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« August 2016 | Main | October 2016 »

September 30, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #121: Cubs Spring Fling

Pre-playoff exhibition games rankle. Plus: Theo Epstein Finally Gets Edwin Jackson Money; Robin's Return?!; Bears Still Not As Bad As White Sox; Blackhawks & Bulls Go Camping; Chicago Sky, Chicago Fire, NIU And The Tribune's Endorsement Of Gary Johnson Bring Up The Rear.


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SHOW NOTES

* Sammy Sosa.

* Shawon Dunston, first pick of the 1982 draft.

7:27: Spring Training Is Back!

* Jake Arrieta, Miguel Montero Not Keen On Cubs' September Spring Training.

* Joe Maddon Defends Change Of Routine For 'Spring Training' Strategy.

* Thursday lineup.

* Have the Cubs lost their loving feeling?

* Where's Jake's head at?

15:52: Theo Epstein Finally Gets Edwin Jackson Money.

* Five-year extension.

* Hoyer and McLeod got five-year extensions too, on Friday morning.

* This thread . . .

* The Fallacy Of How The Cubs Were Built.

* Joe Maddon's agent is Alan Nero.

* The contemptible Todd Ricketts is for Trump like his daddy, his governor brother Pete and probably Cubs chairman Tom.

* The Cubs are scheduled to open the National League Division Series on Friday, October 1, at Wrigley Field.

35:48: Robin's Return!

* The replies have it here:

* Rhodes: "The White Sox have become the Cubs without any of the lovability."

* Roger's White Sox Reports.

42:03: Bears Relieved They At Least Aren't The White Sox.

* Lots of these type of references: "whether or not Fox was Pace's first choice . . . " Remember, Ernie Accorsi was consulting with George McCaskey and Ted Phillips over the hiring of Pace and a head coach. (There was one more recently - this week - but I couldn't find it.)

* Biggs: All Downhill For Kyle Fuller Since Early In His Rookie Season.

* Bears 1-10 In Last 11 Home Games.

52:31: Rookie Michal Kempny's Poise Impresses Blackhawks.

52:56: Taj Gibson Is Last Bull Standing From 2010-11 Eastern Conference Finalists.

55:11: Sky Look To Even Playoff Series With Sparks.

56:34: Chicago Fire Eliminated From Playoffs But Unfortunately Not From Our Lives.

56:55: Coffman: "We are the cesspool of college football in America."

58:00 Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson For President.

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STOPPAGE (Bonus Cubs talk): 5:44

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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 3:13 PM | Permalink

A Journey Into The World Of Chicago's Feral Cats

"It all started when a rat ran over author Anne E. Beall's husband's foot outside their Chicago home."


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"The Bealls had experienced rat problems for a long time. Then, a neighbor told them about a program called Cats at Work where one could get feral cats that would take care of the rat problem.

"In Community Cats, she tells how she and her husband entered the world of feral cats when they signed up for the Chicago Cats at Work program with Tree House Humane Society.

Tree House practices Tnr (trap-neuter-return), and they trapped, neutered, and relocated a feral cat colony to Bealls home.

"She narrates what she learned about the unique world of feral cats and about the people who are involved with feral cats and who advocate for them.

"Community Cats shares the story of what initially began as a creative solution to a rat problem and became a journey that led her to reach out to others in the feral-cat world.

"Beall interviewed other colony caretakers and leaders in the Tnr movement and learned about how feral cats live, how they relate to one another, and how they relate to their caretakers.

"She also conducted survey research on Americans attitudes toward stray cats, Tnr programs, and spaying/neutering.

"Beall learned that feral cat programs have a huge impact on the caretakers of the colonies, on the neighbors, on the community, and on the cats themselves and details those findings in Community Cats."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:40 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store

Grand Rapids, Michigan is waiting for you.

grandrapidspartystore.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:34 PM | Permalink

September 29, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"On Wednesday, dreary weather didn't keep away the thousands of people who turned out for the grand opening of the Whole Foods at the corner of 63rd and Halsted streets [in Englewood]," Natalie Moore reports for WBEZ.

"Some customers showed up before sunrise, and a long line formed outside the grocer's door most of the day. In the parking lot, Kanye West and John Coltrane blasted as people tasted free samples.

"In a neighborhood with 21 percent unemployment, the persistent question has been how will residents afford to shop at the upscale Whole Foods. Robb said costs are lower because the rent is cheaper.

"At the grand opening, a cursory glance showed that made-to-order sandwiches that cost $8 in other Whole Foods are $6 in Englewood. The store is also about half the size of a typical Whole Foods."

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Natalie Moore has been on this story since day one, and is always worth paying attention to anyway, so go read the whole thing.

(Also, see her tweets - memorialized on the Beachwood! - from when the project was first announced. Fascinating.)

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Interesting (and important) points from Moore's piece:

* "Whole Foods plans to build a cooking education center across the street from its Englewood location."

* "Thirty-five South Side vendors have their products in the store - from energy snacks to greens to candles to soaps."

* "Leon Walker, of DL3, is the developer of Englewood Square, which in addition to Whole Foods has a Starbucks and upcoming Chipotle. Walker, who is black, said African-American construction companies worked on the project."

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"After community meetings with residents, Whole Foods identified about 30 staple items for a typical Englewood shopping cart that would be sold at a much lower price than at other Whole Foods - and even lower than some competitors," the Tribune reports.

This seems to contradict the argument many businesses make about not investing in underserved communities because costs are (purportedly) higher.

Also:

* "About one-third of the produce is sold by the 'each' instead of by the pound - another way of offering healthy food for more affordable prices . . . As one example, bananas were selling for 19 cents each."

* "The $20 million Englewood Square project, which also features Starbucks and, soon, Chipotle as tenants, received about $10.7 million in city subsidies."

I'm not a fan of these subsidies - half the project, which involves tremendously profitable corporations - but at least they're going to the right neighborhood, which seems like a rarity.

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"[Whole Foods co-CEO Walter] Robb said he particularly owed gratitude to the late Ald. Joanne Thompson, who shepherded the project past community hurdles," the Sun-Times reports.

"A bronze bust of Thompson was commissioned by Whole Foods for a place of honor in the store's community room."

Yeah, this seems like a bit much, but whatevs.

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"You might want to skip your local Whole Foods and head to Englewood the next time you go grocery shopping," DNAinfo Chicago suggests after doing some comparison shopping (they have a small chart of items, mostly from the dairy departments).

"Compared to prices at the Whole Foods' Lincoln Park location at 1550 N. Kingsbury St., prices on many Englewood Whole Foods items were far cheaper."

Will people on the North Side hop in their cars and shop in Englewood to save a few bucks? What would be the consequences of that, if any?

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"'I want you all to give yourselves a hand for making this possible, for never giving in and never giving up to the cynics who said it never was possible, that it couldn't happen in Englewood,' Emanuel said from a stage in the grocery store's parking lot."

I'm not sure anyone said it wasn't possible, but when the plans were first announced, they were scrutinized as they should be: Was this really going to create jobs for neighborhood folk? Would this be the game-changer it was advertised as by Rahm and city officials? Would local residents be able to afford the store nicknamed Whole Paycheck? There was nothing cynical about those questions, and they still ultimately remain. I've been persuaded that this development is good for Englewood, but I hate the subsidy game and I hate the politics of Rahm declaring victory and moving on instead of investing deeply in neighborhoods like this that need it. The Lucas Museum, for example, might have looked good around 63rd and Halsted. And that $10 million taxpayer subsidy? Robeson High School sure could have used it. So who's the cynic, Rahm?

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"Emanuel, a millionaire from his brief stint as an investment banker following his time in the Clinton White House, offered Robb some initial feedback on his purchase: '$5.62,' noted a joking Emanuel, holding up the smoothie. 'It's a little pricey.'"

Ahem.

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What I wrote three years ago:

"[T]he store isn't scheduled to open until 2016 - so far off that the Cubs' top prospects aren't expected to arrive in the big leagues until just about then."

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Three years ago, I also wrote a Syria briefing along with a passage about how media coverage of the Whole Foods announcement was anything but cynical - at least not in the way Rahm alleges.

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FYI: The Whole Foods Englewood website.

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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Fifty Percent Of The Time, It Fails Every Time.

The NFL Joins The Data Revolution
Catching up with baseball and basketball through chips in footballs and shoulder pads.

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BeachBook

Undocumented Students Benefit The Most From Free City Colleges Program.

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Man Accused Of Simpsons Graffiti Had Phone Illegally Searched, Lawyer Argues.

No 'Doh!' in the headline?

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Tecate Beer Wall.

This is what it's all about, people. (I'm told this ran during Monday night's presidential debate.)

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Apprentass 4. They made at least 4 of them.

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Name that columnist!

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By all means, let's give this man the nuclear codes.

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John Kass raised his hand from his Tribune Tower office. He's not worried.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Towering.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Fifty Percent Of The Time, It Fails Every Time

The Bears really need to do me a solid and put together a couple games that are either 100% good football or 100% bad football, because at this rate I expect to run out of snappy opening titles by Week 6.

There wasn't a lot to like about Monday's 31-17 loss in Dallas, but aside from the continued high-level play of linebacker Jerrell Freeman, there were a few positive takeaways to be seen if you squinted hard enough.

What Worked

  • Jordan Howard: The rookie 5th-round pick was again an offensive bright spot. And like the offensive bright spot on your shirt, the one your co-workers really, really hope was caused by yellow mustard, it's become fodder for chat at the watercooler. Were you eating a ballpark hot dog on the drive in or something?
  • Zach Miller: The Bears almost made it a game in the second half thanks partly to a nice performance from the veteran tight end. Please note that the term "veteran tight end" is a trademark of the NFL Players Association and is in no way affiliated with the Brazzers' adult film series featuring women over 40 with great dumpers.
  • Jacoby Glenn: For the second week in a row, the second-year cornerback made plays that looked, for a second, like they might be impactful. And just like the previous week, they ultimately ended up having absolutely no impact on the outcome of the contest. But keep at it, Jacoby! One of these days we'll play the Browns!
  • Slumber: True story. The Bears' lackluster performance in the first half bored me so badly, I opted to record the second half and go to bed. I should mention that in addition to being a pretty big Bears fan, I work a nine-to-five shift and that I've had problems sleeping since I was a kid. Nodding off this easily is, for me, unusual.

    On Monday around 7 p.m., I fired up the Tivo and fell asleep again while watching the second half. The 2016 Bears may be failing at football, but as a treatment for insomnia they are bordering on a holistic medical breakthrough.

What Made Us Turn Off The TV At Halftime Because Goddammit Some People Work Tomorrow And Shouldn't Suffer Through This Garbage Until Eleven O'Clock At Night

  • The First Half: Already covered this, but I'll add that I would love to see what kind of ratings drop-off NBC experienced at halftime for the Chicagoland area. I doubt Chicago's many third-shift lumberjacks were the only ones sawing logs by 10 p.m.
  • Run Defense: I know Dallas's offensive line has quite a reputation, but they had injuries of their own and I expected more out of the Bears defensive front in the first half; nose tackle Will Sutton in particular. If memory serves, the D-line's job is to "push 'em back, push 'em back, WAAAAAAAY back." Not helplessly "watch 'em run, watch 'em run" as a halfback sprints through an eight-foot chasm.

    Please note that the term "eight-foot chasm" is a trademark of the NFL Players Association and is in no way affiliated with the Wicked Pictures adult film series featuring . . .

    [Editor's Note: Stop.]

I know what you're thinking. Only two bullet points regarding what didn't work for this game and four for the good news?

Correct.

One point covered 50 percent of all game action and the other point aimed squarely at roughly half of all Bears defensive plays.

I'd say that about does it.

Eye On The Opposition - Detroit: Home Of The Whopper
The Bears and Lions rivalry is one the more underrated rivalries in the NFL. It goes back a long way and it's been bitter since its inception.

To make a long story short . . . (takes a deep breath)

As a trading outpost founded by intrepid fur trappers Charles Batch and Jonathan Morton, the city of Detroit-Chi was officially founded in 1928 and shortly thereafter recruited 28% of its total population to field a football team in a bid to join the National Football League.

In fact, the term "Detroit-Chi" roughly translates to "not quite as bad as Chicago."

Some feel that this mildly derogatory comparison to the Windy City originally pertained to murder rates. Chicago had five murders that year in 1928, which was a startling figure at the time.

Other noteworthy events in Lions history include General Barry Sanders' victory over Mussolini at the battle of Wayne County in 1956 (though technically much of the fighting took place in Tecumseh, Ontario), former Lion Dick LeBeau's stunning win over the Iron Sheik at WrestleMania II and, of course. Calvin Johnson's infamous endzone "drop" in 2010, which brought the term "The Matthew Stafford Rule" into the popular football lexicon.

Hahahahaha! Learning is fun-da-mental!

While at a record of 1-2 the 2016 Lions appear bad on paper, it's only because they are also bad on film and bad in person.

They do, though, have the ability to score points through the air.

"Arrrgh, scoring points! Our only weakness! How did they KNOW?!" yelled Bears Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio at Tuesday's conference call with the press.

Turns out that Lions QB Matthew "Love Child Of Krusty The Clown And A Wolf" Stafford can still sling it even without Calvin Johnson on the team.

Free agent acquisition Marvin Jones has stepped out of the shadow of former Bengals teammate AJ Green and is staking his claim as a top option for Detroit.

Complimented by the steady presence of fellow wideout Golden Tate and match-up nightmare tight end Eric Ebron (or "Rice Boner," as he's known by teammates. Yay anagrams!), Stafford has a number of ways to keep the ball moving.

The good news is that one of those ways probably won't be on the ground, as Detroit's lead running back Ameer Abdullah is likely out for the season. The Lions' rushing game looks a little better than the Bears' on the stat sheet, but since they haven't had to abandon the run as early and often as Chicago has, their overall performance has been basically been as bad.

However, the mobile Stafford can be difficult to wrangle at times and we've seen how well this defense has handled mobile QBs through three weeks.

Can the secondary provide coverage long enough to allow the Bears pass rush to finally materialize?

The answer is no . . . oh, wait I'm supposed to do that in the next section.

Kool-Aid (2 of 5 Pints Of Scarlet > Fire)
I'm a fan of ales, redheads and fire, so this tasty beverage out of Mundelein is all like, check, check and check.

If you like yoga, beer and kidding yourself into believing that you're working out, consider attending one of Tighthead's monthly "Poses And Pints" events.

You just might get to meet me and The Mrs.

I'd be Lion if I told you that this game is more important to watch than say, a YouTube reaction video of the trailer for the movie Passengers*.

But this match-up provides a few good reasons to pay attention.

With Jeremy Langford expected to miss at least the next month, we'll get an extended look at the aforementioned Howard.

Since it's officially time to label this season a "rebuilding year," (read: we've ruled out terms like "wild card caliber team," "young but competitive" and "acceptable") watching our newest players in action is the best reason to tune in, other than getting high and trying to find portions of each game that line up with "Yackety Sax" the same way Dark Side Of The Moon lines up with The Wizard Of Oz.

Unlike Chicago, Detroit's offense is a functioning one, so to win this game the Bears need to put more than 25 points on the board.

It's as simple as that.

We've seen improved play by Kevin White as the season has progressed and he'll need to take another step forward, along with a jump in class by the revamped running game as I expect the Lions D to try and lock Alshon Jeffery down.

QB Brian Hoyer may not have to make plays in dramatic fashion, but he must move the chains.

I think he will, thanks in large part to an offensive line that finally starts to gel and more balanced play-calling.

With that in mind, the Lions will get theirs. Expect a shootout.

Don't expect a win to save the season, but I see young guys on both sides of the ball stepping up this week to notch a narrow home victory.

Bears 28, Lions 27

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About The Author
If you're interested in getting drunk and doing yoga with The Author and Mrs. The Author (pictured below), go to Tighthead Brewing in Mundelein on October 2nd and flag them down.

carlmrs.png

It should be noted that neither of the children in this picture belong to The Author or Mrs. The Author.

Mrs. The Author just shoved two kids wearing Bears gear into the car and yelled "Drive!" You can see the one of the right trying in vain to escape. Hahahahaha!

But The Author and Mrs. The Author sure enjoyed taking those lil' scamps for ice cream and then returning them to their parents as planned with absolutely no ransom involved.

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* A film Columbia Pictures would lead you to believe has a working title of Space Station Penetration: The Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence Story.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

September 28, 2016

Fight Club At The Oak Lawn Chuck E. Cheese

"Oak Lawn officials say Chuck E. Cheese's is in danger of being kicked out of the village if it can't keep adults from fighting in the children's restaurant. Police have been called to the 95th street location more than 50 times already this year," WBEZ reports.

"Village President Sandy Bury said the restaurant gave up its liquor license in 2014.

"I thought oh it's a kids place, they don't need liquor there," Bury said. "I was hopeful that would kinda quiet things down but it hasn't, unfortunately."

"Recently an off-duty police officer working security was assaulted during a family fight."

Let's take a look.

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"Today, more than ever, kids need a safe, wholesome environment in which to laugh and play. We're proud to provide that for your family and friends," the restaurant says.

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Two stars on Yelp on 18 reviews.

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Read norberto s.'s review of Chuck E. Cheese's on Yelp

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Read Ro D.'s review of Chuck E. Cheese's on Yelp

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To be fair, those two reviews are from 2014. Here's the most recent:

Read Andrew K.'s review of Chuck E. Cheese's on Yelp

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"The restaurant has had a reputation for attracting a 'pretty volatile mix' for decades, although no Oak Lawn official would hazard a guess as to the reason," the Daily Southtown reported recently.

"Since 2011, Oak Lawn police have made more than two dozen arrests there, mostly for battery and disorderly conduct."

*

Chuck E. Cheese fights are something of a YouTube genre.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:02 PM | Permalink

The Homesick Phone Book

Terrorist attacks, war, and mass shootings by individuals occur on a daily basis all over the world. In The Homesick Phone Book, author Cynthia Haynes examines the relationship of rhetoric to such atrocities.

Aiming to disrupt conventional modes of rhetoric, logic, argument, and the teaching of writing, Haynes illuminates rhetoric's ties to horrific acts of violence and the state of perpetual conflict around the world, both in the Holocaust era and more recently.

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Each chapter, marked by a physical address, functions as a kind of expanded phone book entry, with a discussion of violent events at a particular location giving way to explorations of larger questions related to rhetoric and violence.

At the core of the work is Haynes's call for a writing pedagogy based on abstraction that would allow students to appeal to emotional and ethical grounds in composing arguments.

Written in a lyrical style, the book weaves rhetorical theories, poetics, philosophy, works of art, and personal experience into a complex, compelling, and innovative mode of writing.

Ultimately, The Homesick Phone Book demonstrates how scholars of rhetoric and writing studies can break their dependence on conventional argument and logic to discover what might be possible if we dive into and become lost within the very concepts and events that frighten and terrorize us.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:47 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Trust No One . . . Except Zach Miller And Jordan Howard?

Random observations from a week in which almost everything that was supposed to happen didn't happen:

The Bears were supposed have no hope and no one with fantasy value after two weeks, but Zach Miller and Jordan Howard rewrote the script (well, the fantasy part anyway). Okay, the Bears still have no hope (at all) in the real world of the NFL, but TE Miller racked up 78 yards and caught two TD passes from QB Brian Hoyer in Week 3, while RB Howard showcased his rumbling self by running for 45 yards and posting 47 receiving yards after RB mate Jeremy Langford was injured.

Hoyer is known for throwing to TEs, but even if starting QB Jay Cutler returns this week, a bad thumb may limit him to throwing more safe, short passes (read that as TE target opportunities).

Miller wins either way, even if the Bears lose again - and they will lose again (and again).

Howard wins, too, because he will start for at least a couple games with Langford out, and may do enough to be in the RB-2 discussion going forward.

Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN, was supposed to be bottled up by the stingy Denver defense, but he ran right through it. Hill was rated a definite "SIT" by a lot of fantasy experts going into last week, but the experts and anyone who benched him ended up regretting that within the first few minutes of his outing against the Broncos, when he reeled off a 50-yard TD run.

In total, he ran for 97 yards on 17 carries, and two TDs, which, okay, means he had 16 touches for just 47 yards aside from his big first score. Yet, the Bengals seem committed to giving him the ball at least 15 times per game, and its decent offense still ends up near the goal line frequently.

Hill will get those red zone touches this Thursday night against Miami, especially with TE Tyler Eifert out for at least another week.

Trevor Siemian, QB, DEN, was supposed struggle throwing deep with his hungry WRs, but looked like Dan Marino. My pre-season QB sleeper had been just good enough in the first two weeks to help his team win, without showcasing all that much fantasy value. He also seemed unable to get the ball to talented WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

In Week 3, he posted 312 passing yards, four TDs and no INTs, while feeding his wideouts frequently. He showed a new dimension to his game, though you have to wonder is defense will catch on quickly.

I like Siemian as a non-flashy bye week or injury replacement starter who will get you 10-12 fantasy points, but tough to expect too many weeks like this the rest of the way.

Arizona's vaunted air attack was supposed to bomb Buffalo, but it never got off the ground. After the New York Jets lit up the BUF D in Week 2, ARI QB Carson Palmer and star WR trio Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown had to be salivating, but all four were fantasy busts when the two teams matched up in Week 3.

Palmer had a dreadful four INTs and was sacked five times, and only managed to salvage a handful of fantasy points with 287 yards, a lot of it coming in garbage time.

BUF's D now has nine sacks, four INTs, three fumble recoveries and two defensive TDs through three games, so maybe this one says more about the fantasy value of the BUF D ongoing than it suggests problems with ARI's offense.

Atlanta time-share RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman were supposed to neutralize one another's fantasy value, but both excelled against the Saints. If you started to write off Freeman as a wasted early round pick and Coleman as little more than a TD vulture, with both backs mitigating one another's potential fantasy greatness, Week 3 might have changed your mind.

We admit, it is not hard to excel against the New Orleans defense, but this was supposed to be a pass-heavy contest. Well, ATL scored 45 points, but a lot of that was thanks to Freeman's 200+ total yards, including 152 on the ground, and one TD catch, while Coleman racked up three TD runs. Freeman still is slightly out-touching Coleman, and the latter has yet to run for 50 yards in a game this year, but ATL seems attuned to riding both of them.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:18 AM | Permalink

Flawed CDC Report Left East Chicago Children Vulnerable To Lead Poisoning

EAST CHICAGO, Indiana - In this industrial Northwest Indiana city, hundreds of families who live in a gated public housing community with prim lawns and a new elementary school next door are searching for new homes. Their own places have been marked for demolition.

The school, temporarily closed, has been taken over by the Environmental Protection Agency and health officials who offer free blood tests to check residents for lead poisoning. Long after the U.S. lead industry left East Chicago, a toxic legacy remains. Smokestacks at one smelter next door, shuttered 31 years ago, for decades polluted these grounds.

Emissions from the now-defunct U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery Inc., or USS Lead, left a potent hazard in the soil. By early this year, the EPA detected concentrations of the heavy metal so high in some yards that they could pose a serious health risk to families at the West Calumet Housing Complex. Children are told not to play outdoors.

At the 44-year-old housing complex, all 1,100 residents are being forced to move out. Many are outraged about why the dangerous soils weren't identified and removed earlier.

One reason: Five years ago, a unit of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a 19-page report that all but ruled out the possibility of children here getting lead poisoning.

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Yasir, 5, resides in the West Calumet Complex in East Chicago, Indiana/All photos Reuters, Michelle Kanaar

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That CDC branch - the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR - conducts public health assessments to examine potential contamination risks and point the way to next steps to be taken by EPA and others.

In its January 2011 report, ATSDR said it reached "4 important conclusions." Among them: "Breathing the air, drinking tap water or playing in soil in neighborhoods near the USS Lead Site is not expected to harm people's health."

ATSDR's report was built on flawed or incomplete data, a Reuters examination found: The assumption that residents weren't at risk was wrong, and many of the report's key findings were unfounded or misleading.

The report said "nearly 100 percent" of children were being tested for blood lead levels in the impacted area. State data reviewed by Reuters show the annual rate of blood lead testing among children in East Chicago ranged from 5 percent to 20 percent over the last 11 years.

In the area, well known for its history of lead contamination, ATSDR reported that "declining blood lead levels in small children appear to confirm that they are no longer exposed to lead from any source."

Yet from 2005 to 2015, nearly 22 percent of children tested in the Indiana census tract that contains the West Calumet houses showed an elevated blood lead level - 160 such results in all. Children tested in this tract were more than twice as likely to have an elevated reading than in other areas of East Chicago, state data reviewed by Reuters shows.

The CDC's conclusions help explain why many West Calumet residents didn't learn until recently that their yards were toxic, according to health experts, city administrators and data compiled by Reuters.

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A Neighborhood and Lead

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Carla Morgan, East Chicago's city attorney, believes the report contributed to a false sense of safety.

"In 2011, the ATSDR lacked data to make any conclusion about the potential health risks," Morgan said.

Contacted by reporters, the ATSDR initially said it would respond to detailed questions about its 2011 report. Over a period of weeks it said it was finalizing its responses. A spokeswoman, Susan McBreairty, told Reuters the answers were "complicated." Reporters also sought comment from the two ATSDR scientists listed as authors of the 2011 report; neither responded.

Ultimately, ATSDR didn't address the questions.

Instead, it released a broad media statement Thursday saying it is evaluating new EPA data "to determine if a human health hazard has developed since the Agency's 2011 public health assessment (PHA) of the USS Lead and Smelter site."

A new analysis will come next year, ATSDR said in the statement, and "will help determine if additional public health activities are warranted."

BARRIER BETWEEN CHILDREN, SOIL

The report's findings factored significantly into EPA's decision not to conduct more urgent soil testing or urge residents to relocate, said EPA Region Five Administrator Robert Kaplan. Believing residents weren't at imminent risk, EPA focused on a multi-year plan to gradually test for and replace lead-tainted soil.

Once EPA completed its soil-sampling this year, the scope of the danger for children was clear.

"The high levels of lead in many yards in East Chicago would require a barrier to be placed between children and the soil, to protect them," said Dr. Helen Binns, a pediatrician at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago and professor at Northwestern University's medical school, who reviewed the testing data with Reuters.

EPA's sampling found that 50 percent of the West Calumet homes tested had lead in their topsoil exceeding 1,200 parts per million, or three times the federal "hazard" level for residential areas.

That level warrants "time-critical" removal action within six months to protect human health, EPA standards say. In the most polluted yard found, a top layer of soil had 45,000 parts per million of lead.

Patrick MacRoy, a former head of the lead poisoning prevention program in Chicago, expressed shock after reviewing the ATSDR report. He found especially troubling its conclusion that children faced no threat of lead exposure.

"I can't believe anyone with any degree of training or familiarity with environmental health would ever make (that) statement," MacRoy said. "I can't believe that no one reviewing that report internally, or even at EPA or the state, wouldn't have flagged that as grossly misstating the available evidence."

"I generally respect ATSDR, but that report is embarrassingly bad," he said.

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Industry and Housing

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In recent months, 10 children under age 7 at West Calumet houses or in nearby areas were confirmed to have elevated lead levels, or around 5 percent of those tested, according to Indiana's State Department of Health.

Following the notorious lead contamination of the drinking water supply in Flint, Michigan, around 4.9 percent of children tested there had high blood lead levels.

In East Chicago, more monitoring is planned, and the recent results do not mean children are in the clear, experts said.

Blood lead testing is usually indicated for children ages one and two. Ingesting lead-tainted soil, dust or paint chips is most common among infants and toddlers with hand-to-mouth behavior, said Dr. Bruce Lanphear, an expert on neurotoxins at Simon Fraser University.

A child poisoned at age two will often later test within a normal range. But the earlier exposure may have already wrought irreversible damage, including lifelong cognitive impairments.

'WHAT ARE THEY DIGGING FOR?'

Today, outside the orderly brick houses in the community - due west of Gary, Indiana, and some 23 miles south of Chicago - moving vans are parked, and poster board signs warn residents not to play in the dirt.

Some of the 92 EPA staffers on site go door-to-door to speak with residents, offering testing and clean-up for lead inside their homes. Contractors have placed mulch over exposed dirt areas.

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Don't play in the mulch and dirt that's covering up the lead.

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The forced exodus of tenants comes after East Chicago's mayor told them this summer that lead and arsenic contamination in the area made it unacceptably risky to live here, especially for the area's more than 600 children.

"I have lived here for five years and was never told anything about contamination until now," said Akendra Erving, a mother of five young children who is moving her family to Alabama. "In May or June, I started to see these crews digging in peoples' yards. 'What are they digging for?' I thought.

"Now I know."

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A'Kendra Erving in her home with her son, King Erving, 3.

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Recently, Erving got more bad news. A test showed that her three-year-old son, King, had a blood lead level of 8 micrograms per deciliter. Her daughter Kelis, 4, tested at 9 micrograms per deciliter. CDC recommends a public health response for children who test at 5 or above.

The lead crisis is the focus of several agencies, including ATSDR. The EPA has taken a leading role, with Indiana's State Department of Health, city officials, state environmental officials and federal and local housing agencies also involved.

Tensions and finger-pointing among the parties has sometimes grown heated. In July, East Chicago's mayor wrote EPA a scathing letter, accusing the agency of withholding soil testing data that demonstrated grave health risks.

EPA's Kaplan says the soil data was shared with the city as soon as the EPA could verify it, in May.

Recently, a "peacekeeper" division of the U.S. Justice Department, its Community Relations Service, stepped in to de-escalate conflicts.

ON TOP OF ANACONDA

The West Calumet Housing complex stands near the center of a once humming U.S. industry hub. It was also a dirty one.

In the early 1970s, the houses were erected atop the former Anaconda Lead and International Refining Company. For decades, the plant churned out white lead pigment for use in paint.

In 1978, the United States outlawed the type of paint Anaconda produced for residential use. That and other measures brought a sharp drop in average U.S. blood lead levels in recent decades. No level of lead in the blood is safe for children.

Next door was another smelter, USS Lead. From 1920 through 1985, the facility refined lead or lead products. Its blast furnaces pumped out soot that blanketed the land where the housing complex stands.

Also nearby was a facility, formerly operated by chemicals giant DuPont, that produced lead arsenate from 1928-1949. Its main ingredients were lead and arsenic. The product was banned as an insecticide in 1988.

Much of the waste was stockpiled within the city's industrial complexes. Sometimes it got spread over nearby marshland or dumped in the Calumet River.

Back in 2009, this corner of East Chicago, a working class city of 29,000, was placed on the federal Superfund's National Priorities List, or NPL.

Michael Berkoff, an EPA project manager who led a 2012 public hearing in East Chicago to inform residents about clean-up plans, described the NPL as "EPA's nationwide list of the most contaminated sites in the country."

Numbering more than 1,300 nationwide, the Superfund sites require clean-up to protect the environment and human health. In many cases, the companies that used to operate them folded years ago.

At the hearing, Berkoff laid out EPA's long-term goal of removing contaminated soil from West Calumet yards and other polluted zones in East Chicago. "Some of the contamination here is at higher levels than we would consider hazardous waste," he told the audience, according to a transcript.

Years earlier, the EPA had already cleaned up several area yards where topsoil testing detected lead levels exceeding 1,200 parts per million, ppm.

The next round of remediation EPA proposed would cost tens of millions of dollars and take a few years, Berkoff said. At West Calumet, wherever EPA found yards whose shallow soil exceeded 400 ppm of lead, it would excavate and replace the layer with clean soil.

To fund the effort, EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice pursued what they called potential responsible parties for some of the area's contamination. In 2014, chemicals company DuPont and ARCO, a unit of oil giant BP, agreed to contribute $26 million to the East Chicago clean-up.

Under a consent decree, the companies acknowledged no wrongdoing.

ARCO said it had taken on certain liabilities after it acquired the Anaconda Company in the late 1970s, though it never operated the Anaconda lead plant itself.

DuPont said it cooperated with the EPA but its responsibilities under the consent decree were assumed by the Chemours Company, a former DuPont business now operating independently, a DuPont spokesman said. Chemours said it will cooperate with the EPA, a spokesman said.

To date, the earth-moving envisaged in the plans EPA's Berkoff described in 2012 hasn't happened. Securing funds, soil testing, and issues that crept up with contractors all took time. West Calumet soil replacement would have started this summer, EPA's Kaplan said. Instead, the city plans to raze the houses.

TROUBLED TRACT

The CDC's role in ensuring the health of people near Superfund sites is enshrined in federal law. When an area is added to the National Priority List, the ATSDR conducts an independent public health assessment.

ATSDR's role is advisory, but its reports can lead to strongly worded health bulletins or other actions, including condemnation of properties deemed unfit for human habitation.

The EPA commissioned the ATSDR report because "We wanted to know, is it an emergency, time-critical response or something that needs a remedy but isn't necessarily as urgent?" said Kaplan.

The CDC branch concluded that results from childhood blood tests in the region suggested there was no risk.

Other report statements appeared to support that finding: Virtually all children in the area were being tested for lead poisoning, the report said, seeming to reflect close monitoring. Kids living in the area had blood lead levels "consistent with the national average," it said.

Properties found to contain unsafe levels of lead in the soil had already been cleaned up by the EPA, the ATSDR said, and local health officials offered assurances there were no reports of health problems linked to lead.

Citing Indiana Department of Health data from the 1990s through 2008, ATSDR said children in East Chicago had experienced a sharp decline in blood lead levels.

Yet the report did not specifically cite the most recent blood testing data from residents at the West Calumet Housing Complex, or the census tract where it is located.

Reuters obtained testing data from the Indiana census tract, labeled 303, from 2005 through 2015. The data compiled by Indiana shows that 21.8 percent of children aged up to 6 tested there had blood lead readings above CDC's current "elevated" threshold.

Although only a portion of the area's children were being tested in the period, the 303 tract registered 160 elevated test results among small children. That was more than in any other tract in Lake County, where East Chicago is located, and more than in all but a dozen of Indiana's 1,507 census tracts.

As recently as 2014, 25 percent of the children tested in the 303 tract had elevated levels.

During that same year, Indiana data shows, around 6.4 percent of kids tested across the state had elevated lead levels. CDC estimates show that, across the United States, the prevalence of children with elevated blood lead levels is around 2.5 percent.

The ATSDR report credited Indiana's state health department with "excellent work" in ensuring almost universal testing.

State and county data reviewed by Reuters tell a different story. The annual rate of blood lead testing among children aged up to 6 in Indiana hovered around 7 percent in recent years. Although around 20 percent of children in East Chicago were tested each year between 2005 and 2010, the rate plummeted to 5 percent in 2014.

As for the ATSDR report's claim that it had heard of no concerns from local health officials, City Attorney Morgan said the agency never consulted East Chicago's health department, which declined comment.

The Indiana State Department of Health told Reuters it "does not support the conclusions of that report," without elaborating.

UPROOTED TO NEVADA

Shantel Allen is a 28-year-old mother of five who has lived at West Calumet since 2011, the year of ATSDR's report. Allen is moving her family to southern Nevada next month. The housing voucher the family received won't cover the high costs of the move, she said.

In July, around the time Allen was told her current home faces the wrecking ball, she received a letter from Indiana's health department. It said her daughter, Samira, 2, had tested positive for lead poisoning with a level of 33 micrograms per deciliter, nearly seven times the elevated threshold. That result, the letter said, was from a test conducted 17 months earlier, around Samira's first birthday.

"I wanted to know how she was exposed to lead, when and where?" Allen said. "I wanted to know why I was only informed more than a year later."

The state health department said privacy law does not allow it to comment on a specific patient's case. However, it said local health departments have primary responsibility for conveying blood lead test results to family.

Since July, Allen has had all her kids tested. Two had elevated levels, she said.

Then, last month, Allen recalled an information packet she'd received from the EPA, dated from late 2014. She didn't pay much attention to it back then, because she says she didn't understand its implications. It said the agency had conducted soil testing in her yard.

Reading back the findings recently, she said EPA had detected lead at 4,510 parts per million in the top layer of her front yard, or more than 10 times the action level. Arsenic was found at nearly 13 times the action level.

It was the yard her older kids had always played in, often tracking in dirt to the apartment, where Samira would crawl around on the floor.

Another former West Calumet resident, Krystle Jackson, said she moved her family out in July after two of her children tested with elevated lead levels. Her son, Kavon, 1, had a level of 7. She relocated to her parents' home in Cedar Lake, 40 minutes south, which is facing a potential bank foreclosure. Jackson worries she'll be left homeless.

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Krystle Jackson's children, Kavon Jackson, 1, and Kaydance Jackson, 3, sleep in their parents house in Cedar Lake, Indiana.

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The timing of Jackson's move, weeks before hundreds of other West Calumet residents learned the complex will be demolished, made her ineligible for a voucher others are getting to move into public housing.

"The housing authority told me there was nothing they could do for me," she said. "I just wanted to get out of the public housing because nobody could tell me why my kids were being exposed to lead."

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More Faces Of East Chicago.

Nayesa Walker in her home with her daughter Kaelynn Lott.

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Maritza Lopez in her East Chicago home.

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All links by Beachwood.

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Previously: East Chicago Is Toxic.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

The NFL Joins The Data Revolution

In some potentially game-changing news for the way we understand professional football, the National Football League began the 2016 preseason by placing tracking sensors in its footballs for the first time. The chips are also in balls used in Thursday night games.

Over the past decade, we've seen an explosion in data analytics in sports, particularly on the professional level. Technological advances in cameras and sensors have allowed teams, media and fans to gain insight into a bunch of previously gray areas of sport performance, such as the National Basketball Association's use of SportVU to track every bit of player and ball movement on the floor.

The concept of integrating numbers and analysis into scouting, training and coaching isn't new. But access to powerful hardware and software has greatly increased the quality and quantity of available data. A nearly insatiable appetite for data on sports has created a sports analytics market that is set to grow from the millions to the multiple billions of dollars over the next few years.

Most major professional sports leagues have developed partnerships and technologies that allow for deeper looks into their sports, from baseball's player-tracking system to the English Premier League's partnership with ChyronHego. But professional football has been slow to adapt to the data revolution in sports, and the NFL has fallen behind its contemporaries in capturing and providing data to teams and fans.

Now the league is finally taking steps in the direction of more quantitative measurement. A test run of placing tracking sensors in NFL footballs, combined with an ongoing effort to track player movement through sensors in shoulder pads as part of a partnership with technology company Zebra, opens up a whole new set of possibilities for teams, players, media and fans of the league.

What Technology Offers NFL Teams

The NFL is moving toward a far more technologically driven future, both in practices and in games. (It's also just begun engaging fans through Twitter livestreams.) Certain teams are already using player tracking data in practice to aid with coaching. Teams and coaches are searching for new ways to help quarterbacks practice, including exploring ideas of virtual simulators and drone-aided scenarios. The addition of league-wide player and ball tracking could potentially spread these practices beyond the teams that use them, which currently include the Cowboys, Panthers and Saints.

Ideally, data from ball trackers or shoulder pad trackers could serve two purposes for the NFL. First, it can help teams understand player movement and the flow of play more completely, providing coaches a greater understanding on how players are physically performing during plays, and allowing for input from coaches to players on how to fix their technique to increase efficiency or limit exposure to injury, possibly leading to more efficient training and practice.

Second, the data can be used by the league's media partners, and perhaps its fans, to further explain the game to audiences, particularly on television. By tracking player movement digitally, clearer representations of what makes individual football plays succeed (or fail) can be provided. These data also allow media to break down individual physical accomplishments, such as extraordinary bursts of speed by wide receivers.

The NFL's plan to release tracking data within 24 hours of a game's end points to a future in the league where hard data on player and ball movement are integrated into the daily strategic calculations of each coaching staff. This will likely create a rush to innovation within NFL coaching, as each staff grapples with what will likely be a huge amount of data every week, trying to come up with best practices and analytical methods for evaluating and using that data constructively.

This is beyond the skills of most current NFL coaching staffs, but remember that the same could be said about NBA front offices a decade ago. Now, almost every forward-thinking NBA front office employs multiple people whose background and job duties are based in data-based evaluation of players.

In Other Sports

The NBA has been a leader in this area, partnering with tech company SportVU since 2006 to install motion-tracking cameras in every arena. Six cameras track player and ball positions 25 times a second, and those data are provided to both media and fans after the game ends. These cameras track the on-court coordinates of each player 25 times a second throughout the game, then combine it with additional information to have it correspond with items such as ball touches, dribbles and shots.

Media members have been able to use this NBA data for a variety of purposes, such as analytics guru Kirk Goldsberry's CourtVision system, which allows for advanced shot charts for any player on any team, giving fans deeper insights into who performs well offensively, and from where.

As fans and media express greater interest in data and analytics from their favorite sports, the leagues have become more open about sharing those data. The NBA recently announced that it would make SportVU tracking data available to the public starting in 2016. The stated goal of this move is to allow fans to deepen their understanding of the game, and it will be fascinating to see how people use this trove of data.

Other sports have added motion and advanced statistical tracking as well. The NHL added active SportVU player tracking coverage in 2015, giving real-time telemetry on player movement. Companies like STATS now provide a bevy of event data points for major professional soccer leagues across the world, such as shots created, defensive actions and all player touches.

What About Fans?

Can fans expect to directly receive NFL data from ball and player tracking? It may take a while before that becomes a reality. Media partners are already utilizing the data and providing some of it to fans. The NFL's Xbox One app allows for some of the tracking data to be publicly available through that gaming console, so we could see fans gaining access to small amounts of data through mobile devices.

It would be theoretically possible for small pieces of data, such as player speed or individual players' movements, to be made available in-game. However, NFL teams and coaches might be unwilling to provide that information due to concerns that the competition would gain an in-game advantage by knowing how well (or poorly) a receiver was running his routes or a lineman was blocking.

The real question for fans is what happens with the huge amount of data that would be generated from tracking in each game. Ideally, the NFL would follow the NBA's recent decision to open tracking data up to the public. Allowing fans and nonpartner media to examine the tracking of each player on each play in an NFL game could help us to better understand why certain plays work or don't work on the football field, or why certain teams are successful or not successful. With the line between success and failure seemingly razor-thin in the NFL on a weekly basis, more data may help us better understand why some teams win and why some teams lose.

The NFL has been quiet about what it plans to do with the data from these tracking devices. But as technology allows leagues to gather more data about themselves, the desire for access to those data, both from teams and from fans, will continue to grow. Despite holding out from joining the data revolution for a long time, the NFL has a great chance to capitalize on it.

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Galen Clavio is Associate Professor of Sports Media and Director of the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

September 27, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

The Papers will return on Thursday.

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An e-mail I sent to a friend this morning:

"I watched about 2/3 of the debate at Little Mel's hot dog stand. My impression was quite different than what I've returned to in my Twitter feed. It sounds like Trump made some big mistakes that I missed, but Dems are fooling themselves if they think he wasn't effective and HRC wasn't a bit of a stiff. Not like it will change anybody's minds, and she was obviously right on facts and temperament, but Trump showed a little something in how direct he is and how he doesn't engage in politispeak, even if he speaks like a child. Just sayin' . . . I don't really rate it as a clear win for anyone."

After reading his response and some of the coverage, I added this:

"Im getting the sense from the coverage that he went downhill and even nutsier after I stopped watching . . . once they were done with criminal justice and turning to ISIS, I balied. It sounds like he unraveled, so my observations are incomplete at best.

"But yes, I would describe HRC's performance just as you did . . . super typical pol, but competently legitimately presidential."

For example, I missed the whole Miss Universe thing.

"Yeah, I missed that. Now I feel bad, I came home and told the Blue Ribbon Glee Club, who were practicing at our place, that we're doomed. They're probably reading the reports today and wondering what the fuck I was talking about. I thought he was factually wrong and rambling, but I thought up to the point I saw he seemed like a man of action who hit her on NAFTA and how she'd been there for 30 years and every policy proposal she spoke of he'd just go, 'Just words. All words. No action. It'll never happen.' I thought that was effective to people who aren't like us. And I thought she passed a lot of openings, including on the birther thing."

Most of the media, as well as political professionals and the national security and financial establishments, know that Trump is a crazy man. Trump's debate performance wasn't much different than the nightly campaign performances he's been giving for months. But now that he's done it before a national TV audience, the political-media complex feels free and more unconstrained than ever to really let loose. It's comfort to like-minded folks, but it's a little late and unlikely to persuade very many of the remaining undecided voters. Someone the other day, a David Plouffe-type, if not him (I couldn't locate the source this morning, but it's real) said that at this point, the election is about mobilization, not persuasion. I agree. This election is mostly about turning out as many blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, women, Jews, Muslims, Millennials, progressives, and members of every other group threatened by Trump vs. mostly uneducated older white men. It's a turnout election. Facts, policy, experience - none of that matters, though Trump's approach to each ratchets up the intensity on both sides.

But maybe I'm being too apologetic for my initial, incomplete reaction:

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Also:

"Trump looked presidential."

Plus, no one has run as negative a presidential campaign in modern history, if ever, than Donald Trump. But the hypnotized never lie.

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During the debate, he said "That's because I'm smart."

Wealthy people will always find ways around the tax code. There's no way to make it airtight, unless we really did make tax forms the size of a postcard - no deductions for anything. No provisions for various circumstances, investments, type of income and so on. Otherwise, we depend on patriotic, moral folk to abide by the spirit of the law, because the letter of the law can never be sufficient. It has nothing to do with being smart.

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I'd allow for this being a genuine mistake anyone could make confusing network polls if Trump didn't have a record of making shit up every single day.

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Normally I'd be loathe to depend on a corporation for a fact-check, but Trump has been telling this lie for a long time, and it's also extraordinary that a corporation is fact-checking a Republican nominee.

Related: WSJ: No Fortune 100 CEOs Back Republican Donald Trump.

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Never forget.

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Trump And The Return Of Seditious Libel
"This year, for the first time since at least Richard Nixon, the leader of one of our major political parties has pledged to limit press freedom by restricting criticism of his prospective rule."

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Chicago Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Protest
"The Chicago rally is part of a global day of action spearheaded by #MEAction.net, an international network of patients and allies empowering each other to fight for health equality for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

"The event aims to bring attention to the #MillionsMissing around the world who suffer from the disease with little hope for improvement, lacking a clear cause of their disease or path to treatment."

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This (poorly named) disease is no joke - it's very real. Knowing someone who suffers from a constellation of health issues including chronic fatigue, I can tell you that research, investment, care, education and support are sorely lacking. It's truly heartbreaking.

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"Chicago mother Amy Mooney will talk about how her 11-year-old daughter has been robbed of her childhood by ME spending 90 percent of her days in a dark room in pain, and missing her 4th, 5th and 6th grade education."

Click through for details.

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Unelectable Corbyn Elected Again
Who decides who is electable? We do, the media.

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Kick-Ass Chinese Lanterns In Milwaukee
"After passing through the Welcome Gate, visitors may find that each display is more magical than the last."

Billed as the first festival of its kind in the Midwest.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, Common, Aloha, ADT, Revolting Cocks, The Roots, Demolition Hammer, Cubanate, Cactus, Bear's Den, The Vibrators, Human Being, Flabby Hike, Fire-Toolz, moe, El Famous, Quicksails, XIII, Sabla, Between the Buried and Me, Fallujah, Pretty Lights, Lake Street Dive, Anderson East, Devin Townsend, Blood Orange, Amazing Heeby Jeebies, The Screamin' End, Gaby Moreno, Mike Peters, The Slackers, The Concrete Roots, and Stryper.

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I'm told by a person of quality musical taste who was there that the Chance the Rapper show was profound.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Tweeting The Bears
A reason to watch.

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So, our very own Jim Coffman, Marty Gangler and Roger Wallenstein were all baffled, confused and/or angry with the David Ross retirement festivities over the weekend. Not me! I thought it was great. But I'm in the minority on that around here.

SportsMonday: Grandpa Rossy vs. Grandpa Bears
"All this Grandpa Rossy garbage, what is the matter with us?"

The Cub Factor: Grandpa Rossy vs. Hank White
"I had to double check this just to be correct, but he's only been a Cub since 2015. That's last year."

The White Sox Report: Venerating Vin
He rooted for baseball, not the Dodgers.

(Roger made his feelings about the Ross thing known via e-mail; he's with Jim and Marty.)

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BeachBook

More Evil Record Label Shit.

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More Evil HP Shit.

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The Tribune's Greg Kot Delivers One Of The Best Reviews Of Bruce Springsteen's New Book.

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Wells Fargo Loan Officer Describes Fraudulent, Criminal Culture

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TweetWood
A non-Trump, non-debate sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Monetize me.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

September 26, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Chance the Rapper w/Kanye West at White Sox Park on Saturday.

Kot: Chance the Rapper Turns Coloring Day Magnificent.

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2. Common feat. Nappy Roots at the Aahh! Fest in Union Park on Sunday.

Kot: Common Pays Tribute To Hip-Hop And Community At Aahh! Fest.

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3. The Roots at Aahh! Fest on Sunday.

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4. Demolition Hammer at Reggies on Saturday night.

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5. Cubanate at the Metro for the Cold Waves Festival on Saturday night.

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6. Revolting Cocks at the Metro for Cold Waves on Saturday night.

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7. ADT at RutCorp on Sunday night.

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8. Cactus at Reggies on Saturday night.

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9. Bear's Den at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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10. The Vibrators at Livewire on Saturday night.

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11. Human Being at Heavy Petting on Friday night.

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12. Flabby Hike at Heavy Petting on Friday night.

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13. Fire-Toolz at Heavy Petting on Friday night.

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14. Aloha at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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15. moe. at the Concord on Saturday night.

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16. El Famous at Beat Kitchen on Sunday night.

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17. Quicksails at Elastic on Saturday night.

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18. XIII at Elastic on Saturday night.

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19. Sabla at Elastic on Saturday night.

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20. Between the Buried and Me at House of Blues on Friday night.

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21. Fallujah at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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22. Pretty Lights and friends on Northerly Island on Saturday and Sunday.

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23. Lake Street Dive with Anderson East at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

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24. Devin Townsend at House of Blues on Friday night.

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25. Blood Orange at the Vic on Friday night.

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26. Amazing Heeby Jeebies at the Red Line Tap on Friday night.

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27. The Screamin' End at the Red Line Tap on Friday night.

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28. Gaby Moreno at the Elbo Room on Friday night.

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29. Mike Peters at the Old Town School on Friday night.

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30. The Slackers at 1st Ward on Sunday night.

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31. The Concrete Roots at the Tonic Room on Friday night.

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32. Stryper at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:23 AM | Permalink

Unelectable Corbyn Elected Again

Who decided he was unelectable? We did, the media.


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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.

* Pie's Brexit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Real Life Is Not Game Of Thrones.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Labor: The Clue's In The Title!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Where Is The War Against Terrorble Mental Health Services?

* Progressive Pie.

* BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:10 AM | Permalink

Kick-Ass Chinese Lanterns In Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE - As the sun goes down Oct. 1, Boerner Botanical Gardens will be transformed into a dramatic display of color, light, and sound at the first festival of its kind in the Midwest.

China Lights: Boerner Brighter Than Ever is a celebration of Asian culture featuring 40 larger-than-life sculptural lantern displays, stage performances highlighting folk-culture entertainment and activities, and a bustling marketplace.

boerner.jpg

China Lights will be open through Oct. 30, Tuesday - Sunday from 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

An opening-night welcome will be given at 6 p.m. by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Parks Director John Dargle, Jr.

Boerner Botanical Gardens is located in Whitnall Park at 9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI.

Lantern Displays
After passing through the Welcome Gate, visitors may find that each display is more magical than the last.

Over the past month, 28 artisans from China have been on-site creating welded metal frames, lighting the frames from within using various types and colors of LED lights, covering the framework in brilliantly colored fabric, and hand-painting finishing touches. Among the components emerging from the process are glowing flowers, peacocks, cranes, and pandas.

Using a special technique, artisans in China created a sparkling surface on a pair of quilin, a mythical animal with the head of a dragon, horns, the hooves of a deer, and the tail of an ox.

Covering the bodies are thousands of tiny bottles filled with colored water.

Display sizes are as large as the 200-foot-long dragon and the three-story palace pagoda.

Illumination Parade
Each night at about 6:15 p.m. members of the entertainment staff will lead a procession to light the zodiac display in the Shrub Mall of the Botanical Gardens. The Illumination Parade will conclude at the main stage in time for the first performance of the night.

Stage Performances
Opening night offers three stage performances highlighting folk-culture. At 6:30, 8, and 9 p.m., Tibetan dance and Bian Lian, or face changing, will amaze the audience. Face changing, or mask changing, is the ancient Chinese art form from the Sichuan opera.

Performers wear thin masks that change with the passing of a fan. At the 9 p.m. performance, visitors will see an additional feature, a Chinese fashion show. The show will feature the Qipao, the classic, form-fitting silk dress.

Entertainment will be varied throughout the run of the show. Tuesday through Thursday, performances will be at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. A third performance will be added every Friday through Sunday at 9 p.m.

Cultural Displays
For China Lights, the Garden House will be the center for cultural displays. Three lantern replicas of the terra cotta warriors will be on view along with poster displays about the making of China Lights, and continuous streaming video on China's history, culture, and tourism.

Food & Beverage
Throughout the festival a variety of Asian and American food options will be available for purchase. Lighter fare includes Asian Cucumber Salad, Vegetable Egg Roll with Sweet and Sour Sauce, and Peking Duck Spring Roll with Plum Dipping Sauce.

From the grill are hot dogs, bratwurst, and cheeseburgers. Entree options are Mongolian Beef, and Sweet and Sour Chicken.

For dessert, a new twist on the egg roll is offered - Homemade Apple Pie Egg Roll, dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with homemade caramel sauce.

Variety is also key in the beverage selection. Ten adult beverages are being served.

Highlighting the selection of five draft beers is China Lights Red, a red lager from MillerCoors brewed especially for this event. For a beer from China, visitors can enjoy a bottle of Tsingtao, a lager from the nation's largest brewery. Wine is also available, including Ozeki Sake, a fresh Japanese sake made from rice.

Non-alcoholic beverages include bottled citrus green tea, sodas, and bottled water.

Admission/Fees
China Lights admission tickets will be valid any night of the regular 2016 schedule. Admission is $15 for adults (age 18-59) and $10 for seniors (age 60 and up) and children (age 5-17). Children under age 5 will be admitted free. For $30, a patron may purchase a one-visit VIP ticket, which includes a behind-the-scenes tour, optional participation in the Illumination Parade, fabric lantern, and mobile guide. Grass-lot parking is included with all admission tickets.

Preferred, close-up paved parking will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis for $5 cash per night. Some spaces in this area will be designated for and are free to people with disabilities who have state-issued disabled parking or disabled Veteran parking license plates, or the state-issued disabled parking identification card.

Offered exclusively at the Botanical Gardens, in advance at the information desk or later at the box office, will be a season pass with unlimited visits for $45, and a mobile guide, which requires a cell phone for use, for $5.

Tickets may be purchased in advance on-line at chinalights.org, Boerner Botanical Gardens, and Milwaukee County Parks point-of-sale locations, including Parks Public Services (9480 Watertown Plank Road), regulation golf courses, The Domes, and the Milwaukee County Sports Complex.

While the displays are magical at night, they are beautiful during the day. Displays may be viewed unlit during the day for the cost of regular Botanical Gardens admission. Patrons may purchase an evening ticket for that same day by presenting the daily admission wristband and paying an additional $10.

Co-presenters of the event are the Park People of Milwaukee County and Travel Wisconsin. Event sponsors are the We Energies Foundation, Miller Lite, and Tri City National Bank.

For more information, visit chinalights.org.

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Trailers:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:42 AM | Permalink

Donald Trump And The Return Of Seditious Libel

In 1733, New York printer John Peter Zenger began publishing the eighth newspaper in the American colonies, and the first willing to venture criticism of the government. The New-York Weekly Journal was the second paper in a city of 10,000 or so people, 1,700 of them slaves.

As we are reminded in Richard Kluger's comprehensive new book, Indelible Ink, the first full-length account of Zenger's travails, by 1735, Zenger (and the likely editor of his paper, James Alexander) had so offended Britain's royal governor of New York and New Jersey, William Cosby, that Cosby brought suit against Zenger for seditious libel - the crime of criticizing the government.

Under the law then in effect in Britain and its colonies, truth was not a defense to this charge. The leading legal treatise of the day explained that "since the greater appearance there is of truth in any malicious invective, so much the more provoking it is." And: "The malicious prosecution of even truth itself cannot . . . be suffered to interrupt the tranquility of a well-ordered society."

This was deemed especially the case with true attacks on those in power, as they would have "a direct tendency to breed in the people a dislike of their governors and incline them to faction and sedition."

New Yorkers in 1735, though, weren't buying it. While the jury in the Zenger trial was instructed that the truth of Zenger's attacks on Cosby was no defense, Zenger's lawyer argued that it should be, and asked the jury, if they found the stories true, to acquit the printer.

This the jury did, striking a dramatic blow against the law of seditious libel, and launching a proud American tradition, ratified in 1791 in the First Amendment, and laid out over the centuries in a range of Supreme Court decisions.

For at least the last 30 years, since Chief Justice William Rehnquist acquiesced in the constitutionalization of the law of libel, which has safeguarded the American press for more than a half century, we appeared to have a consensus in this country around our modern system of protections for the value of a free and untrammeled press to the process of self-government.

Until now.

This year, for the first time since at least Richard Nixon, the leader of one of our major political parties has pledged to limit press freedom by restricting criticism of his prospective rule.

But Nixon's threats were private, revealed only by his own taping system, while Donald Trump's are very public, loud and clear. And to be fair to Nixon, he never made good on his private threats, and in the one Supreme Court case he argued personally as a lawyer, he seemed to accept modern constitutional protections for libel.

In fact, Trump is more hostile to the legal and constitutional rights of the press than any major presidential candidate of the last two centuries. What he proposes is reminiscent of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 championed (to his immortal disgrace) by President John Adams in the last serious attempt to relitigate at the federal level what had seemed resolved in the Zenger case.

It is cold comfort - although it may be some warning to Republicans inclined to go along - that Adams was not only defeated for re-election after passage of those laws, but lost the White House to Thomas Jefferson and his close associates James Madison and James Monroe for a quarter of a century, while Adams' Federalist Party never really recovered.

In case you think a comparison of Trump's goals with Zenger's opponents or the sponsors of the Alien and Sedition Acts is unfair, a quick review of the record may be in order.

Trump has said that most reporters are "absolute dishonest, absolute scum." He's said that "I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I've ever met. They're terrible."

In February he pledged that "one of the things I'm gonna do if I win, and I hope that I do, and we're certainly leading, is I'm gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're gonna open up those libel laws. So that when the New York Times writes a hit piece that is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money rather than have no chance of winning because they're totally protected. You see, with me, they're not protected, because I'm not like other people, but I'm not taking money, I'm not taking their money. We're gonna open up those libel laws, folks, and we're gonna have people sue you like you never got sued before."

Nor is a threat by Trump to sue for libel an idle one. In 2006 he brought such a suit against a book that asserted he had wildly overstated his wealth. He lost the case on the merits as well as for failure to prove fault. But the Washington Post reported that "Trump said in an interview that he knew he couldn't win the suit but brought it anyway to make a point. 'I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees, and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make [author Tim O'Brien's] life miserable, which I'm happy about.'"

Trump has also sued the Chicago Tribune and comedian Bill Maher, and threatened to sue the New York Times (more than once), ABC, the Daily Beast, Rolling Stone, the Huffington Post, reporter David Cay Johnston, TV host Lawrence O'Donnell and comedian Rosie O'Donnell.

In the February rant, Trump also seemed to threaten to force Jeff Bezos to divest himself of the Washington Post, asserting that it had been purchased to obtain political influence, and declaring that such purchases should be forbidden.

Asked in June if his stance on the press would continue as president, he said, "Yeah, it is going to be like this . . . You think I'm gonna change? I'm not going to change."

He repeated his view that "I am going to continue to attack the press. I find the press to be extremely dishonest. I find the political press to be unbelievably dishonest."

In August he tweeted that "It is not 'freedom of the press' when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!"

Melania Trump's libel lawyer (she is suing the Daily Mail in Maryland for a story on her modeling days) is even more specific, saying that New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the 1964 Supreme Court decision that established modern press protections, should be overruled.

Anyone paying attention knows there is a great deal at stake in this election. Freedom of the press in this country may be among those stakes.

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

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Comments welcome.



Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:20 AM | Permalink

Tweeting The Bears | A Reason To Watch

The biggest question posed by the Bears right now seems to be: Why watch?

"Admit it, you changed channels," our very own Jim Coffman writes.

Listening to three hours of Arcade Fire would be a better entertainment option, Dan Bernstein says.

The Bears have two more nationally televised games this season (that can't be flexed), Adam Hoge reminds us.

We'll give you a reason to watch, though: For the tweets.

To wit:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:14 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Grandpa Rossy vs. Grandpa Bears

So what happened at the end of the latest Bears monstrosity? By then I had joined our entire city in switching to the ninth inning of the Cubs game. Come on Sox fans, admit it: you changed channels too - maybe even before then. And yes, I did check in on the baseball game reasonably frequently earlier in the evening.

I thought about just watching the Cubs all the way through but then my delightful fellow Cubs fans gave David Ross the first of his half-dozen standing ovations when he came to the plate for the first time. People, the guy played back-up catcher for the Cubs for two years! All this Grandpa Rossy garbage - he has a young family - what is the matter with us?

It should have been easy. Ross had already had a little retirement ceremony Friday. The great thing about the Cubs' 3-1 win Sunday night was that Ross actually came through and hit a home run. That was the chance to give him a proper send-off, to convince him to take the curtain call, cheer like mad and then call it a night.

But no, there were those early ovations for nothing and then Joe Maddon took him out in the middle of an inning like he was a basketball player. I thought I was going to puke. Maddon was pretty smarmy before he came to the Cubs but the guy and the fans who increased attendance when the Cubs celebrated 100 years of losing during their third tanked season a few years back have come together to take treacly sentimentality to a whole new level.

Of course I love all the wins the past two years, but God I hate the Cutesy Cubby crap. Let's be clear. I have been a Cubs fan all the way through and I am now 50. When I was really little, my mother used to take me and my brother Nat to batting practice because they would let you in free as long as you left before game time.

Then when I was a few years into grade school, Nat and I started taking the 22 Clark Street bus up to Wrigley from near our family's townhouse in Lincoln Park. We boarded at Dickens, where the stop going north was kitty corner to the Steak N Egger. We would get there early and sit on the sidewalk waiting for the bleachers to open and for the tickets to go on sale for what, a buck-fifty?

We started out as fans of Rick Monday and therefore sat in right center/center and we stayed there after he left. We could always get good seats down by the basket. We watched ushers cart out multiple drunks on stretchers over the years. One of my highlights in the '80s was watching several Mets including Lenny Dykstra and led by relief pitcher Roger McDowell compete to see if any of them could throw a ball through one of the holes in the scoreboard. In the '90s, I caught a batting practice home run hit by Pete Incaviglia.

McDowell was the all-time coolest visiting player when it came to interacting with the fans. He would bring a bucket out to the outfield, throw balls into the stands and then invite people to try to throw them back into the bucket. When I had my chance, I came up woefully, woefully short.

So I'm as much of a Cub fan as anyone. And I used to be sure that the cutesy stuff would hold us back forever. This year, maybe the team is good enough to overcome it. If they don't, there will be thousands of fans saying they had a great season anyway. And all of those people may have to die.

I don't have much to say about the Bears after their 31-17 loss at Dallas dropped them to 0-3. I'm sure those who deserve to be excoriated have been excoriated and will continue to be excoriated. Excoriation for everyone!

I hope all those who so confidently told us that the Bears were better off with Brian Hoyer as the backup quarterback than they would have been with Dak Prescott (lookin' at you Hub!) will be at least a little sheepish.

This column began as Bear Monday about eight years ago and I have always focused on the local football team during the fall. But playoff baseball will demand attention. And the 2016 Bears are already on the verge of irrelevance.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:31 AM | Permalink

Grandpa Rossy vs. Hank White

What else is there to say about this season, again? We went through a lot of the highlights of the commemorative 2016 World Series Time/Life DVD last week, but who knew the David Ross Last Home Game Celebration would be so insane on Sunday.

I had to double-check this just to be correct, but he's only been a Cub since 2015. That's last year.

And he gets a send-off like he's been here for 10 seasons. Not that it's a bad thing, it was pretty cool, but man, Cub fans are on board this season.

And once again, I thought the Ross thing was cool, but what won't the Cub faithful stand up and cheer for right now? I mean, Grandpa Ross seems great and all, but he's not even been here two full seasons. But then as I think about this I wonder, why do you have to throw rain on this Cub parade? Why do I have to question the sanity of the Cub collective?

Well, I guess that is just me [Editor's Note: And Coffman]. Because, if you think about it, three standing ovations for a journeyman catcher who is a spot starter and hit like .230 this season and hasn't even finished two seasons with the team is kinda nuts.

But Cub fans have always been a special breed. We've accepted so much badness that anything to feel good (or great) about is just ramped up to the 10th degree - or even the 11th. But when it gets down to it, it's just part of the great ride that this season was. Ross seems like a leader on the team despite his actual baseball skill, and maybe tonight was just a huge Chicago Cub fan collective thank you for being a leader on this team and for the super fun season.

So, yeah, I'm going to go with that, because if it was about David Ross the journeyman catcher turned Cub these last two years, then we all should think about our life choices. I mean, this wasn't Andre Dawson retiring, or Fergie Jenkins, or even Henry Blanco (who was a journeyman catcher and a Cub for four years).

Anyway, I sure thought the whole scene was cool, and weird at the same time. Maybe once the Cubs get a couple World Series-es under their belt we look at a guy coming to the Cubs to end his career and give him a nice sendoff and not puke all over ourselves with a bit too much adulation.

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 5-1 for the week, taking three from the Reds and two of three from the Cardinals. Hard to know if the Reds were really trying to win, but the Cardinals sure were as they are in the middle of a tightly contested wild card race. And the Cubs got to 99 wins. Which is a lot of wins.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue still have to play the remaining seven games of the regular season. They head to Pittsburgh for four and then to Cincy for three to end the season. The Cubs will then wait to play in the playoffs.

Musical Outfielders: And no we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Jorge Soler got one start in left this week, and he was the leader in starts last week. Bryant got two starts there and (Cub Factor Fave) Chris Coghlan got three. So, just the same ol same ol for left field through the whole year. And it sure seemed to work.

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: Dusty Baker's Nationals clinched their division this week. It would be nice if the Cubs get to face him in the National League Championship Series. And not for a revenge sort of thing, but because I think Big Poppa Joe has a very good chance to outmanage Baker over a long series - or a short one. Still, if Daniel Murphy is a Cub killer once again, boy, that would stink. A lot.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: The last half of the season has been a real chore finding a Cub to hate on. And it doesn't take much to annoy me. Very little actually. But when a team has been firing on all cylinders for just so long now, and has that magical season look to them, it's just nothing but love.

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe wants the team to get to 100 wins. I guess when the team doesn't have much to push for you kind of make up anything. Not like it's a stretch to want to get to 100. It's like three digits and it's a lot better that 99 - even though it's technically just one more.

Kubs Kalender: This Wednesday as the Cubs take on the Pirates scan the crowd at PNC for Zombies. Yes, real zombies. Well, not real ones, but it is Zombie Night. So, people want to look completely dazed and out of it, as opposed to normal Pirate fans, as their team has been out of it for a bit now.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that this could all turn ugly in a few weeks.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:36 AM | Permalink

Chicago Residents To Protest Lack Of Support For Those Suffering With Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

On Tuesday, dozens of Chicagoans, medical experts and myalgic encephalomyelitis advocates and patients will rally outside the James Thompson Center in an effort to raise awareness of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and call for increased funding for research, clinical trials and medical education into the disease.

The Chicago rally is part of a global day of action spearheaded by #MEAction.net, an international network of patients and allies empowering each other to fight for health equality for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

The event aims to bring attention to the #MillionsMissing around the world who suffer from the disease with little hope for improvement, lacking a clear cause of their disease or path to treatment.

At the demonstration, Chicago mother Amy Mooney will talk about how her 11-year-old daughter has been robbed of her childhood by ME spending 90 percent of her days in a dark room in pain, and missing her 4th, 5th and 6th grade education.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 27th at 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph Street

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

* Marcie Zinn, Ph.D, experimental neuropsychologist, DePaul University Center for Community Research

* Leonard Jason, Ph.D, DePaul University Center for Community Research

* Carol Head, President of SolveCFS Initiative

RSVP: https://my.meaction.net/events/millionsmissing-chicago

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/515613508609047/

CONTACT: Amy Mooney, 773-550-1103

#MillionsMissing events will take place in 25 cities around the world, including 12 cities in the United States.

FIND AN EVENT HERE: http://millionsmissing.org

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), is a systemic neuroimmune disease characterized by post-exertional malaise (a severe worsening of symptoms after even minimal exertion). It causes dysregulation of both the immune system and the nervous system. The effects of ME are devastating enough to leave 25% of patients housebound or bedbound and an estimated 75% unable to work.

The #MillionsMissing movement has emerged as patients are outraged over the continued lack of research funding and the absence of medical education - currently there is no training for ME in medical schools. Researchers have estimated that 1 to 2.5 million Americans have ME - more Americans even than those who suffer with Multiple Sclerosis - yet as the National Academy of Medicine noted in its report, "Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness," there has been "remarkably little research funding" to date to discover its cause or possible treatments.

Earlier this month, 55 members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins urging increased funding for biomedical research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

The #MillionsMissing rally also comes on the heels of a landmark paper published by Robert Naviaux, at researcher at University of California - San Diego, that suggests ME may cause the body to go into a semi-hibernation state.

"This is about more than just a disease. This has become a social justice issue. There simply must be more research funding and medical education in order to stop this epidemic," says Jennifer Brea, co-founder of #MEAction. "For too long, people living with ME have been missing from their lives - from their careers, their family and friends, their daily routines - but that time is over. We need real investments in research to guarantee that people who suffer from this disease will no longer be relegated to the shadows. That's why we are calling on our government to dramatically increase funding into ME research and treatment to help alleviate the millions currently missing from their lives."

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS: http://millionsmissing.org/learn/

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:53 AM | Permalink

Venerating Vin

In all of his 67 seasons of describing Dodger baseball, not once did Vin Scully, who was honored all weekend in Los Angeles, harken back to his big league playing days. That's obviously because he didn't have any.

Vin did play the outfield at Fordham University in the 1940s before turning his full attention to broadcasting. However, being the humble sort, it's doubtful that Scully would have relived his diamond exploits on the air even if he had played major league baseball. Unfortunately that is not always the case with many former players who have remained in the game as broadcasters.

The scene in L.A. was memorable from the ceremony before Friday's game against the Rockies with "Vin" chalked behind the mound, along the baselines in foul territory, and behind home plate. Players doffed their caps in the direction of the press box as they came to bat on Sunday. The love and appreciation for the man who called the games from the days of Don Newcombe all the way to Clayton Kershaw were genuine and palpable.

However, once the weekend's games began, Scully, who works without a sidekick, did what he does best. With virtually no dead times of silence, Scully tells his audience what's happening on the field while disclosing factoids about players from both teams.

Anecdotes from his remarkable career are sprinkled into the conversation - and it is a conversation because he's speaking to the each individual listener - but the stories rarely are about him. His mastery of the language is legendary both in terms of vocabulary and his ability to turn a phrase into a descriptive image, such as when, just prior to Kirk Gibson's historic home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Scully observed, "Gibson, shaking his left leg making it quiver like a horse trying to get rid of a troublesome fly."

On Friday, Colorado pitcher Jon Gray got into a jam and loaded the bases in the first inning. Scully told his listeners that the opposition is hitting .471 against Gray with three runners on. Sure enough, Dodger catcher Yasmani Grandal singled in two runs.

While extolling the promise and potential of the 24-year-old Gray, Vin pointed out that hitters batting second in the lineup are hitting .361 against the hard-throwing right-hander compared to .238 overall. Remember, this is a pitcher from the opposing team, not a Dodger player.

Once Dodger reliever Josh Fields entered the game, Vin pointed out that Fields was a first-round draft choice of the Mariners in 2008 after a successful college career at the University of Georgia.

Once Scully mentioned Georgia, he added that he always thinks of Ray Charles as in "Rainy Night in Georgia" and "Georgia on My Mind." In a post-game interview, Scully related the story that Charles, being blind and a Dodger fan, loved to listen to Scully on the radio. During a dark time in his life, the great Ray Charles, suffering from deep depression, asked to be introduced to Scully.

"It was a heartwarming experience," said Scully. "He had lost interest in living, but there was one thread and that was listening to baseball games. It kept him alive and got him out of depression."

My sense is that Vin Scully acknowledges and respects the fact that if fans want to watch or listen to a ballgame, they have little choice as to who will report and describe the contest. In this media-saturated age, our insatiable appetites for news and commentary are fed by thousands of websites on the Internet while radio, TV, and even newspapers, of which there are a few remaining, fill in the gaps. The choices are staggering.

But for Sox fans listening on car radios, only Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson can give us play-by-play and commentary. Steve Stone, Ken Harrelson and now Jason Benetti provide the television coverage in our living rooms and man caves. If you don't like their presentation, too bad. That's all you get.

Scully is the consummate journalist. He loves the Dodgers, but he doesn't root for them in his broadcasts. What he does root for is the game of baseball. He reveres the players' talents, the intricacies and beauty of the game, the history, and the idea that each game is different from all the others. More than anything else, he venerates the fans by painting an understandable image of what's happening on the field while filling in background information that is pertinent to the action in front of him. The superfluous fluff that characterizes too many broadcasts is absent from Scully's presentation.

Of course, no two broadcasters are the same, and there are as many styles as there are men and women who have these jobs. Scully just seems to be the most widely respected of them all.

The five men employed by the White Sox in the broadcast booths - all but Benetti are former players - tend to cushion the action on the field with attempts at humor along with frequent references to their own major league careers. Harrelson, Stone, Jackson, and Farmer have a cumulative total of 81 seasons broadcasting Sox games. They've covered thousands of games. What more can they relate about their playing days that we haven't already heard? If relating their personal playing experiences has any bearing on the current game to enhance our understanding and enjoyment, then we need to be informed. But that often is not the case.

Toward the end of the telecast of Sunday's 3-0 Sox victory over playoff-bound Cleveland, Stone told Hawk how much he has enjoyed working with him the second half of this season. Without providing much detail, Stone pointed out the overall disappointment in the team's performance while emphasizing that being the color guy next to Hawk's play-by-play has gone swimmingly well this season.

I noticed some subtle changes in the booth this year as Harrelson handled the road schedule while Benetti made his debut for games at The Cell. Stone and Harrelson often engaged in serious technical baseball talk about hitting and pitching. We heard about "hitting with short arms" and beating pitchers to their "arms' side," new material as far as I could tell.

There was less talk about their golf games and favorite restaurants and a greater concentration on the game.

Many Hawkisms remain overstated such as "everything is contagious." That may be true for one particular game when everyone in the lineup hits the ball all over the park in a blowout. However, Jose Abreu is hitting .355 since August 1 while the rest of the team has checked in at a respectable .264 but still 91 points below Abreu's efficiency. Assuming that contagion can work both ways, aren't we fortunate that James Shields' shocking 7.11 ERA hasn't spread to the other starting pitchers?

While Stone supplies most of the background information about the players, Hawk reminds us of his 57 years in the game, describing how much the game has changed. He holds a dim view of agents, pitch counts and coddled players, though he admits that present-day ballplayers are better conditioned than decades ago. He says that many managers from his days couldn't manage the athletes of today. This is mostly stuff we've heard before. along with his patented cliches like "He Gone," "Kansas City Special" and "You Can Put It on the Board, Yes!"

The interaction between Benetti and Stone is entirely different. Benetti, whose enthusiasm for his new position is readily apparent, consistently defers to Stone for his opinions. The introduction of Sox Math and the gift shelf have become staples of the telecasts. Sticks and Stones, where Stone is asked to guess how he did against specific opposing players, comes along in the middle innings. Stone continually needles Benetti about his prodigious appetite, while Benetti counters with mild jabs. The banter clearly amuses the pair, which is similar to Jackson and Farmer, who engage in macho agitation just like ballplayers do.

Benetti has shown that he has anecdotal background about players, and as he gains confidence, we can expect him to share more of his knowledge without calling on Stone to do so. The mood in the booth seems lighter when Stone is working with Benetti as compared to Harrelson, whose displeasure with the team's ineptitude boils over amid these losing seasons. Benetti seems just happy to be there.

Of all the announcers, Jackson is probably the most honest when it comes to pointing out the Sox's blunders and lack of talent. As a fan, you want the truth without any sugar-coating, and Jackson can be dependable in this regard. Harrelson tends to clam up, characterized by lengthy silences, leaving Stone to pick up the pieces, while Benetti remains cheerful and bushy-tailed regardless of the team's performance.

Like most weeks of this season, that performance was wildly inconsistent last week as the team endured a six-game losing streak before bouncing back on the weekend to beat Cleveland two straight. Starting pitching was the culprit. In the last five losses of the streak, the starters pitched a total of 21 2/3 innings, yielding 28 earned runs for an ERA of 11.63.

Shields pitched one of those games. Maybe Hawk's right. Everything is contagious. At least it was last week until Jose Quintana shut down the Indians for six innings on Saturday as the Sox won 8-1. And Carlos Rodon pitched probably his best game of the season on Sunday, allowing no runs and just two hits in eight innings while striking out a season-high 11.

The Indians are going to win the Central Division, but the Sox have beaten them five times in seven outings this month. Four games with Tampa Bay followed by three more with Minnesota will close out the season this week at The Cell, where the Sox are 41-33 as opposed to a dismal 33-48 road record.

Not even Vin Scully would be able to boost the ratings as the season limps to a conclusion.

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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 12:12 AM | Permalink

September 25, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

"ConAgra Foods wanted to move its headquarters to Chicago so badly that the company took a pass on an estimated $28.5 million in incentives Nebraska would have offered to keep it in Omaha," the Omaha World-Herald reports.

"Instead the company accepted Illinois tax credits that are expected to amount to less than half of what Nebraska would have offered.

"The disparity in potential tax breaks supports the assertion of ConAgra Chief Executive Sean Connolly that business incentives did not play a big role in the decision to shutter its Omaha headquarters."

Me, October 1, 2015: "New ConAgra CEO Sean Connolly lives in Winnetka, according to the Tribune. So, yeah, this move was really about shortening his commute."

And just 10 days ago, upon the announcement that Duracell was moving its executive suite here: "I sense a trend of HQs moving here because CEOs who already live here don't want to move to where their companies are actually already located. True? Assignment Desk, activate!"

Not that Chicago doesn't have a lot to offer companies, but it's not like they're moving distribution facilities here because of our geography or moving manufacturing plants here because of our workforce.

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Back to the World-Herald, which seems to have discovered that noted private sector expert Bruce Rauner got played.

When announcing the Chicago move in October 2015, Connolly said, 'The decision to move headquarters was solely based on the strategic needs of our business and was not a city-versus-city exercise.'

But documents newly obtained by The World-Herald also show that ConAgra officials told the Illinois state government a different story in the months prior to its announcement.

ConAgra told Illinois officials that tax incentives were needed to justify moving its offices to Chicago. Illinois officials must have been convinced. They found a way around a statewide moratorium on incentives the governor had recently imposed because of a budget crisis in Illinois.

Good job, Rauny!

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"ConAgra's request of Illinois came amid a state budget crisis so severe that organizations serving the poor didn't receive state money and scaled back services, state museums closed, school administrators worried they'd have to close their doors and the state lottery suspended payments to prizewinners. In the wake of the tough times, the governor froze economic incentives used to recruit and retain businesses."

Ouch. But wait for it:

An Illinois spokeswoman last year told news media in Chicago that the state's offer to ConAgra came before the incentives program was suspended. But documents obtained by The World-Herald show a different timeline.

ConAgra bypassed the moratorium by tacking its headquarters request onto an application it had submitted a few weeks before the freeze. That application for incentives was for an unrelated expansion at a northern Illinois cookie factory it owned, according to documents from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, requested by The World-Herald under public records law.

ConAgra's real estate consultant, Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, was aware of the freeze on incentives and boasted that it found a way around it.

Nominating itself for an industry award, the real estate firm wrote: "JLL negotiated an innovative tax incentive award for the deal - a major accomplishment since the state had put a temporary, highly publicized hold on Illinois incentives programs - that was critical to Conagra's Board decision to move to Chicago."

Also, I want to know who this spokeswoman is:

"A spokeswoman for the State of Illinois told The World-Herald this month that the state approved ConAgra's incentives because it considered the headquarters request part of the cookie plant project. 'The scope of the project changed,' she said."

So they're making cookies at HQ now, too?

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"A spokeswoman for Illinois Gov. Rauner didn't respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Jim Schultz, who at the time led Illinois' Department of Commerce - which administers the tax credits - said
 Schultz was not available for comment. Today Schultz leads a new, privatized economic development organization created by Rauner."

Nicely played, governor.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn
Enlarge. Then click again. (Pro tip)

Study: Policy Issues Nearly Absent In Presidential Campaign Coverage
Although, to be fair, one candidate doesn't seem to have policies, just odd and offensive proclamations.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Quilt, Death Valley Girls, Sleater-Kinney, Tamaryn, Fucked Up, Frank Iero & the Patience, The Wans, Deftones, The Julie Ruin, Chook Race, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, Billy Talent, Rob Zombie, All Dogs, Bleached, Rodriguez, Anthrax, Stabbing Westward, The Bronx, Off With Their Heads, Alice Cooper, Underoath, Bad Religion, Andrew W.K., Black Foxxes, Buzzcocks, Brian Fallon and Ryan Bingham, Damian Marley, Dee Snider, Leftover Crack, Thursday, Death Grips, Draco Rosa, The Growlers, Juliette and the Licks, The Falcon, Tiger Jaw, Swingin' Utters, A Will Away, The Wonder Years, Joey Badass, Jake Bugg, Glen Hansard, Hard Girls, Chevy Metal, The Mekons, The Handsome Family, Rowe/Tramposh, Citizen, People Under The Stairs, GZA, Method Man and Redman, Fu Manchu, Bob Mould, Julian Marley, High Waisted, Death Cab for Cutie, GWAR, Brand New, The Hives, The Hold Steady, Basement, Turnover, NOFX, Big D and The Kids Table, Refused, The Vandals, Social Distortion, Descendents, 3Teeth, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Summer Cannibals, Neck Deep, Pierce The Veil, All Time Low, Glassjaw, The Matador, Muvves, A Lion's Game, Alleyes Manifest, Mu Vonz, and Hemlocks.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

TrackNotes: Road To Breeders'
Our very own Tom Chambers lays out the whistlestop tour, with an update on Saturday's action.

Fantasy Fix: Early Elimination
Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to take a WR in the first round . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #120: Bears Narratives Have Exhausted Themselves
Franchise's greatest quarterback also its greatest millstone.

Plus: Bill Freakin' Belichick, Jesus Christ, Really?; What We Have Here Is A Failure To Develop A Quarterback; Cubs Play Cards Right; Derrick Rose Doesn't Understand Consent Or Manhood; Abreu And Frazier Put Up Huge Meaningless Numbers; The Blackhawks Are (Almost) Back; Delle Donne's Got A Thumb Too; Chicago Fire Lost In Time; and Lovie, Wesleyan And Duke.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Trumpeter Herb Alpert has had a remarkable, multifaceted career. In addition to scoring his own hits with the Tijuana Brass in the '60s, he cofounded A&M Records, signing a diverse roster of artists ranging from The Carpenters to Janet Jackson. Herb Alpert joins Jim and Greg for a conversation. Plus, a review of the new album from legendary band Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds."

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Weekend BeachBook

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Weekend TweetWood

Who didn't do anything wrong, btw.

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Actually, they seem to have learned their lessons quite well.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Fake it 'til you make it in the land of fakers.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:36 AM | Permalink

September 24, 2016

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Quilt at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.


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2. Death Valley Girls at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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3. Sleater-Kinney at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

Setlist.

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4. Tamaryn at the Virgin Hotel on Saturday night.

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5. Diarrhea Planet at Riot Fest on Friday.

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6. Fucked Up at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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7. Frank Iero and the Patience at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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8. The Wans at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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9. Deftones at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

Setlist.

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10. The Julie Ruin at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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11. Chook Race at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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12. Me First & The Gimme Gimmes at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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13. Billy Talent at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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14. Rob Zombie at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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15. All Dogs at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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16. Bleached at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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17. Rodriguez at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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18. Anthrax at the Concord on Wednesday night.

Setlist, photos.

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19. Stabbing Westward at the Double Door for their 30th anniversary show on Thursday night.

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20. The Bronx at the Double Door for a Riot Fest aftershow on Sunday night.

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21. Off With Their Heads at Cobra Lounge for a Riot Fest aftershow on Sunday night.

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22. Alice Cooper at the Genesee in Waukegan on Thursday night.

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23. Underoath at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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24. Bad Religion at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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25. Andrew W.K. at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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26. Black Foxxes at Township for a Riot Fest aftershow on Saturday night.

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27. Buzzcocks at the Vic on Thursday night.

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28. Brian Fallon and Ryan Bingham at Park West on Tuesday night.

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29. Damian Marley at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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30. Dee Snider at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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31. Leftover Crack at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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32. Thursday at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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33. Death Grips at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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34. Draco Rosa at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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35. The Growlers at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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36. Juliette and the Licks at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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37. The Falcon at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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38. Tiger Jaw at Riot Fest on Friday.

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39. Swingin' Utters at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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40. A Will Away at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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41. The Wonder Years at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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42. Joey Badass at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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43. Jake Bugg at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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44. Glen Hansard at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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45. Hard Girls at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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46. Chevy Metal at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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47. The Mekons at the Hideout on Monday night.

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48. The Handsome Family at the Tom Robinson Gallery on Tuesday night.

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49. Rowe/Tramposh at Myopic on Monday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Citizen at Riot Fest last Friday.

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People Under The Stairs at Riot Fest last Saturday.

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GZA at Riot Fest last Saturday.

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Method Man and Redman at Riot Fest last Saturday night.

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Fu Manchu at Cobra Lounge last Saturday night.

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Bob Mould at RIot Fest last Saturday.

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Julian Marley at Riot Fest last Friday.

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High Waisted at Riot Fest last Saturday.

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Death Cab for Cutie at Riot Fest last Saturday night.

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GWAR at Riot Fest last Friday.

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Brand New at Riot Fest last Saturday night.

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The Hives at Riot Fest last Saturday.

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The Hold Steady at Riot Fest last Saturday.

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Basement at the Double Door for a Riot Fest aftershow last Friday night.

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Turnover at the Double Door for a Riot Fest aftershow last Friday night.

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NOFX at Riot Fest last Friday night.

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Big D & The Kids Table at Riot Fest last Friday.

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Refused at Riot Fest last Friday night.

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The Vandals at Riot Fest last Saturday.

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Social Distortion at Riot Fest last Saturday night.

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Descendents at Riot Fest last Saturday.

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3Teeth at Riot Fest last Friday night.

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The Dillinger Escape Plan at Riot Fest last Friday.

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Summer Cannibals at Riot Fest last Saturday.

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Neck Deep at Riot Fest last Friday.

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Pierce the Veil at Riot Fest last Friday night.

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All Time Low at Riot Fest last Friday night.

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Glassjaw at Riot Fest last Friday.

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The Matador at Livewire on September 12th.

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Muvves at Township on September 9th.

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A Lion's Game at the Emporium in Wicker Park on September 12th.

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Alleyes Manifest at Cafe Mustache last Saturday night.

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Mu Vonz at Cafe Mustache last Saturday night.

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Hemlocks at Cafe Mustache last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:45 AM | Permalink

September 23, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #120: Bears Narratives Have Exhausted Themselves

Franchise's greatest quarterback also its greatest millstone. Plus: Bill Freakin' Belichick, Jesus Christ, Really?; What We Have Here Is A Failure To Develop A Quarterback; Cubs Play Cards Right; Derrick Rose Doesn't Understand Consent Or Manhood; Abreu And Frazier Put Up Huge Meaningless Numbers; The Blackhawks Are (Almost) Back; Delle Donne's Got A Thumb Too; Chicago Fire Lost In Time; and Lovie, Wesleyan And Duke.


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SHOW NOTES

* 120.

:36: The Jay Cutler Narratives Have Exhausted Us And We're Already Tired Of John Fox.

* Coffman: The Cutler Conundrum.

* Dear McCaskeys: Maybe The Problem Is You.

* What Multiple Team Sources Say About Cutler's Thumb.

* Liars From The Start. August 2015:

Asked directly for the reasons behind the disinformation campaign, Pace said, "Protect the player, competitive reasons, all those things."

* A Pattern Of Lies.

* National Fibbers League.

* Hoge: "John Fox actually forgot that Goldman's backup, Will Sutton, was active against the Eagles and played 19 snaps."

* Bill Belichick: Criminal mastermind.

* Wickersham: "A rising lack of discipline under Fox prompted Elway to sometimes yell at the team because Fox wouldn't. Before a late-season practice in 2014, Fox turned to a few people on the sideline and asked, 'Isn't winning the division enough?' A few weeks later, after the Broncos came out flat in a divisional playoff loss to the Colts, Fox got his answer."

* How (And Why) Athletes Go Broke: Lure of the tangible.

* Briggs: Trestman Should Have Never Been Hired To Coach The Bears.

* Advanced Football Analytics: "'Establish the run' might be the three most over-used words in football analysis. Bad football analysis, that is."

23:42: Bill Freakin' Belichick, Jesus Christ, Really?

* WEEI: Why Josh McDaniels Ultimately Deserves Most Credit For Patriots' 3-0 Start.

27:20: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Develop A Quarterback.

* Hoge:

While it's easy to question the Bears for not using one of their three fourth round picks to draft Prescott, it's the larger failure to draft any quarterback that is especially confusing. The Bears had nine picks in the 2016 NFL Draft and have had 15 selections overall since Fox and general manager Ryan Pace arrived in Chicago. They've selected zero quarterbacks.

"It's kind of a team effort. Ya know? I think as far as personnel people, as well as the coaching staff, I think we've tried to take, in our opinion, the best available," Fox said. "And it's not been a quarterback."

Indeed Pace and Fox have stuck to the idea of taking "the best player available" regardless of need, but the quarterback position deserves extra attention because the $63 billion league depends so much on the position . . .

Organizationally, the Bears haven't used the top resource to supplement their quarterback depth. In fact, amazingly, the organization has drafted just three quarterbacks in the last 11 years and none higher than the fifth round. Think about that. They haven't used a draft pick higher than the fifth round on the most important position in sports in 11 years.

And if you go all the way back to 2000, the Bears have only drafted one quarterback higher than the fourth round - Rex Grossman with the No. 22 overall pick in 2003.

By comparison, even the New England Patriots - who have had the most stable quarterback situation in the league with Tom Brady as their starter since 2001 - have drafted four quarterbacks in Rounds 2 and 3 since 2008. Two of those guys are Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, who are not only getting the Patriots through the first four weeks of the season without Brady, but are also providing New England with hope for the future and/or trade chips.

* Rhodes: "The best quarterback in Bears history is also the biggest millstone in Bears history."

38:15: Cubs Play Cards Right.

The time will come for the Cubs to focus less on day-to-day success and more on setting things up just right for the postseason. According to manager Joe Maddon, that time will be on the regular-season-ending seven-game road trip that begins after the series against the Cardinals.

Emphasis on "after."

That means regulars on the field and business as usual in the bullpen this weekend. And it means doing right by the Giants, Mets and baseball on the whole.

"With respect for everybody, you've got to play these next three games right," Maddon said. "Not that I don't trust our other guys, but, industry-wise, you just want to be able to do that.

"I've been on both sides of it. When you're on that other side, you definitely want to make sure that the teams that are in contention are playing against what you perceive to be the other team's best team. So, yeah, we'll play it straight-up."

* Bring on Baker.

53:07: Derrick Rose Doesn't Understand Consent Or Manhood.

* The "sports builds character" myth.

56:23: Abreu And Frazier Put Up Huge Meaningless Numbers.

* Our very own Roger Wallenstein: Reload.

* Previously: Fire Sale.

1:01:40: The Blackhawks Are (Almost) Back.

* Jonathan Toews And Patrick Kane Off In Different Directions At World Cup.

* Camp Opens With Duncan Keith On The Ice.

1:03:11: Delle Donne's Got A Thumb Too.

* Sky Playoff Ticket Sales.

1:03:19: 'The Chicago Fire Look Like A Team Lost In Time.'

* Opponents' biggest challenge is guarding against a letdown.

1:03:27: Lovie, Wesleyan and Duke.

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STOPPAGE: 4:48

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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 4:49 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Road To Breeders'

UPDATE BELOW

Looks like I picked the wrong autumn to quit "studying the line" on Chicago Bears games.

Besides the pure joy of seeing the Bears' ineptitude, mismanagement and miserly intentions coming back to bite them in their lethargic, moss-covered furry asses, I have accrued tangible benefit.

As coach and one-time U.S. Senate flirt Mike Ditka once said, what goes around comes around. While I can't promise I'll get the classic 10 furlongs in the end - although I have every reason to believe in my under 7 1/2 wins for the season - I'm sitting nicely right out of the gate, staying out of trouble into the clubhouse turn, all with an enhanced balance sheet for the rest of the way. Courtesy of your Chicago Bears.

Unlike Trump, these newly gained funds will be kept right where they are, used for their original intention.

Because things are really heating up in the world of Thoroughbred horse racing.

Coming around the bend, like a locomotive, are the Breeders' Cup Championships, November 4-5. As with any great destination, getting there will be just as much fun.

Better than Harry Truman whistlestops, the first station is Parx in Bensalem, Pa., home of Saturday's Pennsylvania Derby and The Cotillion.

The next stop is October 1 in Elmont, N.Y., for five stakes races led by the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at historic Belmont Park. We'll have to highball it that same day for the nightcap, the Zenyatta Stakes in Arcadia, Calif., home of Santa Anita.

Heading back east, some will get off October 8 in Lexington, Ky. for the Shadwell Turf Mile and two other Grade Is at Keeneland. Others will stay on to circle back to Belmont for four Grade Is the same day, led by the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Although I'm not sure I've ever heard Joe Maddon use the term, we have to take it one day at a time, although my races come around every 20 minutes or so. But Chicago has its mantra for the days ahead, so lets use it for whatever we need.

Is that the same as praying?

Back at Parx, our three-year-old crush, Songbird, takes off from the five post in The Cotillion (Grade I, three-year-old fillies, $1,000,000, 8.5 furlongs).

You can't ask for a better lineup. The perfect 10-10-0-0 daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, coming off a stunning seven-length win in the Grade I Alabama at Saratoga, Songbird will face the next three best fillies in the division. If she's going to get beat, is this the day?

She and Cathryn Sophia seemed destined to meet in May's Kentucky Oaks, which 'Sophia won, but Songbird spiked a fever and took some time off.

'Sophia comes in off a win on this very same Parx surface in the Princess of Sylmar earlier this month. Trainer John Servis says he has a plan to beat Songbird, and his horse is getting hype.

"While Songbird has systematically dispatched divisional challengers en route to being undefeated in 10 career starts, Cathryn Sophia looms as a new threat who could throw a previously unseen wrinkle at the bay daughter of Medaglia d'Oro," writes Bloodhorse's Alicia Wincze-Hughes.

What's the plan? Take off and make Songbird catch you? And who exactly did 'Sophia beat in the Sylmar in what might be called a glorified workout? Her Beyer Speed Figures seem to have plateaued at 95 and the horse inside her, Carina Mia, beat her in June's Acorn at Belmont. I guess the intrigue is that 'Sophia, who is 5-2 morning line, and Songbird, 1-2, have never met.

That was Carina's last win, although she ran well in the Ballerina last out and in a loss to Songbird in the Coaching Club America Oaks. The Cotillion distance seems her upper limit, but if 'Sophia and Songbird destroy each other up front . . .

Land Over Sea has run in some of the best filly races there are, but a sole win in the Fair Grounds Oaks is not gonna cut it.

I say Songbird guts this one out, one way or another.

In the Pennsylvania Derby, we have Exaggerator and Nyquist, a great match-up. Or is it? First of all, money talks.

For what's basically a million-dollar race, casino-fueled Parx offered to raise the total purse to $1.5 million if Creator, Exaggerator and Nyquist all showed up; $1.25 million for two of those three. Exaggerator and Nyquist are there. Additionally, winners of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont, Haskell or Travers receive a $100,000 appearance bonus. Since Exaggerator won the Preakness and the Haskell, ka-ching the $200K. Nyquist's Derby win gives him $100K.

As for the race, the monumental, double-barreled query includes Nyquist's condition and Exaggerator's ability, or absence of it, to win on a dry track.

Word is that Nyquist took a working poolside spa vacation at the relatively isolated training facilities of San Luis Rey Downs, near San Diego. There was mention of a growth spurt, dips in the horsey pool and good workouts at the one-mile distance. You have to think the 5-2 morning liner will be ready.

But can Exaggerator win on anything other than slop or mud? Santa Anita Derby, Preakness, Haskell: sloppy. Breeders' Cup Juvenile (finished fourth), San Felipe (third), Kentucky Derby (second), Belmont (bad 11th), Travers (bad 11th): dry. At 9-2, that seems the rock bottom price to take. Name recognition? Phooey on that. I might take a flyer at 7-1 or better, but I'm thinking he'll have to beat me on dry first.

Awesome Slew comes in off a win in the Grade III Smarty Jones at Parx. Summer Revolution, son of Summer Bird, has a 105-96 Beyer parlay in his last two. Bob Baffert's Cupid comes in off wins in the Indiana Derby and West Virginia Derby.

Neither Gun Runner nor anyone else could catch Arrogate in his legendary, record-setting performance in the Travers, but this son of Candy Ride scored a 105 Beyer himself in that race, which is just fine here. Your longshot, with a triple-digit Beyer in his saddle bag, is Hit It Once More, a son of Hard Spun.

I don't think it has to take any heroics, but if Nyquist runs to his ability, see you again at Santa Anita.

The Cotillion goes off at 3:55 Central and the Derby at 4:45, though television will be hard to find. Racing channels will have it, and parxracing.com will stream it.

Big Blue Kitten, Ret.
Word is in that Big Blue Kitten, son of Kitten's Joy out of the Unaccounted For mare Spent Gold, has been retired.

The eight-year-old turf specialist, with nearly $3 million in earnings, just couldn't get untracked this year, finishing back in the Northern Dancer, Manhattan Stakes and Turf Classic. After a tough beat in the 2015 Arlington Million to The Pizza Man, Big Blue Kitten was unable to ship to Arlington for this year's race after developing a foot abscess.

Winner of the United Nations and Sword Dancer, he broke the track record last year in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic to cinch the 2015 Eclipse Award for Older Turf Male.

Those Kitten's horses? They handicap well in every race they run and Big Blue Kitten was the best of them all.

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

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UPDATE: She's Really Something!

It doesn't seem that long ago at all, but it must have been about early 1996 when I saw a piece on Nightline about a great singer who was ill.

She had her hope, and a voice. Her name was Eva Cassidy. I don't care if she was on the brink of stardom, although she was, whatever that means. She was already very good and one of those artists you would love to see. She hailed from the D.C area and made a great live album from Georgetown's Blues Alley club. And many other great ones. I made sure to get many or most of her records and still listen.

It's an easy heart tug, but her versions of the gospel "People Get Ready" and "Over the Rainbow" are wonderful cuts on an album named Songbird.

She didn't make it, but her songs live on.

So, I'm watching The Cotillion today, and I learned that the finest filly in the land, Songbird, is named in honor of Ms. Cassidy and her great album.

I learned that her owner, Rick Porter, is fighting his own battle with cancer. He was in the winner's circle.

Songbird today crafted, as is her usual, that we must not take for granted, a grand, elegant, determined effort in winning the 50th Cotillion (Grade I, fillies three-years-old, 8.5 furlongs, $1,00,000) at Parx. It wasn't easy, but she made it look so.

In a perfectly sane, some said slower, pace, Songbird was happy to stay a neck and shoulder behind Carina Mia, the one horse. They went 23 and 4, 47 and 3 and 1:12 for the mile.

Cathryn Sophia, whose trainer, John Servis, said he had a plan to beat Songbird, lurked two to three lengths behind, the key word being behind. Apparently, his plan was to lurk, then take off in the final 200 yards or so and win. Well.

Like a young lady perhaps learning how to dance, Songbird pulled a couple two steps of a move just to keep up on the turn. She made her own rhythm. While it looked so easy, it was a measured, energy effort and she developed the momentum to win by almost six lengths. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith never touched her, communicating through the reins and the talk.

I remember Rachel Alexandra and how great a filly and mare she was. She was so good, she took on the boys, and older boys, and did quite well. And the Euro Goldikova, what a great turf miler she was. Although her connections only had their eyes on the streak, I will admit how good Zenyatta was, even in the biggest races where she became so much better than her people, except Mike Smith, who knew.

This Songbird, she belongs only in the filly, female races, which is where they're keeping her. She's not clock-stopping fast, she's just the best of her gender, graduating class. Most thankfully, the announcers today said that all plans are to run her next year at four.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. She's worth the watch, seek her out. She'll drop your jaw.

Penn Derby
In the Pennsylvania Derby, the big names Nyquist and Exaggerator did not do well.

Exaggerator was at my Friday 7-1 at some point, but dropped to 5-1. He was never in it.

Nyquist was with the leaders coming around the turn, had every right to win, but flattened out. Did not look good. Trainer Doug O'Neill was understandably confused after the race. What now?

Your winner was Connect, at 10-1. Saratoga whiz kid Chad Brown trained him into it and Javier Castellano made a good ride. Yes, I had him.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:04 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn

Value city.

valuepawn.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:09 AM | Permalink

Study: Policy Issues Nearly Absent In Presidential Campaign Coverage

Years ago, when I first started teaching and was at Syracuse University, one of my students ran for student body president on the tongue-in-cheek platform "Issues are Tissues, without a T."

He was dismissing out of hand anything that he, or his opponents, might propose to do in office, noting that student body presidents have so little power as to make their platforms disposable.

Sadly, the news media appears to have taken a similar outlook in their coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. The stakes in the election are high. Key decisions on foreign and domestic policy will be affected by the election's outcome, as will a host of other issues, including the appointment of the newest Supreme Court justice. Yet, journalists have paid scant attention to the candidates' platforms.

That conclusion is based on three reports on the news media's coverage of the 2016 campaign that I have written for the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where I hold a faculty position.

The third report was released this week and it covers the month-long period from the week before the Republican National Convention to the week after the Democratic National Convention.

The first report analyzed coverage during the whole of the year 2015 - the so-called invisible primary period that precedes the first actual contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The second report spanned the period of the primaries and caucuses.

10 Major Outlets Studied

Each report was based on a detailed content analysis of the presidential election coverage on five television networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC) and in five leading newspapers (Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and USA Today).

The analysis indicates that substantive policy issues have received only a small amount of attention so far in the 2016 election coverage. To be sure, "the wall" has been in and out of the news since Donald Trump vowed to build it. Other issues like ISIS and free trade have popped up here or there as well. But in the overall context of election coverage, issues have played second fiddle. They were at the forefront in the halls of the national conventions but not in the forefront of convention-period news coverage. Not a single policy proposal accounted for even 1 percent of Hillary Clinton's convention-period coverage and, collectively, her policy stands accounted for a mere 4 percent of it.

Trump's policies got more attention, but not until after the Democratic convention, when he made headlines several days running for his testy exchange with the parents of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier.

That exchange sparked a "controversy," which is sure to catch reporters' attention. We've seen that time and again this election year. Past elections were not much different, featuring everything from Jimmy Carter's "lust in my heart" Playboy interview in 1976 to Mitt Romney's "47 percent" statement in 2012. None of these controversies was predictive of anything that happened in the presidency during the subsequent four years, but their coverage during the campaign overshadowed nearly every policy proposal put forth by the candidates. [Editor's Note: Well, Romney didn't become president!]

"Medialities" is the label political scientist Michael Robinson has given to such controversies. Journalists find them irresistible, as political scientist W. Lance Bennett noted when looking at Trump's birther claims. When Trump in 2011 questioned whether President Obama was a native-born American, his statement was seized upon by cable outlets and stayed in the headlines and on newscasts for days.

Veteran CNN correspondent Candy Crowley interviewed Trump on this issue, justifying it by saying:

"There comes a point where you can't ignore something, not because it's entertaining . . . The question was, 'Is he driving the conversation?' And he was."

In truth, the media were driving the conversation.

What Distracts Us

The leading "mediality" of the 2016 campaign has been Clinton's e-mails. That and other news references to Clinton-related "scandals" accounted for 11 percent of her convention-period coverage, following the pattern of earlier stages of the campaign. What Clinton might do in the Middle East or with trade or with the challenge of income equality could reasonably be anyone's guess, given how little attention her policy statements have received in the news.

At that, controversies rank second to the horse race as a staple of journalists' diet. No aspect of the campaign meets journalists' need for novelty more predictably than does the horse race. Each new poll or disruption gives journalists the opportunity to reassess the candidates' tactics and positions in the race.

Policy issues, on the other hand, lack novelty. A new development may thrust a new issue into the campaign, but policy problems are typically longstanding. If they came and went overnight, they would not be problems. It is for this reason that when a candidate first announces a policy stand, it makes news. Later on, it normally doesn't.

Granted, election news would be limp without attention to the horse race. The election's bottom line - who will win in November? - is of undeniable interest. What's open to debate is the relative importance of the horse race in the middle of the summer. During the convention period, even though questions of policy and leadership were on the agenda within the halls of the national conventions, they were not on journalists' agenda. Polls, projections, strategy and the like constituted about a fifth of all coverage, whereas issues took up less than 1/12 and the candidates' qualifications for the presidency accounted for less than 1/13.

As the campaign enters its final stage, one might hope that the press will provide America's voters with information that can help them better understand the policy choices they face in November. No doubt, the presidential debates will help focus the public's attention on the differences in the Trump and Clinton platforms. However, press coverage of past campaigns would suggest that news stories will take voters' minds in a different direction. There's a distinct possibility that voters will go to the polls in November with "the wall" and "e-mails" uppermost in their thoughts.

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Thomas E. Patterson, is the Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Early Elimination

Random thoughts on Week 2's fantasy football implications:

So many starting RBs were hurt that "zero RB" draft strategies may pay off big this year: Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart, Arian Foster, Danny Woodhead, Ameer Abdullah - all injured in Week 2, with Peterson and Woodhead definitely done for the season, and the others likely to miss multiple games.

If you consider that Jamaal Charles and Chris Ivory also have yet to play this year, and that Thomas Rawls has played hurt, almost a third of the top 30 RBs have or will require replacements in the first half of the season.

So, if you played the "zero RB" game in your draft and ended up with PPR specialists Theo Riddick and Charles Sims - both projected outside the preseason top 100 - as your starting RBs, you're already a winner. Both are starting this week.

How many fantasy teams saw their seasons end in Week 2? It certainly makes fantasy football less fun when your chances of winning the league greatly diminish before Week 3 kicks off, but it's very possible some fantasy teams had not one, but two, of the injured RBs mentioned above.

Taking the reliable Peterson early in the second round and grabbing PPR maven Woodhead later on sure seemed like a decent draft play at the time, but with both done for the season, and a waiver wire rush on RBs, those teams have nothing left to do but gamble on RBs deep down the depth charts who may produce in favorable match-ups. Good luck with that.

The three best fantasy WRs are not who we expected: Kelvin Benjamin, Stefon Diggs, Willie Snead. All three were projected outside the top 60 overall in the pre-season, but are running 1-2-3 in fantasy points after two weeks.

Benjamin, was viewed as talented but inconsistent coming into this year, but has collected 199 yards and three TDs from QB Cam Newton, who looks every bit as good as last year.

Diggs' stock rose on last year's late-season surge, but fell when QB Teddy Bridgewater was injured. Who knew he would be leading all WRs with 285 yards catching throws from replacement QB Sam Bradford?

Snead, meanwhile, is being kept busy by Drew Brees.

What happened to the big three WRs of the draft's first round? Antonio Brown has the seventh-most fantasy points in Yahoo! PPR leagues, though Pittsburgh has been so good, he hasn't needed to dominate.

Julio Jones, who went two or three overall in many drafts, has the 12th-most fantasy points, but still has fewer than 10 catches after the first two weeks.

Odell Beckham, Jr., who was drafted third in many leagues, though probably second in some, has 12 catches and 159 yards, but no TDs, and has been slightly out-produced points-wise by NYG rookie Sterling Shepard, who has caught 11 of 12 targets for 160 yards and one score.

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to take a WR in the first round . . .

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

September 22, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"After years of insisting Chicago police could make do without adding officers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration acknowledged Wednesday that the department needs hundreds more to combat the violence plaguing the city, announcing a plan to hire nearly 1,000 beat officers, detectives and supervisors over the next two years," the Tribune reports.

I welcome the Tribune's skeptical and probing voice in this piece, which stands in sharp contrast to most of the coverage I saw. But a quibble: To say that the administration "acknowledged" a need for more cops is to presume that more cops are necessary to "combat the violence." Not everyone agrees with that approach, including some criminologists and city council members.

Using that language also in effect endorses the mayor's plan, even amidst the (appropriate) skepticism. (Similarly, using the phrase "the mayor claimed" would cast doubt on what came next; that's why standard practice is insistent on almost always using the word "said.")

"Unlike previous promises to add officers to patrol by reassigning existing members of the department, Emanuel's announcement includes a complicated formula that sets a goal of reaching a net gain of 970 officers by the end of 2018. It's a tall order, given that for many years the city has not even hired enough officers to replace those who retire or leave."

Okay, just to be clear, Rahm fulfilled previous promises to add officers to patrol by reassigning officers from desk jobs instead of actually increasing members of the department, as he implied he would; he didn't simply promise to reassign existing members of the department. Let's not smooth over the deceit.

Now, as we shall see, we're not looking at a net gain of 970 patrol officers; we're looking at about 500 additional patrol officers who might not be additional at all because of said attrition - especially when you consider the long time-frame, over which budget realities and changing crime trends may come into play.

In other words, take this plan with a grain of salt the size of Rahm's ego.

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"[H]ow the department will pay for new officers - which will cost about $135 million annually in its early years - remained unclear. Emanuel pledged not to raise taxes to pay for police hiring."

Didn't he just raise taxes? I mean, tax revenue tends to be fungible - and it's not like he didn't know he was going to do this.

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For more on how much it costs to add police officers to the force, see this Chicago Justice Project issue brief.

Of course, whatever it takes to save lives, we should spend it. But do more officers result in saved lives - or even a lower crime rate? If so, why stop at 500 more street officers? Why not 600? Or 1,000? What size police force should we have if we want to bring the number of murders in the city down to zero?

"Social science research methods do exist to help the city determine the number of officers needed, yet when this research has been conducted for the CPD by academics or consultants, the completed results have not released to the public," CJP says.

"This leaves a void in the public discussion that is filled by sloppy news reporting that serves as an echo chamber for . . . cries for more officers, despite [an] inability to provide any fact-based findings to substantiate [these cries].

"In spite of media reporting to the contrary, an increase in officers does not automatically result in a decrease in street violence: regardless of what one hears and reads in media accounts, long-term violence prevention and the role police agencies play in that issue is murky."

And from CJP executive director Tracy Siska in Crain's in January 2015:

"[T]he Chicago Police Department has conducted manpower studies of this very kind at least twice since 2000. Unfortunately, it refuses to make these studies public, thereby depriving us of the very facts that ought to ground the debate.

"That refusal leaves a vacuum that self-serving politicians, police unions and lazy reporters are happy to fill with disingenuous half-truths about alleged staffing shortages . . .

"A quick internet search uncovers that police manpower and resource allocation studies are readily available from big and small cities across America."

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Back to the Trib:

"The announcement comes as the mayor and his police department have been under intense pressure to reverse the rising tide of violence ravaging the city's most vulnerable neighborhoods - a relentless drumbeat of grim news that has shaped a perception of the city nationally as a chaotic and dangerous place."

Remember, it was during Rahm's re-election campaign a year ago that he called Chuy Garcia's proposal to hire 1,000 new police officers "fairy dust."

And without the release of the city's staffing studies and/or any other research done by CPD and/or City Hall in the last year, combined with the move coming after a particularly bloody summer instead of before it, we can only surmise that this is more of a PR move than one motivated by a sincere policy review. It doesn't seem to be based on anything other than headlines. I mean, how did they come up with their numbers? Did they work backwards from a dollar amount? Did they consult old manpower studies - or conduct a new one? Or did they just bat it around over the weekend?

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Another clue as to how this is being stage-managed, despite yet another pledge of transparency from the mayor, is this:

"Emanuel's office and the Police Department did not reveal the cost of the additional officers or how the hires would be funded. Aldermen who were briefed said the mayor's aides did not tell them either."

During his 2015 re-election campaign, Rahm said of Chuy's police hiring plan: "Going back to a day in which you make pledges where you can't afford them will get us right back where we were before."

It seems we always end up back in the same place we were before. Aren't we there now?

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New SAT Hurting Neediest Students
"The College Board's own research turned up problems that troubled even the exam makers."

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Awwwwww inspiring.

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BeachBook

Judge Scolds Obama, Congress For Allowing Children To Face Deportation Without Lawyers.

Previously: Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families, Deporter-In-Chief (see tweets), Low-Priority Immigrants Still Swept Up In Net Of Deportation.

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The Big Thing Missing From The New York Times' Gushing Story About This Strawberry Company.

Always check the clips.

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Why So Many Chicago Pigeons Have Missing Toes And Feet.

Because they play for the Bears?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: In session.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:26 AM | Permalink

New SAT Hurting Neediest Students

In the days after the redesigned SAT college entrance exam was given for the first time in March, some test-takers headed to the popular website reddit to share a frustration.

They had trouble getting through the exam's new mathematics sections. "I didn't have nearly enough time to finish," wrote a commenter who goes by MathM. "Other people I asked had similar impressions."

The math itself wasn't the problem, said Vicki Wood, who develops courses for PowerScore, a South Carolina-based test preparation company. The issue was the wordy setups that precede many of the questions.

"The math section is text heavy," said Wood, a tutor, who took the SAT in May. "And I ran out of time."

The College Board, the maker of the exam, had reason to expect just such an outcome for many test-takers.

When it decided to redesign the SAT, the New York-based not-for-profit sought to build an exam with what it describes as more "real world" applications than past incarnations of the test. Students wouldn't simply need to be good at algebra, for instance. The new SAT would require them to "solve problems in rich and varied contexts."

But in evaluating that approach, the College Board's own research turned up problems that troubled even the exam makers.

About half the test-takers were unable to finish the math sections on a prototype exam given in 2014, internal documents reviewed by Reuters show.

The problem was especially pronounced among students that the College Board classified as low scorers on the old SAT.

A difference in completion rates between low scorers and high scorers is to be expected, but the gap on the math sections was much larger than the disparities in the reading and writing sections.

The study Reuters reviewed didn't address the demographics of that performance gap, but poor, black and Latino students have tended to score lower on the SAT than wealthy, white and Asian students.

In light of the results, officials concluded that the math sections should have far fewer long questions, documents show. But the College Board never made that adjustment and instead launched the new SAT with a large proportion of wordy questions, a Reuters analysis of new versions of the test shows.

The redesigned SAT is described in the College Board's own test specifications as an "appropriate and fair assessment" to promote "equity and opportunity." But some education and testing specialists say the text-heavy new math sections may be creating greater challenges for kids who perform well in math but poorly in reading, reinforcing race and income disparities.

Among those especially disadvantaged by the number of long word problems, they say, are recent immigrants and American citizens who aren't native English speakers; international students; and test-takers whose dyslexia or other learning disabilities have gone undiagnosed.

"It's outrageous. Just outrageous," said Anita Bright, a professor in the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University in Oregon. "The students that are in the most academically vulnerable position when it comes to high-stakes testing are being particularly marginalized," she said.

College Board CEO David Coleman, the chief architect of the redesign, declined to be interviewed, as did other College Board officials named in this article.

But earlier this year, Coleman talked about the importance of creating a test that was fair to students for whom English is not their native language. In a speech in March about ensuring "equal access" to higher education, Coleman talked about the SAT's past emphasis on obscure vocabulary words and "what that meant for English-language learners in this country. It would determine who went to college."

Now, the new exam's wordy math questions - not the obscure vocabulary - have created a similar and unfair barrier for the very group Coleman identified, some academics say.

"The problem is going to mostly affect English-language learners," said Jamal Abedi, a University of California-Davis professor who specializes in educational assessments. He said such students could perform poorly "not because of their lack of math content knowledge but by the language burden." Abedi said he was among a group of scholars who recently consulted with the SAT's archrival, the ACT, about whether English-language learners deserve special accommodations on test day.

English-language learners account for a substantial share of public school students in the United States - 9.3 percent in 2013-2014, or 4.5 million kids, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Putting math questions in context makes sense to some testing specialists. Daniel Koretz, a professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said some professors would want to know whether students can follow university-level math lectures. "Some students will be disadvantaged, yes, but that's not necessarily the wrong thing to do," Koretz said.

But Portland State's Bright said the College Board went too far. Vocabulary and reading "are tested elsewhere on the exam," she said. The word problems in the math sections, Bright said, ought to be more succinct.

Admissions officers at many U.S. colleges and universities, especially elite institutions, use SAT scores as a means of weeding out candidates. A low math score may cripple an applicant's chances of getting into a selective school.

College Board spokeswoman Sandra Riley declined to provide statistics indicating how many students have been able to fully answer the math sections on the redesigned test. A College Board analysis of 10 tests given this spring, she said, found that completion rates for English-language learners "are similar to what we see for all students."

Riley also said the rate of completion of the math section for the SAT given in March "met our goals and on average is equal to or higher than the completion rate for the math section of the old SAT."

All things being equal, the completion rate across every section of the exam should be higher than it was for the old SAT, testing specialists say.

That's because the old exam penalized students for wrong answers, encouraging them to leave questions blank rather than hazard a guess. The new test contains no penalty for guessing wrong, and the College Board encourages students to answer every question. As it says on its website, "On the new SAT, you simply earn points for the questions you answer correctly. So go ahead and give your best answer to every question - there's no advantage to leaving them blank."

EARLY WARNINGS

To understand how the College Board remade the all-important exam, Reuters reviewed hundreds of pages of internal documents, including e-mails between officials formulating the new SAT; private comments from academics hired to vet potential test questions; items from exams that have already been administered; and hundreds of questions developed for upcoming SATs.

The not-for-profit organization has posted a 210-page document online that explains the approach to remaking its signature product. But the vast majority of the documents Reuters examined have never been made public. They offer an unprecedented look at how a standardized college entrance exam comes together.

Among the documents examined was a College Board timing study done two years before the release of the new test. That study describes, section by section, the percentage of students who were able to finish a prototype of the redesigned exam.

Perhaps most revealing is the confidential feedback of academics who, for a modest stipend, help the College Board review proposed test questions for fairness and accuracy. Some were scathing in their criticism of the new test. They warned early and often that many questions were long and convoluted, and distracted from the skills the math sections should be assessing, documents examined by Reuters show.

In a nearly 5,000-word letter from August 2014, one reviewer told College Board officials that he had "never encountered so many seriously flawed items" in the 20-plus years he had been screening math material for the organization.

That reviewer - a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee named Dan Lotesto - wrote of the math questions: "Why so many items with vocabulary issues, especially for ELL students?" ELL stands for English-language learners.

Lotesto proved prescient about the situation the College Board now faces. It would be difficult, he wrote, to create questions that fairly assessed students and were "mathematically and linguistically 'tight' as well as doable."

Contacted by Reuters, Lotesto said he stands behind the 2014 letter but declined to comment further. He said he still reviews potential material for the SAT.

Concerns that the College Board has created an SAT with flawed math sections come as the organization struggles on another front: its inability to safeguard the content of the exam.

Last month, federal authorities launched a criminal investigation after Reuters obtained about 400 unpublished questions from the redesigned SAT exam. Some testing specialists called the security lapse one of the most serious in the history of college-admissions testing.

On August 26, federal agents raided the home of Manuel Alfaro, a former top College Board executive who was later dismissed and has now become an outspoken critic of the organization. Alfaro, who helped remake the math sections, was fired by the College Board in early 2015, almost two years after he says he was wooed to the organization by CEO Coleman.

THE PUSH

The new SAT was created on a tight deadline.

The exam's competitor, the Iowa-based ACT, had surpassed the SAT in popularity in the United States in 2012 and was winning state contracts.

Soon after, in October 2012, Coleman took over the College Board. He quickly set a demanding goal for his team: roll out a completely redesigned test in about two years, by March 2015. The challenge was enormous. Developing a single exam's worth of questions for an existing SAT format can itself take two years.

Internal documents show the growing competitive threat posed by the ACT was one reason for his urgency. In an e-mail to senior College Board executives in August 2013, Coleman wrote that "we must deliver the revised SAT by 2015 . . . We cannot afford to let ACT continue to shape the state market."

Although the launch was eventually delayed by a year, the push was on.

The original formula for the new SAT took shape in early 2013. That's when the College Board created draft "content specifications" for the exam, according to an internal document dated April 30. The document's author is Cyndie Schmeiser, the organization's chief of assessment and top deputy to CEO Coleman.

The document shows that test developers planned to put a "heavy emphasis on students' ability to apply math to solve problems in rich and varied contexts." That meant there would be a greater focus on word problems in the math sections. The shift was intended to align the new test with the Common Core, a set of learning standards that many states have adopted and that Coleman helped create.

More detailed specifications were circulated within the College Board the next month. They called for half of all the math items - about 30 questions - to be "contextualized." These would be the kind of word problems Schmeiser described in the earlier document. Of those 30 questions, the specifications called for 14 - nearly half - to be "heavy," having more than 60 words. The remaining 16 would be "medium" - between 40 and 60 words - or "light," shorter than 40 words.

Problems with those plans became evident in February 2014. That month, the College Board conducted a national study that tested student volunteers at select schools, using a prototype version of the new SAT. The study, marked "confidential and restricted," has never been made public.

Known as the "rSAT Prototype Form Study," the paper includes the proportion of students able to reach, within the test's time constraints, the end of each section of the reconfigured exam. About 5,600 students were given the prototype SAT - which included the reading, writing-and-language, and math sections.

The study indicates that the students were clustered into groups - high, medium and low scorers - based not on their individual scores on the old SAT but rather on the overall scoring average of the school where they took the test. That means that, if the average score of students at a school participating in the study was 1350 or lower on the old SAT, all the test-takers at that school were classified as low scorers. The maximum score on the old test was 2400.

Only 47 percent of all students finished one part of the math section in the allotted 25 minutes - the 20-question portion during which calculators aren't allowed. And just 50 percent of the students completed the longer 38-question math section, which allows the use of a calculator. That compared with 83 percent of students who were able to complete the reading section and 80 percent able to finish the writing-and-language section.

According to the study, the inability to finish the math sections disproportionately affected particular students: those from schools where average scores on the old SAT were categorized as "low" or "medium." On the calculator section of the prototype test, for example, 78 percent of students from high-scoring schools reached the end. Only 41 percent of students from low-scoring schools finished. The gap was smaller on the reading test: 95 percent of students from high-scoring schools finished, versus 73 percent from schools where scores were low.

The study's results were reviewed by the test development staff in May 2014. By August 2014, the group decided to reduce the number of long-worded math problems to help more students finish the exam, documents show.

THE WEARY ALBATROSS

The College Board's timing study wasn't the only sign of trouble with the word problems in the math sections.

External, independent reviewers who evaluate potential SAT questions for accuracy and bias were spotting potential problems as early as September 2014, around the time College Board officials had decided to reconfigure the math sections.

During a meeting of the committee that assessed the math questions, one reviewer tore into a problem that asked students to calculate the time it took a car driver to apply the brakes. It began with a table listing nine speeds, followed by a lengthy description of that table. In all, the item exceeded 200 words.

The lead-in, the reviewer wrote, "requires A LOT of reading. Do we want that?"

According to one confidential roundup of reviewer comments, the academics also seized on word problems that had little to do with the math skills supposedly being tested. One question involved a bird on a long flight.

"I am distracted by the issue of the albatross sleeping," wrote one reviewer, who wasn't named in the summary of comments. "If it doesn't sleep at all on the journey, this should be stated. Otherwise the question is unanswerable because it asks for the average speed that the bird 'flew,' which implies only time in motion and not time resting."

Academic reviewers were complaining about other kinds of quality problems, too.

In a conference call with College Board staff on March 13, 2014, Deborah Hughes Hallett of the Harvard Kennedy School and Roxy Peck of California Polytechnic State University spoke out.

"Both of our committees have expressed concern about the quality of the items that are being brought to the SAT Committee for review," they said during the call, according to a transcript. "These items have included many that are not mathematically sound, that have incorrect answers, or that are not accurate or realistic in terms of the given context."

Hallett did not respond to inquiries for this article. Peck, in written response, called the redesign "a huge undertaking" that "required the authoring of a large number of mathematics items in a short period of time."

Bill Trapp, a senior director in the design effort, was among those who received the detailed critique written by Lotesto, the reviewer in Wisconsin. Lotesto wasn't an outlier, Trapp wrote to fellow College Board executives.

"Many of these comments reflect what we have seen from current committee members," Trapp wrote.

"NEW SAT, NEW PROBLEMS"

In early 2015, about a year before the test would debut, the College Board offered the public a preview of the types of questions the new exam would feature.

The sneak peek prompted a column on The Atlantic magazine's website by James Murphy, a tutoring manager for the Princeton Review.

In "New SAT, New Problems," Murphy focused on a set of sample math questions. His conclusion was summed up by the article's secondary headline: "The questions, particularly those in the math sections, could put certain students at a disadvantage."

Murphy wrote that "the most vulnerable students are those who live in low-income areas or don't speak English as a first language." They would struggle, he reasoned, with the math section's new emphasis on word problems.

The day after Murphy's piece ran, the College Board set out to look for data to "refute the author's claims," according to a Jan. 21, 2015, e-mail reviewed by Reuters. The e-mail was sent to members of the math development team by Lorie Moore, a College Board executive director.

Over the next six hours, College Board officials exchanged e-mails about the Murphy piece. By then, they appear to have set aside their initial concern that Murphy had misrepresented the new exam. Instead, they worried he may have understated the problem.

At issue: the length of the math word problems. In her e-mail, Moore asked about the length of the word problems in the math sections of four new SAT practice tests the College Board planned to release soon to the public.

Alfaro, still employed by the College Board at the time, responded that, of the questions in context, "about 45% are heavy and the rest are light/medium." Heavy questions exceeded 60 words in length.

Alfaro's assessment appeared to surprise his boss, Sherral Miller.

"Wow," Miller wrote in reply. "We had changed that to 10% heavy in the specs given the timing studies. How did we get 45% of them being heavy?"

Miller was referring to the planned revisions to the word-count mix that the College Board had resolved to make the previous summer. But the College Board never followed through on its plan to reconfigure the exam, despite the timing study's findings and the reviewer complaints. Instead of 10 percent of the math questions being a "heavy," greater than 60 words, almost half remained that long, according to the January 2015 e-mails.

It's unclear why the College Board failed to address the issue. The organization wouldn't make the project's top leader, Schmeiser, available for an interview.

In a written statement to Reuters, Alfaro - one of the key executives involved in remaking the math sections - said the College Board didn't have the time or resources to rectify the mix of long, medium and short questions.

The College Board had already delayed the SAT's launch by a year, and had promised universities and school districts the new exam would debut in March 2016. In early 2015, just 14 months remained until launch. The pool of questions for the new SAT wasn't large enough and could not "be reconfigured overnight to support new specifications that call for significantly different item distributions," Alfaro said.

College Board spokeswoman Riley said Alfaro's "claims about our internal processes for developing the math section of the SAT are inaccurate." She referred to Alfaro as "a former short-term employee, who after being dismissed from his job demanded millions of dollars in payment and threatened to do damage to the College Board."

Alfaro was involved in the development of the math sections for 21 months, or more than half the period from the start of the redesign till the new test's debut.

"HEAVY" WORD COUNTS

To determine whether the new math test was modified to include fewer lengthy word problems, Reuters analyzed the six practice SAT exams posted online by Khan Academy, the official practice-testing partner of the College Board. The College Board says on its website that questions on those tests are "reviewed and approved by the people who develop the SAT," and Khan calls them "real, full-length SAT practice tests." Two of the exams, in fact, were administered as actual tests earlier this year before being released as practice material.

Reuters counted the number of words in each of the contextualized math questions on the six exams. At least 45 percent of the math word problems in each exam exceeded the "heavy" threshold of 60 words. That means none of tests met the College Board's revised target specifying that just 10 percent of the questions be heavy - the "specs" cited by Miller in her January 2015 e-mail. In fact, the math sections of all six exams were consistent with the prototype test - the exam that, according to the 2014 study, fewer than half of test-takers could finish.

Alfaro, who was fired shortly after the January 2015 e-mail exchange, wrote about the issue on the social network LinkedIn on August 27, a day after the FBI raided his apartment. He alleged the College Board failed to follow its own specifications for word counts in the new math sections.

The formulation of the new exam leaves the College Board with a dilemma, testing specialists say.

The new math sections could be reconfigured to contain fewer long questions, in line with the revised specs. But that would create a new problem. Future scores from revised exams may not be comparable to scores from the earlier versions with the lengthier questions, said Koretz, the Harvard professor.

"There's no good solution when you come up with a problem like this," he said.

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Links by Beachwood.

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See also:

* New York Times: Backer of Common Core School Curriculum Is Chosen to Lead College Board.

* The Atlantic: The Schoolmaster.

* New York Times Magazine: The Story Behind The SAT Overhaul.

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Coleman's keynote address in March to the National Catholic Education Association's Convention & Expo.

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Previously:

* Common Core Math Standards Add Up To Big Money For Education Companies.

* Why Do Schools Use Grades That Teach Nothing?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:51 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Awwwwww Inspiring Performance

As in, "Awwwww! That's cute! You guys think you're a professional football team!"

For the second week in a row, the Bears seemed to have something cooking in the first half only to come out of the locker room for the second half and show us that whatever was on the stove causes diarrhea.

Following the break, Fox n' Co. charged onto the field and unloaded a brand of football that can only be described as a steaming, slushy, corn-flecked pile of nonsense at the feet of the Chicago faithful.

But oh yeah. There was a punt return.

"We need to get better, there's no doubt about it," head coach John Fox shrewdly observed. "Turning the ball over tonight was very . . . "

Coach, stop right there and allow me to tell you what tonight was . . .

[Editor's Note: Sorry folks, we can't print any of the next three paragraphs. I don't need to spend the next two days fielding calls from PETA, the DNC or The National Gourd Association.]

Sellout!

[Editor's Note: OK, full disclosure. The National Gourd Association advertises on our site. I am confident that they would not want their fine, nutritious and decorative crop connected with the kind of violent sexual act you just described.]

Dude, you know the guys at the NGA are into pegging [Editor's note: link hastily removed].

Ball gags at minimum.

[Editor's Note: You're upset. Obviously, we're all upset. But I expect you to do your job. Give us some positive takeaways from Monday night's action.]

Well, Jason Heyward had a nice homer in the eighth.

Classic Heyward swing; opposite field power to the gap. I think he's finally coming around.

[Editor's Note: You can instantly find good news about Heyward, one of the most disappointing top-dollar free agent acquisitions in Cubs history . . . ]

His defense is All-World, and you, sir, have forgotten Milton Bradley! You tellin' me that you'd rather have Matt Szczur (pronounced "Caesar" not "Su-zizz-ca-zur") out there in right field?

[Editor's Note: Well, Zobrist is a good option in right. Then you can put Javy Baez at second . . . wait a damn minute. A) You clearly flipped over to the Cubs game in the fourth quarter, and B) You're stalling. Give me some positives about Monday night's Bears game or I'm officially putting monkeys on the payroll and giving them your typewriter.]

Ugh.

Fine, fine, fine.

For the record, I could recreate A Midsummer Night's Dream with random keystrokes before Lulu and Bananas, by at least two days!

What Worked

  • Eddie Royal: Nice of Royal to become the guy we thought we were getting last year just in time for the team to go to shit.
  • Individual Defensive Performances: Deiondre' Hall and Jacoby Glenn both had some nice moments in coverage. Jerrell Freeman was all over the field once again, which is good because with the way injuries have piled up he may be asked to play nose tackle and fullback this week.
  • The Stadium Clock: I'd like to thank the giant LCD timekeeper for functioning properly and allowing this game to end.

What Made Us Drop To Our Knees And Openly Weep

  • Injuries . . . So Many Injuries: Jay Cutler (thumb), Danny Trevathan (also thumb), Lamarr Houston (knee), Eddie Goldman (ankle), Adrian Amos (concussion), Bryce Callahan (concussion), Chris Prosinski (calf), Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring).

    That I KNOW of!

    Wait, I'm supposed to save that line for situations in which I imply that, despite the fact that I fathered a child as a teenager, I continued a pattern of irresponsible promiscuity throughout my early 20s.

    Oh checkered past, you are a comedy gold mine!

    Cutler will reportedly be out at least the next two weeks, so for those of you clamoring for an extended look at one Brian Hoyer, please mentally file this sentence under the "What Worked" section of the BAOKAR.

    Hoyer probably won't set the world on fire, but he doesn't turn the ball over much (in the regular season; not so much in the playoffs) and we know that we can count on him to be punctual at the airport, a trait which has kept him gainfully employed on several occasions.

    At the time of this writing, only the full extent of Houston's injury is confirmed.

    Unfortunately for him and fans of expensive linebacker depth, he will miss the remainder of the 2016 season.

  • The Offensive Line: After grading out admirably in Week 1, this unit took a big step back . . . and then many more steps back as the pocket collapsed. Even the usually outstanding Kyle Long got pushed around more than the president of a D&D club at an '80s kegger.
  • Ball Control: You gotta keep a grip on the ball to win, which is why I walk around the office with at least one hand in my pants at all times. The same could not be said of the offense. Stop giving your balls to other people, guys.
  • Weeknight Sobriety: I've been making a point of not drinking on weekdays. After watching Monday's game live in its entirety [Editor's Note: The hell you did!], I'm telling all of my family and friends who showed up for the intervention last month to go fuck themselves. I never realized how hard it is to ingest a primetime ass-whooping like this unaltered.

Eye On The Opposition: Romo A No-Go, Sack The Dak Attack

There might not be a less desirable scouting report than "prone to spine fractures," but that's where All Pro quarterback Tony Romo finds himself these days.

Maybe "susceptible to testicle torsion" is worse.

Oh, and I DARE you to let me prove to you that this is a thing.

I dare you*.

Runners up include "has genetic markers for facial gonorrhea" and "suffers from seasonal parmesan lung."

With Romo on the sidelines, the Bears will face a rookie quarterback for a second week in a row - Cowboys backup Dak Prescott.

Prescott has made headlines for being handsome and going two straight games without throwing an interception - accomplishments which have already earned him the nickname "Hot Dilfer**."

While we're on the topic of nicknames, anyone else put off by the slew of monosyllabic monikers at Dallas's skill positions?

With guys like Dak, Dez and Zeke already on offense, the Cowboys are either a "Zazz" short of an Australian One Direction knockoff band or a "Dentz" short of finishing the screenplay for a fan-fic Predator sequel.

In Week 2, the Redskins made a point of limiting the Dallas running game only to have the mobile Prescott escape the pocket and make plays, so given the level of success Carson Wentz had on Monday, there's reason for concern about the match-up considering how much better Dez Bryant is than Philly's number one receiver, Jordan "Butterhands" Matthews***.

Vic Fangio is a creative coach, but with all of the injuries on the defense he'll need to either get creative (read: put poison in the Cowboys pre-game meal) or get some serious help from the offense.

Kool-Aid (3 of 5 Pitchers Of Frozen Margarita)

According several reputable sources (read: exactly one Google search), the frozen margarita was invented in Dallas back in 1971.

Frankly, I would have given this game a rating of "two," but I think we're all interested in seeing how things function on offense with Hoyer at the helm.

And let's not overlook that the season is basically lost if the Bears lose on Sunday, as an 0-3 start is effectively a playoff death sentence.

Save that third pitcher for the end of the game, because if the Bears do lose, you can pound that bad boy and give yourself a brain freeze so bad that you'll temporarily forget that you got excited about this season in the first place.

Based on the fact that Chicago gets two feature time slots in a row, I get the feeling that the NFL powers-that-be were also convinced that this year's team would be much better, so don't beat yourself up too bad for trying to love again.

Sigh.

Time makes fools of us all.

The Bears can't win this game without doing a better job of controlling the clock and that means several sustained scoring drives.

We'll probably see more of Kevin White, but don't expect too many deep balls to either White or Alshon Jeffery.

Ha ha.

I said "deep."

Again, the order of the day is ball control.

This defense will need rest if they are to contain a mobile quarterback while shorthanded.

Chicago needs signature performances from Jeremy Langford and Zach Miller or the defense will run out of gas chasing Dak in circles.

Sadly, I don't think that happens and Ezekiel Elliot breaks off some big plays to finish things late.

I hope I'm wrong, but don't worry.

I brought a fourth pitcher for you in case I'm not.

Cowboys 27, Bears 13

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About The Author
The Author will be watching Sunday's game . . . sitting cross-legged on the floor . . . in front of the television . . . hoping for the best, but staring, steely-eyed at the images on the screen . . . expecting the worst . . . probably listening to Depeche Mode's Greatest Hits.

carlsit.png

So come on down to The Author's house to watch the game on a fun-filled Sunday evening!

His wife makes great chili!

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* See, that wasn't so bad . . . wait, fuckin' sleep puts you at risk for the equivalent of a testicle charley horse?! I knew I should have just linked to a picture of my anus.

** The Urban Dictionary defines the "Hot Dilfer" as a sexual move in which a 20-year-old woman gives a married man a handjob while taking a dump on a house cat as the dog films.

*** It's not flattering, but it's still better than former Cowboy Stephen "Ol' Fuckface" McGee.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

September 21, 2016

SportsWednesday: Cutler Conundrum Kills Bears

What kills me the most about the Bears - and there are many nominees - is all the stuff they have done in deference to Jay Cutler in the past year, i.e., in deference to the quarterback who led them to a thrilling 6-10 finish last year. This is also the quarterback who is less annoying than he used to be but still struggles mightily to avoid fits of pique and to lead teammates well, if at all.

First, there was this year's offensive coordinator search: oh wait, there was none. When Adam Gase moved on, the Bears had two choices, A) Do a comprehensive survey and bring in the best offensive mind they could find or B) Make the comfortable hire from within the organization who would appease the quarterback.

They chose B and will almost certainly come to regret it. Again, Cutler was better last year with Gase at the helm but oftentimes even at his best he was just good enough to lose.

The Bears hired Dowell Loggains apparently in the belief that Cutler would be their quarterback for at least two or three more years and that making him happy was the key to offensive success for the foreseeable future.

Now of course Bears fans are looking at the end of this season with longing. Cutler will still be under contract but the team will no longer face an onerous salary cap hit (it would have been double-digit millions the past few years) if they dump him. It sure doesn't seem like it was a good call to hire an OC based solely on his connection with a quarterback who people have suddenly remembered isn't good enough. And no, this is not just hindsight - I made this point at the time of the hire.

Second, the refusal to draft a quarterback - this one really boils my blood. Have you been following what has happened this year with the Patriots? Tom Brady gets suspended so in comes back up Jimmy Garoppolo (the pride of Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows!).

The Patriots had drafted him in the second round in 2014 despite the fact they already had a quarterback who had won, you know, multiple Super Bowls.

Then Garoppolo goes down last week and the Patriots are really in trouble. Except wait a minute, they spent a third-round pick earlier this year drafting another backup quarterback, Jacoby Brissett out of North Carolina State. Brissett comes in, executes a very conservative game plan, and the Patriots win again. Brissett starts Thursday night in place of the still-injured Garoppolo. That was no fluke, but part of the Patriots' process:

Meanwhile, the Bears, who have not had Tom Brady on their roster:

Just last spring, the Bears decided not to use one of their three fourth-round picks to take Mississippi State product Dak Prescott, who has led the Cowboys to a 2-0 record so far in relief of Tony Romo. The Cowboys, whom the Bears face next, drafted Prescott after the Bears had made their sixth overall selection.

Part of the Bears' refusal to draft a serious QB prospect (David Fales in the 6th round of the 2014 draft notwithstanding) in the Cutler era has been the fear that Cutler would not react well to having a rival around. How can an organization be so short-sighted?

There has also been chatter that the quarterback the Bears really loved was Michigan State's Connor Cook, and that if he had been available when the Bears picked in the fourth or fifth rounds, they would have snapped him up.

Connor Cook? I guess I missed the Michigan State game last year where he lit up the sky with accurately thrown medium and deep balls while leading the Spartans to a high-scoring victory. But hey, I know he was a decent prospect and he was the seventh quarterback selected overall, by the Raiders. And he was taken before the Bears made their first pick in the fourth round in the spring.

Third, the lame Bears game plans that cater to Cutler's uncomfortableness with basic elements of football strategy like play-action passing. This one is self-explanatory. The Bears offense has been brutally predictable so far. Whether it is more Loggains' or Cutler's fault doesn't matter.

But wait, word has leaked out of Halas Hall, which guards info about injuries like the Democratic Party guards political strategy - er, I guess the Bears guard their info even more rabidly - that Cutler actually hurt his throwing thumb in the first game and played the entire contest against the Eagles with difficulty. That would potentially absolve him of at least part of the blame for the strip-sack fumble that wasn't actually stripped, and the brutal, game-changing interception.

Something tells me that unless that thumb heals quickly and Cutler leads the Bears on a surprising win streak before the first half of this season ends, virtually no Bears fan will be satisfied. That is especially the case since they have to watch 30-year-old Brian Hoyer at the helm in the near future rather than a young passer who would actually have a chance to improve going forward.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:29 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Working on it.

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Study: Native American Mascots Reinforce Stereotypes
People living in cities with Native American mascots - like Chicago - were more likely to think of Native Americans as warlike.

Why Do Schools Use Grades That Teach Nothing?
"When we reduce students to numbers and grades, they and we focus on test-taking skills and grade requirements rather than on learning."

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BeachBook

Your New iPhone's Features Include Oppression, Inequality, and Vast Profit.

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Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn't.

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Delegation Works To Lasso Chicago Jobs And Investments For Texas.

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Holy Fuck, Researchers Teleport Light Particle.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The same way students at Payton should be admitted.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Admit it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Why Do Schools Use Grades That Teach Nothing?

A few years ago I was speaking to a group of parents whose children had just started at Hampshire College. A father asked a question that was on many minds: "How can your college be rigorous without grading student work?" Before I could respond, another parent stood up and asked, "May I answer that?" I nodded with interest.

"I run a company," he said, "and I have a few thousand employees in multiple locations. They'd be mystified if our managers started to give them grades. We manage by setting goals, evaluating progress, and mentoring employees on how to improve their performance. What would a letter grade tell them?"

At the college where I serve as president, we do evaluate student work; we just use a higher-quality method. Our students receive written evaluations not only on every assignment, but also for every course and learning activity. These evaluations are designed to be formative teaching tools.

For similar reasons, we completely stopped accepting SAT and ACT for admissions two years ago, after an internal study revealed standardized test scores are poor predictors of student success at Hampshire. We also recognized the bias of standardized tests against low-income students, and the negative influence of standardized testing on education.

This decision has disqualified us from the popular U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings. We face the same financial challenges as many colleges, but we decided to follow our mission rather than chase rankings. This week we announced our second-year results under this strategy:

* Our incoming class is again more racially diverse and includes more students who represent the first generation in their family to attend college than in any year before this policy went into effect.

* Retention of first-year students is again higher than it was before the policy change, 81 percent as opposed to 78 percent two years ago. Our "yield" percentage of students who accepted the college's offer of admission is again higher than in the years before the policy change.

When we reduce students to numbers and grades, they and we focus on test-taking skills and grade requirements rather than on learning.

At Hampshire, instead of grades, our professors weigh performance against course goals using criteria such as a student's demonstration of analytic thinking and writing skills, research abilities, use of primary and secondary literature/substantiation of claims, ability to use data, integration of theory and practice, framing, disciplinary knowledge and skills and positionality.

After almost five decades of our professors assessing students using written evaluations, we've seen and documented their benefits as an alternative to grades. Grades tell students the absolute minimum about their abilities; they tell them only whether they have earned enough points under a teacher's rubric to get a good mark.

Too many students use grades to figure out how to do only what's required, asking their teachers questions like "What do I have to do to get an A?" At the same time, they're trying to determine the minimum they can "know" to pass. "How can I game the system?" "What are the fluff courses that will get me an easy A?"

Grading systems also risk pitting students and teachers against each other through arguments about a grade and create counterproductive competition as students vie to outperform one another.

At many elite institutions, grades are absurdly inflated by professors with the result that students across the board receive more A's than C's. This has reduced the A-F grading system to little more than one of pass/fail.

In narrative-evaluation systems, students never have to worry about accumulating a GPA. Instead, they focus on the quality of their work, with guidance from teachers who are often learning with them. Evaluations create closer relationships between teacher and student and enhance the teacher's role as mentor.

Evaluations enable teachers to diagnose weaknesses, reflect on growth, and present constructive ideas for improvement and intellectual development - and discuss it all with their students.

Using evaluations, students can concentrate on learning. Progress toward graduation is measured by the development of intellectual skills rather than the accumulation of credit hours.

Aaron Berman, one of our veteran professors and a graduate of one of Hampshire's first classes, points out that a grade point average is not developmental or based on change over time. The final GPA for a student getting C's at the beginning of high school or college and A's at the end is a B, because the student's GPA is handicapped by the slow start. But in a narrative-evaluation system, if an incoming student starts off weakly but in the fourth year shines, that's not average work, and the final evaluation will stress exceptional development and growth.

Dean of Curriculum Laura Wenk puts it well: Grades become labels . . . these labels become engrained in children's views of themselves, as well as in those of their teachers and the beliefs are too often self-perpetuating.

Narrative evaluations suggest ways to keep building on student effort and success. Any student can improve. Intelligence isn't fixed; it's malleable. And education is about growth and improvement.

The Hampshire Learning Project interviewed a few dozen of our students who, according to their faculty, were producing high-quality academic work. The project verified that for these "thrivers," not being graded translates into deeper intellectual engagement and the courage to take more intellectual risks.

One respondent explained that "In high school I was always a bit of 'I need to get an A in this,' but here at Hampshire I wouldn't be treated as a number and I could focus on what I wanted to learn." Another said, "I'm not doing this stuff to get a grade anymore. In high school, I knew what I had to do; it wasn't really learning. It was, like, memorize and put it back on paper."

The Hampshire Learning Project also talked with a group of alumni one year after graduation, those identified by professors as having thrived at the college. We learned they have the ability to take constructive criticism and set goals for themselves.

They used their college evaluations and now use self-evaluation to think across their work, see patterns, assess strengths and weaknesses, devise plans to improve, and establish how they want to move forward.

Recently, we invited thousands of our alumni to respond anonymously to a survey about their college experience. One of the most popular topics for comments was evaluations:

"I spent so much of my middle and high school career worrying about getting A's and seeming perfect," said one former student. "Evaluations made me realize that I'm not perfect academically, and not only is that okay, but it's celebrated. When I read my evaluations, I knew my professors worked hard to understand me and my needs."

The survey also revealed long-term benefits of narrative evaluations. One former student, now a professor, said grades don't mean much at the large university where she's teaching. "Narrative evaluations mean more to students and say more about them," she wrote.

Another alumna, this one teaching at a large state university, reported feeling appalled by the number of students who want to do the bare minimum with the goal just to pass. With evaluations, she said, students push themselves for their own sake, not to get an A or fulfill the requirements of their major.

How do our students compare with the alumni of traditional, GPA-reliant programs? According to federal data compiled and reported by the National Science Foundation, Hampshire College ranks in the top 1.4 percent of U.S. colleges by alumni who advance to earn a doctorate. By this measure, we rank No. 30 in a nation of 4,000 colleges, side by side with the most distinguished institutions of higher learning.

And that's without ever giving any student even one grade.

Jonathan Lash is the president of Hampshire College. This column first appeared on The Hechinger Report.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:09 AM | Permalink

New Research Shows How Native American Mascots Reinforce Stereotypes

For years, many have said that sports teams with Native American mascots - the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks and Florida State Seminoles, to name a few - perpetuate stereotypes against Native people. Others have argued that these mascots are harmless; if anything, they symbolize reverence and respect, while honoring the history of Native Americans.

At the epicenter of the debate have been the Washington Redskins, a football team worth nearly $3 billion. But as the Redskins kicked off their season on Sept. 12, there was hardly a mention of the name controversy that has, in recent years, elicited boycotts, lawsuits and protests.

Perhaps it's due to the Washington Post survey from last spring finding that 90 percent of the Native Americans polled weren't offended by the Redskins name. Since then, defenders of the name - including team owner Daniel Snyder - have considered the controversy over and done with. The "sticks and stones" argument suggested by the poll makes complete sense from a self-preservation standpoint; after all, Native Americans have had to persevere through worse offenses than mascots.

But that stance ignores the dangerous possibility that such ethnic names and imagery affect how other people view Native Americans - possibly in subtle and damaging ways.

washredskins.jpgUSA Today Sports/Reuters

Our research has shown that incidental exposure to Native American sports mascots can reinforce stereotypes in people. Perhaps more disturbingly, people aren't even aware that this subtle reinforcement is taking place.

How A Name Strengthens A Bias

In our lab, we showed participants an unfamiliar mascot; some were shown a Native American image, while others were shown an image of an animal. We then measured how strongly all participants associated Native Americans with "warlike," a stereotype leveraged by many sports teams that use Native mascots ("Braves," "Warriors"). When asked directly, participants, regardless of the mascot they saw, reported no differences in how warlike they thought Native Americans were.

But when participants completed an indirect - or implicit - stereotype measure, those who'd viewed the Native American mascot were more likely to associate warlike qualities with Native Americans.

This difference in results represents something called implicit bias, which often takes place when asking people about socially sensitive subjects such as race or gender. Our participants were either unwilling to admit or unaware of the mascot's influence on their views of Native Americans; their bias was implicit, either hidden or incognizant.

Implicit bias can influence decisions ranging from hiring practices to jury preferences and criminal sentencing. And it's all the more pernicious because the people making these biased decisions are unlikely to be aware that they're doing so.

Interestingly, the liberal participants in our studies were more affected by Native American mascots than were their conservative peers.

Because liberals often think of themselves as being less susceptible to racial bias, this might seem counterintuitive. But liberals also have been shown to have more malleable worldviews and be more open to new information. And in our study, we found a stereotypical mascot could significantly degrade liberals' attitudes toward Native Americans.

Some Mascots More Damaging Than Others

These lab results prompted us to try to replicate our findings in a real-world setting. If the media market you live in determines how often you're exposed to a Native American sports mascot, we would expect to see differences in attitudes toward Native Americans between people who live in cities with Native American-themed sports franchises and people who don't. Indeed, our results showed that people living in cities with Native American mascots were more likely to think of Native Americans as warlike.

clevelandindians.jpgBrian Snyder/Reuters

We decided to focus on the Cleveland and Atlanta media markets because the Native American mascots of their baseball teams - the Indians and the Braves - were considered the most and least offensive examples, respectively, according to a pre-experiment survey. (Detroit, home of the Tigers, and Miami, which houses the Marlins, were used as control cities.)

Using the same implicit measures as our earlier study, residents of Cleveland were more likely to associate Native Americans with warlike traits than residents of Atlanta, Detroit and Miami.

In other words, the more offensive the mascot, the greater the effect.

And just like in our lab, liberal participants were particularly sensitive to the influence of the Native American mascot. The study represents perhaps the first real-world demonstration of the adverse effects of incidental exposure to Native American sports mascots in the general population.

The Perils Of Stereotypes

Some might wonder what the problem is with being seen as warlike. After all, isn't that associated with bravery and toughness?

But studies have shown how stereotypes of any kind - even positive ones - carry consequences. They can lead to performance anxiety, as Sapna Cheryan and her colleagues found when looking at stereotypes concerning Asian Americans' math ability. Subsequent studies have shown how experiencing a positive stereotype can make people expect future prejudicial treatment.

Despite these findings, defenders of Native American mascots continue to argue that the mascots honor Native Americans and improve perceptions of Native people.

Furthermore, stereotypical representations of minority groups aren't just relegated to Native American team mascots.

Many prominent brands, such as Aunt Jemimah, Uncle Ben's and Land-O-Lakes Butter, actively promote certain stereotypes. And as our study showed, these representations can change how we think about the actual members of those groups - often without us even knowing it.

So when it comes to the Washington Redskins - despite the results of the spring poll - the evidence is clear: The presence of the name subconsciously causes people to stereotype Native Americans. Even President Obama has weighed in, recommending a new name.

He's right. It's high time for change.

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Justin Angle is an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Montana. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:28 AM | Permalink

September 20, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

Wow, the Bears and Jay Cutler are just getting absolutely roasted today.

Here's our entry: Tweeting The Bears | Paging Pernell The State Farm Guy.

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Should Wells Fargo Execs Responsible For Bilking Customers Be Forced To Return Their Pay? (Hint: Yes)
The firm fired 5,300 employees over the course of five years for engaging in this behavior, clearly evidence that this was more than just a few bad apples.

Meet Chicago's Newest Vampire
Mayor creates Office of Supernatural Affairs.

Downers Grove Native Named Co-Captain Of Clarkson Women's Hockey Team
A highly skilled offensive defenseman entering her junior season.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Nots, Chachuba, G-Nome Project, The Steepwater Band, Motion City Soundtrack, Freakwater, Belly, Ween, The Misfits, ZZ Top, Allison Weiss, Enanitos Verdes, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Lush, Los Tigres del Norte, The Heavy, New Candy Store Prophets, Echo & the Bunnymen, Morrissey, Fitz and the Tantrums, Jimmy Eat World, Touche Amore, The Flaming Lips, D.R.I., Taking Back Sunday, Stick To Your Guns, Wishbone Ash, The Whatfour, I Lost Control, and Drivin' N' Cryin'.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Reporting vs. punditry, stenography, gossip, trivia. Also: access is vastly, vastly overrated, if even necessary.

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This year's goat.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Cut to the quick.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:39 AM | Permalink

Tweeting The Bears | Paging Pernell From State Farm

Highlights, lowlights, notes and observations from the Bears disaster on the lakefront before a national Monday Night Football audience.

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They keep hiring the wrong football people.

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Pernell from State Farm.

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Plus:

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Crestwood store takes big dump on the values the American flag stands for.

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No Bears? They do live in Chicago, don't they?

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That makes as much sense as the Bears' game plans this season.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:02 AM | Permalink

Should Wells Fargo Execs Responsible For Bilking Customers Be Forced To Return Their Pay? (Hint: Yes)

Having spent five years supervising large financial institutions on Wall Street, I am rarely surprised by the latest news of banks behaving badly.

But even the most hardened cynics, such as myself, were taken aback by the recent announcement that Wells Fargo was being fined $185 million for fraudulent sales practices that included opening over two million fake deposit and credit card accounts without informing its customers.

Adding to my shock was the revelation that the firm fired 5,300 employees over the course of five years for engaging in this behavior, clearly evidence that this was more than just a few bad apples.

The financial crisis and its aftermath have taught us that it is unlikely any of Wells Fargo's senior executives will face criminal charges. The reasons for this are numerous, but essentially prosecutors have a hard time identifying criminal intent within the upper ranks of bank management.

At the very least, don't Wells Fargo's customers have a reasonable expectation that executives who profited off their misfortune be required to return some of their ill-gotten gains?

The good news is that in April, U.S. regulators released a proposed rule requiring financial institutions to do just that. Unfortunately for fraud victims seeking a pound of flesh from Wells Fargo executives, the rule is not scheduled to be finalized until November, although the bank claims to be in adherence with the proposal's main provisions.

Nonetheless, I thought it would be interesting to examine the text of the proposed incentive-based compensation rule through the lens of the Wells Fargo situation to try and understand its potential implications.

Cultural Failure

On the surface Wells Fargo's fraud appears to be an all-too-familiar case of cultural failure within a big financial institution. Apparently, CEO John Stumpf disagrees.

In a Wall Street Journal interview shortly after the story broke, Stumpf refused to admit any institutional failure at the bank, claiming the behavior of the terminated employees "in no way reflects our culture nor reflects the great work the other vast majority of the people do."

If Stumpf thinks that over 5,000 unethical people just so happened to find their way to Wells Fargo, he may want to rethink the company's hiring practices.

Thus far the company has declined to say how many branch, regional or corporate managers were among those let go. The initial readout seems to be that most of those dismissed were low-level branch employees - hardly your typical Wall Street villains.

The spotlight has now turned to senior managers, and what they did or did not know. It is shining brightest on Carrie Tolstedt, who has run Wells Fargo's community banking division since 2008 and is set to retire at the end of the year. Tolstedt appears to have profited handsomely from the sales practices in question.

A 2015 company filing indicates that part of Tolstedt's 2014 inventive compensation award of roughly $8 million stems from:

"success in furthering the company's objectives of cross-selling products from other business lines to customers, reinforcing a strong risk culture and continuing to strengthen risk management practices in our businesses."

It now appears that cross-selling products and strengthening risk management were competing objectives.

Clawing Back Compensation

As noted earlier, Wells Fargo says it's already in compliance with the main provisions of the proposed rule.

Specifically, in a recent filing, the bank claims:

"Wells Fargo has strong recoupment and clawback policies in place designed so that incentive compensation awards to our named executives encourage the creation of long-term, sustainable performance, while at the same time discourage our executives from taking imprudent or excessive risks that would adversely impact the Company."

This means the bank can cancel, or claw back, any incentive-based executive compensation, such as deferred bonuses or stock options, from executives who engaged in misconduct or who received such compensation based upon materially inaccurate information, "whether or not the executive was responsible."

Thus far the company has given no indication it intends to claw back any of Tolstedt's compensation, although pressure from the public and regulators may soon change this.

The Proposed Rule

So let's imagine the new incentive-based compensation rule was already in place and consider how it would work.

The rule's most stringent requirements apply to "level 1" financial institutions like Wells Fargo, with over $250 billion in consolidated assets. Its provisions cover all employees who receive incentive-based compensation, with enhanced requirements for individuals referred to as senior executive officers and significant risk-takers.

As head of a major business line, Tolstedt would qualify as a senior executive officer, and her compensation would be subject to:

  • higher minimum deferral requirements - the percentage of incentive-based compensation that cannot be cashed in until the passing of a specific amount of time (meant to encourage long-term thinking);
  • forfeiture of "unvested" compensation (that is, compensation that has been awarded but has yet to be fully transferred to the employee); and
  • clawbacks for so-called vested compensation that has already been transferred to the employee.

Since Tolstedt is retiring soon, the rule's minimum deferral requirements are less relevant here. But for past performance periods, unvested compensation could be forfeited and vested pay could be clawed back.

Even if one generously assumes Tolstedt was unaware of the fraud taking place, she was still likely responsible for setting the sales goals and compensation structure that incentivized so many employees to defraud customers. Indeed the firm's own filings with the SEC seem to confirm this. Using these assumptions and applying the text of the proposed rule, it is clear that nearly all of her unvested incentive-based compensation could be forfeited, and her vested compensation could also be at risk of being clawed back.

The proposed rule identifies several types of events that would require covered firms to initiate a forfeiture review. Those most relevant in the Wells Fargo situation include:

  • inappropriate risk-taking, regardless of the impact on financial performance;
  • material failures of risk management or control; or
  • noncompliance with statutory, regulatory or supervisory standards that results in enforcement or legal action against the covered institution brought by a federal or state regulator or agency.

The proposal leaves it to the firm to determine the amount to be forfeited, provided it can support its decisions.

The standards that trigger a review of whether vested compensation should be clawed back are higher (though firms can loosen them). Such situations include a senior executive officer engaging in misconduct that results in significant financial or reputational harm to the institution, fraud or intentional misrepresentation of information used to determine the employee's incentive-based compensation.

Based on the facts as we currently know them, it would be difficult to prove Tolstedt met the rule's clawback criteria, since it's not known if she actually engaged in the fraud herself. If she had, all of the incentive-based compensation that had vested since the fraudulent activity began would be subject to being clawed back.

'Standard-Bearer Of Our Culture'

Assuming the rule was currently in effect, and Wells Fargo was adhering to it, how much would Tolstedt stand to lose?

This is almost impossible to determine given that she has worked at the firm for 27 years, we don't know how long the fraudulent activity went on for, publicly available information on her compensation is limited and the rule leaves it up to the firm to determine the dollar amount that is forfeited and/or clawed back.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Wells Fargo ruling indicates the "relevant period" lasted from Jan. 1, 2011, to Sept. 8, 2016. Over that time frame, Tolstedt received at least $36 million in incentive-based compensation, compared with $8.5 million in base salary.

Under the terms of the proposed rule, Wells Fargo would be able to get back at least half of the $36 million. If Tolstedt was found to have known about the fraud taking place within her division, they could likely get it all back.

When the firm announced in July that Tolstedt would be retiring at the end of the year, Stumpf referred to her as a "standard-bearer of our culture" and "a champion for our customers." At the time, the firm was winding down its five-year employee purge.

Knowing what we know now, Stumpf could have easily fired her and attempted to claw back a significant amount of her pay. Instead he chose loyalty to a long-time employee over loyalty to his customers. Next time that choice may be off the table.

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Lee Reiners is the director of the Global Financial Markets Center at Duke University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously in Wells Fargo:
* "Wells Fargo paid no federal income taxes in 2008, 2009, and 2010, despite being profitable all three years, largely due to its use of 58 offshore tax haven subsidiaries."

* "For the stress test, the Fed assumed that banks' profits would suffer a prolonged hit in an economic downturn, reducing or wiping out the value of these assets. But there was an issue with Wells Fargo. Since it hadn't lost money even at the depths of the 2008 crisis, should it be able to get some credit for its deferred tax assets?"

* Whining.

* What John Stumpf Earns.

* Secret Documents Show Weak Oversight Of Key Foreclosure Program.

* "A new lawsuit has been filed against Wells Fargo & Co. over its home equity line practices, adding to a growing list of litigation against the mortgage lender for which class action status is being sought."

* Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has also filed suit against Wells Fargo for allegedly discriminating against black and Latino borrowers.

* Wells Fargo Won't Claw Back $125 Million Retirement Bonus From Exec Who Oversaw 2 Million Frauds.

* "[T]he language used in the Fifth Third, Wells Fargo and Advanced Micro Devices settlements is designed to discourage whistleblowers from reporting corporate misbehavior."

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:19 AM | Permalink

Meet Chicago's Newest Vampire*

"Merit, Chicago's newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is.

"Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit.


"Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene and to spy for the vamps while she's at it.

"Oh, and luckily Ethan's offering some steamy one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

"Merit must accept the assignment even though she knows that she'll probably regret it. And she's not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She'll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals not least between her and a certain centuries-old green-eyed Master vampire."

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Catherine: "I don't exactly know how to review this book. I have such a polarized reaction about it. I loved it, but it absolutely pissed me off. When I got to the end and saw that I'd be left hanging like that, I was absolutely infuriated!"

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Wikipedia: "Chicagoland Vampires is a series of urban fantasy vampire romance novels by American author Chloe Neill which are set in the city and environs of Chicago . . .

"A host of supernatural beings populate the Chicagoland Vampires world: vampires, shapeshifters, sorcerers/witches, nymphs, fairies, angels, demons, and trolls. Vampires are the only supernatural beings who have announced their existence to the human public; however, almost all human governing officials know of the remaining supernatural species. Prior to Some Girls Bite, Chicago's Mayor, Seth Tate, created the Ombudsman's office to funnel all supernatural issues into one office."

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Previously in Twice Bitten: No. 13 On Booklist: Best-Selling Books On Amazon Under The Search Term "Chicago."

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* Third in a series, originally published in 2010; 10 installments have since been published. This post is based on an audiobook excerpt uploaded to YouTube on Monday.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:51 AM | Permalink

Downers Grove Native Named Co-Captain Of Clarkson Women's Hockey Team

POTSDAM, NY - Downers Grove, Illinois native Savannah Harmon, a standout on Clarkson University's Division I Women's Hockey team, has been named a co-captain for the Golden Knights in 2016-17.

A highly skilled offensive defenseman entering her junior season, Harmon tallied 22 points on four goals and 18 assists in 2015-16. Through 78 career games, Harmon has recorded 11 goals and 32 assists to go along with a very impressive +41 plus/minus rating.

Harmon was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team in her freshmen campaign in 2014-15.

With outstanding success in recent years, Clarkson has firmly established itself as one of the premier NCAA women's hockey program's in the country. Entering its 14th season at the Division I level, the Golden Knights will again be striving to challenge for NCAA and ECAC Hockey supremacy in 2016-17. Over the past four years, Clarkson has won two ECAC Hockey regular season titles (2014, 2015), competed four times in the NCAA Tournament, made two Frozen Four appearances (2014, 2016) and won it all in 2014 claiming the NCAA National Championship.

The Knights will face a 34-game slate in this season, featuring the 22-game ECAC Hockey schedule. The Green and Gold, who have posted five straight campaigns of 20-or-more wins, will get an early jump to the season with an exhibition contest against Canadian college foe Concordia University on Friday, September 23 at Cheel Arena before officially beginning the 2016-17 campaign. Clarkson begins the Division I schedule hosting Penn State in back-to-back non-conference games on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1 in the first of 17 regular-season games in Potsdam.

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A three-point day for Savannah Harmon.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:44 AM | Permalink

September 19, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Nots at Mousetrap for a Riot Fest aftershow on Saturday night.


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2. Chachuba at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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3. G-Nome Project at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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4. The Steepwater Band at Schuba's on Friday night.

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5. Motion City Soundtrack at the Metro for a Riot Fest aftershow on Sunday night.

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6. Freakwater at the Hideout on Saturday night.

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7. Allison Weiss at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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8. Enanitos Verdes at the Concord for a Riot Fest aftershow on Friday night.

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9. Bad Cop/Bad Cop at Riot Fest on Friday.

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10. Ween at Riot Fest on Friday night.

Bernstein: Ween Digs Deep For Bust Out Filled Riot Fest Set.

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11. Belly at the Vic on Saturday night.

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12. Lush at the Vic on Sunday night.

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13. Los Tigres del Norte at Ravinia on Saturday night.

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14. The Heavy at Park West on Friday night.

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15. New Candy Store Prophets at Wire in Berwyn for the Monkees 59th Anniversary Gala on Friday night.

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16. The Misfits at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

Kot: Misfits Reunion Not All That Historic.

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17. Morrissey at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

Osmon: Morrissey Brought Charisma But Not Much Else To Riot Fest.

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18. Fitz and the Tantrums at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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19. Jimmy Eat World at Riot Fest on Friday.

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20. Touche Amore at Riot Fest on Friday.

BV: "The best set of the day, straight up."

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21. The Flaming Lips at Riot Fest on Friday night.

Chicagoist: Flaming Lips Return To Gonzo Form.

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22. ZZ Top at the Rosemont Theatre on Saturday night.

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23. Echo & the Bunnymen at the Metro on Saturday night.

Elbel: "The 87-minute show at Metro flew by at breakneck pace."

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24. D.R.I. at Reggies on Saturday night.

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25. Taking Back Sunday at the Metro for a Riot Fest aftershow on Friday night.

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26. Stick To Your Guns at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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27. Wishbone Ash at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Saturday night.

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Catching up with . . .

The Whatfour at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on September 2nd.

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I Lost Control at Livewire on September 4th.

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Drivin' N' Cryin' at Schubas on September 7th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:56 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"The inspector general for the Chicago Board of Education says his work has been obstructed and duplicated by a better-funded arm of CPS chief Forrest Claypool's office, according to a report that lays out a political scuffle between the legally mandated watchdog and the mayoral-appointed administration," the Tribune reports.

"In his report, [IG] Nicholas Schuler accuses auditors for Chicago Public Schools of 'significant interference' with his investigation into the alleged theft of tens of thousands of dollars worth of CTA fare cards by a district employee.

"A 'parallel investigation' of that case by CPS' Office of Internal Audit and Compliance last year 'compromised a criminal investigation by prematurely alerting a main subject, and sowing fear and confusion in the minds of key witnesses,' Schuler said in his report, which was sent to Claypool and the school board."

Let me pause here to say that this reiterates something I wrote repeatedly about the Independent Police Review Authority back when a lot of folks were angry at having discovered that IPRA froze its investigations if and when they were referred to the feds, for a variety of reasons including not stepping on their toes. It's not a perfect analogy given that CPS might have intended to interfere, but it's an analogy nonetheless.

Now back to the story:

"Auditors also contacted Cook County prosecutors in an effort to inject their department into the inspector general's fare card investigation, Schuler's office said. He said 'very troubling issues remain' with other investigations being undertaken by the auditor's office."

There ya go.

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"The district's internal audit team is led by Andrell Holloway, who previously worked with Claypool in a similar role at the CTA."

CPS is paying Holloway $191,000, according to this Tribune article they didn't link to. (Schuler makes about $50,000 less, near as I can tell.)

"The unit has received significant funding increases since Claypool took office.CPS budgeted a little more than $958,000 for the audit department in 2015. This year, the budget for Holloway's office is roughly $4.4 million, not including up to $14 million worth of consulting contracts that he manages.

"This year's budget for Schuler's office is about $2 million, relatively unchanged from recent years. The office perennially asks the school board for more money and staff."

Get the picture?

"I think there's a fundamental disagreement, at some level, about the importance of the IG's office," Schuler told the paper. "I've been told that at the end of the day, nobody's going to stand in our way. We're free to do what we can. But I see that as something different than a wholehearted embrace of the inspector general's function and the idea that there's going to be independent and transparent investigations."

This argument is also reminiscent of CPD in that reform advocates and the city council's Progressive Caucus are fighting with the Emanuel administration over properly funding the agency that will replace IPRA. It was also an ongoing issue for the legislative inspector general tasked with oversight of the council, which grudgingly approved creation of the office and then starved it of resources.

(To that point, the Sun-Times said last year that Schuler's successes were "precisely why Chicago's corruption-prone City Council needs a more powerful inspector general of its own.")

But I digress, again.

"CPS declined requests to interview Claypool and Holloway."

Maybe they were busy working on the district's new transparency reform.

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"Frank Clark, the school board's president and a mediator in the dispute, said Holloway's unit needed more firepower after 'not meeting even the minimal obligations of an internal audit department.'

"Of course he would like more people," Clark said of Schuler's office. "That could be said for almost every office in central office. But it's unrealistic."

But why is it unrealistic to properly fund the inspector general's office - especially when you've overfunded Claypool's audit unit?

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"Clark downplayed the severity of the disagreement, which he said stems from a lack of communication."

I'm not sure Schuler would agree with that.

"The CPS employee was fired in November, according to Schuler's report, which said Holloway's audit department conducted an 'improper separate and parallel investigation' into the theft.

"Schuler's office said the audit team 'disregarded repeated requests . . . to refrain from simultaneously and separately investigating the matter."'

Emphasis mine, to show that communication is said to have occurred repeatedly - as did disregard of said communication.

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"There is no battle that is going on," Clark told the Trib.

Tell that to Schuler! Of course there's a battle going on. That's established, but anyone familiar with Clark's performances at school board meetings will recognize his (deceitful) PR mien.

"There is a very real overlap in what two very good leaders think they ought to be doing. And I need to correct that. I need to make sure I work with Forrest to correct that."

Did Clark just admit Claypool is in the wrong?

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At any rate, will Clark face up the real issue?

"From somebody in the inspector general business, it doesn't make sense why you would have, especially in the wake of a scandal at the highest level of the CEO's office, (someone) come in and then start conducting their own investigations," Schuler told the Trib.

"If you've got a statutorily appointed independent, investigatory body - it makes little or no sense to, especially if you have faith in that body, (to) develop a secondary capacity that kind of duplicates what's going on."

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More about Schuler:

"Becoming a police officer was almost a certainty for Schuler," Chicago Lawyer reported in 2009.

His father was a homicide detective, his two brothers are still police officers and his sister is a former police officer.

Schuler enjoyed his police work and eventually was a member of the department's gang team for four years, patrolling the streets of the city's Rogers Park neighborhood. His hard work paid off, and he was promoted to sergeant.

In this role, he began working more closely with the department's internal affairs lawyers. It was during this period that Schuler discovered how much he enjoyed the legal end of the crime-fighting business.

"It was certainly a different way of working," he said. "I was used as a police officer to cases beginning and ending on the same day. The lawyers, though, had to have more patience. They worked at a slower pace. They worked on long-term cases. I liked that pace. I liked that in-depth work. Working with the lawyers convinced me that it was what I wanted to do."

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And:

"He also holds bachelor's and master's degrees in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC."

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And now, Carmin:

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Thank you. You did a better job on this than I did.

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The Wrigley Riddle
Who would want to sabotage a stadium?

The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks
A small story tells a large one.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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Programming Note: Last week's Weekend In Chicago Rock didn't get posted until the weekend. So here it is, featuring Ashen Furies, Butch Walker, Johann Moon, Brett Naucke, Minus Montgomery, The All-American Rejects, Night Ranger, Lever, and My Double Life.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

The Cub Factor: The Time/Life Of Your Life
The DVD is already full.

The White Sox Report: Reload
The only "rebuild" this team needs is in the manager's office and the bullpen.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #119: Cubs Crapshoot
Pedal to the metal.

Plus: Exclusive! The Bears Have Only Played One Game; Chicago Sky Again Picks Up Slack Without Delle Donne; Consider The Chicago Fire Source!; White Sox Mandated To Continue Playing Games.

SportsMonday
Will appear on Tuesday, and almost certainly involve the Bears.

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BeachBook

The Washington Post Makes History: First Paper To Call For Prosecution Of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer).

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A thousand times yes.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Isn't the very existence of the lottery an example of a broken system?

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I've worked in the private sector my whole life and in no workplace I've been in were employees rewarded for producing better results.

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One-Man Party.

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"Ari Fleischer is a convicted rapist."

"No he's not."

"Let the viewers decide."

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: 100% natural.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 PM | Permalink

Fact-Checking Donald (And Eric) Trump's Charity Claims

Donald Trump says he has donated millions to charity.

Earlier this year, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold set out to prove him right.

But finding evidence to support Trump's claims turned out to be surprisingly difficult. The Republican presidential nominee provided few details. His campaign offered little help. Even Trump's son, Eric, who runs his own charitable foundation, couldn't cite specific donations.

Fahrenthold reached out to dozens of charities, and took to Twitter, asking his followers for leads. Despite his exhaustive efforts, he hasn't been able to come close to accounting for the $8.5 million Trump publicly pledged over a 15-year period.

The lack of evidence to support Trump's claims has raised [further] questions about Trump's honesty - and just how charitable the self-described billionaire has actually been.

We spoke with Fahrenthold about how he reported this series.

A few highlights from our conversation:

What clues led you to doubt that Trump had actually donated to his son's charity?

If there had been a large sum of donations from a family member of a director of the Eric Trump Foundation, like Donald Trump, that would have shown up in a specific spot in the tax form 990 for the Eric Trump Foundation. And it wasn't there. These experts that I was talking to said, you can read that and see a process of elimination that there haven't been huge donations from any family member of Eric Trump. That's what got me back to him and I asked him again, "Are you sure about this?"

You've obviously gone public with your reporting, sort of crowdsourced the process in some ways. What have been some of the more interesting leads that have come in?

A Tim Tebow helmet where a reader had spotted this picture of Trump at a charity auction with an autographed Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos helmet that he'd bought and that led us to this great story about how Trump had used charity money to buy this helmet for himself.

That would have been problematic only if he'd kept the helmet? Or what was the issue there?

That's the funny thing. The IRS says that if you're the leader of a foundation, obviously, you can't use your foundation's money to buy things for yourself. Trump bought this helmet for $12,000 . . . The question is what became of it? If Trump has kept it and put it on display in his office or somewhere else, that's self-dealing. The IRS says you're not allowed to do that. If he had an office for the Trump Foundation, he could put it there, but there is no Trump Foundation office. It doesn't have any staff or any buildings or anything. In order to comply with the law, he has to use the helmet for charitable purposes. He has to give it to a charity. The question is what became of it. We've got no answers from Trump about it. Eric Trump said he thought his father had just given it to a random child, which is also not allowed by the IRS.

Tell us about the cameo made by Moammar Khadafy. That was one of the more interesting tidbits to arise out of all this.

I think it was 2009, Khadafy comes to the United Nations in New York to give a speech and he was looking for a place to stay. Khadafy did not like to stay in buildings. He liked to stay in a Bedouin tent outdoors, a large Bedouin tent. He had rented, from Trump, space at this estate in Westchester County, New York. I think he paid like $150,000. At the time no one mentioned this but then two years later Khadafy . . . was killed in Libya, Trump was asked about this: "Didn't you rent some properties to Moammar Khadafy for his tent?" He said, "Oh, yeah, yeah, I gave that all to charity."

That's a pattern. Trump said at one point that he was going to give all the money from Celebrity Apprentice to charity. He said he was going to give the money from Crippled America, his last book, to charity . . . I haven't been able to find any evidence that he actually gave it to anybody.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:30 AM | Permalink

The Wrigley Riddle

"Next up to the plate: book six in our early chapter book mystery series, where each book is set in a different American ballpark!

"Ivy-covered walls - they're the most famous part of the Chicago Cubs' historic ballpark, Wrigley Field. Mike and Kate can't wait to get down on the field to see the ivy for themselves.

"But when they do, they're horrified to discover patches of the ivy have been ripped away! Who would want to sabotage the stadium? Is it someone trying to curse the Cubs? Or is the rumor of a treasure hidden under the ivy tempting greedy fans?"


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:08 AM | Permalink

The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks

A small story tells a large story.


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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.

* Pie's Brexit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Real Life Is Not Game Of Thrones.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Labor: The Clue's In The Title!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Where Is The War Against Terrorble Mental Health Services?

* Progressive Pie.

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:00 AM | Permalink

Time/Life Of Your Life

Geez, guys. Just when you thought the Cubs did something unthinkable, like ruin this great season by losing the clincher and having to wake up the next day and see that the Cardinals lost, they go ahead and give everyone what they wanted the next day anyway.

And sure they wouldn't of "ruined" the season, but you did feel a bit screwed. Like, when you are watching the Time/Life highlight DVD of the World Champion 2016 Chicago Cubs, do you really want part of it to show the end of that Cardinals-Giants game that technically clinched it? No. You want to see Miggy Montero hit that walk-off homer in extra innings the game after. The Cardinals losing the game late the night before will be just a footnote to that Miggy celebration. So, whew . . . Thank goodness. Because really, what else is there besides watching the Time/Life highlight DVD of the World Champion Chicago Cubs?

And that sucker is already brimming with goofy outfits, magicians, comeback wins, walk-offs, pitching dominance, near no-hitters, all the David Ross being "old" stuff, incredible tagging, silly sayings, silly sayings on t-shirts, horribly awesome fake mustaches, 104-mph pitches, an insane pickoff montage, Zobrist and the adorable bike thing, more goofy outfits, a big part about how it was OK for Heyward to suck so bad at the plate because he did all these other things really well, a bunch of well-placed and well-timed bunts, and that one Travis Wood game. And this is before the playoffs even start. And then all of that stuff will happen too as we are talking about the Time/Life 2016 Chicago Cubs World Championship DVD and all.

And when you look back at the dominance of this season and all of the crazy-fun-winning stuff that has happened, it kind of makes the playoffs even more pressure-filled. Because, how the heck do you top what's happened this season? It doesn't seem like you can.

There's a buildup to the playoffs this year that will just not be the same if they lose in the playoffs. Like, next year we can't make David Ross retire again, right? And that is just one of the scenarios playing out. Just like Kyle Schwarber can't blow out his knee again next season like that, right? Ok, was it bad that I mentioned that? I'm just sayin', we are going to run out of "special" regular seasons quickly if this World series thing doesn't happen.

So, I think this might be the best time to do it, guys. Just think about how this season's Time/Life World Championship DVD would compare to one next year. What could possibly be better next season, regular-season wise? I can't think of much. This has to be the year.

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 3-4 for the week, taking two of three from the Cardinals and just one of four from the Brewers. Who'da thunk that losing three of four to the Brewers in mid-September could be so fun?

Week in Preview: The boys in blue apparently have to keep playing games. Honestly, I think they should just play each other in split squad games until October gets here. Sure the home-field advantage thing in the National League playoffs is on the line, but even then, this team can win on the road too. These are truly meaningless games - kinda like a second spring training.

Musical Outfielders: And no we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Jorge Soler got three starts again in left, with Ben Zobrist getting two and Kris Bryant and Chris Coghlan getting one each. Seems like left field is going to be the match-up field come playoff time. Probably based on where Joe wants to put Baez on the infield - he'll put either Bryant or Zo (is it too late to start calling Zobrist "Zo?") out there in left. Or maybe Heyward sits as well against a tough lefty. But it has been established that anyone can be moved around anywhere and that is probably all Joe wanted to establish come playoff time. Mission accomplished.

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: Good ol' Starlin Castro. His fatal flaw(s) are the reason he is no longer a Cub. Can't say it feels bad to see that he hasn't changed. But he unfortunately got hurt as well this week and will probably not be able to help the Yankees anymore this season. Or will he help by not playing?

Current Potential Annoying Cub of the Week: I still can't say anyone is bugging me this week, so I'll have to project to who might become annoying again. This week I have a suspicion that someone is not going to be super happy that they are not going to be on the playoff roster. Maybe it's Jason Hammel, or Coghlan, or 3 A.M., or all three? I have a feeling that someone might become annoying. Although, winning trumps all of that.

Mad(don) Scientist: Lost in this article about Theo and company being out in the bleachers is Big Poppa Joe saying that there is a playoff edition of his t-shirt. So, that's great.

Kubs Kalender: OK, the Cubs have lame promotions this week. A t-shirt and a night light. Yawn, indeed. So I looked around the league and found the coolest bobblehead giveaway this season - possibly of all-time. An A's Sean Doolittle musical Metallica bobblehead. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that injuries are the only enemy right now.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:03 AM | Permalink

Reload

I'm hearing increasing calls for a Sox rebuild this offseason. "Blow it up" seems to be the consensus of opinion as the South Side contingent heads into the last two weeks of the season with faint hopes of finishing .500.

But I'm not so sure for a few reasons.

The term "rebuild" has been aptly applied to the Cubs ever since the fall of 2011 with the arrival of Theo Epstein, who described the strategy the day he moved from Boston. He traded established players for young prospects while piling up 286 losses in his first three seasons, with the silver lining being high draft picks. Those losses are all but forgotten by most Cub fans amid the euphoria of 2016.

Let's figure that the Sox finish with 79 wins or thereabouts, which is frustrating and disappointing even though - brace yourselves - Robin Ventura's club has ticked up in victories the last three seasons after losing 99 games in 2013.

Looking back to last season, of the 10 post-season qualifiers, three of them, the Cubs, Astros and Mets, finished under .500 the season before.

Cleveland and Boston appear headed for division titles this season after finishing 81-80 and 78-84, respectively, in 2015. Detroit and Seattle remain in the wild card race even though the Tigers won just 74 games and the Mariners 76 just one year ago.

The point is that a number of teams with similar records to where the Sox will finish this season rally to become playoff contenders the following season with a few free agent signings but without trading their best players.

Occasionally the improvement is startling, such as in Houston where the Astros lost 106, 107, and 111 games the seasons of 2011-13 as they adjusted to the post-Bagwell/Biggio era. After beating the Yankees in the wild card game last year, the Astros dropped a close 3-2 division series to the Royals, who, of course, became World Series champions.

Because of the alarming number of losses, the Astros used their high draft choices for players like Carlos Correa and George Springer, who joined Latin American free agent Jose Altuve and others to quickly become competitive. However, the Astros, despite being above .500 this season, need to make up three games in the wild card race at this time in order to play in October. So the "rebuild," if you want to call it that, has had somewhat mixed results.

Remember when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 after finishing 69-93 and dead last in their division the year before? The personnel didn't change a whole lot, but the manager did; after Bobby Valentine's one disastrous season, John Farrell was hired to right the ship. (File that thought until a few paragraphs more.)

Consider the Central Division foe Tigers. In 2003 they lost 119 games, the most in American League history. (The 1962 Mets set the all-time record with 120.) Three seasons later they won the World Series.

So how did that happen without a rebuild or blowup? By 2005, under manager Alan Trammell, a Tiger for his entire 20-year career, Detroit went 71-91, giving Trammell's teams an average of 100 losses over a three-year period.

Instead of making wholesale changes in the roster, Trammell was fired, and Jim Leyland took over. Guys like Ivan Rodriguez, Placido Polanco, Brandon Inge, Magglio Ordonez, Chris Shelton, and Carlos Guillen remained in the starting lineup. Rookie Justin Verlander blossomed into a 17-game winner, and the free agent signings of Kenny Rogers (17 wins) and veteran closer Todd Jones (37 saves) shored up the pitching staff as the team won 95 games.

The Tigers' situation was somewhat analogous to the present-day White Sox in the sense that each team's manager was a popular former player for the franchise. But a change was needed, and Leyland, who won two pennants in his eight years in Detroit, turned out to be an elixir, much like Joe Maddon on the North Side. Maybe a manager of Leyland's caliber isn't waiting in the wings to guide the White Sox in 2017, but it's clearly time to find out if someone other than Robin Ventura can do better.

If the White Sox were enduring 95 to 100 losses, the argument for a complete makeover would be much stronger. However, as mediocre and lackluster as this team plays, the thought of peddling Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Melky Cabrera or anyone else not named Adam Eaton or Tim Anderson doesn't make a lot of sense. There should be ways to squeeze out another eight to ten victories without starting over.

Besides, things could be much worse. White Sox fans are hungry for October baseball and justifiably so. The Sox have entered post-season play only three times this century. But nine teams have qualified just once or twice.

Like the Sox, the Marlins won a World Series (2003), but that is the one and only time they've advanced to the post-season in the 2000s. The Rockies, a 24-year-old franchise, have finished over .500 just seven times and have won as many as 90 games only twice ever. See, we don't have it so bad.

Kansas City is another franchise that posted just one winning season between 1995 and 2012. Eighteen seasons. Seventeen under .500. The Sox aren't close to being that inept.
However, those losing seasons resulted in high draft choices, and the Royals chose wisely with first-rounders Alex Gordon (2005), Mike Moustakas (2007), and Eric Hosmer (2008). Catcher Salvador Perez was signed as a free agent in 2006, and pitcher Zach Greinke was traded to Milwaukee for Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar. Pitchers James Shields (he used to be good) and Wade Davis were added in a trade for the 2013 season, and, finally, the Royals were winners.

After all those losing seasons, I suppose you could say that the Royals rebuilt. However, let's be clear that it isn't enough to draft talent in the early rounds. It's what you do and how you teach that talent once they enter your system. The Royals' success the past two seasons hasn't been built around robust home run hitting and Cy Young winners but rather situational hitting, speed and keen base running, defense, and an especially effective bullpen.

Talking about a bullpen, in addition to a managerial change, this should be the next objective if the Sox are to move forward in 2017.

Consider that the team has lost 23 games this season when leading after six innings, the point at which the bullpen usually takes over. Compare that to the Indians, who have blown just nine games in the final three innings this season. The Royals' bullpen failed to protect sixth-inning leads just 10 times last year and a mere six in 2014. That is the difference between a division winner and a fourth-place team.

If the Sox had blown, say, 15 games instead of 23 in the final three innings this season, they'd be 80-69 instead of 72-77, and seriously contending for a wild card berth.

General manager Rick Hahn a few weeks ago said that fans would know very soon after the season ends the direction the team is taking. Since post-season play extends to the end of October, is it foolish to interpret his remarks as anything other than a prediction that Ventura will be fired?

If that is indeed the case, then Hahn can go about the business of building a better bullpen, one which inherits leads after Sale, Quintana, Carlos Rodon, and maybe Miguel Gonzalez or a rejuvenated James Shields or rookie Carson Fulmer do their jobs.

There are other holes to fill, like behind the plate, but manager and bullpen are the places to start.

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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 7:40 AM | Permalink

September 17, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #119: Cubs Crapshoot

Pedal to the metal. Plus: Exclusive! The Bears Have Only Played One Game; Chicago Sky Again Picks Up Slack Without Delle Donne; Consider The Chicago Fire Source!; White Sox Mandated To Continue Playing Games.


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SHOW NOTES

* 119.

:46: Cubs Crapshoot.

* Pedal to the metal.

* Remarkably injury-free.

* Rich Hill's blister.

* Coghlan, La Stella, Montero.

* Arrieta is this team's third-best starter.

* Jason Hammelseeyoulater.

* Bobby Valentine wore it better.

* Theo's future.

* Sullivan: Cubs Way Trumps Cardinals Way.

* Bryant vs. Appel.

45:54: Exclusive! The Bears Have Only Played One Game.

* Campbell: Offensive line upheaval!

* Biggs: Offensive line upheaval worth it.

* Overreaction Monday on The Mighty 1090!

* Bernstein and Rozner can't imagine life without Jay Cutler.

* The Cutler narrative has shifted and will not be brooked!

* Finley: Jay Cutler's Annoyance With Kevin White's Route Is Tough Love.

1:03:45: Chicago Sky Again Picks Up Slack Without Delle Donne.

1:04:14: Consider The Chicago Fire Source!

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 5.00.59 PM.png

1:04:18: White Sox Mandated To Continue Playing Games.

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STOPPAGE: 4:32

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 2.28.57 PM.png

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Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas at Riot Fest.


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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Mac Sabbath, Volbeat, Die Sektor, Fort Defiance, Candlebox, Phil Circle, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Knocked Loose, and Killswitch Engage.

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 1.25.47 PM.png

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Catching up with . . .

Last Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Ashen Furies, Butch Walker, Johann Moon, Brett Naucke, Minus Montgomery, The All-American Rejects, Night Ranger, Lever, and My Double Life.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Many great albums are released each year, but only a handful get the attention they deserve. Jim and Greg share some of their Buried Treasures of 2016: the best albums that flew under the radar."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour
Is in post-production.

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Weekend BeachBook

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U.S. Ignores CIA Cover-Up Of Torture.

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How Washington Blew Its Best Chance To Fix Immigration.

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Leaked E-Mails Describe Apple's Sexist, Toxic Work Environment.

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Tronc Line: Enough.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:01 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Mac Sabbath at the House of Blues on Monday night.


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2. Volbeat at the Riv on Tuesday night.

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3. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats at the Metro on Tuesday night.

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4. Knocked Loose at the Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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5. Die Sektor at Reggies on Monday night.

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6. Fort Defiance at the Elbo Room on Wednesday night.

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7. Killswitch Engage at the Riv on Tuesday night.

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8. Phil Circle at the Cubby Bear on Wednesday night.

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9. Candlebox at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:10 PM | Permalink

September 16, 2016

The [Friday] Papers

Cubs Clinch! Shout it from the rooftops. The obstructed view rooftops!

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap
A touch of Serbian nightclub during lunch in Albany Park.

Court: Cook County GOP Allowed To Require Republican Committeemen Be Republicans
13 Democrats removed from office.

Fantasy Fix: The Kap Factor
"I'd like to see what happens when some of the NFL's bigger stars take a knee."

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Programming Notes
* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour will appear on Saturday.

* The Week in Chicago Rock (and the last Weekend in Chicago Rock) should appear later today.

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BeachBook

Sandra Bland's Family Reaches $1.9 Million Settlement In Wrongful Death Suit.

Wrongful death.

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George W. Bush's White House 'Lost' 22 Million E-Mails.

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Colin Powell Loves Bragging About Hanging Out With Celebs Like Henry Kissinger And Jim Belushi At Bohemian Grove.

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How Fantasy Sports' Bet On State Strategy Is Paying Off.

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Illinois Woman Alleges Vibrator Makers Improperly Used Smartphone Apps To Track Usage.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Why is this even a question for a New York Times reporter, much less a difficult one? Do your job - tell the truth. Report what you've just tweeted. #Journalism

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How can so many be so confused about what the job is? Report the truth and get new friends.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: The truth shall set tronc free.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:47 AM | Permalink

Court: Cook County GOP Allowed To Require Republican Committeemen Be Republicans

Republican Party Leaders,

Late [Wednesday] afternoon we scored a significant victory in federal court over Chicago Democrats and the Chicago Board of Elections.

U.S. District Court Judge Milton Shadur ruled that we have a First Amendment right to prevent those who vote in Democratic primaries from being seated as Republican committeemen in Chicago, and to that extent our bylaws override state law.

The net effect is that 13 ward committeemen have been permanently removed from office.

This ruling has broader implications for the Party in Illinois.

First, some background. In 2014 the Rauner campaign and the city, county, and state parties teamed up to recruit election judges in Chicago. The Rauner campaign wanted to ensure that we had genuine Republicans in every precinct to help reduce fraud.

It worked, and as a result Mike Madigan and Pat Quinn passed an amendment to the election code to make it harder for us. The amendment said that the county chairman could no longer place election judges; the power to do so would now fall to the ward committeeman. The Democrats knew that they could control some of the Republican ward committeemen and capture all of the election judge slots for themselves. To take advantage of the amendment, Democrats ran candidates in the 2016 primary for Republican ward committeeman across the city.

In response, I wrote an amendment to the Cook County bylaws that said that if you vote in a Democratic primary, you can't serve as a Republican committeeman. After the March primary we notified 13 would-be committeemen with Democratic voting histories that they could not serve.

Two of them filed a challenge before the Chicago Board of Elections seeking a ruling that they were, in fact, committeemen. In an astounding move, the Board ruled in their favor.

The CBOE has always favored the Democrats, but this was unprecedented. We responded by filing a federal civil rights case against the Board.

Normally, a Board of Elections does not put up a defense against such suits. As a supposedly-neutral third party they let the other side, in this case the Democrats, argue the case. But in an even more astounding move, the Board had their lawyer, paid for with public money, submit a very aggressive brief and actively argue the case on behalf of the Democrats.

The judge was floored and chastised the Board for its naked display of partisanship. The judge subsequently issued a permanent injunction against the Board, and later a final ruling against their position.

This case wasn't a close call. You can read some of the scathing language the judge had for the Board in the injunction and in the decision.

The broader legal implication of this case is that Mike Madigan cannot decide, through force of law, how the Republican Party operates in this state. As a Republican Party leader, I ask you to keep this in mind.

If Mike Madigan enacts a state law that unduly burdens our First Amendment rights, we can fight it and we can win.

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See also:
* Cook County GOP Can Block 'Carpetbaggers.'

* Chicago GOP Says Dems Infiltrated Their Ranks.

* Chicago GOP A More Exclusive Club Than You May Think.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:15 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap

"Was a working man's tavern, now a Serbian bar with food served from noon 'til closing and a nightclub with music and food on the weekend," Gary wrote on Chowhound in 2003. "What I have eaten there has been good, waitresses wear the standard Eastern European uniform of nightclub attire, even at the lunch hour."

sunnydaytap.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:17 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Kap Factor

Questions on Week 1's fantasy football implications:

As anthem protests increase, will owners cut ties with fantasy-relevant players who take a knee?

I was part of at least one fantasy draft in which team owners dared one another to draft Colin Kaepernick, in the wake of his initial anthem protest.

Of course, it was Kaepernick's lack of fantasy relevance that saved this particular bunch of social conservative suburban Republicans from having to make that choice.

As protests seem to be spreading, I'd like to see what happens when some of the NFL's bigger stars take a knee.

Would fantasy team owners drop a WR who leads their teams in fantasy points?

People talk big about what the anthem means and supposedly requires of us all, and are more than happy to decide for the rest of us what should and shouldn't be allowed, but their own greed can turn them into hypocrites pretty quickly.

Is Andrew Luck back?

He sure looked more like the Luck of 2014 than 2015 in Week 1, with 385 yards passing and four TDs, no INTs.

It all came in a losing cause, as Luck was forced to keep up with a freewheeling Lions offense that outscored the Colts 39-35.

Luck needs to string a few of these outputs together before we entirely believe, but he may make a lot of us wish we hadn't passed on him when his name topped the list of remaining players in Rounds 4 and 5.

Is A.J. Green back?

He's certainly back as the most frequent target of CIN QB Andy Dalton, as many preseason predictions suggested.

He collected 12 receptions, 180 yards and one TD in a week when he was supposed to be somewhat corralled by star NYJ CB Darrelle Revis.

The rest of the Bengal's offense managed 11 catches to Green's 12, and it's clear Dalton trusts Green the most.

Does Le'Veon Bell need to fear for his starting job?

For the second straight season, Bell is sidelined by suspension and fellow RB DeAngelo Williams is stealing his thunder.

Williams ran for 143 yards and two TDs as the top overall fantasy RB in Week 1, though about 50 of those yards and the second TD came after Washington seemed to have surrendered to the Steelers.

Last year Williams was great, then disappeared in the weeks when Bell was active. How long with the Steelers let an injury-prone, often-suspended Bell be first in line for touches?

Does Jamaal Charles need to fear for his starting job?

In short, yes.

Spencer Ware collected 199 total yards, including 129 via air, and a TD, in Week 1, making him look an awful lot like Charles in his prime.

The frequently-injured Charles was out Week 1 and probably will miss another week.

KC need an RB who can handle QB Alex Smith's most obvious talent - game management through short, safe passes spread all across the field.

Ware appears to be able to do that as well as anybody.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

September 15, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"Battery maker Duracell is opening an office downtown today, bringing over 60 executive jobs to Chicago," Crain's reports.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel is to make the announcement today."

I'm not going to say it's a bad thing that Duracell is moving some executive jobs here, but if you look at the big picture, it's not necessarily a good thing, either. Here's why:

* February 19, Cincinnati Business Courier:

"Procter & Gamble's David Taylor spoke Thursday about the need to 'wow' consumers with innovative brands and packaging, but the new CEO's comments were crafted to create a good first impression with market analysts.

"Taylor, who spoke publicly for the first time since taking charge of the Cincinnati-based company, tried to wow analysts by committing to $10 billion in new productivity savings over the next five years."

I hope we all understand what is meant by the phrase "productivity savings."

* March 1, Cincinnati Business Courier:

"Procter & Gamble Co. shed 2,700 employees and about $2.5 billion in annual sales when it closed on the transfer of its Duracell battery division to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. this week."

* March 3, Danbury (CT) News-Times:

"As Berkshire Hathaway closed its acquisition of Duracell this week, the Bethel-based battery maker appeared to be settling on Chicago - where its new CEO works - as its de facto headquarters.

"Duracell and Berkshire Hathaway have made no announcement designating Chicago as Duracell's new headquarters, and on Thursday Duracell spokesman Richard Abramowitz told Hearst that the battery maker's main office will remain in Bethel.

"But an online job ad for Duracell disclosed an intent to set up camp in there, and Abramowitz confirmed that CEO Angelo Pantaleo is hiring corporate staff to work in a new Duracell office in the Windy City . . .

"The job ad posted on the website of Indeed.com states that 'Duracell is building out its corporate and strategic functions and looking for key talent across multiple functions' as a result of moving its headquarters to Chicago. Abramowitz said the job ad was old and indicated Bethel remains Duracell's formal headquarters.

"We are not moving anybody to Chicago," Abramowitz said.

"Any shift of Duracell's main corporate office - whether on paper or in functional practice - would mark Connecticut's second major defection in as many months, after Fairfield-based General Electric announced plans to relocate its headquarters and 200 jobs to Boston this summer.

"Procter & Gamble picked up Duracell as part of its 2005 acquisition of Boston-based Gillette, and had in 2014 planned to spin it off as an independent, publicly traded company.

"At the time, Duracell indicated it would keep its Bethel headquarters, which was constructed in 1995 on a hill above Berkshire Corporate Park.

"Duracell is the second largest taxpayer in the town after Eversource Energy, according to the most recent figures from the Connecticut Economic Resource Center."

Duracell may be adding jobs by building out its executive suite, but it's consolidating elsewhere - despite the continuing enormous profits of its new owner, as we shall see.

* July 28, Charlotte Business Journal:

"Duracell will close its 430-employee AA battery plant in Lancaster over the coming three years, eliminating one of that county's largest private employers . . .

"Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis says the decision means Duracell will leave the county after 35 years of making batteries in the community.

"Willis has told others in the Lancaster County community that the decision to close the plant had nothing to do with the performance at the battery factory. Instead, the move is 'coming down from corporate,' he says . . .

"With the closing of the plant, Duracell will likely have to give up some of the local incentives the company was granted two years ago in exchange for a $69 million spend at the Lancaster plant. In 2014, Lancaster County agreed to cut its property taxes for 30 years in exchange for the upgrades at the plant."

* July 28, Reuters:

"Duracell said the move will lead to 'some' job growth in LaGrange, which is about 330 miles (531 km) southwest of Lancaster, and that Lancaster workers will be encouraged to apply for work there.

"The company, which said it has about 3,000 employees, also makes C and D batteries in a plant in Cleveland, Tennessee."

* July 27, The Chattanoogan:

"James Ronald 'Ronnie' Anderson, 69, of Cleveland, Tennessee, passed away on Monday, July 25, 2016 in a local hospital.

"He was born on May 29, 1947 to the late JW and June Anderson. He was a Vietnam veteran in the United States Navy. He retired from Duracell with over 30 years of employment. He enjoyed boating, fishing, and camping. But his greatest joy was spending time with his granddaughter Gracie."

The obits of papers where Duracell divisions are located are littered with folks like this. Let's keep business stories human. Oops, too late . . .

* August 5, Bloomberg News:

"Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway said second-quarter profit rose 25 percent on earnings from newly acquired manufacturing businesses and improved results at insurance operations.

"Net income climbed to $5 billion from $4.01 billion a year earlier, the Omaha, Neb.-based company said Friday after the market closed.

"Berkshire's businesses represent a cross-section of the economy and provide Buffett, 85, with a steady stream of cash for more investments. Since the start of the year, he's added to the company's manufacturing operations, completing deals for battery-maker Duracell and for Precision Castparts, a global supplier to the aerospace industry. Those businesses have helped bolster results, as did a rebound at auto insurer Geico . . .

"The cash pile climbed to $72.7 billion as of June 30 from $58.3 billion three months earlier, helped by Kraft Heinz's redemption of preferred shares for about $8.3 billion. The extra funds add to Buffett's resources for another major acquisition.

"'He's got to do something to deploy that cash,' S&P's Seifert said. 'People are going to wonder where the next acquisition comes from.'"

What in the world to do with all this cash?!

* August 7, The Lancaster News:

"According to tax records, Duke Energy is the county's largest taxpayer and Duracell is the second largest.

"The city of Lancaster, Lancaster County and the Lancaster County School District all depend on property tax revenue generated by the 300,000-square-foot plant, though the level of dependency varies.

"This year, Duracell paid about $1.2 million in school taxes, $474,000 in county taxes and $608,000 in municipal taxes to the city of Lancaster . . .

"Duracell is the municipality's largest taxpayer and one of its top three water users, said City Finance Director James Absher. This past year the battery manufacturer paid $147,000 for water and sewer services, he said.

"But Absher said that isn't as big an issue as the $608,000 potential loss in property taxes.

"While taxes will still be paid on the property, it will drop in value once the machinery is removed.

"'It means I lose 6 percent of our general fund budget,' Absher said. 'And under state law, we can't get it back by raising millage. When you lose something like that, you just can't make it up elsewhere. We hope something comes in to replace Duracell, but you prepare for the worst and hope for the best,' he said.

"Already stretched to the financial hilt by a flat tax base, the city is in the early stages of complying with a time-sensitive EPA-mandated consent order on sewer system upgrades that could cost up to $18 million.

"There are also other issues, such as police department pay and higher employee health insurance premiums, as well as the cost of providing services to its citizens.

"'Of all the things we could imagine happening, losing Duracell was not one of them, said Lancaster City Councilwoman Jackie Harris. 'It was as big a surprise for us as their employees' . . .

"Outlaw said in the past five years, Duracell's employees have donated a combined $609,000 for the United Way community campaign and the 15 local agencies supported by the annual fundraiser.

"'It's in the culture of their employees,' she said. 'Not only that, many of them take it a step further and become volunteers for the agencies they support.'"

* August 12, The Lancaster News:

"Two years ago, Lancaster County gave Duracell property tax incentives designed to save the company about $11 million over three decades in return for the battery manufacturer spending $69 million over five years to upgrade its plant.

"It's the kind of deal Lancaster and most other counties make often. Duracell gets to divert tax payments into profits, and the county secures good-paying manufacturing jobs. Those workers support their families and spend their money locally, supporting many more jobs and families.

"But what happens when things don't work out as planned?

"Duracell announced last month that it will start phasing out production at its Lancaster plant next spring and shut down by 2019, eliminating 430 jobs.

"It started benefiting from the tax incentives in 2014. What happens to the deal now? Do we get money back?

"Maybe, but it's really complicated, Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said Thursday.

"'For this year, nothing changes,' Willis said. 'After that, County Attorney John Weaver will consult with Mike Ey to see what we have to do' . . .

"There have been at least three such agreements with Duracell over the years. Before the 2014 deal, the last one was in 2008. It involved $60 million in production-line upgrades. Each new deal supersedes the last one.

"The 2014 agreement called for Duracell to pay an annual fee of $73,645 for 30 years and then pay less in property taxes for the county, the city and the school district."

* August 14, The Lancaster News:

"Jamie Gilbert knew building Lancaster County's new economic development department would be a big challenge, but the news he got on his eighth day at work was a punch in the gut.

"Duracell, the county's seventh-largest employer, announced it would phase out production at its Lancaster manufacturing plant starting next spring, and that all 400-plus jobs would be gone within two years . . .

"The Duracell move shocked Lancaster's business community. Just two years ago, the county gave the battery maker an economic incentive package worth $11 million in return for a $69 million production-line upgrade by the company.

"All indications were that Duracell, bought by Berkshire Hathaway in 2015, was here to stay."

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Lessons:

* What's good for executives is rarely good for workers - and often involves the redistribution of wealth upwards.

* When companies move here - whole hog or just executive suites - there is pain elsewhere that we shouldn't ignore. It's nothing to celebrate if the bottom line hurts more people than it helps.

* Companies and executives who move here aren't automatically good corporate citizens just because they are now "ours."

* I sense a trend of HQs moving here because CEOs who already live here don't want to move to where their companies are actually already located. True? Assignment Desk, activate!

* Loyalty is a one-way street.

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Richard Abramowitz, you are Today's Worst Person Almost Certainly Moving To Chicago.

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Welcome, Duracell!

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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
The Halves And The Half Not.

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BeachBook

The Best tronc: tronc.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

False implication driven by inexplicable continued sympathy for the ex-governor shading coverage. Blagojevich's crimes were far more serious (essentially leading an extortion ring from the chief executive's office of the country's fifth-largest state - and dragging us all along for the ride - versus cheating campaign contributors), and Jackson cooperated with prosecutors, pled guilty and didn't even go to trial. Also: As has been reported many times and repeated by the U.S. district court judge in charge of the case and the 7th circuit court of appeals, Blagojevich got a huge sentencing break considering federal guidelines.

See also: Blago Ruling Indicts Media.

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That would be former Pat Quinn communications chief Bob Reed. Every time the media does a story about the revolving door between government, lobbyists and corporations, they should be required to include a caveat about their own revolving door between government, public relations and news organizations.

From media manipulatee to media manipulator to media manipulatee . . . with no penalty.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Now the best!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: The Halves And The Half Not

With the momentum snatched and slated to receive the second-half kickoff, the Bears found themselves nicely positioned to break the hearts of their most Kool-Aid guzzling fans.

C'mon. Some of you were quietly rooting for Connor Barth to shank a last second kick.

Good news, everyone! It never came to that because the offense opted to hang back in the locker room after the conclusion of the second quarter, presumably to escape the Houston heat.

But look, we're not here to talk about the past . . .

[Editor's Note: At minimum, the first 40% of each column is dedicated specifically to talking about the past.]

So instead, let's talk about the past!

It's a small sample size but we definitely learned some things about the 2016 Bears.

Let's look at some of the ups and (lack of first) downs.

What Worked

  • Linebacker Play: Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman lived up to expectations in Week One; Freeman, in particular, was a standout. Rookie Leonard Floyd had his name called a few times as well, and in a good way.

    Not like, "Floyd, what the hell are you doing on top of that mascot?!*"

    If Pernell McPhee returns to form after coming off of the PUP list - and assuming the outside backers perform up to par - the Bears finally have a chunk of the team is a for-real, NFL-caliber unit.

    Disclaimer: The 2016 Chicago Bears are in no way affiliated with the Irvine, California based porn studio named "NFL Caliber Units."

  • Four-Fifths Of The Offensive Line: I get the feeling that if the Bears made any attempt to establish the ground game in the second half (other than perfunctory handoffs at the start of a series, or the shameful jogs off the field two plays later), it would have been a more impressive looking effort.

    But you know how it is when you're dealing with a practically insurmountable six-point deficit in the second half. More on that in a moment.

    Cody Whitehair's botched snap on fourth-and-one was a noteworthy blemish, but on the bright side Cutler haters now have something else to bitch about besides Jay ashing in the beers of people in the front row**.

    Bobby Massie wasn't great, but his tight ends didn't help much.

    For a group so newly assembled that they're still learning each other's last names, the O-line did an overall admirable job on the road against a very tough match-up.

What Was The Football Equivalent Of Ingesting Garbage Juice Through Your Eyes

  • Second-Half Offensive Play-Calling: Speaking of the run game, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains may want to consider saving the "Boys, get on Jay's back and watch that pigskin fly" strategy until it's absolutely necessary.

    Didn't the Bears bring over a rugby player to open holes up the middle as well as make us all giggle?

    Wow! A black dude who sounds like Flight Of The Conchords!

    If that reference doesn't compute, YouTube their videos. They're funny.

    Even if the plan was to favor the aerial attack, I was under the impression we had a YAC-prone tight end whose first name starts with "Z" and whose last name sounds like "Ack Miller."

    Mr. Ack was to be one of several reliable mid-range targets for Cutler to utilize when he was under pressure.

    Let's say we give the guy a few more meaningful looks before he gets another bout of season-ending injuries and is put back into cryo-stasis through 2020.

    There were also yards to be had via the screen pass.

    After a long gain was called back on a phantom holding call, the idea of capitalizing on the Texans' aggressive nature evaporated more quickly than Gary Johnson's approval rating following questions about Aleppo.

    [Editor's Note: Settle down there, Dennis Miller. We've got a whole section of the site dedicated to content written by professionals.]

    Fine. I'll shop my political insights elsewhere. I bet I can do a better interview than Matt Lauer.

    [Editor's Note: That . . . might actually be true.]

    One thing was made very clear on Sunday: The way the offense was called, the Bears are as likely to find out if Jeremy Langford is an every down back as Donald Trump is to disclose his tax returns.

    [Editor's Note: BOOOOOOOO!!!]

  • Second Half Receiver Play: From the third quarter on, it appeared as though Bears receivers were working off of a route tree that resembled a tangled wire hanger placed in the middle of the field.

    Though Alshon Jeffery's final stats indicated he was clearly the best player on the offensive side of the ball, it was hardly a complete effort.

    Juxtaposed against his 105 first half receiving yards, the star's catchless second half was emblematic of the Bears' entire opening week performance.

    Kevin White looked particularly lost, especially when compared to Jeffery's first-half effort. His lackluster NFL debut included bad routes and a lack of explosiveness (I don't know if it's a word, but try saying "explosivenessless" five times fast). At one point in the third quarter, White wandered aimlessly towards the Texans' sideline, presumably because they had snacks.

    Give him some time. By Week 6, he'll know the Capri Sun cooler is right next to Kyle Fuller, not with the opposition.

Eye On The Opposition: Life In The Wentz Lane
After trading presumptive starting QB Sam Bradford*** to Minnesota for a first-round pick, a conditional early round pick and the first-born son of an Amish farmhand who can spin straw into copper (before you turn up your nose, consider the material costs associated with an entire stadium's worth of piping), the "Iggles" (as they're known by those screaming nonsense from inside a Philly jail cell) look to bounce back from a season that went only marginally better than a five-alarm petting zoo fire.

Here's a quick list of low-lights from their last season:

  • Preseason Game One: Running back DeMarco Murray demands a trade after briefly thumbing through coach Chip Kelly's playbook and discovering that 23 of the first 25 plays are end-arounds.
  • Week 2: Following a loss to the Cowboys, Philly mascot Swoop is arrested for public masturbation. Shortly thereafter, millions of Americans to ask themselves, do birds have a penis?
  • Week 5: Following one of his several zero-yard performances in 2015, prized rookie receiver Nelson Agholor strained his forearm punching a fan during a heated debate over the merits of a flat tax, which eventually spilled over into an argument about whether Don Henley is singing "it seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your day bed" or "have been laid upon your table" in the second verse of "Desperado." For the record, the lyric is "it seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your tapeworm."
  • Week 11: As a child, Jameis Winston grew up an Eagles fan. As an adult, his Buccaneers took a steaming dook all over Philly's season by beating the home team 45-17. Towards the end of the contest, Winston baited the crowd by shouting "I nailed your sister last night" at the top of his lungs. Taking the claim literally, dozens of drunken fans were subsequently arrested for storming the field. While running for his life, Winston remembered that nearly everyone in Philadelphia has a whore sister.
  • Week 16: Head coach Chip Kelly is fired with a single game remaining on the schedule. That actually happened. Nothing says "I hate your fucking face" like management assigning someone else to 80 hours' worth of your now meaningless work, while still cutting you a six-figure check.

Early returns in 2016 are more positive for The City Of Brotherly Love.

Rookie starting quarterback Carson Wentz looked strong against the Browns.

Admittedly, Cleveland is, as per usual, bad at winning football games.

But defense isn't the biggest problem with the team who loses at football near Lake Eerie, so don't go thinking Wentz's victory was entirely hollow.

That said . . .

Kool-Aid (4 of 5 Pints Of Yards Pale Ale)
If hoppy beers aren't your thing, I also recommend Yuengling when you're on the East Coast, because it's cheap, light bodied and, most importantly, alcoholic.

Fox n' Co. are building something here in Chicago and this is the kind of match-up worth getting invested in.

We should see some real results this week and that's reason to be excited.

On a related note, if you find me babbling resentfully at the computer screen drunk on scotch Monday afternoon, it's because I was dead wrong and made the mistake of re-reading the above sentence.

Another three hours of my life wasted you worthless (gurgling noise) . . . you're just like your goddam mother!

As an artist, my words are my children.

While the Eagles' rookie quarterback had a nice start to his career, it looks like there's success to be had for the Bears pass rush as the Philadelphia offensive line was beatable last week.

Pressure up front could lead to turnovers early in the game, so expect Vic Fangio to dial up a defensive scheme designed to confuse the young QB.

And if none of that works, just try hucking a few nine volt batteries at the kid. He doesn't know the rules yet.

The Bear offense has a much easier assignment than it did in Week 1; look for a more complete effort.

The running game should get around 30 attempts and receivers will catch passes in the second half that aren't against the prevent defense of an opponent who is up two scores, so I'm literally looking for these guys to use both of the legs Sunday night.

Dig deep, guys. I know you have it in you to be bipedal winners.

At home against a team in transition, expect a nice bounce back victory for the Bears.

Bears 27, Eagles 13

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About The Author
Even after watching the second half of last week's game, the author (erroneously) believes this season will be A-O-K.

Definitely . . . A . . . O . . . K . . .

carlaok.png

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* On the plus side, a mascot doesn't need a doll to show the team doctor where the bad touch happened. It just needs to mash its fingerless hand against its own crotch.

** Goddammit Jay, you gotta do a better job goosing your center in the taint!

*** Having been surgically altered more times than the average person on Botched, Bradford might be best known for being the guy who put Dr. James Andrews' great grandchildren through college.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

September 14, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

I have a bunch of errands to do today, so no time for a proper column. But I'm pleased to announce that our parody songmeister Tom Latourette is back with a Cubs epic, "My Cubs (I'm Not Betting Against . . . ). A lot of golden lines in there - and some fine vocal performances!

Also, how cool is the town of Casey, Illinois? This is new to me. (My favorite is the giant mailbox, in part because you can go up inside it and look out over . . . well, not much, because it's Casey, but still.)

More later.

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BeachBook

10 Biggest Corporations Make More Money Than Most Countries Combined.

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Wells Fargo Won't Claw Back $125 Million Retirement Bonus From Exec Who Oversaw $2 Million Frauds.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

#TrumpsHealth.

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#TrumpsHealth.

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#TrumpsHealth.

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Area Suburban White Male Columnist Not Worried.

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Conspiracy widens.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Troncblocked.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:28 AM | Permalink

My Cubs (I'm Not Betting Against . . . )

Shout it from the rooftops!

Obstructed view rooftops!


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Previously
* F The Goat.

* Please Stop Believin'

* 99 Years of Cub Losses

* The 1908 Song

* Go Blame It On Bartman

* We Can't Wait 100 Years

* Dusty Must Get Fired

* 100 Seasons in the Sun

* Eddie Elia

* We Can't Wait 100 Years

* Let's Call The Crosstown Off!

* Louuuuu!

* Ode to Ozzie

* The 12 Days of Cubness

* I'm Sammy

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:28 AM | Permalink

Casey, Illinois Just May Be The Guinness World Record Capital Of The World

It's not every day that a small town of 3,000 receives national attention. However, Casey, Illinois has done just that with the help from Guinness World Records. Each year, thousands of travelers from Interstate 70 get off Exit 129 to see the unique attractions that have made it into Guinness' world-famous book.

To understand Casey's success, it's best to look back to June 22, 2012. On that day, Jim Bolin received the record title World's Largest Wind Chime from Guinness World Records. What started out as a dream to build something from his childhood memories and become a record holder ended up inspiring the addition of even more BIG things.

Since that day, Bolin and his team have created and achieved seven more World's Largest record titles: the golf tee, knitting needles and crochet hook, pitchfork, wooden shoes, rocking chair and mailbox.

After receiving the last four titles in October 2015, Guinness World Records' PR team contacted Bolin and requested a confidential photo/video shoot in preparation for their 2017 book release.

On September 8, the 2017 book hit the streets. "Smalltown Big Stuff" on page 100 of the book, features Casey's items.

Additionally, a special Guinness World Records video "Meet the Record Breakers," featuring Bolin, was released:

"It is awesome to be a Guinness World Record holder," says Bolin. "I take a globe and look how big the world is and then pinpoint Casey, Illinois on that globe. To imagine that an idea that I had to be a Guinness World Record holder is just mind blowing to me. It's a great feeling."

On September 24, Casey plans to celebrate by hosting a book signing event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Whitling Whimsy Cafe, at 107 East Main Street.

Special edition books will be for sale. Bolin, and several of the team members that helped create the items, will be available to autograph the books.

Currently, the special edition books, which include a Big Things Small Town bookmark and Jim Bolin's autograph, are on sale at several locations. Those locations include Whitling Whimsy Cafe, Casey's Candy Depot, The Yarn Studio, Dollars N' Sense, Richards Farm Restaurant and the Casey Country Club.

Visitors are encouraged to post on all social media platforms using the hashtag #BigThingsSmallTown. Big Things in a Small Town website is bigthingssmalltown.com. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Other big things in Casey: token coin, ruler, corn on the cob, bike, No. 2 pencil . . .

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Also in Casey: The Popcorn Festival!

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See also: Bolin Enterprise Inc.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

September 13, 2016

SPJ, Again: Transparency Has Gotten Worse Under Obama

Forty journalism and open government groups today sent a letter to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in response to his recent New York Times letter to the editor calling for journalists to give President Obama credit for improvements in government transparency.

SPJ and other journalism and government accountability groups have contacted the White House multiple times over the past several years, asking the Obama administration to stop practices in federal agencies that obscure transparency and prevent important information from getting to the public. In the last letter, from August 2015, more than 50 organizations signed on to a letter at SPJ's request.

"You highlight some of the ways the Obama administration has improved transparency in the White House," the letter states. "Yet, the 50-plus groups repeatedly outlined to the administration various ways transparency has gotten worse, including:

* Officials blocking reporters' requests to talk to specific staff people.

* Excessive delays in answering interview requests that stretch past reporters' deadlines;

* Officials conveying information "on background," refusing to give reporters what should be public information unless they agree not to say who is speaking.

* Federal agencies blackballing reporters who write critically of them.

* A continued lack of meaningful visual access to the president by an independent press pool.

Last December, a delegation representing the 50-some organizations met with Earnest at the White House to urge greater openness and transparency. That meeting followed at least five years of work done by various organizations to study government transparency and the role public information officers play in relaying important information to the American people.

"We have made multiple attempts to convey to the Obama administration that we believe transparency has, in fact, gotten worse the past eight years," SPJ president Paul Fletcher said. "We were hoping we could point to this White House as a shining example of how it should be done. Unfortunately, we can't do that and will have to start over with the next administration."

The letter expresses the groups' disappointment that, despite a promise to get back to them after the Dec. 15, 2015 White House meeting, the administration has not addressed their concerns.

The groups vow to keep fighting for transparency and open government.

"President Obama may be leaving the White House, but we aren't going anywhere. Our promise to the American people is to keep fighting for their right to know what their elected officials are up to. To keep fighting for information and images they need to know and see to live their best, most informed, lives as American citizens."

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It's been a long eight years for journalists trying to report on "the most transparent administration in history."

From a 2014 SPJ letter to Obama:

"You recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government. You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration - politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies."

From a 2015 SPJ letter to Obama:

"The response Mr. Josh Earnest sent the Society of Professional Journalists on August 11, 2014, failed to address these issues, and despite repeated requests to discuss the issue publicly, the White House has yet to engage in a meaningful conversation.

"We request again, just weeks after the 49th anniversary of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and 239th anniversary of our nation, that you change these practices in your administration."

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Previously:

* Obama Worst FOIA President Ever.

* How Obama Undermined FOIA Reforms.

* Obama's FOIA Fail.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* Only Nixon Harmed A Free Press More Than Obama.

* Why Reporters In The U.S. Now Need Protection.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

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

* Oscar And Pulitzer Award-Winning Journalist Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama: No Questions, Please!

* Sunlight Wins 13 Years Of Federal Contract Data.

* Workshop On Government's Openness Is Closed To Public.

* Government Could Hide Existence Of Records Under FOIA Rule Proposal.

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

* Delayed, Denied, Dismissed: Failures On The FOIA Front.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:35 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Lisseth Perez did not graduate at the top of her class from Chicago's Hancock College Prep in 2015, but she worked hard to earn As and Bs. The grades, combined with an average ACT score, were good enough to get her into a half-dozen universities. But Perez had to turn down all those acceptances," Melissa Sanchez reports for Catalyst.

"Even with scholarships, she and her parents couldn't afford to pay for her education, let alone for room and board if she wanted to study outside of Chicago. And unlike most low-income students, Perez can't access federal or state financial aid or loans because she is undocumented."

Not so in "a half-dozen other states" that "allow undocumented students to tap into public financial aid."

Go read the rest, this is a really good - if infuriating - piece of work.

OEMCBS
"Chicago City Hall has refused to release its 'data dictionaries' to help explain the city's information about 911 calls and police responses, and the Chicago Justice Project has recently filed a lawsuit to compel the city to make the information public," the Cook County Record reports.

Why is this important? Because of this:

"[T]his information, through social science studies, could help decide how many police officers Chicago needs and in what areas they should be allocated. That's a question social science can answer," [CJP executive director Tracy] Siska told the Cook County Record. "You don't need politics to answer that; science can do it for you. And it's done regularly around the state of Illinois and the rest of the country.

"With all the problems we have in Chicago around hiring more officers or not, and crime and how many officers do we need - science can answer that. OEMC's preventing it."

Previously: What Should Drive Chicago's Police Staffing Debate? How About Facts.

My Favorite Writer
I nominated dlisted's Michael K for a Pulitzer the other day (in an e-mail to a friend). My nomination form:

1. "But really, bored with Taylor Swift? Impossible. What 30-something man wouldn't want to spend his Saturday night making friendship bracelets for the squad before cuddling (Over pajamas! And no up the shirt action, mister!) for 10 minutes?"

2. "I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Taylor Swift's latest ex-boyfriend taps on the mic and starts talking about what it was like to date America's Girlfriend. But until then, we'll have to settle for hearing about it from the previous title holder. Calvin Harris is on the cover of this month's issue of British GQ. GQ posted a couple of quotes from Calvin's interview online, and they clearly know the road to page views isn't paved with his thoughts on classy aftershave or whatever else they talk about in GQ. It's all about Taylor. 'Of course it is! It always is! chirped Taylor Swift as she scrolled through her Google alerts this morning."

3. "Calvin isn't wiping away any sad tears when he thinks about his relationship with the living candy necklace."

Corruption On A Curve
From an e-mail I sent to a friend the other day:

"It's like people who say HRC is corrupt. I'd say she's a little sleazy, but within the bounds we're used to in politics. I don't like it, but so be it. But Trump is the one who has an unusually vast record of corruption - and is an incredibly pathological liar, as has been documented going back decades. I think the HRC campaign has laid low until now to allow Trump to hang himself, but now sees they need to be more proactive. And, of course, home stretch. At the same time, Trump voters aren't going to be persuaded otherwise. I don't see the polls moving much, then. There is a small slice of undecideds, mostly Republicans who can't stomach Trump. So HRC has lined up all these Republican foreign policy and economic people to persuade them. Bernie's people are mostly voting HRC already, but for those who aren't, or are undecided, they're probably waiting to see if their votes will be necessary. That's my take, anyway."

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Also:

"Media just now getting onto the fact-checking Trump train . . . now it's the thing to do. But they'll feel they have to equalize, so they'll present false equivalencies with HRC."

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Not a new idea, and not original, but -

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From July:

"I don't like Hillary Clinton, despite the accusations thrown at me eight years ago when I repeatedly told the truth about Barack Obama based solely on the reporting (and local sources in a position to know) that was buried amid waves of mythology and narrative-building. In fact, I've come to loathe Hillary Clinton . . . "

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Related:

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Debate Moderation
"Meanwhile, the moderator for the third debate, Chris Wallace of Fox News (motto: 'Sexual harassment free for six weeks!'), said that it's not his job to be a 'truth squad' if the candidates lie. So I propose that, at that debate, Hillary Clinton say that Trump fucked Wallace's wife."

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SPJ, Again: Transparency Worse Under Obama
"We have made multiple attempts to convey to the Obama administration that we believe transparency has, in fact, gotten worse the past eight years," SPJ president Paul Fletcher said.

"We were hoping we could point to this White House as a shining example of how it should be done. Unfortunately, we can't do that and will have to start over with the next administration."

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Related:

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Our Ann Coulter
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to soccer fans."

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BeachBook

Prince Buster, Trailblazer Of Ska, Dies At 78.

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On The Evolution Of Greta Van Susteren.

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About The Misuse Of Leonard Floyd.

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Feds Accuse Collector Of Faking Heisman Trophy In $10M Fraud.

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How The CIA's Darkest Torture Secrets Were Exposed - And Covered Up.

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Humanizing Beer's Bro Marketing.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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From Aug. 12:

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Troncsmacked.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:18 AM | Permalink

Breakfast In America: Our Ann Coulter

On Labor Day, Comedy Central aired The Roast of Rob Lowe. Early on, it was pretty clear the dais, the audience, and humanity in general was more thrilled with roasting attendee Ann Coulter.

Finally, here was a chance to satirically skewer Coulter's vile views. Alas, the other attendees devolved into a series of personal attacks and insults. Like a well-crossed pass into the six-yard box, rational thought missed the goal.

Meanwhile, I've found myself more publicly critical of the NFL since the start of the season. I wonder if I'm becoming the Ann Coulter of soccer fans.

So let's combine the two to show how vile and caustic one would be if we edited Ann Coulter quotes to be unreasonably pro-soccer and anti-NFL:

* "American football fans love America like O.J. loved Nicole."

* "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to soccer fans."

* "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the NFL headquarters."

* "Press passes can't be that hard to come by if ESPN allows that old NFL fan Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president."

* "Perhaps, someday, NFL fans will win the right to be treated like volitional human beings. But not yet."

* "If I'm going to say anything about Roger Goodell in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

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Bonus Roast: I'm not convinced Peyton Manning is super wonderful, so I'd have this one for him:

"Peyton, props to you on your recent interview on Fox News. Everybody should have known you'd be great on Fox News. Even in college, you sexually harassed and dog whistled at a pro level."

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Beachwood Sabermetrics: Based on all historical data available from the beginning of time, if you are interested in soccer and you are a Bears fan, you might as well support West Bromwich Albion. Their coach sports a track suit, they hate spending money, and they are always in the bottom half of the table.

Brunch Special: All You Can Eat Goals: Chelsea v Liverpool - Liverpool llloovvveeessss goals. In fact, they don't mind it when the other team scores. Their back line is as porous as the Chicago Bears' offensive line. And Chelsea has dark wizard and wrestling heel Diego Costa to score late in games. Expect plenty of goals and late game drama.

Population of the Cherry Nation: Seven, same as two weeks ago. Me, my high school friend who lives in Montana, the new Bournemouth signing American Emerson Hyndman (whose home kit is sponsored by us ), a guy in Florida, and a three guys from a Facebook AFCB fan page.

Sugar in the Cherry Kool-Aid: The Cherry Nation added 30% more in net sugar after seeing Callum Wilson score a dandy back heel redirect to earn three points against West Brom. Jack Wilshire came off the bench to refocus the attack to help make it happen. The Cherry Nation subtracted 15% in net sugar after realizing the next match is against league-leading Manchester City at The Etihad.

Percent sugar in the Cherry Kool-Aid: This Week: 60%. Last Week: 45%.

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

* Know Your Terminology.

* Lowest Common Denominator™.

* Recruitment Do's And Don'ts.

* Aboard The Dethloon Express.

* Race To The Bottom.

* My Aunt's Nuts.

* The Guaranteed Rate EPL.

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Breakfast In America on Facebook.

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Eric Emery is our man on the EPL and the EPT. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:13 AM | Permalink

September 12, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

This portion of the column will return on Tuesday.

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Chicago Magic Lounge
New take on a lost tradition.

Electionland
"Historically, newsrooms have focused on covering the outcome of Election Day, relegating voting snafus to be followed up later, if at all. Instead, we're announcing Electionland, a project to cover voting access and other problems in real time."

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

The Cub Factor: Throat Punchers
Meaningless answers to ridiculous questions.

The White Sox Report: Ask About The Curve
Urinal advice.

SportsMonday: The Play Action's The Thing
It wasn't that bad. Or was it?

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BeachBook

For Diamond Reynolds, Trying To Move Past 10 Tragic Minutes Of Video.

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TV's 9/11 Jury Of The Damned.

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American Hero Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Chicago getting a semblance of what a Richard M. Daley presidency would sound like.

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Who told them?

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Never-ending.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 PM | Permalink

Monitoring The Vote With Electionland

There is no more essential act in a democracy than voting. But making sure that the balloting is open to all - and efficiently administered - has been, at best, a low priority for many state legislatures, a victim of misplaced priorities and, at times, political gamesmanship.

Historically, newsrooms have focused on covering the outcome of Election Day, relegating voting snafus to be followed up later, if at all. Instead, we're announcing Electionland, a project to cover voting access and other problems in real time.

The issue is particularly urgent this election year, as states have passed laws that could affect citizens' access to the ballot box.

We'll leave the horse race to others and focus on the ways in which problems prevent people from voting: Which voters are getting turned away (and why)? Where are lines so long that people are giving up? Is there actually any evidence of people casting fraudulent votes?

To answer these questions we're teaming up with a group of media partners to create a virtual newsroom that will produce stories on voting problems as they happen, and distribute leads about voting problems to local journalists who can follow up on them. It is our hope that this journalism will have immediate impact, helping people who might otherwise have been turned away to cast their ballots.

The rules for voting are changing fast. A 2013 Supreme Court decision, Shelby County vs. Holder, made major changes in the Voting Rights Act, ending the requirement that states and counties with a history of discrimination pre-clear changes to election laws.

A number of states moved immediately to revise their laws, including North Carolina, which rewrote its rules to do what state GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse described as "attempting to rebalance the scales" in favor of Republican voters.

North Carolina's law was struck down.

The constitutionality of other states' laws is still being litigated (see our election lawsuit tracker), but as many as 15 states will vote this year under laws that have never been tested in a presidential election.

"The question is not whether problems will arise in November 2016," said a Caltech/MIT report on election administration, "but where they will occur, what form they will take, and how significant they will be."

The report said it is likely that some localities will experience voting problems comparable to the weeks of legal fighting over who won Florida's presidential vote in the 2000 election.

There are numerous ways in which voting can go awry. One of the more commonplace, excessive wait times, plagues many polling places - notably Maricopa County, Arizona, during the primaries this spring.

Long lines can cause voters to give up, especially working voters who have only a limited amount of time available to cast their ballots.

A 2014 report by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration concluded that nobody should wait more than 30 minutes to vote. Yet in many places around the country, the wait can be far longer.

In Florida, for example, the average wait in 2012 was 39 minutes, according to researchers Charles Stewart and Stephen Ansolabehere.

Those same researchers estimate that the total votes lost nationwide because of long lines in 2012 was between 500,000 and 700,000.

A recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that long waits to vote are not randomly or evenly distributed. African-American and Hispanic districts are often disproportionately affected by long lines.

There are also registration problems that can prevent people from voting. In Brooklyn earlier this year, about 120,000 Democratic voters were purged from the rolls and were unable to vote in the primary.

WNYC News found that voters with Hispanic surnames were "purged at a rate 60 percent greater than everyone else."

Officials at the New York City Board of Elections acknowledged that voters were improperly removed but denied any political or ethnic motivations.

American elections are decentralized affairs that unfold in tens of thousands of locations. To have a sense of what's happening nationwide, you need be able to cover each of these as a discrete story, an effort beyond the scope of even the largest news organizations.

To track voting in 2016, ProPublica is working with a coalition of newsrooms and technology companies with disparate skills and audiences. They include:

  • The Google News Lab, which is providing technology assistance as well as financial support.
  • The First Draft Coalition, an organization that specializes in verifying facts, images and video that emerge on social media. First Draft will help lead the data verification efforts, including training a team of journalism students.
  • The WNYC Data News Team, which is helping plan our breaking coverage and coordinating with dozens of public radio stations around the country, including WLRN in Miami, KERA in Dallas, WHYY in Philadelphia and KPCC in Los Angeles.
  • Univision, which will look closely at Hispanic voters who are said to experience a disproportionate share of voting problems.
  • The USA Today Network, whose 92 local markets include some two dozen in areas with a history of problems with long lines.
  • The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, whose students and faculty - including from their Social Journalism program - will staff a live newsroom on Election Day, along with students from a dozen other schools. The high-tech CUNY newsroom in midtown Manhattan will be the home of our national newsroom on Nov. 8.

We'll be gathering information about voting problems from many sources, including social media, Google search trends, and data from Election Protection, a project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which receives calls from voters around the country about voting issues.

We'll also be asking for your help: In the coming weeks we'll be announcing a way for citizens to tell us about conditions at their polling places on Election Day and during early voting.

Using techniques and technologies created by the First Draft Coalition, we'll filter, verify and collect credible clues about voting problems and hand them off to one of the hundreds of local journalists assigned to cover election day.

They'll be able to follow up on problems and write stories that can be distributed online not in the weeks after the election but while the polls are still open. We'll collect their stories and cover the national picture on ProPublica.org.

To be sure, U.S. elections are, for most voters, very well run, and election officials succeed despite difficult instructions, resource constraints, and impatient voters. Experts across the political spectrum dismissed Republican candidate Donald Trump's concern that a presidential election could be "rigged" through fraud. But they agree that the injection of that concept into the public debate makes it all the more important for journalists to cover in detail exactly what happens on Election Day.

And there's a more fundamental point: Voting is one of our few constitutionally enshrined rights as Americans and we view it as newsworthy when anyone is denied a chance to cast their ballot, even if it doesn't change the ultimate outcome.

Our plan is to launch in time for the start of Ohio's early voting on Oct. 4 and to ramp up coverage until Election Day. If you are a journalist in a newsroom looking to cover voting, or if you're a non-journalist who'd like to help gather data on Election Day, you can sign up at Electionland.

If you've got questions about how Electionland will work, head over to our FAQs.

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

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:47 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Play Action's The Thing

It wasn't that bad.

I was tempted, in honor of the recently departed Cardinals and Cardinal coach Dennis Green, to go with a different lead, one that seemed apropos at least immediately following the game: The Bears are who we thought they were.

But this loss was a far piece from of a harbinger of doom - A far, far, piece. The final score was 23-14 on the road against the favorite to win the AFC South. The Texans have one of the best defenses in the league featuring, perhaps, the best pass rush. And their offense is good enough, especially if rookie wide receiver Will Fuller the Fifth (is that a first in major pro sports?) can continue to achieve the kind of separation he got all day against the Bears.

What killed this fan the most was the conservative play calling in the second half. One continues to suspect that Jay Cutler feels uncomfortable running play-action plays, perhaps because he has a hard enough time working through his receivers without the distraction of first running a fake handoff. But the Bears have to try to work through this. They have to run some play-action to get the offensive going at critical times.

On Sunday they wouldn't do it. A few of those second-half possessions were especially infuriating, what with the standard two not-good-enough runs followed by easily defensed passes that everyone knew were coming.

You had the feeling that after the Bears gave up only a field goal after an interception that gave the Texans the ball at Chicago's 25 to start the second half, thus maintaining a 14-13 lead, the message from John Fox to his offensive coordinator was clear: Play it conservatively and make sure we don't lose this game because of rank sloppiness on your side of the ball. But then of course the offense bogged down.

By the time the Bears got back to trying to win, you know, like they did during that glorious series of plays just before halftime, they were doomed.

Other observations:

* It was unfortunate that Bears rookie wide receiver, Kevin White made a mistake leading to that quick pick in the third quarter. But of course it was worse that the veteran quarterback again insisted on showing him up. Cutler did so despite the fact that it was White's first game as a pro.

* Rookie center Cody Whitehair struggled at times as part of a patched-together offensive line that will have to play better in the future, though we have every has reason to believe that it will. He had plenty of company as just about every other starting lineman took turns screwing things up in the second half.

* The Bears have been haunted for a while by the decision to select Shea McClellin (19th in the first round) instead of Whitney Mercilus (26th) in 2012 and they are feeling it acutely after Mercilus turned both starting Bears tackles into turnstiles in the second half. But a more significant draft haunting looms.

* Did anyone have a chance to check out the Cowboy game on Sunday? There was Dak Prescott moving his team into position for a game-winning field goal before receiver Leonard Williams suffered one of the worst brain cramps I've seen in a while, failing to simply run out of bounds in the final 10 seconds when his team had no timeouts. Had he done so, kicker Dan Baily, who had already nailed four field goals on the day, would have had a crack at a 40-something yarder to win. Instead, Williams was tackled and the clock ran out.

That didn't change the fact that Prescott had played remarkably well in his NFL debut. If he keeps going like this, plenty of teams will have a chance to rue the fact that they passed on him until he was taken late in the fourth round earlier this year.

But will any team feel worse than the Bears? They drafted once, twice, three times in the fourth round and despite having only one quarterback on the roster, one who has taken hundreds of hits, is getting up there in age and yet still refuses to act like an adult at critical times, they did not take Prescott, who had starred as he led Mississippi State up and out of decades of terribleness.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Ashen Furies at the Mutiny on Friday night.


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2. Butch Walker at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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3. Johann Moon at DADS on Thursday night.

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4. Brett Naucke at DADS on Thursday night.

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5. Minus Montgomery at the Elbo Room on Saturday night.

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6. The All-American Rejects in Tinley Park on Friday night.

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7. Night Ranger at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Sunday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Lever at the Metro on September 2nd.

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My Double Life at Livewire on September 4th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:10 AM | Permalink

Throat Punchers

Who'd a thunk that we would all be bored with the regular season even before the Cubs clinched the division?

It sure seems like the days off for guys and the sorta more wacky lineups than normal have come even before the games become truly meaningless.

Sure, they still seem to be trying to win of course, but geez, what is there left to talk about?

I guess you could ask Big Poppa Joe if the Cubs would be any good at football.

I mean, you could ask that question, but you would probably deserve a punch in the throat for doing it.

Theoretically you could even ask them which Cub would be better at being able to shake off a punch to the throat.

My guess would be Miggy Montero, as he doesn't really have much of a neck.

And then you could ask, who would be the best at delivering a punch to the throat.

My guess would be John Lackey.

Yep, that's where the season is now. Just a whole bunch of ridiculous questions to ask. And the answers to those questions are as meaningless as the questions.

So maybe there should be questions about who is the best chef? Who can really dance? How many Pokemon has Addison Russell caught? Or who can burp the loudest, because there is no real talk of X's and O's from here on out. No wondering if a starter will give you enough innings anymore. No worrying about taxing the bullpen. No caring even if you do silly stuff like pick the lineup out of the bullpen catcher's helmet. OK, they didn't do the last one, but would you believe it if they did? I wouldn't put it past them right now.

I mean, even the big questions about playoff rosters and lineups are close to meaningless. Everything they do works. These guys have done the math and know the guys now. And I just believe they'll make the right decisions based on all the criteria available. So why even ask?

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 3-3 for the week, losing two of three to the Brewers and winning two of three from the Astros. But more importantly, no one got hurt and we are all a week closer to the playoffs.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue travel to St. Louis for three with the Cards. They come in with a magic number of 5, so with a sweep of the Cards they can clinch the division by Wednesday. Otherwise they may have to wait until the four-game set at Wrigley against Milwaukee. At least it won't be at Miller Park, Brewers fans.

Musical Outfielders: And no we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Jorge Soler got three starts in left, with Kris Bryant, Chris Coghlan and Ben Zobrist each getting one start out there as well. Even Albert Almora got back into the mix with a start in right field this week. I am starting to hope that there is a week this season where they don't start the same guy in left more than once. It could easily happen, as you had four this week and you could throw Szczur and Willson Contreras in there - maybe even Travis Wood, I mean, why not?

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: It's got to be this guy. Climbing all over his dad like that, probably interrupting a pretty sweet cat nap. Because it's hard to remember annoying Cubs right now. The glow of a great season will do that - I guess, because I don't remember ever being less annoyed with a team.

Current Potential Annoying Cub of the Week: I can't say anyone is bugging me this week, so I'll have to project to what might be annoying. And it's the Juniors. Carl Edwards Jr and Albert Almora Jr. Do we really need to know you are a Junior? Will we see your dads in uniform and get confused over which one is the ballplayer and which one is the dad of a ballplayer? And then we would have to wait for one of each pair of dad/son combos to turn around to see if there was a "Jr" on the back of the jersey? No. I don't think we need any help in this way. And now maybe I am annoyed.

Mad(don) Scientist: Turns out Big Poppa Joe isn't the guy who tells players they are getting the day off the next day. It's bench coach Dave Martinez. Seems like that wouldn't be Joe's style, but I guess he has t-shirts to sell.

Kubs Kalender: On Monday, with the Cubs in town, the St. Louis Cardinals will have Lou Brock Tribute Night. What a bunch of jerks. Maybe the Cubs should have an Ernie Broglio Night. Or maybe not. But the Cubs should remember this and try to repay the favor down the road sometime - if there is a similar situation.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that beer showers are cool.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:58 AM | Permalink

Ask About The Curve

As a fan who's been following the White Sox for more than six decades, I'm a guy who was raised on Friendly Bob Adams and General Finance, the Hamm's Bear from the Land of Sky Blue Waters, and White Owl Cigars, as in "That's a White Owl wallop!"

So you can imagine my surprise at what I found when I visited the men's room on the first-base side of the lower level along about the fourth inning of the Labor Day match-up between Chris Sale and the Tigers' Justin Verlander.

The bathrooms at Wrigley Field receive most of the publicity in this city as far as ballpark men's rooms are concerned. The troughs are world-famous. Or so it seems.

However, as I was stood at that urinal a week ago, the advertisement plastered to the wall above each place was impossible to ignore. I've never paid special attention to these ads in the past. I've always wanted to get back to my seat as quickly as possible. If someone had previously asked me about the products being pitched, I'd have guessed used cars or tickets to future games.

But in this strange, weird White Sox season, I was introduced to Peyronie's disease. A ketchup bottle leaning heavily to the left was difficult to miss.

Cure for the Curve.jpg

I walked back to my seat with the knowledge that guys afflicted with Peyronie's - one in 10 between the ages of 40 and 70, according to Ask About The Curve - have some kind of erectile malfunction, not to be confused with ED.

Interested fans can learn all kinds of information at Sox games. I wasn't sure if Detroit's talented shortstop Jose Iglesias came from Venezuela or Cuba. The video board cleared that up for me when he first came to bat (Cuba). The Sox Almanac of past Labor Days disclosed that Gary Peters pitched a complete game to beat Kansas City 4-1 for his 17th victory in 1963, en route to being named Rookie of the Year.

But no way could I have envisioned being introduced to Peyronie's disease at the ballgame. Sitting with my wife, Judy, and sister, Lee, I asked them if they had ever heard of Peyronie's. Two blank stares greeted me, but it took my spouse the better part of maybe ten seconds to Google the illness.

I've become accustomed to the underperforming Sox bullpen, which eventually blew the game in the 11th inning with three walks, a single, and a three-run bomb by Justin Upton off reliever Chris Beck. However, being introduced to a disease that, according to WebMD, "hampers flexibility, causing pain and forcing the penis to bend or arc when erect," was an unexpected revelation disclosed at, of all places, the ballpark. But this, my friends, is just one more indication that we're are experiencing a zany, unpredictable White Sox season.

In an age when even young children watching TV are bombarded by ads for Cialis and Viagra, maybe I shouldn't in the least bit be addled by an invitation to learn more about an erection malfunction while taking a leak at a major league baseball game. Nevertheless, I wonder whether the White Sox ad department sought to sell the urinal ads to, say, Leinenkugel or Coors, which very well could be responsible for a trip to the men's room in the first place.

However, we live in an age where Major League Baseball embraces campaigns for fighting breast cancer and ALS. Its campaign, Stand Up to Cancer, is admirable. So why not Peyronie's disease?

If I was looking for other ways that the game has changed, I had to look no further than the White Sox bullpen, which preserved an unexpected 2-0 win for Miguel Gonzalez last Tuesday. Miggy pitched until one out in the seventh and left with the two-run lead. Then the trio of Dan Jennings, Nate Jones and David Robertson took over, limiting the Tigers to one hit and a couple of walks over the last two-plus innings. This is the way bullpens are supposed to work.

The Sox did it again on Wednesday when Jose Quintana exited in the seventh inning, trailing 4-3. However, his teammates rallied for an inspiring four-run eighth inning, highlighted by a double from Justin Morneau and run-scoring singles from Avisail Garcia, Tyler Saladino and Adam Eaton before Robertson shut down the Tigers in the ninth for his 35th save.

We could be excused for harkening back to last spring when the Sox were 23-10, as they again teased us Friday evening when Kansas City opened a three-game set at The Cell. Carlos Rodon gave up a couple of runs in the first inning, but that was all as the Sox rallied to give him a 5-2 cushion when he departed after the sixth frame. Beck, Jennings, and Tommy Kahnle covered the final three innings, shutting out the Royals on a yield of just one hit.

Sure, the games are more or less meaningless at this point, but consider that Rodon in his last seven starts is 5-0 with an ERA of 1.85. Add him to Sale and Quintana, and the Sox have a Big Three going into 2017. That is, unless Sale and Quintana are traded for prospects this winter.

Of course, our athletes are unaccustomed to euphoria in any form, so after James Shields, of all people, pitched them to a 4-3 advantage after six innings on Saturday, Beck, he of the 7.41 ERA, entered in the seventh inning, facing four hitters, three of whom singled., walked, and doubled as the Royals registered a 6-5 win.

The Sox didn't go quietly as closer Wade Davis was touched for a single by Saladino and a double by Eaton before Melky Cabrera's infield hit scored Saladino. But Davis fanned Jose Abreu and Morneau to stymie any comeback thoughts the Sox might have had.

Sunday was more of the same. Sale pitched another stalwart game, lasting eight innings, striking out 12 and walking just one but yielding solo homers to Kendrys Morales and Eric Hosmer. Sale would have had to pitch a shutout just to get a no-decision because after Eaton led off the bottom of the first with a base hit - he subsequently got picked off - the Sox didn't get another hit until Eaton led off the ninth against Davis with another single. A walk to Cabrera put the tying runs on base, but Abreu lined out and Davis struck out Morneau to send the 20,000 fans home to watch the Bears on their DVDs.

In his last 10 starts, Sale has a 1-5 record despite 82 strikeouts and just 17 bases on balls in 76 2/3 innings. His ERA in those outings is 2.47. If the guy was pitching for the Red Sox, he might win 30 games. Rumors of his dissatisfaction of pitching for a losing team seem totally believable.

I suspect that Ask The Curve would not have the funds for naming rights to the baseball park that resides on 35th Street. But wouldn't Peyronie's Park sound so much better than Guaranteed Rate Park, slated to be the new name starting November 1st?

Besides, that oversized downward-pointing arrow on Guaranteed's logo would no doubt be replaced by one pointing skyward if the Peyronie's folks had the naming rights. It might be listing left or right, but at least it would be pointing up.

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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 7:55 AM | Permalink

Chicago Magic Lounge

"There was the well-known New York Magic Lounge in Lincoln Square, the famous Schulien's in North Center, and South-Side club Little Bit O' Magic," the lounge says on its website.

"They were all places to see magic happen up-close and personal, providing an exciting and unforgettable experience. They pioneered what is now known as the 'Chicago Style' of magic; magic right at your table."

Check out Andrew Zimmern's recent visit to the Magic Lounge for the Travel Channel:


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See also:

* Heba Haba Al, a legend at the legendary New York Lounge.

* "In the `40s and `50s, [Schulien's] became the kind of place that had an earthy neighborhood clientele as well one of conventioneers who were coming to Chicago for the kind of pleasures that conventioneers are known for," Jay Pridmore wrote for the Tribune in 1986.

"The out-of-towners would start at Schulien`s, because Matt knew what they wanted most: fantasy. Gangsterish memorabilia helped, but when Matt learned the trade of magic, customers played right into his hands. If Chicago was a place where the visitors could suspend the rules of social conduct, Matt Schulien would suspend their disbelief by doing the amazing card tricks that still are done in Schulien`s by some of the city`s better magicians.

"Matt became so well-known that when Life magazine did a spread on Chicago in the `50s (when our city`s vulgar ways were a fascination to the national press generally), a picture of Matt throwing a deck of cards against the wall was on the cover."

More, from the Dynamite Magic Shop:

"In the early part of the 20th century, legendary bar magician Matt Schulien threw a deck of cards against the wall of his tavern and left a spectator's selection stuck in place. Little did he realize that he had created one of the most memorable and dramatic card tricks of all time.

* Bit O' Magic was also featured in the Tribune.

* "At its height, a half-dozen magic bars flourished in Chicago," Kevin Pang wrote for the Trib in 2009.

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WGN at the Chicago Magic Lounge:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:06 AM | Permalink

September 10, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

Cubs beat writer Gordon Wittenmyer writes for the Sun-Times that the Houston Astros' decision to take Mark Appel over Kris Bryant with the top pick in the 2013 draft teaches a lesson in the merits of drafting position players over pitchers, who are presumably more at risk for injury.

The way Bryant landed in the Cubs' lap is indeed often cited as yet another example of Theo Epstein's genius.

But Wittenmyer also reports this often-ignored fact:

"[T]he Cubs said Appel, the polished Stanford pitcher, was the top player on their draft board in 2013 and were prepared to select him if the Astros took Bryant."

And yet, Wittenmyer writes a few paragraphs later:

"But even if history chooses to tell the story of the 2013 draft as a failed No. 1 pick, it seems more about an organization-building philosophy and baseball decision more than an evaluation gap."

But you just told me that Appel was the top player on the Cubs' draft board.

They were prepared to to select him if the Astros took Bryant.

If this was about an organization-building philosophy, Bryant would have been atop the Cubs' draft board, and/or they would have been prepared to select the next best position player had the Astros taken Bryant.

Wittenmyer is hardly the worst purveyor of the fairy tale media narratives that envelop Theo Epstein; in fact, he's actually one of the better ones in town on that score (he was the only reporter I can recall trying to get to the bottom of the Cubs' finances for a few years there.) And I'm not saying that Epstein isn't a relatively brilliant baseball executive - he is. But he's far, far short of infallibility - and comes with his own brand of bullshit. I like, respect and admire a lot of Theo's baseball philosophy, but the media's job is to pierce through the baloney, not invent it. (I get the feeling Theo himself is sometimes embarrassed by the lengths the media goes to when it comes to building him up and swatting away even the slimmest of criticisms.)

"Theo Epstein's Cub front office never got the chance to prove it would have reversed a decade of draft philosophy and risk-averse behavior in first-round decision-making, because [Houston] took that decision out of Esptein's hands," Wittenmyer writes.

So taking Bryant first would have been risky, or taking the pitcher they had at the top of their draft board whom they seemed prepared to take would have been risky? (And how does that compare to the previous regime's nabbing Mark Prior as the No. 2 pick in the 2001 draft when the Twins, fearing Prior's price tag and reluctance to play for the team, selecting local hero Joe Mauer first instead? Would Theo have preferred Mauer?)

See, it's just possible that the Cubs got a lucky break with Bryant. And that's okay! Theo and Co. have gotten a lot of lucky breaks in their time here - Joe Maddon fell in their lap, for godsakes! Theo has made some brilliant moves, and he's made lot of really bad moves. That's going to happen to any executive. His end product is undeniable. But we should still be clear-eyed about how he got us here - and understand all the different ways things could have played out.

Snap Judgement
"On the Bears, Cutler getting settled with one center has been anything but a snap," David Haugh writes for the Tribune.

Some people (newspaper people, in particular) think that's clever writing; I think it's cheap, corny and distracting.

Newspapers, We've Got A Problem
1. And here I was about to call for a moratorium on "Houston, we've got a problem" puns for the weekend - and forever, really.

2. Please stop pretending these bets are news - or even remotely interesting.

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This is not your grandfather's Houston!

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Build it, and Houston will come!

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Houston is shocked, shocked!

Heroin, We Have A Problem
"The same qualities that make libraries ideal for studying and reading - unfettered public access, quiet corners and nooks, minimal interaction with other people - also make them appealing places to shoot up heroin, librarians are finding," AP reports.

I'm shocked - shocked! - that heroin is going on in here.

Ferro Warning
From an e-mail conversation I had this morning:

"I bet Ferro sells to Gannett and the deal includes a big fat contract to Ferro/Aggrego/Tronc to supply AI, Chatter and so on to Gannett - I'm not convinced he just sells and walks away."

Road Trip
"After years of using revenue from a road tax to pay for criminal justice costs, including the jail, Cook County will put the money back into transportation in next year's budget," La Risa Lynch reports for the Chicago Reporter.

Wait, is it even legal to use road money for jails?

"Illinois statute allows local governments to divert motor fuel funds to pay for other services and programs, including jails and criminal justice."

That . . . doesn't seem right.

"The county's decision is in line with a state constitutional amendment that will appear on the November ballot.

"The amendment aims to prevent the cash-strapped state from dipping into revenues generated from motor fuel taxes, license fees and vehicle registration to fill budget holes.

"Illinois drivers pay the 19 cents per gallon gas tax, known as the state motor fuel tax, every time they fill up their vehicles at the pump.

"As more attention has been paid to crumbling roads and infrastructure there's been a push to put the gas tax in a 'lockbox,' restricting it to just transportation projects."

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Also:

"The [Cook County] plan [is] the first new county transportation plan in 70 years."

Background from the Tribune in July:

"The reason for the ambitious plan is twofold. One, the nation's second-largest county will have more money for transportation projects in 2017 because of a change in the allocation of the motor fuel tax, and it wants a bigger voice at the table for regional planning.

"The second reason is that the county wanted to be able to qualify for additional federal dollars it would not be able to receive without a long-range plan."

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Back to the Reporter:

"The decision to quit diverting the motor fuel tax was a compromise reached between Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the commissioners. In exchange, the county board approved a 1 percentage-point county sales tax increase."

Will that additional sales tax revenue be used to fill the decrease in criminal justice funding?

It would seem so. From a different Tribune article than the previous one:

"Though Preckwinkle says she'll make further spending cuts, she argues the sales tax increase is needed to restore financial health to the county's underfunded pension plan, make payments on debt incurred under predecessor Todd Stroger and stop the diversion of some motor fuel tax revenue to the county's court system."

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Let's paste it all together and come up with a whole new story, with everything included and in the right order:

After years of using revenue from a road tax to pay for criminal justice costs, including the jail, Cook County will put the money back into transportation in next year's budget.

Illinois statute allows local governments to divert motor fuel funds to pay for other services and programs, including jails and criminal justice.

The county's decision is in line with a state constitutional amendment that will appear on the November ballot.

The amendment aims to prevent the cash-strapped state from dipping into revenues generated from motor fuel taxes, license fees and vehicle registration to fill budget holes.

Illinois drivers pay the 19 cents per gallon gas tax, known as the state motor fuel tax, every time they fill up their vehicles at the pump.

As more attention has been paid to crumbling roads and infrastructure there's been a push to put the gas tax in a 'lockbox,' restricting it to just transportation projects.

The county's decision is part of its first new transportation plan in 70 years.

The reason for the ambitious plan is twofold. One, the nation's second-largest county will have more money for transportation projects in 2017 because of a change in the allocation of the motor fuel tax, and it wants a bigger voice at the table for regional planning.

The second reason is that the county wanted to be able to qualify for additional federal dollars it would not be able to receive without a long-range plan.

The decision to quit diverting the motor fuel tax was a compromise reached between Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the commissioners. In exchange, the county board approved a 1 percentage-point county sales tax increase."

Though Preckwinkle says she'll make further spending cuts, she argues the sales tax increase is needed to restore financial health to the county's underfunded pension plan, make payments on debt incurred under predecessor Todd Stroger and stop the diversion of some motor fuel tax revenue to the county's court system.

Presto!

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Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Pt. 3
Last in a series from a Meijer's in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

One Of Every 200 Children In The World Is Now A Refugee
And a stunning 100,000 child refugees are traveling without their parents or families.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Radar Eyes, Jenny Lewis, DNCE, Andrew Bird, Tal Sounds, Beastmaker, Jazgot, Blackmarket Democracy, and Steve Hauschildt.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

A Brief History Of The Paralympic Games: From Post-WWII Rehabilitation To Mega Sporting Event
The Games have evolved from an event for only athletes who used wheelchairs to now welcoming 10 different impairment types.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #118: Bearly .500
And that's an unlikely best-case scenario.

Plus: Gone Gould; Wisconsin Sends Us An Angel; Leonard "Stink" Floyd; Ryan Pace Is Now On The Clock; Secret Bears Under Wrap?; A Lot Of Pundits Love The Packers; Coffman Can't Take The Patriots Anymore; There Are Many Ways To Be Smart, Even For Dipshits; and The NFL Is Concussed.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Mudhoney was at the forefront of Seattle's exploding music scene in the '80s and '90s, paving the way for grunge with its distorted, chaotic sound. Though the group never received the worldwide attention of its peers Nirvana, Mudhoney has achieved a cult-like longevity. Mudhoney talks with Jim and Greg and performs in front of a hometown Seattle audience. Plus, the new album from Chicago band Wilco, and the psychedelicsample driving a key Beyoncé track."

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Weekend BeachBook

Ban Suits.

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Human From New York Nails It.

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Tronc-a-go-go.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:27 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Radar Eyes at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.


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2. Jenny Lewis at the Chicago Theatre on Thursday night.

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3. DNCE at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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4. Steve Hauschildt at the Hideout for the Resonance Series on Wednesday night.

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5. Tal Sounds at the Hideout for Resonance on Wednesday night.

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6. Jazgot at the Old Town for World Music Wednesday on Wednesday night.

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7. Andrew Bird at Millennium Park on Wednesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Blackmarket Democracy at Star Bar in Chicago Ridge last Friday night.

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Beastmaker at the Empty Bottle last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:28 AM | Permalink

September 9, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #118: Bearly .500

And that's an unlikely best-case scenario. Plus: Gone Gould; Wisconsin Sends Us An Angel; Leonard "Stink" Floyd; Ryan Pace Is Now On The Clock; Secret Bears Under Wrap?; A Lot Of Pundits Love The Packers; Coffman Can't Take The Patriots Anymore; There Are Many Ways To Be Smart, Even For Dipshits; and The NFL Is Concussed.


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SHOW NOTES

* 118.

:10: Gone Gould.

* Haugh: "Gould could be irascible to deal with off the field - that's another column - but deserved a more respectful send-off from an organization he served well."

Sounds like now is the perfect time for that column!

* Irascible: having or showing a tendency to be easily angered. Synonyms: irritable, quick-tempered, short-tempered, hot-tempered, testy, touchy, tetchy, edgy, crabby, petulant, waspish, dyspeptic, snappish.

* Brandon Marshall's best moment as a Bear:

* Coffman: "I pity the poor kicker."

* Coffman: Bears Upgrade To 5-Win Potential.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report Explains It All (Dec. 16, 2015):

It has not been a great 14 days for Robbie Gould. During that span, the All-Pro has missed three field goals which, if made, would have propelled the Bears into the playoff contention.

I mean, if you consider being two games out of the last playoff spot with three to play "contention."

"But dude," you say in the voice like that of the Goonies monster, "if Gould makes those field goals, the Bears are 7-6 and are playing the team ahead of them in the standings this week. They would've been right there!"

Sure. If the 5-6 Bears had won out, two of those victories would have been against teams above them in the standings (Vikings, Bucs) while the Eagles and Giants would beat up on each other. In addition, the Falcons probably lose at least once against the Panthers, who they play twice in the season's final weeks.

But simmer down now, dummies. If we start playing the "shoulda been" game, you have to subtract one or two of this season's improbable wins. At minimum, the Packers "shoulda" beat the Bears on that last drive. The football universe has a tendency to even things out over time.

8:34: Wisconsin Sends Us An Angel.

* Josh Sitton, heaven-sent.

* No, but really, could be the biggest move of the offseason.

11:29: Leonard "Stink" Floyd.

* Fangio: "Choppy and inconsistent."

17:15: Ryan Pace Is Now On The Clock.

* Kevin White has a ham.

23:51: Secret Bears Under Wrap?

* King: "[T]he Bears have the best guard tandem in football now."

26:25: Bearly .500.

* Best case scenario is 8-8, and the best case isn't likely.

* Vegas Over/Under: 7.5 wins.

* Coffman: 5-11.

* Rhodes: 6-10.

32:14: A Lot Of Pundits Love The Packers.

* Other popular Super Bowl picks: Chiefs, Seahawks.

* Darkhorse picks: Steelers, Patriots.

* Rhodes: Jimmy Garoppalo wins all four of his games.

* Don't sleep on Carolina.

* Sleep on Detroit.

* SI: Why Andy Reid, NFL Coaches Are So Prone To Clock Management Blunders.

39:44: Coffman Can't Take The Patriots Anymore.

* NFL Films Presents: Bill Belichick's Unusual Press Conferences.

* The Belichick Breadown:

* Huge Tom Brady thing:

* Every Monday night, Tom Brady with Jim Gray on Westwood One, brought to you by Macy's.

44:10 There Are Many Ways To Be Smart, Even For Dipshits.

* The Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

47:05: The NFL Is Concussed.

* The NFL Didn't Follow Is Own Concussion Protocol For Cam Newton.

* NFL Says Officials Missed Call On Newton Hit.

* Top Irish Receiver Torii Hunter Jr. Out With Concussion-Like Symptoms.

* Super Bowl to the death!

* Bears Safety Chris Conte Says He'd Rather 'Die 10 To 15 Years Earlier' Than Not Play In The NFL.

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STOPPAGE: 10:52

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:43 PM | Permalink

A Brief History Of The Paralympic Games: From Post-WWII Rehabilitation To Mega Sporting Event

Some 160 countries are participating in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, involving an estimated 4,350 athletes competing for 528 medal events across 22 sports.

This signifies an 11-fold increases in athlete participation from 400 at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Countries represented at the Games have grown from 21 in 1964 to 160, and the number of sports has increased 2.5 times from nine to 22.

The Games have evolved from an event for only athletes who used wheelchairs to now welcoming 10 different impairment types that make up the athlete classification system for competition.

paralympics.jpgThe Tokyo Games of 1964 were the first to use the term 'Paralympics.'/Australian Paralympic Committee

The summer Paralympics now has a massive worldwide broadcasting audience - the London 2012 Games notched 3.8 billion television viewers.

It also has an increasing presence on social media. At London 2012, for example, some 1.3 million tweets mentioned "Paralympic."

Many people viewing might not know how this multi-disability multi-sport mega event has evolved from one-man's vision to use sport as a vehicle for rehabilitation to the international spectacle that it is today.

Dr. Ludwig Guttmann And The Games' Origins

The second world war was devastating for humanity, not just in the number of those killed but also in the number of people who sustained injuries resulting in lifelong disability.

The Paralympic Games are a direct result of those incurring spinal injuries during the second world war and the improved medical efforts that resulted in much higher survival rates and longer life expectancy.

This also meant there was a greater need for rehabilitation. Young people with spinal injuries in their early twenties would now live until their 60s. There was also a moral and economic imperative to ensure they could be contributing and engaged members of society.

One of the responses to this was the opening in 1944 of the Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, England. It was headed by the visionary Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, who quickly gained a reputation for innovative practice not just in medical rehabilitation but also through motivating those with spinal cord injury.

Central to Guttmann's approach was the introduction of sport into the rehabilitation regime, which quickly evolved into a wheelchair sport competition. At first this was just between wards, where servicemen and women who were naturally competitive thrived on the physical outlet that competition provided.

Following a few years of development, as depicted in the film The Best of Men, it was on July 28, 1948 that the Stoke Mandeville Games were first held.

The first internationalization of this competition occurred in 1952, where competitors from Holland were invited to complete in archery, table tennis, darts and snooker.

From the announcement of the Games, Guttmann had a vision for the future of wheelchair sport beyond Stoke Mandeville. He had deliberately planned for the Games to be held at the same time in parallel to the 1948 London Summer Olympic Games.

Eight years later, Rome became the first city outside of Stoke Mandeville to host the Games. (It was not until Tokyo 1964 that the term "Paralympics" was officially used.)

The table below shows the host cities of the Summer Paralympic Games from 1960 to 2016. The table also details the growth of the Paralympic Games in terms of overall number of athletes, gender breakdown and proportion, and the number of countries participating.

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 10.06.59 AM.png(ENLARGE)

The Games Evolve

From 1960 to 1984, only two Paralympic Games were held in the same city as the Olympic Games: Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964. However, there was no formal relationship between the organizing committees during these two Games, or between the International Olympic Committee and the organizations representing the Paralympic movement at that time.

In 1988, the Paralympic and Olympic Games were both held in Seoul. The host organizing committees for the first time ensured that the Paralympic athletes competed in the same venues (though housed in different villages) as the Olympic Games. They also had similar style Opening and Closing Ceremonies. For many, these Games represent the birth of the modern Paralympic Games.

One year later in 1989, the International Paralympic Committee was officially formed, bringing together the four separate disability-specific organizations that had previously been represented in the International Co-Coordinating Committee Sports for the Disabled.

With this significant step, the IPC was able to forge closer links with the IOC and the host city organizing committees. And since the Barcelona 1992 Olympic and Paralympic Games there has been a much closer "operational partnership. This has seen the Paralympic Games held three weeks after the Olympics in the same city and utilizing the same village and venues used for the Olympics. As Richard Cashman notes:

An Olympic endorsement proved a huge boost for the Paralympics, adding status and legitimacy. The timing of the Paralympics, two to three weeks after the Olympics, is also auspicious. By then, people have recovered from the surfeit of Olympic sport and are ready for another.

Up until 1989, with the establishment of the IPC, it could be considered that the Paralympic Games did as well as it could in working with host cities to provide as good a Games experience as possible for Paralympic athletes.

The Olympic-Paralympic co-relationship was more evident at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games, which was widely regarded as a model Paralympic Games. Yet, there was still a great deal of goodwill required for the Olympic and Paralympic Games experience to be coordinated through the host city arrangements.

The Atlanta 1996 Olympic and Paralympic Games showed the frailty of the relationship, with significant issues emerging amid very little coordination between the two organizing committees.

atlantaparalympics.jpgThe Atlanta Games/Australian Paralympic Committee

Four years later, the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games became a benchmark for the operational partnership between organizing committees. It was following these Games that the first host city agreement between the IOC and IPC was signed ensuring that all Games following 2008 would require bid cities to host both Games.

Even without the formal agreement in place, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 organizing committees benefited from the improved knowledge management exchanges that saw lessons from previous Games transferred to the next host city.

While the knowledge transfer was predominantly Olympic-related, there is no doubt that the Paralympic host city organization also benefited from this arrangement.

The relationship between the IOC and the IPC was further consolidated prior to the commencement of the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games with the signing of another Memorandum of Understanding, which extends the partnership until 2032.

Whether this agreement is in the best interests of the Paralympic movement is debatable. There are some who believe that the Paralympic movement and Games are at a point in their evolution where they could and should separate themselves from the Olympics.

Yet, the risk associated with the Paralympic Games separating itself from the Olympic partnership is regarded as too high for others who believe the Games and movements are best served being together in the same cities.

More radically, it has been suggested that a merger of the two is best where both Games are held at the same time in the same venues. Others regard this idea as a recipe for a disaster. The integration of non-disabled and para-sport events at the Commonwealth Games has been suggested as a model for the future of the Olympics and Paralympics.

Social Inclusion

The benefit and value of the Games, regardless of where they are held or placed within an Olympic context, is also being questioned.

The vision of the IPC is "to enable Para athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world." Yet critics of the IPC and the Paralympic movement suggest that this kind of rhetoric falls is overstated.

Do the Paralympic Games lead to a lasting legacy of improvement for people with disability? Can it only ever improve the material position of the elite athletes who participate?

While the IPC Handbook and the IPC accessibility guidelines identify the importance of improving host city accessibility and attitudes towards people with disability, the IPC has never resourced studies to test these potential impacts.

It wasn't until London 2012 that social inclusion was highlighted in bid documents and formed part of the narrative leading up to London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. This focused attention specifically on Paralympic engagement beyond the athletic field and sought to prepare London for a legacy that included disability, accessibility and inclusion in the community.

Yet, even this bright light is fading, as recently expressed by the face of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, who quit her role on the organizing committee because she thought it had become "tokenistic."

Similarly, the president of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, is hopeful that the Paralympic Games will improve social inclusion in Brazil.

Yet, the opportunities outlined in both the Rio sustainability management plan and the Rio accessibility guidelines for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games require resourcing to achieve outcomes that currently do not exist for disadvantaged groups in Rio de Janeiro.

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Simon Darcy is a professor and co-director of the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at the business school of the University of Technology Sydney. David Legg is a professor of physical education and recreation studies at Mount Royal University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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See also:

* Ties Between The Paralympics And The Special Olympics.

* The Beachwood's Rio 2016 coverage.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:58 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3

As expressed by a Meijer's cake case in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Last in a series.

cake3.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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Previously in this series:
* Part 1.
* Part 2.

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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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:35 AM | Permalink

One Of Every 200 Children In The World Is Now A Refugee: UNICEF

Nearly 50 million children have been uprooted from their homes around the world, and 28 million of those are refugees fleeing violence and conflict - and "that is a conservative estimate," according to a UNICEF report published Tuesday.

The total number of child refugees doubled between 2005 and 2015, the report says, and children now comprise half of all refugees despite accounting for less than a third of the global population.

The report, Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Refugee and Migrant Children, presents "for the first time, comprehensive, global data about these children," UNICEF writes.

A stunning 100,000 child refugees are traveling without their parents or families.

"Children do not bear any responsibility for the bombs and bullets, the gang violence, persecution, the shriveled crops and low family wages driving them from their homes," the United Nations agency argues in the report's executive summary. "They are, however, always the first to be affected by war, conflict, climate change and poverty."

"[T]oday, nearly 1 in every 200 children in the world is a child refugee," the report observes. "In 2005, the ratio was roughly 1 in every 350 children."

The report also examined the number of children internally displaced in their own countries by war.

Children displaced internally by the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq account for nearly one third of all children displaced internally around the world in 2015, the report found.

And child refugees fleeing endless war in two countries, Syria and Afghanistan, represented one half of all child migrants worldwide.

screen_shot_2016-09-07_at_10.45.21_am.pngChildren fleeing violence in Syria and Afghanistan comprise 50 percent of all child refugees worldwide/Unicef

"Though many communities and people around the world have welcomed refugee and migrant children, xenophobia, discrimination, and exclusion pose serious threats to their lives and futures," wrote UNICEF director Anthony Lake in his introduction to the report.

"Language barriers make it difficult for children and their families to seek the help they need. Legal barriers can prevent them from accessing education, health care and other services," Lake continued. "These obstacles are magnified for the 70,000 children who are born stateless every year, often as a result of their parents' migration."

Echoing other rights advocates urging protections for child refugees, the report also calls on the international community to create safe and legal routes for all displaced people.

"When children and their families have safe, legal routes for migration, it can offer tremendous opportunities for both the children who migrate as well as the communities they join," UNICEF writes. "When safe pathways are not available, migration and displacement continue, but with much greater risk. In these situations, it is children who face the most immediate dangers and most profound consequences."

The call flies in the face of European immigration policies, which have grown disastrously hostile toward the wave of refugees seeking asylum there, and also pushes against the anti-immigrant sentiments given a large platform by right-wing politicians in the U.S. and in Europe.

The United Nations' human rights chief condemned such "demagogues" on Tuesday, as Common Dreams reported.

"What can the future hold for these children - denied so much of what they need?" Lake wrote. "The answer depends on what we do today."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:26 AM | Permalink

September 8, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

All the action is on Twitter today - 24 hours of Donald Trump, Matt Lauer, Rahm Emanuel, John Kass, and the nation's shittiest journalists.

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Obama Loophole Costing Us Billions
Now Hillary Clinton is repeating his broken promise to close it.

Like McRib, The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report Is Back
A primer for newcomers.

Matt Lauer's Epic Fail
Morning show host unsurprisingly unable to handle presidential forum duties.

Spanish-Language Bird Walks
By the good folks at the Cook County Forest Preserves.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Home dog.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:32 PM | Permalink

Spanish-Language Bird Walks, Y'all

The Forest Preserves of Cook County invites the public to attend Spanish-language bird walks as part of the year-long Bird the Preserves initiative.

Throughout 2016, Forest Preserves visitors are invited to take advantage of frequent opportunities to view some of the most interesting and spectacular birds in the preserves.

Check out these upcoming Spanish-language bird walks:

Chicago Ornithological Society Big Year Birding Field Trip / Viaje de Campo Bosque LaBagh
Saturday/Sabado, Sept. 10 - 7 a.m.
LaBagh Woods - Irene Hernandez parking lot, Foster just east of Cicero and I-94, Chicago

SOC le invita a una gira para observar la migración otoñal. Esta gira será bilingüe. Traigan botas a prueba de agua. / Enjoy the height of spring migration. Wear waterproof boots. See chicagobirder.org for updates. Contact/contactar: Luis Muñoz

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Birding with the Field Museum en Español
Saturday/Sabado, Sept. 10 - 10 am
Eggers Grove, 11201 A Ave B, Chicago
Te invitamos a una observación de pájaros. Mas informaciones.

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Viaje de Campo Miller Meadow
Saturday/Sabado Sept. 24, 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
8300 W Roosevelt Road, Forest Park
Observar la migración otoñal. Esta gira será bilingüe. Nos reuniremos en el área estacionamiento localizado en Roosevelt Road, cerca de la entrada. Traigan botas a prueba de agua. Contactar Luis Muñoz.

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In addition to frequent bird walks, a new bird is being highlighted each month as part of the Bird the Preserves Bird of the Month series. 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. Visit fpdcc.com/birding to learn more about the multitude of birding opportunities.

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.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:29 AM | Permalink

'Commander-In-Chief' Forum Panned As Colossal Failure Of Journalism

Putting aside the shortcomings of both major candidates, for many critical observers the biggest loser during Wednesday night's presidential "Commander-in-Chief" forum on NBC News was the platform itself.

Moderated by NBC's host of The Today Show Matt Lauer, the town hall-style event was staged inside the belly of the U.S.S. Intrepid, a retired World War II aircraft carrier that now serves as a military museum in New York City, and was promoted by the news outlet as a chance to extract specific positions from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on veterans affairs and foreign policy.

But instead of informing viewers on these key subject matters or holding the candidates to account for past actions or statements, a widespread reaction among viewers and critical journalists from across the political spectrum was that Lauer failed to ask the necessary tough questions or follow-ups, with many suggesting the forum was a lesson in how not to inform voters or put a check on those seeking high office.

According to Michael Calderone, senior media reporter for the Huffington Post, the forum "should have gone down as the first time the two 2016 presidential candidate shared a stage," but instead "will be remembered largely for the shortcomings of the man who was tasked with moderating."

Writing for The Intercept, Zaid Jilani and Alex Emmons described the NBC production and Lauer's performance as a "master class on how not to hold candidates accountable" before a national audience.

"From the questions chosen to the format," Jilani and Emmons said that despite some good questions from veterans in the audience the event - which ran only one hour during prime time - was a total failure:

In the 25 minutes devoted to Clinton, nearly half was spent by Lauer grilling her about her use of a private e-mail server while Secretary of State (one veteran also asked about the issue). That left little room for questions on policies she presided over while in office.

Lauer repeatedly failed to fact-check candidates on their responses to questions. When Hillary Clinton explained her anti-ISIS plan by saying "we are not going to have ground troops in Iraq," he failed to point out that we already do have those troops. When Donald Trump claimed to have opposed the wars in Iraq and Libya from the beginning, Lauer failed to correct him and tell the audience that wasn't true.

New York magazine's Jonathan Chait, meanwhile, dubbed Lauer's interview approach as "pathetic" and lamented the impact such performances have on the voting public and, ultimately, the election:

I had not taken seriously the possibility that Donald Trump could win the presidency until I saw Matt Lauer host an hour-long interview with the two major party candidates. Lauer's performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking.

The shock, for me, was the realization that most Americans inhabit a very different news environment than professional journalists. I not only consume a lot of news, since it's my job, I also tend to focus on elite print news sources. Most voters, and all the more so undecided voters, subsist on a news diet supplied by the likes of Matt Lauer.

And the reality transmitted to them from Lauer matches the reality of the polls, which is a world in which Clinton and Trump are equivalently flawed.

Offering at least some buffer to the individual criticism, HuffPo's Calderone acknowledged that part of Lauer's failures on Wednesday night "were not of his own making," but could be attributed to the format of the event. "With only a half-hour with each candidate, he was pressed for time and forced to rush through topics while bringing in audience questions and timely follow-ups," Calderone wrote.

For many on social media, however, Lauer would not be let off the hook so easily:

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Wednesday night's event was a one-on-one format. The first presidential debate with both candidates on stage together facing questions, is scheduled for Sept. 26 and will be moderated NBC News anchor Lester Holt.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:15 AM | Permalink

The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So)

For years, Democratic elected officials in Washington have been wary of going after Wall Street excesses too hard, lest the deep-pocketed financial industry throw all its resources to Republicans.

This has been especially true of one of the most notorious targets for financial reform: the favorable tax treatment of the outsized compensation earned by partners in private equity firms.

Democrats have long spoken out against this so-called "carried-interest loophole," yet have often not pushed as hard as they could to change the law, which saves some of the very wealthiest people in finance billions of dollars in taxes each year.

All of this explains why the scenario presented by the 2016 election is so surreal. The Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, has vowed to close the loophole, saying it's unfair that the highly compensated money managers who benefit from it "pay lower tax rates than nurses or . . . truckers."

Clinton recently went even further than President Obama on the issue, saying she would close the loophole through executive action if Congress continued to resist a legislative fix, a step that Obama has shied away from taking.

One might reasonably expect Clinton's campaign contributions from private equity to suffer as a result of this stance, and for the money to flow overwhelmingly to the Republicans, as it did in the last presidential election. That hasn't happened. In fact, Clinton is receiving all of the industry's support.

As of the end of July, the executives and employees of the four biggest private equity firms (the Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, KKR and Apollo Global Management) had given her campaign a combined $182,295 in direct contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Their combined contributions to her opponent's campaign? Zero. Not a cent.

The reason for this swing, of course, is that Clinton's opponent is not just any Republican, but Donald J. Trump. Trump broke with the Republican mold on the carried-interest issue early in his campaign when he announced that he, too, was in favor of closing the loophole (thought as tax experts have noted, other aspects of his tax plan would likely save those who benefit from the loophole even more on their taxes than keeping the loophole does).

Trump's selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate has further dissuaded Wall Street firms from giving to the campaign out of fear of violating "pay to play" rules that bar firms from giving to state officials with oversight over the pension funds that invest with the firms.

But the private equity industry's abandonment of Trump, which predates his selection of Pence, arises mostly from anxiety in the higher echelons of Wall Street over what a Trump victory would mean for the country and financial markets.

"The day after the election of Donald Trump, the market will go down massively as people jump out of stock and bonds and buy gold," said Bob Shrum, a longtime Democratic political consultant now on the faculty of the University of Southern California. "Saving on your taxes on your profits doesn't do you any good if you don't have any profits."

The top four private equity firms, which declined to comment for this article, aren't donating to Clinton at the level they backed 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who had spent years working in the industry. Executives and employees of those firms gave Romney a combined $591,600, while giving only $147,031 to Obama, who had attacked the loophole as a senator and a presidential candidate. But Clinton's take has already surpassed Obama's.

The private-equity industry's giving this year is mirrored by a mismatch in other sectors of Wall Street (though a few hedge fund managers have taken prominent roles as Trump fundraisers and advisers) and helps explain Clinton's financial advantage heading into the campaign's home stretch.

But it also raises an obvious question for Clinton: Would she as president really follow through with a campaign proposal that will raise billions of dollars in revenue from the very industry that has favored her so completely over her opponent?

Two economic advisers to Clinton, speaking on condition that they not be identified per campaign policy, insisted that her proposals on the issue should be taken at face value. The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Barney Frank, the former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who co-authored the Dodd-Frank financial reform law of 2010 and was sharply critical of the loophole while in office, said in an interview that Clinton should be taken at her word on the issue, regardless of the industry's campaign contributions.

"She genuinely believes [in closing the loophole] and they have given her all that money assuming that's what she believes," he said.

The fact remains, though, that the carried-interest loophole has survived for years despite many previous avowals of intent to close it. The loophole is often referred to as the "hedge-fund loophole," but it applies far more to private-equity, as well as venture capital and real estate investment firms. Private-equity firms use the money of wealthy individuals and pension funds to buy private companies or take publicly held companies private, then try to increase the companies' bottom line before reselling them for a profit.

Typically, private-equity partners are paid a 2 percent fee on the assets under their management, plus a 20 percent cut of any profits, which is known as carried interest. The fees are taxed as ordinary income, but the carried interest is taxed at the lower capital gains tax rate, even though it is compensation for labor - the partners' handling of others' money - rather than a return on the partners' own investment. Currently, that means being taxed at 23.8 percent rather than the 39.6 percent top rate for ordinary income; for much of the past 15 years, it was an even bigger difference, 35 percent vs. 15 percent.

This tax treatment has roots in the oil and gas industry of the early 20th century, when partners doing the actual work of oil exploration using other partners' investments had their share of profits taxed at the capital gains rate, which has for much of the past century been lower than the rate for ordinary income in order to incentivize risk-taking and entrepreneurship. The logic was that these partners' "sweat equity" had also entailed risk, since they only got a payout if their exploration panned out.

But the treatment has become harder to justify in the context of today's private-equity industry, since there is much less risk-taking at work: Partners collect their 2 percent fee no matter what, and are generally investing in existing companies, not starting new ones, making their work harder to distinguish from other finance professionals who pay taxes at ordinary income rates on their compensation.

Estimates of the loophole's total tax benefit for private-equity partners (roughly 20 of whom are now worth more than $2 billion each, according to the Forbes 400 list) range from about $2 billion per year to seven or eight times as much as that.

For nearly a decade, assorted congressional Democrats have sought to close the loophole, with occasional support from the odd Republican, but these efforts have repeatedly come to naught, with the last major push coming up a few votes short of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in June 2010.

There has been no concerted effort since late 2010, when Republicans became the majority in the House. Speaker Paul Ryan opposes closing the loophole outright, instead saying the matter will be taken up as part of comprehensive tax reform in years ahead. But comprehensive tax reform has not been undertaken in Washington since 1986.

In 2014, when then-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, offered a comprehensive reform plan that included closing the carried-interest loophole, it went nowhere with his Republican colleagues.

Many Democrats have also moved with something less than alacrity when it comes to closing the loophole. In 2007, then-Senator Clinton declined to join Senator Obama in co-sponsoring legislation to close it, though she did come out in favor of doing so on the presidential campaign trail that year.

Her fellow New York senator, Charles Schumer, who is in line to be leader of the Senate Democrats, repeatedly insisted that any reform of carried interest also apply to real estate and venture capital, not just private equity, which served to increase opposition to the measure.

And Obama has resisted the arguments of tax experts such as Victor Fleischer, a leading critic of the loophole, that it could be closed by administrative fiat. (Fleischer is leaving academia to become Democratic tax counsel on the Senate Finance Committee.)

Democratic foot-dragging on the issue can be attributed partly to the fact that the cities where private equity and venture capital are clustered - New York, Boston and San Francisco - are Democratic power centers. Private equity firms and the industry's trade group (recently renamed the American Investment Council, dropping the term "private equity") have hired many former Democratic lawmakers and staffers to lobby on the issue. And several top private equity partners have built strong ties of their own with Democrats.

One is David Rubenstein, the co-founder of Carlyle. Rubenstein, who worked in the Carter White House, has long sworn off making campaign contributions, helping him maintain good relations with elected officials of both political parties. As a ProPublica article co-published with the New Yorker in March described, Rubenstein capitalized on his credibility with congressional Democrats, which he has buttressed with his considerable philanthropic giving to civic causes in Washington, to make the case on the Hill against closing the loophole when efforts to do so came close in 2007 and 2010.

In interviews since the article appeared, Rubenstein has downplayed his influence on the issue. "I haven't talked to a member of Congress about this in five years - it's just not one of my main concerns," he told the New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin.

He told the public-radio show Marketplace, "I haven't been active in it. I don't think I've talked to a member of Congress about it in five years or so. It's not my major focus. Of the 1,000 things I've worried about, it's not even in the top 1,000."

Left unsaid in both interviews was that Rubenstein hasn't had to lobby Congress on the loophole in the past five years because it hasn't been under serious threat in that time span.

Rubenstein even got ribbing for his effective defense of the loophole from Larry Summers, a former Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and Harvard University president, at a conference in Las Vegas in May.

"Rarely has a policy existed so long with such weak arguments in its favor," Summers said in a session with Rubenstein and Robert Rubin, the former Goldman Sachs and Citigroup executive who preceded Summers as Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. "It's the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and carried interest, right?"

"Not necessarily in that order," joked Rubin.

According to Business Insider, Rubenstein countered that if Summers and Rubin found the tax treatment of carried interest so unfounded, they could have used executive action to eliminate it when they ran the Treasury Department. This was a notable remark, in that it seemed to undercut the industry's position that the tax treatment can only be changed legislatively.

In this election, Rubenstein has maintained his policy of not making campaign contributions. But his Carlyle colleagues have made a striking shift, giving Clinton more than double what they gave Obama in 2012, with several months left to go in the campaign.

Most eye-catching, though, is the shift at Blackstone, whose executives and employees gave Romney nearly $250,000 in 2012. Among those giving to Romney was Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, who in 2010 had compared closing the carried-interest loophole to the Nazi invasion of Poland (he later apologized).

This year, Schwarzman has given to neither presidential candidate, while giving more than $200,000 to a long list of Republican Senate and House candidates and party committees (plus to Schumer, the only Senate Democrat to get a check from Schwarzman). Instead, the most prominent Blackstone executive on the presidential campaign scene has been its president and chief operating officer, Hamilton "Tony" James, who hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton late last year, with Warren Buffett, and hosted a reception at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. James is mentioned as a possible candidate for Treasury secretary in a Clinton administration.

The Philadelphia reception, at the Barnes Foundation, was attended by a who's who of Wall Street executives and Democratic luminaries with Clinton roots, including Summers, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former economic adviser Gene Sperling. In a brief speech, James avoided any mention of the carried-interest issue. Instead, he cast Clinton as a savior against darkness.

"Every election, people say this one really matters. But I think this one really matters. We can raise our sights, we can elevate the country . . . or we can take the path down, the path down to fanning fears . . . social divisions," James said. "There are two reasons we have to win this election. First of all we have a great leader and candidate. Secondly, we have a nightmare alternative."

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

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Previously in the carried interest loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

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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.

* 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.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

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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 8:34 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: We And Connor McRib Are Back

Holy crap, you guys! Welcome back!

It's been eight long months and the only thing left on Earth that can hold people's attention for seven hours at a time has returned to television!

No, it's not your children! Because dance recitals are bullshit!

No, it's not porn! Because of chafing!

Say it with me!

It's time to start the 2016 season of the National . . . (pause for effect) . . . Foot . . . (pause for effect) . . . Ball . . . (pause) . . . line?

[Editor's Note: "League," you idiot! Say "LEAGUE!"]

The 2016 season of the National Football Leaf is finally upon us!

[Editor's Note: Uh, just keep going.]

Which means, woooo friggin' hooo, it's that time of the year where I go off my meds, start every morning with a freshly squeezed bottle of Scotch and type furiously about our favorite professional pigskin pals, the Chicago Bears!

(Queue Howard Dean scream)

A quick primer on what to expect from this column. First off, we're not big on "stats" or "fact checking" around here. The Internet is full of places where you can get "information."

For instance, you could Google stuff like "world's largest gangbang Lisa Sparxxx or PJ Sparxx?" (I can never remember!) or "how many alcohol related seizures weighs too much?"

However, you might want to know how many career receiving yards Deonte Thompson has or if Jay Cutler had the most rushing yards of any Bear in a particular game.

If so, bugger off. There's nothing for you here.

From a nuts and bolts standpoint, I often use embedded links in the BAOKAR to avoid drawing the attention of copyright lawyers in the direction of my fine friends at The Beachwood Reporter.

To use these links, hold the Control button (or whatever key you use on a Mac; an eggplant emoji I assume) and left-click with your mouse.

Go ahead, give it a try.

Nineteen times out of 20, the link will send you somewhere that illuminates one of the numerous obscure references you'll find in my work.

Or, as is the case for the above example, something rando Bear-related image.

But sometimes it's just a picture of my anus on Tumblr.

In any case, you're welcome.

I also make frequent use of footnotes, mostly in the form of asterisks. For those of you who didn't complete sixth grade, this is an asterisk: *.

Yes, that was a real footnote. Jump to the bottom of the page and read the words next to the corresponding number of little star thingies.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Lastly, the Kool-Aid. At the end of each column, I'll assign a level of hype for the upcoming week's game on a scale of one to five alcoholic beverages. Because I'm a pusher.

It's a method that might seem completely arbitrary . . . because it is. You'll also find a very, very, very, thin veneer of analysis for the upcoming match-up in the Kool-Aid section, along with a predicted outcome.

If memory serves, I think I said that the Bears were going to win every single game in 2012 by a score of 23-20, so I wouldn't exactly go running straight to your bookie's house with cash in fist based on whatever the hell I write at the end of this article.

With all that out of the way, let's talk some Bootball!

[Editor's Note: (slaps own forehead)]

Oh yeah, and sometimes my imaginary editor Steve shows up in the form of those square parenthetical things.

Ultimately, anyone can write. But a pro re-writes. That's where Steve comes in.

[Editor's Note: You typically dump something on my desk 45 minutes before we're supposed to go to press. Usually that's just enough time to delete anything racist about people from Estonia.]

Hahahahaha! It sure is, Steve. It sure is.

Keep up the good work and let's get out there for another great season!

Offseason Roundup
Even with a handful of days left between these keystrokes and Week 1, there are many roster moves expected as the Bears tweak their lineup in preparation for another exciting season of football action.

Translation: I've got shit to do on Wednesday, so prepare yourself for some references to players that aren't even on the team by this weekend.

Oh dammit, Khari Lee just got the axe. Now my bit about him being a Skyrim character is useless.

Near-term moves aside, we can certainly discuss the fact that this offseason continued to showcase the current regime's ongoing commitment to sweeping change. The 2016 Bears feature a completely rebuilt O-Line, a bolstered linebacking corps, an actual rugby player and a shitload of unknown guys in the secondary whose names boast unusual amounts of punctuation.

Have you checked out the list of transactions from the last two months?

If you have, and I told you a dude named Cre'Vonte' Le'Hurst-Goldblatt just got picked up on waivers from the Lions' practice squad, you wouldn't be entirely sure I'm joking.

I'll wait while you check the Bears' website . . .

Ha! Your dumb ass believed me! They actually got him from the Patriots**.

Big name players who were sent packing included Pro Bowlers Matt Forte, Robbie Gould and Martellus Bennett. Ostensibly because they were "old," or "expensive," or "the arrow was pointing down," or they were an expensive and ineffective nuisance with a bad attitude who got beat out for a starting gig by a 31-year-old receiving tight end who basically hadn't played a professional football game for four years.

[Editor's Note: You missed Ego Ferguson and you forget the quotes on that last one?]

I did not. Also, does anybody really "miss" Ego Ferguson?

[Editor's Note: I'll allow it.]

Bennett aside, many Bear fans were left scratching their heads in regards to the rationale behind cutting Forte and Gould; the kicker in particular because running backs over the ripe ol' age of 30 typically get either put out to stud (first stop, Maude Flanders!) or sent to the Jets.

Sorry, Matt.

When asked about Gould, Bears GM Ryan Pace was quoted as saying, "When a player comes available that we feel good about, we have to consider it. And sometimes make the hard decisions."

In other words, the Bears had identified a list of players on other teams that, if available, would be brought in to compete or replace the Bears' all-time leading scorer.

Granted, none of us expected Bears brass to react to Connor Barth's unexpected availability like, "Oh shit, son! The McRib is back!"

But here we are.

While departures grabbed the spotlight in the latter parts of the offseason, draft picks and acquisitions made headlines earlier this summer.

For example, a season-ending injury to presumptive starting center Hroniss Grasu (known in some circles by his anagram, "Iron Ass Shrug") opened the door for two new faces; longtime author of the single-panel cartoon The Far Side Ted Larsen and rookie Cody Whitehair.

Tack on new tackle Bobby Massie, plus Packer-pilfered Pro Bowl guard Posh Pitton, ugh, I mean Josh Sitton, and the Bears offensive line is starting to look . . . positively passable.

Hopefully they can provide enough pass protection to find out if 2015 first-round pick Kevin White can run a go route.

Or any route in the playbook for that matter. The early feedback on White's grasp of the game at the NFL level is not promising.

On the defensive side of the ball, Danny Trevathan (whose name is forcing me to copy/paste off the depth chart . . . for some reason I always spell it "Dannie"), Jerrell Freeman and rookie/human beanpole Leonard Floyd highlight the cast of new linebackers to augment a unit lead by the oft/usually/currently injured Pernell McPhee and professional bass fisherman Willie Young.

That last line isn't much of a stretch.

Here's Willie talking smack to Kevin VanDam, who is likely the only fisherman you've ever heard of besides yourself, or that guy Ronnie who only gets a regular invite because he bums smokes to everyone on the vessel.

We could keep going, but the other 1,000 words I had lined up for this section were a think piece on the role of Marc Mariani (RIP) as a slot receiver.

[Editor's Note: Mariani's not dead!]

I found out as I was proofing this that he's back on the friggin' Titans. What's the difference?

[Editor's Note: I guess I'll allow that one too].

So with that brilliant idea deep-sixed, let's put a pin in the offseason review and look ahead.

Eye On The Opposition: J.J. & The Watt-o-Nauts
Much like KVD is the one of the only fisherman to gain even a slight level of mass notoriety, the Texans boast one of the only players that your girlfriend/boyfriend/straight buddy from Houston would recognize in public and then attempt to seduce.

I speak of the former Defensive Player Of The Year and inspirational meme come to life, J.J. Watt.

On the very real strength of its defensive front and a totally unfounded amount of confidence in new quarterback Lieutenant Brock Osweiler****, Houston has its sights set on a fourth playoff appearance since 2011.

I was right about to make fun of J.J.'s Fun Bunch for only having appeared in five playoff games during the Texans' storied 14-year history . . . buuuuuuut then I remembered that five playoff games between 2011 and 2015 is five more than the Bears have to their credit during that timeframe.

See? This is why I can't be both a loyal fan and look at facts. Promise I'll keep that to a minimum going forward.

If the Bears hope to get the rushing attack going, it's going to take some creativity.

I suggest they run a variation of an end-around in which running back Jeremy Langford disguises himself as a sickly child, thus forcing Watt to stop and hug him in front of the cameras for a minute before cutting a generous check to one of the greater Houston area's adolescent oncological centers.

That should open the door to a 15- to 20-yard gain for Alshon Jeffrey on the weak side.

Other than that, I got nothing.

Kool-Aid (4 of 5 Cans Of Pipeworks' "Unicorn vs. Ninja")
Maybe I'm whoring myself out a little early in the season, but this is one of my favorite beers to buy at my local Binny's Beverage Depot!

If you can't find it at Binny's it's probably not worth drinking!

(Holds hands out expecting endorsement money, receives zero dollars in U.S. currency.)

No? Well I'm not going to stop trying.

You should rightly expect another year of improvement from the Bears, as it appears that John Fox and company have coached this team up as well as it can be, but on paper this match-up looks rough.

I mean, you saw the preseason.

Oh, you didn't? High five, amigos. Neither did I.

But I heard the first three games were mostly such a goddam train wreck that your time was better served fueling your hypochondria on WebMD.

(Searches "can popping neck pimples puncture aorta?")

The combination of pressure expected by the Texans defense and lack of gel time for the revamped Bears' O-line doesn't bode well for the running game.

While I like the front seven's chances to neutralize Houston's lead back/near constant fantasy disappointment Lamar Miller, the downfield match-ups look to favor Texans' receivers.

DeAndre Hopkins (who slices through secondaries with razor-sharp cheek bones) and Notre Dame product William Fuller The "V" . . . oh, it's "the fifth?"

Ok, so if "Deuce" or "Junior" is a guy named after his father and "Trey" is the third guy in a family with the same name . . . whatever, I'm just going to call him William Fuller "The Quiche."

Where was I? Oh, to hell with it. Cheekbones McGee and The Quiche pose a real threat on Sunday.

That said, the Texans' secondary comes into the season looking to answer questions of its own at the safety position.

So Kevin White, now would be a good time to show us why you were the seventh overall pick last season.

I like the Bears chances to keep it close, but the season likely gets off on the wrong boot.

[Editor's Note: Ok. Knowledge of the sport or not, that's not a turn of phrase. You're just f-ing with me.] Yup.

Houston 27, Bears 21

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About The Author
The author's wife took this picture and remarked, "It looks like you're having a conversation, but either nobody's there or nobody's listening."

carl2.png

The author can think of no better metaphor for 25 years' worth of writing music and word.

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* This is an asterisk.

** But for reals-ese, they picked up Cre'Von LeBlanc, whose other qualifications include playing Chandler Bing*** in the French version of the TV show Friends.

*** [Editor's Note: Wait . . . I was born before 1979, so think I see what you're going for, but since his last name is LeBlanc, wouldn't he play Joey?] [Author's Response: Nope.]

**** C'mon. With a name like that, he's gotta be a narc.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:47 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"An unprecedented analysis by the Chicago Tribune of every police shooting from 2010 through 2015 . . . found that foot chases played a role in more than a third of the 235 cases that ended with someone wounded or killed," the paper reports.

"About half of the pursuits began routinely - as police attempted to stop or question people for curfew violations, public drinking, thefts, disturbance calls or other minor offenses, the Tribune found. According to the analysis, nearly a quarter of those killed by police during foot chases were struck only in the back, a factor often cited later in civil rights lawsuits questioning the threat actually posed to officers."

This is good work. Go read it.

*

"Experts say changes in how and when officers are allowed to chase suspects on foot will likely be an outcome of the ongoing probe by the U.S. Justice Department of the Chicago Police Department. At least a dozen previous Justice Department probes of police departments over the past two decades have called for establishing specific guidelines on foot chases, and other cities have implemented policies on their own following controversial police shootings involving foot pursuits.

"Federal investigators will be particularly interested in how police shootings have disproportionately affected minorities, according to the experts. While African-Americans made up 80 percent of all those shot by police in the six-year span examined by the Tribune, an even higher number of those shot during foot chases - 94 percent - were black, the Tribune found."

Money Matters
"Consider Waukegan and Stevenson, two Illinois school districts separated by 20 miles - and an enormous financial gulf," AP reports.

"Stevenson, mostly white, is flush with resources. The high school has five different spaces for theater performances, two gyms, an Olympic-size pool and an espresso bar.

"Meanwhile Waukegan, with its mostly minority student body, is struggling. At one school, the band is forced to practice in a hallway, and as many as 28 students share a single computer.

"Last year, Stevenson spent close to $18,800 per student. Waukegan's expenditure? About $12,600. And the gap has only been getting wider."

I've been reading this story my whole life. Not only hasn't it changed, it's gotten worse.

"In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, school districts serving poor communities generally have been hit harder than more affluent districts, according to an Associated Press analysis of local, state and federal education spending.

"The result has been a worsening of America's rich schools, poor schools divide - and its racial divide, because many poor districts are also heavily minority. It also perpetuates the perception that the system is rigged in favor of the haves, at the expense of the have-nots."

*

Go read the rest - the further comparison between Waukegan and Stevenson is as stark as it gets.

*

The problem exists within school districts too, not just between school districts. For example, just see Tuesday's item Priming Payton's Pump.

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A 10-Point Plan To Reduce Chicago's Violence
We need to break out of the same stale solution narratives - Call out the National Guard! Mandatory minimums! Family values! - and, as our writer Steve Balkin puts it in this piece, reconfigure the policy handles. Amen.

Why Are Police In Public Schools?
Harmful to children, unfair to cops.

A very interesting read. I learned some things, and I'm pretty sure you will too.

Wait Till They Start Killing In Beverly Hills Like You Do In Chicago
Jesus cursed a fig tree, people. Now run tell that.

One of the greatest things I've seen lately. Enjoy.

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BeachBook

Phyllis Schlafly Was A Feminist.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Anti-journalism.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

Wait Till They Start Killing In Beverly Hills Like You Do In Chicago

Jesus cursed a fig tree, people. Now run tell that.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

Why Are Police Inside Public Schools?

Children across the U.S. have now returned to school. Many of these children are going to schools with sworn police officers patrolling the hallways. These officers, usually called school resource officers, are placed in schools across the country to help maintain school safety.

According to the most recent data reported by the Department of Education, police or security guards were present in 76.4 percent of U.S. public high schools in the 2009-2010 school year.

In many of these schools, police officers are being asked to deal with a range of issues that are very different from traditional policing duties, such as being a mental health counselor for a traumatized child. This is an unfair request.

Days after the recent tragedy in Dallas, for example, as he grieved for the five slain officers, Dallas police chief David Brown referred to this problem when he said:

We're asking cops to do too much in this country . . . Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it . . . Schools fail, let's give it to the cops . . .

For the past decade I have been studying how we police schools and punish students. My recent book, The Real School Safety Problem, and a growing body of other studies point to the fact that, indeed, schools ask police to do too much in schools.

Not only is it unfair to the police, it can be harmful for children.

Policing Schools

Though there is no national data collected on exactly how many police officers are in schools, estimates suggest that the practice became popular in the early 1990s, as society began to rethink policing and punishment in the community outside of schools. That resulted in more rigorous policing practices and expansion of our prison system.

In 1999, following Columbine, when two teens went on a shooting spree, policing practices grew further: Federal funding was increased to have more police officers in schools.

However, for more than 20 years, school crime has been plummeting. Between 1993 and 2010, the number of students who reportedly became victims of a violent crime at school decreased by 82 percent. Since most schools are now safe places, officers in them aren't needed to respond to many crimes.

So they are being asked to do many other tasks.

There is no national data on what officers do while at schools. But studies in specific schools find that officers are being asked to deal with mental health problems, family crises, self-injurious behavior and manifestation of childhood trauma. They also mentor students and teach law-related courses.

Every jurisdiction makes its own decision about what officers should do in schools, and the training that they should receive to work in schools. The National Association of School Resource Officers does offer a week-long basic training course. That training does include a component on counseling and mentoring youth, but it is not clear how comprehensive the sessions are. Moreover, not all officers are required to take the course.

But students' mental health and other problems are, not surprisingly, often beyond the skills gained from a week-long course. Even if they are trained, police officers are not mental health professionals whose years of training and practice teach them how to calm youth down, assess mental health needs and address the underlying causes of student misbehavior.

Who Gets Hurt?

I have found in my prior research that the presence of officers can change the school environment in subtle ways - from one that focuses on children's social, emotional and academic needs to one focusing on policing potential criminals.

For example, in one school I observed what happened when a student overdosed on multiple bottles of cough syrup. Rather than the school seeing this as a mental health issue or suicide attempt, the school turned to its "go to" person for handling difficult student issues: the officer.

After dealing with the initial emergency and ensuring the child went to the hospital, the officer's (and thus the school's) only response was to investigate what crime the child could be charged with, not what help he needed.

Other research, too, shows that the presence of police in schools can result in increased arrests of students for minor behaviors. For example, a 2013 study by criminologists Chongmin Na and Denise Gottfredson found that schools that added police officers subsequently saw more weapons and drug crimes, and a larger number of minor offenses reported to the police.

A 2016 study by University of Florida law professor Jason Nance found that the presence of a police officer predicted greater likelihood that student misbehaviors would result in an arrest.

Childhood trauma is often a cause of serious childhood misconduct. Black and Latino students are at a greater risk than white students of having experienced childhood trauma. Youth of color are also more likely than white youth to attend schools with police officers. This means that students of color, who may have greater need for mental health care than white youth, are instead dealt with by police officers who are untrained or insufficiently trained in responding to trauma.

It is therefore not surprising that recent research from the University of Chicago Consortium found that the arrest rate in Chicago for African-American boys was twice as high as that for students in the school district overall.

Policing Can Be Counterproductive

Police officers in schools often serve as mentors and role models. For example, the officer I described above - who looked to charge a potentially suicidal student with a crime - had volunteered to work in a school because of his desire to help kids. He took time to advise youth and be a positive influence in the lives of many. Often students would come to his office to ask for advice, and just "check in." He would respond with care and compassion.

Though there is no sound evidence that police officers in schools prevent crime, it would be reasonable in my view to place officers in those few schools where there is violence. Despite steep declines in school violence nationally, there are some schools where teachers and students face frequent threats of violence.

Having said that, the cost of a daily presence of police outweighs the benefit in the majority of schools. For example, the officer I describe above as a caring counselor and role model switched roles dramatically when he thought a crime might have been committed.

Then he would act like any traditional officer focused only on law and order. In those moments, he failed to address the underlying cause of the problem. By relying on him as the primary responder to student problems, the school replaced a focus on social issues and mental health with a focus on law enforcement.

The result is that children do not receive the help they need, and officers are placed in a no-win position by being asked to respond to students' needs as if they had the same training as a mental health professional.

The fact is, policing alone cannot solve all societal problems.

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Aaron Kupchik is a sociology and criminal justice professor at the University of Delaware. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

Reducing Chicago's Violence: A 10-Point Plan

Criminal violence seems to be falling in America long term, even in Chicago. But it is recently on the increase in Chicago and other places. Five strands of thought seem to permeate thinking about reducing this spike in criminal violence: (1) increase get-tough criminal justice system intervention, such as more police and longer prison sentences; (2) interrupt the "cradle to prison" pipeline by improving schools and implementing restorative justice programs; (3) gun restriction and control; (4) eliminate the racial bias of police, and; (5) bring more good jobs to lower income areas.

Often, policy-makers and activists focus on just one of the above as the solution towards reducing crime in general and for solving the problem of violent crime in particular.

There is a sixth way which I consider more broad-based and integrative, which is to drastically reconfigure the policy handles in the underlying frameworks in which criminal activity takes place: the legal basis for what activities are criminal and what are not; how police are trained; changing the mix of the law enforcement activity between civilians and police; how our education system works, and; a basic minimum income policy.

This reconfiguration deals with aspects of our crime control environment that need more emphasis. Most of these strategies are not expensive and the costs can be offset by increases in human capital or reduced costs in some other parts of the fiscal system (e.g., reduced prison and health care costs.) Many can be implemented at the municipal level. Some, like Nos. 1, 6 and 10 below, require help from the federal government.

I do not claim these are the answers to reducing violent crime. As an academic with a lifelong interest in urban policy, this is just my contribution to the conversation on how to think about making places in the USA safer and more humane to live in. I am thankful to the scholars and writers upon whose shoulders I stand.

1. Decriminalize all street drugs.

Police could then be redeployed towards community policing and focus on prevention of serious non-consensual crime such as burglary, robbery, aggravated assault, rape, DUI, and murder. Street drug use would still be against the law to sell or use, but would be mostly funneled through the social service and health care systems, much like in Portugal. Strength of enforcement on the supply side in particular neighborhoods could be made contingent on the rate of shootings in those neighborhoods, using this as leverage to encourage de-escalating the violence.

To help make this work, a demand reduction strategy is called for, not by incarcerating drug users but by improving the lives of the drug users. Here are some ways to do that:

A) Periodic internet reports on the quality of current street drugs, including the integrity of ingredients and the strength of dose;

B) Readily accessible effective drug treatment programs, including drug maintenance and substitution;

C) Medically supervised safe injection centers such as Vancouver's InSite program and one proposed for Ithaca, New York, and;

D) Affordable supportive housing for drug addicts.

2. Social work training as part of the requirements for police academy training.

Police need to be multifaceted and able to view their world through the eyes of social workers, learning some of their resource referral and interpersonal skills, and be able to collaborate with social workers, drug counselors, mental health workers and educators as part of an overall community mobilization safety strategy. Requiring a one-year social work certificate or a two-year social work associate degree would seem a good place to start. While such educational programs do not presently exist in Chicago, surplus capacity in higher education here could easily allow the creation of this or its equivalent.

3. Resident neighborhood patrols that could observe crime - and the police.

Trust and cooperation between police and communities will occur more readily when community members are active in peace-keeping functions and making sure there are observational checks on all who perform a police duty. An example of this are: Mothers (and Men) Against Senseless Killings, a group of parents in Englewood who gather at 75th and Stewart (and other intersections) each day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. to patrol the neighborhood and encourage community support to make Englewood safer.

It is my view that each effort at citizen patrol needs to be customized to each neighborhood. Good case studies and evaluation research would help inform which efforts are likely to be the most effective at reducing person-to-person violence, cop-to-person violence, and person-to cop-violence.

4. Firearms training in middle school and high school.

This training would include graphically showing what medically happens when someone is shot, and teaching knowledge of the laws regarding firearms. Integrate this with explaining the "cradle to prison" trajectory, how to avoid it, the consequences of having a criminal record, and learning about due process rights as in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments, as well as various interpretations of the 2nd Amendment. Children are surrounded by guns and gun culture, on the streets and on TV, and are often taught how to use guns on the streets. Reality education on the use and harms of guns need to be provided.

While I support a ban on sales of assault weapons - semi-automatic firearms with a detachable magazine and a pistol grip - many in the general population will still own hand guns and long guns as weapons for personal protection and tools of sport (about 40% of households). If people are to possess deadly weapons they need to know how to use them and their consequences. Licenses with background checks should be required for all firearms ownership including passing a firearms test.

5. Peaceful, non-violent, conflict resolution training.

While proposal No. 4 just acknowledged that the U.S. is a gun culture country and tries to reduce the harm from that, countervailing efforts need to be placed on the importance of peaceful, non-violent, dispute resolution. The underpinnings of this should be in mandatory curriculum starting in elementary school and include ideas of the great thinkers of peace and protest, including Martin Luther King Jr. , Cesar Chavez, Saul Alinsky, M. K. Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton, and the Dalai Lama. Along with this, there is need for hands-on course work on emotional awareness, managing anger, communication styles, examining assumptions, mediation, arbitration, negotiation, bargaining, restorative justice practices, and community organizing.

6. No person under 21 does nothing after dropping out or graduating high school.

There should be a creation or expansion of programs that have this as their objective. This would include:

A) Tuition-free undergraduate college with strong tutoring relationships;

B) Not necessarily excluding people with criminal records from entering the military;

C) Private sector paid apprenticeship programs;

D) Entrepreneurship training programs, including having a relevant mentor;

E) Community service within the U.S.;

F) A Junior Peace Corps program targeted to Africa and Latin America;

G) Help in getting people get jobs outside of Chicago in places where the environment may be more education- and legal work-oriented. As a first approximation, I choose Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey and Wisconsin, the states with the highest high school graduation rates.

An important aspect of programs is that they should not have severe restrictions against youth with criminal records.

7. Encourage gangs to transform from criminal organizations to social clubs (e.g., fraternities, motorcycle clubs, sport clubs, and political associations).

We have historical examples of this, and these should be examined for replication. Examples in Chicago include: the Hamburg Athletic Club, the Young Lords, and the Conservative Vice Lords.

As a contract to a community based non-profit organization, there needs to be an Office of Gang Management and Negotiation which is part think tank and part diplomatic center. The mission would be to directly work with gangs, facilitate gang summits, create economic alternatives, and consider the best structure and optimal degree of organization of gangs.

The goal would be to create win-win situations for gangs-neighborhoods, and to internalize the cost of violence to gangs and thereby create incentives to deescalate the violence.

For example, consider two separate micro-gangs, each claiming a one-block sized territory on different sides of a major thoroughfare. If they could be encouraged to merge, shootings based on gang rivalry would decrease in this neighborhood.

If, in addition, a distinct hierarchy emerges, there is now someone to negotiate with for a safer neighborhood. Organized crime is bad, but sometimes disorganized crime is worse.

Over time, negotiations could result in gang exits from criminal activity.

Of course, not all shootings are gang-related, but this would be step towards street peace.

8. Encourage those who work outside to observe and dampen crime.

Increase the number of businesses that operate outside on the street (e.g., newsstands, convenience kiosks, and street vendors) to generate crime-reducing and fear-reducing pedestrian activity.

This could also be a source of job creation for at-risk youth and ex-prisoners.

I studied the old Maxwell Street Market for many years. I was alway impressed by its function as a business incubator, source of jobs, safety net, social capital creator, and safe meeting place for people across different ethnicities, classes, and gang affiliations. The City should expand its current New Maxwell Street Market and set up similar street markets on the West and South Sides.

9. Supportive urban development and real estate development policies that reduce (not increase) class and race segregation and that maintain (not destroy) longstanding neighborhoods and their mutual aid and social surveillance connections.

There is little understanding in most city halls of the increase in crime caused by real estate development and neighborhood turnover. Mayors seem to salivate at every opportunity for pushing low income people out of neighborhoods where the real estate tax base can be increased by gentrification of higher income people, who demand fewer social services.

Longstanding neighborhoods with longstanding residents are, in general, safer because of the greater concern about safety and knowledge of how to maintain that safety. Longtime residents know better who belongs and who doesn't and have an incentive to protect each other. Communities where residents feel a sense of connection to and responsibility for one another are safer communities. Low income communities with old housing stock may need improvements but not population replacement or destruction.

10. Supportive economic policy to create high employment, high wage rates, and to reduce inequality, including a basic minimum income and consideration of industrial policy.

Increases in government spending are not only stimulative but provide the resources to carry out many of the new policies suggested above. However, reducing criminal violence will likely involve more than just macroeconomic stimulation because a large part of the economic stress in low income neighborhoods is in the realm of structural unemployment, a mismatch between the people who live in these neighborhood and skill requirements of available good jobs and their location.

Training for jobs that exist or will exist is important to do but I am not sure we know how to do that. Even with tax breaks and subsidies, businesses will be very reluctant to move into or even remain in neighborhoods with widespread violent crime, or even the image of being a place of widespread violent crime.

Perhaps neighborhood residents' patrols, can also take on the added function, with assistance from government and foundations, of neighborhood chambers of commerce. These chambers can act not only to try to lure new businesses to the community but also to help protect the businesses and their employees from harm - through patrol, but also as a liaison having lines of communications to all elements of the community, above-ground and underground.

Steve Balkin is a professor emeritus at Roosevelt University.

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Previously by (or including) Steve Balkin:
* The Maxwell Street Muddle.

* Maxwell Street Malfeasance.

* City Needs New Policy For The Maxwell Street Market: An Open Letter To Mayor-Elect Emanuel.

* The Maxwell Street Market Vendors Association Wants You To Like Them.

* The Olympic Bid That Could Have Been.

* Lil Scotty: 'Give Him His Flowers While He Lives.'

* Remembering Lil Scotty: Bluesman, Buttonman.

* Remembering Lacy Gibson, Master Bluesman.

* Here's To Bobby Too Tuff.

* Continuing The Political Revolution.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:06 AM | Permalink

September 6, 2016

SportsMondayTuesday: Bears Upgrade To 5-Win Potential

People can feel bad about Robbie Gould's release if they want but bringing in left guard Josh Sitton for the low, low price of a slight downgrade at kicker is a significant win for the Bears.

It isn't quite that simple, of course, but Gould's (contract's) exit and the signing of former Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth for about half of what the 11-year Bear kicker was going to make ($3 million) created critical space under the cap.

And the money that will fill that space became part of the contract offer three-time Pro Bowler Sitton couldn't refuse. Meanwhile, Barth might be a bit of an upgrade over Gould, who blew two potential game-winning kicks last year and missed a pair of extra points in the final exhibition game this year. He turns 35 in December and is a little ways down the back side of his career.

I'll never understand why the Bears left themselves exposed on the offensive line like they did. Why they gave away Matt Slauson for nothing and then sure enough found themselves in trouble after center Hroniss Grasu suffered a season-ending injury and Kyle Long was sidelined for a time. But with this move, the Bears addressed what had become by far their most pressing issue going into the season. And Long was back at practice Monday.

Sitton isn't just a powerful guard, he is also stalwart, having started all 16 games in six of the last seven seasons for the Packers. He steps right in on the left side next to left tackle Charles Leno and makes the overall line so much more respectable. Rookie Cody Whitehair or veteran Ted Larsen will man the center spot and the Bears go from there.
It doesn't matter if "the line is in turmoil for the second straight year" as some have complained (Kyle Long unsuccessfully moved from right guard to right tackle at the start of last year) if the line was going to struggle as constituted.

There is something unresolved going on with Long, and because the Bears refuse to level with their fans about even the basic parameters of injuries (Pernell McPhee's knee surgery was supposed to be minor - a few weeks ago Willie Young told us the procedure was major enough that it is career-ending for some), speculation is a must.

And the best guess out there about Long's situation right now is that he has suffered a shoulder injury (almost certainly something having to do with his labrum) that would normally result in surgery, but that Long is going to attempt to play through.

That doesn't sync up with the contract extension Long just signed, but maybe the Bears decided more money (reportedly $30 million guaranteed - the only number that really matters - over four years) would be an especially good inducement for Long to play hurt.

The Packers' cutting of Sitton feels a lot like the Bears' trade of Martellus Bennett (although at least the Bears got a decent draft pick). Sitton has never been shy about speaking his mind, criticizing the Packer game plan after a loss to Arizona late last season. And maybe that means the Packers diminished their line for a not very good reason. Thank you, Packers president Ted Thompson.

Unfortunately, that merely means the Packers are perhaps a tiny bit less way better than the Bears heading into this season. Still, I am more optimistic than I was before the move, which means my prediction for the Bears' record this coming season has moved all the way up to 5-11. Unbelievably, the Bears still have no safeties. Their pass rush will be questionable at best and, on offense, they are nowhere near replacing Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett.

But midway through the preseason I was considering 2-14 and checking minor league (college) football schedules to take a look at potential top 2017 draft talents. I don't think the Bears will be that bad anymore and if Jay Cutler can step up and crank up a better than average passing game this time around, the squad might even make it to .500.

But how likely is that?

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, except when holidays push his column to Tuesdays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

I can only imagine that Mick Dumke drew Labor Day duty at the Sun-Times and some crap-ass editor made him go in search of a Donald Trump supporter in the city's tourist district. Because, um, 34,038 Chicagoans voted for Trump in the Republican presidential primary here last spring, which Trump won. They live among us - and they've actually been named in the press!

Look, here's one who started a Facebook group!

And from the Tribune in July:

"A week before accepting the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland, businessman Donald Trump comes to Chicago on Tuesday to collect more than $1 million in campaign fundraising help . . . The Chicago lunch fundraiser has been organized by businessman Ronald Gidwitz, who has assumed the title of Trump Victory Illinois finance chairman."

Maybe give him a call and arrange to meet him downtown!

Just sayin', let's not pretend they are nowhere to be found in our "liberal" city.

Priming Payton's Pump
"Officials and students at Walter Payton College Prep High School cut the ribbon Monday on the elite high school's new $20 million dollar annex that'll eventually raise the school's capacity by about 400 students," the Sun-Times reports.

"When students report for the first day of class Tuesday, they'll find a spacious cafe, third-floor gym, black box theater, mirrored dance studio and more than a dozen additional classrooms in a bright new space at 1034 N. Wells St.

"Principal Tim Devine was delighted that the dance students and theater troupes who once had to cram into hallways now will have dedicated spaces to practice and perform."

Awww, that's nice.

To Twitter:

Does Burnett see the problem here?

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. . . when you cherry-pick the best, brightest and cloutiest and disregard the rest.

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. . . and a pay cut.

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Back to the Sun-Times:

"Meanwhile, the financially-strapped district is suffering a crisis in its neighborhood high schools, whose graduation rates are credited with raising the district's newly-touted rates of 73.5 percent, but who are stuck in an ugly spiral of losing students and cutting programs as their budgets shrink."

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Rahm: "Payton gives kids from across the city an opportunity to think big, dream big, realize big."

And, for the vast majority of them, to lose big.

"The annex will allow Payton to boost its enrollment by over 400 students," Fox 32 reports.

Total CPS enrollment is around 390,000.

"No longer when applying at Payton will it be that some kids get in because they're academically qualified and some get rejected because they're academically qualified. There'll be enough seats for all those kids," Emanuel said.

The Fortunate 400.

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Beachwood Wins Bogus Award
Only Chicago publisher so honored.

The "Miracles" Of Saint Teresa
Um, okay.

McDonald's & Fast Food Workers' Global Revolution
Black Work Matters.

How American Policing Fails Neighborhoods
Law enforcement playing the wrong game.

Hey, U.S., Get Off Of My Cloud
"The fact that today our private e-mails are kept on a server maintained by an Internet company doesn't change the government's obligations under the Fourth Amendment."

The DOJ disagrees.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Guided By Voices, Suicideboys, Black Sabbath, If These Trees Could Talk, Prophets of Rage, The Symposium, Rival Sons, Tweens, and Player Blue.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

The Kaepernick Effect
The classroom Pledge is next.

Boot Scoot 'n BBQ
A beer league invite to Tommy La Stella.

Fly The Coop
If you listen to Hawk Harrelson, Don Cooper is an elite pitching coach . . .

Bears Upgrade To 5-11
Gould out, Sitton in.

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BeachBook

U.S. Companies Tout Climate Policies, Fund Climate Skeptics.

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Word Games: What The NSA Means By "Targeted."

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The Big (Apparel) Business Of College Football.

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Heavy Metal Magazine, Long A Provocateur, Returns To Its Roots.

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Trio From Chicago Discover The Joys Of Paddling The Boundary Waters.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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And yet, the press more fascinated by mock debates and who will play Hillary. 'Do you mind pulling back the curtain a bit?'

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Sadly, as I've written before, a lot of journalists think their job is to simply moderate competing claims.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Tronc squad.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:48 AM | Permalink

Boot 'n Scoot

I said last week that the next couple of weeks were going to be the most fun of the season. But I really thought it would be a bit longer than it looks like it'll be. With the magic number already down to 10 and the Cubs showing no stopping in sight, this sucker should be wrapped up before we get to another Cub Factor next week.

OK, well, not by next week, but it should be the week after. But then, when it does happen, what do you do? Is this really worth celebrating now? Or are we too cool to celebrate quite yet? My guess is that we are somewhere in the middle.

So yeah, those who are just looking for really any reason to celebrate should do so, and probably will, and those on the other end who think this was inevitable from a couple months ago will not celebrate at all. I'd say most thinking Cub fans are somewhere in between; happy to get into the playoffs again and eager for October to get here without anyone getting beaned in the face before then in close to meaningless games.

My suggestion is to take a few moments after it happens and soak it in. This team isn't a dynasty in the making, it is a dynasty right now. And not in, like, a Yankees winning titles dynasty, obviously, but in Cub history, making the playoffs two years in a row doesn't happen much.

OK, 2007 and 2008 when the Cubs made the playoffs two years in a row isn't that long ago - for some of us - but even then they were on borrowed time and leaning on older guys.

Well, in retrospect we can say they were on borrowed time. But anyway, I would suggest taking a moment to understand that even though we all kinda thought the Cubs would be back after 2015, we also knew that it wasn't a gimme and crazy junk happens all the time. So this is really pretty cool.

And just think that our big free agent signing in Jason Heyward hasn't really panned out, Kyle Schwarber almost immediately was lost for the year, and as good as Big Jake has been, he's still taken a step back from last season.

So, it's not like the Cubs even had everything go right this season, although Kyle Hendricks coming close to out of nowhere to probably win the Cy Young award is kind of an insane thing to go right.

I sort of wish for this column's sake that a few other things went wrong - talking about bad moves and horrendous luck is more fun to make fun of - but I'll take a historical winning season over a hysterical one.

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 7-1 for the week, sweeping three from the Pirates, taking three of four from the Giants, and beating the Brewers on Monday. A lot of close games and a lot of unlikely heroes. Um, I mean, formerly unlikely heroes, because at this point, everyone is likely to come through. It's that kind of year.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue have two more at home with the Brewers, in Milwaukee, until they head out to Houston for three. I'm kinda feeling a bit bad for the real Brewers fans out there. It actually kind of annoys me to hear the yells of overzealous Cub fans at Miller Park. But hey, they buy a lot of beer too, eh. And the Brewers have the top ranked farm system right now. So maybe they'll be back soon enough.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. But Matt Szczur did get a start in left field this week. Jorge Soler got four Chris Coghlan got three. No Willson Contreras or Kris Bryant in left this week. But they should be out there this week, or not. I just don't know. I just know whatever happens, it should be fine, or better than fine, it'll look like it makes no sense but the Cubs will win anyway.

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: Tommy La Stella is back, and is no longer a former annoying Cub. But, he certainly is still a weird Cub. I don't exactly know what to make of La Stella. I guess it's pretty cool for a guy to want to just be a part of a team, and nothing else. Yet, this is a business, so you don't get to just show up and be on the team, there are other factors. So, I think it'd be super cool for Tommy La Stella to be on my beer league hockey team, as he is in it for the guys, and for the team, and for everyone's success, and fun. But as cool as that is, you kinda seem pretty odd when you try to be that same guy on a major league roster in the big leagues. But I think I like it.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: None. You show me any Cub who could possibly annoy you right now - or annoy even me right now. They don't exist. Coghlan does nothing and then single-handedly wins a game, Miggy Montero looks like garbage but then comes through this week, Jason Heyward still is really barely hitting the ball but two bloopers and a seeing-eye grounder has him winning games too. It was a trifecta of former current annoying Cubs this week. And really, at this point let's just accentuate the positive, can't we? Well, until next week at the very least.

Mad(don) Scientist Even guys in the big city are raving at what Big Poppa Joe is doing. But could this be more of a real thing in baseball? All the flip flopping of players and positions? Could Joe and the Cubs be the leaders that make other teams start doing this as well? Kinda interesting. But it's always good to be the one getting copied off of.

Kubs Kalender: On Saturday, when the Cubs play the Astros in Houston, it's Boot Scoot 'n BBQ day. And it's sponsored by Nolan Ryan Beef. I wonder if Ryan rustles up the cows himself?

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that sometimes you just have a magic season.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:52 AM | Permalink

The "Miracles" Of Saint Teresa

In 2002, the Vatican officially recognized as a miracle the healing of an Indian woman's cancer of the abdomen. This occurred as the result of the application of a locket containing Mother Teresa's picture. The woman, Monica Besra, said a beam of light had emanated from the picture, curing her cancerous tumor.

This one miracle was sufficient for Mother Teresa to be beatified in 2003. This meant that she had the title "Blessed" bestowed on her and that she was, from then on, able to intercede with God on behalf of individuals who prayed in her name.

The late Christopher Hitchens (who had written a pretty scathing book about her) had been called upon by the Vatican to act as "the Devil's advocate" and to give evidence against her character. Hitchens' criticisms made no difference (which was not really a surprise to anyone).

On December 17, 2015, Pope Francis recognized a second miracle attributable to Mother Teresa. This was the healing in 2008 of a 42-year-old Brazilian man with a number of brain tumors moments before he was due to undergo surgery. This healing cleared the way for her canonization as Saint Teresa.

On Sunday, Mother Teresa was recognized as a saint within the Roman Catholic Church. It is a decision made by Pope Francis on the recommendation of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints - made on the basis of a thorough investigation of the holiness of the candidate's life.

But it is crucially dependent on the recognition by the Congregation that two miracles, usually of healing, have been performed by God as a direct result of the intercession with God by the candidate.

teresa1.jpgAn Albanian nun lights a candle in front of an image of Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa in the Kosovo capital Pristina/Hazir Reka, Reuters

These cures are only accepted as "miracles," that is, as the result of the direct intervention of God, on the basis of strict medical evidence to the effect that the illness was medically incurable, that the cures were decisive, and that they were clearly the result of appeal to the candidate.

Thus, on this account, miracles do happen to people diagnosed with incurable diseases and these are the result of the direct action of God at the behest of deceased persons like Saint Teresa. Apparently, she and other saints, have a lot of influence in heavenly places over what happens down here. So, on the face of it, we've taken off our modern thinking caps and gone all medieval.

Let's not argue over whether scientifically inexplicable events occur. They do. And let's allow that, in the cases of the two cures put forward as proof of Mother Teresa's saintly status, the medical evidence (as far as we know it) stacks up in favor of something medically inexplicable having occurred.

Even so, there are any number of reasons why the absence of a scientific explanation should not propel us to uncritically endorse divine intervention as the cause of these events.

The first of these goes to what is known as the problem of "the God of the Gaps." It's always a theologically risky procedure to plug God in as an explanation where science fails. This is for the simple reason that, if a scientific explanation were to come about tomorrow, the miracle would then be shown not to have occurred. The arena of God's activity has significantly shrunk over the last 300 as a consequence of this theory.

The second reason to be skeptical has to do with God's apparent disinclination to intervene more often. If God can heal the sick on one occasion, why is He not more active on other occasions of incurable illness? And if He can act on occasion to cure illnesses, why can't He intervene to stop earthquakes and other natural disasters?

God's apparent disinclination to act as often as He might, and probably should, raises awkward questions about whether He is unwilling to act or whether He is incapable of doing so.

Third, at least since the Reformation, miracles have been an important part of Roman Catholicism's claims to religious truth, particularly against Protestantism. Miracles were then, and remain now, key features of Catholicism's evangelical outreach. Miracles, saints and conversions all go together. So miracles come trailing clouds of Catholic doctrines, exclusive claims to religious truth, invitations to join up, and encouragements for the faithful to keep coming back.

For its part, Protestantism countered, not by attempting to score more miracles, but by taking its bat and ball home. It denied the doctrine that the saints intercede to God on our behalf (because there were no saints to do so). And it argued that the age of miracles had ceased at the end of New Testament times. It also declared that all Christians (or at least all Protestants) were saints. As a counterclaim, this always looked a bit soft. Neither most Protestants nor most Catholics, nor for that matter most of us, are conspicuous for outstanding goodness and holiness.

Alternatively, in more fundamentalist branches of Protestantism, miracles continued but as the direct intervention of God. The saintly middle men and women had been made redundant.

All this is not to deny Mother Teresa's particular claims to goodness and holiness. Nor is it to question the sincerity of those who believe that her intercession can result in the cure of the incurable.

But it is to remind us that we should be wary of uncritical endorsement of claims to the miraculous. Religious belief of any sort can be a motivation to perfect goodness, as it is in many religions. As we are unfortunately all too currently aware, it can just as easily inspire appalling acts of evil.

And granting that God does have the capacity to act in the world, it does often look as if He is not paying the sort of attention to what's going on that He should.

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Philip Almond is a Professorial Research Fellow in the History of Religious Thought at the University of Queensland. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:42 AM | Permalink

EFF To Court: Government Must Inform People That It's Accessing Their E-Mails, Personal Data

The Electronic Frontier Foundation told a federal court Monday that the government is violating the U.S. Constitution when it fails to notify people that it has accessed or examined their private communications stored by Internet providers in the cloud.

EFF is supporting Microsoft in its lawsuit challenging portions of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that allow the Department of Justice to serve a warrant on the company to get access to customers' e-mails and other information stored on remote servers - without telling users their data is being searched or seized.

In a brief filed in Microsoft v. Department of Justice in U.S. District Court in Seattle, EFF, joined by Access Now, New America's Open Technology Institute, and legal scholar Jennifer Granick, said Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government apply to all of our information - no matter what the format or where it's located.

"Whether the government has a warrant to rifle through our mail, safety deposit boxes, or e-mails stored in the cloud, it must notify people about the searches," said EFF senior staff attorney Lee Tien.

"When electronic searches are done in secret, we lose our right to challenge the legality of law enforcement invasions of privacy. The Fourth Amendment doesn't allow that, and it's time for the government to step up and respect the Constitution."

Microsoft sued DOJ earlier this year challenging ECPA provisions enacted 30 years ago, long before the emergence of ubiquitous cloud computing that now plays a vital role in the storage of private communications.

The government has used the transition to cloud computing as an opening to conduct secret electronic investigations by serving search warrants on Internet service providers seeking users' e-mails, the lawsuit says.

The government, which wants the case thrown out, doesn't let account holders know their data is being accessed because of the unconstitutional ECPA provision, while service providers like Microsoft are gagged from telling customers about the searches.

"When people kept personal letters in a desk drawer at home, they knew if that information was about to be searched because the police had to knock on their door and show a warrant," said EFF staff attorney Sophia Cope.

"The fact that today our private e-mails are kept on a server maintained by an Internet company doesn't change the government's obligations under the Fourth Amendment.

"The Constitution requires law enforcement to tell people they are the target of a search, which enables them to vindicate their rights and provides a free society with a crucial means of government accountability."

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

* 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 1:34 AM | Permalink

September 5, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Guided By Voices at the Metro on Saturday night.

CoS: Well, they just did their thing - and damn well.

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2. Suicideboys at the Double Door on Saturday night.

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3. Black Sabbath in Tinley Park on Sunday night.

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4. If These Trees Could Talk at Beat Kitchen on Thursday night.

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5. Prophets of Rage in Tinley Park on Saturday night.

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6. The Symposium at Schubas on Saturday night.

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7. Rival Sons in Tinley Park on Sunday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Tweens at Scummer Slam last Saturday night.

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Player Blue at Livewire on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:11 AM | Permalink

McDonald's And The Global Revolution Of Fast Food Workers

When it comes to their wages, McDonald's workers around the world are not "Loving It" - and they haven't been shy about expressing their discontent over the past four years.

But this Labor Day, America's fast food workers can celebrate victories that have improved wages for some of them. And they can applaud a global labor movement of low-wage workers that they helped spark and continue to inspire.

In April, fast food workers led the most global strike in history. It took place in 300 cities, in more than 40 countries in every region of the globe. It was a day of action against what activists called "McJobs" - low-wage, precarious work. And it caught the attention of the world.

mcds.jpgNYC Fight for $15 rally/Liz Cooke, CC BY

From Manhattan to Manila, from Tokyo to Toronto, fast food workers were joined in living wage protests by home health care workers, airport workers, retail workers and millions of others who are fully employed but do not earn enough to make ends meet.

Earlier in the year, 27-year-old Florida McDonald's worker Bleu Rainer drove from Tampa across the state to protest outside of the Republican debate at the University of Miami.

Chanting "We work, we sweat. Put $15 in our checks," he says protesters succeeded in injecting the fight for a living wage into the feisty Republican debate, where billionaire candidate Donald Trump raised eyebrows by insisting that wages in the U.S. are already too high.

When America's low-wage workers, a disproportionate number of whom are African American, convened in Richmond, Virginia, this August, they vowed to continue fighting and tied their struggle to the larger battle to overcome American racism. They coined the new slogan: Black Work Matters.

As a labor historian, I became interested in the global fast food workers movement, which uses history, popular culture and social media to organize and make its case. Over the last year, I've talked to fast food workers in Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, Manila, Philippines and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, among other places.

They are literally hungry for change and they are making change happen.

A Global Network

Like popular culture, the problems of today's work world are global. As the slogan goes, "McJobs Cost Us All." Vast, transnational low-wage employers like McDonald's and Walmart drive wages down for everyone. With more than half of U.S. workers earning less than $30,000 a year in 2014, the poverty line for a family of five, it is not a surprise that the Fight for $15 movement has attracted workers of all kinds.

The movement is bigger than just the United States. In Manila, young Filipino activists in the RESPECT Fast Food Worker Alliance staged singing, dancing flash mobs in their nation's legislature to demand labor protections. And, in Moscow, fast food workers staged protests to highlight the fact that they were not teenagers working for "going out" money but adults trying to support families with inadequate wages.

Where did all this anger come from? In 2015, 52 percent of fast food workers in the U.S. received public assistance to make ends meet. Many had to work two and three jobs. Some commuted to work from homeless shelters. Maia Montcrief from Long Beach, California, told me that she lives in a one-bedroom apartment with six people. She is one of the lucky ones.

Though fast food workers have protested at many global and localized chains, the main focus of their movement has been McDonald's. With 36,538 restaurants in 119 countries, McDonald's is the world's second-largest private employer. Walmart is first.

"Because McDonald's has employees everywhere," activist Bleu Rainer told me, "everything they do has a global impact that affects all workers."

Bleu's Story

Rainer is a 27-year-old McDonald's worker.

"I've worked in the fast food industry in North Carolina and Florida," Rainer told me, "and in eight years I've made no more than eight dollars and five cents an hour." He said that even when he was offered a promotion to manager, his salary did not increase.

bleu.jpgBleu Rainer

"I have witnessed the torture of not having enough to afford rent, which led to me sleeping from house to house," Rainer says. "One time I even had to sleep at bus stops because I was homeless. I have had to rely on food stamps just to get a good meal and when those food stamps run out it's back to nothing at all. Sometimes I think to myself: I'm working so hard every day. So why am I still hungry? Why am I not making a living wage? Why can't I feed myself?"

Beginning in 2012, Rainer and a small group of New York City fast food workers kicked off a protest against poverty wages. It was a decidedly 21st-century movement. They used one-day flash strikes instead of long-term actions that hurt workers more than employers. They deployed social media to organize and publicize their actions. And they gleefully subverted expensive corporate slogans - especially the McDonald's jingle "I'm Lovin' It," the first worldwide ad campaign for the burger giant, for which they paid Justin Timberlake $6 million to sing on TV.

"Poverty Wages: Not Lovin' It" became the slogan of a new movement, and signs with those words soon appeared in as many countries and as many languages as the original version.

When I first met Rainer in Tampa, he was helping to organize a broad coalition of low-wage workers: fast food workers, home health care attendants and adjunct college professors - none of whom made enough money to pay their bills. As we sat together at a table in a West Tampa Cuban diner, the professors made clear that they saw themselves paddling in the same boat as fast food workers and home health care aides. They earned around $8 an hour, worked on short-term contracts and had absolutely no job security. "They try to convince us we're better, we're the elect," said Cole Bellamy, who teaches 12 courses a year. "But that's the lie they tell us to keep us quiet."

"We are all fast food workers," said graduate student Keegan Shephard.

"Or maybe we are all professor adjuncts," said Rainer.

The Successes

Their campaign has been remarkably successful in a short period of time.

This March, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the McDonald's corporation is a joint employer of those who work in franchise-owned restaurants, a huge victory for fast food activists. Last summer, New York state granted a $15 minimum wage to the state's 180,000 fast food workers. Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles also passed $15 living wage ordinances. This spring, the state of California, which has a population of nearly 40 million people, passed a phased-in statewide $15 wage. The wages of federal food workers have been raised. Walmart has raised its minimum. McDonald's offered increases to those who work in restaurants owned outright by the corporation, which pressured franchise owners to do the same.

Four years ago, when the first fast food workers' strikes were held in New York and Chicago, the $15 minimum wage seemed a fantasy. Now it is a reality in many of the largest labor markets in the U.S., and it is fast food workers who launched the tidal wave.

Yet, with all this success, the life of an average fast food worker is still difficult, at best. One reason most fast food workers are so poor is because their wages are so low. But it is also because computers scheduling shifts change workers' hours at the drop of a hat, making it impossible for parents of young children to plan child care or to know for sure whether they will be able to pay their bills each month. Algorithms, I have learned through numerous interviews, maximize efficiency for the company and cut labor costs whenever possible. Workers believe they are used to intentionally keep workers' hours low enough that they are not covered under state and federal labor laws and can be seen as part-time or temporary workers.

One McDonald's worker I met in New York City in 2015, who depended on his fast food wages for his full-time salary, showed me a paycheck for two weeks' work that totaled $109.

Contrary to public opinion, most fast food workers are not teenagers on their first job but adults supporting families. The average fast food worker is 29 years old. Over 25 percent are parents. Nearly one in three have college degrees - or are working their way through college.

This is not the first time that restaurant workers have organized. Restaurant unions have, in different eras, been strong in some big cities, especially New York and Las Vegas. But this is the first time that fast food workers have organized, and it is definitely the first time that they have organized in conjunction with a range of other low-wage workers and on a global scale.

Massimo Frattini, a former hotel worker from Milan who is one of the global coordinators for fast food workers' actions, told me that he was stunned by the worldwide response when the first global strike took place in 2014.

On that day, fast food workers in 230 cities, in 34 countries, on six continents, walked off the job to dramatize their need for a living wage, full-time work and union recognition. The scale of the strike surprised pretty much everyone: the workers, the organizers and definitely McDonald's.

Workers staged mock trials of a weeping Ronald McDonald for wage theft in the streets of Seoul. They shut down McDonald's in Brussels and in London's Trafalgar Square.

"We were not aware of how organized workers were in the fast food sector in the Philippines or Thailand or New Zealand," Frattini said. "But the truth is they knew that alone, they were helpless against these massive corporations. But maybe together they could raise the issue on the global stage. And they could provide better services and negotiate better agreements for their members."

Over the next year, workers from New York, Chicago, and 150 U.S. cities met with workers from Denmark, Argentina, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines and numerous other countries. The Service Employees International Union in the United States and Frattini's international union of food, hotel and farm workers, which represents 12 million workers in 120 countries, paid for these meetings.

Workers compared notes on wages and working conditions. Workers from McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken from every continent on Earth began planning strategy for global living wage agreements.

One of the original organizers, Naquasia LeGrand, was just a 22-year-old kid from Brooklyn who was tired of working three jobs. She looked back during the summer of 2016 on what she had helped start in 2012. She said: "We triggered something epic that had never been done." Indeed they had: a global fast food workers' revolution.

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Annelise Orleck is a history professor at Dartmouth. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:39 AM | Permalink

Don't Be Surprised If Colin Kaepernick Prompts More Schoolchildren To Sit For The Pledge Of Allegiance

Colin Kaepernick is a role model whether you like it or not. Many view Kaepernick's choice of protest as disrespecting the flag, our armed forces and America itself, but the vitriol toward the football player represents the fears that children may grasp the power of civil disobedience. Students who idolize athletes like Kaepernick may also mimic him at school and sit during the pledge of allegiance in protest.

Children in our broken U.S. school system have many reasons to take a seat

Every morning in most public and private schools, students recite the Pledge of Allegiance, although schools can't legally force them to do it. The 1943 Supreme Court decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, ruled that students are protected by the Free Speech Clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Consequently, schools can't force students to stand, recite, salute, place a hand on one's heart or acknowledge the Pledge in anyway if the student objects.

In 2014, teenager Mason Michalec refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge, which is tacked on in the Lone Star state. "I'm really tired of our government taking advantage of us," said Michalec. The principal punished him for exercising his basic rights by giving him in-school suspension.

Last year, 16-year-old Lauryn Crawford of Lakewood High School in Los Angeles made waves by taking a seat during the Pledge in protest to injustice and disgust with religious hypocrisy. A teacher reprimanded her, but the school didn't pursue disciplinary action when Crawford and her family reminded them of the Barnette decision.

If Kaepernick's actions influence more students to protest the Pledge, it shouldn't surprise us. Education has become about control, especially in schools that serve students of color. One example: more urban public schools these days require students to wear uniforms, an extension of the belief that schooling should teach students to fall in line. In some buildings, students are even forced actually to walk on white lines. This isn't instilling the kind of discipline required for college - unless you're planning to go to a military academy. Perhaps more nefariously, it's subtly training students to bow to the status quo and not to take bold stands against injustice as Kaepernick did, and the teenagers in Texas and California did before him.

Then again, it's an American value to punish black children to make them learn - from the cradle in terms of spanking to the grave in terms of police brutality. The uneven use of suspension and expulsion weighted heavily against black children reflect this value.

Black students are four times more likely to be suspended than their white peers. Even the babies aren't spared. In Louisiana, more than 7,400 Louisiana children from kindergarten to third grade last year were suspended for loose charges like "willful disobedience" (aka being a kid). Is it because what's labeled "willful disobedience" in school could become civil disobedience once kids get older, a true threat to the order of things?

Learning has been reduced to compliance. But no self-respecting family should have their children genuflect to unjust authority.

As a parent I applaud children, including my own, who protest the disparities they see everyday. Black and brown students have a first row seat to the racial differences between them and their mostly white, less experienced teachers. Students in urban schools grasp the consequences of inexperienced teachers rolling in and out of their classrooms each year. Youth see what's fundamentally wrong with the way public schools are funded in America and how resources can provide laboratories, updated facilities and books, and how the lack of them can leave schools and children behind. The inequalities are especially clear when you're a student-athlete traveling to other, more well-off campuses. The differences in facilities, equipment and sponsorships are more intimidating than their opposing team.

Just as Kaepernick responded to "bodies in the street," students' experiences with inequitable funding, harsh discipline, inexperienced teachers and other disparities should prompt a response. But don't blame Colin Kaepernick if students take a seat. Instead, correct the injustices that have given students reason to exercise their Constitutional right to demand better.

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This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 AM | Permalink

Fly The Coop

He sits apart in the far corner of the dugout, cap pulled low over his eyes, alone in his thoughts.

This image of a formerly elite pitcher who has lost the ability to retire big league hitters in many ways represents the futility of this White Sox season. Once again, James Shields on Saturday appeared to be an aimless novice rather than Big Game James, winner of 127 major league games coming into the 2016 season. He lasted only until one out in the third inning at Minnesota as the Sox bowed 11-3.

While wondering just how much more embarrassment Shields will be exposed to by getting the starting nod every five days from manager Robin Ventura, you had a feel the pain of the former ace, who now owns a 5-17 record with an ERA of 6.07 in 28 starts between San Diego and the Sox this season.

The statistics paint a picture of a guy who is desperately trying to find his groove. There have been flashes of his past success, as evidenced by seven "quality starts" (three or less earned runs in a minimum of six innings) in 17 appearances since he joined the White Sox on June 4.

But brace yourself for the results of the other ten outings: 36 innings, 74 hits, 18 home runs, 24 walks, and an ERA of 15.00. It obviously takes far more than the expertise of pitching coach Don Cooper to explain why Shields basically is tossing batting practice in game situations.

Or does it?

Before examining the present season, consider that Shields has never missed a start in 11 big league campaigns. Coming into this year, in each of the last nine seasons, he has accounted for 200 innings pitched - the present-day yardstick for effectiveness as a legitimate "innings eater." Shields' record includes about a hit per inning, but he also has struck out more than three times the hitters that he has walked. He's also yielded home runs at a 1.2 rate per nine innings, far fewer than the astounding 26 he's allowed in just 84 innings with the Sox.

The only explanation is Shields' inability to control the strike zone, get ahead of the hitters, and locate his deliveries where they are least likely to wind up in the bleachers.

Consider Saturday, when Shields faced 16 hitters, throwing first-ball strikes to only six. Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano homered on 1-and-0 and 3-and-0 counts, respectively. When Shields gets behind in the count, trouble lurks.

Shields is not alone when it comes to heretofore effective pitchers who suddenly can't get anyone out. Despite all his zaniness, Carlos Zambrano won 125 games in 11 seasons for the Cubs against just 81 losses when he was traded to Miami prior to the 2012 season. After a 7-10 mark and an ERA of 4.49, Zambrano was finished at age 31.

Okay, so Zambrano was a head case, but consider the situation of Francisco Liriano, who went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA for the Twins in 2010. The left-hander slumped the next two seasons, including a short stint with the White Sox in 2012 when he walked more than five batters per nine innings while posting a 5.40 ERA.

Granted free agency, Liriano signed with the Pirates and won 16 games in 2013. He dropped his walks per nine innings to 3.5, and again in 2015 he went 12-7 with an ERA of 3.38, when he walked just 3.4 hitters per nine innings. Having better command, getting ahead of hitters, and issuing fewer bases on balls saved Liriano's career.

Without a personal accounting, you can only surmise that coaching, increased confidence, and a change of scenery accounted for Liriano's bounce back.

Then there is the case of Bartolo Colon, who at age 43 continues to pitch effectively for the Mets. Colon has won 230 games, ranking 64th all-time, but between 2006 and 2011, he won just 22 against 31 losses. Colon might differ from Shields in that he wasn't always healthy, and speculation runs rampant about the methods the big guy employed to heal himself.

Regardless, Colon's ability to throw strikes has been the key to the resurrection of his career. Even though he gives up about a hit per inning, the portly gentleman has walked just 1.6 hitters per nine innings this season, helping to account for 12 wins. Only Max Scherzer, another big winner, has thrown a greater percentage of first-ball strikes this season.

Shields' inability to locate his pitches is killing him. He doesn't throw as hard as he used to, but there are plenty of former flamethrowers who learn how to pitch after their fireballer days of youth are over.

If you listen to Hawk Harrelson, Don Cooper is one of the game's elite pitching coaches. He's been handling the Sox staff for 14 seasons. Looking at quality pitchers like Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras and Javier Vasquez, his track record looks formidable. But he's also mentored John Danks, Jake Peavy, Jeff Samardzija, Liriano and now Shields, each of whom lost effectiveness under his tutelage. David Robertson converted 39 of 43 saves in 2014 with the Yankees. After blowing his seventh save in 40 chances Sunday, Robertson, by his own admission, has hurt the team that leads the majors with 28 blown saves.

Reliever Matt Albers is another Sox pitcher who has regressed to a point where in his last 20 appearances, he has held the opposition hitless just three times. This from a guy who had recorded 30 scoreless outings dating back to 2015 and his first 10 appearances this year. What happened and why hasn't Cooper figured out a remedy?

After a road trip last week that saw the Sox have a lead in all seven games - three in Detroit where they were swept and four in Minnesota which they split - all the weaknesses, warts and deficits of this team were exposed.

Nate Jones couldn't protect a 3-2 lead in Detroit on Monday, yielding a two-run, eighth-inning homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a .192 hitter It was Jones' ninth blown save. Anthony Ranaudo, a fill-in starter for the disabled Miguel Gonzalez, pitched admirably on Wednesday, exiting in the sixth inning of a 3-3 game. However, relievers Albers and Jacob Turner gave up five runs over the final three innings as the Tigers triumphed 8-4.

Chris Sale had a 2-1 lead Wednesday afternoon when J.D. Martinez's single tied the game in the eighth, and Robertson was nicked for the winning tally in the bottom of the ninth.

The Twins broke their 13-game losing streak Thursday night, pummeling the Sox 8-5 as Quintana had a rare misstep, giving up seven runs in five innings. An outburst on Friday featuring 16 hits supported Carlos Rodon as the Sox won 11-4, but they gave it right back on Saturday in the 11-3 thrashing. In Sunday's 12-inning 13-11 victory, Tim Anderson's two-run double finally subdued the Twins as the game ended with the bases loaded thanks to three walks by the Sox bullpen.

Will Shields take his regular turn on Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the Royals at the soon-to-be-renamed U.S. Cellular Field? First-round draft choice Carson Fulmer's last three starts at Triple-A Charlotte have resulted in 15 innings yielding just one run.

Robin, give him the ball.

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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 1:00 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Wins Bogus Award

Beachwood Reporter has been selected for the 2016 Best of Chicago Awards for Publishers.

For details and more information please view our website:
2016 Best of Chicago Awards - Publishers

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Chicago Business Recognition

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.25.21 AM.png

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Beachwood Reporter Receives 2016 Best of Chicago Award

Chicago Award Program Honors the Achievement

CHICAGO August 25, 2016 - Beachwood Reporter has been selected for the 2016 Best of Chicago Award in the Publishers category by the Chicago Award Program.

Each year, the Chicago Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Chicago area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Chicago Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Chicago Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Chicago Award Program
The Chicago Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Chicago area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Chicago Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Chicago Award Program

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URL: http://www.localawardscenter.org

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

How American Policing Fails Neighborhoods

How should we understand the violence, counterviolence and civil unrest that mark American policing? And, based on this understanding, what can we do to stop it?

Rather than focus on the characteristics of "bad apple" police officers or angry, vengeful citizens, sociologists like me tend to look at the context in which the violence occurs or at how individuals within this context interact.

For example, sociologists might study a sport like soccer. Participants learn the rules of the game, what behaviors they expect of each other, how to score points and what it means to be considered a "good" player.

Policing also has rules and logic that makes certain actions the right things to do and other actions the wrong things.

baltpd.jpgBryan Woolston/Reuters

Sociologists like the influential French thinker Pierre Bourdieu argue that the game itself, rather than innate personality traits, shape the worldviews of the players and make them act in a way that fits the logic of the field.

This suggests that to understand the behaviors of American police, one must uncover the logic of the "game" they're playing - policing.

No Consequences

In our book The Violence of Hate: Understanding Harmful Forms of Bias and Bigotry, Jack Levin and I describe how the game of law enforcement produces, in many police officers, a worldview and disposition that puts them at odds with the community.

Many police officers remain strangers and adversaries to residents rather than partners in keeping neighborhoods safe. Officers are highly suspicious of strangers, hypervigilant of danger, fixated on sorting the good people from bad and uninterested in the long-term harms to individuals and communities that result from their law enforcement efforts. Police and government leaders wrongly view the current law enforcement practices as a natural way of policing rather than a socially constructed game that can be changed.

So what do we know about the way the game is currently played?

The Game Of Law Enforcement

I worked as a police officer for 13 years and then a sociologist studying police behavior for another 13 years before undertaking a year-long research project at my old police department in Wilmington, Delaware in 2014.

On this return to the profession, I noticed that aside from having better technology, things had not changed much in terms of what the police were doing. What had grown noticeably worse, however, were the relationships between the police and minority communities, a situation mirroring the underlying racial tensions in Ferguson, Baltimore and Cleveland, among other U.S. cities.

Through the lens of sociology, it was clear that Wilmington was focused on the old "law enforcement" game. This long tradition was exacerbated by the war on drugs, among other policies that overemphasize street-level arrests as a way to improve quality of life. Status and power in the department were tied tightly to street arrests, gun and drug seizures, and the heroics of "running and gunning," a catch phrase for chasing down armed criminal suspects.

rungun.jpgMike Blake/Reuters

In this hardcore version of the law enforcement game, well-intentioned and highly competent officers seemed blind to the consequences of their actions and indifferent to harm it caused. It didn't seem to matter to them whether a neighborhood was ultimately safer following police action, or whether convictions were won in court. It also didn't seem to matter whether serious crimes like robbery or burglary were ever solved, or whether families and communities would suffer from widespread police sweeps and the disruption of mass arrests. Worse, nobody worried that the broken trust in the police would contribute indirectly to more killings. These things were not part of the logic.

The only thing that mattered was that "lockups" were made and that guns and drugs were seized. "Community policing" meant placating the community with a few friendly faces so that real police work - arresting criminals - could go on unimpeded.

My observations about the game of law enforcement are consistent with the published findings of recent Department of Justice investigations of Baltimore, Cleveland and Ferguson. They also jibe with the reflections of sociologist Peter Moskos of John Jay College, who spent a year working at the Baltimore Police Department.

So what can we do to change this reality?

A New Policing Game

The crisis in American policing requires dismantling the old law enforcement game and starting anew. Many police agencies, including my old department, are collaborating with the Department of Justice and organizations like the Police Foundation to develop and implement a new game that redirects the work of the police away from law enforcement "outputs" such as arrests and drug seizures as a measure of success. This new approach emphasizes public safety "outcomes," like strong, safe, thriving neighborhoods.

My work over the past several years has focused on identifying and measuring the underlying psychological processes in neighborhoods that build community trust and cohesion in some places and "Stop Snitching" campaigns in others that reinforce barriers between police and citizens. Uncovering these hidden dynamics enables officers to tailor policing strategies toward strong neighborhoods.

Strong neighborhoods are places where crime rates are low and where residents and the police work together to keep it that way. In 2014, during my research year, the Browntown neighborhood in Southwest Wilmington was such a place. The Wilmington police worked closely with residents to build relationships through block-by-block organizing, regular neighborhood social events and collaborative problem solving. Surveys of this neighborhood at that time reflected strong support for the police and the willingness of residents to intervene as needed to prevent crime.

In a recent editorial following the release of the Department of Justice report on the Baltimore Police Department, Kevin Davis, the new police commissioner, claimed that "most police officers come to work every day and consistently do the right thing."

I agree that the vast majority of police officers want to do the right things.

But what constitutes the "right thing" is contingent on the game being played. Changing the goal of modern policing to creating strong neighborhoods creates a new game. It is the logic of this new game, rather than the moral reasoning of individual officers, that will lead to the cultural shifts in policing of the magnitude imagined by today's police reformers - including those protesting on the streets.

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James J. Nolan is a sociology professor at West Virginia University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:06 AM | Permalink

September 3, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

"U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush has filed a complaint saying he was racially profiled by Chicago police after two officers pulled him over while driving on the South Side in August, according to police sources and city records," the Tribune reports.

"According to the sources, the Wentworth District officers were running plates while on patrol on Aug. 4 because of a rash of vehicle thefts in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

"The officers ran the plate on Rush's Lexus and were told it was registered to a Cadillac, the sources said. The officers then stopped Rush shortly before 3 p.m. in the 4700 block of South King Drive, according to the sources and city records obtained by the Tribune through a Freedom of Information Act request."

Okay, you can click through to read the rest for the whys and wherefores (seems the cops made a mistake interpreting Rush's license plate, ha ha), but this is the part that caught my eye:

"Police officials, citing a new state law, said the Tribune would be able to obtain the camera footage only if Rush gave permission for its release.

"But efforts by the Tribune to contact Rush have been unsuccessful. The Tribune sent repeated e-mails to top Rush staffers seeking to interview the congressman about his racial profiling allegations. A reporter also attempted to interview him at his South Side home, but Rush sent him away, telling him to contact his staff to arrange an interview. But continued requests to his aides went unanswered."

The Rush stonewalling is ridiculous. You are a United States congressman, Bobby. Act like it. (Er, I mean, act like we wished our congressmen acted.)

But that's not even the most significant part of this to me - it's the apparent fact that the police department can only make body camera footage public if the subject consents. I guess I missed (or forgot) that.

I can understand privacy issues - especially if a subject is a victim or witness. But even when the subject is a public official? Maybe that circumstance wasn't contemplated. Or maybe public officials have certain privacy rights like regular humans (they do).

To the law:

Recordings made with the use of an officer-worn body camera are not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, except that:

(1) if the subject of the encounter has a reasonable expectation of privacy, at the time of the recording, any recording which is flagged, due to the filing of a complaint, discharge of a firearm, use of force, arrest or detention, or resulting death or bodily harm, shall be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act if:

(A) the subject of the encounter captured on the recording is a victim or witness; and (B) the law enforcement agency obtains written permission of the subject or the subject's legal representative;

(2) except as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection (b), any recording which is flagged due to the filing of a complaint, discharge of a firearm, use of force, arrest or detention, or resulting death or bodily harm shall be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act; and (3) upon request, the law enforcement agency shall disclose, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the recording to the subject of the encounter captured on the recording or to the subject's attorney, or the officer or his or her legal representative.

Okay, that's a lot of confusing legalese. Maybe this is the key:

For the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection (b), the subject of the encounter does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy if the subject was arrested as a result of the encounter.

Rush was not arrested. His expectation of privacy holds.

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From the Brennan Center in New York:

Under IL law, recordings are subject to FOIA only if flagged for a complaint, discharge of a firearm, use of force, arrest or detention, or death or bodily harm. If a victim or witness is the subject of an encounter and has a reasonable expectation of privacy, that person's permission is necessary for release. Any recording shall be released to the subject of the encounter upon request. Any disclosed recording shall be redacted to remove identification of any person that appears on the recording and is not involved in the encounter.

I spent a little bit of time on the ol' Google (access to the newspaper databases I usually also check for research was down this morning) to find coverage of this aspect of the law while it was being written and debated, and I didn't come up with anything. It would have been nice to see something about it added to the Trib story instead of these final paragraphs, which could have been handled with a simple link on Rush's name to his bio or a topics page:

The onetime co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party has been in Congress since 1993, representing parts of the South Side and Cook and Will counties. He was a Chicago alderman for a decade before that. He lost a race for Chicago mayor in 1999.

An ordained Baptist minister, Rush handily defeated Barack Obama in a primary challenge for the congressional seat in 2000, Obama's only electoral loss.

How random and unnecessary.

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It also would have been interesting to see how this provision compares to that of other states. For example, from Reason in July:

Police body camera videos and dash cam recordings in North Carolina are now exempt from state public records laws under a bill signed into law Monday.

North Carolina joins five other states - Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon, and South Carolina - that exempt police body cam videos under freedom of information laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Huh. Seems to me Illinois doesn't exempt body-cam video from FOIA; instead it carves out exceptions. But does this mean there are states that don't have the same exception that applies to Rush in this case? How and why?

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Maybe I just missed all this at the time the Illinois law was being debated, but I have pretty good recall; if I need a reminder, civilian readers surely do. Also, that's the beauty of links: there if you need 'em, ignorable if you don't.

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Maybe the filing of a formal complaint should remove the exception for subjects. Or maybe that would deter the filing of complaints.

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Maybe I'm spending too much time on this, but it seems to me this could come into play down the line when the stakes are higher - not to diminish alleged racial profiling; an operation running plates in response to a rash of car thefts seems . . . odd. Just sayin'.

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Here's the CPD's Special Order from May regarding use of the cameras.

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Beachwood Sports Radio! That's Cubs Entertainment
Highlight reel heroes - daily. Plus: About Tommy La Stella; Cogs!; Hawk Harrelson Still Allowed On Air; White Sox' One Direction: Down; The Chicago Bear Sox; The Case Against Derrick Rose; and College Football's Kickass Kickoff.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving
March 1.

Missing The Point Of The Clinton Foundation Controversy
Donors get high-level access every day in Washington.

Laundromat Owners Oppose Rahm's Water Tax
Price hikes must come in 25-cent increments.

The Fantasy Fix Draft Guide Pt. 5: TEs
Ex-Bears outnumber current.

TV News Stories About Birth Control Quote Politicians And Priests More Often Than Medical Experts
Fewer than one-third of stories featured any medical information at all.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "With lyrics about sun, surf and young love, there are plenty of songs that welcome in the summer. But how do you musically say goodbye to warm weather and prepare for the fall? Jim and Greg swap their swim trunks for their sweaters and share their favorite End of Summer Songs."

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Weekend BeachBoook

11 Reasons People Need To Calm Down About Henry Kissinger And Hillary Clinton Already.

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We Built This S#!tty: An Oral History Of The Worst Song Of All Time.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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This . . . doesn't seem right.

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The Weekend Tronc Line: Classifornication.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:22 AM | Permalink

September 2, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #117: That's Cubs Entertainment!

Highlight reel heroes - daily. Plus: About Tommy La Stella; Hawk Harrelson Still Allowed On Air; White Sox' One Direction: Down; The Chicago Bear Sox; The Case Against Derrick Rose; and College Football's Kickass Kickoff.


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SHOW NOTES

* 117.

1:10: That's Cubs Entertainment!

* Joe Maddon Believes It Was Just A Matter Of Timing For Jason Heyward.

* Kris Bryant Could Be Better Than Mike Trout In 2017.

* Cubs Could Have A New Mr. October In Addison Russell.

* Bullpen Sparkles In Cubs' Comeback Win.

* Penned In: Too Much Aroldis Chapman And Travis Wood?

* Despite Strop Setback, Cubs Pitching Staff Returning To Full Health.

14:00: About Tommy La Stella.

* Passion For Teammates, If Not The Game.

* La Stella Back, But For How Long? Don't Rule Out Retirement At 27.

* La Stella Finds Peace In Return To Cubs.

21:26: Cogs!

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.53.09 PM.png

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Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.53.29 PM.png

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23:00: Roster Bingo.

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25:32: Whoa, Willson!

30:18: The Catch.

* StatCast: 98.5% route efficiency.

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Addy Extra:

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35:51 Hawk Harrelson Still Allowed On The Air.

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Bonus Hawk:

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37:58: White Sox' One Direction: Down.

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44:25: The Chicago Bear Sox.

* SportsMonday: Bearly There.

* Pup McPhee.

* Fred Taylor: NFL Doctors 'Overlooked' Several Injuries During My Career.

* Trusting a team doctor as an athlete is like any of us trusting HR in our workplaces.

* Kevin White Shows Progress In Final Exhibition Game.

* Leonard Floyd Proving He Can Play Against The Run Despite Weight.

* Jonathan Bullard Making The Most Of His Preseason Snaps.

* Hoyer Sharp Heading Into Regular Season (!).

* He's No Troy Aikman, But . . .

55:40: The Case Against Derrick Rose.

* Bernstein: Derrick Rose Rape Case Deserves Coverage.

* ThinkProgress: The Disturbing Details Of The Derrick Rose Gang Rape Case.

* Judd Legum Twitter thread starts here:

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* Media mystery:

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1:00:42: Sky Stretch.

1:01:32: College Football's Kickass Kickoff.

* No. 10 Tennessee Escapes Big Upset In OT Vs. Appalachian State.

* Coffman: College football got this weekend right!

* Luce: Ditto . . .

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 3.16.57 PM.png

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STOPPAGE: 2:38

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:25 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. SoCold at Reggies on Wednesday night.


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2. The Muffs at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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3. Cat Power at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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4. Faster Pussycat at the Double Door on Wednesday night.

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5. Oplus at the Promontory on Monday night.

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6. Jimmy Gnecco at Schubas on Monday night.

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7. Lauryn Hill at Ravinia on Thursday night.

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8. Perfume at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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9. Fifth Harmony at Northerly Island on Wednesday night.

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10. Haken at Reggies on Tuesday night.

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11. Hamilton Loomis at Reggies on Monday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Savage Beliefs in the East Room parking lot for Bric a Brac's Scummer Slam last Saturday.

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The Snails at Cobra Lounge on August 24th.

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Clearance at the Hideout on August 24th.

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Woosung Alice at Township on August 17th.

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Slushy at Subterranean on August 11th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

TV News Stories About Birth Control Quote Politicians And Priests More Often Than Medical Experts

Ninety-nine percent of reproductive age U.S. women who have ever had sex have used contraception at some point in their lives.

And thanks to the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, more people have access to contraception than ever before.

As obstetrician/gynecologists, we help patients choose the contraceptive method that best suits them, and explain how they work, their failure rates and potential side effects.

But we also know that patients (and the public) get a lot of information about health and medicine from the media in general, and TV in particular. How the media frame stories and whom they choose as sources might influence how people view an issue.

So we decided to examine how contraception was covered during the nightly news shows on the big three television networks (ABC, CBS and NBC). And it turns out these stories often portray contraception as a political or social issue, which means that actual medical information about contraception rarely makes it onto the air.

Medical Experts Are Rarely Quoted

In our study, published in the journal Contraception, we looked at a total of 116 stories about contraception that aired on the nightly news programs for ABC, CBS and NBC between January 2010 and July 2014.

This period covered the months leading up to the signing of the ACA through to the Supreme Court's ruling in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell in June 2014, a case in which a privately owned company's owners (Hobby Lobby) argued that the ACA's contraceptive coverage requirement violated their freedom of religion.

For each story, we determined what birth control methods were covered, the people interviewed or quoted in each story and what information the story included.

We found that most stories focused on political or social aspects of contraception, such as controversies over contraceptive coverage by insurance plans or over the counter access to contraception.

Fewer than one-third of stories featured any medical information at all. In fact, the information we as doctors consider most critical - like the failure rate of a method, how to use it and potential side effects - was missing from nearly all TV news stories about contraception.

Only 11 percent of stories used a medical professional as a source, and only 3 percent of those were ob-gyns. Politicians and government leaders (40 percent of stories), the general public (25 percent of stories) or Catholic Church leaders (16 percent of stories) were quoted or interviewed more often than medical professionals.

The stories we reviewed covered many different types of birth control, including the oral contraceptive pill, the emergency contraceptive pill, condoms and long-acting reversible contraceptives (often called LARC for short) such as intrauterine devices (IUDS) and implants, like Nexplanon.

LARC methods are recommended as a first choice contraceptive for most people by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are the most effective forms of reversible contraception. But these methods were mentioned the least often. IUDs appeared in only 4 percent of stories and implants in only 1 percent.

While our study did focus on a politically charged time period around the ACA, coverage patterns didn't seem to change when we looked at stories about contraception unrelated to the ACA. We saw similar topic and source selection in these stories too.

Framing Matters

In 2015, almost 24 million people watched the nightly network TV news. The median age of the nightly TV news audience skews older, ranging from 45 for ABC to 52 and 53 for NBC and CBS, respectively.

Women use contraception, however, throughout their reproductive years, from their teens to their 40s. In fact, based on the most recent national data, more women in their 30s and 40s are using contraception than their younger counterparts.

Even if younger women aren't tuning into these broadcasts, their social networks may well include people who do. Research suggests that many younger reproductive aged people get health information and news from their social networks, so TV news content may impact many more people than those who view it directly.

While most methods of contraception are intended for women, that doesn't mean contraceptive access is only a women's issue. It also affects men who have female partners, family and friends who share information and advice, and all of us as citizens who are affected by government policies around contraception.

Framing contraception primarily as a political or social issue rather than as a medical issue often means that TV news stories don't cover the most effective contraceptive methods and information on method use, benefits and harms.

It also leaves some of the most knowledgeable sources about contraception, medical professionals like us, on the sidelines in favor of comment from political, advocacy group and church leaders. Ultimately, this could deprive the public of vital health information and understanding about contraception.

Providing Context Is Part Of The Media's Job

Our research identified key gaps in nightly network TV news coverage of contraception that may affect the information some people in the United States are getting about birth control.

But these gaps aren't insurmountable. Research analyzing media coverage of the HPV vaccine and the medication tamoxifen for breast cancer treatment and prevention found higher rates of medical professionals being used as sources. Coverage of these issues shows that it is possible to highlight both the social and medical aspects of a news story to convey the full context to the audience.

Providing context is critical to helping viewers understand topics and events in the news. Contraception is multifaceted, and the social and political angles shouldn't be ignored in media narratives. But the medical and public health aspects of contraception are critical to understanding this issue, and are too important to leave out.

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Elizabeth W. Patton is a clinical lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan. Michelle Moniz is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology there. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:28 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving

March 1st.

20160901_112709_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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:45 AM | Permalink

Illinois Laundromat Owners Oppose Rahm's Water Tax

The Illinois Coin Laundry Association (ILCLA) is strongly opposed to Mayor Emanuel's plan to tax residents' water, including those who use laundromats, at a rate of 29.5%.

The association believes that the plan is immoral because its highly regressive nature means that low-income residents will be disparately affected.

Washing clothes is not a luxury, but rather a necessary need that all residents need. A large number of lower income Chicagoans do not have access to quality laundry facilities where they live and rely on local laundromats to get this chore done.

Over the last several years the City has doubled the cost of water and most owners have tried to absorb the increase without raising prices, but can no longer afford to do so and stay in business. This tax increase will have to be passed down to laundromat users.

Additionally, since most facilities are operated by quarters, there is no way to increase prices at exactly what the tax will cost. Rather they will have to increase prices by 25-cent increments, thereby charging more than the tax actually costs.

The ILCLA believes, as most of our customers, that the City's financial situation should not be solved on the backs of those who can least afford it.

Paul Hansen is president of the Illinois Coin Laundry Association.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

September 1, 2016

The 2016 Fantasy Fix Football Draft Guide Pt. 5: King Gronk

Not much can stop Rob Gronkowski - and that includes a four-game suspension of his starting QB. Gronk is still the king at his position even though he had neither the most TDs nor the most receptions among TEs last year - and even though NE's two-TE plays this year will feature a former Bear who could challenge him for targets.

Here are my top 15 TEs:

1. Rob Gronkowski, NE

The category he did lead the position in is yards, with 1,176, best since his 2011 career high of 1,300-plus. His angry QB should be throwing him a lot of deep passes this year, with relatively little in the way of reliable talent at WR.

2. Jordan Reed, WAS

Benefited from QB Kirk Cousin's second-half torching of opposing defenses, and collected 87 reception and 11 TDs, both second among TEs. 952 receiving yards last year, and Cousins helps him toward 1,100 this year as he has room to continue improving.

3. Greg Olsen, CAR

If you want reliable stats, and Gronk's injury history concerns you, Olsen hasn't missed a game since his 2007 rookie year with the Bears, and had a career-high 1,104 yards last season. A recurring target for QB Cam Newton.

4. Delanie Walker, TEN

Despite a pre-season health scare, he's poised for a second-straight top five season. His position-leading 94 catches last year and 1,088 yards suggest a higher ranking, though QB Marcus Mariota has a WR upgrade in Rishard Matthews who could steal targets.

5. Travis Kelce, KC

After two seasons of just under 900 yards receiving and five TDs, he still has us thinking bigger, like 1,000 and 10, but probably a gamble putting him any higher than this.

6. Coby Fleener, NO

Another would-be breakout who just hasn't gotten there. His supposed rapport with his college QB in IND never amounted to much, but now he's with QB legend Drew Brees, who still aches for a Jimmy Graham replacement. Fleener like will see career-high targets.

7. Zach Ertz, PHI

A lot of people calling for a breakout after 75 catches, 853 yards, but just two TDs last year. Maybe less of a gamble than Fleener if you miss out on the first five TEs, but want someone with a solid season already on the books.

8. Antonio Gates, SD

The old man is hanging in there. He missed five games last year, but his 56 catches for 630 yards and five TDs is pretty good for the time he saw, and QB Philip Rivers throws more than any other QB.

9. Gary Barnidge, CLE

Last year's biggest TE surprise and nine TDs and 1,043 yards, so why so low? The Browns were decimated at WR, and really the entire offense. This pre-season, WRs Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman already look great, and the RG-3 experiment at QB just might work.

10. Tyler Eifert, CIN

Led all TEs with 13 TDs, as QB Andy Dalton threw to him repeatedly in the red zone and almost nowhere else, as a relatively low 615 yards suggests. Coming off tough injury, and looking like he won't return until at least Week 4, though maybe later.

11. Martellus Bennett, NE

Gronk is No. 1 in NE, but Brady has never had a second TE in his two-TE sets with Bennett's ability. So is he second choice or will he actually steal some of Gronk's thunder? Whatever the case, I think he gets enough targets to be a borderline fantasy starter.

12. Julius Thomas, JAC

Had two straight seasons of 12 TDs with Peyton Manning in DEN, and we weren't expecting that with Blake Bortles, but his 455 yards and five TDs in 12 games last year left us wanting. This year, he may benefit from opposition scrambling to cover JAC's great WRs.

13. Dwayne Allen, IND

Very little to recommend him, but really just speculating here that he gets more attention with Fleener gone from IND and QB Andrew Luck looking to pass a lot as he tries to rebound from a lost season.

14. Eric Ebron, DET

A potential draft-and-stash target to see how much work he gets in what should be a fast-paced DET offense. Had five TDs last year and a lot of people like him as an eventual breakout, but has missed much of the preseason with injury issues.

15. Zach Miller, CHI

The Bears have looked so bad so far, not sure what to think about Miller, but he had a couple big games last year built on just a couple big plays. Another to pick and put on the bench to see how often he's targeted, and how often he turns in more big plays.

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Just Missed: Jimmy Graham, SEA

He sure fell fast after injuries and poor usage by SEA. I think he's a decent candidate to improve on 650 or so yards and two TDs last year, but there's already an injury issue lingering over his Week 1 status.

Sleeper: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TAM

Still waiting for his follow-up on a 110 yards, two-TD performance in last year's opener, but he wallowed for most of last season. Everyone loves QB Jameis Winston as a breakout this year, so wouldn't be surprised if ASJ feeds off that for his own big year.

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Previously:
* Part 1: The Top 20: New World Order.

* Part 2: Year of the Zero RB.

* Part 3: Embrace The Targets.

* Part 4: Throwing Deep.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:24 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Chicago Public Schools has spent at least $1 million on testing for lead in the water at more than half of its schools, and on fixing some of the problems that turned up, officials said Wednesday," the Sun-Times reports.

"Remediation work continues on the 327 public elementary schools that were tested before summer break. Of the 184 fixtures and faucets that had a problematic sample, at least 120 have been fixed or replaced and put back into service, facilities chief Jason Kierna told the City Council's Education Committee."

Good job!

"But so far, the city's Department of Public Health won't say exactly how many children tested for elevated levels of lead in their blood were among those who attend any of the 113 schools that were found to have at least one problematic fixture."

Oh.

"Public health commissioner Dr. Julie Morita would say only that the number is 'very, very small.' A city spokeswoman could not immediately provide that number."

Julie Morita, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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"I discuss all kinds of health care issues with my family," Morita said last year. "They serve as a mini-focus group for me to test new public health messages."

Okay, kids gather 'round! So, how should I best dodge the question of how many kids have tested for lead?

A) None of your business

B) Barely any!

C) A very small number

D) A very, very small number!

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