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July 31, 2018

SportsMondayTuesday: Roquan Is Wrong

Who to believe, who to believe?

On one side, we have the sycophantic local media who write things like "Inside Matt Nagy's Beautiful Mind" and continue to assert that moving up to draft Mitch Trubisky was a good idea despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Those guys kept telling us that first-round draft pick and projected starter Roquan Smith would be in camp soon enough and there was nothing to worry about - just a little "language." Now they're reporting that Smith is seeking language in his contract that would protect him from losing guaranteed money if he breaks the new tackling rules often enough to get suspended.

On the other side, a bunch of national voices arguing that the Bears are blowing it again, arguing that wholly at fault in refusing to give Smith something that at least some other rookies have apparently already received. They are saying the Bears should cave and give Smith what he wants even if it means everyone else on the defense would want the same language when they sign their next contracts.

I have to say at this point, as loathe as I am to back usually pathetic Bears management, I find their case more persuasive.

That's right, I'm actually backing Bears management!

But then, so is curmudgeon Steve Rosenbloom, so I don't feel so all alone. He puts it nicely:

"[T]here are rules. For everybody. I don't know how a rookie thinks he deserves a Get Out Of Jail Free card."

And while it's hard to trust the likes of this front office, Bears management has already proven itself in a situation like the kind Smith fears by acting in good faith.

"Last year, [Danny] Trevathan was suspended two games for unnecessary roughness for leading with his helmet on a hard hit against Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. The suspension was reduced to one game upon appeal. Trevathan's hit on Adams is shown in the new rules video the NFL created for players as an example of a hit that would result in an ejection," the Tribune reports.

The Bears did not try to recoup guaranteed money from Trevathan after the suspension.

"I was happy that they were on my side," Trevathan said.

That doesn't guarantee future behavior, of course, but consider the overall implications of what Smith wants. Other rookies may have successfully had similar language to what Smith wants placed in their contracts but if it is good enough for rookies, why wouldn't it immediately become a part of veteran contracts as well? Sure, guaranteed money should be guaranteed money, but there is also a little concept known as accountability that needs to come into play. If your star linebacker - or anyone, really - goes and gets himself suspended, hurting the team, because he can't follow the rules, why should he continue to get paid?

In fact, shouldn't veterans, who have been tackling people a certain way in the NFL for years, be first in line for protections against monetary penalties tied to the new rules? After all, Smith's argument is that it's not yet known just how capriciously - this is the NFL - the new tackling rules will be enforced. It seems to me that's a much tougher proposition for veterans who are set in their ways then new players just coming into the league.

Mr. Pace hasn't done himself any favors by keeping so quiet on the specifics of the negotiations, which is par for the course for an executive who has so far been a miserable failure as a communicator. Pace should be doing everything he can to take the heat - and the questions - instead of letting rookie head coach Matt Nagy get put on the spot every day.

Sure, Pace has avoided a media war of words that could sour Smith on his new team, and vice versa, and by keeping the negotiation out of the press he may have give each side more room to negotiate. But he also has to be a big boy and step up to the plate and do more than just mouth platitudes. It's a needle that's totally threadable.

Could a compromise be reached? Sure. How about the Bears including language in Smith's contract protecting his guaranteed money just in his first year, while everyone is still figuring out how the new rules will play out? That seems like a hopeful path. Then again, on Tuesday morning Nagy described negotiations as at a "stalemate."

That does not bode well. We just reached the halfway point of training camp, and soon exhibition games will be upon us. The stories of holdout rookies reporting late and struggling are legion.

Then again, long holdouts are not automatic death sentences for rookie production. Optimists can point to their own stories, like that of Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa, who in 2016 sat out until the end of August, then missed the season's first four games with a pulled hamstring. Nonetheless, he went on to record 41 tackles that season, including a seriously impressive 10.5 sacks.

One thing we know for certain: stalemates are lame. Both sides need to continue to come up with alternative ideas that involve moving at least a little closer to the middle. Get to work fellas.

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:37 AM | Permalink

A Sweet New Century For America's Most Privileged

The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives," the New York Times reported Monday.

The United States ended the 20th century on a roll - for the rich. Between 1973 and 2000, the nation's most prosperous 1 percent tripled their incomes, after taking inflation into account.

The even more prosperous top tenth of that 1 percent did quite a bit better. Their incomes more than quintupled between 1973 and 2000, rising an amazing 414.6 percent.

And what about Americans of less exalted means, those stuck in the nation's bottom 90 percent? Between 1973 and 2000, their incomes rose all of . . . 2.6 percent.

Something, in other words, went horribly wrong over the last quarter of the 20th century. And what has happened so far in century 21? Our decision-makers in Washington have done their best to make things even worse.

How much worse? We now have a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Taxation and Economic and Policy that offers a distressing new answer.

The institute's researchers looked at all the major tax bills that members of Congress have passed - and Presidents have signed into law - since the start of the 21st century; every piece of legislation right up through the GOP tax cut signed into law this past December.

The researchers then calculated what households have paid in taxes under the new tax laws, for each year since 2000, and what they would have paid if Congress this century had made no changes to the nation's tax code.

Taxpayers would have paid, the researchers found, $5.1 trillion more in taxes had America's tax laws not changed. Who benefited from these trillions in tax savings?

Lawmakers have been assuring us, all along the way, that we would all benefit.

"This is about helping hard-working taxpayers across the board," promised Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota last November as Republicans on the House Ways and means Committee began pushing the most recent of this century's tax cuts into law.

But some Americans have benefited quite a bit more than others - and many others have barely seen any benefit at all.

All told, only 3 percent of this century's tax cut savings have gone to America's poorest 20 percent. Taxpayers at the other end of America's income spectrum, those fortunate souls in the top 20 percent, have grabbed 65 percent of those savings, nearly two-thirds of the total.

Within that top 20 percent, well over half the benefits have gone to the top 5 percent, and over half those top 5 percent benefits have gone to the top 1 percent.

Steve Wamhoff, one of the Institute on Taxation and Economic and Policy researchers, has another interesting frame on the numbers.

"If you look at the richest one percent," he notes, "they're getting more than the bottom 60 percent of Americans."

The exact numbers: The top 1 percent have grabbed 22 percent of the total savings from this century's major tax bills. The bottom 60 percent have taken in just 19 percent of the total.

This century's tax cuts have clearly not been about "helping hard-working taxpayers across the board." They've been about tossing crumbs to people working two and three jobs to make ends meet and rewarding the already rich - with new yachts. Literally.

This past November, on the same day the full U.S. House of Representatives gave a green light to the latest GOP tax cut, the Florida mega-millionaire who chairs the House subcommittee in charge of writing new tax policies - Rep. Vern Buchanan - spent somewhere over $3.25 million buying a new yacht.

Buchanan, the eighth-richest lawmaker in Congress, had good reason to celebrate. The tax cut signed into law this past December will save him as much as $2.1 million a year in taxes.

Sam Pizzigati co-edits Inequality.org. His latest book, The Case for a Maximum Wage, has just been published. Among his other books on maldistributed income and wealth: The Rich Don't Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph Over Plutocracy That Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970. Follow him at @Too_Much_Online.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: A Tree Grows In Peotone

Down around Peotone grows
a tree of Heaven

and within it rests a bird
named Tomorrow.

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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

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:23 AM | Permalink

Anti-Slavery Heroes Charles Langston And Simeon Bushnell Deserve Pardons Too, President Trump

President Donald Trump has exercised the pardon power more aggressively and creatively than most of his predecessors, granting pardons to political supporters such as Joe Arpaio and Dinesh D'Souza, and a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, who was convicted on a racially fraught charge of violating the Mann Act.

Trump has mused about pardoning Rod Blagojevich, as well as Robert Mueller probe targets Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. He's even suggested he may pardon himself. And it is unlikely that he is done. The president has asked NFL players to suggest other possible pardon recipients who have been "unfairly treated by the justice system."

I may not be a member of the NFL, but I do have a recommendation of my own.

A Pardonable Offense

In the spring of 1859, Charles Langston and Simeon Bushnell were convicted in a Cleveland federal court of violating the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed slave hunters to "recapture" their human quarry in the northern states. Their crime was participating in the rescue of John Price, a runaway from Kentucky who had been apprehended by slave hunters on the outskirts of Oberlin, Ohio.

The event, which drew international attention, was known as the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue. As I explain in my book, Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial, it was one of the many small acts of resistance that eventually led to the Civil War, and thus to emancipation.

fugitivejustice.jpg

That Charles Langston was involved in the rescue should not have surprised anyone. Langston was born in Virginia in 1818, the son of white plantation owner and Revolutionary War veteran Ralph Quarles. His mother was an enslaved woman named Lucy Langston. Ralph and Lucy lived openly together and might even have married if Virginia law had allowed it.

Quarles recognized the couple's children as his own, providing them with private tutors and freeing them, along with their mother, in his lifetime. Quarles left his entire estate to his children with Lucy, and arranged for them to move to Ohio at his death, so that they could live in a free state.

Langston grew to adulthood in Ohio, graduating from Oberlin College and embarking on a successful career as a teacher and journalist, while becoming a leader in the abolitionist movement. In 1853, he was elected executive secretary of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society - a position previously reserved for white men.

Later that year he served as a delegate to the National Black Convention in Rochester, New York, where he befriended Frederick Douglass. Like Douglass, Langston rejected the pacifism of many white abolitionists. He openly carried a pistol on his lecture tours, daring racists to challenge him.

A Kidnapping And A Rescue

On September 13, 1858, John Price, a farm laborer in his mid-20s, was kidnapped on a country road in northern Ohio. A posse of slave hunters led by a Kentuckian named Anderson Jennings hustled him into a wagon and headed for nearby Wellington, where they planned to take the next train south. Their first stop would have been Columbus, where they expected to obtain a "certificate of removal" from a cooperative fugitive slave commissioner, authorizing them to return Price to slavery in Kentucky.

Fortunately, the abduction was witnessed by an Oberlin student named Ansel Lyman, who raced back to town and raised the alarm.

oberlinrescuers.jpgOberlin rescuers, with Simeon Bushnell and Charles Langston 9th and 12th from the left/Library of Congress

Hundreds of Oberliners, both black and white, quickly set off for Wellington, where they surrounded the kidnappers, who were holding their prisoner in a hotel near the railroad depot.

Langston attempted to negotiate with Jennings, explaining that he had no chance of reaching the train station. The slave hunter was intransigent, relying on a rumor that federal troops had been summoned to break up the mob. Langston warned the Kentuckian that the Oberliners would never allow Price to be returned to slavery and ended the negotiation.

As the crowd became more agitated, two groups of Oberlin students rushed the hotel, knocked down Jennings and his men, and carried Price to a waiting wagon - driven by young Simeon Bushnell - that bore him triumphantly to Oberlin.

Appealing To A Higher Law

Such open defiance was more than the pro-slavery Buchanan administration could tolerate. Indictments were issued against Langston and Bushnell, along with 35 others who had participated in the rescue to varying degrees, for violating the Fugitive Slave Act.

Langston and Bushnell were the first two defendants to face trial in the Cleveland federal court. The prosecutor referred to the defendants as "outraging the law of the land" and threatening to "tear down and annihilate the government of these United States." The defense boldly replied that "slavery is like a canker" that must give way to "Higher Law." The jury members, who had been hand-selected for their approval of the Fugitive Slave Act, did not take long to return the predictable convictions.

Bushnell, who was a white bookstore clerk, stood mute at sentencing. Langston, however, took full advantage of the platform and spoke to the nation.

He condemned the slave hunters as "lying hidden and skulking about" and he praised the fugitives "who had become free . . . by the exercise of their own God-given powers - by escaping from the plantations of their masters."

Rebuking the court itself for racism, he expressed no contrition and virtually promised to continue rescuing fugitives.

"If ever a man is seized near me, and is about to be carried South," he said, "I stand here to say that I will do all I can, for any man thus seized and held."

The judge was moved by Langston's eloquence, which led him to impose a less-than-maximum jail sentence and fine. Even more impressed was John Brown, who paid close attention to the trial, and later obtained Langston's assistance recruiting two black Oberliners for the raid on Harpers Ferry.

John Price was spirited to Canada by another anti-slavery activist, John Anthony Copeland, where he was reported by Langston's brother, John Mercer Langston, to repose "under his own vine and fig tree, with no one to make him afraid."

Little is known of Simeon Bushnell's later life, but Charles Langston became the patriarch of a prominent African-American family. His younger brother, John Mercer Langston, was the first dean of Howard Law School, appointed U.S. ambassador to Haiti, and elected to a term in Congress from Virginia. Charles's grandson, as some readers may have intuited, was the poet and playwright Langston Hughes.

Charles Langston and Simeon Bushnell were convicted for participating in a noble act that should never have been a crime. Few Americans have been more "unfairly treated by the justice system," or are more deserving of a posthumous pardon.

Steven Lubet is a law professor at Northwestern. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:42 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Art Harrison's Bluegrass All-Stars at Val's Halla Records in Oak Park.


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2. My Bloody Valentine at the Riv on Friday night.

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3. Matchess at the International Museum of Surgical Science on Friday night.

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4. Ulla Straus at the International Museum of Surgical Science on Friday night.

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5. Apic at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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6. House of Atreus at Livewire on Saturday night.

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7. Wiz Khalifa at the Tinley Park shed on Sunday night.

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8. Death and Memphis at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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9. Redline Messiah at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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10. Old Man, White Van at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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11. The Alarm at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Friday night.

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12. Erasure at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

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13. Wang Chung at Ravinia on Sunday night.

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14. Paul Rodgers on Northerly Island on Sunday night.

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15. Jeff Beck on Northerly Island on Sunday night.

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16. LiveWire at the Arcada in St. Charles on Sunday night.

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17. Ann Wilson on Northerly Island on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. Searching For Signs Of The Underground Railroad On Chicago's Northwest Side.

"An urban archaeological dig is underway in Chicago's Old Irving Park neighborhood," WGN-TV reports.

"Lake Forest College Professor Rebecca Graff is leading a team of students searching for signs that the site may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.

"The property at the corner of Grace Street and Kostner Avenue once belonged to John Gray, a Cook County sheriff who is said to have been an abolitionist."

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"Early settler John Gray, who served as a Jefferson Township trustee and was elected the first Republican sheriff of Cook County, built the place for his family," Mark Konkol wrote for DNAinfo Chicago in 2004.

"Sheriff Gray was well known for his strong abolitionist views. And legend has it he was involved in the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses that helped blacks escape slavery, according to a story published by the Irving Park Review in 1997.

"No one has been able to prove that Gray helped slaves escape to freedom. But in the basement, right under the front foyer, there's a secret room where construction workers found a deep hole, leading to a tunnel and recovered "artifacts" including braids of human hair, [a one-time resident] said."

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"David and Kris Cloud, who bought the farmhouse about two years ago, noticed parts of the home that supported the theory, which has been circulating for decades," Maya Miller reported for Chicago Tonight last year that anticipated today's dig.

"'There are quirks about the basement, like rooms that are not obvious to somebody who'd go down there,' David Cloud said. 'There is a dry well on a neighbor's property, and the supposition is that a tunnel runs from our house to that well.'"

2. More Barbara Byrd-Bennett Fallout.

"Chicago Public Schools is moving to debar a for-profit company that runs five small schools in Chicago after the inspector general found it improperly gained access to the school district's corrupt former leader and manipulated the district's contracting process," Sarah Karp reports for WBEZ.

"The company also failed to disclose the lobbyist that provided them the inside track and tried to 'blackball' one of its competitors, according a report released Tuesday by the school system's inspector general."

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"That 'highly unethical conduct' was essential for Camelot Education to open four CPS campuses several years ago, Inspector General Nicholas Schuler's office said in the report," the Tribune reports.

"Camelot now operates six schools in CPS, with a total of about 800 students, and the Texas-based company has received more than $67 million in district business, the IG said."

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"Schuler accused Camelot of quietly hiring Byrd-Bennett's co-defendants and former employers, Gary Solomon and Thomas Vranas, as paid lobbyists to help skirt CPS' procurement rules and with her aid, landing big contracts to open publicly-funded schools for students who've dropped out or are at risk of doing so," the Sun-Times notes.

3. Told Ya So, Part 1.

Monday shot: Item 9.

Tuesday chaser.

4. Trouble In 7-Eleven Paradise.

"It's known for its Slurpees and Big Gulps, but over the years, 7-Eleven has also put its logo on frozen pizza, foam cups, laundry detergent and hundreds of other products," the New York Times reports.

"Customers don't always choose these so-called private-label items, even though they are usually cheaper than competing products from companies like Nestlé and Gatorade. Franchisees who run nearly all of the 9,100 7-Eleven stores in the United States must stock the items anyway.

"At their annual convention in Kissimmee, Fla., last week, the franchisees cited the private-label items as just one way the company had made it hard for them to make money. They also criticized 7-Eleven for forcing a new contract on them that they said aggravated broader tensions over the suppliers they must use and how much they have to pay for the goods they sell in their stores.

"It's no longer, 'You make a dollar, we make a dollar,'" said Michael Jorgensen, the owner of three 7-Eleven stores in the area of St. Petersburg, Fla., and executive vice chairman of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees. "The alignment of interests for 7-Eleven has changed."

It used to be about the music, man.

5. I Told Ya So, Part 2.

Bridget Gainer's purported reason for not pursuing the mayor's race was a laughable lie (Item 5) nonetheless dutifully forwarded by reporters with nary a hint of skepticism.

Now comes a report by the Sun-Times' Fran Spielman with the ring of truth, both because it makes eminent sense and because it gibes with my own understanding of events.

She took a leave of absence from her six-figure job at Aon, assembled a campaign staff - including a new fundraiser to replace the one lured away by mayoral allies - and commissioned a poll she claimed showed that Mayor Rahm Emanuel "can't win."

Well, no poll like that exists in the universe; the poll probably shows what every other poll does - that Emanuel is unpopular and vulnerable, though I've yet to see anyone poll better than him in a head-to-head (which is premature anyway, but just sayin'). But I digress.

Then suddenly, Bridget Gainer pulled the plug on her race for mayor with a claim that she could have a bigger impact continuing her economic development work on the Cook County Land Bank.

What is the real reason behind Gainer's about-face? And who does it help the most in the crowded race for mayor of Chicago?

Gainer, who has dreamed of becoming mayor of Chicago almost since childhood, could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Imagine that! She already produced her prepared, pat paragraphs and isn't interested in further questioning!

Sources who have spoken to her said she has alluded to yet another negative that was about to drop that might damage her political reputation out of the gate.

The upcoming story reportedly centers around "Off the Sidelines Chicago" - a civic-impact-organization-turned-political-action-committee for women that Gainer created in 2015 with U.S. Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand.

Sources said Gainer recently received a Freedom of Information request about, among other things, work that several of her County Board employees may have done for the Off the Sidelines Chicago PAC on county time.

Already, Gainer had two recent strikes against her.

Earlier this year, the Chicago Sun-Times and ABC 7 disclosed that Gainer had the worst attendance record on the Cook County Board. Gainer made that story worse by using a "working mother" defense.

The second strike occurred when the Sun-Times disclosed that, since 2013, the three vehicles registered to Gainer's Lakeview home have been ticketed nearly 200 times for speed camera, red-light camera and parking violations.

"With the absenteeism answer and with the city ticket thing, she didn't really acquit herself very well. Those two little episodes are like a mosquito bite compared to the bruising you take in a real mayoral campaign with the dirty politics and the klieg lights of the Chicago media on you," said a source familiar with the political intrigue.

True. Gainer comes out of this race tainted - and she didn't even run!

Gainer's gilded path through Chicago government and politics was paved by her father, a former longtime AT&T lobbyist who was a close friend of former Mayors Richard M. Daley and Richard J. Daley.

Bridget Gainer worked for Daley and rose to become director of lakefront services for the Chicago Park District.

When Mike Quigley resigned from the County Board after winning a special election to fill the congressional seat Emanuel relinquished to become then-President Barack Obama's first White House chief of staff, Democratic ward committeemen chose Gainer to replace Quigley.

"Bridget comes from a background where there isn't a ton of political risk that is really taken. The system is worked. People are appointed, announced," said an Emanuel ally, noting that there are "no free passes" to the fifth floor of City Hall.

Okay, but it's not like Emanuel hasn't had a greased path himself, c'mon.

A longtime Gainer ally rejected the characterization of the county commissioner as someone who wasn't willing to fight for the mayor's job.

In fact, Gainer had already replaced her longtime fundraiser Katelyn Duncan after Duncan was lured away by, what one Gainer ally called a "ridiculous salary" offered by the nonprofit that calls itself "Progress Chicago."

The same nonprofit has been running ads starring Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson.

But, in recent meetings with allies, sources said Gainer was strangely unable to articulate why she was running for mayor and what exactly she would do differently.

"It was all negative on Rahm, but nothing about her. She had no energy . . . I could tell when she walked out that she wasn't going to run because she didn't have the passion for it. She didn't have a story," the Democratic operative said.

Maybe, but . . . it's not hard to articulate for anyone to articulate a different approach than Rahm's: Care about people!

Gainer's politics appear to be more progressive than Rahm's; that part shouldn't be hard. Is she less antagonistic? Is she less of a control freak? Does she have the skills for the bigness of the job? I have no idea. But an awful lot of people have talked her up for an awful lot of years.

A Gainer ally said she was "showing signs of having second thoughts" in recent days, apparently tied to the fact that she has a "couple of kids going into high school."

After assessing "quality of life stuff," Gainer ultimately decided that she "wasn't willing to do it," the source said.

"She got to the point where she felt that doing that job was something she wouldn't wish on her worst enemy," the Gainer ally said.

I find this hard to believe. She grew up a political animal from a political family. If anyone in or near the race knows what it takes, it's her.

Yet another source pointed to Gainer's miniscule showing in polls conducted by the Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot camps. Both polls showed fired Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy as Emanuel's most likely runoff opponent.

But our esteemed press corps just told me how much name recognition Gainer has and how many votes she could scoop up from the North, Northwest and Southwest Sides (read: white people)!

McCarthy had 70 percent name recognition in Lightfoot's poll. He's not going to win 70 percent of the vote, or even half that, or probably not even half of half of that.

In that poll, Gainer was just behind Lightfoot - at about 2 percent.

Although Gainer ended the quarterly fundraising period with $843,265 in the bank, she would likely have needed to raise at least $5 million more, minimum, to raise her profile.

So when Gainer told the Tribune in an "exclusive" that she was opting out of the race that "[W]hen I went back to what is the impact I really want to make in a job and where is the best place to do it, this is the conclusion that we came to. It wasn't anything more dramatic than that," she was lying.

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Also not sure how this would have played for Gainer: "I think very highly of Daley."

The city's not in the mood for that.

6. Obama Center Bait And Switch.

"Herb Caplan should know better than to fight City Hall, but when he spots what he considers a political fast one in Chicago, he just can't help himself," Crain's reports.

That's why Protect Our Parks, a Chicago nonprofit he leads, is suing the city and Chicago Park District to stop the Obama Presidential Center from being built in Jackson Park. Caplan, 87, who once worked as a lawyer for former Mayor Harold Washington, calls the city plan to lease 19 Jackson Park acres to former President Barack Obama's foundation for $1 a "political manipulation" that breaks the law by handing over public land and tramples the city's legacy of open parks.

The federal lawsuit filed in May might seem a legal long shot, since the center is an ode to Obama, the city's favorite son. But Caplan's challenge forced the city last month to reveal that the Obama Center isn't quite the done deal that many Chicagoans think it is: The city hasn't reached key agreements or a lease with the foundation, and those pacts will require another new city ordinance to be passed sometime soon.

Go read the rest.

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Also:

"Groundbreaking on the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park is being pushed back again until all federal approvals are completed, which will not be until 2019," the Sun-Times reports.

"We have long said that everything we do in this process will be consistent with our approach to community input and engagement," a foundation spokesman said. "We continue to work through the federal review process and to engage with the public on our plans. We are eager to break ground as soon as possible, which we currently expect to occur in 2019."

Geez, the Lucas Museum has already had its groundbreaking!

7. Lisa Madigan For President.

"Over nearly a year of negotiations, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's offices reached agreement on hundreds of provisions included in the proposed court agreement to oversee reforms in the Chicago Police Department released late last week," the Tribune reports.

"Emanuel initially tried to cut an out-of-court deal for police reforms with President Donald Trump's administration. Madigan called that attempt 'ludicrous' and sued City Hall to ensure the reforms would be enforced by a federal court. Emanuel then agreed to enter negotiations with the attorney general.

Madigan and Emanuel on Friday released the product of those talks - a draft of a consent decree that would dictate reforms in the Police Department with the oversight of an independent monitor and a federal judge. The mayor and attorney general both declared this latest attempt to overhaul the Police Department finally would be the one that sticks.

But when asked about the gun-pointing issue at their Friday afternoon news conference, Madigan and Emanuel's differences on the topic became clear.

At first, Madigan said she and Emanuel agreed not to "litigate this in front of the press," and she declined to address the matter other than to say the two would continue negotiations.

Emanuel then stepped to the podium and said that neither the Obama Justice Department's final report nor a report by the mayor's own Police Accountability Task Force raised the gun-pointing issue - "unlike other agreements and consent decrees in other cities, where the Justice Department did mention it."

Emanuel finished his point by saying he didn't think he was "litigating" the dispute at the news conference, to which Madigan replied, "You kind of are."

Ha.

*

By the way . . .

"Madigan then had the final word on the matter, sternly insisting that no provision in the consent decree - including recording when an officer points a gun - would 'compromise officer safety.'

"For those of you who have read the (Justice Department) report, you know that they have found that there have been unreasonable uses of force in our city. And one of the things they very specifically talk about is the fact that CPD in the past had not kept a record of use of force," Madigan said. "If somebody has a gun pointed at them, you have a situation where somebody has been seized. We need to know when that is happening. We need to know where that is happening. We need to make sure that we are managing that risk, that officers are following and receiving the training they need, that they are held accountable and they are not putting themselves in unsafe situations, and that residents of the city of Chicago are not in unsafe situations."

*

Also:

"Mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot is a former federal prosecutor, served as president of the Chicago Police Board and was appointed by Emanuel to co-chair the Police Accountability Task Force. Asked about Emanuel's contention that the gun-pointing issue was not mentioned in either the Justice or task force report, she responded: 'So what?'

"If there's a need, there's a need. Both the task force report and the Justice report were comprehensive, but neither were purported to cover every single issue," Lightfoot said. "This is an issue that was born of a lot of community conversation where people felt like they weren't safe and that officers were pulling guns in a fashion that made them uncomfortable. Why would we not respond to what people on the ground are saying?"

8. What Police Torture Looks Like.

9. "Soak Up The Sun" originally had a gun in it.

10. Letter From Pittsburgh: REO Plays The Hits; Chicago Goes Deep.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Chicageotry: A Tree Grows In Peotone
And within it rests a bird named Tomorrow.

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Pardon These Heroes, President Trump
"Few Americans have been more 'unfairly treated by the justice system.'"

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The Rulification - And Reform - Of Penalty Kicks
There are rules people and there are judgement people.

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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Does Vietnam Deserve An Emmy?
"This exercise in reliving the past and calling forth old ghosts will be labeled another curious artifact if we don't do something with it."

*

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Art Harrison's Bluegrass All-Stars, My Bloody Valentine, Matchess, Ulla Straus, Apic, House of Atreus, Wiz Khalifa, Death and Memphis, Redline Messiah, Old Man White Van, The Alarm, Erasure, Wang Chung, LiveWire, Paul Rodgers, Jeff Beck, and Ann Wilson.

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Coffman: Roquan Is Wrong
One thing we know for certain: stalemates are lame.

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A Sweet New Century For America's Most Privileged
Something's gone horribly wrong.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Cj Williams AKA Black Attack from Chicago Crooks Crew came into teach for our annual Summer Camp intensive. 2 hours of stretching, footwork warm ups, followed by a flare and headspin tutorial."

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BeachBook

The Big Mac Is 50.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: And a sesame seed bun.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

The Rulification Of Penalty Kicks - And A Reform Proposal

The 2018 World Cup was the first to use Video Assistant Referees (VAR). VAR allows decisions by the head referee involving goals, penalties, direct red cards and "mistaken identity" to be reviewed, immediately afterward, with the aid of video footage. Not coincidentally, the 2018 World Cup was also the first to feature upward of 20 penalty kicks. At the 2014 tournament in Brazil, a total of 13 penalty kicks were called, not including shootouts. In Russia, the number was 29.

The criteria for awarding penalty kicks have not changed. According to the official laws of the game, if a player commits a foul punishable by a direct free kick inside her own penalty area, "[a] penalty kick is awarded." Each and every time a player inside this zone pushes an opponent, trips an opponent, handles the ball deliberately (unless he is a goalkeeper), and so on, the opposing team gets a penalty kick.

In legal-theory parlance, the criteria for awarding penalty kicks are "rules" rather than "standards." They are clear and precise - not completely clear or precise, as terms like "trip" and "push" go undefined, but relatively so - and they give little discretion to the referees who enforce them.

Other laws of soccer were designed from the outset to be flexible and context-sensitive: for instance, the laws empowering referees to give yellow cards for "reckless challenges" and red cards for "excessive force." The laws governing penalty kicks are not like that. If one of an enumerated list of behaviors is found to have occurred, a penalty kick follows.

This, at least, is the law on the books. The law in action has long been different. As all soccer devotees know, referees sometimes decline to award penalty kicks in situations where the formal laws suggest they are mandatory. If, say, the collision in the box looks innocuous or inadvertent, or if the fouled player was unlikely to score anyway, or if the incident takes place near the end of a close contest, many referees seem more inclined to let play continue. Informing these judgements are intuitions about soccer justice and an appreciation that in such a low-scoring game, the penalty kick is a draconian sanction leading to a goal more than two-thirds of the time. It's roughly comparable to a basketball referee awarding one team 50 foul shots, all in a row.

With their decisions subject to review by a phalanx of off-field "assistants," however, the referees in Russia no longer felt free to apply their situation sense and to refrain from awarding penalties that may have been technically warranted but seemed unduly harsh, given the circumstances. France's second goal in the final was arguably a case in point. On a few occasions, video review revealed that an apparent foul had not in fact occurred and led to the reversal of a penalty kick that had been whistled on the field, as with Neymar's dive against Costa Rica. But overall, by subjecting referees to real-time, panoptical scrutiny, VAR made the policing of penalties more severe as well as more mechanical.

The introduction of VAR thus exposed a gap between the law on the books and the law in action. The effect was to rulify the adjudication of penalty kicks. Under the gaze of FIFA's all-seeing 33 broadcast cameras, a nuanced standard that had developed over many years without ever being written down - a standard that prioritized the punishment of blatant fouls and denials of goal-scoring opportunities - gave way to a comparatively rigid rulebook that recognizes no distinctions among more and less "penalty-worthy" trips, pushes, or the like. Transparency left less room for subtlety. Codified law swallowed custom.

Is this a good or a bad thing? I am inclined to be negative about this aspect of VAR. (The earlier introduction of goal-line technology, in contrast, did not undermine any customs of refereeing or introduce any delays in play, and strikes me as a boon for the game.) Although penalty kicks may now be called more consistently, they will also be called more frequently and mindlessly. FIFA's president insists that "VAR is not changing football, it is cleaning football." Yet we know from other contexts that enforcing longstanding laws more aggressively or literalistically can be a deeply disruptive, if not subversive, act. To "cleanse" soccer of enforcement discretion is to change the sport.

My own instinctual negativity likely reflects some combination of nostalgia, technoskepticism, and aesthetic taste. But the degree to which VAR has divided opinion also reflects, I suspect (loosely in line with Duncan Kennedy's famous analysis in "Form and Substance in Private Law Adjudication"), different orientations toward rules, standards, expertise, and the rule of law. For those soccer fans who are "rules people" and take clarity, predictability, and impersonality to be the essence of a well-functioning legal system, VAR may seem obviously superior to the opacity and ad hockery of the old regime. For those who place greater trust in the professional judgement of on-field referees and greater emphasis on the avoidance of substantively unfair outcomes, on the other hand, VAR may come across as alienating, crude, even callous.

Perhaps we can bridge some of the space separating these two camps. VAR's critics must concede that the system has real benefits, particularly in cases where the referee simply could not see what happened on the field while it was happening. To capture these benefits without straitjacketing referees, I wonder whether the laws of the game might themselves be made more standard-like through the use of a new intermediate sanction. For example, they could instruct referees to award ordinary penalty kicks for egregious fouls and fouls that deny a clear goal-scoring opportunity, but indirect kicks or unobstructed direct kicks from 18 yards out (rather than 12) for all other fouls in the penalty area.

Any such proposal is bound to be enormously controversial. Whatever their views on its merits, legally and philosophically inclined fans might at least agree that the way VAR has transformed the practice of penalty kicks supplies an interesting case study in the jurisprudence of sport, the instability of rules and standards, and the potential for technological change to disrupt sociolegal norms.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Previously: World Cup VAR: Technology Is Transforming The Beautiful Game.

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Comments welcome/a>.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:29 AM | Permalink

PBS's The Vietnam War Receives Emmy Nomination. Should It Have?

The recently announced Emmy nominations have generated new interest in Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's 10-part documentary The Vietnam War, nominated for an Emmy based on Episode 8, (April 1969 - May 1970), "The History Of The World."

Vietnam veteran Doug Rawlings was in the Central Highlands with the 7/15th Army artillery that year and was later a founder of Veterans For Peace.

As each nightly episode of Burns/Novick series aired last fall, he wrote his insightful observations. Below is his analysis of the nominated eighth segment. For all his articles on this series, visit www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org.

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EPISODE EIGHT: April 1969 to May 1970

"THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD"

Silence. That's the overriding theme of this episode. Silence, as in Martin Luther King's admonition that "our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Does that not perfectly frame Nixon's so-called "brilliant" maneuver of celebrating the amoral, even cowardly, silence of the majority of Americans in the face of this war's immorality and in response to the righteous anger of young and old who raged against it? Nixon's infamous "silent majority" speech kicks off this episode. To counter this political maneuver, one activist seared our TV screen last night with this placard: "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men - Abraham Lincoln."

And then there is the silence of the filmmakers themselves, when it comes to the incredibly important GI resistance movement that rose up as Nixon tried to wind down the war. Where is that story? Passing references to disgruntled veterans voicing their anger, as important as those voices are, [do] not do it justice. We needed more. In an 18-hour series, one could expect time to adequately examine the courageous resistance waged by active-duty GIs to an unjust war they were ordered to fight and die for.

"Silence," wrote Francis Bacon, "is the virtue of fools." The persistent, unrelenting attempts, as with this documentary, to disguise the essential truth from the American people of the inhumane consequences of this country's wars makes murderous fools of us all. Hats off, then, to those journalists, independent and corporate, who loaded onto choppers and dug in with the soldiers to capture their stories. Even with the repeated telling of the personal, which this series relies on heavily, the more universal truths began to seep out

The military brass scrambling to silent voices like Ron Ridenhour's for a year until the courageous journalist Seymour Hersch uncovered the My Lai and My Khe massacres - that kind of silence. American textbooks not celebrating the courage of Hugh Thompson and his crew as they dropped their chopper down between the civilians and the murderers led by Captain Medina and Lieutenant Calley - that kind of silence.

Almost intentionally blanketing this eerie moral silence are the sounds of bombs blasting away, M-60s rattling on, and the American and Vietnamese cities burning in the background.

At this point in their narrative the filmmakers provide a welcome sardonic voice to their portrayal of the war - suddenly, in late 1969 and early 1970, the Nixon crowd comes up with a marketing ploy - let's "celebrate" the American POWs by making hundreds of thousands of POW bracelets for kids to wear and an equal number of the POW/MIA flags to fly over town halls across the land. One astute journalist says in the film, "It is almost as if the Vietnamese kidnapped 400 American pilots and the war is being fought to free them."

Even our so-called "terms of peace" - our promise to stop the bombing and withdraw all the invading soldiers - were dependent upon the total release of all American prisoners and the return of all the remains of killed GIs.

The hubris here is staggering. What of the over a million Vietnamese casualties of war? What about the Vietnamese prisoners tortured by U.S. forces or the tens of thousands maimed for life in South Vietnamese government "Tiger Cages?" What about their dead and missing? Should they not be accounted for as well? To this day, there are countless Vietnamese NVA and NLF soldiers whose remains are anonymously buried under triple-canopy jungle.

Yet reparations to the Vietnamese people after the war were one hundred percent contingent upon all American remains being found, and so, of course, we refused to pay anything. The Vietnamese can't find the bombed and scattered body parts of literally hundreds of thousands of their own, let alone ours. No wonder the black POW/MIA flags still flutter.

If silence is to still rule the day, then there is no means for truth to wend its way into our consciousness. This is by design, of course. As Aeschylus warned us some one hundred generations ago, "Truth is the First Casualty of War." If Americans are convinced that their stiff-upper-lip brand of silence in the face of collective murder is the true face of patriotism, then we are condemned as a nation to follow the path of empires that preceded us.

To break that crippling silence we must face facts. The difference between killing (as in self-defense or to rightfully defend our nation) and murder (as in slaughtering by bomb or by bullet defenseless, innocent civilians) needs to be held before us as a true measuring stick of our nation's role in world history.

If this film were to be counted as some sort of success, then it would have to be measured by its contribution to breaking the sound of silence in our classrooms and town halls when old men and women try to throw away the lives of our children and grandchildren in yet another grand scheme called war. This exercise in reliving the past and calling forth old ghosts will be labeled another curious artifact if we don't do something with it. If we don't face our murderous ways.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Previously:

* The Beachwood vs. Ken Burns' Vietnam.

* Comics Captured America's Growing Ambivalence About The Vietnam War.

* Ken Burns' Next 10 Projects.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

July 30, 2018

Drama Over

The suspense, the drama, the anticipation. Heart-pounding tension building day-by-day, hour-by-hour. Each season it's one of the most ballyhooed highlights of major league baseball.

Of course, we're talking about the Trade Deadline, and we're right in the midst of it. The Dodgers landed the biggest prize by prying loose Manny Machado from the Orioles. According to FiveThirtyEight, this singular move enabled the Dodgers to overtake the Cubs as the National League team with the best odds of winning the World Series.

Using Machado as an example, we have the boilerplate routine of an elite player, a soon-to-be free agent with millions of dollars awaiting him, going from a bottom-dweller to pennant-contender for the final two-plus months of the season.

Interviewed during the All-Star Game days before the deal was consummated, Machado provided the standard rhetoric. "It was a tremendous honor to wear this [Orioles] uniform. They gave me the opportunity to come to the big leagues," he told Fox's Ken Rosenthal to the surprise of absolutely no one.

All the while, he's probably thinking, "I can't wait to get out of this cesspool in Baltimore and play in a game that really means something."

Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette said, "When it became time to look to the future, trading Manny is the first step in the plan to rebuild our ballclub," while Dodger GM Farhan Zaidi crowed, "Any time you have a chance to add an impact player in a tight division race, that's something you have to look at closely."

It's all predictable and part of the drill.

In the short term, the Dodgers and their fans are the winners while the loyalists in Baltimore are left with one more reason to stay away from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The White Sox possess no one of Machado's stature, but general manager Rick Hahn managed to part ways with Joakim Soria, who had converted 16 of 19 save opportunities for a team that more often than not doesn't require a closer since it rarely has a ninth-inning lead.

In a rare instance when a closer would have been a lovely asset, the Sox blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning Sunday against Toronto, who rallied for five runs against Jace Fry and Jeanmar Gomez to spoil another strong outing by Carlos Rodon.

Soria is no stranger to the trade deadline since this was the third time he's been dealt in late July. In 2014 he went from the Rangers to the Tigers, and a year later from the Tigers to Pittsburgh. He helped both of his new teams reach the postseason, something he'll try to do now with the Brewers. Soria pitched a scoreless seventh inning Friday night for Milwaukee in a 3-1 victory over San Francisco.

Soria also is accustomed to donning a new uniform. Milwaukee is his sixth team in a career that stretches back to 2007. He has a long way to go in order to equal the 13 teams that Octavio Dotel pitched for during a 15-year career that ended in 2013. Edwin Jackson pulled even with Dotel when he joined the Oakland A's in late June.

Dotel's career included three trade deadline deals, and Jackson was traded twice and released once (by the Cubs) at the trade deadline.

Soria is well-versed with the routine of expressing appreciation to his old team while looking ahead to greener pastures.

"I enjoyed my time here," he said. "I like the guys in here; the chemistry in here was really good. I always had fun with this group, but this is a business and I'm going to a new team and new family. I'm going to try to get to the playoffs . . . [W]e are competitive people, competitive players and you want to win. You want to be part of a group that makes it to the playoffs and win their championships."

Therefore, after a bit less than four months as a member of the White Sox, we can bid adieu to Joakim Soria and wish him well.

In the meantime, the Sox lose a member of the bullpen which, even with Soria's 2.56 mark, has a combined 4.69 ERA (24th overall), a WHIP of 1.49 (28th), an on-base percentage of .347 (28th), and 4.2 walks per nine innings (27th).

This is cause for concern in light of Sunday's meltdown and the struggles of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito, who continue to attempt to be effective big league starting pitchers.

Expecting steady linear progress from young players is pure folly with this bunch. Lopez had a great beginning to the season with an ERA of 1.78 over five starts in April. After yielding eight runs and five homers in four-plus innings on Friday in a 10-5 loss to the Blue Jays, he now owns a 4-9 record with an ERA of 4.57.

Last week we floated the idea of using a relief pitcher for the first inning or two before handing the ball to Lopez since his first-inning results are shocking. Friday was no exception as his second pitch to leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson was lined into the right field bleachers. Lourdes Gurriel followed with a first-pitch homer to left. Three pitches, two runs. Not good.

Meanwhile, the next evening, Toronto manager John Gibbons was forced to use all relief pitchers since his bosses had traded starter J.A. Happ to the Yankees in yet another trade deadline deal on Thursday. Enter John Axford who had appeared in 537 previous games, but not one as a starter.

All Axford did was face the minimum nine batters over three innings as the Jays mounted a 4-0 lead against Giolito. Wouldn't it be nice if Sox manager Ricky Renteria was impressed enough to experiment with Lopez? The kid simply doesn't have the required focus when he takes the ball to open a game.

Matching their Opening Day comeback, the Sox rallied from the four-run deficit on Saturday, scoring six times in the eighth inning to snatch a 9-5 win in front of 29,442 ecstatic patrons, the biggest crowd at The Grate since Opening Day.

Returning to the idea of using a reliever to start a game, my pal Tom Weinberg reminded me of who started for the Phillies in the opening game of the 1950 World Series. It was Jim Konstanty, the National League MVP that season, who had pitched in 74 regular season games, all from the bullpen.

Aside from the fact that Konstanty won 16 games and pitched 152 innings, the Phils were down a quality starter when Curt Simmons, who went 17-8 in 1950, was called to active duty with his National Guard unit in early September. The Korean War was heating up, and apparently major league baseball had little clout with the government so off went Simmons in the heat of the pennant race in which Philadelphia eventually edged the Dodgers by two games.

Konstanty pitched brilliantly, allowing the Yankees a single run on four hits in the 1-0 Yankee victory. While the Yankees swept the Phillies, all the games were low-scoring with the Yankees winning three by one run. Konstanty relieved in two additional games, pitching a total of 15 innings.

Assuming Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia will still be playing on the South Side on Wednesday as July turns into August, we now see the team that will carry Sox colors for the last two months of the season. Gone will be the nervous interlude to await the next departure. Let's hope now it's time to add bodies in the form of the young prospects who will lead us out of oblivion.

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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 9:54 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

1. New Lottery Game To Benefit Families Of Fallen Police Officers.

"Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed a bill to create a new Illinois Lottery scratch-off game from which proceeds will fund police memorials, support for the families of officers killed or severely injured in the line of duty, and protective vest replacements for officers."

Tuesday: The Widow & Orphans Lottery Scratch-Off.

Wednesday: The God Bless America Scratch-Off.

Thursday: The Pro-Trump/Anti-Trump Scratch-Off Depending On Which Part Of The State You Live In.

Friday: The Committee To Re-Elect Bruce Scratch-Off.

2. Hawaiians Call For Aloha Poké Boycott After Company Threatens To Sue Other Shops For Using Word 'Aloha.'

"A Chicago-based poké chain has angered hundreds of Hawaiians after sending cease and desist letters to other restaurants for using the word 'Aloha," Block Club Chicago reports.

Response:

Inbox: "Coworker who lived in Hawaii re Aloha Poke threatening litigation: 'That is the most un-Aloha thing anyone could do.'"

3. Quiet Skies, Secret Surveillance.

"In a previously undisclosed Transportation Security Administration program, federal air marshals are tracking American citizens not suspected of a crime, not under investigation or who are not on any terrorist watch list, the Boston Globe first reported and CNN has confirmed.

The Globe reported that thousands of what it called unsuspecting Americans have been the target of surveillance in the airport and aboard flights by small teams of air marshals, according to government documents it obtained.

According to the Globe, officials look for such behaviors in those who are under surveillance as being abnormally aware of surroundings; exhibiting behavioral indicators such as excessive fidgeting, excessive perspiration, rapid eye blinking, rubbing or wringing of hands; with an appearance that was different than information provided; or if the person slept during the flight.

But in Chicago, we can't get the police to record every time they point a gun at someone.

4. America's Hyperloop.

"What has gone wrong in El Salvador?" Jason DeParle writes for the New York Review of Books.

"In El Salvador, the Reagan administration backed a brutal right-wing government notorious for its death squads in a cold war struggle against leftist insurgents that sent 350,000 people fleeing to the US. The country's gangs were born in Los Angeles and sent back with deportees to El Salvador, a country where war had normalized violence and left civil authority weak."

5. Gainer Gone.

"After months of weighing a run, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer has decided not to challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the February 2019 election," the Tribune reports.

"Emanuel, who is seeking a third term, already faces a field of 10 contenders, but Gainer had taken several steps that pointed toward an eventual run, including calling potential donors, lining up campaign staff and working on the production of an announcement video, sources familiar with her plans said.

"But in an interview with the Chicago Tribune on Saturday, Gainer said that when it came time to make a final decision on whether to run, she decided she could have more impact continuing her economic development work at the county rather than jumping into the mayoral fray."

We all know this is laughably untrue - a Cook County commissioner can have more impact than the mayor of Chicago? - yet it's allowed to stand unquestioned.

"I have to say over the last couple months, I have talked to thousands of people across Chicago in putting together how it could work. You have to get the mechanics going to know that you can execute, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters, or the thing that matters to me, is the impact that I can have and where is the place to do it," she said. "Could I have run a campaign? Sure. All the mechanics are possible, but when I went back to what is the impact I really want to make in a job and where is the best place to do it, this is the conclusion that we came to. It wasn't anything more dramatic than that."

Apparently unasked: What did your polling show?

*

Also apparently unasked: Did you really clean out your desk at Aon?

*

The Tribune's report identifies Gainer as an Aon vice president, and states that "She said she's focusing her efforts on Aon's Chicago Apprenticeship Network for young adults."

Maybe she's decided to work both of her jobs from home, which will cut down on costly commutes.

6. Cole Hamels Has Not Been Traded As Often As I Thought - Not Even Close.

I must've been thinking about someone else, because . . .

7. The Latest Ridiculous New York Times Travel Story . . .

. . . thinks it's a bargain to pay $800 for two nights at a hotel when you get the third night free.

8. CityKey Card Crashes.

"Less than 1 percent of Chicago's residents have been issued a city ID card since the program launched this summer," CLTV notes.

"The Chicago Tribune reports the city likely won't reach its goal of handing out 100,000 free cards for at least a year."

Maybe if the card accrued points toward donuts - or city stickers.

9. Rauner's State Fair Folly.

"A foundation formed by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner two years ago to fundraise for repairing the state fairgrounds is falling short of its annual target to raise up to $3 million," AP notes.

"The State Journal-Register reports that the latest financial report filed by the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation shows income in 2017 was just over $32,000."

To be fair, the foundation was competing against fundraising for a renovated executive mansion.

10. Airbnb Removes Chicago Listing That Would Not Tolerate Zionism.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

TrackNotes: Unjustified
His usefulness has been determined to be to make exponentially more money for a sickly large number of greedy people.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #211: Microcosmic Cubs, Bewildering Bears
Theo settles for Cole Hamels. Plus: Rodon!; The Biggest Underreported Story In Chicago Sports; and We're Talking About (Bears) Practice.

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The White Sox Report: Drama Over
Assuming Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia will still be playing on the South Side on Wednesday as July turns into August, we now see the team that will carry Sox colors for the last two months of the season. Can you feel the excitement?

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Havok, Nikki Lane, St. Marlboro, Yung Bae, Handsome Prick, Armored Saint, Exmortus, Grun Wasser, Hide, Taking Back Sunday, Collective Soul, Soul Asylum, 3 Doors Down, Attila, Bullet To The Heart, The Pretenders, Journey, Def Leppard, and Jimmy Buffett.

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ChicagoGram

#neon #darning #Chicago #LoganSquare

A post shared by Tim Inklebarger (@timinklebarger) on

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ChicagoTube

"She Was In Chicago" / John Lee Hooker.

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BeachBook

Inside Google's Shadow Workforce.

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Top Voting-Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software On Systems Sold To States.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Committee to Re-Elect.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 AM | Permalink

July 28, 2018

TrackNotes: Unjustified

Fedora'd and vested, impeccably complemented and contrasted in a perfect gray with a wealthily spaced pinstripe, Charles Howard gingerly bulled his way through the thicket, guided by the dancing light of the campfire and the smell of its smoke.

Over there was an all-white colt, seemingly with a tree branch growing out of gauze wrapped around his left front leg. Hackles up, but beat down by The Crash's aftermath, quickly instinctually hospitable with a "ya hungry?," the cowboy greeted the stranger, who took a seat on a fireside log.

"What's in his bandage?" Howard asked. "Oh, that's hawthorn root. It increases circulation," Tom Smith answered.

"He gonna get better?" "Already is, a little."

"Will he race?" "No, not that one."

"Why you fixin' him?" "Cuz I can. Every horse is good for somethin'. He could be a cart horse, or a lead pony, and he's still nice to look at. Know, you don't throw a whole life away, just cuz he's banged up a little."

"Is that coffee?" "Yeah. It's bad though."

"You always tell the truth?" "Try to."

The owner and the trainer teamed up and went to unimaginable places with a horse who just needed some patience and a little more time. Given the chance, he soared the Thoroughbred horse racing firmament, capturing the imagination of an America that needed someone just like him right at that moment.

That won't happen in 2018, as we learned this week that Justify, the 13th winner of America's Triple Crown of racing, of all things, has been retired to stud. "Filling in an ankle," a dodge as weak as it is unexplained, was the hook.

An utterance clearly picked from the parts bin of racingspeak, we got this from one of the principal owners. "He is an incredible horse, and we are very disappointed he can't run again," said WinStar Farm owner Kenny Troutt. "All things happen for a reason, and we are blessed to have raced him to be the 13th Triple Crown winner in history." The "things" were to shelf Justify, the "reason" the money, pure and simple.

The real-life true parable of Seabiscuit, in that motion picture depiction of the spirit he as a horse and all the people around him, millions really, had, is most certainly ponderable now. But three bedrock virtues are lost today.

There is no healing for Justify. No healing back to his nature of running, bred into him through the millenia.

His usefulness has been determined to be to make exponentially more money for a sickly large number of greedy people. There's plenty to go around, and they'll get to visit him, if they care to. You and I will never see him again. He's scheduled to parade at Del Mar today. I hope they boo the hell out of the owners and trainer Bob Baffert, for his refusal to speak truth to the money side of the game. If Baffert somehow doesn't think he has the credibility or stature to say something, with everything he has accomplished, then he is complicit.

Truth? Very hard to come by these days. Baffert is saying that Justify would have needed 60-90 days just for recovery, making preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic impossible. Fair enough, but while we know he wouldn't have raced at four-years-old - even just winning the Kentucky Derby saw to that - the Triple Crown, beyond their wildest expectations, fell into their laps. But Baffert did not even attempt to work out Justify even a month out from the Belmont Stakes. American Pharoah, 2015's Crown and Breeders' Cup champion, had as many as six workouts before his next race. Tell us the Crown wore out Justify, or he was headed to stud all along. But the story of a swollen ankle, without any credible reference to believe in, doesn't cut it.

The fan forums are populated with everything from "So long, old friend and thanks for everything," to "He was a lucky flash bum managed by greedy bastards."

Justify didn't race at two-years-old, ostensibly because he pulled a haunch muscle. Or was it because he wasn't ready, or had bad ankles? Therefore, he became the first horse ever to win the Triple Crown without racing at two. He was also the first undefeated horse since Seattle Slew to win the Crown.

These facts struck me as the buttery air inside a puff pastry. Yes, the game has been perverted so much, like nine-pitch relief appearances, that Justify's total lack of foundation would not stand in the way of the ultimate endurance test: the Triple Crown. Blessed with the breeding of sire Scat Daddy and out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, Justify built his foundation as he ran in America's biggest races.

It's worth remembering Ghostzapper's story too. With notoriously bad hooves and feet, Ghostzapper was a top fuel-fast horse who needed tinkering to stay on the track. He never ran in the Triple Crown races, understandable with his sprinter's profile.

Stretching out in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic, he faced some of the best horses of the age in Funny Cide, Birdstone, Pleasantly Perfect, Perfect Drift and the marvelous Roses in May. Ten furlongs later, he'd secured the victory and a 124 Beyer Speed figure, nearly unthinkable in today's racing. But if you subscribe to the theory that infirmities, or deformities, are passed down through today's stick-legged speedsters, you might also wonder if something bad in Justify will also be bred down.

I remember Ghostzapper. He was a destination watch, because you couldn't know when he was going to run. I recall almost literally having to remember to breathe when watching him, he was so fast and beautiful. After the first time I saw him, I never bet a race he was in.

Justify looked impressive in winning all of his grand total of six races, although each was by diminishing lengths from the previous race. He caught typhoons of rain and rivers of mud in the Kentucky Derby, beating by 2+ a Bolt d'Oro clearly not right after the tiring Triple Crown trail. Bolt' actually ran! He caught more rain and fog in the Preakness, and was wire-aided by one-half over a surging Bravazo, who'd have won with another sixteenth. His breeding, the root of all this, helped him dominate the aberrational 12 furlongs of the Belmont Stakes, beating hometowner Vino Rosso and Gronkowski.

His highly capable stablemate, Audible, was held out of the Belmont to enhance the Triple Crown chances. Audible, though, might have had an excuse. He's out of training now.

Daily Racing Form national handicapper Mike Watchmaker asks the question that will bust my chops the rest of the year. Where does this put Justify in the pantheon of Triple Crown winners?

Watchmaker suggests Justify will suffer in the comparison.

"[M]y sense is Justify has an uphill battle in that regard if he has indeed run his last race, primarily because he has run his last race," Watchmaker said. He compared Justify to Count Fleet who, riddled with injuries, never raced after his Belmont either. They did train him to run at four but injuries did him in. And that was when the money was in the running.

Deciding that Count Fleet is disrespected, "I suspect racing history will be similarly cold to Justify," he concluded.

Justify did win the Triple Crown, only the 13th to do so. To run at the level at precisely that period in time at the longest distances is remarkable.

It was so damn tough to get a read on this horse. The Derby was fine, but with that slop, best not to form an opinion. Preakness, more of the same. And how many winners have I seen of Legs First and Second? And if you think rain, fog and slop are detrimental to a horse in a race, don't. Some horses don't mind and those who do don't run.

After he convincingly won the Belmont, I started wondering who he had really beaten. Unless a Bravazo or Good Magic runs the table, and beats older horses, which Justify never will, it wasn't much.

I really felt like Justify was a horse who got freakishly hot for 112 days and beat a bunch of horses that absolutely never lived up to the hype, including mine, of being the best three-year-old crop in years. He rode a wave of precociousness that lasted a lot longer than normal. By the time the Belmont comes along, those naivetes are run out of a horse. In the Belmont, Justify was able to combine that youthful energy with race professionalism.

I believe Baffert and jockey Mike Smith, the public faces of Justify, knew inside Justify would never run again. Baffert seemed to go through the motions, borrowing heavily from his American Pharoah archives. He even went there, calling Justify an all-timer. I didn't buy it and I don't think he did either.

In this bizarre world we live in, even though we had a frickin' Triple Crown winner this year, I have the privilege of remembering so very fondly another Triple Crown winner, from just three years ago.

The Zayat family that campaigned American Pharoah, Baffert the trainer then, is now flattered, as they say in racing, by the decision of owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Racing to pull Justify out of racing. There was never a doubt 'Pharoah would run again, grasping for the Breeders' Cup brass ring. They appeared obligated, and it looks awfully good now.

'Pharoah barely stopped working out after his Belmont, and won the Haskell Invitational. 2018's Monmouth gem runs tomorrow. He was fatigued and beaten in the Travers Stakes at The Graveyard of Champions, Saratoga, by Keen Ice, who he never saw coming.

Training in, 'Pharoah crossed the wire and seemingly ascended to the heavens with a decisive Breeders' Cup Classic conquest, completing a sequence that defies being dubbed a grand slam, it's so impossible.

After waiting so long after Affirmed, you'd think this is a guilty embarrassment of riches. I envision someday somebody asking me the Triple Crown winners, and I forget Justify. But I'll never forget American Pharoah and, boy, am I happy about that.

I've said that you never get attached to a horse, there's supposedly so much running to do and the "kings" of the sport are so contaminated by today's current strain of bacterial greed. These "caretakers" of the game gave up on Justify. They also gave up on me, the betting fan. So what else is new?

Watchmaker thinks Count Fleet has been forgotten because he couldn't run after the Belmont. Unless they show me proof, I won't be convinced Justify couldn't have run again.

Justify's connections have laid down the straw. Now they have to lie on it.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:55 AM | Permalink

July 27, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #211: Microcosmic Cubs, Bewildering Bears

Theo settles for Cole Hamels. Plus: Rodon!; The Biggest Underreported Story In Chicago Sports; and We're Talking About (Bears) Practice.


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SHOW NOTES

* 211.

:45: Cubs' Mine Cole In Microcosmic Week.

* It was only after we finished recording this that we learned the Cubs included Eddie Butler in the deal. Please adjust our remarks accordingly!

* Edwards, Fangraphs: "If the Cubs are expecting the magic Hamels has shown on the road . . . there is likely to be disappointment. As far as an upgrade over Tyler Chatwood and the potential for a league-average starter, the division-leading Cubs just made their team a good bit better the rest of the way."

* Nationals Might Become Sellers By End Of Weekend.

* A microcosmic week.

* David Bote is holding it down!

* Morrissey's muck.

* 2014: Joe Maddon, Rays Honor Tommy Tutone With '867-5309' Lineup.

* Don't cry for Dusty.

45:37: Rodon!

47:38: Bears Blackout!

* Most underreported story in Chicago sports.

* Inside Matt Nagy's Beautiful Mind even though he's only called plays in five-and-a-half games including this one!

* All plays at practice are highlights not lowlights!

* Same!

* We're talking about practice!

* How wacky!

* Maybe your coverage isn't positive enough!

* Top secret!

* But how will they cope without Mark Sanchez!

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STOPPAGE: 5:38

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:20 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

1. Kreepy Ken Kurson.

"Ken Kurson is a confidant of Rudolph W. Giuliani. He is a onetime speechwriter for Donald J. Trump. And he is a close friend of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law, who appointed Mr. Kurson to run his weekly newspaper, The New York Observer," the New York Times reports.

This spring, those relationships appeared to yield a prestigious offer from the Trump White House: a seat on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal body that doles out millions of dollars a year in grants to cultural institutions.

First, Mr. Kurson had to undergo a government background check. As part of that process, the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned about allegations that he had harassed a New York doctor in 2015, according to Mount Sinai Hospital, where the doctor worked.

Kurson, of course, is a Chicago expat. See the item The Kurson Convention.

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"Mr. Kurson, 49, spent years as a journalist before moving into political consulting. He became a speechwriter for Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, and was a co-writer of his 2002 book, Leadership. Mr. Kurson then spent several years at Mr. Giuliani's consulting firm and helped run his short-lived 2008 presidential campaign.

Over the years, Mr. Kurson had also become close to Mr. Kushner and his father, Charles, who was an important New Jersey political donor until his 2005 imprisonment for tax evasion and other crimes. Mr. Kushner appointed Mr. Kurson to run The Observer in 2013.

During his four years there, The Observer published critical pieces on adversaries of Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner. As Mr. Kurson advised Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, The Observer endorsed him for president. While still editing the newspaper, Mr. Kurson sat in the Trump family box at the Republican National Convention.
Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan said it had investigated a doctor's claims of harassment against Mr. Kurson in 2015.

It was during his time at The Observer that the alleged harassment took place.

Click through to learn how ugly it (allegedly) became.

2. Ex-Mayor Daley Avoids Deposition In Police Torture Lawsuit Tied To Burge. Again!

"A federal judge will not force former Mayor Richard M. Daley to sit for a deposition in a civil case brought by a man who alleges former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge's crew tortured him into confessing to a 1982 sexual assault," the Sun-Times reports.

"U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan agreed in a 10-page order filed Thursday to quash a subpoena calling for Daley's deposition, finding that the man who filed the lawsuit, Stanley Wrice, had "failed to demonstrate that Mr. Daley knows what took place" even though he was the Cook County state's attorney at the time."

Emphasis mine.

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Previously:

->2016: "U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve's ruling sets the stage once again for Daley to potentially be forced to give sworn testimony about what he knew of the painful legacy of police torture that first came to light when Daley was Cook County state's attorney and later exploded during his more than two decades as mayor.

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

-> 2016: "I know I had Mayor Daley on the verge of having to testify or give depositions two or three times, and then we'd get a settlement offer we couldn't turn down," attorney Flint Taylor said.

-> 2013: "On Friday March 3, 2013, former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley filed his opposition to Chicago police torture survivor Ronald Kitchen's motion for a court order compelling him to sit for a sworn, videotaped deposition," the People's Law Office says.

"This is the latest skirmish in a nine-year long legal battle to force Daley to answer about his central role in the police torture scandal and its cover-up.

"This involvement began with his refusal, while the elected State's Attorney of Cook County, to prosecute Jon Burge, the mastermind of a now notorious police torture ring, when damning evidence of Burge's sadistic brutality was first presented to him in 1982; continued on his watch as scores of African-American torture survivors were subsequently prosecuted and wrongfully convicted on the basis of tortured confessions; and culminated with his role in the cover-up of the scandal after he became mayor."

-> 2012: City Settles Burge Torture Case, Avoids Daley Deposition.

See also: The item Daley Depo.

-> 2011: "The Daley deposition is off - for now.

"'Daley, through his city-paid attorneys, sent [attorney Flint] Taylor a letter saying no,' Carol Marin writes. 'Under no circumstances will he sit for questioning by lawyers representing men who claim to have been tortured by Chicago Police.'"

-> 2007: "The Tribune is pretty generous today with its top-of-front-page headline "City Aims To Stop Rogue Cops."

"More like 'City Aims To Stop Exposure Of Rogue Cops.'

"Mayor Daley taking control of the machinery investigating complaints about police officers - as if he hasn't already been in control - is a fox-in-the-henhouse story for the ages.

"After all, this is a mayor who has reneged on his pre-election promise to sit for a deposition about police torture, is fighting a federal judge's order to release the list of officers with citizen complaints against them, has already dismissed the significance of cops who rack up a disproportionate number of complaints, and compares the code of silence in the police department with so-called codes of silence within every other profession on Earth."

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Back to today's Sun-Times:

"Finnegan noted that Daley also mentioned an 'undisclosed medical situation' as further reason to scuttle his deposition."

Again?!

-> 2017: "An undisclosed medical issue could affect whether former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley must give a deposition in a federal lawsuit alleging he ignored evidence of widespread torture by a former police commander."

-> 2014: "Former mayor Richard Daley will not have to testify in the Park Grill case. Lawyers for the restaurant withdrew their subpoena on Wednesday after a judge held a closed door hearing to discuss Daley's medical condition."

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Whatever Daley's undisclosed medical condition is, it hasn't stopped him from holding a number of lucrative business positions since leaving the mayor's office in 2011.

See also: Daley Named To Coca-Cola Board; Threatens To Pound A 2-Liter Up Reporter's Ass.

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Again, back to today's Sun-Times:

"[Finnegan] also noted that Daley, in a sworn statement to special prosecutors in 2006, insisted he had no specific recollection of a letter warning him of abuse claims."

Ah, but there's more to the story of his statement than that. From the Beachwood at that time:

But their questioning of Daley, as far as we can tell, seems awfully weak. All Egan and Boyle can bring themselves to write of his version of events is, "We accept his explanation, but would not do it the same way he did."

What was Daley's explanation? We don't really know. As the Defender reports, "Daley was not subpoenaed, but special prosecutors took court-recorded statements from the mayor under oath. Daley's statement - alone among those interviewed, according to one TV station - is not in the report.

3. "Rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep was discovered in 1953 - more than 15 years after stages 1 through 4 had been mapped - by Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman at the University of Chicago," according to National Geographic in "While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes On An Amazing Journey."

4. Assignment Desk: The Wendy's in Logan Square has automated ordering via touchscreens at the front counter instead of humans taking your order. (It sucks. And human employees are right there, like, watching and stuff!)

5. "Three years into Yemen's civil war, more than 16,000 civilians have been killed and injured, the vast majority by airstrikes. The deaths have continued unabated despite assurances by the U.S.-supported coalition that it would take steps to reduce accidental fatalities."

6. "Ghian Foreman is Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handpicked Police Board president and a prominent Chicago real estate developer. In 2005, he borrowed $50,000 from Karyn Usher's mother to help finance a Bronzeville condominium project. The units sold but the Usher family has waited 13 years to be paid."

7. Autocracy in Illinois.

Reporter 1: So, why are you here today and not in Granite City?

Rauner aide: We're just keeping it on-topic . . .

The governor and his people apparently believe that reporters should only ask the questions the governor wants to answer. Of course, the governor is hardly the only American politician who tries to control "the message," but do they ever consider the implication of those efforts to the American democracy they extol so much? This drives me crazy. They purport to believe in, say, the freedom of the press, but spend a lot of their time devising ways to manipulate and deceive reporters and the citizens who consume their work. Seriously, it's not a game, and it shouldn't be treated as such.

Rauner: Well, I'm here because this is a very significant piece of legislation that passed at the end of the General Assembly. And this was scheduled long time ago. Uh, and today, [laughs] my day is very full. I was in Chicago and Itasca and Rockford, and I'm heading back to Springfield tonight.

Reporter 2: You didn't think it was important to support the president in Granite City today at all?

Rauner: Well, what's important is that we support economic growth for the entire state of Illinois. And that's what this legislation does. We need to bring down tax burden in our communities and grow more jobs and that's what we're here to do right now.

Rauner aide: Alright, thank you everybody!

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Hey, look, Bruce Rauner on LiveScience!

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Mary Ann Ahern is at her best when public officials are trying to shut down reporters:

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h/t: Rich Miller.

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And:

"Brent Johnson, the president and owner of Midwest Aero Support wrote in a Facebook post that he was notified on Wednesday that Rauner would visit his company," the Sun-Times reports.

"I feel honored he selected MAS [Midwest Aero Support] for this occasion. What is even more humbling is that President Trump will be in Illinois the same time tomorrow in a different city," Johnson wrote. "The governor declined the president's invitation to join him in Granite City to visit MAS instead. How we were selected is a mystery, but I feel it is an opportunity / experience of a lifetime."

Rauner's campaign spokesman Will Allison said both campaign events "had been in the works for weeks." Allison said the events were planned on Jan. 26. He said there was talk of visiting a different company in Rockford, however.

"If someone is trying to imply that we had nothing on our schedule at then Trump shows up, and we added events, that's not true," Allison said. "Both have been in the works for awhile."

Lots of wiggle room there, Will. Just tell the truth: "We're in a tough spot. We don't want to alienate the base of the party any more than it already is from the governor by not appearing with Trump, but at the same time we don't want to alienate swing voters we still hope to attract by appearing with Trump. So we decided to try to fool everyone by scheduling visits to manufacturers even as the president is here to talk about trade. Apparently it didn't work."

8. Early Warning: Free Dragon Boating Lessons At Ping Tom Park.

9. Report: More Than Half Of PR Pros Are Willing To Create Fake News.

I don't believe it; it's way more than half.

10. #FridayFlashback: LiLo vs. Blago.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Oddities and Curiosities Expo 2018 in Chicago | I Can't Believe What We Just Experienced.

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BeachBook

Food Deserts Don't Benefit From More Supermarkets In Chicago, Study Finds.

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The Dirty Truth Is Your Recycling May Actually Go To Landfills.

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Afraid Of 'Political Repercussions,' HUD Delayed Action On Crumbling Public Housing In Cairo.

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At East Bay Express, Racism Charges Prompt Resignations.

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Metallica Shapes Its Live Shows Around What Fans Are Listening To On Spotify.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Okay?

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there. For the most part.

1. Havok at Reggies on Tuesday night.


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2. Nikki Lane at Lincoln Hall on Monday night.

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3. Grün Wasser at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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4. Hide at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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5. St. Marlboro at Martyrs' on Monday night.

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6. Yung Bae at Schubas on Thursday night.

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7. Handsome Prick at Cobra Lounge on Thursday night.

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8. Taking Back Sunday on Northerly Island on Thursday night.

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9. Collective Soul on Northerly Island on Tuesday night.

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10. 3 Doors Down on Northerly Island on Tuesday night.

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11. Soul Asylum on Northerly Island on Tuesday night.

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12. Attila at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Armored Saint at Reggies on July 21st.

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Bullet To The Heart at Bottom Lounge on July 13th.

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Exmortus at the Forge in Joliet on July 15th.

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Journey at Wrigley Field on July 14th.

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Def Leppard at Wrigley Field on July 14th.

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The Pretenders at Wrigley Field on July 14th.

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Jimmy Buffett at Wrigley Field on July 13th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

July 26, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

1. How Should You Contend With A New Co-Worker's Unexpected Hostility?

2. "During negotiations for Chicago's 2012 budget, newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel and then-City Clerk Susana Mendoza agreed to hike the price of what was already one of the priciest tickets vehicle owners can get in the city. Citations for not having a required vehicle sticker rose from $120 to $200," ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ report.

The increase, approved unanimously by the City Council, was pitched by Mendoza as an alternative to raising the price of stickers as well as generating much-needed revenue from "scofflaws."

A ticket hike, Mendoza told aldermen, could generate $16 million a year for the city.

That did not happen. The increase has brought in a just few million dollars more a year, while it's unclear if it led to greater compliance. Sticker sales have been largely stagnant.

But increasing the price of sticker tickets came at a devastating cost for thousands of Chicago's poorest residents, particularly those from African-American neighborhoods, according to an investigation by ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ.

Debt from this one type of ticket swelled, compounded by late penalties and collection fees. Collectively, drivers now owe the city some $275 million for sticker tickets issued since 2012.

While Mendoza "expressed regret" to reporters who talked to her for the story, "The mayor's office did not respond to questions about how the fine increase affects black residents."

3. Today is the day that Donald Trump is in Granite City. That starts with "G" which rhymes with pee and . . . no, no, no.

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Granite City, by the way, is "the best well-kept secret in Southern Illinois," according to its mayor.

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The last president to visit Granite City was Jimmy Carter in 1980. Here are his remarks from that day.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner won't be there. I wonder when the last time was that a governor did not appear with a visiting president of the same party, if ever.

4. "A U.S. appeals court rejected on technical grounds a challenge to Federal Communications Commission ownership rules that could ease the path for Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed purchase of Tribune Media - if the deal goes forward," Bloomberg reports.

The Washington-based court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit from opponents without considering its merits, ruling the activist groups that filed it hadn't shown they would be injured by the consolidation at the heart of their case.

While that decision preserves headroom for broadcast mergers, it may have arrived too late for Sinclair's $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media - though could help other suitors for the Chicago-based broadcaster.

"This decision won't likely breathe new life into Sinclair's Tribune deal." said Matthew Schettenhelm, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. "Tribune can walk away from the deal on August 8 - and it likely will.

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5. "An Illinois man convicted of filing false tax returns was sentenced Tuesday to 28 months' time served, according to the U.S. attorneys' office, in a second trial granted over prejudicial statements made in the first trial by retired Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner, who served as the district judge," Law360 reports.

The background here is particularly interesting given Posner's supposed post-retirement cause.

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6. "On a campus full of ambitious students aiming to land influential U.S. government and policy jobs, Maria Butina cut an unusual profile," the Washington Post reports.

It wasn't just the outspoken conservative politics of the auburn-haired Russian woman that drew the attention of other graduate students at American University. There was also her almost zealous embrace of her homeland.

Butina's cellphone case was emblazoned with a famous photo of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin riding shirtless on a horse. She would buy friends rounds of vodka at the Russia House, the Dupont Circle restaurant popular with the Russian diplomatic set, sometimes challenging male friends to down horseradish-infused shots. She bragged to classmates that she had worked for the Russian government.

Butina's arrest last week on charges that she was acting as an unregistered Russian agent and allegations that she has ties to Russian intelligence rattled those who knew her at American University, where she spent two years in the global security program at the School of International Service.

Wouldn't a Russian agent have been more covert, many at the school now wonder, and worked to keep her Kremlin advocacy under wraps?

"It's sort of disbelief," said one person who knew Butina at AU, describing the campus reaction. "Can you imagine you just moved to D.C. for school from, like, rural Pennsylvania, and you find out a couple months later you're sitting next to a Russian spy?"

To others, however, her indictment on federal charges validated their own unsettling suspicions.

Butina's embrace of Russia was so public that people affiliated with AU worried about possible links to the Kremlin and alerted school officials during her tenure there, according to three people familiar with the conversations. University officials did not appear alarmed and did not appear to take any immediate action, they said.

Mark Story, a spokesman for the university, said he could not comment on Butina's case, but said generally that "education, service and integrity are at the heart of who we are at American University."

Thank you for that generally worthless quote, which we dutifully published!

"When concerns about student conduct, safety or security are brought to the university's attention, we evaluate those concerns and investigate or involve outside partners as appropriate," he said.

Oh my god, really? Did Story and the reporter previously work at TASS together?

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By the way, from TASS:

"The embassy stressed that there is no actual evidence that Butina was engaged in any sort of illegal activities in the United States.

"On the backdrop of ungrounded accusations and the lack of any proof actually evidencing to her illegal activities, the mainstream media have already plunged into a slander campaign against our compatriot. So, manifestation of solidarity with Maria is ever more important," the embassy said.

The embassy also complained that prosecutors "are seeking to limit public access to the details of the trial."

"We are perplexed at the position of prosecutors who are insistently requesting to classify the case, this way restricting public access to the details of the trial.

Welcome to America! At least the case isn't in Cook County.

7. "Pritzker can't substantiate his claims about Rauner currently profiting off Correct Care. Rauner won't release private tax information that might clear things up," the PolitiFact Illinois notes.

"Rauner couldn't substantiate his claims about Pritzker's oil pipeline holdings. Pritzker didn't release data in his possession that might put that to rest."

Russia, if you're listening, please find these guys' tax forms . . .

8. The Rooney Rule, aka Duh, You're Not Doing This?

Also advocated here for teachers.

9. "Ken Ravizza may not be as famous as Joe Maddon, the Cubs manager. But like Maddon, he changed the way people approach and think about baseball."

10. I had the opportunity to eat at the always awesome Club Lucky last night and, as I always do, got the Chicken Vesuvio. It's the Vesuvio that makes all the difference.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

An Entirely Not-Persuasive 1993 Tribune TV Ad.

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BeachBook

Like Chicago Police, Cook County and Illinois Officials Track Thousands of People in Gang Databases.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Tronculator.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

July 25, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

1. "I wanted to be a journalist from age 16 onward, and I wanted to cover education - but before that, I thought I would be a poet or a novelist," says Chalkbeat CEO Elizabeth Green.

I signed up for my high school newspaper, because it seemed like the practical thing for an aspiring poet or novelist to do. One day, I was doing this assignment about "hallway behavior." You know, a typical high school newspaper topic: "Is it okay to have PDA in the hall?" I interviewed a bunch of different people in the cafeteria during lunchtime, and one of them was this girl who I'll never forget - I remember her name and everything. She totally changed my life. I was interviewing her, and she started talking about how everyone assumed that she'd drop out of school and become a welfare mom. She said, "That's what people expect of me, and I work hard because I want to prove them wrong." I said, "Who do you want to prove wrong?" And she looked me right in the eye and said, "You."
In that moment, a lot of things happened for me. I started thinking differently about my school, which was very diverse. I'm white, and I was in the minority. My parents had both gone to college, and everyone assumed I would go to college. And here I was sitting down with this student, who was the same age as me, from the same town - Silver Spring, Maryland - with very similar goals and dreams. But the opportunities available to us to pursue those dreams looked completely different, because she was Hispanic and her parents hadn't gone to college.

I changed that story topic from "hallway behavior" to Hispanic youth in my high school, and that was the first of several stories I wrote for the student newspaper about academic inequality. It felt so powerful to lift up that student's voice - so that I wasn't the only one who heard it, so that I wasn't the only one who experienced that moment of reckoning and confrontation, and so that we could have a difficult conversation as a community. I saw the power of writing stories like that one, and I've wanted to keep doing that ever since. I also realized that my craft was not poetry, but journalism. Which is good, because I sucked as a poet anyway.

2. "In back of Brentano Elementary, by the school's playground and bright green turf field, there's a cluster of apartment buildings that say a lot about Logan Square," writes Mina Bloom for Block Club Chicago.

All six buildings - the only ones you can really see from the back of the school - have been renovated within the last several years, according to school principal Seth Lavin. In each case, developers bought the properties, rehabbed the apartments and hiked up the rent, forcing out residents who could no longer afford them, many of them Hispanic.

Among the residents driven out of their homes were Brentano parents who, for years, and sometimes generations, lived just yards away from their kids' neighborhood school. When the rent went up, those families moved away. Some found new schools, while others managed to keep their kids at Brentano, long bus rides and all.

"Gentrification has made it very difficult for our families who lived here and grew up here to stay in this school," Lavin said. "Our families work so hard to stay Brentano families. We see the housing costs in the neighborhood making that harder every year."

3. "The comedian Tig Notaro, who chronicled her cancer diagnosis in a special that also changed her life, said she was 'utterly floored' by Ms. Gadsby's hourlong show," writes Melena Ryzik for the New York Times.

"Nanette should be required viewing if you're a human being," she wrote in an e-mail. "It really takes days to take in everything she presented, to fully comprehend it all."

Apparently there wasn't time for Notaro and Ryzik to connect by phone.

Josh Thomas, a young Australian star who hired Ms. Gadsby as a writer and performer on his TV series Please Like Me, about a young man coming out, thought that as a gay man with a supportive family himself, he had it easy.

"But then," he wrote in an e-mail, "I see storytelling like Hannah's, where she rages about the homophobia in the world, and I cry and I realize that I grew up with so much shame."

Apparently Ryzik doesn't have a phone. It seems to be going around. Maybe we start a GoFundMe for reporters not being supplied with phones?

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Or maybe it's something else: Phonophobia sweeps journalism!

4. A Chicago Tribune Columnist Thinks Helping Opioid Users Is 'Accommodating' Them.

5. The Kind Of Misuse Of State Property America Needs.

6." Federal jury deliberations are expected as early as today in IBM v. Groupon, a case closely watched by the tech industry," according to Law.com's Morning Minute.

IBM's $166 million lawsuit in Delaware alleges Groupon Inc. infringed on four patents that date back to the early days of the Internet. IBM argues that Groupon built its business model, despite prior warnings, using IBM's patents for online password management and advertising. At least 10 companies - including Go Daddy, Facebook and Twitter - have moved to intervene in the suit to protect confidential information related to agreements they had with IBM.

7. "P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc. workers have asked an Illinois federal court to greenlight a $2.65 million agreement to settle claims the restaurant chain shortchanged its tipped employees on their wages in violation of federal and state labor laws," reports Danielle Nichole Smith for Law360.

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Similarly: Chicago Servers, Bartenders Swindled Out of More Than $30M in Tips by Restaurant Group: Lawsuit.

8. Wisconsin's Decisive Shift Towards The Dairy Cow.

9. Déjà Voodoo: Pharma's Promises To Curb Drug Prices Have Been Heard Before.

10. "The Palos Park tool company behind the Bionic Wrench is no longer in line to receive millions of dollars in damages after Sears and its supplier prevailed in a patent lawsuit," reports Lauren Zumbach for the Tribune.

A federal jury in Chicago last year awarded LoggerHead Tools nearly $6 million in damages after finding that Sears and supplier Apex Tool Group willfully infringed on two of LoggerHead's patents.

LoggerHead sued Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp. and Maryland-based Apex in 2012, claiming Sears' Craftsman-brand locking wrench was a "virtual copy" of its Bionic Wrench, an adjustable-size wrench with a plierslike grip, according to the lawsuit. Sears used to sell the LoggerHead product until it introduced the cheaper Craftsman-brand wrench, the lawsuit said.

Sears and Apex challenged the verdict last year, arguing that the judge made an error interpreting LoggerHead's patent and a feature LoggerHead used to distinguish its wrench from existing products.

Apex had designed the Craftsman wrench to avoid infringing on the LoggerHead patent, said Mark Sernel, an attorney for Apex and Sears.

A federal judge who took over the case after the prior judge died last year agreed with Sears and Apex and ordered a new trial. Both sides asked the court to reconsider and decide the case without a new trial.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer sided Friday with Sears and Apex "because no reasonable jury could conclude" that the Craftsman wrench infringed on LoggerHead's patents, she wrote in a court order.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Origins Of Chicago Hip-Hop With Kevin Coval.

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BeachBook

Gary Orfield via Bill Ayers:

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Just in time.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

July 24, 2018

Disrupting Education The NFL Way

We've all heard the expression, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," when it comes to hiring. Looking at the racial disparities among teachers, it's apparent that black would-be teachers apparently don't know many hiring managers. Teachers of color comprised about 20 percent of the public schools in the U.S. in 2017, according to data compiled by researchers at the centrist think tank the Brookings Institution (where I am a fellow). Meanwhile, students of color represented slightly more than half of all public school students in the same year.

A 2016 U.S. Department of Education demographic study of principals found that the vast majority of the people doing the hiring are white. While the percentage of white principals declined from 87 percent in 1987-88 to 80 percent in 2011-12, the percentage of black principals did not change significantly. The percentage of Hispanic principals increased by 4 percentage points from 3 percent to 7 percent, but white principals still account for the lion's share of that population.

And if a vast proportion of the hiring managers are white, it's likely that their social networks are predominantly white, too.

[Editor's Note: The same for newsrooms, too!]

Three-quarters of white Americans say they have social circles that are entirely white, as compared to 65 percent of African Americans and 46 percent of people who identified as Hispanic, according to a 2013 survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research. This has a profound professional impact when principals and school district leaders recruit from within their social circles, be it from a university or non-profit teacher prep program. This kind of hiring needs to be called out for what it really is - discrimination.

Discrimination is what's clogging the teacher pipeline in public schools, according to a 2017 Harvard University study. "Black applicants were significantly less likely than their White counterparts to receive a job offer," researchers found. In addition, black applicants were much more likely to be placed into schools with higher percentages of black children, reinforcing the ghettoization of black teachers and students.

Professional circles are never strictly professional - they are social as well. White principals must expand their professional circles if students are to see a better representation of society in their classrooms and teachers who look like them. A new framework is in order, and the National Football League has a good one we can borrow.

The Rooney Rule, named after Dan Rooney, the late chairman of the NFL team the Pittsburgh Steelers, mandates that as a condition of owning a franchise, teams must interview at least one minority candidate for head coach and general manager positions. Certainly, teams have conducted bogus interviews to fulfill the rule's requirements without any intention of hiring that person, but since the rule was enacted in 2003, the league has seen a significant increase in the number of black head coaches. According to a 2016 article published by the data reporting outlet FiveThirtyEight, "In the 12 seasons before the rule was instituted, the NFL had only six non-white head coaches. In 12 seasons under the rule, the league has added 14 head coaches of color." In a league in which approximately 70 percent of the players are black, the Rooney Rule gave black players hope they would not be relegated to the playing field, to be controlled by white management.

It also showed other industries a concrete way to knock down cultural and social barriers in the hiring process. Amazon recently adopted a version of the Rooney Rule, vowing to interview women and minorities for all board openings. Given the racial imbalance between teachers and students in public schools, educational leaders must also implement a version of the rule.

But it's not just representation for the sake of representation that counts. Having a teacher of color brings with it tangible benefits for students. According to research conducted by Stanford University education scholar Thomas Dee in 2004, black students of both sexes who had a black teacher experienced a 3-6 percentile point increase in their reading scores on standardized tests. In a 2017 study published by the Institute of Labor Economics, an economics think tank, researchers found that low-income black male elementary school students who were paired with a black teacher in the 3rd, 4th, or 5th grades were 39 percent less likely to drop out of high school. This study also found that matching low-income black students of both sexes with at least one black teacher between the 3rd grade and the 5th grade significantly boosted their aspirations to attend a four-year college.

There are more reasons that hiring more black teachers has an overall positive effect on schools. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, often referred to as the "congressional watchdog," published an investigation into the Department of Education's national civil rights data from 2013 to 2014 and found that black students are disproportionately punished at school compared to their white peers.

[Editor's Note: See also the Chicago Reporter's As School Discipline Disparities Worsen, Illinois Has Yet To Require Reforms]

Hiring more black teachers may help alleviate that issue. Behavioral assessments of black students in the classroom significantly improve when they have a black teacher rather than a white teacher, according to a 2015 University of California-Santa Barbara study.

We need more black teachers in the classroom, and interviewing candidates of color is just a start. But just like in the NFL, the Rooney Rule is no panacea. There's a small chance an interview might dissuade prospective black candidates. "When you're in an interview and they use words like "culture fit" several times," one black teacher who didn't take a job in a Washington, D.C. school told me, "I've learned they [white principals] are really asking if you're not going to be black and be like us."

Introducing the Rooney Rule may not solve the problem on its own, but it can help to change a culture of racism and discrimination that's blocking black and brown teachers from helping students get to the goal line of graduation.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for Hechinger's newsletter.

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See also: Declining Numbers Of Black Teachers At CPS.

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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.

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

* Letting Our Boys Onto The Football Field Is A Losing Play.

* America Has Never Had A Merit-Based System For College Admissions.

* Don't Ever Conflate Disaster Recovery With Education Reform.

* Black Athletes Can Teach Us About More Than Just Sports.

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

* When Parents Cheat To Get Their Child Into A "Good" School.

* Any Educational Reform That Ignores Segregation Is Doomed To Failure.

* Dress Coded: Rules And Punishment For Black Girls Abound.

* When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:18 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. "It's crunchtime for Tesla," the New York Times reports.

The electric carmaker has vowed to turn a profit in the second half of this year and has apparently increased production of a key driver of revenue, the fledgling Model 3 midsize sedan. But analysts are not yet convinced that Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, will turn the corner in this quarter.

"I'm skeptical," said Efraim Levy, an analyst at CFRA Research who follows the company. "It will be challenging on an operating basis to be profitable in the third quarter."

And new questions have arisen with the disclosure of an effort by Tesla to renegotiate agreements with suppliers to achieve price reductions on work already underway.

The issue arose in a report Sunday night by The Wall Street Journal that Tesla had asked some suppliers to refund a portion of payments made since 2016. The report cited a memo to a supplier saying Tesla was asking for cash back to help it become profitable.

Yup, Musk is getting desperate alright:

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 11.32.29 AM.pngI'm sorry their heads are cut off, it was the best I could do. This isn't even Photoshop.

2. "Voter Purges, a new report by the Brennan Center, highlights the systematic purging of voters from rolls by state and local officials around the country. These are not random, isolated cases," the Root notes.

"It is a methodical effort that disproportionately affects minority voters."

3. In case you were wondering, as I was, what Willie Wilson is a doctor of:

"Wilson is the recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Mt. Carmel Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Chicago Baptist Institute International, Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Swisher Bible College and a Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Denver Institute of Urban Studies and Adult College."

So he's four doctors in one! No wonder he's so rich.

4. Lovie Smith Has A Beard Now.

He's had it since at least January, so it's really just news to me.

5. "A controversial plan to sanction the sport of pigeon racing in Chicago may be grounded before it's even cleared for take-off."

A pigeon is not a plane, these kind of leads are hacky not clever, and it doesn't even make sense. Good thing this flight has a barf bag.

6. Like Cola!

7. "The owners of one of Chicagoland's most unusual single family homes have vowed to rebuild after a fire severely damaged the famous Gold Pyramid House in north suburban Wadsworth," Curbed Chicago notes.

8. Softball Players At Ridge Need To Use Blue Bins.

9. "A firestorm of comments on social media led Bourbonnais police to release a post Wednesday on Facebook about the suspicious activities a man directed toward a woman in late June or early July," the Kankakee Daily-Journal reports.

"The comments didn't pertain to the department's investigation but rather to claims of strangers in the area possibly being approached for human trafficking purposes in recent months."

To be sure: "[T]here is no credible evidence of human trafficking at this time."

10. From a really interesting Vulture interview of Billy Joel:

Now, I do have an idea for a farewell tour.

What is it?

The stage is a living room set: couch, TV, coffee table, food. And there's bulletproof glass between me and the audience. Then I come out and lay down on the couch. I grab the remote and start watching TV. The crowd after a couple minutes goes, "Fuck this," and starts throwing shit at the glass.

And that's the whole concert?

Yeah. I'll have created a bond between me and the audience where I know they will never pay another nickel to see me again.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Disrupting Education The NFL Way
Introducing the Rooney Rule may not solve the problem on its own, but it can help to change a culture of racism and discrimination that's blocking black and brown teachers from helping students get to the goal line of graduation.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago's Lighthouses: Shedding Light On Artists With Disabilities.

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BeachBook

Mortgage, Groupon And Card Debt: How The Bottom Half Bolsters U.S. Economy

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Not dead yet.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:39 AM | Permalink

July 23, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Courtney Barnett at Pitchfork on Friday night.


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2. Melkbelly at Pitchfork on Friday.

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3. Lauryn Hill at Pitchfork on Sunday night.

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4. Tame Impala at Pitchfork on Friday night.

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5. Open Mike Eagle at Pitchfork on Friday.

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6. Japanese Breakfast at Thalia Hall for a Pitchfork aftershow on Saturday night.

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7. Morbosidad at Cobra Lounge for the Gospel of the Serpent Festival on Saturday night.

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8. Japandroids at Pitchfork on Sunday night.

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9. The War on Drugs at Pitchfork on Saturday night.

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10. Saba at Pitchfork on Friday.

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11. This Heat at Pitchfork on Saturday night.

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12. Hollie Cook at Millennium Park on Thursday night.

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13. Chance The Rapper on Northerly Island for the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday night.

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14. Usher on Northerly Island for the Special Olympics on Saturday night.

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15. Smokey Robinson on Northerly Island for the Special Olympics on Saturday night.

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16. Noname at Pitchfork on Sunday.

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17. Sandy (Alex G) at Pitchfork on Sunday night.

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18. Dram at Pitchfork on Sunday night.

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19. Moses Sumney at Pitchfork on Saturday.

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20. Smino at Pitchfork on Sunday.

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21. Ravyn Lenae at Pitchfork on Sunday.

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22. Kelly Lee Owens at Pitchfork on Sunday.

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23. Kweku Collins at Pitchfork on Sunday.

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24. Berhana at Pitchfork on Saturday.

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25. Paul Cherry at Pitchfork on Saturday.

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26. Chaka Khan at Pitchfork on Sunday night.

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27. Fleet Foxes at Pitchfork on Saturday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Boardinghouse Reach at the Burlington on July 15th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:46 AM | Permalink

Cash Advance?

What some people call a gimmick just might work for the White Sox.

After Reynaldo Lopez put his team in a 5-0 hole after one inning in Seattle on Sunday, might manager Ricky Renteria follow the lead of the Tampa Bay Rays and use one of his bullpen guys to pitch the opening inning (or two) before Lopez enters the game?

This is a legitimate question since the promising righthander has been absolutely miserable in the opening frame of his 20 starts this season. After Sunday, Lopez has been tagged for 16 earned runs in those 20 innings for an ERA of 7.20. His season's ERA climbed to 4.13 Sunday. Toss out the first inning, and that number shrinks to 3.51.

Tampa manager Kevin Cash has used this strategy 27 times this season. The Rays have gone 12-15 in those games compared to 38-34 when Cash uses the traditional method. Part of his thinking is that a pitcher begins to lose his effectiveness the second and third time through the batting order. So spare his starting pitcher the task of facing the opponent's top of the order in the first inning, and increase his chances of getting guys out later in the game.

You can debate that approach, but you can't argue that Lopez has been just plain awful at the outset of a number of games he's pitched this season. Using Sunday as an example, after retiring Dee Gordon on his very first pitch, the next six hitters accounted for all five runs on two singles, two walks, a sacrifice fly and Ryon Healy's three-run bomb off the scoreboard in left field. When the carnage finally ended, Lopez had thrown a whopping 40 pitches.

Similar to other games, Lopez settled down and shut out the Mariners over the next four innings, although he got some help from some slipshod Seattle baserunning. Nevertheless, Lopez needed just 49 pitches the rest of the way to limit the Mariners, who eventually won the game 8-2.

After dropping two of three in Seattle over the weekend, the boys now are 34-64. Don't tell me there's risk involved by having Lopez enter a game in the second inning. Obviously too often something is awry when he trots out to start a game.

The good news over the three-game set was the outstanding performance of Lopez's mound-mate Dylan Covey, who pitched into the ninth inning on Saturday as the Sox shut out the Mariners 5-0.

This is why baseball can be a fascinating experience. Covey entered the game with five straight losses in which he pitched 20 innings, allowing 26 earned runs while walking 15. That's an 11.70 ERA, my friends. He was going against Seattle icon King Felix Hernandez, who admittedly is not the pitcher he was when he earned Cy Young honors in 2010 or as recently as 2015 when he won 18 games. But The King has spent his entire career as a Mariner, winning 168 games, and, after all, he was pitted against Dylan Freakin' Covey.

Covey was so dominant that Seattle's first hit didn't come until Gordon singled with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Covey came out for the ninth inning, retired the first hitter before Jean Segura singled to center - just Seattle's second and final hit - and Renteria summoned Joakim Soria to nail down the win. Leury Garcia's season-best catch to rob Mitch Haniger of a two-run homer added a little frosting to the cake.

Of course, the road trip commenced in Seattle - the Sox now open a four-game set tonight against the Angels in Anaheim before coming home to face Toronto - after the break earlier in the week for the annual All-Star Game, won by the American League, 8-6 in 10 innings.
That game featured a total of 10 home runs (five by each league), breaking the old mark of six set 47 years ago. The hitters didn't have complete dominance as there were 27 strikeouts in the game, representing 45 percent of the total of 60 outs. With nine bases on balls, slightly more than half (46) of the 90 plate appearances were decided solely between the pitcher, catcher and batter with absolutely no involvement from the other position players.

If you require any additional illustration of what the game has become, look no further than that.

I was thinking about Eddie Feigner and The King and His Court. From the 1940s until he had a stroke in 2000, Feigner toured every nook and cranny of the country playing thousands of softball exhibitions where he pitched to his catcher and employed only a shortstop and first baseman in case anyone hit the ball. Feigner's fastball was clocked at more than 100 mph from the mound just 45 feet from the batter. He had a rise ball, in and out balls, and he could change speeds if he felt like it. In one exhibition against major leaguers, he struck out Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Brooks Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Maury Wills and Harmon Killebrew.

Feigner was superhuman, but today's major leaguers strike out more than 22 percent of the time. By adding in walks, hit batters and home runs, you have almost 35 percent of plate appearances in which the defense is called upon to do virtually nothing.

The so-called Home Run Derby, or Glorified Batting Practice, plays in front of a full house the night before the All-Star Game and receives just as much hype as the game itself. And the fans love it. At least most of them do.

Why not have a contest of defensive skills? See which hitters are most accurate hitting behind the runner.

Or how about a contest to see which outfielder has the strongest and truest throwing arm?

Apparently it is far more intriguing, exciting, and - lest we forget - profitable to see players demolish a 60-mph lob into the far environs of a stadium. You'd have thought Bryce Harper had won the World Series instead of being crowned the best batting practice hitter of the year. The same Harper who's hitting .218 with some decent power numbers similar to what Adam Dunn did on the South Side for a few seasons. Please excuse me if I'm underwhelmed.

The game also is played on a Tuesday night while every other major sport has an All-Star weekend. According to Nielsen, half of baseball's fans are 55 and older, so the commissioner's office is doing things like limiting mound visits and eliminating pitches for intentional walks to shorten the games to appeal more favorably to younger fans. So consider that Tuesday's first pitch came at 8 p.m. on the East Coast, and the outcome wasn't decided until 11:30 when lots of kids are asleep.

No doubt because the owners don't want to give up weekend dates in July, you'll never see a change in scheduling for the All-Star Game. And you'll rarely see a 9-year-old in the eastern half of the country watching the best players on the planet striking out, walking and homering in the late innings of the Mid-Summer Classic.

Besides, they're still exhausted from the excitement of watching the World Cup the previous Sunday.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

The War On Kids

"Terrence was 16 when he and three other teens attempted to rob a barbeque restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. Though they left with no money and no one was injured, Terrence was sentenced to die in prison for his involvement in that crime." - Cara H. Drinan, The War on Kids

- via the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

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"Last [October], Texas executed Robert Pruett, who was already serving a 99-year sentence for murder when he was convicted of stabbing a correctional officer with a makeshift weapon," Drinan wrote then for USA Today.

"Pruett maintained to his death that he had not killed the officer, and there was no physical evidence connecting him to the crime. The state relied on inmate witnesses who allegedly received favorable deals in exchange for their testimony implicating Pruett. As irrational as it may seem, it is very difficult to mount a claim of actual innocence in the American appellate process, and we will likely never know whether Texas executed Pruett for a crime he did not commit.

"But we do know this: Robert Pruett did not belong in adult prison in the first place."

waronkids.jpg

From the publisher:

-> Authoritative and trenchant overview of how America's juvenile justice system has gone off of the rails.

-> Powerful exposé of the grim reality of children coming of age in prison.

-> Provides a reform blueprint for policymakers who are grappling with the many problems plaguing our juvenile justice system, from brutality to extreme sentencing to over-incarceration.

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SSRN: "The War On Kids reveals how the United States went from being a pioneer to an international pariah in its juvenile sentencing practices."

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Excerpt.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 AM | Permalink

The Bearable Lightness of Janus

In what is likely the least surprising landmark decision of the term, the U.S. Supreme Court has finally invalidated public sector union "fair share fees," or fees that all workers in a bargaining unit are required to pay to support the union's bargaining costs. Labor proponents and progressive commentators have wrung their hands over Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31 in varying degrees of despair, wondering whether the decision portends the death of public sector unions as we know them or instead just a substantial weakening of union influence.

Neither outcome is inevitable. As I explain more fully in a short whitepaper, state lawmakers in the largely progressive states where fair share fees were permitted before Janus have the power to enact a simple legislative fix that would undo Janus altogether. Indeed, the workaround would not only be revenue-neutral for unions and government employers, it would actually increase net take home pay for public sector workers - a significant section of the American middle class.

To explain, start with Janus itself and the fair share fee system it invalidated. Prior to Janus, public sector unions in more than 29 pro-labor states authorized public employers to agree to what are known as "fair share fee" or "agency fee" clauses. These clauses required every worker in a given bargaining unit to pay periodic fees to support the union's collective bargaining-related activities, which include things like contract negotiation, administering the contract, and grieving disputes with the employer. The rationale was that because state law obligates public sector unions to fairly represent every worker in the relevant bargaining unit, it is only fair to require every worker to share in its bargaining related costs. The clauses thus provided that workers who refuse to pay will be terminated as a result.

The Supreme Court upheld the fair share system in a seminal 1977 case called Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The Court recognized that although it burdens the First Amendment rights of objecting workers to force them to pay for bargaining-related speech by unions to which they are opposed, those burdens are worthwhile in view of the benefits that unions can confer on public sector labor relations, insofar as they give workers a voice through which to channel collective concerns. On the other hand, however, Abood recognized that there are some expenditures that unions engage in - such as overt political and ideological campaign contributions - that are not sufficiently related to the union's core bargaining duties to justify compelling contributions from objecting workers. So objecting workers could be forced to pay in support of bargaining-related activities but not political or ideological ones.

Janus holds that the distinction between bargaining-related and overt political expenses is illusory. The five-Justice majority concludes that both kinds of union activities are tantamount to political speech, and it is equally problematic to force an objecting worker to contribute financial support for either purpose. So the result is that unions cannot force objecting workers to pay for anything the union does.

As many commentators have already explained, this sets up a death spiral free rider problem for public sector unions. Because unions are obligated to represent all workers fairly, whether they join or pay fees or not, there is an enormous incentive for even ardent union supporters not to pay. After all, they'll get the benefits of a union-negotiated contract either way. And evidence from states that have eliminated fair share fees via right-to-work legislation - as well as internal surveys conducted by major unions themselves - suggests that anywhere from 20 percent to 70 percent of workers stop paying once they are given the chance to do so. Needless to say, any major institution that suddenly loses 20 percent to 70 percent of its funding is in for a major upheaval.

All of this sounds like a pretty big problem for organized labor. But it doesn't have to be. Progressive lawmakers can simply amend state labor law to permit public employers to do directly what they used to do indirectly. That is, rather than ensuring that unions have adequate resources by giving money to workers who are then forced to give the money over to a union, public employers can just give the same amount of money for the same basket of bargaining-related costs straight to the union.

Cutting the worker middle-person out of the equation would eliminate any First Amendment harm experienced by an objecting worker. Moreover, by receiving reimbursement for the identical set of bargaining-related activities as before, public sector unions will be no worse for the wear. And public employers can do this in a budget neutral fashion, too. Although they'll have a new outlay for the reimbursement payments to unions, they can offset that cost by an equivalent future wage or benefit reduction. Workers wouldn't lose money because the future wage or benefit reduction would come alongside an equivalent increase in take home pay since workers would no longer be forced to pay bargaining-related fees.

But it gets even better. Due to nuances in federal tax law (namely, the 2017 tax reform bill's elimination of the miscellaneous itemized tax deduction), workers would actually be better off financially under a direct reimbursement regime than a fair share regime. (Hat tip to Daniel Hemel and David Louk for first recognizing this two years ago). Because the direct reimbursement regime would result in workers receiving less taxable income (but the same real take home pay), the consequence is a meaningful reduction in federal tax owed. A single filer earning $50,000 a year would receive an effective tax cut of $200 under the reimbursement model; a similar working $60,000 would receive roughly $300 more. (For a more detailed explanation, see page four of this white paper).

I don't want to let off that there is no complexity involved with, or possible objection to, adopting a direct reimbursement fix to Janus. I consider the complexity in greater detail in this full-length draft article (complete with model legislation for blue states to consider), which explains how state lawmakers can draft carefully to ensure that the direct reimbursement model incorporates all of the procedures and important state court and administrative law precedents that were established under the pre-Janus fair share system. For reasons I explain more fully in the article, existing procedures and substantive law can help ensure that moving from a fair share to a direct reimbursement model will entail relatively modest switching costs.

As to objections, there is one dominant retort to direct reimbursement. A public sector union can't get its funding directly from the government, it is argued, because the union's whole purpose is advocate zealously against the government on behalf of workers. Or as the State of California argued in an amicus brief in Janus itself, unions simply cannot "be funded by the employer or the State and retain the credibility and independence needed to make the system work."

This argument - call it the union independence objection - has a great deal of superficial appeal. But once one scratches the surface, it's clear that concerns over union independence are easily and fully addressed through smart legislative drafting. Consider two alternatives:

* State X responds to Janus with a bill that permits public employers to reimburse unions for their bargaining-related costs directly. The bill provides that the amount of reimbursement shall be a subject of negotiation between the union and employer, alongside matters such as wages, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment.

* State Y responds to Janus with a bill that permits direct union reimbursement as well. Rather than leaving the amount of reimbursement up to negotiation, State Y's bill provides that employers shall be required to reimburse unions for all bargaining-related costs. Employers can contest whether certain costs are sufficiently related to bargaining by filing a challenge before the state Public Employment Relations Board, an independent body of labor law experts. Such suits are to be adjudicated using the same procedures and state law precedents that developed in response to identical challenges brought by objecting workers under the fair share system.

It should be clear that State X's bill will lead to union independence problems. When a public employer can retaliate against a union's demands for workers by cutting the union's finances, the union will face inherent pressure to soft-pedal its demands on behalf of workers.

State Y's bill obviates that concern. Because the bill would require public employers to reimburse unions for all bargaining-related costs, employers would lack the ability to engage in tit-for-tat retaliation to coerce unions into soft-pedaling their bargaining demands. To be sure, employers in State Y's system would have the ability to argue that a union has overstated its expenses by seeking reimbursement for political or ideological expenses. But public sector unions couldn't charge for those expenses under the fair share system, either. (And if they did, objecting workers could bring suit, just like the public employer). So the direct reimbursement system would be virtually indistinguishable from the fair share system that Janus has invalidated.

* * *

Some landmark Supreme Court decisions are incredibly weighty when it comes to their real-life impact. Think of the enormous tangible, social, and psychological advances that Obergefell brought about for a long-subordinated community. Or on the other side of the ledger, think of the pernicious effects that Citizens United has wrought for our democracy.

Seen in comparison, Janus has the potential to be incredibly . . . light. For if state lawmakers are able to enact it, the direct reimbursement alternative would make life perfectly bearable for organized labor after Janus. Indeed, for middle-class workers who would be wealthier under the reimbursement approach, the upshot of Janus may be even better than that.

Aaron Tang (@AaronTangLaw) is Acting-Professor of Law at the University of California-Davis School of Law. He is a graduate of Yale College and Stanford Law School and is a former law clerk to Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court of the United States.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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See also: Janus Apparently No Longer Loves His State Job, Hires On With Illinois Policy Institute.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 AM | Permalink

Pie: Putin's America

A president and his protege.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

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

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

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

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

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

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

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

* Pie's Brexit.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

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

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

* Jonathan Pie's Idiot's Guide To The U.S. Election.

* President Trump: How & Why.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! All The News Is Fake!

* Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! 2016 In Review.

* Inauguration Reporting.

* New Year: New Pie?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! A Gift To Trump?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Strong And Unstable.

* Pie & Brand: Hate, Anger, Violence & Carrying On.

* Socialism Strikes Back!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Carnage.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Papering Over Poverty.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Queen's Speech.

* Showdown: North Korea vs. Trump.

* Time For The Royal Scroungers To Earn Their Keep.

* Cricket vs. Brexit.

* The Real Jonathan Pie.

* A Hostile Environment.

* Jonathan Pie | Trump's America.

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

1. The Unanswered Question On The Mind Of Every Politically Inclined Person In Chicago: What's The Deal With Willie Wilson?

Seriously, that's the story I would assign if I had me a newsroom. Just like that. Don't try to dress it up around boring standby journalistic narratives. Just set out to answer the question. Because that guy ain't right.

2. Also From The Beachwood Assignment Desk: Take A Deeper Look At This.

What I want to know: How does that compare with repaving before 2011? What is the cost? What are the figures per capita, including per automobile, given the decrease in the city's population? Has the mayor repaved more streets in his two re-election years than in all his other years? Vet those figures! With nothing to compare them to, we have no idea if they are meaningful.

3. Get The Granite City Story Right.

With President Trumpski visiting a downstate steel mill today, keep this early July post from Rich Miller in mind:

* July 6, 2018 Tribune story entitled "The Illinois town where Trump's tariffs have provided jobs, and a sigh of relief" claims tariffs alone have reopened the steel mill . . .

But the first blast furnace now has been restarted and U.S. Steel is filling 800 jobs at the mill, a result of the steep tariffs that President Donald Trump announced on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year. The Trump administration has in recent months imposed tariffs on goods from Canada, Mexico and China and on Friday imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. That country responded by levying tariffs of its own on American-made goods.

Tariffs may very well have played a role. Yet there was not a single mention in the entire Tribune story of the Granite City plant's direct and crucial connection to the rebounding Texas oil industry.

P.S.: Gov. Bruce Rauner has made the political calculation that he ought not be seen with the president, though he didn't mind being seen with the vice president, who, after all, is one of the greatest leaders in American history.

Or maybe today is laundry day and the governor dare not risk being without his cowboy shirts the rest of the week.

4. The Real World vs. Trumpland.

vs.

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See also:

-> Boddiger, Splinter: As Expected, Trump And His Enablers Lie About Carter Page FISA Documents.

-> Okun, Politico: Carter Page Acknowledges Working As Informal Adviser To Russia.

-> Savage, Times: How A Trump Decision Revealed a G.O.P. Memo's Shaky Foundation.

And by "shaky foundation," the Times means "a purposeful foundation of lies designed to mislead the country in order to protect their president and maintain their grip on power with no care for the facts or the common decency to run a democracy."

5. On The Other Hand, Sometimes The New York Times Is Infuriating.

How the Times puts it:

"The rapper's relationship with the news media has not always been so cozy. In 2016, he threatened to stop working with MTV after the channel's news site posted a lukewarm review of his album Coloring Book and a show from its related tour. Mr. Corcoran told Spin at the time that he and Chance had 'agreed that the article was offensive' and brought their concerns to MTV, where a representative 'took ownership of the editorial misstep.'"

What really happened:

Chance The Rapper Pressured MTV Into Killing Critical Story.

6. Signature Move.

"When Michael D. Cohen needed $17 million to buy a Manhattan apartment building in 2015, he went to Signature Bank," the Times reports.

Signature had existed for less than two decades, and compared with some of its New York rivals, it was a small player occupying unglamorous niches.

Yet it was a natural place to go for Mr. Cohen, who was Donald J. Trump's personal lawyer. Years earlier, he had helped initiate a relationship between Signature and Mr. Trump, and the bank became an unlikely go-to lender for the future president and his extended family.

The bank lent money to Mr. Trump's Florida golf course. It lent money to Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law, and to Mr. Kushner's father, Charles. It provided Mr. Trump and his business with checking accounts. And Ivanka Trump sat on Signature's board of directors while the bank was lending to her father and her husband, Mr. Kushner.

Wait, what?

In September 2011, Signature named Ms. Trump, who was 29, to its board. She was paid $198,875 in 2012 in cash and stock.

Mr. Shay said Ms. Trump had been invited onto the nine-member board as part of an effort to recruit younger directors and to give it a second woman.

"She was an active, engaged board member," Mr. Shay said. "She read everything and asked questions if she didn't understand."

Giving seats on the board of a publicly traded company like Signature to people directly connected to large clients is generally frowned on.

Generally!

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It occurs to me: Ivanka made almost twice as much as a Signature director as Hillary Clinton did trading cattle futures!

7. Is Going On The Radio With John Kass Akin To Going On Alex Jones's Show At This Point?

8. How The Jesse Chavez Trade Looks From Texas.

9. Dear USA Today And Other Media Outlets: The Josh Hader Story Does Not "Show The Dangers Of Social Media," It Shows The Dangers Of Being A Racist Homophobe.

Unless your argument is to beware social media because it might reveal what a horrible person you are.

10. 16 Varieties Of Ritz Crackers Recalled.

BREAKING: Ritz Has More Than 15 Varieties Of Crackers!

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No, but seriously, don't eat the crackers.

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America ought to recall its crackers; it has more than 15 varieties and they are poisoning the country.

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I dunno, I tried a few varieties of that line, but didn't spend enough time to hone it into something really good - which maybe wasn't even possible. They can't all be winners, which is your lesson for the day.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Courtney Barnett, Melkbelly, Tame Impala, Lauryn Hill, Open Mike Eagle, Japanese Breakfast, Morbosidad, Japandroids, The War On Drugs, Saba, This Heat, Hollie Cook, Noname, Dram, Moses Sumney, Berhana, Chance The Rapper, Smokey Robinson, Usher, (Sandy) Alex G, Smino, Ravyn Lenae, Kelly Lee Owens, Kweku Collins, Paul Cherry, Chaka Khan, Fleet Foxes, and Boardinghouse Reach.

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Cash Advance?
A strategy for Reynaldo Lopez.

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The Bearable Lightness Of Janus
'[W]orkers would actually be better off financially under a direct reimbursement regime than the pre-Janus fair share regime.'

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Pie: Putin's America
A president and his protege.

pieputin.jpg

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The War On Kids
'An exposé of the grim reality of children coming of age in prison.'

waronkids.jpg

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ChicagoGram

Colombia Fest 🇨🇴

A post shared by Allison Grote Gerlach (@allisugerlach) on

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Window Washers Strike Rally.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Lowlights.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:02 AM | Permalink

July 21, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists and the historical record, there was no column on Friday.

1. "Several Illinois car title lobbyists declined to comment for this story, and none of the corporate offices returned WBEZ calls or e-mails," Natalie Moore reports.

Read/listen to her piece to find out why.

2. "Four years ago, Illinois passed the first in a series of discipline reforms meant to reduce student suspensions and expulsions from public schools," Kalyn Belsha reports for the Chicago Reporter.

"But the 2014 law hasn't had the outcomes legislators intended."

3. Redditor: Canadian Geese Are Ruining The New Lakeshore Path. I Was Taking It To Work Every Day Now It's Just Too Gross.

4. Janus Apparently No Longer Loves His State Job, Hires On With Illinois Policy Institute.

5. "Wishing for supporters of Donald Trump to find their hearts, their brains or their patriotism is a fool's errand. We are, as the president has said many times, 'a stupid country,' and every day of this presidency proves his point," Timothy Egan writes for the New York Times.

"I haven't always felt this way, and it pains me to say this. There's still a golden opportunity in November for the non-stupid majority to be heard. But it's time to abandon some of the stories we tell about ourselves as a people."

I've been sayin' . . .

6. Prosecutors Quietly Dropping Dozens Of Criminal Cases Tied To Two Indicted Chicago Cops.

And this isn't even about that other cop whose corruption is wreaking havoc in the courts . . .

7. Generation Wealth.

From the director of The Queen of Versailles, which I highly recommend.

8. A Fiery AIDS Activist Finally Gets His Due With Exhibitions Of His Art And Videos.

9. Maybe Rosewood Is His Sled.

10. People Can't Find The Stars They Paid To Name - And They're Calling Astronomers For Tech Support.

This outfit is out of Glenview. From Wikipedia:

"International Star Registry of Illinois started in 1979 by John and Phyllis Mosele. The company claims to have named about 2 million stars since its formation and published these names in a series of books. It has been organizing their business of naming stars for people for decades. The present owner of the company is Rocky Mosele, one of John and Phyllis Mosele's twelve children."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Roger Clyne, Anoushka Shankar, Smilin' Bobby, Whitney Rose, DinosaurJr., Purling Hiss, Heresiarch, Anders Osbourn, Panic! AtTheDisco, Belinda Carlisle, Disposable Teens, Rob Zombie, Eddie And The Arsons, Ice Box Band, and Better Days.

shankarweek.jpg

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Immigrant Infants Too Young To Talk Called Into Court To Defend Themselves
'One judge asked for a crying baby to be removed from the courtroom. She was informed the baby was the next respondent on the docket.'

This particular incident happened during the Obama administration, btw. And this video is from 2016:

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'Traveling While Black' Guidebooks Getting Renewed Attention
"In the summer of 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the state of Missouri . . . "

greenbook1.png

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Sinclair-Tribune Deal Really Dead?
It looks that way, even as FCC chair Ajit Pai remains under investigation. Perhaps that's why he killed it?

Either way, Tribune Media looking for a way forward . . .

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #210: Jabari Parker Already Grinding Coach Coffman's Gears
Someone get the young man some help. Plus: Viva La World Cup!; Rarity: Home Run Derby > All-Star Game; The Good/Bad News Cubs; White Sox Reportedly Still Playing; There Is A Thing Called The Chicago Pro Hockey League, And Jonathan Toews Is Playing In It; Coach Coffman Couldn't Be More Excited About Bears Training Camp!; and Schweinsteiger!

Now with repaired audio!

BRPodcastLogo.jpg

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Chicago, Chicago" / Jeannie Bennett

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Weekend BeachBook

Alt-Right Troll To Father Killer: The Unraveling Of Lane Davis.

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Bill Would Ensure All Wisconsinites Could Watch Packers Games.

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Pitchfork three years ago this weekend.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Just (don't) ask.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:55 AM | Permalink

July 20, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #210: Jabari Parker Already Grinding Coach Coffman's Gears

Someone get the young man some help. Plus: Viva La World Cup!; Rarity: Home Run Derby > All-Star Game; The Good/Bad News Cubs; White Sox Reportedly Still Playing; There Is A Thing Called The Chicago Pro Hockey League, And Jonathan Toews Is Playing In It; Coach Coffman Couldn't Be More Excited About Bears Training Camp!; and Schweinsteiger!


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SHOW NOTES

* 210.

:57: Viva La World Cup!

* European culture at its best.

* But please, no more flopping.

* France: Worthy Winners. But Here's What The Statistics Say About Who's Best In World Cup History.

15:07: Rarity: Home Run Derby > All-Star Game.

* But Schwarber's sore!

22:02: The Good News/Bad News Cubs.

* First-place Cubs still underperforming!

* Jesse Rogers: Acquisition Of Jesse Chavez May Just Be The Start For The Cubs.

* A message for Cleveland fans.

40:58: White Sox Reportedly Still Playing.

* Reportedly.

41:11: Jabari Parker Really Grinds Coach's Gears.

* Yahoo! Sports: Jabari Parker After Signing $40 Million Deal: 'They Don't Pay Players To Play Defense.'

50:05: There Is A Thing Called The Chicago Pro Hockey League, And Jonathan Toews Is Playing In It.

* Chicago Pro Hockey League.

* Tribune: At 30, Toews Rested And Ready To Move On From Lost Season.

54:15: Coach Coffman Couldn't Be More Excited About Bears Training Camp.

* Underreported: Roquan Smith Is Holding Out!

* I guess it's true: crony socialism kills incentive!

1:02:57: Schweinsteiger!

* Nada.

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STOPPAGE: 3:58

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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 1:45 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Roger Clyne at City Winery on Thursday night.


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2. Anoushka Shankar at Millennium Park on Thursday night.

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3. Smilin' Bobby at Phyllis' Musical Inn on Tuesday night.

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4. Whitney Rose at the Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square on Sunday.

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5. Dinosaur Jr. at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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6. Purling Hiss at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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7. Heresiarch at Livewire on Wednesday night.

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8. Anders Osbourn at SPACE in Evanston on Sunday night.

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9. Panic! At The Disco at the Chicago arena on Tuesday night.

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10. Belinda Carlisle at the Arcada on Wednesday night.

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11. Disposable Teens at the Tinley Park shed on Sunday night.

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12. Rob Zombie at the Tinley Park shed on Sunday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Eddie and the Arsons at Bottom Lounge on July 14th.

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Ice Box Band at Livewire on July 13th.

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Better Days at Cobra Lounge on July 14th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:43 PM | Permalink

'Traveling While Black' Guidebooks Getting Renewed Attention

In the summer of 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the state of Missouri.

Modeled after the international advisories issued by the U.S. State Department, the NAACP statement cautioned travelers of color about the "looming danger" of discrimination, harassment and violence at the hands of Missouri law enforcement, businesses and citizens.

The civil rights organization's action had been partly prompted by the state legislature's passage of what the NAACP called a "Jim Crow bill," which increased the burden of proof on those bringing lawsuits alleging racial or other forms of discrimination.

But they were also startled by a 2017 report from the Missouri attorney general's office showing that black drivers were stopped by police at a rate 85 percent higher than their white counterparts. The report also found that they were more likely to be searched and arrested.

When I first read about this news, I thought of the motoring guidebooks published for African-American travelers from the 1930s to the 1960s - a story I explore in my book from the University of Chicago Press, Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America.

Although they ceased publication some 50 years ago, the guidebooks are worth reflecting on in light of the fact that, for drivers of color, the road remains anything but open.

greenbook1.pngThe 1947 and 1956 editions of the Green Book/Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. Image on right: Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

The Half-Open Road

In American popular culture, movies (National Lampoon's Vacation), literature (On the Road), music ("Route 66") and advertising have long celebrated the open road. It's a symbol of freedom, a rite of passage, an economic conduit - all made possible by the car and the Interstate Highway System.

Yet this freedom - like other freedoms - has never been equally distributed.

While white drivers spoke, wrote and sang about the sense of excitement and escape they felt on automobile journeys through unfamiliar territories, African Americans were far more likely to dread such a journey. Especially in the South, whites' responses to black drivers could range from contemptuous to deadly.

For example, one African-American writer recalled in 1983 how, decades earlier, a South Carolina policemen had fined and threatened to jail her cousin for no reason other than the fact that she had been driving an expensive car.

In 1948, a mob in Lyons, Georgia, attacked an African-American motorist named Robert Mallard and murdered him in front of his wife and child.

That same year, a North Carolina gas station owner shot Otis Newsom after he had asked for service on his car.

Such incidents weren't confined to the South. Most of the thousands of "sundown towns" - municipalities that barred people of color after dark - were north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Of course, not all white people, police and business owners behaved cruelly toward travelers of color. But a black individual or family traveling the country by car would have had no way of knowing which towns and businesses were amenable to black patrons and visitors, and which posed a grave threat. The only certainties for African Americans on the road were anxiety and vulnerability.

'A Book Badly Needed'

"Would a Negro like to pursue a little happiness at a theatre, a beach, pool, hotel, restaurant, on a train, plane, or ship, a golf course, summer or winter resort?" the NAACP magazine The Crisis asked in 1947.

"Would he like to stop overnight in a tourist camp while he motors about his native land 'Seeing America First?' Well, just let him try!"

Despite the dangers, try they did. And they had help in the form of guidebooks that told them how to evade and thwart Jim Crow.

The Negro Motorist's Green Book, first published in 1936 by a New York letter carrier and travel agent named Victor Green, and Travelguide: Vacation and Recreation Without Humiliation, first published in 1947 by jazz bandleader Billy Butler, advised black travelers where they could eat, sleep, fill the gas tank, fix a flat tire and secure a myriad of other roadside services without fear of discrimination.

The guidebooks, which covered every state in the union, drew upon knowledge hard-won by pioneering black salesmen, athletes, clergy and entertainers, for whom long distance travel by car was a professional necessity.

greenbook2.pngPages from an original 1947 edition of the Green Book highlight businesses in Mississippi and Missouri/Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library

"It is," a Green Book subscriber wrote to Victor Green in 1938, "a book badly needed among our Race since the advance of the motor age."

Acknowledging the era's racial tensions and dangers of travel, the 1956 edition reminded drivers to "behave in a way to show we've been nicely bred and [were] taught good manners."

It pointed to certain states that would be more amenable to black travelers: "Visitors to New Mexico will find little if any racial friction there. The majority of the scores of motels across the State accepts guests on the basis of 'cash rather than color.'"

Yet even as they sought to ease the black traveler's passage through an America in which racial discrimination was the norm, the guidebooks, whose covers often featured well-heeled travelers of color with upscale automobiles and accessories, also asserted African-Americans' claims to full citizenship.

travelguide.jpgThe 1950 edition of Travelguide/Cotten Seiler, author provided

The guidebooks' images and text conveyed an attitude of indignation and resistance to the racist conditions that made them necessary.

"Travel Is Fatal to Prejudice," the cover of the 1949 edition of the Green Book announced, putting a spin on a famous Mark Twain quote.

In 1955, Travelguide declared, "The time is rapidly approaching when TRAVELGUIDE will cease to be a 'specialized' publication, but as long as racial prejudice exists, we will continue to cope with the news of a changing situation, working toward the day when all established directories will serve EVERYONE."

Is Racial Terror Really Over?

Travelguide and the Green Book did indeed shut down in the 1960s, when the civil rights movement sparked a profound transformation in racial law and custom across the country.

Today, copies can be found in research archives at Howard University, the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress. The guidebooks have been the focus of a growing body of print and digital scholarship. The University of South Carolina, for example, has built an interactive map that allows visitors to search for all of the businesses listed in the 1956 edition of the Green Book.

In popular culture, a play, a children's book and a forthcoming Hollywood film starring Mahershala Ali all center on these travel guides.

While the story of these books recall an era of prejudice many regard as bygone, there remains much work to be done.

The NAACP's decision to issue a travel advisory calls attention to the dangers that continue to be associated with "driving while black." The highly publicized recent deaths of Sandra Bland, Philando Castile and Tory Sanford are the starkest examples of what can happen to black drivers at the hands of police. Studies have shown that across the nation, police are still much more likely to stop and search drivers of color.

If guidebooks for drivers of color are unlikely to make a return, it is because the Internet now fulfills their role, not because the "great day" of racial equality the Green Book heralded 70 years ago has arrived.

Cotten Seiler is an associate professor of American Studies at Dickinson College. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:43 AM | Permalink

Immigrant Infants Too Young To Talk Called Into Court To Defend Themselves

The Trump administration has summoned at least 70 infants to immigration court for their own deportation proceedings since Oct. 1, according to Justice Department data provided to Kaiser Health News.

These are children who need frequent touching and bonding with a parent and naps every few hours, and some were of breastfeeding age, medical experts say. They're unable to speak and still learning when it's day versus night.

"For babies, the basics are really important. It's the holding, the proper feeding, proper nurturing," said Shadi Houshyar, who directs early childhood and child welfare initiatives at the advocacy group Families USA.

The number of infants under age 1 involved has been rising - up threefold from 24 infants in the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, and 46 infants the year before.

The Justice Department data show that a total of 1,500 "unaccompanied" children, from newborns to age 3, have been called in to immigration court since Oct. 1, 2015.

Roughly three-fourths of the children involved are represented by a lawyer and they have to make their case that they should stay in the United States.

Officials who review such deportation cases say most children under 1 cross the border with a parent and their deportation cases proceed together.

But some of the infants were deemed "unaccompanied" after law enforcement separated them from their parents during the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. The children were sent to facilities across the U.S. under the supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services.

"This is to some extent a . . . crisis of the creation of the government," said Robert Carey, who previously headed the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which takes custody of unaccompanied minors. "It's a tragic and ironic turn of events."

Younger children are also considered unaccompanied if they enter the United States with an older family member who is not yet 18. The data do not clarify which children arrived that way or which were separated from their parents.

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for further data about where the children are housed. They could be in a foster care home, in a group home, with a relative or sponsor, or reunited with a parent. HHS, which operates the refugee resettlement office, did not provide comment by publication time.

In previous statements, the government has argued that separation - and its consequences - are unfortunate but unavoidable under the law.

"There is a surefire way to avoid separation from your children. Present yourself legally . . . or stay back at your home country, and go through the process others do," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said on a media call earlier this month. "None of us want children separated from their parents. I want no children in our care and custody."

The number of unaccompanied children called in to court since Oct. 1, 2015, swells to 2,900 if kids up to five are included. The total will rise between now and Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends, noted Susan Long, a statistician at Syracuse University and director of TRAC, a repository of immigration and federal court data. There's also an ongoing backlog in entering the data.

In June, a district judge in San Diego ordered the government to reunify families within a month, specifically directing them to unite children younger than five with parents by July 10.

HHS reunited about half of those children by July 12 - 57 out of 103. Others, the government said, could not be placed with a parent, citing in some cases "serious criminal history" or parents currently being in jail.

In 12 cases, those children's parents had already been deported. In another, the government had failed to figure out where the child's parent was located, and in another, the parent had a "communicable disease," HHS said.

The Department of Homeland Security, which issues the court orders, also did not respond to a request for comment.

In the removal cases, children have no right to an appointed lawyer, but rather to a list of legal aid attorneys that the child's current caregiver can contact.

Young children rarely know the details of why they fled their home country, especially without a parent present, noted Eileen Blessinger, a Virginia-based immigration lawyer who has been aiding parents she was connected with through advocates on the Texas-Mexico border.

"Think about it as a parent. You're not going to tell your child they might be killed, right?" she said. "A lot of the kids don't know."

Immigration court, which is an administrative unit of the Department of Justice, is different from typical courts. It handles "respondents" who may be too young to speak, but has no social workers or legal remedies focused on the best interest of a child.

Lenni Benson, a New York Law School professor and founder of the Safe Passage Project, which provides legal services to migrant youth, said she was recently at a large family detention center in Dilley talking to families. She said it's rare for the families fleeing violence in Central America to bring infants, given the dangers of the journey, which include risks of abduction and a lack of clean water.

"There are people who do that because they are terrified for their child" in the home country, she said.

Benson recounted being in immigration court in 2014 when a judge asked for a crying baby to be removed from the courtroom. She said she paused to inform the judge that the baby was the next respondent on the docket - and asked that the child's grandmother stand in.

The stakes for the babies, and any migrant fleeing violence, are high, said Paul Wickham Schmidt, a former immigration judge who retired in 2016 after 13 years on the bench in Arlington, Va.

"Final orders of deportation have consequences," he said. "For something that has a very serious result, this system has been described as death penalty cases in traffic court."

Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges and a judge specializing in juvenile cases in Los Angeles, acknowledged that the Trump administration narrowed a directive on how much judges can assist juveniles in court. Still, she said, judges do their best to ensure that young children get a fair hearing.

Justice Department data shows that asylum denials are at a nearly 10-year high at 42 percent, and the AP reported that the administration has raised the bar for making a successful case.

At the same time, children can be strapped for resources, Blessinger said.

She described one client whose 7-year-old daughter received legal support from a New York-based charity. Even in that case, she said, the organization acted simply as a "friend of the court" - rather than a full-fledged attorney - requesting delays in proceedings until the child and mother could be reunited. That finally happened Tuesday night, she said.

"It's the saddest experience. These people are not going to be recovering anytime soon," she said. "The parents are crying even after they're reunited."

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. KHN's coverage of children's health care issues is supported in part by a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation. This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

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Previously on the Beachwood:

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

* Illinois Immigrant, Labor, Legal Leaders Condemn ICE Raids.

* Chicago Activists Tell Undocumented Immigrants Not To Open Their Doors.

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

* U.S. Government Deporting Central American Migrants To Their Deaths.

* Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

* Immigrants Arrested In U.S. Raids Say They Were Misled On Right To Counsel.

* Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families.

* Immigrants Deported Under Obama Share Stories Of Terror And Rights Violations.

* Chicago Family Sues ICE & City Over Raid, Gang Database.

* Immigrants In Detention Centers Are Often Hundreds Of Miles From Legal Help.

* Chicago And The Deportation Machine.

* Immigration Sins Of The Past And The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Law And Farce: The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Jennings v. Rodriguez And The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Forced Separation Of Families & Forced To-Term Pregnancies.

* Here's A List Of Organizations That Are Mobilizing To Help Immigrant Children Separated From Their Families.

* Separated Migrant Children Are Headed Toward Shelters With A History Of Abuse And Neglect.

* The Shelter For Immigrant Children That Melania Trump Visited Has A History Of Violations.

* U.S. Turned Away Thousands Of Haitian Asylum-Seekers And Detained Hundreds More In Horrific Conditions In The '90s.

* Brazilian Asylum Seeker Released After 11 Months In Detention; Grandson Had Been Held In Chicago.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:44 AM | Permalink

Sinclair-Tribune Deal On Life Support

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday issued its Hearing Designation Order (HDO) related to the Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed merger with Tribune Media.

The HDO, which sends Sinclair's proposed divestiture plan to a judge for an administrative review hearing, is often the FCC's first step toward denying a deal. The Communications Act requires the agency to give merger applicants a shot to make their case or abandon a proposed deal before the FCC moves to withhold approval.

As originally proposed, the Sinclair-Tribune deal would have given the broadcast giant control of more than 233 local TV stations reaching 72 percent of the country's population, far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership.

In the HDO, the FCC challenges Sinclair's proposed divestiture plan in which control of several stations would be transferred to shell companies set up by the broadcaster.

"The record raises significant questions as to whether those proposed divestitures were in fact 'sham' transactions," the HDO reads.

The FCC also suggests that Sinclair has "attempted to skirt the Commission's broadcast ownership rules" to complete the merger.

The FCC also notes a "potential element of misrepresentation or lack of candor" in Sinclair's proposals and raises questions as to whether the deal is in the public interest.

"Sinclair's merger plans are all but dead," says Free Press Deputy Director and Senior Counsel Jessica J. González. "The FCC isn't biting on Sinclair's latest attempt to make its takeover of Tribune more palatable. This company has been misleading the FCC for years with front groups and shady arrangements to control local TV stations, undercut competition and evade FCC rules.

"The agency's order makes it clear that Sinclair's hopes of success are in deep trouble, with Republican and Democratic commissioners uniting to raise serious questions about the deal. We thank Chairman Pai and all of the FCC commissioners for holding Sinclair accountable. Commissioner Rosenworcel deserves particular praise for questioning this deal from day one.

"The FCC's order strongly suggests that Sinclair lied to the agency. If the judge in fact finds that Sinclair attempted to deceive the FCC, it could be grounds for the Commission to revoke all of Sinclair's licenses, not just the ones pertaining to this merger. Under the law, lack of candor suggests Sinclair is unfit to hold any broadcast licenses.

"Sinclair's shell-company scheme led the FCC to question the proposed merger, as it should. Free Press has repeatedly called Sinclair's bluff about this highly suspicious practice. It's encouraging that the FCC is acknowledging the facts and listening to the thousands of people who have spoken out against the deal.

"The commissioners' unanimous support for a hearing makes it clear that Sinclair's 11th-hour attempt to fix the deal won't improve the prospects for this ill-conceived merger. The broadcaster has a well-documented history of lying to the FCC. Approving any license transfers to such a disgraceful entity would harm the public interest.

"The FCC's conclusion that these spinoffs to shell companies would be sham divestitures is exactly right. But Sinclair uses identical sham arrangements in dozens of markets. We call on the FCC to review those and all other such shady ownership deals."

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See also:

* New York Times: As Momentum For Sinclair Deal Stalls, Tribune Considers Options.

* Politico: Rival Networks See Boost From Sinclair Deal's Likely Demise.

"For months, Sinclair has been laying the groundwork to launch a block of conservative TV programming, likely on WGN America, a Tribune cable network. "

* CNN Money: Rupert Murdoch's Summer Of Good Fortune.

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Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

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

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

* Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country.

* Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy.

* The Sinclair Sham.

* Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover.

* Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger.

* Sinclair Makes Last Ditch Effort To Salvage Tribune Merger. Will FCC Bite?

-

See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To Fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

July 19, 2018

ICEE vs. ICE

ICEE: Delicious fountain drink.
ICE: Puts kids in cages.

ICEE: Adorable bear mascot.
ICE: Puts kids in cages.

ICEE: A variety of tasty flavors.
ICE: Puts kids in cages.

ICEE: At your local convenience store.
ICE: Puts kids in cages.

ICEE: A family treat.
ICE: Puts kids in cages.

ICEE: Makes kids squeal.
ICE: Makes kids squeal.

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Bonus entry:

ICEE: At selected Walgreens stores.
ICE: In former Walmarts.

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Previously from the Vs. Affairs Desk:

* Sweet Home Alabama vs. Sweet Home Chicago

* The Kennedy Curse vs. The Cubs Curse

* Oprah vs. Obama

* Lincoln vs. Obama

* The Ryder Cup vs. NATO

* Chicago 2016 vs. Baghdad 2016

* Tank vs. Troutman

* James Brown vs. Gerald Ford

* Hester vs. Hastert

* Cubs vs. Hawks

* Quinn vs. Quade

* Alexi vs. Everyday People

* BP vs. Big Z

* McCain vs. McRib

* Subway vs. McDonald's

* IPRA vs. Oprah

* Marlon Byrd vs. Robert Byrd

* Lilo vs. Blago

* Rahm vs. Rob

* Chicago vs. Wisconsin.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:43 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election. The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation," the New York Times reports.

"Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed. The shifting narrative underscores the degree to which Mr. Trump regularly picks and chooses intelligence to suit his political purposes."

*

"It has been one of the lingering mysteries of the 2016 campaign: Why did the FBI wait until 11 days before the election to announce a new batch of Hillary Clinton's e-mails in an 'October surprise' that might have tilted the election to Donald Trump?" the Intercept reports.

"Top FBI officials had learned weeks earlier that the laptop of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner appeared to hold a huge cache of Clinton's e-mails, yet they didn't do anything about it until the eve of the election - a baffling delay that Clinton and her supporters, to this day, claim cost her the election.

"For the first time, a full accounting of the game-changing episode has emerged. Deep in the 568-page report released last month by the Justice Department Inspector General on the FBI and the 2016 campaign lies a series of explanations from senior FBI officials - excuses, in the view of the Inspector General - for the damaging delay and inaction.

"The most startling explanation from the FBI: It was all about Russia, or more precisely, the bureau's urgent and then-secret investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia that fall. At least three senior FBI officials suggested in interviews with the Inspector General that the bureau was so overwhelmed that fall with frantically investigating the suspected Trump-Russia ties that the new Clinton e-mails simply took a backseat. Ironically, the urgency of chasing Trump's possible ties to the Kremlin may have helped topple his opponent."

*

"The Obama administration had a great deal of internal debate in real time in 2016 about how to respond - whether they should do so publicly or privately. Ultimately, President Obama did so privately with the Russian president Vladimir Putin. He took him aside at an international summit and said, please stop interfering in our election - to no effect," NPR reports.

"And the Obama administration also tried to ask leaders in Congress of both parties to sign a statement condemning these foreign efforts. The Democratic leaders agreed to do so. The Republican speaker, Paul Ryan, apparently thought that he could get there, but the majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, did not agree to do that. And so, ultimately, there was no public statement until October of 2016, by which time, with the view of history, it may have been too late to do anything about it."

*

"After his much-publicized two-and-a-quarter-hour meeting early this month with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Germany, President Trump chatted informally with the Russian leader for up to an additional hour later the same day," the Washington Post reports.

"The second meeting, undisclosed at the time, took place at a dinner for G-20 leaders, a senior administration official said. At some point during the meal, Trump left his own seat to occupy a chair next to Putin. Trump approached alone, and Putin was attended only by his official interpreter."

*

"John Brennan, the former director of the CIA, on Monday asked what President Donald Trump was 'hiding' by meeting alone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland," Business Insider reports.

"Trump sat with Putin alone with only translators for roughly two hours on Monday."

*

"Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday defeated an attempt by panel Democrats to subpoena the interpreter who worked for President Donald Trump during his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin," Politico reports.

*

"Nearly 80 percent of Republicans approve of President Trump's performance during his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll found," the Hill reports.

*

Trump Derangement Syndrome certainly exists, but it's not what John Kass thinks it is.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

ICEE vs. ICE
Compare and contrast.

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 9.26.10 AM.png

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ChicagoGram

#MommaSaidYouCantBoutHereGrabbingPussies @CardiB #Impeach

A post shared by Joël Maximé, Jr. (@cravechicago) on

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ChicagoTube

The Private Life Of Chicago Artist Bryant Giles.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

I never understood why Chance got such a free pass on this. Then again, I've always understood why Chance got a free pass on this.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Interpretive.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 AM | Permalink

July 18, 2018

Court Vacates Injunction Against Publishing The Law

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that industry groups cannot control publication of binding laws and standards.

This decision protects the work of Public.Resource.org, a nonprofit organization that works to improve access to government documents. PRO is represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; the law firm of Fenwick & West; and attorney David Halperin.

Six large industry groups that work on building and product safety, energy efficiency, and educational testing filed suit against PRO in 2013.

These groups publish thousands of standards that are developed by industry and government employees.

Some of those standards are incorporated into federal and state regulations, becoming binding law.

As part of helping the public access the law, PRO posts those binding standards on its website.

The industry groups, known as standards development organizations, accused PRO of copyright and trademark infringement for posting those standards online.

In effect, they claimed the right to decide who can copy, share, and speak the law.

The federal district court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the standards organizations in 2017, and ordered PRO not to post the standards.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed that decision, ruling that the district court did not properly consider copyright's fair use doctrine.

It rejected the injunction and sent the case back to district court for further consideration of the fair use factors at play.

"[I]n many cases," wrote the court, "it may be fair use for PRO to reproduce part or all of a technical standard in order to inform the public about the law."

"Our mission at PRO is to give citizens access to the laws that govern our society," said PRO founder Carl Malamud. "We can't let private industry control how we access, share, and speak the law. I'm grateful that the court recognized the importance of fair use to our archive."

This is an important ruling for the common-sense rights of all people. As Judge Gregory Katsas wrote in his concurrence, the demands of the industry groups for exclusive control of the law "cannot be right: access to the law cannot be conditioned on the consent of a private party."

Based on today's unanimous ruling, EFF is confident we can demonstrate that Public Resource's posting of these standards is protected fair use.

"Imagine a world where big companies can charge you to know the rules and regulations you must follow," said EFF legal director Corynne McSherry. "The law belongs to all of us. We all have a right to read, understand and share it."

More background here.

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Show Me The Manual!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:16 PM | Permalink

Pilcher Park Now A Dedicated Nature Preserve

A large and diverse forest complex near Joliet, known as Pilcher Park, was dedicated as a nature preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission in May.

The dedication culminates a nearly four-year effort by the Illinois Audubon Society, Joliet Park District, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, and Illinois Nature Preserves Commission to expand and protect one of Northeastern Illinois' premier woodlands.

The dedication protects in perpetuity 293 acres as nature preserve and an additional 110 acres as a land and water reserve at the site. The park is owned and managed by the Joliet Park District and features outstanding spring wildflower displays and old-growth trees.

"More than 270 native plant species have been documented within Pilcher Park, and at least 11 species of birds with moderate to high sensitivity to habitat fragmentation breed on site," said Rita Renwick of the Will County Audubon Society. "The successful completion of this project was the result of a government-private partnership project that lasted several years and was aided by a private foundation."

In September 2014, the Illinois Audubon Society applied for a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to purchase 80 acres of privately owned property adjacent to the park's north boundary, with the intention of transferring the property to the Joliet Park District in the future.

Achieving permanent protection for the high quality resources at the site was a condition of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation funding. The property transfer between the Society and the Park District was completed in August 2017 and expanded the park to 403 total acres in size.

Dennis O'Brien, executive director of Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, notes that several factors contributed to the success of this project including the expertise provided by the Illinois Audubon Society's former director, Tom Clay, and local Will County Audubon Society Volunteers; a commitment by the Joliet Park District to permanently protect habitat; and guidance from the knowledgeable staff of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

"The foundation is pleased to have helped make the permanent protection of Pilcher Park a reality," said O'Brien.

Pilcher Park is a well-established urban natural area, with miles of hiking trails and roads, outdoor recreation and a nature center with many park district-sponsored activities and education programs.

Allowable uses on designated trails throughout both the nature preserve and land and water reserve include hiking, nature observation, bicycling, cross-country skiing and walking leashed dogs.

"Tthese uses support the mission of the Joliet Park District by engaging children and adults with nature, and are compatible with the long-term preservation of Pilcher Park," said Kim Roman, a field representative with the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. "Future management and stewardship of this park will promote the high-quality natural communities and resources of statewide significance."

Katie Zaban, the superintendent of the Pilcher Park Nature Center, noted that "Pilcher Park was conveyed to the City of Joliet in 1920 by Robert and Nora Pilcher, with the stipulation that it be left in its 'wild and natural state. The inclusion of this site in the Illinois Nature Preserves System formalizes that wish and is a fitting tribute to the Pilchers."

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The mission of the Illinois Audubon Society is to promote the perpetuation and appreciation of native plants and animals and the habitats that support them. The society is an independent, member-supported, statewide, nonprofit organization. Founded in 1897, the society is Illinois' oldest private conservation organization with 2,200 members, 17 chapters and 19 affiliate groups. The Illinois Audubon Society has now protected more than 5,000 acres by investing $12 million to protect land and water throughout Illinois.

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See also:

* Pilcher Park on Facebook.

* Pilcher Park on Twitter.

* Pilcher Park on Instagram.

* Pilcher Park on Pinterest.

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Pilcher Park video:

1. "Family trip to Pilcher Park. Spent the morning inside the green house playing by the water fountain."

*

2. The Pilcher Park Dam.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 PM | Permalink

France: Worthy Winners. But Here's What The Statistics Say About Who's Best In World Cup History

France has been crowned football champions of the world, after beating Croatia 4-2 in a thrilling World Cup final. Les Bleus timed their run to perfection, having been unconvincing in the group stage, with narrow wins over Australia and Peru and a draw with Denmark, but stepping it up in the knockout stages, sweeping aside Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium and Croatia to lift the trophy.

France's success was all the more impressive given that they battled through what was widely considered to be the much tougher half of the draw. But how did their route to victory compare to previous World Cup winners?

We can compare France 2018 to every other World Cup winner using a "tournament performance rating" (TPR), based on the Elo rating system which is commonly used in a number of sports and games.

The Elo system was devised by Hungarian physicist Arpad Elo for ranking chess players. The system was adopted by the world chess federation FIDE in 1970 and has since been adopted by a number of other sports, including soccer.

The FIFA Women's World Rankings are based on an Elo system, and the men's rankings will also move to an Elo system in August.

This ranking system adds points for every victory and subtracts points for every defeat based on the relative strengths of the opponents. Teams gain more points for beating a higher-rated opponent than they do for beating a lower-ranked side.

TPR can be used to evaluate how well a player or team performed during a particular event. The rating is based on the following simple formula: TPR = average opponent rating + result adjustment.

The average opponent rating is as simple as it sounds - you add up the pre-tournament Elo ratings of all the opponents you faced during the tournament and divide by the number of games played.

The result adjustment is a value which is added or subtracted depending on the team's results during the competition. A team which wins every game will receive the maximum adjustment of 800 points while a team which loses every game would be deducted 800 points. A team which wins as many games as it loses has an adjustment of zero. The adjustments are based on the same mathematical formula which is used to calculate the Elo ratings. For more information, see Section 8 here.

We can therefore calculate France's 2018 World Cup TPR as follows. During the tournament the team faced Australia (rating 1742), Peru (1915), Denmark (1856), Argentina (1985), Uruguay (1893), Belgium (1939) and Croatia (1853), giving an average opponent rating of 1883. During the tournament, France won six matches and drew one (against Denmark in the group stage), which corresponds to a score of 6.5/7 - or 93%. Using the Elo formula, this corresponds to a result adjustment of 422 points. Therefore France's 2018 World Cup TPR was 1883 + 422 = 2305.

Best Team Ever

This calculation can then be repeated for every team at each of the 21 World Cup tournaments which have been held to date, allowing us to directly compare performances across different tournaments. Note that matches which went to a penalty shootout were counted as draws.

In order to reward teams who progressed through the tournament, each team's performance was based on the maximum number of matches which they could have played. For example, Germany was knocked out in the group stage in 2018, having picked up one win and two defeats. They were given a score of 1/7 rather than 1/3, since they could have played seven matches had they progressed to the final.

The table below shows the top 20 best performances in World Cup history. The list is unsurprisingly topped by the legendary Brazil 1970 side featuring Pele, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto.

Brazil also occupy second place with their 2002 side featuring the three Rs: Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

This year's French team sits in sixth place, six positions better off than their 1998 side, due to facing more difficult opponents. England's 1966 side find themselves in the ninth spot, partly due to having drawn with Uruguay in their opening game of the tournament.

The highest-ranked non-winners are Poland's 1974 side, who were unfortunate to miss out on the final after finishing runners-up to Germany in the second group stage. The Poles actually obtained a higher performance rating than Germany, having faced higher-rated opponents in the first round, when they won a group containing Italy and Argentina. The worst ranked winners were Germany's 1990 side, who are 28th on the list with a TPR of 2134.



Top 20 tournament performance ratings in World Cup history. *Did not win tournament.

Similar to the video assistant referee (VAR) system introduced at this World Cup, the tournament performance rating is not without its flaws, and is unlikely to ever fully settle any pub debates. But it provides a fairly simple method of comparing teams across different World Cups based on their results and the difficulty of their matches. In the aftermath of the final, France are widely regarded as deserving winners who compared favorably to previous world champions - and the numbers seem to agree.

Craig Anderson is a lecturer in statistics at the University of Glasgow. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 PM | Permalink

Sinclair Makes Last Ditch Effort To Salvage Tribune Merger. Will FCC Bite?

The Sinclair Broadcast Group floated a plan Wednesday to divest two Texas television stations in an attempt to salvage its proposed merger with Tribune Media, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai designated for an administrative-law hearing on Monday due to "serious concerns" about the transaction.

Pai's Monday statement suggests that the divestitures Sinclair had previously proposed would be sent to a hearing because, in the chairman's words, the "evidence we've received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law."

"Sinclair's latest minor makeover of its mega-merger with Tribune doesn't look any better for the American public," said Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron. "This company has been misleading the FCC for years with front groups and shady arrangements to control local TV stations, undercut competition and evade FCC rules.

"Chairman Ajit Pai did the right thing on Monday when he put the brakes on this deal. He has the bipartisan support of his colleagues, and should release the order he circulated now that he has enough votes to adopt it.

"The FCC also has the backing of hundreds of thousands of people who have written the agency to protest the merger. Some paper-shuffling from Sinclair is no reason to change course. Stopping this merger is the right thing to do.

"The shell-company spinoffs in this deal are reportedly what led the FCC to send the proposed merger to an administrative-law judge. Sinclair has dozens of identical shell operations in numerous markets around the country. If the new ones were improper, so are all the existing ones. Sinclair is in violation of the FCC's rules, and no amending this application can fix that."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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See also:

* Bloomberg: Sinclair Rout Deepens After Offer To Revise Sales Of TV Stations.

* Radio + Television Business Report: Ripley's Believe It Or Not: Sinclair 'Amends' Tribune Deal Again.

* Law360: FCC's Sinclair-Tribune Protest Preempted DOJ Approval.

-

Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

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

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

* Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country.

* Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy.

* The Sinclair Sham.

* Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover.

* Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger.

-

See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To Fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:10 AM | Permalink

More Than 100 Accordionists Coming To Lisle

World-acclaimed accordion artists will perform at the 78th Annual Accordion Festival hosted by the Accordionists & Teachers Guild on July 25-28 at the Hyatt Regency Lisle near Chicago. Altogether, more than 100 accordionists will attend the festival to celebrate the accordion.

Festival events, including concerts, competitions, workshops and exhibits, are open to the public. Single-day passes are available for $20. Evening concert tickets are $15. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Concerts will be held in the Arbor Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Lisle.

"We are delighted to share the beauty and wonder of the accordion with the public at our 78th Annual Accordion Festival. More than 100 accordion artists will perform at the festival, sharing a wide range of music, including classical, jazz, contemporary, and pop," said Joseph Natoli, president of the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International.

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Headlining the evening concerts are world-acclaimed accordionists:

Matthias Matzke: Hailing from Germany, Matzke is an international award-winning acoustic and digital accordion artist. Joining him is soprano Leonie Kratz, also of Germany. Both are laureates of the Franz Liszt Foundation of the University of Music in Weimar, Germany. Matzke will perform both Thursday and Friday night concerts at 7:30.

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Cory Pesaturo: From the United States, Pesaturo ("C-Pez") is a world-champion accordion artist and the only person to win the digital, acoustic and jazz categories. He also created his own skinned accordion that includes a symmetric midi lighting system attached to the keys so it lights up when he plays, as well as an electric accordion. Pesaturo will perform Friday and Saturday night concerts at 7:30.

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Petar Maric: From Serbia (Belgrade), also studied in Paris with famed instructors Frederic Deschamps and professor Franck Angelis, one of the most famous and influential composers and professors in the accordion world. Maric is currently completing his education in Slovakia (Bratislava) under eminent professor Tibor Racz. Maric has won multiple international accordion competitions with both acoustic and digital accordion instruments.

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Mike Alongi: A Chicago jazz accordion artist who has played with greats including Patti LuPone and Doc Severinsen, Alongi has also played with many symphonies, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Illinois Philharmonic Symphony. Alongi will perform on the Saturday night concert at 7:30 p.m.

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Stas Venglevski: Originally from Moldova, Russia and currently residing in Wisconsin, Venglesvski is a Bayan accordion artist, whose artistry and dazzling technical demand have helped him win many awards, including twice winning the Bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova. Venglevski will perform on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

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Donna Dee and Dennis Ray: This United States-based, husband-and-wife duo combine her award-winning accordion artistry with the sounds of his folksy banjo and guitar. The duo performed with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians at the start of their careers. They will perform Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.

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Mixed Ensemble: Serving as maestro is the acclaimed Seattle accordionist Murl Allen Sanders, who performed with Chuck Berry, Etta James, and the Orchestra Seattle among others. This year's Mixed Ensemble will feature high school musicians playing various instruments along with accordionists. The ensemble will perform Saturday at 2 p.m.

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The ATG Festival Accordion Orchestra: Under the direction of Joan Cochran Sommers, this year's orchestra will feature more than 50 accordionists performing a variety of music, especially selections from West Side Story in honor of Leonard Bernstein's 100 birthday year.

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Daytime Schedules - Open to the Public - Tickets are $20 per day:

A buffet lunch is available daily from noon - 1 p.m. with entertainment for $25.

* Thursday, July 26, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. - Competitions, Workshops, Concerts

* Friday, July 27, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. - Competitions, Workshops, Concerts

* Saturday, July 28, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. - Workshops, Awards Ceremony, Concerts

Concert Schedule - Open to the Public - $15 per ticket:

Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.:

Peter Maric
Matthias Matzke & Leonie Kratz
Donna Dee & Dennis Ray

Friday, July 27, 7:30 p.m.:

Stas Venglevski
Cory Pesaturo
Matthias Matzke

Saturday, July 22, 7:30 p.m.:

Festival Orchestra
President's Quartette - Featuring Joe Natoli, Amy Jo Sawyer, Kenn Baert, Murl Sanders
Mike Alongi Jazz Trio

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NOTE: Some links and all embeds added by Beachwood.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:24 AM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of those who have worn Cubbie blue.

1. Bill Mueller.

Mueller lost his job as the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach in the purge of manager Mike Matheny and staff. Mueller hit .295 with a .403 OBP for the Cubs in 2001 and .266/.355 in 2002. He served as the Cubs' hitting coach under Rick Renteria in 2014, then resigned after the season when the team fired his assistant, Mike Brumley. He was then picked up by the Cardinals.

2. Scott Servais.

The former Cubs catcher is in his third season managing the Mariners, and has them at a surprising 58-39 so far this season - good for just second in the AL West thanks to the Astros (64-35). Servais worked 3 1/2 solid seasons on the North Side.

3. Sean Marshall.

Marshall came up through the Cubs system as a starter, but ended his career here as a strong set-up man in the 'pen. In one of their early moves, Theo & Co. traded Marshall to the Reds for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes.

4. Chris Archer.

Perennial subject of trade rumors - including back to the Cubs where he once was a prized prospect - Archer is 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA (3.79 FIP) this season (he was activated from the 10-day DL earlier this month). In 2011, the Cubs sent Archer, Sam Fuld, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos and Hak-Ju Lee to the Rays for Matt Garza, Fernando Perez and Zac Rosscup. Given all the players involved, the trade rippled for years in subsequent transactions; here's one analysis.

5. Adam Warren.

Warren is having his best season yet in the Yankees' bullpen, notching a 1.85 ERA. That's the Warren the Cubs thought they were getting for the 2016 season when they acquired him and PTBNL Brendan Ryan from New York for Starlin Castro. Warren had a difficult time adjusting to Joe Maddon's mix-and-match style, preferring instead Joe Girardi's more rigid approach to bullpen roles, and pitched so badly here he was sent to Triple-A after posting a 5.91 ERA in 29 appearances. He was traded back to the Yankees mid-season along with Billy McKinney, Gleyber Torres and Rashad Crawford for Aroldis Chapman - and he went back to being good again.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:54 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

I've been away from the news all day and it's 4:33 p.m. as I write this, so I'm just gonna get started on the top of tomorrow's column. See you then!

Meanwhile . . .

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New on the Beachwood . . .

More Than 100 Accordionists Coming To Lisle
The beauty and wonder.

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Sinclair Makes Last Ditch Effort To Salvage Tribune Merger. Will FCC Bite?
Is the fix in? Or is the deal dead?

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Jeff Bezos Just Became The Richest Person Ever. Amazon Workers Just Marked #PrimeDay With Strikes Against Low Pay And Brutal Conditions.
Strikes against Amazon's notoriously appalling working conditions - which include forcing warehouse employees to skip bathroom breaks and urinate in bottles to meet the company's unrealistic performance expectations - come as Bezos is coming under growing pressure to address his treatment of employees.

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France: Worthy Winners. But Here's What The Statistics Say About Who's Best In World Cup History
How they stack up.

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Court Vacates Injunction Against Publishing The Law
Industry groups want to control access to legal rules and regulations.

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Pilcher Park Now A Dedicated Nature Preserve
Outstanding spring wildflowers displays, old-growth trees, awesome birds, a kick-ass greenhouse and a cool-ass dam.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Amazing Michael Jackson Impersonator Aboard A Sunset Cruise In Chicago.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

But local journalism!

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Hellfinki.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

Jeff Bezos Just Became The Richest Person Ever. Amazon Workers Just Marked #PrimeDay With Strikes Against Low Pay And Brutal Conditions.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has just become the richest man in recorded history - surpassing $150 billion in net worth - thanks to his business model of subjecting employees to low wages, brutal working conditions, and scant benefits. On Tuesday, Amazon workers throughout Europe marked "Prime Day" by walking off the job in massive numbers to call attention to their plight.

In addition to walkouts by an estimated 80 percent of the workers at Amazon's largest distribution center in Spain - nearly 1,800 workers - employees of the retailer also launched strikes in Germany, France, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom to demand higher wages and denounce Amazon's union-busting efforts.

"The message is clear: While the online giant gets rich, it is saving money on the health of its workers," Stefanie Nutzenberger, spokesperson for the German services union Verdi, said in a statement.

Strikes against Amazon's notoriously appalling working conditions - which include forcing warehouse employees to skip bathroom breaks and urinate in bottles to meet the company's unrealistic performance expectations - come as Bezos is coming under growing pressure to address his treatment of employees.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) pointed out in his "CEOs vs. Workers" town hall Monday night - which Bezos declined to attend - the Amazon chief earns around $275 million each day while refusing to pay all of his workers enough to get by without food stamps.

Seth King, a former Amazon employee who participated in the town hall, described Amazon's business model as "a revolving door of bodies" and said workers are "not allowed to sit down" or "talk to other people" on the job.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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See also:

* Crain's: Chicago Wants Your HQ2, Amazon: Our Open Letter.

* Tribune editorial: When Amazon Calls, How Will The Conversation Go?

* Emanuel: Amazon 'Really Likes' Two Chicago Sites.

* Oh, and: Amazon Is Thriving Thanks To Taxpayer Dollars.

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Previously in Amazon:

* Amazon Finally Drops Deceptive Price List Comparisons.

* Who Has Your Back? Not Amazon.

* Chicago's Attempt To Impress Amazon Backfired After It Destroyed A 'Priceless' Graffiti Artwork In HQ2 Bid Clean-Up.

* Amazon, Boeing, Chicago And Cautionary Tales.

Let's face it, the math doesn't matter - Rahm just wants the win. Like Scott Walker and Foxconn (and Richard M. Daley and the 2016 Olympics). It's a helluva thing to campaign on. "I got Amazon!" It doesn't matter how disastrous that might be - it's all about one man's political interests.

* Item: Amazon HQ2-fer.

"Later this year, Amazon will begin accepting grocery orders from customers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal anti-poverty program formerly known as food stamps. As the nation's largest e-commerce grocer, Amazon stands to profit more than any other retailer when the $70 billion program goes online after an initial eight-state pilot," the Intercept reports.

"But this new revenue will effectively function as a double subsidy for the company: In Arizona, new data suggests that one in three of the company's own employees depend on SNAP to put food on the table. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, the figure appears to be around one in 10. Overall, of five states that responded to a public records request for a list of their top employers of SNAP recipients, Amazon cracked the top 20 in four."
the problem with amazon's short list

This is a long, in-depth report that demands particular attention here as Chicago vies for Amazon's "second headquarters" through a combination of begging, pleading, and massive tax subsidies contained in a secret offer we may never see.

Also, let's ask the mayor about this.

* Amazon's Same-Day Delivery Serves Basically All Of Chicago . . . Except The South Side.

* Amazon Insists On Silence From Twenty HQ2 Finalists.

* Lucy Parsons Labs Sues Rahm Emanuel To Jar Loose The Chicago's Amazon HQ2 Bid.

* CyberMonday, Amazon & You.

* Amazon Short-List Proves Something "Deeply Wrong" With America's Race-To-The-Bottom Economy.

* Last Year, Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes. Now, It's Trying To Kill A Local Tax That Aims To Help the Homeless.

See also: About Chicago's Late Head Tax.

* Ralph Nader's Open Letter To Jeff Bezos.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

July 17, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

"A day after Chicago police released a 20-second video of a fatal police shooting that sparked unrest and outrage, city officials said there are no immediate plans to release additional footage that could shed more light on the deadly encounter," the Tribune reports.

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"One key question about the footage released Sunday was its lack of audio. When the body-worn cameras are initially powered on, they record video only. Audio kicks in as soon as the officer double-taps a button on the camera and puts it into 'event mode.'

"Department orders dictate that officers switch to event mode "at the beginning of an incident and will record the entire incident for all law-enforcement-related activities." The order also notes that if "circumstances" prevent the activation at the start of an incident, the officer should do so "as soon as practical."

"Steve Tuttle, a spokesman with the company that manufacturers the cameras used by Chicago, said it is not uncommon for officers, in the midst of responding to a call, to forget to double-tap the camera as a situation quickly develops."

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Tuttle told ABC7's Chuck Goudie that "A lot of people have some misconceptions about this Axon Body 2 camera.

Tuttle said the police cameras are recording video at all times, but audio is activated only when officers push a start button when a incident is beginning.

On Saturday that apparently happened only after the actual shooting, leaving police with approximately 30 seconds of silent "buffer" video that is regularly recorded by the devices.

Officials say the body cameras do not routinely record audio because it "protects the officer's privacy," according to Tuttle.

"I could be patrolling around in a squad car for an hour or two with my partner and we could be talking about the chief or personal things. But until policy says you need to begin recording, it protects that privacy and that's why when people see these videos the first 30 seconds, there's no sound," he said.

Why do we need the audio when we've already seen that Harith Augustus was armed, ran from the cops and appeared to reach for his weapon? To answer these questions:

1. Did police create the situation, possibly with an unlawful stop?

2. Did police escalate the situation, in particular, when one officer reached for Augustus's hand (or gun) from behind/his side?

3. When were the first shots fired - before or after Augustus appeared to reach for his own weapon?

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Here's mayoral candidate Troy LaRaviere, who has provided the most extensive comments - as far as I can tell - of any public official.

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The Sun-Times also has comments from Garry McCarthy, Lori Lightfoot and Paul Vallas.

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"Investigators looking into Saturday's fatal police shooting in the South Shore neighborhood will have 'tons' of video to review, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says. It will likely take months for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability to determine whether the shooting was justified," the Tribune says in an editorial.

"But Johnson took the unusual step of releasing a video clip - less than half a minute long - within 24 hours after the shooting. He hoped it would calm protesters by answering the key question of whether Harith Augustus was armed. On Monday, COPA promised to release the rest 'at the earliest point.'"

Maybe there's a good reason why it will take months to determine whether the shooting was justified, but I'd sure like someone to explain it to me.

It's also not clear to me why CPD and/or COPA doesn't release all of the video, outside of wanting to control the narrative by ultimately pairing it with the results of COPA's investigation. I understand that in releasing everything at once folks can take bits and pieces and create their own versions of what happened, but maybe that's the price we have to pay for transparency. Then again, maybe COPA's approach is reasonable. I really don't know. After all, there is an investigation going on, it's just not of the dead suspect but of the officers involved in killing him. But timeliness is in the public interest - and the videos are public records.

"Within weeks of the [Laquan] McDonald shooting, the city announced a new policy: Audio and video recordings of police encounters involving deadly force are now made public within 90 days," the Tribune recalls in its editorial.

"We'll point out, again, that the Illinois Freedom of Information Act generally requires public bodies to respond to records requests sooner than that. City Hall was violating that law by withholding the McDonald video without a valid exemption. Remember?"

How could anyone forget.

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Just when it looked like CPS had superceded CPD as the key to the mayoral campaign, CPD is back on the forefront. This does not bode well for Rahm - nor McCarthy, really, who also, of course, has the stink of Laquan McDonald's death on him. This morning we learned that the trial of the officer who killed McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, has been set for September 5.

The candidacy of Lightfoot, who came face to face with the anger of African Americans toward city police as chair of the mayor's accountability task force, and reflected that back in the task force's blistering report, now ascends. LaRaviere may get a little boost. No one thinks Vallas is the person to handle these kinds of moments; it's not clear this is the sort of thing in his toolbox, which is why he'd make, say, a better governor than mayor. Rahm's coming machinations may just remind people how exhausted they are of him. Regardless of the details of Harith Augustus's death, which is sad and tragic in any case, an awful lot of people want change.

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Finally, even the rabid right-wing media-hater spokesperson for the Chicago FOP thinks Fran Spielman's typical stenography is a bit much.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger
Even Ajit Pai sees "potentially" deceptive behavior.

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The Ex-Cub Factor
Trade ripples!

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From the Beachwood music desk . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Unsane, The Matches, Apocalypse Hoboken, the Jayhawks, Mortuary Drape, Volahn, Sargeist, the Handsome Family, Bambino, Matthew Sweet, DevilDriver, Capital Vices, and Dawn Landes.

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Slum Village, Guilty Simpson, Silent Planet, Boy Pablo, Ignescent, Whitesnake, Lindsey Stirling, Evanescence, Quicksand, Genevieve, and Foster The People.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Carolina Reaper Eating For Guinness Book Of World Records In Chicago At The Chi-Town Hot Sauce Expo.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Just say nyet.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's said Monday that he has "serious concerns" about right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media.

In a statement announcing a draft order that would require the merger applicants to attend a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, Pai said, "Based on a thorough review of the record, I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transaction. The evidence we've received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law."

Reuters reports that the FCC has the three votes needed to approve Pai's proposal, and the draft order - which has not been publicly released - notes that "Sinclair's actions here potentially involve deception" and possible "misconduct."

"This is a giant win for the public, and a huge setback for Sinclair's mega-merger plans," said Free Press policy director Matt Wood.

"Public outcry has been building over Sinclair's takeover of local television for months. Just last week, Common Cause and its allies delivered over 600,000 signatures to the FCC urging the agency to block Sinclair's merger," said Michael Copps, Common Cause special adviser and a former FCC commissioner. "The message is loud and clear: local news should reflect the concerns and interests of the communities they serve, not the will of a wealthy, powerful few. Sinclair's merger would make it too large and too powerful."

Although the Communications Act requires that the FCC allow applicants to argue their case before a merger can be denied, as Wood explained, "it is extremely rare for transactions to be sent to a hearing in the first place, much less for parties to fight it out and beat the FCC in that hearing. That's why analysts and investors rightly see today's news as potentially a fatal blow for this merger."

Indeed, an approved hearing order kicks off "a lengthy administrative process often viewed as a deal-killer," Politico says. "The agency used the same move in 2015 with the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, which the companies abandoned rather than go through the hearing process."

Wood added that perhaps "the most interesting part of Pai's announcement is his recognition that several of the divestitures Sinclair proposed are a sham that would leave the company in control of stations it purportedly sells off to relatives and cronies of Sinclair executives."

Earlier this year, 15 members of the Coalition to Save Local Media, including Common Cause, sent a letter to the FCC raising alarm about "sidecar arrangements" that Sinclair planned to use to make the merger appear to comply with federal audience-cap rules, even though the company would continue providing all services to the "sold" stations.

"We're encouraged by Chairman Pai's apparent recognition that Sinclair's proposed divestiture of stations to shell companies is in fact unlawful," Wood concluded. "We encourage the FCC to examine all other such shell-company arrangements held by Sinclair, Tribune, and other broadcasters, too."

The development came as a surprise considering that Pai is a Trump appointee and former Verizon lawyer who often has been accused of being too cozy with industries and companies he's charged with regulating - including Sinclair.

"As I have noted before, too many of this agency's media policies have been custom built to support the business plans of Sinclair Broadcasting," said the sole Democratic FCC commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel. "With this hearing designation order, the agency will finally take a hard look at its proposed merger with Tribune. This is overdue and favoritism like this needs to end."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

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

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

* Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country.

* Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy.

* The Sinclair Sham.

* Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover.

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See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To Fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 AM | Permalink

July 16, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Unsane at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.


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2. The Matches at the Metro on Saturday night.

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3. Apocalypse Hoboken at the Chop Shop on Friday night.

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4. The Jayhawks at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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5. Mortuary Drape at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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6. Volahn at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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7. Sargeist at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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8. The Handsome Family at the Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square on Saturday night.

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9. Bombino at Square Roots on Saturday night.

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10. Matthew Sweet at Square Roots on Friday night.

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11. DevilDriver at the Forge in Joliet on Friday night.

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12. Capital Vices at Wire in Berwyn on Friday night.

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13. Dawn Landes at Square Roots on Saturday.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Politico's Playbook on the extraordinary press conference that took place in Helsinki this morning after Donald Trump's extraordinary personal meeting with Vladimir Putin:

ON MEDDLING ... AP'S JONATHAN LEMIRE got the last question: "Who do you believe," the U.S. intelligence community or Russia? And can you warn Putin to not meddle again?

TRUMP: "All I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others. They said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be . . . I have confidence in both parties."

Wow.

But I can't help but notice that Lemire violated a fundamental rule of interviewing - particularly in press conferences - that we see violated again and again by our most elitely positioned reporters:

Don't ask more than one question at a time!

Doing so allows the subject being questioned to pick which question they want to answer - usually it's the last (and least consequentional) one - or to just muddle the picture in part by conflating the questions to their advantage.

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Journos all over Twitter are congratulating Lemire (and Jeff Mason, the other American reporter allowed to participate) for having the courage to ask "tough" questions.

I'd say the bar is pretty damn low if we think the most obvious and pressing questions are also the "toughest" questions that take courage to ask. My god.

But it just goes to show how rarely that actually happens.

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Trump just couldn't help making a hash of it anyway. Here's his full answer:

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At least one Republican member of Illinois' congressional delegation hasn't (completely) lost their mind:

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On the "Pakistani gentleman" mentioned by Trump:

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As far as the DNC server goes, it's being looked at by top men.

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No, seriously, this DNC server business is pure bunk just like everything else that comes out of Trump's mouth. Most disheartening, though, is that 40 percent of the American public believes this crap. How do we overcome that?

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Small Type
The glorious world of baseball minutiae.

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Chicagoetry: Wells At Dearborn
Private contractors to clean toilets, run chow halls, build gyms, train bomb-sniffing dogs, service the phones. A TGI Fridays, a Nathan's, a KFC, an ice cream stand, pizza by the slice . . .

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A Little Girl's Daddy Is Never Coming Home
Our city is in crisis.

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How The Fight Against Affirmative Action At Harvard Could Threaten Rich Whites
A corrupt admissions process favoring legacies, families of note, prep school athletes and kids of donors favors wealthy whites.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Art Life.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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A woman of color.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Full house.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 PM | Permalink

Small Type

Few days pass when I don't check the agate type in the sports section under "Deals" in the Sun-Times and "Transactions" in the Tribune. I can't pinpoint the logic behind this impulse that draws me to investigate the minutiae that no one except the people involved care about, but I rarely miss a day.

Who possibly could be interested other than the athletes themselves in the roster changes in the Frontier League, an independent circuit with no big league affiliation? The new softball coach at Oklahoma Christian? Why is this information in my daily newspaper other than to fill space?

Most days I venture no farther than the comings and goings of major league ballplayers. I never watched the reality TV show made famous by "You're fired!" but I can understand how that might have been compelling. Perusing the deals in baseball, some perverse instinct leads me to discover who in essence has been axed, terminated, or demoted.

Every day a handful of players are instructed to pack up their gloves, shoes and jock straps and vacate the premises. A number of managers have stated that this is their most difficult task, informing a player that he no longer is wanted. No player relishes the thought of the clubhouse man after a game telling him, "The Skipper wants to see you in his office." The news is never good.

Take the case of now-former White Sox relief pitcher Bruce Rondon whose name appeared in that small type Wednesday morning. The guy basically pitched himself back to the minor leagues the previous evening in the Sox' embarrassing 14-2 pasting at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals (who fired manager Mike Matheny four days later). Chances are Rondon's days as a major league pitcher are over. Matheny's odds may be more favorable in terms of major league employment.

Rondon, who had a shocking 16.88 ERA in 12 appearances during the month of June, entered in the top of the 6th inning Tuesday with one out and the Sox trailing 4-2. When he departed four batters later with the bases loaded, the score was 6-2. Enter Hector Santiago, who promptly served up a grand slam to the otherwise struggling former Cub Dexter Fowler, and Rondon's fate was sealed.

Rondon, a huge fellow at 275 pounds, was a hard-throwing righthander who had pitched in parts of four seasons for the Tigers before they released him last December. The Sox signed him - according to Baseball Reference he was awarded $1.2 million via arbitration - and he began the season at Charlotte, but was summoned to the South Side just a week after Opening Day. In his first two appearances, Rondon retired all seven batters he faced, striking out five.

However, in his fifth appearance, the Astros slammed him for four runs in a third of an inning, and things continued to be up-and-down from there. Relief pitchers are well-served if they can retire the first batter they face. In 35 outings, the ineffective Rondon failed in this area 13 times due to seven walks, a hit batter, and five hits. In 19 of his games, he either walked or hit at least one batter.

On only six occasions did Rondon retire every batter he faced. The opposition hit .298 against Rondon. On balls in play (BABIP) that number mushroomed to .424. Couple that with 27 walks in 29 innings, and you easily can understand why his name was in that itty-bitty type last Wednesday morning.

On June 24 manager Ricky Renteria summoned Rondon to face Oakland with the Sox leading 10-2. Rondon walked Khris Davis on four pitches, and Renteria immediately visited the mound to yank Rondon. A somewhat heated discussion occurred, but, indeed, Renteria didn't trust Rondon even with such a lofty lead. Relief pitchers who have an inability to throw strikes tend to lose favor rather quickly, regardless of the score.

Rondon initially was "designated for assignment," meaning that any team could claim him on waivers within a 10-day period. Poor guy. None of the other 29 clubs showed the slightest bit of interest.

So the White Sox "outrighted" the Venezuelan hurler to Triple-A Charlotte. Rondon thus was removed from the 40-man roster, but his salary is guaranteed for the remainder of the season. Imagine making more than a million dollars when you are unwanted in your profession.

I'm not sure why Rondon thinks he remains marketable, but he turned down the assignment to Charlotte and now is a free agent. Why would a team sign him today when just days before he was nixed by every organization when the Sox offered him in a waiver deal?

At age 27, when most people are just beginning their professional lives, Rondon's baseball future is murky at best. He's a part of a transient gambit. Of the 13 active pitchers on the Sox roster Sunday morning, only two (James Shields and Juan Minaya) were on the team a year ago. Players like Rondon drift through the system, here for a moment and then gone forever.

Utopia for Rondon would be finding a way to consistently throw the ball over the plate to retire batter after batter at the minor league level. If he were able to do that, there could be another contract offer for next season. After watching his performance the last 3 1/2 months, that doesn't seem likely.

* * * * *

While Rondon's departure is rather typical of the end-of-the-line, former All-Star Chase Utley of the Dodgers had the luxury last week of announcing that he'll retire at the end of the season. Utley is an aberration. He won't be summoned to the manager's office. His agent won't have to shop him around only to find that no team is interested in an aging player with a high salary. Utley will leave the game on his own terms. Unlike Rondon, you won't read his name in the small type buried in the sports page.

* * * * *

Another former White Sox player last week also received little more than a mention in the sports pages, yet his tenure with the team was far more memorable than Rondon's.
Sammy Esposito died at age 86 at his North Carolina home after a career in baseball that spanned 35 years. A local guy who attended Fenger High School on the South Side, Esposito wound up playing for his hometown team for 10 years. He first appeared in a Sox uniform in 1952, playing in just one game before entering military service for two seasons.

Esposito was noteworthy for a number of reasons. For one, he grew up a Sox fan, a genuine South Sider who could live at home and make the short trip to Comiskey Park when the Sox were in town. For another, Esposito, a shortstop by trade, never played regularly and was a .207 lifetime hitter. As a member of the 1959 pennant-winning White Sox, Esposito batted twice in the World Series. Because starting pitchers toiled deep into games, teams carried fewer relievers, so utility players like Esposito were valued.

Aside from the fact that Esposito's offensive skills were not his forte - he never appeared in as many as 100 games in any given season - the Sox had guys named Fox and Aparicio at second and short, respectively, and that duo tended to play every day. Future Hall of Famer Aparicio didn't arrive until 1956, so Esposito saw some action at shortstop prior to Little Looey's debut. But after that he was primarily a pinch hitter and runner with occasional starts at third base.

Every Sox fan was well aware that Esposito was local talent. While he was no Aparicio, he was a strong defender and a great teammate. He was a benchwarmer who knew his role and never complained. When called upon he was ready for anything.

This included a September night in 1960 in the midst of a pennant race. Fox had a consecutive game streak of 798 games halted by a virus that sidelined the diminutive second baseman. Esposito manned the position in a game against the front-running Yankees whom the Sox were trying to overtake. Late in the game with the Sox holding a 4-1 lead, Esposito booted what could have been an inning-ending double-play ground ball.

An irate fan, who reportedly had a wager on the local nine, leaped over the wall by first base and headed straight toward Esposito. Sammy ducked a roundhouse right and delivered a punch of his own before the distraught individual was hauled off to the slammer. The game continued. The Yankees scored four times, as was their habit, and the Sox swooned, finishing in third place. And the fan? He was fined $25 and left free to visit Comiskey Park in the future as often as he desired.

After his playing days ended, Esposito became head baseball coach at North Carolina State in 1967. In 21 years at the Wolfpack helm, his teams won 513 games and finished as high as third in the College World Series. His is a good baseball story.

* * * * *

For the current crop of White Sox, with the exception of Jose Abreu, who will be the American League's starting first baseman in Washington in Tuesday night's All-Star Game, a four-day respite should be a welcome relief. The Sox took two-of-three from the last-place Kansas City Royals over the weekend, capped off by a 10-1 shellacking of the Royals on Sunday. All things were peachy keen with Lucas Giolito pitching into the seventh inning and shutting out the opposition on just two hits. Yoan Moncada possibly gave us a glimpse of what's to come by hitting his 12th home run (his first from the right side) among his three hits.

* * * * *

For those who will miss daily baseball most of this week, you might be interested in a neat little pictorial book just released called Wrigley Field's Amazing Vendors. While the book focuses on the North Side ballpark, most vendors work both sides of town, so the images will be familiar to Sox fans as well.

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Lloyd Rutzky, who actually is a Sox fan, began his vending days in the '60s and still is a fixture in the third base seats at The Grate. The photos in the book were taken by Lloyd primarily in the 1970s, and not only bring back memories of the many colorful characters who contributed to the enjoyment of so many ballgames but also remind us that beer once cost 65 cents. The copy was written by former vendor Joel Levin.

We also should mention that guys like Lloyd have lasted far longer than the Bruce Rondons of the world.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:36 AM | Permalink

How The Fight Against Affirmative Action At Harvard Threatens Wealthy Whites

Perpetually in jeopardy, the use of racial preferences in college admissions is under greater threat than ever.

President Donald Trump has scrapped Obama-era guidelines that encouraged universities to consider race as a factor. He has proposed replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in a 2016 case upholding affirmative action by one vote, with the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, a lawsuit challenging Harvard's preferences for Hispanics and African Americans has uncovered the university's dubious pattern of rejecting academically outstanding Asian-American candidates - who don't qualify for a race-related boost - by giving them low marks for personality. Either the Harvard case, or a similar lawsuit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, could put an end to affirmative action.

If it is abolished, though, there will undoubtedly be increased pressure to also eliminate admissions criteria that favor a very different demographic - children of alumni and donors. Colleges are reluctant to drop these preferences of privilege for fear of hurting fundraising. But the political price of clinging to them could be significant.

The fates of affirmative action and what is sometimes called "white affirmative action" have long been intertwined. After the University of California, the University of Georgia and Texas A&M stopped using racial preferences, they discontinued preferences for alumni children as well.

Although it's generally regarded as legal for admissions offices to favor relatives of their graduates and benefactors, these advantages skew white. At Harvard, according to a filing in the current case against the university, alumni children - known as legacies - comprise 21.5 percent of accepted white applicants, compared to 7 percent of Hispanic admits, 6.6 percent of Asian Americans, and 4.8 percent of African Americans. Thus it can be difficult for universities to justify keeping these preferences in the absence of countervailing boosts for underrepresented minorities.

Already, student groups at a dozen elite campuses are mobilizing opposition to legacy preferences. Brown University students voted overwhelmingly in March to establish a committee to re-examine the use of legacy status in admissions. These organizations support affirmative action, and its demise would further energize them - and likely help them enlist liberal Ivy League alumni, especially those without teenage children. Legacy preference is widely unpopular; 52 percent of respondents to a 2016 Gallup poll said colleges should not consider whether an applicant's parent is a graduate, and only 11 percent said it should be a major factor. Moreover, without affirmative action, universities would likely look for other ways to sustain minority and low-income enrollment. Eliminating admissions edges for wealthy whites would be a logical start.

Data surfacing in the Harvard case could also incite anti-legacy fervor. Harvard and other elite universities typically justify legacy preference, when they talk about it at all, as a legitimate reward for alumni loyalty and volunteer work. They portray it as merely a tiebreaker between applicants of equal merit. Court filings, including Harvard's internal reports, show otherwise. The university's Office of Institutional Research found in 2013 that alumni parentage bestows an admissions boost equivalent to that for African Americans, and larger than for Hispanics, Native Americans, and low-income students.

Among applicants given the two highest academic rankings, Harvard accepted 55 percent of legacies, compared with 15 percent of non-legacies. Overall, across six years, Harvard accepted 33.6 percent of legacy applicants, versus 5.9 percent of non-legacies, according to Duke economist Peter Arcidiacono, an expert witness for Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff challenging Harvard's affirmative action policies.

Legacy preference isn't Harvard's only boost for affluent white families. Court documents show that Harvard maintains a list of candidates of special interest to the admissions dean, and accepted 42.2 percent of them. The dean's interest list includes "all applicants who the Dean of Admissions wishes to keep track of during the admissions process, whether they be children of donors, or an applicant the Dean met at some point in their high school career and wished to keep an eye on," said Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane. "Putting aside the tracking of this list, all applicants to Harvard go through the same rigorous admissions process."

One child of a donor was Jared Kushner, now President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser. As I reported in my 2006 book,The Price of Admission, Harvard accepted Kushner despite an undistinguished high school record after his father, who was not an alumnus, pledged a $2.5 million gift.

Overlapping with the dean's interest list is what's known as Harvard's "Z-List" of applicants who are initially waitlisted and then accepted on condition that they defer enrolling for a year. A filing by the plaintiffs cites my book and supports what I described anecdotally in it: The Z-list is Harvard's way of quietly ushering in well-connected applicants who may not measure up academically. Of the nearly 60 students per year who Harvard Z-lists, 46.5 percent were legacies and 58.8 percent were on the dean's interest list. Almost 70 percent were white; 14.3 percent were Asian; 4.4 percent were Hispanic, and 2 percent were black. Only 1.8 percent were the first generation in their families to go to college. Harvard admissions officials have described the Z-list as an effort to encourage students to take a year off before college to relax and mature, as well as to accommodate candidates whom Harvard would like to pluck from the waiting list but can't find beds for.

Two other significant preferences - for children of faculty and staff, and for recruited athletes - also disproportionately benefit whites. Harvard accepted 46.7 percent of faculty and staff children, who enjoy a larger boost than Hispanics and low-income students, though not as much as legacies, Arcidiacono found. Recruited athletes get the biggest edge of all, with an 86 percent acceptance rate. They comprise 16.3 percent of white students who are admitted to Harvard, as against 8.9 percent of blacks, 4.2 percent of Hispanics, and 4.1 percent of Asian Americans. This racial disparity, which may surprise Americans who see minorities playing college football or basketball on television, reflects that Harvard, like other universities, fields teams in numerous prep school sports like crew, sailing, fencing and squash.

Harvard's court filings don't dispute the scope of these patrician preferences. While the university normally downplays them to avoid the appearance of catering to the rich, in this lawsuit, it's embracing them - for legal reasons. When Harvard's treatment of Asian-American applicants came under scrutiny in 1990, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights let the university off the hook. It documented that Harvard admitted Asian-American applicants at a significantly lower rate than white applicants despite slightly stronger SAT scores and grades, but it attributed the higher bar to the university's boosts for alumni children and athletes, rather than racial discrimination. Harvard is making the same defense now. In the ultimate irony, it's trying to preserve affirmative action by acknowledging that its admissions process favors wealthy whites. As UC Berkeley economist David Card, an expert witness for Harvard, put it in his December 2017 report, "When exploring whether there is bias against Asian-American applicants, it is important to account for the fact that Harvard's admissions process gives special consideration . . . to children of Harvard or Radcliffe alumnae or alumni . . . applicants recruited to play a varsity sport at Harvard, and children of Harvard faculty or staff members."

Indeed, the best protection for affirmative action may be the threat that its elimination would pose to legacy preference. "Were this court to have the courage to forbid the use of racial discrimination in admissions, legacy preferences (and similar practices) might quickly become less popular - a possibility not lost, I am certain, on the elites" supporting affirmative action, Justice Clarence Thomas - not a fan of either race-based or legacy preferences - observed in 2003.

Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Kennedy - the two moderate justices who provided the key swing votes to preserve affirmative action in 2003 and 2016, respectively - had experienced the blessings of legacy preference in their own families. The son of a Stanford alumna, Kennedy went to Stanford, as did his two sons and one daughter. O'Connor, her husband, and two of their three sons attended Stanford. Delivering its commencement address in 1982, O'Connor assured the graduates that "there is no greater, more foresighted office in this land of ours than the Admissions Office of Stanford University," and expressed the wish that "you will all be lucky enough to have your children attend this paradise on Earth that we love and that we call Stanford."

Don't be surprised if affirmative action supporters ask Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing whether the Yale double alum (college and law school) hopes that his two daughters will one day attend his alma mater.

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

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Previously in affirmative action and legacy admissions:

* The Truth Behind Jared Kushner's Acceptance Into Harvard.

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

* Harvard Students And DOJ Will Find Answers Elusive In Quest To Learn About Admissions Decisions.

* Item: Wildcat Strike.

* Stanford-Bound Chicago Teen Pens Defiant Open Letter To Dentist Who Shamed Him For Affirmative Action.

* Affirmative Asian-American Action.

* Trump Targets Affirmative Action To Stimulate Mid-Term Turnout.

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See also:
* Harvard Legacy Admit Rate At 30 Percent.

* Legacy Admissions Favor Wealth Over Merit.

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Plus:

* The CPS Clout Lottery.

* Arne Duncan's CPS Clout List.

* University of Madigan.

* Here's Bruce Rauner Lying About How His Daughter Got Into Prestigious Payton High School.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

July 15, 2018

A Little Girl's Daddy Is Never Coming Home

Trust in the police is at an all-time low. Anguish and anger in the community sky high. This is no time for business as usual. Recordings from officer body cams and any other video of the fatal police shooting Saturday evening of Harith (Snoop) Augustus must be released immediately.

Chicago can't afford even the hint of another case of "16 shots and a cover-up."

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Augustus, a 37-year-old barber, was well known in the South Shore neighborhood for bringing his 5-year-old daughter with him to work. Thank God, he didn't take the child to the shop Saturday afternoon.

Whatever version of events turns out to be true about what happened on 71st Street, one thing is clear: The loss of this young father's life is a tragedy. No amount of inquiry or pursuit of justice will bring the little girl's daddy back. My heart is broken for the child and her family. My soul is sick for the city.

A thorough and transparent investigation of the shooting is crucial to begin the long process of rebuilding the trust that has been harassed and beaten out of black and brown communities by bullies with badges for decades in Chicago and across the country.

Of course, I'm not talking about all police officers. Most officers do their jobs - and risk their lives - every day to protect the public to the best of their abilities. Yet too often the good allow the bad to poison the barrel. They look the other way and stay silent when they witness their colleagues disrespect, brutalize and even murder members of the public.

When Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 shots into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, at least half a dozen fellow officers lied in their written reports to cover up this modern-day lynching on the streets of Chicago.

They said the teenager had lunged at the officer. A chilling police dash-cam video - which was released more than a year later and only then after activist William Calloway and others went to court - showed the exact opposite.

Laquan was walking away from the officers when he was shot and killed. Most of the bullets ripped into his young body as he lay dying in the street.

I was in California on Saturday night, attending a charity event to raise money in the fight against autism and Parkinson's Disease, when I heard about the shooting in South Shore. A sense of sorrow washed over me at the news. It was just a week ago that thousands of us - black and white, red, yellow and brown, young and old - shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway to protest the violence in Chicago.

I have readjusted my travel schedule and will return to Chicago today. It's all hands on deck. Our city is in crisis.

A little girl's daddy is never coming home.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 PM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Wells At Dearborn

Wells at Dearborn

1. Alexander at Kandahar

Kandahar was founded
By Alexander the Great
During his questionable Afghan campaign,

As one of a series of fortresses established
To protect him and his armies
As he pursued the Persian Satrap Bessus.

At each of these fortresses,
Alexander left behind hundreds
Or thousands of Macedonian and Greek soldiers

As well as logistics and supply troops, builders,
Artisans, tillers, every type of worker needed
To create a real settlement.

Today, at Kandahar Air Field (KAF):

U.S. Army, Marines, Navy,
Air Force. British, Canadians, Belgians, Italians.
Mirage jets from France.

Private contractors to clean toilets, run chow halls,
Build gyms, train bomb-sniffing dogs, service the phones.
A TGI Fridays, a Nathan's, a KFC,

An ice cream stand, pizza by the slice . . .

The Greek biographer Plutarch described
The type of guerrilla-style fighting
Alexander faced during his campaign,

Comparing Afghan tribesmen
To a hydra-headed monster:
As soon as Alexander cut off one head,

Three more would grow back in its place.


2. Napoleon at Acre

Envious of Alexander, Napoleon
Impulsively extended his Egyptian campaign
Into Syria.

Unlike Alexander,
He never made Damascus.

He got bogged down at Acre,
His units overextended and
Finally overwhelmed by the

Tenacity, resourcefulness and determination
Of the Muslim guerrillas.

Finally, he bailed.
Upon his return to France,
He had his national Media declare:

"Mission Accomplished!"


3. Wells at Dearborn

During the War of 1812,
The Great White Father
Pressed the edge of the Western envelope.

Captain William Wells
Of the Legion of the United States,
Led a group of Miami Indians

From Fort Wayne, Indiana,
To aid the evacuation of Fort Dearborn,
The tiny beleaguered settlement

That eventually became Chicago,
Presently besieged by Potawatomi.
No Nathan's, No KFC, no French Mirages.

Among other Americans under siege there
Was his niece, Rebekah.

The Potawatomi
At first allowed them safe passage out,
But upon discovery

Of destroyed whiskey and guns,
They decided to attack.
Wells, himself raised by Miami Indians,

Was once their colleague.
Now, he was a traitor to them.
Knowing of the looming raid,

Wells painted his face black,
A sign of bravery and a signal
To his foes

That he knew their intent
And knew
He was going to die.

He set out on horseback
In front of the fleeing party.

The Potawatomi
Shot and killed him,
Scalped him,

Cut out his heart
And ate it.

Although considering him
An enemy, they respected
His strength and courage

And in this way
Believed they could absorb it
Into themselves.

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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

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:09 AM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

Thread.

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East Chicago Blues, Pt. 1,000,000,000
"A federal magistrate judge has sided with the American Civil Liberties Union by holding the East Chicago Housing Authority in contempt of court for violating a previous order that barred the local housing agency from warrantless searches," the Northwest Indiana Times reports.

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Previously in East Chicago:

* Flawed CDC Report Left East Chicago Children Vulnerable To Lead Poisoning.

* East Chicago Is Toxic.

* A Start In East Chicago.

* East Chicago Residents Screwed (Again) Over Lead And Arsenic.

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Musk Busk

Maybe we can ride little submarines - on electronic skates - to O'Hare!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #208: Best World Cup Ever?
Full of surprises. Plus: Cub Factors; The Return Of Rodon!; Matt Nagy Married His High School Sweetheart, Therefore He's A Great Guy Who Will Lead The Bears To Glory; Beasting Up The Summer League; 7-Player Trade!; and Schweinsteiger!

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Disabled Border Kid Passed Through Chicago
"Even though [a Brazilian] was found to have a credible fear of returning to her home country, she had been detained in El Paso ever since, while her grandson, who has severe epilepsy and autism, was transferred to a facility in Chicago and later a state-run center in Connecticut because he needs constant care."

Families_Belong_Together_Rally_RZ_TT.jpgRachel Zein for the Texas Tribune

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When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech
"Educators can't teach kids to value the truth if they're suppressing students' ability to speak it."

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Gagging At The Water Reclamation District
"Was there wrongdoing? We don't know, and they're not saying."

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Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover
"Viewers have every reason to expect that Sinclair's expanded control will instead lead to a decrease in local political news coverage and an uptick in highly suspect 'must-run' content handed down from Sinclair's corporate headquarters.

"Local viewers see no benefits from and express no increased demand for this content, which promotes anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and other racist bigotry and simply airs White House propaganda."

freepresssinclair.jpgFree Press/Creative Commons

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Scholarly Publishing Is Broken. Here's How To Fix It.
"Giant, corporate publishers with racketeering business practices and profit margins that exceed Apple's treat life-saving research as a private commodity to be sold at exorbitant profits."

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Weekend ChicagoGram

#gbhasse #comics #agitatorgallery #blackandwhiteart

A post shared by Gretchen Hasse (@gbhasse) on

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Weekend ChicagoTube

"New Ways to Fail" / Sarah Shook & the Disarmers.

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Weekend BeachBook

Pence Family's Failed Gas Stations Cost Taxpayers More Than $20 Million.

*

Youth Soccer Participation Has Fallen Significantly In America.

*

Five Years Ago: Rahmnado.

*

Go Tavern Legend.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Witch hunt.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:35 AM | Permalink

Scholarly Publishing Is Broken. Here's How To Fix It.

The world of scholarly communication is broken. Giant, corporate publishers with racketeering business practices and profit margins that exceed Apple's treat life-saving research as a private commodity to be sold at exorbitant profits. Only around 25 percent of the global corpus of research knowledge is "open access," or accessible to the public for free and without subscription, which is a real impediment to resolving major problems, such as the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Recently, Springer Nature, one of the largest academic publishers in the world, had to withdraw its European stock market flotation due to a lack of interest. This announcement came just days after Couperin, a French consortium, cancelled its subscriptions to Springer Nature journals, after Swedish and German universities cancelled their Elsevier subscriptions to no ill effect, besides replenished library budgets. At the same time, Elsevier has sued Sci-Hub, a website that provides free, easy access to 67 million research articles. All evidence of a broken system.

idea_sized-wall-boat-37138521050_d5e2fbdf29_o.jpgWall Boat/Flickr

The European Commission is currently letting publishers bid for the development of an EU-wide open-access scholarly publishing platform. But is the idea for this platform too short-sighted? What the commission is doing is essentially finding new ways of channeling public funds into private hands. At the same time, due to the scale of the operation, it prevents more innovative services from getting a foothold into the publishing world. This is happening at the same time as these mega-publishers are moving into controlling the entire research workflow - from ideation to evaluation. Researchers will become the provider, the product, and the consumer.

A global community to coordinate and regain control - to develop a public open-access infrastructure - of research and scholarly communication for the public good is long overdue. The issues of governance and ownership of public research have never been clearer. Another isolated platform will simply replicate the problems of the current journal-based system, including the "publish or perish" mentality that perverts the research process, and the anachronistic evaluation system based on corporate brands.

Researchers are still forced to write "papers" for these journals, a communication format designed in the 17th century. Now, in a world where the power of web-based social networks is revolutionizing almost every other industry, researchers need to take back control.

The European Commission has called for full, immediate open access to all scientific publications by 2020 - something often mocked for being unrealistic, and that current growth trends suggest we will fail to achieve. But it is unrealistic only if one focuses on the narrow view of the current system.

If we diversify our thinking away from the superficial field of journals and articles, and instead focus on the power of networked technologies, we can see all sorts of innovative models for scholarly communication. One ideal, based on existing services, would be something much more granular and continuous, with communication and peer review as layered, collaborative processes: envisage a hosting service such as GitHub combined with Wikipedia combined with a Q&A site such as Stack Exchange. Imagine using version control to track the process of research in real time. Peer review becomes a community-governed process, where the quality of engagement becomes the hallmark of individual reputations. Governance structures can be mediated through community elections. Critically, all research outputs can be published and credited - videos, code, visualizations, text, data, things we haven't even thought of yet. Best of all, a system of fully open communication and collaboration, with not an "impact factor" (a paper's average number of citations, used to rate journals) in sight.

Such a system of scholarly communication requires the harmonizing of three key elements: quality control and moderation, certification and reputation, and incentives for engagement. For example, it would be easy to have a quality-control process in which instead of the closed and secretive process of peer review, self-organized and unrestricted communities collaborate together for research to attain verification and validation. The recklessly used impact factor can be replaced by a reward system that altruistically recognizes the quality of engagement, as defined by how content is digested by a community, which itself can be used to unlock new abilities within such a system. The beauty is that the incentive for researchers switches from publishing in journal X to engaging in a manner that is of most value to their community. By coupling such activities with academic records and profiles, research assessment bodies can begin to recognize the immense value this has over current methods of evaluation, including its simplicity.

How will we fund scholarly publishing? Well, it's a $25 billion a year industry: I'm sure libraries can spare a dime. Making a more just system of scholarly communication open-source means that any community can copy it, and customize it suit the community's own needs, driving down costs immensely. Furthermore, initiatives such as the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services or a recent proposal for libraries to set aside just 2.5 percent of their budget to support such innovative systems, offer paths forward. The possibility is real for creating something so superior to the present system that people will wonder how publishers ever got away with it for so long.

All of the technology and traits to build a hybridized scholarly commons infrastructure already exists. It is up to academic communities themselves to step away from their apathy and towards a fairer and more democratic system for sharing our knowledge and work. That is, after all, what research is all about. The question of publishing reform is not theoretically or conceptually complex. The future of scholarly communication depends more on overcoming social tensions and the training to defer to a powerful system embedded in global research cultures than on breaking down technological barriers.

Members of the academic community ought to hold themselves accountable for the future of scholarly communication. There are simple steps that we all can take: many have already done so:

  • Sign, and commit to, the Declaration on Research Assessment, and demand fairer evaluation criteria independent of journal brands. This will reduce dependencies on commercial journals and their negative impact on research.
  • Demand openness. Even in research fields such as global health, 60 percent of researchers do not archive their research so it is publicly available, even when it is completely free and within journal policies to do so. We should demand accountability for openness to liberate this life-saving knowledge.
  • Know your rights. Researchers can use the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Rights Coalition Author Addendum to retain rights to their research, instead of blindly giving it away to publishers. Regain control.
  • Support libraries. Current library subscription contracts are protected from public view by "non-disclosure clauses" that act to prevent any price transparency in a profoundly anti-competitive practice that creates market dysfunction. We should support libraries in renegotiating such contracts, and in some cases even provide support in canceling them, so that they can reinvest funds in more sustainable publishing ventures.
  • Help to build something better. On average, academics currently spend around $5,000 for each published article - to get a PDF and some extra sides. A range of different studies and working examples exist that show the true cost of publishing an article can be as low as $100 using cost-efficient funding schemes, community buy-in, and technologies that go a step further than PDF generation. We can do better.
  • Use your imagination. What would you want the scholarly communication system to look like? What are all the wonderful features you would include? What can you do to help turn a vision into reality?

It is feasible to achieve 100 percent open access in the future while saving around 99 percent of the global spending budget on publishing. Funds could be better spent instead on research, grants for underprivileged students and minority researchers, improving global research infrastructure, training, support and education. We can create a networked system, governed by researchers themselves, designed for effective, rapid, low-cost communication and research collaboration.

Scholarly publishers are not just going to sit back and let this happen, so it is up to research funders, institutes and researchers themselves to act to make a system that represents defensible democratic values, rather than rapacity.

This post was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons. Comments welcome.

Aeon counter - do not remove

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:50 AM | Permalink

Brazilian Asylum Seeker Released After 11 Months In Detention; Grandson Had Been Held In Chicago

EL PASO - A Brazilian woman who was detained and separated from her disabled grandson after they sought asylum at a port of entry last year was released from federal custody Thursday, her attorney confirmed.

Maria Vandelice de Bastos and her grandson Matheus da Silva Bastos first sought refuge in August after she said an off-duty police officer threatened her and her grandson after she went to the press to decry the horrible conditions in Matheus's school, according to her asylum claim.

Even though she was found to have a credible fear of returning to her home country, she had been detained in El Paso ever since, while her grandson, who has severe epilepsy and autism, was transferred to a facility in Chicago and later a state-run center in Connecticut because he needs constant care.

Vandelice de Bastos was released after being granted humanitarian parole by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and immediately left El Paso to see her grandson, said her attorney, Eduardo Beckett.

"She said the first thing she's going to do . . . is go see him and she's very excited about that," Beckett said.

Despite her release, the asylum process for Vandelice de Bastos is far from over. El Paso-based immigration judge William Abbott dismissed her asylum claim and Beckett said they must now figure out whether to ask to judge to reconsider the case or ask the Board of Immigration Appeals for a review.

"Normally we would just [automatically] appeal, but in this case we found more evidence toward the end that wasn't submitted to the judge," he said. "But she will be out on bond the whole time the case is pending."

Asylum-seekers must prove they face persecution in their home country due to their "race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."

Beckett said that because Vandelice de Bastos spoke out against the school and the administration, it could be an act of political expression, and he said the fact that she was threatened by police means they aren't capable of or willing to protect her.

But the judge ruled that the off-duty officer was acting in a private capacity, not in his official role as a police officer, and dismissed the claim.

It's still unclear why Vandelice de Bastos and her grandson were detained and then separated. They sought asylum at the port of entry - which the Trump administration has said is the right way to seek asylum - rather than crossing illegally between the ports, and they were separated months before the start of President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy that separated thousands of immigrant families.

Vandelice de Bastos did have a prior removal from the country: Beckett said she visited the U.S. frequently under a valid visa for years until Customs and Border Protection officials stopped her at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in 2007. That's when Beckett said she admitted working as a babysitter in the underground cash economy, according to her documents in her case file. She was ultimately denied re-entry and signed a notice that she was prohibited from "entering, attempting to enter or being in the United States" for five years.

It's also unclear whether Vandelice de Bastos will have sole custody of Matheus once they are reunited in Connecticut because he's currently being cared for by a state agency, Beckett said. She has legal custody of her grandson through a Brazilian court.

"She's going to have to go to court, she's going to have to present evidence and she's going to have to convince [the court] that's the best interest of her grandchild," he said.

But at least for now, Beckett said, she's finally able to go see him.

"She's very happy she's going to be able to do that," Beckett said.

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Previously on the Beachwood:

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

* Illinois Immigrant, Labor, Legal Leaders Condemn ICE Raids.

* Chicago Activists Tell Undocumented Immigrants Not To Open Their Doors.

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

* U.S. Government Deporting Central American Migrants To Their Deaths.

* Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

* Immigrants Arrested In U.S. Raids Say They Were Misled On Right To Counsel.

* Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families.

* Immigrants Deported Under Obama Share Stories Of Terror And Rights Violations.

* Chicago Family Sues ICE & City Over Raid, Gang Database.

* Immigrants In Detention Centers Are Often Hundreds Of Miles From Legal Help.

* Chicago And The Deportation Machine.

* Immigration Sins Of The Past And The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Law And Farce: The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Jennings v. Rodriguez And The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Forced Separation Of Families & Forced To-Term Pregnancies.

* Here's A List Of Organizations That Are Mobilizing To Help Immigrant Children Separated From Their Families.

* Separated Migrant Children Are Headed Toward Shelters With A History Of Abuse And Neglect.

* The Shelter For Immigrant Children That Melania Trump Visited Has A History Of Violations.

* U.S. Turned Away Thousands Of Haitian Asylum-Seekers And Detained Hundreds More In Horrific Conditions In The '90s.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:15 AM | Permalink

July 13, 2018

Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover

Free Press on Thursday responded to filings by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Media, 21st Century Fox and Fox Television Stations, calling on the Federal Communications Commission to reject Sinclair's proposed takeover of Tribune.

In its filing to the FCC, Free Press states that broadcasters continue to rely on thoroughly debunked public-interest claims to bolster their weak arguments and misrepresent concerns raised by Free Press and other groups that have petitioned the agency to deny the merger.

Sinclair and the other broadcasters have utterly failed to demonstrate any public interest benefits from the transfer of broadcast licenses that is a central component of this deal, Free Press argues.

Sinclair claims that operational "efficiencies" and scale will allow it to improve local coverage. "These claims are dubious at best," Free Press states in its filing. "Such efficiencies are often just a euphemism for job cuts, leading to local journalist layoffs to combine multiple competing newsrooms into a single conglomerate."

Viewers have every reason to expect that Sinclair's expanded control will instead lead to a decrease in local political news coverage and an uptick in highly suspect "must-run" content handed down from Sinclair's corporate headquarters.

Local viewers see no benefits from and express no increased demand for this content, which promotes anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and other racist bigotry and simply airs White House propaganda.

Thursday's filing is the latest round of arguments between Sinclair and public-interest advocates as the FCC considers whether to approve the broadcast merger, which as originally proposed would have given the broadcast giant control of more than 233 local TV stations reaching 72 percent of the country's population, far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership.

People from across the political spectrum have called on the FCC to reject the deal, concerned that the merger would result in Sinclair laying off local reporters to replace their coverage with cookie-cutter content, forced broadcasts of politically biased commentary and official propaganda.

Earlier in the day, representatives from organizations opposing the merger, including ACLU, Common Cause, CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, and MPower Change gathered outside Federal Communications Commission headquarters to protest the deal. They delivered more than 670,000 petitions calling on the agency to reject Sinclair's proposal and commit to its central mission of promoting diversity, competition and localism over the public airwaves.

Over the past 18 months, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has attempted to remove all public-interest safeguards that would prevent Sinclair's massive merger from being approved. Following news of an internal investigation into Pai's dealings on Sinclair, Free Press called on the chairman to recuse himself from all decisions related to its proposed takeover of Tribune.

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Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

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

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

* Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country.

* Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy.

* The Sinclair Sham.

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See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To Fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:59 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #209: Best World Cup Ever?

Full of surprises. Plus: Cub Factors; The Return Of Rodon!; Matt Nagy Married His High School Sweetheart, Therefore He's A Great Guy Who Will Lead The Bears To Glory; Beasting Up The Summer League; 7-Player Trade!; and Schweinsteiger!


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SHOW NOTES

* 209.

3:05: Best World Cup Ever?

* Deadspin: What In The Hell Happened To England?

* Hitzlesperger, Guardian: France vs. Croatia Is The Final A World Cup Full Of Surprises Deserves.

* Work rate!

29:23: Cub Factors.

* Coffman: Bryzzo Out; Wavy In.

* Miles: Baez, Contreras Owe All-Star Success To Hendry.

* Dexter Fowler: "Joe and Davey are different than any coaches I ever had. Obviously, they are a ton more laid-back."

44:08: The Return of Rodon!

Rodan_kaiju.jpg

* Kitchen vs. wheelhouse.

46:21: Matt Nagy Married His High School Sweetheart, Therefore He's A Great Guy Who Will Lead The Bears To Glory.

* Benny: Bears Coverage Operates In A Vacuum!

jimbenny.jpg

50:20: Beasting Up The Summer League.

* O'Donnell: Wendell Carter Jr. Looks So Good. The Bulls May Have A Star.

53:34: 7-Player Trade!

1:00:21: Schweinsteiger!

* Chicago Billionaire Joe Mansueto Buys 49 Percent Stake In Fire.

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STOPPAGE: 5:22

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 PM | Permalink

Gagging At The Water Reclamation District

David St. Pierre, the executive eirector of Chicago's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, resigned effective June 27th, taking with him $95,000 plus benefits in a severance package first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The MWRD, a taxpayer-funded agency responsible for flood prevention and wastewater management, did not provide a reason for St. Pierre's departure in its press release. St. Pierre had been the subject of an investigation led by an outside law firm, but MWRD Commissioner Debra Shore told the Sun-Times that "a non-disparagement clause in the separation agreement with St. Pierre" prevented her from discussing the probe.

Green Party candidates for the MWRD Board of Commissioners, the nine-member body that oversees the district and its $1.2 billion budget, quickly called for more openness and transparency, tying the mysterious departure to other recent ethical lapses at the agency.

"When the head of a taxpayer-funded agency departs under investigation, the public deserves to know why," said Karen Roothaan, one of five Green Party candidates who will be on the ballot this November. "What was this investigation about? The current commissioners aren't telling us."

"Public officials have an educational duty," said Tammie Vinson, a Chicago Public Schools teacher and another of the candidates for a full six-year seat on the board. "There shouldn't be any gag orders or golden parachutes when there's wrongdoing. Was there wrongdoing? We don't know, and they're not saying. That's not an administration the public can have confidence in."

Independent research by the Green Party candidates and by media outlets had already revealed other scandals at the district prior to St. Pierre's departure, including its ongoing discharge of untreated sewers into the waterways (once every six days on average, according to a Chicago Tribune report) and the of MWRD commissioners awarding contracts to their own campaign donors, often in excess of the limits laid out in Cook County and City of Chicago campaign finance rules.

"No one should just assume everything's okay when the head of a billion-dollar government agency departs under a gag order," said Geoffrey Cubbage, a candidate for a two-year partial term on the board. "Five of the nine seats are up for election this November, and that means voters get to choose who's in charge at the MWRD: do they want more of the same from a Board of Commissioners that doesn't disclose major investigations to the public, or do they want a party running the show that takes no corporate contributions, and that has pledged to bring transparency and accountability to the district?"

All five Green Party candidates have called for an independent and fully-funded Inspector General's office at the MWRD, a reform that has been advocated for by many watchdog and good-government groups.

The Green Party candidates on the November 6th ballot will be: Chris Anthony, Karen Roothaan, and Tammie Vinson for full, six-year terms, and Rachel Wales and Geoffrey Cubbage to fill two partial, two-year vacancies.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:55 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Slum Village at Subterranean on Thursday night.


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2. Guilty Simpson at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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3. Silent Planet at Beat Kitchen on Thursday night.

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4. Boy Pablo at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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5. Ignescent at the Forge in Joliet on Wednesday night.

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6. Whitesnake on Northerly Island on Wednesday night.

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7. Lindsey Stirling at Ravinia on Tuesday night.

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8. Evanescence at Ravinia on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Quicksand at the Concord on July 7th.

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Genevieve at Beat Kitchen on July 6th.

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Foster The People at East Room on July 2nd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech

Students need to be able to express themselves; the freedom to do so is not only a question of their intellectual development but also one of human rights. Schoolkids may well rebel at the rules. They may challenge authority or, God forbid, even resist.

But punishing students for their political beliefs or their opinion of their school is to chastise developmentally appropriate behavior. Believe it or not, students have views on how good (or not) a school is beyond a standardized test score - and it's in our best interest to hear them. They know their schools; plus, education is meant to help students grow, to help them be free-thinking citizens. Alas, many school leaders seem too afraid of what their students are thinking to let them voice those thoughts out loud, and they suppress their students' rights in the process.

Last month, Joseph Munno, founder of University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men (UPrep) in Rochester, New York denied the first black valedictorian of the school, Jaisaan Lovett, the opportunity to give the ceremonial commencement speech, traditionally the preserve of valedictorians. Munno has not explained his decision, but there are several clues in Lovett's six-year tenure at the charter school, where he had had several run-ins with the school's principal. Lovett led a five-day student strike in his senior year, according to a USA Today report, because the school allegedly wouldn't order needed safety equipment for a lab.

"There's a lot of wrong things that go on at that school, and when I notice it I speak out against it," Lovett told USA Today. "(Munno) is a guy that doesn't like to be told 'no.'"

If I were the parent of a child at UPrep, I would certainly want to know if the laboratory didn't have the requisite equipment to keep my child safe. If a school leader will go so far as to refuse the first black valedictorian a chance to speak to allegedly spare himself embarrassment, then that school undoubtedly has bigger problems. Lovett had something important to say, but by taking away his right to speak, Munno exhibited values that are the opposite of what a school leader - a role model - is supposed to uphold.

In addition, graduation ceremonies comprise a major part of a school's culture; they differentiate one school from the next and establish norms and values. What students will learn from this principal's actions is that it's okay to discard community customs over personal differences. A school that suppresses students' voices isn't the kind of school where a parent like me would want to enroll his child.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, in whose office Lovett was an intern, stepped in, graciously inviting Lovett to give his commencement speech at City Hall instead. It was posted on the city's YouTube channel, giving Lovett a much wider audience than he would have had as school valedictorian, and parents and city residents a glimpse of his clashes with Munno.

In a statement released on Monday, UPrep's board of trustees announced that it had accepted Munno's resignation. "It is the Board's responsibility to put the best interests of the school and its students at the forefront," said board president Edward Yansen. "We are initiating an immediate national search for new leadership."

In this case, some form of justice was administered. Of course, it helped that since the initial article about the incident was published, there has been local and even national media attention on the story. Still, the board's statement doesn't include an apology to Lovett and fails to offer an indication that the alleged need for lab safety equipment has been addressed.

* * *

Munno isn't the only school official who has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation to suppress students' voices. Just last month in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, the Neshaminy High School student newspaper, the Playwickian, published an investigation by the outgoing editor-in-chief, Grace Marion, on the improper filing of student sexual harassment complaints against teachers. Through an interview with the principal, Robert McGee, she found that when a student files a complaint against a teacher, it stays in the student's file, not the teacher's, and is only kept while the student remains in the school.

Burying student complaints of sexual harassment in the students' files clearly protects potentially dangerous teachers, while sending the message that the school doesn't have the students' back. This misfiling adds insult to injury and is a mockery of justice. In her last published letter, Marion states that her reporters were censored, with several articles being removed from publication. She said that someone called her father to tell her that she would be harmed if a certain article was published. Marion believes the administration outed some LBGTQ+ writers to their parents.

"This month I worked on a piece about the mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints at Neshaminy," Marion wrote, displaying a rare courage and determination that she probably didn't learn from McGee's example. "If that piece doesn't appear here, it will be in the Courier Times. Or the Intelligencer. If I have to, it will be on Facebook and printed out on hundreds of flyers and put in every mailbox in the school district."

Writer, activist and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned numerous times in communist China for his human rights and democracy campaigns once said, "Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth."

Schools, which are supposed to encourage the pursuit of truth, damage their own credibility and their students' development when they try to censor their students. In these two cases, the tables have turned, and students have become the role models their educators should have been. No child is too young for his or her voice not to matter. Educators can't teach kids to value the truth if they're suppressing students' ability to speak it.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for Hechinger's newsletter.

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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.

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

* Letting Our Boys Onto The Football Field Is A Losing Play.

* America Has Never Had A Merit-Based System For College Admissions.

* Don't Ever Conflate Disaster Recovery With Education Reform.

* Black Athletes Can Teach Us About More Than Just Sports.

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

* When Parents Cheat To Get Their Child Into A "Good" School.

* Any Educational Reform That Ignores Segregation Is Doomed To Failure.

* Dress Coded: Rules And Punishment For Black Girls Abound.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 AM | Permalink

July 12, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

Here's what I went through this morning.

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Dr. Nick
I'm not going to name the place because I don't want to spoil it for the championship game, but the Beachwood's very own Nick Shreders, a Croatia fan, has been watching the World Cup at a Chicago bar with a bunch of faces who have become familiar during the tournament and on Wednesday he discovered who some of them are: Jesus Jones' bassist, two Mekons, and one Devil in a Woodpile. That is perhaps my favorite World Cup "moment."

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Beachwood Benny
I'm back at the Bucktown bureau for a couple days for another round of supercat-sitting.

bennyback.jpg

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Millionaire Matters
"Far more millionaires move into California than leave, despite the state's highest-in-the-nation income-tax rate, a new study shows," Dan Morain writes for CALmatters.

Researchers at Stanford University's Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Franchise Tax Board sought to answer the question: Does California's top state income-tax rate, now 13.3 percent on people earning $1 million a year or more, drive the wealthy to leave for low-tax states?

Short answer: No, except on the far margin. The researchers reviewed 25 years of California tax returns from all high earners and found that more wealthy people relocate after a divorce.

Republicans regularly cite anecdotes of businesses owners and wealthy people decamping to low-tax states such as Nevada or Texas. But the study shows million-dollar earners moved to California even after voters raised income taxes in 2004 and 2012.

Seems relevant - as does this.

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Star Wars Museum Wars
Bigfoot architecture critic Paul Goldberger has written a history of sorts for Vanity Fair of George Lucas's quest to build his museum, including here in Chicago.

There's a lot to unpack, as they say; a lot that validates the notion some of us had from the beginning that Lucas has no one to blame but himself - and Rahm Emanuel - for his failure to get it done in Chicago (and before that, San Francisco).

Let's take a look. I'll bold certain points for emphasis, just to, um, emphasize them.

"The Urban Design Group is a commercial firm whose expertise was neither designing museums nor working in traditional architectural styles, and its scheme, as the San Francisco Chronicle critic John King wrote, 'looked like a generic Spanish-themed shopping center.' It was also 69 feet high, and design guidelines set by the Presidio Trust required that buildings be no higher than 45 feet, in order to preserve views toward the Golden Gate Bridge. The trust, not wanting to turn over public land to Lucas without giving others a chance to come up with alternative proposals, put out a general call for cultural projects and received 16 submissions, all of them no higher than 45 feet. Unwilling to compromise on the design, Lucas embarked on a public-relations campaign for his museum and his vision, enlisting Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, California governor Jerry Brown, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, among others, to endorse his proposal. (Disclosure: I was asked to consult with Lucas's organization to try to find ways to improve the building's design, but nothing came of it.)"

First, note how the Presidio Trust decided to put out a general call for projects. Rahm should have done the same here upon deciding that the public lakefront land offered to Lucas was available for development. Maybe some folks out there had some ideas of their own!

Second, Lucas refused to compromise, just as he did here. Only that one site would do?

Third, to overcome his unwillingness to compromise he embarked on a PR campaign. Sound familiar?

*

"The campaign failed to change the opinion of some San Franciscans that the central issue was not whether to accept a gift to the community but whether to allow a powerful figure to have his way with a cherished piece of local land . . . "

The Lucas Museum proposal here was repeatedly presented as a gift to the community.

*

"He at first refused to provide many details about his collection or about the curatorial plans for the museum, which encouraged the view that the project was a rich man's indulgence, a few sentimental paintings dressing up a showcase for Star Wars memorabilia."

Sounds familiar!

*

"Lucas seemed to treat the whole approval process with a sense of disdain verging on entitlement . . . "

Sounds familiar!

*

" . . . made manifest in an interview he gave in September 2013 to Deborah Solomon of The New York Times, in which he complained that the Presidio Trust 'made us jump through hoops to explain why a museum was worth having.' He concluded: 'They hate us.'"

Sounds familiar!

*

"'[Lucas's wife] Mellody [Hobson] said, If you can't have it in your hometown, what about mine?" Lucas recalled. She had close ties to Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, who had already let it be known that he would be more than happy to give the Lucas Museum a home, and promised Lucas and Hobson that Chicago would not subject them to the nit-picking demands of San Francisco."

Sounds familiar!

*

"Emanuel organized a site-selection committee to review locations, and in June 2014 he offered Lucas a 17-acre parcel alongside Lake Michigan occupied by parking lots for the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field. Lucas liked it, and the mayor announced with excitement that 'Chicago, the most American of American cities,' was the new location for the Lucas Museum. Lucas and Hobson then ditched the Urban Design Group and its traditional building and this time managed to stage the competition Lucas said he had wanted in the first place."

*

"Iconic it may have been, but it would not turn out to be any easier for Lucas to sell in Chicago than his Beaux-Arts design had been in San Francisco. Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune architecture critic, called it a 'cartoonish mountain of a building that would be glaringly out of place amid the horizontal sweep of Chicago's lakefront . . . Overly abstract and under-detailed, it looks, from some angles, like a giant lump.'

"The biggest problem, however, wasn't the architecture, which Ma had already begun to refine and improve. It was the site itself. A small preservation organization named Friends of the Parks decided to object to the project on the grounds that the lakefront site was 'public trust' land and the city had no legal right to offer it to Lucas. The group filed a federal lawsuit to block the transfer. It was clear that Emanuel couldn't deliver the smooth approval process he had expected, and in June 2016, after rejecting some alternative sites the city offered, Lucas threw in the towel for the second time."

Perhaps Rahm should have actually consulted with stakeholders beyond his own committee before making untoward promises he couldn't keep.

*

"'Our issue was time,' Hobson said. 'Eventually we would have won, but George said, I'm 72 and I want to see this building built. We loved that building.'"

Really? Hasn't more time already passed than it would have taken for the lawsuit to wind its way through the courts?

*

"In San Francisco, an opposition group even prepared an advertisement that showed Darth Vader looming over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was never used."

Ha ha, good one.

*

"Yet Lucas and Hobson were actually more flexible and willing to learn than many of their critics supposed."

There is no evidence supporting this assertion.

*

Realization: George Lucas didn't know how to create a narrative to sell his museum of narrative arts!

*

"By the fall of 2016, Lucas's plan had turned into a kind of bake-off between California's two most prominent cities. He wasn't looking for cash, or tax benefits, or any of the perks cities dangle in the hope of getting companies to relocate. He wanted an assurance that the route ahead would be smooth . . . "

He just didn't want to be hassled with . . . governing bodies and policy and other people's interests.

*

"When the Chicago plan fell apart, Hobson issued a public statement expressing particular regret that the city's 'young black and brown children will be denied the chance to benefit from what this museum will offer.'"

That might have been the most shameful episode of the whole saga. If Hobson and Lucas were so concerned with young black and brown children having access to his art collection, he would have built in or near one of their neighborhoods.

*

"Lucas was increasingly coming to think of the museum as an educational institution that would make art more accessible to children who grew up with little exposure to it. 'We saw that in Los Angeles there would be a hundred schools in a five-mile radius of the museum, and at Treasure Island there would be one,' he said. 'I said that the building on Treasure Island is a vanity project, and the one in Los Angeles will serve thousands of children.'"

So he did, supposedly, have an epiphany. In Chicago, it was still a vanity project. He only saw the light, if he is to be believed, later. He actually did learn.

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Money Honey Dummy
Maria Bartiromo, everyone.

Is it fair to characterize you as being slightly more political or politicized in your coverage than you were at CNBC?

Well, no. I definitely have stretched myself in terms of educating myself on what's going on today. I don't think I had an opportunity to study those things at CNBC. I was studying the stock market, balance sheets, corporations. It wasn't important at the time to study policy. Today it's the No. 1 factor driving markets. Most people don't realize how impactful policy is. I didn't know that initially.

She didn't know how impactful policy was. She hadn't studied it.

*

You got some blowback in the mainstream press for your recent interview with Trump too, that you let some unsubstantiated claims slide. What was the goal of the interview? And was it accomplished?

Frankly, I feel great about my exclusive. As the front pages of the Financial Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal all highlighted the following Monday, we made news on a number of items.

From the "exclusive" in which "we" made news:

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Voltron Art Show In Chicago.

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BeachBook

'He Didn't Recognize Me' | Migrant Parents Are Slowly Being Reunited With Their Deeply Traumatized Children.

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This Is What It Looks Like When A Coach Stops Pretending It's About Anything But Winning.

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China's Xu Bing Constructs The First Film Made (Almost) Solely From Surveillance Footage.

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A Fascinating Look Inside Facebook's Early Days.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: In Formation.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 AM | Permalink

July 11, 2018

SportsMondayWednesday: On The Road To The All-Star Game

Good to see Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana step up for the Cubs the last two days. But at this point I think I might be able to shut out the Giants for three innings. And these days every time I try to make an overhand throw it feels like my arm is about to fall off.

This is a San Francisco lineup, after all, that recently scored all of three runs in three days - in Coors Field.

Of course, this is a Cubs lineup that was hot, hot, hot heading into this three-game series and then proceeded to score one run in 11 innings on Monday and was shut out for six frames by retread extraordinaire Derek Holland last night. The team finally broke through for a pair in the seventh and that held up for a big win.

Bottom line is if the Cubs can split their six games this week on the West Coast heading into the All-Star break, they should be thrilled. And they are a third of the way there heading into this afternoon finale with the Giants.

It was clear in the series opener that Anthony Rizzo is ready to step away for a while. The first baseman who went almost the equivalent of a season without an error from last year into this one had two miscues in one inning to give the Giants the one run they needed to take the game to extras and eventually outlast the visitors in the series opener.

Before the San Francisco cool down (and anyone who has experienced that city's year-round climate knows that such a thing is particularly appropriate), the Cubs offense in general was cruising along with stellar numbers. Of course the on-base percentages are more important than the batting averages, but in that first game against the Giants, the Cubs sent up hitter after hitter - with the exception of Rizzo - who was batting above .280.

And while early this week most of the attention went to the All-Star snub of Tampa pitcher Blake Snell, more focus should have been on fans actually stepping up and rewarding a couple deserving Cubs with late surges at the ballot box and spots in the starting lineup.

Javy Baez and Willson Contreras had trailed in All-Star voting at second base and catcher from the start. But when the final tallies were announced, both had earned starting nods. After Tuesday's action they were hitting .291 and .289, respectively. More importantly, Baez continued to lead the team with an .883 on-base-plus slugging number and Contreras (.823) wasn't far behind.

Both players contribute such good defense that stellar offensive numbers aren't necessarily required for them to deserve All-Star status. But those numbers certainly don't hurt, especially with Rizzo slumping and Kris Bryant having an average season even before missing two weeks with another stupid injury.

Bryant was sidelined after he hurt his shoulder sliding into first. It has been said a million times before but must now be said again: Diving into first is stupid not just because players expose themselves to an unacceptable level of injury likelihood but also because it doesn't even work, i.e., they don't get there faster. Kris, for the love of all that is holy, stop head-first sliding into bases! Especially first!

Back to Baez: There was some commentary in the aftermath of the Giants win on Monday about fans having to take the "good with the bad" with his play. The reference was to his bobble of the ball and hesitation leading to Alex Hansen managing to sprint home from third after the second of Rizzo's errors.

Time to get this straight once and for all: There is no longer "good with the bad" with Baez. His offensive numbers speak for themselves and on defense, well, only a person who doesn't watch the Cubs consistently thinks Baez's bad plays match up with the good. Last year and then especially this year, Baez took a massive step up. He actually makes more heads-up plays to steal outs or bases (he now has 17 on the year) than anyone else in baseball.

Baez's misplay on Monday was the exception that proves the rule. It was shocking because Cubs fans couldn't remember the last time he had made a play like that this season. He is a richly deserving All-Star, and because he will be in the Home Run Derby, I will probably watch for the first time in forever (unless Chris Berman is still doing the broadcast; I know I can't take that guy and his "Back, back, back, back . . . " garbage for more than a few minutes).

Anyway, All-Star fun awaits the Cubs in a big way. Hopefully they can grab a few more Ws on the way there.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, but sometimes on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

The Lost Children Of Chon Thanh

The National Veterans Art Museum is proud to announce "The Lost Children of Chon Thanh," our upcoming exhibition of then-and-now photographic portraits by Bob Shirley and Reed Young.

In 1969, U.S. Army medic Bob "Doc" Shirley worked in a temporary clinic in the village of Chon Thanh, providing medical care to the local people. During that time, he captured poignant images of some of the children he treated.

Over 40 years later Larry Johns, curator of the current exhibition, saw Shirley's haunting portraits and began to wonder whether any of these children had survived, and what their lives were like now. Johns had lost a brother who was serving at a remote artillery post near Chon Thanh and had been trying to seek out people who might have had a connection with his brother during the war.

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Johns and his Vietnamese wife began a two-year search for the "lost children." With the help of New York freelance photographer Reed Young, and others, they were able to find 16 "kids" who had survived.

Johns listened to their stories and made emotional connections with the now-adult subjects, many of whom had became farmers with children and grandchildren of their own. Meanwhile, Young - whose colorful portrait essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, National Geographic and Time - created stunning new portraits of the "children."

"The Lost Children of Chon Thanh" contrasts enlargements from Shirley's exceptionally well-preserved 1969 original 35mm Ektachrome slides withYoung's present-day high definition digital images printed on metal.

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"'The Lost Children of Chon Thanh' provides us with an intimate and moving look at the lives of children growing up in the midst of war, and how that experience shaped their lives in the present day," says NVAM executive director Brendan Foster. "Even more, the exhibition honors the love of a sibling for his fallen brother while celebrating the joy of the new relationships it helped create."

Johns says that "Had I known up front what the unlikely chance of success in locating any of these children actually was, I am certain I would never had started the process. It was only through a combination of extraordinary luck, coincidence and unlikely turns of events that this search was successful. With so many links in a long chain, without any one of them, the process would have dead-ended.

"It is difficult for me not to feel my brother's hand in this incredible endeavor. To be able to exhibit these photos at the National Veterans Art Museum really brings this project full-circle and allows us to not only share our journey of reconnection, but also offers viewers insight into the experience of Vietnam veterans like Bob Shirley and a glimpse at the lives the now-grown children of Chon Thanh."

The exhibit will be on display from July 31st through September 22nd.

About The National Veterans Art Museum

The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. No other museum in the world focuses on the subject of war from the artistic perspective of the veteran, making this collection truly unique. The National Veterans Art Museum addresses both historical and contemporary issues related to military service in order to give patrons of all backgrounds insight into the effects of war and to provide veterans an artistic outlet to work through their military and combat experiences.

The National Veterans Art Museum is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:49 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The man who shot and injured three law enforcement officers from the stairwell of a South Elgin condo building last week was beset by health and money problems and driven to desperation by a final phone call of bad financial news, his family said," the Elgin Courier-News reports.

"Frank Dripps, 52, was shot and killed by police on the Fourth of July, ending an hours-long standoff during which Dripps hunkered down with a shotgun and a rifle and fired at officers multiple times."

"On July 3, hours before his death, Dripps learned his Social Security benefit was being eliminated, said his wife, Paula Dripps. A letter to Frank Dripps dated May 28 said his $750 monthly Supplemental Security Income would be reduced to $167.50 due to a change in his family's income. Paula Dripps called that an error by the Social Security Administration in calculating her income.

"Then in a phone call last week, Frank Dripps was told his benefit would be cut to zero and he had been overpaid for several months and would owe a repayment of $6,000 to $7,000, his wife said. Dripps had been receiving benefits after he was diagnosed with two diseases that affected his spine and made it difficult to move and impossible to work, his family said.

"They said he was owed nothing and that we owed them," Paula Dripps said. "He was mad at the government."

"The July 3 phone call - on top of his spinal problems that had sidelined his career as a home construction contractor, depression, and feeling 'less' for not being able to care for his wife - was the last straw, [his wife] Paula Dripps said."

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Dripps' family is not making excuses - and I'm not either. Obviously I know next to nothing about Frank Dripps' life and his problems. But I can't help but feel that Frank Dripps stands for something - many things all at once, not all of them pretty but deserving of sympathy - even while he put the lives of others in danger. Too many people are living on the edge of total despair, unable to find a way out.

"He wanted to end things himself, but he couldn't bring himself to do it," his sister Deborah told the Courier-News. "He wanted a way for someone else to relieve his pain for him."

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"For the past 10 years, Dripps had struggled with spinal deterioration and had a dual diagnosis of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis and ankylosing spondylitis.

"Dripps at times had used a wheelchair, scooter, walker and sometimes a cane. A cane was with him when he was shot.

"Since moving to Illinois 13 months ago, finding a health care provider who would take on his case proved difficult, his wife said. There were a bevy of surgeries over the years - toes amputated, surgery on both feet, replacement of his left shoulder and plans for a hip replacement.

"'He was in constant pain, every day,' Paula Dripps said."

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However . . .

"Frank Dripps' life took a turn for the better about 10 years ago when he married Paula, family said. The couple, who had been friends for 25 years before their courtship, got involved in a California church, recommitted their lives to Christ, and were baptized together, Paula said."

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This turned out to be a far different story than I thought it would be when I first saw a headline a man killed who was mad at the government, which inferred to me a conspiratorial gun nut or somesuch who maybe thought he was receiving radio signals through his fillings. Instead, it appears to be the story of a difficult life - though one made sweeter by a loving partner - buffeted by bad luck, an unforgivably horrible health care system, and an incredibly harmful notion of masculinity.

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"Police didn't initially return [Dripps'] fire. However, about a dozen area police departments and two SWAT teams responded to the scene," Law Enforcement Today reports.

Armed with a scoped rifle and a shotgun, police say Dripps barricaded himself inside a stairwell and was yelling vulgarities at police, saying he would, "shoot officers if they came at him."

Crisis negotiators attempted to talk him down throughout the four-hour standoff, during which police say he raised the weapons to his shoulder "off and on."

After retreating to his condo unit, police say the 52-year-old came charging out opening fire on police around 2:30 a.m. Hence, a SWAT team returned fire, and Dripps was struck. As a result, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Lost Children Of Chon Thanh
'This exhibit in Chicago juxtaposes images of children photographed by U.S. Army medic Bob "Doc" Shirley in Chon Thanh, Vietnam in 1969 with recent photographs by Reed Young of the same children taken nearly 50 years later.'

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Out: Bryzzo. In: Wavy
Cubs on the road to the All-Star Game.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"The Last Time I Saw Chicago" / The Three Deuces.

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BeachBook

Selecting A Supreme Court Justice Doesn't Have To Be A Battle Royale. Here's How Other Countries Do it.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: A million times.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

July 10, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

"[V]eteran NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams broke the news that President Trump would nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, roughly eight minutes before the much-hyped TV rollout," Politico's Morning Media newsletter reports.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: A scoop isn't reporting something that is going to be announced minutes or hours before it happens, it's reporting something we otherwise would not know if not for the reporter's work. Williams essentially got the scoop on a press release going out to the world by having a "source" throw him a bone he could chew on in public for eight minutes.

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But the real media malfeasance surrounding Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee (so far) is the way journalists have played along with the narrative mostly (but not wholly) created by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). See Stare Decisis, The Supreme Court, And Roe.

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Meanwhile, Politico's Playbook flagged this passage from the Times' profile of Kavanaugh:

"[P]eople who have worked with Judge Kavanaugh say he has little use for Washington pomp. 'Whatever the opposite of a Georgetown cocktail party person is, that's what Judge Kavanaugh is,' said Justin Walker, a law professor at the University of Louisville who worked as a law clerk for both Judge Kavanaugh and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. 'He'd much rather have a beer and watch a hockey game.'"

Spare me the "he's just a regular guy" routine. Unless he takes his judicial cues from the vagaries of the NHL, that's an irrelevant piece of information.

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Supreme Court judges are human, too! They have favorite, um, sports and stuff! They eat and poop, too!

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"I never see him prouder," Professor Walker added, "than when I see him talk about coaching girls' basketball."

No way!

(And who is Professor Walker? A former Kavanaugh clerk who was surely prepped with that line. I wonder if the reporter asked what Kavanaugh's worst quality was . . . )

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"Years later, Justice Kennedy still spoke with admiration verging on awe of the young Brett Kavanaugh's work ethic, Professor Walker said, recounting the justice's words: 'Brett was always there the first thing in the morning before I came in and last thing at night when I was leaving. I'd say, Brett, you're working too hard. You've got to go home. But he would never listen to me.'"

My worst quality is that I work too hard!

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"In a dissent in January from a decision upholding the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he issued a ringing endorsement of executive power.

"To prevent tyranny and protect individual liberty, the framers of the Constitution separated the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the new national government," Judge Kavanaugh wrote. "To further safeguard liberty, the framers insisted upon accountability for the exercise of executive power. The framers lodged full responsibility for the executive power in a president of the United States, who is elected by and accountable to the people."

Okay, we all know that, but how does it relate to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which he apparently finds to be . . . illegitimate?

(It turns out Kavanaugh's dissent is basically about what he sees as the ability of the CFPB director to exercise unchecked executive power.)

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"Judge Kavanaugh's first nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stalled in the Senate, but he was confirmed after Mr. Bush renominated him in 2006."

Why did his first nomination stall? The Times doesn't tell us.

It turns out, according to the Washington Post, that Democrats found him to be "too partisan."

Good to know!

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"In his opinions, Judge Kavanaugh has often been skeptical of government regulations, notably in the area of environmental law, and he has argued in favor of greater judicial power in reviewing the actions of administrative agencies on major questions."

More important to know than his hockey-watching, but much further down in the story, oh well!

Here's the thing: the New York Times does some great investigative work and its cultural coverage - including sports - is often admirably well-written, blind spots and all. But its news coverage often leaves me wondering if they have too few or too many editors.

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"He has also been open to using the First Amendment to strike down government regulations. Dissenting from the full District of Columbia Circuit's decision not to rehear a three-judge panel's decision upholding the Obama administration's 'net neutrality' regulations, he said the government can no more tell internet service providers what content to carry than it can tell bookstores what books they can sell.

"The net neutrality rule is unlawful," he wrote, "because the rule impermissibly infringes on the internet service providers' editorial discretion."

That's just silly. It's like allowing phone companies to determine the speed and quality of your calls based on what you talk about. C'mon.

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"Last year, he dissented from a decision allowing an undocumented teenager in federal custody to obtain an abortion, writing that the majority's reasoning was 'based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.' He said he would have given the government more time to find a sponsor for the teenager."

I sure hope there was more nuance than that in his dissent; the legal status of someone seeking a medical procedure should be irrelevant, and what's the difference if the kid has a sponsor other than hoping an adult would talk her out of the abortion? That's beyond your scope, Justice Kavanaugh.

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"In 2015, he dissented from the court's decision not to rehear a three-judge panel's decision upholding an accommodation offered by the Obama administration to religious groups with objections to providing contraception coverage to their female workers.

"He agreed that 'the government has a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception for the employees of these religious organizations.' But he said the government had other ways of achieving that goal."

What's interesting is what Kavanaugh finds that the government has an interest in - and what it doesn't, according to him. There's your roadmap.

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Akhil Reed Amar writes the inevitable Times Op-Ed "A Liberal's Case For Brett Kavanaugh."

Amar is an esteemed legal scholar, but he's far from infallible. For example, in this 2016 interview he calls Hillary Clinton "lowborn." She was not; she grew up solidly middle class - if not upper middle class. Just sayin'.

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From Seeking Alpha's newsletter:

"As an ideological conservative he's expected to push the court to the right on a number of issues, including business regulation. Kavanaugh has been critical of the expanding powers of federal agencies, including on measures like labor rights, credit-card fees and 'payday' loans."

But he's a Catholic who's really into his community!

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Just sayin' -

"[Kavanaugh] also has authored more than 800 opinions appellate court decisions, creating a long record of legal reasoning and positions that is sure to be scoured by Democrats looking to derail his nomination," the Sun-Times says in an editorial.

Everyone else says 300 opinions.

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Flores Folly
"A federal judge has turned down President Donald Trump's request to alter a decades-old legal settlement to allow long-term detention of children who entered the U.S. illegally with their parents," Politico reports.

"Los Angeles-based U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee dismissed as 'tortured' the Trump administration's legal argument to get out from under the so-called Flores consent decree agreed to back in 1997, dictating that children in immigration detention not be held more than 20 days.

"'Defendants seek to light a match to the Flores Agreement and ask this Court to upend the parties' agreement by judicial fiat,' wrote Gee, an appointee of President Barack Obama. 'It is apparent that Defendants' Application is a cynical attempt . . . to shift responsibility to the Judiciary for over 20 years of Congressional inaction and ill-considered Executive action that have led to the current stalemate.'"

Beachwood readers first encountered Flores on June 5th, and again on the 7th and reiterated on the 21st.

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Kill The Electoral College
From Axios:

"Remember that a shift of fewer than 80,000 votes in three states (Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) would have made Hillary Clinton president."

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Your TV Is Watching You
"The growing concern over online data and user privacy has been focused on tech giants like Facebook and devices like smartphones. But people's data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge," the New York Times reports.

"In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes. Marketers, forever hungry to get their products in front of the people most likely to buy them, have eagerly embraced such practices. But the companies watching what people watch have also faced scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates over how transparent they are being with users."

The Times notes that "Last year, Vizio paid $2.2 million to settle claims by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey that it was collecting and selling viewing data from millions of smart TVs without the knowledge or consent of set owners. "

From the Beachwood vault . . .

* November 2015: Own A Vizio Smart TV? It's Watching You.

* February 2017: Vizio To Pay $2.2 Million To Settle Charges It Secretly Collected Viewing Histories On 11 Million Users.

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

A quick check on Google finds many news organizations covering the man's initial filing of a lawsuit, but none of them reporting on a resolution to said suit. Assignment Desk, activate!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Ghostface Killah, Aly & AJ, Pixies, Radiohead, Smif N Wessun, Tesla, Weezer, Anthony Green, and Carbon Leaf.

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Hey, that's not Kim Deal!

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As States Legalize Sports Betting, Will Sports Media Go All In?
"When I was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, I saw firsthand how traditional media outlets were slow to adapt to the Internet, much to their detriment.

"Now, with sports gambling, editors and reporters will ideally adjust appropriately, attracting more readers and subscribers by providing information that's useful to bettors.

"A potentially disastrous outcome would be if already cash-strapped media outlets are reluctant to change, and are slow to meet readers' needs."

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Stare Decisis, The Supreme Court, And Roe
"[T]he reality is that everyone believes in stare decisis to some extent, and also that everyone believes it has exceptions . . . the Supreme Court sometimes overrules precedent and changes the law (a proposition so banal that, frankly, I did not think I would ever need to demonstrate its truth)."

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More from the Beachwood music desk . . .

Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Janelle Monae, Jezi, Miki Howard, Iron Years, Snarky Puppy, and Jacob Collier.

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The Previous Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Big Brave, Poster Children, The Body, Lingua Ignota, Neil Young, Yanni, Lightweights, Dial Drive, The Ways of Tom, No Solution, The Bama Lamas, Jeremy Enigk, Jory Avner, and Bryan Adams.

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The Previous Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: XEUTHANIZEDX, The Kreutzer Sonata, The Wailers, Code Orange, Strange Foliage, Chris Duarte, Dusk, Joshua Hedley, Mount Eerie, Camp Cope, Johnny Moon and the Astronauts, The Posies, and The Sword.

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ChicagoGram

🥒Rick #homedecor

A post shared by Whit Krystof (@whitkrystof) on

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ChicagoTube

1965 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 7 Chicago at Detroit 4-15-1965.

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BeachBook

The Male Founder Of The Feminist T-Shirt Brand You Love Has A Dark Past.

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California's Gone Without Higher Ed Affirmative Action Since 1996. Black Enrollment At Top UCs Never Recovered.

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My Favorite Recipe.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Refined.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:26 AM | Permalink

Stare Decisis, The Supreme Court, And Roe

In a post last week, I highlighted the utter meaninglessness of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins' (R-Maine) claim that she would look for a Supreme Court nominee who respects precedent. The claim was bunk, I wrote, because Collins had professed that Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom she voted to confirm to the Supreme Court, was, in her view, a pillar of a judge who respects precedent. As I explained, in his first full term on the Court, Gorsuch voted to overrule or suggested he was open to overruling a prior precedent in 11 of the 60 cases heard.

Also last week, Rich Chen, a professor at Maine Law, wrote an Op-Ed for the Portland, Maine Press Herald offering some other reasons why Collins' promise to look for a nominee who respects precedent was utterly meaningless. As Rich observed, all judges respect precedent and believe in stare decisis (the doctrine that says even wrong decisions shouldn't necessarily be overruled). All judges also believe that respect for precedent and stare decisis are not inviolable and have exceptions; thus, all judges believe that some precedents can and should be overruled. The real question is which ones, and under what circumstances. (Here's a spoiler for you, Susan: Roe v. Wade,* and preferably soon.)

Rich also flagged that judges also believe that "incorrect" precedents can be chipped away and limited basically to their facts. That is, judges can adopt unpersuasive distinctions and silly arguments to limit the reach of a prior decision.

In another post last week, I elaborated on two of the ways that I think the modified Court will do that to Roe (I am still unsure that the Court will explicitly overrule it, at least in the short term, but frankly don't think that matters a good deal for many of the women who will be affected). One is by diluting the undue burden standard so it does not require any meaningful scrutiny of a state's purpose, or pay attention to a law's effects short of outright criminalization of abortion during the first trimester. The other is by expanding the government's interest in avoiding "facilitation" of abortions or "complicity" in them.

As I noted in this paper, these efforts at limiting Roe are well under way. Asher Steinberg wrote a post over the weekend that showcased several times Judge Brent Kavanaugh [now officially the nominee] has done this - that is, adopting arguments merely to limit the reach of a prior decision that some view as unpersuasive.

For now, however, I'd like to continue to press on Collins' absurd claim that when a nominee professes to believe in stare decisis and respect for precedent, the nominee will never overrule a prior Supreme Court case.

Again, the reality is that everyone believes in stare decisis to some extent, and also that everyone believes it has exceptions. As further proof of the fact that the Supreme Court sometimes overrules precedent and changes the law (a proposition so banal that, frankly, I did not think I would ever need to demonstrate its truth), consider two of the cases that are already on the Court's docket for next year:

* Gamble v. United States, in which the question the Court is being asked is "whether to overrule the 'separate sovereigns' exception to the double jeopardy clause."

* Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt, in which the question the Court is being asked is "Whether Nevada v. Hall, which permits a sovereign state to be haled into another state's courts without its consent, should be overruled."

Also on the Court's docket is Gundy v. United States, in which the Court is being asked to invalidate a law on "non-delegation" grounds, something which it hasn't done since 1935.

The point is that the Court is (not infrequently) asked to change the law. And sometimes it takes up that invitation. Just look at the Court's docket from last term, when it frontally and explicitly overruled several cases (for reasons such as that the prior case was "poorly reasoned"), and substantially modified others.

It is not hard, nor is it rocket science, to recognize that all judges and judicial nominees believe in, and will profess a belief in stare decisis. It is also not hard to recognize that all judges and judicial nominees believe that stare decisis notwithstanding, some cases should be overruled, or limited essentially to their facts. Susan Collins knows this too. She just won't do anything about it.

* I'm using Roe as a stand-in for Casey.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

The point Litman rightly makes here is so blindingly obvious ("a proposition so banal that, frankly, I did not think I would ever need to demonstrate its truth") that the media ought to be taken to task for its utter ignorance in going along with the narrative of Collins and others - and the upcoming political theater thereof - when it comes to stare decisis. Every judge believes in the importance of precedence - until they don't! Otherwise, Plessy v. Ferguson would still be the law of the land.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 AM | Permalink

As States Legalize Sports Betting, Will Sports Media Go All In?

Widespread, legalized sports gambling could change the way you watch your favorite sport.

It could also soon change how the media covers sports.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court in May gave states the option to allow sports betting, it seemed like a vast, untapped well of revenue had been opened. Until then, illegal sports wagering had been an industry worth about $150 billion a year.

Since the May ruling, Delaware and New Jersey have each implemented sports gambling, with Rhode Island, West Virginia and Mississippi not far behind. All of these states will be able to tax betting. Their casinos will be able to open sportsbooks to lure customers. And leagues are lobbying for a cut of each wager, though that hasn't yet come to pass.

Lost in all this has been the question of how the sports media will respond.

When I was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, I saw firsthand how traditional media outlets were slow to adapt to the Internet, much to their detriment. Now, with sports gambling, editors and reporters will ideally adjust appropriately, attracting more readers and subscribers by providing information that's useful to bettors. A potentially disastrous outcome would be if already cash-strapped media outlets are reluctant to change, and are slow to meet readers' needs.

A New Lens Of Analysis

"To not acknowledge sports betting would be to do a disservice to your audience," Barry Bedlan, director of sports products for the AP, said in an interview for this piece.

Bedlan had spoken hours earlier at a panel on sports betting at the annual convention of the Associated Press Sports Editors, the body of the nation's print and digital sports editors.

Bedlan predicted that in a few years, major papers and websites in states with legalized betting will have a position in the sports department in which a reporter writes exclusively from a bettor's perspective. Reporters on a team's beat, meanwhile, may start to inject gambling into routine coverage - noting the impact of a star player's injury on the betting line, for instance, or saying in a game recap whether a winning team covered the point spread.

The Associated Press highly values its credibility and strict adherence to journalistic ethics. The news agency has long provided point spreads - the number of points teams are expected to win or lose by - to its clients. But expect its offerings to expand.

"Straight predictions and picks should gain renewed importance - Team A will beat Team B, and here, quickly, is why, according to our experts," Jeff Rosen, assistant managing editor for sports of the Kansas City Star, wrote to me in an e-mail.

Even weather reports could become more important: For example, if snow is expected on a Sunday in Philadelphia during an Eagles home game, it will likely reduce the points that are scored. This bit of information would certainly interest gamblers wagering on the Over/Under, a bet on the total points scored in a game.

How Much Of An Appetite Is Out There?

The big question many in sports media face now is how deeply - and how soon - to cover betting.

Some of that, of course, depends on whether sports betting is legal in the state where the outlet is located. But out there for all to see is the success of the Vegas Stats & Information Network, a multiplatform gambling news outlet that launched in 2017 and enticed renowned broadcaster Brent Musburger away from ESPN to be its face.

[Editor's Note: Former Chicago sports editor and news executive Bill Adee is VISN's chief operating officer.]

It has a Sirius channel, podcasts, livestreams and a growing following that some media executives have surely noticed.

That doesn't mean everyone is pouring their resources into sports gambling. Some are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Kevin Manahan, sports director at NJ Advance Media, told me that a key question is whether bettors who have been making illegal bets will want more information now that the activity has been legalized, or whether they've already been getting what they need.

"We just don't know what the audience is going to be," Manahan said. NJ.com closely tracks what works with readers, so if there's an appetite for gambling analysis, it will respond appropriately.

Bill King, who covers the gambling issue for the Sports Business Journal, agrees that the big question is how much the gambling market will grow.

"What we're really talking about is taking an illegal business and making it legal," he said.

Does that mean new people will bet? There could be a huge swath of people who think it would be fun to lay down a $10 sports bet on a weekend, but had been turned off by the sketchiness of signing up for an illegal offshore account.

King also notes that the media in regions where betting has been legalized could benefit from advertising buys from bookmakers. Opening a betting account is more complicated than, say, signing up for a social media account. Many people will likely only have one or two betting accounts, which could lead to intense competition among bookmakers.

The Las Vegas Model Portends A New Era

Bill Bradley, an editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, believes sports gambling can be a big draw for newspapers and their websites.

When he became assistant managing editor for sports in 2015, Bradley took a reporter who was covering sports betting part-time and made that his full-time job.

The results were dramatic. The betting stories and videos were consistently among the sports section's top draws, and betting now has its own section on the paper's website.

Even simple stories, like Sunday's NFL lines and injury reports, have become more popular when reported and analyzed with the bettor's perspective in mind.

"Basically, it's found money," Bradley said.

In fact, the work of the reporter on the betting beat was so well-received that he wound up getting hired away - by the Vegas Sports Information Network.

Certainly in terms of journalistic ethics, offering reporting and analysis for betting demands some new rules in the newsroom, editors said. For reporters, that includes not betting on the team you cover or even the sport you cover.

And Mark Conrad, an associate professor at Fordham University and author of the popular textbook The Business of Sports: Off the Field, in the Office, on the News, cautioned that, amid the novelty of legal sports betting, the media also need to cover issues such as gambling addiction.

But a cultural change is afoot.

Bradley and Bedlan noted that many editors at the APSE meeting had, in the past, never bothered to learn even basic sports gambling terms such as "parlay" or "bad beat" because betting was illegal and perhaps not true to the spirit of sports.

[Editor's Note: I find this hard to believe.]

Now they're studying up.

Sports fans might want to do the same.

John Affleck is the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously:

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #31: Sweet Action! A Special Report On Sports Gambling.

* Welcome, Sportsbooks!

* States Getting Ready For U.S. Supreme Court To Legalize Sports Gambling.

* Supreme Court Delivers For Sports Bettors. Now States Need To Scramble.

* Full-Scale Sports Betting Arrives in Delaware.

* Item: Let It Ride.

* BeachBook: When Sports Betting Is Legal, The Value Of Game Data Soars.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:20 AM | Permalink

July 9, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Ghostface Killah at the Mid on Friday night.


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2. Aly & AJ at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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3. Pixies at the Tinley Park shed on Saturday night.

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4. Radiohead at the Bulls/Blackhawks arena on Friday night.

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5. Smif N Wessun at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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6. Tesla on Northerly Island on Saturday night.

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7. Weezer at the Tinley Park shed on Saturday night.

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8. Anthony Green at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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9. Carbon Leaf at City Winery on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:49 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Rich Miller has a roundup of Dan Ryan Shutdown coverage here, including the Twitter tustle between the mayor and the governor.

Which reminds me of this interview from 2016 I just came across by accident last week (unless I just forgot about it) with Bruce Rauner describing the first time he met Rahm Emanuel. The part I wanted to excerpt is just too long to re-post here, so click on the link and see for yourself.

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And indeed, Rauner helped make Rahm rich. You could almost say Rauner was Gordon Gekko to Rahm's Bud Fox!

Almost.

"Confidants of Mr. Emanuel's said he decided to try his hand at business because he wanted financial security for his family, before eventually returning to public service, " the New York Times reported in 2008.

Financial security? Rahm wanted to be filthy rich. That's a fact.

"He had a number in his head to make enough for the family," said Ezekiel J. Emanuel, one of Rahm's two brothers and a prominent bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health.

Enough for the family.

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"One of Mr. Emanuel's major deals was the purchase in 2001 of a home alarm business, SecurityLink, from SBC Communications, the telecommunications company that was run by William M. Daley, the former secretary of commerce in the Clinton administration and the brother of Chicago's mayor.

"Mr. Emanuel represented GTCR Golder Rauner, a Chicago private equity firm that was buying the business for an affiliate. Bruce Rauner, the firm's chairman, had first met Mr. Emanuel when he was still exploring job prospects in Chicago after getting a call from Mr. Bowles, an old friend.

"Instead of private equity, Mr. Rauner advised Mr. Emanuel to pursue investment banking, where his political experience might be more valuable in landing deals in regulated industries.

"Mr. Emanuel called him back after starting at Wasserstein and asked if he could take over coverage of GTCR for his new employer. That eventually led to the nearly $500 million SecurityLink deal."

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As a wise veteran journalist once said to me years ago, underneath the sauce all the noodles are connected.

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Happier times being rich together, before each was up for re-election in difficult political environments that called for, in their minds, trying to exploit violence in Chicago for personal gain.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #208: Local TV News Is Hurting America
The continuing problem no one talks about anymore. Plus: I Predicted The World Cup's Final Four; Mr. Cowley; The Blackhawks Signed Some Free Agents; White Sox Waiting Game Sucks; Land Of Boz; and Cubs Factors.

Featuring special guest Bucktown Benny!

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The Arts Of Life Annual Studio Sale 2018!
"Don't miss out on the chance to own a piece of work by one of our esteemed artists! The Annual Studio Sale only happens once a year and is a wonderful opportunity to find a work of art that you love while supporting a local cause. Stay for a drink and learn more about The Arts of Life."

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The White Sox Report: Grateful Dead
"The next two weeks will be among the season's most comforting basically because the Sox won't be playing very often."

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Trump Targets Affirmative Action To Stimulate Mid-Term Turnout
What if Steve Bannon is right?

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Bill Shine Goes From Covering Up Sexual Harassment At Fox News To Trump's White House
"[T]he latest signal that the president holds contempt for the concerns of women . . . [and] effectively solidifying the idea that Fox News is state-run TV."

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Man Up
The debut novel from an Englewood firefighter.

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ChicagoGram

Hidden mural #chicago

A post shared by Tim Inklebarger (@timinklebarger) on

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ChicagoTube

"It only took me 16 years but I finally uploaded this video of The Arrivals around 2002 live in Chicago. I think the event was called the Chicago Rockyards flea market or something like that. I remember Thick Records plugging the event on their message board. I want to say it was near the United Center but I could be wrong, it was a long time ago."

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Wisconsin's Wood Tick Races.

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Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy.

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I Don't Care How Rich You Are, You Can't Buy A UPS Truck.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Baked.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:31 AM | Permalink

Grateful Dead

What's in a name? When it comes to big league ballparks, it could be tradition, beer, insurance, banks, and a sampling of other businesses. With the exception of tradition - more than a notable ingredient of the game - all the others contribute to the teams' bottom lines.

For a number of reasons, I've tried my best not to mention the moniker at 35th and Shields in the past year-and-a-half. For one, I was used to The Cell. In fact, it was kind of apropos the way the White Sox had been playing. Watching a game from the first to ninth inning too often created feelings of being institutionalized as the losses piled up. I knew no one who used U.S. Cellular. The company meant absolutely nothing to me. But The Cell was cool and not inaccurate. I miss it.

And the truth is, I've never been quite sure what to call Guaranteed Rate Field. There I've written it! When the announcement was made about the change almost two years ago, I wondered if we were going to attend Sox games at the G-Spot. One fan tweeted, "The Sox will play at the G-Spot, where many men will try and fail to score."

That tag, however, never caught on.

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To this point, no label has been consistently applied to the former Comiskey, White Sox Park, and The Cell. Our esteemed Beachwood editor Steve Rhodes called it The Grate in an e-mail a few weeks ago. I suppose that's as good a name as any.

Other than paying the Sox about $2 million a year - enough to cover this season's salary of left-handed pitcher Hector Santiago, who gave up seven runs in the eighth inning at Houston on Friday - until the agreement expires in 2029, there is no connection between a mortgage lender and a major league baseball team.

And make no mistake: Guaranteed Rate is no better or worse than any other mortgage lender be it Comerica in Detroit or SunTrust in Atlanta, the two other places where lenders have naming rights. I know because I am a customer of G-Rate. Don't let anyone like the White Sox or the company's CEO Victor Ciardelli tell you that obtaining a mortgage from Guaranteed Rate involves just a few keystrokes and clicks.

Even after supplying what I thought was the end of the required documentation, it was never enough. I was prepared to count my spare change sitting in a jar on the kitchen counter. I figured they'd want to know about that too. I even had my shoe size ready for disclosure. And the rate was about the same as anywhere else.

Twenty ballclubs have corporate sponsors for their stadia. Some make sense like Coors Field in Denver, Miller Park in Milwaukee, and Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Show me a ballpark without beer and I'll show you a Little League game. Beer and baseball have a long association.

For those teetotalers or those who prefer screwdrivers, we have Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg and Minute Maid Park in Houston, where the White Sox were swept four straight last week by the defending World Series champion Astros. A slug of straight orange juice on a hot day might slake the thirst, although both of those venues have roofs.

The remaining sponsors - banks (5), insurance companies (4), telecommunications corporations (2), Target and Petco - supply nothing but cash as far as obvious connections to the game are concerned. But that's the world we live in.

According to Forbes, the Mets have by far the best monetary deal because Citibank has a 20-year commitment to pay the Mets $20 million annually for Citibank Field. The Braves are next, collecting $10 million a year from SunTrust for a 25-year contract for the new ballpark in Atlanta.

Most arrangements are more in line with what the Sox get from - how shall I say? - G-Rate, which actually is less in dollars than what the team garnered from U.S. Cellular. When the deal was announced, White Sox marketing director Brooks Boyer touted that "fans can expect aggressive co-promotion in addition to the naming rights." Outside of mortgage rates a point lower than prime, I can't imagine what that might be. A presence at SoxFest doesn't cut it for me.

Consider for a moment what would happen if the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers or Red Sox were to sell naming rights for their venerable stadiums. The outrage would be rampant. They might even lose a few season ticket holders and - heaven forbid - sponsors. Now think of the PR and goodwill that might have been generated if the Sox had dropped U.S. Cellular and said, "We are returning to our roots and tradition. From this day on our ballpark will be called Comiskey Park."

Of course, for a team that has outdrawn just four other franchises this season, losing the income may be more important than a name. The Sox last week signed their top draft choice, Nick Madrigal of Oregon State, for a bonus of almost $6.5 million. The money has to come from somewhere. (By the way, Madrigal is a middle infielder, positions presently manned by young players Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson. I'm not aware that general manager Rick Hahn has commented on what could be a logjam in the next couple of years. If all three continue to develop, someone will wind up playing another position or perhaps some place other than Chicago.)

But assuming that The Rebuild will bear fruit in 2020 . . . err, 2021 . . . I mean, by 2022, the fans will once again pack the park, and no longer will the cheap seats go for $7. We've seen this development on the North Side. No, once those days return to the South Side like 2005 and the few seasons thereafter, the $2 million collected in naming rights won't even cover a utility infielder.

The time when that occurs seems to be a dream after another horrifying week when the White Sox lost two of three in Cincinnati before the debacle in Houston.

Ricky's boys had a 3-2 lead on Thursday in the bottom of the ninth when Joakim Soria, who very well could be traded later this month, was summoned to close down the victory. In his previous 18 appearances, Soria hadn't allowed a run over 18 innings. In fact, he had been nicked for just eight hits while walking only three during the streak.

But his perfection ended abruptly Thursday. Soria faced six hitters, retiring only one as Yuri Gurriel's walkoff single signaled the start of the sweep by the Astros. The Sox lost all seven games between the two clubs this season. According to the Sun-Times, the Sox had never been winless in a season series in the history of the franchise.

Lucas Giolito did his best to salvage the last game against Houston, a 2-1 squeaker on Sunday which was decided on a two-strike safety squeeze bunt in the seventh inning. Giolito threw seven balls on his first eight pitches, walking the leadoff man before hitting Alex Bregman. However, he settled down and allowed just three hits, including Jose Altuve's solo home run in the fourth, before exiting with one out in the eighth.

We're accustomed to the little tidbits of optimism following many losses. Sunday it was Giolito's performance as he lowered his ERA to 6.59, dead last of the 88 pitchers who have started at least 13 games this season. We should be encouraged.

The next two weeks will be among the season's most comforting basically because the Sox won't be playing very often. They return to The Grate - that's the place where they play - for a two-game series against the Cardinals beginning on Tuesday. After another off-day Thursday, the putrid Royals will invade for three games over the weekend.

Then comes the much-anticipated four-game All-Star Game break. So just five games for the White Sox in 11 days. Talk about hitting the G-Spot.

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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 8:34 AM | Permalink

The Arts Of Life Annual Studio Sale 2018!

The Arts of Life, a Chicagoland non-profit arts studio for adults with and without disabilities, will be having their Annual Studio Sale on Friday, July 27th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 2010 West Carroll Avenue.

The talented group of artists who make up The Arts of Life have been featured at galleries and museums around the city and country, including most recently Heaven Gallery, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Andrew Edlin Gallery, and the Chicago city clerk's office.

Don't miss out on the chance to own a piece of work by one of our esteemed artists! The Annual Studio Sale only happens once a year and is a wonderful opportunity to find a work of art that you love while supporting a local cause. Stay for a drink and learn more about The Arts of Life.

Artworks on sale are one-of-a-kind and created by The Arts of Life eclectic group of 27 artists. Come purchase original paintings, drawings and more for as low as $10 (up to 75% off)!

Buy $40 or more in original artwork and receive a coupon for $50 off custom framing from local frame store Artists Frame Service.

Additional merchandise such as screen prints, t-shirts, handmade stationery and other collectibles will also be available at discounted prices.

Take advantage of this limited sale and find an original work of art you adore for yourself or a friend.

This event is free and open to the public. Beer provided by Pipeworks Brewing Co, with music by Mode Hexe and Mint Condition.

If you are not able to attend the main event on July 27th, any Studio Sale items not sold will be available for purchase at the Chicago Studio during normal business hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, 12-4 Saturday) through 8/28.

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Volunteer with The Arts of Life.

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See also:
* The Arts of Life on Facebook.

* The Arts of Life on Twitter.

* The Arts of Life on Instagram.

* The Arts of Life on YouTube.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Man Up

Man Up is a novel based on the true story of a young man who learns the hard lessons of fathering children without being equipped to care for them.

Throughout this coming-of-age story, the main character remains nameless (because He could be any man in the same situation).

After conflicts arise with the mothers of his first three children, he leaves without remorse, forcing them to fend for themselves.

As the story progresses and He matures, He meets Britney and falls in love for the first time in his life. They work hard to build a life together, and along the way have two daughters. He couldn't be happier. He finally has the life and family he has always dreamed of. However that happiness is fleeting. Suddenly Britney flips the script and leaves. Now he's the one left with the kids!

man up book cover.jpg

Man Up is a gritty tale that will have you laughing, crying and rooting for the single father to succeed in raising his girls - and becoming a better man.

About The Author
Chicago native Darail Drake, who is currently a firefighter and father of seven, was raised in the tough neighborhood of Englewood. Darail was determined not to let his past determine his future. He overcame several obstacles including being abandoned by his father and becoming a teenage dad. With drive and determination, Darail entered the Chicago Police Department. After 11 years of working on the force, he switched gears and joined the Chicago Fire Department. Still fighting fires and saving lives, Drake is hard at work on his second novel, another story of inspiration and determination.

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Book release/signing:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

July 8, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #208: Local TV News Is Hurting America

The continuing problem no one talks about anymore. Plus: I Predicted The World Cup's Final Four; Mr. Cowley; The Blackhawks Signed Some Free Agents; White Sox Waiting Game Sucks; Land Of Boz; and Cubs Factors.


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SHOW NOTES

* 208.

* Benny's Bucktown Beachwood Bureau.

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2:07: The Continuing Problem Of Local TV News That No One Talks About Anymore.

* Local TV news is hurting America.

* Grant proposal: A Day In The Life Of Facts/News/Local TV/Media.

* Who is really stealing content.

19:07: I Predicted The World Cup's Final Four.

* Last week's Show Notes: "Don't sleep on France."

* Belgium's colonies.

* England's Sterling (not Sylvester).

* I couldn't find the tweet that was as clever as I remembered.

27:28: Mr. Cowley.

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* Joe Cowley Hates Women, Can't Write And Is A Lousy Reporter But Keeps Job.

* Cowley & Ozzie.

34:17: The Blackhawks Signed Some Free Agents.

36:28: White Sox Waiting Game Sucks.

38:31: Land Of Boz.

* Tigers Had Concerns About Chris Bosio Before He Was Fired.

42:56: Cubs Factors.

* "Almora's not sure he's doing anything differently against right-handers beyond just seeing more of them as his playing time has increased."

* "Lester, admittedly, had a bad year in 2017, with his ERA ballooning to 4.33. Physically, he simply could not recover between starts."

* Theo: "The majority of our answers lie within."

1:03:46: Jay Cutler Mopes Along On Kristin Cavallari Reality Show.

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STOPPAGE: 3:55

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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 11:57 AM | Permalink

July 6, 2018

Bill Shine Goes From Covering Up Sexual Harassment At Fox News To Trump's White House

While President Donald Trump's appointment of former Fox News executive Bill Shine to a top communications role was unsurprising to critics, many denounced the selection as the latest signal that the president holds contempt for the concerns of women.

As the right-wing news outlet's co-president, Shine allegedly helped to cover up the sexual harassment faced by many women at the network at the hands of powerful men including TV host Bill O'Reilly and CEO Roger Ailes. According to former Fox News personalities Julie Roginsky and Andrea Tantaros, Shine was dismissive of accusations against Ailes, helped to arrange meetings between Ailes and women he had sexually harassed, and suppressed reports of misconduct.

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"For years, Bill Shine actively covered up Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly's sexual misconduct at Fox News, created and fostered a toxic work environment at the network, and actively retaliated against women who reported their abuse," Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, said last month as the White House was weighing Shine's possible new role.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes suggested that Shine's entry into politics must give the public he's purported to serve the right to information about his time at Fox. Shine was ousted from the network last year and has denied the allegations against him.

Shine will work as an assistant to the president and as deputy chief of staff for communications.

Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct and assault by at least 16 women - and has been recorded bragging about such conduct. He is also currently considering at least two potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees who have expressed opposition to abortion rights, has terminated the White House Council on Women and Girls, and has publicly derided a number of female journalists on the basis of their looks.

Other critics noted that Shine's hiring is the latest direct link between Trump's White House and Fox News - of which the president reportedly watches several hours per day.

"In tapping Shine, Trump is effectively solidifying the idea that Fox News is state-run TV - a political sandbox where Trump floats his dumbest ideas in the morning, tweeting back and forth with the hosts of Fox & Friends, and then gets to hear his moronic ramblings echoed back to him at night as received wisdom," wrote Bess Levin at Vanity Fair.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:28 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Janelle Monae at the Chicago Theatre on Thursday night.


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2. Jezi at Subterranean on Tuesday night.

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3. Miki Howard at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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4. Iron Years at the Burlington on Tuesday night.

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5. Snarky Puppy at Ravinia on Monday night.

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6. Jacob Collier at Ravinia on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:41 PM | Permalink

July 5, 2018

Trump Targets Affirmative Action To Stimulate Mid-Term Turnout

It was Steve Bannon - at the time, President Trump's top political advisor - who said, 'If the subject is race, we win.'

So, the U.S. Justice and Education Departments have launched an attack on affirmative action just in time to make sure Donald Trump can exploit race to drive conservative white turnout in the mid-term elections.

While Trump will use affirmative action to focus openly on race - in addition to immigration, another code word he uses for race - affirmative action affects gender, race and disability, and white women have been the biggest beneficiaries of the policy.

The law relative to affirmative action has not changed! But in another attempt to undo the accomplishments and tarnish the legacy of the first African-American president, Barack Obama, Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos are changing the Justice and Education Departments' directives and reverting to former President George W. Bush's more limiting guidelines, which will negatively affect the admission of people of color and women to equal educational opportunities.

Additionally, the guidelines are being issued in a timely fashion, so they will have an impact and can be considered in an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case involving Harvard University, alleging affirmative action is having a negative effect on Asian Americans. So, it has the added appeal to the Trump administration of being able to pit one group of people of color against another. Thus, Trump can also attempt to use affirmative action to divide communities of color.

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Affirmative action is equal opportunity. Affirmative action only gets people of color, women and the disabled in the pool so all will have equal consideration for a job, a job promotion, admission to educational opportunities or a business contract.

Affirmative action is not reverse discrimination.

A person or business must be qualified to be in the pool, so affirmative action is not against merit. Establishing affirmative action goals and a timetable is not a quota system. Only a judge can impose a hiring or admissions quota, and then only after intentional discrimination has been proven in a court of law. Finally, for half a century the Supreme Court has said "race" and "gender" may be one of many (e.g., "disability") considerations in the use of affirmative action.

Claiming affirmative action is reverse discrimination, against merit, a quota system or in any other way not equal opportunity, or discriminatory toward whites, is political racism - i.e., using race to achieve a desired political result. In this case, maintaining control of Congress.

Note: Links added by Beachwood.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:11 PM | Permalink

July 4, 2018

The [4th Of July Falls On A Wednesday This Year] Papers

* New York Times: In A Fox-Inspired Tweetstorm, Trump Offers A Medley Of Falsehoods And Misstatements.

* Washington Post: One-Third Of The World's Population Lives In A Declining Democracy. That Includes The United States.

* Jezebel: Trump Is Getting Rid of Guidelines That Encouraged Racial Diversity In College Admissions.

* The Hill: HHS Enters Damage Control Mode Over Family Separations.

* NPR: Plea Deal For Former Congressional IT Staffer Debunks Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories.

* National Review: Record-Low Number Say They're 'Extremely Proud' To Be American.

Happy Fourth of July!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Janene Gordon, Postal Inspector
"Watch and listen to some of the trials and tribulations of blazing a trail for women in federal law enforcement."

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How Not To Get Shot . . .
. . . and other advice from white people.

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The Ex-Cub Factor
Whoa, Carlos Zambrano and Dexter Fowler.

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July 4 Means Something Very Different When It's Celebrated In Britain!
It all comes down to exactly how you understand the origins and cause of the American Revolution.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Why The Oldest Building In Chicago Isn't The Oldest.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

See the Beachwood TL for the entire conversation about Sun-Times sportswriter Joe Cowley, including a couple posts from our vault.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Round and round.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:00 AM | Permalink

Independence Day: July 4 Means Something Very Different When It's Celebrated In Britain!

This year's July 4 celebrations will come freighted with rather more complexity than usual, and on both sides of the Atlantic too. 2018's commemoration of independence from British rule will take place just nine days before Donald Trump crosses the Atlantic for talks with his British counterpart, Theresa May. The two will follow the annual celebration of severance with a performance of togetherness, as Independence Day makes way for the "special relationship."

Given Trump's remarkably poor grasp of history - this is a man who recently asked if the Canadians had burned down the White House in 1814 - he'll quite probably be oblivious to any such tensions between the upcoming events of July 4 and those of July 13, the date of his visit to London. But if his advisers take a glance at the history books to think through this coincidence of timing, they might be pleasantly surprised. While many Americans unambiguously celebrate July 4th as a national event marking independence from the "mother country," in Britain the day has long been a chance to celebrate Anglo-American ties. How can it be both?

It all comes down to exactly how you understand the origins and cause of the American Revolution. For many Americans, the War of Independence was a righteous conflict against a tyrannical and perfidious enemy, the narrative of independence famously celebrated in films such as The Patriot. In this view, the Founding Fathers were exceptional and exemplary Americans, leading heroic yeoman farmers in the cause of national independence from the British Empire.

The problem with this idea is that it wasn't until relatively late in the day, towards the middle of the 1770s, that colonial American leaders actually set themselves firmly on the cause of full independence. And even when they did, many still found it difficult to shed completely their identities as "Englishmen" overseas, while a significant proportion of the American population remained either loyal to the Crown throughout, or tried to avoid choosing a side for as long as possible.

Hence why those leading the Revolution were initially so keen to claim that they fought for the legitimate rights of "Englishmen:" not to be taxed without consent, the right to rule by elected representatives. Even George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and later the first president, thought himself a loyal Englishman until well into the 1770s.

In later years, such ideas faded from view. Washington was elevated to the status of American demi-god, and during the 19th century, July 4th developed its modern form and function: an assertive national ritual which celebrated American difference and distinction. Even so, the older idea that independence was originally an "English" cause lingered here and there, embedded in the much celebrated language used by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence (which suggested his schooling in certain ideals of "Anglo-Saxon" rights), in the structures of the U.S. Constitution (including the two-house political system), and in the judicial system's roots in English Common Law.

This all meant that when the U.S. and Great Britain later developed increasingly close diplomatic connections, July 4th was ripe for re-interpretation.

The Best Of Friends

The key moment came on July 4, 1918 as Americans and Britons fought as allies on the Western Front. In London, various influential figures took the opportunity to revisit the history of American independence. For instance, Winston Churchill, later the most famous advocate for a "special relationship," delighted in telling an audience of Anglo-American dignitaries that Britons were now "glad to know that an English colony declared itself independent under a German king." As he gave this speech, government buildings across London and the British Empire proudly flew the Stars and Stripes.

trafalgarsquare.jpgGeorge Washington in residence in Trafalgar Square/Ham via Wikimedia Commons

British claims on American independence continued in the years that followed. In 1921, Lord Curzon, the foreign secretary, happily proclaimed Washington a "great Englishman" while dedicating a statue of the first president in Trafalgar Square. Much the same sentiment was heard a few days earlier when a gathering of politicians and diplomats opened Washington's ancestral home in Northamptonshire, Sulgrave Manor, as an Anglo-American shrine.

By the time of the bicentennial of American independence in 1976, the British political elite were well prepared to meet the challenge of celebrating July 4th. In a masterstroke of political symbolism, the government gifted to the U.S. a copy of the Magna Carta. The message was clear: while Jefferson's famous text appeared to mark a moment of transatlantic severance, in actual fact it revealed the deep history of the Anglo-American bond. The Declaration of Independence stood with the document signed at Runnymede in 1215 in the pantheon of English constitutional history.

maytrump.jpgShawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency

Will a similar claim on American independence surface in the pronouncements and performances linked to Trump's visit to Britain this month? May will surely follow precedent and celebrate the ties of the "special relationship;" Trump will likely bluster, reciprocate, and talk about his Scottish roots. But Trump's brand of nativism has little time or space for expansive Anglophilia, and he and May have yet to find an ideological or personal affinity of the sort enjoyed by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. This Independence Day, the special relationship may lose out.

Sam Edwards is a senior lecturer in history at Manchester Metropolitan University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:47 AM | Permalink

July 3, 2018

Janene Gordon, Postal Inspector

"'Show up with a hat and tie.' Those were the instructions given to law enforcement officer applicants in 1971. The applicants were always men. Janene Gordon changed that. As one of the first female postal inspectors and first to achieve a law enforcement retirement, she broke through many barriers. Watch and listen to some of the trials and tribulations of blazing a trail for women in federal law enforcement. Her remarkable career paved the way for the women who followed."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:27 PM | Permalink

How Not To Get Shot And Other Advice From White People

"Comedian, D.L. Hughley stopped by Sway In The Morning to talk about his satirical book on social injustice and police brutality called How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice from White People.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:16 PM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of those who have worn Cubbie blue.

1. Luis Valbuena.

Valbuena has appeared in 75 games for the Angels this year with starts at first, second and third. His slash line is a meager .211/.254/.355 and he may not be long for this league. In his last season with the Cubs in 2014, his OBP was a healthy .341, and Theo Epstein felt he was an underappreciated player. As recently as 2016, he hit .260 with a .357 OBP for the Astros. He's a career 8.7 WAR player, but has -.5 WAR this year.

2. Andrew Cashner.

Cashner is actually starting to pull together a decent season for the Orioles in a career plagued by injuries and inconsistency. Last Friday he retired 10 of the first 11 Angels he faced on his way to notching his fourth quality start of June. He has eight quality starts overall this season, though his ERA is a mediocre 4.48. Last year for Texas he went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA over 166 2/3 innings.

3. Arodys Vizcaino.

Vizcaino was once the the Cubs' closer-of-the-future. Now he's the Braves closer and he just got off the 10-day DL with a shoulder strain to reclaim his spot in the back of Atlanta's bullpen. Before hitting the DL, Vizcaino had coverted 15 of 17 save opportunities this season while registering a 1.82 ERA.

4. Alex Avila.

Avila hit the 10-day DL with a sore right hamstring last week. He's hitting .184 with a .240 OBP for the Diamondbacks. Last season he hit .239 with a .369 OBP for the Cubs. He does have a .996 fielding percentage - compared to .991 with the Cubs in 2017 - and his pitch framing is almost certainly way better than any that of any current Cubs catchers.

5. Peter Bourjos.

Bourjos opted out of his contract with the Braves - again - after being DFA'd. He did that once before this season and wound up back with Atlanta on a minor league deal. He was hitting .205. Bourjos had a strong spring training with the Cubs, but was cut in late March.

6. Carlos Zambrano.

7. Matt Szczur.

The Padres designated Matty Caesar for assignment on Monday and we're sad. He was always a Beachwood favorite and we thought he'd blossom with steady playing time in San Diego. He did notch a .358 OBP last season for the Friars, but this season his slash line was a paltry .187/.265/.267. At least his fielding percentage playing all three positions was a sterling 1.000! Maybe the Cubs could use him as organizational outfield depth?

8. Dexter Fowler.

Whoa.

By any measure, this has been a colossally disappointing season for Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler. He is hitting a weak .171/.276/.278 with five home runs in 66 games in the second year of his five-year, $82.5 million contract. A case can be made he is fifth on the team's outfield depth chart behind Tommy Pham, Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill.

On Monday morning, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak called Fowler's energy and effort into question during his weekly interview with Fox Sports Midwest broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. Here is a transcript, via Hardball Talk:

"It's been a frustrating year for everybody involved. Here's a guy who wants to go out and play well. I think he would tell you it's hard to do that when you're not playing on a consistent basis. But I've also had a lot of people come up to me and question his effort and his energy level. You know, those are things that I can't defend.

"What I can defend is trying to create opportunities for him, but not if it's at the expense of someone who's out there hustling and playing hard. And really I think everyone just needs to take a hard look in the mirror, and decide what they want that next chapter to look like.

"And in Dexter's case, maybe taking a brief time out, trying to reassess himself, and then give him a chance for a strong second half is probably what's best for everybody. I'm hopeful to touch base with him in the near future and decide what makes the most sense, but clearly he's not playing at the level we had hoped."

Meanwhile, the Cardinals placed Fowler on the paternity list Monday as his wife prepares to give birth to their second child.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:08 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

As I sort of indicated on Monday, I'm sort of taking this week off. Sort of.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

After Long Career Bailing Out Big Banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Now Runs Predatory Firm That Exploits The Poor For Profit
"As president of Warburg Pincus - a major New York private equity firm - Geithner helps manage a lucrative predatory lending outfit called Mariner Finance, which mass-mails loan checks to low-income Americans, hides exorbitant interest rates in the fine print, and quickly sues those who fail to repay the loan and interest in time, according to a detailed Washington Post report published late Sunday."

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ChicagoGram

A post shared by FLASH ABC MARS (@flash_abc) on

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ChicagoTube

Chicago/Dogmatik.

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BeachBook

One Of The Web's Most Prolific Online Marketing Writers Has Been Promoting His Clients in Forbes, Enterpreneuer, Inc. And Other Publications Without Disclosure.

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When Sports Betting Is Legal, The Value Of Game Data Soars.

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TweetWood

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This extraordinary measure is a bit of a blockbuster, even if we don't know the details yet.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Strenuously object.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:56 PM | Permalink

After Long Career Bailing Out Big Banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Now Runs Predatory Firm That Exploits The Poor For Profit

After a lengthy government career defined by his central role in bailing out predatory Wall Street banks as former President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner appears to have found his true calling in the private sector, where he now heads a large financial institution that exploits the economic struggles of poor Americans for profit.

As president of Warburg Pincus - a major New York private equity firm - Geithner helps manage a lucrative predatory lending outfit called Mariner Finance, which mass-mails loan checks to low-income Americans, hides exorbitant interest rates in the fine print, and quickly sues those who fail to repay the loan and interest in time, according to a detailed Washington Post report published late Sunday.

obama-geithner.jpgWikimedia Commons

"It's basically a way of monetizing poor people," John Lafferty, who worked as a manager trainee at a Mariner Finance branch in Nashville, told the Post. "Maybe at the beginning, people thought these loans could help people pay their electric bill. But it has become a cash cow."

Part of the burgeoning "consumer installment" industry - which consists of firms that offer slightly larger loans than payday lenders - Mariner Finance has hundreds of thousands of customers who, often in desperation, use the loans to cover soaring medical costs, home repairs, and other urgent expenses.

Given that in our "new gilded age" 40 percent of Americans can't afford a $400 emergency payment, the market for predatory lenders like Mariner Finance is vast and growing.

"This industry is a pipeline to transfer money from the poor to the ultra-rich," Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org, wrote in response to the Post's report on Sunday. "Obama's treasury secretary Tim Geithner is president of one of the private equity firms making a killing from it. Your economy, rigged to redistribute wealth to the top."

In one illustrative case detailed by the Post, Barbara Williams - a 72-year-old retired school custodian - cashed a $2,539 loan check from Mariner to pay for dental work and hospital bills that had mounted after "three mini-strokes and pneumonia."

"Within a few months, Mariner suggested she borrow another $500, and she did," the Post reports. "She paid more than $350 for fees and insurance on the loan, according to the loan documents. The interest rate was 30 percent."

After Williams fell behind on her payments, Mariner sued and "won court judgement against her in April for $3,852, including $632 in fees for Mariner's attorney."

Reacting to the Post's reporting - which also revealed how Mariner harasses customers and their relatives with phone calls if they're late on payments - Splinter's Libby Watson wrote: "In a just world, Geithner would be shamed out of society and forced to beg for scraps after a story like this was published. Instead, he'll keep making millions - while people like Barbara Williams are forced to take out predatory loans to pay their hospital bills."

While Mariner refused to say how many loan checks it mails out to vulnerable Americans, the Post estimates that "the number is probably in the millions" - meaning there are likely countless others with stories similar to Williams'.

"Were there a few loans that actually helped people? Yes," concluded an anonymous former branch manager in an interview with the Post. "Were 80 percent of them predatory? Probably."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Previously in Timothy Geithner:

* McClatchy: Were Geithner's Unpaid Taxes Errors Or Cheating? [LOL]

* USA Today: Area Man Who Claims 'Careless Mistakes' On Four Years Of Taxes Confirmed As Secretary Of The United States Treasury.

* ProPublica: Obama Leaves Financial System In The Hands Of Substitute Teachers And Empty Seats.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:43 AM | Permalink

July 2, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Big Brave at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.


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2. Poster Children at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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3. The Body at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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4. Lingua Ignota at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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5. Neil Young at the Chicago Auditorium on Saturday night.

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6. Yanni at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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7. Lightweights at Underground Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. Dial Drive at Underground Lounge on Saturday night.

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9. The Ways of Tom at Underground Lounge on Saturday night.

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10. No Solution at Underground Lounge on Saturday night.

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11. The Bama Lamas at Phyllis' Musical Inn on Friday night.

Bama Lamas

A post shared by Allison Grote Gerlach (@allisugerlach) on

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12. Jeremy Enigk at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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13. Jory Avner at Wire in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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14. Bryan Adams at Ravinia on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:33 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

For completists, there was no Weekend Desk Report.

Beachwood HQ will be at half-mast this week to mark the tenuous nature of our pseudo-democracy.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Weekend/Week In Chicago Rock
In production!

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The White Sox Report: How To Win
Can it be taught?

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #207: Finally, The World Cup Moves On
Knockout round couldn't come fast enough after hot start to tourney stepped in mud. Plus: LeBron Opts Out Of Bulls; Fuck Yu; Mystery Cubs Defy Evaluation; Bosio Balooza; White Sox: Come For The Dollar Dogs, Stay For The Game; and Schweinsteiger!

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Chicagoetry: A Garland Of Moons
I exist to resist.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Viaje al Sueño de mi Tierra . Artist Nicolàs De Jesús-2018.Chicago- Ameyaltepec. Náhuatl Language

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BeachBook

Heat Wave Doesn't Bother Local Contrarian.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Tales not so tall.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:16 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: A Garland Of Moons

A Garland of Moons

I conjured a garland
Of moons, like a garland
Of garlic

To resist the
Vampyric gales.
Fat, full moons

Which dissolve
Into the great, black lake.
All because I insist

On existing.
And I exist
to resist.

I shudder in this seemingly
Nuclear winter.
One needn't a mind

Of winter, just a mind.

I glean the perforated smiles,
The walking without knees,
The barking at trees,

Yet remain militantly open

To being momentarily arrested
By a Great Lake sunrise in which
Low clouds become a great reef of pink coral,

A floating diorama
Of gargantuan flamingos,

A multitudinous, silent chorale.
I shudder and wince, gasp and pray
While forcing myself

Forward, to both that lurid dawn
And the next leering dusk.
I thrill at minute triumphs:

A perfect song, a brilliant
Trope, a brittle rain,
Angels tumbling through the

Vexing clippers, those bewildering
Upper-atmospheric shifts
Toward permanent dark,

Angels honing in
On our every rickety vestibule
And every sickly Vampyre.

I'll proffer my moons!

I exist
To resist.

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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

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:45 AM | Permalink

How To Win

Sitting at a Sox game a couple of weeks ago with my friend Dave, he remarked, "Part of this team's problem is they don't know how to win."

This charge often is leveled at losing teams, yet defining its meaning is an abstruse exercise at best. However, in this particular game, a 4-3 loss to Detroit, the first of a three-game weekend sweep against a team that would then embark on an 11-game losing streak that just ended on Sunday, the White Sox managed to provide as good a definition as any.

Locked in a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning, the Tigers had runners on second and third with one out. A high-hopper to first baseman Jose Abreu offered a perfect chance for the soon-to-be-named All-Star to nab the runner, who was going on contact, at home. Aw, shucks. Abreu for an instant bobbled the ball, and John Hicks slid in ahead of the tag. The next two hitters struck out. By the way, Hicks, who had singled, advanced on a walk and a fly ball.

In the bottom of the inning, the Sox loaded the bases with one out. Unlike Abreu, Tiger first baseman Hicks cleanly handled a grounder for a successful force play at home. Another infield grounder ended the threat.

So how's this in explaining a lack of knowledge about winning: The inability to make routine plays in key situations with the game on the line that other teams execute with regularity?

Some might call this "choking," but we need to be gentle with this rebuilding crew. In a post last year on the team's website, general manager Rick Hahn said, "One thing Ricky [Renteria] and the rest of us have tried to emphasize since the organization meetings and again in spring training is to have a culture of what it means to be a White Sox and how we expect the game played and how we expect to go about our business from a preparation standpoint and in-game execution standpoint. That's not just in Chicago. That's throughout the minor leagues."

The sentiment is lovely, but obviously it's not working at the major league level due primarily to a lack of talent.

Former Arizona State baseball coach Bobby Winkles, who served Tony LaRussa on the Sox staff in the '80s, tells the story of when he was in the minor leagues and his manager called him into his office. "There's only one thing holding you back from making the major leagues," the skipper said.

"What's that, Skip?" responded Winkles. "Just tell me and I'll work on it."

"Your talent," deadpanned Winkles' manager.

The story describes what's missing at the major league level for the White Sox, but Hahn's declaration omits another ingredient: winning.

Assuming that Hahn's legions are thoroughly prepared to execute at bat, on the bases, in the field, and on the mound, surely the wins will far outweigh the losses. Furthermore, winning tends to beget winning as confidence and knowledge grow.

Since the Sox system is laden with outstanding prospects - MLB.com puts the Sox third behind San Diego and Atlanta - the teams at the lower levels should have winning records. Guess what? For the most part, they do. High Class-A Winston-Salem is leading the pack at 48-33. Low-A Kannapolis is 44-34, and Double-A Birmingham checks in at 38-40. While Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech receive a great deal of publicity at Triple-A Charlotte, the Knights are just 38-44.

Tossing out Triple-A, Sox farm teams in Double- and Single-A have a .549 winning percentage compared to top-rated San Diego with a .515 mark. Does this not give us hope for the future? Are things not as glum as watching the Sox get pummeled 11-3 and 13-4 in Texas last Friday and Saturday nights prior to rebounding for a 10-5 victory on Sunday?

That depends on whom you ask. Many observers would argue that wins and losses are inconsequential at the minor league level. The objective is to develop players who can excel in the big leagues. If a handful of prospects on a minor league club rise to become major leaguers, then who cares if their team wins a championship? However, things are a bit more complicated than that.

Since the Baltimore Orioles have the worst record in baseball so far this season, maybe their director of player development, Brian Graham, is not the best person to comment, but he had this to say three years ago on the Maryland Sports Network: "I think everyone wants to win, but I don't think they understand how to win. Teaching players how to win is teaching how to play the game correctly. Like defensive fundamentals. Outfielders keeping a double play in order by hitting the cutoff man, infielders executing a bunt play properly, pitchers holding runners. You have catchers blocking balls, catchers calling a good game.

"From a developmental standpoint, if you are winning games and your team is playing with a lead, you have so many more opportunities to execute in developmental areas. You have more opportunities to steal bases, opportunities to execute situational hitting . . . You have a chance to hit and run or hit behind runners. Hitters can work the count. All that happens playing in a game with a lead and you play from an aggressive, positive standpoint. Those opportunities don't present themselves as much when you are losing games."

Perhaps a more credible source would be the Mariners' organization since the big league club with a 54-31 record is headed for its best season in 15 years.

"You can't really lose all these games in the minor leagues," says Mike Micucci, the Mariners' minor league field coordinator who managed in lower levels for five seasons. "Be like 50 games under [.500], then get up here [in the majors] and it's all about winning. You have to learn how to win."

When Jerry Dipoto became the team's general manager less than three years ago, he, Micucci and farm director Andy McKay instituted the Productive Team Plate Appearance (PTPA) measurement so that players throughout the system were competing against one another for the best PTPA numbers.

The PTPA takes into account far more than slash lines, RBI and extra base hits. Among the eight criteria are advancing runners, stealing bases, taking pitches, and other factors that contribute toward team success rather than individual statistics.

"It puts everything in perspective," Micucci explains. "Whatever it takes to win, just get the job done. It allows you to do other things when you previously thought you didn't have to. It's a different way to look at how to win a baseball game. Everything is a positive if you are helping the team out."

Virtually every organization preaches that it teaches the "right way" to play the game. The Sox award minor league players of the month honors, but the Seattle method seems to codify exactly what the Mariners seek in their developing players. Weekly results for PTPA are circulated, and those with the highest ratings, regardless of what level, are celebrated at the end of the season along with honoring winning teams.

Of course, any of these approaches is susceptible to the available talent. Teams can employ the best coaching practices, planning, and preparation, but if talent is absent, good luck. On the other side, an organization can have outstanding young players who wither on the vine because of faulty, haphazard methods and poor coaching.

When the Yankees were winning all their pennants and World Series' in the 1950s, their Triple-A team at Denver very well might have been superior to cellar-dwellers like Washington and Kansas City. Future Yankees Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Don Larsen, Ryne Duren, and Johnny Blanchard were members of the Denver Bears, the elite team of the American Association. Future Yankee manager Ralph Houk guided the club for three seasons, 1955-57, winning two league championships.

In an interview in the Denver Post a number of years ago, Denver baseball historian Jay Sanford said, "Most of the players on those teams would have been in the big leagues if they were in any other organization. When they got their chance with the Yankees, many became the stars of the game."

Nary a negative word has been uttered about the Sox' talent in the minor leagues. Daily reports are circulated about the exploits of the young players who are developing into future stars on the South Side. They can hit, run, throw 100 mph fastballs, and slam tape measure home runs. But can they win?

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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 9:01 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - Another Week Of Trubisky Analysis.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.


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