis since early Saturday morning for my dad's surprise 80th birthday party, and I'll be here through Thursday. I'll still be posting intermittently.

So let's see what's in the news . . .

Gubernatorial Culture Shock
"Minnesota's Legislature is living through special session deja vu," AP reports.

"Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders have repeatedly discussed a possible overtime session to resurrect a $1 billion public construction package and a $260 million tax relief bill, but pessimism about the session has been growing. If their effort to find a compromise and hold a special session fails, it won't be anything new."

A special session after a budget has passed to do more? What state am I in?

Governor Vs. Speaker
"Discouraging words were the only ones heard from DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt last Tuesday after their latest private meeting supposedly leading to a special session of the Legislature," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

"The two leaders emerged from their closed-door session complaining about each other's unwillingness to strike a deal and casting themselves as 'pessimistic' (that was Dayton) and 'disappointed' (that was Daudt)."

Wait, which one is delusional and which one is the tinpot dictator?

*Note for Chicagoans: "DFL" stands for Democratic Farmer Labor party, which is what Democrats are in Minnesota. After Watergate, state Republicans became the IR - the Independent Republicans. In 1995, they dropped the Independent part at the behest of the growing conservative movement.

Party Like It's 2016
"In the Minnesota Legislature . . . party crossing is increasingly rare. Over the past two years, House Republicans voted with other Republicans 92 percent of the time, according to a Pioneer Press analysis of voting data in the Legislature. House Democrats voted with other Democrats 86 percent of the time. That means that in the vast majority of the more than 500 votes House members took - on issues from booze to boats to budget - party members cast their votes in the exact same way.

"This isn't unique to Minnesota, either.

"'Quite a few state legislatures are even more polarized than the U.S. Congress right now,' said Seth Masket, a political science professor at Denver University who has studied state legislatures. 'In many states the Democratic agenda is so far different from the Republican agenda that there's a lot more ideological disparity between the parties than there's ever been.'"

Chief Executive
"Dayton often says that achieving bipartisan compromise requires 'agreeing to things one does not agree with.'"

The state entered the spring budget session with a $900 million surplus, but you never hear Bruce Rauner mention Minnesota when he ticks off the states he thinks we should emulate.

Rule My World
"The ever-mercurial Prince - who battled everyone from Warner Bros. Records to bootleggers for control of his music - churned through lawyers, managers and financial advisers in his 40-year career, leaving no doubt who was in charge," the Star Tribune reports.

"Yet now, two months after his death, it's attorneys and accountants who are running Prince's show. Prince would go crazy at the thought.

"He looked at managers, lawyers and business people as necessary evils," said Alan Leeds, who worked closely with Prince from 1983 to 1992 as tour manager and head of Paisley Park Records. "I don't know that Prince trusted anybody."

"On Monday, nearly two dozen attorneys are expected to weigh in at the Carver County courthouse over how to verify who qualifies as Prince's heirs under the Minnesota law. Those attorneys represent more than a dozen people who have filed claims to be Prince's kin, entitling them to some or all of his estate, which has been valued at $100 million to $300 million."

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The Cub Factor: Hell Week
Partied like 2009.

The White Sox Report: Robin Lives
Changing managers mid-stream rarely works anyway.

The Luke Leaves
ICYMI, my running commentary on the departure of George Lucas and his museum-quality movie props appeared on Twitter on Friday.

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BeachBook

Low-Priority Immigrants Still Swept Up In Obama's Net Of Deportation.

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Channel 5 Editorial: ERA For Illinois (1976).

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Nobody says "no comment" more than media folks.

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Neither farmer, labor nor Democratic. More like, say, Independent Republicans.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: They don't get it up north.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

Hell Week

Boy, that sucked.

It kinda felt like 2009 all over again.

You remember that, right? What with the losing and nothing going right and all of that?

But you kind of had to expect a little of this. Sure, the nerds say the Cubs should have actually won more games then they have already, but your heart was always saying, you know, this just seems a bit too easy.

Because before this week as a Cub fan, you were thinking about parade routes and how to choose between Addison or Heyward as the name of your next dog and/or child (though Willson is now in the running too.)

So yeah, you probably needed to slow your roll a bit, or a lot of bit. These Cubs are still pretty good and will still (probably) cruise to the division championship - I mean, they are still up nine games on the Cardinals for the division lead. Just no need to panic.

But technically there are over nine games left in the season, so they technically could easily blow this thing.

I can't say I'm in that camp right now. Baseball is a marathon and all, but could we be an arm injury from Jake or Lester away from being in a little trouble?

Pat Hughes would then describe a brown stripe running down the back of our trousers before each game.

But let's not think about that; we've got another new guy to be happy about. Welcome Kyle Schwarber 2.0 - better known as Willson Contreras. Because the Cubs needed another catcher who might be better off at another position most of the time.

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 1-6 for the week, getting swept at home vs. the hated Cardinals and then losing three of four to the hated Marlins. Okay, can't say the Cubs hate the Marlins, but maybe they should, and just for this weirdness.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue stay on the road for three with the Reds and four with the hated Mets. And yeah, the Mets are always hated. Oh, and we can hopefully hear the next lame nickname they've given to one of their players. That'll be fun.

Musical Outfielders: And no we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Kris Bryant got two starts, Chris Coghlan got two starts and Willson Contreras got three starts. One has to wonder what will happen once some guys get back to being healthy - notably Jorge Soler and Dexter Fowler. Coghlan is certainly expendable in my book (and anyone else's not related to him) but what about Willson? He may not have a position - or too many positions? The good thing is he is a catcher, and the Cubs love the hell out of guys who are catchers, and guys named Coghlan, for some reason.

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: Darwin Barney is our winner for the second consecutive week; for some reason playing well for the Blue Jays this year. He's batting .293 and somehow has taken 10 walks, too. What? Add in his always solid defense and he's a 1.4 WAR player already this season. If you added up his cumulative WAR for the past five seasons (and some were in the negative) he is at 1.5. That's nuts. So okay, right now he may be missed but this is a long season to turn that back into him not being missed.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: Once again it's Chris Coghlan. Cogs had two hits for the week in 14 at-bats. The weird thing is that he started the week batting .156 and finished the week batting .156. So he kind of seems like a .156 hitter. He did have six walks, which is pretty great, and seems like the classic "moneyball" reason why the A's had him at the beginning of the season. But just like the A's, I think he's gone soon. He had a couple bonehead base-running plays as well this week, and if all you can do is walk, and then be stupid out there after walk, then what was the point of the walk anyway?

Mad (don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe had the guys wear kinda weird suit things with shorts for this road trip. He may want to put this one in his back pocket seeing how things have gone. Here's a bit of a list of Joeisms. The interesting thing coming out of the Cub injuries and new guys in the mix right now is that Joe might be getting a little too all over the place to a point where even he doesn't know who is the right guy for the right job on any given day.

Kubs Kalender: Fans attending the Cubs-Mets game on Sunday will receive a Yoenis Cespedes compression sleeve. Compression sleeves: for when you want to give yourself a hug, but just on your arm.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that a lot of people will spell Willson wrong.

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Marty Gangler is The Cub Factor. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:47 AM | Permalink

Robin Lives

Amid Brexit, a Civil Rights era style sit-in in Congress, the end of a proposed Star Wars museum on the shores of Lake Michigan, and the very, very historic unveiling of luxury suites at The Donald's Turnberry golf resort in Scotland, our White Sox tip-toed back to respectability.

Don't be mistaken. The Cubs' six losses in seven games last week will attract far more attention. However, the athletes at 35th Street displayed their most resilient persona in the past six weeks as they took three of four in Boston before returning home to master the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday and Sunday, sandwiched around a puzzling loss Saturday when they hit a franchise-tying record seven home runs. All of which left the White Sox even at 38 up and 38 down.

Consider that with the 5-2 victory Sunday, left-hander Chris Sale ran his record to 13-2. Even without Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays pose a potent lineup. Yet Sale had a shutout going into the eighth when Troy Tulowitzki's drive barely cleared the left-field fence before ex-Cub Junior Lake, of all people, took a Sale delivery and deposited it into the right-center field seats.

But that was it. After closer David Robertson recorded a 1-2-3 ninth, Sale equaled his 2015 wins for the entire season and appears poised to scoot past his career-best of 17 before the end of July.

Against the East Division's top three teams, the Sox are 11-6 after taking five of six from the Blue Jays, whom they will face no more. Furthermore, the one loss - the 10-8 setback Saturday when six players accounted for seven round-trippers - defies explanation. It takes cunning, creativity and downright ineptitude to account for seven home runs and come up a loser. But more on that later.

The Sox even were on the verge of sweeping Boston on Thursday when they loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth and tenth innings but came up empty. The game was there for the taking before Xander Bogaerts, the league's leading hitter, rifled a base hit through the right side in the bottom of the tenth, letting the Red Sox escape with an 8-7 victory.

With last week's binge, Sox fans now have to deal with the prospect of having manager Robin Ventura around for the remainder of the season. That's another result of this recent resurgence. While the White Sox trail division leader Cleveland - winners of nine in a row and 18-6 in the month of June - by seven games, they still have the wild card within sight, trailing by a mere 2 1/2 games.

But this hubbub about firing Ventura mid-season is ill-conceived, not so much because Ventura doesn't remind anyone of John J. McGraw, but because changing the skipper 70-plus games into the season rarely produces improved performance.

In Robin's defense, you have to consider that he is guiding a flawed group, one with holes in its starting rotation, a questionable bullpen, a lack of clutch hitting, and about as much depth as a blow-up kiddie pool.

The last time the Sox made a switch in the middle of the year was 1995, when Terry Bevington replaced Gene Lamont. That team was 11-20 under Lamont, who continues to be active as the bench coach for the Pirates. Under Bevington's guidance, the boys went 57-56 for a final mark of 68-76 in the strike-shortened season. Bevington lasted two additional campaigns with a record of 165-158 before Jerry Manuel was summoned. Bevington never managed again in the major leagues.

The scenario of making a mid-season change is predictable. Assuming that the man in charge is a decent human being, as Ventura clearly is, the players say things like, "Robin doesn't swing the bats for us. He doesn't catch and throw the ball. We have to do it ourselves."

All of which is absolutely the case. What often happens when the manager is replaced is that the team has a short-term spike and then reverts back to its previous form. Like when Bevington took over and the Sox won four of five and then dropped their next seven of eight. End of story.

Perhaps the most memorable White Sox mid-season firing was that of Tony LaRussa who was let go in 1986. Then-general manager Hawk Harrelson wanted his own man to lead the team, which was 26-38 when Hawk's buddy Jim Fregosi took over. (Hawk actually wanted Billy Martin, who turned him down.)

The Sox responded by going 12-5, climbing within five games of .500. However, predictably, an eight-game July losing streak led to a final record of 72-90. That team, which included Ozzie Guillen, Carlton Fisk, Greg Walker, Ron Kittle and Harold Baines, performed about the same under Fregosi as it did under LaRussa. You'll notice that none of the players I mentioned were pitchers. Need I say more?

Fregosi stuck around for two more sub-.500 seasons, and he was gone along with Hawk, who moved into the broadcast booth. Unlike Bevington, Fregosi went on to manage the Phillies, who won the 1993 National League pennant with him at the reins. And LaRussa? Two weeks after getting canned, the A's hired him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Baseball theory says that a manager might account for three or four wins a season, but he also can bungle at least as many losses. It's impossible to measure even though many folks in the stands are confident they know more about the game than the guy in the dugout.

An argument can be made that a gifted manager is one who has a working knowledge of the game, something that Ventura no doubt has after playing 16 seasons while soaking up the styles of managers like Joe Torre, Manuel, Lamont and Bobby Valentine, adopting what he likes and discarding what he doesn't.

Beyond being a student of the game, the manager's responsibility focuses on getting the most out of his players' potential. Like a classroom teacher whom we fondly remember years later, the manager knows when to be demanding and when to be sympathetic. Ventura's critics voice the opinion that Robin is too nice and not tough enough. In his defense, this year's team runs hard on every ground ball and pop up, in contrast to past seasons when Alex Rios and a few others picked their spots for all-out hustle.

When you look back at very successful managers such as LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Earl Weaver, they put their players in positions where they and the ballclub can succeed. LaRussa converted Dennis Eckersley from starter to reliever and Eck became one of the greatest relief pitchers ever. Cox did the same thing in Atlanta with John Smoltz. LaRussa "invented" the modern-day bullpen, with late-inning specialists and set-up men.

During the winter at a baseball luncheon I attend in California, I enjoy listening to former big league pitcher Pete Richert talk about the days in the late '60s and early '70s when he pitched for Weaver's Baltimore club. The Orioles had a substitute outfielder-pinch hitter named Curt Motton, and Weaver primed him to pinch hit in very specific situations. So Motton, a right-handed hitter, would only face left-handers in batting practice, where he'd see breaking pitches in addition to fastballs. Richert's point was that Motton was always ready in a situation where he knew Weaver would call on him. Motton was prepared to succeed.

So in lieu of having a LaRussa, Cox or Weaver waiting in the wings to assume Ventura's job, replacing him during the season with someone like Sox coaches Rick Renteria or Joe McEwing would have little impact in the win-loss column. This is Ventura's team with all of its warts and blemishes, of which there are quite a few, and at this juncture they're .500, which might be as good as it gets.

Harshman's Homer
Before leaving last week's roundup, let's look back to the last time the White Sox hit seven home runs in one game. Last Saturday, the seven blasts weren't enough to beat Toronto because all occurred with the bases empty, and our fellows couldn't put together enough offense without the homers in the 10-8 loss.

The Sox hadn't hit that many homers in a game since April 23, 1955, but that day the South Siders scored a lot more than eight runs. How's 29 sound? That's correct. The Sox embarrassed the Kansas City A's that spring Saturday by a 29-6 count, the most runs in one game in franchise history. Bob Nieman and Sherm Lollar each hit a couple of four-baggers while Minnie Minoso, Walt Dropo and pitcher Jack Harshman hit the other three.

Unlike last Saturday when the Sox collected just five hits other than home runs, the Sox of yesteryear accounted for 29 hits. While the A's were not a good ballclub - they would finish 63-91 that season - their starting pitcher that day was Bobby Shantz, a 5-foot-6 left-hander and the 1952 MVP when he won 24 games for the old Philadelphia A's. Needless to say, Shantz didn't have one of his best days as he departed in the second inning.

Sox pitcher Harshman won 40 games over three consecutive seasons (1954-56), but he could hit as well, having originally been signed as a first baseman. While Harshman was a fixture in the team's rotation in the mid-'50s, he also made 22 pinch-hitting appearances in his career. Harshman's home run that April day was just one of 21 he hit in eight big league seasons. In 10 minor league seasons, he smashed 192 homers and had four years of 36 or more home runs. Definitely not Ruthian in stature, but Jack Harshman just might have been the best hitting pitcher in team history.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

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1. From Chuck Hempfling:

Jack Harshman was one of my favorite pitchers of the '50s. Can you write sometime in the future about the 17-inning game that he pitched; I was at the game, as I recall it was a Sunday doubleheader. Might be interesting to remember how he, Billy Pierce and many others had no clue about pitch count and still had great and long careers!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:05 AM | Permalink

June 24, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #108: Bullsology

The (Relatively) Sad Saga of Derrick Rose. Plus: The Jimmy Butler Trade That Wasn't (Yet); Breakfast In America; The Vincible Cubs; White Sox Are Red Sox Hot!; and The Mundanity Of Modern Mascots.


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SHOW NOTES

* 108.

1:11: The (Relatively) Sad Saga Of Derrick Rose.

* Derrick Rose Needed A Lot Of Help Getting Into College.

* NCAA Strips Memphis Of Record And Money Because Derrick Rose Didn't Take His SAT Exam Himself.

* Here Are The Details From The Derrick Rose Rape Lawsuit.

* Evan Moore:

* Michael Jordan Hands Court Settlement To 23 Chicago Nonprofits.

17:08: The Jimmy Butler Trade That Wasn't (Yet).

* Bernstein: "Does Forman really think Butler can't read the same reports the rest of us did?"

22:40: Breakfast In America.

* Where the back room is the front office.

24:27: The Vincible Cubs.

* Growing Pains Catching Up To Cubs In Fourth Consecutive Loss.

32:23 White Sox Are Red Sox Hot!

* Red Sox Beat White Sox 8-7 In 10 Innings, Avert 4-Game Sweep.

* Inside Ozzie Guillen's Baseball Limbo: Can He Manage Again?

* El Tank.

* Justin Ernest George Morneau.

* Marcus Semien.

59:09: The Mundanity Of Modern Mascots.

* Wild Bill Hagy vs. Southpaw.

* Oakland A's Fans And Their Big League Flushers.

* Wild Bill Bonus Video:

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STOPPAGE: 8:02

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:31 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Abbreviated edition.

"Motorists who park illegally in private lots and return to find their vehicles booted may soon have to pay a little extra for using credit cards to pay the $140 removal fee," the Sun-Times reports.

"Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) chairman of the City Council's License Committee, wants to empower private booters now roaming free in more than half of Chicago to charge a 'convenience fee' to recoup the processing fee they must absorb when motorists pay with plastic."

Emma Mitts, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #108: Bullsology
Is in pre-production The (Relatively) Sad Saga of Derrick Rose. Plus: The Jimmy Butler Trade That Wasn't (Yet); Breakfast In America; The Vincible Cubs; White Sox Are Red Sox Hot!; and The Mundanity Of Modern Mascots..

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground
Neither back nor fore, just bear.

At New Wave Coffee in Logan Square.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Marrow, Sarra and the Bats, Ben Watt, Black Pistol Fire, Blue Mud, and Leyla McCalla.

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BeachBook

Majority Of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Are Millionaires.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Vote #Chexit.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Wrexit.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Marrow at Millennium Park on Thursday night.


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2. Sarra and the Bats at Promontory on Monday night.

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3. Ben Watt at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Black Pistol Fire at the Metro last Friday night.

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Blue Mud at the Double Door on June 10th.

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Leyla McCalla at Millennium Park on June 13th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground

New Wave Coffee, Logan Square.

20160617_144930_resized.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:18 AM | Permalink

June 23, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

You can find real-time commentary on Wednesday's clowning in both Chicago City Council chambers and the U.S. House of Representatives at @BeachwoodReport.

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"Protesters on Wednesday repeatedly shouted down members of the Justice Department team investigating civil rights violations by the Chicago Police Department during a raucous public hearing on the South Side," the Sun-Times reports.

"During a 90-minute meeting at Kennedy King College, Justice Department attorneys were at pains to explain the scope and potential impact of the probe of the Chicago Police that began six months ago, over jeers from about half the members of an audience of about 100 people. The meeting was the second of four planned by federal investigators as they prepare a report on the Chicago Police Department, a likely prelude to a court order that will mandate federal oversight of the city's police."

Not to diminish the (justified) anger of those in the crowd, but I found the parameters of the investigation that were laid out the most interesting part of this report:

Christy Lopez, deputy chief of special litigation in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said the team was the largest ever assembled since 1994, when federal legislation gave the federal department authority to investigate civil rights violations by police agencies, and Chicago is the largest department ever subject to a probe . . .

So far, Coe said in her abbreviated catalog, investigators have contacted more than 400 residents who have made complaints or statements online or to a phone hotline, talked to members of 80 community organizations, visited all 22 police districts, and met with 150 police officers and 34 IPRA investigators.

Lopez said the investigation, into both the Chicago Police Department and the Independent Police Review Authority, would take another six months at least. Once the report findings are finalized in a report, the federal government could negotiate an agreement mandating sweeping reforms of the department, as it has in cities from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles.

The DOJ folks have scheduled two more public meetings for July.

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Tweeting Derrick Rose
Mostly variations on a theme.

Growing Up Chicago
A slice of the life from Lil Bibby.

Best Brexit Ever
The only nine minutes you need.

Chicago's Guru Of Indian Food
And chess freak.

Badass Asian Stuff
At a new Art Institute exhibit.

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BeachBook

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Who You - And We - Really Are.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: From pixels to potty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:02 AM | Permalink

Tweeting The Derrick Rose Trade

The trade of Derrick Rose to the Knicks on Wednesday kicked off the inevitable Twitter storm of laughter, tears and misfires. Mostly, it was a variation of the same theme.

Let's take a look.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

Pie's Brexit

Either way, in or out, the little person is getting fucked hard by someone.


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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.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Answer The Fucking Question.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Day-Glo Fuck-Nugget Trump.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Dickens Meets The Jetsons.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! What Real Business News Should Look Like.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Facts Are No Longer Newsworthy.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

Lil Bibby: A Slice Of Growing Up In Gangbanging Chicago

"Once again, Lil Bibby sat down with VladTV to discuss the ongoing violence in Chicago, which he believes is getting worse. When asked about 58 people getting shot in the city over Memorial Day weekend, Bibby said that the younger generation has grown up seeing the violence in the city, which the rapper now thinks they are emulating.

"At one point in the interview Lil Bibby also speaks about being raised by his sister, a gangbanger, which is where he reveals that women in Chicago gangbang just as hard as the men. He then clarifies how he doesn't want a gangster chick, adding that many street women set up men to be robbed or killed.

"Check out more of what Lil Bibby had to say, including why he thought he wouldn't ever leave Chicago."


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Previously in Lil Bibby:

* Robeson Recommends.

* Lil Chicago.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock (No. 7), Sept. 8, 2014.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock (No. 3), July 28, 2015.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock (No. 10), Feb. 29, 2016.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:17 AM | Permalink

At The Art Institute | Vanishing Beauty: Asian Jewelry And Ritual Objects

"Immerse yourself in the rich cultures of some of Asia's most remote regions with this summer's exhibition Vanishing Beauty," the Art Institute says.

"Drawn from Art Institute Trustee and accomplished photographer Barbara Levy Kipper's sweeping collection of Asian jewelry and ritual objects promised to the museum in 2014, the exhibition presents more than 300 exquisitely crafted works - highlights from this expansive, diverse, and thoughtfully assembled collection - that offer a panoramic view of the fast-disappearing nomadic and tribal cultures of Asia."

Highlights:

1. Miao Silver Making.

"The Miao people constitute one of China's largest ethnic minority groups, living in tight-knit communities across Guizhou province. For thousands of years, silver jewelry has played an important role in Miao culture. It serves as dowry, is worn in weddings, and indicates clan membership. Today, highly skilled Miao silversmiths continue to create intricate jewelry with traditional techniques."


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2. Dressing Up In Ladakh.

"In this short video, partially shot in Leh, Ladakh, India, Angmo Tsangspa dresses her niece, Sonam Angmo, in traditional Ladakhi attire. Sonam discusses the function and meaning of various objects of adornment in Ladakhi culture, their significance as family heirlooms, and the importance of preserving traditional dress today."

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3. Badass Jewelry.

"Among the pieces on view are a vast collection of Tibetan and greater Himalayan Buddhist ritual objects and adornments, Islamic silver jewelry from the nomadic tribes of Turkmenistan and the city-states of Uzbekistan, tribal and folk jewelry from across South Asia, personal ornaments from the Indonesian archipelago, and the monumental jewelry of southwestern China's ethnic minorities. Tying all these disparate objects together is the fact that the peoples who produced them have largely been pushed into the margins, surviving today only in the remotest of areas. In these cultures, jewelry is auspicious and holds great meaning; it is rarely mere adornment. Necklaces, pendants, earrings, and headdresses all serve social, ritual, or talismanic purposes."

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Through August 21.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:08 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Guru Of Indian Food

"Before I met Colleen Taylor Sen in Chicago in May, she shared with me several lunch options, but I knew I had to have a sub-continental meal with her, for she is without doubt the most diligent chronicler of the culinary history of our part of the world than anyone else before and after the late KT Achaya," Sourish Bhattacharyya writes for the Daily Mail.

"On Colleen's suggestion, we had lunch at Mishthan, a Bangladeshi restaurant on Devon Avenue (Chicago's Little India), which seemed far more appetizing than the competition.

"We were joined by her husband, Ashish Sen, an acclaimed authority on transportation statistics and an influential Democrat who has served the Clinton administration and is now the vice-chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority."

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Ashish was born in Delhi and attended the University of Toronto before winding up in Chicago.

Colleen was born in Toronto and attended Columbia University in New York before winding up in Chicago.

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feastsfasts.jpg

"Only she could have written a book as conversationally written and loaded with delicious facts as Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India (Speaking Tiger; Rs 699) - the depth of her scholarship reveals her abiding interest in the subject, which dates back to her first visit to India in 1972, and her prose is easier to digest than that of Achaya, the Mysore-based food scientist who wrote the benchmark-setting volume, A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food.

"Colleen, interestingly, is neither a historian (her Ph.D from Columbia University is in Slavic languages), nor a food writer by training.

"It was marriage that brought her in touch with Indian food and she developed a lifelong interest in the subject, writing copiously for newspapers and journals across North America, and contributing year after year to the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery."

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From the University of Chicago Press:

"From dal to samosas, paneer to vindaloo, dosa to naan, Indian food is diverse and wide-ranging - unsurprising when you consider India's incredible range of climates, languages, religions, tribes, and customs.

"Its cuisine differs from north to south, yet what is it that makes Indian food recognizably Indian, and how did it get that way?

"To answer those questions, Colleen Taylor Sen examines the diet of the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years, describing the country's cuisine in the context of its religious, moral, social, and philosophical development."

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From Wikipedia:

"After completing her Ph.D, she participated in chess competitions, analyzed chess games for Channel 11, and was profiled in the Sun Times [in 1972] for her skills in playing chess."

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Sen also wrote restaurant reviews for years for both the Sun-Times and Tribune.

For example:

1. Katsu: Comfy For Sushi.

October 23, 1996, Sun-Times.

"Katsu is a place where you can drop by for a bowl of steaming noodles or a dish of freshly sliced sushi, a glass of beer or sake, and pleasant conversation with chef-owner Katsushi Imamura ('Katsu' for short) and his delightful wife, Haruko, about sports, opera or the price of sushi in Japan."

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2. Malabar Meals 'Light' Dishes From The Indian State Of Kerala Are Built Around Its Celebrated Spices.

July 8, 1993, Tribune.

"Malayalis (as people from Kerala are called) are proud of their distinctive cuisine, which reflects their cultural and religious diversity and the bounty of their state. Though small in area-less than one-third the size of Illinois with a population of 25 million-Kerala is a state of astonishing beauty and considerable natural diversity. Its landscape is covered with coconut groves, banana trees, rice paddies, coffee and spice plantations as well as kitchen vegetable gardens. The state has hundreds of miles of coastline along with freshwater and saltwater lagoons teeming with fish and seafood.

"The most commonly used spices in the cuisine of Kerala are black pepper, ginger, mustard seed, fenugreek, coriander and curry leaves. Plantains (green bananas) are a favorite for curries or stewed in buttermilk. The traditional cooking medium in Kerala traditionally was coconut oil, which is extremely high in saturated fats. However, today health-conscious Malayalis substitute peanut or vegetable oil.

"Non-vegetarian Malayalis may add a fish dish, such as meen moli (fish or shrimp that is lightly fried and then served in a coconut gravy). Meen moli usually is served with rice (Malayalis prefer parboiled rice to the North Indian varieties, such as basmati) or with the most famous Kerala dish, wellayappam, or appam for short. Made from a dough of fermented rice flour and water, this disc-shaped pancake is fried in a little oil in a woklike pot so that it is hard on the outside and soft on the inside. Malayalis may eat appams at all meals, including breakfast, but Chicago-areal Malayalis generally reserve them for special events, such as religious festivals."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:07 AM | Permalink

June 22, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Despite swinging for the fences . . . "

Please, don't do that. It's not good writing. It's neither clever, original nor serves readers in any way. It's hacky, like a stand-up comic wearing wacky suspenders.

Anyway.

" . . . the Cubs-owning Ricketts family Tuesday was limited to a base hit . . . "

Oh my god. Take my life - please.

" . . . in its attempt to secure city approval for wide leeway in how and when alcohol is sold at the outdoor plaza they are building next to Wrigley Field," the Tribune reports.

I'm so old I remember when negotiations weren't in the final inning yet.

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"The Cubs warned Tuesday that the city may be liable for financial damages for restricting the dates of Wrigley Field concerts as part of new rules governing liquor sales and special events on an open-air plaza outside the stadium," the Sun-Times reports.

"Tucked away in the ordinance approved by the City Council's License Committee is a provision banning the Cubs from holding concerts at Wrigley during the school year - from Labor Day until June 15."

Well, that sounds reasonable.

"The 2013 ordinance that paved the way for the Cubs to renovate Wrigley and develop the land around it authorized up to four concerts a year inside the stadium. If there were more than four concerts, the Cubs were supposed to forfeit one of their 30 night games. But there were no restrictions on when those concerts could be held.

"Now, local Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) is changing the rules in the middle of the game."

They just can't resist.

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Besides being hacky, it doesn't stand up as an analogy. If it was the middle of the game, that would mean the 2013 ordinance was set to expire in 2019, which it isn't. And rules get changed every year in Major League Baseball, so to frame this change as unfair to the Cubs because it's "in the middle of the game" - instead of the normal way that sports, business and governing is conducted - is to put a Cubs spin on the matter.

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"Our plan for the plaza includes dozens of free events, including movies in the park, children's activities and live music," Cubs executive vice president Mike Lufrano said. "This ordinance puts at risk some of these because non-game day events on the plaza are limited to 12-per-year if they're successful at attracting more than 1,000 persons at any one time. We don't think we should be saying 'no' just because the events get popular."

Any development that might draw more than a thousand folks at a time is going to have to live by some rules - especially one in the middle of an already crowded neighborhood. You don't get carte blanche. In fact, I'd say the Cubs have already gotten too much. I'm with the mayor on this one, who has said the team ought to take yes for an answer and call it a day. But the Ricketts' haven't learned a thing in six years of ham-handedly battling City Hall. If they had, perhaps they'd get more of their way. Instead, more of this, from Lufrano:

"And on game days, we're required to deny admission to fans and neighbors unless they pay a ticket price, which we do not want to charge to fans on the plaza . . . The owner wants to let visitors in for free."

The owner wants to let visitors in for free. Isn't that special? And if they happen want to buy an $8 Lite or $12 Goose Island while there, they should be free to do that too!

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If you click through you can see Fran Spielman's photos, including one of the woman who offered this valuable viewpoint:

"Dressed in a Ron Santo No. 10 jersey with a hat filled with stuffed animals, Trudy Acheatel called herself a 'die-hard, crazy Cubs fan.' She predicted that the Wrigley plaza 'will be better than the Magnificent Mile,' but only if the Cubs are free to program the space without restriction."

Maybe Acheatel, whose name is spelled Trudie in other news accounts, ought to call herself Trudy Woo-Woo.

See her here leading off this New York magazine article about Laura Ricketts; and here, celebrating the Landmarks Commission's approval the Wrigley rehab; and here, at a downtown Cubs rally in 2008; and here, at a downtown Cubs rally in 2007, also published in the New York Times; and here, in USA Today; and here, at Ernie Banks' funeral; and here at the Chicago stop of a Good Morning America bus tour.

Whew.

Or should I say Woo.

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Fight Rule 41
The Justice Department wants more power to break into your computer. Don't give it to them.

Fantasy Fix: Injurious Trading
Consider moving (or acquiring) these players on the DL - including Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber.

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BeachBook

Wilson Elser Grabs 11-Attorney Insurance Group From Chicago Firm.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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It's almost like having a job!

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That's one figure less than the seven he's getting paid every year.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Figuratively.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

A Plea To Citizens, Websites: Fight The Expansion Of Government Powers To Break Into Users' Computers

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Tor Project and dozens of other organizations are calling on citizens and website operators to take action to block a new rule pushed by the U.S. Justice Department that would greatly expand the government's ability to hack users' computers and interfere with anonymity on the web.

EFF and over 40 partner organizations held a day of action for a new campaign - noglobalwarrants.org - to engage citizens about the dangers of Rule 41 and push U.S. lawmakers to oppose it. The process for updating these rules - which govern federal criminal court processes - was intended to deal exclusively with procedural issues. But this year a U.S. judicial committee approved changes in the rule that will expand judicial authority to grant warrants for government hacking.

"The government is attempting to use a process designed for procedural changes to expand its investigatory powers," said EFF activism director Rainey Reitman. "Make no mistake: these changes to Rule 41 will result in a dramatic increase in government hacking. The government is trying to avoid scrutiny and sneak these new powers past the public and Congress through an obscure administrative process."

Right now, Rule 41 only authorizes federal magistrate judges to issue warrants to conduct searches in the judicial district where the magistrate is located. The new Rule 41 would for the first time authorize magistrates to issue warrants when "technological means," like Tor or virtual private networks (VPNs), are obscuring the location of a computer. In these circumstances, the rule changes would authorize warrants to remotely access, search, seize, or copy data on computers, wherever in the world they are located.

"Tor users worldwide could be affected by these new rules," said Kate Krauss, director of public policy and communications for the Tor Project. "Tor is used by journalists, members of Congress, diplomats, and human rights activists who urgently need its protection to safeguard their privacy and security - but these rules will give the Justice Department new authority to snoop into their computers."

The changes to Rule 41 would also take the unprecedented step of allowing a court to issue a warrant to hack into the computers of innocent Internet users who are themselves victims of a botnet, EFF and its partners said in a letter to members of Congress today.

EFF and its partners launched noglobalwarrants.org, a campaign page outlining problems with the changes to Rule 41 and listing over 40 Internet companies, digital privacy providers, and public interest groups that support the project. The coalition is asking website owners to embed on their sites unique code that will display a banner allowing people to email members of Congress or sign a petition opposing Rule 41. The groups are also calling on citizens to speak out against Rule 41 on social media and blogs. The aim is to send a message to Congress that it should not authorize this expansion of government hacking and must reject Rule 41 changes.

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Previously:
* NSA Today: Archives Of Spy Agency's Internal Newsletter Culled From Snowden Documents.

* U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council.

* Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* What's The Evidence That Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much.

* Why The Close Collaboration Between The NSA And AT&T Matters.

* First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail.

* EFF Sues For Records About 'Hemisphere' Phone Call Collection And Drug Enforcement Program.

* Snowden Documentarian Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

* Court: NSA Phone Program Illegal.

* The Chicago Connection To The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind The Mumbai Attacks.

* Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection Of American's Telephone Records.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Amnesty International Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program.

* Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

* The NSA's "U.S. Corporate Partners."

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

* U.S. Supreme Court Limits Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF To Court: There's No Doubt The Government Destroyed NSA Spying Evidence.

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

* Which Tech Companies Help Protect You From Government Data Demands?

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

* Human Rights Organizations To Foreign Ministers: Stop Spying On Us.

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

* Dear Supreme Court: Set Limits On Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

* Jon Stewart: The Old Hope-A-Dope.

* Four Blatantly False Claims Obama Has Made About NSA Surveillance.

* EFF To DOJ In Lawsuit: Stop Pretending Information Revealed About NSA Over Last Seven Months Is Still A Secret.

* Judge On NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn't Actually Support His Ruling.

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

* Filed: 22 Firsthand Accounts Of How NSA Surveillance Chilled The Right To Association.

* Claim On 'Attacks Thwarted' By NSA Spreads Despite Lack Of Evidence.

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

* Government Standards Agency: Don't Follow Our Encryption Guidelines Because NSA.

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

* NSA Briefing: It Just Got Worse (Again).

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

* It Not Only Can Happen Here, It Is Happening Here.

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

* America's Lying About Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Obama Continues To Lie His Ass Off About The NSA.

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Has The U.S. Government Lied About Its Snooping? Let's Go To The Videotape.

* Who Are We At War With? That's Classified.

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

* NSA Says It Can't Search Its Own E-Mails.

* Does The NSA Tap That?

* Obama Explains The Difference Between His Spying And Bush's Spying.

* FAQ: What You Need To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Programs.

* NSA: Responding To This FOIA Would Help "Our Adversaries".

* Fact-Check: The NSA And 9/11.

* The NSA's Black Hole: 5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

* Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Citing Chicago Case Omit Most Of Mumbai Plotter's Story.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* ProPublica's Guide To The Best Stories On The Growing Surveillance State.

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See also:
* Jimmy Carter: America's Shameful Human Rights Record.

* James Goodale: Only Nixon Harmed A Free Press More.

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

* Paul Steiger: Why Reporters In The U.S. Now Need Protection.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:27 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Injuries Market

It's not easy to trade your players while they're on the disabled list, and considering trading for injured players certainly can be risky. However, it can be a good tactic for middle-of-the-pack fantasy teams either looking for an edge or admitting they don't have one and need to stock up with keepers for next year.

As a seller, if you trade someone who currently isn't supplying stats, your fantasy fortunes could take an immediate upswing, and if you're a buyer, you're banking value you hope can pay off during a late-season run to the playoffs, or possibly next season if you're in a keeper league.

Taking a look at the list of top 100 fantasy players currently on the DL, there are several who could be worth trading/trading for:

Dexter Fowler, OF, CUBS: 15-day DL, return unclear, but recovery not likely to be prolonged.

Trade him because: He's cooled down after a very hot start, but still has good fantasy numbers and multi-stat value: seven HRs, 28 RBI, six SBs, 41 runs scored, .881 OPS. If you're looking to acquire an OF who can just contribute HRs if nothing else, then Fowler is perfect bait, as buyers will see him as a sneaky multi-stat maven. Plus, trade him if you're a little worried he could become Wally Pipp if Albert Almora turns out to be Lou Gehrig, or at least Ken Griffey, Sr.

Trade for him because: Fowler is having a great year. He's cooled of late, but throughout his career August has been his best month for BA and OPS, and this season he's more often than not leading off for a team that scores a ton of runs. He could be headed for career highs in several categories and fits the bill for your primary need - a third OF who can contribute a little something in one category or another almost every day. You're willing to trade a one-dimensional HR hitter for that variety.

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Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA: 15-day DL, but likely not due back until All-Star break.

Trade him because: King Felix isn't having his best year, with his strikeout rate down to a career-low 7.6/9 IP from 8.5 in 2015, a figure which itself was down from 9.5 in 2014. Yet, his calf strain was a minor, freak injury suffered celebrating a teammate's HR, and as stupid as that sounds, it's not likely to lead to any other problems. Plus he's still a top-shelf starter on a winning team, and should yield decent trade value for you.

Trade for him because: Even though his strikeouts are down, he's had a lot of late-season success before, with seven complete games and four shutouts coming in the month of August during the course of his career. The injury is stupid, but minor, and Seattle's otherwise pretty good and can help him get wins. Bottom line: He's a Top 20 fantasy starter year-in and year-out, and can be trusted.

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Miguel Sano, 3B/OF, MIN: 15-day DL: Return unclear, but possibly by end of June.

Trade him because: Before his hamstring injury, he was struggling for one of the worst teams in baseball, with a .235 batting average, 11 HRs and 27 RBI. Not terrible, but not what you hoped for when you drafted him as you're starting 3B in Round 5 after his 2015 campaign of 18 HRs, 52 RBI, .269 BA and .915 OPS in less than 280 at-bats. He's still young and there's a lot of potential power there, so he should have some decent trade value.

Trade for him because: Sure, he's having a sophomore slump, but four of his 11 HRs this season came in the week or so before he was injured, so maybe he's primed to rebound. You need HRs, and though he's not good enough to overtake your starting 3B, you could slot him in as a third OF or UTIL.

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A.J. Pollock, OF, ARI: 60-day DL, may return this season.

Trade him because: He was a borderline Top 20 player overall before he got hurt just before the season started, and while he may return very late in the year (which is not even a certainty), you need bodies you can put in the starting lineup right now. His fantastic 2015 numbers, including 20 HRs, 76 RBI, 39 SBs and 111 runs scored, should net you plenty in a trade, particularly in a keeper league.

Trade for him because: You're not afraid of the risk that even if he's ready to play by late August, the Diamondbacks could play it safe, especially if they're out of contention, and have him wait until next spring for a comeback. He's an amazing 5x5 talent, still young enough that he could have even better seasons ahead than his fantastic 2015 season. If you're in a keeper league, it might be a no-brainer.

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Kyle Schwarber, C/OF, CUBS: 60-day DL, out for the season.

Trade him because: The Cubs have ruled out a return this season, despite all the rumors suggesting otherwise. He's a borderline keeper, but you have other stars you'll keep into next year, and the rise of Willson Contreras means he may end up as a platoon OF anyway, and not even get a chance to develop further at catcher, where he would of course have much more fantasy value.

Trade for him because: The Cubs are going to trade him to the Yankees for a bullpen arm. You're in a keeper league, so you can hold him into next season, when he will hit 60 HRs with the help of the short right field in Yankee Stadium, and be hailed (once again) as the next Babe Ruth.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:43 AM | Permalink

June 21, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Gov. Bruce Rauner typically has been unwilling to offer specifics about what he would accept as concessions from Democrats for a grand bargain on the state budget," the Tribune reports.

"For more than a year, his requirements often have been presented vaguely as some combination of the items in his turnaround agenda, which includes new limits on workers' compensation benefits, new rules for civil lawsuits, a property tax freeze coupled with provisions that allow local governments to decide what gets collectively bargained, term limits on elected officials and new rules for drawing political maps. Along the way, the governor has added to the mix a proposal to help fix the state's pension problem.

"Rauner visited Tribune Tower on Monday and offered a clearer picture of what he would accept."

Well, that sounds promising.

Changes to the rules on civil lawsuits, commonly referred to as "tort reform" is "off the table, for now," Rauner said.

"The biggies," Rauner said, are changes to workers' compensation, the property tax freeze with collective bargaining provisions and legislation to alleviate the pension problem. Asked if that would be enough for him to strike a deal with Democrats, Rauner said: "Yeah, sure."

"Yeah, sure" like "Hell, yeah!" or "Yeah, sure" like "Whatever it will take to get mom and dad off my back right now?"

Because it sounds to me like the latter.

*

Meanwhile, from the link (hey, a link!):

"[A] re-election pledge came as Rauner accused the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, the state's largest employees' union, of trying to wait out his term before working toward a new contract.

"The union wants nothing. They just want to delay. They want to delay (contract talks) for another two-and-a-half years and hope that I'm gone, but I'm going to run again, so, you know," said Rauner.

Of course he's pledging to run again. That's a talking point he's making sure is heard on his latest counterproductive media tour, now featuring rhetoric describing the Illinois economy as "collectivist." Not helping.

NBC Chicago made a headline out of the re-election pledge, but it's really more a threat than a promise.

Beyond that, he's obviously trying to extend the political framing beyond this fall's elections, when it's possible Illinois Democrats will gain a working supermajority and Rauner's governorship will effectively be over.

It's an amateur play; budget negotiators and Democratic party leaders aren't going to go about their jobs any differently because Rauner wants them to believe he's not a lame duck - nor will it somehow motivate voters to deliver more Republicans into the General Assembly.

Rauner has spent his gubernatorial tenure trying to find pressure points he can use to leverage his positions - and he's failed miserably at it. Using the media and his own public relations machinery to persuade voters to change the balance of the General Assembly has not worked - nor has pouring millions into legislative races. Visiting misery upon every corner of the state in order to make everyone cry uncle has not worked. Pretending there are legislative Democrats who secretly support his agenda has not created any of those Democrats. And yet, Rauner persists without stopping to take stock and reassess the situation. He hasn't come to grips with a simple fact: Most Illinoisans don't want to trade away their collective bargaining rights so a runaway private equity specialist can balance a budget on their backs. I'm also guessing that most don't understand the morality of holding hostage the budget of the nation's fifth-largest state in order to "reform" workers' compensation that determines how much employers who maim their employees have to pay out - especially when a workers' compensation reform bill was passed just five years ago. (Do that separately. Or is it that the only way to get your agenda passed because it can't pass on its own merits?)

What voters wanted from Rauner was some of that famed business expertise to change and modernize the way the government actually operated, along with the eye of an expert financial officer who could literally go line by line through the state budget and figure out where the inefficiencies were. They wanted a turnaround artist, not a Turnaround Agenda - and certainly not one that reads like it was drawn up by the hero-president of a Chamber of Commerce in an Ayn Rand novel. Voters thought they were getting a focused and clear-minded business person who could "get things done" without being held back by political attachments. I never bought that because he ran the most disingenuous gubernatorial campaign I'd ever seen, as I wrote at the time, but I understood the appeal.

Instead, we have a man who is a tactical disaster executing an unworkable strategy.

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BeachBook

Better than John Oliver's take.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Like a giant funnel.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:38 AM | Permalink

June 20, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

Man, there's a lot of great stuff on the site today. I wrote, assembled or edited all of it (as always), so that's why it's too late in the day for a column. Read these offerings instead:

Chicagoetry: Night Jets
This highway is like a molten river.

Someone Please Have Sex With This Woman
She's begging you.

Facts Are No Longer Newsworthy
Only opinion and reaction.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: MELK, Katie Got Bandz, Material Reissue, Built To Spill, Dead Kennedys, Jeezy, Lil Durk, M. Ward, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jonathan Coulton, The Lumineers, Caravan Palace, She Wants Revenge, Birdy, Migos, Langhorne Slim, Eddie Vedder & Theo Epstein, Paul Simon, and Liz Phair.

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From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

Breakfast In America: Know Your Terminology
For example: Much of Illinois' politics is run from the Back Room.

The Cub Factor: The L
He shall be so nicknamed.

The White Sox Report: Circus Trip
Put a tent on it.

SportsMonday: One Epic Losing Streak Left
The trend is clear.

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BeachBook

Rays' Orlando Pride Night Is Most Attended Game In 10 Years.

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The incredibly moving story of Orlando shooting victim Cory Connell, was related to our site designer, Cate Nolan, and separately but unknowingly, a neighborhood pal of our contributor M.L. Van Valkenburgh.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Would you like to send a tip?

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:25 PM | Permalink

The L

Willson Contreras didn't just become the 119th player in history on Sunday to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat, he became the 31st player to hit a home run on the first pitch thrown to him in his first major league at-bat.

He wasn't the first Cub to perform the feat, though. Jim Bullinger (a pitcher) also did it, in 1992.

Stepping back from the first-pitch metric, Jorge Soler and Starlin Castro also hit home runs in their first major league at-bats.

Further, Contreras pulled off his little miracle as a pinch hitter, to a standing ovation from a crowd celebrating his debut at Wrigley Field.

What a magical moment in a season of magical moments.

Lest I get too earnest pinch-hitting myself for Marty "Cub Factor" Gangler this week, who was detained by Father's Day activities on Sunday, I will say this - when it was announced that Chris Coghlan would be batting lead off for the Cubs yesterday I said aloud "Not for long!"

Coghlan is understandably thrilled to back, and he indeed proved to be an invaluable member of the team last year, but the outfield is getting crowded. My advice is to rent, not buy.

Cubs Correspondence

Steve: So I haven't seen anyone joke yet that Willson Contreras stole his extra 'l' from Welington Castillo.

Maybe because it's kind of lame, but I'd think someone would say it anyway, because most people are lame.

Marty: Yes, most people are llame.

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Nicked Name
The extra "l" is the source of his power. We shall call him "The L."

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Week in Review: The Cubs dropped two of three to the Nationals in Washington before returning home to sweep a three-game set against the Pirates, for a 4-2 week. It seems like the Cubs play the Pirates as often as the Red Sox play the Yankees these days.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue get the Cardinals at home for three to start the week, before hitting the road for a four-game set in Miami as part of a 24-game stretch in 24 days. They were originally scheduled for a day off on July 7th, but now have a makeup game against the Braves at Wrigley. That game is also Ron Santo Replica Statue day.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Try to follow along with last week's outfield maneuvers: Dexter Fowler started four games in center and pinch hit once; Jason Heyward started four games in right and one game in center; Chris Coghlan started three games in left and pinch hit twice; Kris Bryant started three games in left, one game in right, and came in for Coghlan once game in left; Albert Almora Jr. started one game in center, one game in right, and pinch hit and/or came in as a defensive replacement in three games; and Matt Szczur started one game in left. Some of those pinch hits included defensive replacing and some didn't, but I got too tired to bear down on that. In effect, the music stopped and I wanted to sit down.

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: Darwin Barney is hitting .301 with an OBP of .346 with the Blue Jays this season, where he's "making the most" of his opportunity.

He also keeps making plays like this:

As such, we're annoyed.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: This might be a bit easy - and we'd like to just pick Jorge Soler every week - but we'll go with Clayton Colby Richard. Clayton Colby Richard, you come home right now! You're gonna get a whuppin'! Richard's ERA is an astonishing 7.50 and his WHIP a gaudy 2.17. Clayton Colby Richard, you are the weakest link! Anthony Rizzo is a close second.

Mad(don) Scientist: Old Poppa Joe held his own here, unlike some others:

Dude is comfortable in his own skin.

Kubs Kalender: The Cubs don't have any promotions on tap this week but we suspect they'll be theme-dressed when they head out to Miami on Wednesday night. Perhaps a Miami Vice thing? Which would annoy us.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the Golden State Warriors' Game 7 loss has nothing to do with the Cubs.

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Send your complaints to Marty Gangler.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:40 PM | Permalink

Breakfast In America: Know Your Terminology

Part of learning a new sport is knowing the terminology. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as adding a superfluous "u" to words (like in labour and flavour and Illinois Governour Bruuce Rauneur). Don't worry, I'm here to help.

Term: Pace
Meaning: Running speed
Used in a sentence: Hillary Clinton shows great pace at pandering.

Term: Back Room
Meaning: What Americans call a sports team's Front Office. The support staff of a club.
Used in a sentence: Much of Illinois' politics is run from the Back Room.

Term: Own Goal
Meaning: A goal scored by a defender on his/her own team.
Used in a sentence: Bruce Rauner and Michael Madigan seems to have their own goals in solving Illinois' financial woes.

Term: Dummy Run
Meaning: A run made by a player to draw the attention away from an attacking teammate.
Used in a sentence: We all laughed at all the Republican Party nominees, because we never saw so many dummies run.

Term: Gunner
Meaning: Supporter of English Premier League club Arsenal
Used in a sentence: It goes without saying that Americans are sick of gunners and their acts of violence.

Term: Gaffer
Meaning: Slang for a manager or head coach
Used in a sentence: Joe Biden is known to be quite the gaffer.

Term: Nutmeg
Meaning: Kick ball between defender's legs to get past him/her.
Used in a sentence: Donald Trump's nutmeg skin tone is quite unnatural.

Term: Relegation
Meaning: In the pyramid of football leagues, the bottom teams play in a lower league the following season.
Used in a sentence: The Chicago White Sox are in need of some relegation.

Term: Cracking
Meaning: A really good one, most often a game or shot.
Used in a sentence: Derrick Rose's joints often make a cracking noise.

Term: The Special One
Meaning: Self-named nickname of two-time Chelsea manager and new Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
Used in a sentence: It takes a Special One to give himself a nickname.

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Beachwood Sabermetrics: Based on all historical data available from the beginning of time, Father's Day reminds us that good fathers raise their sons to hate Manchester United and Chelsea.

Sugar in the Cherry Kool-Aid: I'm not in the business of rooting against the Chicago Fire, but had they lost against the Indy Eleven in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament, they would have had a dead spot in the schedule to play Bournemouth in late July. But the Fire won, which made me sad. Also, persistent rumors have Matt Ritchie going to West Ham and that makes me very, very sad.

Population of Cherry Nation: 3, up one from last week. Me, my high school friend who lives in Montana, and new Bournemouth signing American Emerson Hyndman.

Percent sugar in the Cherry Kool-Aid: 30%, down 5% from last week.

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Previously in Breakfast In America:
* Which EPL Team Are You?

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Breakfast proprietor Eric Emery welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: One Epic Losing Streak Left

Cleveland! Clevelaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand!

Was it just me or did LeBron sound a little like Sylvester Stallone's Rocky crying out to Adrian in the aftermath of the Cavaliers' incredible 93-89 Game 7 victory Sunday night to break the Mistake by the Lake's 52-year sports losing streak?

And it wasn't just a sports losing streak, of course. As Cleveland's teams have struggled to return to glory since the Browns' last championship in 1964, the city has taken hit after hit after hit.

In 1960, Cleveland was still the eighth-largest city in the country with just under 900,000 residents. By 2010 it had dipped below 400,000 and fallen out of the top 40.

But it is not an exaggeration to say the city's luck began to turn in July 2014. That was when Mr. James announced he would return to the franchise where he had begun his professional basketball career before decamping as a free agent to the bright lights of Miami.

The son of Akron could have signed for max money to play just about anywhere. He returned to his home team for one reason and one reason only - to give it it's first-ever championship. And he delivered.

While I know there is plenty of antipathy toward James in Chicago - heck, there is plenty of antipathy toward him here at the Beachwood (Editor's Note: Guilty) - there are many reasons to admire this guy, plain and simple.

He came into the NBA right out of high school. In other words, he was supposed to be one of those straight to the NBA cautionary tales, the ones that led to the NBA's ridiculous decision to not allow young men into the draft until a full year after they have completed high school. It is okay for baseball and hockey players to go to the Show when they are 18 but not basketball players. I wonder why that is? Could it have anything to do with the racial make-up of those groups?

James quickly became a star and has, as Charles Barkley put it on the radio this morning, "never been in a lick of trouble."

Speaking of NBA ridiculousness, there was commissioner Adam Silver handing out the trophies after the game last night. In case he hasn't made enough of a fool of himself overseeing the disciplinary processes that led to Draymond Green first avoiding serious sanction for actually kicking someone in the balls to Green then being suspended for an action that wasn't even a foul, let alone a flagrant foul, Silver botched the Finals MVP award ceremony.

Off to the side of the stage when it was time to give LeBron his due was his eminence Bill Russell, for whom the Finals MVP award is named. Russell is, quite simply, NBA royalty. Anyone with a lick of sense would have brought Russell into the middle of the action and had him at least give the trophy to James.

Instead, Silver completely ignored him, giving James the trophy quickly enough that Russell never got anywhere near the center of the stage during the ceremony. Way to go Adam!

And then the NBA season was finally over. The league drags its playoffs out so long I would think training camps for the 2016-17 season would be opening in less than a month.

So we turn to the next season on the calendar, the few months when Major League Baseball has the team sporting stage to itself - except for a little soccer here and there. And lo and behold we find the Cubs still haven't stopped winning.

For the past few weeks, I've been telling people the Cubs could lose 10 in a row and still be comfortably in front in their division. After their weekend sweep of the Pirates, I'm upping that number to 12 in a row. In other words, they are well on their way to a playoff berth.

To recap, so far in 2016, Leicester City has pulled out its first Premier League soccer title in England after 132 years of futility and now Cleveland has ended its 52-year losing streak. Surely that qualifies as a trend does it not? And there is only one epic losing streak left to slaughter.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Melk at the Emporium in Wicker Park on Friday night.


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2. Katie Got Bandz at the WGCI Summer Jam at the new Chicago Stadium on Friday night.

The Early Registration: Summer Jam photos.

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3. Material Reissue at Wire in Berwyn on Friday night.

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4. Built To Spill at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

Setlist.

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5. Lil Durk at Summer Jam on Friday night.

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6. Dead Kennedys at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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7. Jeezy at Summer Jam on Friday night.

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8. M. Ward at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.

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9. Tedeschi Trucks Band at Blues on the Fox at RiverEdge Park in Aurora on Saturday night.

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10. Jonathan Coulton at the Vic on Saturday night.

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11. The Lumineers at the Chicago Theatre on Sunday night.

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12. Caravan Palace at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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13. She Wants Revenge at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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14. Birdy at Park West on Friday night.

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15. Migos at Summer Jam on Friday night.

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16. Langhorne Slim after the Green Music Fest in Wicker Park on Sunday night.

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17. Eddie Vedder, Theo Epstein, Joe Vedder & Co. at the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit at the Metro on Friday night.

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18. Paul Simon at Ravinia on Saturday night.

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19. Liz Phair at Hot Stove Cool Music on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:10 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Night Jets

NIGHT JETS

Then comes the white-hot shriek
Of the street jets,
The racing motorbikes

That tear up the expressways
In the middle of the night
In summer, when the windows

Are all open.

My railroad flat
Is really an expressway flat:
I am perched

Atop the Eisenhower,
Steel rapids
In a continuous, whirling wash

Of sound and light,
With electric trains
Running alongside.

This highway
Is like a molten river,
But the train

Is just a train,
Not a simile.
Although we can make it

Antique,

Like a steam locomotive
Along a frontier river
Dredged dry of gold.

I wonder about
This cult of Knights
And their earthbound jets,

Their rituals and rules,
Their hunger for danger v.
My hunger for safety.

I've seen the bikes gathered
At Louie's Grill in Forest Park,
Just a few blocks north

Off the Eisenhower.
I know that's them!
I wonder, deeply,

In the spaces between dreams,
Moments, then hours, awake,
When, windows open,

I become a docent
In a gallery of breezes,

Each a canvas
Of sound. And
Of urban silence, a relative,

Subjective silence, as
One becomes ear-blind
To the dynamo hum:

Horns, brakes, sirens, skids, stereos,
Neighbors' air conditioning, human voices,
A fat robin in the back alley

And rain.
Not as much gunfire now
As in West Town

Or Humboldt Park,
I should say.
And a night sky without stars!

The darkness and the silence
Are relative, artificial.
But the space is real, and almost

Pure.

Awakened from stress dreams,
Relieved at their passing,
Only to start girding

Against the stresses
Of the coming day,
Heralded by that lone robin.

To traverse space and time
At the highest possible speeds,
Mocking death, dissing dread,

Flaunting authority,
This is the game, the high,

The orgasm, I suspect.
I'd rather stay wondering, distracting
My mind from what else

Would fill it, wide
Awake in the whirling night.

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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 7:54 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Facts Are No Longer Newsworthy

Opinion and reaction rule "the news."


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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.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Answer The Fucking Question.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Day-Glo Fuck-Nugget Trump.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Dickens Meets The Jetsons.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! What Real Business News Should Look Like.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

Circus Trip

"The only thing this circus is missing is a top on it."

So said Matt Underwood, the Indians' play-by-play TV voice, amid the devastation Saturday during the second inning in Cleveland as the Tribe took a 7-0 lead. The seventh run crossed the plate in the person of ex-Sox favorite Juan Uribe, who had singled to chase current Sox non-favorite James Shields, who retired just five of the 15 hitters he faced prior to his departure.

Uribe had advanced to third on two consecutive walks - both on four straight balls - by reliever Matt Purke, another entertainer in this spectacle that once led the Central Division by six games. Granted, the Sox already were out of the game in the second inning when Purke arrived, but how can a legitimate big league pitcher come in from the bullpen with no ability to throw a strike? Oops. I think I just answered my question.

There's more. Sox catcher Dioner Navarro apparently concluded that he could pick off the 37-year-old Uribe at third, although Juan is in no danger of reminding anyone of Rickey Henderson. Either the ball slipped out of Navarro's hand, or he decided - in mid-throw - that this wasn't such a fine idea. The ball squirted off to the left toward the dugout, enticing Underwood to announce, "Navarro threw it to no one in particular."

Cleveland center fielder Tyler Naquin was the batter at the time, and Purke walked him as well, meaning that Uribe's run was now earned, arguably the only good news in the Sox's 13-2 ignominious defeat.

In three outings since being acquired from San Diego on June 4th, Shields has faced 60 batters, retiring just 26 of them. He's given up 24 hits, including five home runs. He's walked nine batters while striking out only five. He also fielded a come-backer to the mound against the Tigers last Monday with a man on first and threw so wildly to second base you had to wonder whether he needed an eye exam. (Despite Shields' five innings of seven-run ball in that game, the Sox came back and won 10-9 in 12 innings.)

You can't explain how the winner of 129 games over 11 seasons comes to the South Side and actually performs far worse than John Danks and Mat Latos, the departed pitchers he was brought in to replace. Consider this: Of the 60 batters who have stepped to the plate against Shields in his three starts, Big Game James has been behind in the count to 39 of them. In this menagerie he's now become Big Blame James.

Pitching from behind doesn't work in any league, let alone at the major league level. Hitters know that they are likely to see some kind of "get-me-over" offering, and they salivate at the prospect. If Shields, or anyone else for that matter, can't find the zone, disciplined hitters - another sorely-needed commodity for the Sox - are content to take a walk.

Maybe you can't count on Matt Purke to display that kind of command, but James Shields? (Purke, by the way, removes his hat, crouches down behind the mound, and says a prayer after taking his warm-up tosses. I respect one's faith, but, judging from his performances, this does not engender confidence for this fan.)

The culprit in Friday night's 3-2 loss in Cleveland was far more subtle. While the White Sox offense suffered from its typical impotence every time Jose Quintana pitches, doubles by Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia in the top of the ninth against the Tribe's closer Cody Allen evened the score at 2 and ensured that Quintana would at least get another "no decision."
Quintana was stellar, pitching into the eighth inning, giving up a couple of runs, walking one and striking out six. Unlike the aforementioned Sox hurlers, 74 of Jose's 111 pitches were strikes.

Nate Jones got the final out in the bottom of the eighth and got two called strikes past Carlos Santana to open the Cleveland ninth. According to the Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen, both pitches were sliders, and catcher Alex Avila then wanted a fastball but was shaken off by Jones, who chose to throw another slider.

As a pitcher, it's good to have an 0-2 count. All of us who played baseball in our youth can recall what it felt like to be in a hole at 0-2. I suspect that no one - or at the most very few - reading this ever played professionally, meaning that as kids we recognized that striking out in an 0-2 situation was a distinct possibility. For most of us, it was the prominent image in our heads. Coaches would tell us, "Choke up. Protect the plate. Just get a piece of it."

Of course, the guys who were really good hitters could care less about the count. If they saw another strike, they were confident that not only would they not whiff, but that they'd get a hit. Of course, that confidence was built on innate ability. Those fellas continued to play at the next level while most of us settled for softball.

So here was Jones. Being a hard-throwing major league pitcher, he no doubt felt positive thoughts that he had Santana right where he wanted him. However, Santana obviously didn't share that opinion. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, it's a reasonable guess that as a youngster his mantra was, "See the ball. Hit the ball." And that's exactly what he did, depositing Jones' third straight slider into the right field seats for a walk-off home run.

The waste pitch on 0-2 lost its popularity long ago. Many times pitchers continue to attack the zone even on 0-2. In the past, pitchers frequently would rely on a high fastball as a waste pitch with the idea that they wouldn't get hurt because a high hard one is tough to hit, and an edgy hitter just might swing and miss at an elevated heater.

What's interesting is that Jones has fared better with 1-2 or 2-2 counts throughout his five years with the White Sox. After Saturday, hitters were batting .184 when Nate gets ahead 0-2. But that number diminishes to .151 and .168, respectively, after he has 1-2 and 2-2 counts. Therefore, the argument can be made that Nate would have been far better off to "waste" one to Santana rather than trying to fool him with yet another slider.

But that's the kind of season this is turning out to be for the White Sox, who lost again on Sunday in an extra-inning walk-off when Jose Ramirez's hard grounder went past Jose Abreu, giving the Tribe a 3-2 win and a sweep of the weekend series. Carlos Rodon pitched well enough to win, departing in the seventh inning with the score tied at 2.

The Sox garnered six hits in the 10-inning loss, their 26th in their last 36 games. The first four hitters in the lineup got all the hits, while Todd Frazier, Alex Avila, Lawrie, Garcia and J.B. Shuck went a combined 0-for-15, a clear recipe for ineptitude.

Manager Robin Ventura, who inexplicably remains on the job, has tried a variety of remedies to try to shake the team from its doldrums. Changing the batting order, benching the slumping Frazier - he's eight for his last 80 at-bats with 31 strikeouts and is absolutely killing the middle of the lineup - for a day, inserting Tyler Saladino on Sunday as a fifth infielder in the tenth inning, giving Rodon an extra day of rest, batting rookie shortstop Tim Anderson leadoff, and other strategies have failed to make a difference. And the injury to center fielder Austin Jackson has turned a once-stellar outfield into a patchwork of slow, plodding athletes where too many fly balls have become an adventure.

So now the circus visits Boston for four games beginning this evening to face Big Papi and the Red Sox, who are hitting 16 points higher (.291) than any team in baseball. If the losses continue to mount, putting that tent over the whole situation might be the next step.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:55 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Someone Please Have Sex With This Talented Young Woman

"Chicago-based artist Gina Wynbrandt's Someone Please Have Sex With Me, released last month by indie comics publisher 2dcloud, is an intense, weird, vulnerable dive into the underbelly of young adulthood," Julia Wright writes for Paste.

"As the title suggests, the 5-comic collection follows Gina, a horny woman making increasingly desperate, futile attempts to get laid.

"She smokes weed, stalks Justin Bieber and gets sexually bullied by anthropomorphic feral cats - all illustrated in lurid candy pinks, yellows and greens.

"In the proud tradition of gross-out alt-comics doyennes like Julie Doucet and Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Wynbrandt revels in smashing the beauty myth, and she seems to be doing well at it.

"At age 25, she's already been featured in The Best American Comics 2015 compilation, nominated for SPX's prestigious Ignatz award for her comfort-zone-annihilating 2015 comic Big Pussy, and named one of five comics artists to watch by the LA Times."

Click through for the interview.

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FYI, Wynbrandt went to Payton and SAIC.

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Her blog.

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Martellus Bennett's Black Kid Adventures
"Martellus Bennett had already noticed the problem. But it was put into sharp focus after his daughter, Austyn Jett, was born two years ago," Sam Laird writes for Mashable.

"There aren't many children's books about black characters that are just going on adventures," the NFL star told Mashable this month.

Black characters, he found, tend to star in children's books with directly racial themes.

"My library has over 2,000 children's books in it, and most of the protagonists are either white or creatures."

"So Bennett did something unusual - he wrote a children's book with a black protagonist named AJ, based on his own daughter. The first story, called Hey AJ, It's Saturday, comes out Father's Day weekend. A series will follow."

Here's a Boston TV report on Martellus and the book:

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Origins Of Chicago's New Negro Artists
"The mass exodus of Southern Blacks to northern cities during the early 1900s set the stage for an awakening of Black consciousness. Life in the segregated communes of Chicago's south side fostered an unprecedented explosion of music, visual arts and literature from the start of the Great Depression to 1950, dubbed the Chicago Black Renaissance," Shaundra Selvaggi writes for the Atlanta Black Star.

"But Black Chicagoans were leading cultural and intellectual revolutions long before Lorraine Hansberry and Louis Armstrong arrived on the scene, researchers have found.

"Noted history scholar Christopher R. Reed and colleagues at the National Endowment for the Humanities documented the beginnings of African-American patronage dating as far back as 1890 for their project, which began more than two years ago.

"'There's been an assumption that intellectualism among African Americans in Chicago was rare prior to the Depression, but we have found ample evidence of a black arts community being active nearly 50 years earlier,' Reed said in a press release . . .

"Root, Branch and Blossom: Social Origins of Chicago's New Negro Artists and Intellectualism will be presented at the Roosevelt University library in Chicago on June 26 . . .

"Researchers plan to record their findings in a book to be published next year by the University of Illinois Press."

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Egypt's Urban Planners
"The pyramids and temples of Egypt, which still stand as magnificent monuments to ancient Egyptian civilization, were the result of some of the world's first urban planners - the ruling pharaohs who invested in town planning," William Harms writes for Phys.org.

"New research at the University of Chicago offers additional insights into how the pharaohs invested in town planning. Their innovations included the development of the first grid system as part of communities they established around their kingdom, according to Nadine Moeller, associate professor of Egyptian archaeology at the Oriental Institute . . .

"Moeller writes about her discoveries and reviews the work of other archaeologists in The Archaeology of Urbanism in Ancient Egypt: From the Predynastic Period to the End of the Middle Kingdom. The book is the first volume of a comprehensive study of the rise of urban civilization in a society that many scholars have thought was dominated by village life."

Here's Nadine:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

June 18, 2016

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Unmanned Ship at Situations on Thursday night.

Allston Pudding: America's most underrated band?

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2. The Anti-Nowhere League at Reggies on Thursday night.

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3. Dave East at Reggies on Wednesday night.

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4. Florence and the Machine in Tinley Park on Sunday night.

Pop Crush: "Tinley Park was with you tonight, Orlando."

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5. CeeLo Green at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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6. Iris DeMent at City Winery on Thursday night.

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7. RL Grime at the Concord for a Spring Awakening after-party on Sunday night.

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8. Frankie Valli at Ravinia on Sunday night.

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9. Jimmy Buffett at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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10. Alice Peacock at City Winery on Sunday night.

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11. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at Thalia Hall on Sunday night (no video available).

Dickinson: Bela Fleck Has The World On A String.

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12. Gregory Alan Isakov at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

Moore: "Magical."

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Catching up with . . .

Warrant at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on June 11th.

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The Hollows at the Emporium on June 9th.

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The Ponys at the Empty Bottle on June 8th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:11 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

"A Tribune investigation of nearly 700 complaints upheld by IPRA found the agency routinely obscured its findings and misled the public about how its investigations played out, often giving victims of police misconduct a false sense that they had prevailed and eroding the already fragile trust between the police and the community. Indeed, the agency's already low record of finding allegations credible - 3.8 percent of all cases closed by the end of last year - provides a skewed picture of its work."

In other words, even at 3.8 percent, IPRA's rate of sustaining complaints is inflated.

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Go read the whole thing - you'll learn anew how Chicago's police disciplinary system is designed to protect cops, not citizens. And how it's really an anti-disciplinary system built in part on the seemingly correct assumption that the cops who come before it are generally liars.

Body Guarding
"A federal jury Thursday found there was no racial bias by senior Chicago Police officials who chose bodyguards to serve newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011, but Emanuel still will have to testify next week about claims that security team jobs went to officers who worked on his campaign," Andy Grimm reports for the Sun-Times.

Also, please note:

"Most of the officers on Daley's detail had no prior experience in security, though they received training from the State Police or Secret Service after being promoted. New officers on Emanuel's detail received similar training once they were put on the security team."

On Thursday, I marveled that the officers chosen for this detail had no previous training in this sector of law enforcement; they get the training after they are selected, it turns out.

I also added a comment from Grimm on this point to Thursday's column.

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Now, to advance the story:

"When Rahm Emanuel was running for his first term as mayor in 2011, there were at least five Chicago Police officers who volunteered to work in their off-duty hours for his campaign, working security at his various offices or driving the candidate and his staff to events," Grimm reported on Friday.

"When Emanuel won the election that April, guarding Emanuel became their day job, as all five landed on a special security detail for the mayor-elect. When Emanuel was sworn in, all but one of them were promoted to Emanuel's mayoral security team, bumping out officers who had spent years as bodyguards for Richard M. Daley, according to testimony Friday in a lawsuit brought by four officers who were 'dumped' from the detail."

In other words, cops who choose their mayoral candidate wisely and put in the volunteer time with enthusiasm can set themselves up for a plum assignment later.

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"Attorneys for four officers who said they were demoted from those security jobs questioned whether it was entirely coincidence that some of them were replaced by fellow officers who had worked for candidate Emanuel."

A coincidence only in the sense that in Chicago there are no coincidences.

"Would you agree that it's highly unlikely out of those 12,000 sworn police officers you had to chose from, the five most-qualified would be people that just happened to be campaign volunteers for Rahm Emanuel?" [one lawyer] asked Terry Hillard, who served as interim police chief for the last weeks of Daley's final term and signed off on the promotions.

"I dealt with what was on the list that was handed to me," said Hillard, who once was a bodyguard for both Jane Byrne and Harold Washington. "They were selected before I got there as interim superintendent. I wasn't there to upset the apple cart. I was there for 10 weeks and 10 weeks only, and I was out."

Perhaps it's unreasonable to have expected a short-timer like Hillard - who had previously served 5 1/2 years as the real police chief in a 35-year career on the force before going into consulting, including offering his expertise in overseeing reform - to upset the apple cart.

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"CPD officer Hakki Gurkan . . . testified Friday that he volunteered for Emanuel's congressional office in 2004 and spent his vacation working an internship at Emanuel's Washington D.C. office the next year. When Gurkan signed paperwork before he was promoted onto Emanuel's security team, he did not mention his political work for the mayor.

"In 2011, Gurkan took furlough days for the month of January to help out with the campaign, and recruited several fellow CPD officers to volunteer to use their off time to be drivers and bodyguards for Daley's heir apparent. Most said they had never been politically active before volunteering for shifts at Emanuel's campaign officers or driving the candidate around on their off-duty time."

Maybe they were attracted to the campaign by Emanuel's charm.

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For more on how the mayoral security detail operates, please revisit "Daley's Police Detail Under Scrutiny," a fascinating 2013 report by Tim Novak, Chris Fusco and Carol Marin.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Parts Overlords
Enlarge for proper viewing.

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Beachwood Sports Radio: The Freeze No Longer Tastee
Segments include: Milkshakes To Soothe The Annual Painful Blackhawks Departure; It's Silver's Series Now; Hollywood Butler Going Minnesota?; The Welcome Willson Wagon; #FreeRickHahn; and KOPA Kabana.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production. Featuring: Unmanned Ship, Anti-Nowhere League, Dave East, Florence and the Machine, CeeLo Green, Iris DeMent, RL Grime, Frankie Valli, Jimmy Buffett, Alice Peacock, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Gregory Alan Isakov, Warrant, The Hollows, and the Ponys.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Nervy guitars and pounding drums can perfectly convey the restless sensation of being on the verge of breaking down. Jim and Greg share their favorite Anxious Anthems. Then, they review the new album from venerable songwriter Paul Simon."

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Weekend BeachBook

This series is your weekend read.

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'End' of Afghan war.

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Bad ruling from Trump judge.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

AHEM!

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Read the whole thread.

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Burke could've done it in six.

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Finance CEO = Chicago's Terry Duffy.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Ritronculous.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:20 AM | Permalink

June 17, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #107: Summer Rituals

Milkshakes at the Tastee Freez to soothe another painful Blackhawks departure. Plus: It's Silver's Series Now; Hollywood Butler Going Minnesota?; The Welcome Willson Wagon; #FreeRickHahn; and KOPA Kabana.


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SHOW NOTES

* Mickey Mantle.

1:36: The Freeze.

* The Logan Square Tastee Freez is no longer Tastee.

2:45: It's Silver's Series Now.

* LeBron James Has Redefined 'Hero Ball.'

9:16: The Pittsburgh Penguins Won The Stanley Cup. Noted.

10:54: Summer Ritual: Another Painful Blackhawks Departure.

* Rosenbloom: Teuvo Trade Is The Blackhawks GM Listening To His Coach.

* Really?

* Teuvo stunned.

18:00: Hollywood Butler Going Minnesota?

* TwinCities.com: Would You Trade Andrew Wiggins For Jimmy Butler?

24:34: The Welcome Willson Wagon.

* Cubs Scouting Yankees Top Relievers.

32:09: #FreeRickHahn

* Deserves a shot with a normal team.

39:56: KOPA Kabana.

* USMNT advances to semi-finals against Messi.

43:33: The Chicago Fire Reportedly Still Exists.

43:44 The Chicago Sky Still Has Work To Do.

43:52: An Unlikely Treat.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:23 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords

The real rulers.

autopartpaintingscarslawrencealb.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

June 16, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"Almost half of adults living in Chicago are spending more than they can afford on their homes or apartments, and they have dealt with the burden by taking on second jobs, moving to less safe areas, or cutting back on food or the quality of their children's education, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation study released Thursday shows," the Tribune reports.

Almost half of the rest are lying.

Prop Shop
"The head of the mayoral security detail told a fellow officer that several of Mayor Richard M. Daley's Bridgeport-raised bodyguards were 'motherfucking racists,' according to testimony Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by former members of the security team who say they were dropped from the team and replaced with black officers," the Sun-Times reports.

"On the witness stand Wednesday, Officer Carol Weingart said she joined the detail the same day as Brian Thompson, who would go on to lead the mayoral security team for the last months of Daley's term and continue in the post under Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Weingart is one of 11 white or Latino officers who say they lost their jobs when Emanuel took office to make room for African-American officers or cops who had volunteered to help Emanuel's campaign."

That, of course, would violate the Shakman Decree.

Here are a couple other parts of this report that struck me:

"City attorneys pointed out that most of the officers who were on the detail had no special training or underwent any testing to get their jobs on the mayoral detail, considered by many in the department's rank-and-file to be an assignment offered only to cops with political juice."

A. No special training? I just kind of figured officers on that sort of security detail would be trained in what to look for, how to position themselves, what to do in various scenarios. I mean, Secret Service officers are trained, right? I thought it'd be a junior version of that.

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COMMENT 6:34 P.M.: From Sun-Times reporter Andy Grimm:

I should have made clear that while they had no special expertise in security when they were promoted to the detail, they do go back to the academy and spend a month in Secret Service executive protection training after they get the job.

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Aha. Thanks for the clarification, Andy; very much appreciated.

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B. I have known that these assignments are considered particularly juicy, but I've never really understood why. Don't cops want to be out there on the street fighting crime instead of essentially baby-sitting the egotistical tyrant-pricks who tend to be our mayors?

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UPDATE 6:38 P.M.: I'm probably underestimating the extra pay. But still.

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And:

"Officers also seemed aware race played a role in the day-to-day functions of the unit: It was a practice on the detail to have black officers positioned closest to Daley when the mayor was in predominantly African American neighborhoods, or an Italian officer when the mayor traveled to a predominantly Italian area."

So the officers physically closest to the mayor aren't there because of their expertise and training at handling the lead position, they are there as racial and ethnic props. Do they at least get SAG cards?

PLM vs. BLM
"Several Chicago aldermen are organizing a 'support your local police' rally under the tag line 'Police Lives Matter' at the Jefferson Park District Headquarters on the Far Northwest Side on Thursday," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

I commented on this at length on Twitter this morning.

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Dork Calculates Chance Of Catching Ferris Bueller
Formula changes if he's not rich and white.

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Ferris's Life Mattered.

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BeachBook

Illinois Company Run By Really Rich Crazy People.

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The Shopping Mall Bubble.

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Media Calls For Rules On Targeting Journalists.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: New and unimproved.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

What Was The Chance Of Ferris Bueller Getting Caught On His Day Off? This Academic Has The Answer

In the classic 1980s movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, the title character spent his day off gallivanting around Chicago, seeing the sights and even hijacking a parade.

Unlike the super-confident Ferris, most of us would probably worry about getting caught if we skived off like that. But is that fear really justified?

We can use a neat mathematical tool known as the "random walk" to answer this question by modeling a day off in a city. This simple but extremely powerful technique is a way of simulating the path of someone or something to see where they end up. As the name suggests, a random walk involves moving in an entirely random direction to a new location and repeating this process once you arrive (and so on).

It is used in all manner of fields. Physicists use it to describe diffusion, the random spreading out of highly concentrated molecules in liquids and gases. But it can also be used in the financial forecasting of stock prices. It's even how Twitter suggests who you should follow.

image-20160610-29200-urdiow.jpeg

In the film, Ferris has four people who could ruin his day of fun and even possibly stop him from graduating high school: his mum, dad, sister and the school dean, Mr. Rooney. We can describe the path of each of these characters as a random walk and model how likely is it that Ferris will bump into any of them during the day.

We can work out how long it takes on average for two random walks to land on the same spot, as long as we know where everyone started. To do this, we multiply the time it takes to walk one block by the square of the number of blocks the two characters were separated by to begin with.

What Are The Chances?

To give you the best chance possible, you'd want to start on opposite corners of the city. In the case of Chicago, which is arranged in a regular grid of 31 x 41 blocks, this puts you 72 blocks away with each block taking just under two minutes to walk. Since Ferris has four people to avoid, we need to divide our answer by four, giving us an average time of 43 hours 12 minutes before he is caught by one of his pursuers.

Does this mean Ferris would always get off scot-free, and so that you could bunk off work or school without any worries? Not quite. While the average time to get busted is large, each particular random walk will take a different route and so it may take more or less time before being caught.

To get a clearer picture, I ran a random walk computer simulation modelling Ferris's day off 10,000 times. The maximum chance of Ferris being caught when his pursuers are randomly placed across the city at the start was a mere 20%.

But there's a neat little mathematical proof telling us that if you as the quarry can gain information on where your hunters are, then you could strategically avoid them in a city the size of Chicago for up to 1,165 years. With friend-tracker apps on phones these days, that's not such a ludicrous concept.

In a large enough city, the chances of you getting caught taking a day off are pretty slim. The one thing you really do need to be is a good liar. Luckily for Ferris, he was the master.

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The companion video to this piece:

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Martin Archer is a space plasma physicist at Queen Mary University of London. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously in Ferris Bueller:

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First, be white. Second, be rich.

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Ferris Bueller, the ultimate in white privilege.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

June 15, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Firing Chicago Police Lt. Glenn Evans over an allegation of excessive force is no longer an option for the Independent Police Review Authority because the state's five-year statute of limitations has expired, authorities acknowledged Tuesday," the Sun-Times reports.

"IPRA spokeswoman Mia Sissac said Tuesday that the window in which Evans could have been fired for the alleged misconduct closed April 11 - and IPRA recommended firing Evans on May 6.

"Sissac said that IPRA chief Sharon Fairley 'was working under the impression at the time that we were okay under the five-year statute of limitation because the process had already begun.'"

I wonder who gave her that impression.

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"The missed opportunity is an embarrassment for the Independent Police Review Authority, the embattled agency that since the fallout over the Laquan McDonald video-recorded shooting has tried to reshape its performance and image," the Tribune reports.

"An IPRA spokeswoman said, however, that the agency is still investigating Cmdr. Glenn Evans over separate allegations of misconduct that carry penalties up to dismissal."

IPRA's new catch phrase: "You're almost fired!"

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"Beginning in early May, IPRA's chief administrator, Sharon Fairley, moved to have Evans fired for breaking the nose of a woman who refused to be fingerprinted, but police Superintendent Eddie Johnson proposed a 30-day suspension."

Was that before or after Johnson pledged to regain the trust of the community?

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"Evans had risen to commander in large part for his aggressive style and hands-on approach, but even at that rank he continued to amass an unusual number of citizen complaints, including nine as a commander, a Tribune analysis in 2014 found. The most serious allegation - that he shoved a gun down the throat of a man and threatened to kill him - led to him being criminally charged, but a Cook County judge acquitted Evans despite DNA evidence."

Which also existed in the nose-busting case. But maybe the nose and throat were the aggressors.

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"Sissac blamed administration changes within IPRA, prompted by the McDonald scandal, for the oversight.

"This one just fell through," she said.

"Sissac could not explain why it took IPRA nearly four years to make that initial recommendation, however."

Because they were too busy reforming themselves?

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"The complaint against Evans had resulted from the arrest of Rita King in April 2011 on charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct. She was brought by officers to the Gresham police district station, where Evans then worked. In the lockup, she objected to being fingerprinted by officers, according to her lawsuit, which is pending in federal court.

"We know somebody who can get your fingerprints," the lawsuit alleged one of the officers told King.

"Evans was then summoned to the lockup. The lawsuit alleged he ordered officers to restrain King. Evans then pressed his fist into King's face, threatening to push her nose into her brain, the suit alleged.

"The misdemeanor charges against King were later dropped."

So the biggest criminal in the lockup that day was Evans.

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"But it wasn't until February 2015 that IPRA - long criticized for taking too long to complete its investigations - sustained the complaint against Evans and sought a 15-day suspension without pay.

"Facing a 90-day deadline to respond, then-Superintendent Garry McCarthy asked in mid-May 2015 for IPRA to conduct an additional investigation into the incident."

One that would last until April 11, 2016, I imagine.

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"By early May, Johnson, who had taken office weeks earlier, recommended that Evans be suspended for 30 days, double what IPRA sought.

"It was only then that Fairley realized that IPRA had mistakenly sought a 15-day suspension for a second time, according to Sissac. Four days later, on May 6, IPRA revised its recommendation and sought to fire Evans.

"Ten days later, Johnson sent a letter opposing the firing. On May 23, Fairley and Johnson met but were unable to reach a compromise on Evans' punishment.

"Fairley asked that the mayoral-appointed Chicago Police Board settle the dispute but withdrew her request the next day.

"However, lawyers then revealed to Fairley and Johnson that they had missed the five-year deadline in April."

Now I feel like punching someone in the nose.

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"Despite the passing of the statute of limitations, Evans could still be suspended for up to 30 days without pay for breaking King's nose.

"Evans also could still be disciplined for the January 2013 incident that led to him being criminally charged - even though he was acquitted.

"Sissac said a new team of IPRA investigators will 'start from scratch' on that investigation."

Great, I'll set an alert for 2021.

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"The Tribune published a front-page story in 2014 that Evans had amassed 36 complaints from January 2006 through July 2014, a period in which he was promoted to lieutenant and then named one of only 22 district commanders. Over that 81/2-year period, Evans had far more complaints than any other commander and topped all but 34 officers for the entire 12,000-strong department.

"He continued to pile up complaints - nine in all - even after he was promoted to commander of the South Side's Grand Crossing police district in August 2012 by McCarthy, according to a Tribune analysis of the data.

"Combined with previously released records, Evans has been the subject of at least a combined 50 complaints since 2001.

"Evans has been disciplined only on rare occasions despite his lengthy history of complaints."

We, on the other hand, are punished every time we have to read about this guy.

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Exclusive! Behind The McDonald's Move
Another Beachwood Special Report: The real reasons the company is moving its HQ to Chicago from the suburbs.

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BeachBook

Thoughts and prayers.

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UN: Trump 7 Months Away From Acquiring Nuclear Weapons.

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Wiscontext.

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Call me sometime when you have no class.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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He's gonna do terrific with the unfavorables. The unfavorables love him.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Reporting for duty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:15 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! The Real Reasons Why McDonald's Is Abandoning The Suburbs For The City

"McDonald's has taken the boldest step yet in its yearlong effort to transform itself into a 'modern, progressive' company by moving downtown with the cool kids," the Tribune reports.

"The world's largest burger chain plans to relocate from the custom-built Oak Brook headquarters it has called home for nearly four decades to Chicago's West Town neighborhood, an area of hot restaurants and bars, becoming the latest corporation moving to be closer to the millennials they want as employees."

More specifically, McDonald's is moving into Oprah's old place.

But it's not about being close to the cool kids, the Beachwood has learned. It's about these compelling reasons:

* Tired of mowing the lawn.

* Closer to target market of exploitable poor people.

* Mayor McCheese lost a bet to Mayor McSleaze.

* Need young techies to develop Big Mac output on 3-D printers.

* Oprah asked for her own McDonald's years ago but they're just getting around to it now.

* Easier for Chris Christie to deliver to Trump Tower.

* Leaving McMansion market for McGentrification market.

*Just a perfect location for Derrick Rose on days he sits out practice.

* The Illinois Medical District was taken.

* Executives finally realize the suburbs have no charms to soothe the restless dreams of youth.

* Ronald McDonald finally gets his chance to play TV themes on his saxophone on the Jackson Boulevard bridge on weekends.

* Ronald McDonald lost the suburban campus in a Coke-fueled all-night poker game with the Hamburglar.

* Rahm Emanuel finally won in McDonald's Monopoly.

* McDonald's executives decided to really take a ride on the BO railroad.

* Rahm Emanuel impressed with Hamburger U graduation rate.

* Because of a quirk in the physical laws of the universe, it's the only way McRib can ever truly be back.

- Tom Chambers, Eric Emery, Steve Rhodes

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:22 AM | Permalink

June 14, 2016

SportsMondayTuesday: It's Silver's Series Now

Leave it to the NBA to come with a make-up call three-and-a-half weeks later.

That's what Draymond Green's one-game suspension was last night - the make-up call for not suspending Green when he kicked Oklahoma City center Steven Adams in the balls during the Western Conference Finals way back when.

Otherwise, it was an extraordinarily ridiculous disciplinary action (more on that later) handed down against the Warriors forward. And that is saying something, given the NBA's penchant for getting this sort of thing wrong.

In the aftermath of all that, and of the Cavaliers' 112-97 victory over the Warriors (they now trail three games to two with a Game 6 coming up Wednesday night), it is up to fans to decide how much they care that the NBA believes two such wrongs make a right. It also gives all the teams in the league a nice little revenue boost by extending the Finals.

Isn't that nice for them?

And I suppose it was up to the league led by absent commissioner Adam Silver (they send out the flunkies to explain these sorts of dubious disciplinary decisions) to decide whether it would make a fool of itself twice, doubling down on the original bad call.

Sure enough, Green was suspended despite James initiating the incident in question in Game 5 with a scrubby little move that should never happen.

To start, the Cavaliers' forward got tangled up with Green and then was able to push him toward the floor. Green flopped a bit, hitting the deck when he probably could have simply moved on.

That was when James decided a little disrespect was in order, stepping over Green as the play continued. Green didn't take kindly to that, getting up and sending a few choice words in James' direction as he made incidental contact with James', well, undercarriage.

James, who revealed after the game that he was offended by something Green said (some reports said he was especially upset that Green called him a bitch, so be careful the next time you trash talk LeBron) then started advancing menacingly, kind of.

As is so often the case, teammates got in the way before any sort of real fisticuffs could break out. Some might have even suspected that James was pretending to be ticked off, knowing his teammates wouldn't allow him to do something completely stupid.

The bottom line was, James didn't react the way he did because he was fouled. He wasn't. Nevertheless during down time between Games 5 and 6, the league not only dreamed up an after-the-fact call, it deemed that Green had fouled James in flagrant fashion, necessitating the suspension.

And so Game 5 was played without the Warriors' most versatile defensive player (well, maybe it is a tie between Green and Andre Iguodala, who is from Illinois by the way, in case you missed it the last seven times I mentioned it), who is also their best rebounder and passer. And LeBron and Kyrie Irving both scored 41 points to lead a Cavalier rout.

The make-up call has a long, necessary history in the NBA. Refs tacitly acknowledge they botched a previous call by quickly making a call that goes the other way to even things out. In a perfect world those calls wouldn't be necessary but we don't . . . I don't think you need me to finish that thought.

But a make-up call with more than three weeks between it and the previously botched whistle - come on!

Silver has already done some great things in his short term at the helm of the NBA. His successful banishment of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling has gone down in history as one of the best sports commissioner actions ever.

In the end, this probably works out fine for the NBA. But if the Cavaliers go home and force a Game 7, then it gets a bit dicey. The NBA was tremendously lucky the Thunder beat the Warriors in the game when Green should have been suspended. If the Cavaliers win the whole thing in part because Green was suspended for Game 5, that also makes history. But Mr. Silver definitely won't enjoy the telling of it.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:35 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

John Kass had had it with spin. He took to his garden. This is what he came back with:

The dead were still being collected at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando - the scene of the worst mass shooting in our nation's history - when I thought I heard something.

On Twitter and the TV news, the facts were slow to arrive but the sweeping conclusions came instantly. Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and other members of the righteous right and left were pushing their agendas.

I recognized the sound of the politics. It was like the barking of dogs.

Sweeping conclusions came instantly. Righteous politicians were pushing their agendas. It sounded like barking dogs.

John Kass would not bark like a dog. John Kass would not make a sweeping, fact-challenged conclusion. He would remain calm. He would bring you reason. He had been to his garden.

Obama's presidential address to the nation began with the proper reverential tone. But then he fell back on political tricks. He used his speech to make a push for gun control.

Because as we all know, arguing for gun control measures is just trickery not fit for policy discussion. How dare he "use" his speech for that - in all of about a paragraph.

(Next week Kass will tell us again that there isn't enough outrage in Chicago over gun violence.)

And he avoided all mention of Islam.

I don't want a war with Islam, and I understand that many on the right would march us down that path or at least isolate the U.S. from the Muslim world.

But the president appears ridiculous here.

The 2009 terrorist attack at Ford Hood, Texas, by U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan - killing 13 people and wounded more than 30 - was deemed mere "workplace violence" by the military under Obama's command. Hassan referred to himself as a soldier of Allah.

Someone appears ridiculous, that's for sure.

"[W]hy is the November 2009 attack at Fort Hood being tried as a case of workplace violence and not as an act of terror? Military law expert Scott L. Silliman says the answer is simple - because the Uniform Code of Military Justice does not have a punitive article for 'terrorism,'" Reuters reported at the time.

"'They really didn't have an option,' says Silliman, director emeritus of Duke University's Center on Law, Ethics and National Security in Durham, N.C. 'He was an active-duty officer. The crime occurred on a military installation . . . It was obvious he was going to face a court-martial.'"

Indeed. He was sentenced to death - a result that should satisfy the right-wing but which might have been put in jeopardy if they had gotten their way.

"Why can't the administration call this an act of terror without charging Hasan as a terrorist? According to a widely quoted Pentagon position paper opposing Purple Hearts for the victims, that would allow the defense to argue that Hasan 'cannot receive a fair trial because a branch of government has indirectly declared that Major Hasan is a terrorist - that he is criminally culpable.'"

That's arguable, but the Army still does not consider the lone attack of a scrambled man to be a case of "international terrorism."

But why are we even discussing this? Because Kass is the one playing a political trick, finding a weak reed to use to mimic the narrative that Obama has been weak on "Islamic terrorism." Orlando is his fault - as will be future tragedies, he makes clear. Nevermind that Obama is currently bombing seven predominantly Muslim countries. Maybe Kass thinks that's just a political trick too.

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"By refusing to say the words 'Islam' and 'terror' in the same sentence, Obama stays his course and looks stubborn and foolish, as if he sees no pattern in the Boston Marathon bombing, the San Bernardino rampage and the Orlando massacre."

No, Obama said this:

"We are still learning all the facts. This is an open investigation. We've reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer. The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism. And I've directed that we must spare no effort to determine what - if any - inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred. Over the coming days, we'll uncover why and how this happened, and we will go wherever the facts lead us."

But Kass already knows the facts:

"Self-radicalized terrorists with Islamic ties, born or raised in the U.S., are the new threat. We need a real debate on what to do. Because there will be more attacks like the one in Orlando. You understand this, don't you? The pattern is being repeated."

Don't you understand? We have a new threat. One that can fit the facts of this case.

Except Kass doesn't have the facts. He didn't wait for them like he promised. He became the very barking dog he excoriates.

He retweeted this:

I'll take that as an endorsement.

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It came from the same guy who tweeted this:

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And this:

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It appears to have come to Kass through Bill Periman's Twitter feed, which Kass follows. and is chock-full of good stuff such as:

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And:

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Now, you aren't necessarily who you associate with on social media, but the people you follow - and those who follow you - are surely reflective of something. They are comfortable with you, and you with them. You don't have to agree with all of them - nor they of you - but when bigots are comfortable with you, you've got a problem. When you attract a certain kind of crowd, you may want to step back and reflect. Or step forward and take action. Or you could just let something like this sit there:

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The facts are coming to light now, though, and the story is taking a different shape than the one Kass (and so many others) rushed to. It seems Omar Mateen's self-radicalization was a combination of mental illness and self-loathing homophobia more than devotion to a crazed religious ideology.

The biggest clue to a motive so far is Mateen's father stating his son was angry he had seen two men kiss. As angry as one of Kass's social media fans, one might say. Mateen had been a regular at Pulse - a noted gay nightclub which he had to travel miles to - and had a profile on a gay dating app. Mateen's ex-wife, whom Mateen beat, suspected he was gay - and she wasn't the only one. She also said he was mentally unstable. He was described as "belligerent, racist and toxic."

"Daniel Gilroy, who worked with Mateen at the facility, told Florida Today that he was 'unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people,'" Politico reported. "Gilroy added that he complained to G4S about Mateen's odd, often bigoted, behavior - to no avail. Eventually, Mateen began stalking Gilroy, leaving him 30 or more text and phone messages per day. Gilroy eventually quit. G4S has come under scrutiny in Florida in the past few years after some of its guards were found to be abusing children in facilities where the company provides security."

He reportedly wanted to be a police officer.

And yes, he had pledged fealty to terrorist groups:

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So what is it we really need to talk about, John? Self-radicalized homegrown terrorists with ties to Islam? Or crazy homophobic bigoted wife-beaters? Perhaps when the FBI closed the books on Mateen - twice - it could have called social services.

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Here's how Kass's Tribune colleague Steve Chapman put it (much better than I):

"Someone trying to affix blame for the unspeakable murders at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning could focus on any number of the killer's traits: He was a young male. He was a gun owner. He was a homophobe. He was, according to his ex-wife, mentally disturbed.

"Any or all of these traits may have contributed to his decision to commit an atrocity. But there was never any doubt that Donald Trump and other Republican demagogues would zero in on another attribute: His Muslim faith. Trump called on President Barack Obama to resign because he 'disgracefully refused to even say the words 'radical Islam.'

"So what? It's not as though Obama ignores that many terrorists are Muslims. It's just that he refuses to equate terrorism with Islam. In that, he's following the example of George W. Bush, who after 9/11 declared, 'Our war is not against Islam, or against faith practiced by the Muslim people. Our war is a war against evil.' By refusing to attribute savagery like this to the religion, both presidents chose to align themselves with the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful."

And that pattern Kass sees?

"The supposed iron link between terrorism and Islam is a myth. The FBI has reported that 94 percent of the terrorist attacks in this country since 1980 were carried out by non-Muslims. Most mass shootings in this country were not carried out by Muslims."

Nor, it should go without saying but apparently cannot, are other religions exempt from murderous craziness - and not even in radicalized form but in their most basic, standard, accepted version.

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You might say a religious conviction similar to what our staunchest Christians believe is what created Mateen. Maybe Kass should talk about that.

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Why is no one willing to use the words "Islam" and "terrorism" in the same sentence regarding this Indiana man?!

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I don't believe gun control solves this nation's problems with violence, but it's the political trickery Kass so believes he's above that prevents us from taking some measures regarding guns that would help mitigate some of the damage we keep doing to ourselves. Stripping the social safety net of mental health services doesn't help either. Better interventions. And, yes, a foreign policy that doesn't essentially invite blowback. And yes, terrorism. It exists. Let's talk about all these things. With all of us. But only if we're all willing to set aside our most ingrained beliefs upon the learning of new facts.

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And how long, O Lord, how long until the media takes responsibility? How can we hold them to account? Because they get it wrong EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And no lessons are ever learned.

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These aren't the only facts that will come out. Perhaps we'll learn that Mateen was directed by the head of ISIS personally. But by god, journalists at least should pledge their fealty to facts and facts only, not narratives, talking points, rank speculation and presumptions.

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Instead of heading to a garden, perhaps do some research.

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See also on the Beachwood:
* Six Things Americans Should Know About Mass Shootings.

* Why Are Hate Crime Statistics So Poorly Tracked?

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We're in a dangerous moment in America. We all have to hunker down and do some deeper and more careful thinking. It's no time to swim in cesspools.

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Now, on to the rest of the Beachwood . . . .

Brock Turner, The Theater Teacher And Me
Please read this post by a longtime Beachwood contributor:

"What they didn't know, because I didn't tell them, was that I was being raped two to four times a week for two years by my extracurricular theater teacher. I was expected to put out for him on a regular basis and not tell because, he told me, I would lose all my friends and no one would believe me. And, because I was 15 years old when it started, and he was almost 40, I believed him. I was scrawny, my face was prone to breakouts, my clothes were not particularly fashionable, my hair was always a disaster, so why would any man want to rape me?"

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A Message From Alcoholics Anonymous
A note of thanks and a request for continued cooperation.

Chicago CAKE
"An all-consuming fire of comics power!

Business News Is Bollocks
Pinstriped twats working in giant glass dildos.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey, Los Amigos Invisibles, Feed Me, Cathy Santoines, Cash Cash, Vortis, Kaskade, The Island of Misfit Toys, Deadmau5, Zeds Dead, Pierce The Veil, Danny Daze, Steely Dan, Dash Berlin, The Cure, Dillon Francis, Joey Purp & Vic Mensa, Tritonal, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Whitesnake, The Monkees, Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop with Marlon Williams, Blondie, The Smithereens, Lady Parts, Terranaut, Empyreus, Infested Prophecy, and Heron Oblivion.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Which EPL Team Are You?
We let you know in the first installment of our new column, Breakfast In America.

It's Silver's Series Now
Draymond Green suspension could come back to haunt the NBA.

Get On Board, Son
Baseball finally the radar of Cub Factor's kid.

The Unsavior Is Here
Low expectations for Tim Anderson.

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BeachBook

Big Law Too Busy To Help.

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Industrial Strip Club Chicago-Style Hot Dogs In Hammond Or Something.

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Oak Brook Officials Put Brave Face On McDonald's Abandoning Them.

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Menard's Is Run By An Awful Man.

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Abbott Labs Is A Horrible Place.

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Two Illinois Professors Find GOP Snub Of Supreme Court Pick Unprecedented.

It's barking dogs all the way down.

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8-Year-Old More Mature Than Our Governor.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

But he won't say "Islam" and "terrorism" in the same sentence.

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But he won't say "Islam" and "terrorism" in the same sentence.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Radical troncism.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:47 AM | Permalink

A Message From Alcoholics Anonymous

Dear Steve,

From time to time we write our friends in the media to thank them for helping us observe our long-standing tradition of anonymity for members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

First, let us express our deep gratitude to you. From the beginning of A.A. in 1935, its members have recognized that word-of-mouth is not sufficient by itself to carry the program's message of hope and recovery to the many people still suffering from alcoholism. The media has been a vital part of this effort, and today we estimate that there are more than 2 million successfully recovering members of Alcoholics Anonymous in more than 180 countries.

Second, we respectfully request that you continue to cooperate with us in maintaining the anonymity of A.A. members. The principle of anonymity is a basic tenet of our fellowship.

Those who are reluctant to seek our help may overcome their fear if they are confident that their anonymity will be respected.

In addition, and perhaps less understood, our tradition of anonymity acts as a restraint on A.A. members, reminding us that we are a program of principles, not personalities, and that no individual A.A. member may presume to act as a spokesman or leader of our fellowship.

If an A.A. member is identified in the media, we ask that you please use first names only (e.g., Bob S. or Alice F.) and that you not use photographs or electronic images in which members' faces may be recognized.

Again, we thank you for your continued cooperation. Those who wish to know more about our fellowship are welcome to visit the "Press/Media" section of aa.org.

We hope you will take a moment to watch a brief video on why anonymity remains a vital principle in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Our fellowship does not comment on matters of public controversy, but we are happy to provide information about A.A. to anyone who seeks it.

Sincerely,

Public Information Committee of Alcoholics Anonymous

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:40 AM | Permalink

Why Are Hate Crime Statistics So Poorly Tracked?

Last June, a gunman opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church - a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people were killed, and the subsequent investigation resulted in federal hate crime charges against the alleged shooter, Dylann Roof.

The shooting was one of the thousands of reported hate crimes in the United States every year. Nearly half of the reports involved race. However, due in large part to spotty tracking of hate crime statistics, establishing a definitive understanding of how many hate crimes occur each year has proved elusive.

An Associated Press investigation found that across the country, thousands of police departments fail to report alleged or established hate crimes to the FBI's hate crime statistics.

In fact, the AP analysis revealed that more than 2,700 agencies had never submitted a single hate crime report.

I spoke with AP reporter Christina Cassidy about the investigation and how, for victims, the failures in the reporting of hate crimes - at all levels - add to their anguish.

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Here are some highlights from our conversation:

The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 40 percent of hate crime victims don't report the crime to authorities.

Cassidy: There was one person that I spoke with, Brandon White. He was basically jumped outside of a convenience store here in Atlanta by a group of young men yelling gay slurs. After the beating, he went home. He didn't call police. He went to sleep. It was the next day after a video of the attack had surfaced online and people had seen it and recognized him that he was confronted with this. He spoke about his fears, that he'd grown up in a rough neighborhood and there wasn't a lot of trust with police. There was a sense that when something happens, you take care of it yourself. When you look at those statistics that you cited, those were estimates by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that 40 percent are estimated not to report to police. They cite various reasons including fear of reprisal and the feeling that police won't do anything about it.

Reporting of statistics varies wildly from state to state.

Cassidy: Georgia, for instance, and Alabama, they had only about 10 percent to 12 percent of their local law enforcement agencies not reporting this information, but just a few states over in Louisiana and Mississippi, those are some of the highest totals of non-reporting agencies in the country. Louisiana at almost 59 percent and Mississippi just under 65 percent of all local law enforcement agencies that were not reporting this information. It definitely was indicative of what we found on a large scale, which is just . . . There's really so much of a lack of uniformity when it comes to this reporting that you have these myriad of responses.

It's important to have an accurate tally of hate crimes.

Cassidy: I think, when speaking to the victims themselves, they expressed a lot of opinions and disappointment that what happened to them wasn't part of the national count. It may sound like we're just talking about statistics. Your attackers met justice, they were prosecuted and were sentenced to prison in some cases, but the fact that they were not counted was painful. They were disappointed in law enforcement agencies for not doing something they thought was fairly simple: filing a report with the FBI. I think Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center put it very well in my article. He said, "If these crimes are never really counted, it's a way of saying they are not important."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

June 13, 2016

Breakfast In America: Which EPL Team Are You?

Original Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report writer Eric Emery has given up American football and is now devoted to the real kind. As such, he begins today a new column called Breakfast in America, with the goal of spreading interest in the beautiful game - satisfying his wife's wishes that he "write more" in exchange for watching more footy.

Which EPL team should you support?

This a multifaceted decision that takes careful consideration. It took me five months of careful research and meditation before settling on the Cherries of AFC Bournemouth. One way to proceed is to think about which presidential candidate you support, because that tells you a lot about which teams you should consider.

Candidate: Donald Trump

Teams: Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea

Why: Like Trump, these teams talk about the past (like it was better) and making football great by revising football structures like the Champions League, but they are really about lining their own pockets. Unsurprisingly, their fans have little grasp of reality. Look to YouTube for examples.

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Candidate: Hillary Clinton

Teams: Liverpool, Everton, Sunderland

Why: Like Clinton, these clubs were best before 1992 (and incidentally, before the Premier League existed). Fans of these clubs do not connect with the 2016 version of their clubs, they connect with the 1989 version. As such, they think these clubs are more virtuous than they are, but really, these clubs care more for themselves than their supporters.

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Candidate: Ted Cruz

Teams: Southampton, Stoke, Tottenham, Watford, West Bromwich Albion

Why: Like Cruz, these clubs think their teams were great (but never were) and think they are better than they actually are. And when push comes to shove, you might think they will actually beat Trump but will fail on many different levels.

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Candidate: Bernie Sanders

Teams: Bournemouth, West Ham, Swansea, Burnley, Leicester

Why: These fans have the most fun because nobody really expects them to win anything and they know the system is fixed against them. They identify with the 99% and rail against the 1%. In some alternate universe, perhaps one of these teams do win the league. Sometimes they also can be very annoying on Facebook, posting score updates and articles with little regard to the whims and interests of their friends.At times, they purposely post slanted articles to other teams' walls just to be passive-aggressive. Not that I would ever do such a thing . . .

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Candidate: Green, Libertarian, and other third party options

Teams: Middlesborough, Hull City

Why: You might have heard a bit about these teams. They are a bit goofy and pretty obscure. They pop up in the public's consciousness occasionally. Though they have some good strategies, somebody from the other four groups will simply steal them.

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Political Football: Understanding The Transfer Market
Teams are presidential candidates, players' agents are special interest groups, and players might be best described abstractly as "ideas," "propaganda" or "spin." The media's role in the transfer market is exactly the same. (Yes, sadly, exactly the same.) To wit: A presidential candidate wants to control how their candidacy is perceived by the voting public, so they float an "idea" or "phrase" out into the press. The football manager does it the same way. They might say "We've been scouting Matt Ritchie." Hopefully, Matt Ritchie says "I'd love to play for Manchester United" and forces the team he is on to sell. The end game is that, as fans, they hope we all think that is a good idea. And they all hope we don't question the validity of the idea.

But players' agents get paid a lot if they cycle their clients into a new team. With that, the player will get a raise. So a player's agent might float an idea. They might say "We are getting interest from three teams." And they hope nobody questions the validity of the claim and the idea is repeated over and over and over so it becomes "true."

And the football media is just like the political media. They repeat things to get internet traffic with little regard to journalistic ethics. But you know, the football media simply covers a silly little game.

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Beachwood Sabermetrics: Based on all historical data available from the beginning of time, it is clear that my football season starts before your football season.

Sugar In The Cherry Kool-Aid: After a somewhat poor finish to the season, Cherry Nation is protecting the sugar that goes into the Kool-Aid: the players and (rightfully) worshiped manager. We also hope our beloved team plays the Chicago Fire on July 19th, which will add a tonne of sugar into the drink.

Cherry Nation Population: 2: Me and my high school friend who lives in Montana.

Percent Sugar In The Cherry Kool-Aid: 35%

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:38 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey at Spring Awakening in Addams/Medill Park on Sunday night.

Legaspi: Spring Awakening Had A New Home, Same Thunder.

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2. Los Amigos Invisibles at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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3. Feed Me at Spring Awakening on Friday night.

Chicagoist: Festival photos.

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4. Cathy Santoines at Livewire on Friday night.

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5. Cash Cash at Spring Awakening on Saturday.

Tribune: Festival photos.

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6. Vortis at Livewire on Friday night.

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7. Kaskade at Spring Awakening on Saturday night.

Time Out: Festival photos.

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8. The Island of Misfit Toys at Remix Chicago in Logan Square on Saturday.

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9. Deadmau5 at Spring Awakening on Friday night.

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10. Zeds Dead at Spring Awakening on Saturday night.

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11. Pierce The Veil at the House of Blues on Friday night.

Setlist.

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12. Danny Daze at Spring Awakening on Saturday.

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13. Steely Dan at Northerly Island on Saturday night.

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14. Dash Berlin at Spring Awakening on Sunday.

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15. The Cure at the UIC Pavilion on Friday night.

Koval: 'A career-spanning set that even a casual fan would marvel at.'

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16. Dillon Francis at Spring Awakening on Friday night.

Your EDM: Packed to the brim with unreleased material.

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17. Joey Purp & Vic Mensa at the Metro on Friday night.

Galil: How Chicago Made Joey Purp.

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18. Tritonal at Spring Awakening on Friday.

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19. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the Riv on Thursday night.

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20. Whitesnake at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond on Friday night.

Gary Post-Tribune: Ex-Ozzy Drummer Keeps The Beat For Whitesnake.

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21. The Monkees at the Horseshoe on Saturday night.

Dolenz and Tork.

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22. Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop with Marlon Williams at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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23. Blondie at the Genesee Theater in Waukegan on Friday night.

Hits and new stuff.

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24. The Smithereens at the Genesee on Friday night.

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25. Lady Parts at A Day In The Country at the Hideout on Sunday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Terranaut at Livewire on Wednesday night.

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Empyreus at Livewire on Wednesday night.

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Infested Prophecy at Livewire on Wednesday night.

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Heron Oblivion at Beat Kitchen on June 3rd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:38 AM | Permalink

Chicago CAKE 2016

"The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) is a weekend-long celebration of independent comics, inspired by Chicago's rich legacy as home to many of underground and alternative comics' most talented artists - past, present and future. Featuring comics for sale, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions and more, CAKE is dedicated to fostering community and dialogue amongst independent artists, small presses, publishers and readers."

Or:

"An all-consuming fire of comics power."

This year's edition was held over the weekend. Let's take a look.

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See also: 30 Comic Books [Made] Their Debut At Cake This Weekend.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! What Real Business News Should Look Like

A nature documentary about the moral bankruptcy of capitalism. And now the weather!


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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.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Answer The Fucking Question.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Day-Glo Fuck-Nugget Trump.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Dickens Meets The Jetsons.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:23 AM | Permalink

Six Things Americans Should Know About Mass Shootings

America has experienced yet another mass shooting - this time at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

As a criminologist, I have reviewed recent research in hopes of debunking some of the common misconceptions I hear creeping into discussions that spring up whenever a mass shooting occurs.

1. More Guns Don't Make You Safer

A study I conducted on mass shootings indicated that this phenomenon is not limited to the United States.

Mass shootings also took place in 25 other wealthy nations between 1983 and 2013. But the number of mass shootings in the United States far surpasses that of any other country included in the study during the same period of time.

The U.S. had 78 mass shootings during that 30-year period. The highest number of mass shootings experienced outside the United States was in Germany - where seven shootings occurred.

In the other 24 industrialized countries taken together, 41 mass shootings took place.

In other words, the U.S. had nearly double the number of mass shootings than all other 24 countries combined in the same 30-year period.

Another significant finding is that mass shootings and gun ownership rates are highly correlated. The higher the gun ownership rate, the more a country is susceptible to experiencing mass shooting incidents. This association remains high even when the number of incidents from the United States is withdrawn from the analysis.

Similar results have been found by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, which states that countries with higher levels of firearm ownership also have higher firearm homicide rates.

My study also shows a strong correlation between mass shooting casualties and overall death by firearms rates. However, in this last analysis, the relation seems to be mainly driven by the very high number of deaths by firearms in the United States. The relation disappears when the United States is withdrawn from the analysis.

2. Shootings Are More Frequent

A recent study published by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center shows that the frequency of mass shooting is increasing over time.

The researchers measured the increase by calculating the time between the occurrence of mass shootings. According to the research, the days separating mass shooting occurrence went from on average 200 days during the period of 1983 to 2011 to 64 days since 2011.

What is most alarming with mass shootings is the fact that this increasing trend is moving in the opposite direction of overall intentional homicide rates in the U.S., which decreased by almost 50% since 1993, and in Europe where intentional homicides decreased by 40% between 2003 and 2013.

3. Restricting Sales Works

Due to the Second Amendment, the United States has permissive gun licensing laws. This is in contrast to most developed countries, which have restrictive laws.

According to seminal work by criminologists George Newton and Franklin Zimring, permissive gun licensing laws refer to a system in which all but specially prohibited groups of persons can purchase a firearm. In such a system, an individual does not have to justify purchasing a weapon; rather, the licensing authority has the burden of proof to deny gun acquisition.

By contrast, restrictive gun licensing laws refer to a system in which individuals who want to purchase firearms must demonstrate to a licensing authority that they have valid reasons to get a gun - like using it on a shooting range or going hunting - and that they demonstrate "good character."

The type of gun law adopted has important impacts. Countries with more restrictive gun licensing laws show fewer deaths by firearms and a lower gun ownership rate.

4. Historical Comparisons May Be Flawed

Beginning in 2008, the FBI used a narrow definition of mass shootings. They limited mass shootings to incidents where an individual - or in rare circumstances, more than one - "kills four or more people in a single incident (not including the shooter), typically in a single location."

In 2013, the FBI changed its definition, moving away from "mass shootings" toward identifying an "active shooter" as "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area." This change means the agency now includes incidents in which fewer than four people die, but in which several are injured, like this 2014 shooting in New Orleans.

This change in definition impacted directly the number of cases included in studies and affected the comparability of studies conducted before and after 2013.

Even more troubling, some researchers on mass shootings, like Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, have incorporated in their studies several types of multiple homicides that cannot be defined as mass shooting: for instance, familicide (a form of domestic violence) and gang murders.

In the case of familicide, victims are exclusively family members and not random bystanders.

Gang murders are usually crime for profit or a punishment for rival gangs or a member of the gang who is an informer. Such homicides don't belong in the analysis of mass shootings.

5. Not All Mass Shootings Are Terrorism

Journalists sometimes describe mass shootings as a form of domestic terrorism. This connection may be misleading.

There is no doubt that mass shootings are "terrifying" and "terrorize" the community where they have happened. However, not all active shooters involved in a mass shooting have a political message or cause.

For example, the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015 was a hate crime but was not judged by the federal government to be a terrorist act.

The majority of active shooters are linked to mental health issues, bullying and disgruntled employees. Active shooters may be motivated by a variety of personal or political motivations, usually not aimed at weakening government legitimacy. Frequent motivations are revenge or a quest for power.

6. Background Checks Work

In most restrictive background checks performed in developed countries, citizens are required to train for gun handling, obtain a license for hunting or provide proof of membership to a shooting range.

Individuals must prove that they do not belong to any "prohibited group," such as the mentally ill, criminals, children or those at high risk of committing violent crime, such as individuals with a police record of threatening the life of another.

Here's the bottom line. With these provisions, most U.S. active shooters would have been denied the purchase of a firearm.

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Frederic Lemieux is a professor and program director at George Washington University This article was originally published on The Conversation on Dec. 3, 2015 and updated on June 12, 2016.

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Previously:

* Why Don't We Know How Many People Are Shot Each Year In America?

* Democrats Push To Restart CDC Funding For Gun Violence Research.

* The Best Reporting On Children With Post-Traumatic Stress.

* Yes, Black America Fears The Police. Here's Why.

* Myth vs. Fact: Mental Health And Violence.

* Is The Gun Lobby's Power Overstated?

* How The Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives.

* Why Counting Mass Shootings Is A Bad Way To Understand Gun Violence In America.

* Obama's Gun Moves Unlikely To Affect Gang Violence.

* Special Report: Why Obama, Durbin And Other Gun Control Advocates Own Gun Stocks.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:10 AM | Permalink

Get On Board, Son

It was Terence Mann in Field of Dreams who said, "The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."

This quote rang true for me this week, and it wasn't anything the Cubs did. It was something that my son Mitchell did - or, rather, didn't do. He didn't make the All-Star team in his baseball league. An 8-year-old looked reality in the face and said, "I don't think I'm going to get picked." And he was right, he didn't get picked. And he, um, well, didn't get "snubbed."

Mitchell is the kid going through the motions out there just happy to hang with the guys in the dugout and just show up and see what happens. When asked about playing catch and taking some swings he just was never interested on off-baseball days. But that All-Star team deal, well, that sparked a little something. And I'm happy to see it. Because baseball is really on the radar. And I was a little worried that it never would be.

Not that it bothered me that much; I mean I was resigned to the fact that my son was just not into sports much at all. He'd just find other stuff to be "into" and I would do whatever I could to support and help him out with whatever these other things were. Plus, it's a real easy fallback on the whole father/son deal to chat about sports and/or watch games together. I know that growing up myself I talked sports with my dad all the time, still do, and I talked sports with my grandpas too. It was just what you did - and so far it was eight years of talking everything else but sports with Mitchell.

I'm not saying that not being into sports is better or worse as a subject to bond with your kids over; I was actually looking forward to whatever it was that stuck with him as a hobby/pasttime/calling, whatever. And I still am looking forward to this great journey with this great kid. But now baseball is on the radar and that makes me feel good.

Not that it's going to be that easy. Mitchell's got some ground to make up to get on next season's All-Star team - which means I (and Mrs. Factor) have some ground to make up. In case you don't know, you can't just throw out a couple gloves and some baseballs and say "Go play!" to kids these days. And you can rally around how we spoil our kids too much and it was better in my day and all that crap, but it still doesn't change the fact that if you want your kid to practice much of anything you have to be doing it yourself, or pay someone else to do so with camps and clinics and all that jazz.

But it should be fun, and I'm looking forward to the process. And the constant that is baseball has a chance to continue to mark the time. Not to mention, the Cubs are flipping unreal right now, so get on board, son.

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 4-2 for the week, winning two of three from both the Phillies and Braves. Not really news here. It would have been nice to win all six games for the week, but that just doesn't happen in baseball.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue stay on the road for three with the Nationals and then head home for a weekend series with the Pirates. The Nats series should be fun to see how many times Bryce Harper gets walked and what Dusty Baker does about it. My prediction: He'll do something "from his gut" and it'll be really stupid.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Jorge Soler pulled up lame this week and opened the door for Albert Almora, Jr. and someone else (see Current Annoying Cub below) to get into the mix. Almora got two starts in left, Player X got two starts, and Kris Bryant got one. Looks like the man out in the cold is Matt Szczur. Well, Matt will still get in there for defense sometimes, but isn't Almora good on D too? Anyway, it's still all over the place and should be for the rest of the season.

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: I can't say it registered with me that Sammy Sosa was such a Trump guy. But why would anyone really remember that? Sammy was a me-first egomaniac and apparently wanted to surround himself with like-minded people. He's not really missed.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: The Cub Factor would like to welcome back Chris Coghlan. I guess the Cubs just couldn't do without that .146 BA and .215 OBP he was putting up with the A's this season. And what I mean by "welcome" is "For godsakes, why?" But I guess he fills a need as a second baseman and an outfielder as Tommy "3 a.m." La Stella is not doing too well either. But man, this guy bugged me all year last season. Isn't there some other horrible catcher they could have signed?

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe got to hang with Bill Murray on Saturday. And get this: Bill is very clever and a really nice man. But can't we get past the Dusty-Joe comparisons? Regardless if the Cubs win a World Series or not, the comparison is moot.

Kubs Kalender: Fans attending the Cubs-Pirates game on Friday get a "Save Ferris" t-shirt because I guess that movie is still a thing. But it's just the first 5,000 people in the bleachers. And Ferris didn't even sit in the bleachers. And for the record, the Cubs' promos are pretty lame, and if not lame, most of them are for just the bleachers.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that baseball is better with your son.

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Marty Gangler is The Cub Factor. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:33 AM | Permalink

The Unsavior Is Here

Let's get rid of the rote stuff first. You know, where you simply have to tweak the numbers, bring them up-to-date and move on. And so, after losing two of three to the Nationals and Royals each at home last week, the White Sox have now lost nine of their last ten series', accounting for a record of 8-22.

Forget about the ERAs of the starting pitchers or the bullpen. Not much has changed. Nor has their efficiency with men on base. Outside of a few home runs, there's no guarantee that this team can score regardless of how many men are on base with less than two outs.

On Sunday, down 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth with runners at first and third and no outs, a strikeout and double play left the Sox scoreless. Trying to break on top against the Royals on Saturday in the bottom of the first, the Sox had runners at second and third with one out and failed to capitalize. These are just two examples. Pathetic is a generous description.

So let's move ahead to the new kid at shortstop.

Tim Anderson, the Sox' top draft choice in 2013, made his debut at The Cell on Friday night. He's just 22 years old with 322 games of minor league experience spread over parts of four seasons. He's from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and played a couple of seasons of junior college ball, leading all JUCO hitters with a .495 mark before the Sox nabbed him with the 17th overall choice three years ago.

Anderson slapped a double past third base Friday night in his first big league at-bat and came around to score on Jose Abreu's base hit. He also singled in the sixth as the Sox subdued the Royals 7-5. However, the kid was hitless over the weekend, and the two double plays he hit into on Sunday helped doom the Sox by the final 3-1 count.

This franchise has a mixed bag when it comes to top draft choices. Last Thursday's pick was Zach Collins, a left-handed hitting catcher from the University of Miami who hit .358 last spring with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs, statistics which are difficult to transfer to a professional career. The Sox scouting department, however, assures us the kid can hit. Let's hope so because the White Sox have been dismally inadequate in the catching department since they decided not to re-sign A.J. Pierzynski after the 2012 season.

The Golden Age of White Sox top picks was 1987 to 1990, when they selected, in order, Jack McDowell, Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas and Alex Fernandez. Talk about nailing it!

However, like most things White Sox, the next four years featured an abrupt about face as Scott Ruffcorn, Eddie Pearson, Scott Christman and Mark Johnson were the top choices. Johnson played a few seasons as a backup catcher in the bigs, and Ruffcorn managed an 0-8 record with an ERA over eight in an abbreviated career. Pearson was most successful, tearing up the Korean and Mexican leagues after realizing that reaching the major leagues was a stretch.

Chris Sale obviously has worked out nicely after he was the team's No. 1 pick in 2010, while 2012's top choice Courtney Hawkins is limping along at Double-A Birmingham with a .213 batting average and a couple of homers.

So the focus now is on Anderson. To make room for him, the Sox released veteran Jimmy Rollins, not an unreasonable move since anyone watching could tell that Rollins' notable skills had long-ago diminished. Rollins left with a slash of .221/.295/.624. Now the only drama for him will develop when he's eligible for the Hall of Fame. With almost 2,500 hits, 231 homers and 470 stolen bases, he'll have a shot. Stay tuned.

Tyler Saladino had taken over as the Sox' everyday shortstop, but apparently general manager Rick Hahn felt that the team could benefit more from promoting Anderson, who was hitting .304 at Charlotte. And why not? It's not as though Saladino was about to lead the team out of its doldrums.

The move was somewhat similar to 2009 when the Sox were a few games under .500 with Josh Fields as the regular third baseman. Gordon Beckham, 2008's No. 1, was hitting .326 between stints at Birmingham and Charlotte before being summoned on June 4th to the South Side. It turned out to be a good move as Beckham hit .270 the rest of the season with 14 home runs and 63 RBI.

However, not even Beckham's solid performance could help the Sox escape a 79-83 record that season. The real bummer was that Beckham never approached those numbers again in parts of seven years with the Sox.

Another call-up of note occurred in 2010 with the arrival of Dayan Viciedo, the Cuban kid with a great smile and massive power who had already slugged 20 homers at Charlotte when the Sox beckoned on June 20th. At the time, the White Sox had a similar record at 34-34 to what they have now. Viciedo arrived as the team was in the midst of winning 15 of 16 games - they finished 88-74 - and Dayan closed out the year at .308 with five homers as he split time at third base with 43-year-old Omar Vizquel.

Viciedo, who at age 27 presently is having a big year in Japan, went on to hit 60 homers from 2012 to 2014, but he also greatly expanded his strike zone and rapidly fell out of favor with the Sox, who released him after the 2014 season.

Hahn was careful last week not to call Anderson a "savior" in order to take off some of the pressure on the kid. Almost exactly one year ago at The Cell on June 10th, the visiting Astros introduced 20-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa, who not only was Houston's top pick in 2012, but also the first selection overall. That's what a savior looks like. Before Correa left town, he had four hits, including his first home run, driving in three runs.

Watching the White Sox the past five weeks has been challenging, not to mention painful and frustrating. So the addition of Anderson at least adds a bit of intrigue to an otherwise boring and disappointing product. The kid can steal a base - he had 49 in Double-A last year - and his speed can be a much-needed commodity for this team. He's not a Correa, Francisco Lindor or Xander Bogaerts, but he just might be the best shot the White Sox have at this time.

One thing's for sure: the Sox can't be any worse with Anderson. And who knows? He might turn out to be one of those top picks who lives up to his elite reputation.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:32 AM | Permalink

Brock Turner, The Theater Teacher And Me

So, a few words (okay, maybe more than a few) on Brock Turner, rape, privilege, recovery, and our justice system.

Brock Turner, in case you live under a rock, was a rising swimming star at Stanford who chose to sexually violate a young woman, run away when he was interrupted, and then steadfastly refuse to accept any responsibility for his actions.

His victim was incredibly brave. She woke up in a hospital to discover she'd been sexually assaulted behind a dumpster after going to a party with her sister. She chose to prosecute her rapist. She suffered and continues to suffer from intense psychological torment.

When the newspapers initially reported her rape, they included mention of Turner's swimming times, because he was a big man on campus and she was just some woman whose life was torn to shreds. Poor Brock. Swimming career over. Kicked out of Stanford. An ugly label to live with.

Brock's father is very sad that his son has had to go through this ordeal. While the victim was vilified by his defense lawyers in court because she had too much to drink at a party, Brock wasn't enjoying his steak the way he used to. Brock's father is shocked that his son has to pay any kind of consequences for "twenty minutes of action." Never mind the fact those twenty minutes destroyed someone else's life. Never mind Brock's twenty minutes took place while she was unconscious on the ground. Never mind the fact your father-of-the-year card gets revoked because you're almost as vile as the rapist son you raised, Mr. Turner. That's right, by dismissing Brock's crimes as hijinks, you've shown the world you're part of the reason he turned out to be a misogynistic criminal.

Brock Turner's crime was so horrific that when he was interrupted by two exchange students who chased him down, tackled him, called the police, then went back to help his victim, one of the men was found sobbing and vomiting over what had been done to the woman. Brock Turner is a monster.

But the judge who presided over his case felt the recommended sentence of 14 years in prison wouldn't do Brock any good. Never mind the little bit of peace of mind his victim might have felt from the sentence. Forget any sense of vindication she and her family might be entitled to. The judge is sure Brock will never do something like this again. So he sentenced him to six months in county jail, with the possibility of release after three months if he behaves himself.

The victim released a bombshell of a Victim's Impact Statement directed at Brock and the court. It is heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, painful, sickening. And it is true. It is her truth. She was brave enough not only to go to court and relive her rape repeatedly in front of strangers, be vilified for doing something we have all done in our adult lives - had too much to drink - hear the judge essentially dismiss her pain, and still put her words into the world. She is so strong. It is estimated that 75-98 percent of rapes go unreported. She spoke her experience to the world, and gave voice to every victim who has lived with their rape in silent agony.

I was almost one of those people. This is not something I have chosen to share with the world at large. I don't post about it on Facebook. I didn't say anything about it all to anyone for years. My family found me a difficult, sullen teen with a bad attitude but didn't know why. I begged to be sent away to private boarding school, but they thought it was because I was just a bit of a misfit in my tiny public school. I had never been much of a conformist, and the teen years are particularly hard for non-conformists.

What they didn't know, because I didn't tell them, was that I was being raped two to four times a week for two years by my extracurricular theater teacher. I was expected to put out for him on a regular basis and not tell because, he told me, I would lose all my friends and no one would believe me. And, because I was 15 years old when it started, and he was almost 40, I believed him. I was scrawny, my face was prone to breakouts, my clothes were not particularly fashionable, my hair was always a disaster, so why would any man want to rape me?

As time passed and I got older, I discovered that I was not the only girl in my theater group who had been or who was being molested, groomed to be a victim, or raped by this man. My best friend at the time was, unbeknownst to me, another victim. Many years later, in our late twenties, we came up with a list of at least seven girls we knew were sexually violated by him. We had five additional "maybes" we were never able to confirm. When I was 17, he called me to his home so he could do it again. I went, but I gathered every bit of courage I could muster and told him "no." I told him if he ever touched me again, I would kill him. He was shocked and angry, so he did what he was so good at. He turned on his vile smile, batted his eyes at me, and said "I could have AIDS, you know." I stared at him for a second, then turned my back and walked out. It took me a year to find the courage to get tested. He didn't have AIDS. I didn't have AIDS. It was just another way for him to get into my head and tear my sanity apart.

I had a much better last year of high school without being subjected to his physical touch, and I managed to push aside a lot of the internal agony I'd learned to live with. I still didn't tell. Why didn't I tell? Oh God, I wish I'd told. I wish I'd told so no other girls experienced what I did. I wish I'd told so I could have gotten help. I wish I'd told so my severe PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder were never misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder. I wish I'd told so my family could have helped me heal. But it was somehow easier not to. It was easier for me to pretend I was tough. I moved to Chicago for college and in my first week there I bought Doc Martens and a biker jacket and I hung out with the cool misfits in the smoking lounge. I got decent grades, I smoked a pack a day, I made friends. I rarely came home, and when I did, I avoided a lot of my old friends.

My last year in college, a professor who had become a good friend and who had a lot of experience with what we then always called "survivors" of sexual abuse (a term I now loathe, but stick a pin in that - I'll come back to it) asked me point blank if I was one of them. He was the first person I told. He was enormously compassionate and sympathetic. He found me a counselor - the first of many. I still never told my family. I felt like the world's hugest disappointment to them. I felt like they would never understand how I could allow something like that to happen to me.

I finished school, and, much to my dismay, had to move back to my hometown for my first "real" job as a journalist. I lived with my parents, I worked, I hung out with a few co-workers, and I kept to myself. It was a great job and I was good at it - enough so that I won awards and had a lot of followers. I couldn't stay at it. I couldn't stay in that place. I couldn't drive through that city and not see things that reminded me of the cold grey February light filtering through the blinds as this short, fat, hairy troll of a man pushed himself inside me.

I moved to Florida without so much as a job offer. I found a job in Tampa as a technical writer after a month or two and moved in with my sister and her husband. I fell in love with a guy I'd met in a chat room a year or so before, and we began a long-distance relationship between Charleston, South Carolina and Tampa. I attempted to carry on with my life, but I was in a constant state of near-collapse. And finally, unexpectedly, the other shoe dropped.

I was at work one day when I received a call from my mother. She was puzzled and concerned because she'd just gotten off the phone with the police in Pennsylvania, and they were looking for me. My parents' address was my last known residence. She'd gotten the officer's name and number and thought I should call him back. Had I done something wrong? What was going on? I couldn't answer her. Part of me knew, but another part was in denial. I was 23 years old. The statute of limitations at that time had run out, so even if I wanted to accuse my rapist, nothing could be done. And I'd kept my secret very well.

The "officer" was a detective. He was kind and calm. My name had come up in conjunction with a case he was investigating. The case involved a young woman who had repeatedly been raped by a theater teacher. He'd given her STDs. She had decided to come forward and press charges. They were looking for other potential victims and she thought it was possible I'd been one. They were having trouble getting any of his students, current and former, to talk. Would I be willing to talk with him?

It was like a dam burst. My heart exploded in my chest. My psyche was shattered. I managed to choke out that yes, I had been a victim too. I explained I was at work and asked if I could call him back. The tears I'd been storing up for close to a decade decided to come. I went to my boss's office and told her I had to leave for the day. I briefly explained why. She was horrified and sent me home. I was never able to return to that job. The years of stifling my pain and self-loathing were just beginning to take their toll. I went home sobbing and explained the phone call to my sister. She was baffled. She understood I was upset that he'd raped this girl, but how did it affect me? I choked out the hardest sentence I'd ever said. "He did it to me first."

My sister and her husband are to be commended for recognizing that I was profoundly broken. I don't remember everything, but I believe my sister called my parents and told them. Together, they did what they thought was best and sent me to a healing seminar at Kanuga, an Episcopal retreat center in the mountains of Western North Carolina. My boyfriend came from South Carolina to see me. Charleston has a medical school - the Medical University of South Carolina - and MUSC has a Crime Victims' Center. We agreed it would be best if I moved in with him and sought help there.

Shortly after moving, I was asked by the detective to write my own Victim's Impact Statement. My teacher was denying everything, some of the families of his students were supporting him (including his attorney, who represented him pro bono), and while I was not able to travel to testify, they believed the letter would make a difference. So I detailed every excruciating moment that was etched in my brain and I sent it off. My rapist (and the rapist of so many other young girls - as young as 12) pleaded no contest. He was sentenced to time served, given probation, and released back into the community. It was an outrage.

Of course, this man was a serial child molester, and within a year his own sister, with whom he lived, turned him in after finding a shrine he'd built to one of his victims in his closet, as well as detailed maps showing how he could get to her where she was at the time in college. He spent another six years in prison where I was told he was not a model prisoner and did not make himself popular. Judge me if you like, but I got some modicum of satisfaction knowing the shoe was on the other foot.

Every time I move, I update my information with the Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate. I rely on them to let me know if he hasn't done his mandatory reporting. He is a registered sex offender for life. He cannot go near a school or a playground. He cannot teach children.

But what about the victims? I mentioned earlier that I hate the term "survivor." It was meant to empower, but to me, it takes away from what happened to us. You survive an accident or a disease. Rape is neither of these things.

Rape alters everything about your life. Twenty-five years after I was first raped, I don't think about it every minute anymore. I still have some symptoms of PTSD and anxiety, but my Borderline Personality Disorder is considered cured after several years of DBT - Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - which teaches trauma victims how to properly process what's happened to them and learn that the the world is not black and white, but full of shades of grey. DBT is, as far as I know, the only treatment proven to cure BPD for some. It did for me. But I'm still a victim, because I was still victimized by the man who raped me over and over again. That will never change or go away. I've been hospitalized three times in my life for suicidal ideation (no attempts). I've been medicated to the gills. Those things are in the past thanks to my DBT therapist.

I am an intelligent and talented woman who has a significant amount of difficulty keeping track of bills, working a standard desk job, remembering to mail things out in a timely manner. All these little things I attribute to the actual physical changes my brain underwent as a result of being raped. Trauma causes brain chemistry to change. The damage doesn't go away. I live a very functional life, despite that. I am close to my family. I have had wonderful, significant relationships with men. I have had my share of crummy ones too, but I think that's normal. I don't have a lot of friends, but the ones I have are great and funny and loyal. I even like (good) sex. But I am not the person I would have been if I had not been raped. That person ceased to exist the moment he broke my trust and penetrated me. I don't know who she was. I don't know who she would have been. But she is not me. My name is M.L. Van Valkenburgh and convicted sex offender John O'Brien Rafferty raped me.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Paula:

You have empowered all of us who have suffered abuse and rapem and endure PTSD from the experience. Thank you for your candid article. We will all heal eventually with help from our community and family. Thank you, sincerely.

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You can find additional comments on the Beachwood Facebook page and ML's Facebook page here and here.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

June 11, 2016

TrackNotes: The Test Of Champions | UPDATED WITH RACE RECAP!

There's no Triple Crown on the line. It has all the biorhythms of the big exhale, settling in for the summer dog days and the long, real season ahead. None of these Thoroughbreds gives you the goosebumps of the, say, "one to watch" or a horse of the year type. All we do now is watch and wager.

But wait a minute! Wake up!

It's Belmont Stakes Day Saturday and if you dig the ponies, you gotta be there. You'll learn about some of the most steeped horse races we have, tradition-wise. The toughest race of the year, furlongs-wise. And the prospect of improving yourself, wagering-wise.

With this 148th running - six more than the Kentucky Derby - during what is now called the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, we should see a competitive, bettable race when 13 runners answer the 5:37 p.m. Central school bell.

Preakness winner Exaggerator is your 9-5 morning line favorite, but more on him later.

The festival - remember when they just called it a race card? - at massive Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, has just recently become one of the single biggest days in any racing year, except for the Breeders' Cup in all of its annual finality. And this is totally by design.

I remember as recently as 2013 when the first five races were basically maiden claimers and mostly for New York-bred locals. Not really compelling for any but the most grizzled horseplayers.

But this year, we've got, in order:

  • The Easy Goer (Race 1), $150,000 stakes, 8.5 furlongs, three-year olds.
  • The Acorn (3), Grade I, $700,000, one mile, three-year old fillies. Moved in 2014 to Belmont Day, it's the 86th running of this third leg of the fillies' "Triple Crown."
  • The Brooklyn Invitational (4), Grade II (handicap), $400,000, four years old and up, 1.5 miles. Also moved to Belmont Day in 2014, this will be the 128th running.
  • The Ogden Phipps (5), Grade I, $1,000,000, fillies and mares four years old and up, 8.5 furlongs. Moved to Belmont Day in 2014, the race is named after racing scion and long-time Jockey Club chairman Ogden Mills Phipps, who died in April. His lineage in racing rubs elbows in one way or another with Seabiscuit, Bold Ruler, Secretariat, Personal Ensign, Storm Flag Flying, Smuggler and more recently the 2013 Kentucky Derby champion Orb.
  • The Jaipur Invitational (6), Grade III, $300,000 four years old and up, at an always exciting six furlogs on the turf. Thirty-third running, again moved to Belmont Day in 2014. Jaipur won the Belmont, Withers and the Travers by a fine whisker in 1962.
  • The Woody Stephens (7), Grade II, $500,000, three year olds, seven furlongs. Named after legendary trainer and Belmont fixture the late Woody Stephens, this will be the 32nd running. Stephens trained Cannonade, Caveat, Conquistador Cielo, Creme Fraiche, Devil's Bag, Forty Niner, Gone West, Stephan's Odyssey, Swale. He won five straight Belmonts(!), 1982-1986, earning this namesake race.
  • The Just a Game (8), Grade I, $700,000, fillies and mares, one mile, turf. Just a Game was an Irish mare who tore up the New York circuit in races like the Diana and Flower Bowl and was named Female Turf Horse of the Year in 1980.
  • The Metropolitan Handicap (9), Grade I, $1,250,000, three years old and up, one mile. Also famously known as The Met Mile, this race was traditionally run on Memorial Day before being moved in 2014. Rich in tradition after 127 runnings, this race has been won by legends including Equipoise (back-to-back in 1932-33), Devil Diver (three-peat 1943-45), Tom Fool, Native Dancer, Gallant Man, Sword Dancer, Arts and Letters, Gulch (1987-88), Ghostzapper and Honor Code last year.
  • The Manhattan (10), Grade I, $1,000,000, four years old and up, one mile, turf. Again in triple digits, this will be the 115th running. Eight-year-old Britisher Slumber returns to defend his Manhattan crown and will face turf stars including Big Blue Kitten, Wake Forest, Ironicus and 8-5 favorite Flintshire.
  • The Belmont Stakes (11), Grade I, $1,500,000, three year olds, 12 furlongs (1.5 miles). What can we say? Dubbed The Test of Champions, it's the longest race these horses will ever run. Win it, you're great anyway. Win the carnations and the Triple Crown, your legend never dies. But this is always a fascinating race, 12 furlongs worth to let you study, savor, the long long stretch a thick frosting on a tough race.

Twelve have had their Triple Crowns taken here. I've seen moonshot 70-1 Sarava beat War Emblem, Empire Maker beat a tired Funny Cide, plucky little Birdstone, 36-1, run down Smarty Jones. Kent Desormeaux mysteriously pull up the monster Big Brown.

I also enjoyed the great filly Rags to Riches in 2007, Union Rags in '12 and the seeming sprinter Palace Malice in 2013. Woody Stephens, times five. D. Wayne Lukas won it three straight times with Tabasco Cat, Thunder Gulch and Editor's Note. Lucien Laurin, Ron Turcotte and Peggy Chenery had the exacta of a lifetime with Riva Ridge and Secretariat in '72 and '73.

The list of Belmont winners is so bright, like welding, you can barely look at it. This race stands on its own.

So what about 2016?

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist is out, having suffered a slight fever and high white blood cell count shortly after his loss in the Preakness.

But we do have plenty of intrigue, especially if you're betting, on Preakness winner and Belmont favorite Exaggerator.

Are the Desormeaux brothers crafty enough to spin opposite vortexes in order to confuse me and all my fellow conspiracy theorists? Exaggerator trainer Keith Desormeaux was cryin' the crocodile tears just minutes after the post position draw Wednesday, where his horse landed 11 in the field of 13. Belmont is big enough for the start and the finish to be near the wire.

"The gates here are placed around the wire, which means there's not that much of a run-up," (Keith) Desormeaux said. "It's not as inconsequential as it is in the other two races (Derby and Preakness), so I'd prefer not to be on the outside, because we have to take back and drop in. Three-sixteenths (to the turn) is a decent run, but not enough - not enough to say that the gates don't matter."

Fair enough. So you're going to tuck in, maybe in the second tier, and cruise for an opening?

Brother Kent, who will be dressed in jockey silks for the big event, sees it differently.

"I think it's a wonderful post position," Kent Desormeaux said. "I can't see any horses that will cross over on him. (We should be) able to establish position, preferably, without getting a grain of sand in his face."

Fair enough. So you're going to send him to at least right behind the pace setter, who figures to be Gettysburg, who from the six post figures to be nothing more than a rabbit for Creator, who's two out from you at 13? Are you saying you're going to keep him outside and out of the fray? For a mile-and-a-half?

It's 50-50 for rain, maybe more at post time, so you know the K-Ds are praying for that for Exaggerator, who has already won two big races in the slop.

The inner clock is huge for this race - ask Stewart Elliott, who tick-tocked Smarty Jones out of Triple Crown glory at Big Sand - -and Kent Desormeaux has a lot to prove as he's here on a weekend pass from alcohol rehab. The Hall of Famer has been battling the demons for years, he's got the best horse in the race and he doesn't figure to miscalculate. I believe he's overthought things in the past, thus the disdain, but he looks ready for this one.

The others? Suddenbreakingnews is a Captain Obvious wiseguy and I gotta dig with daddy Mineshaft (A.P. Indy) out of an Afleet Alex mare.

I liked Stradivari in the Preakness, but the slop spooked him, I think, and if he runs to the 100 Beyer Speed Figure two back, with Belmont veteran Johnny Velazquez aboard, get me 5-1 or better. Or even just a win.

Japanese curiosity Lani is said to be pointed to this race all along. He jogs or runs a couple miles every day, never letting up on the workouts. He's not super fast, but with 12 furlongs, staying power is big. The wiseguys poo-poo him, so is 10-1 out of the realm? He won the Dubai Derby, flew Emirates Air first class to Kentucky and just keeps on keeping on.

Creator, with a huge upgrade to rider Irad Ortiz and new minority owner Bobby Flay doing the cookin', is expected to break out in this race. He had a lousy three post in the Derby traffic jam but had gutted to glory in the Arkansas Derby before that. He's in the 13 and outside post here, but as old OTB buddy Red always told me, it's a mile-and-a-half, so there's plenty of time to figure it out. Longwaystogo. I do like Creator.

Destin's got the rep and some paper, but he may be the big overlay. He lost the Kentucky Derby after a bad trip, but won the Tampa Bay Derby with a bad trip. Another Belmont savvy man, JJ Castellano rides, the touts don't like him, so I do.

But Exaggerator is the horse to beat. This should be his race to lose.

Did I mention it's a big day of racing?

Enjoy Cathryn Sophia and Go Maggie Go in the Acorn. Samraat, Kid Cruz and Catholic Cowboy(?) do the Brooklyn 12 furlongs. Disrespected winner Stopchargingmaria takes on Curalina, Forever Unbridled and Cavorting in the Phipps. Where oh where is our Songbird?

Justin Squared, Fish Trappe Road and Tom's Ready lead the hot-foot seven furlongs in the Woody Stephens. I'll have my eyes on My Miss Sophia and Mrs McDougal in the Just a Game.

Our old friend Frosted, just out of March's Dubai World Cup, meets again with Upstart, Stanford, Tamarkuz and Calculator in the Met Mile.

The Kitten's Joy (what a sire!) progeny Big Blue Kitten battles with Ironicus in the Manhattan. We'll also see there Grand Tito, who spooked and fell in a lightning storm and scratched out on the Derby undercard. Keep an eye on his price, but don't tell anybody.

An Exaggerator win in the Belmont puts him in the driver's seat for Eclipse trophies. Little bit of mud, watch out.

On the tee and vee, NBC Sports Channel comes on at 2 p.m. and the big NBC lights it up at 4 p.m.

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RECAP!

It took a photo.

Looking a deadish heat, the photo showed a short half head.

But Creator, with the big jockey upgrade in Irad Ortiz, was smart and effective in winning the 148th Belmont Stakes.

The big grey got a nice start and then loped in behind the others into the first turn, but soon got into a position as to never lose sight of the leaders.

Gettysburg, as Bugs Bunny, went to the immediate lead, but at the half, they were at a relaxed 48:48. If not for instructions, he may have been able to dash away. In no way a hellish pace.

Meanwhile, Creator had a zone of comfort around him as he ran fifth past the mile pole.

Entering the stretch, Governor Malibu and Gettysburg bolloxed at the rail and Creator used the opportunity to slice through between horses and make his run. He ended up running down Destin, who was in the forefront the whole way, and win by a big horse face.

Exaggerator, running well but rank on the backside, finished an eased 11th. Lani finished third, capping the all-grey trifecta.

Immediately after the race, the skies opened up.

Am I sorry to say? But the Kentucky Derby might be a toss race for any of the 19 who don't win it. Creator was on the upswing going into Kentucky, taking the Arkansas route, and got knocked pinball out of the Churchill gate. He got his opportunity, finally, in New York.

Creator, the son of Tapit, looks to have a good year ahead of him.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has brokered a deal that would allow the Cubs to sell beer and wine at an open-air plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned, but the team says it won't accept it."

Then the mayor hasn't brokered a deal at all!

"We are miles from a deal that includes these terms," Cubs spokesman Julian Green told the paper.

So not only did the mayor not broker a deal, he didn't even come close.

"Negotiations are over," an anonymous mayoral aide said.

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FYI: Is the Sun-Times website back to being basically unusable or is it just me?

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Politics vs. Governance
"Returning to the Capitol last week after making a dozen campaign-style stops across Illinois beginning the day after the Democratic-controlled legislature failed to approve a state budget on time, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner offered an assessment: 'We're in election mode now,'" the Tribune reports.

"The governor was talking about the super-heated rhetoric among himself, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the Springfield stalemate worsens. But the stops Rauner made along his recent road trip also carried significant political overtones as he tries to elect more Republicans to the General Assembly this fall."

This is not the way forward.

"Focusing his fire on Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, all but one of Rauner's stops came outside the Chicago area. And the governor used the time-honored politics of regionalism as he blasted rank-and-file Democrats for risking the opening of local schools in the fall by siding with their leaders and 'the Chicago political machine' pushing a 'Chicago bailout' for its schools . . .

"It's the second consecutive year Rauner has adopted post-spring session campaign-style tactics to go after Madigan, the nation's longest-serving House speaker, as controlling Democrats' loyalty and votes to block the governor's efforts to win his pro-business economic agenda."

And it's working just as well as it did the first time. The irony is that Rauner is trying to use his immense wealth to control his party members' loyalty. Another strategy might be to try to win the argument and/or exhibit superior statesmanship. The way to Democratic members' hearts is through their constituents, and the governor is losing that battle every single day.

Meanwhile, the GOP leadership in the General Assembly is just as recalcitrant - as are their members. At one time I thought Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno might have it in her to be the one to break the stalemate - and thus put herself on a path to higher office - but she hasn't even come close. Of course, if any other governor - Republican or Democrat - were in office, Radogno and her House counterpart Jim Durkin would have cut a deal by now. Their urgent loyalty to holding the budget hostage in order to get workers comp and tort "reform" began only on the day the Rauner and his millions were sworn in.

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"On Friday, at a South Side veterans event, Rauner vowed to 'travel the state every day going forward' to push the passage of the GOP bills and told reporters he was working to get his message out 'through your viewers and your listeners.'"

Oh joy.

"But in a rare acknowledgment lacking the heated political blame the Republican governor often throws at Democrats, he also said he believes people are 'very angry with a failure to get results."

"'We haven't passed a balanced budget. We haven't made reforms to grow jobs. We haven't passed reforms to protect taxpayers. We haven't passed reforms to get term limits and fair maps to have competitive General Assembly elections. We haven't gotten anything done. I've tried my best to negotiate with Speaker Madigan and the supermajority Democrats for almost a year-and-a-half now and I don't blame anybody for being frustrated and angry. I'm very frustrated. I am not happy at all,' Rauner said."

The governor, like a child, now uses the phrase "supermajority Democrats" every chance he gets. If the Democrats had a working supermajority instead of a technical one, things might be different in Springfield. (I say "might" because, as others have noted, Madigan might still be averse to his side wearing the tax-hike jacket without any Republican ownership.)

"But we've got to stay the course," Rauner said. "We've got to stay strong and that's what we're going to do."

No matter the human cost. Making it less expensive for companies to maim workers is worth it.

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TrackNotes: The Test Of Champions
"It's Belmont Stakes Day Saturday and if you dig the ponies, you gotta be there. You'll learn about some of the most steeped horse races we have, tradition-wise. The toughest race of the year, furlongs-wise. And the prospect of improving yourself, wagering-wise," writes our very own Tom Chambers.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful
From 100 stickers to thousands of artists.

Junk: The Book That Launched The Young Adult Novel
A book about drug addiction and prostitution aimed at "young adults" was then a very daring thing, and many thought that this was a book that was simply too depressing for the market and would languish on library shelves. Wrong.

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By the way, according to various archives, Junk was never reviewed by the Tribune, Sun-Times or Reader.

Beachwood Sports Radio: Transaction City
The White Sox are or aren't like the Cubs.

Plus: Groupthink is Poopthink!; Warriors Will Win Wonderfully; Sharks On Ice; COPA!; About Alshon; and Sammy & The Donald Sittin' In A Tree.

Germany Bans Costly Wall Street Tax Scheme
The strategy helped foreign investors, many of them Americans, avoid an estimated $1 billion or more a year in taxes on dividends paid by German companies.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Vic Mensa, Tame Impala, Cage the Elephant, Portugal. The Man, Flag, Howard Jones, OMD, The Magnifiers, Justin and the Phonographs, and the Dixie Chicks.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "After making her mark in the indie duo The Fiery Furnaces, singer-songwriter Eleanor Friedberger launched a solo career blending her former band's experimentalism with classic '70s sounds. She joins Jim and Greg for a conversation and live performance. Plus, a review of the new mixtape from Chicago hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper."

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Weekend BeachBook

Exclusive: Obama Approves Broader Role For U.S. Forces In Afghanistan.

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FDA Too Slow To Order Food Recalls, U.S. Watchdog Finds.

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Can Chicago's Luxury Market "Loop" Around?

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Frontier The First Airline To Fly to Cuba From Chicago.

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Dispensa's Castle Of Toys.

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Weekend TweetWood

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Weekend YouTube

Chicago Stamping.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Stamp it out.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:53 AM | Permalink

Germany Waves 'Auf Wiedersehen' To Costly Wall Street Tax Scheme

The German Parliament voted Thursday to end a trading strategy that helps foreign investors, many of them Americans, avoid an estimated $1 billion or more a year in taxes on dividends paid by German companies.

The trades were exposed in a joint ProPublica investigation last month with the Washington Post and German news outlets Handelsblatt and Bayerischer Rundfunk. The report prompted widespread outrage among German lawmakers, some of whom called the maneuver "criminal."

This week's vote effectively shuts down the transactions in Germany, which had been the biggest market for such trades. They live on in more than 20 other countries across Europe and other nations where authorities attempt to collect taxes on dividends.

While German lawmakers closed the spigot on future tax losses, it remains unclear if tax officials there will be able to recoup billions of lost revenues from previous years.

Prior to Thursday's vote, experts in Germany were divided over whether the transactions - engineered by large multinational banks to benefit institutional investors at the expense of German taxpayers - were illegal under existing law.

The new legislation does not ban the transactions but it makes them impossible to execute the way they've been traditionally done - as a riskless short-term transaction to avoid taxes.

The trades, known as dividend arbitrage, help foreign investors avoid taxes on dividend payments by lending out their German stock holdings so they do not appear on their books at dividend time. The borrowers are German banks or funds that don't have to pay the 15 percent tax that typically applies to foreign investors.

These so-called "div-arb" loans usually last just a few days around dividend time. The shares are then returned and the the short-term borrowers apply to German authorities for a refund of the taxes withheld. The tax savings are then split among the investors and middlemen who arranged the deals, giving them an extra slice of dividend payments that would otherwise go to German taxpayers.

Our story revealed that Commerzbank - Germany's second-biggest bank - played a key role in div-arb deals despite being part-owned by German taxpayers due a bailout. That disclosure, based on confidential documents outlining the trades, enraged lawmakers and prompted investigators in Frankfurt to open a probe into the bank's involvement in div-arb.

Reacting to the piece, the Parliament tightened some provisions of reform legislation that had been proposed by Germany's Finance Ministry. Lawmakers attached 24 changes to the law to make it even more punitive to investors who carry out such trades, driven in large measure by outrage over Commerzbank's role.

The disclosures about Commerzbank created "enough pressure in the Parliament to sharpen the bill proposed by the Finance Ministry," Gerhard Schick, deputy chairman of the Parliament's finance committee, said during debate on the measure.

As originally proposed by the Finance Ministry, the law would aim to make div-arb deals uneconomical by requiring investors to stretch out their loans to at least 45 days and to have at least 30 percent of the value of their investment at risk during that time. Now, investors participating in div-arb will have to have at least 70 percent of their investment at risk. Australia implemented a similar change to halt the practice there. Germany's law is set to take effect retroactively to January 1.

Wolfgang Schauble, Germany's finance minister, has previously criticized the deals but said that he cannot seek to recover past taxes lost to div-arb. Tax authorities are, however, going after banks who participated in an even more nefarious form of div-arb, known as cum/ex trading.

In that arrangement, investors reclaimed even more dividend taxes than had actually been withheld by the German government. Cum/ex deals were outlawed in 2012 and are now coming back to haunt many of the country's biggest banks.

As Germany bids farewell to div-arb, however, its neighbors should take note: France, Sweden, Norway and Italy, among others, remain active markets for the trade, according to documents obtained by ProPublica.

This article was written by Cezary Podkul, with reporting contributed by Arne Meyer-Fünffinger and Pia Dangelmayer of Bayerischer Rundfunk in Berlin and Munich. Translation contributed by Jennifer Stahl.

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

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Previously in Tax Scams:
* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* Tax Day: Patriotic Millionaires Available For Comment.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

* Patriotic Millionaires vs. Carried Interest.

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Previously in the Panama Papers:
* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

June 10, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #106: Transaction City

The White Sox are or aren't like the Cubs. Plus: Groupthink is Poopthink!; Warriors Will Win Wonderfully; Sharks On Ice; COPA!; About Alshon; and Sammy & The Donald Sittin' In A Tree.


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SHOW NOTES

* No. 6!

* No. 7!

* No. 16!

* 10-6: Busy Unless Urgent.

* Koyie Hill's career batting average is .207.

1:28: Groupthink Is Poopthink.

* Jordan:

"There might be one person in that crowd who has never seen me play before, and they will probably never see me play again." Jordan wanted everybody who saw him play to experience that "Michael Jordan moment."

17:20: Transaction City!

* Matt Murton slashing .329/.366/.434!

* Athletics Nation: "Coghlan was a win-now player who was playing like garbage on a losing team. He was an absolute zero at the plate, and he was starting to affect games negatively on defense too."

* Screw the Closer.

* "Potvin was known for being intelligent, articulate, and outspoken off the ice. Throughout the 1970s, his Islander teammates often were turned off as these traits made Potvin come across as arrogant."

46:21: Warriors Will Win Wonderfully.

* Trayce Thompson!

59:38: Sharks On Ice.

1:00:47: COPA!

1:01:49: The Chicago Fire May Have Done Something This Week.

1:02:12: About Alshon.

1:03:39: Sky Clearing.

1:03:45: Sammy Sosa & Donald Trump (& Hillary Clinton): A History.

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STOPPAGE: 7:28

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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 4:23 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Vic Mensa at private party at the Annex on Tuesday night in two parts.

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2. Tame Impala at the UIC Pavilion on Thursday night.

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3. Cage the Elephant at the UIC Pavilion on Tuesday night.

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4. Portugal. The Man at the UIC Pavilion on Tuesday night.

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And at a secret aftershow at Reggies.

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5. Flag at the Double Door on Wednesday night.

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6. Howard Jones at Ravinia on Thursday night.

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7. OMD at Ravinia on Thursday night.

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8. The Magnifiers at Reggies on Sunday night.

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9. Justin and the Phonographs at House of Blues on Thursday night.

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10. The Dixie Chicks at the Tinley Park shed on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:30 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful

"It began simply with 100 stickers in 2002 in Chicago, and has since evolved into block-long murals, public installations, and exhibitions at cultural institutions involving thousands of artists."

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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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:18 AM | Permalink

Junk: The Book That Launched The Young Adult Novel

At the Hay Festival on June 2nd, Melvin Burgess received the Andersen Press Young Adult Book Prize Special Achievement Award for his novel Junk, first published 20 years ago. Since then, the young adult novel has come of age.

Burgess and his publisher, Andersen Press, took a risk when Junk was first released in 1996, when books for teenagers were hardly as gritty as the typical dystopian fare of today.

A book about drug addiction and prostitution aimed at "young adults" was then a very daring thing, and many thought that this was a book that was simply too depressing for the market and would languish on library shelves.

It was, after all, one in which 14- and 15-year-olds take high risks, living away from home in a squat and fueling their heroin addiction through theft.

Actually, it didn't languish on the library shelves at all. It became a bestseller and was translated into 28 languages.

Unsurprisingly, it received some negative commentary, but as Burgess himself has pointed out (in the latest edition of Junk), most of that came from people who had not read the book.

There was also plenty of positive commentary:

"An honest, authentic look at the drug culture," said Time Out.

"May just be the best YA book ever," thought Robert Muchamore.

"It is the real thing - a teenage novel for teenage readers," argued The Scotsman.

Burgess was awarded the Carnegie medal for Junk in 1997.

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As its title hints, it's a grim story, and now slightly dated.

The young people involved have to make phone calls from phone boxes and have little access to computers.

Yet the main characters, Gemma and Tar, are believable and rounded. The addiction is real. Homelessness is still an issue.

It was Burgess's aim to tell an authentic story but by his own admission, "authentic is informative."

Teen Or Young Adult?

Arguably, the young adult and the young adult novel have existed for some time. Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens and even Goethe featured them and wrote them, of a kind. The Bildungsroman, or coming of age story, was aimed at all ages (think David Copperfield).

More recently, in the 1970s, Judy Blume and Christine Nöstlinger wrote for the older teen. These books featured some of the challenges facing young people: growing sexual awareness, peer pressure and the need to take responsibility for the world. But the young people in these novels do not take such high risks as Burgess's characters nor is the description of their activity as explicit. Not quite (young) adult.

The term "young adult" did not come into common parlance until sometime after the appearance of Junk (though some educationalists have used the word since 1957 when the Young Adult Library Division, now known as the Young Adult Services Association, was formed).

The bookshop chain Ottakar's relabeled their teen fiction "young adult" in 1999. Waterstone's changed the description back to "teen fiction" in 2006. At this point, the book-producing industry could not quite define what was meant by "young adult." But Junk is often considered to have launched the Young Adult novel. Burgess may not have seen this as permission to write for this newly defined reader. He just wanted to write that particular story. Now he admits, however, that "the time was ripe for YA to grow up, and I was the right person in the right place at the right time."

Other writers began to write for this newly defined reader. Kate Cann and Louise Rennison started writing what might be termed "Chicklet-Lit" - chick lit for a slightly younger readership. Jacqueline Wilson and Judy Waite gradually started writing for older teenagers. Several vampire and other paranormal romance books began to appear.

Pushing Boundaries

Other novels by Burgess push boundaries, too: Lady, My Life as a Bitch (2001) tells the story of a girl who becomes a dog and enjoys being promiscuous. Doing It (2003) is a frank examination of young male sexuality at the same time as showing the vulnerability of his three main characters. Nicholas Dane (2009) raises the issue of abuse but Burgess keeps the protagonist human. The Hit (2013) includes drugs again and violence on the streets of Manchester (yet is really about something else).

The young adult novel, after all, is a story told by one invented young adult (Burgess and many other writers of young adult literature are certainly not young adults) to another.

In Junk, Burgess uses a series of close first person narratives, most of them from the point of view of two main characters. He offers us a character closeness, high stakes and risk-taking in our young people that was innovative at the time.

After Junk, these were identified as traits of the young adult novel. He also offers us the young adult's voice:

Maybe if I get off, I'll get back with Gemma again. I know, I know. She didn't chuck me because I was using . . . I was as clean as a whistle at the time, more or less. But you have to have hope.

Junk is 20 years old - and it still speaks to us. As Malorie Blackman, former Children's Laureate, says in her introduction: "It may not be real but as with every great fictional story - every word is true."

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Gillian James is a senior lecturer in English and Creative Writing 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 2:33 AM | Permalink

June 9, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"More homeowners are trapped by underwater mortgages in the Chicago area than in almost any other major metropolitan area in the country, two new studies show," the Tribune reports.

"One study, released Thursday by housing research data firm CoreLogic, found Chicago slightly better off than Las Vegas and Miami. But a separate study released Wednesday by real estate website Zillow places Chicago homeowners in the worst position in the nation, with a larger portion of homes underwater than in either Las Vegas or Miami."

I believe previous studies have also shown what Zillow found: Chicago is the most underwater city in the nation.

Principally Speaking
More on the (alleged?) exodus of principals from CPS I wrote about yesterday:

* "Asked about the departures, CPS administrators suggested the district can't retain its best and brightest administrators as long as the Republican governor blocks CPS' desires for a new school funding formula," the Tribune reports.

"'The longer Gov. Rauner stands in the way of equitably funding education, the more CPS will be at a competitive disadvantage for retaining our best principals and teachers, who will always have other options whether it's out of state or in the suburbs,' district Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said in a statement."

Huh. When previously asked about principal departures by Catalyst, Jackson hedged on whether budget difficulties were to blame - perhaps because Rahm's PR team hadn't figured out its company line, I suggested.

"District officials say the number of departures is in line with previous years but blamed Gov. Bruce Rauner for standing 'in the way of equitably funding education," Catalyst reported.

Now, the city has decided, the "exodus" is real and Rauner is definitely to blame.

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Back to the Tribune::

"Despite CPS' suggestion that Rauner is to blame, this year's numbers aren't entirely out of sync with the number of principal departures the district has seen in recent years. According to CPS, 46 principals left the district in its 2015 budget year, compared with 49 in 2014 and 33 in 2013."

Catalyst also has updated figures, and here's a chart that WBEZ's Sarah Karp tweeted out Wednesday.

WBEZ also has audio of CPS chief Forrest Claypool blaming Springfield for the "exodus," so CPS has definitely decided they will not fight the narrative but instead assign blame elsewhere.

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As I wrote yesterday, I'm not saying there isn't a budget-driven exodus, but I'm not sure the numbers we've seen are yet statistically significant when compared to recent years. I just don't know. Perhaps more fascinating is to see such a good example of how a narrative can take hold when journalists just repeat what others surmise rather than doing their own work.

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Thomas Corfman in his Crain's newsletter:

The number of principals who have left the Chicago Public Schools during the current school year is already 17 percent ahead of last year's pace, raising concerns that the school system's deep financial woes are prompting top talent to flee, Greg Hinz reports.

CPS blamed the exodus on Rauner, while the Chicago Teachers Union blamed CPS mismanagement, DNAinfo reports.

This year, 54 principals have left CPS (33 by resignation, the rest by retiring), compared with 46 last year (29 by resignation).

No statistics on how many were humming "Take this job and shove it" on the way out.

Perhaps. But there are only four more retirements than last year, and if you take those out of the equation you have just one more principal departing than two years ago. Maybe those retirements are just principals getting old? What I'd like to see is a survey of each and every principal leaving - and even then it's not as if this isn't the first year CPS has been in budget crisis. It's in budget crisis every year!

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And then there's Natasha Korecki for Politico:

"The budget uncertainty is hitting home in Chicago, where parents already have plenty of reasons to pick up and leave the city. Now, dozens of CPS principals - including some of the most popular at select enrollment schools - are leaving the system. Already, CPS has experienced the highest number of principal resignations it's seen over the last six years."

That does not appear to be true. The chart shown by Catalyst and Karp shows 33 resignations this year compared to 37 in 2014. And if you add resignations and retirements together, it's definitely not true because a shitload of principals retired in 2011 and 2012 due to pension incentives.

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Which gets to another problem: It seems like everyone is doing news round-ups these days (remember when it was "stealing" content?), but if you just send stuff out without doing your own vetting, you're not doing readers any favors - you're just amplifying the media's mistakes. As much as you love your peers and colleagues, you shouldn't blindly trust their work.

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Millions Of American Kids Going Untested For Lead
Finger-prick testing at a pediatrician's office can provide initial results in three minutes. The tests range in cost, from as little as $7. And yet.

Senn TV!
From Studio 346. Which is not in a prison.

Fantasy Fix: Youth Movement
Albert Almora is here. Are Willson Contreras and Tim Anderson next?

Are Rock Stars Destined To Die Young?
An analysis of Rolling Stone's Top 100 suggests that yes, they are, with a life expectancy matching that of Chad.

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BeachBook

National Parks Service Pushes Back On Lathrop Homes Plan.

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Coastal Seafoods Sold To Chicago Company.

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Chicago Suburbanites Upset At Store Selling Adult Diapers.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Non-competitive.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:57 PM | Permalink

Millions Of American Kids Going Untested For Lead Poisoning

LEETONIA, Ohio - When Jennifer Sekerak took son Joshua for his age-one check-up, the pediatrician saw no need to test for lead poisoning. The baby wasn't yet walking, she recalls the doctor saying, so was unlikely to be playing around hazards like lead paint.

Over the next year or so, Joshua was twice hospitalized for mysterious symptoms. He began refusing food and eating dirt. There was violent head-banging, sleeplessness, skin lesions, vomiting.

"He stopped talking, he wanted to eat dirt, and he would scream like a banshee," Sekerak said. "To be honest, he was like a wild animal."

Once, Joshua was rushed to the hospital in Boardman, Ohio, and diagnosed with severe anemia, a common finding in lead-poisoned children. Hospital staff told Sekerak her son, enrolled in Medicaid, might have lead poisoning. But the hospital, Akron Children's at Boardman, did not test his blood for lead, she says. Citing federal privacy rules, a hospital spokeswoman declined comment.

At the mother's urging, a new pediatrician tested him at age two. His blood lead concentration was 19 micrograms per deciliter, nearly four times the level Ohio defines as lead poisoning and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers elevated. Had Joshua been tested earlier - as Medicaid and Ohio rules required - the family could have more quickly removed him from a lead-infested rental house, Sekerak said.

Joshua's case is not unique, a Reuters investigation found. Nationwide, millions of children are falling through the cracks of early childhood lead testing requirements.

STATESMAP.png(ENLARGE)

Blood lead tests are mandated for all children in 11 U.S. states and Washington, DC. In addition, Medicaid requires that the one-third of all U.S. children enrolled in the program, which provides health care for low-income and disabled people, be tested at ages one and two. Some other states mandate tests for all children in areas with exposure risks, such as housing with lead paint or lead-tainted soil.

Yet, in a review of data in nearly a dozen U.S. states, Reuters found just 41 percent of Medicaid-enrolled one- and two-year-olds had been tested as required. And in some states requiring tests, more than half the children were missing a test.

The full scope of under-testing is impossible to gauge: Data tracking testing rates and results from the CDC, Medicaid and many state health agencies is incomplete and unreliable. The CDC said its own tracking of lead poisoning rates isn't conclusive, citing insufficient data from states and changes in testing patterns that make comparisons over time challenging.

Yet Reuters documented a sweeping testing gap in the data that could be verified.

The shortfalls leave some children vulnerable to prolonged lead exposure, among the most insidious, and preventable, early health risks. Lead poisoning can lead to a lifetime of severe mental and physical ailments.

Some 500,000 U.S. children under age six have blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter or higher, the CDC estimates, the level at which it suggests "public health actions."

"When we fail to provide lead poisoning tests to children who need them, it's a tragedy," said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, associate professor of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine. "Unfortunately, a lot of pediatricians and health care providers have taken their eye off this ball."

Concerns about lead exposure grew dramatically after news that the water supply in Flint, Michigan had been poisoned.

Michigan does not require universal testing for lead exposure, and state officials only began to acknowledge a serious water contamination problem in Flint months after a local pediatrician showed them evidence: Lead levels in her patients' blood were spiking over the CDC's threshold.

"If you don't test, you never really know," said Joel Schwartz, an epidemiologist at Harvard University's school of public health. "You might think you don't have a problem, and you might be wrong."

A NATIONWIDE PROBLEM

Reuters reviewed data from state health departments, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the CDC. Reporters sought testing information from health departments and Medicaid program administrators in each state, interviewed more than two dozen health experts, and spoke with 15 families whose children were poisoned.

Symptoms of under-testing span the country:

  • Pennsylvania has childhood lead-poisoning rates nearly double Flint's. But the state doesn't require universal blood testing, so just 26 percent of children are tested by age three.
  • At least three states - Utah, Kansas and Alaska - said they do not recognize or follow a federal requirement to test Medicaid children.
  • Among the U.S. children for whom two tests are required by age three, millions receive no test or just one. Rates vary widely by state. Top performers test 80 percent of children repeatedly. South Carolina tested as little as 5 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children in 2014.
  • After lead abatement efforts triggered a decades-long decline in child lead poisoning rates, the trend appears to be stalling. Based on testing results reported to the CDC, the percentage of children with blood lead levels double the agency's threshold has remained steady, about 0.6 percent, the last five years.

The testing shortfall is one reason the CDC is unlikely to achieve its goal of eradicating lead poisoning among U.S. children by 2020, public health specialists say.

There are many causes for the gaps. Surveillance funding and data collection have been cut, and many states rely upon parental questionnaires to identify at-risk children to test. Several leave the testing option to pediatricians.

Testing guidelines, and the questionnaires, mostly target children in areas where older housing can expose them to lead paint. They often do not address another important risk, lead-tainted drinking water.

Ironically, the United States' success in reducing lead poisoning is one reason for testing lapses. Lead was banned from most paints in 1978, from gasoline in the early 1980s, and, more recently, from new household pipes and fixtures. Average childhood lead levels have fallen by more than 90 percent since the late 1970s. Since then, however, research has shown that even low levels of exposure can stunt a child's development.

Symptoms of poisoning - neurological impairment and behavior disorders - can be hard to distinguish at first. Once enough lead accumulates in blood and bone, the damage is irreversible. Negative health impacts of lead can begin at blood concentrations below the threshold used by the CDC, which says no level of exposure is safe.

LIFELONG STIGMA

Ingesting lead can sicken people of any age, but it takes the heaviest toll on small children, whose developing bodies readily absorb it.

By school age, children with a history of lead exposure can exhibit poor attention and impulse control, with lower intelligence and academic performance - a stigma that can follow them through life.

"The lower your IQ, the more trouble learning, the more likely you are to drop out of school, to be delinquent, to be incarcerated," said Dr. Morri Markowitz, director of the lead poisoning program for the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City.

Although many exposure impacts are irreversible, poisoned children can benefit from therapy aimed at improving cognitive abilities. A high test result should be followed quickly by informing the family of lead risks, or intervention. Home inspections may spot sources of poisoning to be fixed.

As recently as the 1990s, the CDC recommended tests for all U.S. children. Since then, its guidelines have changed. The CDC still says all "at-risk" children should be tested but now encourages some states to devise a "targeted" approach.

After a 2012 budget cut, the CDC was forced to slash funding to states for lead poisoning prevention programs by some 90 percent. Though much of the funding was restored, several state health agencies cited dwindling CDC funding for their lead poisoning programs as one reason more children aren't tested.

More than a dozen states do not report local testing results to the CDC. In many states using a targeted approach, parental questionnaires help decide which children to test, based on risk factors such as living in older housing.

Around 25 million older U.S. homes or apartments contain lead paint, with most located along the East Coast and in the Midwest.

Yet Flint serves as a potent reminder old paint isn't the only exposure risk. Lead can leach into drinking water from pipes, a problem discovered recently in Mississippi, Ohio and at New Jersey and Oregon schools. Lead-tainted water from unregulated private wells is also a danger for up to six million Americans, Reuters reported in March.

Soil, cookware, and some imported toys, candies and spices can contain lead. Parents with careers or hobbies involving lead items - such as oil drilling, hunting or fishing - may bring the risks home.

Reuters reviewed the risk-assessment questionnaires health clinics give to parents in a dozen states. None asked about potential water contamination from lead piping or sink fixtures.

Before Flint, "lead risks were not being recognized as much, even though the research shows that there is no safe level of lead in blood," said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. Chair of the Council on Environmental Health at the American Academy of Pediatrics, she supports universal testing.

A blood lead test is the only cheap and reliable way to identify a lead-poisoned child. Finger-prick testing at a pediatrician's office can provide initial results in three minutes. The tests range in cost, from as little as $7.

ROOTS OF FAILURE

In Ohio, Joshua Sekerak wasn't tested until he was two years old. He should have been tested a year earlier, because he was on Medicaid and lived in a high risk area.

Ohio mandates universal testing for children in ZIP codes where old housing is prevalent. About two-thirds of the state's children should be tested under those rules. Ohio also requires tests for Medicaid children.

Actual testing falls short of Ohio's guidelines, mirroring the U.S. problem.

Last year, Medicaid recorded payment claims for 41 percent of one- and two-year-olds enrolled in the insurance program in Ohio. The state's Medicaid administration said some additional children were screened for free, but did not quantify how many.

Among all Ohio two-year-olds, less than a third got tested in 2014, state data show.

In Cleveland, a staggering 13.7 percent of children tested had lead levels above the CDC's threshold, state data show. Following the contamination in Flint, 4.9 percent of children exceeded the threshold.

California, the nation's most populous state, requires tests for all Medicaid children. Medicaid paid for enough lead tests to cover just one in three enrollees, last year's claims data showed. "Improvements are needed" in testing and reporting, the state's Department of Health Care Services told Reuters, vowing to redouble its efforts.

In some states, the testing gap is small. Vermont and Massachusetts screen around 80 percent of children repeatedly.

But across all 11 states that require universal screening, millions miss out.

"Only a fraction of the children who should be tested are being tested," said Dr. Stanley Schaffer, who runs a pediatric program in industrial Rochester, New York.

New York State law requires testing for all children at age one and again at two. But statewide, only 55 percent of children have received their two required tests by age three, state data shows. Outside New York City, the rate drops to around 40 percent. In some counties, it's below 10 percent.

Schaffer pushed measures to test as many children as possible, and the rate at his pediatric ward now reaches 90 percent.

Among the reasons for under-testing: Some doctors don't order the tests or are unaware of the rules; children miss appointments or parents don't follow up on test referrals; Medicaid and health departments do little to enforce testing requirements.

Medicaid has required testing of enrolled children since 1989, a CMS spokesman said. Arizona, the only exception, received a Medicaid waiver authorizing it to test only some enrolled children. To get it, Arizona showed it collects ample lead surveillance data to ensure at-risk children are referred for blood testing.

But health administrators in at least three other states told Reuters they do not require testing or recognize the federal mandate.

"There is no requirement in Kansas for Medicaid-enrolled children to be tested for blood lead levels," said the state's Department of Health and Environment.

Utah and Alaska also said they don't require testing. In Utah, health official Sam Lefevre said the state has lower than national average lead poisoning rates, and its Medicaid children were not at higher risk.

That several states do not recognize the Medicaid requirement drew surprise from attorney Jane Perkins, a child healthcare advocate at the National Health Law Program.

In the 1990s, Perkins led a successful nationwide class action lawsuit to force laggard state Medicaid programs to comply with testing requirements. Now, Perkins says, her litigation team is investigating whether these states are flouting requirements.

AWAY FROM THE CAMERAS

Flint has become a symbol of mass failure to protect low-income children. When President Barack Obama visited May 4th, he urged all Flint parents to have their children's blood tested for lead.

Less attention has been drawn to regions with higher lead poisoning rates.

A year after Flint's switch to corrosive river water, nearly 5 percent of children tested there had blood lead levels above the CDC's threshold. In as many as 11 states, the rates of poisoning surpass that mark, according to the agency's data.

Across Pennsylvania, 9.4 percent of children tested in 2014 had levels above CDC's threshold, a state report said. "There are probably a thousand kids in Philly with lead levels over 10 (micrograms per deciliter) and that number should be zero," said Donna Cooper, executive director of the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Public Citizens for Children and Youth.

For at-risk children, testing should continue after age two, experts said.

In Ohio, after Joshua Sekerak was diagnosed with lead poisoning, weeks passed before a state inspector arrived at the family rental home. It was infested with lead paint, paint dust and contaminated soil.

Before Joshua's diagnosis, his family was unaware of the lead exposure dangers, and their century-old rental house had passed a building inspection. With word of their child's illness, the family moved to a new, lead-free home.

At age four, Joshua has the verbal skills of a child half his age. He uses diapers and drinks from a baby bottle. He needs therapy and psychiatric medications.

The special needs pre-school class Joshua attends recently sent the family a nylon harness device, to prevent injuries, and he is harnessed during the ride to school in the district's van for children with disabilities. His attention span is around 15 seconds.

Shortly after Joshua's lead poisoning was discovered, doctors told Serenak he also qualified for an autism diagnosis.

lead.JPGAaron Josefczyk/Reuters

At home one recent morning, Joshua showed a fascination with railroads. He lay down next to a toy track, repeating "choo-choo train." He fixated on a tablet video of a freight train crushing a can on the rails, banged on doors and stared out the window.

When his dad came home from working on a farm, Joshua ran to him with a hug.

The house is several blocks from a busy freight train crossing. Jennifer Sekerak has installed alarms on the doors, but is haunted by the possibility Joshua may find a way out. "If that happens, he will go straight for the train tracks," she said.

"I wish he'd been tested earlier," the mother said. "I don't know who to be angry with - the doctors, the landlord, myself?"

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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.

* Race Best Predicts Whether You Live Near Pollution.

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

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:51 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Youth Movement

The calendar says it's June, so it's no surprise that a fresh group of prospects has begun to make its way to the majors. What say we weigh the fantasy prospects of these prospects?

Albert Almora, Jr., OF, CUBS: The locals might be in a frothy lather over this call-up, but at his best, Almora is more of a real-world nice-to-have than a fantasy gotta-have. If he stays at the big league level, the fantasy-relevant stats he's most likely to offer are batting average and SBs, but hard to see how he starts regularly even with Jorge Soler on the DL. Fittingly, he is available in about 95% of Yahoo! leagues at the moment.

Jameson Taillon, SP, PIT: Got his first MLB start Wednesday and wasn't bad, with six IP, three strikeouts and three earned runs, with no decision. In the minors this year, he had 61 strikeouts in 61 IP and only six walks, and if he can start turning up the K rate while maintaining a low WHIP - the latter often being the real struggle with young arms - he has a good chance with one of the best teams in MLB to notch double-digit wins this season. Available in 42% of Yahoo! leagues.

Julio Urias, SP, LAD: He's the one everyone knows about, a 19-year-old kid whose debut was surrounded by so much hype it was impossible for him to match it. And yet . . . he's gotten better in each of his three starts thus far. He still owns a ghastly 6.94 ERA, but 14 strikeouts in 11.2 IP is promising. He's being held for now to a pitch count around 90 and hasn't surpassed five IP in any start yet, but I think by the end of the year, we'll be debating his Rookie of the Year candidacy. Still available in 64% of Yahoo! leagues, but stashing him now may pay off big later.

Trea Turner, 2B, WAS: If you blinked, you missed him. He was up for one weekend and only saw one game of action, but headed back to the minors with a 1.000 batting average after three hits in his first three at-bats. Why? To work on his defense, we've been told. But he's like a more MLB-ready version of Almora, with extra-bases power and great speed to boost your fantasy team's SB stats. Also, will become eligible at SS, soon after his next call-up, which can't come soon enough. Available in 72% of Yahoo! leagues, as owners have been dropping him like crazy since he went back down, but that should change in the next month.

*

Still waiting for a cup of coffee:

Willson Contreras, C, CUBS: It's not a bad time to grab and stash him, but you'll need patience. With Miguel Montero healthy again, I didn't think the Cubs would keep three catchers at the MLB level, but Tim Federowicz continues to hang around. Contreras deserves that spot, and has been tearing up AAA once again this year. My thinking here is that the Cubs are beginning a stretch of something like 30 games in 31 days until the All-Star Break. A fresh bat and rest for Montero and Ross wouldn't be out of the question, though the overarching reality is that the Cubs have been so dominant they might be slow to make this move

Tim Anderson, SS, WHITE SOX: He's hitting above .300 at AAA, though hasn't logged more than a couple months at that level. The Sox may have gotten as much as they can get out of Jimmy Rollins, who after a decent start is fading and giving way to Tyler Saladino at SS. Hard to say how desperate the Sox will be to give him a try. The team just traded for an aging SP it didn't really need while its offense and bullpen continue to slump. If GM Rick Hahn wants to refresh things without firing his manager, bringing Anderson into the mix could be part of the plan. Keep an eye on him.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:38 AM | Permalink

Senn TV

Senn TV is one of the bright spots of the Chicago Public Schools highlighted as part of the #notaprison hashtag campaign - a response to Gov. Bruce Rauner saying some Chicago public schools were "almost crumbling prisons."

"Senn High School will be launching a new TV news show this month where Journalism students will work every day to inform their peers about events in and outside the school," Senn sophomore Maricela Machuca reports for the Senn Times.

"The idea came from Michael Cullinane, Senn's lead journalism teacher, and Mary Beck the school's principal.

"TVs will be set up in the cafeteria that will display the show, and it will replace the morning announcements the last 7-8 mins of first period. The students will also be airing a new episode daily. The equipment was funded by Loyola's grant from the McCormick Foundation. The organization grants money to journalism programs all around Chicago at different high schools.

"Cullinane wants to make Senn TV a show where everyone can feel comfortable and informed. He also wants to bring all of these stories to life, as engaging the students is essential to him."

Here are the first two episodes:

Episode 1.1, featuring:

International Fest
ACT Exam
Question of the Day (Student Slang)
A Message from Principal Beck (Funding Crisis)
The Second Installment of "Coming Out"
and Some Bloopers

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Episode 2.1 featuring:

Trip to Springfield
Pop Quiz
Word on the Street Review
Question of the Day
Personal Project Showcase
Loyola University Scholarship

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:48 AM | Permalink

Are Rock Stars Destined To Die Young?

Prince's autopsy has determined that the artist died of an accidental overdose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The news comes on the heels of the death of former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza, who collapsed on stage and died in late May.

Indeed, it seems as though before we can even finish mourning the loss of one rock star, another falls. There's no shortage of groundbreaking artists who die prematurely, whether it's Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley or Hank Williams.

As a physician, I've begun to wonder: Is being a superstar incompatible with a long, healthy life? Are there certain conditions that are more likely to cause a star's demise? And finally, what might be some of the underlying reasons for these early deaths?

To find out the answer to each of these questions, I analyzed the 252 individuals who made Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest artists of the rock & roll era.

To date, 82 of the 252 members of this elite group have died.

27club.jpgThe 27 Club: Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse all died at 27 years old/High Star Madrid

There were six homicides, which occurred for a range of reasons, from the psychiatric obsession that led to the shooting of John Lennon to the planned "hits" on rappers Tupac Shakur and Jam Master Jay. There's still a good deal of controversy about the shooting of Sam Cooke by a female hotel manager (who was likely protecting a prostitute who had robbed Cooke). Al Jackson Jr., the renowned drummer with Booker T & the MGs, was shot in the back five times in 1975 by a burglar in a case that still baffles authorities.

An accident can happen to anyone, but these artists seem to have more than their share. There were numerous accidental overdoses - Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols at age 21, David Ruffin of the Temptations at 50, The Drifters' Rudy Lewis at 27, and country great Gram Parsons, who was found dead at 26.

And while your odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in five million, if you're on Rolling Stone's list, those odds jump to one in 84: Buddy Holly, Otis Redding and Ronnie Van Zant of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band all died in airplane accidents while on tour.

A Drink, A Smoke And A Jolt

Among the general population, liver-related diseases are behind only 1.4 percent of deaths. Among Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists, however, the rate is three times that.

It's likely tied to the elevated alcohol and drug use among artists. Liver bile duct cancers - which are extremely rare - happened to two of the top 100, with Ray Manzarek of The Doors and Tommy Ramone of the Ramones both succumbing prematurely from a cancer that normally affects one in 100,000 people a year.

The vast majority of those on Rolling Stone's list were born in the 1940s and reached maturity during the 1960s, when tobacco smoking peaked. So not surprisingly, a significant portion of artists died from lung cancer: George Harrison of the Beatles at age 58, Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys at 51, Richard Wright of Pink Floyd at 65, Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations at 52 and Obie Benson of the Four Tops at 69. Throat cancer - also linked with smoking - caused the deaths of country great Carl Perkins at 65 and Levon Helm of The Band at 71.

A good number from the list had heart attacks or heart failure, such as Ian Stewart of the Rolling Stones at 47 and blues greats Muddy Waters at 70, Howlin Wolf at 65, Roy Orbison at 52 and Jackie Wilson at 49.

We recently saw the Eagles' Glenn Frey succumb to pneumonia; so did soul singer Jackie Wilson at age 49, nine years after a massive heart attack. James Brown complained of a persistent cough and declining health before he passed at 73, with the cause of death listed as congestive heart failure as a result of pneumonia.

Currently, the U.S. is in the midst of an opioid abuse epidemic, with heroin and prescription drug overdoses happening at historic rates.

But for rock stars, opioid abuse is nothing new. Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious, Gram Parsons, Whitney Houston (who didn't make the list), Michael Jackson and now Prince all died from accidental opioid overdoses.

Two Key Findings

One of the two shocking findings of this analysis deals with life expectancy. Among those dead, the average age was 49, which is the same as Chad, the country with the lowest life expectancy in the world. The average American male has a life expectancy of about 76 years.

Factoring in their birth year and a life expectancy of 76 years, only 44 should have died by now. Instead, 82 have. (Incidentally, of the 44 we would have expected to be dead by now, 19 are still alive.)

The second shocking discovery was the sobering and disproportional occurrence of alcohol- and drug-related deaths.

There was Kurt Cobain's gunshot suicide while intoxicated and Duane Allman's drunk driving motorcycle crash. Members of legendary bands like The Who (John Entwistle, 57, and Keith Moon, 32), The Doors (Jim Morrison, 27), The Byrds (Gene Clark, 46, and Michael Clarke, 47) and The Band (Rick Danko, 55, and Richard Manuel, 42) all succumbed to alcohol or drugs.

Others - the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and country star Hank Williams - steadily declined from substance abuse while their organs deteriorated. Their official causes of death were heart-related. In truth, the cause may have been more directly related to substance abuse.

In all, alcohol and drugs accounted for at least one in 10 of these great artists' deaths.

Does Quest For Fame Lead To Early Demise?

Many have explored the root causes behind these premature deaths.

One answer may come from dysfunctional childhoods: experiencing physical or sexual abuse, having a depressed parent or having a family broken up by tragedy or divorce. An article published in the British Medical Journal found that "adverse childhood experiences" may act as a motivator to become successful and famous as a way to move past childhood trauma.

The authors noted an increased incidence of these adverse childhood experiences among famous artists. Unfortunately, the same adverse experiences also predispose people to depression, drug use, risky behaviors and premature death.

A somewhat similar hypothesis is proposed by the Self Determination Theory, which addresses human motivation through the lens of "intrinsic" versus "extrinsic" life aspirations. People who have intrinsic goals seek inward happiness and contentment. On the other hand, people who possess extrinsic goals focus on material success, fame and wealth - the exact sort of thing attained by these exceptional artists. According to research, people who have extrinsic goals tend to have had less-involved parents and are more likely to experience bouts of depression.

A good deal of research has also explored the fine line between creative genius and mental illness across a wide range of disciplines. They include authors (Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway), scholars (Aristotle and Isaac Newton), classical composers (Beethoven, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky), painters (Van Gogh), sculptors (Michelangelo) and contemporary musical geniuses.

Psychiatrist Arnold Ludwig, in his meta-analysis of over 1,000 people, The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy, concluded that artists, compared to other professions, were much more likely to have mental illnesses, and were prone to being afflicted with them for longer periods of time.

Meanwhile, Cornell psychiatrist William Frosch, author of Moods, Madness, and Music: Major affective disease and musical creativity, was able to connect the creativity of groundbreaking musical artists to their psychiatric disorders. According to Frosch, their mental illnesses were behind their creative output.

My review also confirmed a greater incidence of mood disorders among these Great 100 rock stars. Numerous studies have shown that depression, bipolar disease and related diagnoses come with increased risk for premature death, suicide and addiction.

By following the relationship between genius and mental illness, mental illness and substance abuse, and then substance abuse, health problems and accidental death, you can see why so many great artists seem almost destined for a premature or drug-induced demise.

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Greg Hall is an assistant clinical professor at Case Western Reserve University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:16 AM | Permalink

June 8, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Chicago Public Schools officials say 54 principals have resigned or retired so far this school year, the highest number in the past four years," Catalyst reports.

"The number could go even higher as the school year comes to an end, given the looming threat of budget cuts and no end in sight to the financial impasse in Springfield.

"District officials say the number of departures is in line with previous years but blamed Gov. Bruce Rauner for standing 'in the way of equitably funding education.'"

So CPS says the number of principals resigning or retiring this year is typical - 54 sounds like a lot, but consider the size of the district - but takes a jab at the governor for something they just intimated is not related. The outstanding question: Are a significant number of these retirements and resignations due to the ongoing chaos of the budget situation or not?

"Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said that 'the longer the Governor's intransigence drags on, the more concerned we'll become about potential losses' of principals and teachers."

That says to me: No. But we're ready to blame the governor if at all possible!

Now, bear in mind, I'm willing to blame the governor for everything, including weak coffee, bad music and Jorge Soler's injury, but I'm really trying to get a fix on this.

"[P]rincipals say that CPS is mostly to blame for the big wave of departures, including those from prominent, well-regarded high schools such as Lane Tech, Lake View, Schurz and Foreman, as well as Palmer and Edison Park elementaries."

Aha! But I thought there wasn't a "big wave" of departures, just a normal wave.

"A CPS spokeswoman did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday about how many principals have completed the district's eligibility process and are available to work next fall."

You'd think that number would be a keystroke away for CPS officials, but maybe they were busy crafting some talking points to go along with it.

But still. Let's take a look at those links Catalyst provided.

Lane Tech: Principal Kathryn Anderson is following her predecessor to Deerfield High School, where she will increase her salary by about $30,000 for the same job. She did not mention CPS's budget situation as a reason for her departure, though that doesn't mean it wasn't a factor.

Also: "The current exodus falls far shy of the one that took place in 2012, when nearly 150 CPS principals and assistant principals retired in order to take advantage of a pension enhancement program that was expiring."

Lake View: Principal Scott Grens is leaving to become principal of an elementary school, though he didn't say which one - or even if it's in CPS, which I presume it's not.

Foreman: Principal Dan Zimmerman is taking a job at a Reno, Nevada elementary school. "[O]ne of the major factors that drove him out . . . was the current financial mess of the school district and the state."

Palmer: Principal La Shawn Ray is taking a job with Minneapolis school district. "Unfortunately, my wife and three small children never quite adjusted to life in Chicago. Furthermore, my oldest son will only live one hour from our home in Minnesota. The biggest reason for the move is that Minnesota is home for my wife and three small children. There are other things that factored into this decision, but the happiness of my family means the world to me."

Edison Park: Principal Pete Zimmerman is retiring after 25 years with CPS.

According to Catalyst, 21 principals are retiring this year.

*

"Last fall, a survey from the Chicago Public Education Fund found that 40 percent of principals said they will look for a new job in the next three years.

"More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they want to spend less time on compliance and paperwork, such as filling out forms related to teacher evaluations and completing data requests. Just 33 percent wanted an increase in pay . . .

"Forty percent of the principals say they will look for a new job in the next three years. The percentage who indeed left in the last three years was 41, not counting schools that were closed or had an acting principal."

I wonder how that compares to other districts.

"Heather Anichini, president and CEO of the Fund, says higher turnover rates are found only in the retail, hospitality and logging industries.

"'Chicago's a city that has invested a lot of time, energy and dollars in training people,' Anichini says, noting that while the 40 percent who plan to explore other options are cause for concern, that percent is similar to percentages in other major cities."

Ok, then!

*

"In a separate analysis of CPS data on principals who started in CPS in the 2007-2008 school year, the Fund found that 60 percent of principals from all types of schools, including charter and contract schools, leave before the end of their fifth year, when data suggest they reach their peak effectiveness."

Kind of like football coaches.

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Given the governor's recent comments stating that some Chicago public schools are "almost crumbling prisons," I tried to look up the turnover rate for prison wardens, but came up empty in the brief time I had. I did find several articles about turnover among corrections officers, though. I sense working for CPS is still a much better deal.

*

He did say "almost."

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Cook County Bird Of The Month
The Great Egret!

Climbing Could Become Olympic Sport
Also, surfing and skateboarding.

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BeachBook

Black Students Nearly 4X As Likely To Be Suspended As Whites.

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Legendary Driver's Lawsuit Says Museum Of Science & Industry Damaged His Jet Car.

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TweetWood

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Adding value to tronc.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:22 AM | Permalink

Competitive Climbing Could Reach Olympic Level

"Climbing is on the precipice of becoming an Olympic sport, raising the profile of a recreational activity that is seeing a surge in young participants."


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See also:

"Competitive rock climbing just overcame a major crux en route to becoming an official Olympic sport," Seeker notes.

"The International Olympic Committee announced this week that climbing is one of four new sports under consideration for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The committee meets this August in Rio to decide, according to Climbing magazine."

*

From Climbing:

"Climbing was initially rejected from the 2020 Olympics in 2013. However, a new program allows the host country to propose sports with broad local and international appeal. Climbing was included on the original list of 26 sports that applied, and has since made each cut as the group was whittled down to the final remaining five.

"This decision will only affect the Tokyo Games, as the host city's selections are not binding on future Games hosts."

*

From Reuters:

"Five sports, including baseball, skateboarding and surfing, are set to feature at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the IOC on Wednesday recommended them to attract a younger audience and boost local support for the Games.

"The International Olympic Committee must now rubber-stamp the inclusion of skateboarding, surfing, sports climbing and karate plus the joint baseball/softball bid at its session in Rio de Janeiro in August."

*

Highlights from the 2014 Ring of Fire Sport Climbing Finals.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 AM | Permalink

Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Great Egret!

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 June Bird of the Month is the great egret.

june-BOM.jpg

Whether fishing or fighting, the great egret's razor-sharp bill is an amazing tool:

  • Stalking & spearing: Standing motionless or slowly wading in shallow water, great egrets wait for prey (mainly small fish and amphibians) to swim by. With a swift stab of the bill, they pierce or snap up the oblivious prey - then swallow them whole.
  • Sibling rivalry: Dominant chicks have been known to use their bills to attack weaker siblings in the nest, sometimes resulting in death.
  • Nest defense: Great egrets most often nest in isolated tree-top colonies with other water birds. If a predator manages to make it to a nest, they'll be met with sharp thrusting bills.

To see the June Bird of the Month, check out this event:

Birds at Baker's Lake
Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m.
Baker's Lake, Inverness
Hosted by Crabtree Nature Center

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.

Join a growing movement of nature lovers and bird the preserves this year while enjoying the many amenities offered throughout the Forest Preserves, including miles of marked trails, major waterways that can be canoed or kayaked, dedicated nature preserves and more.

Support for Bird the Preserves was generously provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through Chicago Wilderness. For more information, visit fpdcc.com/birding.

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Previously:
* Experience Birding In The Cook County Forest Preserves!

* Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Timberdoodle.

* Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Wood Duck!

* Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Baltimore Oriole!

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BOM-March-page-002.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

June 7, 2016

CPD Hires R. Kelly Media Pal

Former Fox Chicago News anchor Robin Robinson has apparently been hired by the Chicago Police Department.


That would be this Robin Robinson:

"News staffers at Chicago Fox affiliate WFLD-TV were told in a memo to 'take particular care in our reporting of R. Kelly' so the station could get 'exclusive access' to the R&B star, who is awaiting trial on 21 child pornograhy charges in Chicago. The memo states: 'When referring to the alleged victim . . . do not specify an age . . . she is simply underaged. Do not use video of him in orange jumpsuit . . . unless specifically referring to his arrest [last June] in Florida." A WFLD veep tells Robert Feder the memo was written by an executive producer after being pressured by news anchor Robin Robinson, who is a Kelly pal."

But nevermind!

*

I will give Robinson credit for this bit of truth-telling - though it's hardly enough to overcome her R. Kelly business. But her approach has served her well!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:07 PM | Permalink

Sammy Sosa & Donald Trump (& Hillary Clinton): A History

"Through more recent friendships with Puffy Combs, Sammy Sosa and others, I've had the chance to learn firsthand about the diversity of American culture." - Donald Trump in his book The America We Deserve

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This passage is getting quoted a lot these days in light of Trump's racist statements on the campaign trail. I thought I'd document the public record on Trump's friendship with Sosa.

December 10, 1998, Tribune:

"One night after hitting the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, jet- setting Sammy Sosa was in New York, having dinner with Donald Trump, who said, 'Sammy told me he thinks he can equal or surpass what he did last year.'"

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May 26, 1999, Sun-Times:

"Asked if he has developed a strong friendship with any celebrity since emerging last year as a nationally renowned figure, Sosa didn't hesitate.

"'Yeah, Donald Trump,' he said. 'I didn't know him before. He treats me nice. He wanted to meet me. He called my people, and we got together. He's a good guy.'"

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May 28, 1999, Sun-Times:

"It's friendship with Trump, not business," [Sosa's personal manager Domingo] Dauhajre said. "He called and said: 'Domingo, tell Sammy to have a good day and a good season and that I'll keep in touch. I don't want to bother him.'"

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July 10, 1999, Sun-Times, Jay Mariotti:

"The president fawns over him. Donald Trump does martini bars with him. He's the reigning giant of slugging, fan balloting and sporting celebrity."

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July 24, 1999:

PHOTO: "Baseball star Sammy Sosa, Donald Trump and girlfriend Melania Knauss attend surprise 30th Birthday Party for Jennifer Lopez at Halo, NYC."

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September 7, 1999, Sun-Times, Jay Mariotti:

"Does Sosa act like a star? Yeah, sure. But I've seen athletes with far fewer feats act much more obnoxiously. He does back up his swagger with his swing. Clearly, he soaks up the attention and loves his newfound celebrity: his relationship with the Clintons, his friendship with Donald Trump, his appearance at Jennifer Lopez's birthday party, his invitation to Michael Jackson's house (yikes) when the Cubs were in L.A., partying with Charlie Sheen and Hugh Hefner, handshakes with Arnold and Denzel and Sly."

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Sept 20, 1999, Tribune:

"Sosa spent a relaxing night at home with his family Saturday after hitting No. 60, watching Felix Trinidad defeat Oscar De La Hoya in the pay-per-view welterweight championship fight.

"He received some calls of congratulations. Donald Trump gave a holler. The president of the Dominican Republic called too."

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Oct. 27, 1999, Tribune:

"Invitations to Sammy Sosa's birthday bash next month have gone out to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the president of the Dominican Republic."

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November 15, 1999, Sun-Times:

"There was plenty of clout at Sammy Sosa's birthday bash. Politicians and celebrities joined the Cubs slugger Friday at his home in the Dominican Republic as he turned 31.

"'We confirm this is the party of the century,' Sosa said.

"Among the crowd, which included non-celebrity Dominicans, were the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., millionaire Donald Trump, Cuban salsa star Celiz Cruz, Mexican singer Ana Barbara, actor James Edward Olmos and musician Kenny G.

"Political figures included Dominican president Leonel Fernandez, former Spanish president Felipe Gonzalez and former Colombian president Belisario Betancourt. Baseball players Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Rijo and Glenallen Hill attended."

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June 29, 2000, Sun-Times:

"If [I get traded to] the Big Apple, I will be happy," he said. "There are a lot of Dominicans there. I have a lot of friends there, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. If I do go there, it will be great being around a lot of great players. I don't have to be the man every day."

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July 5, 2000, Tribune:

"Sammy Sosa called reporters to his dressing cubicle before Tuesday's game. A score of media types crowded around him, wondering if Sosa was going to rip Cubs management, make up with management or announce where he wanted to be traded.

"Instead, Sosa invited reporters to his 32nd birthday party Nov. 12 at his home in the Dominican Republic.

"'I'm inviting a list of celebrities like Donald Trump and Rev. Jesse Jackson,' Sosa said. 'You're on my list, too. I'm inviting every one of you.'

"It was Sosa's attempt to lighten the atmosphere around the Cubs, which has grown occasionally contentious amid continuous trade rumors and poor play."

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July 10, 2000, Tribune:

"Donald Trump got the Wrigley experience Sunday . . . Trump needed the lyrics to 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' written down in the booth before he could sing."

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July 10, 2000, Sun-Times column by Carol Slezak:

"The Donald was at Wrigley Field on Sunday. (That's Mr. Billionaire himself, Donald Trump.) And the crowd booed him lustily when he threw out the first pitch. It booed him more lustily when he sang (admittedly, a bit off key) during the seventh-inning stretch.

"What did The Donald ever do to Chicago, anyway? Imagine that, booing a guest of Sammy Sosa's in Sammy's house. Harrumph.

"That's right, The Donald and his girlfriend, Melania Knauss, a model from Austria, were Sosa's guests. And The Donald, a big sports fan, was loving every minute of his first visit to Wrigley Field.

"'It's every bit as good as I've heard it was,' he said.

"If you've never seen The Donald in person, let me help: He looks exactly how he looks on television. From his reddish hair, sprayed to withstand New Orleans-style humidity, to his bewitching red eyebrows, to his navy blue suit and pink tie, he was The Donald.

"As for his young model-girlfriend, well, I can tell you this much: The male-dominated press box was all adrool over Ms. Knauss. To paraphrase what my male colleagues said, she's hot. (On their behalf, I'd like to add that they also believe Ms. Knauss to be very intelligent. As I said, I'd like to add that, but not one of the dunderheads ever mentioned it.)

"Anyway, I'm wondering why The Donald was booed. He seemed like a great guy to me. Honestly. And think of everything he's accomplished in his life. This guy is a winner.

"In the 1970s he saved New York City from bankruptcy. I think he did this by building, buying and selling tall buildings, but I suspect that's too simplistic of an explanation. In any event, it was a modern miracle.

"In the '80s he owned the USFL's New Jersey Generals. He knew talent - his players included Herschel Walker and Doug Flutie. And he wasn't a cheapskate. His spending actually helped cause the USFL's demise, because none of the other franchises could keep up with him. He wanted an NFL franchise, but the NFL owners shut him out. They were afraid of him, I think.

"He also has provided us with many fun, what's-he-doing-this-time moments. There was his book, The Art of the Deal. There was his recent, brief, failed presidential candidacy (here he gets points for trying). And then there are the women. Ivana, Marla, Ivana and Marla, Ivana and Marla fighting. And since then, a succession of others.

"And now he's buying and building casinos on land and on water (including one in East Chicago), and I'm sure he's making mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.

"Before the Cubs-Sox game, I watched The Donald work the Cubs' locker room. He's a smoothie, I'll tell you that. He seemed as at home in a locker room as he must be in a board room. He hugged his good pal, Sammy. They chatted each other up for several minutes while Ms. Knauss stood off to the side, with two men who appeared to be bodyguards standing near her. (I was unable to determine whether they were shielding her from the Cubs players or from my colleagues, but I assume it's the latter.)

"The Donald went to leave, but not before he gave the Cubs a pep talk.

"'I didn't come all this way to see you lose,' The Donald said. 'Win!'

"Then he turned to Cubs starter Kevin Tapani.

"'Win!' he said to Tapani.

"Tapani, a bemused look on his face, looked at The Donald as if to say, 'Who is this guy and why is he yelling at me?'

"'I don't know him,' Tapani said after the game. 'I didn't think he was talking to me. I guess he's a big baseball fan.'

"Ah, yes, baseball. The Donald loves baseball.

"And get this: He loves the Cubs.

"'I used to watch Don Baylor play,' The Donald said.

"'The Cubs have had some tough luck with injuries this year, like Kerry Wood,' The Donald said.

"Why was The Donald booed to smithereens at Wrigley? That was a big mistake. He should have been applauded. He should have received a standing ovation. Imagine, Cubs fans, an owner like The Donald.

"After The Donald sang (OK, very off-key, bordering on Mike Ditka-like off-key) during the seventh-inning stretch, he was asked what kind of owner he'd be. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

"'Oh, I would try to win,' he said. (Competitive; excellent response.)

"And how would he go about that?

"'The first thing I'd do if I owned the Cubs was sign another couple of Sosas,' The Donald said. (Big spender; excellent sign.)

"So in other words, he'd be the exact opposite kind of owner than, say, Tribune Co.?

"The loquacious Donald went silent. Behind his bewitching eyebrows, his brain waves seemed to be twitching. He was thinking, hard and quick.

"'(The Cubs) are my hosts,' he said. 'I'm not going (to criticize the organization).'

"Oh, but he wanted to. Because for The Donald, only one thing matters. Winning. Just ask his friend Sammy.

"'He's so competitive,' Sosa said. 'I'd love to see him go out and buy a team.'

"And have we got the team for him."

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PHOTO: Donald Trump throws out the first pitch to Sammy Sosa.

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July 4 2001, Tribune:

"Some athletes try to block out the extra attention that comes with playing before an enormous, star-studded crowd.

"Sammy Sosa thrives on the attention.

"A day after he dined with Donald Trump and Trump's girlfriend, Melania Knauss, at a chic Italian restaurant in Manhattan, Sosa thrilled a Shea Stadium crowd of 52,471 Tuesday night with two of the Cubs' six hits, including a home run, in a 3-0 victory over the Mets."

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June 11, 2003, Tribune, post-corked bat:

"Sosa said he's encouraged by hearing from so many supporters, including former President Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Dominican President Leonel Fernandez. He said Clinton told him to 'stay strong.'"

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Nov. 12, 2003, Tribune:

"Yes, it's that time of year again. Sammy Sosa's birthday party that is. Sosa will celebrate his 35th on Saturday, Nov. 22 with a few thousand of his closest friends in the Dominican Republic. Bud Selig will be there and will present Sosa with a special award recognizing him as the first Latin player to hit 500 home runs. Among other celebrities expected to attend are Donald Trump, actor John Cusack, Cubs President and CEO Andy MacPhail and other Latin American personalities.

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April 16, 2004, Sun-Times:

"Donald Trump and Sammy Sosa are close friends, so it was no surprise that Trump called and left Sosa a good-luck message before the season began. Sosa is a fan of The Apprentice, the hit TV show that concluded Thursday night, and enjoys telling Trump 'You're fired,' when they talk on the phone."

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February 28, 2016:

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"Sammy Sosa is orchestrating a Clinton vs. Trump election because that will give him the power over the United States government."

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May 6, 2016: Sammy at a Hillary event.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:34 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Ghost Cities & Urban Obsolescence

"The Kangbashi district of Ordos, China is a marvel of urban planning, 137-square miles of shining towers, futuristic architecture and pristine parks carved out of the grassland of Inner Mongolia. It is a thoroughly modern city, but for one thing: No one lives there," Laura Mallonee writes for Wired.

Well, almost nobody. Kangbashi is one of hundreds of sparkling new cities sitting relatively empty throughout China, built by a government eager to urbanize the country but shunned by people unable to afford it or hesitant to leave the rural communities they know.

Chicago photographer Kai Caemmerer visited Kangbashi and two other cities for his ongoing series Unborn Cities. The photos capture the eerie sensation of standing on a silent street surrounded by empty skyscrapers and public spaces devoid of life. "These cities felt slightly surreal and almost uncanny," Caemmerer says, "which I think is a product of both the newness of these places and the relative lack of people within them."

China has built hundreds of new cities over the last three decades as it reshapes itself into an urbanized nation with a plan to move 250 million rural inhabitants - more than six times the population of California - into cities by 2026. The newly minted cities help showcase the political accomplishments of local government officials, who reason that real estate and urban development is a safe, high-return investment that can help fuel economic growth.

But it's hard to start a city from scratch. Most people don't want to live somewhere that feels dead, and these new cities sometimes lack the jobs and commerce needed to support those who would live there. In Kangbashi, the government used some administrative tricks to address this, relocating bureaucratic buildings and schools, then trying to convince people in surrounding villages to move in. It had minor success. Today, a city designed for at least 500,000 has around 100,000 inhabitants.

Caemmerer's Columbia exhibit:

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Chicago Wrecks
"'It's really not a question of whether the building was worthy of designation,' then-alderman Edwin P. Fifielski said of the Chicago Stock Exchange Building in 1971, months before it was demolished for a modern office building, 30 N. LaSalle.

"'It was a matter of weighing the aesthetic value of the building with the money involved to buy and maintain it. It would be true of any landmark in the city.'

"And with that, Chicago has famously wrecked much great architecture - and even leveled entire neighborhoods," Lee Bey writes for the Reader.

"On the surface, it (unfortunately) makes sense: Who'd want to be stuck with an aging building that's expensive to maintain - regardless of its architectural import - when a new and efficient structure can be built in its place?

"But a recent book, Obsolescence: An Architectural History, by Daniel M. Abramson, currently director of architectural studies at Tufts University, challenges those ideas. It explains that building obsolescence is an invented notion, created by Chicago real estate experts in the 1890s as a way to justify a near-ruthless push for profitable new construction. And once these ideas took root, they'd go global in the 20th century, a wild reshaping of cities that put older buildings and neighborhoods in constant peril of demolition."

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From the University of Chicago Press:

"Belief in obsolescence, as Abramson shows, also profoundly affects architectural design. In the 1960s, many architects worldwide accepted the inevitability of obsolescence, experimenting with flexible, modular designs, from open-plan schools, offices, labs, and museums to vast megastructural frames and indeterminate building complexes.

"Some architects went so far as to embrace obsolescence's liberating promise to cast aside convention and habit, envisioning expendable short-life buildings that embodied human choice and freedom.

"Others, we learn, were horrified by the implications of this ephemerality and waste, and their resistance eventually set the stage for our turn to sustainability - the conservation rather than disposal of resources."

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Czech Mate
"Every year the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Association of Czech Libraries awards the title Knight of the Order of the Beautiful Word to over a dozen children who have discovered the joy of reading and to selected actors and writers who have helped to bring the magic of the spoken or written word to the youngest generation," Radio Prague reports.

"This year, for the first time ever, one of those admitted to the select club is a member of the Czech expat community abroad - nine-year-old Jerry Mech from Chicago."

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Here's Jerry visiting the Czech Parliament.

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"Right now literature appears to be Jerry's biggest passion, although he plays the drums and wants to form a band, speed-skates, plays chess and plans to start with hockey in the autumn."

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Crowd-Sourced School Of Champions
"Carla Zapata is a Network Chief for Chicago Public Schools who can't believe Sojourner High School is as good as it claims to be. 'The School of Champions' consistently wins academic, artistic, and athletic accolades as the best educational institution in Illinois."

A Crowd-Sourced Novel by: Julie Biehl, Joseph M. Burns,Tony Hintze, Chris Inserra, Gary Liddell, Josh Locks, Barbara Mahany, Carol Maskus, James McNamee, Patrick T. Reardon, Bob Rehak, Jay C. Rehak, Scott Suma, Chet B. Waldman & Eric Wright. Conceived by Jay C. Rehak Edited by Jay C. Rehak & Sara Yanny-Tillar.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:44 AM | Permalink

At The Art Institute | America After The Fall

"Curator Judith Barter provides insights into the exhibition America after the Fall, which brings together 50 works by some of the foremost artists of the era - including Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Grant Wood - to examine the landscape of the United States during the Great Depression and the many avenues artists explored as they sought to forge a new national art and identity."


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See also: Judith Barter: Thanks To Her, Institute Tells The Whole Story Of American Art.

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From the Art Institute:

"Collectively, the aesthetically and politically varied works produced in the 1930s paint a revealing portrait of the nation's evolving psyche.

Edward Hopper's reflective, melancholy approach to homegrown subjects is quite different from the bold romanticism of Thomas Hart Benton and his fellow Regionalists, who sought to create a national art that glorified America.

"Painters such as Philip Evergood and Ben Shahn used social realism to protest political attitudes of the time, highlighting the plights of migrant sharecroppers, Jewish immigrants, and other marginalized members of society.

"Racial issues also came to the fore: Joe Jones chillingly depicted a lynching in American Justice, while Aaron Douglas inserted a more inclusive vision of black culture into the heroic histories of the United States.

"History, in fact, was frequently used to speak to present times; realist Charles Sheeler linked the earlier, spare American aesthetic of Shaker objects to his exploration of the contemporary, while Grant Wood took on the country's founding myths in works such as Parson Weems' Fable."

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Tribune:

"Amid the backdrop of breadlines, Hoovervilles and the rising threat of fascism across the Atlantic, American artists of the 1930s experimented with myriad styles in the quest to forge a new national identity - and artistic expression - from the despair.

"The Art Institute of Chicago's upcoming exhibition America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s features 50 pieces that offer a glimpse into that turbulent time. The works, on display at the museum from Sunday to Sept. 18, juxtapose the nation's pastoral past with its industrial future and tackles some of era's social, political and economic strifes."

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Finally, check out this treatment in the Wall Street Journal. Beautiful.

From the text:

"Ms. Barter, curator of American art at the Art Institute, also believes that American artists came into their own in the 1930s - an era marked by what she sees as an unusual diversity of styles. Many artists of the 1930s spent a lot of time arguing about what art should be. Stuart Davis, who was painting abstract works, conducted a war of words against the proud realist Thomas Hart Benton."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

#ThisIsTronc.

pagesper.jpg(ENLARGE FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT)

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Sammy & The Donald
A history.

CPD Hires R. Kelly Media Pal
As a Fox Chicago News anchor, Robin Robinson pressured the station into going easy on local sexual predator.

Too Many Out-Of-State Students
Public universities privatizing themselves in money chase.

Ghost Cities And Urban Obsolescence
Chicago wrecks. Plus: You'll never believe what this 9-year-old did!

America After The Fall
Rethinking the '30s at the Art Institute.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Malón, Aesop Rock, Exegesis, Real Friends, The Body, Mashrou' Leila, The Dead Hands, C.W. Stoneking, Enrique Bunbury, The Matches, Sweet Delta Dawn, La Armada, Pears, Malas, Robby Krieger, Twenty One Pilots, and Sturgill Simpson.

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BeachBook

Dairy Queen Opening 35 New Stores In Chicago.

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Ump Says Monee Mayor Punched Him, Called Him Drunk At Youth Baseball Game.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: We're down.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:08 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Malón at Beat Kitchen on Sunday night.


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2. Aesop Rock at the Metro on Friday night.

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3. Exegesis at Beat Kitchen on Sunday night.

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4. Real Friends at Reckless Records in Wicker Park on Thursday.

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5. The Body at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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6. Mashrou' Leila at Logan Square Auditorium on Friday night.

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7. The Dead Hands at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. C.W. Stoneking at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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9. Enrique Bunbury at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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10. The Matches at the Metro on Saturday night.

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11. Sweet Delta Dawn at Reggies on Friday night.

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12. La Armada at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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13. Pears at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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14. Malas at Beat Kitchen on Sunday night.

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15. Robby Krieger at City Winery on Friday night.

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16. Twenty One Pilots at the old Horizon in Rosemont.

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17. Sturgill Simpson at the Riv on Friday night.

Kot: "[O]ne of the night's few missteps."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

Why Public Colleges And Universities Are Enrolling Too Many Out-Of-State Students

A recent report by the Boston-based Pioneer Institute points out how out-of-state enrollments at the University of Massachusetts are limiting opportunities for in-state students.

For the right-leaning Pioneer Institute, UMass is an example of the public sector run amok. But Pioneer is not alone. There are others who have voiced similar concerns. For example, a state audit came out with a scathing criticism of the University of California for discriminating against local students. And recent federal data show 43 of the 50 state flagship schools enrolled fewer local students in 2014 than they did a decade earlier.

My experience as a higher education researcher suggests it is important to understand why colleges and universities are enrolling students from out of state. Years of underfunding and the growth of market-based practices such as competition for tuition revenue have created incentives for colleges and universities to enroll nonresidents. The consequence of this has been added financial strain on lower-income students.

When public universities devote fewer resources to lower-income or minority students, that shows an erosion of the very mission for which the state colleges and universities, were founded.

Wooing Nonresident Students

Data compiled by the College Board show the share of out-of-state students at public colleges and universities grew in 38 states between 2002 and 2012.

And it's not just prominent flagship schools that attracted out-of-state students. A study from the New America Foundation, a public policy think tank, found that even regional colleges are wooing nonresident students.

Clearly, out-of-state students can provide many educational gains: college students benefit when they interact with each other through a process economists call "peer effects," which include the learning and social development students get from each other. Educational research shows all students gain from a diverse student body. By engaging with peers with different experiences and viewpoints, students learn more both in and out of the classroom.

But it may not be the benefits of a diverse student body that are driving public schools to enroll nonresidents.

Going After The Money

Nonresident students pay higher tuition at public colleges and universities. In 2013, average annual in-state tuition at public four-year colleges was $7,526, but a whopping $17,047 for nonresidents.

Public institutions have been experiencing declining state funding for decades For example, state funds accounted for 52.8 percent of operating expenditures at the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1987, but only 16.9 percent by 2012.

It comes as no surprise then that these institutions would look to nonresident students for additional revenue.

A recent study found a strong relationship between state funding and nonresident students enrollment. When states increase funding, public institutions enroll fewer nonresidents.

"Enticing" Students

Public colleges and universities were established by the states to educate residents and to improve the lives of people through research and service. However, in recent years, these institutions have become increasingly focused on improving their own bottom line and competing in the marketplace. Recruiting nonresident students who pay high tuition is one way in which public schools compete in markets.

The market for nonresident students can be understood as a form of interstate and international commerce.

Colleges compete to attract wealthy nonresident students by providing "country club campuses," investing in luxury dorms and other amenities that attract wealthy students.

Who Pays The Price?

Policymakers in the U.S. have long favored markets in higher education, the idea being that when institutions compete they will offer better-quality and lower-priced education.

The question of quality is difficult to assess, but here is the impact this market-based approach had on price.

Changes to the way higher education was funded in the 1980s and 1990s encouraged colleges to compete for revenue. Aid came to be allocated to students rather than schools and more in the form of loans. Along with this came shrinking of direct funding from the states while increasing funds available through competition.

Over time, competition for revenue helped to drive the price of tuition up. Adjusting for inflation, the average net price for instate tuition at public four-year colleges increased by 170 percent between 1990 to 2015.

Predictably, students and institutions with the fewest resources are left to face the greatest challenges of such a steep hike. In 2008, it took 90 percent of family earnings to cover tuition at a public four-year college for students in the bottom fifth of the income distribution.

In this process, institutions that enroll a high proportion of local lower-income students rather than competing for lucrative nonresidents have become most vulnerable.

For example, underfunding has resulted in overcrowded classrooms and crumbling facilities at the City University of New York, where over half of the students come from families with incomes below $30,000. And this is not the only such example.

A budget impasse in Illinois brought Chicago State University, with a student population that is 69 percent low-income, to the brink of closure.

What Is To Be Done?

The California-based Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit that works to expand college access, suggests capping nonresident enrollment at public colleges and universities. And the plan is gaining traction. Hillary Clinton recently endorsed caps on nonresidents at the University of California.

Setting limitations on nonresident students might seem to be common sense. However, institutional autonomy has been a strength of higher education in the U.S.

Further, my evaluation of the evidence suggests that it is funding cuts and market competition rather than nonresident enrollments per se that have drawn higher education away from its public mission.

Perhaps little can be done in the near term. But over a longer period public reinvestment combined with renewal of the public mission among state intuitions seems a more sustainable path than an arbitrary cap on nonresident enrollments.

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Brendan Cantwell is an assistant professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 AM | Permalink

June 6, 2016

SportsMonday: Illinois Pride, Bulls Shame

Really, Cavaliers? That's all you have?

The team's 110-77 loss Sunday night to the Golden State Warriors put them in a 2-0 hole in the NBA finals and in danger of being swept. And I was left rooting for Shaun Livingston to pile up some points in garbage time to improve his case for a possible Finals MVP.

Local angle (kind of!) Livingston is the pride of Peoria, a proud graduate of Central High School. How cool would it be if Livingston won the Finals MVP a year after teammate Andre Iguodola, the pride of Springfield (Lanphier), Illinois, brought home that trophy?

It was looking like the combo guard would have a great shot this year after he scored 20 points in Game 1 on 8-of-10 shooting. But teammate Draymond Green (pride of Saginaw, Michigan, by the way - so at least he is a proud son of the Midwest) asserted himself in a big way in Game 2, nailing five three-pointers on his way to 28 points. If it was a three-game series, Green would win the MVP.

But it isn't. Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday night in Cleveland. The Cavaliers have played light years better at home during the playoffs so far so perhaps they will bounce back and at least not totally embarrass themselves the way they did in the first two games.

The team from Cleveland seems to be paying the price for handing over the head coaching job to a novice at mid-season.

(Actually, the bigger problem was handing over the general manager's job to their star player a few years ago.)

So, the Warriors are almost certainly ascendant again. Are there lessons here for the Bulls? Well, last offseason they too dumped their successful coach and brought in a novice with no NBA head coaching experience. Strangely enough, that didn't work out very well.

The Warriors have done a masterful job pulling this championship team together. They have also been monumentally lucky. In the last three years, the list of personnel moves they've made worked out better than any reasonable person could have hoped, and the moves they didn't make that would've been disasters is oh so long.

For one thing, the Warriors desperately tried to sign Dwight Howard as a free agent in 2013. I think it is safe to say that Howard spurning Golden State worked out pretty well for the champs.

The Bulls tried to ape the Warriors but they didn't have players who could play that way (doh!). Rookie coach Fred Hoiberg also turned out to be a feckless leader who had no clue how to motivate the professional troops.

But perhaps the Bulls can learn a little from the Cavaliers' downfall. The worst part of the first two games has been Cleveland's complete inability to play competent defense for longer than a minute or two.

Hey Bulls, focus on playing better defense. You won't be very good and you won't be a championship contender until you somehow luck into at least one more superstar (and watch the Warriors disintegrate somehow) but that would be a playing style that your fans could take pride in.

Isn't there a veteran assistant out there you could bring in to coordinate things at the defensive end? Someone who would be in position to take over for Hoiberg when Hoiberg fails again next season?

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:24 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"More than 20,000 deportation cases are pending in Illinois immigration courts, a number almost five times higher than the number of cases a decade ago," the Tribune reports.

The president we already have.

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See also:

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

* Illinois Immigrant, Labor, Legal Leaders Condemn ICE Raids.

* Chicago Activists Tell Undocumented Immigrants Not To Open Their Doors.

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

* U.S. Government Deporting Central American Migrants To Their Deaths.

* Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

* Immigrants Arrested In U.S. Raids Say They Were Misled On Right To Counsel.

* Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families.

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He Forgot Public Relations
"Speaking at a recent Chicago Police Department awards ceremony, [Mayor Rahm] Emanuel talked about 'the five P's' that are important elements of fighting crime in Chicago," the Tribune reports.

"I've always believed [in] the five P's: police officers, parents, principals, pastors and public officeholders."

Pastors when it comes to black folk, that is. When he talks to his advisors, he replaces that one with "polling," and when he talks to white folk he replaces that with "privilege."

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Walstate
"Though the [Illinois State Charter School Commission] is a government agency, its initial funding came from private organizations and individuals, including the Walton foundation," the Sun-Times reports.

Um, what?

"Current and former commission leaders say they sought grants because state lawmakers didn't provide funding when they created the agency."

And who did state lawmakers seek funding from? The very folks who also fund the organizations to be regulated by the commission!

"Over the past 20 years, the Walton foundation has given more than $45 million to educational groups in Illinois, including charter schools and the state commission that regulates them, records examined by the Sun-Times show."

The Walton foundation is the Walmart foundation, in case you don't know.

Next: The Walton foundation funds the Illinois Department of Labor.

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When "Choice" Trades One Bad School For Another
"In Chicago, researchers had an unusual opportunity to study, over several years, how publicizing information about school quality influenced where families enrolled their children," according to a report from last September.

"And they found that many families did pull their children out of failing schools.

"But they usually ended up in ones that were just as bad, or only slightly better. Astonishingly, more than 25 percent of the transfer students moved to another school that was also on the city's probation list of failing schools."

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Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?
Saw firm evidence of WMDs in Iraq; now makes millions as Middle East peace envoy.

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From the sports desk . . .

Nerds & Track Suits
Oops, I'm wearing them now. In The Cub Factor.

Big Game James Neither
Will eat innings - and losses. In The White Sox Report.

Illinois Pride, Bulls Shame
How cool would it be for the NBA Finals MVP to come from our state for the second consecutive year?

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BeachBook

The DoD Is Building An Employee Database To Predict Traitors Whistleblowers.

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MLB Should Kick Racist Past, Put Dick Allen In Hall Of Fame.

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For the sake of humanity, democracy and all this is decent: Make it stop.

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Russian Woman Arrested In Chicago For Allegedly Taking Daughter Out Of Country Illegally.

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Saved By The Max Sells Out With No Real Marketing.

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TweetWood

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I said awhile back that he was providing the best coverage of the campaign - no access needed.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Leave a penny, take a penny.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:03 AM | Permalink

Nerds & Track Suits

The weirdest thing about this historic Cubs season is dealing with the losses. Every loss makes you think, well, how the heck did that happen? These guys lose a series to the Giants two weeks ago and then win 10 of 11 games going in to Sunday. And then they lose the Jake Arrieta game to make it a 10-2 stretch of games. Really? The Jake Arrieta a start? And sure, 10-2 is super awesome and impressive, but really, how the heck does that happen?

And then you think, you know, this same ridiculous thing could happen in the playoffs. And that makes you crap your pants. Because what else is there worry about right now? The Cubs are up 9 1/2 games over the Pirates and it's the first week in June. It could be a 15-game lead by July.

Well, it could be a 3-game lead as well, but are we really worried about that right now? No. Not really, and why should anyone be? According to the nerds, the Cubs have actually won fewer games than they should have. They've actually been UNLUCKY this year.

The nerds also say the Cubs have a 98% chance of winning the division. The nerds also say that they have just a 18.9% chance of winning the World Series. Still, that's higher than any other team in the league, but just 18.9%?? NERDS!!

I guess the bottom line is that this is a great team and they have a great season going. The Cubs look like a shoo-in to make the playoffs but are more than 80% likely to NOT win the whole thing. So, that's fun.

Just like winning 10 of the last 11 games and then losing the Jake Arrieta start. You just don't know. So yeah, the real bottom line is that fans should enjoy this summer and this great season as it is unfolding; they'll be plenty of time to, well, you know.

Week in Review: The Cubs went 4-2 for the week, winning three of four from the Dodgers and two of three from the D-backs. And somehow the Cubs avoided seeing the best pitchers on both of the teams they played this week in Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke. The dream season not only is dreamy, but seems to be at least a little bit lucky.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue hit the road for a nine-game road trip. They start in Philly this week and then go to Atlanta over the weekend. Lucky or not, the Cubs should smoke these teams. They bad. Like homemade Iron Man costume bad.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Jorge Soler continues to get the majority of playing time in left field, as a starter anyway. George Sun had five starts this week with Kris Bryant getting the other two. I emphasize "start" with Jorge because he's still getting the hook for a defensive replacement as soon as it gets to the 6th inning or so. You have to wonder what would be happening if Kyle Schwarber was still around. Would Kyle be pulled in the 3rd inning, and then Soler gets in there and gets pulled in the 6th?

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: I never really liked former Cub pitcher Jason Marquis. He last pitched for the Cubs in 2008. In retrospect, he was on the team for just two years, and the Cubs were in the playoffs both years, and he was a really good hitting pitcher, but I never liked him. I can't seem to find any additional info on Jason besides that he was in the Reds minor league system in 2015 and then he was released. His Wikipedia page seems like it was written by Jason himself as it seems a bit more complimentary than it should be. He's not really missed.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: I'm going to go with Jon Lester this week. Not because he played poorly or anything - he actually pitched great this week - but becaue it was his turn for the "theme" road trip idea. And he put the Cubs in some NBA-inspired warm-up suits. But I guess they aren't that bad looking, and I guess it's all in fun, but this whole shtick just annoys me. But I might be jealous that I can't wear stuff like this to work myself. Not that I particularly want to, but whatever. Y'all just keep winning games.

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe got tossed on Sunday for arguing a call on a check swing. It looked like it was a bad call and Joe should be a bit mad but it also seemed like a quick toss by the umpire. But if nothing else Joe had a little extra time to make sure his track suit fit.

Kubs Kalender: Fans attending the Cubs-Braves game in Altanta on Sunday will get to hang out with some Brave alumni. Here's is what the promotion is: Come meet and get autographs from former Braves players Marquis Grissom, John Rocker, Terry Harper and Dwight Smith on the Fan Plaza two hours before first pitch! Jesus, Braves PR guys. John Rocker? Might as well call it a Trump rally.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that 18.9% just doesn't seem big enough.

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Marty Gangler is The Cub Factor. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:16 AM | Permalink

June 5, 2016

Big Game James Neither

He's tough, durable, consistent, an innings-eater. He's back in the American League playing for a contender. He's a presence in the clubhouse.

These labels and descriptions all have been applied to James Shields the past two days since he became the newest member of the White Sox on Saturday. All general manager Rick Hahn had to barter were pitcher Erik Johnson - owner of a 7-6 record and a 4.50 ERA in 18 big league starts - and 17-year-old prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr. Such a deal!

From the early reaction and reviews, it sounds like the second coming of Jack McDowell, not Jeff Samardzija.

While the next 105 games obviously will reveal the Sox' fate for the season, we can at this time disperse credit in Hahn's direction. No one can say he's not trying. His ballclub has been in a scary swoon since May 10, losing 18 of 24 contests after Sunday's pathetic 5-2 loss in Detroit as the Tigers completed the weekend sweep.

Releasing John Danks has made no difference whatsoever. Giving Tyler Saladino the shortstop's job couldn't stem the tide. Batting Jose Abreu second didn't provide relief from the nightmare.

So the Sox now have a 34-year-old veteran who has pitched a minimum of 202 innings over the past nine seasons for Tampa Bay, Kansas City and San Diego, winning between 11 and 16 games each year. And wins, my friends, are the only statistic that can right this sinking ship on the South Side.

Seemingly the trade is especially timely since heretofore ace Chris Sale got beat again on Saturday in Detroit, his second loss against the nine consecutive wins he posted to begin the season. Sale didn't pitch horribly, lasting into the seventh inning before exiting with the Sox trailing 4-2 before eventually bowing by the 7-4 final.

While Sale could have used stronger support from his mates, more than a few eyebrows were raised by the fact that he struck out only two batters. Sale is of the quality that when he really needs a strikeout, he can get one. Not so on Saturday.

Then Jose Quintana, who had been the league's ERA leader, self-destructed on Sunday, departing in the fifth inning after giving up the deciding four runs to the Tigers. Quintana had a poor day, being touched for nine hits and three bases on balls against the hard-hitting Tigers.

So the addition of Shields, who will debut at The Cell on Wednesday against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals, comes at a time when the top two Sox pitchers were beaten on consecutive days. In addition, Carlos Rodon has won just one game since the middle of April, while Mat Latos's ERA has ballooned to 4.02 from 0.74 since April 24 when he was 4-0.

Miguel Gonzalez, who had battled hard for a spot in the rotation, now is the long man out of the bullpen. He responded nicely on Sunday, relieving Quintana and retiring four of the five hitters he faced.

The buzz created by the Shields acquisition momentarily relegated the many ills plaguing this team to the back burner. However, one only has to look at the numbers to dampen the enthusiasm linked to the arrival of the veteran right-hander. Shields has a respectable 3.76 career ERA in 2,180 innings. But with the way the Sox score runs - or don't score them - that might not be good enough.

In 27 of their 57 games this season, the Sox have scored three or fewer runs. Extrapolating those figures for nine innings, if Big Game James holds the other guys to three, he can escape with a no-decision. If he's nicked for four, odds are about 50-50 he gets beat.

The plain and simple truth is that the Sox are an offensively challenged group who more often than not are really boring to watch. Occasionally they are able to rebound from a deficit like last Tuesday against the Mets when they trailed 4-0 after five innings. With the talented Steven Matz pitching for New York, the Sox appeared doomed, but three runs in the sixth and three more in the eighth gave the Sox a 6-4 victory.

That game was an aberration. Watching the Detroit series on TV over the weekend, you could excuse Sox fans for being envious of the Tigers, who boasted five .300-plus hitters from Miguel Cabrera's .307 to Cameron Maybin's .414. With Melky Cabrera, the Sox leading hitter at .275, gone for a family emergency, Adam Eaton's .270 was tops for our fellows.

Furthermore, using .300 as a yardstick, it's been like that for quite some time. Since 2010 and including this season, the Sox have had five .300 hitters: Paul Konerko in 2010 (.312) and 2011 (.300), Alex Rios in 2012 (.304), Eaton (.300) and Abreu (.312) in 2014.

That's the fewest in the AL Central. In the same time span, Cleveland and Minnesota have had seven .300 hitters, while the Royals have had 14 and the Tigers a robust 23.

I acknowledge that hitting .300 doesn't necessarily translate to runs scored, but it's no secret that the game is so much more interesting and entertaining when your ballclub sprays out base hits on a consistent basis. You think the Tigers are ever out of a game?

Not only that, but some of the Sox's division rivals keep coming up with guys you never heard of who wind up hitting .300. Like Andy Dirks, who hit .322 for the Tigers in 2012. Or consider 2010 when ex-Sox hero Scott Podsednik posted .310 for the Royals while David DeJesus closed at .318, his career best.

Jose Ramirez - quick, tell me who he plays for - is batting .317 for this year's Indians while the Royals' Paulo Orlando stands at .333. At the risk of sounding like the president of the White Sox Whiners Association, why can't our club produce young talent who can hit? Why can't our athletes have a career year?

Unless there is an abrupt turnaround, Shields will find himself frequently pitching in pressure situations where giving up three or four runs will be too much for his teammates to overcome.

Granted, Todd Frazier is tied for the AL lead with 18 homers - he slugged four on this recent 2-7 road trip - and ranks in the top ten in RBIs with 40, but the guy is hitting a meager .219. That might be OK - certainly an improvement over Adam Dunn or Adam LaRoche, although the comparison is embarrassing - if Abreu could pick him up and match what he's done the past two seasons. Abreu is being pitched in with fastballs and away with sliders. The result is a .251 batting average with just 18 extra base hits even after a prodigious home run Sunday in the first inning against Justin Verlander. In his first two seasons, Abreu had 73 and 67 extra base hits, respectively.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the lineup is filled with too many .240 - or worse - hitters. Trying to put together a big inning has been improbable, if not impossible. The Sox had runners at second and third against Verlander in the third inning Sunday but failed to score. In the fifth they couldn't plate Jimmy Rollins, who was on third with one out. These situations happen time and time again, contributing greatly to the team's funk.

Meanwhile, the bullpen, which blew three leads a week ago in Kansas City, pitched 13 scoreless innings mid-week in New York where the Sox took two-of-three from the Mets their first series win after dropping six straight.

However, the 13-inning 2-1 triumph on Thursday, a game that got national headlines because of Matt Albers' double after going nine years with only one plate appearance, took its toll. The first 12 innings were yawn-inspiring until Albers took third on a wild pitch and scored on Abreu's sacrifice fly before closing out the Mets in the bottom of the inning.

But the bullpen was depleted so that manager Robin Ventura had to call on Tommy Kahnle and Matt Purke to relieve Rodon in the seventh inning Friday in Detroit with the Sox trailing 4-2. Pitting those two pitchers against the Tiger lineup was akin to fighting a forest fire with a garden hose, and the Sox wound up losing 10-3.

Kahnle was sent back to Charlotte after the game, the fourth time this season he's been optioned. Might be a good idea to hire him an Uber driver and tell him to keep the motor running. Or better yet, after five appearances and a WHIP of 2.54, let the poor guy stay in Charlotte awhile and try to get fixed.

The bottom line is that if the White Sox could have scored far earlier on Thursday, the bullpen would have been available on Friday in a two-run game. But that's apparently asking too much.

Unless Hahn decides to part with top prospects Tim Anderson and/or Carson Fulmer, the chance of picking up an accomplished hitter such as free agents-to-be Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion is unlikely, especially since they play for contending teams who won't be sellers.

No, unless this team shakes itself out of its doldrums, the next moves figure to be in the dugout. Hitting coach Todd Steverson's job should be in jeopardy if the Sox keep scoring just a couple runs a game. Ventura, now in his fifth season, has a dismal .462 winning percentage. Sitting next to him is Rick Renteria, someone with managerial experience who speaks Spanish and is well-respected despite getting sacked by the Cubs in favor of Joe Maddon. He already knows the players and would be a logical replacement.

The homestand which begins Tuesday features the Nationals followed by the Royals and Tigers. Shields will pitch twice. Baseball lifers like to say, "You can never have enough pitching," but even if Shields is effective, unless the Sox bats awaken, the losing demons will continue to inhabit this outfit.

The spin says the team remains just three games out of first place (four games in the loss column). However, if things don't quickly change, the Sox will be wind up being closer to the last-place Twins than the division-leading Indians.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 PM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?

Saw firm evidence of WMDs in Iraq; now makes millions as Middle East peace envoy.


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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.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Answer The Fucking Question.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Day-Glo Fuck-Nugget Trump.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Dickens Meets The Jetsons.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:48 PM | Permalink

June 4, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

Non-tronc edition . . . because tronc is coming.

Amidst the reams of material pouring out about Muhammad Ali, the Beachwood makes its tiny, miniscule contribution:

* The Contradictions Of Muhammad Ali.

I picked up this piece from The Conversation (and re-titled it) because I liked how the author didn't whitewash the man either way - and by either way you're getting a lot of this kind of nonsense today that utterly ignores the man's essence but also a lot of reminders of how Ali was once deemed dangerous to the U.S. government that ignores his later endorsements Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush for president.

There is a throughline, of course; as a one-time (perhaps all-time, I do not know) Nation of Islam member, perhaps Ali liked the individualistic, pull-yourself-up, do-it-yourself messaging of Republicans that gibed with the admonitions of Louis Farrakhan to "stop asking white people for things" more than the Democratic offers of modest "help" in return for electoral support.

I see tremendous fallacies in that line of thinking, and I'm only speculating here, having not researched the matter further, but it's hard to blame anyone for abandoning Democrats. It's also easy to blame anyone who embraces Republicans. You don't have to choose.

Anyway, that's just a sentence or two in the piece, but I put in a couple links on those sentences that were quite fascinating, thank you very much. (Ali also supported Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch.)

* Song Of The Moment: Black Superman.

Everything - well, a lot of things - you wanted to know about this infectious single from 1974-75! I love this song, and even more, I love the cover by one of my all-time favorite bands, the Gear Daddies. Sadly, I was not able to find the 'Dads version online, but if I have time later I'll make an mp3 I can post here, or post it through Soundcloud.

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Previously in Muhammad Ali:

* What I Watched Last Night/By Scott Buckner, April 21, 2007:

When it comes to boxing, I can take it or leave it. Not because it's violent and has an underbelly with all sorts of unsavory characters, but because for me, it's not as exciting as, say, Ultimate Fighting. But last night's The Best Damn Sports Show Period turned into the best damn boxing show period with a 10-round women's bout between Holly Holm and the extremely scary-looking Ann Marie Saccurato.

"Before last night, the only exposure I'd had to women's boxing was seeing Muhammad Ali's professional-boxer daughter Laila once and thinking she was pretty damn sharp. I came in halfway through the Holm-Saccurato bout, and these two were brutal - but not in that sort of aimless, drunken brawling way you normally see during boxing exhibitions featuring washed-up child stars. No, these two knew how to administer a professional Grade A ass-kicking, and the only thing missing was the slaughterhouse freezer with sides of beef hanging from huge hooks and Saccurato glaring at the camera and snarling, "I predict . . . pain."

Yes, that's right - Holly Holm was in the Beachwood seven years ago.

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* The [Tuesday] Papers/By Steve Rhodes, October 23, 2007:

Mayor Daley called Muhammad Ali yesterday "a great Chicagoan and a great human being."

I like Ali's politics too, but since when has Richard M. Daley been onboard?

This was when Daley was using a boxing tournament to impress the Olympic committee.

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Which reminds me of this Ali anecdote, which includes Daley but is really about The Defender author Ethan Michaeli:

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Back to the Beachwood archives:

* A Tribute To The World's Greatest Cornerman: Remembering Angelo Dundee/Feb. 2, 2012:

It was here [in Las Vegas] the famed entourage lived together like frat boys: Gene Kilroy, the personal business manager and camp facilitator, keeper of the checkbook, restorer of order, fierce guardian of Ali's integrity; Pat Patterson, the Chicago cop turned security chief; Angelo Dundee, the trainer who usually arrived the last week before they broke camp for fight; Drew Bundini Brown, the witch doctor/cheerleader who coined the phrase "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," and Wali Muhammad, the bucket man and timekeeper.

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* Muhammad Ali Jr. Living On Food Stamps In West Englewood?/Jan. 25, 2014:

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* SportsTuesday: If Only Kirk Hinrich Couldn't Breathe/By Jim Coffman, Dec. 9, 2014:

[F]or a long time after Michael Jordan's "Republicans buy shoes too" remark during his playing career, it has seemed as though prominent athletes in America took avoiding controversial comments addressing issues outside the world of sports to a different level. Certainly no one picked up the mantle from Muhammad Ali as he receded from the public eye in the 80s. And Jordan made the ultimate statement about his determination to put material concerns (selling more shoes) ahead of all other considerations.

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* Kobe Bryant's Fatuous Farewell Tour/By Roger Wallenstein, Feb. 23, 2016:

What has happened to dignity? It was absent when a depleted Willie Mays tried to hang on at age 42. Or Muhammad Ali, just shy of his 40th birthday, squaring off against someone named Trevor Berbick.

It wasn't all grace, sadly. It rarely is.

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Beachwood Radio Sports Hour: Quantum Baseball
Higgs to Boson to Chance. Plus: The Cubs Are The Best Baseball Team On Earth; Fat Albers; The State Of The Standings; The Pride Of Peoria Could Be The NBA Finals MVP; ICYMI, The Stanley Cup Finals Are Happening Right Now; Elena Delle Donne's Silent Supremacy; and The Chicago Fire Did Not Do Anything This Week.

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School Choice: Trading One Bad School For Another
"[A]mong those who transferred to another Chicago public school, fewer than 5 percent moved to a school that ranked in the top quarter of schools in the city. Only 22 percent transferred to a school in the top half. Meanwhile, 74 percent of the transfers ended up at a school in the bottom half."

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg conclude their two-part celebration of American icon Bob Dylan as he turns 75. This week, they explore the recording of Blonde on Blonde through his late career renaissance."

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Weekend BeachBook

Hired! Chicago's '90s Tribute Band.

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How (And Why) Athletes Go Broke.

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Campus Rapist Lightly Sentenced To Avoid 'Severe Impact' On His Life

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Built to spill.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:57 PM | Permalink

When "School Choice" Leads Families To Trade One Bad School For Another

In a perfect world, school choice is supposed work by allowing families to leave bad schools and enroll their children in better ones. The failing schools either close, or improve to attract students again.

But for such a system to operate smoothly, parents need information to figure out which schools are good and which are bad.

In Chicago, researchers had an unusual opportunity to study, over several years, how publicizing information about school quality influenced where families enrolled their children. And they found that many families did pull their children out of failing schools. But they usually ended up in ones that were just as bad, or only slightly better. Astonishingly, more than 25 percent of the transfer students moved to another school that was also on the city's probation list of failing schools.

"The reason is geography," said Peter M. Rich, one of the study's co-authors and a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at New York University. "The low-performing schools are clustered in high-poverty neighborhoods in the South and West Side of Chicago. They have fewer nearby options to choose from."

Given the choice of commuting a long way to a high-performing school on the other side of town and transferring to a school in the neighborhood, low-income parents tend to choose the latter. Time-consuming travel is impractical for students with working parents. And no one wants to send elementary school children on public transportation by themselves through crime-ridden neighborhoods. But the choices closer to home are often little, if at all, better than poor students' current schools.

While certain aspects of public transportation infrastructure, geographic segregation and neighborhood safety are unique to Chicago, Rich believes the lessons from his study, "Choice, Information, Constrained Options: School Transfers in a Stratified Education System," published online in the American Sociological Review on Sept. 9, 2015, and in its October 2015 journal, are widely applicable.

"The overall lesson is that school-choice policies that don't provide transportation or, perhaps, housing subsidies for families to move to higher-income neighborhoods aren't going to equalize educational opportunities," Rich concluded.

Rich found that the low-performing schools were overwhelmingly filled with poor students, 93 percent of whom qualified for the free or reduced-price lunch program. The few non-poor students at these schools were more likely to transfer, and even more likely to leave Chicago or the public school system altogether. Overall, 84 percent of all students attending a school on the probation list were black, even though black students make up only 54 percent of the total student population in Chicago. Another 15 percent of students in probation schools were Latino, while almost none were Asian or white.

Jonathan Butcher, education director at the Goldwater Institute, a conservative advocacy group that promotes school choice, praised the study's methodology, and said he wasn't surprised that public school choice had failed to produce benefits in Chicago. "In an area that has struggled a long time, there aren't many good public school choices," Butcher said. "Just by telling families they can leave, if there are not other things happening to improve the supply, families will have few options."

For school choice to work, Butcher said, policymakers should give families vouchers to attend private schools, and allow more charter schools to open. He also argues that low-performing schools should be shut down.

In Chicago, families had been untethered from their local neighborhoods and free to attend any public school in the city since the 1980s, stemming from a desegregation court order. But in 1996, the city began identifying and publicizing which schools had low reading scores, and it put them on a probation list.

Rich and his co-author, NYU sociology professor Jennifer Jennings, calculated that families were 19 percent more likely to leave a low-performing "probation" school after the city began that information campaign. That translates to about 15 percent of the student body leaving a school that was put on probation. Some families moved out of Chicago or left the public school system.

But among those who transferred to another Chicago public school, fewer than 5 percent moved to a school that ranked in the top quarter of schools in the city. Only 22 percent transferred to a school in the top half. Meanwhile, 74 percent of the transfers ended up at a school in the bottom half.

This NYU study largely conforms with earlier research, finding that public school choice doesn't suddenly improve schools for low-income students. Often families are unaware of their options and tend to stay at their designated local school.

A number of researchers have found that test scores improve in school districts after school choice is implemented. For proponents, that's a sign school choice is fostering a healthy competition and propelling all schools to improve.

Indeed, test scores did improve in Chicago during the period studied by the sociologists. But, as Rich points out, testing policies were simultaneously changing. Teachers were newly accountable for their student test scores and were using more classroom time to prepare for tests. Both third grade and eighth grade students had to hit minimum test scores to avoid repeating a school year.

It can be hard to disentangle how much of the improved test scores can be credited to school choice and competition and how much to the introduction of high stakes testing.

Because of that, and the possibility that all schools - including the weakest ones - might be improving over the long term, this study isn't a sweeping condemnation of school choice. But it does show that having the freedom to choose and information on school quality aren't enough. The educational marketplace doesn't work when poor residents live far away from the neighborhoods with better schools. It's the old saw: location, location, location.

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This article was first produced by The Hechinger Report on Sept. 25, 2015.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:30 AM | Permalink

Song Of The Moment: Black Superman

This here's the story of Cassius Clay, who changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

Artist: Johnny Wakelin & the Kinshasa Band.

Released: 1974. (18 versions)

Label: Pye Records.

Charts: Peaked at #21 on Billboard Hot 100 in September 1975.

Compilation: Track 3 on Super Hits of the '70s, Volume 15.

Songfacts: "'Black Superman' was Wakelin's debut single; the Kinshasa Band did not exist, although events in Kinshasa the previous year were the direct inspiration for the song; in October 1974, Ali scored probably his most famous victory when he knocked out the previously undefeated George Foreman in the 8th round of the now historic 'Rumble in the Jungle.'"

The song:


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Lyrics:

This here's the story of Cassius Clay
Who changed his name to Muhammad Ali
He knows how to talk and he knows how to fight
And all the contenders were beat out of sight

Sing, Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee
Mohammad, the Black Superman
Who calls to the other guy
I'm Ali, catch me if you can

Now all you fight fans, you've got to agree
There ain't no flies on Muhammad Ali
He fills the arena wherever he goes
And everyone gets what they paid for

Muhammad, was known to have said
You watch me shuffle and I'll jab off your head
He moves like the black superman
And calls to the other guy
I'm Ali, catch me if you can

He says I'm the greatest the world's ever seen
The heavyweight champion who came back again
My face is so pretty you don't see a scar
Which proves I'm the king of the ring by far

Sing, Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee
Mohammad, the Black Superman
Who calls to the other guy
I'm Ali, catch me if you can

Sing, Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee
Muhammad, the Black Superman
Who calls to the other guy
I'm Ali, catch me if you can
I'm Ali, catch me if you can

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Cover: Track 15, Gear Daddies, Can't Have Nothin' Nice.

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How To Play It On Piano:

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The comic:

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Songfacts P.S.: "In spite of his Reggae style and apparent 'blackness' of his vocals, Johnny Wakelin is a white man, and was born in Brighton."

Here he is performing "In Zaire."

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Bonus: "Stand By Me," sung by Cassius Clay, from his 1963 record I Am The Greatest.

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See also: The Many Contradictions of Muhammad Ali.

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

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Plus:
* Mayor 1%.
* Songs Of The Runoff.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:25 AM | Permalink

The Contradictions Of Muhammad Ali

On October 2, 1980, Muhammad Ali, then aged 38, and Larry Holmes, the heavyweight champion of the world, entered a temporary arena built at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas. A gate of nearly 25,000 had paid $5,766,125, a record in its day. "It wasn't a fight; it was an execution," wrote Ali's biographer Thomas Hauser. After 10 sickeningly one-sided rounds, Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee signaled Ali's retirement. Ali's aide and confidante Bundini Brown pleaded: "One more round." But, Dundee snapped back: "Fuck you! No! . . . The ballgame's over."

In a way, he was right: one game had indeed finished. Ali fought only once more. His health had been deteriorating for several years before the ill-advised Holmes fight and the savaging he took repulsed even his sternest critics. Ali the "fearsome warrior," as Hauser calls him, would disappear, replaced by a "benevolent monarch and ultimately to a benign venerated figure."

And now that venerated figure has died, aged 74.

ali1.jpgPhotos: PA Archive

Muhammad Ali was also a symbol of black protest, a cipher for the anti-Vietnam movement, a martyr (or traitor, depending on one's perspective), a self-regarding braggart, and many more things beside. While there have been several sports icons, none have approached Ali in terms of complexity, endowment and sheer potency. Jeffrey Sammons suggests: "Perhaps no single person embodied the ethic of protest and intersected with so many lives, ordinary and extraordinary."

Born Into Two Nations

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in the segregated south, Cassius Clay, as he was christened, was made forcibly aware of America's "two nations," one black, one white. After winning a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics, he returned home to be refused service at a restaurant. This kind of incident was to influence his later commitments.

Clay both infuriated and fascinated audiences with his outrageous claims to be the greatest boxer of all times, his belittling of opponents, his poetry and his habit of predicting (often accurately) the round in which his fights would end. "It's hard to be modest when you're as great as I am," he remarked.

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He beat Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight title in 1964 and easily dismissed him in the rematch. Between the two fights, he proclaimed his change of name to Muhammad Ali, reflecting his conversion to Islam. While he'd made public his membership of the Nation of Islam (NoI), sometimes known as the Black Muslims, prior to the first Liston fight, few understood the implications. The NoI was led by Elijah Muhammad and had among its most famous followers Malcolm X, who kept company with Ali and who was to be assassinated in 1965.

Among the NoI's principles was a belief that whites were intent on keeping black people in a state of subjugation and that integration was not only impossible, but undesirable. Blacks and whites should live separately; preferably living in different states. The view was in stark distinction to North America's melting pot ideal.

Ali's commitment deepened and the media, which had earlier warmed to his extravagance, turned against him. A rift occurred between Ali and Joe Louis, the former heavyweight champion who was once described as "a credit to his race." This presaged several other conflicts with other black boxers whom Ali believed had allowed themselves to become assimilated into white America and had failed to face themselves as true black people.

Sting Like A Bee

The events that followed Ali's call-up by the military in February 1966 were dramatized by a background of growing resistance to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Ali's oft-quoted remark "I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong" made headlines around the world. He insisted that his conscience not cowardice guided his decision not to serve in the military and, so, to many others, he became a mighty signifier of pacifism. To others he was just another draft dodger.

At the nadir of his popularity, he fought Ernie Terrell, who, like Patterson, persisted in calling him "Clay." The fight in Houston had a grim subtext with Ali constantly taunting Terrell. "What's my name, Uncle Tom?" Ali asked Terrell as he administered a callous beating. Ali prolonged the torment until the 14th round. Media reaction to the fight was wholly negative. Jimmy Cannon, a boxing writer of the day wrote:

"It was a bad fight, nasty with the evil of religious fanaticism. This wasn't an athletic contest. It was a kind of lynching . . . [Ali] is a vicious propagandist for a spiteful mob that works the religious underworld."

Wilderness Years

Ali's refusal to serve in the armed forces resulted in a five-year legal struggle, during which time Ali was stripped of his title. During his exile, Ali had angered the NoI by announcing his wish to return to boxing if this was ever possible. Elijah, the supreme minister, denounced Ali for playing "the white man's games of civilization." He meant sports.

Other evaluations of sport were gathering force. The black power inspired protests of John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics, combined with the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, had made clear that sport could be used to amplify the experiences of black people the world over. While Ali was a bête noir for many whites and indeed blacks, several civil rights leaders, sports performers and entertainers came out publicly in his defense. He was hailed as their champion.

Given the growing respect he was afforded, he was seen as an influential figure. Ali's moves were monitored by government intelligence organizations; his conversations were wiretapped. But the mood of the times was changing: he was widely regarded as a martyr by the by-then formidable anti-war movement and practically anyone who felt affinity with civil rights.

His years of exile over, he returned to boxing. But prospect of a smooth transition back to the title was dashed March 1971 by Joe Frazier, who had taken the title in Ali's absence and defended it with unexpected tenacity in a contest that started one of the most virulent rivalries in sport. Ali had called Frazier a "white man's champion" and declared: "Any black man who's for Joe Frazier is a traitor." Ali lost once to Frazier and beat him twice over the following years, every fight being viciously fought.

Ali had to wait until 1974 before getting another chance at the world title. By this time, Ali, at 32, was not favored; in fact, many feared for his well being against the hitherto unbeaten George Foreman. The fight in Zaire became immortalized as "The Rumble in the Jungle" and Ali emerged again as champion.

In June 1979, Ali announced his retirement from boxing. At 37, he appeared to have made a graceful exit when he moved to Los Angeles with his third wife Veronica whom he had married two years before. His first marriage lasted less than a year ending in 1966; Ali married again in 1967, again in 1977 and then in 1986 to his current wife Yolanda Williams.

Hauser estimates Ali's career earnings to 1979 to be "tens of millions of dollars." Yet, on his retirement, Ali was not wealthy.

Within 15 months of his retirement, Ali returned to the ring, his principal motivation being money. He also made several poor business investments and, while prolonging his sports career seemed suicidal, he managed one more fight, again ending in defeat. He was 39 and had fought 61 times.

In 1984, he disappointed his supporters when he supported Ronald Reagan's re-election bid. He also endorsed George Bush in 1988. The Republican Party's policies, particularly in regard to affirmative action programs, were widely seen as detrimental to the interests of African Americans and Ali's actions were, for many, tantamount to a betrayal.

Ali's public appearances gave substance to stories of his ill health. By 1987, he was the subject of much medical interest. Slurred speech and uncoordinated bodily movements gave rise to several theories about his condition, which was ultimately revealed as Parkinson's syndrome. His public appearances became rarer and he became Hauser's "benign venerated figure."

ali3.jpg

Over a period of five decades, Ali excited a variety of responses: admiration and respect, but also condemnation. At different points in his life, he drew the adulation of young people committed to peace, civil rights and black power; and the anger of those pursuing social integration.

Ali engaged with the central issues that preoccupied America: race and war. But it would be remiss to understand him as a symbol of social healing; much of his mission was to expose and, perhaps, to deepen divisions. He preached peace, yet aligned himself with a movement that sanctioned racial separation and the subordination of women. He accepted a role with the liberal Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter, yet later sided with reactionaries, Reagan and Bush. He advocated black pride, yet disparaged and dehumanized fellow blacks. He taught the importance of self-determination, yet allowed himself to be sucked into so many doubtful business deals that he was forced to prolong his career to the point where his dignity was effaced. Like any towering symbol, he had very human contradictions.

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Ellis Cashmore is a visiting professor at Aston University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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See also: Song Of The Moment: Black Superman.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:24 AM | Permalink

June 3, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #105: Quantum Baseball

Higgs to Boson to Chance. Plus: The Cubs Are The Best Baseball Team On Earth; Fat Albers; The State Of The Standings; The Pride Of Peoria Could Be The NBA Finals MVP; ICYMI, The Stanley Cup Finals Are Happening Right Now; Elena Delle Donne's Silent Supremacy; and The Chicago Fire Did Not Do Anything This Week.


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SHOW NOTES

* Hank Aaron wore No. 5.

* Cubs No. 5s include: Welington Castillo, Nomar Garciaparra, Reed Johnson, Josh Vitters, Sam Fuld, Jake Fox, Ronnie Cedeno, Michael Barrett, Tony Womack and Joey Amalfitano.

* Glenn Beckert wore No. 18.

* Ron Santo, indeed, wore No. 10.

1:30: The Cubs Are The Best Baseball Team On Earth.

* Marty "Cub Factor" Gangler: Deep-Simmering Rage Or Suburban Numbness?

* The Entire Chicago Cubs Infield Is Leading In All-Star Game Voting.

* Entire rotation should go, too.

* Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix: Valuing The Pure Hitter.

14:30: Fat Albers.

* Save The Intentional Walk!

* Robin Ventura is sabotaging the White Sox offense.

* Rick Hahn:

"Look, the game management realm is 100 percent the manager's purview, and I'm not going to stand here and second guess any decisions he's making. Obviously we all have the benefit of hindsight right now in evaluating a decision. Our conversations in private are about the conversations that lead up to the decision or the thought process that leads up to the decision. And from my standpoint, it's important to make sure that process is sound and that he and our coaches all have the right information when they're making a strategic in-game decision, and I'm very pleased with where they are from an information standpoint and from a process standpoint. But it's not my place, certainly publicly, to second guess in-game managerial decisions."

But it is your job. It's exactly your job. Maybe not publicly, but it's your job. Do it.

24:04: The State Of The Standings.

* AL: The Red Sox, The Rangers & The Royals.

* White People Have To Get It Together.

* NL: We Still Hate Dusty Baker.

* Quantum baseball.

52:10: The Pride Of Peoria: NBA Finals MVP?

* The Pride of Springfield ain't bad, either.

57:52: ICYMI: The Stanley Cup Finals Are Happening Right Now.

* The Penguins Are Sort Of Like The Blackhawks.

* "[Penguins general manager Jim] Rutherford somehow acquired Trevor Daley, one of the NHL's best skaters, from the Blackhawks in exchange for Rob Scuderi, a toppled traffic cone on a snowy road."

* Probably The Least Charming Penguin On Earth.

1:00:16: Sky Clips Wings.

* Rolling Stone: Elena Delle Donne's Silent Supremacy.

* Chicago: The New Superstar In Town.

1:02:00: The Chicago Fire Did Not Do Anything This Week.

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STOPPAGE: 2:32

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:43 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Non-tronc edition.

"More low-income workers are making the reverse trek outside the city for retail and manufacturing jobs in suburban Cook and surrounding collar counties," LaRisa Lynch reports for the Chicago Reporter.

"What experts call 'job sprawl' and 'spatial mismatch' - the disconnection between where people live and where they work - is changing the commute for some residents. Spatial mismatch disproportionately affects African-Americans in metropolitan areas with high poverty rates and high levels of segregation.

"In Chicago, the impact of the mismatch may be felt the hardest in neighborhoods on the West and South sides, which have among the highest unemployment rates in the city. Black workers have seen modest-paying, manual labor jobs quickly disappear from their communities, leaving them few options but to commute to far-flung suburban locales to earn a living."

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I'm going to steal this ↓ and encourage you to read the whole piece.

long_haul.png

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This has been a problem for a long time, and it's one reason why clustering so much development around O'Hare, for example, can be unhelpful. (Peotone, people.)

It also gets to the nature of our transportation network, and its political economy. To wit:

"Take the Red Line. Former Mayor Richard J. Daley promised in 1968 to extend it to the city limits. The extension still hasn't happened."

Cop Chop
"In the more than 60 years since Mayor Richard J. Daley was elected, Chicago has had seven mayors and 14 police chiefs," Thomas J. Gradel writes for Illinois Issues.

"Many of the mayors had significant police scandals on their watch, which often led to the sacking of the police chiefs. Most of the police superintendents were fired or resigned because they were about to be fired.

"The police superintendents themselves didn't commit crimes, take bribes, abuse citizens or shoot unarmed fleeing suspects. But too many rank and file officers did. They committed these offenses on the chief's watch when he supposedly was in charge of his officers. The superintendents were usually slow to take corrective action and in most cases, the bad cops were never disciplined. That's business as usual in Chicago, and it typically doesn't seem to bother the mayor, until the news media and voting public became upset. Then the ax falls."

Spot. On.

"Each time it's the same movie with a slightly modified script. But the end is the same: the police superintendent resigns, is told to resign or is fired. The mayor survives and gets another chance to appoint his next 'ideal' top cop."

Put this, too, on your weekend reading list.

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Programming Note
I will have Tronc-Tribune material this weekend, if not later today, as well as a bunch of other stuff.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #105: Baseball City
Is in post-production.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago
Our answer to brownstones.

U Of C Team Goes Inside ISIS's Looted Antiquities Trade
Successful looting requires its own social markets.

Mitch McConnell's Memoir On Obama
Senate Republican leader hard to take on many issues, but his descriptions of the president ring true.

This Week In Concussions: Another Enforcer Down
Plus: BMX Legend Afflicted; Soccer & Rugby Next.

The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent (non-Tronc) developments.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Subhumans, Florist, PVRIS, and Lacuna Coil.

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BeachBook

Shark Tank Casting Call Coming To Chicago.

Perhaps someone with a content curation and monetization machine ought to give it a try!

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#ObamaOut.

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#ObamaOut.

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United's Plane Porn Instagram Strategy.

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Former Head Of Strategic Air Command Will Freak You Out Now.

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Baltimore TIF Strategy Sounds Familiar.

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Every Time Oprah Said 'The Vultures Are Waiting To Pick Your Bones.'

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Keeping Traditions Alive At The New Maxwell Street Market.

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More Logan Square Development Bullshit On The Way.

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TweetWood
A (non-Tronc) sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Tips welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:31 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Subhumans at the Double Door on Thursday night.


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2. Florist at Schubas on Tuesday night.

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3. PVRIS at House of Blues on Thursday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Lacuna Coil at Bottom Lounge last Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:27 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago

"Chicago's answer to brownstones."

20160602_234614_resized.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:43 AM | Permalink

June 2, 2016

On The Maligning Of 'Professor Obama' In Mitch McConnell's Memoir

It would be easy to dismiss as partisan hackery the new memoir by U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, but amidst the passages highlighted by Politico this week, the ones on Barack Obama ring true. Let's take a look.

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"Meetings with Obama all open the same way, McConnell writes. 'Almost without exception, President Obama begins serious policy discussions by explaining why everyone else is wrong. After he assigns straw men to your views, he enthusiastically attempts to knock them down with a theatrically earnest re-litigation of what you've missed about his brilliance.'"

To that point, here's McConnell on BookTV:

This particularly critique points to the need for a president with executive experience negotiating with folks of different views. Obama bragged of his ability as a legislator to work across the aisle, but his only experience doing so came when crafted explicitly so he could run on that claim - first as a state senator who appealed to then-majority leader Emil Jones for help putting a few bullet points on his otherwise-sparse resume, and then, ever so briefly as a United States senator putting together enough of a record to validate a presidential run.

Obama thinks he can persuade everyone to his point of view if he just keeps repeating it enough (remember how he thought if he just explained Obamacare one more time, people would get it?), but while there is room for persuasion in politics, finding common ground is something altogether different. Just look at the current governor of Illinois, whose supposed knack for negotiation in business deals simply isn't translating because he insists on trying to persuade lawmakers to his side by repeating the same rhetoric over and over. If only he would run government like a business and make a deal, instead of clinging to non-negotiable demands.

There are leadership lessons for all of us to think about here, regardless of what you think about McConnell. (I happen to think he's a putz; almost treasonous for not allowing a vote on Merrick Garland and unforgivable in his acquiescence to Donald Trump, but that doesn't mean he's not a skilled politician in his own right whom we should simply ignore.)

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I can't help but recall the long-ago words of veteran Springfield journo Rich Miller:

"Barack is a very intelligent man, but he hasn't had a lot of success here, and it could be because he places himself above everybody. He likes people to know he went to Harvard."

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Back to McConnell:

"In the heat of the 'fiscal cliff' crisis in 2012, McConnell and the other three congressional leaders were summoned to the White House to hammer out a solution before the Bush tax cuts were set to expire at the end of the year. But this Dec. 28, 2012 meeting left McConnell notably peeved.

"'Obama's condescending attempts to lecture us about why everything we were negotiating for was wrong were particularly annoying, given that we were seriously under the gun,' McConnell writes. The two hours spent in the meeting, he recalls, 'would have been more productive had I spent them napping.'"

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"McConnell's remark to National Journal in 2010 - that his single most important goal was to make Obama a 'one-term president' - has followed him ever since.

"Democrats have used the line to no end to paint McConnell as an obstructionist. But the senator argues in his memoir that his critics often forget what he said next in the same story: That he wanted Obama to triangulate so he and Republicans could work together.

"'Well, I've been taken out of context in the past, but never more relentlessly than with regard to this comment,' McConnell writes. 'Over the next few months, it seemed that every Democrat was handed the same talking point: remind people Mitch McConnell said his greatest legislative goal is to make Barack Obama a one-term president.'

"McConnell continued: 'Even Obama would exploit this comment, using it as one of the main riffs in his presidential campaign two years later. But to me, this reaction was nothing more than false outrage and political grandstanding.'"

Indeed, McConnell's statement came on the eve of the 2010 mid-terms - and he went on to discuss doing business with Obama. See Glenn Kessler's fact-check for the Washington Post.

Here, too, you see where "narrative" (really an early form of memes) can overpower both the truth and the humanity of the people in our civic life. Ideologues drive such things while accusing their opponents of doing so.

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To be fair, I'll give Obama the last word:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 PM | Permalink

U Of C Team Goes Inside ISIS's Looted Antiquities Trade

For excavators - archaeologists, but also looters like the Islamic State, or ISIS - the opportunity for discovery in modern Iraq and Syria is dazzling.

The countries lie within the Fertile Crescent, a broad swath of land stretching from the eastern Mediterranean to the Zagros Mountains and the Persian Gulf that gave rise to some of the earliest complex societies.

The human settlement record begins around 9000 B.C., which means, among other things, that the soil is rich with artifacts. Syria alone has 4,500 surveyed and published archaeological sites, and scholars estimate that there are many more.

Everyone seems to agree that ISIS is digging up and selling archaeological artifacts to make money. But no one seems to agree on how much money it's actually making from its illegal antiquities trade: amounts have ranged from $4 million to $7 billion.

Despite a number of challenges, my University of Chicago research team - known as MANTIS (Modeling the Antiquities Trade in Iraq and Syria) - has worked to outline the framework of ISIS's antiquities trade as well as accurately estimate how much cash ISIS and other insurgent groups are making from the endeavor.

An interdisciplinary project comprising archaeologists and social scientists, MANTIS has created a new data set drawn from past excavation publications and auction sales reports. Using these data, we are building a revenue estimate tool that will give us a better idea of what the trade is worth.

isistrade.jpgPhotos: Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

We began with the goal of measuring profit. What we now understand is that specifying the process - or the means by which ISIS unearths, moves and sells antiquities - is just as important as measuring the profit.

Antiquities are looted and trafficked all over the world, and the specific mechanisms and structures differ according to cultural and political context. In the Islamic State, the antiquities pipeline seems to involve three basic steps: a dig permit is secured from ISIS authorities, unearthed artifacts are evaluated (possibly by officials with the Antiquities Division of the Islamic State's Department of Natural Resources) and artifacts are moved out of the Islamic State into the international market (including but not limited to Turkey). At some point in the process, ISIS imposes a tax on the salable antiquities, widely reported as 20 percent. There are several details yet to be specified in this pipeline, but it provides a basic picture of the flow of goods.

Studying this process gives us important insights that can be shared with policymakers who are trying to cut off terrorist finance sources and protect culturally significant objects.

For example, we know that artifact hunters have been illegally excavating Syrian and Iraqi archaeology sites for decades. Archaeological looting is a longstanding practice embedded in local economic and tribal arrangements. Defeating ISIS will not guarantee the end of archaeological looting; rather, in the absence of economic alternatives, looting will remain in place as a source of revenue for the next regime that rolls through.

Studying the process also reveals the problem of politics - at both regional and international levels.

On the regional level, ISIS has competition from other insurgent groups that are looting artifacts. On the international level, uneven efforts to change cultural policies or enforce existing ones reveal disagreements about how archaeological materials should be regulated by the state and the private market.

These disputes have simmered for years, and the ISIS crisis intensifies them. Mistrust among scholars, museum professionals and participants in the legal antiquities trade blocks cooperation on data sharing that might advance our knowledge.

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Nonetheless, profit remains an important topic of study. Thus far, a stable estimate of the trade continues to elude us because there are so many unknowns.

Unknowns are a familiar problem for anyone studying a black market. Participants in illegal trading and smuggling keep a low profile, and data sets have to be built using diverse sources of evidence, including interviews, police records and customs seizures. The work that goes into this type of data compilation is complicated, sensitive and sometimes dangerous (this is certainly the case in Iraq and Syria right now).

Studying the ISIS antiquities trade has a further set of challenges that predate the conflict:

  • We don't have reliable quantitative data on the legal antiquities trade from the region, never mind the illegal trade.
  • We don't know what was in the ground when ISIS started digging.
  • We don't have established revenue estimate methodologies for this type of good.

Still, we have been able to get a better handle on figuring out how much money ISIS has earned. For example, we project gross market value that can then be broken down into discrete money flows.

One way to think of gross market value is the hammer price at auction. Not every artifact ends up in an online or physical house auction like Bonhams, Christie's and Sotheby's, but enough of them do that it's a reasonable starting point.

From the gross market value we can hypothetically apportion out proceeds to at least three stakeholders: looters, ISIS and dealers. ISIS seems to be involved in the earliest stages of the pipeline, suggesting a slim percentage of the overall profit. Because there are specialized skills involved in international smuggling, it is unlikely that the same person who loots physically moves the artifacts out of Syria or Iraq and into the foreign marketplace. Successful smuggling, like successful looting, requires its own social network.

What all of these caveats and complications boil down to is that ISIS is likely to have earned several million dollars in profit since launching its looting program.

That's a far cry from $7 billion, but it's still enough money to carry out devastating attacks on civilians in Europe and closer to home. The November 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 innocent people dead, are estimated to have cost no more than $10,000.

And yet, patchy data and methodological challenges do not fully explain why $7 billion fell to $4 million in public discussions about the ISIS antiquities trade.

What's really going on here, I think, can be explained in two ways. First, there is an overactive collective imagination about how much art is actually worth. It's an understandable proclivity. We hear all the time about astronomical prices paid at auction for contemporary artworks or rare masterpieces. Moreover, antiquities are imbued with mystique. They are treasure, hidden away in the ancient soil and waiting to be rediscovered.

This, in turn, motivates governments and other groups opposed to the Islamic State to describe their actions in attention-grabbing terms. It's a lot easier to call for action against a $7 billion crime than a $4 million one.

While market mystique and over-the-top plot lines are fine for Hollywood films and adventure novels, it's no way to understand terrorist finance, and without that understanding we are unlikely to arrive at genuine and lasting solutions.

Fiona Rose-Greenland is a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Chicago. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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See also: Archaeologists Race To Protect Antiquities From ISIS.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:20 AM | Permalink

This Week In Concussions: Another Enforcer Down

"Walter Peat, 64, the head saw filer at a sawmill here in the suburbs of Vancouver, worries every day about the son he barely recognizes. He worries mostly that Stephen will be another N.H.L. enforcer dead before turning 50. The list, just since 2010, includes Bob Probert, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, Wade Belak, Steve Montador and Todd Ewen," the New York Times reports.

"The Peats cannot be sure, but they presume that Stephen's problems are rooted in concussions. Perhaps, like several of the dead enforcers and roughly 100 former N.F.L. players, one day he will be found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.

"For now, it cannot be accurately diagnosed until death, but Peat and his father worry that he has it. The symptoms often associated with C.T.E. - memory loss, depression, impulsiveness, addiction, headaches - are part of Stephen Peat's daily life."

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Study: Concussions In Kids Vastly Undercounted
"New research confirms that relying on emergency room data to estimate the prevalence of childhood concussions doesn't deliver a complete picture because most seek treatment in primary care."

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BMX Legend Diagnosed With CTE Postmortem
"Last week, ESPN reported that freestyle BMX legend Dave Mirra had been diagnosed with CTE, the same neurodegenerative disease found in a number of boxers and football players," WMDT-TV notes.

"Mirra died in February, at age 41, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Like dementia, CTE can currently only be diagnosed with 100% accuracy after someone has died. Mirra is the first so-called action sports athlete diagnosed with the disease."

- What Does It Mean For BMX?

- Are We A Ticking Time Bomb?

- Tony Hawk: 'It's Absolutely A Concern.'

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Concussion Group Says Ex-NFL Player Bubba Smith Had CTE
"Former NFL defensive end Bubba Smith was diagnosed with the brain disease CTE by researchers after his death, the Concussion Legacy Foundation said Monday," AP reports.

"Smith died in 2011 at 66. He is one of 90 former NFL players diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy since 2008 at a brain bank affiliated with Veteran Affairs, Boston University and the foundation. Out of four stages of the disease, the foundation says Smith had stage 3 CTE."

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Is Soccer Facing An NFL-Style Concussion Crisis?
"The near future of soccer looks set to involve a repeat of the ongoing brain trauma crisis in American football," Vocativ reports.

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Rugby, Too
"Former England internationals will be involved in a major new study looking at the potential effects of concussion on brain health," PA Sport reports.

"The study will involve approximately 200 former players over the age of 50 and will include a number of former England internationals, the Rugby Football Union has announced."

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Diagnosing CTE In The Living: Massive Study Of Degenerative Brain Disease To Begin
"About 50 medical researchers from around the country converged on Boston Wednesday, as they prepare to launch a massive seven-year study into the brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in July," WBUR reports.

"CTE is a degenerative disease similar to Alzheimer's. It's only found in people who've played football, boxed or taken part in other contact sports.

"The researchers are recruiting 180 former NFL and college football players in order to study their brains. The goal is to develop ways to diagnose CTE in people while they're alive. The only way to diagnose it right now is by studying the brain after death."

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Previously:

* Bob Probert's Broken Brain.

* NFL Players Killing Themselves Because They Miss Football So Much.

* The College Football Report: Dementia Pugilistica.

* Blackhawks Playing Head Games.

* Jay Cutler Should Consider Retiring.

* Dislike: Friday Night Tykes.

* Hurt And Be Hurt: The Lessons Of Youth Sports.

* Chicago Soccer Player Patrick Grange Had CTE.

* Sony Softened Concussion To Placate NFL.

* Ultra-Realistic Madden To Simulate Game's Debilitating Concussions.

* Dear Football: I'm Breaking Up With You.

* Dead College Football Player's Brain Leaves Clues Of Concussions' Toll On Brain.

* More Bad Concussion News For Young Football Players.

* NFL Tried To Fix Concussion Study.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:23 AM | Permalink

June 1, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

I have some business to attend to today, but you can find a smidgen of commentary on the state budget situation at @BeachwoodReport. I'll be back tomorrow. Michael Ferro just renamed Tribune "tronc." I'll be back Friday.

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Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago's lifeline or road to hell?

Fantasy Fix: The Paternity Test
Fatherhood is screwing up Dan O'Shea's lineups.

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BeachBook

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Do Not Let This Man Bunt Again.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Amend your veto.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:44 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Paternity Test

Sure, you want to talk about the waiver wire, or which prospects might have their MLB debuts this month, but I've got other things on my mind this week. Here's a sample:

* For fantasy purposes, someone needs to start tracking which players are about to become fathers. At least three times this season, one of my fantasy lineups has been hosed by a player's last-minute addition to the paternity leave list.

Yes, this list has been around for five years, but it suddenly seems like MLB players are knocking up their wives, girlfriends, mistresses and brief acquaintances at a more frequent rate than ever.

The latest example is Boston outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., who is missing the bulk of this week on paternity leave. As a fellow father, I wish him and any new father all the best, but I would really love to have his hot bat in my lineup right now. Whatever happened to the idea family planning for ballplayers, you know, getting your wife pregnant at the start of spring training, so she delivers in November, so you don't miss any games?

* You didn't drop the Mets' Matt Harvey even though I advised you to, right? Please tell me, you absorbed that part of last week's column where I noted that he should be dropped "barring a phenomenal rebound in the next week." Harvey rebounded in a big way in his last start, shutting down the White Sox and pitching seven innings in a game for the first time this year.

Yes, this great outing came against the suddenly flaccid Pale Hose, but it was clear Harvey fixed a problem in his mechanics, also evident in an increase in his velocity, which peaked at 98 mph. This goes to how you can't listen too much to rumors, like those that suggested Harvey was too fat, or too tired to be good this year. I'm now convinced Harvey will storm through the rest of the season Arrieta-style and challenge for the NL Cy Young. I'm at least as convinced of this as I was last week that you should drop him.

* I long for the days when being a pure hitter meant more. These days, it's all about OBP, SLG and OPS, and any fantasy league that counts batting average as a stat is viewed as an anachronism. I get why those other stats are a more accurate measure of a player's value, but I was raised during a period when seeing your favorite player get a hit, any kind of hit, was the simplest, purest measure of baseball joy. I'd like to join a fantasy league that places extra value on that - say adding half a point to any hit, so 1.5 for a single, 2.5 for a double. Players adept at collecting multi-hit games would become even more highly valued.

A guy who's fantasy value would benefit this year is Marlins infielder Martin Prado, who many true baseball fans long have appreciated for his consistent ability to make contact. Prado is hitting .319 this year and has 60 hits, placing him 18th in MLB, but 49 of those hits have been singles, and he has zero HRs and just a .743 OPS. Not surprisingly, he is owned in only 27% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:12 AM | Permalink

Milwaukee Avenue

Or the road to hell?

Let's take a look.


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See also:

* Milwaukee Avenue's Wikipedia entry.

* Milwaukee Avenue Corridor Plan.

* Curbed: Mapping Milwaukee Avenue's Development Boom (2014).

* Logan Square's Milwaukee Avenue: Then And Now.

* Crain's: Milwaukee Avenue Housing Market Heats Up.

* Gentrification Along Milwaukee Avenue (2015 annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers).

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And:

Marriott Chicago Postcard: City's Most Annoying Couples Can Be Found On Milwaukee Avenue.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:32 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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