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« March 2017 | Main | May 2017 »

April 29, 2017

The Weekend Desk Report

In lieu of The [Friday] Papers, which did not appear this week.

One Year Ago.

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Beachwood Sports Radio: Pace Pantsed
Local media makes love to statement pick that is in fact neither bold nor courageous.

Plus: Rondo vs. Wade; Hey Hey JHey!; Avi!; Sacrificial Hawks; and Schweinsteiger: Nein!

See the Show Notes at the link for more of this:

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Who are we to question the actions of an official we cover, asks highly compensated "journalist."

And who are fans to question a general manager who has delivered a 9-23 record over his first two seasons on the job? Can't we just trust him?

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Who are you, Brad Biggs, to question the draft strategy of an organization with such a record of success as the Chicago Bears?

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Bus Stop
On your marks . . .

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Featuring: Kiha & The Faces, Slot Machine, Miyavi, Skepta, Kevin Lee & The Kings, Veilside, Betty Who, The Magnetic Fields, Fire-Toolz, Bad User Experience, Brett Naucke, No Dreams, Pod Blotz, and Olivia Block.

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BeachBook

What General Motors Did To Flint.

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Suit: Wells Fargo Targeted 'Undocumented Immigrants' For Accounts.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Ford.

Bank of America.

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All I can say is those calling in these reports show there are still some good people in the world.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Hot or cold.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:13 AM | Permalink

April 28, 2017

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #150: Pace Pantsed

Makes statement pick that is neither bold nor courageous. Plus: Rondo vs. Wade; Hey Hey JHey!; Avi!; Sacrificial Hawks; and Schweinsteiger: Nein!



* 150.

* This draft trade really grinds Coach's gears!

* Coffman: "Ryan Pace is standing up there without any pants on!"

* Rhodes: "Ryan Pace is Clark Cub."

* San Francisco 49ers Take Chicago's Pick, Deliver Cold Twitter Shot.

* Sherman/The Ringer: Mitchell Trubisky Might Be Good, But The Bears' Draft Trade Doesn't Make Sense.

Chicago made a risky move to land a player it probably could have gotten with the third overall pick.

* Kirshner/SBNation: Did Bears Even Need To Trade Up To Land Mitchell Trubisky?

The QB came at a steep price, and it's not clear Chicago even had to pay it.

* Barnwell: The Chicago Bears And A Mitchell Trubisky Mystery.

* Why Trump may be preferable to Pence.

* Morrissey: Do Bears Have The Stomach For Using Top Pick On A QB? Doubtful.

* Rhodes: "The national media is crucifying the Bears; the local media is in love with this."

* Graziano/ESPN: The Bears Did What?

* Vrentas/SI: Draft Stunner: The Bears Do The Quarterback Shuffle.

* Jahns: Bluffed Or Not, Ryan Pace Couldn't Afford To Lose Mitch Trubisky.

* Rhodes: "The Bears are 1-0 in statements. They lead the league in statements. They're going to the Statement Bowl."

* Hoge's pinned tweet:

* More Hoge:

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 2.12.56 PM.png

* Hoge two days before the draft: "I'm sticking to my original thinking that Pace thoroughly evaluated this quarterback class and decided that Mike Glennon provided similar upside at a cheaper (guaranteed) price without burning the No. 3 overall pick. If the Bears wanted to bring in a one-year stop-gap while a first round quarterback developed, they could have just re-signed Brian Hoyer, which is something they never got too serious about. Glennon is here because Pace believes he can be the Bears' answer at the position."

* Tru Haugh:

* CORRECTION: Rhodes was referring to a Morrissey column, not a Telander column (they're so hard to tell apart).

* Biggs: Bears Can't Afford To Strike Out At No. 3, So Swinging For Fences May Be Unwise.

* Even Bernstein.

48:45: Rondo vs. Wade.

52:02: Hey Hey, JHey!

56:23: Avi!

1:00:37: Sacrificial Hawks.

1:02:22: Schweinsteiger: Nein!

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STOPPAGE: 3:20

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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 1:36 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Kiha & The Faces at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.


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2. Slot Machine at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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3. Miyavi at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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4. Skepta at the Concord on Monday night.

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5. Kevin Lee and the Kings at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Sunday night.

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6. Veilside at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Sunday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Betty Who at the Concord on April 20th.

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The Magnetic Fields at Thalia Hall on April 19th.

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Fire-Toolz at Heavy Petting on April 21st.

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Bad User Experience at Club Rectum on April 22nd.

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Brett Naucke at Club Rectum on April 22nd.

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No Dreams at Club Rectum on April 22nd.

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Pod Blotz at Club Rectum on April 22nd.

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Olivia Block at Rockefeller Chapel on April 21st.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:25 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Bus Stop

On your marks . . .

busstop.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Housemates.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Have Fresh Goat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartcam.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gaslight.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Urban Wheat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Embassy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln's Cozy Corner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Glory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bowling Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Red Lion, Red Hots.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Sitting.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Jukebox Is Not A Democracy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Handicapped Milk Jug Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gumball Express.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicken Run.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:13 AM | Permalink

April 27, 2017

Illinois Man: Bose Headphones Are Spying On Me! (He May Be Right)

Kyle Zak of Illinois is claiming in a lawsuit that headphone and speaker company Bose is secretly collecting information about what users listen to when they use its bluetooth wireless headphones.

Zak, through his lawyers at Edelson, claims that information about what he has been listening to through his Bose headphones was being collected without his knowledge or explicit consent every time he used a Bose companion mobile app called Bose Connect. The app allows customers to interact with the headphones, updating software and also managing which device is connected at any time with the headphones. If the headphones are being used to listen to something, details about what is being played will show up in the Connect App.

This information is then collected by Bose and sent to third parties, including companies like Segment, who facilitate the collection of data from web and mobile applications and make it available for further analysis.

Zak's lawyers contend that Bose's actions amount to illegal wire tapping and that the information being collected could reveal a great deal of personal information about customers. Allegedly, Zak would not have bought Bose headphones if he had known that this information would be collected, and he further claims that he never gave his consent for this information to be collected.

Bose has denied the allegations and pointed to the privacy policy in the Connect App that is explicit about the fact that it collects de-identified data for Bose's use only, and does not sell identified data for any purpose including "behavioral advertising." Bose also points out that what a customer listens to on the headphones is only visible to Bose if the customer is using the Connect App and has it open and running.

Given the app's limited functionality, it is really unclear why anyone would use the Connect App for this purpose on a continuous basis.

Most Software Uses Tracking

The majority of apps installed on a phone collect data about its usage and sending it back, de-identified, for analysis. This data may well be aggregated without giving any detail about any individual user. So it would not be possible, for example, to say whether people who use an app every day are more likely to use particular features. Of course, some companies do collect this level of detail.

Developers use this information to track a range of things including statistics about usage of the app. Companies usually track how many daily and monthly active users they have and how many users stop using the app after opening for the first time.

Developers are also interested to find out if the app experiences problems, like crashes for example. They are also interested in what features of the app do customers use, what sequence did they use them and for how long.

A range of companies, including Apple and Google provide means of collecting anonymous statistics from users. The data is sent back to a server and made available for analysis. This type of tracking is very different from the tracking that is done for advertising purposes. In that case, information is collected that is identifiable and used to personalize ads to be delivered either directly through the app, or through other services.

Hidden Privacy Statements

Privacy statements for apps, websites and other software should make it clear, and before the user starts using the app, what information the software is collecting, who it will be shared with, and for what purposes. Most software however, does not do this. Companies simply skip showing a user the privacy statement and make reference to the fact that the statement can be accessed somewhere on a website or in the app, at a later time.

Another problem with a great number of privacy policies is that they are written in legal language and do not make explicit what information is being collected and for what purpose.

It is not only the companies that treat privacy as an afterthought. Customers also struggle with understanding the basics of their rights to privacy and what a privacy statement actually does. In 2014, Pew Research found that 52% of Americans surveyed wrongly believed that simply having a privacy policy at all meant that companies kept confidential all the information they collected on users.

In another survey, only 20% of users who read any part of a privacy policy felt they fully understood what they had read.

Ironically enough, the website of legal firm Edelson does not feature a clear link to its privacy policy. Its privacy statement is buried in a "Disclaimer" which helpfully says: "PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING TERMS OF SERVICES & LEGAL NOTICES ('THIS AGREEMENT' CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THE EDELSON.COM WEBSITE."

Privacy should be treated as a fundamental driver of design in software. This situation has been changing, especially as companies have focused on protecting customers' privacy, not from the companies themselves, but from law enforcement agencies, secret services and the government in general. Perhaps also, the threat of legal action by companies like Edelson, will prove another incentive to do the right thing.

David Glance is the director of the UWA Centre for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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See also: Techdirt: From Televisions To Smart Dildos.

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Previously by David Glance:

* WikiLeaks Vault 7 Reveals Staggering Breadth Of 'CIA Hacking.'

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:55 AM | Permalink

April 26, 2017

The [Thursday] Papers

Speaking of $425 fake muddy jeans . . .

At a Wicker Park boutique on Wednesday, for $78:

ramones78.jpg

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At Village Thrift on Wednesday, for $6.99:

ramones2.jpg

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Area Man Says Headphones Spying On Him
And he may be sorta right.

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BeachBook

What a miscarriage of justice and journalism ethics. Infuriating and sad.

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Corporate Tax Cuts To Be Spent Enriching Execs & Investors, Not Creating Jobs.

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Election Rubbish: Game Fucking On!

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Headspinning.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:34 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The $30,000 fee Northeastern Illinois University was going to pay former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett was just the latest in a series of big fees the financially troubled state school has paid to snag prominent graduation speakers, records show," the Sun-Times reports.

"Despite its money troubles - a Wall Street credit agency just dropped Northeastern deeper into 'junk-bond' status - the state university has handed out five-figure fees to each of the speakers at its May commencement events the past four years.

"That's in sharp contrast to what's done at other state schools, also facing tight-money times, including the three University of Illinois campuses, Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University and Eastern Illinois University. Administrators at those universities and others say they don't pay graduation speakers beyond travel costs."

Nor should they, even in the best of times!

"Jarrett - who was a top aide to former President Barack Obama - agreed earlier this month not to accept a speaking fee for the May 8 commencement after the Chicago Sun-Times reported she was being paid $30,000."

Let's just stop to think about that for a moment. That's more than a year's wages to a lot of folks. It's one year of tuition for an out-of-state student attending NEIU.

Consider also that Jarrett's total assets are between $2.22 million and $7.86 million, according to her last White House financial disclosure form.

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"Jarrett said she was unaware of the extent of the financial problems facing the university."

Valerie Jarrett, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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"Northeastern has cut three days from the school year and ordered all 1,100 of its employees to take an unpaid week off during spring break to cut costs amid financial problems worsened by the state government's continuing budget impasse. The employees also won't be paid for the three canceled class days.

"When Jarrett said she would abandon her speaker's fee, she already had been paid in full, university records show - and Northeastern administrators agreed to let her keep $1,500 of the $30,000 after they learned Jarrett still expected the school to pick up the tab for her travel."

I wonder if her talk will be about the importance of public service, and/or the dangers of greed.

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"Northeastern Illinois officials didn't respond to requests for comment."

Too bad; I'd like to know if they think the "investment" in commencement speakers somehow pays off.

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"On Feb. 8, the university made Jarrett an offer: $10,000 plus first-class expenses. But Miller made clear the university was willing to pay more.

"Our president asked me to make this offer," a school official wrote to Jarrett's talent agency. "I realize there may be a counteroffer if she is interested."

Maybe they should have signed up a speaker who specializes in negotiating.

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"Trustees for the university apparently didn't know of the deal or its terms until their April 6 meeting. According to a recording of the meeting, one member of the board said it was 'disturbing' to pay Jarrett so richly at a time the university is facing deep financial problems.

"Another trustee asked whether Jarrett might donate the fee to a student scholarship in her honor but was told, 'The contract has been negotiated and signed.'"

Well, they could save even more money by firing the person who did the negotiating and signing.

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"The board also approved an honorary degree for Jarrett, with three members voting against the measure."

Good for those three; I'd like to see the names of all of them and how they voted.

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"On April 10, hours after the Sun-Times requested records related to the contract, the university revealed that Jarrett's contract was for $30,000. But school officials said they found an unnamed donor to cover that."

If only that donor was Valerie Jarrett!

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"The following day, a spokeswoman for Jarrett said she told the university 'she will not be accepting a speaking fee.'"

As it should have been from the start.

Funny, Jarrett was chosen because the school wanted someone who could talk about "leadership, motivation, etc."

I have a suggestion for Jarrett's topic: How It Often Takes Public Shaming To Motivate Leaders Showered With Unmerited Praiseworthy Media Coverage To Do The Right Thing.

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"In the past, Illinois legislators have tried to bar public universities from paying commencement speakers, but those efforts haven't gone anywhere. Some lawmakers say they plan to try again following the reports of how much Jarrett was to be paid.

"State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, says he thinks the law should allow state schools to cover travel expenses only and provide no payment for speeches.

"'It should be an honor,' Batinick says, to speak at a university commencement."

Or at least the fee should be nominal, or donated. Or on a reasonable sliding scale for those speakers who aren't wealthy - which are probably the speakers you really want.

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"The City Colleges of Chicago covered nearly $6,000 in travel costs for rapper Common to be keynote speaker at a commencement ceremony in 2015, including first-class plane tickets from Los Angeles for Common and an assistant, two nights in a $589-a-night room at The Langham hotel downtown, meals from room service and airport limousines."

That's more like it.

Wait, c'mon Common! City Colleges fer chrissake!

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P.S.: Commencement speakers, shommencement speakers. Totally unnecessary - as is commencement. Put the diplomas in the mail. I never had a need for the ceremony.

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Mancow Manure
Wait, what?

(h/t: Chicagoland Radio and Media)

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BeachBook

Local Newspaper Stands Up Against E-Mail Statements.

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White-Collar Crime Risk Zones.

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The Tale Of The Dictator's Daughter And Her Prince.

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The All-Fake Pro-Trump Website That Dominates The Internet.

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Illinois Man Sues OKCupid Over Matches With Dead People.

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Long Hours, Low Pay At Ivanka's Chinese Factory.

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Is Every Speed Limit Too Low?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Left of the dial.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:50 AM | Permalink

April 25, 2017

The [Tuesday] Papers

"A new report issued Monday by a court-appointed watchdog charged with looking into patronage hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation details how top Democrats clouted relatives and friends into positions under former Gov. Pat Quinn, even as many of those hired had little or no experience," the Tribune reports.

"House Speaker Mike Madigan's office successfully pushed a former bricklayer for a job that included 'maintaining relationships' with minority road contractors, though the man eventually resigned after being arrested for allegedly 'physically assaulting' a then-state lawmaker. Cicero Rep. Lisa Hernandez sent in the resume of a bank manager who was put on the state payroll to inspect roads. And a daughter of 30th Ward Chicago Ald. Ariel Reboyras ended up in another state job after complaints at a different agency."

While that's the Illinois we know and loathe, I would just add that we all know this sort of thing goes on in the private sector as well - even in media organizations.

But I digress.

"The final findings are the result of an inquiry that began in 2014 after a federal judge assigned a lawyer to dig into hiring at the agency - an order that came just two weeks before Election Day, as Quinn went on to lose to Republican Bruce Rauner. The judge's move followed an earlier report that year by then-state Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza, which found improper hiring began under ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich but accelerated under Quinn."

Emphasis mine because Pat Quinn was a terrible governor, the latest in a long line of phony reformers and a big reason why people are now literally suffering under Bruce Rauner. (I only hedge by saying "a big reason" and not "the reason" because GOP primary voters could have chosen more wisely too. Democrats are also to blame for cynically backing Quinn instead of putting up a primary challenger or two or three, though I suppose they didn't just so they could pull these kind of stunts.)

But again, I digress.

"On Monday, court monitor Noelle Brennan was more definitive, saying Quinn's office "played a key role in the staff assistant abuse at IDOT."

Brennan described a system in which Quinn officials routinely sent resumes of "low-level and often unqualified candidates sponsored by the governor's office and/or other elected officials" to employees in charge of hiring at IDOT and other state agencies. Quinn's office then pressured agencies to hire those people, aggressively following up on requests and at times specifically ordering an agency to "find a position" for a particular candidate, the watchdog concluded.

The investigation found that politically connected candidates were pushed though the hiring process with "little or no regard" for actual hiring need, or whether the candidate was qualified for the job. Many of the sponsored hires ended up performing duties that had nothing to do with the position for which they were hired. As a result, qualified candidates who were not suggested by Quinn's office were "sometimes denied employment, despite the requesting department's request to hire them."

Even the reformers in Illinois are crooked.

Sigma Alpha Oopsilon
"Five weeks after being suspended from Loyola University Chicago, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter at Northwestern University has been barred from campus," the Sun-Times reports.

Assignment Desk, activate! An "Inside SAE" examination is due.

Subscription Superstar
"Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's technology czar has contracted to spend $208,000 in tax dollars for two professional memberships even though the state is without a budget and is billions of dollars in debt, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press."

$208,000? That's more than it would take to replace Linda Lingle!

Beardstown Bullshit
"The Beardstown Ladies Investment Club is scheduled to appear at 1 p.m. CDT Thursday on the CNBC Power Lunch program. The longtime investment group is among eight teams taking part in a 'stock draft' that coincides with the start of the NFL draft, according to an announcement from the group," the Springfield State Journal-Register notes.

A charming brand is apparently impervious to the cold, hard truth.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Waxahatchee, Air Credits, Sidewalk Chalk, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Damned, The Addisons, COIN, Must Die, Green Room Rockers, Dowsing, The Revolution, Griffin House, Mayday Parade, Paula Cole, Diamanda Galas, Wicked Soul, Grainshifter, and Royal Thunder.

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Teen Athletes Still Underreporting Concussions
"[T]he No. 1 reason athletes do not report a concussion is because they do not want to lose playing time."

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BeachBook

Exclusive! Inside The New Obama High School.

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WFLD Channel 32's Keyfax Nite-Owl Service, 1982.

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Radium Girls.

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Let's All Learn About Hawaii.

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The Best Of Prince In The Beachwood.

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Chickenshit Club Out In July.

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FBI Sifting Through NSA Data Like It's Google.

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Chicago's Pipeline Safety Program Is Fucked-Up.

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TweetBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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A media lesson here.

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*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: What is and what shall never be.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:08 AM | Permalink

More Teen Knowledge About Concussion May Not Increase Reporting

High school athletes with access to a certified athletic trainer are more knowledgeable about concussions and their consequences, but that doesn't make them more likely to report a concussion, a U.S. study finds.

"The underreporting of concussions is estimated to be high, and the No. 1 reason athletes do not report a concussion is because they do not want to lose playing time," lead study author Jessica Wallace of Youngstown State University in Ohio said by e-mail.

Although experts estimate that athletic trainers are present in 86 percent of U.S. high schools, only about 37 percent of high schools employ one full-time. In high schools with no athletic trainer, athletes are five times more likely to not report concussion symptoms because they didn't know they had a concussion, Wallace told Reuters.

Sports-related concussions account for about 4 percent to 9 percent of high school injuries and have symptoms such as headaches, confusion, nausea, amnesia and trouble sleeping.

"This study sheds light on the multiple reasons why student-athletes may not report a concussion, including not thinking the injury was serious enough to require medical attention or not wanting to let the team down," Wallace said.

She and her colleagues surveyed 715 student athletes ages 13 to 19, including 438 students who had access to an athletic trainer. Athletes answered 83 questions about their own concussion history, concussion knowledge, responses in specific scenarios, signs and symptoms of a concussion and reasons why an athlete would not report a concussion.

Overall, 55 percent of high school athletes underreported concussions. Eighty-seven percent of athletes from schools without athletic trainers understood the dangers of concussions, as compared to 94 percent from the schools with athletic trainers.

Similarly, 61 percent of athletes from schools without athletic trainers understood the signs and symptoms of a concussion, compared to 78 percent from the schools with athletic trainers.

Overall, in the schools without athletic trainers, 16 percent more athletes thought they could continue playing if they believed they had a concussion and 12 percent more athletes thought they could continue playing with concussion symptoms. This knowledge gap is prominent and should be addressed, the study authors write in a special concussion-themed issue of the Journal of Athletic Training.

"The athletic trainer serves a vital role in the health and safety of high school athletes," Wallace said. "One of the athletic trainer's responsibilities is to help educate athletes, coaches and parents about concussions that appear to be happening within high schools."

At the same time, access to an athletic trainer wasn't linked to a higher proportion of concussions being reported, the study found.

In the survey, about 46 percent of the students said they had experienced a potential concussion during play and only 21 percent had reported it to an authority figure at the time. About 19 percent of these incidents were reported in schools without athletic trainers, compared to 25 percent in schools with athletic trainers, a difference too small to rule out the possibility it was due to chance.

"This multifaceted issue includes many reasons why students may choose not to disclose an injury, including knowledge, intention and attitude," said Johna Register-Mihalik of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who developed the concussion survey used in the current study but was not part of the study team.

One limitation of the study is that the students came from 14 schools in two Michigan metro areas and participated in football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, soccer or cheerleading, which may limit how broadly the results can be generalized, the authors note.

The Michigan students received state-mandated concussion education based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HEADS UP program. Wallace and colleagues recommend that this or a similar education program be used to target schools without an athletic trainer in order to talk about the signs, symptoms and dangers of concussion.

"Improving concussion protocol will extend into other issues with student athletes, such as lack of mental health disclosure and allowing play when athletes are injured or sick," Register-Mihalik said. "Involving parents, coaches and students can create a safe playing environment."

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Previously in concussions:
* 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.

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

* U.S. Supreme Court Ends Fight Over $1 Billion NFL Concussion Deal.

* U.S. High School Soccer Concussions On The Rise.

* Youth Football Finally Listening To Coach Coffman.

* Many Kids Still Don't Report Concussion Symptoms. How Can We Change That?

* Brain Damage In Former Players Fuels Soccer 'Heading' Fears.

* Canadian Youth Hockey Injuries Cut In Half After National Policy Change.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 AM | Permalink

April 24, 2017

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Waxahatchee at the Metro on Friday night.


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2. Air Credits at the Garfield Park Observatory on Saturday night.

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3. Sidewalk Chalk at the Garfield Park Observatory on Saturday night.

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4. Teenage Bottlerocket at Reggies on Friday night.

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5. The Damned at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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6. The Addisons at Quenchers on Saturday night.

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7. COIN at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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8. Must Die at the Concord on Friday night.

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9. Green Room Rockers at Reggies on Saturday night.

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10. Dowsing at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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11. The Revolution at the Metro on Sunday night.

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12. Griffin House at SPACE in Evanston on Sunday night.

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13. Mayday Parade at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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14. Paula Cole at City Winery on Saturday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Diamanda Galas at Thalia Hall on April 17th.

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Wicked Soul at Reggies on April 19th.

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Grainshifter at Reggies on April 19th.

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Royal Thunder at Beat Kitchen on April 18th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:40 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Indecent Bulls

The most frustrating thing is that the Bulls failed to take advantage - wait a minute, the NFL Draft starts Thursday!

Who are the Bears going to take with the third pick? Will Ryan Pace be a good enough general manager to engineer a trade down (something that every team from pick 2 to pick 7 is rumored to be trying to do)? If not, Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker? Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen?

Whoa there Sparky. As tempting as it is to focus on the annual amateur football player dispersal at this point, the current Bulls situation demands primary attention in this space.

And the most frustrating thing about the Bulls is that they choked away such an opportunity. Before I go on though, I will say I vote for taking Adams, the oft-times physically dominant LSU safety, unless the Niners grab him at No. 2. Then go for Thomas, the Stanford defensive lineman. And Mr. Rhodes and I agreed on the our podcast last week that the Bears should then take the best quarterback available with their second pick, possibly giving up a draft pick later on to move up into the bottom of the first round to make it happen.

OK, OK, on to the Bulls. Yes Rajon Rondo is hurt. But all they had to do the keep firm control of this series with the Celtics, now tied 2-2 after Boston's 104-95 victory Sunday and heading back to Boston for Game 5, was win one of two home games. A good team, even a barely decent team, gets that done. The Bulls are not barely decent.

Neither is Fred Hoiberg.

The solution was there in Game 4. The Bulls finally figured out that Michael Carter-Williams is virtually worthless and Jerian Grant is no better. It was time to try something else at guard and Isaiah Canaan filled the bill.

And for a while, it worked. But eventually the efficacy faded and a big reason for that was Hoiberg's short-sided decision in the last months of the regular season to absolutely bury Canaan on his bench. How was Canaan supposed to continue to provide at least a little resistance against Isiah Thomas when his coach had ensured he was as rusty as he could possibly be?

Hoiberg also still hasn't figured out a way to play Robin Lopez at center when opposing teams go all high screen-and-roll-ey. Lopez has dominated his Celtics counterparts when given the chance in this series. Yes he struggles to contain quicker opponents when they run the aforementioned set. But there have to be ways to overcome that and Hoiberg has nothing.

At the very least he should have tried Lopez in the lineup late. As the Celtics rallied from the Bulls' rally to take the lead in the third quarter, Lopez never saw the floor. Not good.
Jimmy Butler was way better than barely decent. But his weak teammates betrayed him. In particular I am so looking forward to not having to watch Nikola Mirotic miss wide open important shots after he becomes a free agent after this season.

I will go ahead and say again that trading Butler is a bad idea. Period. End of story. It is impossible to get value for a Top 10 NBA star. A better idea is to go out and sign free agent forward Blake Griffin in the offseason.

Yes, the Bulls have struggled to sign big time free agents and, yes, the Clipper forward has been one of the most injury prone players in the league for his entire career. But could a lobbying triple team of Butler, Wade and Rondo bring him in? I'll admit I don't know if the Bulls could fit all four under the salary cap but hey Gar, you can find a way!

Speaking of which, the Bulls could have found a way to win this series with Rondo out. But that opportunity has probably gone away.

They are back at it in Boston and perhaps a miracle will occur, like just once the refs will call Thomas for carrying the basketball, something he does approximately a dozen times per possession and which Hoiberg legitimately complained about after Game 4. Yes they rarely call NBA players for doing that but when it gets egregious, everyone knows it is time for a call or two.

I won't be holding my breath for that, or for Hoiberg figuring out a way for the Bulls to win even one more game before the Celtics move on

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

Hitless Wonders

Watching Quick Pitch on MLB.tv for a wrap-up of each day's games, blast after blast disappears deep into the dark environs of the outfield seats as the Giancarlo Stantons and Bryce Harpers of the world trot around the bases.

Sadly, White Sox hitters have failed to be featured on any regular basis.

As the Sox returned home Friday evening from a more than respectable 5-4 road trip, manager Rick Renteria's lineup included six players hitting below .200. Included was rookie centerfielder Jacob May, who was 0-for-24 at the time. Designated hitter Cody Asche checked in at .069, and flu-ridden Todd Frazier was 3-for-27 for a .111 mark.

Was it any surprise that Cleveland's former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing a measly three singles to the anemic home team as the Indians registered a 3-0 victory?

Indians' righthander Carlos Carrasco had similar luck the next night, blanking the Sox for eight innings as Cleveland romped 7-0. Again, the White Sox managed just three singles.

Going into Sunday's series' finale with Cleveland, a ballclub which dropped 2-of-3 to the Sox just a little more than a week ago, the White Sox were hitting a major league low .205 as a team, scoring only 49 runs in 16 games or a tick above three per game.

The Sox showed a bit more life on Sunday, trimming the Indians 6-2 and raising their batting average to .211.

May finally broke his 0-fer streak at 26 on Saturday when he grounded sharply up the middle into center field. That was the lone bright spot as the Sox scoreless streak soared to 23 innings. Combined with a 9-1 drubbing by the Yankees last Wednesday, the Sox were outscored 19-1 in the three-game stretch.

Aside from the numbers, there remain a few other curiosities about this particular slump.
To begin with, there has been virtually no criticism of hitting coach Todd Steverson, who was hired prior to the 2014 season. A year ago the Sox were in the middle of the pack in runs scored. In 2015 the team ranked 28th.

Greg Walker was the team's hitting coach for eight seasons before resigning after the 2011 season, following manager Ozzie Guillen, who was fired, out the door. Toward the end of his tenure, Walker, who played nine seasons on the South Side, received plenty of flak - some from then-general manager Kenny Williams - even though the Sox' offense was superior to what it has been the past few seasons.

So far Steverson hasn't been targeted for the lack of an offense. We'll see how long that lasts.

Renteria has brought fresh enthusiasm, credibility and confidence to the organization, but why he keeps using Asche both at DH and in the field while Matt Davidson sits on the bench is somewhat of a mystery. Asche, who bats lefty, has been starting against right-handed pitching. After Saturday he was 2-for-32 against righties.

Davidson, who bats right-handed, usually gets the nod against left-handers although when facing righties, Matt has seven hits in 22 at-bats including three home runs and 10 RBI. It's not as though Asche, who played four seasons with the Phillies before the Sox signed him as a free agent, has a proven track record. He's a .235 lifetime hitter.

In defense of Sox hitters, they have faced some of the league's best in Justin Verlander, Kluber, Carrasco (twice), and the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka. The Twins' Ervin Santana, who is 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA, has beaten the Sox twice on a yield of one run and three hits over 15 innings.

In their first 17 games, the Sox have been shut out three times while scoring just a single run in four others.

As ineffective as the Sox hitters have been, their pitching, for the most part, has been just the opposite. After Derek Holland gave up a single run on Sunday to lower his ERA to 1.99 and even his record at 2-2, Renteria's hurlers lead the majors in ERA with a mark of 3.09. The opposition is hitting just .224 against the Sox.

All of which goes to show how a team can win eight games in 17 outings without scoring many runs.

This has happened before on the South Side. The 1967 team was tied for first place as late as September 6 despite a team average of .225. They averaged just 3.2 runs per game that season when they eventually finished fourth at 89-73, three games behind the pennant-winning Red Sox.

Not surprisingly, pitching led the Sox that season with a 2.45 team ERA. Using a four-man rotation featuring Gary Peters, Joe Horlen and Tommy John along with a superb bullpen that included Wilbur Wood, Hoyt Wilhelm, Don McMahon and Bob Locker, the Sox remained competitive for the whole schedule.

If you really want to step back in time to find a winning team that couldn't hit, consider the Hitless Wonders, the 1906 White Sox. That club won the American League pennant before defeating the Cubs in the World Series, four games to two. Those guys hit .230 as a team, averaging 3.7 runs a game.

They virtually had to scratch for runs, considering that, as a team, the Sox hit just seven home runs the entire season. Of course, this was the Dead Ball Era. Babe Ruth was just 11 years old at the time. The Philadelphia A's led the league in homers with 32. Giancarlo Stanton may have that many by the All-Star Game.

However, the Hitless Wonders didn't have to score much since the pitching staff threw 32 shutouts. Four guys won at least 17 games. Like Yogi said, "Good pitching beats good hitting, and vice versa." Or something like that.

The distressing aspect at this time is that Sox pitching could be in trouble since the reinvigorated James Shields went on the disabled list last week for the first time in his 12-year career with what was described as a strained right lat. In three starts this season, Shields has been solid, winning his only decision and posting a 1.64 ERA.

Rookie Dylan Covey, who was pitching in Double-A a year ago, has shown he probably is not big-league ready in his two starts. Veteran Mike Pelfrey, brought up to replace Shields, was getting tagged hard in Charlotte and allowed two earned runs in four-plus innings Saturday. Shortstop Tim Anderson's error led to a couple of runs, but Pelfrey seems to be a stopgap measure rather than a guy who can win at the major league level.

Ailing Carlos Rodon appears to be weeks or even months away from joining the team. Then there's Jose Quintana, purportedly the ace of the staff. Heretofore, Quintana was the leader in no decisions. That's not the case so far this year. In four starts, Jose has four decisions - all losses. He pitched reasonably well two games and very poorly in the others.

Farm Report
Superprospect Yoan Moncada is hitting .300 with four homers at Charlotte. He's struck out 21 times in 60 at-bats. Nicky Delmonico, a 24-year-old infielder who hit five spring training home runs, is batting .328 at Charlotte. He's never played an inning in the majors, but he is a left-handed hitter. Maybe give him a look in place of Asche?

Top draft choice in 2015, pitcher Carson Fullmer had another good outing last week at Charlotte, yielding just one earned run in six innings. He's now 2-1 with an ERA of 4.24. The best news is that he's walked only three batters in 17 innings. You may see Fullmer on the South Side before the season ends, but a solid year at Triple-A seems to be in the cards for him at the present time.

Finally, look for a guy named Dane Dunning to move up. The third player coming over from Washington in the Adam Eaton deal, Dunning wasn't as well-known as pitchers Lucas Giolito or Reynaldo Lopez, both of whom saw action with the Nationals last season. Dunning, just 22, is a right-handed pitcher at Single-A Kannapolis. In three games covering 20 innings this spring, Dunning is 1-0 with a 0.45 ERA. He's allowed only 11 hits while walking just one batter and striking out 26. He should not sign any long-term lease on an apartment in Kannapolis.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:03 AM | Permalink

April 22, 2017

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Welshly Arms at Schubas on Monday night.


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2. Morgan James at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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3. Vajra at Reggies on Wednesday night.

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4. Dane Rousay at Slate on Thursday night.

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5. The Flaming Lips at the Riv on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

April 21, 2017

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #149: Blackhawks Blackout

Window half-closed or half-open? Plus: Unlike Blackhawks, Bulls Still In Playoffs; Is Something Wrong With The Cubs Or No?; Cracks Showing On South Side; Draft Fever; and Schweinsteiger!


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SHOW NOTES

* 149.

* The consequences of taking the foot off the gas.

* Conditioning, not want.

* Window closing?

* No.

* When The Kings Were The Kings!

19:26: Unlike Blackhawks, Bulls Still In The Playoffs.

* Fred Hoiberg's plan finally coming together.

* Win one for the Zipser.

32:30: Is Something Wrong With The Cubs Or No?

* World Series hangover?

* Sports as a moral universe.

* North Dallas Forty vs. Hoosiers.

* Donald Trump is the Adam Sandler of presidents.

47:00: Cracks Showing On South Side.

* Is Avi for real?

52:36: Draft Fever.

* Hoge: Ranking The Top 10 QBs.

* Coach's pick: Jamal Adams.

* Nonsense: predictions based on schedules. Also: predictions.

1:03:15: Schweinsteiger!

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STOPPAGE: 4:42

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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 1:53 PM | Permalink

Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s chief executive officer received a 13 percent increase in total compensation to $22.4 million in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday, as sales growth at the world's largest retailer remained robust.

CEO Doug McMillon's compensation, which included cash and stock, compared with $19.8 million the previous year, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

McMillon took over the top job at Wal-Mart in February 2014.

2017-04-20T210554Z_1_LYNXMPED3J1M3_RTROPTP_3_USA-TRUMP-BUSINESS.JPG

In the recently ended fiscal year, Wal-Mart's operating income fell 5.6 percent to $22.8 billion, compared with an 11 percent drop a year earlier, and sales rose 0.8 percent to $485.9 billion. Excluding the impact of currency Wal-Mart said sales rose 3.1 percent to $496 billion.

The retailer's core U.S. operations have shown improvement, with sales at existing stores rising 1.3 percent in the last fiscal year, excluding fuel. The company has said investments in wages and training have led to better customer service at its more than 5,000 stores, including the Sam's Club warehouse chain.

Wal-Mart's effort to lower prices has attracted more customers, leading to a ninth consecutive quarter of customer traffic growth at its stores during the quarter ended Jan.31.

Greg Foran, head of the U.S. business, received total compensation of $11.55 million, a slight increase from $11.54 million a year ago.

U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore, who joined Wal-Mart in August from e-commerce startup Jet.com, received a payout of $243.9 million, including restricted stock units given when Wal-Mart acquired Jet. Excluding that, Lore earned $7.6 million.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:45 AM | Permalink

America, We Need To Talk

Hey Chicago! Our CEO Joel Berg is heading your way to talk about his new book, America We Need to Talk: A Self-Help Book for the Nation.

Watch him share a few words about the Kennedy Expressway, hockey, and how his book relates to Trump's first 100 days.


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* Hunger Free America.

* Joel Berg.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:32 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Programming Note: The Papers will be off on Monday and return on Tuesday.

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"When nature calls, rookie Ald. David Moore (17th) wants Chicago businesses to listen," the Sun-Times reports.

Moore wants every licensed business with a public restroom - including restaurants, bars, hotels and retail stores - to be required to make washrooms available to "individuals who have an emergency . . . without having to make a purchase" or pay a fee.

Moore introduced the ordinance at Wednesday's City Council meeting after running into a humiliated woman at a Subway restaurant two weeks ago who had just had an accident after being denied entry to a public washroom.

"A lady was in there crying. I asked her why. I noticed some water by her leg and she said, 'I had to go really bad.' She said, 'I promise you I'll buy something when I come out of the bathroom.' And they said, 'No. You've got to buy something first,' Moore said Thursday.

"As she was going through her purse, she couldn't hold it no longer. She ended up going to the bathroom on herself. I just felt bad . . . It was humiliating. I would hate to see anybody else go through that . . . For them to have to purchase something in order to go to the bathroom is inhumane."

Good for the alderman.

I saw a somewhat similar scene play out at my local Subway. A young woman of color came in obviously desperate to use the bathroom, and she was refused. The Subway employee told her the bathrooms were not working that day. I told her she could use the bathrooom at Logan Bar just a couple doors down, which I knew from my own observational experience.

After she left, I eyed the Subway employee suspiciously. He told me he just didn't want to clean the bathroom that day, and it would be available the next day. But doesn't he use the same bathroom?

Anyway, back to today's article:

Currently, public washrooms must be made available to non-customers for "medical emergencies only." Moore's ordinances goes further.

I would think a desperate need to use the bathroom would qualify as a "medical emergency," but Moore's proposal is much more explicit.

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"Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia and Tanya Triche Dawood, vice-president and general counsel for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said the ordinance is well-intentioned, but goes too far, particularly downtown and near Wrigley Field."

Go on.

"Dawood questioned how store owners would distinguish between a genuine emergency and someone who just wants to hit the head without having to walk too far."

That's a judgement store owners have to make under the current ordinance. Somehow, they find a way to cope.

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And here's how the reporter, Fran Spielman, feels about it:

"If the full City Council goes along with the bathroom edict, it would add to the mountain of taxes and government mandates imposed on Chicago businesses in recent years. Businesses have likened it to death by a thousand cuts."

Spielman goes on to describe the "piling on" businesses are suffering under the Emanuel administration.

I'm sorry but my sympathies land with the woman Moore saw humiliated. As George Costanza once said, "You know, we're living in a society! We're supposed to act in a civilized way."

And when we don't, we legislate civilizing behavior.

Finally, Moore's proposal is really no different than any other public accommodation law, is it?

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On today's Beachwood . . .

Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan
City of Vision and Progress.

America, We Need To Talk
A self-help book for the nation.

Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year
A 13 percent increase over the previous year.

Trump's Disastrous FCC Chair
Everything Ajit Pai has fucked up in the last three months.

Beachwood Sports Radio: Blackhawks Blackout
Window half-closed or half-open? Plus: Unlike Blackhawks, Bulls Still In Playoffs; Is Something Wrong With The Cubs Or No?; Cracks Showing On South Side; Draft Fever; and Schweinsteiger!

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Welshly Arms, Morgan James, Vajra, Dane Rousay, and the Flaming Lips.

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BeachBook

Houston's Kuma Burgers Changes Name Due To Trademark Claim By Chicago's Kuma's.

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Kane County Road Project Stung By Judge's Endangered-Bee Ruling.

Btw, it's not clever to put "stung" in the headline; it's eye-rolling.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Also, to a point in this piece, I think it was Chomsky who (rightly) said that the final quote often reveals the reporter's bias. It's the thought they most want to leave readers with.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Mission unaccomplished.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:17 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan

City of Vision and Progress.

20170402_182916_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.
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* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:51 AM | Permalink

Trump's FCC Chair Continues To Shaft The Public, Offer Major Handouts To Big Media

During its April open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission under Trump appointee Ajit Pai passed a number of measures favored by large telecommunications and broadcast conglomerates, including a decision to eliminate price caps on broadband services provided to essential community institutions and one to reinstate an outdated broadcast ownership rule favored by station conglomerates seeking to expand their media holdings beyond federally mandated limits.

Business Data Services

The FCC voted, with Commissioner Mignon Clyburn dissenting, to eliminate price caps that make broadband access more affordable for hospitals, schools, libraries and small businesses, and that help to keep down competitive wireless prices for retail users too. The decision, affecting the $45 billion market for Business Data Services, removes caps the agency put in place to protect these essential local institutions from price gouging by powerful internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.

In defense of his action, Pai claimed BDS price caps aren't necessary in markets where "sufficient competition" exists. While Pai, like his predecessor former Chairman Tom Wheeler, has made competition a mantra in his public speeches, he defines sufficient competition here to mean markets currently served by just a single broadband provider.

"Once again, Chairman Pai is putting his thumb on the scale to favor monopoly ISPs over the interests of internet users and small businesses," said Free Press deputy director and senior counsel Jessica J. González.

"Instead of modernizing and strengthening regulations, promoting real broadband competition in the business and wholesale markets, and limiting the monopoly power of incumbents, this order lets them off the leash.

"Pai claims the market is plenty competitive, but this order defines competition as current service by only one provider as long as another one somewhere nearby might hypothetically offer service one day.

"It should be obvious that potential competition is not the same as actual competition, and the last decade of waiting for it to emerge in [this] sector proves that painful point.

"For small businesses trying to connect to the Internet, the price of BDS can be the difference between a firm remaining in business or closing its doors - and Pai just gave BDS providers free reign to squeeze these businesses (and their customers) even tighter."

Reinstating The UHF Discount

Chairman Pai and Commissioner Mike O'Rielly also voted over Clyburn's dissent to reinstate an obsolete rule called the UHF discount that, since the U.S. transition to digital television in 2009, had functioned as nothing more than a loophole allowing broadcast conglomerates to exceed congressionally-mandated national television coverage limits.

Until the loophole was removed by the agency in 2016, the FCC counted a UHF station's viewership reach as only half as much as a VHF full-power station. It used that UHF discounted figure as a means to determine whether a broadcaster's nationwide coverage fell under the the agency's 39 percent national audience reach ownership cap.

The vote came amid press reports that conservative broadcast conglomerate Sinclair Broadcast Group was seeking to buy several local stations owned by Tribune Media [see item No. 3], a move that would only be possible after reinstating the UHF discount as Pai's FCC did Thursday.

"The FCC UHF vote unleashes more media consolidation, undermines viewpoint diversity, and further reduces opportunities for people of color to own broadcast stations," said González.

"Chairman Pai likes to talk about getting rid of obsolete rules, yet here he is reinstating a rule with no technical justification just because it lets broadcast conglomerates skirt the law and expand their control over the nation's airwaves.

"This decision brazenly favors Trump and Pai's big broadcaster friends at Sinclair, Fox and other white-owned media conglomerates, to the detriment of broadcast owners of color.

"The few broadcast licensees who are women or people of color tend overwhelmingly to own single stations or smaller station groups and find it harder to complete with massive media conglomerates.

"In the same order, Pai inexplicably suggests that the Commission might even loosen further the generous 39 percent limit, despite the fact that this is bad public policy and explicitly outside of the FCC's jurisdiction."

Free Press is a nonpartisan organization fighting for people's rights to connect and communicate. The Free Press Action Fund does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.

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See also: Everything Ajit Pai Has Fucked Up In The Last Three Months.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

April 20, 2017

The [Thursday] Papers

1. I Was On Bill O'Reilly's Show Once.

And the topic was sexual harassment!

I was on to discuss this story about disgraced former Tribune columnist Bob Greene.

Unfortunately, the transcript, which used to appear here, is seemingly no longer available.

Let's just say O'Reilly was more sympathetic to Greene than I was.

*

My big line was that you can't have someone in your newsroom that you have to steer the high school tour around.

2. Contractor Factor.

"One day after a blast from the Ethics Board chairman, a divided City Council got cold feet Wednesday on a proposal to relax ethics standards that apply to independent contractors employed by aldermen," the Sun-Times reports.

"A plan championed by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) to change the definition of "city employees" to exclude independent contractors and excuse them from filing ethics statements went down in flames.

"The City Council defeated the change on a 24-21 vote, just a day after the Rules Committee had approved it."

Thoughts and prayers to Delmarie Cobb.

3. Sinclair Broadcast Group Said to Be Considering Bid for Tribune Media.

+

"Former Trump aide joins Sinclair," Politico reports.

"Boris Epshteyn, the combative White House aide who was behind Trump's TV surrogate operation, is joining local television titan Sinclair Broadcast Group as chief political analyst, the company announced Monday.

"As a paid pro-Trump talking head, Epshteyn earned a reputation for heated clashes with anchors, producers and contributors. (Our earlier feature: 'White House official terrorizes network green rooms.') It's also perhaps worth noting that during the campaign, Jared Kushner had previously struck a deal with Sinclair for straighter Trump coverage than could be expected from the major TV news news networks."

From that last link:

"Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks.

"In exchange, Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said. Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio, reaches a much wider audience - around 250,000 listeners - than networks like CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000."

4. "There is so much wrong with this [Rauner press] release."

5. Todd Ricketts, Trump's Deputy Commerce Secretary Pick, Withdraws From Consideration.

No article about Todd Ricketts should ever go without mention of his embarrassing appearance on Undercover Boss, in which he threw away the concessions he failed to sell and lied to his boss (who is really his employee) about it to seem like he did, in fact, sell them.

Still. Not. Old.

6. Trust Bust.

"The City Council on Wednesday approved a $160 million program to re-light Chicago - but only after shining the light on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's murky, pay-as-you-go financing plan," the Sun-Times reports.

"Instead of using his much-ballyhooed-but-slow-starting Infrastructure Trust to attract private investors to bankroll the four-year conversion of Chicago's 270,000 outdoor lights, the 'smart lighting' program is being financed by Chicago taxpayers."

Here's the best part:

"Leslie Darling, executive director of the Infrastructure Trust, has given alternate explanations for the financing detour.

"At first, she told the City Council's Budget Committee that the city was 'not interested in privatizing a critical public safety asset' such as street lights."

Isn't privatizing critical public assets the very point of the Trust?

"Then she acknowledged it would have been 'a lot more expensive to use private financing,' because investors were demanding too great a return. That would have required 'significant reductions to critical elements,' that the city was unwilling to make, she said."

There you have it. Goodnight, everybody!

*

Leslie Darling, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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BeachBook

Visit Frankie Knuckle's Sprawling Vinyl Collection At New Chicago Exhibit.

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WGN Friday Night Movie: Fahrenheit 451 (Opening, 1983)

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TweetWood
A sampling.




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Boeing had no comment.

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Hook 'em, horns.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:19 AM | Permalink

April 19, 2017

The [Wednesday] Papers

1. Sneed: Chicago Police Department's Press Staffing Draws Flak.

Sneed doesn't really resolve for the reader what's going on in CPD's News Affairs division. Assignment Desk, activate!

2. Ethics Chief Blasts Aldermen For Pushing 'Unhealthy Secrecy.'

"The chairman of Chicago's reinvigorated Board of Ethics on Tuesday accused aldermen of injecting a 'very unhealthy secrecy into government for a privileged few' by changing the definition of 'city employees' to exclude independent contractors.

"At the behest of Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), the City Council's Committee on Rules and Ethics approved the change and made it retroactive to Jan. 1.

"That will excuse roughly 45 independent contractors employed by aldermen from filing ethics statements disclosing their clients, what business they or their spouses have with other units of local government or companies doing business with local government.

"They also won't have to disclose other sensitive information that includes debts, capital gains and real estate holdings. nor will they have to abide by the ban on gifts valued at more than $250."

What motivated Hairston - a member of the council's Progressive Caucus - and her colleagues to make this change?

Hairston acknowledged Tuesday that aldermen inadvertently caused the confusion when the ethics ordinance was rewritten in March 2016.

That ordinance defined the terms "city employee" and "City Council employee" as "including an individual retained as an independent contractor by any of them."

That's why the definition needs to be changed, she said.

"Truly independent contractors [are] people who have separate offices. People who do not respond to the city. People who are not under the guidance of the city. People who set their own hours," Hairston said.

That's a pretty unsatisfying answer. Let's follow that link and see where it takes us.

In addition to their full-time and part-time employees, Chicago aldermen routinely hire independent contractors to advise them on media strategy and other matters.

Delmarie Cobb performs that function for Hairston and rookie Ald. David Moore (17th). In the past, Cobb has represented Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) and former Aldermen Terry Peterson and Leonard DeVille.

Cobb said she would rather give up the consulting fees she gets from aldermen than comply with the city's ethics ordinance.

"I'm an independent contractor. I'm not gonna be treated like a city employee," Cobb said.

Well la-di-da. But it's not about being "treated like a city employee," it's about making the entirely appropriate disclosures to prevent conflicts of interest involving taxpayer money.

"I have multiple clients. They don't all need to be public. I have no reason to fill out a form that defines me as a city employee. I'm just not gonna make my clients public."

Then don't take on public officials as clients. The private sector is the private sector; the public sector is just that - public.

*

Back to the original article:

"[T]he revamped Board of Ethics has been shedding its longtime image as a paper tiger."

Is it shedding just its image, or is it changing its reality? Why not just say "The revamped Board of Ethics is no longer the paper tiger it once was."

*

From the Tribune's version of the story:

"[J]ust how employees paid out of the $97,000 annual expense accounts provided by taxpayers to each aldermen are classified is up to aldermen, and to some extent, the employees themselves.

"The Tribune has reported extensively on council employees paid from those expense accounts. They have included relatives, political operatives and, in one case, a worker who had been banned from working directly for the city after he was accused of sexually harassing a co-worker. Ald. Matt O'Shea, 19th, was paid out of his predecessor's expense account and a committee fund before he was elected in 2011. It's unclear whether those types of workers are compliant with city ethics rules."

+

"The issue came up after an undisclosed alderman this year asked the city ethics panel for an opinion on whether an unnamed contractor was allowed to receive compensation from a GoFundMe account."

3. From Politico's Illinois Playbook: Abortion Issue Heats Up.

HB40, as we discussed on Monday, contains two main tenets - one abolishes the so-called "trigger law" that makes abortion illegal in Illinois should Roe vs. Wade be overturned. The other, more controversial aspect funds abortion through Medicaid and for state employees. POLITICO had heard Rauner at one point considered an amendatory veto of the bill should it reach his desk. We asked about that on Monday, here's what his office, via Eleni Demertzis, said over e-mail:

Q: just wanting to clarify the governor's position on HB40 - if it reaches his desk he would veto the bill in its entirety or is he considering an amendatory veto?

A: "Per our statement from Friday, the Governor does not support HB40 and will veto the bill if it reaches his desk."

Q: In its entirety though, not an amendatory veto to support the trigger portion?

A: "Governor Rauner is committed to protecting women's reproductive rights under current Illinois law. However, recognizing the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion, he does not support HB40."

So . . . he'd veto the entire bill? That's the way it sounds, but for godsakes can we stop doing e-mail "interviews?" You're basically asking a PR person to send you a statement instead of actually exchanging questions and answers.

4. More Sean Sphincter.

Just to follow up on Tuesday's item (No. 4) about a Tribune column featuring Spicer as its subject:

Last January, Spicer appeared the the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics to give a talk in which he laid out the ground rules for being a successful PR. He said: "I have never lied . . . because if you lose the respect and trust of the press corps, you've got nothing. To go out and tell an all-out lie is something that's just not acceptable."

Ha ha. The U of C Institute of Politics, of course, is David Axelrod's outfit.

5. Blaming Hillary.

As I've written many times, I thought Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate, but I don't understand blaming her for losing to authoritarian neo-Nazi pathological liar. When that happens, something else is going on in the country that the media still does not want to face; America is not the America they continue to seem to believe it is.

Besides that, no one in history has ever run a worse presidential campaign than the one Donald Trump ran, which is a fact going missing in the first account of many to come recapping the inside "scoops" of where Clinton supposedly went wrong.

*

For example, Barack Obama reportedly called Clinton's handling of her e-mail issue "political malpractice." Perhaps he's right. But Trump committed political malpractice several times a day for the entirety of his campaign. And yet, the media (and apparently Obama) cling to the notion that because Clinton was "supposed to" win, it's her fault she lost.

It seems to me that Trump's ability to overcome lunacy after lunacy that in the past would've killed any other campaign dead in its tracks is the more interesting and revealing aspect of the election, and speaks to where a significant portion of the electorate was. But the media likes to focus on the inner mechanics, rivalries and gossip of those running campaigns more than the feelings of those who vote in those campaigns. Why didn't Trump's obvious unfitness for the office matter?

I'd suggest one part anti-Hillary hate drummed up for decades by the alt-right parallel universe paired with two parts out-and-out racism that Trump gave permission for voters to express.

And finally, Clinton did get almost 2.9 million more votes than Trump.

*

P.S.: I've long believed in abolishing the Electoral College. I won't repeat the arguments why here, but let's not forget what this archaic system, built on racism like so many other things in this country, has wrought.

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Canada Cuts Youth Hockey Injuries In Half
And concussions by two-thirds.

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BeachBook

U.S. Drone Struck Syrian Mosque, Despite What U.S. Says.

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Facial Recognition Technology Used In Jury Selection.

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Chris Sale's Spectacular Start.

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Wikipedia Editors Ask Burger King To Apologize For Google Home Stunt.

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You Need A Permit To Hang A Hammock In Chicago's Parks.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Thread.

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Unsanitized for your protection.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

Canadian Youth Hockey Injuries Cut In Half After National Policy Change

Injuries fell by half and concussions were reduced by almost two-thirds after Hockey Canada banned body checking for players younger than 13 years old, researchers say.

"Concussions are among the most commonly-occurring injuries in youth recreation, and although many recover quickly, some experience ongoing symptoms," said study author Kathryn Schneider of the University of Calgary Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre in Alberta.

"The goal is to reduce the public health impact of this by preventing injuries from the start," she told Reuters.

About half a million youth in the U.S. and Canada are registered in ice hockey leagues each year, the researchers write in British Journal of Sports Medicine. Past research has identified body-checking - slamming into an opponent in an effort to separate them from the puck - as a major source of injuries, they add.

In 2013, Hockey Canada disallowed body checking in Pee Wee leagues made up of 11- and 12-year-olds, postponing its introduction to the Bantam league, made up of 13- and 14-year-olds.

To see how the new policy affected injuries, the research team looked at records for the 2011-2012 season, before the change, and for the 2013-2014 season that followed the change.

They studied 883 players from 59 teams for 2011-2012 and 618 players from 73 teams for 2013-2014. In the first time period, there were 163 injuries during games, or 4.37 injuries per 1,000 game-hours, and 104 concussions, or 2.79 per 1,000 game-hours.

In the second time period, there were 48 injuries, or 2.16 per 1,000 game-hours, and 25 concussions, or 1.12 per 1,000 game-hours.

Before the policy change, body checking was the most common cause of injury, whereas afterward it was "accidental contact."

The results translate to a drop of 770 injuries and 580 concussions in Alberta annually, the authors note, as well as 6,300 fewer injuries and 4,800 fewer concussions across Canada annually.

"Anytime there's a new policy change, it's important to study the effect of that change and ensure there are no unintended negative consequences," said Dr. M. Alison Brooks of the University of Wisconsin, who wasn't involved with the study.

"This research group has a historic longitudinal perspective with these ice hockey players and is a well-known, experienced team," Brooks told Reuters. "They do groundbreaking work in this area, and I always have great confidence that it's high quality data."

As Schneider and colleagues continue youth ice hockey research with Hockey Canada, they're investigating other injury-related factors, such as concussion prevention, concussion testing, equipment, helmet fit and rehabilitation. They're also investigating the economic impact of the policy change.

In addition, Hockey Canada has discussed moving the body checking age even higher to 15, 16 or 17. The Canadian Pediatric Society has recommended delaying body checking until age 15.

Supporters argue that the change would keep kids safer longer, especially if they participate recreationally and don't plan to play ice hockey at collegiate or professional levels. Critics say kids need to learn body checking as a fundamental skill, which can prevent injuries if learned early.

"With this policy change in Canada, I expect to see the sport grow exponentially as more people are willing and interested in having their kids play in a lower-risk environment," Brooks said.

USA Hockey delayed the introduction of body checking until ages 13 and 14 in 2012. USA Hockey's American Development Model introduces basic body contact around age 8 and recommends that players feel confident and trained by ages 11 and 12 in how to use their body to protect or take the puck.

Younger players don't develop basic ice hockey skills as well if they're worried about blocking against body checking and becoming injured, Brooks said. Once body checking worries are removed, they're better able to focus on passing, skating and shooting.

"If your kid would like to play, consider having them join a non-checking league, which is common in most adult leagues," she said. "If there aren't many available in your area, start the discussion about creating one for kids."

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Previously in concussions:
* 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.

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

* U.S. Supreme Court Ends Fight Over $1 Billion NFL Concussion Deal.

* U.S. High School Soccer Concussions On The Rise.

* Youth Football Finally Listening To Coach Coffman.

* Many Kids Still Don't Report Concussion Symptoms. How Can We Change That?

* Brain Damage In Former Players Fuels Soccer 'Heading' Fears.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

April 18, 2017

'Record Seizure' Headlines Another False Step By Media In Drug War Coverage

The announcement earlier this month of the largest seizure of methamphetamine in Australian history has been accompanied by a familiar chorus of uncritical and often sensationalized media reporting.

The "street value" of the 903 kilograms of the seized drug was estimated at nearly A$900 million.

But are the claims government authorities make about drug seizures accurate?

afp.jpgThe familiar made-for-media scene/Alex Murray, AAP

This record haul, as with countless others preceding it, was a news spectacle. It culminated in a live, nationally broadcast press conference. Later came the wall-to-wall media coverage across TV, print, radio and digital platforms.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan, flanked by Federal Police officers (inexplicably armed and replete with tactical gear), declared the seizure's impact "cannot be underestimated." He said it represented "a very serious blow to organized crime around the country." According to Keenan, the money from its sale "hasn't gone into the pocket of organized criminals."

These claims don't stand up well to proper scrutiny.

How Much Was It Really Worth?

Let's start with the purported street value of almost $900 million. Illicit drugs are priced differently depending upon which stage of the supply chain they are located. The difference in the price of illicit drugs at the point of production and the point of retail can vary by as much as 100:1.

Law enforcement agencies often create misleading estimates based on more expensive retail values, rather than on prices higher up the chain of supply. This appears to be the case with this seizure. Authorities have referred to "street" value, rather than the lower prices at the trafficking/domestic wholesale level - where the drugs were intercepted.

However, even going by inflated retail prices, the purported value of this particular haul is massively overestimated.

According to research from 2016, the retail price of 0.1 gram of crystal methamphetamine (the most commonly purchased quantity at "street" level) in Victoria is $50. By these figures, the seizure's street value comes in at just over $451 million.

While this is a significant sum, it is only half the amount that authorities claimed and which news media reprinted uncritically across Australia.

What Impact Will It Have On Crime?

Less straightforward, but perhaps more important to assess, is the claimed impact on organized crime.

The seizure of 903 kilograms of methamphetamine may represent a significant loss to the criminal syndicate responsible for this shipment. However, studies conducted both in Australia and overseas cast doubt on the notion that effectively tackling organized crime and reducing illicit drug supply can be achieved through border interception alone.

As several decades of failed "war on drugs" policing has demonstrated, provided there is strong consumer demand, and the capacity to produce drugs cheaply, reliably and profitably overseas, organized crime groups are likely to continue to fill any gaps in the supply chain that law enforcement interventions create.

Given the manifest inability of law enforcement to control the illicit drugs trade, it is worth questioning why so much emphasis is placed on law enforcement over other, more effective, evidence-based drug policies.

How Does This Fit With Drug Policy?

Since 1985, Australia's approach to illicit drugs has ostensibly been one of harm minimization. This consists of three pillars: supply reduction, demand reduction, and harm reduction.

  • Supply reduction focuses on reducing the supply of illicit drugs through law enforcement (like police and border control).
  • Demand reduction involves both treatment services and preventive strategies that aim to reduce drug use.
  • Harm reduction accepts some people will continue to use drugs despite the other two pillars, and aims to reduce the harms associated with their drug use.

The amount of government money spent on these three pillars is far from equitable. Research indicates 66% is spent on law enforcement. Spending on treatment is 21%. Only 9% is spent on prevention, and just 2% spent on harm reduction.

This distorted allocation of scarce taxpayer dollars is not evidence-based. Harm-reduction strategies provide an outstanding return of investment. Needle exchange programs, for example, return $27 for every $1 spent.

Meanwhile, there is little evidence supporting any reliable return on investment from efforts to control supply. An increasing number of studies suggest these are counter-productive - they actually exacerbate drug-related harms.

Australia was prompted to implement harm-reduction interventions by a looming HIV epidemic in 1985 and led the world in doing so. Consequently, Australia has some of the lowest rates of HIV incidence in the world. However, in recent decades, Australia has lagged behind the rest of the Western world in implementing harm-reduction initiatives.

A recent report highlights that the current imbalance in drug policy is not working. There are no reductions in the demand for illegal drugs or in their availability, and prices are continuing to fall.

For policing agencies, and politicians committed to populist law-and-order policies, drug busts of the size witnessed this week are highly choreographed media events. They represent major PR opportunities to justify the enormous and disproportionate sums of taxpayer dollars spent each year on ineffective, costly and counter-productive enforcement-led supply reduction.

Pursuing these same, tired war-on-drugs strategies might seem like a show of strength. But it will take real courage for politicians to acknowledge the need for a new approach.

In the meantime, let's take claims about the value of drug seizures with a grain of salt.

James Martin, is a senior lecturer in criminology at Macquarie University. Stephen Bright is a senior lecturer of addiction at Edith Cowan University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:38 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. Easter Violence Raises Question: Has God Given Up On Chicago?

Hard pass.

2. South Shore Is Chicago's Eviction Capital.

"According to data obtained from the sheriff's office, no Cook County zip code has seen more evictions than South Shore, 60649, since the office began tracking these numbers in 2011.

"Last year the sheriff's office conducted 382 evictions in the area bounded by Stony Island Avenue, the lakefront, Jackson Park, and 79th Street - eight times more than the average.

"Between 2014 and 2016 the neighborhood saw about 20 percent more evictions than the second-busiest zip code, 60619, which includes parts of Chatham, Avalon Park, and Greater Grand Crossing."

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"This data only presents a partial picture of the the magnitude of the eviction problem, however, since it doesn't account for what researchers call 'forced moves' - those spurred by sudden spikes in rent prices and chronic maintenance problems - or for people who leave on their own after losing eviction cases in court."

3. Ex-CBOT Chair Arbor Still Dodging Arrest, Divorce Payout.

"In the four years since commodities trader Patrick Arbor fled the country and moved his assets overseas to avoid a big divorce payout, the former Chicago Board of Trade chairman has waged a mostly losing battle in court.

"But Arbor arguably is still winning the war against ex-wife Antoinette Vigilante.

"Vigilante so far has recovered only a fraction of her $18.2 million divorce judgment against Arbor, which is how people in these types of disputes tend to keep score.

"In the meantime, the 80-year-old Arbor has continued to travel between Europe, Mexico and the U.S., successfully avoiding a Cook County arrest warrant for civil contempt of court stemming from the divorce case."

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"Lawyers for Vigilante say they believe Arbor even slips in and out of Chicago occasionally before they can alert authorities to his whereabouts."

4. Sean Spicer Should Tell His Boss To Take This Job And Shove It.

In this column, the Trib's Dahleen Glanton issues necessary - but insufficient - caveats about how Spicer is a grown man who knew what he was getting into when he took the job as Donald Trump's press secretary.

First, she assumes that Spicer's resume, which includes five years as communications director for the Republican National Committee, somehow reflects on his character - which it might, but not in the way Glanton thinks.

She also blames Spicer's embarrassing - even laughable, as illustrated best by Melissa McCarthy - performance on having a bad boss (the president).

But here's what I take issue with the most:

"The press secretary's job is to spin that to the media so that the president comes out sounding smart."

I'm sorry, but that's not the press secretary's job at all. The (taxpayer-funded) press secretary's job is to answer reporters' questions in lieu of the president, who presumably is so busy running the world (and, in Trump's case, golfing) that he can't answer questions every day, or even every week or month, by his or (in the future) herself.

Spin is not part of the job description. Honesty is. I know this sounds quaint, but the media's normalizing of spin and deceit as all in good day's work in politics is partially how we ended up in this so-called post-truth, alt-facts world.

Hence, this tweet:

As I've said before, there's actually something refreshing about the lies being so obvious, instead of hidden behind the rhetorical manipulations of people whose every intent is to deceive for political gain.

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"Spicer seems to be eager to trade off his own professional credibility for a boss who never had any credibility."

What professional credibility?

"He attended Connecticut College from 1989 to 1993, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in government," according to a Wikipedia passage footnoting the New York Times and the International Business Times.

"In college he was a student senator. In April 1993, an article in the student paper, The College Voice, referred to Spicer as 'Sean Sphincter;' Spicer submitted an angry complaint to the paper and followed up by pushing for college judicial action against the paper, for which he received further ribbing from the campus satirical publication Blats. The incident was later cited as the beginning of his contentious relationship with the media."

Rightly so. The Spicer we see is the Spicer who has always been.

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"If it were me, I would have burst into that big Oval Office long ago and told my boss to take this job and shove it."

Really? First, no editor has ever tried to make you write something that wasn't true? The place I experienced that the most was at the Tribune!

Second, give up a table at the seat of world power? If Spicer doesn't like his job, and Trump doesn't like the job he's doing with his job, a more likely outcome is simply shifting jobs. It sounds good to say you'd tell the president to take this job and shove it, but unless you fundamentally disagree with Trump's noxious positions - and there's no reason to suspect Spicer does - requesting a new assignment would be more productive.

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Would it be petty to mention that Glanton was just a Pulitzer Prize finalist for commentary (losing out to, um, Peggy Noonan)? I feel like it be conspicuous not to.

5. Rahm Emanuel Cracks Down Yet Again On Party Buses.

Maybe make them like casinos - they can only operate in standing bodies of water.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Chicagoetry: People Made Of Rain Could Wreck God
Roaming self-contained cities of withering pain.

The Bullshit Behind "Record Seizure" Headlines
Media-ready claims that don't stand up to scrutiny.

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BeachBook

Stained Glass Windows With The McDonald's Logo Yours For $150.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

I love Snopes, but sometimes it's a real buzzkill.

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Too hard a truth for the media to face and explore with the same fervor they went after the economic anxiousness of the (white) working-class?

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I did Spicer and United in the same tweet and got nothing but crickets:

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Whimsical.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:30 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: People Made Of Rain Could Wreck God

People Made of Rain Could Wreck God

1

Question: What is the shape of the sky?
Answer: The sun never lies.

You can't always
See it but the sun is always
There, always aware,

Even when spring squalls
Like black jellyfish
Dangling rain

Approach slowly
From beyond the shapeless sky.

The sun is always there
And never

Lies.

2

People made of rain
Billow curtains, bang shutters
Flood gutters

Bellow thunder
Slash fire
Hostage gardens

Stampede the geese

They storm through at will and
Rake your brain

Roaming, self-contained cities
Of withering pain

Like Sherman through Georgia
Like ancient Moghul armies
Devouring every atom

Of light, land, air,
Soul and flesh
In their path

Romes of rancor
Montreals of menace

Foul people
Made of fervent rain:
Porous, limpid, dank,

Rain with fangs
Poseurs
Bent on pillage

Honing in
On you, coming
On the pretense

Of giving
Determined
To pillage

Self-aware enough to realize
They can't get what they want
On their merits

Jealous, insecure,
Vicious, vain

People made of rain
Wrack heaven

Rain people
Ruin

They wreck your gods
And steal your light

They come and go
Like squalls

And steal your light

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J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:15 AM | Permalink

April 17, 2017

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. I See Stars at the Wire in Berwyn on Friday night.


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2. The Zombies at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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3. Parachute at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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4. Cousin Stizz at the Metro on Friday night.

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5. Super Duper Kyle at the Metro on Friday night.

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6. Headless Honchos at Liar's Club on Friday night.

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7. Stellar West at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. Ween at the Aragon on Sunday night.

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9. John 5 and the Creatures at Reggies on Sunday night.

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10. Burton Cummings at the Arcada in St. Charles on Saturday night.

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11. Aletheia at the Wire in Berwyn on Friday night.

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12. The Expendables at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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13. New Orleans Suspects at Martyrs' on Friday night.

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14. LowDown Brass Band at Martyrs' on Friday night.

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15. Kris Allen at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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16. Andy Metz at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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17. Cory Henry at Reggies on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:45 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner denied that his two-day tour of the state last week had anything to do with the 2018 election, but it was pretty darned clear that he and his team were tuning up the band for the big show down the road," Rich Miller writes.

"Campaign funds not only paid for the tour, but political money was used to promote in it advance. I'm told Rauner's advertising on social and online media served more than a million impressions in the days leading up to the fly-around."

Rauner's denials that he was actually campaigning were just the kind of standard disingenuousness that he's exhibited from the start of his first campaign, even as he claimed, in a bid for our approval, to not be a politician. And perhaps he isn't - he obviously isn't one who knows how to govern - but let's not forget that the same kind of disingenousness is how one succeeds in the private sector as well. Besides the fact that he's a politician.

At least the media didn't buy it. But did they serve citizens well when acting like pointing out the obvious was an act of political insight?

Miller doesn't think so, and I agree.

"Much of the Chicago-based print media focused on the fact that Rauner denied he was campaigning while obviously campaigning. But they never put that into the broader context of the governor's habit of saying one thing (cheerleading the Senate's grand bargain) while doing another (killing the Senate's grand bargain)."

In other words, the media failed - again - to point out Rauner's longstanding pattern of, well, lying.

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Miller:

"Channel 7, the most-watched television station in Chicagoland, ran a purely positive piece.

"I want all of you to have a better future, I want your children to have great schools, and I want your salaries to go up," Rauner said during the Chicago station's report.

"There was no mention of the fact that none of that has happened since he became governor, and there is no foreseeable time when any of it will happen as long as we have this perpetual gridlock."

Indeed, Rauner's "messaging" seems stuck on repeat; we've heard it all before, and before, and before. Word for word. Meanwhile, the state has sunk into its fiscal quicksand on his watch, and real people have been badly hurt.

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"Rauner also appeared via phone on several talk-radio programs during his tour and faced mostly softball questions from conservative hosts. Even conservative activist Dan Proft, who has sharply criticized the governor on his radio program since the start of the year, allowed Rauner to endlessly rattle on about his main talking points, duct tape and all, without much of a peep."

Nobody really likes House Speaker Michael Madigan, the governor's chief adversary in the budget battle of wills, but Rauner is the governor, the buck stops with him, and it's jarring to see him act as if everything is perfectly fine, with no seeming sense of urgency, besides fightin' the system with a smile in between stops at downstate brewpubs and high school basketball games.

Taxing Women
"Though attendance fell well short of January's women's march, the downtown Tax Day protest rally demanding President Donald Trump release his tax returns drew a large number of protesters who marched half a mile to Trump Tower on Saturday," the Tribune reports.

That's a weird comparison/angle. Did anyone really think the Tax Day rally would rival the numbers of January's women's march?

"City officials didn't provide a crowd total for the march, but organizers estimated between 2,000 and 4,000 people piled into Daley Plaza . . . The big turnout for the peaceful assembly was no doubt aided by temperatures hovering around 80 degrees along with sightseeing tourists and shoppers strolling the Loop."

No doubt! As every event in the city was no doubt aided. Why such a grudging report?! Sheesh. Even a turnout of 2,000 is more than I expected.

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"While [organizer Taran Singh] Brar had hoped for a massive turnout to rival the 250,000 who attended Chicago's women's march, the California native and documentary filmmaker said he was overwhelmed by social media's capability in drawing such a crowd."

If that's where the lead angle came from, you might as well write that the protest fell short of its goal by 246,000 people. That might theoretically be accurate, but it wouldn't be true.

Jumbled Juxtaposition
"Although St Louis has the highest murder rate per person in the country, the city eclipses both Chicago and Seattle in popularity among millennials," the Economist reports.

What does a city's murder rate have to do with popularity among millennials? Some media members still seem to assume that cities with high murder rates are war zones where no one is safe anywhere, when the truth is that even in St. Louis, like Chicago, the violence is taking place in concentrated areas while the rest of the city is, basically, "normal."

Millennials moving to Chicago to enjoy its finer attributes, for example, aren't moving into Englewood and accepting the tradeoff. Let's understand both the nature of our cities and the nature of the problem at hand, which is that swaths of the city are designed to attract millennials and swaths of the city are left to rot. That's the only real comparison to make.

An Old American Story
From the Washington Post: "How the Wisconsin home to the oldest GM plant tells the story of America."

To wit:

"In this excerpt from 'Janesville: An American Story,' meet the residents of Janesville, three-fourths of the way from Chicago to Madison. Their livelihood depended for nearly 90 years on the automaker, but after the last vehicle came off the assembly line in 2008, Janesville emerged from the Great Recession into an uncertain future."

Again: The media continues to act as if the hollowing out of America is a new story, when I've been reading about it - in actual newspapers! - since the 1980s. Update the narrative, please.

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Also, again, I hate the term Great Recession. It sounds like the economy went through a "natural" downturn. I was once told that overseas the term Global Financial Scandal is used frequently. Let's not forget what really happened. Naming it, and therefore reinforcing the truth in people's minds, is vital.

Bump Dump
"Before David Dao got dragged off United, there were the Kluczynskis," Ben Joravsky notes for the Reader.

"The jury was out for five hours . . . When it returned, it had awarded $4,000 each in actual damages and $200,000 in punitive damages.

Just FYI, that $4,000 would be $11,165 today; the $200,000 would be $558,250. Always use an inflation calculator to enhance reader understanding!

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

The White Sox Report: Not Irrelevant
Rebuild, baby, rebuild.

SportsMonday
Is in pre-production.

The Cub Factor
Is over. There really is no Cub Factor anymore. Last year's championship washed the conceit away. I'd like to start a replacement Cubs column, but no one has volunteered for the job, and I don't have the time to fill in this season.

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Chasing Tastier Tortillas
"A growing army of 'heirloom corn' fans, from celebrity chef Rick Bayless to food giants like ConAgra to a group of dogged Mexican scientists, are aiming to unlock the ancient ingredient to bring tortillas with better flavor to the high-end foodie market while boosting sustainable local economies."

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

But this is why Andrew Sullivan is so beloved amidst the media cognoscenti; he's so "contrarian."

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"Usually they gloss up the lies in ways we can all find acceptable while maintaining our well-compensated roles in the political theater."

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As I was saying (again) the other day . . .

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Pull your weight.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:08 AM | Permalink

Not Irrelevant

Rebuild, baby, rebuild. If this is what it looks like, the White Sox should have done it years ago.

Led by strong starting pitching, a near-perfect bullpen, and timely late-inning hitting, the Sox surprised a lot of people possibly themselves included by taking two road series' last week in Cleveland and Minnesota to raise their season record to 6-5.

How can this be?

Past performance indicated that Jose Quintana is a premier pitcher who most probably will be traded before July 31 for a bevy of prospects. Yet Quintana was tagged for five runs in the second inning on Opening Day when Detroit beat the Sox 6-3, and the lefty was torched again for five runs last Saturday in the very first inning at Minnesota as the Sox bowed 6-0.

Sandwiched between was a strong outing against the Twins to close out the Sox opening homestand. Nevertheless, Quintana was the losing pitcher in that game, exiting in the seventh inning of an eventual 4-1 defeat.

While Quintana stands at 0-3, the trio of James Shields, Derek Holland and Miguel Gonzalez - clearly not a threesome anyone thought capable of striking fear in the minds of American League hitters - have a combined 3-1 record with an ERA of 2.29.

Coupled with a bullpen statistically ranked number four in all of baseball prior to Sunday's 10-inning 3-1 win against the Twins, one can begin to take note of this early success of Rick Renteria's ballclub.

Over 37-plus innings, the bullpen has a 1.43 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .190 against Sox relievers.

Just think where the team might be if the Sox could only hit. They have scored just 40 runs in 11 games with a team batting average of .220. Both are in the bottom five of MLB.

Along with the two final innings of the Sox 2-1 victory over the Twins on Friday, the Sox went 19 innings without scoring in Minnesota yet won two of three. Ervin Santana hogtied them Saturday for the second time this season, and the South Siders seemed destined for another tight defeat on Sunday, trailing 1-0 going into the eighth inning. But Matt Davidson's sacrifice fly tied the game in the eighth before Avi Garcia's two-run bomb over the right field wall won it in the 10th.

Talking about Garcia, he's on fire, leading all big league hitters with a .465 mark. His 20 hits also are tops. This space last week was devoted to an assessment of Garcia's future with the Sox. I doubt whether the Beachwood is high on Avi's reading list, but, wow, it seems as though he is responding to the challenge of advancing his career toward the huge upside acknowledged by most observers.

Garcia's four hits on Sunday came amidst a lineup missing Melky Cabrera - he was with his wife awaiting delivery of the couple's fourth child - but including rookie centerfielder Jacob May, who is now 0-for-21 in his major league debut, along with another rookie, catcher Kevan Smith, who is hitless in seven at-bats. Renteria rested shortstop Tim Anderson with his .140 average, while Jose Abreu is limping along at .186. It was no wonder that the Sox were scoreless over the first seven innings.

Nevertheless, this has been a refreshing team to watch over the season's first two weeks. Third baseman Matt Davidson has had to fill in for Todd Frazier, who has been battling the flu. Davidson is the guy who came to the Sox for Addison Reed prior to the 2014 season in what heretofore had been a bum deal for the Sox. Davidson's propensity for striking out has mostly relegated him to the minor leagues ever since coming to the Sox organization, but that may be history for him. Davidson had a decent spring training (.241 BA with three homers and eight RBI) and has continued to hit despite whiffing in about half of his plate appearances.

Davidson clubbed a three-run first-inning homer on Thursday as the Sox scored five times en route to a 10-4 triumph. He homered again on Friday in Minnesota, leading off the seventh inning to give the Sox a 2-1 lead which relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam, Nate Jones and David Robertson preserved. And Davidson's sac fly on Sunday enabled the Sox to get the game into overtime so that Garcia could win it.

Other happenings last week included the first time in baseball history that a team started three outfielders with the same last name. Because of Cabrera's absence, Willy Garcia, a former Pirate prospect, was summoned from Charlotte. He joined Leury Garcia in center and Avi in right. Willy belted a double in his major league debut although he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.

Chances are Willy Garcia will return to Charlotte as Melky comes back for a three-game series starting at Yankee Stadium on Monday night. The TV camera caught Renteria with an arm around the newest Garcia, no doubt reassuring him that he very well could be back on the South Side in the near future.

The presence of Renteria seems to be having a positive effect on this team. Everyone runs hard to first base whether the ground ball is routine or a tough play in the hole. He is showing patience with May while at the same time giving Leury Garcia a chance to play center field or a middle infield position.

After Willy Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez singled to lead off the top of the seventh on Sunday, Renteria instructed Kevan Smith to bunt. He had lefties Omar Narvaez and Cody Asche on the bench as possible pinch hitters to face righthander Matt Belisle. More than a few managers might have played that percentage.

Smith popped up a bunt attempt for the first out; May flied out; and Leury Garcia grounded out to end the threat. Why ask someone (Smith) to do something he's not capable of doing? Yet a check of Smith's minor league record discloses that over his career he has, indeed, successfully bunted a dozen times to move over runners.

I'm confident that Renteria knew that Smith, if not exactly Rod Carew, had bunted successfully in the past. It just seemed unlikely to see a 6-4, 230-pound catcher try to square around and bunt. In the end, things turned out well. Smith simply failed to execute.

Renteria also was seen complimenting Shields when he came out of the game on Sunday.

Quintana, after giving up the five runs in the first inning on Saturday, settled down and pitched into the sixth. Again, Renteria was caught on camera talking to Quintana, in Spanish no less, no doubt pointing out that Jose saved the bullpen from needless work.

From a fan's observation, compared to the low-key Robin Ventura, Renteria appears to be more engaged with his players. All of them are getting playing time. While a guy like Anderson hasn't started to hit, his defense has been outstanding. Renteria should get some credit for keeping his fellows confident and focused on the present as opposed to what they can't change.

The sample size is small, but at least the White Sox at this point are not irrelevant. Let the rebuild continue.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:36 AM | Permalink

Chase For Tastier Tortillas Starts With Age-Old 'Mexican Gold'

OTZOLOTEPEC, Mexico - Under a scorching sun, Clemente Enriquez tips his wide-brimmed hat up as he proudly displays in an open palm the conico corn seeds he plants on his small plot in the rolling hills outside this village west of Mexico City.

"These are very special," said Enriquez, a 78-year-old farmer with shaggy gray hair and bushy black eyebrows, speaking on the edge of a neighbor's field. "I've been growing these for years. I like the size of the seed and the color, and the taste of the tortillas you can make with them."

Lately, his enthusiasm seems to be catching on. A growing army of "heirloom corn" fans, from celebrity chef Rick Bayless to food giants like ConAgra to a group of dogged Mexican scientists, are aiming to unlock the ancient ingredient to bring tortillas with better flavor to the high-end foodie market while boosting sustainable local economies.

tortilla1.JPGA farmer holds corn kernels at a farm in Otzolotepec, on the outskirts of Mexico City/All photos by Carlos Jasso, Reuters

Entrepreneurs see a huge profit to be made in higher-margin tortillas and chips sold at restaurants like Bayless' Frontera Grill in Chicago and Enrique Olvera's Cosme in New York, and mass marketed at higher-end retailers like Whole Foods. It can also boost the incomes of the poor farmers in Mexico who have been cultivating traditional maize for millennia.

Several of the nearly 60 native varieties, or landraces, of this heirloom corn often grow alongside corn's ancestor teocintle, a skimpy stalk with a few meager kernels that Mexican farmers transformed in a dizzying series of improvements over some 8,000 years.

cornrows.JPGA farmer touches corn stored in a granary at a farm in Otzolotepec.

Centuries later, their distant descendents see a bright future for the traditional grains if obstacles can be overcome.

The first is whether Mexican scientists can hammer out a first-ever fair trade certification for traditional corn farmers, similar to certifications for organic coffee or chocolate. Once an accord is reached, which is expected later this year, organizers say a civic association or panel of experts will provide the voluntary certification.

Another hurdle is the farmers themselves, many of whom are not fully versed about the value of their crops abroad, or even the specific variety of corn they tend. They also must ease their reliance on middle-men buyers known as coyotes who have long been their main sales channel and could be the losers if the crop's value is enhanced.

If successful, exports of Mexico's gourmet maize could start to reverse a flood of cheap U.S. yellow corn imports that have pushed more than 1 million Mexican farmers off their fields since the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

"I live in GMO corn-country and it is the most tasteless corn in the world," Bayless told Reuters, referring to the sprawling fields planted with genetically modified corn around his hometown Chicago, America's second biggest corn-producing state.

But the bolita variety of heirloom corn from Mexico's southern Oaxaca state is different, he says.

"It has taste. That's the whole thing."

MEXICAN GOLD

The chef's taste buds aren't lying, the maize scientists behind the certification in Mexico say.

Commodity benchmark "Yellow 2" corn, a grain used mostly for animal feed, has little in common with Mexican corns that come in a kaleidoscope of colors and in some cases can be traced back for centuries to a specific mountain valley, says Flavio Aragon, one of the scientists behind the certification.

varietycorn.JPGA farmer holds different types of corn cobs in Otzolotepec, on the outskirts of Mexico City/Carlos Jasso, Reuters

"The quality of Mexican corns is something else entirely," he said.

Entrepreneurs putting big money on the line include Jorge Gaviria, chief executive of Los Angeles-based, privately-held Masienda, the first company to source the corn, whose ambition is to take on mass-produced tortillas with a tastier if pricier alternative.

"What's clearly in our sights is getting into the tortilla market in a really big way," he said.

U.S. tortilla consumption is seen doubling to $30 billion by 2025, according to market research firm IndexBox.

Conagra Brands, the maker of Chef Boyardee pasta and Hunt's ketchup, late last year bought Bayless' Frontera Foods, part of an industry trend to promote higher-margin products and boost sales as consumers crave more natural foods. Around the same time, Bayless launched a line of premium tortilla chips using mostly bolita sold exclusively at Whole Foods. Conagra said in a statement that the chips are "performing well" but declined to provide sales data.

farmer.JPGCorn cobs are stored in a granary at a farm in Otzolotepec.

The new landrace maize certification was expected to be ready late last year, but building consensus on the fine print has caused a delay.

Organizers say the certification will provide farmers with a document that details the specific variety they grow, the traditional farming methods they use. It would also restrict sales to surplus supply to prevent farmers from selling what they would normally set aside for their families and animals, forcing them to turn to more processed foods in their own diets.

Last season, Mexico produced around 24 million tonnes of corn, or about 4 percent of global output, and native corn surpluses are estimated at as much as 5 million tonnes annually.

Masienda, which sells directly to hundreds of restaurants, began buying Mexican heirloom corn three years ago. This season, its purchases will probably reach 2,000 tonnes, up five-fold since 2014, said Gaviria.

At the higher end, some heirloom varieties can already fetch around three times the price of conventional corns.

That has farmers like 22-year-old Octavio Tejeda optimistic he can cash in on growing demand from around the world for tastier tortillas and most importantly preserve the strains.

"We're going to keep our traditions alive and rescue the varieties of corn that are important to us," said Tejeda, gazing out on a recently plowed field. "It's our Mexican gold."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Sports Are Weird

What the heck just happened?

We went into the holiday weekend enjoying one local baseball team's great start and looking forward to more. At the same time our winter sports stars dove into a playoff series we were confident they would handle successfully.

We exit the weekend with the other local baseball team sporting a winning record and the other winter team having begun the playoffs as successfully as possible.

The White Sox take a 6-5 overall record into this week's action and the Bulls swiped home court advantage from the Celtics with a 106-102 victory early Sunday evening.

Meanwhile the Cubs fell back to 6-6 after the Pirates swept through town. And the Blackhawks on Saturday suffered one of the most dispiriting losses I can remember, falling 5-0 to the Predators after the 1-0 loss that opened their first-round playoff series two days prior.

Sports are weird.

The big problem is the Hawks, of course. And I get the feeling that no one is confident they have a specific plan to get them back on track.

The team has rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits in playoff series' in the past 10 years, but they have never faced what they do now, having to win four of the next five games with three of them sure to be on the road.

it isn't just that the Hawks lost the first two games of a playoff series at home for the first time in coach Joel Quenneville's illustrious tenure. And it isn't just that they were shut out in both games. It is that they simply are not generating any quality scoring chances.

Do any of Pekka Rinne's 59 saves during the first two games stick out in any hockey fan's mind? Rinne has been a master of positioning and has aggressively cut down angles on Hawk shooters. His 6-foot-6 frame has always filled up the crease.

But the 34-year-old goaltender said it himself after Game 2 when he noted that he was reasonably certain he had seen every shot that had come his way. In other words, Hawks forwards have utterly failed to establish themselves in front of the net to either screen Rinne or be in the best spot to poke in rebounds.

This is a bit of a broken record with me but it must be said again: The Hawks are also paying the price for cruising through the final week of the regular season resting veterans in each of their last four games, all losses.

All the commentators out there that advise teams to rest players once playoff positioning is secure continue to fail to acknowledge the very real threat that once a team stops striving to win every game it can, there is no guarantee it will be able to find its way back to a winning formula later on.

The Hawks were scorching hot up to that final week, at one point winning 17 of 20 games in the second half of the season and securing the top seed in the Western Conference in the process. And I know the temptation is strong to make absolutely certain that stars don't get hurt in late season games with nothing larger on the line.

Certainly some teams have rested veterans late in season and then still found ways to play well right from the start of their postseason. But the risk is there that they won't and it isn't acknowledged nearly often enough.

The only bit of good news at this point is that the Hawks have been a great team on the road this year. And in hockey, just one goal can swing momentum in a big, series-changing way.

But until we see the Hawks find a way to at least start generating quality scoring chances, their outlook is bleak.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

April 14, 2017

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #148: Playoff Thrill And Chill

The Blackhawks and Bulls enthusiasm gap. Plus: Cubs Got Cool-Ass Rings; South Side Rumors; The Lessons Of Cameron Lee; Delle Donne Is Out; Schweinsteiger Is In; and Weekend Advice From The Coach.


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SHOW NOTES

* 148.

* Rick Sutcliffe's career batting average was .181.

2:30: Blackhawks Season Finally Starts.

16:40: Least Exciting Playoff Appearance Ever.

30:25: Cubs Got Cool-Ass Rings.

cubs_ring.0.jpeg

* But this is a bit much:

cubsgoat.jpeg

* Cubs a joy to watch.

* Wrigley is just freakin' over, man.

* If only: nets up, bullpens back, bricks stay.

49:09: South Side Rumors.

* Wallenstein: What About Avi?

* What about Tim?

53:40: * The Lessons Of Cameron Lee.

56:33: Delle Donne Is Out; Schweinsteiger Is In.

57:47: Weekend Advice From The Coach.

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STOPPAGE: :42

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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 10:54 AM | Permalink

Report: Surveillance Culture Starts In Grade School

School children are being spied on by tech companies through devices and software used in classrooms that often collect and store kids' names, birth dates, browsing histories, location data, and much more - often without adequate privacy protections or the awareness and consent of parents.

"Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy" shows that state and federal law, as well as industry self-regulation, has failed to keep up with a growing educational technology industry.

At the same time, schools are eager to incorporate technology in the classroom to engage students and assist teachers, but may unwittingly help tech companies surveil and track students.

Ultimately, students and their data are caught in the middle without sufficient privacy protections.

One-third of all K-12 students in the U.S. use school-issued devices running software and apps that collect far more information on kids than is necessary, the report says.

Resource-strapped school district can receive these tools at steeply-reduced prices or for free as tech companies seek a slice of the $8 billion dollar education technology, or ed tech, industry.

But there's a real, devastating cost - the tracking, cataloguing, and exploitation of data about children as young as five.

Ed tech providers know privacy is important to parents, students, and schools. Of the 152 ed tech services reported to us, 118 had published privacy policies.

But far fewer addressed such important privacy issues as data retention, encryption, de-identification, and aggregation.

And privacy pledges don't stop companies from mining students' browsing data and other information and using it for their own purposes.

"Our report shows that the surveillance culture begins in grade school, which threatens to normalize the next generation to a digital world in which users hand over data without question in return for free services - a world that is less private not just by default, but by design," said EFF researcher Gennie Gebhart, an author of the report.

EFF surveyed more than 1,000 stakeholders across the country, including students, parents, teachers, and school administrators, and reviewed 152 ed tech privacy policies in a year-long effort to determine whether and how ed tech companies are protecting students' privacy and their data.

"Parents, teachers, and other stakeholders feel helpless in dealing with student privacy issues in their community. In some cases students are required to use the tools and can't opt out, but they and their families are given little to no information about if or how their kids' data is being protected and collected," said EFF analyst Amul Kalia, a co-author of the report. "With this whitepaper, we lay out specific strategies that they can employ to gather allies, and push their schools and districts in the right direction."

"Spying on Students" provides comprehensive recommendations for parents, teachers, school administrators, and tech companies to improve the protection of student privacy.

Asking the right questions, negotiating for contracts that limit or ban data collection, offering families the right to opt out, and making digital literacy and digital privacy part of school curriculum are just a few of the more than 70 recommendations for protecting student privacy contained in the report.

"The data we collected on the experiences, perceptions, and concerns of stakeholders across the country sends a loud and clear message to ed tech companies and lawmakers: families are concerned about student privacy and want an end to spying on students," said Gebhart.

See more on EFF's student privacy campaign here.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:30 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Hogg at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.


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2. Cube at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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3. Dave Mason at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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4. Dengue Fever at the Old Town School on Tuesday night.

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5. Tinariwen at the Old Town School on Tuesday night.

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6. Kishi Bashi at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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7. Gucci Mane at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday night.

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8. Pears at the Concord on Thursday night.

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9. Masked Intruder at the Concord on Thursday night.

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10. Eric Church at the Rosemont arena on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicken Run

Fleeing the coop.

chickencoop.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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"The first Chicken Coop restaurant was opened in 1966 and has grown throughout Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana over the last five decades."

Also: claims to use secret Chicken Coop batter.

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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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Housemates.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Have Fresh Goat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartcam.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gaslight.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Urban Wheat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Embassy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln's Cozy Corner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Glory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bowling Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Red Lion, Red Hots.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Sitting.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Jukebox Is Not A Democracy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Handicapped Milk Jug Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gumball Express.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:31 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"In his first full day as president of Chicago's largest police union, Officer Kevin Graham appeared at a news conference to address reporters seeking details of his plan for leading the embattled rank-and-file of the police force," the Tribune reports.

"With cameras and reporters ready at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge in the West Town neighborhood, Graham spoke for one minute, offered no specifics, said 'thank you' and left without taking questions."

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"Graham has not answered or returned phone calls from the Tribune, and a union official and officer who has acted as his spokesman, Martin Preib, asked for questions via e-mail and referred a reporter to the positions stated on a blog set up for the union election slate Graham led, called The Blue Voice." (Link mine, of course.)

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Off to a good start!

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For those unfamiliar with Martin Preib, that's a story for another time (or another place; Assignment Desk, activate!) but his existence in union leadership is also not good news for those seeking reform and transparency.

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"[Graham's] campaign promised a tougher approach to media relations, and a brief Facebook post promised that Chicago media would 'be held accountable' if he were elected," WBEZ reports.

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To be fair, Graham did sit down with WGN-TV for some reason - and the first thing he said the union needed was "very good communication."

Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, the interview was shallow and frustrating. Watch it and ask yourself, what was the point? Did viewers come away from it more informed or less informed?

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For more on the new police union president, see The [Thursday] Papers.

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See also: Rahm's reformy police video release policy revealed as fake. In The [Monday] Papers.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicken Run
Fleeing the Coop.

Report: Surveillance Begins In Grade School
"School children are being spied on by tech companies through devices and software used in classrooms that often collect and store kids' names, birth dates, browsing histories, location data, and much more - often without adequate privacy protections or the awareness and consent of parents."

Beachwood Sports Radio: Playoff Thrill & Chill
The Blackhawks and Bulls enthusiasm gap. Plus: Cubs Got Cool-Ass Rings; South Side Rumors; The Lessons Of Cameron Lee; Delle Donne Is Out; Schweinsteiger Is In; and Weekend Advice From The Coach.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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BeachBook

New York Observer Alum On How Jared Kushner Tried To Use The Paper To Target A Real Estate Rival.

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The Media Vs. What A Task Force On Prostate Screening Really Said.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Cut the line.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

April 13, 2017

The [Thursday] Papers

"With high turnout and low morale, rank-and-file Chicago Police officers decided Wednesday to change union presidents heading into contentious contract negotiations," the Sun-Times reports.

"With 9,811 votes cast, Police Officer Kevin Graham captured 56.2 percent of the vote to incumbent Dean Angelo's 43.8 percent."

This isn't necessarily a surprise, but it's beyond disturbing - not that Angelo was an honest broker. In effect, Chicago's police officers have just doubled down against reform.

In a statement posted to the Facebook page of his Blue Slate of candidates, Graham called the results a message "loud and clear" from a demoralized rank and file . . .

"FOP members want a Lodge that will fight for them. This was our promise and now we will fulfill it," Graham, who was sworn in Wednesday, was quoted as saying.

"We look forward to immediately preparing for the upcoming contract negotiations, fighting the anti-police movement in the city and obtaining fair due process and discipline for our members."

Does anyone in the city have a bigger - and more undeserved - sense of victimhood than the police union?

Is there any sense of irony among officers when they harp on the alleged failures of due process that undermine their morale?

"You have a no-one-has-your-back mentality in our ranks more prevalent now than ever before," the outgoing Angelo told the paper. "Media and politicians have demonized this job over the last couple of years. Then they wonder why people in the community don't want to work with or trust the police. How do you trust Satan reincarnated that you've created?"

Any cop who thinks "people in the community" don't trust the police because the media and politicians have demonized them is a bad cop for completely failing to understand the dynamics between the people they are sworn to protect and serve and longstanding pattern and practices of their department.

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"Angelo said he deliberately stayed away from commenting on questions of Graham's residency, adding, 'If he meets the requirements, he meets the requirements.'"

Um, what? This is the first reference to Graham's residency, am I missing something?

Yes, I am. I found it here by scrolling back up through the story and finding this "related" story. Just put the link at the reference!

From that story:

"In 2013, [Graham] and his wife sold their split-level house in Edgebrook on the city's Northwest Side - and bought a more expensive four-bedroom house in Lincolnshire, about 25 miles outside the city limits in Lake County . . .

"And even though Graham has a suburban address, he insists he's renting his sister's Chicago condo, living there in full compliance with police department rules."

Oh Lord! That's just perfect. #SoChicago.

"Graham [ignored] repeated interview requests from Chicago Sun-Times reporters, who'd found he no longer owns a house in the city and has his name on the water bill for the Lincolnshire house.

"Records also show Graham's wife was registered to vote from the Lincolnshire address and that Graham was registered from a 900-square-foot basement apartment in West Town, a near West Side Chicago neighborhood. Two cars Graham owns aren't registered to either address, but to the 19th District police station where he works."

It gets better.

"Graham reached out to Sun-Times reporter and columnist Dan Mihalopoulos - not the reporters who'd reached out to Graham initially.

"'I have always lived in the city as is required,' Graham told Mihalopoulos on Thursday. 'I've always followed the rules of the Chicago Police Department.'"

"When the Grahams sold their Edgebrook home in May 2013, the buyer was retired Chicago Police officer Les Smulevitz, an uncle of Mayor Rahm Emanuel."

Dying.

"Graham told Mihalopoulos he did not know Smulevitz was related to the mayor until after Smulevitz had agreed to buy it. He also said he has occasionally been stationed in front of Emanuel's house as have '90 percent' of patrol officers in the 19th District, where he has worked for 20 years.

"Graham, 54, has voted using his West Town address since 2013, including this past November. His wife has been registered at the Lincolnshire address, records show. The Grahams claim a homestead exemption on the property tax bill for the Lincolnshire house.

"He declined to discuss how often he is at the Lincolnshire house. 'I'm not divorced. I'm a Catholic,' Graham said. 'My wife can live wherever she wants . . . The situation with my wife and I is nobody's business.'"

I'm afraid that it is - it's the public's business to be assured that our police officers, and particularly someone in a position like head of the union is following the rules, especially given that their job is to enforce rules on everyone else.

If you're separated, just say it!

"Graham said he moved out of basement apartment after it flooded 'about a year ago' and now lives in a Lake View condominium owned by his sister. He admits he voted using the West Town address five months ago, but told poll workers he had moved before they gave him a ballot."

Voter fraud! And I bet he voted for Trump. This story has everything!

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Noted: "Graham said police officers often register their cars and driver's licenses at their work address to prevent their home addresses from being placed in public databases."

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From the Tribune's election story:

"Graham has slammed the media for allegedly lying about police misconduct claims and applauded [new U.S. attorney general Jeff] Sessions' move to review the federal government's reform agreements with local police agencies. He also said he disagreed with Emanuel and Supt. Eddie Johnson's pledges to continue pursuing reform."

It sounds like Graham is the poster child for police victimhood, and living in a Trump-like alternate universe where the media lies about police misconduct in a city where it has been legion for decades. And frankly, sir, the "community" is not likely to trust a cop leading the charge against reform. That's on you, not them.

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"'The DOJ investigation was politically motivated and was part of a larger movement to put the handcuffs on the police in the Obama administration,' Graham said in a press release last week. 'Sessions recognizes that the police are generally doing a good job and must be allowed to continue to do so. We think this decision is a step in the right direction to restoring law and order and diminishing violent crime in the city.'

"Graham went on in the press release to say, 'Chicago police are being hammered with new disciplinary measures constantly. Members are not receiving due process rights, and the media is not telling the truth about many cases in which the police are accused.'"

Name those many cases. I'm sure you have a list in front of you, as well as all the corrections you've requested from the city's guilty media organizations. It's called evidence. Show it or shut it.

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BeachBook

Chicago Schools Miss Out On Retirement Incentive Savings.

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Jared And Ivanka Are Not Good People. And They Are Complicit In The Worst Presidency Yet.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Lose, complain, repeat.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:15 AM | Permalink

April 12, 2017

New Report: Millions Are Victims Of Aggressive Tactics From Medical Debt Collectors

Medical debt collectors often employ aggressive tactics and attempts to collect debt from the wrong customers - putting consumers' credit records at risk. Medical debt accounts for more than half of all collection items that appear on consumer credit reports. Recognizing medical debt is both often mistaken and not a good indicator of future creditworthiness, leading credit score companies have begun to remove it from credit scores, but it still appears in credit reports.

Those are the findings of the ninth in a series of reports by the Illinois PIRG Education Fund reviewing complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The latest report explores consumer complaints about medical debt, a major source of problems for consumers, since medical debt items on credit reports are often wrong or about the wrong consumer.

"The CFPB is working tirelessly to stop unfair medical debt collection practices that harm innocent consumers, so why are some on Capitol Hill backing efforts to kill or weaken the CFPB?" asked Abe Scarr, director of the Illinois PIRG Education Fund. "This report provides strong, concrete evidence that CFPB Director Richard Cordray and the CFPB's oversight are effective in protecting consumers. Both the director and the bureau must be defended."

Complaints submitted to the CFPB suggest that many consumers contacted about medical debt should not have been contacted in the first place, and that many contacts involve aggressive or inappropriate tactics. Other key findings of the include:

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of 17,701 complaints about medical debt collection reviewed in the report assert either that the debt was never owed in the first place, it was already paid or discharged in bankruptcy, or it was not verified as the consumer's debt.
  • The most complained about medical debt collection company in Illinois was the Medical Business Bureau.
  • Many complaints document inappropriate and aggressive tactics including frequent or repeated calls, calls harassing friends and family, threats of legal action, or the use of abusive language.
  • Although impacts on credit reports are not categorized by the CFPB, they appear to be a significant source of complaints: 1,810 complaint narratives, or 35 percent of all medical complaint narratives submitted, contain the text "credit report."

"Medical debt collection is a system run amok," said Gideon Weissman of the Frontier Group, report co-author. "Our analysis of CFPB complaint data suggests that many of the consumers facing harassment and damaged credit due to medical debt never owed any money in the first place."

The group noted powerful special interests continue to spend many billions - $2 billion on lobbying and campaign donations in 2015-2016 alone, according to the PIRG-backed Americans for Financial Reform, to weaken the CFPB and all of the Wall Street reforms enacted in 2010.

The report's key recommendations include:

  • Stop debt collectors and buyers from collecting debts without proper information and documentation about the debt and records of prior communications with the consumer.
  • Stop debt collectors from bringing robo-signed cases in court.
  • Crack down on widespread use of threats, harassment and embarrassment in debt collection, and make it easier for the consumer to demand a stop to unwanted communications.
  • Protect service members by strictly limiting contact with their commanders to verifications of address.

"Consumers deserve protection from unfair, aggressive, and illegal medical debt collection. Fortunately, they have a powerful resource in the CFPB, which has already taken multiple actions against collection companies that break the law while collecting medical debt," Scarr said. "Not only that, they need to preserve a strong CFPB because it's the one agency working to make financial markets fair for consumers."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:21 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Again, a lot on my plate today, I'll try to write a proper column tomorrow.

Meanwhile . . .

Report: Medical Debt Collectors Suck
Medical debt accounts for more than half of all collection items that appear on consumer credit reports - and often the information is wrong.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Tom Friedman Is Calling For A Partition Of Syria. Trump Should Run The Other Way.

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Ode To The Hostess Pie Magician.

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Interpretive Jazz Dance To The Match Game Theme.

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New York Times Public Editor: What's With All These Interesting Stories Where The Box Scores Should Be?

What's so sad about Liz Spayd's embarrassing performance as the Times' public editor is that her previous job was editing the Columbia Journalism Review. What an industry.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Fab.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:26 AM | Permalink

April 11, 2017

Poor Whites Just Realized They Need Education Equity As Much As Black Folk

Poor and working-class whites have been getting more attention than resources lately - just like black folk have for generations.

The time couldn't be better to push an equity agenda.

"My fellow chiefs and I are making equity a priority of our work," said South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp in her address last month to a national convening of the CCSSO. The Council of Chief State School Officers is a membership organization comprised of the top education leaders of each state.

The think tank Aspen Institute and CCSSO published "Leading for Equity: Opportunities for State Education Chiefs," a paper that outlines 10 commitments by state education officials to improve equity. And states have the ability to act. As school superintendents implement the complex new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, they have the freedom that ESSA provides to promote equity in their state.

But not saying the word "equity" is a pretty good sign that you're not for it. Consequently, state leaders can't rely on U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos - who seemingly has a hard time uttering the word - to support their equity agenda.

On the same day as the CCSSO meeting, DeVos gave two speeches (one of them to CCSSO) and the word "equity" did not feature in her prepared remarks for either of them.

Republicans ought to have learned that Donald Trump won the presidency partially by repudiating the greed, elitism and callousness of the Republican establishment represented by the swamp he promised to drain. After losing the presidential election, Democrats gnashed their teeth and rended their garments trying to figure out ways to win back working-class white folk.

Well, all working-class lives matter. And the call for equity in schooling can be a rallying cry for people who vote differently but face a common problem - not getting an education that will help lift them to the middle class.

In its paper, CCSSO defines equity in education as students not being limited by their circumstances with regard to "the resources and educational rigor necessary for success."
Apart from the racism, poor white folk have been treated like poor black people for decades and they are just starting to realize it.

To reach this lofty goal, members of CCSSO committed to the 10 actions detailed in "Leading for Equity," such as holding themselves accountable to equity goals, providing tailored support to local districts, and investments in early childhood. These actions seem deliberately designed to appeal to both political parties, including strategies that have been suggested by free-market conservatives and that blue-dog Democrats have utilized in the past.

But if state officials really want to advance equity, then they will need outside assistance, because unlike the word "choice," "equity" isn't a term bandied about by most Republicans. And saying you will provide school choice through charters or a cheap voucher to a low-performing school isn't the same as giving schools that low-income families attend the resources needed for success.

For the religious DeVos, "equity" seemingly qualifies as profanity. But her muteness is really a symptom of political polarization and racism. Like DeVos, most Republicans reject equity - probably because Democrats, and black and brown civil rights organizations, have embraced it. On the other side of the aisle, Dems throw the word around as if saying it three times in a row will magically give them a majority in the house and senate. But we need to work together to uplift all Americans, no matter who they vote for. That's why despite having a supermajority, Republicans still need some help from Democrats in providing equity to their conservative constituents.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of March 2017, Republications controlled 32 state legislatures - meaning they had a majority of seats - compared to Democrats with 14. Three legislatures were split or tied, and one is non-partisan. Republicans, who hold 52 senate seats, are the majority party in the 115th Congress. Democrats hold 46 seats and there are 2 independents, both of whom caucus with Democrats.

This poses a unique opportunity for organizations that are willing to serve poor folk. Organizations that can say poor whites need equity as much as low-income black folk are better equipped to deliver on the CCSSO's agenda.

In very simple terms, Republicans can utilize left-leaning groups who know and believe in equity.

School superintendents have read the tea leaves; they know they need to act. Apart from the racism, poor white folk have been treated like poor black people for decades and they are just starting to realize it. Now they just need to be able to say, no, shout, the word "equity." Their representatives won't have any choice but to listen.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

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Previously by Andre Perry:
* Black And Brown Kids Don't Need To Learn 'Grit,' They Need Schools To Stop Being Racist.

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

* Don't Be Surprised If Colin Kaepernick Prompts More Schoolchildren To Sit For The Pledge Of Allegiance.

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:04 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

A bit too much on my plate today for a proper column, so here's some United stuff if you haven't seen it already.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Poor Whites Just Realized They Need Education Equity As Much As Black Folk
But they must be able to say the word "equity" to get it.

The Top 10 Wisconsin Insect Trends Of 2016
Some truly bizarre creatures.

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BeachBook

Builders Continue Demolishing Chicago's Historic Housing Stock.

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Wise Underfills Potato Chip Bags, Lawsuit Claims.

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See also:

Here We Downsize Again.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Yes, he - or most likely his staff - did. They retweeted this with the correct figure and the inevitable self-serving photo:

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Peggy Noonan, Pulitzer Prize winner, which is why we should never take awards too seriously; just look at the Grammy's.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Unscripted.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

The Top 10 Wisconsin Insect Trends Of 2016

With the first green shoots of spring appearing across the state, Wisconsin's insect populations are likewise emerging and preparing for the warmer months ahead. The top 10 insect trends of 2016 encountered by the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab offers insight on which bugs might make an impression in 2017. While most of the insects on the list are relatively benign, some might put a damper on an afternoon picnic while others could ruin an entire day.

10. Boxelder bugs

Many insects, including mosquitoes and fungus gnats, thrived in Wisconsin's rainy conditions in 2016. However, heavy rains can also be a blessing in disguise when it comes to certain insect pests. Gypsy moth caterpillars, for example, can be killed off by the entomopathogenic fungus Entomophaga maimaiga under damp conditions. Heavy spring rains over the past few years likely encouraged this fungus, which helped keep gypsy moth numbers low in many parts of the state.

Rainy conditions can also encourage a fungal disease of boxelder bugs. With rainy conditions across much of Wisconsin, boxelder bug populations were expected to be low, but disease pressure from the fungus was likely limited in 2016. Much to the chagrin of homeowners hoping to avoid the tiny red-and-black home visitors in the fall, boxelder bug numbers were surprisingly high in many parts of the state. Rainfall will likely influence the boxelder bug situation in 2017.

9. Scale insects

Scale insects are truly bizarre creatures. For example, the magnolia scale can look more like a fungus than an actual insect. As in 2015, many reports of scale insects came into the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab over 2016, especially during the spring and summer months. The most commonly encountered type was the lecanium scale, which can blend in on twigs and resemble deformed plant buds. Both magnolia and lecanium scales produce copious amounts of sticky, messy honeydew, which can attract ants and wasps, and lead to the growth of black sooty mold.

In many cases, scale insects can be notoriously difficult to control. Luckily, over time there are a number of natural enemies (tiny parasitic wasps) that help bring outbreaks under control. With two consecutive years of high scale insect populations, 2017 might finally be the year that the natural enemies help bring the situation under control.

8. Brown marmorated stink bug

Reports of the brown marmorated stink bug in 2016 were very similar to those in 2015. Dozens of sightings of this relatively new invasive species were reported, mostly from the southern part of Wisconsin. Madison and the surrounding Dane County region continue to be the hot spot of BMSB activity in the state, with additional activity in Milwaukee and Waukesha metro area and the Fox River Valley. A few counties had their first confirmed reports of BMSB in 2016: Sauk and Columbia, both north of Madison.

Of particular interest were the first reports of these insects on plants - previous reports involved insects overwintering in buildings. In addition, some of the first observations of juveniles and mating adults occurred in the state. Those reports confirm that the brown marmorated stink bug is breeding in Wisconsin and is likely to continue to increase its numbers in the future. This insect is expected to be a concern for vegetable growers, fruit growers, and home gardeners in the coming years.

7. Giant silk moths

Some of the Midwest's largest insects, giant silk moths, had a big year in 2016. Wisconsin is home to a number of giant silk moth species, including the cecropia moth, polyphemus moth, imperial moth, promethea moth and the ever-so-elegant luna moth.

Historically, these sizable moths, with a wingspan of 4-5 inches or more, used to be more common in many parts of the country, although their numbers seem to have declined over time. This may be partly due to landscape/habitat changes, urbanization and accompanying light pollution, with parasites likely to be a key factor in this situation. The parasitic fly Compsilura concinnata, originally imported to control pest caterpillars such as the invasive gypsy moth, also happens to attack and kill a number of wild silk moth caterpillars and can have significant impacts on their populations. However, numerous reports coming in to the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab indicated that giant silk moth numbers might have been up in 2016 compared to the past few years. Only time will tell what the silk moth populations do in the state in 2017.

6. Fungus gnats

Many Wisconsinites may have noticed plagues of tiny, dark-colored flies in backyards in late summer and fall. Spurred by the rainy conditions, fungus gnats were extremely abundant in many parts of the state in 2016. As larvae, fungus gnats live in damp, decaying organic materials: rich soil, decaying plants, compost piles and similar materials. Fungus gnats themselves are harmless and don't bite, but could have been a minor nuisance in the backyard.

In many cases, fungus gnats were also spotted indoors in fall 2016. In those situations, the fungus gnat larvae could have easily been living in the damp soil of potted plants brought indoors for the winter months. If overwatering of indoor plants continued, the fungus gnats persisted indoors as well.

Eastern boxelder bug
Katja Schulz (CC BY 2.0)

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Lecanium scales

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Brown marmorated stink bug
Pierre Bornand (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Promethea moth
David Marvin (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Darkwinged fungus gnat

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Twolined chestnut borer

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Strawberry root weevil

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Rose chafer

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Rodent bot fly
Mathesont (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Inland floodwater mosquito
Sean McCann (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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5. Metallic wood boring beetles

Two different metallic wood boring beetles (Family Buprestidae) had strong seasons in 2016. The first, the invasive emerald ash borer, is no stranger to Wisconsinites in recent years. While there were only three new counties - Portage, Wood and Sawyer - added to the state quarantine map in 2016, there were over 80 municipalities with their first confirmed emerald ash borer infestation last year, out of 227 municipalities with documented finds at the end of December. That said, the emerald ash borer has greatly picked up steam these past few years and is attacking ash trees at a rapid rate across the Midwest.

Another metallic wood borer that seemed to have a good year was the twolined chestnut borer. Unlike the invasive emerald ash borer, the twolined chestnut borer is native to North America and tends to attack stressed oak trees. In these cases, trees might be stressed by factors such as disease, drought stress, winter injury or damage from other insects, making them susceptible to the twolined chestnut borer. The UW Insect Diagnostic Lab noticed a distinct increase in cases of the twolined chestnut borer in summer 2016, although the underlying stress might have begun affecting trees several years ago. With the high value of oak trees in the landscape, this insect is definitely a pest that tree care companies should have on their radar for the near future.

4. Home-invading weevils

Many Wisconsinites experience or at least are familiar with insects that sneak indoors in the fall, such as boxelder bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles. There's also a group of broad-nosed weevils that happen to sneak indoors during the summer months. Species in this group include the strawberry root weevil, the imported longhorned weevil and others.

Once indoors, these weevils tend to stumble around in a slow, somewhat tick-like manner, causing concern to homeowners. But fear no weevil, for these insects are completely harmless. A broom or vacuum cleaner are often the best tools to deal with them. While broad nosed weevils can be somewhat common, reports coming in to the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab suggest that numbers of these home-invading beetles were up in 2016.

3. Scarab beetles

A number of scarab beetles had noteworthy activity in 2016, including several important landscape pests. Scarab beetles can be an extremely common group of insects, with well over 100 species in Wisconsin alone. Perhaps the best known, and most infamous member of this group would be the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica), which seemed to rebound in 2016 after a few quiet years. In parts of the state with sandy soil, the rose chafer was present in high and damaging numbers. Similar to Japanese beetles, rose chafers are fond of feeding on a wide range of plants from landscape shrubs to fruit trees.

Two other scarab beetles were noteworthy in 2016: the Northern masked chafer and the European chafer. It was the first year that larvae of these beetles (white grubs) had been found damaging turfgrass in the state: Rock County (Northern masked) and Door County (European). Previously, turfgrass managers only had to contend with the white grubs of Japanese beetle and the occasional beetle in May or June. Wisconsin will most likely see more of these newer white grub species in the state in coming years.

2. Bot flies

Bot flies are not for the faint of heart, especially for anybody about to eat! For those unfamiliar with bot flies, these creatures may seem like something out of a science fiction movie.

In their simplest terms, bot fly larvae are essentially large, flesh-inhabiting maggots. When fully mature, the maggots can be over an inch long and are covered with tiny backward-facing spines, making removal nearly impossible from their host. Adult bot flies are very short-lived and somewhat resemble bumble bees or certain horse flies in their size and coloration.

In a typical year, the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab might receive one or two reports of these insects. For whatever reason, bot flies had a great year in 2016 and several dozen reports came in to the lab of rodent bot flies.

The common species observed in Wisconsin in 2016 were from the genus Cuterebra, and parasitize small mammals such as mice, chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits. The maggots live and feed beneath the skin of their mammal host for weeks before popping out to pupate. The mammal hosts generally seem to tolerate their companions, although the concept of bot flies may give a creepy-crawly feeling. Luckily, the bot flies seen in the state last year don't utilize humans as a host. However, the human bot fly (Dermatobia hominis) native to South and Central America can make that tropical vacation an unforgettable experience.

1. Mosquitoes

With all the stories about the Zika virus in the news, it was difficult to avoid hearing about mosquitoes in 2016. In addition, with the heavy rains many parts of Wisconsin received, it was equally challenging to venture outdoors and avoid mosquitoes. In many parts of the state, mosquito pressure was severe in 2016, giving mosquitoes the top spot on the year's list. If there's a silver lining to this mosquito presence, it has three parts:

  • The mosquitoes that were dreadfully abundant (floodwater mosquitoes) aren't important vectors of human disease. Yes, they might have ruined that evening cookout, but at least they weren't making anyone ill.
  • Reports of mosquito-borne diseases (such as West Nile Virus) were relatively low in Wisconsin in 2016.
  • Zika virus was not a major issue in Wisconsin, as the mosquito species responsible for that disease haven't been found in the state.

Mosquito populations are difficult to predict and can be heavily influenced by weather patterns. Precipitation this spring and summer will ultimately have the biggest influence in making or breaking 2017's mosquito populations.

University of Wisconsin-Extension entomologist PJ Liesch is director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab. He blogs about Wisconsin insects and can be found @WiBugGuy on Twitter.

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This post was originally published on WisContext which produced the article in a partnership between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Cooperative Extension.

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Previously in Wisconsin:

* Wisconsin Cheese Production Continues To Grow.

* Wisconsin's Specialty Cheesemakers May Be Better Off Than Other States.

* Tips For Growing Blueberries In Wisconsin.

* Amid A Boom, Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Look To Future Markets.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:24 AM | Permalink

April 10, 2017

The [Monday] Papers

"In the fallout from the Laquan McDonald shooting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel trumpeted a new policy requiring that videos of shootings by police be released within three months, calling it a shift toward transparency for a city that long fought to keep evidence of wrongdoing by officers hidden from the public," the Tribune reports.

"Now, a little more than a year later, Emanuel's top lawyer has agreed for the first time to delay the release of a video of a police shooting beyond the 90-day limit set by the city's own policy."

In other words, there is no new policy.

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"The Cook County state's attorney's office sought the delay, arguing that releasing the video would jeopardize the right of Dwane Rowlett to a fair trial on charges he faces after police shot him early this year. Further, Rowlett's lawyer said he and prosecutors plan to seek a court order that could keep the video from public view for even longer."

Back to square one.

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"Emanuel took heated criticism for fighting to keep that video hidden for more than a year before a judge ordered its release. The policy he announced three months after it came out requires that audio and video from shootings and other clashes involving officers be made public within 60 days. The rules developed by Emanuel's handpicked Police Accountability Task Force allow for one 30-day extension that can be invoked at the request of law enforcement officials.

"The policy, though, sets a firm deadline of 90 days, specifying that the city 'will not honor any further requests to delay release beyond the initial request.'"

That certainly sounds firm. No room for ambiguity there. But this is Chicago.

"Yet Corporation Counsel Edward Siskel cited that very policy March 31 in agreeing to an additional 30-day extension beyond the 90 days in connection with Rowlett's Jan. 1 shooting, according to correspondence posted to a city website."

And with Jeff Sessions in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice, there won't be a consent decree enforcing what we might as well now call fake policy.

Rahm will continue to publicly declare he's moving ahead with reform even without the DOJ looking over his shoulder, but look for a new level of flexibility in just what that reform entails.

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Just to further establish:

"Sergio Acosta, a former federal prosecutor who helped create the policy as a member of Emanuel's task force, said it would be 'problematic' if the city returns to blocking videos for months at a time because of ongoing investigations. Allowing delays beyond 90 days was not the intent of the policy, he said."

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And now comes Bill McCaffrey, Today's Worst Person In Chicago (and not for the first time):

"'Since this is the first policy of its kind (in the country), it should be expected that unforeseen situations will arise that require a careful consideration of whether an exception is warranted,' McCaffrey wrote in a statement.

"City officials don't anticipate granting more requests for similar delays, McCaffrey said, 'but situations vary and we must always consider the facts, including requests from prosecutors, when releasing these materials.'"

In other words, again, there is no policy.

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And in case you're wondering:

"'How does it obstruct an investigation?' Jon Loevy, a civil rights attorney who often sues Chicago police, asked of the timely release of shooting videos. "That's the excuse that was given for a long time about why things had to be concealed, but it doesn't really make sense."

"Neither Law Department officials nor prosecutors detailed precisely how the video could compromise Rowlett's right to a fair trial or obstruct the investigation.

"Other cities, meanwhile, sometimes post videos within days of shootings by police."

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Also, note that the request to withhold the video came from prosecutors arguing that the defendant's right to a fair trial could be infringed upon if released. Shouldn't that be the concern of the defendant's attorney, who agreed to the request but did not seek it?

Something doesn't add up.

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New on today's Beachwood . . .

Chicagoetry: Fresh Hell
Scorned lovers, spurned suitors, scammed marks, improbable revenge plots.

The White Sox Report: What About Avi?
The next David Ortiz or the next Thad Bosley?

Car Insurance Industry Denies Proven Structural Racism
An industry representative disputed ProPublica's findings that many disparities in auto insurance prices between minority and white neighborhoods - including in Chicago - are wider than differences in risk can explain. His analysis is flawed.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

ICYMI: Last Week In Chicago Rock . . .

Featuring: Clearance, Machineheart, Mykele Deville, Negative Scanner, Mike Mains, Motherfolk, Omni, Bastille, Xoe Wise, Razorhouse, UK Subs, Slapshot, Sohn, Melkbelly, Sleaford Mods, Nana Grizol, Xiu Xiu, Le Butcherettes, and Aretha Franklin.

SportsMonday
Will return next week.

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BeachBook

The Utter Uselessness Of Job Interviews.

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The Media Loved Trump's Show Of Military Might. Are We Really Doing This Again?

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CIA Had Evidence Of Russian Effort To Help Trump Earlier Than Believed.

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Growing Tensions Between DeVos Education Department & Reporters.

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How ESPN Is Changing The Game With SportsCenter.

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White Sox Offer Contest Winner Used Gordon Beckham Shoe.

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NPR: Chicago Mayor's Plan To Update H.S. Graduation Has A Fatal Flaw.

Just one? See The [Thursday] Papers. (More fake policy.)

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: No good guys.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:50 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Beastii at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.


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2. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard on Saturday night.

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3. Obituary at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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4. Dan Baird & HMS at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn on Thursday night.

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5. Boytoy at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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6. Sweet Spirit at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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7. Psychedelic Furs at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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8. Dave Davies at the Arcada in St. Charles on Saturday night.

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9. State Champs at the Concord on Sunday night.

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10. Against The Current at the Concord on Sunday night.

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11. With Confidence at the Concord on Sunday night.

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12. Don Broco at the Concord on Sunday night.

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13. Lil Peep at Subterranean on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

What About Avi?

Will he or won't he?

We're talking about White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia, the sculpted Venezuelan once tabbed as Little Miggy because of his likeness to fellow countryman Miguel Cabrera when Garcia broke in with the Tigers five years ago at age 21. After three solid minor league seasons, Garcia entered the scene in Detroit just in time to go all the way to the World Series where the Tigers bowed to the Giants in four games.

Garcia was the Tigers' starting right fielder in two of those games and apparently had a bright future in Detroit. But the very next season when Detroit needed a shortstop, Garcia came to the White Sox in exchange for Jake Peavy, who was then peddled to Boston while Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias landed in Detroit where he remains to this day.

Now in his sixth season, the question is whether Garcia will be part of the White Sox future. By all accounts, this will be the pivotal season for Garcia, and if he can fulfill his early promise, he could be a fixture on the South Side. If not, he can join fellows like Thad Bosley, Dan Pasqua, Brian Anderson and many others, all busts in White Sox annals.

After collecting nine hits last week in 19 at-bats, Avi is leading the White Sox, who split two games with Detroit before losing two of three to Minnesota, in hitting. He homered on Saturday in the Sox's 6-2 win over the Twins, a mighty blow over the center field wall. He also singled and tripled.

For his career, which covers 413 games, Garcia is a .261 hitter with an OPS of .702. He's slugged 40 homers and driven in 177. Rather pedestrian and far below expectations for a guy who was being compared to future Hall of Famer Cabrera. And certainly not good enough to figure prominently in the White Sox future.

Cabrera was an instant star as a 20-year old when he debuted with the Miami Marlins. By the time he was Garcia's age, he had led the American League in home runs with the Tigers and had driven in at least 112 runs five different seasons.

However, consider a guy like David Ortiz, who retired last season after 20 seasons, 541 homers, and 10 100-RBI campaigns. He was a late bloomer. In six seasons in Minnesota before the Twins' brain fart resulting in sending Ortiz to Boston, Big Papi hit just .266 and averaged fewer than 10 home runs and 40 RBI per season. Or not much different than Avi Garcia.

In addition, Garcia struggles in the field. He dropped a pop fly in the fourth inning Friday night, enabling the Twins to tie the score at one en route to a 3-1 victory and spoiling a solid six-inning stint from starter Derek Holland. It was one of two botched plays by Avi in this young season.

Garcia was not alone last week as far as highs and lows are concerned. Ace Jose Quintana was tagged with two losses, getting walloped for three home runs on Opening Day in a 6-3 loss to Detroit before bowing to the Twins 4-1 on Sunday. Quintana gave up another homer on Sunday against Minnesota; in all of 2016, he was tagged for just 22 round-trippers.

Meanwhile, James Shields, who allowed a major league-leading 40 home runs a year ago, pitched into the sixth inning on Thursday against Detroit and gave up just one homer. He got the win in an 11-2 Sox victory. And the aforementioned Holland and Miguel Gonzalez also pitched well in their first starts of the season.

While rookie center fielder Jacob May still hasn't recorded his first big league hit, he laid down a beautiful safety squeeze bunt in the win over the Tigers. It came in the second inning to tie the score at one when the game was far from decided. Credit skipper Rick Renteria for some creative strategy, knowing that May is a good bunter and that the Tigers weren't expecting it.

On the other hand, young shortstop Tim Anderson, who looked good in the field all week, missed a chance to score from third base on Sunday in the eighth inning on a ball that got away from catcher Jason Castro. The bases were loaded at the time, and Anderson could have easily scored to make it a 4-2 ball game. Failing to get a secondary lead, he gave the Tigers a gift because the tying run then would have been at second base.

But didn't we say that this is a rebuilding year? Young players are learning. They'll make mistakes, and the losses might pile up.

Talking about young players, top prospect Yoan Moncada hit his first home run of the season at Triple-A Charlotte and is hitting .400 after going 8-for-20. This after batting .317 in spring training.

And the turnout at Sox Park - it's still difficult to call it anything else at this marker - showed that despite all the noise emanating from the other side of town, the Sox fan base is well aware of The Plan. The five dates last week accounted for more than 108,000 in ticket sales. Opening Day was rained out on Monday when 36,000 tickets were sold. When the Sox and Tigers finally played on Tuesday, maybe 10,000 fans showed up. They were rewarded with free parking. Nice to know we have such generous management in Bridgeport.

For the record, Sox attendance is 11 percent ahead of last season after five dates as the fellows head out on a long road trip to Cleveland, Minnesota and New York.

Avi needs to keep hitting. It would be nice if he catches the ball a bit more consistently since the starting pitchers need all the help they can get. Maybe the boys will be more alert on the basepaths while guys like Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu heat up.

It's a lot to ask for while we keep an eye on Charlotte, Birmingham and points far from the South Side of Chicago.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:54 AM | Permalink

Disingenuous Insurance Industry Denies Proven Structural Racism

Earlier this week, we published an investigation with Consumer Reports in which we found that many minority neighborhoods pay higher car insurance premiums than white areas with the same risk.

Our findings were based on analysis of insurance premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri.

We found insurers such as Allstate, Geico and Liberty Mutual were charging premiums that were as much as 30 percent higher in zip codes where most residents are minorities than in whiter neighborhoods with similar accident costs. (Here are details on how we did the analysis.)

An industry trade group, the Insurance Information Institute, responded in the Insurance Journal.

The piece, by James Lynch, vice president of research and information services, calls our article "inaccurate, unfair, and irresponsible."

We disagree. As we typically do with our reporting, we contacted the industry well ahead of publication and gave it an opportunity to review our data and methodology and respond to our findings.

Here is the response we and Consumer Reports sent to the Insurance Journal:

While we appreciate that Mr. Lynch and the industry may disagree with our findings and conclusions, we want to correct for readers several errors he made in describing our work.

In fact, we released a detailed methodology of our study, primarily to be as transparent and forthright as possible about what we did and did not do, and about the limitations of our analysis.

Mr. Lynch writes that we concluded that "auto insurers charge unfairly high rates to people in minority and low-income communities." In fact, we found that the disparities were not limited to low-income communities and persist even in affluent minority neighborhoods.

Mr. Lynch writes that we made a mistake by "comparing the losses of all drivers within a ZIP code to the premium charged to a single person." This assertion does not properly characterize what we did. We compared the average premium in minority zip codes to the average premium in neighborhoods with similar accident costs and a higher proportion of white residents.

Mr. Lynch writes that insurance companies do not set rates based on race or income. Our article does not say that they do. However, as our article pointed out, companies can use such criteria as credit score and occupation, which have been shown to result in higher prices for minorities.

Mr. Lynch writes that we did not address "how auto insurers priced policies where data about the policyholders and a ZIP code's loss costs was thin." In fact, we analyzed in detail California's system of allowing insurers to set rates for sparsely populated rural areas by considering risk in contiguous zip codes.

Mr. Lynch writes that we do not consider that "an auto insurer's individual loss costs . . . could vary from the statewide average." In fact, we acknowledged this point in our article as a potential limitation of our study, while noting that the internal data of one insurance company, Nationwide, showed a greater disparity than the statewide average.

Mr. Lynch also implies we only applied our analysis to a 30-year-old driver. As we acknowledged in our methodology, we could not take every variable into account. We did repeat our analysis for more than 40 driver profiles that differed by age, gender, number of drivers and number of cars. When we ran the numbers, we found consistent results.

Our methodology was developed over more than a year and reviewed by a variety of independent experts in the field (including academics, statisticians and former regulators), whose feedback we incorporated.

We were transparent with the Insurance Information Institute and with the firm the trade group hired, providing all our data and even our code to ensure they could fairly respond.

We would welcome the same transparency in return. While the industry criticizes ProPublica and Consumer Reports for not using company-specific data, such as individual insurers' losses in each zip code, it does not make this information available. If the industry would release it, we would welcome the opportunity to take a look and continue the conversation.

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

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See also: The [Wednesday] Papers.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:21 AM | Permalink

April 9, 2017

Chicagoetry: Fresh Hell

Fresh Hell

Harried voices hurtle
Down my back walkway
Like dice tumbling

From a Yahtzee cup.
Between the bricks
Of this century-old multi-unit

Fortress

And the wood fence along the garden
Is a corridor of echoes.
Night itself makes a third wall

Off which the voices bounce,

Fervent conversations scored
Abstractly by radiators,
Clonking pipes and

Hissing valves undergirding

Ominous narratives.
Like a carillon of broken bells,
Or like dialogue

In a Robert Altman movie:
You have to concentrate
Hard on specific lines, and

You miss stuff.
Often, you find
You want to miss stuff.

Often, what you hear
Is old hell: scorned lovers, spurned
Suitors, scammed marks,

Improbable revenge plots.

And, of course, longing.
Not just for love but specifically
Fresh love, new love,

Surprise love.
Whatever love they may have
Is no longer

Enough.
Old heaven isn't
Enough.The demands

Are ever
For fresh heaven.
Dots on a die:

Words, phrases, ejaculations
That continue bounding
Down the dark corridor.

Life on a grid: concave alleys,
Convex avenues, bike lanes, phone lines,
Long trains, short ramps,

A singular acoustics.
Sound is channeled like rain
Along wood, steel,

Asphalt and concrete,

In crescendos and
Diminuendos, waves
Along a beach

Of granite.
Lord: the talk
Is tense, there is tension

In the atmosphere, every atom of it,

Longing for a lucky roll,
Straight sixes, "Yahtzee!"
Ding! Ding! Ding!

Longing to banish
The last bad run,
The latest pain

Lingering, yearning
For some corrupt god's favor,
For just one goddam

Lucky break,
Like overhearing
Someone new say

They love you!

Fat chance: odds are
Fresh hell
Is all that truly blunts

Any old hell,
That latest pain-wrought bell, plastic
Tongue battering

The side of a cheap
Brown paper cup, no note,
No tone, just a brittle clonk.

No one new
Just said
They love you.

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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 3:45 PM | Permalink

April 8, 2017

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Clearance at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.


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2. Machineheart at the Concord on Sunday night.

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3. Mykele Deville and Trigney Morgan at the Chop Shop on Thursday night.

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4. Negative Scanner at the Metro on Monday night.

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5. Mike Mains at Beat Kitchen on Thursday night.

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6. Motherfolk at Beat Kitchen on Thursday night.

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7. Bastille at the Aragon on Monday night.

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8. Omni at the Metro on Monday night.

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9. Xoe Wise at Livewire on Sunday night.

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10. Razorhouse at Livewire on Sunday night.

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11. UK Subs at Reggies on Tuesday night.

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12. Slapshot at Reggies on Sunday night.

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13. Sohn at Thalia Hall on Tuesday night.

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14. Melkbelly at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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15. Sleaford Mods at the Metro on Monday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Nana Grizol at the Empty Bottle on April 1st.

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Xiu Xiu at the Empty Bottle on March 31st.

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Le Butcherettes at Cobra Lounge on March 31st.

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Aretha Franklin at the Chicago Theatre on March 31st.

Cohen/Trib: Buoyant.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:35 PM | Permalink

April 7, 2017

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #147: The (New) Cubs Are Still The (New) Cubs

Coach is excited. Plus: Bulls Screwing Up In Reverse; The D League; Drama-Free Blackhawks Almost Forgotten; Awful Shooting, Awful Reffing In Awful Venue; and Schweinsteiger!


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SHOW NOTES

* 147.

* Steve Trachsel's career batting average was .163.

* Trachsel vs. Trout.

* The psychology on display in sports.

* How Kris Bryant Is Planning To Address His 'Weakness' This Season.

* Mike Matheny Says He's Happy But He Can't Show It.

* The yips:

* Anthony Rizzo's defense.

* Projected Starting 1B Dan Vogelbach didn't make the Mariners out of spring training.

* Hector Rondon still isn't right; Carl Edwards is.

* TV vs. Live.

* Hating the new IBB rule.

* We already miss the old on-field bullpens.

See also:

* Construction zone:

* (Hall Of Fame-Worthy) Yadier Molina May Have To Explain How This Ball Stuck To His Chest.

* White Sox also started playing this week.

* Wallenstein: Unlovable Losers.

* Sox win:

41:25: Bulls Screwing Up In Reverse By Contending For A Playoff Spot.

44:44: The D League.

51:25: Drama-Free Blackhawks Almost Forgotten.

* Blackhawks Have Been At Home Away From Home This Season.

* Inside The Tinderization Of Today's NBA.

* From Cazzie Russell To Dwyane Wade: Chicago's Remarkable NBA Brotherhood.

57:32: Awful Shooting, Awful Reffing In Awful Venue.

58:31: Schweinsteiger!

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:15 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"As private landlords increasingly take over the government's role of housing low-income families, dozens of children have been poisoned by brain-damaging lead while living in homes and apartments declared safe by the Chicago Housing Authority," the Tribune reports.

"Federal law requires the CHA to inspect subsidized homes before tenants move in and at least once a year afterward. But since 2010, at least one child has been diagnosed with lead poisoning in 187 homes the housing authority approved for occupancy, according to a Tribune analysis of thousands of pages of inspection reports, monthly payments, court documents and property records.

"The CHA paid the landlords of those hazardous homes more than $5.6 million in federal rent subsidies after clearing them to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program, the Tribune analysis found. Nearly $1 million of that amount was delivered to landlords while they faced housing code violations or lawsuits filed by another city agency, the Chicago Department of Public Health, over deteriorating lead-based paint in their rentals."

*

I'm not sure the values of those who would let this happen are any less twisted than those we've instilled in the stone-cold killers ravaging our most gang-infested neighborhoods. In fact, I'm not sure the values of those who would let his happen aren't more twisted, given that they should know better and have been entrusted by the public to help safeguard the lives of others.

But I digress.

*

"CHA officials have said for more than a year that they are working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on a new 'proactive approach' to home inspections. But when the CHA renewed its guidelines for the voucher program in February, it made no changes to its inspection procedures. Maryland, Rhode Island and Rochester, N.Y., already require rigorous lead testing before families move into subsidized rentals.

"'By failing to do anything about the lead, they are making crippled children who are going to grow up to be crippled adults,' said Tolanda McMullen, whose son Makheil was poisoned while living in a home approved by CHA inspectors. 'They don't even have a chance because it was taken from them when they were babies.'"

*

"Asked why they continued paying landlords after health inspectors intervened, housing officials said children in some cases identified by the Tribune weren't poisoned enough to merit intervention under the CHA's regulations at the time."

I'm quite certain, though, that had housing officials' own children been involved, they would have met the threshold of "poisoned enough."

*

"Molly Sullivan, a CHA spokeswoman, said housing officials sometimes clear landlords who provide a report from a state-certified inspector documenting that lead hazards were removed, even if the health department considers the case unresolved."

Stop doing that, please. Look up the definition of "due diligence."

*

"Parents of poisoned children can request to move, Sullivan said, though lawyers familiar with the system said renters often are either too afraid of eviction to complain or their moving papers are rejected because they didn't cite specific language from the federal housing code."

Parents can request to move if their children are poisoned!

And I really wanted to write a light-hearted, witty column today. Instead, the CHA has ruined my morning - a mosquito bite compared to the horror some of our city's parents are facing right now because their kids weren't "poisoned enough" for anyone in a position of power to care.

*

P.S.: Molly Sullivan, one-time reporter, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

*

There's a lot more to be outraged about; go read the whole thing and prepare to be angry.

*

Seemingly related: "Dozens of families remained at a lead-contaminated public housing complex in northwest Indiana, despite a Friday target date to move them out so the city can tear down the buildings," AP reports.

"More than 270 families have left East Chicago's West Calumet Housing Complex, and officials hope to have the remaining 50 or so families out next week. But the delay highlights several problems with the evacuation effort such as limited rental options in the largely industrial area, landlords who won't accept government housing vouchers and some residents' resistance to being forced from the city."

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Gumball Express
At Family Fare.

Beachwood Sports Radio: The (New) Cubs Are Still The (New) Cubs
Coach is excited. Plus: Bulls Screwing Up In Reverse; The D League; Drama-Free Blackhawks Almost Forgotten; Awful Shooting, Awful Reffing In Awful Venue; and Schweinsteiger!

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Clearance, Machineheart, Mykele Deville, Negative Scanner, Mike Mains, Motherfolk, Omni, Bastille, Xoe Wise, Razorhouse, UK Subs, Slapshot, Sohn, Melkbelly, Sleaford Mods, Nana Grizol, Xiu Xiu, Le Butcherettes, and Aretha Franklin.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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"Journalists continue to fall for empty drug industry promises."

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Wow, coverage totally blown.

Again: There is a quality problem in journalism whose depths have still not been recognized, much less dealt with.

*

A nice addendum to my column Thursday about Rahm's latest poorly planned plan.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Best-laid plans.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Gumball Express

At Family Fare in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Helene Smith is temporarily in-residence.

gumballexpress.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Housemates.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Have Fresh Goat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartcam.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gaslight.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Urban Wheat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Embassy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln's Cozy Corner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Glory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bowling Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Red Lion, Red Hots.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Sitting.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Jukebox Is Not A Democracy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Handicapped Milk Jug Zone.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

April 6, 2017

The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants Chicago public high school students to show they have a plan for what's next before they can get a diploma," the Tribune reports.

"Emanuel's proposal would add one more big item to the graduation checklist for high school seniors: proof they've been accepted into college or the military, or a trade or a 'gap-year' program. The requirement would also be satisfied if the student has a job or a job offer."

Here was my initial response to this idea:

Now, it turns out there's a little bit more nuance to Emanuel's proposal, even though it's still a bad idea. And it seems to have been met with instantaneously bad reviews. Let's take a look at why.

*

After the initial news broke, I began compiling a list of scenarios that demonstrated why Emanuel's idea was ridiculous. Some of this is no longer germane, but just stick with the thought process. In no particular order:

1. No need/desire for college or the military; going into the family business.

2. Already working, gonna keep working. May just be a fast-food job, but upon graduation I become a manager, and I'd like to work my way up, maybe have my own store someday.

3. Plan to travel, take time off.

4. Raising a child while my partner supports us.

5. Starting own business.

6. Already signed a record deal.

7. Trying to make a living as an artist.

Also, I noted to myself, this could deter some kids from even trying to graduate. Let's say they don't get into any schools; now you're trying to force them into the military? Some would surely prefer to just drop out.

And, I noted to myself, Emanuel's chosen options aren't for everyone. Sometimes it takes people awhile to find themselves. But let's be honest, he's not talking about the troubled (spoiled) rich kid who has no particular plans, might be a ski bum, might try to become a professional poker player, never has to work a day in his life. This is really directed at poor people of color, maybe even out of good intentions. He'll try to make it a universal rule, but surely there will be a waiver process, which rich folk will use they way they always do.

Rahm can't get outside his own experience, where you pick the best most elite school, regardless of any other factors like neighborhood, community, non-material interests, lack of interest in credentials. Where you plan your life in a certain way - the way he did.

Those were my initial thoughts. But a few things have changed since the original reporting. For example, the proposal now includes (or maybe always did, but wasn't highlighted) working and a "gap" year as also acceptable. That assuages some of my concerns. But the fact remains that many young people - and adults - don't know what they want to do years (or even months) in advance. We're already putting pressure on kids in Chicago to apply for elementary schools, for godsakes. It's too much; it doesn't teach the right things.

*

Now let's return to the Tribune story to get a fuller picture of what the mayor has in mind:

"If you change expectations, it's not hard for kids to adapt," Emanuel said at a press conference.

Rahm, Rahm, Rahm. You have kids, you should know this isn't true. Kids, and adults, aren't necessarily easily adaptable. Ask the modern athlete or the print reporter or the coal mine worker!

*

"A top CPS official also acknowledged, however, that every Chicago public high school graduate essentially already meets the new standard because graduation guarantees admittance to the City Colleges of Chicago community college system."

Whoa! That counts? Then the whole thing is a mirage.

"Asked whether a student who doesn't get one of these letters of acceptance would be prohibited from graduating from high school Jackson said in part:

"If a student graduates from a Chicago public school, they are automatically accepted into one of our City Colleges. And if a student is at a point where they're undecided . . . we do have that option there for them.

A better idea, then, would have been to beef up the district's districts contingent of high school counselors, which I get the feeling is shrinking by the day, and give them the resources and support to help students voluntarily come up with post-graduation plans.

*

"The district said it would ensure all counselors obtained . . . training as part of Emanuel's latest initiative, noting that CPS and the mayor's office were working to raise roughly $1 million from donors to accelerate the process."

That sounds a bit like unsustainable wishcasting, but who knows.

*

But wait, there's another problem:

"Emanuel's proposal surprised education experts who had questions about the district's legal authority to impose such a sweeping new standard."

Rahm didn't run this by legal? That's okay, he got the national news hits he wanted.

"[T[he biggest issue might be whether such a requirement is legal . . . While schools often make a point of helping students apply to and enroll in colleges, requiring a plan in order to get a diploma is different . . .

"State laws and regulations aren't clear on exactly how much authority school districts have to expand graduation requirements, said Miranda Johnson, who is the associate director of the Education Law and Policy Institute at Loyola University's School of Law.

"'I think that raises questions when the requirements go beyond academic curriculum and extend into the student's post-secondary choices,' Johnson said. 'I think it also raises questions if those requirements are contingent on a third party's action that may go beyond the scope of what the student can control.'"

*

But this is still at the heart of why this is a bad idea - and probably also at the heart of why the mayor thinks it's a good idea:

"There are also questions about how the policy could affect at-risk students in a system where only a fraction of high school graduates enroll and graduate from four-year institutions.

"I've been doing this for 20 years and I've never heard of anything like that," said Maria Ferguson, executive director of the Washington D.C.- based Center on Education Policy [link mine, natch]. "The question I would have for Mayor Emanuel is: 'Where did this come from? What informed your thinking to lead you to believe that this was a good plan of action for CPS?'"

We'll probably never know, but I hope the FOIAs are already filed trying to find out.

-

You can see from these other headlines how badly the plan has been received, though I can't necessarily vouch for every argument or fact recited in every one of these:

* Chicagoist: Rahm's 'Ridiculous' New Education Mandate Sparks Backlash.

* Ebony: Why Rahm Should Rethink His H.S. Grad Plan.

* Slate: Rahm Emanuel Has A Half-Baked Plan To Micromanage Chicago Students' Post-Graduation Life Choices.

* The Reader: Rahm Should Drop His Absurd CPS Graduation Scheme And Fund Public Education.

* The Root: Chicago Public Schools Clarifies Some Of The Finer Points Of Mayor Emanuel's New Education Plan.

* Fusion: Rahm Has A Great Idea To Completely Screw Over . . .

So essentially the mayor rolled out the plan badly, without communicating all the outs a kid would have, and then admitted they all have an out because every CPS grad is automatically accepted to a city college. For a proposal about a plan, it sure wasn't planned very well.

*

Just FYI, here's the official City Hall press release.

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BeachBook

Top Democrats Are Wrong: Trump Supporters Were More Motivated By Racism Than Economic Issues.

*

*

Coca-Cola's Secret Influence On Medical And Science Journalists.

*

Chicago Woman Sues Uber After Fellow Passenger Allegedly Stabbed Her During Ride Share | Logan Square Woman Charged.

*

Should You Get The Guacamole On Your Burrito? A Price Analysis Of Your Favorite Foods.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Actually, twice in one day.

And actually, I understand how the world works much better than these folks; they just can't fathom that somebody may have a different worldview, including a different set of goals and values, than themselves and the dominant culture. Instead, me and others like me must simply be lacking in knowledge and understanding. Which is the irony, because our knowledge and understanding far outpaces theirs. (Subcultures, like oppressed cultures, understand both worlds - theirs and that of the dominant culture, out of necessity; dominant cultures, including oppressors, only understand their world, and thus are ultimately threatened by alternative, minority, subculture ways of thinking they cannot grasp. Homi Bhabha articulated that notion best for me.)

*

*

*

*

Have a nice day!

*

*

And buy Ivanka's jewelry! (Don't like the idea of the mayor, or even aldermen, endorsing businesses; how do you think their competitors feel?)

*

Portillo's Drama In Twin Cities Suburbs . . .

+

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The Beachwood Tip Line: In the haus.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:06 AM | Permalink

April 5, 2017

The [Wednesday] Papers

1. Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk.

"Our analysis of premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri shows that some major insurers charge minority neighborhoods as much as 30 percent more than other areas with similar accident costs," ProPublica reports, in conjunction with Consumer Reports.

The investigation opens with the story of Chicagoan Otis Nash:

Otis Nash works six days a week at two jobs, as a security guard and a pest control technician, but still struggles to make the $190.69 monthly Geico car insurance payment for his 2012 Honda Civic LX.

"I'm on the edge of homelessness," said Nash, a 26-year-old Chicagoan who supports his wife and 7-year-old daughter. But "without a car, I can't get to work, and then I can't pay my rent."

Across town, Ryan Hedges has a similar insurance policy with Geico. Both drivers receive a good driver discount from the company.

Yet Hedges, who is a 34-year-old advertising executive, pays only $54.67 a month to insure his 2015 Audi Q5 Quattro sports utility vehicle. Nash pays almost four times as much as Hedges even though his run-down neighborhood, East Garfield Park, with its vacant lots and high crime rate, is actually safer from an auto insurance perspective than Hedges' fancier Lake View neighborhood near Wrigley Field.

On average, from 2012 through 2014, Illinois insurers paid out 20 percent less for bodily injury and property damage claims in Nash's predominantly minority zip code than in Hedges' largely white one, according to data collected by the state's insurance commission. But Nash pays 51 percent more for that portion of his coverage than Hedges does.

Let us consider, once again, how race intersects with everything. It's embedded in society's structures, many times in surprising and subtle, largely unknown ways.

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Perhaps my favorite piece of journalism illustrating this concept is this 1997 examination by the Chicago Reporter:

More listeners tune in to WGCI-FM than any other radio station in Chicago. But the station, which has ranked number one for the past four years, has never reached the top of the chart in another important category: advertising revenue.

Click through to learn why, if you haven't guessed it by now.

2. When Does Rauner Get The Trump Treatment?

"[Rauner] didn't propose a balanced budget. That's just objectively false," Rich Miller reiterates at Capitol Fax. Yet, the sitting governor keeps saying he did.

It's hard to imagine a bigger whopper than claiming you proposed a balanced budget when we can all look at the proposal and see that it's not even close, no matter how hard you squint or stretch the assumptions or wishcast.

Of course, Rauner's most infamous lie is the one he could never keep straight about how he clouted his daughter into Walter Payton College Prep. And at some point, even if you never come clean, the media just gives up and moves on. Rauner outlasted everyone (but me!) on that one.

While the cynics bat each of those away as "just politics," which is the arena where truth should most apply, those are but two examples of a longstanding pattern that led me to write many times that I had never seen a campaign - this was before Trump - as disingenuous as his. That's a mighty big statement for me to make - and I stand by it. Perhaps my favorites were all the times he claimed he had been meeting with people - like Dems unhappy with Michael Madigan, as well as Dem leaders themselves - whom he had actually never met with. I won't recount the list of lies here, but it's helpful to remember, no matter how repulsive Madigan is, who our governor is and that the buck (literally, quite sadly) stops with him.

3. DePaul Arena - Beautiful 'Game-Changer' Or 'Foolhardy Project'?

Let the reader decide, between (unbalanced) claims on each side! You figure it out, we're just here to mediate the debate in a simple frame that favors what officials say despite decades of officials lying!

Sun-Times vet Fran Spielman spends the article's first 11 paragraphs channeling the mysterious bookings the assistant general manager for the new arena has lined up for its first year without even asking such obvious questions as "These are folks who were coming to Chicago anyway, right?" or pointing out that the city already has similar sized venues for the musical acts the official is talking about. It's important to understand if any economic development that occurs at the new facility is new to the city or simply displaced, besides the larger question of whether taxpayers will get their money's worth when all the bills are in.

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Finally, relief in the 12th paragraph:

Even if the 50-booking benchmark is reached, Chicago-based sports business consultant Marc Ganis predicted that most of the events would be "economically meaningless, both to the facility and to Chicago taxpayers."

"I fully expect they will do whatever they can in the first few years to try and gin up a positive spin because this was such a foolhardy project in the first place," said Ganis, who has opposed the project from the get-go.

"It was a ridiculous use of limited public money at a time when we're raising taxes to unprecedented levels and still see no light at the end of the tunnel. Every now and then, governments decide to build vanity projects. That's what this is."

Of course, its not just about competing claims - there are numbers to be had. While a full analysis is missing, at least near the end of the piece Spielman flicks at this:

McPier officials claimed to have commissioned consulting studies that concluded the arena would "break even" the year it opens and make $1 million by year five.

The studies assumed that attendance for DePaul basketball games that drew roughly 3,200 fans to Allstate Arena would triple at the new venue.

That's one mighty big assumption. Did the consultants also assume DePaul would triple its annual win totals, accompanied by a tripling of DePaul students' desire to attend games, and at a facility that is closer than Rosemont but still off-campus?

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The story does end with a good reminder, but one whose import seems to slip by the reporter and her editors:

"Emanuel first proposed using $55 million in tax-increment-financing funds to help finance the 10,000 seat arena.

"The project promptly became a symbol of what critics called the mayor's misplaced priorities.

"The drumbeat got so loud in the wake of the mayor's decision to close a record 50 public schools, Emanuel rearranged the financing so the TIF subsidy would be used to acquire land for the project and surrounding hotels, instead of to build the stadium."

That "rearrangement" could be fairly described as a shell game. The project and the public dollars used for it didn't change one iota.

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Remembering Lonnie Brooks
Mr. Somebody, Born With The Blues.

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OSHA Orders Wells Fargo To Reinstate Whistleblower
"In addition to reinstating the employee and clearing his personnel file, Wells Fargo has been ordered to fully compensate him for lost earnings during his time out of the banking industry. Back pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys' fees were together calculated at about $5.4 million. Wells Fargo also must post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections under Sarbanes-Oxley, widely known as 'SOX.'"

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BeachBook

As St. Louis Votes On MLS, Reasonable People Disagree If "No Economic Benefits" Is A Bad Thing.

Post updated to show voters said no.

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The Media Need To Respond More Responsibly To Terrorist Attacks - Here's How.

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How The New York Times' Mobile-First Strategy Has Turned Millennials Into Its Biggest Audience.

I'd love to have a mobile strategy - or, really, just a bona fide mobile version of the site - but I can't afford it. Volunteers?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

JFC, people, get it together.

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Quite.

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Amusing ourselves to death.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Not amused.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

Remembering Lonnie Brooks

"Legendary Chicago blues musician Lonnie Brooks, who started out as a banjo-picking lad in Louisiana decades before breathing new life into the tune 'Sweet Home Chicago,' died Saturday at 83," the Sun-Times reports.

"Brooks pondered his legacy in a story that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1993:

"I'll be on the totem pole, with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Koko Taylor, Little Walter, many others I can't name . . . I'll probably be on the last spot."

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From the Tribune:

"I would see guys like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker for $1, and I always wondered how they got all that soul into their playing," Brooks told the Tribune in 1992.

"Then one night, I saw Magic Sam in a little blues club on the South Side. He went on stage right after he'd gotten into a big fight with his girlfriend, and it was like he was taking it out on his guitar. I seen how it came from the heart, so I went home to the basement, and got into that mood that Magic Sam had been in, and the blues came to me."

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From Ultimate Classic Rock:

"The late '70s proved a turning point for Brooks, who subsequently found himself in demand among blues enthusiasts around the world. Later years saw him rubbing shoulders with famous fans and musical disciples such as Johnny Winter (who made an appearance on Brooks' Wound Up Tight LP in 1986) and Eric Clapton, who invited Brooks to perform during a stop on his From the Cradle tour in 1993.

"While his recorded output slowed in later years, Brooks remained a fiery stage presence, notorious for a playing style that often saw him using his mouth as well as his hands. As he settled into statesman status, Brooks brought his sons Ronnie and Wayne into his band, dubbing their combo the Brooks Family Blues Dynasty."

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An all-too brief sampling of Mr. Brooks' work.

1. You Put It On Me.

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2. You're Usin' Me.

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3. Born With The Blues.

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4. Mr. Somebody.

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5. Don't Take Advantage Of Me.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:10 AM | Permalink

April 4, 2017

OSHA Orders Wells Fargo To Reinstate Whistleblower, Fully Restore Lost Earnings In Banking Industry

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered Wells Fargo Bank N.A. to compensate and immediately reinstate a former bank manager who lost his job after reporting suspected fraudulent behavior to superiors and a bank ethics hotline.

The manager, who had previously received positive job performance appraisals, was abruptly dismissed from his position at a Wells Fargo branch in the Los Angeles area after he reported separate incidents of suspected bank, mail and wire fraud by two bankers under his supervision. He was told he had 90 days to find a new position at Wells Fargo, and when he was unsuccessful, he was terminated. He has been unable to find work in banking since his termination in 2010.

An OSHA investigation concluded that the former manager's whistleblower activity, which is protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, was at least a contributing factor in his termination. OSHA does not release names of whistleblower complainants.

In addition to reinstating the employee and clearing his personnel file, Wells Fargo has been ordered to fully compensate him for lost earnings during his time out of the banking industry. Back pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys' fees were together calculated at about $5.4 million. Wells Fargo also must post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections under Sarbanes-Oxley, widely known as "SOX."

Wells Fargo can appeal the order before the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, but such action does not stay the preliminary reinstatement order.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of SOX and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of airline, commercial motor vehicle, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws. More information is available at www.whistleblowers.gov.

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Previously:
* Meant To Muzzle: Corporate Whistleblower Settlements Could Violate SEC Rules.

* Should Wells Fargo Execs Responsible For Bilking Customers Be Forced To Return Their Pay? (Hint: Yes).

* In Wells Fargo Case, News Really Did Happen To An Editor.

* The Pathogens Of Wells Fargo's Corruption Fester In Every Large Corporation.

* Voices From Wells Fargo: 'I Thought I Was Having A Heart Attack.'

* Why Companies Like Wells Fargo Ignore Whistleblowers.

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See also:
* What Have Whistleblowers Done For Elite Journalists Lately?

* The Whistleblower System Referred To By Clinton Is A Colossal Joke.

* Item No. 4: "Obama took office pledging tolerance and even support for whistleblowers, but instead is prosecuting them with a zeal that's historically unprecedented."

* The Obama Administration's Disturbing Treatment Of Whistleblowers.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:56 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. Alderman Says Emanuel Prioritizes Flowers And More Bike Lanes Over Violence.

Chicago Ald. Leslie Hairston says her latest proposals to provide intervention programs to fight violence have received no support - and squarely blamed Mayor Rahm Emanuel Friday with some pointed words.

"I place that at the heels of the mayor who refuses to fund intervention programs and, when given the opportunity with the resources, chooses to fund flowers and more bike lanes," Hairston said.

Hairston is essentially right in the sense that the city would be throwing everything it had into the best anti-violence programs there are - neighborhood investment, affordable housing, desegregation, unclosing schools - with a budget that was exactly upside down of the mayor's priorities if he was as urgent (and thoughtful) about the issue as he claims to be.

I'm not convinced, though, of short-term intervention efforts such as CeaseFire, if that's what she's talking about. Let's read on.

"Hairston was referring to the $12 million dollar gift from Emanuel's billionaire friend Ken Griffin. The money is funding two bike paths along the lakefront trail."

Well, you can't control where a private citizen wants to spend their money. At the same time, maybe Emanuel could have convinced Griffin to put his money elsewhere, or made a deal that included some sort of trade-off for funding Griffin's bike paths. Emanuel could have even turned down the money - crazy as it seems - as a distortion of public policy and a bold stand on priorities.

"Put the same amount of resources in that you do when people bump up against each other on the north side," Hairston said.

This needs some context. See, Griffin thought the path situation along the lake was too crowded, so he offered up $12 million to fix it. Sort of for his own personal convenience. That's what kind of person Ken Griffin is. Too bad poor black kids dying isn't inconvenient enough for him to give a shit. (Disclaimer: If Griffin has donated to anti-violence efforts, I retract this. I did a quick search to see and came up blank, but it was by no means exhaustive, so I will acknowledge up front this could be a cheap shot. Nonetheless, $12 million for bike paths.)

But there's another problem

Emanuel did not take questions when he responded to the South Side bloodshed Thursday evening that left seven people dead in three different shootings.

"The people who did what they did yesterday, they thought that was their job, there's only one place for them," Emanuel said. "They do not belong, not on the streets and neighborhoods in the city of Chicago, they belong behind bars."

The problem I'm talking about isn't that Emanuel didn't take questions, though that is a problem. It's his quite familiar comment that once again illuminates, though subtly in this case, his belief that the perpetrators of violence are simply men (and they are almost all men, or boys) of ill character, lacking in values that you and I have, unfit for society who belong behind bars with all the other demented creatures our society seems to produce in bushelfuls far beyond that of any of the world's other pseudo-democracies.

I know it's hard to hear this, but the perpetrators of violence are victims too. They've almost certainly suffered violence and death from the streets in their own families. They almost certainly are filled with rage and hopelessness. Their empathy was sapped long ago. Research shows most victims - not the kids getting hit by stray bullets, but targeted victims - are among a relatively small circle of people in the city who are also shooters. It's like a circular firing squad out there. But these young men (and they are mostly young men, or boys) were not born that way. Emanuel seems to think they are, or simply can't wrap his head around how even the most angelic young child can grow up to be a stone-cold killer.

2. I'm Actually Going To Approvingly Excerpt From Second City Cop, Which Is Usually A Stew Of Racial, Trumpish Bitterness.

A fellow officer took his own life.

We will repeat this for the umpteenth time - there is no shame in reaching out for assistance from the Employee Assistance Program personnel. Yes, the DOJ said they're horribly undermanned for a Department the size of ours, but they do a good job, a fantastic job in many cases, helping coppers lost in the crushing darkness.

Give them a call. Please.

The first lead I wrote for the godforsaken Waterloo, Iowa Courier when I was a police reporter there many, many years ago was this, addressed to cops: "Get a life."

It sprang from a conference I attended or an expert who visited the department, I can't quite remember, and this was long before the Internet and I'm not going to dig through my print clips right now, and the point was that police officers need - like the rest of us - to work hard to balance their lives in order to protect their mental states.

Now, I have no idea what was involved in this particular suicide; perhaps it had nothing to do with the job. But Second City Cop is right (!), no one should feel shame reaching out for help. Sadly, the DOJ is apparently right, too - the CPD Employee Assistance Program is underfunded, and I bet similar programs in many workplaces are either underfunded or far less helpful than they ought to be.

As a related aside, I've never sought out such help in the workplace, but I once sought help from the human resources department in one workplace to try to sort out an odd, sudden and unempathetic turn in my relationship with an editor I had theretofore worked hard to get along with and build a productive relationship with for years. I was warned by a colleague that "human resources is not your friend," but I plunged ahead anyway, with the best of intentions with, truthfully, reason on my side, as well as a willingness to work things out that my editor didn't seem to have. My colleague was right: human resources was not my friend. I often wondered then, and now looking back, if there was some backchannel communications they had, or if the natural tendency of human resources is to side with "management" regardless of the scenario (of course it is!). There's a profession that needs to take a hard look at itself. (I just remembered, I once produced a newsletter for a large human resources association.)

Anyway, the connection between these first two items is empathy and compassion. We need much more of both.

(I guess this is why the late Paul Green, whom I enjoyed a great deal despite his apologetics for the Machine, and everything that came with it, joked that he called my website Preachwood. That was a good one, and I chuckled at it, but who was the real cynic between us? To his credit, he did adapt my The Case Against Daley for use as a chapter in his book The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition, though; that's something I will always be grateful for.)

3. Public Money Goes To Private Lottery Firm's Secretive Advisory Board.

This article requires a full read; I can't do it justice here except to point out the secret players in the game. Read it and weep:

* Dick Devine, a former Cook County state's attorney and the board's first chair.

* Sharon Gist Gilliam, a former Chicago Housing Authority director.

* David Gupta, a technology entrepreneur and longtime donor to state and local politicians.

* Karen Hasara, a former state lawmaker and Springfield mayor.

* Manuel "Manny" Sanchez, a Chicago attorney and political fundraiser.

* Rufus Williams, a former Chicago Public Schools board president.

* . . . Lori Montana, a political fundraiser who previously ran the lottery and served as the board's chair after Devine.

Now go read the whole thing.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Jain, The Amazing Heeby Jeebies, Son Volt, Hymen Moments, Anthrax, Kris Kristofferson, Adrian Belew Power Trio, Fishbone, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Tyler Childers, and A Simple Plan.

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BeachBook

Did Obama Blow It On The Russia Hacking? (Hint: Of course he did; same old gutless self.)

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Chicago Lawyer's Suicide Trial Highlights Anxiety In Big Law Mergers. (Yeah, probably a lot of other things going on, too, and I wouldn't blame antidepressants.)

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Don't go missing.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:00 AM | Permalink

April 3, 2017

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Jain at Subterranean on Saturday night.


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2. The Amazing Heeby Jeebies at Livewire on Sunday night.

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3. Son Volt at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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4. Hymen Moments at Livewire on Saturday night.

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5. Anthrax at the Arcada in St. Charles on Friday night.

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6. Kris Kristofferson at City Winery on Sunday night.

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7. Adrian Belew Power Trio at the Old Town School on Saturday night.

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8. Fishbone at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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9. Voodoo Glow Skulls at Reggies on Thursday night.

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10. Tyler Childers at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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11. A Simple Plan at House of Blues on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:34 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Baseball! And playoff hockey starting next week, and probably playoff basketball right after that.

It's the most wonderful, time, of the year, except for the opening of the football season. Maybe.

Surely we can agree that both times are sweet and given that this one is accompanied by the promise of spring weather . . . enough said.

We enjoyed a preview of the next month (or two, come on Hawks!) on Sunday: The local hockey team lost 3-2 to the haven't-clinched-a-playoff-spot-yet Bruins, the Bulls pulled out an impressive 117-110 victory at New Orleans (we can be impressed with a specific win and still be completely skeptical that a team will have any sort of success in the playoffs), and the Cubs opened their season with an exciting 4-3 loss to the Cards.

It was almost 10 hours of awesome sports entertainment in one day.

(Quick note: yes White Sox, this column is going to proceed as if you don't exist. You should be used to that by now. You can always check out Roger's new White Sox Report.)

April and May were not the most wonderful time of the year on the Tribune agate desk when I worked there in the '90s. I was part of a part-time crew (we never officially worked more than 29 hours in a given week because that meant we were owed no benefits - ah, the good ol' Mothership) and our jobs were to answer high school sports calls and write game briefs, along with the agate.

That was the small print stuff of course - the box scores, the standings, the transactions - that made up and still makes up, the most efficient parts of the sports section. And once we had been there long enough, we would get some shifts as agate editor. And that was about the worst job in journalism in April and May.

When I started at the Trib, we were still in the "green letters on a green, hard-wired screen" stage of newspaper technology. Things progressed a bit while I was there but during my couple dozen shifts as editor, there was still about a 20-step process we had to do with each box score to prepare it for publication. Then we had to stack them and make sure they would fit into the space allotted. Meanwhile, the standings and results had to be updated and oh yeah, the basketball and hockey playoff agate had to be processed.

I learned that a person can actually experience a cold sweat when I found myself trying to finish that work on deadline and realized that pretty much the whole paper was waiting for me.

Now of course everything is much more streamlined. Today is the first day with something resembling a full baseball schedule and so Tuesday morning will bring a Tribune sports page with the latest edition of the baseball page with standings, pitching match-ups, statistics to fill space if needed and of course box scores. Now the page is nationalized and I wonder if there even is an agate editor. (Editor's Note: Or you could just online right now and see it all in many expanded versions, without any space limitations at all without having to wait until tomorrow!)

Anyway, this morning's section contains all sorts of great stuff about yesterday's local games. (Editor's Note: Stuff that was online yesterday and is already stale today!) The Hawks contest didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, the Bulls took a big step toward potentially qualifying for one of the last few spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs and the Cubs started the season as DEFENDING WORLD SERIES CHAMPS.

Because the Cubs lost, both local and national commentators weighed in quickly that the magic is gone. That's probably a wee bit premature. The team actually did a bunch of things right and a glorious bit of clutch hitting by future star Willson Contreras - a one-out-in-the-ninth three-run home run - almost brought the Cubs all the way back.

Jon Lester made it through his first post-David Ross start reasonably well, giving up only one fluky run in five innings, Joe Maddon handled the bullpen perfectly (it wasn't his fault that Mike Montgomery choked the game away in the ninth) and Cardinal manager Mike Matheny exhibited some comforting goofiness.

Many pointed out that Matheny's refusal to pinch-hit for pitcher Carlos Martinez in the seventh was a mistake, but the big screw-up was bringing in closer Seung Hwan Oh to go for a five-out save in the eighth inning - in Game 1 of 162! Sure enough, the Cubs made him work, and with his 31st pitch of the game (the usual breaking point for a closer that usually goes one inning is around 30 pitches), Oh gave up the blast to Contreras.

It will be a long season for Cardinals fans if Matheny can't do better than that. And it will be a long stretch of exciting sports in the coming month or two if the winter teams can come through - I'm still feeling quite confident about the North Side baseball club).

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:36 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

From Mike Allen's Top 10 for Axios on Sunday:

A bearish view of the fight ahead in "Crucial lessons from the last tax reform," by Jeff Birnbaum (president of BGR Public Relations, and co-author with Alan Murray of Showdown at Gucci Gulch, about the 1986 tax reform), on the WashPost Sunday Opinion page:

* "Tax reform is complicated, painful and personal by design."

* "Tax reform was launched in 1985 with a scene that's almost unimaginable today: a televised speech by Reagan, a Republican, followed by a Democratic response by Dan Rostenkowski, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, endorsing the president's initiative."

Ah, yes, the good ol' days when Rosty and Ronnie dispensed with ideology and worked together for the good of the nation.

At least that's what Official Washington - and Official Chicago - has wanted you to believe for years. The reporting shows something different - not that Rosty and Ronnie didn't work together, but that they did so to sell out their blue-collar and middle-class constituents.

From Reading Rosty:

Book: The Great American Tax Dodge
Authors: Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
Excerpt: "The new era of rampant special-interest tax breaks was defined by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Amid blasts of rhetoric from lawmakers as to how they were routing special interests and making the tax code fairer for middle-class America, tax-law writers working behind the scenes crammed the legislation with hundreds of clauses benefiting a handful of taxpayers.

"Dan Rostenkowski, the Illinois Democrat who chaired the House Ways and Means Committee, called the tax reform measure 'a bill that reaches deep into our national sense of justice - and gives us back a trust in government that has slipped away in the maze of tax preferences for the rich and powerful.'

"Then Rostenkowski inserted dozens of special provisions, including one worth at least $150 million to Commonwealth Edison Company, the utility serving Rostenkowski's native Chicago."

And believe me, what Rostenkowski did was way worse than that; IIRC the worst examples were just too long and complicated to excerpt.

See also: The [Rosty] Papers.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

The White Sox Report: Unlovable Losers
There's nothing cute or lovable about a bad ballclub on the South Side.

SportsMonday: The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Finally, a reason to feel reasonably okay about Chicago sports.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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BeachBook

The 'Gateway Drug' Is Alcohol, Not Marijuana.

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The Problem With Modern Philanthropy.

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The Case Against Steve Cohen And SAC Capital.

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Chicago's Soccer Team Is Draining Hometown Funds.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: You have to do some of the work yourself.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Unlovable Losers

Let the losing begin. As if it hasn't already.

I mean, we really should be prepared for this thing called "rebuilding." As recently as 2013, when the R-word wasn't part of the White Sox vocabulary, the club stumbled and bumbled to 99 losses. The over/under for wins this season is 68.5. If the team hits either side of that number, it still will outshine - OK, poor choice of words - that team of four years ago.

Sports Illustrated has rated the Sox the worst team in the American League. The magazine says the final record will be 65-97. Vegas odds put the Sox at 500-1 to win the World Series. (My pal Bud called from Laughlin, Nevada, where he said the Sox are 300-1 at Harrah's. For some strange reason he was excited.) At least they're not alone at the bottom of the pack. The pitiful Padres join the Sox as the longest of the long shots.

Historically bad ballclubs on the South Side have been a custom rather than an aberration. Long before the fellows on the other side of town were tagged "lovable losers" playing in the Friendly Confines, the other team in Chicago was the prime example of ineptitude.

Consider that the Cubs appeared in six World Series between 1918 and 1945. Of course, not even alternative facts can alter the truth that they lost all six. But at least they won the National League pennant a half-dozen times.

Meanwhile, after the infamous Black Sox scandal in 1919 in which eight players were banned from the game for tanking in the World Series, the Sox didn't make another post-season appearance for 40 years, losing to the Dodgers in six games in the 1959 Series, the culmination of the resurgent Go-Go Sox of the 1950s.

After '59 in the ensuing 47 seasons the White Sox qualified for the expanded post-season on just three occasions before the four-game sweep of the Astros 12 years ago. No, it wasn't 108 seasons between championships, but two World Series' appearances in 97 years ain't so hot.

The difference is Sox fans don't find losing enjoyable or attractive. There's nothing cute or lovable about a bad ballclub on the South Side. The empty seats are testament to that fact. Call it disloyalty if you wish, but many Sox fans register their displeasure by staying away.

Despite all the futility, Ernie Banks' "Let's play two!" resonated delightfully on the North Side, even though his team finished above .500 just once in the first 14 of his 19 seasons in Cubbie blue. Being the team's first black player apparently was enough of a reward for the dignified Banks.

But let's consider two other Hall of Famers who played at 3500 South as opposed to 1060 W. Addison. Like Banks, Ted Lyons and Luke Appling never appeared in a post-season game. Lyons pitched for the Sox from 1923 until 1946, although he missed three seasons serving in World War II. Appling was a rookie in 1930 and played until 1950 except for one year during the war. Lyons won 260 games - he lost 230 - and Appling won a couple of batting titles en route to a .310 lifetime average.

How inept were the teams of Lyons and Appling? Between 1923 and 1950, the Sox were a .500 team just six times and never finished above third place in the American League. I could be mistaken, but I've never been aware that Teddy and Luscious Luke ever were passionate about playing a doubleheader when one White Sox defeat per afternoon was sufficient.

While the Cubs played only day baseball until 1988 in a verdurous, almost quaint neighborhood, a southwest breeze from the Union Stockyards less than two miles away filled Comiskey Park with the stench of freshly-slaughtered hogs and cattle. All that losing and fans also knew that laundering their outfits once they returned home was part of the package of being a Sox fan.

As Jose Quintana readies himself to face Justin Verlander and the Tigers Monday afternoon in the season opener, we've been forewarned by the front office that this year is the beginning of a process. The team is going to lose - maybe like never before if that's possible - until all the young players develop into legit major leaguers just like, you know, the guys on the North Side.

General manager Rick Hahn procured a treasure trove of youngsters for Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. They'll pay dividends but just not now. A rival scout's assessment in Sports Illustrated: "I think [the Sox] will be better in 2018, but it's probably the following season when they really establish these guys."

What's the big deal? The Sox have played sub-.500 ball the last four seasons. What's another 90-95 losses while we await the emergence of Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez? We're Sox fans. We can handle it.

I can recall the worst season in Sox history in 1970 when the team dropped a franchise record 106 games. Rebuilding wasn't part of the landscape in those days. So the Sox brought in Roland Hemond as general manager and Chuck Tanner as manager. Without major improvements in the starting eight, the team bounced back to win 79 games - a 23-game bounce - in 1971 primarily because Tanner tweaked the pitching staff, making reliever Wilbur Wood a starter. Wood won 22 games. Tommy John was then traded for Dick Allen, and the Sox were contenders by 1972.

While 79 wins this season appears unlikely, the change to Rick Renteria will make a difference. He may not gush enthusiasm as readily as Tanner, but his upbeat, positive and outgoing demeanor is reminiscent of the Sox skipper more than four decades ago.

I kind of favor the over. I think the Sox can win at least 69 games, which is such a meager number. The team should have some pop with Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera doing the heavy lifting. Tim Anderson's upside is eye-opening. Tyler Saladino is underrated. Who knows? Maybe Avi Garcia can play. We'll definitely find out very quickly.

Moncada, who awakened to hit .317 in spring training, should join the club in six weeks or so, and if Carlos Rodon can beat bursitis, he'll help a truly horrifying starting rotation led by Quintana. To think that Miguel Gonzalez, James Shields and Derek Holland can pitch effectively is pure folly.

What would behoove the Sox would be strong performances from Frazier, Cabrera and closer David Robertson so that they would be attractive to a contender at the trade deadline. None figures to be part of a long-term solution for this franchise. Flip any or all for young prospects. But they have to produce in the first few months.

In the meantime, it's all about patience. The flowers are being planted. Let's just hope they bloom.

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

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1. From Rory Clark, former Sox batboy in the Dick Allen days:

Yes Roger . . .

The losing will continue until morale improves.

I get it.

But I would never trust the people who tore down my home to rebuild it.

Please encourage Jerry Reinsdorf to sell the team.

It's time for the absentee landlord to ride off into the sunset with his seven championship rings, his fat checkbook, his humongous estate plan, and his tiny testicles.

It's never been easier, in the history of mankind, to spot ineptitude. Sox fans have a knack for it. Cub fans don't. Bear fans don't.

Loyalty is one thing - idiocy is another. To waste part of your life watching losers is idiocy, because it is contagious. You do it because it is your job. I may do it because I don't have anything better to do. Reinsdorf does it because he is rewarded for doing it. But how much money does a person really need?

Love you man!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:36 AM | Permalink

April 1, 2017

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. They at Subterranean on Wednesday night.

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2. Lil Debbie at Subterranean on Sunday night.

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3. Rec Riddles at Subterranean on Tuesday night.

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4. Lucille Furs at the Burlington on Monday night.

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5. RXM Reality at the Hideout on Sunday night.

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6. Unmanned Ship at Elastic on Tuesday night.

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7. Time at Elastic on Tuesday night.

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8. Crunchy at Elastic on Tuesday night.

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9. My Double Life at Martyrs' on Thursday night.

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10. Movement at the Concord on Tuesday night.

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11. Senses Fail at the Concord on Tuesday night.

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12. Nails at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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13. Amorphis at Reggies on Sunday night.

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14. Swallow The Sun at Reggies on Sunday night.

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15. Hollyn at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Thursday night.

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16. Richard Ashcroft at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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17. Eric Lindell at SPACE in Evanston on Tuesday night.

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18. Cornmeal at Martyrs' on Wednesday night.

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19. Bon Jovi at the big West Side arena on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:43 PM | Permalink

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