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« October 2016 | Main | December 2016 »

November 30, 2016

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: The Case For Pace

While the Bears moved the football effectively against the Titans last Sunday, a historic case of the dropsies ultimately sunk what looked like a certain comeback win.

Sure, there were a couple of costly red zone turnovers that - if converted to points - would have eliminated the need for an epic comeback, but in this town those kind of mishaps are the stuff of QB normalcy.

This one stung a bit, but even so you had to marvel - well, "marvel" is a bit strong; maybe "raise an eyebrow" - at the performance of Matt Barkley, especially when you contrast Sunday's loss against his other appearance this season.

For those of you who missed Week 7 against the Packers (or more likely purged it from memory using whiskey or a Ryobi power drill*), Barkley looked so overmatched that most of us instantly declared him the second coming of Jimmy Clausen . . . or Craig Krenzel . . . or Chad Hutchinson or Cade McNown or Moses Moreno or Rick Mirer AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGH!!!

Running down the list of Bears Quarterbacks Past is enough to make any fan want to eat a handful of cyanide-laced Craisins - so if you're looking to take the easy way out, catch the next train to Oregon.

Back to Barkley.

The first half of the former USC quarterback's first NFL start was uneven; he opened the game with a touchdown drive but committed two big turnovers. But as the game wore on, the guy looked like he belonged. One might say that his performance belonged in the win column.

Did I mention the 11 dropped passes? Specifically, the ones in the end zone, down by six with 30 seconds to play?

You can read about it all over the Internet, so I'll just say that they happened and they were awful, but the 2016 season is lost and we learned something very important in the process of this loss.

Before I get to my ultimate point, let's talk about the state of the Bears quarterback position in general.

(Downs a shot of blue Kool-Aid, downs a shot of orange Kool-Aid.)

Consider the sneaky acquisition of Connor Shaw, a former Brown who was cut by Cleveland in the preseason.

Now, you may not remember him because he's been on IR since the preseason . . . aaaand because he's played only a touch over (scans career game logs on NFL.com) zero pro football games . . . ooorrrr you're inherently distrustful of any quarterback who wasn't good enough to make the Browns roster.

But believe it or not, Shaw had an impressive college career and was well regarded in Cleveland. He was expected to land on the Browns practice squad after he was cut.

That was until Ryan Pace swooped in like a mighty executive level eagle.

Or more aptly, an executive level vulture, feasting on the roster carrion of weaker animals.

Let's meet in the middle and call Pace a majestic vulture.

We're not going to see Shaw until 2017, but with a 2-9 record it's high time to start looking ahead.

In addition to Shaw, the Bears recently re-acquired our old friend David Fales from the Ravens.

Fales has experience with the offense, and that might come into play in over the final weeks.

Here's my point: Don't look now, but the Bears have a pipeline of young quarterbacks to evaluate.

[Editor's Note: Wow, dude. It's like Ryan Pace got the DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour and using the power of time travel has attempted to create the equivalent of a quarterback controversy between Peter Tom Willis, Shane Matthews and Steve Walsh. Thank goodness there are some brains at the top of this operation.]

First off, I'm sensing some sarcasm. Secondly, if Pace were to hatch a plot to travel back in time for the purposes of pitting PTW, Matthews and Walsh against each other, in their prime mind you, he would definitely use George Carlin's phone booth from Bill And Ted - for the comedic effect of cramming three football players into a small space, if nothing else.

Fan criticism of Bears brass has been understandably harsh. The team has so many injuries . . .

(From the peanut gallery): "How injured ARE they?"

This team has so many injuries that Dick Wolf sold a series called Chicago Code Blue & Orange to NBC starring the members of the Bears on IR, which is a large enough cast to be considered an ensemble.

Furthermore, whoever is healthy enough to suit up seems to be largely underprepared (see "terrible half-games, most of 2016"), particularly on offense.

We need to ask ourselves as a fan base, is this going anywhere? Are the right guys are running the show?

The Case For Pace
I haven't quite worked my way up to blaming the entire coaching staff for this season's failures, but offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has made me feel stupider than usual for arguing on his behalf during the middle parts of 2016.

Examining whether the unbelievable run of injuries is a byproduct of mistakes at the coaching level, or if this staff is partially to blame for the number of PED suspensions over the last couple years, are topics for another day.

I will say that Vic Fangio is an excellent defensive coordinator, and despite the Bears struggles no players on the roster appear to have quit, which speaks to John Fox's ability to inspire (though it's reasonable to lay the blame for the in-game Jekyll/Hyde nature of 2016 at his feet).

This week, I'd like to take a moment to posit that GM Ryan Pace has done a respectable job. Here is my thinking:

  • Pace shipped out dickheads/locker room cancers.

    I give you Jeremiah Ratliff (he might shoot you in your place of business), Brandon Marshall (a bit of a prima donna, as it turns out) and Martellus Bennett (just a garden variety dick). Even though all were productive, Pace sent them packing when it became clear they were part of the problem. Removing a culture of negativity is a bit of an intangible, but important for long-term success.

    Hey, maybe you're a cop with a beat on the South Side and are used to people waving guns around during your shift, but in general this is not appropriate workplace behavior.

  • Pace has drafted well.

    Draft highlights from 2015 include Eddie Goldman (impact D lineman), Hroniss Grasu (potentially impact O lineman), Jeremy Langford (good role player at running back) and Adrian Amos (good role player, borderline starter at safety), while 2016's class features Leonard Floyd (possible impact linebacker), Cody Whitehair (good player, definite starting O lineman) and Jordan Howard (definite impact running back, possibly the biggest steal of the entire draft).

  • Pace signed free agents with a winning pedigree who have largely produced for the Bears.

    Eddie Royal, Tracy Porter, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, Bobby Massie and Josh Sitton all came from winning environments. With the exception of Massie, each has made tangible contributions to the team on the field.

The (Mediocre) Future Is Now?
The void in that list is the answer to the quarterback conundrum, as it basically has been for the lifetime of the Beachwood Reporter's entire readership.

The topic of Jay Cutler's tenure in Chicago is another story for another day, so let's say that there have been more lows than highs since he got here in 2009. Since he's been here much longer than the GM, Cutler's history doesn't impact my opinion of Pace one way or the other.

Which brings me to my point about the intersection of Matt Barkley's performance against the Titans and the evaluation of Ryan Pace overall.

I'm not suggesting even slightly that Barkley is the answer or that Pace has solved the Chicago quarterback riddle, buuuuuuut, Barkley showed off a stronger arm than we expected along with some nice touch passes, and if our fourth-, fifth- and sixth-string receivers had come to the field with hands made of something other than cement, we'd be celebrating (or bemoaning, if you're looking for a top pick) a win.

Barkley went from appearing to be a complete waste of everyone's time to someone who is worth a look as the rebuild moves forward, and that is real progress.

Throughout the year, many of us felt that the Bears' best moves at QB were to let Cutler go, give Brian Hoyer a hefty one-year deal (which he probably would have rejected for a longer-term deal elsewhere) and identify a quarterback in the middle rounds of the quarterback-thin 2017 draft.

You don't need to feel excited about Barkley or Shaw or Fales, but for most of this season, the Bears looked like they had nothing even close to a future signal-caller.

Barkley and Fales (because of his experience in the system) will now get deserved shots to prove whether they belong at the NFL level.

They don't have to be superstars, but if either can at least put up good showings against teams who have something to play for, Bears fans have a glimmer of hope for the long term.

The Cowboys aren't winning because of Dak Prescott. He's good, but I doubt he looks as capable behind a different line and without Dez Bryant or Zeke Elliot.

The Cardinals weren't contenders in 2014 and 2015 because of Carson Palmer. A great defense and some stellar wide receivers covered up his statue-like mobility and an arm vastly diminished by age.

Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson and Jim McMahon have rings.

McMahon's concussion-related brain damage might have messed him up so bad that he thinks the shiny thing on his finger with "1985" engraved on it is an onion ring, which might explain a chipped tooth or two, but goddammit the Punky QB will always be a champion!

I could go on.

This week's opponent might not have anything to play for, but the Lions, Packers, Redskins and Vikings all do. Whoever is slinging the ball will be tested, and for better or worse, Chicago fans will have answers about the state of the future.

Thanks to Pace, the Bears have three quarterbacks worth looking into. Let's give the man some credit for stocking the cupboard better than most of us expected.

Eye On The Opposition: It's A Long Way To The Bottom (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll
To quote David Fucillo of Niners Nation, the 49ers "enter a critical two-game stretch these next two weeks that could drop them at least a couple spots."

That's right, the 49ers are "in danger" of receiving a pick as high as the fifth in the 2017 draft.

That is, if they get all careless and win games against the Bears and Jets in the next two weeks.

To think, all of the work that went into a 10-game losing streak could be squandered in the blink of an eye.

But because San Francisco yields an average of 31 points per game, I like their chances to beat everyone but the Browns at the ancient art of tanking.

The Golden State Footballer Organization isn't without its bright spots though.

Running back Carlos Hyde has proven to be a meaningful player even when his team is losing by large margins. Which is often.

Colin Kaepernick's return to starter-dom hasn't been as productive as any 49ers fans would like, but he did turn in an excellent performance last week as he personally provided more than 400 yards of offensive yardage.

That said, his greatest talent might be getting his hair to fit into an NFL helmet.

Maybe he wets it down first?

I don't know. But I'm impressed.

The Niners are also quietly competent at defending the run.

Even though they typically play from behind (most opponents take a 3-0 lead into the opening kickoff), San Francisco's run defense ranks fourth in the NFL.

With that in mind, and the wordily aforementioned evaluation of Matt Barkley in full swing, expect the Bears to lean heavily on the mid-range passing game early in the contest.

Kool-Aid (5 of 5 If You're Rooting For A Loss, 2 of 5 If You're Rooting For Good Football - Either Way, Drink Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout)
Great brewery with a location near 17th and Western. Drink their beer, tour their facilities, bring me back some swag.

(Opens palm): Sponsorship, please!

If you're rooting for a top pick in the 2017 draft, this is your Super Bowl.

If you're like me, then you're really interested in the offense's answer to last week's loss.

The question is, can Barkley inspire a meaningless, possibly counterproductive win, or is he only good at slicing up prevent defenses for eight minutes?

In the only game left on the schedule in which the Bears will be favored, I say he can!

To help him get over the pain of the critical 4th-and-goal drop against Tennessee, Barkley targets Deonte Thompson 15 times.

The defense holds a bad offense down and even creates a turnover - though it's because Kaepernick's fro pops out of his helmet and tips the ball in mid-flight. Whatever, I'll take it!

Expect the second complete effort of the season and rejoice (or recoil) as Chicago's offense is fun to watch for one week!

Bears 33, 49ers 20

-

* Of course you lobotomize yourself with the Ryobi! They give those drills away with paint samples at Home Depot. And you know if you get blood all over the cordless DeWALT, your dad will smack you directly in the face, even if you're 40, a female, it's your drill and you perforated your skull in your house. If our dads taught us anything, it's to never get blood on the good tools.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our Kool-Aid Korrespondent. He tolerates your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:08 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit can go forward accusing former Mayor Richard Daley of ignoring evidence that white Chicago police detectives working under disgraced former police Cmdr. Jon Burge tortured dozens of black suspects into murder confessions," the Tribune reports.

"U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve's ruling sets the stage once again for Daley to potentially be forced to give sworn testimony about what he knew of the painful legacy of police torture that first came to light when Daley was Cook County state's attorney and later exploded during his more than two decades as mayor.

"Twice before, Daley has been ordered to give a sworn deposition in other lawsuits over torture claims, but the city settled those cases before he was questioned under oath."

*

That's the problem with settlements - good for the parties, bad for the public because we never get to see what would be revealed if cases played out in full. (See the Trump University settlement, for example.)

*

"The latest lawsuit alleges Alonzo Smith was beaten by Area 2 detectives Peter Dignan and John Byrne with a rubber nightstick, kicked in the groin and had a plastic bag put over his head to force him to confess to the 1983 slaying of James Fullilove. He filed the lawsuit in March after a Cook County judge found enough credible evidence of torture to grant him a new trial, prompting prosecutors to dismiss the conviction."

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Previously in the Beachwood:

* Deposing Daley, The Media & The Freeing Of Michael Tillman.

* Daley, Dignan & The Midnight Crew.

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Rahm's Restaurants
"Less than 44 percent of Chicago restaurants and 24.8 percent of bars are being inspected as often as state law requires - undermining public trust and jeopardizing state funding - because the city's Department of Public Health is 'seriously understaffed,' Inspector General Joe Ferguson has concluded," the Sun-Times reports.

So the city is violating the law. Has a warrant been issued for Rahm's arrest?

*

"State law requires the city to inspect high-risk food establishments twice a year. The category includes restaurants, hospital kitchens, day care centers and schools that prepare food on site."

Sure, but how many cities actually meet the letter of the law?

"Ferguson noted that Chicago is the 'only jurisdiction in Illinois that has failed to comply' with the state's inspection frequency regulations for consecutive years."

Oh.

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What Offshore Tax Havens Cost IL Small Businesses
A lot.

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BeachBook

SPLC Documents More Than 900 Hate Crimes In The 10 Days Following Donald Trump's Election.

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A Texas Man's Roadside Message To Muslims.

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Conditions At Illinois' Sole Women's Prison 'Untenable': Report.

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At 41, Onetime Chicago Bears QB Henry Burris Adds An Exclamation Point To A Great Canadian Career.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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More fatally flawed than a pussy-grabbing, KKK-endorsed, pathological liar with a business resume pocked by fraud and serial bankruptcies who smeared a Gold Star family and John McCain's war record while calling Mexican immigrants rapists and proposing a registry for Muslims? C'mon.

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Fatally flawed.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Small Business $5,789 A Year

Small business in Illinois would have to shoulder an extra $5,789.31 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the abuse of offshore tax havens by multinational corporations, according to a new report by Illinois PIRG Education Fund.

As a new administration takes office and the possibility of tax reform again enters the national conversation, the report highlights how it's small domestic businesses and ordinary Americans that have to shoulder the burden of multinational tax avoidance.

"The amount of cash corporations book to offshore tax havens is only growing, and it's not because these corporations are actually conducting prolific amounts of business in the Cayman Islands," said Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG Education Fund director.

"Our tax code is balanced in favor of big multinational corporations, and that means here at home we're losing out on lower individual tax rates, more funding for public programs, or decreasing our national debt."

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals avoid paying an estimated $147 billion in state and federal income taxes by using complicated accounting tricks to shift their profits to offshore tax havens.

The report found that the average Illinois small business would have to pay $5,789.31 to cover the cost of offshore tax dodging by large corporations.

Offshore tax havens give large multinationals a competitive advantage over responsible small businesses which don't have subsidiaries in tax havens to reduce their tax bills. Small businesses get stuck footing the bill for corporate tax dodging.

Many of America's largest and best-known corporations use these complex tax avoidance schemes to shift their profits offshore and drastically shrink their tax bill. GE, Microsoft, and Pfizer boast the largest offshore cash hoards:

  • General Electric maintained 20 tax haven subsidiaries and parked $104 billion offshore in 2015. With the help of offshore subsidiaries, General Electric paid a federal effective tax rate of -1.6% over the past ten years. GE's tax rate was negative during that period because the company received net tax payments from the government.
  • Microsoft reported a total of $124 billion in offshore profits. If this money had not been shifted offshore, Microsoft would have owed an additional $39.3 billion in taxes.
  • Pfizer operates 181 subsidiaries in tax havens and holds $193.6 billion in profits offshore, the second highest among the Fortune 500. Pfizer recently attempted the acquisition of a smaller foreign competitor so it could reincorporate on paper as a "foreign company." Pulling this off would have allowed the company a tax-free way to avoid $40 billion in taxes on its offshore earnings, but fortunately the Treasury Department issued new anti-inversion regulations that stopped the deal from taking place.

32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies hold at least $147 billion offshore, including:

  • AbbVie Inc: AbbVie has $25 billion offhsore, more than any other company in Illinois. Abbvie has 38 subsidiaries in tax havens.
  • Abbott Laboratories: Abbott Laboratories has subsidiaries in 94 tax havens, more than any other company in Illinois. They have $22.4 billion held offshore.

"With tax reform likely on the table for the new administration, it's vital that all decision-makers take into account the realities of how tax haven abuse hurts small businesses," Scarr said.

"In Illinois, any tax reforms should slam the door shut on the flow of corporate cash into tax haven countries, not open those flood gates more widely."

The report recommends closing a number of loopholes, including ending deferral, which allows corporations to defer paying taxes on profits booked offshore until they are brought back to the U.S.

States like Illinois can take action locally to end the flow of cash to offshore tax havens by closing the "water's edge loophole" and taxing profits booked to places like the Cayman Islands.

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Previously in Tax Scammage:
* 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.

* Study: 32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies Holding At Least $147 Billion Offshore.

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

* When A 'Tax Bonanza' Is Actually A Huge Corporate Tax Break.

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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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Previously in the carried interest loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

* The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So).

* Fact-Checking Trump & Clinton On The Billionaire's Tax Break.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

November 29, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"A Chicago Police sergeant who fatally shot a 19-year-old man last week is facing a lawsuit for killing another man in 2013 while he was off-duty - and a gun has not been recovered in either case," the Sun-Times reports.

"Sgt. John Poulos has been stripped of his police powers while investigators look into the death of Kajuan Raye on Wednesday in West Englewood.

"Poulos said he saw Raye point a gun at him twice during a footchase, but investigators were unable to find a weapon, authorities say. Raye was shot in the back.

"Police Supt. Eddie Johnson has said he asked Poulos for his badge and gun as investigators try to answer the 'many unanswered questions' in the case.

"Poulos faces a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court in the 2013 fatal shooting of another man, Rickey Rozelle, 28."

*

You'll have to click through to get the details on the second case.

Note: Link by the Sun-Times! And they used the code that opens the link in a separate tab! One small step for humankind, one giant step for the Sun-Times.

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Chicago Profs Peddle Hurtful Mega-Mergers
Get rich screwing you.

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BeachBook

Muslim Lawyers Plan Strategy For Trump Era.

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Megyn Kelly's Lunch With DuPage Republicans, Cubs.

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How Kellogg Worked With 'Independent Experts' To Tout Cereal.

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Chipotle Sued Over Misleading Calorie Count.

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There's No Evidence Of Aloe Vera In These Aloe Vera Gels.

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Journalists Cry Foul As Washington Post Runs Story On 'McCarthyite Blacklist' Of News Sites.

Also:

Small outlets too.

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Most Valuable Person? Curtis Granderson.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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#PromiseKept.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Shit where you eat.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:46 AM | Permalink

These Chicago Professors Make More Than A Thousand Bucks An Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers

If the government ends up approving the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, credit won't necessarily belong to the executives, bankers, lawyers and lobbyists pushing for the deal. More likely, it will be due to the professors.

A serial acquirer, AT&T must persuade the government to allow every major deal. Again and again, the company has relied on economists from America's top universities to make its case before the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission.

Moonlighting for a consulting firm named Compass Lexecon, they represented AT&T when it bought Centennial, DirecTV, and Leap Wireless; and when it tried unsuccessfully to absorb T-Mobile. And now AT&T and Time Warner have hired three top Compass Lexecon economists to counter criticism that the giant deal would harm consumers and concentrate too much media power in one company.

Today, "in front of the government, in many cases the most important advocate is the economist and lawyers come second," said James Denvir, an antitrust lawyer at Boies, Schiller.

Economists who specialize in antitrust - affiliated with Chicago, Harvard, Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, and other prestigious universities - reshaped their field through scholarly work showing that mergers create efficiencies of scale that benefit consumers. But they reap their most lucrative paydays by lending their academic authority to mergers their corporate clients propose. Corporate lawyers hire them from Compass Lexecon and half a dozen other firms to sway the government by documenting that a merger won't be "anti-competitive:" in other words, that it won't raise retail prices, stifle innovation, or restrict product offerings. Their optimistic forecasts, though, often turn out to be wrong, and the mergers they champion may be hurting the economy.

Some of the professors earn more than top partners at major law firms. Dennis Carlton, a self-effacing economist at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and one of Compass Lexecon's experts on the AT&T-Time Warner merger, charges at least $1,350 an hour.

In his career, he has made about $100 million, including equity stakes and non-compete payments, ProPublica estimates. Carlton has written reports or testified in favor of dozens of mergers, including those between AT&T-SBC Communications and Comcast-Time Warner, and three airline deals: United-Continental, Southwest-Airtran, and American-US Airways.

American industry is more highly concentrated than at any time since the gilded age. Need a pharmacy? Americans have two main choices. A plane ticket? Four major airlines. They have four choices to buy cell phone service. Soon one company will sell more than a quarter of the quaffs of beer around the world.

Mergers peaked last year at $2 trillion in the U.S. The top 50 companies in a majority of American industries gained share between 1997 and 2012, and "competition may be decreasing in many economic sectors," President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers warned in April.

While the impact of this wave of mergers is much debated, prominent economists such as Lawrence Summers and Joseph Stiglitz suggest that it is one important reason why, even as corporate profits hit records, economic growth is slow, wages are stagnant, business formation is halting, and productivity is lagging

"Only the monopoly-power story can convincingly account" for high business profits and low corporate investment, Summers wrote earlier this year.

In addition, politicians such as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren have criticized big mergers for giving a handful of companies too much clout. President-elect Trump said in October that his administration would not approve the AT&T-Time Warner merger "because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few."

During the campaign, Trump didn't signal what his broader approach to mergers would be. But the early signs are that his administration will weaken antitrust enforcement and strengthen the hand of economists. He selected Joshua Wright, an economist and professor at George Mason's Antonin Scalia Law School, to lead his transition on antitrust matters.

Wright, himself a former consultant for Boston-based Charles River Associates, regularly celebrates mergers in speeches and articles and has supported increasing the influence of economists in assessing monopoly power.

"Mergers between competitors do not often lead to market power but do often generate significant benefits for consumers," he wrote in The New York Times earlier this month.

A late Obama administration push to scrutinize major deals notwithstanding, the government over the past several decades has pulled back on merger enforcement. In part, this shift reflects the influence of Carlton and other economists. Today, lawyers still write the briefs, make the arguments and conduct the trials, but the core arguments are over economists' models of what will happen if the merger goes ahead.

These complex mathematical formulations carry weight with the government because they purport to be objective. But a ProPublica examination of several marquee deals found that economists sometimes salt away inconvenient data in footnotes and suppress negative findings, stretching the standards of intellectual honesty to promote their clients' interests.

Earlier this year, a top Justice Department official criticized Compass Lexecon for using "junk science." ProPublica sent a detailed series of questions to Compass Lexecon for this story. The firm declined to comment on the record.

Even some academic specialists worry that the research companies buy is slanted. "This is not the scientific method," said Orley Ashenfelter, a Princeton economist known for analyzing the effects of mergers. Referring to one Compass study of an appliance industry deal, he said, "The answer is known in advance, either because you created what the client wanted or the client selected you as the most favorable from whatever group was considered."

In contrast to their scholarship, the economists' paid work for corporations rests almost entirely out of the public eye. Even other academics cannot see what they produce on behalf of clients. Their algorithms are shared only with government economists, many of whom have backgrounds in academia and private consulting, and hope to return there. At least seven professors on Compass's payroll, including Carlton, have served as the top antitrust economist at the Department of Justice. Charles River Associates boasts at least three.

"There are few government functions outside the CIA that are so secretive as the merger review process," said Seth Bloom, the former general counsel of the U.S. Senate Antitrust Subcommittee.

Corporations pay Dennis Carlton, a University of Chicago economist and Compass Lexecon expert, at least $1,350 an hour to forecast the effects of mergers.

Dennis-Carlton-900*600-11e0b9.jpegDennis Carlton/Elise Giordano/University of Florida Levin College of Law.

* * * * *

One evening in 1977, University of Chicago law professor Richard Posner hosted a colleague from the economics department and a young law student named Andrew Rosenfield at his apartment in Hyde Park. The leading scholar of the "Law and Economics" movement, Posner wanted to apply rigorous math and economics concepts to the real world. "Why not see if there are some consulting opportunities?" he mused. The three of them agreed to form a firm, throwing in $700 for a third each. They called it "Lexecon," combining the Latin for law with "econ."

The trio then shopped their services to a dozen law firms, which all turned them down. "If you had to value the firm at the end of the tour, you'd have to say it was zero," said Rosenfield.

They went back to their academic work. Not too long after, AT&T called Posner to ask if he could consult on its antitrust defense. The government was trying to break up Ma Bell. Posner agreed. So began a long and mutually beneficial relationship between AT&T and Lexecon.

Soon after its founding, Lexecon hired one of Chicago's most promising young economists: Dennis Carlton. He had grown up in Brighton, Mass., earning degrees from a trifecta of elite local institutions: Boston Latin High School, Harvard, and MIT, where he would later endow a chair. He played basketball in his spare time. "Backaches have temporarily sidelined me from embarking on my second career as a basketball player in the NBA," he joked in a 40th reunion report to his Harvard classmates in 2012. (After a short interview with ProPublica, Carlton subsequently declined comment, citing client confidentiality.)

Ronald Reagan appointed Posner to the federal bench in 1981. Posner left Lexecon. "Andy and I were young," Carlton said. "Gee, we wondered: Is the firm going to survive? Not only did it survive, but it did very well."

Lexecon capitalized on the Eighties merger explosion. M&A was rising to cultural prominence as the domain of swashbucklers. Corporate raiders enlisted renegade lawyers and brash investment bankers to take on stalwart names of American industry.

Behind the scenes, the less-flamboyant economists gained influence. From the time antitrust laws began to be passed, in the late 19th century, until the 1970s, courts and the government had presumed a merger was bad for customers if it resulted in high concentration, measured at thresholds much lower than the market shares for the dominant companies in many sectors today.

Led by University of Chicago theorists, a new group of scholars argued that this approach was overly simplistic. Even if a company dominated its industry, it might lower prices or create offsetting efficiencies, allowing customers more choice or higher quality products. In 1982, William Baxter, Reagan's first head of the Justice Department antitrust division, codified the requirement that the government use economic models and principles to forecast the effect of mergers.

Lexecon seized the opportunity. "We were not just going to talk about economic theory but show with data that what we were saying could be justified," Carlton said. By the late 1980s, the top four Lexecon officers were each making $1.5 million a year, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

* * * * *

Any merger over a certain dollar size - currently, $78 million - requires government approval. The government passes most mergers without question. On rare occasions, it requests more data from the merging parties. Then the companies often hire consulting firms to produce economic analyses supporting the deal. (Sometimes the government hires its own outside academic.)

Even less frequently, the government concludes it can't approve the merger as proposed. In such cases, the government typically settles with the two companies, requiring some concession, such as sale of a division or product line.

Just a handful of times a year, the government will sue to block a merger. Recently, the Obama administration has filed several major suits to block mergers, as companies in already concentrated industries propose bigger and bigger deals. According to a tally from the law firm Dechert, the government challenged a record seven mergers last year out of a total of 10,250.

Recent research supports the classic view that large mergers, by reducing competition, hurt consumers. The 2008 merger between Miller and Coors spurred "an abrupt increase" in beer prices, an academic analysis found this year.

In the most comprehensive review of the academic literature, Northeastern economist John Kwoka studied the effects of thousands of mergers. Prices on average increased by more than 4 percent. Prices rose on more than 60 percent of the products and those increases averaged almost 9 percent.

"Kwoka finds that opposition to mergers is usually justified, but that enforcers clear too many harmful mergers," American University's Jonathan Baker, a Lexecon economist who has consulted for both corporations and the government, wrote in a blurb for Kwoka's book on the subject.

Once a merger is approved, nobody studies whether the consultants' predictions were on the mark. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission do not make available the reports that justify mergers, and those documents cannot be obtained through public records requests. Sometimes the companies file the expert reports with the courts, but judges usually agree to companies' requests to seal the documents. After a merger is cleared, the government no longer has access to the companies' proprietary data on their pricing.

The expert reports "are not public so only the government can check," said Ashenfelter, the Princeton economist who has consulted for both government and private industry. "And the government no longer has the data so they can't check."

How accurate are the experts? "The answer is no one knows and no one wants to find out."

* * * * *

Compass Lexecon itself is the product of serial M&A. A Michael Milken-backed company bought Lexecon for $60 million in 1999. Then it sold Lexecon to FTI Consulting, an umbrella group of professional consulting service firms, in 2003 for $130 million.

In the deal, Carlton received $15 million through 2008 in non-compete payments, according to a Chicago Crain's Business story. He also has held an equity stake in the firm.

In 2006, FTI bought Competition Policy Associates, another consulting firm that had also built itself through combination, merging it with Lexecon to form Compass Lexecon.

FTI Consulting had $1.8 billion in revenue in 2015, of which $447 million came from economic consulting. The economic consulting division has 600 "revenue-producing" professionals who bill at an average hourly rate of $512 an hour, the highest of all the company's segments. Charles River Associates brought in about $300 million in revenue last year, led by antitrust consulting.

So few top consulting firms and leading experts dominate the sector today that economists wonder mordantly whether excess concentration plagues their own industry. In 2013, the government granted a waiver to Joshua Wright, the law professor and economist who was a consultant for Charles River. The waiver permitted him to serve as an FTC commissioner and review deals his former consulting firm advised on, as long as he didn't deliberate on matters that he had directly worked on. Otherwise, the commission's business might have ground to a halt because Charles River was involved in a third of all merger cases that came before the agency. Wright declined to comment.

Jonathan Orszag, senior managing director of Compass Lexecon, came up with a solution to allow Compass experts to work on more mergers. He is a well-known figure in Washington circles, and the brother of Peter Orszag, the vice chairman of investment bank Lazard and former high level Obama administration official. Jonathan's social media teems with his globetrotting adventures. Brides magazine featured his destination wedding in the Bahamas. In August 2015, he celebrated on Twitter that he had played on all of the top 100 golf courses in the world. Although he does not have a Ph.D. in economics, he serves as an expert himself and is respected particularly for his expertise on global deals. He declined to comment on the record to ProPublica.

At Orszag's urging, the firm relaxed its conflict of interest rules, according to multiple people who have worked with or for Compass. Now, Compass Lexecon experts can, and do, advise both sides in disputes. (Under Compass policy, the parties need to consent to such arrangements.) Separate teams of staffers, who cannot communicate with the opposing side, run the cases. The arrangements require on occasion that experts with adjacent offices must stop talking to each other during cases.

Compass economists can reach very different answers to the same question, depending on who is paying them. In 2012, the federal government and a group of states sued Apple for conspiring with several major publishers to fix prices on e-books.

The states hired American University's Jonathan Baker, the Compass economist, as one of its experts. Baker's report concluded that e-book prices cost 19 percent more than they should, as a result of the price-fixing. Another government expert arrived at the same 19 percent estimate, and calculated that consumers had been overcharged by $300 million.

Apple later hired Orszag, also of Compass, to do the same calculation. Orszag first came to the conclusion that the effect on prices was lower than the government side's estimate, around 15 percent. Then he argued there were offsetting benefits to consumers that knocked the number all the way down to 1.9 percent, or just $28 million.

"The actual harms suffered by consumers . . . are modest," Orszag concluded.

A federal judge slapped Orszag down for that work. Denise Cote, of the Southern District of New York, threw out part of Orszag's report in the Apple case. The judge assailed Orszag's study as "unmoored" from facts and "unsupported by any rigorous analysis," criticizing a calculation of his as "jerry-rigged."

Lawyers for the states found out Orszag was working for Apple only when he filed his expert report in the case. The news shocked them, two of the lawyers said, because they felt Orszag had been privy to their legal strategy. Orszag had personally negotiated and signed the contract when the states retained Compass and Baker to do the expert work attacking Apple, now Orszag's client. The contract prohibited Compass from working on both sides of the case without permission, which had not been obtained.

The states, which had paid Compass and Baker $1.2 million for their work, later sued Compass for breach of contract. They found out that two of its staffers, an administrative assistant and an entry level researcher, had worked for both of the opposing economists. In a deposition, Orszag defended his firm, saying that he believed the Compass contract with the state governments "had been suspended" when he signed on to work for Apple.

Compass settled with the states, paying back some of the money. A person familiar with Compass's position says that its conflict-of-interest rules didn't apply to the low-level employees who helped both economists.

In the last several decades the Justice Department has pulled back on merger enforcement, a shift that in part reflects the immense influence of economists on the field.

* * * * *

The premier economists in the field move back and forth from consulting firms to the top positions at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. In 2006, Carlton joined the Bush Department of Justice for a 17-month stint as the highest-ranking department economist, before returning to the firm.

Carlton and the other luminaries in the field keep busy. From 2010 to 2014, Carlton consulted on 35 cases, according to his declaration in one case. That total includes his help for companies not only in front of the government but also in private litigation. Mostly he works on the defense side, fending off accusations of price-fixing or anti-competitive behavior. His clients have included Verizon, Honeywell, Fresh Del Monte, and Philip Morris. Because top experts get bonuses based on what the firm generates in billings, their annual incomes can run up to $10 million in a very good year.

Like other top consultants, Carlton devotes hundreds of words in his expert reports to describing his academic credentials, scholarly publications, and journal affiliations. Corporate clients value him not just for his prestige and point of view but for his skill as a witness. Unlike some of his colleagues, he is never bombastic or arrogant. With small eyes, puffy cheeks crowding his soft, wide nose, and hair that sweeps above his brow, Carlton looks as intimidating as a high school guidance counselor. But his calm, unassuming demeanor, even under intense cross-examination, makes him the perfect champion for his corporate clients.

"If you needed one guy for one deal and price didn't matter, I'd take Dennis," said a partner at one top New York corporate law firm. "He is the best."

Carlton also knows just how far he can go. When he speaks, he proceeds deliberately, in a nasal accent, displaying a wariness that comes from decades of being questioned in court. Economists often argue that a merger will produce efficiencies, allowing companies to make more widgets for less money, an overall boon for society. But for an efficiency to count as an argument in a merger's favor, it must be a result of the merger itself. Carlton sometimes says the cost-savings are "merger-related," according to a former Justice Department economist. "He is very careful about language. He won't say 'merger-specific.'"

An off-the-cuff comment at a recent conclave illustrated Carlton's prominence in the hidden world of antitrust proceedings. One evening in April, lawyers, government officials, and economists gathered in Washington for the spring meeting of the American Bar Association's Antitrust Section. Held at the JW Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue, the gathering is the prime marketing event of the year for the economic consulting industry.

After a mind-numbing day of panels on issues like "Clarifying Liability in Hub-and-Spoke Conspiracies," the consultancies hosted competing cocktail receptions. The Charles River Associates event featured a generous spread of Peking Duck. Berkeley Research Group hired a live jazz band. Justice Department staffers sipped drinks with once-and-future colleagues now at white-shoe law firms, and Ivy League economists.

Earlier in the day, during a discussion of new theories about the damage caused by concentration in the airline industry and the overall economy, antitrust attorney John Harkrider shrugged at his fellow panelists. "I'm sure if you paid Dennis Carlton a million bucks, he'd blow up all these things," he remarked.

* * * * *

Carlton's rosy forecasts about the impact of proposed mergers haven't always proven accurate. In the summer of 2005, Whirlpool, the appliance giant, decided to take over Maytag, a storied name that had gradually faded. The combination would leave three companies - the other two being GE and Electrolux - in control of more than 85 percent of the market for clothes washers and dryers. They would have 88 percent of the dishwasher market and 86 percent for refrigerators. In addition to the namesake brands, the newly enlarged Whirlpool would own Amana, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air, and manufacture many Kenmore appliances. The companies hired top law firms to persuade the Bush administration Justice Department to allow the deal. And the firms brought in Carlton.

Despite the combined entity's powerful position, Carlton argued in his report that it still faced a threat from foreign competition. The possibility that a big box retailer might switch to LG or Samsung would prevent the newly combined company from raising prices, he asserted.

The companies did not persuade Justice Department officials, who proposed blocking the merger. An outside economic expert of their own, University of California at Berkeley's Carl Shapiro, backed the staff's analysis. The Bush appointee who headed the antitrust division, Assistant Attorney General Tom Barnett, resisted the staff's conclusions. Right after Shapiro provided his analysis, Barnett wrote to the companies' law firms, outlining the arguments that Shapiro and the staff made against the merger. Barnett, who declined comment, provided a roadmap to how to respond to the government's claims, a person familiar with the letter said.

After months of deliberation, in March 2006, Barnett overruled the staff recommendation, allowing the merger to go through with no conditions. Shapiro and American University's Baker later called it a "highly visible instance of under-enforcement."

Carlton's predictions did not pan out. Whirlpool raised prices. Five years after the deal, Princeton's Ashenfelter and an economist with the Federal Trade Commission found that, contrary to the Compass Lexecon pre-merger forecasts, the takeover resulted in "large price increases for clothes dryers" and price increases for dishwashers. In addition, the companies reduced their offerings, giving consumers fewer choices. By 2012, LG and Samsung had grabbed some market share mostly from second-tier players. Whirlpool and Maytag's combined shares dropped just over two percentage points in washers and dryers, according to TraQline. But the competition had not brought down prices. Antitrust experts say that a scenario in which companies raise prices despite losing market share to competitors can be evidence that a merger hurt consumers.

The Whirlpool-Maytag merger was revisited in 2014 when GE tried to sell its appliance division to Electrolux, a Swedish manufacturer. Electrolux hired Jonathan Orszag. In December 2015, government officials questioned Orszag's expert report on the possible effects of the GE-Electrolux merger. Contradicting Ashenfelter, Orszag had submitted a study asserting that the Whirlpool-Maytag merger had not raised prices, conclusions he based mainly on the washer and dryer market.

Justice Department staff economists studied backup material to his analysis and they found something troubling. Buried there was an acknowledgment that the Whirlpool-Maytag merger had resulted in price increases in cooking appliances, the very sector of the market that government officials worried might be affected by the GE-Electrolux combination. The Justice Department filed suit to stop the deal and GE pulled out during the trial.

In a speech in June, outgoing deputy attorney general David Gelfand warned about gamesmanship by economic consultants. While much economic work is good, "we do see junk science from time to time," he said.

As an example, Gelfand pointed to the GE-Electrolux case, though he did not name the company or Orszag. He said the inconvenient data "should have been disclosed and presented with candor" in the expert report supporting the merger.

Orszag did allude in a footnote to the other data, and provided backup materials that disclosed the higher prices in cooking appliances. He contended in his testimony that these price increases were due not to the merger itself but to other factors such as rising costs of raw materials. He said that Ashenfelter's conclusions were wrong because, unlike Orszag, the Princeton economist did not have access to Whirlpool's costs for making appliances.

Ashenfelter stands by his study.

"My concern with Orszag's deposition as evidence is that all this is done behind a curtain of secrecy. None of us know just what he did, how the cost data were constructed," he wrote in an e-mail to ProPublica.

"Orszag's results would only have been presented if they favored his client. Our paper had no clients and we would have been happy to find no price effect."

* * * * *

In a bright conference room at Fordham Law School on a warm day this past September, an economist realized she had made a mistake in a deposition.

A WilmerHale partner seized on the error. A group of people, seated at blond wood tables in sleek, ergonomic black chairs, took notes as light streamed into the room, reflecting off the columns of Lincoln Center across the street. The economist, Michelle Burtis of Charles River Associates, turned to the audience and, letting out a laugh, broke character.

"And at this point, I would definitely start obfuscating," she said, smiling.

Burtis was presenting a mock deposition to train lawyers and economists on the pivotal role economists can play in antitrust matters. Charles River and another consulting firm, Cornerstone Research, sponsored the conference.

Burtis, who has short, chin-length brown hair, oversized glasses, a friendly demeanor, and a doctorate in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, continued to guide the attendees toward "what is helpful in a situation like this," where the economists had erred but still needed to push the client's line. "You're never going to get me to admit this is a mistake," she explained.

The government's reliance on economic models rests on the notion that they're more scientific than human judgement. Yet merger economics has little objectivity. Like many areas of social science, it is dependent on assumptions, some explicit and some unseen and unexamined. That leaves room for economists to follow their preconceptions, and their wallets.

Economists have an "incentive to get a reputation as someone who will make a certain type of argument. People will hire you because they know what testimony you will give," said Robert Porter, an economist from Northwestern who has never testified on behalf of a corporation in an antitrust matter.

In a 2007 interview, Carlton maintained an expert witness shouldn't be biased. "It is the job of the economic consultant to reach an expert opinion in light of all the evidence, both the good and bad. I think it destroys an expert's credibility to present only the supportive evidence," he said.

Economists who do a lot of consulting on antitrust cases say it is not in their long-term interest to shill for a corporate client. Carlton says consulting is tougher than writing for peer-reviewed journals. For scholarship, "it's not required for the editor to re-run your numbers. In litigation, the expert on the other side has reviewed to make sure I haven't made errors. The scrutiny is good and leads to a higher quality of report," he told Global Competition Review, an antitrust trade publication in 2014.

While the data is hidden from outsiders, what matters to Carlton is that there are no secrets between the companies and the government. "When economists are speaking to each other, it's transparent. They are discussing the economics. The data is turned over to the other side. It's your model vs. theirs," Carlton told ProPublica.

Several former employees of consulting firms describe their jobs differently. They say they understood that clients wanted them to reach favorable conclusions. The job was "to go through analyses of market data and try to suggest that this merger doesn't raise antitrust concerns," said David Foster, who left Compass Lexecon in 2014, after working as a young analyst there for a year-and-a-half.

The companies and lawyers that rely on economists as witnesses aren't looking for neutrality. At the Fordham conference, a panel moderator asked Katrina Robson, a lawyer at O'Melveny & Myers, what she sought in an expert. "To be able to be an advocate without seeming to be an advocate," she replied.

Companies and their lawyers shop around for amenable economists, looking for the reports that provide the answers they are looking for. Karen Kazmerzak, a partner at Sidley Austin, told attendees that she likes to hire two economists if the client can afford it.

"It often comes out that one economist is not prepared to deliver the conclusions you need them to deliver," she said. In those cases, the law firm can fire one economist and go forward with the other, more malleable consultant.

When an expert concludes that a merger won't pass muster with the government, the corporate client typically either backs out of the proposed deal, figures out concessions to offer the government, finds a more supportive economist at the same consulting firm, or switches firms. Sometimes, according to a prominent antitrust lawyer, unwelcome predictions are locked in a drawer, protected by attorney-client privilege, never to be seen by the government or the public.

On occasion, Carlton has told companies that their deals are unlikely to be approved. He's walked away from at least one merger: H&R Block's 2011 takeover of TaxAct, a software firm. The government challenged it, and Carlton pulled out a few months before the trial. The companies hired a new expert from a competing firm, who defended the merger in court. The Justice Department used Carlton's departure to cast doubt on the credibility of the new consultant and won the case.

* * * * *

In 2011, when AT&T sought to take over the cellphone company T-Mobile, the government balked. T-Mobile, a smaller and scrappier rival, often tried out new and innovative offerings to keep cell service costs low. Carlton represented AT&T. Based on data the company provided, he predicted that the cost of cellphone service would explode if AT&T couldn't take over T-Mobile and use its network to meet rising demand. Without the acquisition, Carlton and his Compass colleagues concluded, AT&T would be forced to charge higher prices.

When government officials looked closely at Carlton's model, they realized that it was implying that prices would rise so high without the merger, the cellphone market would shrink by 90% within a few years. Justice Department officials viewed this as wildly implausible. "We find that the applicants' economic model is deficient," the government wrote of the work by Carlton and other Compass Lexecon consultants. Soon after the companies announced their deal, the Department of Justice sued to block the transaction and after several months of wrangling, the companies dropped the transaction in late 2011.

Even though AT&T was not able to complete its takeover, cellphone usage in the U.S. has not collapsed by 90%.

Shortly after AT&T withdrew its offer for T-Mobile, the top economist at the Justice Department, Fiona Scott Morton, held a dinner at the Caucus Room, a Washington eatery, for several economists who worked on the deal. The restaurant provided an intimate and comfortable setting for a post-mortem. "Everyone is friends," recalls one attendee. "It was fun."

They debated who had the better case. Carlton conceded that AT&T and T-Mobile would have found it hard to win at trial, according to an attendee. But he wished it had gone to court. He was eager to try out a new and provocative argument for mergers: That even though prices would have risen for customers, the companies would have achieved large cost savings. The gain for AT&T shareholders, he contended, would have justified the merger, even if cellphone customers lost out.

Carlton's expert report predicted that T-Mobile was doomed to failure without the merger. "Our review indicates that T-Mobile USA's competitive significance is likely to decline in the absence of the proposed transaction," he and two other Compass Lexecon economists wrote.

Five years later, T-Mobile's stock price and market share are up and its colorful CEO, John Legere, has been credited by the business press for "singlehandedly dragging the industry into a new era" with innovations such as abolishing cellular contracts. In 2014, Bill Baer, then the head of the antitrust division at the Justice Department, claimed victory: "T-Mobile went back to competing to win your business," he said in a speech. "And T-Mobile's competitors were compelled to respond."

Today, AT&T's much grander takeover of Time Warner will be an early test case for President-elect Trump, who feuded during the campaign with CNN, a Time Warner property. It will also be a boon for Compass and the small army of academic economists mobilizing for the multi-front battle waged by the government, competitors and the merging companies.

Have information about economic consulting or antitrust issues? Please e-mail Jesse Eisinger or Justin Elliott.

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Previously:
* The American Way: President Obama promised to fight corporate concentration. Eight years later, the airline industry is dominated by just four companies. And you're paying for it.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:01 AM | Permalink

November 28, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

Let's catch up from a long weekend.

In An Ugly Election Result, Hate Surges Online
The election of an American president, that is.

Every single Trump voter owns this.

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How Arguments In Favor Of The Electoral College Are Dead Wrong
Elitist, racist, and not at all inclusive of rural areas.

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Use FCC Auction To Strengthen Local Journalism
Once in a lifetime opportunity includes Chicago.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac
Golden.

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Is This The Best Yo-Yoer In Illinois?
And one of the best in the country?

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Circulating Literacy
Magazines did the job education did not.

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From the Beachwood music desk . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Pigface, WORM, Project .44, Abbath, Conor Oberst, End Result, Animals As Leaders, Marshmello, Oni, Children of Bodom, Exmortus, Two Door Cinema Club, Straight Arrows, Howard Jones, and Oquoa.

Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: El Tri, Rata Blanca, Inspector, La Arrolladora, Friendship Commanders, Joe Budden, The Falcon, Hobbyist, Poster Children, Mr. Blotto, Electric Slave, Cashmere Cat, Step Slow, Mukqs, Carlos Chavarria & Ben Billington, Highly Suspect, Beastii, Fine Subterraneans, The Soil & The Sun, JD McPherson, America, and Romancoke.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Beachwood Sports Radio: Sick Of The Bearratives
Jay Cutler, John Fox, the McCaskeys, 1985, Soldier Field, Halas, Butkus, Urlacher, OB, Joniak, Hub . . . sick of it all. Also: The Circus - And The Soap Opera - Has Left Town; Blackhawks Can't Help It If They're Lucky; Oh, The Pageantry!; Dex Knows; Chapman Doesn't; and Selling Sale.

SportsMonday: Nothing To See Here
Moving on from the Bears.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

How White Nationalists Learned To Love Donald Trump.

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'Trump Will Do To Muslims What Hitler Did To Jews.'

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10 Ways To Tell If Your President Is A Dictator.

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Chicago Trump Voter Goes On Racist Rant.

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Milwaukee Police Chief: Raising Standards Above Criminal Culpability.

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New York Passes First-Of-Kind Bill To Protect Freelancers.

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Minnesota Law Now Mandates Sex Assault Training For Students.

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The U.N. Sent 3 Foreign Women To The U.S. To Assess Gender Equality. They Were Horrified.

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The Ranch That Big Macs Built.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Jonc in the tronc.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Nothing To See Here

On Sunday, the now 2-9 Bears stayed on track for a top-five, first-round draft pick, and young quarterback Matt Barkley showed some promise (and, yes, a flaw or two) as the Titans prevailed 27-21. What's not to like about this latest chapter of a trainwreck season?

The only thing to do at this point is to move along quickly . . . no gaper's delay here!

And in Chicago there are always other teams gettin' busy. Clearly the time has come to focus on the winter sports - at least until the Cubs make a waiver claim, or even any other sort of the tiniest of transactions.

Then we will jump into the hot stove league faster than Jackie Robinson stole home. But the earliest big baseball moves this week will almost certainly happen in the aftermath of a new collective bargaining agreement. The current deal is scheduled to run out at 11 p.m. Wednesday (midnight in some other time zone).

Fortunately there has been no indication that what will essentially be an extension of the current, highly successful deal between MLB players and owners won't be happening soon.

Meanwhile, the Bulls and the Blackhawks are in the midst of recovering from their respective Circus Trips. The basketball voyage was successful (four wins and two losses on the way to an overall mark of 10-6), and while the Hawks didn't play their best hockey as they toured NHL outposts in western Canada and the West Coast, they avoided losing streaks on their way to a 3-3-1 mark.

That leaves the Hawks at 14-6-3 overall and still in front in the Western Conference. They lead the second-place Blues by four points. The team from St. Louis does have a game in hand.

The Hawks are back in action Tuesday night when they face a team in some turmoil. Dale Tallon's Florida Panthers come to town on the heels of the firing of their coach, Gerard Gallant. He was let go Sunday despite the fact that he finished second in the Coach of the Year voting way back at the end of last season.

Tallon, who as general manager oversaw the acquisition of many of the players who still form the core of the Blackhawks, is now the Panthers' team president. His general manager Tom Rowe apparently grew tired of a tense working relationship with Gallant. Now Rowe moves behind the bench to coach the team with an 11-10-1 record that puts them two points out of the last playoff spot in the East.

I think we can pause now and give a quick bit of thanks to the fact that the Hawks continue to abide by an overall plan that seems to make a bit more sense than what they are doing in South Florida.

The Bulls host the Lakers on Wednesday, and that will give fans a chance to start to assess a move that was the first of its kind over the weekend - the team's first use of their new minor league team to give some of their subs a boost.

The NBA Developmental League Windy City Bulls, based in Hoffman Estates, are 3-3 in their inaugural season. On Saturday they were led by Jerian Grant, Cristiano Felicio and R.J. Hunter as they defeated Delaware 121-110. Grant scored a game-high 34 points. All three players will be back with the real Bulls on Wednesday.

They will face a Lakers team that has also surprised to start the season. Everyone in LA is so excited that the Lakers don't totally suck that their 9-9 season-opening run has been a bit overhyped, but this is a young team that can pile up the points.

Whatever happens in that game, the local team will be looking way better than the squad that unfortunately still has what will almost certainly be five more brutal games out on the gridiron.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:43 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Pigface's 25th Anniversary Show at House of Blues on Friday night.


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2. WORM at House of Blues on Friday night.

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3. Project .44 at House of Blues on Friday night.

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4. Conor Oberst at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

Gendron: "He made no effort to cover up the insecurities, pain and loneliness interwoven in the material. Often singing as if he was sweating out night tremors, Oberst treated the thematic set as an extended tone poem comprised of sparse Bohemian rhapsodies."

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5. End Result at Liar's Club on Thursday night.

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6. Animals As Leaders at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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7. Marshmello at the Concord on Sunday night.

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8. Abbath at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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9. Oni at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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10. Children of Bodom at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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11. Exmortus at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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12. Two Door Cinema Club at the Aragon on Friday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Straight Arrows at the Emporium on November 23rd.

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Howard Jones at House of Blues on November 23rd.

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Oquoa at Beat Kitchen on November 11th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:28 AM | Permalink

Use FCC Airwaves Auction To Strengthen Journalism And Serve Local Communities

Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund today launched a campaign to set aside proceeds from the auction of public TV station licenses to strengthen local journalism and community-information projects.

At least 54 public television stations around the country are taking part of the ongoing FCC broadcast incentive auction, according to new Free Press research. Spectrum held by public TV stations alone is expected to bring in as much as $6 billion in the auction, with state governments, local school boards, university trustees and other station owners each likely raking in tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars for taking their stations off the air or moving down the dial to free up bandwidth to meet the growing demand mobile data.

"This auction of the public airwaves gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reverse the crisis in local news and reimagine how local communities can get the information they need," said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund.

"Instead of standing by as vital public outlets disappear, we should seize on this moment to reinvest in innovative community media projects and serious accountability journalism. If we act now, this could be the biggest boost for public-minded media since the creation of the public broadcasting system."

The initial phase of the campaign - which is being launched at NewsVoices.org - will focus on New Jersey and urge lawmakers there to devote a portion of the proceeds from auctioning state-owned public TV licenses to support innovative journalism and community-driven projects across the state.

Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund will be pushing to create a $250 million permanent public fund to support local information needs for decades to come. Ideas for use of proceeds include support for community-focused digital news sites, blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, public data access apps and other civic engagement tools. The FCC estimates that the New Jersey licenses, currently leased to the New York-based public broadcaster WNET, are worth as much as $2.3 billion.

In a New York Times Op-Ed published Monday, Chris Daggett of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, which is a key supporter of this campaign, announced the project.

"Nowhere is there a better opportunity to take advantage of the auction than in New Jersey," he wrote. "The governor and state legislature should create a permanent fund to support a new model for public-interest media, financed by a significant portion of any auction revenue."

New Jersey is not the only place that could benefit from the auction. The 54 public TV stations that Free Press found participating in the auction are concentrated in 18 states and the District of Columbia. These include:

  • Three Los Angeles-area public TV stations - KVCR-TV, KOCE-TV and KLCS-TV - that together could be worth more than $1.5 billion, based on the FCC's maximum opening-bid prices.
  • WYCC-TV on the South Side of Chicago, owned by local community colleges, which could be worth as much as $473 million.
  • WHUT-TV, licensed to Howard University in Washington, D.C., the country's only Black-owned public broadcasting station - which could be worth as much as $460 million.

These and other stations across the country filed a non-binding application to participate in the auction, but beyond that, the status of this spectrum sell-off - including the size of each of the winning bids - won't be known until the auction has closed, which is expected in early 2017.

This new campaign will build on Free Press' successful News Voices: New Jersey project, which brings together newsrooms and residents across the state to advocate for better local media and foster community-centered journalism.

"There is a crisis going on in local news, and if this crisis deepens our communities will really be in trouble," said Mike Rispoli, director of News Voices: New Jersey.

"The original purpose of these airwaves was to serve the public interest, and policymakers have a responsibility to make sure that the proceeds of this sale continue to do just that.

"We can reinvent local journalism in ways that help our neighborhoods and cities, amplify previously overlooked voices, meet the information needs of communities, and tell important stories that matter."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:11 AM | Permalink

Circulating Literacy

Near the dawn of the 20th century, more than a million Americans had subscriptions to popular magazines, and many who did not subscribe read the periodicals.

Far more men and women were learning advanced literacy through reading these magazines than by attending college.

Yet this form of popular literacy has been relatively ignored by scholars, who have focused mainly on academic institutions and formal educational experiences.

In Circulating Literacy: Writing Instruction in American Periodicals, 1880-1910, author Alicia Brazeau concentrates on the format, circulation, and function of popular and influential periodicals published between 1880 and 1910, including the farming magazines Michigan Farmer, Ohio Farmer, and Maine Farmer, which catered to rural residents, and two women's magazines, Harper's Bazar and the Ladies' Home Journal, that catered to very different populations of women.

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Brazeau establishes how these magazines shared a common strategy in the construction of literacy identities by connecting a specific identity with a particular set of reading and writing practices.

She explores how farm journals were preoccupied with the value of literacy as a tool for shaping community; considers how the Journal and the Bazar deployed distinctly different illustrations of literacy values for women; shows how the Journal and editor Edward Bok cast women as consumers and sellers of literacy; and looks at the ways in which Bazar editors urged readers to adopt habits of reading and writing that emphasized communal relationships among women.

In Circulating Literacy, Brazeau speaks to, and connects, the important topics of rural studies, gender, professionalization, and literacy sponsorship and identity, arguing for the value of the study of periodicals as literacy education tools.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:45 AM | Permalink

Is This The Best Yo-Yoer In Illinois?

Connor Seals of Elgin won the 1A state yo-yo contest earlier this month at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.


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Here's Connor winning the state championship in May:

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And here's Connor finishing 13th in nationals.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:15 AM | Permalink

Three Common Arguments For Preserving The Electoral College - And Why They're Wrong

In November 2000, newly elected New York Senator Hillary Clinton promised that when she took office in 2001, she would introduce a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, the 18th-century, state-by-state, winner-take-all system for selecting the president.

She never pursued her promise - a decision that must haunt her today.

In this year's election, she won at least 2 million more votes than Donald Trump, but lost by a significant margin in the Electoral College.

In addition to 2016, there have been four other times in American history - 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000 - when the candidate who won the Electoral College lost the national popular vote. Each time, a Democratic presidential candidate lost the election due to this system.

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For that reason, views on the fairness of the Electoral College are often partisan. Not surprisingly, many Clinton supporters have called for its reform or abolition.

But most recent polls indicate that supporters of both parties feel that this 18th-century system of choosing a president should be modified or abolished.

Nonetheless, others continue to make the case for preserving the Electoral College in its current form, usually using one of three arguments. In my course about American elections, we discuss these arguments - and how each has serious flaws.

The Evolution Of The Electoral College

During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the delegates "distrusted the passions of the people" and particularly distrusted the ability of average voters to choose a president in a national election. [Editor's Note: So the Electoral College is elitist. Irony!]

The result was the Electoral College, a system that gave each state a number of electors based on its number of members in Congress. On a date set by Congress, state legislatures would choose a set of electors who would later convene in their respective state capitals to cast votes for president. Because there were no political parties back then, it was assumed that electors would use their best judgement to choose a president.

With the rise of the two-party system, the modern Electoral College continued to evolve. By the 1820s, Most states began to pass laws allowing voters, not state legislatures, to choose electors on a winner-take-all basis.

Today, in every state except Nebraska and Maine, whichever candidate wins the most votes in a state wins all the electors from that state, no matter what the margin of victory.

Just look at the impact this system had on the 2016 race: Donald Trump won Pennsylvania and Florida by a combined margin of about 200,000 votes to earn 49 electoral votes. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, won Massachusetts by almost a million votes but earned only 11 electoral votes.

The winner-take-all electoral system explains why one candidate can get more votes nationwide while a different candidate wins in the Electoral College. (Some legal scholars have pointed out that the Electoral College was also created to protect Southern slaveholder interests.) [Editor's Note: So the Electoral College is elitist and racist!]

Despite these issues, many continue to defend the system. Here's why they're wrong.

Myth #1: Electors Filter The Passions Of The People

College students first learning about the Electoral College will often defend the system by citing its original purpose: to provide a check on the public in case they make a poor choice for president.

But electors no longer work as independent agents nor as agents of the state legislature. They're chosen for their party loyalty by party conventions or party leaders.

nyelectoral.jpgThe New York State Electoral College cast votes at the state capital in Albany in December 1940/AP

In presidential elections between 1992 and 2012, over 99 percent of electors kept their pledges to a candidate; there were only two "faithless electors."

One Gore elector from Washington, D.C., cast a blank ballot in 2000 to protest a lack of congressional representation for District of Columbia residents, and one Kerry elector in Minnesota in 2004 voted for vice presidential candidate John Edwards for both president and vice president - an apparent mistake given that none of Minnesota's electors admitted to the action afterward.

There have been scattered faithless electors in past elections, but they've never influenced the outcome of a presidential election. Since winner-take-all laws began in the 1820s, electors have rarely acted independently or against the wishes of the party that chose them. A majority of states even have laws requiring the partisan electors to keep their pledges when voting.

Yes, some of this year's Republican electors may not have been big supporters of Donald Trump's candidacy. But despite the best efforts of some Clinton voters to get them to switch sides, there's no evidence that some electors may consider voting for someone like Paul Ryan to prevent a Trump majority and throw the election into the U.S. House of Representatives.

Myth #2: Rural Areas Would Get Ignored

Since 2000, a popular argument for the Electoral College made on conservative websites and talk radio is that without the Electoral College, candidates would spend all their time campaigning in big cities and would ignore low-population areas.

Other than this odd view of democracy, which advocates spending as much campaign time in areas where few people live as in areas where most Americans live, the argument is simply false. The Electoral College causes candidates to spend all their campaign time in cities in 10 or 12 states rather than in 30, 40 or 50 states.

Presidential candidates don't campaign in rural areas no matter what system is used, simply because there are not a lot of votes to be gained in those areas. Data from the 2016 campaign indicates that 53 percent of campaign events for Trump, Hillary Clinton, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine in the two months before the November election were in only four states: Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Ohio. During that time, 87 percent of campaign visits by the four candidates were in 12 battleground states, and none of the four candidates ever went to 27 states, which includes almost all of rural America.

Even in the swing states where they do campaign, the candidates focus on urban areas where most voters live. In Pennsylvania, for example, 72 percent of Pennsylvania campaign visits by Clinton and Trump in the final two months of their campaigns were to the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.

In Michigan, all eight campaign visits by Clinton and Trump in the final two months of their campaigns were to the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas, with neither candidate visiting the rural parts of the state.

The Electoral College does not create a national campaign inclusive of rural areas. In fact, it does just the opposite.

Myth #3: It Creates A Mandate To Lead

Some have advocated continuation of the Electoral College because its winner-take-all nature at the state level causes the media and the public to see many close elections as landslides, thereby giving a stronger mandate to govern for the winning candidate.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 51 percent of the national popular vote but 91 percent of the electoral vote, giving the impression of a landslide victory and allowing him to convince Congress to approve parts of his agenda. In 1992 and 1996, Bill Clinton twice won comfortable majorities in the Electoral College while winning less than half of the national popular vote. (In both years, third party candidate Ross Perot had run.)

In 2016, Trump won by a large margin in the Electoral College, while winning fewer popular votes than Clinton nationwide. Nonetheless, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani announced that Trump's Electoral College victory gives him a mandate to govern.

Perhaps for incoming presidents, this artificial perception of landslide support is a good thing. It helps them enact their agenda.

But it can also lead to backlash and resentment in the majority or near-majority of the population whose expressed preferences get ignored. Look no farther than the anti-Trump protests that have erupted across the country since Nov. 8.

A Way Out?

Some advocate that all 50 states adopt Maine and Nebraska's system of dividing up electoral votes by congressional district. Yet such a system in larger states would likely lead to increased political conflict and even more claims of rigging due to the extreme gerrymandering often used to create the districts.

Abolishing the Electoral College completely would require a constitutional amendment, involving two-thirds approval from both houses of Congress and approval by 38 states - a process very unlikely to happen in today's partisan environment.

One way to create a national popular vote election for president without amending the Constitution is a plan called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Created by Stanford University computer science professor John Koza, the idea is to award each state's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead of the winner of the state popular vote. The proposal has received support in 10 states and the District of Columbia. But these states are all strongly Democratic, and there seems to be no support for the change yet among the majority of states controlled by Republicans.

Because Republicans won the two recent presidential elections where the Electoral College winner differed from the national popular vote winner, many party supporters have defended the Electoral College as a way to preserve the role of rural (usually Republican) voters in presidential elections.

Rural states do get a slight boost from the two electoral votes awarded to states due to their two Senate seats. But as stated earlier, the Electoral College does not lead to rural areas getting more attention.

And there is no legitimate reason why a rural vote should count more than an urban vote in a 21st-century national election.

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Robert Speel is an associate professor of political science on the Erie campus of Penn State University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

November 26, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #129: Sick Of The Bearratives

Jay Cutler, John Fox, the McCaskeys, 1985, Soldier Field, Halas, Butkus, Urlacher, OB, Joniak, Hub . . . sick of it all. Also: The Circus - And The Soap Opera - Has Left Town; Blackhawks Can't Help It If They're Lucky; Oh, The Pageantry!; Dex Knows; Chapman Doesn't; and Selling Sale.


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* 129.

1:24: Sick Of All The Bearratives.

* Jay Cutler, John Fox, the McCaskeys, 1985, Soldier Field, Halas, Butkus, Urlacher, OB, Joniak, Hub . . . sick of it all.

* Nov. 18, 2015: Zach Miller's Injury Nightmares In Past As He's Finally Livin' The Dream.

* Nov. 23, 2016: Zach Miller Placed On Injured Reserve.

* Patriots Won't Let Anybody Steal Martellus Bennett The Way They Did.

* Trump Mocks NFL's 'Soft" Concussion Protocol.

* Conflict Of Interest For NFL Doctors To Report To Teams: Harvard Study.

* Butkus Sues Bears For . . . $1.6 Million.

* Michael Carter-Williams In Cast After Bone Chip Identified In Left Wrist.

21:36: The Circus - And The Soap Opera - Has Left Town.

* And so has Jerian Grant!

29:00: Derrick Rose Looks Out For The Women.

* Derrick Rose Acknowledges He's No Longer 'Vintage.'

* Rhodes: He is who he is, and he's not who he was.

* Posses may be passe, but they haven't been racial signifiers for a long time.

* No No Noah.

* Tom Thibodeau Hasn't Changed.

45:34: Blackhawks Can't Help It If They're Lucky.

* Source: Toews Injury Not His Head.

* Kane Paces Chicago Past Anaheim 3-2 In Black Friday Rivalry.

* Bartlett's Vinnie Hinostroza.

* Lemont's Scott Darling.

* Lambert: Inside The Chicago Blackhawks' Gloriously Weird Season.

55:39: Oh, The Pageantry!

58:27: Dex Knows; Chapman Doesn't.

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1:03:33: White Sox Demand For Chris Sale Remains Substantial.

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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 12:53 PM | Permalink

In An Ugly Election Result, Hate Surges Online

Over the past month, more than 564,000 unique visitors have spent time on the Daily Stormer, a website that takes its name from a Hitler-era German tabloid, Der Stürmer.

The site bills itself as "America's #1 Most Trusted Republican News Source" and features headlines such as "Jew Billionaires Meet To Overthrow Trump Government," "Faggots And Jews Whining About Bannon Appointment," and "Yes, Trump Really Can Make America White Again."

Throughout Donald J. Trump's ultimately successful run for the presidency, many worried that he had, willfully or recklessly, emboldened racists across the country. On Tuesday, Trump told the New York Times that had not been his intent.

"It's not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why," Trump told the Times.

He said he wasn't sure what impact, if any, previous Republican campaigns had had in fomenting extremists, and thus if his impact had been distinctive.

"I don't know where they were four years ago, and where they were for Romney and McCain and all of the other people that ran, so I just don't know, I had nothing to compare it to."

Some who track the behavior and public profiles of racists in America, however, say Trump's effect has been unmistakable. According to Alexa, a company that tracks web metrics, a range of white supremacist and so-called alt-right websites have seen surges in traffic across the last year.

Those sites include Radix Journal, Virginia Dare, Red Ice, American Renaissance, and The Right Stuff.

Most of the racist online publications still have relatively modest readerships, attracting between 100,000 and 300,000 unique visitors per month, far less than the typical daily newspaper in a small American city. But all have seen rapid growth.

And many sites, among them Red Ice, which has advanced the idea that "the United States of America was built by white people for white people," and American Renaissance, which derides African Americans and Latinos as low-IQ losers, have seen their traffic more than double over the past year.

But Daily Stormer seems to have seen the most dramatic spike in readership.

In a recent post, Daily Stormer claimed that since the election the site "has had an added 30% traffic."

Over the past month the site has had nearly 10 million page views.

"Daily Stormer is a website run by Andrew Anglin, who is a neo-Nazi," said Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism. "Andrew Anglin has actively encouraged trolls to harass Jews and others online. He is still encouraging trolls to harass people."

Anglin did not respond to a request for comment.

Researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, have watched as Anglin's site has eclipsed older white supremacist sites since its founding in 2013.

For years, said the SPLC's Ryan Lenz, the "go-to racist site" was Stormfront, a discussion forum started by ex-Klansman Don Black back in the 1990s, which had long served as the nexus of extreme right conversation on the web.

But Stormfront's traffic has been surpassed by that of the Daily Stormer. The success of the Daily Stormer, which features an abundance of crude humor and plenty of shareable memes and graphics, represents "a passing of the baton" from one generation of racists to the next, said Lenz who edits SPLC's Hatewatch.

Of course, white supremacists are also making use of existing social media platforms and web forums, including Reddit, which features a robust alt-right subreddit that has also seen a spike in traffic this month, pulling in more than 80,000 unique visitors so far in November.

In Segal's view, social media, along with heavily-trafficked forums like Reddit and the troll-haven 4chan, "are much more significant" tools for the rising white supremacist movement than avowedly racist web outposts like Daily Stormer and its ilk.

Video clips, speeches and interviews featuring alt-right figures and white supremacists are also proliferating on YouTube, where some are drawing sizable audiences.

"The [white racist] sites aren't insignificant but they're not the whole picture," Segal said.

In October the ADL issued a report documenting epidemic levels of anti-Semitic harassment on Twitter, much of it aimed at journalists covering the presidential campaign.

"We found 2.6 million tweets using language commonly used by anti-Semites," noted Segal.

After coming under heavy criticism for tolerating a culture of abuse, Twitter has taken some steps to curb harassment and recently banned a handful of racist figures, including alt-right leader Richard Spencer.

In his remarks to the Times, Trump pledged to take his own steps to counteract any rising racism.

"What we do want to do is we want to bring the country together, because the country is very, very divided," he said. "It's very, very divided, and I'm going to work very hard to bring the country together."

Moving quickly on that work would be welcomed by many. Segal said he has tracked a disturbing pattern over the past several weeks.

"What we were seeing in terms of harassment online we're now seeing on the ground" in the form of hate crimes in the physical world, he said.

"It's not surprising: We're coming out of a very divisive election where white supremacists felt emboldened by the public discussion. They feel like they have a champion in the highest office."

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Previously:
* Why Are Hate Crimes Statistics So Poorly Tracked?

* Hate Crimes Are On The Rise, And The U.S. Does A Lousy Job Of Tracking Them.

* How The Alt-Right Got Here.

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ProPublica will be covering hate crimes in the coming months - who commits them, where they happen, who should be tracking them. Readers with tips or other information please contact reporter A.C. Thompson.

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

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

November 25, 2016

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. El Tri at the Aragon on Wednesday night.


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2. Rata Blanca at the Aragon on Wednesday night.

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3. Inspector at the Aragon on Wednesday night.

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4. The Falcon at the Metro on Wednesday night.

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5. La Arrolladora at the Rosemont Theatre on Thursday night.

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6. Hobbyist at the Burlington on Tuesday night.

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7. Friendship Commanders at the Burlington on Sunday night.

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8. Joe Budden at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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9. Poster Children at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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10. Mr. Blotto at Reggies on Tuesday night.

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11. Electric Slave at Reggies on Sunday night.

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12. Cashmere Cat at the Concord on Wednesday night.

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13. Step Slow at the Burlington on Wednesday night.

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14. Mukqs at Elastic on Sunday night.

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15. Carlos Chavarria and Ben Billington at Club Rectum on Wednesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Highly Suspect at Bottom Lounge on November 18th.

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Beastii at the Double Door on November 5th.

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Fine Subterraneans at Martyrs' on November 17th.

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The Soil & The Sun at Beat Kitchen on November 18th.

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JD McPherson at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on November 17th.

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America at the Arcada in St. Charles on November 17th.

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Romancoke at the High Hat Club on November 18th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:56 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac

Golden.

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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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:17 AM | Permalink

November 24, 2016

The [Thanksgiving 2016] Papers

"Need an alternative to the usual parade and sports TV-binging on Thanksgiving day? Let us at Ars suggest six hours of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which anybody can tune into today thanks to a free YouTube stream," Ars Technica suggests.

"The six-episode stream-a-thon begins at noon Eastern / 9 a.m. Pacific on the show's official YouTube channel, and it stands out for a few reasons. While MST3K's YouTube channel has a ton of classic episodes and clips, this marathon features the six episodes voted by series fans as bests, so it should be a good source of Thanksgiving vegetation. (The first film of the marathon, Pumaman, is a good tone-setter of what to expect today.)"

Dakota Jane
"Native Americans gathered at Standing Rock are approaching this Thanksgiving with deeply conflicted feelings. Do they observe the historically dissonant holiday, mourn the genocide of their ancestors, celebrate the 'water protector' movement, or break bread with Jane Fonda?" the Guardian reports.

"The actor and fitness guru is part of a delegation to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota that will serve 500 people a Thanksgiving dinner of 30 pasture-raised turkeys from Bill Niman's ranch prepared by a locavore chef, according to a press release littered with boldface names."

Thanksgiving ER
"Thanksgiving is a holiday tailored for chaos - burning food, sharp knives and distant relatives reuniting are all recipes for disaster," ABC News reports.

"The most dangerous place on Thanksgiving is where everything comes together: the kitchen, said Dr. Rahul Sharma, emergency physician-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. People are often distracted and multi-tasking, which can lead to injuries, he said."

Space Thanksgiving Sucks
"This Thanksgiving, be thankful that your feet are planted firmly on the ground, because a holiday feast in space looks pretty awful: Turkey and green beans come out of a sealed foil pouch, there is no pumpkin pie, and the cornbread dressing and mashed potatoes are freeze-dried," Eater reports.

"And much like food seems to taste more bland on an airplane, the absence of gravity while in orbit makes it hard for astronauts to taste their meals due to stuffy sinuses."

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Advice: Journalists And Imagination
"We really have to figure out how to tell the truth and not just report the facts."

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Kool-Aid Report: Bears Half In The Bag
Rhino penises, gummy cocks and dirty nails.

Fantasy Fix: The 2016 Pope's Nose Awards
It's time for the annual awarding of a greasy, fatty turkey anus to the worst fantasy football performers of the season.

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BeachBook

Dark Meat.

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Bernie Sanders to media: That's a clown question, bro.

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Spike In Demand For Long-Acting Birth Control Strains Clinic Budgets.

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Questioning Donald Trump.

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Are Trump Towers And Hotels Across Globe Now Terror Risks?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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See Todd Ricketts in action in this unforgettable episode!

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Trump's pick for Secretary of Education.

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Trump's pick for U.S. Ambassador to the UN.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Dark meat only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 PM | Permalink

How Journalists Need To Begin Imagining The Unimaginable

Journalist Masha Gessen has spent years reporting on Vladimir Putin's rule in Russia. She has written that the focus on Russian influence over now President-elect Donald Trump has been overstated and the result of a failure of imagination: the inability to imagine that the president would profoundly break with the norms of our country's political discourse and practices.

A few days after Trump's win, Gessen wrote about what citizens should be on the watch for with the incoming administration. ProPublica's Eric Umansky and Jesse Eisinger sat down with Gessen to talk about how exactly journalists should be covering Trump.

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A few highlights from the conversation:

Journalists needed to realize Trump wasn't playing chess . . .

I'm going to borrow a metaphor from Garry Kasparov, the chess champion, who when he first quit chess and went into politics, he was explaining to people that going up against Putin was like playing chess against somebody who keeps knocking the figures off the board. It's like he's not playing chess.

I think that what the papers failed to do was write the big story of the fact that Donald Trump wasn't playing chess. It's like the endless fact-checking was a little bit like reporting on a chess match by saying, "Okay, well, she opened E2 to E4 and he knocked all the figures off the chess board. He knocked the bishop off the chess board and he knocked the knight off the chess board." Well, just say it! Just say he was not playing chess!

I think that it would have been a story about how Donald Trump was running for autocrat. I think at that point there should have been a big journalistic break with American exceptionalism and that's where we would have gone to other countries to look at what has happened to other countries when politicians have run in democratic elections for autocrat. It's happened many times and it's succeeded many times.

There was a collective failure of imagination . . .

Many reporters had gone directly from the state of total disbelief that Trump will never be the Republican nominee, even when he had the nomination locked in. Their argument, when I would ask people, they would say, "Well, I just can't imagine it happening." Well, if you can't imagine it happening, that's your problem.

When somebody says, "I can't imagine it happening," that's a problem.

Then what happened was that there was this whole direction of coverage that held, incredibly to me for the entire campaign, this idea that Trump was somehow Putin's agent and that Russia was meddling in the election and that Russia was rigging the election. There's a little tiny bit of evidence for it, but that's a classic conspiracy theory phenomenon where's there is a little bit of evidence but that's not what happened.

What happened was an American phenomenon, a homegrown potential autocrat who was elected by Americans.

It was so difficult to imagine that this was happening here that it was actually easier to do this complete bend-over-backwards maneuver that would position him as some sort of agent of Putin and Clinton's campaign ran with it.

Journalists should look at how this has played out in other countries . . .

I would look at the world and I would look for parallels.

When I was reporting on [Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor] Lieberman, a lot of people in Israel, this is 2010, they were saying, "Never mind, he's on his way out because there's this corruption scandal that is going to finally engulf and derail him." Then it didn't happen. There was the corruption scandal, the corruption was proven. It was the sort of thing that would have derailed any traditional Israeli politician and it didn't stick to Lieberman.

It turns out that populist resentment politics can overtake a lot of that, possibly all of that, but also in the specifics, right? We have Lieberman, who turns out to be impervious to the kinds of things that would have damaged a different politician. That's a lesson that would have been very well learned in the summer and fall as more and more details were coming out about Trump.

I was absolutely convinced that he was going to win. The reason why I was convinced he was going to win is because I've been reporting on these people, mostly Putin, but a little bit of Lieberman, a little bit of [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban. I've been seeing this happening everywhere.

The job for journalists now is to document changing norms . . .

We really have to figure out how to tell the truth and not just report the facts. Which is a pretty good sentence but not a great prescription.

I think that I would create new beats. The language beat, language watch.

Understand that normal is going to drift and shift and all sorts of things are about to happen and part of our job is to notice and document how it's happening. We may not be able to influence the course of events, but our job is to at least be able to tell the story.

For more, read Gessen's piece, Autocracy: Rules for Survival.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

November 23, 2016

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Half In The Bag

Even though I've been rationing this type of turn-of-phrase throughout 2016, I'm going to exhaust snappy "50% of the game was really f-ing bad" themed one-liners sooner than I thought if this trend continues much longer.

Who knew that 11 weeks into the year, we'd have enjoyed exactly two complete efforts by the Bears - and that's counting the wire-to-wire shitshow that was the loss to Tampa Bay on November 13th.

What else is there to say? Next week might be titled "Chicago Area Football Team Plays Game (Sigh)."

We'll cover what worked in the first half in next section, but let's take a minute to throw some shade at the Bears coaching staff.

Nothing screams "devoid of halftime adjustments" quite like the stinker we saw from the third quarter on against the New York Giants last Sunday.

The Bears gained 101 total second half yards, of which five were on the ground, and zero points.

That's a group of stats so bad, I'm actually going to cite a source (Rich Campbell, Chicago Tribune) to make my point.

You see what you made me do there, Bears?!

That's right, you were so bad I had to commit an act of actual journalism.

Fuck you.

An injury-riddled offensive line, the absence of top receivers, and very windy conditions were certainly factors, but in a game where Chicago was never down more than six points there was no reason to stop running the ball again (five carries for Jordan Howard in the second half . . . argh, another real stat) and last I checked the rapidly moving New Jersey air didn't show any favoritism to the Giants.

Just ask former Bear and misser of three Giants kicks, Robbie Gould.

Coaches, managers, all off-the-field personnel: huddle up here for a minute.

A little closer . . . good, but keep coming . . . that's right, let's get friendly . . . closer . . . clooooooser . . . better.

(Whispers)

Guys, even though it seems like everything else is going completely wrong, you have a rare bright spot on offense here. His name is Jordan Howard. He is a running back. And when you draw up running plays for this running back, good things happen.

Dowell, I can see you want to say something, it's probably that he's a spotty receiver, but shush 'til I'm through.

Ok?

Thanks.

(Pause)

(Quick inhale)

FEED HIM THE GODDAMN ROCK!!!

(In normal tone)

Thanks for your time, gentlemen.

As a palate cleanser, and an incredibly lazy way to call back to the section title, here is a picture of a cat in a bag:

catbag.png

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What We Were Thankful For

  • The First Half: Once again, the Bears showed us everything good they can be - for about 30 minutes. In fact, except for the first Giants drive of the game, it was a really solid performance. Jay Cutler was near perfect, leading the team to three straight scoring drives. Shoot, the last time Cutler scored on three straight attempts he was in college (no married mother of multiple children says "yes" three days in a row)!

    They ran the ball, the defense stood fast when needed, this looked like a very winnable game.

    And then it came to a screeching halt.

What Made You Want To Stab Yourself In The Eye With A Drumstick

In case you fell asleep during the stat dump above, I'll quickly sum the bad that was the second half: scored no points, dropped many passes, defense was unable to make a couple of key stops due to fatigue.

That said, the biggest news is the rash of injuries and suspensions that have piled up to near comedic levels over the last couple weeks.

Here are some notes on a portion of the metric fuck-ton of bad luck and poor decision-making which created gaping roster holes.

  • Alshon Jeffery: Suspended for taking banned amphetamines mixed with rhino penis (we covered this last week).
  • Jay Cutler: "Torn labrum." In quotes. In case I didn't make myself clear. With the season lost and Cutler's time in Chicago likely numbered, the management regime is, shall we say, interested in evaluating (read: plumbing the depths of) the quarterback portion of the roster. Like him or hate him, we know what Cutler is. I'm not saying, I'm just absolutely saying.
  • Zach Miller: Broken right foot. "Don't worry, it's not the same foot that kept him off the field for the better part of four seasons," said optimists everywhere. So for those of you looking forward to the 2017 season, get ready for a 33-year-old starting tight end with two bad feet.
  • Kyle Long: Ankle (it's bad, really really bad). Long has already been placed on IR and is lost for the season. Pshaw! Who needs a perennial Pro Bowl guard anyway?
  • Josh Sitton: Ankle (it hurts a lot, probably?). At the time of this writing the extent of Sitton's ankle injury is unknown; he's officially listed as "questionable," which coincidentally is the same designation most Bears fans have assigned themselves as it pertains to the likelihood that they will watch the upcoming game against the Titans.
  • Bobby Massie: Concussion. Well at least we all know what the heck is going on between Massie's ears these days (answer: dangerous amounts of brain swelling).
  • Jerrell Freeman: Suspended for also taking banned amphetamines mixed with rhino penis. (Note: When you're a pro athlete, never, never, eat anything on a dare. Even if Willie Young says he'll pay you $15,000 to eat a handful of something called "Monster [Brand] Gummy Cocks." It's not worth it.)
  • Leonard Floyd: Concussion. I won't link to the video of the play in which Floyd injured his head, but if you're the morbid type you're welcome to google up a classic example of an injury commonly referred to as "accordion neck." Ow.
  • John Fox: Multiple finger blisters caused by furiously updating his resume on Sunday night. Officially listed as "probable" for the Titans matchup.

Eye On The Opposition: Remember The Titans?
It's been a while since Tennessee has been good.

If you're feeling glum about the number of years since our Bears have been to the dance, take some heart from the fact that at least recently, Titans fans have had it marginally worse.

Last time we saw the Titans in the mix, Kerry Collins was their starting quarterback.

I bet I made some of you feel old for knowing who Kerry Collins is, and made some of you confused because you weren't born when Collins rose to relevance.

And now the older crowd is scrambling to Google, because they could swear it wasn't that long ago that Collins started a Super Bowl, only to be disappointed because yes, you are that old - Super Bowl XXXV was in 2001.

But fear not geriatrics, Cap'n Kerry had a brief career second act with Tennessee in 2008. So while having a clear memory of the man's playing days technically qualifies you for an AARP card, it doesn't necessarily mean you should be collecting Social Security.

Nowadays, the Titans have a decent group of up/coming players including a good young offensive line and a guy who literally put "boogie boarding in Bali" on his bucket list. In case that tidbit hadn't clued you in, Titans QB Marcus Mariota is as Hawaiian as poi (the food that looks like root pudding, because it is).

Tennessee also has one of the top rushing attacks in the league, thanks to a bounce-back year from DeMarco "I Will Let You Cut Off A Toe In Exchange For A Trade Out Of Philadelphia" Murray.

This would have been a strength-on-strength matchup for the Bears, but frankly I don't know what this team is exactly following two weeks of constant injury and PED suspensions.

Kool-Aid (1 of 5 Rusty Nails)
I'm sticking with my "mixing multiple types of liquor" theme until the Bears play a brand of football that doesn't make me sad.

Plus, I'm currently bending rusty nails into a spare two-by-four in case I get angry enough to violently take out my aggressions on the television this week.

You can never be too prepared, right Bears coaching staff?

What's left of the Bears will plan to leverage their only remaining strength (their front seven) to slow the Titans' run game. If a second-year QB and the immortal Rishard Matthews end up beating the Chicago secondary, so be it.

Help may be on the way in the form of Kyle Fuller, who was officially taken off of the IR "Designated To Probably Return Maybe?" list earlier in the week.

As for the offense, yikes.

Matt Barkley is tabbed to start, so this has 8-24 with no TDs and a pick written all over it.

I'll say it again: Give the ball to Jordan Howard.

I know the Titans will put 10 men in the box until Barkley shows something, but a running game must be established at all costs if this is to be a game.

This is shaping up to be a defensive battle and unless the defense finally starts generating turnovers, I don't think the Bears have the firepower to push across more than 10 points.

A late score against a tired D sinks Chicago again.

Blech.

Titans 17, Bears 10

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About The Author
The Author isn't angry, he's just disappointed.

On second thought, no.

He's angry.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:01 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Pope's Nose Awards 2016!

It's time again for that most sacred of holiday traditions - the awarding of a greasy, fatty turkey anus to the worst fantasy football performers of the season.

Here are the winners of the 2016 Pope's Nose Award:

QB: Brock Osweiler, HOU.

This was actually a really tough choice. We could always go the most obvious route and hand it to frequent Pope's Nose winner Jay Cutler, but I prefer not to heap scorn on injured players, even if they deserve it.

Blake Bortles, JAX, has been no prize this year, and with 13 INTs is threatening to lead the league in INTs for the second straight season.

But Osweiler is the one who has fizzled across the board, with only 12 TDs to 10 INTs and only 2,061 yards passing, good for 25th in the league (behind Alex Smith even).

In five of his 10 starts, he has produced under 200 yards passing (including a 99-yard stinker), a sign of certain fantasy death.

Osweiler has been so bad, he's dragged one of the league's most heralded WRs down with him (see below.)

RB: Todd Gurley, LA.

In a year when so many RBs have been hobbled by injury, perhaps Gurley earns points simply for remaining upright, but we expected much more from a guy who many of us considered the best fantasy bet among RBs on draft day.

Gurley's 591 in yards rushing in 10 starts for a team that has had to lean on him is atrocious. The clearest sign of how bad he's been: In four of his first five games as a pro in 2015, Gurley ran for more than 120 yards. This season, he has had zero 100-yard games, and no more than 85 yards in a single game.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins, HOU.

He was the fourth-ranked pre-season WR, and also the fourth-ranked player overall, rankings which he earned by performing incredibly well in 2015 with at least four different QBs, none of whom were top talent.

This season, he certainly has been dragged down by Osweiler's bad play, but it sure seems like there is more to it than that.

He's the clear No. 1 WR in Houston, but has collected only 56 catches for 540 yards receiving and three TDs, as rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller have eaten into his targets.

K: All of them.

NFL kickers collectively missed 12 extra points in Week 11, the most missed PATs in a single week in the long, storied history of the league.

Yes, extra points are about 13 yards further out than they once were, and teams are more frequently choosing to attempt two-point conversions, but things are getting bad for the most maligned NFL position this side of punter.

Kicker is already a fantasy position that you might as well stream on a weekly basis. If we have another week like this, both the NFL and fantasy leagues should eliminate the position altogether.

On fantasy rosters, we'd be better off creating an addition tight end spot - TEs have been good enough this year that I couldn't find one deserving of a Pope's Nose.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:01 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The city of Chicago's Law Department will pay $1.6 million to a team led by former U.S. Attorney Dan K. Webb for its review of the department's federal civil rights division, which handles lawsuits involving alleged police misconduct," the Sun-Times reports.

"Webb, nine other attorneys and a paralegal spent a total of more than 5,463 hours on their review and subsequent report, according to an invoice submitted to the Law Department on Monday from Webb's firm, Winston & Strawn. The work would have cost more than $3.5 million at the firm's normal billing rate, but Webb and Law Department officials had agreed to a discount."

Somehow I'm not grateful. "We're only billing you $640 an hour, so this one-minute phone call is only costing taxpayers 10 bucks!"

"The review and report were commissioned by the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel in January. The move followed the resignation of city attorney Jordan Marsh, who had been sanctioned by a federal court for concealing evidence in a lawsuit over a fatal shooting by police.

"The Webb team reviewed 74 cases and interviewed nearly 100 officials and attorneys, including about 50 who represent plaintiffs suing the city. The report, released in July, recommended dozens of changes in training, supervision, oversight, witnesses interviews and other policies at the Law Department's Federal Civil Rights Litigation division. All the proposed reforms have been adopted by the department, said spokesman Bill McCaffrey."

Links by the Sun-Times! Baby-stepping into 2017. But I added target="_blank" to each of them. Look it up!

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"Webb's team determined that the case that resulted in sanctions against Marsh was one of six cases since 2012 in which courts sanctioned city attorneys for not sharing records or not producing them quickly enough during litigation.

"However, Webb's report said he and his team 'did not find evidence establishing a culture, practice, or approach in the Division of intentionally concealing evidence or engaging in intentional misconduct' in the litigation process."

OK.

"Still, in October, the city was sanctioned again. A federal judge fined the city for not producing records in a lawsuit brought by a woman who said she miscarried after being shot with a Taser by a police officer."

Oh.

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Of course, if you include the city not producing records adequately in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, as well as the well-documented culture of the Chicago Police Department, the evidence clearly shows an established "culture, practice, or approach" in concealment and engaging in misconduct. And the city's law department clearly seems to be one leg of that culture. I'll do that review for five bucks a minute.

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Please see the item "Law And Disorder" for everything you need to know about Webb's pricey report.

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Chattanooga Crash
"The private company that owned the bus involved in Monday's fatal wreck in Chattanooga that killed five elementary school students has had 142 crashes with injuries and three fatalities in the last 24 months, according to federal records," USA Today reports.

"Durham School Services, based in Warrenville, Ill., has more than 13,000 vehicles and 13,000 drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They're a large company, and they have an overall satisfactory safety rating from the administration, but they still have more problems when it comes to driver fitness than their peers, the records show.

"The administration's records on Durham state '93% of motor carriers in the same safety event group have better on-road performance than this motor carrier.'"

The FMCSA cautions on their site: "Readers should not draw conclusions about a carrier's overall safety condition simply based on the data displayed in this system. Unless a motor carrier has received an UNSATISFACTORY safety rating under part 385 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, or has otherwise been ordered to discontinue operations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it is authorized to operate on the Nation's roadways."

However, USA Today reports:

The driver in the Chattanooga case, 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide. In 2014, he had his license suspended following a crash, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety.

There have been eight driver violations against Durham since December 2014, according to the administration. Although none of those drivers were in Tennessee, seven of the incidents involved drivers who didn't have the appropriate license needed to operate the vehicles they were driving.

And:

A 2014 investigation by WMC Action News 5 in Memphis found that Durham drivers had wrecked 11 buses in less than two months. In three of those cases, the drivers were at fault, and one driver didn't have a license or school bus credential.

The investigation also found that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hadn't conducted a "full comprehensive review" of the company since 2007. At the time, the company had operated in Shelby County for three years. The investigation states during that time Durham buses were involved in 251 accidents in Shelby County alone.

Also:

In 2014, Baltimore-area bus drivers won a $1.25 million wage theft lawsuit against Durham.

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How A Country Slides Into Despotism
From Encyclopedia Brittanica (1946), via Boing Boing.

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Today In The Resistance
* Designers Refusing To Work WIth Melania.

* Trump Is President, So Start A Punk Band.

* Green Day: AMA Performance 'Good Start' to Challenge Donald Trump.

* U.S. College Stops Flying American Flag Following Election Of Donald Trump.

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How The Alt-Right Got Here
"The candidacy of Donald Trump enabled a disparate collection of groups - which included white nationalists - to coalesce around one candidate."

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Giants Mic'd Up Vs. Bears
Ouch.

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BeachBook

DOJ Declines To Intervene In Class Action Over Trump Campaign Texts Brought By Two Illinois Residents And Chicago Law Firm.

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Muslim Group Gives Out 5,000 Turkeys In Chicago.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Ahem.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Piece de Resistance.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:47 AM | Permalink

Giants Mic'd Up Vs. Bears

"You only get one shot at this once a week . . . tomorrow's not promised and yesterday's an afterthought."


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Previously:

Tampa Bay's Robert Ayers Mic'd Up vs. Bears.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:45 AM | Permalink

How The Alt-Right Got Here

In recent months, far-right activists - which some have labeled the "alt-right" - have gone from being an obscure, largely online subculture to a player at the very center of American politics.

Long relegated to the cultural and political fringe, alt-right activists were among the most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump. Earlier this year, Breitbart.com executive Steve Bannon declared the website "the platform for the alt-right." By August, Bannon was appointed the CEO of the Trump campaign. In the wake of Trump's victory, he'll be joining Trump in the White House as a senior advisor.

I've spent years extensively researching the American far right, and the movement seems more energized than ever.

altright.jpgClockwise, from left: White nationalist William Pence, domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, white nationalist Richard Spencer, British journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, professor Kevin MacDonald, and Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart/ Nick Lehr, The Conversation, CC BY-NC-SA

To its critics, the alt-right is just a code term for white nationalism, an ideology associated with neo-Nazis and Klansmen. The movement, however, is more nuanced, encompassing a much broader spectrum of right-wing activists and intellectuals

How did the movement gain traction in recent years? And now that Trump has won, could the alt-right change the American political landscape?

Mainstreaming A Movement

The alt-right includes white nationalists, but it also includes those who believe in libertarianism, men's rights, cultural conservatism and populism.

Nonetheless, its origins can be traced to various American white nationalist movements that have endured for decades. These groups have historically been highly marginalized, with virtually no influence on the mainstream culture and certainly not over public policy. Some of the most radical elements have long advocated a revolutionary program.

Groups such as the Aryan Nations, White Aryan Resistance, the National Alliance and the World Church of the Creator have preached racial revolution against ZOG, or the "Zionist Occupation Government." Many were inspired by the late William L. Pierce's Turner Diaries, a novel about a race war that consumes America. (Timothy McVeigh, who carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, had pages from the book in his possession when he was captured.)

But these exhortations didn't resonate with most people. What's more, after 9/11, many of the revolutionary right's leading representatives were prosecuted under new anti-terrorism statutes and sent to prison. By the mid-2000s, the far right appeared to have reached its nadir.

Into this void stepped Richard Spencer and a new group of far-right intellectuals.

In 2008, conservative political philosopher Paul Gottfried was the first to use the term "alternative right," describing it as a dissident far-right ideology that rejected mainstream conservatism. (Gottfried had previously coined the term "paleoconservative" in an effort to distance himself and like-minded intellectuals from neoconservatives, who had become the dominant force in the Republican Party.)

William Regnery II - a wealthy and reclusive publisher - founded the National Policy Institute as a white nationalist think tank. A young and rising star of the far right, Spencer assumed leadership in 2011. A year earlier, he launched the website "Alternative Right" and became recognized as one of the most important, expressive leaders of the alt-right movement.

Around this time, Spencer popularized the term "cuckservative," which has gained currency in the alt-right vernacular. In essence, a cuckservative is a conservative sellout who is first and foremost concerned about abstract principles such as the U.S. Constitution, free market economics and individual liberty.

The alt-right, on the other hand, is more concerned about concepts such as nation, race, civilization and culture. Spencer has worked hard to rebrand white nationalism as a legitimate political movement. Explicitly rejecting the notion of racial supremacy, Spencer calls for the creation of separate, racially exclusive homelands for white people.

Different Factions

The primary issue for American white nationalists is immigration. They claim that high fertility rates for third-world immigrants and low fertility rates for white women will - if left unchecked - threaten the very existence of whites as a distinct race.

But even on the issue of demographic displacement, there's disagreement in the white nationalist movement. The more genteel representatives of white nationalism argue that these trends developed over time because whites have lost the temerity necessary to defend their racial group interests.

By contrast, the more conspiratorial segment of the movement implicates a deliberate Jewish-led plot to reduce whites to minority status. By doing so, Jews would render their historically most formidable "enemy" weak and minuscule - just another minority among many.

Emblematic of the latter view is Kevin MacDonald, a former psychology professor at the California State University at Long Beach. In a trilogy of books released in the mid- to late 1990s, he advanced an evolutionary theory to explain both Jewish and antisemitic collective behavior.

According to MacDonald, antisemitism emerged not so much out of perceived fantasies of Jewish malfeasance but because of genuine conflicts of interests between Jews and Gentiles. He's argued that Jewish intellectuals, activists and leaders have sought to fragment Gentile societies along the lines of race, ethnicity and gender. Over the past decade-and-a-half, his research has been circulated and celebrated in white nationalist online forums.

A Growing Media And internet Presence

Cyberspace became one area where white nationalists could exercise some limited influence on the broader culture. The subversive, underground edges of the Internet - which include forums like 4chan and 8chan - have allowed young white nationalists to anonymously share and post comments and images. Even on mainstream news sites such as USA Today, the Washington Post and The New York Times, white nationalists can troll the comments sections.

More importantly, new media outlets emerged online that began to challenge their mainstream competitors: Drudge Report, Infowars and, most notably, Breitbart News.

Founded by Andrew Breitbart in 2007, Breitbart News has sought to be a conservative outlet that influences both politics and culture. For Breitbart, conservatives didn't adequately prioritize winning the culture wars - conceding on issues like immigration, multiculturalism and political correctness - which ultimately enabled the political left to dominate the public discourse on these topics.

As he noted in 2011, "politics really is downstream from culture."

The candidacy of Donald Trump enabled a disparate collection of groups - which included white nationalists - to coalesce around one candidate. But given the movement's ideological diversity, it would be a serious mischaracterization to label the alt-right as exclusively white nationalist.

Yes, Breitbart News has become popular with white nationalists. But the site has also unapologetically backed Israel. Since its inception, Jews - including Andrew Breitbart, Larry Solov, Alexander Marlow, Joel Pollak, Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos - have held leading positions in the organization. In fact, in recent months, Yiannopoulos, a self-described "half Jew" and practicing Catholic - who's also a flamboyant homosexual with a penchant for black boyfriends - has emerged as the movement's leading spokesman on college campuses (though he denies the alt-right characterization).

Furthermore, the issues that animate the movement - consternation over immigration, national economic decline and political correctness - existed long before Trump announced his candidacy. As political scientist Francis Fukuyama opined, the real question is not why this brand of populism emerged in 2016, but why it took so long to manifest.

Mobilized For The Future?

The success of the Trump campaign demonstrated the potential influence of the alt-right in the coming years. At first blush, Trump's victory in the Electoral College seems substantial. But his margin of victory in several key states was quite slim. For that reason, support from every quarter he received - including the alt-right - was vitally important.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that they were among his most avid foot soldiers in getting out the vote in both the primaries and general election. Moreover, the Trump campaign provided the opportunity for members of this movement to meet face to face.

Shortly after the election, Richard Spencer said that Trump's victory was "the first step, the first stage towards identity politics for white people." To some observers, Bannon's appointment as Trump's chief strategist confirms fears that the far-right fringe has penetrated the White House.

But if Trump fails to deliver on his most emphatic campaign promises - like building the wall - the alt-right might become disillusioned with him, not unlike some progressives who chastised Barack Obama for continuing to prosecute wars in the Middle East.

Unlike old-school white nationalist movements, the alt-right has endeavored to create a self-sustaining counterculture, which includes a distinct vernacular, memes, symbols and a number of blogs and alternative media outlets.

Now that it has been mobilized and demonstrated its relevance (just look at the number of articles written about the movement, which further publicizes it), the alt-right is likely to grow, gaining a firmer foothold in American politics.

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George Michael is a criminal justice professor at Westfield State University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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See also:

Richard Spencer and the National Policy Institute on Saturday.

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From Politico:

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From Infowars:

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:27 AM | Permalink

November 22, 2016

Jared Kushner Isn't Alone: Universities Still Give Rich And Connected Applicants A Leg

When Georgetown University announced plans in September to make amends for its historical participation in the slave trade, President John J. DeGioia drew a curious parallel. The descendants of 272 slaves sold by the university in 1838 to pay off debts, he said, would receive the same advantage in admissions as the children of its alumni.

He seemed unaware of the irony. Alumni children at prestigious universities like Georgetown tend to be white and to come from affluent families. In other words, DeGioia was equating a remedy for past racism with a policy, known as legacy preference, that itself discriminates against low-income and minority students.

"If Georgetown really wants to come to grips with its discriminatory past and present, it would also end admissions policies like legacy preference that unconscionably favor the already privileged," said Michael Dannenberg, director of strategic initiatives for policy at Education Reform Now, a think tank affiliated with the advocacy group Democrats for Education Reform.

As a U.S. Senate staffer in the early 2000s, Dannenberg pushed unsuccessfully for legislation restricting admissions preference for alumni children.

DeGioia's comparison underscores the staying power of legacy preference - despite critics like Dannenberg and me. My 2006 book, The Price of Admission, documented that colleges exploit admissions as a fundraising tool, lowering their standards by hundreds of SAT points to let in children of well-heeled alumni, business tycoons, politicians and celebrities.

Using students' names, class ranks and test scores, I challenged the colleges' propaganda that they either don't consider family wealth and background in admissions, or just use it to break ties between equally qualified candidates. By exposing these practices, I hoped to spur both transparency and reform.

The Price of Admission stirred attention, controversy and outrage. I decried what I called the "preferences of privilege" in appearances on Ivy League campuses and on television shows from The Colbert Report to Nightline. I even testified before a U.S. Senate committee.

My findings could not be dismissed as merely anecdotal, because a mounting stack of academic studies corroborated them. One put the advantage of being an alumni child at 160 points on the 400-1600 SAT scale. Another examined admissions decisions at 30 highly selective colleges and universities and concluded that the odds of a legacy being accepted at his or her parent's alma mater are more than seven times better than an ordinary applicant's.

One of the most notable legacy families of late is, of course, the Trumps. The president-elect earned his bachelor's degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and served on the school's board of overseers. Two of his children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, also have Wharton degrees. A third, Tiffany, graduated from Penn in 2016. Although she didn't go to Wharton, she still qualified for legacy preference under Penn's policy.

But it was a kid who only later joined the Trump clan whom I mentioned in The Price of Admission, and in an article that ProPublica published Friday.

Jared Kushner was in high school, starting the college admissions process, when his father, New Jersey real estate developer and NYU alumnus Charles Kushner, pledged $2.5 million to Harvard, in 1998. Harvard named both Charles Kushner and his wife Seryl to its Committee on University Resources, which consists of its biggest donors. Jared enrolled there in 1999. (A Kushner Companies spokeswoman says there was no relationship between the gift and Jared's admission, adding, "Jared was an excellent student in high school," though his teachers didn't think he was anywhere near Harvard material.)

Polls indicate that most Americans disapprove of legacy preference. In a 2016 Gallup poll, 52 percent of respondents said colleges should not consider whether an applicant's parent is a graduate; 35 percent said it should be a minor factor, and 11 percent, a major factor.

Yet neither public shaming, nor all of the denunciations of income inequality by the likes of Bernie Sanders, has made much difference. In fact, the practice has only intensified. The allure of rewarding potential benefactors with an admissions break for their children, especially in an era when colleges are increasingly dependent on private giving, has simply proven too strong.

A decade after my book, old sources still pepper me with new indignities. One example: despite finishing dead last in his prep school class, the scion of a prominent business family was admitted to a highly rated university where his mother is an alumna and donor.

As they reject more applicants every year, most top universities still make room for as many alumni children as they did a decade ago. Legacies make up 22 percent of this year's freshmen at Notre Dame, 13 percent at Yale, and between 18 and 19 percent at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

At Princeton, admission dean Janet Lavin Rapelye told me recently, legacies have comprised between 11 and 15 percent of every freshman class for a quarter century; this year, it's 15 percent, the upper end of the range.

"They tend to be very good students who have achieved at a high level in their high school," she said. "They have taken advantage of the advantages that have been given to them."

Princeton did formalize conflict of interest rules requiring admission committee members to recuse themselves from deliberations about applicants who are their relatives or friends, Rapelye said.

Since I recommended such a policy in The Price of Admission, I asked her if I deserved credit for Princeton's. "I can't say that," she replied. "We're very conscious of being as fair as possible."

While the acceptance rate for legacies at elite universities has declined, they have maintained or widened their edge over other candidates. The University of Pennsylvania, for example, admitted 37.9 percent of alumni children in 2005, as against 20.8 percent of all applicants. This year, it took 22 percent of legacies, versus 9.4 percent overall. So legacies were accepted at more than twice the average rate this year, a bigger proportional advantage than in 2005.

Elite colleges have become adept at insulating the legacy edge from criticism by linking it to preferences for more sympathetic groups, from slave descendants to students who are the first generation in their families to go to college. Recent freshman classes at the University of Pennsylvania have contained almost as many first-generation students (13 percent) as alumni children and grand-children (16 percent).

"There's a nice symmetry to that," said admissions dean Eric Furda. "The door to the Penn tradition is there, also students coming into the college environment for the first time" in family history.

One out of every 10 Georgetown undergraduates is a legacy. The university admits 29 percent of alumni children, as against 16 percent of applicants overall.

Tying the slavery and legacy preferences together "makes some sense to me," Georgetown admissions dean Charles Deacon said. "If you're going to defend a legacy policy, surely you should apply it to" other members of the Georgetown community who were mistreated historically.

Other elite universities that owned slaves are discussing whether to adopt a similar admissions policy, he said.

In practice, Deacon said, the benefit for applicants with slave ancestry is that they "would be at the head of the line" for the boost already given by most top universities to under-represented minorities, including African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. He added that Georgetown will forever give an edge to the descendants of all slaves whose labor has benefited the university, even if affirmative action is banned.

The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently upheld affirmative action in admissions, most recently in June in Fisher v. University of Texas. Eliminating affirmative action in college admissions, as several states have, often spurs a backlash against legacy preference.

Meanwhile, colleges woo alumni children more assiduously than ever. The last decade has seen a proliferation of perks: legacy luncheons, workshops on application strategies, early dormitory move-in, and even lucrative scholarships. The outreach sometimes begins at birth. About five years ago, Hanover College in Indiana began sending onesies to newborn legacies, pencil pouches when they start kindergarten, and keychains when they turn 16.

Once enrolled at Hanover, every child, step-child, sibling or grandchild of a graduate receives a T-shirt and a $3,000-a-year scholarship. This courtship is paying off: alumni children make up 17.3 percent of Hanover freshmen this year, far above its norm, according to alumni relations director Christy Hughes.

Ten years ago, as I noted in The Price of Admission, alumni children were "overwhelmingly white and rich." At the time, though, admissions deans assured me that the legacy ranks would become more diverse as the children of minorities who gained access to elite universities with the advent of affirmative action reached college age. That doesn't seem to have happened. Based on a Harvard Crimson survey of freshmen entering Harvard in 2015, alumni children remain a homogeneous group. Legacies constituted 16 percent of the class 2014 but one-fourth of white freshmen, and more than 40 percent of those with household incomes of $500,000 or more.

John Replogle is devoted to Dartmouth College. Chief executive of Seventh Generation Inc., a maker and distributor of environmentally safe cleaning and paper products, and former CEO of Burt's Bees, Replogle has served on Dartmouth's board of trustees since 2010. He graduated from the Ivy League school, as did his father and brother. His daughter is a sophomore there. "For me, it was everything in my life to grow up in a Dartmouth family," he told me. "I had the chance to feel at home on a campus before I even arrived, and use that sense of place and purpose to discover who I was. It's been great to pass that on to my daughter as well. Dartmouth's been in my blood since I was born."

Still, his personal belief is that family ties shouldn't matter in admissions. "Everyone needs to get in under their own merit," Replogle said. "I'm a big believer that we need to increasingly think about inclusivity and access. We ought to take a blind approach to admissions."

With his daughter's application, he said, "I was consciously trying not to engage in the process."

Closely associated with legacy preference, and also favoring the rich, is early admission. It typically requires a binding college commitment, hindering low-income students from shopping around for the best financial aid package. Early applicants, who are often alumni children, tend to be affluent, and savvy about the college admissions game.

Days after my book was published, Harvard announced that, to be fair to minority and low-income applicants, it was abandoning early admission. Princeton and the University of Virginia followed Harvard's lead. A few years later, though, all three universities reversed their decisions, because many top candidates wanted to apply early.

Since then, early admission has expanded nationwide. The University of Pennsylvania enrolled 53.6 percent of its class this year under early decision, up from about 45 percent a decade ago. Since students admitted early are locked into attending Penn, they boost the university's yield rate, or proportion of accepted students who enroll, which is often regarded as a barometer of a school's standing. Penn's website encourages alumni children and grandchildren to apply early to be "given the most consideration."

Low-income students on financial aid account for much of the growth in Penn's early decision enrollment, especially because Penn instituted a policy in 2008 of meeting all need with grants instead of loans, Furda said. Still, he said, "I don't think it'll ever be to the point that it's as diverse as our regular decision pool."

One reason that college admissions offices still genuflect to major donors is that other sources of revenue aren't keeping pace with costs. In the past decade, many top universities have increased financial aid. Harvard, Yale, and Stanford give a full ride, including tuition plus room and board, to students whose family income is below $65,000. At Stanford, parents who earn less than $125,000 pay no tuition.

Where's the money coming from? Not tuition alone. Intimidated by widespread criticism of price hikes, private colleges reduced their average annual increase in tuition and fees from 3 percent between 1995-96 and 2005-06 to 2.4 percent between 2005-06 and 2015-16, according to the College Board.

Notre Dame's financial aid budget has risen 50 percent since 2010, almost twice as much as the price of attending the university, according to Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment. Penn's undergraduate financial aid budget has soared 155 percent since fiscal 2005, more than double the 65 percent rise in tuition. The rate of tuition increases at public institutions also slowed in the past decade, even as states slashed appropriations.

"Recognizing that the market is more competitive and that we're constrained in our ability to raise prices, we are going to be more dependent on philanthropy," said Donald Heller, provost and professor of education at the University of San Francisco. "That means there's probably more pressure on admissions offices around legacies and development admits" (i.e., applicants recommended by the development, or fundraising, office).

Nor is grassroots support from more alumni filling the gap. From 2005 to 2015, the percentage of alumni donating to the country's top 20 universities dropped from 26.9 percent to 22.7 percent, according to a table prepared for this article by the Council for Aid to Education.

But those who did give, gave more; the average alumni contribution almost doubled from $2,395 to $4,461, meaning that this crucial source of support is coming from large checks written by a relative few.

Harvard epitomizes the shift. From 2005 to 2015, the proportion of its alumni who donated dropped from 24 percent to 19.5 percent, but the average gift tripled from $3,394 to $10,194.

Giving from alumni to higher education rose 10.2 percent from 2013-14 to 2014-15, and, from non-alumni, 23.1 percent, according to the Council for Aid to Education. In 2015 alone, seven individuals made gifts of more than $100 million apiece, including one bequest.

As the ultra-rich boost philanthropy to universities, the price for giving their progeny an admissions edge has escalated correspondingly.

"People think they give a couple hundred thousand or a million, they're big donors, that's just no longer the case" at major universities, Notre Dame's Bishop said.

On the other hand, if someone gives $15 million, "which could fund 10 to 15 scholarship kids for perpetuity - do you let their children have some special interest? Yes. But they still have to be quite good."

The Legacy Establishment - a term I coined in The Price of Admission for "the bipartisan array of powerful insiders in the executive branch, Congress, and the judiciary who sent their children to their old schools or are themselves legacies" - replenishes its ranks, dampening any ardor to curb affirmative action for the rich.

Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, graduated from Duke University. So did her three children - in 2003, 2005 and 2008, while she was in the U.S. House of Representatives. Duke admissions officers "give special consideration" to legacies, "including an additional round of review," according to the Duke alumni association's website.

Ten years ago, elite universities were already so selective, and gave preference to so many groups - legacies; development admits; athletes; under-represented minorities, et al. - that candidates who didn't fit any of these categories faced steep odds.

In an interview for my book, Daniel Saracino, then Notre Dame's assistant provost for admissions, told me, "The poor schmuck who has to get in on his own has to walk on water."

Today, the prospects for these unconnected applicants, who are predominantly middle-class whites and Asian-Americans, are even bleaker. The poor schmucks have to walk on water - during a tsunami.

Without significantly increasing enrollments, most top universities accept an even smaller percentage of applicants than they did a decade ago, while making room for more international and first-generation college students.

Saracino, now a higher education consultant, switched metaphors in a recent conversation.

"The pie isn't getting any bigger, but the pieces all want to grow a little bit," he said. "It'll come at the cost of the everyday kid."

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Previously: The Truth Behind Jared Kushner's Acceptance Into Harvard.

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

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 PM | Permalink

Midwestern Authors Contest Now Open

The Society of Midland Authors is accepting submissions for its annual literary awards, which will honor books by Midwestern authors published in 2016.

Each winner will receive $500 and a recognition award. The judges in each category may also deem one or two honorees as worthy of recognition, and each finalist will receive a commemorative award. These honors will be given out at the awards banquet the second Tuesday in May.

A book may be nominated by its author or publisher. Authors do not need to be members of the Society of Midland Authors in order to enter the contest. Please read the following rules carefully before submitting. (The rules are also on our website.)

* An entry form must accompany each book. One copy of the book and one entry form go to each of the three judges in its category. That means a total of three forms per title (three judges, three forms, three books). Books unaccompanied by completed entry forms will not be considered.

* Each book entry must have a 2016 publication date with corresponding copyright date. The author must either reside in, be born in, or have strong ties to one of the 12 Midland states SMA represents: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin.

* Each submission requires an entry fee of $10. To pay by PayPal or credit card, please click here. You may also pay by mailing a check to Society of Midland Authors, P.O. Box 10419, Chicago, IL 60610. This payment must identify the book title, author and source of check, so SMA knows which author and book entry to confirm as a paid entry. (You may use the "comments" box to write the information for PayPal. Copy the entry form to go with your snail mail check.)

* For now, we do not consider e-book originals unless accompanied by a print edition.

* Books by deceased authors are eligible, providing they meet the other requirements.

* Submissions must be postmarked by January 7, 2017. We urge early submissions. Send entries to the appropriate judges.

* To enter this year's competition, print out the entry form at this link: http://midlandauthors.com/contest_form.html. Include a completed copy with each nominated book. Mail a copy of the form and the book to each of the three judges in the selected category. Do not mail the book to the Society's P.O. box. Make sure that you enter the book in the proper category. (For example, all children's books go to children's categories, rather than Poetry or Biography and Memoir, which are for adult submissions only.) Books submitted to improper categories will be disqualified.

If you'd like to confirm that your entry reached the judges, please send a self-addressed stamped postcard with each book submission. Or you can contact Marlene Targ Brill, who will verify whether your entry arrived.

JUDGES FOR BOOKS PUBLISHED IN 2016:

Adult Fiction:
* Stephen Sposato, 1440 W Argyle St #1, Chicago, IL 60640
* David MacLean, 2232 W. Giddings St Chicago, Il 60625
* Eckhard Gerdes, 4212 Chesapeake Drive, Apt. 1A, Aurora, IL 60504

Adult Nonfiction:
* Susan Croce Kelly, 29233 Cardinal Lane, Gravois Mills, MO 65037
* Kim Hiltwein, 820 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60202
* Libby Hellmann, 272 Summerfield Road, Northbrook, IL 60062

Biography/Memoir:
* Bob Remer, 5840 N. Kenmore, Chicago, IL 60660
* Jerry Apps, 522 Togstad Glenn, Madison, WI 53711
* Ronne Hartfield, 5750 S. Kenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

Poetry:
* Rosina Neginsky, PO Box 2175, Station A, Champaign, IL 61825
* Jill Baumgaertner, 841 W. Monroe St., #5PH, Chicago, IL 60607
* Joshua Corey, 729 Emerson St. #3W, Evanston, IL 60201

Children's Nonfiction:
* Pat Kummer, 2671 Normandy Place, Lisle, IL 60532-1081
* Andrea Warren, 4908 W. 71st St., Prairie Village, KS 66208
* Suzanne Slade, 605 Dawes St., Libertyville IL 60048

Children's Fiction:
* Marlene Targ Brill, 314 Lawndale, Wilmette, IL 60091
* Patricia McKissack, 14629 Timberlake Manor Court, Chesterfield, MO 63017
* Mary Losure, 1311 Osceola Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105

We look forward to your submissions. Thank you and good luck.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:59 AM | Permalink

At The Cultural Center | George C. Clark's Portraits Real And Imaginary

The Chicago Cultural Center celebrates the work of a long-time local artist with a solo exhibition titled PORTRAITS REAL AND IMAGINARY BY GEORGE C. CLARK.

The exhibition will be on display from December 16, 2016 to February 10, 2017 in the Renaissance Court Gallery at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street.

"I have always been fascinated by drawing and painting people from life," says George C. Clark.

This exhibition presents several decades of portraits, some of which are straight reportage, some of which depict models or actors creating personas other than their own, and still others shaped by Clark's imagination or fantasies, works executed as traditional oil or acrylic paintings, big crayon drawings on toned paper, pencil drawings, ink drawings, and ink and watercolor paintings.

There will be portraits of artists, because artists draw each other when the model doesn't show up, and of artists making art.

There will be unusual self-portraits, and images of people in the performing arts: dancers, actors and musicians.

There will be drawings of Academy Award winner Michael Shannon as some of the characters he portrayed on Chicago stages as a young actor.

There will be puppeteers with their puppets, and portraits of puppets and marionettes the artist found in various folk art and toy museums.

There will be characters from history and literature and legend, some portrayed by models, some based on old photos or films or art, and some made up from the artist's imagination.

BIO: After graduating with honors from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, George C. Clark began a long career in commercial art in ad agencies in the Mad Men days of the 1960s, a career interrupted by being drafted in 1968.

He spent 13 months in combat at a 130-man heavy artillery base up near the Cambodian border in Vietnam.

"I lucked into the only combat job the Army had that I would have been any good at," says Clark, "and I wound up a sergeant-grade crew chief in the battery's fire direction center. I learned the war was unwinnable the first month I was there."

You can find out about his wartime experiences on his Vietnam memoir blog at ayearinthetropics.blogspot.com.

Back in the real world he continued his career doing graphics and TV storyboards for national advertising accounts, designing and illustrating child-oriented hobbycraft kits for a major manufacturer (sometimes drawing Disney and Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters under license), and for 12 years in the 1990s creating cartoon puzzles, mazes, and paper sculpture projects that ran on the "Spots" page of the Chicago Tribune Sunday color comics.

ARTIST'S STATEMENT: I first came across the term "imaginary portraits" ages ago when I bought a little book published in Munich in 1957 titled (in German) Imaginary Portraits by Hans Fronius.

It contained 46 bold drawings in charcoal or brush-applied black ink on white paper of various people from history, starting with Saul from the Old Testament and ending with Franz Kafka.

Images of more recent subjects were based loosely on photographs, older ones influenced by old art, and others are made up of whole cloth. Who knows what Pontius Pilate, the Empress Theodora, or Montezuma and Cortes really looked like?

Fronius (1903-1988) stuck to real (?) people, but another artist whose work I really like expanded the same concept. Along with his observed landscapes and contemporary portraits and figure paintings, Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) painted scenes and people from mythology, legend, the Bible, history and literature from the Odyssey to Emile Zola.

Unlike the deadly serious history paintings by the French academics, Corinth's paintings are thoroughly modern works depicting models and actors dressing up (or undressing) and having fun making art in an artist's studio in early 20th Century Berlin.

Early in my career I discovered the great value of working with people who approach modeling as a performing art and bring dramatic attitudes and expression to the studio. All art is artifice, but done well it can evoke a genuine emotional response in the viewer.

I like to get narrative emotional or psychological or sexual content in my art, but I don't want to be drawing people who are really angry or sad or frightened or threatening or
embarrassed or in any other way out of control, so I rely on the acting talents of my models.

I have been fortunate to have worked with some really great models over the years who are in "real" life professional actors, dancers, musicians, puppeteers, mimes or other types of performing artists.

I encourage drama in poses and sometimes my models go beyond posing for a portrait to channeling Joan of Arc, or Salome, or Casanova, or someone in film noir or history or mythology or literature, at least in my imagination.

And when that happens, I go for the drama - I'm no longer drawing my model/collaborators in my Chicago studio. I'm drawing Casanova and the fugitive nun M.M. in that secret casino in 18th Century Venice, and I'm really enjoying my work.

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Gallery viewing hours are Mon - Fri from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.. The gallery is closed on Sundays.

All are welcome to a free Artist's Reception on Thursday, December 22 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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See also:
* Clark's website.

* Clark's travel art blog.

* Clark's figure drawing blog.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:23 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Get ready for the most heartwarming story you'll read all day," Clickhole reports.

"If you met Paul Langdon or Ayesha Qamar on the street, you might think they have nothing in common. Paul is a retired firefighter, Ayesha is a law student. Paul has lived in the same suburb of Columbus for his entire life, Ayesha immigrated to Ohio from Pakistan when she was a teen. Paul is a devout Christian, Ayesha is Muslim. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll find that they share a common bond: Both Paul and Ayesha have 'Trump' painted on their garages!

"Beautiful! Take a look at the side-by-side pictures above to see just how similar these two really are."

*

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From a Beachwood Nation member:

"[My son] had his 4-month checkup Friday and they give mothers a postpartum depression survey at well-baby visits now. The survey has all these statements like, 'I feel hopeless' and 'I am so sad I cry' that you are supposed to rate in terms of how strongly you agree. The pediatrician told me the surveys they got back from election week were particularly vivid. 'We got essays on exactly how hopeless women felt, but it had nothing to do with having a baby.'"

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Steve (long bothered by the relativity of time) to Tim: November 18 - This day in history - 1883: At high noon on this day, railroads in the U-S and Canada begin using four continental time zones to end the inefficiency of dealing with thousands of local times.

THOUSANDS OF LOCAL TIMES, SO WRONG! THEY COULDN'T ALL BE RIGHT, I HATE THIS!

Tim to Steve: "At high noon on this day." Whose high noon?

Steve to Tim: The Official High Noon! God's High Noon!

Tim to Steve: Why Trump won: Heartland America fed up with Eastern time zone elites ("8 O'Clock / 7 Central")

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Steve to Tim: Beachwood Standard Time (BST): It's always four hours later than you thought it was because you got sucked in on the way home from Walgreen's.

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Today In The Resistance
* Jersey Neighbors Offer Muslims Support Against Bias.

* Sticky Notes Exude Messages Of Solidarity, Support.

* Toronto Women Plan Rally To Support Women's March On Washington.

* In Los Angeles, Anxieties About Trump Trigger Solidarity - And Organization.

* Faith Communities Show Solidarity In Wake Of Graffiti Attacks.

* Muslim Solidarity Vigil Draws Standing Room Only Crowd.

* U.S. Holocaust Museum Alarmed Over 'Hateful Speech' By White Nationalists:

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* Petition Calls For 'Sanctuary Campus:'

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* 'If I Have To Listen To One More . . . :'

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Runs in the family . . .

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Just wait until Barron grows up . . .

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In the Beachwood . . .

Here's Your Chance To Run CAN TV
Chicago public access channel's executive director is retiring; we have the job listing.

Universities Still Give Rich & Connected Applicants A Leg Up
It's only getting worse.

NFL Doctor's Conflict Of Interest
Team goals vs. individual safety.

Portraits Real & Imaginary
George C. Clark at the Cultural Center.

Midwestern Authors Contest Open
Get your entries in!

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BeachBook

Marie Dixon, 79, Fought For Rights To Spouse Willie Dixon's Songs.

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One final look at Cuneo Hospital Before Its Demolition.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Trump's National Security Adviser.

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Look at how many times this lie was liked and retweeted.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Lock him up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:17 AM | Permalink

Conflict Of Interest For NFL Doctors To Report To Teams: Harvard Study

The doctors who patrol the sidelines of NFL games to assess whether injured players can safely return to the field should report to the league and players' union rather than individual teams, said a Harvard University study released on Thursday.

That was one of the recommendations in a 500-page report by Harvard researchers who have worked with the National Football League Players Association union over the past two years to study the heavy physical toll that the sport takes on athletes.

The study comes amid heavy scrutiny for football, at all levels of play, over the high rates of concussion suffered on the field.

Repeated concussions are linked to the brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can cause dementia. The condition has been diagnosed in former players including Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau and Pro Bowl safety Dave Duerson, who both committed suicide.

While emphasizing that the current structure is not deliberately unethical, it said team doctors, trainers and other medical staff may feel pressured to return injured players to the game more quickly than medically warranted to ensure the team remains competitive.

"NFL football has a storied history, and holds an important place in this country. The men who play it deserve to have their health safeguarded," said Glenn Cohen, a law professor who co-authored the study.

The recommendation would call for two groups of doctors to monitor players, one reporting directly to the teams and one to the league and players' union. The league currently employs about 175 doctors.

The NFL called the recommendations "untenable and impractical."

"There is no higher priority in the NFL than the health and safety of our players, both during and after their playing careers," said league spokesman Brian McCarthy, in an e-mail.

He noted that the NFL has taken a number of steps in recent years to reduce the physical risk to players, which include changing rules to ban the most dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits and changing rules on practice and training.

Indeed, the report cited the decision to place independent doctors on the sidelines charged with evaluating players for signs of concussion as an example of the value of changing the reporting structure for medical personnel.

The Harvard report recommended further strengthening the rules regarding concussions, including shifting diagnosed players onto short-term injured reserve lists, which would allow teams to fill their spots on their 53-man rosters.

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Links by Beachwood.

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From the report:

Media have been reporting on injuries since the NFL's inception. At the same time, reporters have also been praising players who played through injuries for just as long.

The Chicago Daily Tribune's coverage of the NFL champion 1940 Chicago Bears provides some descriptive examples. In the account of a key victory that season, the Bears' 14-7 win over the Green Bay Packers, writer George Strickler declared "the story of the game is written in the second half, when [the Bears' George] Swisher leaped from the bench incased (sic) in tape that protected his recently fractured ribs and brought the breath out of a record- breaking crowd of 45,434[.]"

The article went on to praise Packers fullback Clark Hinkle, "who played a good share of the contest with a back injury that would have kept him out of any game except one with the Bears."

About a month later, Strickler's preview of the championship matchup between the Bears and the Washington football club devoted a paragraph to Swisher, who had an injured heel but was declared set to play, and to two injured Washington players.

The converse of this praise is that members of the media have also been willing to criticize those players they believe lack toughness, not an uncommon occurrence.

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Previously:

* Bob Probert's Broken Brain.

* NFL Players Killing Themselves Because They Miss Football So Much.

* The College Football Report: Dementia Pugilistica.

* Blackhawks Playing Head Games.

* Jay Cutler Should Consider Retiring.

* Dislike: Friday Night Tykes.

* Hurt And Be Hurt: The Lessons Of Youth Sports.

* Chicago Soccer Player Patrick Grange Had CTE.

* Sony Softened Concussion To Placate NFL.

* Ultra-Realistic Madden To Simulate Game's Debilitating Concussions.

* Dear Football: I'm Breaking Up With You.

* Dead College Football Player's Brain Leaves Clues Of Concussions' Toll On Brain.

* More Bad Concussion News For Young Football Players.

* NFL Tried To Fix Concussion Study.

* The Week In Concussions: Another Enforcer Down.

* Teen Concussion Rate Rising Significantly.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:36 AM | Permalink

You Want To Run Chicago's Public Access TV Channels? Here's Your Chance!

Longtime CAN TV executive director Barbara Popovic has announced that she is retiring. Here she is on Ken Davis's Chicago Newsroom discussing that, as well as "the role of access TV in the changing media landscape."


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Want her soon-to-be vacant job? Here's the official "Position Guide" from the board of directors:

ORGANIZATION: CAN TV

POSITION: Executive Director

REPORTS TO: Board of Directors

LOCATION: Chicago

MISSION: Chicago Access Corporation, known as CAN TV, offers Chicagoans the opportunity to exercise their First Amendment right to freedom of speech by providing technical training, equipment, facilities and programming opportunities on CAN TV's five local, noncommercial public access cable television channels. CAN TV promotes and develops maximum public awareness of, use of and involvement in cable television for cultural, educational, health, social service, civic, community and other nonprofit purposes.

ABOUT CAN TV: When the City of Chicago established Chicago Access Corporation (CAN TV) in 1983 as an independent 501c3 organization, it placed a high priority on community involvement in cable television. Now in its 33rd year, over 18,000 residents and 5,000 nonprofit members have participated in training at CAN TV and thousands more use its channels. Today, CAN TV is recognized as one of the nation's most effective public access television organizations.

CAN TV operates five cable television channels in Chicago which are available on AT&T, Comcast, RCN and WOW:

  • CAN TV19: Public Affairs, entertainment, documentary and arts
  • CAN TV21: Live, call-in Hotline shows, community events and arts coverage
  • CAN TV27: 24/7 local news and information
  • CAN TV36: Religious and inspirational programming
  • CAN TV42: Interactive community bulletin board with blues and jazz from WDCB-FM

Any Chicago nonprofit or resident can submit noncommercial content to CAN TV for free, and over 10,000 new, local programs are shown on the network every year. Submitted videos include independent productions and programs made using equipment and facilities provided by CAN TV. Groups who produce programs using CAN TV's publicly accessible studio and equipment represent a wide range of communities, including seniors, attorneys, and people with disabilities.

CAN TV works with hundreds of local nonprofits annually, helping meet their communications needs with low cost, easy to use services. Chicago-based nonprofits host live call-in shows from a dedicated studio at CAN TV, reaching viewers in need of their services. These programs are shown live on cable television in Chicago and online, with topics including health, economic development, civic engagement and domestic violence.

CAN TV42, the interactive community bulletin board for Chicago nonprofits, logs hundreds of phone calls daily from people requesting information on jobs and training, arts events, and volunteer opportunities, among other topics. This service is unique to CAN TV in Chicago as one of the only public access organizations in the nation with such a resource.

CAN TV also provides unedited coverage of a wide range of community events in Chicago, including live coverage of public forums, press conferences, and timely political events.

Programs produced by CAN TV include:

  • Chicago Newsroom, analysis of the week's top local stories by local journalists and newsmakers.
  • Putting People First, public service announcements featuring Chicago nonprofits.
  • Political Forum, providing Chicagoans a direct line to their elected officials.

Since 1990, CAN TV has:

  • Trained over 18,000 Chicagoans and 5,000 nonprofit members
  • Cablecast over 250,000 local programs
  • Carried over 22,000 hours of live television shows

Every week, CAN TV channels carry up to 140 hours of new local programs that connect Chicagoans with jobs, health care, education opportunities, financial assistance and more. Since 2009, CAN TV programming has logged over 600,000 online views. CAN TV simulcasts over 70 hours per month of live call-in programming on health, education, veterans' issues, job opportunities, and more.

In 2016, CAN TV celebrated the grand opening of a modern, multi-use production facility, close to downtown Chicago in the heart of the Illinois Medical District campus, accessible by public transit and major highways.

CAN TV has an operating budget of approximately $3.6M annually and a staff of approximately 30 full- and part-time employees.

THE OPPORTUNITY CAN TV has recently moved into its new home on the near west side of Chicago in the Illinois Medical District. This facility, and its upgraded technology and production equipment, offer an opportunity for CAN TV to expand and strengthen its services in support of its public mission. CAN TV has also recently negotiated its first four-year term labor contract. As the organization moves forward, the next Executive Director will have the opportunity to work with the Board of Directors on charting a strategic vision for the organization that ensures CAN TV's services remain robust and relevant in a rapidly evolving digital environment with adequate internal infrastructural support. Expanding training opportunities, reaching viewers on multiple media platforms, and exploring new service development will be part of the strategic planning approach to charting CAN TV's future.

POSITION SUMMARY: Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director serves as the chief executive of CAN TV. The Executive Director supervises the Associate Executive Director, Chief Engineer, Communications Manager, Nonprofit Services Manager, Community Partners Manager, and Training Manager. Key duties of the Executive Director include:

  • Negotiate, regulate and lobby to ensure compliance by all cable and video providers with local or state franchise requirements for support of CAN TV.
  • Expand the vision for CAN TV in the digital age through development of future- focused technology and services that respond to evolving community needs in Chicago.
  • Represent CAN TV externally, communicating the organization's vision to targeted leaders at the local, state and federal levels.
  • Report the performance of the organization accurately and responsibly to the Board of Directors and act as the staff liaison on board activities.
  • Recruit, supervise and develop the core management team as the strategic planning and functional leadership element of the organization.
  • Negotiate and lead implementation of the labor contract with management team support.
  • Implement and expand programs and services that meet the needs of Chicago residents and nonprofits.

CANDIDATE PROFILE: We seek a proven leader who is dedicated to providing access and resources to Chicago communities that are so often underserved and underrepresented by traditional broadcast media. This individual is a big-picture thinker who will drive a compelling vision for the organization in the future and a leader who is flexible with sound judgement in decision-making.

A leader with strong communication skills, this person must have a track record of collaborating with key stakeholders to ensure goals are achieved. First-hand experience working with senior officials in government and/or public administration is required. Career experience in a top leadership position in an organization with a similar mission (i.e. public media, broadcast/cable television) is a plus, but not required.

As the key spokesperson for the organization, this person must be able to speak extemporaneously about the mission of CAN TV. Effective communication with people of diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds is a must. An ability to build rapport with those who have varying viewpoints is important.

We seek a person with high character, who is composed, open and accessible. Energy, optimism, a good listener and quick learner are important personal attributes.

This person should be able to organize, analyze and prioritize key activities of the organization and motivate staff to achieve desired goals. Leading staff in an inspirational manner that strengthens organizational capacity is expected.

A proven ability to direct and manage the finances, budget preparation and oversight, and contract administration of a complex organization is required. Experience in labor relations is a plus.

A bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution in a related field (i.e. communications, management) is required. An advanced degree is preferred. Evidence of continuing education, certification and executive level training is desirable.

To apply, please submit a current resume and letter of introduction to Kittleman & Associates, LLC at http://kittlemansearch.com/Executive-Director-CAN-TV.html

For more information about CAN TV, please visit www.cantv.org.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

November 21, 2016

SportsMonday: Butler Buoys Bulls

I had some of my best stuff locked and loaded: I was going to spend today firing on the Bulls for having Dwyane Wade sit out last night's game in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

But then Jimmy Butler went off again (scoring 40 points) and his team won 118-110, extending a surprising run of season-opening success.

The Bulls are now 9-5 overall and 3-1 on a Circus Trip that this year featured four straight opponents who came in with better than .500 records. No trips to Sacramento or Phoenix in this one.

First, we have to step back a bit: If I believe in anything about pro sports it is that players should play unless they are injured. I don't understand why modern-day veteran athletes need game days off after no such thing existed in sports for decades. Playing basketball simply is not so difficult as to require veterans to sit out in these sorts of situations.

But I am increasingly in the minority. So many others celebrate Spurs coach Greg Popovich as a genius for resting his veterans at certain times despite the fact that they are not injured. In this case, Wade had played almost 36 minutes the night before in a hard-fought game against the Clippers, and the contest with the Lakers was the Bulls' third in four nights. And he and coach Fred Hoiberg agreed that he should sit out.

I'll still say there is no way I'm buying a season ticket for a team that adopts that approach, but hey, did I mention the Bulls won and they have a considerably better record so far than anyone anticipated? Outcome bias is so much more convenient!

I will also say that I think sometimes coaches have to protect themselves from themselves. Someone like Hoiberg could go into a given game with the idea that he would severely limit a veteran's minutes but then, if the game was close down the stretch, get away from his plan.

Hoiberg is having a heck of a year so far but there is one point of concern in particular - he still has a tendency to freeze down the stretch of close games.

Against both the Clippers and the Lakers it seemed clear that changes needed to be made in personnel as the clock wound down. Generally, big guys wear down when their minutes get extended.

Specifically, did anyone other than Hoiberg not believe that it was time for Nikola Mrotic to be replaced by Robin Lopez as the clock ticked under five, four and then three minutes last night? And it was a shame because otherwise the Bulls forward had a great game, finishing with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Fortunately the fact that Mrotic no longer could hit a shot, drive to the basket or play decent defense during that time didn't doom his team in the end. Butler hit big shot after big shot, the Lakers finally stopped dropping in threes from other zip codes and the visitors held on.

The most amazing thing so far about Butler is the fact that he already has eight games in which he has taken double-digit free throws. Overall he has taken a league-leading 133 shots from the stripe and has made 88.7 percent of them.

The schedule now eases for the Bulls for a while. They take on a 5-8 Denver Nugget team in the Mile High City on Tuesday night and then wrap up the road trip by coming all the way back across the country to visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

In other words, no healthy veterans should have to take another day off for at least another week.

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Jimmy Butler Drops 40.

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See also:
* Bleacher Report: Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade Have Chicago Bulls Blowing Away Expectations.

* Los Angeles Times: Lakers Can't Stop Bulls' Jimmy Butler And Can't Stop Fouling Either.

* Tribune: Bulls Respond With Mental Toughness, Earn Impressive 118-110 Win Over Lakers.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:17 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

The election of an American president made all of these necessary. Let's pull together and overwhelm the country with love.

* Meet An Immigrant.

* Fifth Grader Uses Google Translate To Make Friends With The New Kid At School.

* Trump Defense Donations.

* Interfaith Leaders Pledge To Stand By American Muslims, No Matter What.

* Local Muslim Community Overwhelmed By Messages Of Support.

* Hundreds Of Jewish Scholars Of Holocaust History Call On Americans To 'Mobilize In Solidarity' Against Trump.

* Why Catholics Should Question, Resist Trump Administration.

* UMD Asian American Student Union Calls For Solidarity At Post-Election Town Hall.

* Love Trumps Hate Gathering Held In Regina.

* SF Groups Will Unite To Condemn Post-Election Hate Crimes.

* Large Crowd Turns Out For Anti-Trump Rally In Northampton.

* 'I Want Nobody To Fear Our Border': West Texans, Mexicans March In Solidarity.

* 'Our Faith Calls Us To Resist Hatred.'

* Cupich Calls Church To Promote Solidarity After Trump Victory.

* "To the millions of immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBT people, women, people with disabilities, and everyone who is threatened by the President-Elect and his administration, we want you to know: we are with you."

* "The silver lining to this whole thing is that, all of these marginalized communities have come together and built all these alliances that otherwise weren't really strong, weren't really there."

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The Absolute Best, Most Terrific Reporting On Trump University
"By 2010, 150 people had filed complaints with 22 states about Trump University. The school had just received a D- rating from the Better Business Bureau. One former student in California complained she paid $80,000 for access to mentors who didn't call her back."

The Truth Behind Jared Kushner's Acceptance Into Harvard
"His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not."

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When they come for the Muslims . . .

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Pepsi CEO On Trump Win: 'All Our Employees Are Crying.'

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If You Voted For Him . . .

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Emarosa, Bongzilla, Lydia Loveless, Colours, El Ten Eleven, Interdependence, Thor, The Living End, Bayonne, JJ Grey and Mofro, Mayday Parade, and ONO.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Slayerkitty, Bur, The Dickies, The Queers, Vamps, Machine Gun Kelly, The 1975, Band of Horses, Robyn Hitchcock, Blue Rodeo, Joshua Abrams Quintet, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Blue Oyster Cult, and Johnnyswim.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #128: Clarity
Love the art, not the artist. Including: The "P" In MVP Stands For "Player," Not "Person"; Peak Jay Cutler (Again); Grandpa Wade; and Corey Crawford Standing On Head.

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BeachBook

The Secret Agenda Of A Facebook Quiz.

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Patriots Won't Let Anybody Steal Martellus Bennett The Way They Did.

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Tom Thibodeau Hasn't Changed.

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J.D. Vance, The False Prophet Of Blue America.

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United Introduces 'Last Class' Service.

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RHODES: Predictable Plot Weakens Cliched Only The Strong.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Fakish news.

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I think this is backwards: he paused his business meetings to work on the transition.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Sky cracks open.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:29 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Emarosa at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.


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2. Bongzilla at Reggies on Thursday night.

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3. Lydia Loveless at the Metro on Friday night.

Kot: A Mess Of Emotions, Far-Reaching Music.

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4. Colours at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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5. El Ten Eleven at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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6. Interdependence at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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7. Mayday Parade at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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8. Bayonne at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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9. ONO at Subterranean on Friday night.

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10. JJ Grey and Mofro at the Vic on Thursday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Thor at Reggies on November 12th.

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The Living End at Bottom Lounge on November 7th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 AM | Permalink

The Absolute Best, Most Terrific Reporting On Trump University

President-elect Trump agreed Friday to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits from students who say they were defrauded by Trump University. Here is the best reporting on Trump University, at least as of June, when ProPublica originally produced this compilation.

Trump University promised to help students get rich. Enrollees would study the wisdom of The Donald and get mentoring from other terrific businesspeople.

But a class-action suit by former students and a suit brought by the New York attorney general allege that the unaccredited "school" mainly helped students part with the money in their wallets. (Trump has called the suits a "scam" and "thug politics.")

Trump Spins in Foreclosure Game

The Los Angeles Times, December 2007

As subprime mortgages were skyrocketing in 2007, columnist David Lazarus noticed a Trump University ad promising to teach students how to make "millions in foreclosures." So Lazarus went to class. The instructor had never bought a house in California, had been through bankruptcy, and had gone through foreclosure with his own home.

After the column ran, Trump told Lazarus it was "inaccurate and libelous."

When Lazarus asked what the problem was, Trump said, "You'll find out in court." Trump never sued. But he did submit a letter to the editor, which he demanded that the paper run in extra-large print.

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Trump U. Hit by Complaints From Those Who Paid Up To 30G And Say They Got Very Little in Return

New York Daily News, May 2010

By 2010, 150 people had filed complaints with 22 states about Trump University, the New York Daily News found. The school had just received a D- rating from the Better Business Bureau. One former student in California complained she paid $80,000 for access to mentors who didn't call her back. Another student, a New York City schoolteacher, said she lost her savings, maxed out her credit cards, and had nothing to show for it.

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Tales From The Trump University Legal Vault

Politico, March 2016

A 2010 playbook for Trump University gave staff handy instructions, like to how to rank students based on assets to determine who was most likely to buy more Trump University classes. Or what to do "if an attorney general arrives on the scene." (Show them nothing unless they have a warrant and call someone named April Neumann "immediately".)

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Trump University Hired Motivational Speakers And A Felon As Faculty

The Daily Beast, March 2016

One Trump University instructor liked to tell students his "rags-to-riches" story: He was homeless in a subway at 19, where he met someone who taught him about real estate and became a top broker. He left out a few details, though: He threatened to kill his ex-wife and was convicted for aggravated assault. Trump once said he "hand-picked" the instructors and then changed his tune to say he didn't remember the employees.

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At Trump University, Students Recall Pressure To Give Positive Reviews

The New York Times, March 2016

Trump likes to tout the 98 percent approval rating that students gave Trump University. But the surveys, according to legal documents and interviews with former staff and students, weren't anonymous and were submitted to instructors in exchange for graduation certificates. One instructor said he asked students to fill out the survey in front of him. A former student said he was pressured by his mentor to give the mentor top ratings. (Trump has not backed down on the number. See his website: 98percentapproval.com.)

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Trump University And The Art Of The Get-Rich Seminar

Ars Technica, April 2016

Before Trump University there was Trump Institute. And before Trump Institute there was the National Grants Conference, a seminar founded by Mike and Irene Milin that claimed it could teach students how to get government grants - for memberships at only $999. None of the NGC members got money, but NGC raked in millions from students.

In 2006, Trump licensed his name to the Milins to create the Trump Institute. Trump Institute kept much of NGC's old materials but promised to share the billionaire secrets. But the NGC soon fell into legal trouble in multiple states, and Trump didn't renew the license with them in 2009. By that time, Trump University was well established, but still using the same tactics the Milins started at the National Grants Conference.

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Trump Involved In Crafting Controversial Trump University Ads, Executive Testified

The Washington Post, May 2016

Donald Trump personally vetted ads and shaped the promotion of Trump University - contrary to what his lawyers had implied - according to the 2012 deposition of Trump University's president.

The deposition, part of a class-action lawsuit brought by former students, was released along with other trial records in response to a request from the Washington Post.

Another document showed that a portion of Trump University speaker fees were directly tied to how many students the speaker could get to sign up for more seminars.

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Florida AG Asked Trump For Donation Before Nixing Fraud Case

The Associated Press, June 2016

In September 2013, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that she was considering New York's investigation of Trump University. Four days later, a group supporting Bondi's re-election got a $25,000 donation from a Trump family foundation. Bondi had personally solicited the donation. After the check came in, Bondi's office announced that it would not join the investigation. Bondi has since endorsed Trump for president. Bondi declined to comment.

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See also:

* New Records Shed Light On Donald Trump's $25,000 Gift To Florida Official.

* Bondi Says She's 'Honored' To Serve Trump In 'Historic' Transition Effort.

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Previously: Terrific Reporting On Trump.

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

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

November 19, 2016

The Truth Behind Jared Kushner's Acceptance Into Harvard

I would like to express my gratitude to Jared Kushner for reviving interest in my 2006 book, The Price of Admission.

I have never met or spoken with him, and it's rare in this life to find such a selfless benefactor.

Of course, I doubt he became Donald Trump's son-in-law and consigliere merely to boost my lagging sales, but still, I'm thankful.

My book exposed a grubby secret of American higher education: that the rich buy their underachieving children's way into elite universities with massive, tax-deductible donations.

It reported that New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school. At the time, Harvard accepted about one of every nine applicants. (Nowadays, it only takes one out of 10.)

I also quoted administrators at Jared's high school, who described him as a less than stellar student and expressed dismay at Harvard's decision.

"There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard," a former official at The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, told me.

"His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not."

Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, said in an e-mail Thursday that "the allegation" that Charles Kushner's gift to Harvard was related to Jared's admission "is and always has been false."

His parents, Charles and Seryl Kushner, "are enormously generous and have donated over $100 million to universities, hospitals and other charitable causes. Jared Kushner was an excellent student in high school and graduated from Harvard with honors."(About 90 percent of Jared's 2003 class at Harvard also graduated with honors.)

My Kushner discoveries were an offshoot of my research for a chapter on Harvard donors. Somebody had slipped me a document I had long coveted: the membership list of Harvard's Committee on University Resources.

The university wooed more than 400 of its biggest givers and most promising prospects by putting them on this committee and inviting them to campus periodically to be wined, dined, and subjected to lectures by eminent professors.

My idea was to figure out how many children of these corporate titans, oil barons, money managers, lawyers, high-tech consultants and old-money heirs had gone to Harvard. A disproportionate tally might suggest that the university eased its standards for the offspring of wealthy backers.

I began working through the list, poring over Who's Who in America and Harvard class reunion reports for family information.

Charles and Seryl Kushner were both on the committee. I had never heard of them, but their joint presence struck me as a sign that Harvard's fundraising machine held the couple in especially fond regard.

The clips showed that Charles Kushner's empire encompassed 25,000 New Jersey apartments, along with extensive office, industrial and retail space and undeveloped land.

Unlike most of his fellow committee members, though, Kushner was not a Harvard man. He had graduated from New York University. This eliminated the sentimental tug of the alma mater as a reason for him to give to Harvard, leaving another likely explanation: his children.

Sure enough, his sons Jared and Joshua had both enrolled there.

Charles Kushner differed from his peers on the committee in another way; he had a criminal record. Five years after Jared entered Harvard, the elder Kushner pleaded guilty in 2004 to tax violations, illegal campaign donations, and retaliating against a witness. (As it happens, the prosecutor in the case was Chris Christie, recently ousted as the head of Trump's transition team.)

Charles Kushner had hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was cooperating with federal authorities. Kushner then had a videotape of the tryst sent to his sister. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

I completed my analysis, which justified my hunch. Of the 400-plus tycoons on Harvard's list - which included people who were childless or too young to have college-age offspring - more than half had sent at least one child to the university.

I also decided that the Kushner-Harvard relationship deserved special attention. Although the university often heralded big gifts in press releases or a bulletin called - in a classic example of fundraising wit, "Re:sources" - a search of these outlets came up empty. Harvard didn't seem eager to be publicly associated with Charles Kushner.

While looking into Kushner's taxes, though, federal authorities had subpoenaed records of his charitable giving. I learned that in 1998, when Jared was attending The Frisch School and starting to look at colleges, his father had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard, to be paid in annual installments of $250,000. Charles Kushner also visited Neil Rudenstine, then Harvard president, and discussed funding a scholarship program for low- and middle-income students.

I phoned a Harvard official, with whom I was on friendly terms. First I asked whether the gift played any role in Jared's admission. "You know we don't comment on individual applicants," he said. When I pressed further, he hung up. We haven't spoken since.

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

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

This is more of an editor's note. ProPublica's headline was "The Story Behind Jared Kushner's Curious Acceptance Into Harvard." I deleted "curious" because the reporting makes asserts something stronger than merely "curious"; it asserts that Kushner's father bought his kid's way in. If such a thing wasn't so common, one might call it "corrupt." But why use an adjective there at all? Especially given my next edit on the headline: changing "story" to "truth." Again, make it as strong as the reporting allows. There is nothing in the reporting that is less than the truth. If the connection between the father's donation and the kid's acceptance isn't 100 percent proven except through the almost unassailable circumstantial evidence, well, using the word "truth" to describe the reporting still doesn't go beyond what the article contains.

Also, I changed the first link, to the author's book, from the book's Amazon page to a C-SPAN discussion. Amazon has become a default link for books, giving them tons of free sales support. I often wonder how, say, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers feel about that. I'm guilty more often than I'd like to be, too, but I try when I can to link directly to the publisher, or sometimes to a review. In this case, it's of far more help to readers to link to a C-SPAN discussion of the book if they so choose to delve further into the topic. If readers want to buy the book, it's not hard for them to figure out how to do so on their own. Also, I'm not in the business of helping authors sell their books (there was a second link in the original article to the same Amazon page, which I took out. Meanwhile, I added links to The Frisch School, Charles Kushner's Wikipedia page, a Risa Heller Crain's capsule, Harvard's Committee on University Resources, Who's Who in America, and Neil Rudenstine's Wikipedia page. I could not find a link for Harvard's "Re:sources."

Finally, I deleted the original final paragraph:

At Harvard, Jared Kushner majored in government. Now the 35-year-old is poised to become the power behind the presidency. What he plans to do, and in what direction he and his father-in-law will lead the country, are far more important than his high school grades.

That sounded to me like an ending tacked on out of the feeling that some sort of declarative ending was needed. But in stating that Kushner's high school grades aren't important now, it basically invalidates what we've just read as irrelevant. But what we've read is relevant: the chief adviser to an incoming president who based much of his campaign on the notion that elites have rigged the game of life is one of those who has benefited mightily from just such rigging. In that way, Kushner's high school grades are indeed important - they tell us something about the way his rise to power was paved, the hypocrisy of the incoming president's rhetoric, and the worldview of those about to hold seats in the White House. I'd also like to see Harvard (and similar institutions) held to account.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:13 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Slayerkitty at Pinky Swear on Sunday night.


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2. Bur at the Elbo Room on Thursday night.

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3. The Dickies at Reggies on Thursday night.

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4. The Queers at Reggies on Thursday night.

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5. Vamps at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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6. Machine Gun Kelly at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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7. The 1975 at the Aragon on Sunday night.

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8. Band of Horses at the Aragon on Wednesday night.

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9. Robyn Hitchcock at City Winery on Thursday night.

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10. Blue Rodeo at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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11. Joshua Abrams Quintet at the Hideout on Tuesday night.

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12. Brian Setzer Orchestra at the Arcada in St. Charles on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Blue Oyster Cult at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond last Friday night.

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Johnnyswim at Thalia Hall last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:42 AM | Permalink

November 18, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #128: Clarity

Love the art, not the artist. Including: The "P" In MVP Stands For "Player," Not "Person"; Peak Jay Cutler (Again); Grandpa Wade; and Corey Crawford Standing On Head.


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SHOW NOTES

* 128

* BRSH #127: Trumped Up: We're Rome; We'll Help You Pack, Jake.

* From Jonathan Jones, SI:

[Luke] Kuechly is probably the most photographed person in Charlotte. There is no record of him ever turning down a photo request. He's so good-natured that his trash talk comes out awkwardly. He'll ask a media member how his family is doing just because.

There is no pretense to Kuechly. He's one of few professional athletes where you can say he's a good guy and not worry about that statement coming back to bite you down the road.

* Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Michael Jordan's Greatest Hits:

9:07: The "P" In MVP Stands For "Player," Not "Person."

* Great player, appreciated in these corners, but too much fanboy:

* Mike Montgomery's Long Journey To The Cubs' Biggest Out In 108 Years.

* Verducci: Reign Men: The Storm, The Speech And The Inside Story Of The Cubs' Game 7 Triumph:

They had been fishing for bigger names on the trade market, but pro scouting director Jared Porter and director of major league scouting Kyle Evans kept pushing for Montgomery. In a year, they told Epstein, he would be a solid four-pitch starter.

34:46: Peak Jay Cutler (Again).

* The Most Cutlery Cutler Ever.

* Cutler: White, But Not Working Class, Is A "Longtime" Trump Supporter.

* Alshon Jeffery Has Clarified His Situation.

44:04: Grandpa Wade.

* Bulls' Jerian Grant Turns Chip On His Shoulder Into Unexpected Star Turn.

* Derrick Rose Won't Be Bullied Into Selling His Trump Property.

57:45: Corey Crawford Standing On Head.

* "Corey's been unbelievable," Bowman said. "It's allowed us to not play that well and still gain some confidence."

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STOPPAGE 2:14

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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 4:24 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

For completists, there was no column Thursday.

And there won't be a (full) column today.

Just these goodies:

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Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted
She voted.

Presidential Campaign Ad War: Historically Negative
If you haven't seen these, you should.

In Segregated Classrooms, Students Struggle To Understand A Trump Victory
Kids having trouble grasping how America elected the KKK-endorsed candidate.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Kool-Aid Report: Serenity Now, Bears Fans
The price isn't right.

Fantasy Fix: The Last Relevant Bear
And he has a mystery injury.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

The Beachwood Radio Hour #128
Is in pre-production.

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BeachBook

Students Wear Hijabs To Support Muslim Classmates.

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Digital Security Tips For Protesters.

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AIA Chicago Rejects Post-Election Statement From National Office.

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Irish In Chicago In 'Shock And Fear' After Trump's Election.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Safety pins in numbers.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:32 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted

ivoted.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:03 AM | Permalink

November 17, 2016

Presidential Campaign Ad War: Historically Negative

The general election ads from the 2016 presidential campaign represented a referendum on each candidate's character. And in this ad race, there were no winners.

Both the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns featured the takeaway message that their opponent is not fit to lead.

Even though Trump won the election, he will face significant obstacles in re-establishing the credibility he needs to lead a very divided electorate.

Fear and anger were the key emotions of TV ads from both campaigns and two Super PACS. Trump must now find a way to mitigate national anxieties in the wake of a polarizing election.

image-20161116-13509-1v8rr2c.jpg

Ad Research

Our research team with the Political Advertising Research Center at the University of Maryland studied the political advertisements produced during the general election - from July through the end of October.

Our team studied ads produced by the Clinton campaign and the Trump campaign, but also ads from two Super PACs: one Clinton-leaning (Priorities USA Action) and the other pro-Trump (Rebuilding America Now).

In order to gain a comprehensive picture of the ads, our team examined the ad spending and ad strategies of the general election and produced A Report on Presidential Advertising and the 2016 General Election.

Our team coded the content of each ad using four tenets: 1) whether content was positive, negative or comparative, 2) whether ads focused on issues, character or a combination of character and issue, 3) the emotional appeals used based on six primary emotions: anger, fear, sadness, joy, love and surprise, and 4) the subject matter. Together, these tenets helped reveal the broader strategy of each campaign - a strategy that focused more on the weaknesses of the opponent rather than the strengths of the candidate

We also studied where the money was spent during the ad cycle of the general election.

Ad Spending

The Clinton campaign vastly outspent the Trump campaign in terms of TV ad buys.

As of Oct. 25, Clinton's campaign had spent between $142 million and $172 million on TV and radio during the general election.

In addition to Hillary for America's spending, Super PACs and other outside support groups spent $103 million.

Although the Trump campaign increased its ad spending in the final weeks of the campaign, it didn't top the Clinton budget in terms of overall spending.

As of Nov. 2, Clinton had spent $211.4 million in TV ads, while Trump had spent only $74 million.

The Clinton campaign spent three times more money on TV and radio advertising than the Trump campaign, yet Clinton's final total was still far less than we have seen in the last two elections.

Clinton's spending seems almost modest when compared to Obama's $404 million budget in 2012.

One reason for the general drop in spending is that the 2016 candidates focused more energy on internet ads and social media than television spot ads.

According to Borrell Associates, a market research firm, digital spending for 2016 was estimated at $1.6 billion - a 576 percent increase since 2012.

Despite an increase in ad spending on social media, which caters to younger voters, TV remains the most dominant platform for political ads with a 70 percent share of ad revenue.

The target audience for political ads is not clear-cut.

TV ads often target older voters, yet most TV ads are also uploaded to YouTube and other social networks that are predominantly used by younger audiences. For example:

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Clinton launched her first general election ad in July 2016:

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Trump's first general election ad came out in the third week of August.

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Both campaigns heavily targeted battleground states: Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The Clinton campaign also focused on Arizona, Nevada, Nebraska and Texas while Trump invested much of his resources in Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, California and Colorado.

Clinton's Ad Strategies

Clinton's campaign organization, Hillary for America, produced 38 televised ads between July 7 and Oct. 25. Over half of Clinton's ads overtly attacked Trump, frequently using the words and images of Trump as ammunition.

An additional 24 percent of the ads represented an implicit attack on Trump, juxtaposing him as the negative counterpart to Clinton's positive character. Ads such as "Myself," "Families First" and "General Allen" served as part of a series of comparative attack ads questioning Trump's fitness.

"Myself."

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"Families First."

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"General Allen."

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In another ad, titled "America's Bully," Clinton tells a young girl, "We shouldn't let anybody bully his way into the presidency."

The ads addressed Trump's temperament and intelligence, contrasting him with Clinton's moral character, government experience and steady nature. In attacking Trump, the ads primarily appealed to emotions of fear, sadness and anger.

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Trump's Ad Strategy

Trump relied on character attacks as the subject matter for approximately 35 percent of the TV ads he released. Of the 17 ads released by his campaign from August through late October, six were categorized as character attacks.

In "Illegal Immigration," "Economy," "Dangerous" and "Change," the Trump campaign contrasted the character of the candidates.

"Immigration."

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"Economy."

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"Dangerous."

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"Change."

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But Trump also released ads that featured more of his biography.

"Who Is Donald J. Trump?"

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"Leader."

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"Donald J. Trump Is The Only President Who Can Fix America."

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In these commercials, Trump showboated his success and promised to bring the same leadership of success to the presidency. These ads were aimed at both overcoming his negative image among American voters and demonstrating his ability to govern successfully.

Overall, Trump's campaign strategy focused on building a more positive image of himself while denigrating Clinton's character.

For instance, in his ad "Deplorables," the narrator queried: "You know what's deplorable?" The answer: "Hillary Clinton viciously demonizing hard-working people like you."

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The incendiary language that Clinton used ("deplorable") and Trump applied to Clinton ("demonizing") exacerbated the anger and fear animating the campaign ads of 2016.

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Super PAC Ad Strategy

The Super PACs echoed the strategies of the candidates' official campaigns. In fact, for most of the ads produced by Priorities USA Action, the message was that Trump is "dangerous" and "unfit" to be the president.

Many of the ads featured the mothers of children who have been hurt, killed or emotionally affected by the types of "hate," "bullying" or "disrespect" that Trump exhibited during this campaign. The audience was invited to empathize with the grieving mothers and to consider the futures of their own children.

"Michelle."

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"Hate."

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"Our Daughter Grace."

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Trump-leaning ads from Rebuilding America Now predominately traded on voter anger and contempt for Clinton.

"Always."

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"Redskins."

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Nine of the 11 "negative" ads attacked Clinton's character in some way, frequently using Bill Clinton's indiscretions as an index of her own immorality.

"It Takes Two."

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The 2016 Takeaway

While character attacks have always been a feature of campaign advertising, during the 2016 election, these formed the mainstay strategy for both the campaigns.

Between 1952 and 2008, 31 percent of the general election ads were character-based.

In 2016, character ads made up 76 percent of the television campaign ads from the general election.

The Clinton and Trump campaigns, as well as the Super PACs, attacked the opposition through appeals to fear and anger over positive emotions like joy and love.

Our analysis suggests these negative appeals helped deepen the anxiety and cynicism that dominated the campaign climate in ways unmatched in recent memory.

The consequence is an electorate openly expressing fear of the other side.

As the Pew Center reports, "[m]ore than half of Democrats (55 percent) say the Republican Party makes them 'afraid,' while 49 percent of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party."

If the campaign of 2008 was known as one of "hope" and "change," the campaign of 2016 may well go down in history as one of "fear" and "anger."

Additional UMD PARC Research Team Members: Alyson Farzad-Phillips, Nora Murphy, Claudia Serrano Rico, Kyle Stephan and Gareth Williams.

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Shawn Parry-Giles is a communications professor at the University of Maryland; Lauren Hunter is a Ph.D. student of communication at the University of Maryland; Morgan Hess is a Ph.D. student in rhetoric and political communication; and Prashanth Bhat is a Ph.D. student studying online hate speech, right-wing politics and media, and online political expressions. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

First, I don't buy the idea that Trump must now assuage national anxiety. He's never shown any such inclination. He wants to win, and he'll destroy anything - and anyone - in his path to do so.

Second, this is an interesting analysis, but one also drowning in false equivalence. Both campaigns may have been equally negative in their advertising, but were they both equal in the falsities of those ads? In other words, did one campaign tell the truth in its ads more significantly than the other? It's one thing to base a campaign on fear, as a demagogue does, but another when that fear is justified by the fact of an opponent who is . . . a demagogue.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:32 AM | Permalink

In Segregated Classrooms, Students Struggle To Understand A Trump Victory

JACKSON, Miss. - Siwell Middle School art teacher Cassandre Connolly taps keys on her computer and the projector splotches the wall with President-elect Donald Trump's smiling face. Her classroom of sixth graders erupts at once into groans. All are black or Hispanic except for Orion, who is Venezuelan and Israeli; his cousin teaches him Hebrew on the weekends.

"Rigged, I tell you!" yells Julian, 12, who is Latino, as he points gleefully at the front. "Rigged!"

The assignment accompanying Trump's face asks the students to consider four tweets about Trump and the election in which he bested former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to win the office of President of the United States.

From there, the students wrote their interpretations of what the posts meant.

Ricardo, 11, who is black, says "making America great again" is just "sarcasm" on Trump's part. "How is a person who has no understanding of presidency and has no etiquette going to make America better?" he asked in his response. "How can we let a man who lost his mind in the presidential seat?"

Michael, 11, who is also black, didn't understand that quote, either. Or how Trump won.

"Black people don't vote for white people unless they're like cool," he read from his paper. "He said what people wanted to hear, and they voted for him. Also, don't tell anybody this, but I cried in the bathroom this morning when I found out."

A group of boys to his left burst into laughter and called him a crybaby. His teacher, a white Manhattanite living in Mississippi and serving her second year in Teach for America, however, was sympathetic.

"Don't let anyone make you feel bad," she said. "I cried, too."

'Back to Africa'

The electorate of the United States, and the voters who elected Donald Trump, do not resemble the demographics of the country's public schools.

The Pew Research Center projected in February that 69 percent of the voters who came to the polls last Tuesday would be white; CNN exit polls for the election said about 70 percent of voters were white.

In contrast, 49.7 percent of the nation's public schools are now white. Nonwhite children have been the majority of American public-school students since 2014.

In Mississippi, a deeply red state, 44.76 percent of public-school students are white, compared to the 49.22 percent who are black. The remaining 6 percent are a mix of non-white Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and multi-racial students. But the state's population is 37 percent black, with whites making up 58 percent of the population, U.S. Census data show.

The nation's deeply segregated schools, including the ones in Jackson, have made the election even more confusing and disturbing for many children who rarely encounter others who don't look and think like them. Mississippi voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

But at schools like Siwell that serve mostly black and Hispanic students, kids can't understand how a candidate who received an endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan could have won. Many of the students said their knowledge about Trump came from what their friends told them.

"I thought Trump was racist," one black student told the class.

"I thought he was going to send us back to Africa."

"He doesn't have the power," another student assured him.

'Crying Like Babies'

As for Hillary Clinton, who fell to Trump in the Electoral College while winning the popular vote, the students seemed impassive. Julian said he did not know much about her, just that she did not seem "as bad." Layla, a 12-year-old black student, said Clinton's loss meant that maybe she could be the first female president, now.

Sierra-Mannie-Layla_C_Ik_web_t670-670x0-c-default.jpgFuture president Layla/Imani Khayyam

As her students wrote and drew pictures about what a Trump presidency would mean for them, their families and their futures for their final assignment of the day, Connolly said she voted for Clinton. She, her roommates and a friend watched the election results with increasing despair. "Five grown women, four teachers and a lawyer, crying like babies on the couch," she said.

But Connolly says it is important for her, as a white person, to make moves to bridge the gap of trust between herself and her students, especially when they might feel threatened by what they don't understand.

"When tragedy strikes, my voice needs to be louder. Their lives are the ones going to be affected more than the women's on the couch."

Sierra Mannie is an education reporting fellow for the Jackson Free Press and The Hechinger Report. E-mail her at sierra@jacksonfreepress.com.

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See also:
* Schoolchildren "Have A Lot Of Questions And A Lot Of Fear" In Aftermath Of Trump Victory.

* The Mystery Of President-Elect Donald J. Trump And His Election Agenda: 'There's Not Much More.'

* Educators Ponder Meaning Of A Trump Presidency: Plea For 'The Vulnerable And The Bullied.'

* After Shocking Election, New York History Teacher Tries To Alleviate 'Despair, Anxiety Or Indignation.'

* How Can Education Reform The Minds Of Trump Voters?

* If The Anger That Propelled Trump's Win Is Economic, Can Higher Education Fix It?

* Like It Or Not, Trump Is The Next President - Now, Here's How He Can Improve Higher Ed.

* Trump Plan Would Base Student Loans On Employability.

* "Educational Choice" Is A Slogan Slick Enough For Donald Trump.

* Why The Election Matters For Immigrant Students.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:44 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Last Fantasy-Relevant Bear

Random observations from a week in which we were really trying hard to care about football again:

Jordan Howard looks like a keeper: With the stunning drug suspension of Alshon Jeffrey, who - let's face it - didn't produce much fantasy value this season anyway, Jordan Howard, is the last Bear standing with any fantasy value, and even he may end up sitting this week after a mystery injury last week.

In any case, Howard has managed 100-plus yards in four of the five games in which he has double-digit carries this season. If he continues to start, he should get a huge workload the rest of the way, and could position himself with the top eight or so RBs for next season. How's that for finding a silver lining in a terrible season?

But what about Zach Miller? I like Miller in PPR leagues, in which he has averaged 8.8 fantasy points this year. But, while JoHo is a borderline RB-1 the rest of the way, Miller is borderline TE-1 for a position that only plays a single starter in most fantasy leagues.

With Jeffrey out, he should get double-digit pass targets each game the rest of the season, but what is that worth in an offense that managed one TD last week against a Tampa defense in the bottom half of the league?

Miller hasn't scored a TD since Week 5. This week, he gets a NY Giants defense stingy against the pass.

ESPN has him as the 8th-ranked TE this week, which I think is a little bit of a stretch.

Dak Prescott keeps getting better: We're entering Week 11, and Dallas QB Tony Romo was supposed to have reclaimed his starting job by now after the latest of his frequent injuries, but rookie sensation Prescott won't let him. Prescott just posted his first career 300-yard passing game, and has an impressive TDs-to-INTs ratio of 14-2, plus four rushing TDs.

Weeks ago, Prescott was a barely fantasy-relevant game manager, with only four passing TDs in his first five games; now he's starting to look like the next Cam Newton.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:45 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Serenity Now

I was just thinking to myself, "Self, we've had some tough losses in recent years, but it's been awhile since we've had a totally unmitigated shit show."

(Shrugs shoulders, grabs chicken wings, takes swig directly from box of wine and begins watching Bears vs. Bucs)

"The Bears are back, baby!" (chomp, chomp, glug, glug) "Jay Cutler is playing it smart, the running game is finally a legit threat and the defense is nearing full strength. It's time to run the table! Playoffs, here we come!!! PA POW!!!!"

(Insert The Price Is Right fail horn.)

Yeeaaahh.

That didn't go as planned.

To the untrained eye, this one was shaping up to be another example of what the 2016 Bears personify: in-game inconsistency incarnate.

They give you one competitive half of respectable football, one half that feels (and often smells) like a grease fire at a homeless shelter.

Seemingly case in point, Chicago trailed the Bucs by a single score at the half last Sunday.

On those rare occasions that it wasn't handing it to the opposition, four first-half turnovers neutered an offense that was moving the ball.

Based on the pattern we've been subjected to nearly all season, it felt like the "good" Bears were about to take the field in the third quarter, ready to overcome the seven-point deficit.

But the eye with brains smelled a wire-to-wire fail of epic proportions that would leave a bad taste for weeks to come and you didn't have to be a rocket ophthalmologist to hear where the stink was coming from.

Hint: it was under center.

Jay Cutler's final line: 16 of 30 passes completed for 182 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and two fumbles, though only one fumble was lost.

And he wasn't even that good.

Consider that 50 of those passing yards and the lone TD came on the successful Hail Mary at the end of the first half.

Toss this outlier and you're looking at 15/30 for 132 yards, three turnovers and no scores, which amounts to a QB rating of . . . let's see, when the numerator is divisible by a prime number, carry the five . . . cosign . . . Pythagorean theorem . . . quadrangle . . . solve for "X" and the answer is . . .

Here we go: X=diarrhea.

Like many fans, I've been waiting eight years for Cutler to string together a couple of solid seasons.

I like his skill set and his physical tools. It seemed like a matter of time before he got his act together between the ears.

Last year, the guy looked like he had turned the corner in Adam Gase's offense.

We were assured by management that the same offensive blueprint would remain after Gase's departure and we could expect a further improvement to the Bears' best QB since Sid Luckman*.

A gunslinger refined into a sharpshooter.

Fast forward to 2016 and . . . can we get that Fail Horn again?

(Fail Horn)

Thanks.

Worse yet, with the game out of hand in the fourth quarter the Bears had no real options left at QB to evaluate.

You think anybody needs to see more of Matt Barkley?

Furthermore, you think Fox 'n' Co. cared if Cutler got hurt at that point?

You could argue they were rooting for another thumb injury or busted hammy.

What Worked

  • The Linebackers: Another game, another really good performance by the law offices of Floyd, Freeman, McPhee, Trevathan and Young. I know it's really easy to get lulled into a false (read: justified) sense of despair with this team, but if you're a fan of defense you owe it to yourself to watch these guys.
  • When Used, The Running Game: Despite an extremely efficient 100 yards on 15 carries, the Bears deemed it appropriate to stop doing the one thing on offense that was working.

    Dowell Loggains, I retract the support of your play-calling I offered last week.

  • Dumb F-ing Luck: That Hail Mary heave to close out the half was pretty great, huh guys? Yay tip drills!

What (In This Year's Biggest Understatement To Date) Didn't

  • QB = Diarreah: Cha . . . cha . . . cha. We covered that already.
  • Performance Enhancing Drugs: Whatever flavor of ground rhino penis Alshon Jeffery was using to treat his latest soft tissue ailment . . .

    A) . . . wasn't any more useful than topical ointment composed of Sunny Delight, Ben Gay and transmission fluid (see performance, 2016, re: not enhanced).

    B) . . . ultimately cost him more money than the per capita GDP of several small island nations in the Pacific (over $3 million in missed game checks).

    C) . . . were unlikely to improve the play of any of the people throwing him the ball (perhaps try performance-enhancing hypnotherapy next time).

  • Ball Management: Giving a bunch of balls away - unless you're emceeing a charity event, it's not good.
  • Lies (as in, they didn't work): Sure, Jordan Howard also had a turnover. And to that I say in a super insincere tone, "Stop It."

    It's beginning to appear that the Bears coaching staff willfully lied about Howard's health, which they did for . . . reasons?

    "I'm good, man" said the rookie back after the game in an actual quote that I didn't make up for once.

    When asked about the status of Howard's ankle, or achilles or something, John Fox responded (and I'm actually quoting here again because I don't think a comedic insertion is warranted**), "I can't really answer that honestly."

    Soooo, Fox is either incapable of answering honestly (probable), or you honestly don't know what the status of your emerging star is (also probable) . . . cool.

    Removing my super judgy fan hat for a moment, I will be using that line the next time my wife asks "Did you get take a handful of methamphetamines, do some Jager shots and drive the neighbor's Barbie Power Wheels to the strip club, again?"

    Me: "I can't really answer that honestly."

    Hm.

    Works pretty well!

  • Truth (as in, it doesn't work for me): Perineal Pro-Bowl candidate Kyle Long and important backup Will Sutton are out for the season. So if you needed any more reasons to fire up the part of the brain that governs sports-related apathy, you're welcome.

Eye On The Opposition: They Might Be Giants - No, They Definitely Are, I Googled "NFC New York Football Team"
Circling back to the "gunslinger" types, the New York Giants have a guy on their squad who has a propensity for chuckin' the rock all over the damn place too.

Thing is, he has one of the best receivers in the league to hurl it at and if his trophy case is any indication, his instincts are a bit better than our guy's.

Though to be fair, one of those rings is the result of an instinct screaming "Throw it at David Tyree's face, that thing is sticky as hell" in Super Bowl XLII, but I like that a lot more than the voice in Cutler's head that says "Wave the ball around with your throwing hand where opposing defenders can easily strip it."

The G-Men don't have much of a running game to lean on, but they've beaten some decent teams on their way to a 6-3 record (Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles, Saints), so it doesn't appear as though they've had to have one.

If watching a competitive team near the top of the trash pile that is the heap known as the NFC doesn't do it for you, consider that the Bears have become a team with half a fuck left to give.

Will this be the game that Jay Cutler finally snaps and for real fires up a Marlboro Red on the sideline?

Or to keep things interesting, will John Fox flip-flop the players on offense and defense?

Tune in this week to find out if Eddie Royal can cover Odell Beckham, or if Harold Jones-Quartey can kick a 40-yard field goal! (Or if the Giants' new kicker, an old friend, can.)

Does Loggains have the sense of honor to commit hara-kiri right there on the sidelines, or will he wait until the postgame press conference?

I know it's a sad state of affairs, but there are still plenty of reasons to watch!

Or more realistically, DVR and fast-forward through after dinner on Sunday night.

Kool-Aid (2 of 5 Manhattans)
Yeah, I'm moving over to drinks that, like my blood, consist of one type of liquor, mixed with another type of liquor, mixed with something bitter.

One of two things is going to happen this week.

The 2016 season becomes an abject disaster in which a bad team loses all cohesion and just runs around the field like pack of rabid lunatics getting paid to hit people with no sense of which team they are on . . .

Or, the Bears continue to fail at even the act of failing itself and submarine their chances of high draft pick by pulling this one out on the road.

Keep in mind, the Fox-era incarnation of the Bears has performed much better on the road than at Soldier Field. Just try not to watch any of last week's action while reminding yourself of that.

I've dug into the unacceptable performance by the Bears last week, but before I predict this weeks' outcome I think it's time to review some of my own game film and evaluate the BAOKAR track record.

I picked the Bears to win against the Eagles, Colts, Jags, Packers and Bucs, while also picking them to lose against the Vikings.

Perhaps I've been a bit (searches for $20 word synonymous with "fucking wrong" that somehow ducks accountability) . . . contrarian?

If 2016 is any indication, I love to be wrong.

So maybe I'm not really doing us any favors by picking the Bears to win.

Here's the bottom line:

If Chicago can generate a great pass rush and the apparently healthy Jordan Howard is used to his fullest potential clock-gobbling and putting points on the board, this game is winnable.

Outside of Beckham, the Giants don't have many good options on offense.

I don't think it'll happen, but a wrong Carl is a happy Carl.

Giants 30, Bears 13

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About The Author
The Author understands that you're upset. The Author is upset too. It's a perfectly reasonable reaction to the game you saw on Sunday. But The Author wants you to know that it's important not to overreact. Don't let your (totally justifiable) rage get the best of you. Envision yourself pushing those negative feelings deep, deep down into your feet and letting them buoy you to a higher state of vengeful, er, peaceful existance in which you are free of all earthly concerns. Don't you feel better? The Author (tick) sure does (tick).
Serenity now.

serenitycarl.png

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* No, Erik Kramer's 1994 season does not count. It's like you saying that "My wife isn't the hottest chick I've dated," but you're only making that grand declaration because you got to second base with a Virginia Tech cheerleader during a one-time visit to a buddy who happened to live in Blacksburg.

** "I don't think a comedic insertion is warranted" is also what your mom said to me last night! BOOM! Oh wait, that's not a flattering portrayal of my junk; redact, redact!

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

November 16, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

For the last week, I've been compiling the usual kinds of Chicago news to comment on but I find it hard to care much about county soda taxes, Rahm's shenanigans and even indictments (both handed down and pending) given the enormity of what we have before us now.

As a friend said on Twitter the other day to a follower's mundane, local political complaint: I ain't got time for that now.


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That's about right. Run like hell.

*

This is dangerous, of course. The rest of the news still matters. Local pols - and corporate bigwigs - still mean you harm. We can't forget about city council hijinks, bureaucratic bollocks and, of course, Governor Burns in Springfield.

But Jesus F. Christ, we're really in for it now.

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The U.S. Does A Lousy Job Of Tracking Hate Crimes
"More than 3,000 state and local law enforcement agencies don't report hate crimes to the FBI as part of its annual national survey of crime in America."

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And more from the "The Election Of An American President Made This Necessary" file . . .

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And . . .

Neo-Nazis Declare New Balance The Official Shoes Of White People.

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White Patriots Not Big Fans Of The Declaration Of Independence.

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Transition Team Of Deplorables.

*

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I'll get back to Chicago stuff sooner rather than later, but at the same time, normalization is even more dangerous than ignoring local concerns. The new state of America must now infuse everything we do. This ain't no fooling around.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Sanctuary city.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Donald Trump's The Wall

"I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks."


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Track listing:

1. In the Flesh?: Trump for President? (0:01)

2. The Thin Ice: Young Trump (3:18)

3. Another Brick in the Wall (Part I) (5:54)

4. The Happiest Days of Our Lives (9:05)

5. Another Brick in the Wall (Part II): Trump University (10:51)

6. Goodbye Blue Sky (14:53)

7. Empty Spaces: Trump Rising (17:37)

8. Young Lust: Trump in the '80s (19:46)

9. One of My Turns: Trump in the '90s (23:17)

10. Don't Leave Me Now: Trump's Women (26:53)

11. Another Brick in the Wall (Part III): The Trump Brand (31:09)

12. Goodbye Cruel World (32:58)

13. Hey You (33:38)

14. Is There Anybody Out There? (38:20)

15. Nobody Home: From the Desk of Donald Trump (40:59)

16. Vera: Tribute to Ivana (44:44)

17. Bring the Boys Back Home (46:00)

18. Comfortably Numb: Trump TV (47:23)

19. The Show Must Go On (53:44)

20. In The Flesh: Trump for President (55:22)

21. Run Like Hell: Trump Protesters (59:36)

22. Waiting for the Worms: Trump Supporters (1:03:59)

23. Stop (1:07:59)

24. The Trial (1:08:32)

25. Outside the Wall (1:11:05)

"Note: The track 'Mother' was skipped because there's just not that much footage out there about Trump's mother. Also the song 'The Trial' is abbreviated."

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See also: "Donald Trump The Wall's" YouTube channel.

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Plus: Sean Flynn's "In The Flesh."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:58 AM | Permalink

The U.S. Does A Lousy Job Of Tracking Hate Crimes

In 2015, the authorities in California documented 837 hate-crime incidents, charting a surge in offenses motivated by religious intolerance toward Muslims and Jews, while crimes against Latinos grew by 35 percent.

Last week, shortly after Donald J. Trump was elected the country's next president, the Southern Poverty Law Center put up a form on its website encouraging people to share details about potential hate crimes. By the next day, they'd received about 250 reports - more than they're used to seeing in six months.

Then on Monday, the FBI released its latest national tabulation of hate crimes, data that showed an overall uptick of 6.8 percent from 2014 to 2015. The accounting, drawn from information passed on to the bureau by state and local law enforcement agencies, charted a 67 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Do You Have A Tip?
ProPublica will be covering hate crimes in the coming months - who commits them, where they happen, who should be tracking them. Readers with tips or other information please contact reporter A.C. Thompson at A.C.Thompson@propublica.org.

The mix of information - state level, anecdotal, federally collected, dating from two years ago to last week - is sure to fuel the country's evolving conversation and concern about the potential for violence in a divided America.

Already, those worried about the consequences of Trump's triumph have seized on some of the reports to stoke worry about emboldened white nationalists.

And Trump's supporters have moved quickly to try and debunk the swirl of alleged incidents of intimidation and violence that have surfaced in social media.

But even in the early stages of what promises to be a prolonged focus on crimes colored by prejudice and politics, there appears to be one irrefutable truth: The data is deeply flawed.

James Comey, the director of the FBI, said as much even as he announced the bureau's latest batch of numbers.

"We need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crimes to fully understand what is happening in our communities and how to stop it," Comey said.

More than 3,000 state and local law enforcement agencies don't report hate crimes to the FBI as part of its annual national survey of crime in America.

Hawaii, for example, doesn't file any such reports.

And many of the law enforcement agencies that do choose to participate do not appear to be particularly rigorous about documenting hate crimes and passing that information onto the federal authorities.

"A lot of agencies just submit a piece of paper saying they had no hate crimes," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at the California State University, Santa Barbara.

The vast majority of police and sheriff's departments reported no hate crimes last year, according to Levin.

The data appears particularly spotty in much of the South, a region with a long history of racial strife.

Police in Mississippi reported zero hate crimes in 2015.

In Arkansas, the number was eight.

In Alabama, it was 12.

It seems the number of hate crimes on college campuses is also undercounted by the FBI. The most recent statistics gathered by the U.S. Department of Education appear to show at least twice as many offenses occurring at colleges and universities as the FBI data.

The FBI "data system is of little help to authorities who investigate and track hate crimes," wrote Ronald L. Davis, head of the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, in an essay published earlier this year.

"This is a significant problem because, if the authorities do not know how many hate crimes are committed, they cannot get an accurate picture of whether hate crime laws are effective, which can lead to fewer resources allocated to combating hate crimes."

An FBI spokesperson acknowledged that nearly 20 percent of law enforcement agencies don't participate in the program, but said the bureau was working "to improve the data collection."

A key problem, said Phyllis Gerstenfeld, author of a well-known book on hate crimes, is that the FBI has no legal mechanism to compel law enforcement agencies to file crime reports or ensure that they submit accurate information.

Still, some states are doing an admirable job, noted Gerstenfeld, a criminology professor at California State University, Stanislaus. In California, for example, police officers receive training on hate crimes as part of their initial education at the police academy, which can help officers identify bigotry-driven offenses. California law requires police and sheriff's deputies to closely monitor hate crimes and share their findings with both the California Attorney General and the FBI.

In total, the FBI documented 5,850 hate-crime incidents in the report it issued Monday, most targeting people on the basis of race or ethnicity, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. For some, the surge in crimes against Muslims was not surprising.

"It confirms what we've been seeing on the ground since late last year - a spike in hate crimes against Muslims," said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group.

Since Trump claimed the presidency on Nov. 8, social media has been deluged with first-person accounts of racist incidents and attacks on Muslims, prompting BuzzFeed to compile a listicle titled "Here Are 28 Reported Racist Incidents After Donald Trump's Victory." This catalog of abuse includes graffiti (lots of swastikas, and, in upstate New York, an exhortation to "Make America White Again"); violence (an African-American college student assaulted in Ohio); and intimidation in myriad forms (black students receiving online invitations to a lynching in Pennsylvania, a Muslim woman who was told "Your time's up, girlie" on the New York subway, etc.).

Oren Segal, the director of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, believes it's too early to tell if reports are higher than normal because incidents are happening more frequently or because people are simply more aware of them. But he said the direct connection to a single politician is unique.

"The fact that so much of it is being linked to our presidential campaign is very, very disturbing," he said.

Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center's agreed.

"This is way out of the norm," she said of the striking number of reports collected in a single day last week. "People feel emboldened by Trump."

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

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

November 15, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

About the campaign strategist who will now join President-elect Donald Trump in the White House:

"Before joining Trump's team, Bannon spearheaded Breitbart's shift into a forum for the 'alt-right,' a loose online confederation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semitics. Bannon's hiring by Trump's campaign this year signaled the businessman's dedication to operating outside the norms of Washington," Reuters reports.

"Under Bannon's leadership, the Breitbart site presented a number of conspiracy theories about Clinton as well as Republicans deemed to be lacking in conservative bona fides."

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With friends like this . . .

friends.png

Steve to Tim: This is Hans. He voted for Hitler. This is Ernst. He voted for German Clinton . . .

Also, these memes are always about two white people. What about . . . 'This is a white person who voted for Trump. This is a Muslim/Mexican/Black who voted for Clinton. They should still be friends.'

Tim to Steve: This is Ernst. He voted for Clinton. This is Hitler. He voted for Trump.

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Dear Media: Stop Normalizing Trump
Here come the beat sweeteners.

After U.S. Election, Retirement Security Heads For Crash
Nasty surprise in for aging Trump supporters.

About Those Election Maps . . .
Pro tip: Land does not equal people.

'Why Is This Station Promoting Desegregation?'
"Stop dreaming the impossible dream of integration."

Beachwood Photo Booth: Battle Ax, Michigan
American ghost.

Hallelujah: How An Ignored Song Became A Classic
It took cover versions of Leonard Cohen's original for it to seep into public consciousness.

Emmett Till's Father Was Hanged
"A discourse on truth, power as well as the lie of race and its consequences."

Chicagoetry: Black Tupelo
Romantic lies of authority grew tired.

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Beachwood tribute . . .

His Last Words: 'No Trump'
We remember Steve Ediger.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #127: Trumped Up
Who we are. Including: Trump Ruined The Cubs' World Series Championship; Tweeting Trump; Wait 'Til This Year; Guaranteed Grate; and Back To Breeders'.

Breakfast In America: EPL Shines Light On Trump
Into a dystopian darkness.

SportsMonday: Don't Let This Trump Supporter Steal Our Sundays Anymore
Enough with Jay Cutler.

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From the Beachwood music desk . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Neil Gaiman with Amanda Palmer, Aurora, CRX, Sloan, Jonathan Tyler, Nest, Napalm Death, Lera Lynn, Peter Hook, The Appleseed Cast, The Fray, Matt Wertz, Mr Little Jeans, Them Evils, The 1975, Styx, Nicolas Jaar, Gus Gus, SafetySuit, Katie Ellen, The Boxer Rebellion, and Snails.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: K.Flay, Roisin Murphy, Glass Animals, Arkona, Epica, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Like a Villain, Suzanne Vega, Mohsen Namjoo, 2 Minute Minor, Heavy Times, COZY, and The Sueves.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood

#UniteBlue.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: 📎

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:23 AM | Permalink

'Why Is This Station Promoting The Desegregation Of Chicago Schools?'

"There is no acceptable desegregation plan," said Doris "Pixie" Galik of the Chicago Lawn Civic Association in 1979. "Stop dreaming the impossible dream of integration. It has become a nightmare for Chicago's neighborhoods."


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Previously from The Museum of Classic Chicago Television:
* Carleton The Mime.

* The Ground Round.

* Dance Fever Christmas Special.

* Into The Valley Of The Space Invaders.

* Help Save Classic Chicago TV!

* Monstrous Movie Flashback Starring Bag O'Laughs.

* Help Save Classic Chicago Television!

* Dominick's Holiday Turkey With Pop-Up Timer.

* The Safety Elves Of Northbrook.

* Smoking Stinks.

* Good News TV: When Crime Was Down And Nazis Weren't Bugging Us.

* When Gary Coleman Pitched Harris Bank.

* Sword Of Justice!

* Jobs In Chicago.

* When A Chicago TV Show Interviewed The San Diego Chicken.

* Paul Lynde vs. Halloween.

* Tom Turkey Cake.

* A Classic Chicago Television Christmas.

* Rainbows Of Flavor & Fun.

* A Good Old-Fashioned Tastee-Freez Commercial.

* When What's Happening!! Happened.

* Classic Chicago Thanksgiving TV.

* Groundhog Day: 1972 Newscast Ripped From Today's Headlines.

* Bozo's 4th Of July Spectacular.

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See also:
* The Museum of Classic Chicago Television YouTube Channel.

* Fuzzy Memories TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:53 AM | Permalink

Hallelujah: How An Ignored Leonard Cohen Song Became A Modern Legend

The final few bars of Leonard Cohen's life song have been played out. He was the elder statesman of a trio of iconic male North American singer-songwriters that included Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. This group of musical malcontents laid bare the American male psyche in a way that hadn't been heard before. Their singing was the flip side to the American Dream, a jarring contrast to the seductively beautiful voices of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, each using an idiosyncratic vocal tone to channel the anger, joy and pain of their songs.

Cohen's voice seemed to sink into the depths as he got older, and by the time he recorded "Hallelujah: in 1984 at the age of 50 it had morphed into a mournful "basso profundo." Astonishingly, despite containing a song that has now inspired more than 300 versions, Cohen's American label declined to release the album Various Positions. This may account for the way the song has gradually seeped into the public consciousness. It was other artists' takes on Cohen's song, rather than the original, that built a wave of interest in it and made "Hallelujah" into the modern hymn it is today.

First out of the blocks was John Cale in 1991 with a piano and vocal version on the Cohen tribute album I'm Your Fan. It brought a more obvious passion to the song than Cohen's more emotionally guarded reading. The recording was picked up to be used in the 2001 film Shrek, starting a long sequence of placements in movies and TV shows.

But the most critically acclaimed version was recorded in 1994 by the late American singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley on his album Grace. Opening with a complex solo guitar exploration of the song's chords, Buckley brought a quasi-classical fragility to his performance that cemented his position as the romantic electric troubadour par excellence. The album is now regarded as a classic, with Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" being ranked among Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs Of All Time."

So what makes the song so powerful - and why has it reached out to so many people?

Its chords are simple, mostly coming from the notes of the major scale of the song's key. Rhythmically it has the type of rolling 12/8 feel you find in much gospel and folk music - again nothing special. But this is where the songwriter's craft comes in. In the greatest songs there is a combination of lyric, melody, rhythm and harmony that come together in an alchemic fusion of craft, inspiration and perspiration. Cohen is one of the great songwriters and wrote as many as 80 verses of "Hallelujah" before cutting it down to a final four.

That commitment to the craft is evident in the melodic construction, which is as organized as a Mozart melody or Miles Davis improvisation. The verse begins with a simple questioning melodic figure that moves stepwise in tones between the fifth and sixth degrees of the scale. It is the second half of the verse where the magic begins. Again the melody ascends from the fifth but this time keeps driving on up until it has climbed a sixth to the major third. This passage is central to the song's emotional core, driving the listener into a state of near ecstasy. Cohen combines the melodic journey with a knowing lyric that lays bare the song's harmonic construction:

Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Managing the internal rhymes as well as getting the chords to match the lyric is a feat of songwriting on a par with Cole Porter, one of the greatest writers of The Great American Songbook era, who similarly marks a change "from major to minor" in the song "Every Time We Say Goodbye."

The chorus of "Hallelujah" is simpler, beginning with an ascending three-note motif that then descends again, highlighting the fifth and sixth degrees of the scale. The use of these intervals may be a nod to Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" from the oratorio "The Messiah," which also emphasizes the same pitches.

But in addition to the nerdiness of my musicological deconstruction, I wanted to try to understand the spirituality and religious references in the song. For this I turned to Felicity Buirski, a singer-songwriter, psychotherapist and close friend of Leonard Cohen. She explained:

Most singer-songwriters don't like their songs torn apart and mauled by the thinking brain when so much poetry is about articulating often frozen inarticulate feelings, and Leonard was no exception. He once told me that he didn't have to explain away his songs when I pressed him on a certain lyric's meaning.

As a songwriter myself I now know that the best poetry is often written just prior to understanding. To me Leonard's exceptionally beautiful song "Hallelujah" has touched the hearts, minds and souls of millions of people because it expresses a profound ambivalence that many of us have felt and endured . . . a deep yearning for connection and unconditional love.

In a world where the notion of love has been commodified and devalued, where division and hate are exploited for personal and political gain, Cohen's voice is more important than ever before. He provides us with a mirror to our souls, where we see ourselves with a loving but unsentimental if not brutal clarity.

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Adrian York is a senior lecturer in commercial music performance at the University of Westminster. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

Dear Media: Stop Normalizing Trump

From penning puff pieces to "pivoting to 'Trump as our kooky uncle'" to glossing over his promotion of white nationalist Steve Bannon, the media is helping to normalize President-elect Donald Trump, critics charged this week.

It was a trend that began during the campaign, FAIR's Adam Johnson wrote on Sunday, and it has only accelerated since the election.

"Oprah Winfrey, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, said Trump's recent visit to the White House gave her 'hope' and suggested he has been 'humbled' by the experience," Johnson wrote.

The Guardian's Simon Jenkins told his readers to 'calm down' and that Trump wasn't the 'worst thing.'

His college, Nouriel Roubini, insisted the Oval Office will 'tame' Trump.

People magazine ran a glowing profile of Trump and his wife Melania, though a former People writer accused Trump of sexual assault.

The New York Times' Nick Kristof dubiously added that we should 'Grit our teeth and give Trump a chance.'

The mainstays - the Washington Post, New York Times and CNN - while frequently critical, are covering Trump's transition as they would any other.

Needless to say, Trump's transition is hardly run-of-the-mill. Less than a week after his election, Trump appointed Steve Bannon as "chief strategist to the president." Or, as Charles Pierce put it at Esquire, "[t]he president-elect went out of his way to hire a white supremacist and anti-Semite to run his policy shop."

The selection of Bannon, despite his integral role in Trump's presidential campaign, is radical when one considers his affiliation with the alt-right movement and espousal of wide-ranging conspiracy theories.

"But if you picked up any copies of the nation's major newspapers, everything seems normal," writes Judd Legum, editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress, noting major outlets' portrayal of Bannon as an "outsider" and "loyalist."

Columnist Will Bunch, writing at Philly.com, is of a different mind. "Did I mention, folks, that this is #NotNormal?" he said, referencing an increasingly popular Twitter hashtag.

Of course, this probably ensures Bannon on next week's glam cover of People - 'Trump's Bomb Thrower!' or some such thing - and a lot of inside-the-Beltway suck-up profiles of Bannon by journalists desperate for access to the corridors of power.

This is what terrifies me - the rapid normalization of things that are completely abnormal to the American way of life. And it's going to come up on us fast. Read up on past leaders with strongman visions similar to those that Trump articulated during his 'astonishing journey.' It didn't take them four years to accumulate power in an authoritarian manner. Usually less than four months. Especially with a good minister of propagand . . . excuse me, I mean 'senior counselor and strategist.'

The normalization stretches beyond Bannon, too.

Media Matters, for example, lambasted 60 Minutes for its "softball" interview with Trump on Sunday.

60minutes-trump-stahl.jpg

Interviewer Lesley Stahl's "framing assumes that the Trump who will soon be leading the country is not going to be the same Trump who ran one of the most divisive, undisciplined, and dangerous presidential campaigns in modern American history," wrote Carlos Maza, calling the episode "a master class in normalizing a dangerous demagogue.

And those questions about Trump's personal feelings came at the expense of more serious questions about what he actually plans to do as president, especially in light of his shameful positions as a candidate: his pledge to ban Muslims from entering the country or engage in war crimes, for example. They also came at the expense of questions about ongoing controversies, lawsuits, and conflicts of interest surrounding the president-elect, including charges of fraud over Trump University, his promise to sue the many women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault, the anti-Semitic positions of his campaign and reports of the same surrounding his new senior counselor, and Trump's ties to white nationalists at home and Russian interests abroad.

Is this how major news networks will spend the next four years normalizing Trump's extremism? Treat it like an act, assume he doesn't mean what he says, fixate on the sensationalism of his ascendancy, and play nice in order to maintain access? The same thing happened during the campaign, when journalists spent months predicting a Trump "pivot" that never came.

And John Oliver, in Sunday's season finale of his show Last Week Tonight, urged against complacency when it comes to the "Klan-backed misogynist internet troll" who will serve as the nation's 45th president.

"It is going to be easy for things to start feeling normal, especially if you are someone who is not directly impacted by his actions," Oliver said. "So keep reminding yourself, this is not normal. He's abnormal. He's a human 'What Is Wrong With This Picture.' So giving him a chance, in the sense of not speaking out immediately against policies he has proposed, is dangerous."

Watch below:

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Also:

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Beat sweeteners.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:19 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Nation Has Lost A Good One: Remembering Steve Ediger

I met Steve in the late '80s through our mutual friend Evan Singer. Evan was, like Steve, born and bred in Chicago (Evan went to Mather High and Illinois State U., where he and I met; Steve went to Whitney Young High and North Park College; I went to Naperville Central and ISU). They had a band called Lert Somboon Festival of Love. Evan played guitar, Steve played bass and was the principal songwriter. They needed a drummer so Evan reached out to me (we had a band back at ISU).

We came together (as I recall) in 1989, and rehearsed at a place called Nepentha, near Milwaukee and Chicago Avenues, where Steve worked on, among other things, putting faux finishes on statuary. We'd rehearse in the basement, surrounded by creepy statues. It was perfect! Steve had a rich and macabre sense of humor, which came out in his songs, drawings and paintings. He always made our posters; he had a distinctive, deft touch in his drawings.

Our band took pride in improvising arrangements onstage, opening up to one another to actually jam. Steve was a great bass player, though I don't think he realized just how great he was. We played together for a few years (at Batteries Not Included, Weeds, Phyllis', Links Hall, etc.) and then, in my recall, got ground down in the "endless tour of the Near Northwest Side." We made some recordings, but this was before the Internet and it was difficult and expensive to press up LPs or tapes without a record company. The Alternative Music scene exploded around us, but also without us.

So we drifted apart in the early '90s, but found ourselves back together at a poetry reading I was doing at Phyllis' in 2007. Steve suggested we get together just to jam for fun, but then we got right back into the momentum of playing out for the rest of the year, as was our natural habit. We had some fun, but then (again, in my view) we were right back where we were 15 years before, only 15 years older. So we agreed that we'd had our fun and that was gonna have to be enough.

We made new recordings of our tunes in that last year, now available at Spotify as "That was Now, This is Then" by Lert Somboon Festival of Love. It captures our punk/low-fi aesthetic and features Steve's unique voice and songs. Our motto was "Slow and Hard."

He was smart, funny, talented and a nice guy in a genuine and alluring way. And he was a product of a Chicago environment for the arts that nourished his diverse talents. We'll miss him deeply.

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See also: Chicagoetry: Black Tupelo.

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Editor's Note: I knew Steve Ediger from the Beachwood Inn, and he invented a ritual for us every time we saw each other there that I thought was the corniest thing ever, but there was no way I was ever going to let a single time go by without fulfilling it; we would bump fists and then raise our arms in the air while announcing "Team Steve!"

I didn't see as much of Steve around the bar in its last couple of years, and once it closed many of us were scattered to the winds, but it turned out he and I had other mutual acquaintances, so it came that in June 2015 I found him in the place where I've lived since 2014, at a house party/fundraiser for a community mural my roommate was coordinating. Of course we greeted each other the usual way - "Team Steve!" - and fell into the old routine.

That's when I learned he had fought a fight against oral cancer that was pretty ugly. Doctors took skin grafts from his calf and forearm to replace the tongue he lost; he had difficulty swallowing and had to constantly wet his mouth. And yet, at least at that time and place, he had his usual (to me, anyway) upbeat temperament. I think he was happier than I was!

I saw him at least one other time, as I recall, and then saw some of his artwork on Facebook, and the next I heard, the cancer had returned and he wasn't doing so well. I didn't see him again, but J.J. was at his side in the last weeks. When J.J. went to see Steve in the hospital for what turned out to be the last time, he asked me if I had any words to pass on. I said, just tell him, "Team Steve." J.J. did, and reported back to me that Steve smiled.

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Lert Somboon Festival Of Love

I Got The News

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On the Air

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Been Around, Get Around

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Steve's last words to J.J.: "No Trump."

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Steve Ediger on Facebook.

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A memorial is planned for Saturday December 17, at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Avenue in Chicago, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Service from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

November 14, 2016

Breakfast In America: EPL Shines Light On Trump

A month ago, I asked you to "imagine, for a moment, that a person exists at the intersection of Venn diagrams Trump Hater, Chicago Bears Fan Troll, and AFC Bournemouth Supporter. That person just had a pretty damn good week.

Of course that was me.

But now, imagine that a person exists at the intersection of Venn diagrams Trump Hater, AFC Bournemouth Supporter, and Leonard Cohen fan.

Of course that was me too.

When times are tough, I start thinking about a simpler time. For instance, I remember learning about the Electoral College in high school. I distinctly remember my teacher stating that the Electoral College is there in case we vote for somebody who is a threat to democracy itself. Voters cannot be not trusted to avoid extreme populism and demagoguery.

Oopsie.

I'm pretty low on inspiration, but I'm sure the English Premier League can keep the light of democracy lit before we fall into our dystopian darkness.

In fact, I've just learned the favorite inspirational quotes about democracy of several EPL personalities.

Name: Mark Hughes, manager, Stoke City

Quote: "An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that Barack Obama's birth certificate is a fraud."

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Name: Demetri Payet, midfielder, West Ham United

Quote: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bring crime. They're rapists . . . And some, I assume, are good people."

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Name: Wayne Rooney, no known position, Manchester United

Quote: "By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know."

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Name: Callum Wilson, striker, AFC Bournemouth

Quote: "His wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say. She probably - maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say."

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Name: Tim Heaton, goalkeeper, Burnley

Quote: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

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Name: David Luiz, central defender, Chelsea

Quote: "I've been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall, OK? I'm building a wall."

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Name: Kevin DeBruyne, midfielder, Mancester City

Quote: "40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan (before 9/11) . . . And now it's the tallest."

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Name: Saido Mane, midfielder, Liverpool

Quote: "I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There's a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we're not allowed punch back anymore . . . I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell ya."

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Name: Diego Costa, striker, Chelsea

Quote: "There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell - I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees."

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Name: Shkodran Mustafi, defender, Arsenal

Quote: "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever."

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Name: Gareth McAuley, defender, West Bromwich Albion

Quote: "Look at my African American over here!"

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Name: Jordan Pickford, goalkeeper, Sunderland

Quote: "[Ted Cruz's] father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being - you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don't even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it."

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Name: Romelu Lukaku, striker, Everton

Quote: "If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%,"

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Name: Michail Antonio, midfielder, West Ham United

Quote: "No, I meant he's the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the Most Valuable Player. I give him the Most Valuable Player award."

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Beachwood Sabermetrics: Based on all historical data available from the beginning of time, perhaps the silliest argument I've ever heard is when somebody claims that when they are called racist, that is just intolerance and they are being bullied.

Brunch Special: It's hard saying. I'm probably going to be eating food from a can in my safe room before this is posted.

Population of the Cherry Nation: Seven. 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: We found a way to lose to Sunderland 2-1. They gave us every chance. But that happened nine days ago and I don't care anymore.

Like actual Kool-Aid, you made a mess of everything. Your mom is following through with her threat to use Splenda. She's also curious if the English Supernanny can come over and run things instead, like it was done over 250 years ago.

Percent Sugar in the Cherry Kool-Aid: This Week: 0%. Last Week: 40%.

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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.

* Our Ann Coulter.

* Old Wives And Walking Sticks.

* Chill Out, People.

* Premier League Presidential Endorsements.

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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 4:27 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Emmett Till's Father, Microbes From Hell & Artisanal Artillery

"Forty-nine years after the publication of his first book, Mr. Wideman has forged Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File, perhaps his most impressive armament so far," Norman Conti writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"Like so many of Mr. Wideman's books, it opens on the streets of Homewood before leading the reader on a tour of cities and nations all situated in the heart of the author.

"The journey begins with Emmett Till, as he travels from Chicago to the Mississippi scene of his gruesome murder and the exoneration of his killers. Then, Mr. Wideman takes us deeper into this nation's heart of darkness with an examination of the case of Louis Till, Emmett's father.

"Louis Till, a soldier in WWII, was executed by the U.S. Army; his case file was eventually exhumed to discredit the Till family, in order to prevent a retrial of Emmett's killers for kidnapping - charges they had admitted to during their murder trial. Decades later, Mr. Wideman obtained his own copy of the Louis Till file - poring over it, internalizing content and blending it with the striking parallels between the Tills and his own family. Mr. Wideman combines the official record with his own experiences and imagination to produce a discourse on truth, power as well as the lie of race and its consequences."

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See also this NPR interview with the author: Emmett Till's Father Was Also Hanged: A New Book Tells His Story.


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Microbes From Hell
"In Microbes from Hell, molecular biologist Patrick Forterre narrates the intriguing history of the discovery of archaea, single-celled microorganisms with no distinct nucleus that may have evolved as long ago 4 billion years," Sonja-Verena Albers writes for Nature.

"It was Forterre who, in the 1980s, found that certain archaea wind their DNA using reverse gyrase enzymes, which work differently from the gyrase found in bacteria. This is history told by a scientist who helped to make it."

Not sure what that means? Me either, but here's what the publisher, the University of Chicago Press, has to say:

"[This] discovery sparked a conceptual revolution in our understanding of the evolution of life, and Patrick Forterre was - and still is - at the vanguard of this revolution."

microbes.jpg

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Ready The Cannons!
"William Gurstelle has a knack for building highly kinetic things. He often explores subjects that seem dangerous from a distance - like cannons and catapults - but are safe so long as you understand the science," Andy Orin writes for lifehacker.

"He is the author of bestselling Backyard Ballistics, which details a variety of projectile-flinging DIY projects, as well as other books like Absinthe and Flamethrowers, a personal favorite that advocates getting your hands a little dirty and living dangerously (well, to a point). He also writes in magazines like Make and Popular Science, and has appeared on the Discovery and History Channels as a communicator of science.

"His latest book is Ready the Cannons! Getting back to ballistics, Gurstelle explores various types of projectile launcher and their context in history.

"Of course, he also explains how to make your own miniature versions. They range from marshmallow guns to steel rubber band shooters, as well as larger projects that are pretty much real cannons - real, even if the ammo is a potato. Safety is always a priority, of course; after all, you should never turn your back on a loaded potato.

"We spoke with Gurstelle to learn about how he works."

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From the publisher, Chicago Review Press:

"Garage warriors will get a bang out of this new handbook from the author of Backyard Ballistics that shows how to build cannons and other fun things that shoot, from Wiffle ball launchers and beverage bottle bazookas to superpowered water guns and model culverins.

"In Ready the Cannons!, engineer William Gurstelle breaks down how to safely construct a dozen awesome artillery devices in your basic home workshops using easy-to-find household or hardware store materials.

"Clear instructions, diagrams, and photographs illustrate how to build projects ranging from the simple (a supersonic Ping-Pong ball shooter) to the more complex (a replica of the Napoleon Cannon).

"With a strong emphasis on safety, the book also gives tips on troubleshooting, tells the history of how and when the artillery devices were used, and explains the physics behind the projects.

"This book will be indispensable for the legions of backyard watergunners, model-rocket launchers, and fireworks fanatics who wish every day were the Fourth of July."

cannons.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Don't Let Trump Supporter Steal Our Sundays Anymore

When my son Noah and I traveled to Bradenton, Florida for a Baseball Factory event at Pirate City over the weekend, I had a chance to take a nice break from the news for about three days.

And yes, Bradenton is not far from Tampa and no we did not take in the Bears game at the end of the trip Sunday. I think we made the right call.

But when game time rolled around, we zeroed back in on the Bears and the sports world in general as we took in all the games at a local sports bar. It did not take long to wish we hadn't.

The Bears game was front-and-center where we hunkered down. The atmosphere and the service at the place did not even qualify as average so I will not do it the honor of a plug. The game proceeded, Jay Cutler played terribly and eventually we moved on after the Bears' 36-10 loss dropped them to 2-7.

The fact that Cutler was so bad against a bad defense - combined with the fact that we learned the day before that he didn't just vote for Donald Trump, he was a "longtime supporter" of Donald Trump - should finally do the trick. Unless Cutler plays great for the season's remaining seven games and somehow leads the Bears to a wild card playoff berth, enough fans will remember how bad he has been for so long that the team will be forced to get rid of him sooner rather than later.

And hallelujah to that.


Moving right along . . . let's talk some more about the event in Bradenton.

The Baseball Factory is one of the many, many companies that have taken advantage of the fact that tens of thousands of American families are willing to spend seemingly limitless dollars on their kids' sporting potential (the Coffman family included - although we like to think we still have some limits).

Noah has specialized in catching the last few years. He was good enough during his junior high school season that one of his coaches nominated him to attend a BF evaluation in the suburbs after the season. His performance there earned him an invite to Pirate City. That invite was not cheap - and didn't include the cost of travel.

When we got there, we found he was part of a group of about 80 young ballplayers who ranged in age from 14-17. Noah is at the back end of that spread and we worried just about everyone would be younger. As it turned out, there were more 14- to 16-year-olds but there were enough fellow seniors and juniors to make things comfortable enough.

Just about all of those kids were there chasing scholarships. Noah isn't in that boat at this point. He isn't quite tall enough, fast enough or hard-throwing enough or left-handed enough to draw the attention of big programs. Where he goes to college will be determined primarily by his academics.

We went to this hoping mostly that it would be educational and fun. It succeeded on both counts, even if I was able to see Noah just three times during the next three days after dropping him off - once for a meal and twice to watch mini-games.


Watching the Bears has not been fun and it has certainly not been educational of late - except maybe in terms of teaching football people what not to do. And the Bears have the least fun quarterback on the planet, a coach-killer who just might add John Fox and Dowell Loggains to his tally before finally leaving town.

So let's resolve to spend the rest of our football Sundays this year doing stuff that is fun. That can certainly entail watching other pro football games for whatever reasons. Especially given how entertaining so many of the rest of the games were on Sunday.

There is no reason the pathetic Bears should be allowed to take that away from us any longer.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our Monday morning quarterback. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:40 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Neil Gaiman with Amanda Palmer at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.


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2. Aurora at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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3. CRX at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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4. Sloan at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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5. Jonathan Tyler at Schubas on Friday night.

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6. Nest at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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7. Napalm Death at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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8. Lera Lynn at the Old Town School on Saturday night.

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9. Peter Hook at the Metro on Thursday night.

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10. The Appleseed Cast at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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11. The Fray at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

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12. Matt Wertz at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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13. Mr Little Jeans at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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14. Them Evils at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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15. The 1975 at the Aragon on Sunday night.

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16. Renaissance at the Arcada in St. Charles on Saturday night.

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17. Pavlov at the Arcada in St. Charles on Saturday night.

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18. Styx at the Genesee in Waukegan on Thursday night.

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19. Nicolas Jaar at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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20. Gus Gus at Chop Shop on Wednesday night.

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21. SafetySuit at the Genesee in Waukegan on Wednesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Katie Ellen at Beat Kitchen on November 6th.

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The Boxer Rebellion at Lincoln Hall on October 29th.

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Snails at the Concord on October 29th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:53 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Black Tupelo

Black Tupelo
After W.H. Auden

Now is the winter.
I took you for granted,
Black tupelo,

Grand in the yard,
Grand in the parkway,
Grand in the autumn:

Dying leaves
For a fortnight
A beacon

Of bold crimson,

Like a ruby-strewn
Chandelier, or a Chinese fan
Of blood-red tears.

Now sullen, brittle and bare.
I took you for granted.
Now my shadow pales

Next to yours.
Ten years ago
I'd sit in one of the dives

Of Division Street,
Uncertain and afraid
As clever hopes expired

And romantic lies
Of authority
Grew tired.

Those were different times.
Now I brood upon convention
From the furniture of home.

But no Now
Is Ever-Now
And I know,

Black tupelo,

You'll bloom again.
In the mean,
I must endure,

And though beleaguered
Must project
An affirming flame.

I shall will
My shadow
To burn bold crimson,

To be a point of light,
A beacon in the night,
A voice (all I have!)

Resolute against the lies.

We must love one another
Or die.

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:13 AM | Permalink

After U.S. Election, Retirement Security Heads For A Crash

Retirement security already looked like a looming train wreck for most U.S. households before Election Day. Now, the consolidation of Republican control of government threatens to accelerate the crash.

It is too early to predict the agenda Donald Trump will bring to the White House on retirement policy, or where it might fit on his priority list. We live in a rapidly aging nation, but retirement policy never received a serious airing during the hot mess of a campaign that just ended.

It is also impossible to predict how Trump's priorities will match up with those of Republican leaders in Congress, considering their deep divides on many issues during the campaign.

But previous Republican proposals and Trump's campaign pledges point toward a range of possible GOP retirement initiatives between now and the 2018 midterm elections.

The economic frustrations of older, middle-class voters played an important role in Trump's upset win over Hillary Clinton. Exit polling reveals that voters above age 45 favored him, especially among middle-class households.

These are households bearing the brunt of job loss, income inequality, the decline of traditional defined benefit pensions, rising health-care costs and shrinking Social Security benefits. And they have managed to save precious little for retirement: 62 percent of working households headed by people aged 55-64 have less than one year of annual income, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security - far less than they will need to maintain their standard of living in retirement.

But here is the irony: Republican control of the White House and Congress over the next two years could leave these struggling near-retirement households even worse off. Below is just a partial rundown of the retirement-related issues that will bear careful watching.

OBAMACARE REPEAL

This might not seem like a retirement issue at first glance. But if Trump and Republican lawmakers make good on their promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act, millions of older Americans who fall short of Medicare's eligibility age (65) likely will lose their health insurance.

Hate Obamacare if you like, but it has hugely benefited millions of older low- and middle-income households. The Commonwealth Fund estimates that the percentage of uninsured Americans aged 50-64 fell to 9.1 percent this year, compared with 14 percent in 2013. That translates to 3.1 million previously uninsured people who now have health insurance.

Republicans will likely try to repeal the law, or at minimum gut many of its most important provisions, such as Medicaid coverage for low-income people, and premium subsidies for middle-income households.

The uninsured-and-over-fifty group will be more likely to forego healthcare, and they will arrive at Medicare's doorstep with more untreated illnesses.

"If they repeal it and don't replace it with something meaningful, it's going to really hurt this older population," said Christian Weller, professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

SPIKE THE FIDUCIARY RULE

The U.S. Department of Labor finalized rules this year requiring all financial advisers working with retirement accounts to avoid conflicts and act in the best interest of clients in the products they recommend. This is a huge, positive step in reforming the way retirement savings are managed.

Trump took no position on the so-called fiduciary rule, but he has pledged to cut government regulation aggressively. And one of his advisers promised during the campaign to repeal the rule, even likening it to slavery.

Financial-services lobbyists have been trying to spike the Labor Department rule in the courts and through legislation; President Barack Obama vetoed Republican-sponsored legislation aimed at blocking it in June.

"There is potential for a partial or full pullback," said Rick Jones, senior partner and national retirement practice leader at Aon Hewitt.

CUT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE

Trump said during the campaign he does not favor cutting Social Security or Medicare benefits. But Republican congressional leadership has long favored raising the Social Security retirement age, reducing cost-of-living adjustments and at least partial privatization of the program by allowing workers to divert part of their payroll tax contribution to a personal savings account.

This year's Republican convention platform stated that Social Security's solvency problems should be addressed without tax increases. That is a de facto call for benefit cuts, because there are only two ways to solve Social Security's financial problems: cut benefits or increase revenue. The platform also contained a vague call for privatization.

On Medicare, House Speaker Paul Ryan has advanced plans repeatedly to shift Medicare toward so-called premium support. Seniors could choose between private insurance plans and traditional Medicare, and receive a voucher from the federal government to purchase coverage. Studies have shown this approach would shift costs to seniors.

RETIREMENT SAVING, LONG-TERM CARE

Among the other questions to ponder: How will we reform our retirement saving system to increase coverage and low-cost saving? How will we fix our broken approach to financing long-term care?

All told, the inequalities in our retirement security system could grow worse over the next four years - much worse. That would be not just an ironic outcome of this election - it would be tragic.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

November 12, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #127: Trumped Up

Who we are. Including: Trump Ruined The Cubs' World Series Championship; Tweeting Trump; Wait 'Til This Year; Guaranteed Grate; and Back To Breeders'.


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SHOW NOTES

* 127.

* Who We Are.

* TrackNotes.

* Gretchen Hasse.

1:09: Trump Ruined The Cubs' World Series Championship.

* Shellshocked.

* Shellectoral College.

* Hillary's alleged strategic errors vs. Trump's factual anti-Semitic, racist, misogynist, fascist campaign.

* Trump's campaign already being whitewashed.

16:00: Tweeting Trump.

* Jake the Snake:

* Jay Cutler: I've Supported Donald Trump For Awhile.

* Detroit Pistons' Stan Van Gundy Goes Off On Trump: 'Brazenly Racist.'

* Steve Kerr Rips Donald Trump And The Whole Damn Election.

* Gregg Popovich 'Sick To My Stomach' Over Donald Trump Election: 'We Are Rome.'

* Colin Kaepernick Didn't Vote.

"To me, it was embarrassing to watch that these are our two candidates," Kaepernick said. "Both are proven liars, and it almost seems like they're trying to debate who is less racist, and at this point, I was talking to one of my friends who goes, 'You have to pick the lesser of two evils, but in the end, it's still evil.'"

23:27: Wait 'Til This Year.

* Wait 'Til Next Year: The Saga Of The Chicago Cubs.

* F'in Garvey:

* A Bronx Tale:

Mickey Mantle? Is that what you're upset about? Mickey Mantle makes $100,000 a year. How much does your father make? You don't know? Well, see if your father can't pay the rent go ask Mickey Mantle and see what he tells you. Mickey Mantle don't care about you, so why should you care about him? Nobody cares.

39:25: Guaranteed Grate.

* Bizarro Cubs.

* Facsimile on West Madison.

* And Halas Hall.

* Rickettsville.

* The Audacity Of Playoff Hope.

* Rosenthal: NFL Looks For Change To Stop Eroding TV Ratings.

55:45: Back To Breeders'.

* By a nose hair.

* Arrogated.

* Cigar Mile.

* The $12 Million Pegasus World Cup.

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STOPPAGE: 3:58

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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 12:14 PM | Permalink

About Those Election Maps . . .

Most of us are, by now, familiar with the maps the TV channels and websites use to show the results of presidential elections. Here is a typical map of the results of the 2016 election:

statemap1024.png

The states are colored red or blue to indicate whether a majority of their voters voted for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, or the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, respectively. There is significantly more red on this map than there is blue, but that is in some ways misleading: the election was much closer than you might think from the balance of colors, and in fact Clinton won slightly more votes than Trump overall. [Editor's Note: By the time all the ballots are counted, Clinton's winning margin in the popular vote is expected to grow to about 2 million.]

The explanation for this apparent paradox, as pointed out by many people, is that the map fails to take account of the population distribution. It fails to allow for the fact that the population of the red states is on average significantly lower than that of the blue ones. The blue may be small in area, but they represent a large number of voters, which is what matters in an election.

We can correct for this by making use of a cartogram, a map in which the sizes of states are rescaled according to their population. That is, states are drawn with size proportional not to their acreage but to the number of their inhabitants, states with more people appearing larger than states with fewer, regardless of their actual area on the ground. On such a map, for example, the state of Rhode Island, with its 1.1 million inhabitants, would appear about twice the size of Wyoming, which has half a million, even though Wyoming has 60 times the acreage of Rhode Island.

Here are the 2016 presidential election results on a population cartogram of this type:

statepop1024.png

As you can see, the states have been stretched and squashed, some of them substantially, to give them the appropriate sizes, though it's done in such a way as to preserve the general appearance of the map, so far as that's possible. On this map the total areas of red and blue are more similar, although there is still more red than blue overall.

The presidential election, however, is not actually decided on the basis of the number of people who vote for each candidate but on the basis of the Electoral College. Under the U.S. electoral system, each state in the union contributes a certain number of electors to the Electoral College, who vote according to the majority in their state. (Exceptions are the states of Maine and Nebraska, which use a different formula that allows them to split their electoral votes between candidates.) The candidate receiving a majority of the votes in the Electoral College wins the election. The electors are apportioned among the states roughly according to population, as measured by the census, but with a small but deliberate bias in favor of less populous states.

We can represent the effects of the Electoral College by scaling the sizes of states to be proportional to their number of electoral votes, which gives a map that looks like this:

stateelec1024.png

This cartogram looks similar to the previous one, but it's not identical. Wyoming, for instance, has approximately doubled in size, precisely because of the bias in favor of states with smaller populations.

The areas of red and blue on the cartogram are now proportional to the actual numbers of electoral votes won by each candidate. Thus this map shows at a glance both which states went to which candidate and which candidate won more Electoral College votes. There is more red than blue in this case, indicating that Donald Trump won the election - something you cannot easily tell from the normal election-night red and blue map.

Election Results By County

We can go further. We can do the same thing also with the county-level election results and the images are even more striking. Here is a map of U.S. counties, again colored red and blue to indicate Republican and Democratic majorities respectively:

countymaprb1024.png

Now the effects we saw at the state level are even more pronounced: the red areas appear overwhelmingly in the majority, despite the closeness of the vote. Again, we can make a more helpful representation by using a cartogram. Here is what the cartogram looks like for the county-level election returns:

countycartrb1024.png

However, this map is still somewhat misleading because we have colored every county either red or blue, as if every voter voted the same way. This is, of course, not realistic: all counties contain both Republican and Democratic supporters, and in using just the two colors on our map we lose any information about the balance between them. There is no way to tell whether a particular county went strongly for one candidate or the other or whether it was relatively evenly split.

One way to reveal more nuance in the vote is to use not just two colors, red and blue, but to use red, blue, and shades of purple in between to indicate percentages of votes. Here is what the normal map looks like if you do this:

countymappurple1024.png

And here's what the cartogram looks like:

countycartpurple1024.png

As this map makes clear, large portions of the country are quite evenly divided, appearing in various shades of purple, although a number of strongly Democratic or Republican areas are visible too.

A slight variation on the same idea is to use a nonlinear color scale like this:

countycart30701024.png

These maps use a color scale that ranges from red for 70% Republican or more, to blue for 70% Democrat or more. This is sort of practical, since there aren't many counties outside that range anyway, but to some extent it also obscures the true balance of red and blue.

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Notes:

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): A list of frequently asked questions concerning these maps, along with answers, can be found here.

Election results: The maps were made using the election results as of November 10, 2016. A small number of precincts still had not reported by that date, so results in a few counties can be expected to change a little.

Thanks: The idea of using a purple map was suggested by Professor Robert Vanderbei, who has made a terrific series of maps of his own, which you can find here.

Software: My computer software for producing cartograms is freely available here.

© 2016 M. E. J. Newman

Screen Shot 2016-11-12 at 2.02.02 PM.png

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Text and images may be freely distributed. I'd appreciate hearing from you if you make use of them.

The views expressed are personal and are not necessarily shared by the University of Michigan.

Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan
E-mail: mejn@umich.edu
Updated: November 10, 2016

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:14 AM | Permalink

November 11, 2016

The [Friday] Papers

"Citing the recent election of Donald Trump, the Mexican Consulate of Chicago said it will be on alert and ready to assist Mexican nationals in the greater Chicago area in asserting their rights," WBEZ reports.

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"Students at Hancock College Prep, a predominantly Latino high school on Chicago's Southwest Side, said they are worried about deportation," WBEZ also reports.

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This is the world we now live in - and it goes far beyond the fears of Latinos. Basically, if you're not an able-bodied white Christian heterosexual male, you have great cause to be scared out of your wits. Obviously I haven't even scratched the surface with those two links - that's barely a taste. Reports of violence all over the country are piling up (as are donations to groups like the American Civil Liberties Union) and it's only going to get worse. Essentially, half the country voted for the same candidate endorsed by the KKK. Our new national mascot is a frog named Pepe. We need to stay together, people.

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See also . . .

America Just Elected A President Who Made This Mass E-Mail Necessary
The country is now a safe space for white supremacists.

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Pie: President Trump, How & Why?
I love Jonathan Pie, but he gets this one wrong. I have the first comment.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost
Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Here Comes The Chicago Book Expo!
"Chicago's biggest fall literary event, featuring more than 70 exhibitors from Chicago-area publishers and literary organizations, plus 20 events with local authors on a wide range of topics, will be held this Sunday."

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Cubs Letter From Kentucky
I Hated Harry Caray & Other Observations From The Cubs Bandwagon.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
The Audacity Of Playoff Hope.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: K.Flay, Roisin Murphy, Glass Animals, Arkona, Epica, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Like a Villain, Suzanne Vega, Mohsen Namjoo, 2 Minute Minor, Heavy Times, COZY, and The Sueves.

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BeachBook

Elena Delle Donne Also Has Killer Woodworking Skills.

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TweetWood

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Maybe the "winners" should be reassuring the losers right now instead of the other way around.

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There ya go. But try to understand!

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Lots of messages like this pouring in from all over the world. But show some compassion for Trump supporters, try to talk to them!

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: If you see something, say something.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:47 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. K.Flay at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.


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2. Roisin Murphy at the Double Door on Monday night.

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3. Glass Animals at the Riv on Sunday night.

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4. Arkona at the Concord on Tuesday night.

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5. Epica at the Concord on Tuesday night.

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6. Fleshgod Apocalypse at the Concord on Tuesday night.

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7. Like a Villain at Hume on Thursday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Suzanne Vega at SPACE in Evanston last Saturday night.

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Mohsen Namjoo at the Old Town School last Saturday night.

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2 Minute Minor at the Mutiny last Saturday night.

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From the HoZac 10th Anniversary Party at the Double Door last Saturday night . . .

Heavy Times.

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COZY.

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The Sueves.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:16 AM | Permalink

America Just Elected A President Who Made This Mass E-Mail Necessary

From: Interim Provost Edward Feser
Date: Nov 10, 2016 7:02 PM
Subject: MASSMAIL - Information on Campus Resources

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Many campus units and departments have set up post-election discussion sessions that provide an opportunity for all who are interested to gather and talk about the issues related to the election. Some of the sessions have been held, but more are being added. A full list can be found at https://oiir.illinois.edu/post-election-discussion-spaces.

We are aware that some students are reporting incidents of intimidation. We have campus policies in place to ensure the physical safety of everyone in the community. We work with campus and local public safety officials to ensure people may gather safely and express their views.

There are campus resources to address incidences of bias and discrimination.

Violence or threats of violence should be reported to the University of Illinois Police Department at 217-333-1216, http://police.illinois.edu.

Acts of intolerance should be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students at 217-333-0050, tolerance@illinois.edu or http://go.illinois.edu/intolerance (for anonymous reporting), or the Office of Diversity, Equity and Access at 217-333-0885, http://diversity.illinois.edu.

As Chancellor Robert Jones emphasized yesterday, we are a university and a community that is built on the values of inclusivity, mutual respect and the free exchange of ideas.

Edward Feser
Interim Provost

Renee Romano
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Assata Zerai
Associate Chancellor for Diversity

Jeff Christensen
Executive Director of Public Safety

This mailing approved by:
Office of the Chancellor

sent to:
Everyone

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Similarly, from CPS:

Our Commitment to Safe and Welcoming Schools

Dear CPS Families,

With emotions running high after the presidential election, we want to affirm our commitment to the values of diversity, tolerance and fairness in our schools. Every one of our students has the right to a safe, welcoming school environment where they feel valued and respected. We are proud of our District's diversity, and believe that every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, background, sexual orientation, language or culture has the right to reach their full potential.

We know that some children are experiencing strong feelings after Tuesday's election, and we are providing our principals, teachers and counselors with resources to help them understand and work through those feelings. If you have any specific concerns about your child's reaction to the election, we urge you to inform your teacher or principal.

This election presents a unique learning opportunity. It is a chance to help students understand democracy and remind them how important it is to respect one another's differences.

We pledge to continue doing all we can to make every child feel valued and welcome so that they can thrive academically, socially and emotionally.

Sincerely,

Forrest Claypool
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Janice K. Jackson
Chief Education Officer

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost

Grand Rapids, Michigan.

BattleAx.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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True story.

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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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

November 10, 2016

Here Comes The 5th Annual Chicago Book Expo!

The Chicago Book Expo, Chicago's biggest fall literary event, featuring more than 70 exhibitors from Chicago-area publishers and literary organizations, plus 20 events with local authors on a wide range of topics, will be held this Sunday from noon to 5 pm. at Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave. in Chicago. The event is free and open to the public.

This year's Chicago Book Expo features 20 different programs, including a tribute to Roger Ebert as a writer (with Chaz Ebert emceeing a conversation and reading with Michael Phillips, Laura Emerick, and more about Roger's work), a panel on books about Chicago music moderated by Jim DeRogatis (with Steve Krakow, Sally Timms, and John Dugan), and other sessions about mysteries, poetry & protest, comics, Chicago history, diversity in publishing, Chicago novels, translation, drinking in Chicago, and much more.

Authors at the event include Bill Ayers, Gina Frangello, Neil Steinberg, Marnie Galloway, Bill Savage, Angela Jackson, Eve Ewing, Gint Aras, Jay Bonansinga, Jody Lynn Nye, and many more.

New this year is a special, all-day program called "So You Want to Be an Author," a day-long professional development seminar held in partnership with Columbia College's Career Center.

Sessions include novel pitch sessions with agents from major literary agencies (both open mic and one-on-one), as well as programs on submission errors, creating a career as a writer, and more.

This special program is organized by Myth-Ink, Columbia College Chicago's student science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing organization. All sessions are free and open to the public, but some require advance registration to participate; more information can be found here.

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Trailer:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:35 PM | Permalink

President Trump: How & Why

Trump, the pussy-grabbing, wall-building, climate change-denying, health care-abolishing, tax-dodging, shit-spewing demagogue. How shit do you have to be to lose to that?


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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.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

* Jonathan Pie's Idiot's Guide To The U.S. Election.

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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.

1. From Steve Rhodes:

I love Jonathan Pie, obs, and I agree with some of what he says here, but not a great deal of it. This self-flaggelation by liberals and the left is a bit self-absorbed if you ask me; is it always about you, folks?

"Throwing insults doesn't work anymore!" Pie says. Really? Isn't that how Trump got to the White House?

Pie acts as if Trump supporters were available for an adult discussion of the issues, but only got shamed for their views in return. Not so. I point you to the debates between one wonky as fuck candidate who actually prepared for just such a discussion with the winning candidate, who didn't bother to inform himself of even the basics because all he could hold in his brain was the insulting nicknames he planned to use while trying to keep all his lies straight (or not even trying, at that).

And Trump and his supporters are deplorable. What other word can we use to describe neo-Nazi fascists who hate Muslims, Jews, blacks, Mexicans, the disabled and women? Would Germany have avoided Hitler if citizens and politicians there had just been willing to have a reasonable discussion with their neighbors?

Pie's argument, which is fast coalescing into the consensus narrative, might be believable if the GOP candidate was, say, George W. Bush. But it wasn't. It was Donald Fucking Trump. I'm sorry if Pie (not his real name, I know; it's a comic playing a character for those who don't realize it) and others don't want to face the hard truth about America, but the hard truth about America is that Democrats nominated a badly flawed candidate who in no way represented continuing the change that Barack Obama promised to bring to the country, both because he didn't bring that change and because she's a diehard member of the status quo Establishment, and the Republican Party was hijacked by a media-enabled con man who used classic demagoguery to exploit people he doesn't give a fuck about in order to attain power. Oh, and he's also an anti-Semitic misogynist racist, and no matter what anyone wants to say, so are many of his supporters. Anyone voting for that fuck is guilty as charged.

She also won the popular vote quite handily - by the time all the California mail ballots are counted, it the margin will be about a million.

P.S.: I rooted for Bernie Sanders, but I seriously doubt America was going to elect a socialist - democratic or otherwise - to the presidency. Like Trump with the GOP, Sanders ran as a Democrat only to have a major-party vehicle from which to work instead of running as the independent that he is. And those polls showing he was more formidable against Trump than Clinton? About as useful that showed Clinton was a lock to win Tuesday night. Chances are Sanders would have been wiped out. Even more likely, an independent like, say, Michael Bloomberg, would have entered the campaign and really scrambled the race. It's as facile to claim Sanders would have won as it is to claim Mitt Romney or Joe Biden would have won.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:45 PM | Permalink

Letter From Kentucky: I Hated Harry Caray And Other Observations On The Cubs Bandwagon

Dee Davis is the founder of Center for Rural Strategies, which "seeks to improve economic and social conditions for communities in the countryside and around the world through the creative and innovative use of media and communications." He is also on the board of directors of Media Burn, a Chicago-based video archival organization. Dee writes a weekly NFL e-mail that found its way to the Beachwood through Media Burn's Tom Weinberg, a pal of our White Sox writer Roger Wallenstein. We thought it was worth posting, though we skipped the football picks.

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Long before Harry Caray (not his real name) was a Will Ferrell character, he was the St. Louis Cardinals' play-by-play guy on KMOX. I hated him.

I'd listen to the games under the sheets on my transistor, rooting for no good to happen to Tim McCarver that tool or Julian Javier who never bothered anyone, but mostly to Harry Caray, the smug bastard. He was a wildly popular announcer, beer spokesman, and, not known to me, a drinking buddy and fellow womanizer with St. Louis owner Gussie Busch.

kmox.jpg

Harry was not as close to Gussie's son and heir to the Budweiser empire, August III, but he did happen to be conspicuously friendly with August III's young blonde wife. Shortly after taking her out for a scandalous public nibble and pawing at Tony's fine dining, Caray was struck by a hit-and-run driver seen revving his engine in wait. Big Gussie sent Harry to Florida to recuperate on his dime in his mansion, but the III had the corporate detectives (ex-FBI) create a dossier on the announcer that finished him in St. Louis. Under actual cover of darkness Harry slipped away to Chicago where he would soon be employed by Bill Veeck, Tom Weinberg and a legion of right-sized White Sox investors.

I am told by Veeck biographer and Pine Mountain competitor Tom that at old Comiskey Harry always sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch in the booth by himself. Team owner Veeck wanted him to sing it over the P.A., but Harry refused unless Veeck paid extra, which he would not. Then one day when Harry was singing, Veeck turned on the mic, the crowd roared, and a spontaneous tradition began that Bill Murray and Eddie Vedder carried on long after Caray figured out how to get the Cubs to pay for it.

So it's a 108 years later and time this football letter hopped on the Cubbie bandwagon.

Here is my all-time favorite Cubs team.

Announcer: Jack Brickhouse (Budweiser III should've backed up over Harry when he had him down).

Manager: A lot of great names: Maddon, Durocher, Piniella, Baker, Zimmer, and Riggleman is at least a funny name. But the Cubs went five years in the '60s with a rotating "College of Coaches" managing cooperatively until they topped out at 103 losses. Even now a disruptive idea.

Pitchers: I like Chapman throwing at 102. The Cuban Missile was my favorite Red hurler until he shot up his garage and domestic tranquility in Cincinnati, sadly reducing his trade value. I also loved Bruce Sutter when he threw that unhittable forkball. Honorable mention to Kerry Wood and Travis Wood. "Cubs got Wood up in the bullpen."

Third base: I go with Ron Santo. Good stick. He led my dice baseball league in doubles every year, and I hated it when he lost his leg.

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Shortstop: Ernie Banks, twice MVP, over 500 homers, half while playing short. What other athlete is so cool that he gets a Pope-like funeral on live TV? OK, Ali. And Smarty Jones.

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Second base: I want to give it to Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg because of the stories of his wife Cindy with the likes of Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Martinez and Harry Caray. But I better go with the straight edge Mormon Ken Hubbs. He homered in the championship of the Little League World Series while playing with a broken toe, starred in a high school football game with a broken foot, won the Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove the same year with a broken heart, and was killed at 22 in a small plane crash.

bb-sakoguchi-204.jpg

I am probably not the first to say, Now you will not swell the rout, of lads that wore their honors out, runners whom renown outran, and the name died before the man.

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First base: Mark Grace and Anthony Rizzo are very talented, but here I go with Ernie Banks. He hit over 500 homers, half while playing first.

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Catcher: Gabby Hartnett was supposedly the best catcher in the game for 20 years, and the best defensive catcher pre-Johnny Bench. And he was there, inches away, from the Babe Ruth called shot that never happened.

Outfield: You can make the case for base-stealing king Lou Brock, Andre 'the Hawk" Dawson, and Billy Williams. Hall of Famers all. But I go with exiled icon Sammy Sosa who hit more than 600 home runs, over half of them while playing chemically enhanced. The morning the White Sox traded Sosa to the Cubs, I called Weinberg. "Tom, why in the hell would anybody trade away Sosa for George Bell?" He said, "Turns out Bell is not slapping his wife around."

I also go with Hack Wilson, a stump of a man, a tippler who hit 54 home runs and 191 RBIs in a single season. Only man ever to knock in more runs than the pounds he weighed, 190.

hack-wilson-most-rbi-in-a-single-season.jpg

And then Dave Kingman, whom no one liked. When my son Boone was 5-months-old I bundled him in a snuggly, zipped my coat around him, and trundled to the frigid Pirates. Bucs starter Burt Blyleven (best curve I ever saw) tried to sacrifice bunt a runner to second. Bill Buckner fired it over the shortstop's head and a charging Kingman let it get past him and roll to the wall for a two-run bunt homer. Kingman was strikeouts or home runs. He was more immortalized by Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda: "What's my opinion of Kingman's performance? What the fuck do you think is my opinion of it? I think it was fucking fuck. Put that in, I don't fuck. Opinion of his performance? Fuck, he beat us with three fucking home runs! What the fuck do you mean, 'What is my opinion of his performance?' How could you ask me a question like that. What is my opinion of his performance? Fuck, he hit three home runs! Fuck. I'm fucking pissed off to lose that fucking game. And you ask me my opinion of his performance! Fuck. That's a tough question to ask me, isn't it? What is my opinion of his performance?"

So that is my all-time Cub team. Sorry there is no time left to hear yours.

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See also: Cub Fan, Bad Man?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:08 AM | Permalink

Inside Aleppo's Nightmare: Why We Must Act

There are only 30 remaining doctors in Aleppo, and they have been describing an unimaginable situation, some of which I have seen firsthand.

They have to perform amputations on children on the floor of their rudimentary emergency rooms without anesthesia or proper sterilization. They are running short on blood products, intravenous fluid, antibiotics and pain medications.

The doctors have been struggling to provide health care for a traumatized population of 300,000, while their hospitals are bombed daily and their medical supplies and medications are depleted.

They have been working nonstop for the past three months, dealing with the influx of a large number of polytrauma and crush patients suffering from horrible injuries, pulled from under the rubble.

Hospitals are targeted frequently in Syria, especially in Aleppo, mostly by the Syrian government and lately by Russian jets. Physicians for Human Rights has recorded 382 attacks on medical facilities, of which 344 were carried out by the regime and Russia; they were also responsible for the deaths of 703 of the 757 medical personnel killed in the war so far. Most of Aleppo's doctors have left.

aleppo1.jpgSyrian Civil Defense White Helmets/All photos by AP

My organization, the Syrian American Medical Society, reported that July was the worst month for attacks on health care since the beginning of the conflict. There were 43 attacks on health facilities in the month - more than one a day. By comparison, this number of attacks occurred over six months in 2015, with 47 attacks from January to May.

A few months ago, two of my colleagues and I made the dangerous trip from Chicago to Aleppo in order to volunteer in a medical mission with the Syrian American Medical Society. We worked in a hospital that was built 20 meters underground because it was targeted a dozen times in the past four years.

We worked, lived and slept in the hospital, while hearing the sounds of earth-shaking explosions nearby. The hospital was operated by a diesel-run generator and connected to the world through satellite internet and a tele-medicine unit.

Using Sewing Thread For Medical Sutures

It was so surreal for me, a critical care specialist from Chicago, to witness nurses and doctors in an underground hospital in a besieged Mideast city. M10 was the largest trauma hospital in Aleppo, performing 4,000 life-saving surgeries every year. In its intensive care unit, I treated innocent victims of the Russian and Syrian airstrikes. I still remember vividly five-year-old Ahmad Hijazi, who was pulled from under the rubble of his destroyed house after a barrel bomb thrown by a regime helicopter exploded while he was asleep.

Ahmad sustained a spinal cord injury and lung contusion. Doctors struggled to manage his case with very limited resources. We were unable to evacuate him to Turkey for lifesaving surgery because the only road leading from the city was bombed every day by regime forces trying to encircle the city. A few days later, Ahmad gave up. He suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead.

He is only one of thousands of innocent civilians who could have been saved in any other conflict or disaster area with simple means. His death and those of tens of thousands of civilians occurred because they lacked access to proper medical care constitute a war crime.

Since we left, the situation became more dire because of the ensuing siege. The only female obstetrician in the city told me that she has been using sewing threads to suture her patients after C-sections because of a shortage of surgical sutures.

She has been delivering mostly children with very low birth weight as pregnant women have no access to fruits, vegetables, milk, meat or vitamins. Food and baby milk are becoming scarce, so predictably, and for the first time in its modern history, Aleppo is witnessing children with severe malnutrition.

We Can Do More Than Cry

Shedding tears about the pictures of the injured children of Syria is not enough. Hugging your children is not enough. The expected human response when seeing someone in distress is to exert our utmost effort to relieve their distress. Syrian children are not dolls to cry over and then move on.

We are accountable, as are our political leaders, if we don't act when we watch videos of Syrian children crying in agony because war criminals are bombing them or snipers shooting at them. Tweeting and Facebooking about them, although necessary to spread the word, does not absolve us from doing what matters most - which is saving their lives and building a better future for them.

Every person can do several things right now to help Syrian children like Omran Daqneesh, the five-year-old boy from besieged Aleppo whose photo showing his dust- and blood-covered face after being rescued following an airstrike captured the world's attention, and millions of other Syrian children affected by the conflict in Syria.

Advocate now and call your political leaders and president demanding that your country must exert its moral leadership to stop the genocide and save Aleppo now. In the U.S., we should not wait for the next president to take office. By that time, it will be too late. We should place ending the genocide at the top of the national agenda.

This would mean specific plans for stopping the genocide and bringing peace, not merely applying band-aids. What is happening in Aleppo is affecting all of us, wherever we live. The refugee crisis, the rise of xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-refugee sentiment and terrorism are all consequences of the crisis in Syria. Our national leaders should muster the political will to end it.

  • Organize with faith and civic groups in your city to form a broader coalition that can force our political leaders to act. This is the American way and this how democracy works. If we said "Never Again," we should mean it, and we should have political leaders responsible if they failed the genocide test.
  • Speak up in medical societies and meetings. Invite speakers to your hospitals to address the attacks on medical neutrality and health care. The medical community should not tolerate a new normal where 150 years of Geneva conventions and International Humanitarian norms are thrown under the bus and undermined every day. The medical community can play a major role in forcing political leaders to listen to the pleas of Aleppo nurses struggling to save lives while being bombed by the most advanced war machine.
  • Volunteer in medical missions to help refugees. There are many NGOs, including SAMS Global Response, that provide medical relief to Syrian refugees in neighboring countries and in Europe. Join a life-changing experience when you extend a hand of healing to a desperate refugee living in a tent thinking that the world has forgotten about her.
  • Form a chapter to help resettling Syrian refugees in your city following the steps of the Syrian Community Network. More than 13,210 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the U.S. so far, and more are expected to arrive in the next few years.
  • Give generously. We are a country of giving, so let us do what we do best by donating to charities and NGOs that are touching the lives of thousands of refugees or Syrians in distress in places including Aleppo.

The bombing of besieged Aleppo has become perhaps the most critical event, besides the Ghouta chemical attack, in Syria's genocide, which has killed more than 450,000 people since 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura warned that if we cannot find a solution by December, "Aleppo will not be there anymore."

When the dust settles and facts are fully established, the bombing of Aleppo will be viewed as one of the worst war crimes since World War II.

As Charles C. Haynes, the director of the Religious Freedom Center, put it recently, "What future generations will long remember about this moment in history is not bombastic rhetoric about border walls or deleted e-mails. Future generations will remember us - and judge us - by what we did or did not do to stop the genocide."

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M. Zaher Sahloul is an associate clinical professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously:
* The [Tuesday] Papers: You have a better chance of winning the Illinois Lottery - and getting paid - than a terrorist has of slipping into the United States posing as a refugee.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Why I want to hug a woman wearing a hijab today.

* Here's The Story Of One Syrian Family That Resettled In Chicago.

* Where Have 4.8 Million Syrian Refugees Gone?

* Syrian Father And Son Whose Plight Went Viral Find Refuge In Spanish Soccer.

* Syria's Stateless Children.

* U.S. Bombings In Syria Kill 77 Civilians, Including Children.

* One Of Every 200 Children In The World Is Now A Refugee: UNICEF.

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Comments welcome.


The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

November 9, 2016

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: The Audacity Of Playoff Hope

And so it begins - The Great Bear Tease of 2016.

Which should not be confused with the "Bear Tease 2016 New Year's Eve Ass-travaganza" being held at Jackhammer on December 31st.

Coming into the season, many predicted that Chicago would get fat (record wise - though Mike Adams' beard isn't exactly slimming his face) thanks to a very weak schedule.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Let's see, am I at 1,500 words yet?

Ah ha ha, ah HA HA HA HA HA!!!

(High-fives self . . . journalism accomplished!)

Oh, Carl circa July 2016.

You assumed that the Bears would continue to build on the improved brand of football you saw in the previous season.

But, when you see upcoming dates with the Bucs, Giants, Titans, 49ers and Lions included on the docket of remaining games, penciling in six wins in the final eight doesn't seem so crazy.

A 6-2 finish would get the Bears to 8-8 overall. And given the state of the NFC North . . . yeesh. I'm almost afraid to write it.

After one of the most disappointing first halves in franchise history, the 2-6 Bears have an outside shot at winning the division.

Despite their best efforts, the Bears aren't dead.

Like, in the sense that campaign manager John Podesta claimed Hillary Clinton's presidential hopes weren't dead about 10 minutes before she made a private call to concede, but technically not dead and playing better football at a point in the schedule where wins can be stacked.

So what the hell happened? Where has this team been all year? Are the Vikings just that bad?

Did I leave the oven on? Is the capital of South Dakota really Pierre and did I spell "Pierre" right?

Inquiring minds want to know!

In postgame interviews, running back Jordan Howard was quoted as saying that "they saw something" in the game film of the Vikings' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7.

If you're like me (cynical, yet having your self-worth being chained to the performance of a franchise that hasn't loved you back since you were 5-years-old), you hear a statement like that and scream at your TV:

"Are you fucking telling me that you hadn't been reviewing game film until the goddam halfway point of the season?!?!"

Scream all you want, but coach John Fox will simply gnash violently on a piece of sugar-free Trident in response. Which would actually make me believe that they did, indeed, just start working in the film room.

At the same time that the Bears' coaching staff dusted off the DVD player and begun to effectively scout the opposition, they're also getting healthy and facing a string of mediocre opponents.

There haven't been many 2-6 teams that have made the playoffs, but one example I can think of (read: I did some cursory Googling, found one example and then veered off) is the 2012 Redskins, who started 3-6 but ran the table to make it into the Dance.

So with one more win, you're telling me there's a chance . . .

I mean, not really.

It's just that rooting for this team has really done a number on me.

Now even my fantasies involve eventually losing.

What Worked

  • Running The Football: Like Theo Epstein, I'm working on a month-long bender, so I'm not going to trot out any fancy "stats" or "complete thoughts" regarding another great performance by Howard. But when this guy touches the ball more than 20 times a game, things occur that haven't happened in years, like the Bears winning two home games in a season or Ben Zobrist driving a car (turns out he's more of a biker).
  • Offensive Play Calling: Again, I've basically pickled my brain following the Cubs' big win, but to piggyback on my thoughts of Howard's performance, I'm beginning to think that offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains might have improved his approach since we last saw Jay Cutler on the field.

    A solid mix of effective running coupled with the threat of the deep ball and efficiency on third down made this game seem out of reach for the Vikings despite the final score.

    I'll slow down while you take notes . . . run ball . . . complete passes . . . don't give to other team ball very much . . .

    Let me just address the elephant in the room and say for the last time, I was not the offensive guru that the Bears allegedly hired as a consultant between Weeks 7 and 8. Though based on the level of insight I've just provided, I can understand how you might get confused.

    I'm just saying that maybe newly minted legend Brian Hoyer wasn't the whole reason the offense looked so competent while Jay was on the shelf.

  • Monday Night D: It's never too early in the week for the "D" to rear-up to its full height and stuff the opposing offense. Aside from the injured Lamarr Houston*, the starting linebackers are on the field and playing well. Add the impending return of nose tackle Eddie Goldman and the Chi D Unit (pronounced "Dee you-NIT!") is on the come.

What Made Us Feel Like, As A People, We Have A Number Of Deep-Seeded Systemic Problems That Have Recently Been Exposed

  • The End Of Barack Obama's Second Term: Now I can't yell "Thanks, Obama" every time Connor Barth misses a field goal, or Deonte Thompson returns a kickoff to the 17-yard line.

    I mean, I'll continue to do it. But snarkily saying "Good job, Trump" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

  • The Cubs Are Done Playing: Oh shit, now the Bears can't hide the massive disappointment of 2016 behind the most significant sports story of the last decade. They better get their ass in gear.
  • Red Zone Efficiency: Despite dominating for most of the game, the Bears didn't put things out of reach until late. Red zone opportunities presented themselves early, but only led to Bear fans holding their collective Barth, I mean breath, while unpopular kicker Connor Barth attempted each of his two field goals.

    Man, that dude makes me uncomfortable.

    Might be time to make "Holding our collective Barth" a thing.

Eye On The Opposition: Bucca-Near Competitive
This week's opponent is the perpetually up-and-coming, perpetually almost .500 and perpetually unable to capitalize on the overall weakness of the NFC South Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Led by head coach Greg Schiano, I mean Lovie Smith . . . dammit!

(Googles furiously)

Led by . . . Dirk Koetter?

Wow, three head coaches in four years. Continuity, thy name is Tampa.

Lead by Dirk Koetter and QB Jameis Winston (or "Good/Skinny JaMarcus Russell" as he's known in some circles), the Buccaneers have been building their way toward respectability, thanks largely to elite pass-catching machine Mike Evans and what was supposed to be a decent running game.

The Winston/Evans tandem will definitely present match-up problems for the Bears' secondary, but the good news is, Tampa can't seem to keep the running backs they employ upright.

With injuries to Doug Martin and our old friend Jacquizz "Have Fun With That, Spellcheck" Rodgers, we'll likely see some guy that sounds like his name was automatically generated by Madden '16 in Year 40 of Franchise Mode start on Sunday (Peyton Barber).

On defense, the Bucs rank near the bottom of the list in pass, rush and total defense.

But other than that, don't judge them too harshly.

Kool-Aid (3 of 5 Souvenir Glasses Of Pina Coladas)
The game is in Florida, we're enjoying the outstanding effects of global warming here in Chicago, the arrow is pointing up for the Bears and holy shit am I milking any possible positivity out of one win.

Time to fire up the hammock and sip on something sweet.

Here we go, another imminently winnable game for our Bears.

Outside of the problems Evans will present, the Buccos don't do anything that should scare you.

In addition to being bad by most defensive metrics, they're extremely mediocre on the offensive side of the ball.

A by-the-numbers strategy should get it done.

Use J-How to run it down their throat for the first quarter, followed by some deep passes on Cutler roll-outs.

That should spell doom for Tampa Bay.

Also, I know what you're thinking and you're right: I'm basically a genius.

Even Putin said so.

Goldman's return would all but guarantee Tampa's running game will be held in check.

With the "D" on point and Cutler doing what he does best, which is hand the ball off to Howard and occasionally huck the ball downfield to draw an offensive pass interference penalty, I smell a fun win.

Or maybe it's burnt toast.

I've been drinking to excess lately.

Bears 30, Buccaneers 17

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About The Author
The Author would like to remind you that even though you might have been celebrating non-stop since the Cubs won the World Series, there's never an excuse to roll into work with stank Barth, errrr, breath.

Bloodshot eyes from dehydration and lack of sleep? Acceptable.

But nasty mouth, never.

koolaidnasty.png

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* Did he tear a bicep imitating Hulk Hogan? I forget, but it wouldn't be the silliest way he's missed time.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Slight revisions and additions added Thursday.

Two encounters:

1. In June, I went home to Minneapolis for my father's surprise 80th birthday party. On the flight back to Chicago, I struck up a conversation with my seatmate, a white male who looked to be in his 60s. He was a union guy who spent many years as a trucker, working both for others as a Teamster and for himself as an independent. I was quite curious about his work and pretty engaged in his description of it. Inevitably, though, our talk turned to the presidential campaign in progress. He told me he leaned to the right, but considered himself an independent, and was greatly frustrated with the way facts had come to not matter much in public life. Simpatico! I thought.

I explained that I too considered myself an independent, but by that I didn't mean in the middle but outside of the spectrum. People are more complicated in their political beliefs than what the traditional spectrum describes, I said, and I despise the notion that we choose Republican or Democrat like we choose a religion (or are born into it), and then see the world, like religion, through an ideological prism, dispatching facts which do not fit our worldview and seeking out reinforcement for the facts that do. How insecure the most zealously ideological must be to need that constant reinforcement - from memes, Facebook posts, propaganda, cable TV news shows and the like. The world doesn't work according to an ideology. The economy certainly doesn't. The only laws the world abides with perfect consistency are the laws of physics - and even that's not wholly true once you delve into quantum physics.

My seatmate was a soulmate, I thought; he saw things the same way I did. I described the work I've done and continue to do to his interest. And then, upon learning of how much of that work has been in Chicago, he startled me by saying, "Oh, so you know all about Barry."

My heart sank. Referring to Barack Obama as "Barry" is part of the catechism of the crazed right-wing that includes the alleged Bill Ayers' authorship of Dreams From My Father, an allegedly disappeared video of Michelle Obama disparaging "whitey," the supposed dark secrets of Barack Obama's sealed college transcripts and, of course, that vaunted birth in Kenya, among other easily debunked, depressing falsehoods.

My seatmate, it turned out, had spent all those hours in his truck listening to Rush Limbaugh. And he believed every word Rush said.

I tried, patiently and respectfully, to explain. "See, this is where this whole facts thing comes in," I said. To me, both Republicans and Democrats, I said, made huge mistakes in in the 2008 campaign that haunted us to that day. Republicans focused their arguments against Obama on crazy (and racialized) conspiracy theories instead of around the very real issue of Obama's acquiescence (and in fact very real support) of the corrupt political machine here; he was hardly a change agent. For a brief moment, John McCain's campaign latched onto the theme of "real reform for real change" and then foolishly let it go. That theme was resonant when Sarah Palin gave her powerful, funny and persuasive speech to the Republican National Convention. (Really! In response, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos instructed his netroots troops that destroying Palin was the key to beating McCain. I've long been convinced that's what radicalized an unprepared-for-the-national-stage Palin, who up to then was a reform-minded governor whose biggest allies in Alaska were legislative Democrats.)

The GOP instead returned to crazyland even though many of the party's moderates, including McCain, knew full well that the litany of grievances against Obama, including that he was Muslim (not that there's anything wrong with that, except to crazy Republicans) was not true. Instead, they inflamed the rhetoric to nurture the very forces we see now ascendant in the Trump era. That decision by Republicans did great damage to the country, as well as to their own party when their leaders became hostage to invading Tea Party-related elements, preventing cooperation with the president in lieu of surviving primary challenges for not showing sufficient craziness. With that, the crazy didn't fade away, it got stronger.

Democrats didn't do much better; the notion that Obama was a closet socialist helped gain the support of their (relatively) extreme lefty elements while the offensiveness of the Republican rhetoric scared and energized the main of the party - and independents. To be clear, the Obama forces didn't douse the crazy; they used it for their own purposes just like the Republicans, to put a scare into anyone thinking about voting McCain. Look at who he brings with him to the party! Vote Obama.

I told my seatmate my view that both parties got Obama wrong - willfully so. Obama was neither socialist nor change agent. Instead, he was a centrist corporate Democrat who endorsed the Machine candidate over the reformer every single time in Chicago and Illinois. Democratic strategists didn't mind Republicans calling him a far-left liberal at all because that made the far left believe that's what he really was deep down, despite the reality of his moderate rhetoric, nature and record that soothingly captured Establishment support.

Disappointment in Obama, then, was inevitable, and not because disappointment in a president is always inevitable, but because, as Obama has said himself, folks projected whatever they wanted on him for their own purposes and satisfaction, and thus were bound to be disappointed by reality. But it sure helped him get elected. (Some of his early supporters, including the Tribune's Eric Zorn, actually argued that it was good that he ran for president before he actually put together much of a record in the U.S. Senate so there would be fewer policy positions for an opponent to hold against him. Keep him opaque.)

Take the birther movement - and its associated theories - that Donald Trump led for many years. I'm sure it seemed beneath the president to address for a long time, but it also could have been extinguished fairly early by not just releasing a birth certificate but directly challenging elected Republicans to take a stand for reality. But birthers were a great money-raising, outrage-inducing tool for Democrats too.

Of course, Trump only grudgingly and insincerely allowed during the 2016 campaign that the president was born in America. To his supporters, it was a feint; they didn't stop believing, and they sure didn't think Trump had stopped believing. He just wanted to take it off the table because the media was pestering him about it. And indeed, the media stopped pestering him about it instead of demanding to know, for example, if he ever really sent investigators to Hawaii as he claimed he had. (Not that the media failed to vet Trump and his presidential campaign; they just waited an awfully long time to get the ball rolling while cable TV milked him for ratings and the likes of Jimmy Fallon, having grown comfortable having fun with the oft-visiting, press-avoiding Obama, playfully tussled his hair instead of asking him about his ties to white supremacists.)

As many others have noted, reasonable Republicans nurtured their crazed conspiracy wing to suit their own purposes, but then lost control of it. It became an unmanageable beast broken free from its cage. (And unbeknownst to many, Trump began courting these elements, as well as evangelicals and the unsavory elements of the alt-right, a couple of years before beginning his presidential campaign; groundwork was laid unnoticed.)

My seatmate was polite and listened to what I had to say, but I could tell he didn't believe it - even as I described my aversion to Hillary Clinton. He believed what right-wing media told him, and while he didn't say it and probably wouldn't admit it, he believed it because it fit his pre-existing worldview, a worldview created by political strategists and media manipulators for the very purpose of exploiting people like him. The mainstream media's notable failings over the years only added to the dynamic through lost trust, much of it deserved, some of it not. (This dynamic obviously also exists on the left.)

So somehow in this man's mind, Rush Limbaugh knew more about Barack Obama than I did - not that I expected him to change years of thinking after a few minutes sitting next to me. But it was pretty clear a rethink wasn't in store. "Barry," he said with a smile, a sigh, a shake of his head and a chuckle.

2. This morning, at Filter, my favorite coffeehouse, in Wicker Park, I was talking to the owner, Jeff, about the election results. I told him what I had said to his cashier when I first came in:

CASHIER: What would you like?
ME: A cup of democracy, please, if you have any left.

CASHIER: That will be $4.50.
ME (handing over $5 bill): Is this kind of money still good?

As we calmly discussed and joked about our concerns - including whether Confederate scrip was now our country's only legal tender - a customer (middle-age, white male professional) overheard us and butted in with, "You're believing the rhetoric!" He explained that our fears were foolish, because what Trump had said during the campaign was "just rhetoric."

Now, it's true that, as some posit, Trump may have just been playing a role during the campaign. But his supporters believe his rhetoric even if Trump doesn't - I believe Trump does - and so he has, in the least, enabled and energized bigots. Jeff noted that the "rhetoric" includes actual policy positions, like Trump's infamous proposed ban of Muslim immigrants. "He didn't say he'd ban Muslims," the customer said. What? It was a central part of his "platform," if you can call his incoherent collection of issues that. "It's on his website!" I noted. "No it's not," the customer replied. What? I offered to bet him any amount of money he was willing to risk that it was. I offered to look it up on my laptop that very instant. "I don't need to look it up," he said. "That's just spin." He didn't need to look it up to know what he believed was true. His opinion was fact, and my fact was opinion.

I then remarked that Trump talked about the Muslim ban night after night at his rallies on the campaign trail. "No he didn't." He did! I said; I told him that I read Trump's rally transcripts every night. "If you did that, you really need to find something else to do in life," he said. "It's my job," I replied. "I'm a journalist. And every night the digital editor for CBS News posts transcripts and highlights portions of them with notes and fact-checks, including which lies he's repeating again." That's just spin, the customer said again. "No," I said, "it's things Trump has actually said himself. Is he spinning himself? I'm just talking about Trump's own words here. On video."

I told the customer that he could have any opinion he wanted - I didn't care if he voted for Trump - but facts are facts, and that's what I was defending. "I didn't vote for Trump," he said. "Then what are you defending?" I asked. "I didn't vote for Trump," he said, "but I think Hillary is worse."

Okay. But that doesn't mean Trump didn't say the things we can see for ourselves on video that he said. And that doesn't mean that what's on Trump's campaign website isn't on Trump's campaign website. The facts don't need you to be true.

And then the crux of the matter, at least for this fellow, and I suspect for many others, emerged, and it wasn't even about e-mails or Hillary, though I'm not dismissing either:

"What about Obama?" he said, his voice rising for the first time. "He energized and enabled black supremacists."

I was incredulous.

"What black supremacists?" I asked.

"Black Lives Matter," he said, "and . . . "

I can't remember the rest of his litany about black supremacists enabled by Obama, thus absolving Trump of his enabling of white supremacists, because I nearly lost consciousness from disbelief.

At that point, another customer in the nearly empty cafe intervened and begged us to stop arguing for the sake of his 3-year-old daughter, who seemed not at all interested or bothered by our argument, and in whose presence this man had casually used the word "shit" - which doesn't bother me, but just for context.

We shortly did agree to suspend our disagreement, but when I asked if his daughter was upset, he ignored me. Now, I usually would not question such a thing - I'm not a monster. I would not have such an argument in front of a 3-year-old, and I would immediately stop if I was doing so without realizing it and a parent asked me to. Of course! But me and Jeff both suspected he was using daughter because he, too, was, in the least sympathetic to Trump. His daughter wasn't paying attention and wasn't upset in the least. To the contrary, she was the happiest human in the room at that moment, and I thought it was pretty cheap to use her as a shield.

"You're both right about some things and you're both wrong about some things" he said, "and you're talking past each other." Which things, I wondered, was the other guy right about? And how does pointing to the facts of what one Donald Trump actually states constitute "talking past" someone? Having an opinion about those things is another thing. Then, yes. But in insisting what's on Trump's website is on Trump's website I'm "talking past" someone? No. Facts are facts. I wasn't expressing an opinion on them. The Cubs won the World Series, and insisting so is not "talking past" them. That's not what was happening there, and that's not what was happening in this campaign.

We do not know how to communicate in this country. Or, really, think. And maybe it's not just in this country, but it's a damn big problem.

Again, as many have noted, if you look at right-wing media (and, yes, left-wing media has similar, but not equivalent, problems) like Breitbart (whose CEO Steve Bannon joined the Trump campaign down the stretch) or the Daily Caller, or, say, the Facebook pages of Trump supporters, you enter an alternate reality where Hillary Clinton has murdered a dozen people and Trump's history of business fraud is just spin. You enter a world, some of which leaked into John Kass's Tribune column over the last year, where Clinton spent days sleeping between debate appearances because of life-threatening illnesses, and where Huma Abedin is a Muslim Brotherhood agent. You enter a world where Alex Jones, of InfoWars, claims that sources, presumably from the Secret Service, tell him that, up close, Obama and Clinton stink of sulfur, because they are from the underworld. Really. That's where we're at.

*

I don't like Hillary Clinton, as I explained here. But she is part of the reality-based community. The president-elect and his acolytes are not. They make shit up as they go, and they believe the propaganda of a vast right-wing conspiracy that has duped enough people to take power. There is no reasoning with them. You cannot reason with these people. You cannot present a set of facts before them as a starting place for a discussion - even one in which we can agree to disagree. You cannot present to them video of Trump himself saying what Trump says and have it accepted as fact. They don't care. (Again, Obama supporters are different in degree and possibly kind, but they, too, have never wanted to hear the facts about him or his record.) I don't know what to do about that. But it is without doubt one of the central challenges, if not the challenge, before us right now. Democracy seems to hang in the balance.

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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BeachBook

Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.

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'Please Not The Horror-Clown!' - How The Foreign Press Is Covering Election Day.

*

Bernie Sanders Fills In For Factory Worker Unable To Take Time Off To Vote.

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Sassing Our Next Attorney General.

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Presidency Likely Won't Shield Trump From Pending Lawsuits.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Rewrite: Half Of America Can't Even.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Customer needs assistance.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:23 AM | Permalink

Meet The Courtyard Chicago Highland Park/Northbrook Hotel

"At the Courtyard Chicago Highland Park/Northbrook, guest rooms are furnished with a refrigerator and coffee facilities," according to Booking.Com.

"Pay-per-view movies are available in every room.

"The Bistro Restaurant, on site, serves American fare for breakfast and dinner. Evening cocktails and beverages made with Starbucks coffee are also available.

"The gym is open 24-hours and has cardio equipment. Chicago Courtyard Highland Park has a cash machine and laundry facilities for added convenience."


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See also:
* Meet The Morton Grove Best Western.

* Random Motel/Hotel Review: Residence Inn O'Hare.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:44 AM | Permalink

November 8, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers


* * * * * FINAL EDITION * * * * *

(Updates on social media through the evening, of course.)

Election Hay
I'm going to vote and then I'm going to take my money out of the bank, just in case.

Also, I hope this isn't my polling station, but I fear it is:

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Logan Square Voting Royally Fucked Up.


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Chicago Voter

dryers.jpgAt one of the many Su Nueva Lavanderia, 4314 West Marquette/Jim Young, Reuters

This polling station always makes the lists of America's most peculiar places to vote.

From Fortune in 2012:

Paul Hansen opened his laundromat, Su Nueva Lavanderia, on Marquette Road on Chicago's South Side nine years ago. Not long after that - he remembers it being just a few weeks - the district's alderman asked Hansen whether he'd be interested in cordoning off a piece of his 5,000-square-foot store come Election Day so that people in the neighborhood could vote there. It wasn't so much the call of civic duty that made Hansen say yes: "To be honest, I thought it'd just be good to get people into the place."

A month passed, and the first Tuesday in November arrived. At 5 a.m., just as the Lavanderia opened, election judges came to set up long plastic tables and five voting booths. Hansen gave up an aisle of dryers that day because, he says, the washers make more money.

By 9 p.m., three hours before the laundromat's usual close, the judges finished counting the ballots, folded up the tables, and left. The city paid Hansen $150.

Su Nueva Lavanderia has been a voting site ever since and will be again on Nov. 6, as will a bowling alley, a pool hall, a pet-care store, and several car dealerships in the Windy City. Chicago isn't alone. In Philadelphia a skating rink, a barbershop, a bakery, and an auto repair stand in for polling places; in Los Angeles some voters use lifeguard stands.

There are rules, of course, as to what sort of commercial establishment may be a polling place. The space must be well lit and wheelchair accessible, it can't serve alcohol, and it can't give away anything of value to voters.

James Allen, at the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, has a favorite polling place - Hot Doug's, a hot dog stand on the North Side. "You've got the scent of steaming Vienna beef wafting through," he says. "I bet a few voters get a dog. But this is Chicago, so hold the ketchup."

*

I did not know that the now-shuttered Hot Doug's was a polling place.

I do know that Chicago dominates Fortune's 10 Most Peculiar Places To Vote.

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The Political Odds
Election Day Edition!

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Save Your Vote For Clarence Mudd
Via CHIRP Radio, providing my Election Day soundtrack.

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My Voting Experience

1. No lines. Walked right up and got started.

2. Address kerfluey. The guy at the table asked my address after I handed him my voting information mailer with name and address on it. I said 2326 North Milwaukee Avenue. He raised an eyebrow as he looked up at me. "Or 2328!" I said, because I always get mixed up. He looked at me again. See, my registration is at 2320 North Milwaukee Avenue, which is my mailing address. I get my mail at the restaurant downstairs. That's 2320. My actual door, though, is at 2328, but I get mixed up a lot and can't remember if it's 2328 or 2326. I explained enough about living above a restaurant and such, and they let me continue. Whew!

3. "Paper or touchscreen?" I didn't know we got a choice! I panicked! Um . . . as my brain spun trying to think about what the difference might be. "Whatever works best for you!" I said. After the address thing, I was spooked! So the dude chose paper for me.

4. "Would you like a constitutional ballot?" Um, what? "It's your choice, here's the regular ballot and then here's the constitutional ballot." See, that was the ballot with the constitutional questions on it. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to just hand both ballots to folks, but I overheard the guy asking each voter like it was a secondary optional ballot. A constitutional ballot. Like the other was an unconstitutional ballot. I wonder how many people were confused by that.

5. As I filled out my ballot, I had to resist the overwhelming urge to write commentary on it. I know that would have "spoiled" my ballot, but I was close! So I propose ballots come with space for commentary. That would help us all say what we'd really like to say while voting.

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Photo Gallery

noelectioneering.jpg

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fascism.jpg

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I traditionally get an election donut from Dunkin' Donuts on Election Day, but I'm boycotting my Dunkin' Donuts because every time I go in there I have a problem. So I went to 7-11 and got the sprinklicious donut instead - and how could I resist the Cubs cookie?

electiondonut.jpg

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Provisional.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

November 7, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has used personal e-mail accounts to communicate with top government and political figures, including through his own custom e-mail domain that's similar to the one Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used on a private e-mail server as secretary of state," the Tribune reports.

Lock him up!

"Emanuel registered his personal e-mail domain, rahmemail.com, on May 16, 2011 - the same day he was sworn into office as Chicago's mayor, records show."

A personal e-mail domain, huh? Paging Russia, we have an assignment for you!

*

"That personal account surfaced among thousands of hacked e-mails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta posted by WikiLeaks late last month. A subsequent search for the mayor's e-mail domain in 30,000 e-mails released by the State Department earlier this year found that Emanuel used the same account to communicate with Clinton when she was secretary of state."

New project idea: RahmLeaks. Who's with me?

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Now here's the crux of the matter:

"In Illinois, government business conducted via e-mail by a public official is subject to the state's open records law. Several Chicago Tribune Freedom of Information Act requests since Emanuel took office have turned up little to no e-mail communications from the mayor on his government e-mail accounts.

"The Tribune sued Emanuel in September 2015, alleging that the mayor violated state open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business conducted through personal e-mails and text messages.

"In late May, a Cook County judge denied Emanuel's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, declaring that the mayor's e-mails, texts and other communications are not exempt from disclosure simply because they are transmitted over personal devices. The case is still pending."

*

Now let's do something the Trib didn't for this article: Go back to Rahm's 2012 interview with the paper's inestimable David Kidwell in which Rahm argued, among other things, that e-mails were like private phone calls and thus none of the public's business. The relevant excerpts:

DK: So, as you know, I've been the person in charge of following your transparency pledge and we've been writing stories about it and I'm now sort of getting to the end of this e-mail thing, this correspondence. And I am curious whether or not you personally have ever received or read anything with the words "speed camera" in it? Have you ever sent an e-mail or ever received an e-mail with the words . . .

RE: Can't tell you.

DK: How do you communicate with your staff?

RE: Here's the thing. We have two different things so this is going to be an awkward conversation. You're into transparency. I have a list of everything I have ever made in this government in nine months transparent, which I am sure will see not the single light of day in your story.

What I understood, you wanted e-mails, which I happen to think are phone conversations on paper, electronic, that's really what e-mail is. I thought you were interested, or at least that was the point and the spirit of the conversation, how I govern, how I manage and how I make a decision. Now if that's the case, I have a lot I want to talk about. That's transparency, that's nine months worth of work. In only nine months taking on 40 years of history, and I'm not done. I've got another 3 1/2 years. You'll make a judgment along the way at the end did we move the ball forward in making city government more transparent. I think that record, that is voluminous, speaks about the nine months worth of work.

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DK: The question is whether or not you have conducted city business through e-mail or on your phone or on your . . . ?

RE (interrupting): I have a cellphone. I call my staff on my cellphone. That's the answer.

DK: And you e-mail them?

RE: I have a government e-mail, I deal with it. I assume it's a government e-mail.

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DK: Do you avoid e-mail? Do you tell people, don't e-mail me? Do you have a . . .

RE: Again, you want to know how I set goals and hold people accountable. I have cards I write every other day what I've got to get done. I showed you what the president wrote.

DK: Is there a policy on e-mailing you or you e-mailing other people?

RE: No.

DK: I mean, is there . . . You have to understand why it's confusing to us that you, in our log of e-mails, you are completely absent.

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DK: Well I am just curious whether there's a . . . According to Jenny Hoyle and Sarah, you don't have an e-mail account either, on any of these issue we've asked about.

RE: Well look, I have given you what I have in public. Look, you already know what you are going to do and so here's what we got. You are going to decide to narrow the definition of transparent.

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RE: Look I'll tell you. I have a wide circle of people I continue to talk to, OK, and seek advice. I don't ignore it.

DK: Is most of that by the phone?

RE: Yeah, a lot. Anybody will tell you. It's been written about so it's not like - you've done enough profile stories. I am an aggressive worker of the phone.

DK: But you do have an e-mail. Some of it gets done by e-mail?

RE: That's a phone conversation in my view.

DK: Do you think under the law, under the public records law, they are the same thing?

RE: I believe, and I am not talking about the law, I believe that a large part of what is done by e-mail, yes, no, OK, is all like a phone call. It's not like what you guys think is a written memo.

DK: And therefore it should be privileged?

RE: No, you are not putting words in my mouth. Don't do that.

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See also: The item Redaction Rahm in The [Wednesday] Papers.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement
You say you want a revolution.

Jonathan Pie's Idiot's Guide To The Election
Wealthy, corrupt businessman vs. wealthy, corrupt politician.

U.S. Manufacturing Fails Employers And Workers
"Factories in the countryside are distant from pools of unemployed workers in cities. Drug tests are disqualifying more applicants. Low wages discourage others from taking jobs that are available, and employers say tougher immigration enforcement makes it difficult to fill many low-wage jobs."

It doesn't look good, folks.

The Midwest's 'Go-Go' Farmers Have A Hangover
"A Reuters analysis of federal data on agricultural lending in the grain-producing 'I-states' - Illinois, Indiana and Iowa - shows that delinquency rates on farmland and production loans are rising sharply."

It doesn't look good, folks.

Why Birds, Chimps & Urban Waste Grounds Matter
Ecosystems and ethics.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Post-Cubs Chicago
"No movie, concert, symphony, opera, play or museum can top this," our very own Roger Wallenstein writes. "But the Cubs' success doesn't make Rahm more likable."

TrackNotes: Streaks
The Breeders' Cup brought together enough stars to force you to pull out the GPS to find a value wager.

Beachwood Sports Radio: Cubs 'Mystique' Was Real
And now, thank god, it's over. Including: Thank God It Didn't Get Away; Rally Caps; Kris Bryant's Greatest (And Most Telling) Moment; Baseball's Most Famous Rain Delay; and Most Memorable Game Ever.

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From the Beachwood music desk . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Gories, Saul Hernandez, Letters To Cleo, Spafford, John and Billy Prine, The Avett Brothers, Simple Simon, Kansas, ARW, Lulu Be., Yelawolf, Sick/Tired, Halo Circus, Dokken, and Attila.

*

Catching up with . . .

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: LANY, Grün Wasser, Rik Emmett, Skinny Lister, Lincoln Durham, Asking Alexandria, Upon A Burning Body, Bad Omens, Born of Osiris, Culture Club, State Champs, Jim Strong, Lord Mute, Liam Hayes, and Destroyer.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Lupe Fiasco, Low, Samantha Fish, Meshuggah, Todd Poole, Anthony Corder, Babylon A.D., Pretty Boy Floyd, Stephen Pearcy, Tango Down, Danger Danger, King Of The Hill, Tuff, Phil Lewis's L.A. Guns, Jetboy, Jack Russell's Great White, Amy Rigby, AM Taxi, Bow Wow Now, Local H, Damaged Goods, Coin, Reel Big Fish, and mewithoutYou,

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Neon Indian, Classixx, Johnny Gioeli, Enuff Z'Nuff, Satan's Hollow, Consider The Source, Joyner Lucas, Counter Intuits, Flasher, NRBQ, Peter Groch, Lucas Gillan, Adrienne Schroeder, Cam, Rented Rooms, Kero Kero Bonito, Gabe Janky & Friends, Plum Creek, Hinds, The Susan Voelz Experience, Bad Cop Bad Cop, Necromonkey, The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, Failure, Chris Bolint, Cooled Out Babies, Gnash, Loverboy, Rorey Carroll, Billy Bragg, Purge Giraffe, No Men, Slushy, Teenage Fanclub, and Nots.

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BeachBook

Molly Ivins in 1996: 'U.S. Elections Make Me Want To Vomit.'

Right then, right now.

*

Ricketts Fortune Backing Trump.

Go Cubs Go!

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Lock him up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:36 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Gories at the Double Door for HoZac's 10th anniversary party on Saturday night.


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2. Saul Hernandez at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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3. Letters To Cleo at the Double Door on Friday night.

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4. Spafford at the Vic on Saturday night.

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5. John and Billy Prine at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

Kot: "When John Prine's band left the stage for a few songs, time melted away Friday at the Chicago Theatre and he was back at the old Fifth Peg on Armitage Avenue in 1970 with an acoustic guitar around his shoulders while delivering songs that spoke to the times and beyond.

"Or, as Bob Dylan once described Prine's lyrical gift, 'pure Proustian existentialism, Midwestern mind trips to the nth degree.' His songs have not only aged well, the years have added richness and resonance."

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6. The Avett Brothers at the Genesee in Waukegan on Saturday night.

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7. Simple Simon at the Elbo Room on Saturday night.

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8. Kansas at Copernicus on Friday night.

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9. ARW at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Lulu Be. at Beat Kitchen last Wednesday night.

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Yelawolf at Thalia Hall on October 29th.

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Sick/Tired at the Cobra Lounge on October 29th.

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Halo Circus at Uncommon Ground on October 29th.

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Dokken at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles on October 28th.

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Attila at the House of Blues on October 26th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:06 AM | Permalink

Post-Cubs Chicago

Looking at my driver's license at the car rental agency at the Ontario, California airport last Wednesday, the attendant quickly noted that I'm a Chicagoan. "You have to be really excited about the Cubs," she said.

I didn't lie. "Actually I'm a White Sox fan, but I'm very happy for my friends who are Cub fans," I said.

Never having a soft spot for the Cubbies, I still was appreciative - and, yes, a bit envious - of my close friends who have lived and died (thankfully not literally) with their favorite baseball team. When I called one of them at midnight Wednesday to offer congratulations, no one picked up the phone. Was it too much for him? Did his 74-year-old heart fail to withstand the pressure of the 10-inning deciding game?

No, I found out the next morning. He was on the roof of his building watching the fireworks from some unknown place and listening to sirens going off. How beautiful!

My brother-in-law, who at age 12 or 13 was a Cub batboy, texted, "Listening on the radio to Cubs fans expressing their relief and utter joy, I totally bonded with strangers. What an emotional catharsis. I know you experienced that in 2005."

Well, not exactly, because in total candor, there has never been anything quite like this. Sure, I was overjoyed and euphoric 11 years ago when the White Sox surprised everyone, including themselves, by winning 11 of 12 post-season games to become the kings of baseball. We celebrated with spouses and sons at Miller's Pub where the Gallioses gave us bottles of Champagne on the house.

Two days later, in one of the more uncomfortable moments of my life, I was pushed, jostled and confined by a delirious crowd estimated at 1.75 million at LaSalle and Wacker. But this was different. Not Obama, the Pope, the Bulls, Bears, or Blackhawks - let alone the White Sox - ever experienced the level of love, adoration and worship that this band of athletes generated by winning a bunch of baseball games.

If the estimates are even close, the people lining the streets Friday from 3600 North to Grant Park were nearly twice as many as the total population of our city. Metra had its biggest day ever. My younger son who recently moved to Deerfield said he stood all the way home on his commuter train. Thankfully his Red Line experience served him well.

I watched every minute on television. (MLB TV got the live feed from WGN.) It was all rather believable until the shot looking south on Michigan Avenue from Randolph. Hordes as far as the eye could see. This clearly was not 2005.

"You have to be happy for the city," my sister told me. "It's great for Chicago."

I've thought about that. As mentioned, I feel nothing but warm, fuzzy thoughts for my Cub fan friends.

But for the city as a whole, I know a few things. Now that the 108-year drought is over, along with the stories about how Grandpa would have realized a lifelong dream if only he had lived long enough, and hearing how Ernie, Ronnie and Harry were watching somewhere and celebrating, I still am absolutely certain that the Cubs winning the World Series will have no effect on much about our life in the city. The potholes will still be deep next March. Chicago's budget problems won't go away. The homicide rate will continue to spike. Police will still lack trust in many communities. My property taxes won't be lowered. The Cubs' success doesn't make Rahm any more likable.

That being said, the October mania meant that cash flowed into the city where none flowed before. Cub fans from out of town stayed at our hotels, ate at our restaurants and drank at the city's bars. Establishments in Wrigleyville squeezed as much as possible out of the craziness by charging hundreds of dollars just to walk in the door. Forget about having tickets to the games; just being in the vicinity and mixing with the crowd fed the thirst of shedding the "Lovable Losers" label.

I thought about vendors at Wrigley who have been there for decades. I used to be one of them. Eight post-season dates meant another grand or two for them, and they deserve every penny. Before night baseball on the North Side, many of those same guys showed up every blazing hot summer day, walking empty aisles hawking beer, pop and hot dogs.

While this glorious happening might not make a dent in our urban challenges, the exhilaration, exuberance and overt happiness surely must make an impact in the lives of many of our citizens. Lest we forget, this is entertainment, and it doesn't get any better for people - millions of them - who love the Cubs. No movie, concert, symphony, opera, play or museum can top this. All those provide pleasure and enjoyment and contribute greatly to our culture. But years from now so many people can say they were there when the Cubs won the World Series. It will be a badge of honor to be passed down to future generations.

And it will never be quite the same.

Don't misunderstand. With young players like Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Schwarber, Contreras, Hendricks, Baez and Almora, the team is poised to contend long into the future. But the first one - the championship that broke the fictitious curse that followed the franchise - can never be matched.

Now the expectations have changed. If the team doesn't win, then what? If Rondon or Grimm or Strop blow a late-inning lead, will boos rain down from the grandstand? If Maddon mismanages like he did the last two games of the World Series, will his unique approach come into question? My guess is that this team will fly another championship flag or two in the future, but it will also fall short more often than not.

When the White Sox won 11 years ago, I vowed that it was enough. I could die a happy man. Dare I say my outlook has changed. Chances are the future will be different for my friends who love the Cubs.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:34 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie's Idiot's Guide To The U.S. Election

Wealthy, corrupt businessman vs. wealthy, corrupt politician.


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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.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

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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 12:58 AM | Permalink

November 5, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #126: It Was Real, And It's Over

Shut it down. We did it. Including: Thank God It Didn't Get Away; Rally Caps; Kris Bryant's Greatest (And Most Telling) Moment; Baseball's Most Famous Rain Delay; Most Memorable Game Ever; and The Cubs 'Mystique' Was Real.


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SHOW NOTES

* 126.

1:41: Thank God It Didn't Get Away.

* Averted: A whole new level of losing.

4:40: The Joy Came Later.

* Given the circumstances, it was relief first.

5:35: Parade.

* A daddy-daughter moment.

8:03: Rally Caps.

History.

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Ben Zobrist:

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"Literally, I promise you, I prayed during free agency last year to be a Chicago Cub."

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His Wrigleyville house.

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Riding his bike to the ballpark. It's steampunk Ben!

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MVP.

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Jon Lester:

"How 'bout this shit?!"

Verducci: "Cubs president Theo Epstein met with the manager in his office to confer about their pitching. Maddon had already improvised by inserting Jon Lester into the fifth inning in relief of Kyle Hendricks with Cleveland's Carlos Santana at first base and two outs. In a pregame strategy session the last thing Epstein and Maddon agreed upon was that Lester, because of his mental block throwing to bases and his limited history of relief work, would enter a game only at the start of an inning.

"But Maddon abandoned the agreement because he wanted the lefty to face lefthanded-hitting Jason Kipnis."

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The wild pitch. (Careful, Grandpa!)

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Dexter Fowler:

First on the mic.

How playing deeper helped his defense.

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Kyle Schwarber:

"This is awesome!"

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"That was awesome!"

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He was awesome.

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Joe Maddon:

Tarnishes his legacy while making history!

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Anthony Rizzo:

Wanted David Ross, studied Cubs culture.

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David Ross:

"Look what the boys got me!"

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"Dude, you hit a home run off Andrew Miller in Game 7 of the World Series!"

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The three-headed catching monster.

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49:03: Kris Bryant's Greatest (And Most Telling) Moment.

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50:06 Baseball's' Most Famous Rain Delay.

Verducci: "But for the Cubs there are two epochs now: What came before the rain and what came after."

50:25: Olney: The Most Memorable Baseball Game Ever Played.

53:01: The 'Mystique' Was Real.

57:42: Shut It Down. It's Over.

* Like the Grateful Dead without Jerry Garcia.

59:50: Most Important Game In Chicago Sports History?

* Coffman gets it wrong!

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STOPPAGE: 7:00

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:22 AM | Permalink

Give The Gift Of Nature: Protecting Research Chimps, A Magical Urban Waste Ground & Why Birds Matter

Outdoorsman Scott Shalaway includes three nature books from the University of Chicago Press in his holiday reading gift guide. Let's take a look.

Shalaway:

"Voracious Science & Vulnerable Animals: A Primate Scientist's Ethical Journey by John Gluck (2016, University of Chicago Press, $17.50) traces the evolution of one researcher's path from research scientist to ethicist. If you've ever had concerns about how captive primates are used in psychological research, you'll find this a compelling read. Many primates can live for decades, and their care extends far beyond their utility as research subjects."

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From the publisher:

"The National Institute of Health recently announced its plan to retire the fifty remaining chimpanzees held in national research facilities and place them in sanctuaries.

"This significant decision comes after a lengthy process of examination and debate about the ethics of animal research.

"For decades, proponents of such research have argued that the discoveries and benefits for humans far outweigh the costs of the traumatic effects on the animals; but today, even the researchers themselves have come to question the practice.

"John P. Gluck has been one of the scientists at the forefront of the movement to end research on primates, and in Voracious Science and Vulnerable Animals he tells a vivid, heart-rending, personal story of how he became a vocal activist for animal protection."

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Shalaway:

"Common Ground: Encounters with Nature at the Edges of Life by Rob Owen (2016, University of Chicago Press, $29) makes the point that it's not necessary to go somewhere exotic to find nature. After living 10 years in London, Owen moved to northern England and became fascinated with a square mile of "waste ground" at the edge of town. His story proves that curious eyes and an inquiring mind can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."

commonground.jpg

From the publisher:

"All too often, we think of nature as something distinct from ourselves, something to go and see, a place that's separate from the ordinary modern world in which we live and work. But if we take the time to look, we soon find that's not how nature works. Even in our parceled-out, paved-over urban environs, nature is all around us; it is in us. It is us.

"That's what Rob Cowen discovered after moving to a new home in northern England. After ten years in London he was suddenly adrift, searching for a sense of connection. He found himself drawn to a square-mile patch of waste ground at the edge of town.

"Scrappy, weed-filled, this heart-shaped tangle of land was the very definition of overlooked - a thoroughly in-between place that capitalism no longer had any use for, leaving nature to take its course.

"Wandering its meadows, woods, hedges, and fields, Cowen found it was also a magical, mysterious place, haunted and haunting, abandoned but wildly alive - and he fell in fascinated love."

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Shalaway:

"Why Birds Matter: Avian Ecological Function and Ecosystem Services by multiple authors (2016, University of Chicago Press, $45) is an impressive collection of papers that explains how birds fit into our world.

"It examines birds' roles in pollination, seed dispersal, nutrient cycling, how birds engineer their habitats and their economic value. As the subtitle suggests, this book is geared toward academic and professional readers, but any serious student of birds will appreciate Why Birds Matter."

birds.jpg

From the publisher:

"For over one hundred years, ornithologists and amateur birders have jointly campaigned for the conservation of bird species, documenting not only birds' beauty and extraordinary diversity, but also their importance to ecosystems worldwide.

"But while these avian enthusiasts have noted that birds eat fruit, carrion, and pests; spread seed and fertilizer; and pollinate plants, among other services, they have rarely asked what birds are worth in economic terms.

"In Why Birds Matter, an international collection of ornithologists, botanists, ecologists, conservation biologists, and environmental economists seeks to quantify avian ecosystem services - the myriad benefits that birds provide to humans."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:18 AM | Permalink

U.S. Manufacturing Economy Fails Employers And Workers

BREMEN, Indiana - James L. Brown tried to hire a dozen workers for his metal foundry here. Half of them flunked the drug test.

Those results are typical, says the president of Bremen Castings, a family-owned employer of 350 workers who make parts for trucks and other equipment. Drug problems are one factor contributing to a labor shortage that delayed filling orders earlier this year.

"We've become a recruiting company," Brown said of the relentless struggle to maintain a strong workforce.

Bremen Castings illustrates the central tension in U.S. manufacturing: Plant managers complain of a talent shortage, while workers see too few acceptable jobs.

The paradox has echoed through the presidential campaign, with both major candidates lamenting the loss of factory jobs - even as unemployment in most industrial regions has dropped to rates usually considered healthy.

The jobless rate in the county surrounding the Bremen plant, for instance, is less than 4 percent, according to state data. The national rate is 5 percent.

Such statistics, however, obscure the struggles of manufacturers and workers, particularly in the Midwest. Factories in the countryside are distant from pools of unemployed workers in cities. Drug tests are disqualifying more applicants. Low wages discourage others from taking jobs that are available, and employers say tougher immigration enforcement makes it difficult to fill many low-wage jobs.

2016-11-04T111002Z_2_LYNXMPECA30NF_RTROPTP_4_USA-ELECTION-JOBS.JPGMartin Rangel, a worker at Bremen Castings, pours molten metal into forms on the foundry's production line in Bremen, Indiana. REUTERS/Tim Aeppel

The problem boils down to a quality issue on both sides: Employers gripe about workers with little work ethic, while employees decry falling pay for the kind of jobs that once fed families.

The logical response to a labor shortage is to raise pay enough to attract a quality staff, but many manufacturers say they can't afford it in an era of rising global competition.

Bremen Casting in August raised its starting wage to $14 per hour from $13 - after raising it from 11.50 earlier this year. The company pays up to $27.50 for its top hourly workers. Brown said he's nearing the limit of what he can pay because of pricing pressure from his customers.

The upshot is that most factory jobs, in the view of many blue-collar Americans, have been redefined as lower-level work. The average wage on factory floors fell below the average for all U.S. workers in 2006 and now sits at $20.57 per hour.

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 4.00.30 AM.png

Many make much less. A third of factory floor workers collect some form of public assistance, such as food stamps, according to a study this year by the University of California-Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education.

Among temporary manufacturing workers, the portion qualifying for government help jumps to 50 percent - on par with families of fast food workers. Between 2009 and 2013, state and federal governments spent $10.2 billion on assistance for factory workers.

Many employers are getting what they pay for, said Ken Jacobs, a co-author of the study.

"You can't both complain about a skills shortage and offer compensation that's too low to attract workers," he said.

SHUTTERED UNION FACTORIES

Since the recession ended in 2009, more U.S. workers are choosing unemployment over the jobs available to them.

Among men between 25 and 54 years old, the share of those neither working nor looking for work - 12 percent - has doubled since the 1970s. The rate jumps to 17 percent for men without college degrees, who would be likely candidates for factory jobs.

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 4.01.55 AM.png

In Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Steven Schenian recently sat across from his human resources manager, Amanda AnSorge, puzzling over recruiting. Schenian owns four small companies in this town overlooking Lake Michigan, including IMF Solutions, a furniture factory.

They thought they might get a windfall because The Manitowoc Company - a crane maker and once the town's largest private employer - is shutting its local factory. So is another company, a foundry in nearby Brillion, Wisconsin.

But there's been no surge of applicants at Schenian's furniture factory, where the average worker makes about $15 an hour, compared to pay of up to $28 at the unionized factories that are closing, Schenian said.

"Our industry just doesn't allow that kind of wages," Schenian said.

Workers with specialized skills, such as welding, have seen wages perk up a bit amid the tight labor market. Power Curbers, an equipment maker in Salisbury, North Carolina, pays experienced welders "well over $20 an hour," says CEO Dyke Messinger.

With little heavy industry in the area, he tends to have his pick of workers. But he's also noticed more turnover lately.

"There are guys with higher skills seeing their talents bid up," he says. "But that does nothing for the guy with average skill."

'HYGIENE ISSUES'

Some experts believe the erosion of pay and opportunity in factories has helped create a generation of workers more prone to problems that make them less employable.

Many hiring managers say applicants lack a solid work ethic, reflected in what they call "hygiene issues" - chronic tardiness, job-hopping and refusal to work overtime.

They also report more drug problems. A manufacturer down the street from Bremen Casting, who didn't want to be named, uses a hair analysis test to catch drug use. The company recently fired one employee after the man shaved every hair on his body before showing up for testing.

More permissive social attitudes about drugs, along with marijuana legalization in some states, are complicating the issue for manufacturers, who need drug-free workers to handle dangerous equipment and chemicals.

The share of U.S. workers who fail drug tests has hit its highest level in a decade, 4 percent, according to a recent study by Quest Diagnostics, one of the nation's largest testing labs.

That's only those who were caught - such tests are better at identifying some drugs than others, and an entire industry has sprung up offering ways to beat them. Some applicants just don't show up after they find out they have to take a drug test, manufacturing employers said.

Failure rates trended downward in previous decades, according to Quest's records. The study found use of illicit drugs - from marijuana to heroin to methamphetamines - grew both among the general workforce as well as those in "safety sensitive" jobs like pilots and railroad engineers.

In some regions, the surge of opiate addiction has tainted the labor pool.

Back in Bremen, Brown says the drug problem has come in waves. First there was marijuana, then cocaine. Now it includes prescription drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin.

And a wider array of workers is failing the tests, he says, including older, white-collar workers applying for accounting and sales jobs.

"We used to look at weed and say, 'I hope they're not smoking,'" Brown said. "Now, we hope that's all it is."

Beyond drug issues, business leaders have a bleak view of the traditional blue-collar labor pool, according to a steady stream of reports from consulting and industry groups.

Accounting firm Deloitte found recently that 84 percent of business executives see a "talent shortage" in U.S. factories. The study was conducted in partnership with the Manufacturing Institute, an employer group.

Some labor advocates see a shortage of money instead.

Workers accused of lacking performance, ambition or loyalty are reacting predictably to a lack of pay and opportunity, said Catherine Ruckelshaus, program director at the National Employment Law Project. She cited recent raises by Walmart as an example of a corporation recognizing the importance of worker morale and retention.

"There's not really a 'skills shortage,'" she said.

DITCHING WORK

Bremen is a factory town, with a population of about 4,800 and about 2,000 factory jobs, estimated Trend Weldy, Bremen's town manager and Chamber of Commerce president. 👀

Many workers are drawn from the surrounding regions, including some who commute from distant farms and towns in Michigan.

Yet recruiting remains a daily struggle for Brown and Bremen Casting.

Among his competitors are two big operations in town that paint recreational vehicles, operations that are humming amid strong demand from baby-boomer retirees.

Even some longtime workers at Bremen Casting can pose problems, including absenteeism, said Sharon Calahan, the company's director of human resources. Her all-time favorite excuse for ditching work came a few months ago, when a worker told her, "My girlfriend's husband just died - and she's distraught."

The company has stopped strictly enforcing its attendance policy.

"If we held to it, we wouldn't have those employees," says Stan Hueni, the company's employee relations manager.

One problem is that the company has cut itself off from a big source of local labor: Those in the U.S. illegally.

As recently as a decade ago, nearly half the workforce of Bremen Castings was Hispanic. But after the company implemented E-Verify - a U.S. government program that identifies workers with legal status - the share of Hispanic workers has gradually declined. Brown made the change after some other companies in his area were hit with government immigration raids.

Today, Bremen's workforce is only about 15 percent Hispanic.

Brown believes there are plenty of other potential workers on the fringes of the job market, but some aren't particularly motivated. The company recently interviewed a 21-year-old man who had graduated from high school but never attended college or held a job. Brown decided not to give him his first one.

A tactic he may try is bringing in workers from local Amish communities in hired vans. That's worked well for some local employers, but Brown has his doubts. Foundry work involves pouring molten metal, and many Amish seem more familiar with other types of wood and metal-working trades.

AVOIDING OVERTIME

Among Brown's more dependable employees is Steve Humfleet, who started eight years ago on the graveyard shift and moved to day work three years ago.

But the 43-year-old has little interest in overtime hours, for the same reason he wanted off the night shift: More time with his wife, Natalie, also 43, and two daughters, Shauna, 21, and Diana, 12.

In the past, Brown said, workers would compete for those extra hours, which pay 50 percent more.

He thinks this may in part be an impact of the recession, when many younger workers, in particular, appeared to learn how to get by with much less.

Humfleet doesn't dispute that assessment. To him, time is more important than money. When not with family, he prefers to spend that time hunting or target-shooting.

He tries to keep grocery bills low and routinely tells his two daughters that the family can't buy all the things they want.

He and his wife, Natalie - who also works in a local factory - have chosen to build their lives, he said, "on 40-hour paychecks."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:51 AM | Permalink

November 4, 2016

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. LANY at the Metro on Thursday night.


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2. Grün Wasser at Danny's for h.o.t.h. on Tuesday night.

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3. Rik Emmett at City Winery on Thursday night.

"The world is such a fucked-up place, full of bullshit, but music speaks the truth."

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4. Skinny Lister at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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5. Lincoln Durham at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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6. Asking Alexandria at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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7. Upon A Burning Body at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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8. Bad Omens at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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9. Born of Osiris at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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10. Culture Club at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan on Thursday night.

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11. State Champs at the Concord on Thursday night.

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12. Jim Strong at Cafe Mustache on Thursday night.

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13. Lord Mute at Cafe Mustache on Thursday night.

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14. Liam Hayes at the Art Institute's Fullerton Hall on Wednesday night.

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15. Destroyer at Fullerton Hall on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:07 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement

You say you want a revolution.

20161020_202007_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.
* 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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:23 AM | Permalink

Falling Prices, Borrowing Binge Haunt Midwest 'Go-Go Farmers'

NEWTON COUNTY, Indiana - A third-generation farmer, Matt Gibson eyed a big expansion of his family's business in late 2011, as grain prices soared in a searing Midwestern drought.

By August of 2012, days before corn prices peaked, the Gibson family had borrowed nearly $18 million in a series of loans from Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank.

The Gibsons took on more debt after the drought broke the following spring, sending grain prices tumbling. By 2015, with grain prices at half their peak, BMO and others creditors sued the Gibson businesses seeking to recoup more than $30 million.

The travails of Matt Gibson, 39, and his family are emblematic of a new class of "go-go farmers," a term coined by fellow Midwest growers and agricultural economists. Many, like the Gibsons, borrowed heavily to expand their farms, then borrowed more in an effort to plant their way out of a commodity price crash, according to dozens of interviews with Midwest farmers, lenders and agriculture experts.

Their distress could foreshadow broader economic turmoil in the grain sector, which includes corn, soybeans and wheat.

"We're in for a very, very rough time," said Jim Mintert, director of Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture. "It's going to take several years to work our way through this."

A Reuters analysis of federal data on agricultural lending in the grain-producing "I-states" - Illinois, Indiana and Iowa - shows that delinquency rates on farmland and production loans are rising sharply.

"It's definitely a red flag," Robert Johansson, chief economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told Reuters.

FarmDebt2.JPGThe Gibson family borrowed about $30 million to expand and maintain their farm businesses in Morroco, Indiana. All photos by Jim Young/Reuters

The total dollar amount of nonperforming bank farm loans in the three states shot up to $288.2 million in the second quarter of 2016, up from $132.5 million in the second quarter of 2013, the year after corn and soybean prices peaked, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The federal government doesn't track large farm bankruptcies, but a special category of bankruptcies for smaller farms - Chapter 12 filings - points to distress in the grain sector.

In the top Midwest grain states, the number of Chapter 12 filings, limited to those with less than $4.03 million in debt, were 51 percent higher in the 12-month period ending June 30 of this year compared to the same period in 2013, according to federal court data. In Iowa, the top corn producer, Chapter 12 filings had climbed 125 percent.

Corn.JPGCorn prices have plummeted since 2012, part of a larger crash in the grain sector. Falling prices and rising debts helped lead to a cash crisis on the Gibson family farm.

Another troubling indicator: The proportion of extremely leveraged grain and other row crop farmers in the U.S. - those with debts totaling more than 71 percent of assets - doubled, to 2.4 percent, between 2012 and 2015, according to the latest available USDA data.

In all, about one in three U.S. farms raising grain and other row crops, not including cotton, last year were categorized by the department as "highly leveraged" or "very highly leveraged," meaning their debts equaled at least 41 percent of assets.

"I expect these categories to get larger," the USDA's Johansson said. "We should be looking at this."

Such statistics match up with the stories of agrarian hubris and family desperation that are piling up in coffee shops and courtrooms across the Midwest. The common narrative is a struggle against low grain prices and high debt after years of credit-fueled expansion.

Matt Gibson and his attorneys declined to comment for this story, citing ongoing litigation. The rise and fall of their family farm is chronicled in the records of lawsuits against Matt Gibson and Gibson family businesses filed by BMO Harris and other creditors. Gibson family members who, according to court records, co-owned the businesses - including Larry and Vergel Gibson, Matt's parents, and his wife, Amy Gibson - did not respond to repeated requests for comment and their attorneys declined to comment.

BMO Harris also declined to discuss its loans to the Gibson family, citing the litigation. The bank said in a statement that it seeks to avoid lawsuits and continues to make new farm loans, while working with current customers to restructure delinquent loans.

"This is a challenging period for grain producers," the bank said in a statement. "We're actively working with our customers to help them navigate their way through the cycle."

BETTING THE FARM - AND THE CROPS

In past farm downturns, farmers typically owned most of the land they farmed, and thousands filed for bankruptcy in the 1980s after falling behind on high-interest land and equipment loans. Interest rates are near historic lows today. But modern farmers are increasingly using credit to finance operations - borrowing to rent land, and to buy equipment, seeds and pesticides - leaving them exposed to falling crop prices, agricultural lenders and bankruptcy experts said.

Matt Gibson, soon after graduating from Indiana's Valparaiso University in 1999, returned to help his family's farm in and around Newton County, about 65 miles south of Chicago, according to a Gibson business website. As grain prices soared, the family ramped up operations.

By 2012, Gibson, his family and the companies they owned had pledged land, crops and equipment as collateral to BMO Harris and other creditors, according to court records. As their debt grew, they promised grain not yet grown and calves not yet born, along with a farmhouse and other property.

The Gibsons were part of a larger expansion binge by farmers in the Midwest. In Indiana, Iowa and Illinois, the number of farms with $1 million or more in annual gross cash farm income - a USDA figure that does not account for operating costs - increased 65 percent between 2011 and 2014, according to USDA data.

In 2014, these more than 12,400 large farms occupied one out of every three acres of land farmed in the I-states and pulled in 41 cents of every farming dollar.

Many farmers who expanded - in the face of falling prices and rising global competition - were younger, said Robert Craven, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Farm Management.

"A lot of these 'go-go farmers' have never really seen a downturn in agriculture," Craven said. "For them, it's only been good times out there."


See the graphic Growing Debt On U.S. Farms


Other tales of woe abound in grain country.

Ernie D. Johnson, an Indiana farmer, borrowed nearly $159,000 from the Agriculture Department in 2014 and 2015, pledging his corn as collateral, according to federal court records. But Johnson sold the grain and stopped paying the government, the USDA alleged in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Attorney on the agency's behalf in bankruptcy court.

Johnson and his attorney, KC Cohen, did not respond to requests for comment.

Missouri farmer William Michael Miller owed more than $6.5 million to creditors - including his largest lender, Farmers Bank of Northern Missouri; equipment maker Deere & Company; and equipment lenders AgDirect and CNH Industrial Capital - by the time he filed for bankruptcy in March of 2016. He was preparing to plant corn and soybeans on more than 7,200 acres in Missouri and Iowa when at least one farmland rent check bounced, according to documents filed in Miller's Missouri bankruptcy case.

Miller "was always looking for more ground to rent, to get bigger and pay more than anyone else," said Iowa farmland owner Russ Helbing, whose family rented nearly 4,000 acres to Miller. "He wanted to be the biggest farmer around."

Miller did not return calls for comment. His attorney, Donald Scott, declined to comment.

'MORE ROPE' FOR FARMERS

The growing distress of Midwest farmers illustrates the myriad threats now facing U.S. agriculture: intense competition for land; competing demands for limited water; a strong dollar that raises U.S. export prices; extreme weather patterns; and rising foreign competition.

This past spring, corn and soybean farmers planted every spare stretch of dirt they could find - a record 178.2 million acres, according to USDA data - in a bid to expand their way out of their financial problems.

In October, the USDA forecast that the largest-ever U.S. corn and soybean crops would flood an already swamped global market this fall. Grain prices continue to hover at multi-year lows in the U.S. and worldwide.

To weather the economic storm, many farmers have relied on a spigot of bank credit that can be traced to the aftermath of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, which started in 2007. When mortgage underwriting standards tightened after the housing crash, banks and other agricultural lenders extended more credit for farmland as a new source of business, said Minnesota-based agricultural attorney Joseph D. Roach, a former agricultural banker who also is a farmer.

Prices for Midwestern farmland rose by more than 20 percent between 2010 and 2013 in some states and counties, according to data from the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. In Iowa, the weighted average for all grades of farmland jumped 72 percent from 2010 before peaking in 2013 at $8,296 an acre, according to an Iowa State University survey.

An extended U.S. drought during the period pushed agricultural commodity prices to record highs, making farmland loans more attractive to banks.

Some lenders, eager to grow their portfolios, stopped following their own lending guidelines, said Roach and other lenders and lawyers interviewed by Reuters. Grain cooperatives, equipment makers, seed sellers and other entities also extended easy credit, he said.

"I started to notice all these bankers letting the farmers have more rope," said Roach. "They couldn't give out the money fast enough."

RENTING THE FARM

In the wake of the 2012 drought, the Gibsons turned to BMO Harris for help in increasing their acreage and expanding their cattle business, according to federal court documents.

Their timing was terrible. After corn and soybean prices hit historic highs in the summer of 2012, grain prices and grain-farm revenues started to fall.

Corn, which topped $8 a bushel in the summer of 2012, has lately traded for about $3.50. Soybeans have seen a similar collapse: Their price hit nearly $18 that year but has since fallen to less than $10. Soft red winter wheat traded above $9 a bushel and now brings about $4.

By the fall of 2014, Matt Gibson and his family started to lose control of their debt. They missed loan payments, which over time triggered higher interest rates. Around the same time, some of the BMO Harris loans began hitting their maturity dates, requiring payment in full, according to federal court documents in the BMO Harris case.

Meanwhile, the Gibson businesses were still under contract to pay above-market rents to farm huge tracts of land.

The Gibsons had generally paid reasonable interest rates on their many loans. But in June of 2014, Gibson signed a memorandum of understanding to buy a small herd of 271 Black Angus cow-calf pairs on credit from Boswell Livestock Commission Co. Inc., according to court records.

BoswellAuction.JPGCattle is auctioned off at Boswell Livestock Auction in Boswell, Indiana.

After putting $50,000 down, Gibson owed the balance - $771,000 - to Boswell in 90 days. He agreed to pay 7 percent simple interest per day - a 2,555 percent annual rate. With interest and principal charges, payments would total $5.63 million for the 90-day loan.

An interest rate that high would be illegal on a credit card or a car loan, according to Indiana's usury statute, but agricultural loans are not covered by state or federal regulations that protect most consumers.

Gibson still has not repaid the cattle debt in full, according to a lawsuit filed last month by Boswell and its bank against Matt Gibson and BMO Harris. Boswell officials and its attorneys declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing litigation.

'GOOD DIRT' AT AUCTION

On August 20, 2015, BMO Harris Bank sued Gibson Grain & Supply and two other Gibson businesses in federal court, claiming loan defaults.

Gibson's creditors began repossessing assets, court records show. Deere & Company, Deere Credit, and CNH Capital America took back dozens of pieces of equipment. Landlords turned over thousands of acres to new tenants. A federal judge ordered much of the remaining farming assets to be sold at auction: about 848 tillable acres, farm equipment, a steel-pole building, and a farmhouse.

On a snowy early February morning, inside the crowded hall at the Jasper County Fairgrounds, three people from BMO Harris huddled together, scribbling notes, as auctioneer Jonathan Kraft paced in front of the somber crowd.

Kraft stomped to punctuate his description of the high-quality acreage at auction: soil types, ease of access, past crop yields.

"This is good dirt."

Stomp.

"Great dirt."

Stomp.

"A great deal."

The auction brought in $5.98 million, after the auctioneer's commissions, according to court documents.

Today, the Gibsons continue to farm, but on a smaller scale. They were able to refinance a few hundred acres of the original family land, a source close to the family told Reuters, and to save the family farmhouse that Matt Gibson's grandfather built.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:50 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Streaks

Nobody knows streaks, mostly the bad ones, like Chicago. And, don't we know in these parts, as you get older, you learn how to deal with them, manage expectations, if you have any, and appreciate any success that comes along. That's the value of the streaks.

It comes to us that within the last year, two of the most monumental streaks in American sports history were broken, in smashing fashion.

Just hours ago, the Chicago Cubs did what they did. A seemingly nice bunch of people - and that's important - who did it with such style, it seemed they turned the corner from BC to AD.

And 370 days ago, American Pharoah stylishly outran the rest in the Breeders' Cup Classic to top his Triple Crown year in a kind of grand slam of racing that didn't even exist for 1979's Affirmed.

But time, and the furlongs, march on, so now we embark on the second odyssey in four days, the 32nd Breeders' Cup World Championships from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

There will be plenty of compelling story lines and the two feature races, the Distaff Friday and the Classic Saturday, both bring together enough stars to force you to pull out the GPS to find a value wager.

On the significant flip side, none of the three Triple Crown race winners will be at this Breeders' Cup with the retirement of Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, who didn't win after that race.

Starting with Friday's races, will Dortmund dominate the Dirt Mile (Grade I, one mile dirt, $1,000,000), as suggested by his 6-5 morning line? At 13-8-2-2, he's won every one of his races, except those including American Pharoah or California Chrome.

Will Gun Runner continue to take the perplexing money, even though his last hurrah was a win in the Grade III Matt Winn at Churchill Downs in June? He's been running in top company and he's a nice horse. But 9-2?

Runhappy owner, Houston furniture magnate James McIngvale, who appears to have more than he can handle, has been accused of mismanaging this horse and inexplicably enters the winner of last year's Sprint here in the Dirt Mile. He's a pure sprinter who finished a bad fourth in the one-mile Ack Ack on October 1st in the only race he's run since last December. Throw in an obviously troubled workout and you really have to wonder.

The tasty climax Friday will be the Distaff (Grade I, 1-1/8 miles, fillies and mares three-and-up, $2,000,000), where the precocious three-year-old Songbird takes on a few older veterans.

Six-year-old Grande Dame Beholder, who missed this race last year, will try hold off Stellar Wind, the four-year-old who has prevailed in their last two, the Clement L. Hirsch and the Zenyatta, both Grade Is. Beholder beat 'Wind in the Vanity, at a mile, so you wonder what Beholder might have left at this distance.

Most of the pundits I've heard give Songbird no chance against the older ladies, like Selena Gomez taking on Madonna, including I'm a Chatterbox and Forever Unbridled.

Jockey and choreographer Mike Smith has it staged already.

"I think it's pretty simple. She's fast and I'm gonna roll. I may even send her a little (out of the gate)," Smith said. "If someone wants to go in front of her, they're going to have to go awfully fast. It's going to be a fast pace and we're going to find out if she's good enough to beat those old mares."

My only problem is that starting with a favorite 6-5 morning line, she may not be of value either way. So be it.

If you're still alive on Saturday, and I know you will be, you'll get a kick out of watching them in the chute in the turf sprints. Better known as The Downhill Course, the horses start up on a hill, run downhill, cross the dirt on the turn and finish in the turf stretch.

In the Turf (Grade I turf, 1.5 miles, three-year-olds and up, $4,000,000), the showdown is between Britisher Flintshire and the Irish horse Found.

Flintshire is looking to rebound from a loss on a yielding course in the Turf Classic Invitational on October 1st at Belmont. He's in America because of its firmer turf courses, so he should love Santa Anita's green.

Found? All you need to know is Irish supertrainer Aidan O'Brien. They're trying to find chinks in four-year-old Found's armor after a loss in the QIPCO Champion Stakes October 15, but he won Europe's most important race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe two weeks before that. If you get the morning line 3-1 or better, take it.

There are also doubts about Tepin, a mare taking on the boys in the Mile (Grade I, one mile turf, three-years-old and up, $2,000,000). He comes in off a tough win in the Woodbine Mile and a dull loss in the First Lady at Keeneland. Morning line 3-1 or better? Take it.

She'll face Ironicus and the veteran five-year-old Tourist. Why not, at 20-1?

Approaching the California gloaming, we'll have the aptly named Classic (Grade I, 1-1/4 miles, three-year-olds and up, $6,000,000) crowning the festival.

The wiseguys are calling this a veritable match race between the already-legendary California Chrome and the upstart speedball Arrogate. Hard to argue.

A destination-watching horse, 'Chrome is the North American leading money winner of all time, at more than $13.4 million. He's undefeated this year, including the Dubai World Cup, and he's done it in a most powerful, commanding way. He had a nice, easy tuneup in the Awesome Again Stakes on October 1st, beating Dortmund, who peeled off to a different race.

Whatever happens in this race, California Chrome will have everything to say about it.

So Bob Baffert is looking to win this race for the third-straight time! Bayern and American Pharoah ahead of him, now it's Arrogate's turn.

He comes in off an astonishing romp in the Grade I Travers Stakes on August 27th, in which he set new Saratoga track and race records with a blistering 1:59-1/10 for the same 10 furlongs. He recorded a lofty 122 Beyer Speed Figure.

The son of Unbridled's Song, many touts are saying that he's just simply too fast for these, or anybody. Baffert knows speed, California speed, Santa Anita speed. Morning line 5-2, you probably won't do as well, but try.

Frosted? He won the Whitney over not much and suffered the tough beat in the Woodward Anything left?

The Cubs were pretty much chalk this year. So as soon as this rally's over, we'll flip the switch and look for longshots in those other championships.

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For your television enjoyment, we'll have Laffit Pincay III, Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Baily expertly handling the analysis for NBC, with Tom Hammond on the Saturday nighter. Eddie O. also makes his picks throughout. NBC Sports Channel has the festivities Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday from 1:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. The main peacock NBC handles the Classic Saturday night from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

November 3, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"Just so many great things on the other side of a World Series Championship," our very own Marty Gangler writes in The Cub Factor: Yada Yada.

"Sure, all the clichés are there. You know, about being able to die in peace and wishing grandparents and family members could see this, yada yada. Sure, those are all great, and real, but when it comes down to it, when I'm about to die I'm probably going to do my best to just not die and I may not think about the Cubs at all, you know, because I might be about to die.

"I guess my point is that for the living, the coolest thing about the Cubs winning it is that I don't have to think about next season much at all. Who they need to move, who they are going to acquire, who's on my hate list, etc. It's all just Cubbie Blue gravy now."

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happenedcubs.jpg

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Happenstance.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:02 PM | Permalink

Yada Yada

So, that happened.

Just so many great things on the other side of a World Series Championship. Sure, all the clichés are there. You know, about being able to die in peace and wishing grandparents and family members could see this, yada yada. Sure, those are all great, and real, but when it comes down to it, when I'm about to die I'm probably going to do my best to just not die and I may not think about the Cubs at all, you know, because I might be about to die.

I guess my point is that for the living, the coolest thing about the Cubs winning it is that I don't have to think about next season much at all. Who they need to move, who they are going to acquire, who's on my hate list, etc. It's all just Cubbie Blue gravy now.

I also think Steve Garvey is probably an OK guy now; same for Will Clark. Leon "Bull" Durham was a solid defensive first baseman and they put out a lot of great music in 1969, what else happened that year? Yeah, the goats (literal and otherwise), villains, and all the ghosts of losing past are all pretty much off the hook - except maybe Dusty. And it feels like a lot of sports fan baggage has been lifted off the Cub fan's back. All this being said, it still hasn't truly sunk in. I'm sure it will in a little more time. And even that will be nice.

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Season in Review: After being the best team in the regular season the Cubs become the best team in the World. Not bad.

Offseason in Preview: In short, who cares. OK, we know they'll lose the demi-god David Ross, for one. And then they'll have to think about what to do with a few other guys. I'm not even sure what it is they should do, have to do, or should want to do. It sure would be fun to run it all back with this same group of guys because, well, these are the guys that did it. But there will be a handful of new faces coming aboard and other guys moving on. But we'll always have 2016 with those guys and fans will remember them. They'll get standing Os coming into town for a weekend series in May wearing another team's uniform, and even that will be cool.

Musical Outfielders: And no we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. The big move was just rolling with what was working, when it came down to it: Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler and Jason Heyward in the field. And they all chipped in in their own ways. Even Heyward apparently summoned his best "One for the Gipper" speech during that 17-minute rain delay that got the boys' heads back on straight after the lead was blown. Still seems like the Cubs will have a log jam in left come next season, but like I said, that's an issue for some other offseason.

Oh, and the tag up from Albert Almora (Jr.) led to the entire 10th-inning rally. Just a super heads-up baseball play from a guy who came through the "new" Cub farm system where they preached the "Cubbie Way." Maybe Almora can hang out with Javy Baez in the offseason and get some of that baseball IQ to rub off on him. (I love Javy, but a little more baseball IQ and he could be scary good and not just a "wow" play guy here and there).

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: Nothing but love right now. OK, I still don't like Darwin Barney.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: Nothing but love again here, except maybe...

Mad(don) Scientist Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe. What happened to you? The coolest cat in the room lost his mind. Just too panicky with the quick hooks with the starters and riding the big guy in the pen. But in the end, he stayed the course enough with the lineup and those guys came through in a couple big spots.

Kubs Kalendar I'm thinking there should be at least three bobbleheads down the line from this series: The Fowler Running Backwards On The Homer in Game 7, the Heyward Wall Catch, and maybe the Kyle Schwarber Fred Flintstone-like Steal in Game 7 as well.

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 cannot be taken away. It happened.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:56 AM | Permalink

November 2, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"This can only end with maximum pain," Grant Bisbee writes for SBNation.

This is the best-case scenario. This is the worst-case scenario. This is 176 years of collective pain in a steel-cage match, with metal chairs in the ring and the referees pretending to be occupied with someone on the outside.

It's as if I've been preparing for a decade to use words to explain what a World Series Game 7 between the Cubs and Indians will be like, and realizing that I'm completely outclassed. Are there words for this? It's a whale song of supreme glory, of supreme defeat, sung across the planes of time.

Which is a ham-fisted way of saying this: One of these teams is gonna be so damned sad.

I recommend reading the entire piece.



"Less than an hour after the final pitch, all that remained in the Indians' clubhouse was a table full of signed memorabilia and an empty Giant Eagle shopping cart," Zack Meisel writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"It would have been fitting had a tumbleweed or two blown through the room.

"A few clubhouse attendants filtered in and out, searching for dirty laundry or a locker to organize. The players and coaches had already exited, off to secure some rest amid the relentless chaos that plagues the mind the night before a Game 7.

"Good luck with that."



"For more than 30,000 years, northern Russia's cold permafrost has preserved the small bodies of two furry and wide-pawed cave lion cubs, one of them in almost pristine condition, a new study found.

"The two mummified cubs, nicknamed Uyan and Dina after the Uyandina River where they were found, were just about 1 week old when they died, likely crushed by 'extensive collapse of the sediments in the den,' the study's researchers wrote in a summary of their research."



Even the little ones are getting into the act. #Cubs

A photo posted by LWH (@laurencewholmes) on





World Series Notebook 7: The Chapman Series
The moment when Joe Maddon absolutely lost his mind was not when he brought Aroldis Chapman into Game 6 on Tuesday night, but the moment when he did not take him out.





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The Beachwood Tronc Line: End it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:59 AM | Permalink

World Series Notebook 7: The Chapman Series

Let's get it out of the way: I don't disagree with Joe Maddon bringing in Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning to face the meat of Cleveland's order in Game 6 on Tuesday night even though the Cubs had a five-run lead. There was a man on first, Francisco Lindor at the plate and Mike Napoli looming. Perhaps more importantly, the other bullpen options weren't appetizing.

Chapman got the job done there with just two pitches. Sending him back out for the eighth made sense too - see if the Cubs add on and then, either way, hand the big lead over to Justin Grimm, who had warmed up alongside Chapman, in the ninth.

That's where Maddon, as he has done so often during this postseason, absolutely lost his mind.

The Cubs indeed added on - Anthony Rizzo hit a 2-run homer to extend the lead to seven in the top of the ninth. And guess who Maddon sent out to the mound for the bottom of the frame?

Chapman.

Why, Joe, why?

"[We] just did not have enough time to get Stroppy warmed up after the two-run home run by Rizzo," Maddon told reporters after the game.

And that is a lie.

As many, many others pointed out in real-time, Maddon failed to get Pedro Strop - or anyone else - up in the bullpen immediately after the Rizzo homer. The 'pen was quiet for far too long - especially given that Maddon's plan had worked to perfection.

"That was part of the gig before the game to put him in a pertinent moment," Maddon said. "Then if we were able to sustain a good lead, then get him out on the back side, just like it ended up being."

Then why wasn't anyone warming up in the bullpen?

"They got caught with their pants down a little there," Jason Goff said on The Score this morning.

Chapman walked the first batter in the ninth and that's when Maddon summoned Strop, who apparently was a better option than Grimm at that juncture.

Strop's stinky performance, including a wild pitch, ensured we won't see him tonight and helped justify (again) Maddon's distrust at this point of almost the entire bullpen. Travis Wood was brought in to close it out.

And yet, this still seems nuts:

Why not just start him? He's thrown as many pitches this week as anyone in the rotation! (83 in four days, y'all.)

True, Strop couldn't get the job done, but is there really no one else down there to take care of the ninth? Grimm, Carl Edwards (Jr.), hell, John Lackey?

One person who was stoked to see Chapman in the game - and who would've loved to see Maddon ride him to the finish - was Cleveland manager Terry Francona.

"We've talked about this even before we started, was to make them use pitching even in a loss," Cleveland Manager Terry Francona said. "So we hung around enough, at least Chapman had to pitch. You never know. Maybe that helps us."

"What the Indians absolutely know will help them," Barry Svrluga writes for the Washington Post. "Miller, Shaw and Allen did not have to pitch. Each of them will have at least two days' rest. How important are they? Combined, they have a 0.95 ERA this postseason."

The Cubs better get to Corey Kluber early tonight and hang on to Kyle Hendricks for dear life.

Disrespecting 90 Con't
At least Chapman covered first this time, but he was slow to do so on a ground ball to Rizzo, and the result was in an ankle twist (or perhaps getting it stepped on at the bag by the Cleveland runner) as he barely got to the bag in time.

Jake The Snake
Jake Arrieta got another win in a 102-pitch performance. In 5 2/3 innings. Yeesh.

Closer Material
A lot of chatter about using Chapman again tonight in the middle or early innings if necessary, and then using Jon Lester as closer. You'd put him in with a one-run lead and a runner on in the bottom of the ninth? You'd keep him in after he puts a runner on with a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth?

Again, I realize the bullpen options are few. But I might feel more comfortable using Lester before Chapman, not after.

MVP Contender
If the Cubs win this, it has to be Chapman, right?

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Top Tweets

Tonight's Game 7 Matchup.

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Oh God no.

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Actually, both teams go home either way tonight. And Cleveland is already home, so . . . Win and go home, Cubs!

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Alternate headline: Sad, Aging Celebrity Has No Friends.

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Finally:

"One of these teams is gonna be so damned sad," Grant Bisbee writes for SBNation, in what might be the best baseball column of the year.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:16 AM | Permalink

November 1, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Aggressively closing or replacing failing schools was a major goal of the Cleveland Plan, but one that has been scaled far back from what the Plan first called for," the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The original version of the district-wide improvement plan in 2012 said that the district would "target the lowest 10-15 percent of these (failing) schools for immediate and dramatic action" each year including closure, starting new schools in their place or turning operations over to a charter school.

That aggression was scaled back as the plan developed, and the eventual legislation for the Plan left out any closure requirements.

The major effort with "failing" schools named 23 of them - nearly 1/4 of the district - as "Investment Schools" and put them on an improvement plan, instead of targeting them for closure. We'll have a roundup of how that has gone later today.

But the district has taken stronger action with some schools.

Links theirs!

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Also from the Plain Dealer today:

WEWS Channel 5 Good Morning Cleveland anchor Jackie Fernandez and meteorologist Somara Theodore are no longer with the station.

"We don't discuss internal employee matters," news director Jeff Harris said in a statement. "However, News 5 holds all of its journalists to the highest ethical standards."

Harris would not speak directly to the reason why Fernandez and Theodore were let go, but FTVLive, a TV news industry site, reported it was because the two waited in line for tickets to Jay Z's upcoming Cleveland concert for Hillary Clinton on company time last week and then posted about it on social media.

"It is important to the reputation of our station and to Scripps, our parent company, that our news coverage is fair and unbiased," Harris said. "Those crucial qualities have been emphasized repeatedly during this contentious election season.

"We remind our journalists frequently to avoid even the appearance of support for any sides of this election. It is imperative that we maintain objectivity in the work we do to serve our communities in NE Ohio."

My favorite part: "News 5 holds all of its journalists to the highest ethical standards."

1. Good Morning Cleveland anchors are considered journalists.

2. They're held to the highest ethical standards.

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And, of course, the reason we're reading Cleveland's news:

Just in case Cleveland Indians' Manager Terry Francona gets another emergency craving for stress-relieving ice cream, Pierre's Ice Cream has sent over a "World Series Survival Kit" full of enough frozen treats to feed the entire team.

Cleveland-based Pierre's heard about his late-night order of ice cream from room service during the early morning hours before Sunday's Game 5 of the World Series matchup with the Chicago Cubs in Chicago. The Cubs won that game, but are trailing the Indians in the best-of-seven series.

"With the series moving back to Cleveland . . . as a proud Cleveland company and the official ice cream of the Cleveland Indians, we wanted to do our part to help Mr. Francona and the team on to victory in Game 6!" said Matt Thornicroft, Pierre's assistant marketing and communications manager, who hand-delivered the container to the Indians' Clubhouse.

It wasn't about free advertising at all! I mean, no professional newsroom would give in to such chumpery, right? It's a cute story!

Although Pierre's is available to fans at Progressive Field, Pierre's wanted to make sure he wouldn't have to take his eyes off the game for his ice-cream fix.

So you can already get Pierre's at the ballpark.

And the only person quoted is a Pierre's PR person.

And there's a link - which I took out - to Pierre's, but not to an article about the original Francona ice cream episode on which this is all based.

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The article has been shared more than 3,400 times. No wonder newspapers are dying - should have offered them a sponsored content deal instead.

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Docs: U.K. Involved In Secret U.S. 'Kill List'
"According to the documents, personnel at U.K. bases leased to the U.S. military play a role in drawing up the 'kill list' for the ongoing drone assassinations in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and others."

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See also:

International Criminal Court Poised To Investigate War Crimes In Afghanistan.

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Forest Preserves Have 600 Archaeological Sites!
"The entire history of human occupation in the Chicago area, from 12,000 years ago to the present day, can be found in the more than 600 archaeological sites in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

"During a free forum at The Field Museum on Saturday, Nov. 5, attendees will discover what these sites can tell us about the region's past, how it's shaped our present, and what we must do to protect it in the future."

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Bearnesia
The Bears beat the Vikings on Monday night, but no, that doesn't mean they're suddenly good. Learn, dammit!

Breakfast In America: EPL Prez Endorsements
"A week from now, it will all be over," our very own Eric Emery writes. "And when I say it, I don't mean Sunderland's chances to avoid relegation."

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BeachBook

Signature Minnesota Brewer And His Band Coming To Chicago.

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Woman Sues KFC For $20 Million Over 'False" $20 Chicken Bucket Commercial.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Seems to me he won.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Suboptimized.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:35 AM | Permalink

Documents Reveal U.K. Involvement In Secret U.S. Drone Campaign 'Kill List'

The British military has been involved in selecting the targets of the United States' secret drone campaign, new documents obtained by the U.K.-based rights group Reprieve revealed Sunday.

According to the documents, personnel at U.K. bases leased to the U.S. military play a role in drawing up the "kill list" for the ongoing drone assassinations in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and others.

"These documents are the strongest evidence yet that the U.S. may be conducting its illegal, secret drone war from bases on British soil," said Reprieve staff attorney Jennifer Gibson. "The U.K. government now needs to come clean on what role the bases we lease to the U.S. are playing in drawing up secretive U.S. assassination lists - and what exactly the U.K.'s own involvement in these lists is."

drones_7_0.jpg"The U.S. drone program, conducted in the shadows, has killed hundreds of civilians without any accountability"/EPA

While U.K. politicians have said that the U.S. is not operating drones from British bases, they have refused to answer questions about what role the U.K. government plays in selecting targets for drone assassination.

"Simply to say that drones are not flown from the U.K. is missing the point, if it is personnel on British soil that are at the top of the so-called 'kill chain' and British agencies who are feeding targets into those lists," Gibson said.

"The U.S. drone program, conducted in the shadows, has killed hundreds of civilians without any accountability. The British government has questions to answer over its own involvement in this secret war and how much responsibility it bears for those deaths."

Reprieve details how job advertisements offer clues to the British military's role in the ongoing drone campaigns:

Job adverts and CVs identified from publicly available sources show that the U.S. Air Force has employed a "MQ-9 REAPER [drone] ISR Mission Intelligence Coordinator" at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire, while a Private Military Contractor (PMC) has advertised for an "All Source Analyst - Targeting" to work at the same base.

RAF Molesworth is leased to the U.S., but the U.K. government has refused to answer questions on whether it plays a role in the covert drone campaign - which carries out missile strikes outside of warzones with minimal accountability.

[...] A third job advert from contractor Leidos for someone to provide "FMV [full motion video] intelligence analysis in support of USAFRICOM . . . and Special Operations Command Africa," also at Molesworth, indicates that the base may be involved in supporting illegal covert drone strikes in countries such as Somalia, where neither the U.S. nor the U.K. is publicly at war. Along with the CIA, U.S. Special Operations Command is the main player in the drone program.

These latest revelations follow The Intercept's exposé in September of the inner workings of the NSA's largest base in the U.K., which offered concrete evidence of the British government's complicity in the U.S. targeted drone assassination campaign.

"One document states that targets at Yemeni internet cafes are 'tasked by several target offices at NSA and GCHQ,'" observes Reprieve. "The document's header shows it was copied to the U.K., meaning that the British government must have already been aware of the role its intelligence and bases were playing."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Previously:
* Drones Not Just For Threats Against America Anymore.

* Why Obama Says He Won't Release Drone Documents.

* Obama's Drone Death Figures Don't Add Up.

* Dissecting Obama's Standards On Drone Strike Deaths.

* The Best Watchdog Journalism On Obama's National Security Policies.

* Everything You Wanted To Know About Drones But Were Afraid To Ask.

* Obama Claims Right To Kill Anyone Anytime.

* The Drone War Doctrine We Still Know Nothing About.

* How Does The U.S. Mark Unidentified Men In Pakistan And Yemen As Drone Targets?

* Hearts, Minds And Dollars: Condolence Payments In The Drone Strike Age.

* Boy's Death In Drone Strike Tests Obama's Transparency Pledge.

* Does The U.S. Pay Families When Drones Kill Innocent Yemenis?

* Confirmed: Obama's Drone War Is Illegal And Immoral.

* Six Months After Obama Promised To Divulge More On Drones, Here's What We Still Don't Know.

* One Month After Drones Report, Administration Still Fails To Explain Killings.

* What If A Drone Strike Hit An American Wedding?

* Jon Langford's "Drone Operator" Debuts Again.

* Confirmed: American Bombs Killing Civilians In Yemen.

* Exclusive: Obama's Afghan Drone War.

* Obama's Dishonest Drone Legacy: A Cavalcade Of Absurd Lies About Civilian Deaths.

* Obama's Favorite Weapon.

* Obama Drone Disclosures A Sorry Half-Measure.

* Human Rights Groups To Obama: Time To Follow Through On Drone Promises.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

Learn About The Cook County Forest Preserves' 600 Archaeological Sites!

The entire history of human occupation in the Chicago area, from 12,000 years ago to the present day, can be found in the more than 600 archaeological sites in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

[Wow!]

During a free forum at The Field Museum on Saturday, Nov. 5, attendees will discover what these sites can tell us about the region's past, how it's shaped our present, and what we must do to protect it in the future.

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The Chicago area has a long tradition as a crossroads where diverse cultural groups and their ideas have converged. Archaeological sites throughout the Forest Preserves can tell us how humans lived and organized themselves in the past, and why populations settled in this region.

The forum will include welcoming remarks by Cook County Board and Forest Preserves of Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle, and presentations from archaeologists, historians and experts on the Chicago area's prehistory, early history and contemporary Native American communities.

November 5 is also National Bison Day, and speakers will present on the historical and present day significance of bison and their impact on the natural and cultural landscape.

Presentations include:

  • "A Plan for the Forest Preserves' Cultural Resources," John McCabe, Forest Preserves of Cook County
  • "Archaeology of Cook County: 12,000 Years of Human Occupation," Thomas Loebel, Illinois State Archaeological Survey
  • "The Late Prehistoric Era in the Chicago Area, A. D. 1200 - 1600," Douglas Jackson, Illinois State Archaeological Survey
  • "When Chicago Became Real Estate," Ann Keating, North Central College
  • "From Lost Species to U.S. National Mammal," Keith Aune, American Bison Coalition
  • "Buffalo Restoration: The Native American Perspective," Jim Stone, Inter Tribal Buffalo Council

Following the program, attendees will be able to participate in a question-and-answer session with presenters, moderated by The Field Museum's Chicago Region Program Director Mark Bouman, and view artifacts recovered in the Forest Preserves.

Attendees who purchase a ticket to The Field Museum for Nov. 5 are also invited to join an optional 45-minute docent-led exhibit tour beginning at 4 p.m. Those interested in joining the curator tour can register by e-mailing ewoodward@fieldmuseum.org.

For more information, see The Cultural History of the Forest Preserves: Prehistoric Villages to Contemporary Communities.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:43 AM | Permalink

Bearnesia

Yes, the Bears beat the (beat-up) Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. No, they aren't suddenly a good team.

Yes, they scored (a not-whopping) 20 points with two actual touchdowns with Jay Cutler, who threw for one of them, back. No, Cutler isn't suddenly a great quarterback.

Yes, Connor Barth was 2-for-2 on field goal attempts. No, that doesn't mean he is no longer one of the worst kickers in the league.

Yes, Jordan Howard rushed for 153 yards on 26 carries. No, it's not news that he's better than Jeremy Langford and has been since training camp.

Yes, Cutler avoided throwing an interception. No, that doesn't mean Cutler's no longer a turnover machine. There's this new thing out called "learning" - do it!

After all, Sam Bradford's 23-of-37 for 227 yards and a TD (without an INT) was virtually identical to Cutler's 20-of-31 for 252 yards.

The difference in this game was Howard, who ripped of a 68-yard run.

And the Vikings, who started the season 5-0 despite losing Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson for the season and a slew of other starters for the short term, are a sorry lot right now.

Just sayin', the Bears still look beatable to every remaining team on their schedule.

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You go first.

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The report was on NFL.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 AM | Permalink

Breakfast In America: Premier League Presidential Endorsements

A week from now, it will all be over. And when I say "it," I don't mean Sunderland's chances to avoid relegation. I mean the presidential election.

As of late, we've been preoccupied with the logistics and legalities of voting. Additionally, we really don't want foreigners meddling in our election, unless of course, meddling by the Russkies confirms previous beliefs and props up our tribe. In that case, we welcome it and withhold condemnation.

The Premier League is looking to expand in the U.S. As such, it's natural for them to reach out to the average American's political leanings. Knowing that Americans are a sucker for a good 'ol fashioned pandering, here are the POTUS endorsements from across the pond.

Endorser: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Key characteristics: Believes he is the only one who can fix it; believes everybody, including the referees, are out to get him.

Endorsee: Donald Trump, even though Mourinho reportedly sees baldness as a weakness.

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Endorser: Legendary Super Sub Wayne Rooney

Key characteristics: Nicknamed "Shrek" for apparent lack of intelligence; leader in the dressing room; comically bad on Twitter.

Endorsee Donald Trump, because he also believes baldness is a weakness.

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Endorser: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Key characteristics: Expert fist pumper; serial hugger.

Endorsee: John Kasich in a write-in vote. Dude loves to hug too.

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Endorser Tall and skinny Stoke City striker Peter Crouch

Key characteristics: Nicknamed "RoboCrouch" and "Mr. Roboto."

Endorsee: Hillary Clinton. Seriously, Dude loves robots.

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Endorser: Every member of Arsenal

Key characteristics: Led by manager Arsene Wenger, who loves wearing suits. Here is the team in suits.

Endorsee: Trump. Wenger is known to be very cheap. Having Clinton as president may spike demand in suits, causing worldwide suit prices to soar.

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Endorser: West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pullis

Key characteristics: Perennial near-the-bottom-of-the-table manager for team with second-level talent. Loves wearing pant suits.

Endorsee: Gary Johnson. He wants the Constitution to protect his unalienable right to wear track suits and play unattractive, overly aggressive football, just as the forefathers wanted.

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Endorser: Swansea City manager Bob Bradley

Key characteristics: First American manager in the English Premier League.

Endorsee: Unknown. He's just happy to be out of the country.

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Beachwood Sabermetrics: Based on all historical data available from the beginning of time, unless you are a Manchester United supporter, watching Manchester United play poorly is a hoot. Our Beachwood Man U Schadenfreude Index is at a season-high 242.0 (with 100 as the average amount of glee produced by Man U misfortune).

Brunch Special: All You Can Eat Goals: West Ham vs. Stoke City. This match features two of the EPL's best goal-scorers from the midfield in Dimitri Payet and Xherdan Shaqiri. And when they score, it tends to be completely ridiculous. Coupled with porous defenses that love to commit fouls, chances are you'll see more than one memorable score.

Population of the Cherry Nation: Seven. 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: A year ago, the Cherries lost to Tottenham 5-1. A unknown media member yelled on a hot mic, "It's like men against boys out there!" This year, the Cherries not only earned a hard fought 0-0 draw, they played better than the Spurs and, dare I say, deserved the win. Before this weekend, many supporters felt like seven points could be earned from the three matches ahead. Unfortunately, the Cherries lost to Middlesbrough 2-0.

Like actual Kool-Aid, your mother knows her mother-in-law let you take a nip of her vodka Kool-Aid, so she excused your bad behavior. But after you made a mess of your room, the living room, the garage, both bathrooms, and the cat's litter box, she's cutting back on the sugar. And if you find a way to not get three points against historically bad Sunderland, the next batch will be made with Splenda.

Percent sugar in the Cherry Kool-Aid: This Week: 40%. Last Week: 242%.

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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.

* Our Ann Coulter.

* Old Wives And Walking Sticks.

* Chill Out, People.

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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 12:15 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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