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« May 2019 | Main | July 2019 »

June 30, 2019

TrackNotes: Double Trouble

In this horse racing thing, we've always known it's a double life.

You either suppress the reality of the game and go along merrily, enjoying all the horses of their different colors. Or you catch the Emerald City parade and then look behind the wizards' curtains and see and understand the chicanery, hypocrisy and outright deceit. Either way, it is very stressful, I will attest.

We have a very deep, serious dilemma here at TrackNotes. How on earth do we square the heart-raising jubilation and tears of joy for Secretariat's final romp against the heart-stabbing pain, disgust and tears of the other kind for what man is doing to these nonpareil creatures of this earth?

Because it was in the New York Times, this story has been widely seen, if not generally discussed. It hints of the why and how so many racehorses are dying in an expendability crafted and rationalized by men and women who profit.

We're waiting for an epiphany around here, of one kind or another. In the search, we've found an iceberg that would sink a fleet of Titanics.

Since this story started building in February, it has been a daily succession of events on a multitude of political, governmental, corporate and citizen levels. It is so much more than one meet at one track, and that is where the true despair lies. Yet, coverage of the full scope and nature of American racing remains scant, albeit growing.

The pique was stirred by the sad events, since Christmastime, at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, Calif. Bowing to nothing, The Stronach Group sputtered and closed the main track - on scheduled dark days - for track inspection in late February. One hundred percent safe was the verdict. After the toll soon reached 21 upon racing resumption, the track was closed for all purposes "indefinitely" in early March for investigation. On March 30, the third day back racing, Arms Runner "took a bad step" and was fatally injured in a turf race. By the time the meet ended June 23rd, 30 horses had died.

In March, in a line of thinking promoted to this day, Santa Anita officials said they believed a highly unusual rainy winter in Southern California was the main cause. The theory is that because the track had to be sealed - rolled and compacted to allow the track to shed water off the surface - so many times, the foundation of the track became even harder. Harder than during the bake of famous California droughts? Eleven of the deaths occurred during training, and I counted seven horses that died either training or racing on the turf. Yet, they kept running the races.

As the Triple Crown unfolded back east of the Mississippi, The Stronach Group, Belinda Stronach in charge, refused the recommendation of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to close the track after Formal Dude went down Saturday, June 8. While the breakdown cannot be directly attributed, jockey Tiago Pereira apparently whipped the horse four times in what would be a violation of California's whip policy. Just hours after that defiance to shutting down, Truffalino died of an apparent heart attack on June 9.

CHRB said it was told by Santa Anita that "after consultation with certain other industry stakeholders, (Santa Anita) believes that for a variety of reasons, the future of California racing is best served by continuing to race." Code for 'go screw yourselves,' that also stands for the money that might be lost by a lot of people in all-sources betting, simulcast and account wagering, including Santa Anita and the sale of its signal.

As for the future of racing best served by continuing to race, CHRB in early June, less than a month ago, did not have the power to close a race track - imagine that! Just shy here of July 4th, all tracks in California have lost a good measure of their independence and Santa Anita is in serious danger of having its own arrogance shoved down its throat riding a roman candle.

Californians do not like what they don't like, and after hoping the Stronachs would do the right thing and didn't, Gov. Gavin Newsom Bronx Tale'd them and signed legislation Wednesday allowing CHRB to close a track on short notice if it deemed it necessary. Now the Stronachs can't defy. The Los Angeles County district attorney has also joined the hayride.

Back To The Track

It's time right here to go back and take a look at Santa Anita track maintenance and those inspections.

Dennis Moore, 69, was the longtime track supervisor at Santa Anita until late 2018. In ealry March, he and University of Kentucky track specialist Mick Peterson were called in to find out what was wrong. Like dandelion fuzz in the wind, I was hearing grumbling then about Moore being gone from Santa Anita and that the separation wasn't all that amicable. He is now working for Del Mar and nearby Los Alamitos.

With "ground radar" the tossed-around buzzword, Santa Anita declared the substrate normal and the track surface safe.

In giving his imprimatur, Moore enters the world of soil dynamics.

"I think the most important thing with this track right now is that we closely monitor compaction levels," said Moore. "With all the rain, and this is the case in any wet winter, the 'fines,' silt and sand, can change very quickly and that affects the clays as well.
Compaction, as well as dilution, of silt and sand, are all factors in the overall composition of the soil."

Moore then quickly pointed out that the bad weather had broken, giving them back their SoCal climate. The Times' Joe Drape repeated the common knowledge that Moore treated the track like his baby, and was not averse to canceling race days in bad conditions.

My take is that, yes, many more racing days should probably have been canceled than were, with the beating the track was taking. I couldn't find out the number of rainouts this meet. Even if The Stronach Group cared, with Moore gone they probably had nobody who knew what was really happening to the track. But blame the track anyway.

Moore and his crew did get the track itself back in shape, scraping it to refurbish the base and reconditioning the surface. But after March, the horses kept dying. Horses kept dying.

Breeders' Cup Crap

In a current note, the industry was all neatly lined up in praising the Breeders' Cup announcement Thursday to keep this year's two-day bash at Santa Anita as planned.

Remember this: Breeders' Cup horses aren't old, tired, sore or average, like so many of the runners who break down. I want to see what the drug protocols will be. They'll have months to get the track in its best shape. Where else are they going to take it? Churchill Downs, last year's site, or Belmont, which the Breeders' Cup doesn't want and weather would be a gamble. Arlington Park? Scene of the infamous Breeders' Cup betting scandal and still possessing an artificial surface?

Super trainer Bob Baffert glowed like a mare in foal. "I think it's great for California racing. It gives us a chance to show people it's the most beautiful racetrack in America," Baffert said. "It's our chance to show off Santa Anita." Alrighty then, Bob.

Stronach's Scapegoat?

Back at the corral, as the racing world turned, The Stronach Group told Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer to drop off the face of the Earth, or at least Stronach's world. They banned him with a couple days left in the meet not only from Santa Anita, where he lost four horses, but Stronach's Golden Gate Fields, where he lost two others this year, and notable Stronach tracks Gulfstream, Pimlico and Laurel. There'd be too much heat at Del Mar later this summer, as its Fairgrounds location is owned by the State of California and managed by the 22nd District Agricultural Association. Del Mar also told Hollendorfer to get lost.

He lost Battle of Midway during a workout in February, after the Smart Strike colt had won the San Pascual, returning to racing after infertility problems. He won a dramatic Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in 2017 and finished a game third in that year's Kentucky Derby. He was a fine, fine horse that I was watching. Hollendorfer's most famous trainees include the scintillating mare Songbird, Blind Luck and Shared Belief.

Hollendorfer made his bones and fattened up dominating the B- or C-level Golden Gate in the Bay area. With 7,617 career wins from 33,519 starts lifetime, he ranks third all-time.

Santa Anita handed Hollendorfer a loaded bomb as they threw him through the saloon doors.

"Individuals who do not embrace the new rules and safety measures that put horse and rider safety above all else, will have no place at any Stronach Group racetrack," the statement reads. "We regret that Mr. Hollendorfer's record in recent months at both Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields has become increasingly challenging and does not match the level of safety and accountability we demand. Effective immediately, Mr. Hollendorfer is no longer welcome to stable, race or train his horses at any of our facilities."

In a CNN report by Nick Watt, chief veterinary officer of The Stronach Group, Dionne Benson, leveled what seemed tangible allegations at Hollendorfer: "We'd just gotten information, you know, what he's done. His violations."

Horse owner Scott Herbertson, who lost two horses under Hollendorfer, was succinct in his appraisal of the Hall of Famer. When asked how he felt when Hollendorfer claimed one of his horses, Herbertson said, "You cringe."

Jim Cassidy, president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, summing up Hollendorfer upon learning of his 19 drug violations since 2006, said, "That doesn't surprise me. Jerry is just tunnel vision. He does what he wants to do and that's it. You don't like it, it's too bad."

Are there specific violations? Or did Hollendorfer just tell some wonk suit to go to hell? If - big if - racing has the structure to investigate a guy like Hollendorfer, does it simply lack the will? Or is it the classic find a guy to blame? Either way, Hollendorfer has paid less than $17,000 in fines for those violations. Lifetime earnings? A Pick Six bet under $200 million.

Will racing give him the Captain Bligh treatment and cast him adrift? Um, no. He's already resumed his operations at Los Alamitos and the New York Racing Association is rolling out the red carpet for Belmont and Saratoga. New Jersey's Monmouth Park is also A-OK.

While we don't know if Hollendorfer egregiously broke any state racing laws, wouldn't get with the Santa Anita program or just rubbed people the wrong way, before he crossed the perceived threshold of horses perishing, he was giving Santa Anita just what it wanted: runners, and lots of them.

You've heard me complain about horses not running enough. But that was about top-level, bonafide stars or super runners. Look at it the other way. There's got to be somebody running all those races from Saratoga to Del Mar with Mountaineer and Lone Star and Arlington in between. And there needed to be wagers made. The pressure was on at Santa Anita.

Tired horses, or lesser horses, were needed to fill races. Draper quoted one official:

It was the perfect storm of terrible weather, a dearth of horses - many of them who shouldn't have been running here," said Rick Arthur, the equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board. "There was a big push to fill races, and some people haven't been as cautious as they should have, on both sides."

Horses need a boost? Enter the drugs.

Rent Control

The Santa Anita organization under COO Tim Ritvo, the guy really in charge during all this death, had one method to get the point across: Eviction. Your monthly "rent" to have stalls at Santa Anita, and other tracks, is to run horses, fill races. While Draper quoted Belinda Stronach saying "No one has said that you can't be here if you don't run," that cannot be the complete and simple truth. It's a diversion at least, but more probably an outright lie. I'm sick and goddamned tired of people lying, and they're not even good at it anymore.

Ask trainers Karen Headley and Mick Ruis.

"Trainer Karen Headley was told that her previous 20-stall (Santa Anita) barn would be halved, on account of reportedly missing the number of individual starters she was expected to make at the recent winter/spring meet at Santa Anita," Dan Ross reported in the Thoroughbred Daily News. Doesn't that sound kind of like a quota?

Ruis took a double-hit. Not only did they reduce his stalls, they dispersed the ones he did get all over the property. Ruis takes the David-and-Goliath approach. "It's just unfair for the little guys if one, two, three, four, five other people that are at that track get the majority [of the stalls], and the little guys get nothing," Ruis told the TDN. "Everyone one of those [big number] guys worked hard to get where they're at. No one's taking that away. But is that where you want the game to go to?"

But couple in the pressure to fill fields. Santa Anita recorded 7.85 horses per race in 2018 and 7.57, 7.77 and 8.17 the three years before that. Those are okay numbers. I remember when Santa Anita and Hollywood Park would have days with no more than six horses in a race and very often three runners coming out of the gate. So they cranked up the takeout (vig, house skim), which exploded into a successful betting boycott engineered by HANA, the Horseplayers Association of America. For its survival, Santa Anita had to restore some balance.

It's not unreasonable to ask for owners and trainers to meet a responsibility to run their horses while taking up valuable stall space. But when things orbit out of control, horses are run more than they should be, more drugs are added and horses start dying. You can bet Jerry Hollendorfer was doing his part to fill races and keep his stalls.

Circus & Supply

The story is so important. But the curiosity and thoroughness in its illumination is what's needed the most. In the case of American horse racing, the way this story is told, in these flash fire times, will be a story in itself. Is horse racing in trouble? Because of this? Did we think we would ever lose the circuses and their elephants?

Shops like HBO's Real Sports are no help. Pretty boy dilettante Bryant Gumbel and cardboard grizzled reporter Bernard Goldberg clearly phoning it in for the money betray their ineptitude through prima donna posing and screaming laziness.

Yeah, they did the story, peppered of course, with multiple videos of horses crashing and dying, some of the same footage two or three times. All they could muster was, "It's the drugs." They didn't touch on the business of horse racing, the breeding, the lack of oversight. They didn't talk about the discussions now attempted to find a solution. They couldn't be bothered to talk about racing in the way most people in America see it, on the first Saturday in May on television or in a November Breeders' Cup weekend. In the second half of their piece, they went back to a story they did several years ago about the horse slaughterhouses.

Those sons of bitches have been given a powerful forum and are paid a lot of money. For this? When Gumbel gives us the serious look with the first finger with the pen in it on his temple, I hope they both spear his cornea. Goldberg got a free trip to Paris out of it.

All of that aside, while I can't say I wasn't aware of these problems, when I did just basic research, I will have to be honest and say the entire history of TrackNotes flashed before my eyes and the horse racing game took on new and even more complicated dimensions.

Supply and demand.

The Jockey Club, which keeps track of these things but is more famous for overseeing the naming of race horses, reports on the downturn in the production of registered Thoroughbred foals. Less than half as many as in 1990. But has racing shrunk? Not really. Horsemen claw like wolves to maintain racing dates, even in Illinois. While Hawthorne Race Course battles with Arlington for dates, and Arlington gets preference, the number of dates has not gone down.

There are tracks in this country that run races for the sole purpose of keeping their slots or casino licenses. Calder, a stellar example of Churchill Downs Inc. evil, hosts what is called Gulfstream Park West, run by the Stronachs. Let the paint peel and tear down half the barns to build strip malls, but the gaming must continue, under the hypocrisy that they are all about the horses and the racing.

The same can be said for Fair Grounds (Churchill), Charlestown, Parx (formerly Philadelphia), Mountaineer, Indiana Downs, ad infinitum. Even Aqueduct was close to demise until it got slots. With the possible exception of Aqueduct and the neglected and tired tradition of Fair Grounds, those are all cheap-ass bullrings that do some of the worst things to keep racing going.

On a more subtle note, Churchill Downs and Arlington Park, corporate siblings, are running at the same time, now, competing for the same type of horses and even the very same horses. Why? Throw in Indiana, Delaware, Canterbury (which has admirably carved out its own productive and loyalty-based niche), and Downstate Fairmount, where do the horses come from, and how often are they forced to race? I would be hard-pressed to tell you what months Monmouth doesn't run.

Then there are the horse deaths themselves, which would bring even hardened wiseguys with any kind of pulse to tears.

Humans vs. Horses

While the Santa Anita story is valuable as a portrait of this issue, The Great Race Place is just run of the mill.

Horse fatality numbers posted by the Louisville Courier-Journal, in the home of Churchill Downs, tell the sordid black truth about racing as a whole in America.

For parochialists, we see that our very own Hawthorne had an abominable 2.99 horses per thousand race starts die last year - a full horse per thousand more than the year before, on a rising rate. When it happened in the demographically important white suburban Arlington Heights in 2007, Chicago media jumped on it like the last lifeboat, even though it never told the story of Arlington choosing profit over the costs of properly maintaining the track on that last turn. It effected the installation of the artificial surface. Which I'm starting to change my mind about.

Churchill Downs is about the deadliest track in America, based on the level it pretends to be on. Santa Anita is consistently high. Del Mar, which has had very bad moments, is going down, which coincides with its escape from the California edict requiring artificial surfaces. It was unmanageable at Del Mar with the daily extremes in heat and moisture.

For the curious, Arlington Park divulges just about no information about anything.

What now? The problems are lack of breeding for durability, drug administration unparalleled in the global racing world, the lack of a cohesive regulatory structure and a typically American lack of will to make change, in the pursuit of profits.

Is American horse racing in danger? With modern social media, that's a possibility. I can't gauge the effect reports by ABC News, CNN or HBO may have. The attention deficit syndrome of modern American society precludes unified action against to some degree. NBC won't cover it, they've bought the television rights. Racing trades are missing in action.

While the people of California have petitioned their feelings against racing, I'm not sure we can dismiss the pull of tradition and the romantic eloquence given to the horse and cowboy spirits. Stop and think where humanity, especially Americans, would be without horses. On a practical level, there are also tax revenues to consider, which is why racing was resuscitated in the early 20th century to begin with.

Save for the lone voices of the Jockey Club and a few select participants in the game, the broad brush of shame should color all of them, from titular Bob Baffert to new wonderboy Chad "He doesn't lose on turf" Brown to the Casses to Pletcher. It took them years to get rid of Richard Dutrow, whose hand slap was a helluva lot better than Big Brown (pull-up at 2:12) dying, which he very well could have.

This is by no means the epiphany. That's a thing you just know, when it happens. I have deep sadness and gnawing questions about horse racing. Racing has always been about walking around with a little horseshit on your shoes, rubbing elbows with people you'd never even run into except for the jawing about the favorite in the fifth race. Common pursuit that erases all the irrelevance. You really can get lightheaded over a 'Pharoah, a 'Chrome, wonderful Rachel' and perennial Gio Ponti.

It's oppressively burdensome to doubt that American racing can do better, when we know so much now and other nations have given us a model to live by, if we would just listen and act.

It would be infinitely easy to just walk away from this. Totally justifiable, but solving nothing. But it's not time. Especially when the M.O. around here is to reveal all nine sides of the story no matter effing what. Because we care to and know how to do it. Some things need to be done.

It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that Secretariat, the Big Red of mystic mythology and documented dreams, benefitted from anabolic steroids.

That's the double life.

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Addendum:

The New York Racing Association has reversed itself and will prevent Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from entering and running horses under his own name as the prestigious Saratoga summer meet approaches.

The meet opens July 11.

It is expected Hollendorfer assistant trainer Don Chatlos Jr. will enter any Hollendorfer horses under his own name, including the most prominent Brill in the Victory Ride Stakes at Belmont July 5 and Rowayton in the Dwyer Stakes July 6. NYRA regulates and manages all horse racing in New York State.

Hollendorfer said that he was told by NYRA attorneys that if he entered horses under his own name, they would summarily be scratched.

The decision continues the fallout of Hollendorfer being banned from all tracks owned by The Stronach Group, most notably Santa Anita, after four of his horses perished in the recently completed Santa Anita meet. Two more of his died at Stronach's Golden Gate Fields this spring.

Chatlos' proxy in entering horses is reminiscent of Scott Blasi taking over in the mid 2000s when his boss, Steve Asmussen, was suspended. Blasi is credited with doing the real training grunt work with racing legends Curlin and Rachel Alexandra.

Hollendorfer maintains that Del Mar has not decided on his participation at that West Coast boutique meet, which begins July 17. He is training and has stall space at Los Alamitos, which is east and north of Long Beach, Calif.

From this perspective, NYRA's action will ostensibly stymie the specter of massive protests as Saratoga, considered the premier meet in racing at America's oldest track, runs its 2019 stakes-loaded schedule. The risk-reward quotient does not compute as Hollendorfer by any means would only have a single-digit number of runners in New York anyway.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 PM | Permalink

June 28, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #258: Craptastic Cubs

Cubs continuing conundrums. Plus: Cubs To Be Well Represented In All-Star Game If You Include Alumni; The Unprecedented Nature Of Kris Bryant; The NL Central Actually Sucks; All-Star Catcher Willson Contreras Is Actually Worse Than We Thought; Tim Anderson's Got An Ankle; Yonder DFAlonso; I'm Going To A White Sox Game; Stan Bowman Rolls Draft Dice; and Rapinoe, France & Eric Trump's Spitter.


-

SHOW NOTES

* 258.

:28: Cubs Still Far More Interesting Than White Sox.

* It's a meritocracy!

2:39: Cubs Comebacks And Craig Kimbrel Cap Off Crappy Week.

* On to Cincinnati!

* Jesse Rogers:

First off, he'll pitch only three or fewer outs. So one inning will be the right-hander's max. "Remember when I got Aroldis [Chapman] and popped him in there for three-plus [outs] and I thought it was cool?" Maddon said. "But it wasn't."

"He'll be slotted, and really carefully. As we get to the latter part of September, as it's necessary, that's where you look at the four outs sometimes. I hope not five . . . He'll be a three-out guy."

* CarGo could soon be CarGone!

* DescalsGo!

* Jason Heyward is hot again.

* Cole Hamels is aces.

* Yu Darvish once again destroys "progress" narrative.

* Note: Darvish had 10 straight NDs before his L this week.

* Momentum is when Yu Darvish is not the next day's pitcher.

25:50: Cubs To Be Well-Represented In All-Star Game If You Include Alumni.

* Willson Contreras, Javy Baez, DJ LaMahieu voted in; Cole Hamels likely; Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Tommy La Stella, Gleybor Torres, Dan Vogelbach possible reserves.

27:01: The Unprecedented Nature Of Kris Bryant.

* Has an MVP-caliber player ever played so many positions?

* But . . .

* A continuing problem . . .

+

+

35:59: The NL Central Actually Sucks.

* Cubs would not be in first in any other division.

37:49: All-Star Catcher Willson Contreras Is Even Worse Than We Thought.

* 94th worst in MLB - out of 95.

* Keeps both teams in the game!

43:48: Tim Anderson's Got An Ankle.

* Take your time, Tim, your team isn't trying to win.

45:08: Yonder DFAlonso.

* We'll always remember your 39 hits.

48:01: I'm Going To A White Sox Game.

* 3:12 starting time against the Twins.

* 7-Eleven?

* Maria's?

* Honky Tonk BBQ?

* I don't really get Chinatown. How is it fun, exactly?

52:06: Stan Bowman Rolls Draft Dice.

* The Future Isn't Now For No. 3 Pick Kirby Dach.

* Blackhawks Continue To Bolster Defense With de Haan Acquisition.

* The Rangers Are Apparently Keen To Sign Artemi Panarin's Twin Brother, "Lefty" Panarin.

1:00:40: Rapinoe, France & Eric Trump's Spitter.

* Coffman: "Team USA may face the toughest match of the Women's World Cup on Friday. Or it may have already played it on Monday."

-

STOPPAGE: 12:48

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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

Chicago Thrift Store Book Haul

"Hauling books from a really nice thrift store I visited while on vacation in Chicago."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:19 AM | Permalink

June 27, 2019

The [Thursday] Papers

"Peoples Gas says it plans to retire and remove the oldest gas pipe in the city of Chicago on Friday," AP reports.

"The utility says the 20-inch, cast-iron gas main has delivered natural gas to home and businesses in the River North neighborhood since 1859, or before the Civil War.

"Chicago's official historian will be present at Friday morning's removal to provide facts of life in the city in 1859."

*

Life In Chicago, 1859.

Last summer at about this time of year, I bought a lot where I have built a house. The lot cost around $1,400. I owe some money still, but I shall certainly get enough money to pay for it in time and so it will be good to own property free and clear. I have rented out the house for $12 per month, but I also have many expenses and heavy taxes (fire tax, water fees and municipal tax). Taxes are around $30 a year, so you can understand why people here must earn a lot.

So that you can understand why we need to pay water fees, I must give you a short description of the town of Chicago. It lies at the southern end of the large inland waterway called "Michigan" and it lies in the northern part of the State of Illinois.

The town's length is easily three quarters of an [old] Norwegian mile [i.e., 5.25 U.S. miles] and its width is one-half of an [old] Norwegian mile [i.e., 3.5 miles], but it is so long that it is not built out very far in width.

The river that is the town's harbor divides the city in three parts. The whole area is a big plain that extends so far that the eye can see no elevations at all.

The city is supplied with water by a steam engine that pumps water out of the lake and then goes through pipes that are buried in the ground in all parts of the town. Those who want water inside their homes must pay a yearly fee based on the size of the building. (The water quality is fine.)

The pipe, I'm told, is good for 160 years!

*

Also from 1859 - March 16 to be exact - Mayor John Charles Haines gave his inaugural address. Excerpts:

"The aspect and condition of our national affairs also call for at least a passing notice. I regret to be compelled to say that they are anything but flattering to our pride as a nation. Bribery and corruption of the worst descriptions appear to have taken deep root in the Federal Capital; while the entire energies of the general Government, its purse, its sword, and even its tribunals of justice, seem to be devoted to one sole object, and that, the spread of human slavery.

Every aspirant for office is tried according to his faith upon this question, and reward or punishment meted out accordingly. Is it to be wondered at then, that in reference to our national affairs, the country teems with accounts of frauds, embezzlements of the public moneys, squanderings of the revenue and other crimes and misdemeanors?

With the existence of such a condition of our federal relations but few measures for the common good can be accomplished; while those of an individual and special character, or for the benefit of particular sections have precedence.

Thus the Homestead Bill, almost the only one before Congress for the benefit of the masses of the people, designed to rescue the remaining portion of our public domain from the hands of speculators, and set it apart wholly for the benefit of the people, has been defeated by pro-slavery sectionalism.

In my former address to you, I called attention to the beneficence of this great measure, especially in its effects upon the poor in our large cities, and I need not now enlarge upon it. A pro-slavery sectional vote also came very near depriving the masses of that great boon of modern legislation - cheap postage. I regret to say, I see no prospect of an end to these assaults upon the rights, liberties ad interests of the masses, as long as our Federal Government is under the control of a party which legislates wholly for the benefit of a class, and is deadly hostile to any measure having for its end and aim the good of the people generally, and the conservation and elevation of the free labor of the country.

And then he spit on Eric Drumpf.

*

"As regards our State, under the former rule of the same party that controls our National affairs, I regret to say that we also witnessed a condition of things anything but pleasing or satisfactory to those who take an interest in the welfare and prosperity of Illinois. Frauds, to the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars have been discovered in our finances; a most disgraceful scheme of legislation, as respects the State apportionment, was only prevented from becoming a law by the interposition of the executive veto; and an act in the form of an exceedingly obnoxious series of amendments to our City Charter was only defeated in our Legislature by the most strenuous exertions and determined attitude of the Republican members."

*

And oh how familiar does this sound:

"On entering upon the duties of my office, at the commencement of the past year, I was informed by my predecessor that there were no outstanding debts or contracts on the part of the city.

"In accordance with this supposed condition of the finances, I recommended a greatly reduced scale of taxation, understanding, as I then stated, that all that would be required for the, then, coming year would be a tax sufficient to meet the expenses of that year.

"But the result turned our otherwise; assets did not prove available, as expected; claims appeared for which no provision had been made . . . "

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Speaking of familiar . . .

"The Police Force is a most important arm of the Administration of the city, and should be carefully and properly regulated and controlled.

"The territory to be guarded by the patrol force is very extended, and a smaller number of men than now employed would, I am satisfied, fall short of fulfilling the wants and satisfying the expectations of the public.

"The Bridges, Bridewell, and the Courts, also, require quite a number of men.

"Without impairing the utility of the Department, I will make it my earnest endeavor to economize, as far a as possible, its expenses and shall be ever ready to cooperate with you and my fellow citizens generally, in every measure for the reform of abuses, and the increase of the efficiency of the force."

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Our infrastructure was already - always - crumbling . . .

"That there is need of much work upon the streets and alleys of the city, is beyond a question; that the leading thoroughfares need large repairs, or otherwise new work entire . . .

"The following planked thoroughfares are in such bad condition that they need to be planked entirely anew, or else Macadamised or paved: State street, from Twelfth street to the Archer road; Clark street, from Madison street to Liberty street, and perhaps further south; Kinzie street, from the North Branch eastwardly to its intersection with North Water street, and from the North Branch west to Halsted street; Canal street from Kinzie to Lake street, and from Randolph street to Van Buren street; and Madison street, from Sangamon street west to the city limits."

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Taming trolls:

"I have, during the past year, received a large number of anonymous communications, containing complaints upon various subjects, which, from the fact of the writers withholding their names, could not receive any attention at my hands.

"To obviate this in future, I will direct that a Complaint Book be opened in the office of the City Marshal, in which all persons can enter their communications over their proper signatures.

"Such a book will obviate this defect in future, while citizens feeling aggrieved at any want of attention on the part of the Chief Magistrate to any abuse, can have no excuse when they fail to inform him of the existence of such."

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There's a lot more, check it out.

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Chicago was 26 years old in 1859, by the way.

Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1860.

The Great Chicago Fire was 12 years away, in 1871.

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Now, about Haines:

"Haines worked to organize the Chicago waterwork beginning in 1854," according to his Wikipedia page.

"In 1848, he was elected to the first of six terms on the city council and two terms as the water commissioner.

"He was elected mayor in 1858 as a Republican, defeating Democrat Daniel Brainard with 54% of the vote.

"He ran for re-election the following year against Marcus D. Gilman, winning with about 53% of the vote."

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There is a John Charles Haines Elementary School in Chinatown.

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Now let's jump ahead to current-day Peoples Gas:

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See also:

* Struggling Peoples Gas Pipe Program Once Again Over Budget, Behind Schedule.

* Peoples Gas Journal, rated F for Funny and E for Exasperating.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Sinclar Lied. Will They Die?
FCC opens investigation that could lead to significant fines or even the loss of broadcast licenses.

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ChicagoReddit

Bars Showing Debate? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

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BeachBook

Childhood Magazine Highlights Now Part Of The Resistance.

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Report: Doing Your Part To Stop Climate Change Now Requires Planting 30,000 New Trees, Getting 40,000 Cars Off The Road, Reviving 20 Square Miles Of Coral Reef.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRipTipLine: Spit take.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 PM | Permalink

FCC Investigating Sinclair's Lies In Failed Attempt To Take Over Tribune Media

The Federal Communications Commission is investigating whether Sinclair Broadcast Group "engaged in misrepresentation and/or lack of candor" with the agency when it was seeking approval of its $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media Co. in 2018, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Tribune Media withdrew from the proposed merger last August, after the FCC releases a Hearing Designation Order, in which the agency criticized Sinclair for misrepresenting its plan to transfer control of several television stations to shell companies set up by the broadcaster.

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

If the FCC investigation determines that Sinclair did deceive the agency, it can order a hearing on the matter, according to the Journal report. This process could lead to significant fines or even the loss of broadcast licenses.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

"Sinclair has been misleading and deceiving the FCC for years, setting up shell companies designed to evade agency limits and trying to undermine any rules that slow its expansion. Sinclair appears to have gotten caught lying to the FCC, forcing its strongest supporters at the agency to back away and oppose its last mega-deal.

"This deception is enough to put Sinclair's licenses in jeopardy, but there are many other reasons to investigate whether this company should be given so much power over the public airwaves. The company has used its platform to push partisan propaganda and replaced independent outlets with its slanted and centralized content. Sinclair has violated the public trust and misled the FCC, and this hearing could be the first step toward setting things right.

"Hopefully, an FCC investigation will be the start of holding Sinclair and other broadcasters responsible for their misuse of the public airwaves and ending runaway media consolidation that has harmed so many local communities. Possible sanctions against Sinclair, including the loss of broadcast licenses, represents an opportunity to embark on a new path for an agency that has enabled the merge-at-all-costs broadcast industry for far too long."

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From an FCC commissioner:

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See also: Warren, Sanders And Booker Critique Sinclair Regional Sports Networks Deal, Which Includes Partnership With Cubs.

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Previously in Sinclair:
* 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?

* Sinclair-Tribune Deal On Life Support.

* Sinclair-Tribune Deal Is Dead.

* Tribune Media Lawsuit: Belligerent Sinclair Blew A Sure Thing.

* Tribune Executives Will Get Bonuses After Sinclair Deal Collapses.

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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.

* Sinclair's Latest "Must-Run" Segment Defends Tear-Gassing Refugees.

* Nexstar-Tribune Deal Is Bad News For Communities And Local Media.

* Dear FCC: Further Weakening Media-Ownership Limits Isn't The Answer.

* Free Press To FCC: Revoke Sinclair's Licenses If They Lied To You.

* Sinclair Broadcast Group To Acquire 21 Regional Sports Networks From Disney At A Valuation Of $10.6 Billion.

* Sinclair's Cubs Network Names Complicit GM.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:18 AM | Permalink

June 26, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

I have to go to the Genius Bar and see if I fried my battery when I (uncharacteristically) knocked over a glass of Diet Coke in the vicinity of my laptop, as I fear I did. Oh, let's face it, I did. My battery is dead. Can anything be done? Doubtful. Everything sucks so bad! I'd ask for prayers, but they'd be immune against the laws of physics. Besides, you should save that kind of energy for staring at the TV just right in order to affect sporting events. I'd ask you to wish me luck, but there is no such thing. I'd ask you for money, but it's a bit premature for that. But it's on the table! Someone, anyone, change my life! This is the sort of thing that can send me into a tailspin. Every horrible decision I've ever made since I was born has led to this terrible moment! At least someone spit on Eric Trump.

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P.S.: The Genius Bar would be a lot more fun if it was actually a bar. Appletinis for everyone!

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Spitgate

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ChicagoReddit

Why is there so much traffic in the loop at 11:30 on a weeknight from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

J.J. Tindall's World-Famous Chicago Boat Architecture Tour. Starring J.J. Tindall, Beachwood poet-in-residence emeritus.

Shoreline emeritus docent at-large J.J. Tindall is now exclusively available for special events and private charters.

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See also Rick Kogan's "Poet J.J. Tindall Finds Freedom In Guiding Boat Tours."

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BeachBook

A Gallery Owner Was Arrested After Leaving A 10-Foot Heroin Spoon Sculpture Outside OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma.

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'Not A Soul On 26th Street': Sales Drop At Little Village Shops As Threat Of ICE Deportation Sweep Looms.

But also when Obama was deporting even more folks than Trump.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Take care.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

June 25, 2019

SportsMondayTuesday: Rapinoe Kicks Out Spain

Team USA may face the toughest match of the Women's World Cup on Friday. Or it may have already played it on Monday.

Against a Spanish team that played physical and skilled soccer all game long, the US team was fortunate to pull out a 2-1 regulation victory. A questionable penalty call in the 71st minute during a play in which the Americans had lost control of the ball up high in the box a moment earlier gave the US team a second penalty kick.

While the call was reviewed, striker Alex Morgan, who has been a disappointment in this tournament ever since piling up easy goals in the opener against Thailand, moved forward to seemingly take the kick. This caused no small measure of consternation because Megan Rapinoe, who had decisively converted the first PK in the seventh minute, was still on the field and ready to go.

It appeared as though Morgan was exercising a sort of "It's my turn" prerogative. Fortunately that sort of foolish thinking did not stand. After the review, Rapinoe stepped forward to take the kick and blasted it into the goal again.

Some world-class forwards look up as they approach penalty kicks to see if the goalie makes a move one way or the other and then attempt to use that info to their advantage. That may work for them but it seems clear that the best way to do it for most players is to decide on a side ahead of time and then put your head down, charge forward and hit the ball with authority.

Rapinoe did that on both of her kicks. They were virtually un-save-able.

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So coach Jill Ellis got that right - having Rapinoe take the PKs that is. But she made a mess of her substitutions. First and foremost she failed to make one until the 85th minute! In nearly 90 degree weather! Come on coach!

After the game Ellis argued that the team was playing well enough to justify not making a change. I'm not sure what game she was watching but in the one I saw on TV, the Spanish side was putting together solid stretches of possession and getting the ball deep into US territory with regularity. That didn't translate into huge scoring chances but they were still right there, consistently.

Ellis eventually made three changes in the final 12 minutes of the game but they didn't have time to make an impact other than contributing to a defensive effort that protected the lead.

And then the speculation could begin - was this primarily a bad game for the American side or a very good one for Spain? Not surprisingly the Spanish coach, Jorge Vilda, argued for the latter. And Spain was very impressive.

They also got away with being overly physical with Morgan in particular. The referee didn't seem to understand that multiple, essentially orchestrated fouls on one player is grounds for a yellow card, if not two cards for brutish Spanish players. She finally assessed one late in the second half after she called Spain for its 14th infraction.

My take is that while this wasn't America's greatest game and I still don't understand why dynamic young players like Mallory Pugh and Kristen Press are on the bench instead of in the lineup, the Spaniards' level of play was most impressive. They were far better than France was in its round-of-16 overtime win over Brazil the day before.

Unless France is able to massively raise its level of play against the US on Friday, it will bow out of the tournament. The home field advantage only goes so far and a sizable contingent of American fans have been a factor so far this tournament and will make themselves heard again in the quarterfinal.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:12 AM | Permalink

Paramedic: Chicago Fire Is A Guaranteed Shitshow

I was expecting the worst, and boy did it deliver.


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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

This is gold. I am dying.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

7-Eleven Now Delivers Slurpees To Chicago Parks

Hungry and thirsty 7-Eleven® customers who use the 7NOW delivery smartphone app to order their favorite products now have more freedom to stay in the moment.

With the latest app update, the world's largest convenience retailer has set up thousands of locations, called 7NOW Pins, that enable customers to receive delivery where it's convenient for them.

This proprietary technology allows customers to order the delivery service to parks, beaches, sports fields, entertainment venues and other public locations that may not have traditional addresses.

sevenelevendelivery.jpg

"Our mission is to redefine convenience by becoming a customer-obsessed, digitally-enabled company," said Gurmeet Singh, 7-Eleven chief digital, information and marketing officer. "7NOW Pins makes convenience more convenient, by keeping customers in the moment, whether at a game, in the park or enjoying the sun on the beach. Our customers asked for it and we are delivering!"

When ordering items through 7NOW Pins, customers can choose from wide variety of beverages, fresh and hot foods, beer and wine (in participating markets), snacks, cosmetics, home goods and thousands of other products available for purchase. Love certain items? Customers can now go into their last orders and simply click reorder to add all their favorites to their cart.

"Sometimes things can get inconvenient away from home. It could be running out of ice and charcoal at a picnic or a hungry Little League team demanding pizza and Slurpee® drinks after a big game," said Raghu Mahadevan, 7-Eleven vice president of delivery. "We continuously challenge ourselves to find even more ways to offer convenience and value to our customers - when and where people need it most. 7NOW makes ordering and getting delivery in about 30 minutes a reality for customers whether they're at a park, a ballfield, arena, venue, and of course, at home."

To order delivery to a 7NOW Pin, shoppers simply open the app, which will auto locate their current location or show the nearest 7NOW Pin on the app's interactive map. Each 7NOW Pin corresponds to a public place or space where they can receive the delivery. A courier will pick up the order from the nearest participating store and deliver it to the selected 7NOW Pin location or specified address in 30 minutes or less on most occasions.

No minimum order is required for the 7NOW app and the service is available 24/7, with the first 3 deliveries free within 30 days of the first order. Real-time tracking lets customers know when to expect their 7NOW app orders.

7-Eleven introduced delivery in late 2017 when it began testing the app-based service at select stores in Dallas. Today, 7NOW is available in 27 major metropolitan areas, with more than 200 cities and serving more than 23 million households.

Markets include:

Austin, Texas
Baltimore, Maryland
Boston, Massachusetts
Charlotte, North Carolina
Chicago, Illinois
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Denver, Colorado
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles, California
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida
New York City, New York
Norfolk-Portsmouth, Virginia
Orlando-Daytona, Florida
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phoenix, Arizona
Portland, Oregon
Sacramento, California
St. Louis, Missouri
Salt Lake City, Utah
San Antonio, Texas
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
Seattle-Tacoma, Washington
Tampa, Florida
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Washington, D.C.

The 7NOW and 7-Eleven apps are available from the Apple App Store or Google Play. For more information about 7NOW and other 7‑Eleven innovations, visit 7‑Eleven.com.

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See also:

* 7-Eleven Reaches $2M Settlement Over Background Checks.

* AI May Not Take Your Job At 7-Eleven, But It Could Become Your Boss.

* 7-Eleven Struggling In Face Of Japan's Labor, Population Woes.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

Noah Webster's Dictionary Wars

In the United States, the name Noah Webster (1758-1843) is synonymous with the word "dictionary." But it is also synonymous with the idea of America, since his first unabridged American Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1828 when Webster was 70, blatantly stirred the young nation's thirst for cultural independence from Britain.

Webster saw himself as a savior of the American language who would rescue it from the corrupting influence of British English and prevent it from fragmenting into a multitude of dialects. But as a linguist and lexicographer, he quickly ran into trouble with critics, educators, the literati, legislators and much of the common reading public over the bizarre nature of his proposed language reforms.

These spelling reforms - for example, wimmen for "women," greeve for "grieve," meen for "mean" and bred for "bread" - were all intended to simplify spelling by making it read the way that words were pronounced, yet they brought him the pain of ridicule for decades to come.

idea_sized-american_dictionary_of_the_english_language_1828.gifThe title page of Noah Webster's 1828 edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language/Wikimedia

His definitions were regarded as his strong suit, but even they frequently rambled into essays, and many readers found them overly aligned with New England usage, to the point of distortion. Surfeited with a Christian reading of words, his religious or moral agenda also shaped many of his definitions into mini-sermons or moral lessons rather than serving as clarifications of meaning. A typical example is one of his expositions of purpose:

We believe the Supreme Being created intelligent beings for some benevolent and glorious purpose, and if so, how glorious and benevolent must be his purpose in the plan of redemption!

Overall, his dictionary was prescriptive rather than descriptive, a violation, if you will, of a central tenet of lexicography that holds that dictionaries should record the way language is used, not the way the lexicographer thinks it should be used.

Webster's etymology, meanwhile, which he spent a decade dreaming up, was deeply flawed because of his ignorance of the exciting discoveries made by leading philologists in Europe about the evolution of Indo-European languages from roots such as Sanskrit. His etymologies conform entirely to the interpretation of words as presented in the Bible. He was convinced that "the primitive language of man" spoken by the "descendants of Noah . . . must have been the original Chaldee."

Webster fought his battles over language not within philology circles but within the larger context of an emerging American dialect (pejoratively dismissed by the British as provincialisms). He believed that increasing immigration, the multiplication of unique American words, the new meanings attaching to English words and the proliferation of slang - or, as the English saw it, vulgar and undisciplined language - made an American dictionary essential to American life.

New words came from several sources. Native Americans contributed wampum, moccasin, canoe, moose, toboggan and maize; from Mexico came hoosegow, stampede and cafeteria; from French, prairie and dime; meanwhile, cookie and landscape came from the Dutch.

Existing words were combined to make new ones, for example rattlesnake, eggplant and bullfrog. Settlers of the West borrowed mesa and canyon from Spanish, and came up with robust words and expressions such as cahoots and kick the bucket.

There were also entirely new words: gimmick, fudge, notify, currency, hindsight, graveyard, roundabout. Shakespearean and other Old World words returned: gotten (got), platter (plate), mad (angry).

There were new spellings, too, a few of them of Webster's own invention: some of those were preserved - specter (spectre) and offense (offence) for example - but many more were mocked: blud (blood), dawter (daughter).

Idiomatic 'tall talk', as Daniel Boorstin called it in The Americans (1965) - the robust informality and "brash vitality" often attacked by the British as vulgar Americanisms - thrived, especially out West: down-and-out, flat-footed, to affiliate, downtown, scrumptious and true-blue.

Not surprisingly, the British worried that, one day, if this mushrooming of Americanisms continued, they would scarcely be able to understand Americans.

That didn't happen. Because of high mobility and the blending of different cultures and backgrounds in the U.S., there were far fewer dialects or dramatically different pronunciations than in England, where isolation was more common in spite of the smallness of the country.

The British thought that Samuel Johnson's great Dictionary of the English Language (1755) would suffice for America as it did for Britain. Many Americans agreed, but many more wanted their own national dictionary to lend them a type of secular authority that was analogous to the spiritual authority of the Bible.

But then there was the question of whose American dictionary would provide such an authority - which consideration instigated the "American dictionary wars." Should Webster's voice prevail, on behalf of the Americanizing of English and the writing of dictionaries that would record such usage? Or would Webster's great rival Joseph Emerson Worcester (1784-1865) with his more traditional, well-informed and solid scholarship triumph?

Their conflict became America's. What emerged in the country was an adversarial culture concerning language in which Americans fought each other in a civil war of words. It was also partly an ideological war, pitting various sectors of society - political, social, educational, religious - against each other over the direction that American English should take.

Webster died before these wars were resolved, feeling that he had failed as a lexicographer (and a visionary), and disheartened by poor sales of his dictionaries. His legacy and eventual iconic standing was secured largely by his editors (chiefly Webster's son-in-law Chauncey Allen Goodrich) and publishers (Charles and George Merriam) who began to remove most of his work from his dictionary while he was living, and continued the process over the 20 years following his death.

The Merriams knew that Worcester was the superior lexicographer, but they recognized that Webster was more marketable because of his patriot credentials, so they dedicated themselves to cleaning up his dictionary and defeating Worcester in the marketplace.

Ultimately, the Merriams were the real winners in the American dictionary wars, having made a fortune from Webster's name. Had Webster returned to see what had happened to his dictionary, he probably would have thought of himself as one of the big losers.

Meanwhile, American English would pursue its own inevitable national development, with little help from him

Peter Martin, a graduate of the University of Illinois, is the author of numerous books, including the acclaimed biographies Samuel Johnson (2008) and A Life of James Boswell (1999), and his latest book is The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight Over the English Language (2019). He has taught English literature in the United States and England, and divides his time between West Sussex, England and Spain. This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

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Comments welcome.

Aeon counter - do not remove

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:53 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"If you happen to be on the official email list of U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, he wants your input on issues. But if you want to know what he's hearing from people answering his online queries, well, sorry," Bernie Schoenburg writes for the Springfield Journal-Register.

LaHood's office for months has been sending out simple - sometimes slanted - survey questions, in an apparent quest to find out what his constituents want. While the cost of mass emailing is nominal and certainly a lot less than mailing out paper questionnaires, these questions are still from his official office, not his campaign, meaning that federal workers are involved.

Back in February, I wrote about one LaHood question sent to constituents - if people supported "President Trump's decision to declare a national emergency at the southern border."

No results were given, and spokesman J.D. Dalfonso said: "It has never been our policy to release private constituent correspondence before to reporters or to the public."

I didn't get at the time how results of a survey - with no names of respondents involved - is a violation of privacy. And as I've noticed LaHood's office sending out questions over and over for a period of months, I've continued to wonder what justification there is for keeping results secret.

Click through for the rest, but suffice to say, Darin LaHood is Today's Worst Member Of Congress In Illinois.

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Tunney Too
"Chicagoans will be prohibited from weighing in on each item set to be considered Tuesday at the first regular meeting of the City Council's Zoning Committee under the leadership of Ald. Tom Tunney (44)," the Daily Line reports.

I can't afford a subscription to the Daily Line, so I can't tell you the details, but suffice to say, Tom Tunney is Today's Worst Member Of The Chicago City Council.

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What little I've gleaned from Twitter:

Maybe there'll be more tomorrow. Like a comment from the mayor.

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Ford Overlords
"Ford Motor Company has finished a $1 billion renovation at its two plants on Chicago's far South Side," ABC7 Chicago reports.

"What surprised me is that the new robots, you think would take jobs away, but it actually added jobs in Chicago," said Alan Millender, who is the union chairman for local 551.

Okay, but how? Unless those new jobs are building the robots - and Ford has added more robot-building jobs than the jobs those robots will eliminate.

Or maybe robots allow more production capacity, which increases the need for more workers?

I'm not saying Millender is making shit up, I'd just like to know how he figures. (And I'd like the reporter to ask.)

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Let's turn to Crain's, which puts the number of new robots at the plant at 600. My god, do they get their own robot cafeteria?

"As part of the revamp, Ford hired 500 new workers between the Torrence Avenue assembly plant and the Chicago Heights stamping plant, bringing the total to about 6,500, including salaried employees," Crain's reports.

Okay, but would they have added 1,100 jobs without the robots? Doesn't say!

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"Company executives said the automation has allowed workers to be shifted to other areas that are crucial to quality," the Sun-Times reports.

Like what?

And are those lesser paying areas?

And that's not really adding workers because of automation as much as shifting workers because of automation, right?

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I'd ask Hank the Robot, but he hasn't tweeted since April and I fear he may have built his replacement.

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Anyway, just because a union guy said it doesn't make it that much more likely to be true as it would if a management guy said it.

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Also, don't just accept the premise, ask why and how.

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Quarter Pound Sack
"On Monday, the fast-food giant announced that in the year since it swapped frozen for fresh beef in its Quarter Pounder, sales of the iconic burger are up 30% on average," USA Today reports.

"Our customers are loving it," Marion Gross, McDonald's senior vice president of supply chain management, said in an interview with USA TODAY. "We sold 40 million more Quarter Pounder burgers nationally in the first quarter of this year compared to the quarter in 2018."

Okay, first, don't quote a McDonald's exec quoting a company advertising slogan. Second, don't quote a McDonald's exec quoting a statistic you should find and verify elsewhere. Neither of those is what quotes are for - which is a unique expression of thought or feeling.

Now, how did McDonald's manage to sell 40 million more Quarter Pounders by switching from frozen to fresh beef? I have no doubt that customers prefer fresh, but I have questions:

* Is there an identifiable difference in taste, and have customers verified through taste tests that they can tell that difference? Or are they just responding to McDonald's broadcasting the switch, which makes their product sound more appealing?

* Did only Quarter Pounders switch to fresh beef? Because you'd think they would switch all versions of hamburgers to fresh. So why the focus on Quarter Pounders? Didn't sales go up for all burgers?

* Did an advertising campaign accompany the switch? If so, how many more Quarter Pounders would McDonald's have sold merely by promoting them?

I'm guessing McDonald's invests heavily in consumer research and has the answers to these questions - though we should never assume. Maybe they just make shit up like everyone else.

Maybe the article answers those questions, but USA Today's website is such an obstacle course of horrors shifting and dodging before my eyes I can't tell you.

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Let's turn to CNBC.

"Launching fresh beef at McDonald's took more than four years and cost its meat suppliers more than $60 million to pull it off," CNBC reports.

Wow, now that's a story. Someone should tell it sometime!

On the other hand, I have no way to process that $60 million figure without knowing how many suppliers it's divided into versus their total revenues.

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And that's pretty much it for CNBC!

I'm as unsatisfied as a frozen burger.

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Meanwhile: Don't Call It Robots. McDonald's Tests 'Advanced Kitchen Equipment.'

Poor Hank.

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Assignment Desk: Are robots being replaced by AI?

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Motoblot UPDATED
Now with more cool-ass music.

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Paramedic: Chicago Fire Is A Guaranteed Shitshow
This is gold. I'm dying.

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7-Eleven Now Delivers To Chicago Parks
Also still treats workers like shit!

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Noah Webster's Dictionary Wars
'Ultimately, the Merriams were the real winners, having made a fortune from Webster's name. Had Webster returned to see what they had done to his dictionary, he would have thought of himself as the biggest loser.'

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SportsTuesday: Rap Knocks Out Spain
Team USA may face the toughest match of the Women's World Cup on Friday. Or it may have already played it on Monday.

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ChicagoReddit

City provides telephone number to report electric scooter accidents/injuries/bad behavior from r/chicago

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Electric scooter hit-and-run leaves bicyclist badly injured. from r/chicago

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Does anyone hate these scooters as much as me? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Ford Chicago Plant - Changeover Timelapse.

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BeachBook

Here's A List Of Organizations That Are Mobilizing To Help The Influx Of Immigrants Crossing The Texas-Mexico Border.

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LEGO Is Hosting The World's Smallest Pride Parade.

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Diet Soda Is A Nutritional Pariah, But The Case Against It Is Thin.

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More Than Half Of Surgical Stapler Malfunctions Went To Hidden FDA Database.

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Catching up with . . .

We Found The Guy Behind The Viral 'Drunk Pelosi' Video.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRipTipLine: Pound it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 AM | Permalink

June 24, 2019

Motoblot 2019

Motoblot is a cool-ass annual "Motorcycle and Hot Rod Street Rally" outside Cobra Lounge that you should definitely check out a year from now if you weren't there last weekend.

To get a feel for the vibe, just check out #motoblot on Instagram.

But here and now, we're just interested in the music. Here are some highlights:

1. Mystery Actions.


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2. Slutter.

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3. The Detroit Cobras.

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4. Vice Tricks.

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5. Bailey Dee.

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6. The Hi-Jivers.

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7. The Evictions.

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8. The Tossers.

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9. Nalani & Sarina.

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10. Super Sonic Space Rebels.

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11. The Krank Daddies.

View this post on Instagram

THE KRANK DADDIES! @motoblot

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:12 AM | Permalink

Semicolon In West Town

Semicolon Bookstore located will celebrate its grand opening at 515 North Halsted Street in July from Tuesday the 9th through Saturday the 13th.

The store has been open with shortened hours since June 8th in a soft-launch period to smooth operations and get to know the neighborhood.

semicolonowner.jpgSemicolon owner Danielle Mullen inside her store

Created by Chicago entrepreneur Danielle Mullen, the idea for Semicolon came from the owner's love for reading in museums. The store provides a gallery space downstairs where interested readers can watch the artist of the month work in their gallery space.

"I wanted literature and art to kinda collide and create this experience that would further connect the two worlds - or at least cause a lover of one to want to know more about the other," Mullen says. The store will host authors for readings and artists for live installations monthly.

One of only two woman-owned bookstores in Chicago, Semicolon is the only Black woman-owned bookstore in the city. Soft-opening hours are available on the website, as well as a calendar outlining grand opening festivities.

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See also:

* Meet Danielle Mullen.

" . . . It has been anything but smooth, haha! The major struggle has been finding a space for what I want to create. Chicago retail real estate is fast-paced and expensive, which I expected. What I did not expect is the incredibly thorough vetting process just to lease a space. Even with financials and everything else in perfect order, it has been really difficult to find a landlord willing to take a chance on leasing their 20,000+ square foot space to someone who is relatively 'unknown.'

"The obvious solution to that is to team up with a big name company or investor to back the project, but I am set on self-financing and not allowing any investor to control more than 30% of my concept . . .

"Think Soho House vibes, WITH books."

* Danielle Mullen on LinkedIn.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

The Inaugural Winners Of The American Gambling Awards Are Here!

Fourteen winners were recognized for their leadership in the regulated, online U.S. gambling industry at a party hosted by ESPN+ host and fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry last week at Monmouth Park Racetrack in New Jersey.

Each winner received a custom-designed Golden Eagle trophy - an American-made, 11-inch, gold-plated, cast-pewter statuette of an American Bald Eagle.

gamblingawards.jpg

The inaugural awards featured more than 70 finalists, with a panel of more than 25 expert judges evaluating the nominations. To ensure the highest possible integrity, votes were tallied by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The 2019 American Gambling Awards winners are:

American Operator of the Year: Rush Street Interactive

Sports Betting Operator of the Year: FanDuel

Casino Operator of the Year: Rush Street Interactive

Poker Operator of the Year: WSOP

Fantasy Sports Operator of the Year: DraftKings

Horse Racing Operator of the Year: TVG

Payments Provider of the Year: Paysafe Group

Service Provider of the Year: Evolution Gaming

Corporate Transaction of the Year: Paddy Power Betfair's acquisition of FanDuel

Responsible Gambling Award: National Council on Problem Gambling

Industry Supporter of the Year: Raymond Lesniak, former New Jersey State Senator

Lawyer of the Year: Ted Olson

Policymaker of the Year: J. Gary Pretlow, New York Assemblyman

Regulator of the Year: David Rebuck, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement

"The American Gambling Awards is our gift to the growing industry in America," says Charles Gillespie, chief executive of Gambling.com Group. "We are gamblers and we are American and we are for the development of a responsibly regulated, competitive, modern online gambling market that serves the interests of the American consumer. It is our hope that the American Gambling Awards will bring positive attention to the leaders making this a reality."

The American Gambling Awards party and trophy presentation was part of a week-long series of conferences, seminars and social events in and around Monmouth Park in conjunction with the one-year anniversary of New Jersey's first legal sports bet. Attendees came from New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., California, Tennessee, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida, West Virginia and North Carolina.

The American Gambling Awards were launched in March 2019 as the first awards program to recognize excellence among operators, suppliers, advocates, policymakers, lawyers and regulators supporting the regulated online gambling market in the United States.

A full list of American Gambling Award winners, finalists and judges can be found here.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

This just in:

More on Cochran in the coming days.

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Yes.

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Obama Bias
"In his new book, Confirmation Bias, journalist Carl Hulse delves deeply into recent confirmation battles, describing the Senate's advice-and-consent power as 'corrupted to what appears to be the point of no return,'" the Washington Post reports.

Hulse writes of the ensuing angst among some on Obama's team that the president moved too slowly on a successor. Ron Klain, then chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and a veteran of many court fights, wanted the president to quickly name presumptive nominee Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit. The well-regarded moderate's name had been kept in reserve during Obama's 2009 and 2010 appointments for just such a moment - in an election year with a Republican Senate.

"Within a few days of Scalia's death, Hulse reports, Klain told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough: 'The president ought to go to the Rose Garden tomorrow and name Merrick Garland. Tomorrow. Not a month from now. Tomorrow. Every day that ticks by is a day that you are letting McConnell consolidate his position.'

"Obama announced the Garland choice a month later, on March 16. Senators never held a hearing."

Seemingly relevant: Joe Biden: Republicans 'Know Better,' Will Change After Trump.

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Also seemingly relevant: Tips For Staying Civil While Debating Child Prisons.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Dear Chairman Reinsdorf . . .
An open letter from our very own Roger Wallenstein.

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Semicolon In West Town
A new black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space.

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Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire
Shrink-sleeve, glue-based and pressure-sensitive.

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ChicagoReddit

Nickey Chevrolet was a major Chicago-area Chevy dealer from the 1920s until the early '70s. It was located on Irving Park Rd. In addition to sales and service of typical Chevrolet products, Nickey Chevrolet was well known for selling high performance versions of many Chevy products over the years. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

The Welcome Committee 🐱 (June 2019)

A post shared by Madison Borth (@madisonborthcollages) on

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ChicagoTube

"The Goethe-Institut Chicago presents Anne Imhof: Sex at the Art Institute of Chicago - her first American solo exhibition in a museum setting. The exhibition in Chicago remains open until July 7 as an art installation, featuring sculpture, painting, and recorded audio concerts."

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BeachBook

Meet The Economist Behind The One Percent's Stealth Takeover Of America.

This article reflects upon the dark, cynical belief by many conservatives that every human is out to maximize power and material goods for themselves, full stop. That explains, for example, the item above about Mitch McConnell's approach to Supreme Court nominees. When he was holding up the nomination of Merrick Garland, he said he was sure Democrats would do the same. And if an opening were to occur between now and the 2020 election, he says he would fill it - the Garland precedent notwithstanding. It's pure power politics. But it's also at odds with democracy - especially without stringent regulation to rein in people's greediest impulses. It also explains the inability of some folks to see that not everyone is motivated by power or greed. Former BGA chief Terry Brunner used to marvel at some folks in the political system who would ask him what he wanted - a judgeship? It didn't occur to those kind of folks that someone might simply want honest government. Understanding the motivations of others is vitally important in politics, and society at-large. That means, too, understanding that people like Mitch McConnell will not respond to calls for civility, compromise, the greater good. Bipartisanship is great when you have a bi to partisan with. When you don't, you need to find another way. There is a time to obstruct and a time to fold. To everything turn, turn, turn! But getting stuck on just one approach - be it Bruce Rauner, Barack Obama or what Joe Biden now threatens to do - is to be a stubborn and dangerous fantasist.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Reminder: Trump tore up the translator's notes.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Back in black.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 AM | Permalink

Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire

According to the new market research report Automatic Labeling Machine Market by Type (Self-Adhesive/Pressure-Sensitive Labelers, Shrink Sleeve Labelers and Glue-Based Labelers), Industry (Food & Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Products, Personal Care), Geography - Global Forecast to 2024, published by MarketsandMarkets™, the Automatic Labeling Machine Market is expected to be valued at $2.5 billion in 2019. It is expected to grow $2.9 billion, at a CAGR of 3.6% from 2019 to 2024.

The factors that are driving the growth of the market include the increasing demand for automation in the food industry and the growing need for packaging solutions.

Ask for a PDF brochure!

Shrink-Sleeve Labelers
Shrink-Sleeve labelers are expected to grow at the highest CAGR in global automatic labeling machine market.

Shrink sleeve labelers are a relatively new type of machine in the automatic labeling machine market which has been making a name for itself in the label industry as these machines uses labels which leads to full body design allowing for more graphics, impact, and color.

The shrink-sleeve labelers are booming in the market as the sleeve film is sensitive to light, abrasion resistant, durable, and waterproof.

These labels can be easily removed from the containers and bottles, allowing the container/bottle to be reused.

The sleeve film is environment-friendly as there is no need for glue which does not lead to any hazardous waste and this film is easily recyclable.

Although the shrink sleeve labelers are most costly than other labeling machines, it is the best way to provide the maximum brand promotion and awareness among the customers.

Food & Beverage Growth
The food and beverage industry is expected to exhibit the highest growth from 2019 to 2024.

The fast-changing food & beverages industry across the world requires automatic labeling machines to a great extent.

Improved economic conditions in emerging countries, purchasing parity, increasing health awareness, change in dietary habits, rising demand for nutritious food, and adoption of automated technology in labeling are the significant factors which are expected to further fuel the growth of global food & beverages processing and packaging machinery industry.

APAC Growth
The APAC region is expected to be the fastest-growing automatic labeling machine market from 2019 to 2024.

The market in Asia Pacific is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.

The growth of the market during the forecast period is expected due to the development of the packaging machinery industry, demand for automated labeling solutions, increasing consumer awareness regarding packaging, the demand for packaging in the food industry, and the need for high speed and high-quality labeling solutions.

On the other hand, China and Taiwan were the major markets in Asia Pacific in 2018 as they are one of the major exporters of the low-speed machines capturing the large share of the market.

Major Players
Major players included in the automatic labeling machine market are Krones (Germany), SACMI (Italy) and Sidel (Italy).

The other key players in this market include companies such as HERMA (Germany), KHS (Germany), Fuji Seal (Japan), ProMach (US), Marchesini Group (Italy), IMA Group (Italy), Accutek (US), and Barry-Wehmiller (US), among others.

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Previously in on-fire markets:

* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

June 23, 2019

Open Letter

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf
Guaranteed Rate Field
35th and Shields
Chicago, IL

Dear Chairman Reinsdorf:

So far this season your decisions and patience clearly are paying dividends as the White Sox are a vastly improved team. No doubt you feel a sense of accomplishment and optimism for the first time since trading away your star players for a group of prospects like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Lucas Giolito and many others. You took risks that are beginning to bear fruit for years to come.

At Wrigley Field last Tuesday night Jimenez, who most assuredly is destined for stardom, launched his ninth-inning home run to beat the Cubs in what will occupy a prominent place in White Sox history for years to come. Being there to feel the exhilaration and excitement was a unique experience. We all know the depths to which the crosstown Cubs sunk before righting their ship through a rebuilding process much like the Sox are presently enduring.

However, aside from wins and losses and real and potential championships, the comparison of the two sides of town are as different as oatmeal and huevos rancheros. I sincerely hope that a few years from now, the differences will remain as visible as they are now.

Going to a White Sox game today means that we see a grand mix of people of different backgrounds, races, ethnicities and histories which reflect our city's composition. Families can still afford a Sunday afternoon at your ballpark. Many bring infants and toddlers to the games. You're almost as likely to sit next to someone speaking Spanish as English, and the team on the field reflects the same diversity. You serve a variety of concessions reflecting this mix: barbecue, tacos, pierogis, Cuban sandwiches, and much more.

White Sox Park, or whatever you call it, remains a place where people from many economic backgrounds exercise a ritual that's existed for more than 120 years. You don't choose the person sitting next to you, and more often than not, the man, woman, or child comes from a background quite different than your own.

This may be true on the North Side as well, but not to the degree that it occurs when the Sox play at home.

The neighborhoods of Bridgeport, Pilsen, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, and Chinatown all are located close to the park while suburban people from Tinley, Orland, and Bedford Parks drive in along with the faithful from towns like Lemont, Lisle, and Northwest Indiana. I'm sure your marketing department is well aware of the zip codes of every fan who enters the ballpark.

The White Sox have a rich history since the Days of Comiskey when workers could exit their jobs at the Union Stockyards and still catch a night game at the old Grand Dame of the South Side. I'll bet you recall the Sox Supporters, the fans in the left field seats with their banner hanging over the wall until the PA announcer reminded them, "Will the fans in left field please remove your banner from the wall."

Maybe we were chagrined at the time, but that's all in the past. We might have been annoyed when Andy the Clown became persona non grata when you entered the scene almost 40 years ago. A clown has as much chance of leading cheers today as Ronnie Woo has of sipping a beer at the 1914 Club at Wrigley. Not that we have a choice, but we can certainly live with that.

What would be difficult to digest would be an ignorance and betrayal of the past. Attending last Tuesday's thriller on the North Side highlighted how that works. Aside from the highest ticket prices in major league baseball - an average of more than $58 per admission - there are sections with padded seats for the club members who are outfitted with wrist bands to set them off from the rest of the crowd. Please, no vendors in these sections. All food and beverage have been prepaid. Sit next to a tradesman or laborer? Not likely.

And the fans formerly known as the Bleacher Bums now pay $48 to pass through the turnstiles. If those are bums out there, the economy is doing a lot better than previously thought.

You come from a modest background, growing up in Brooklyn, so you know what we're talking about.

Of course, the rationale is that higher prices are required to put a contending team on the field year after year. But tell that to the people in Tampa-St. Pete who stay away in droves even though tickets are far less than half of what the Cubs charge. Last we looked the Rays were having a pretty good season. Same with the Oakland A's who, despite a slim payroll and low attendance, have qualified for the post-season nine times this century. Only five teams have been there more often.

Mr. Chairman, you and your people have done a masterful job of cutting payroll - your tab is 25th out of the 30 teams - the past few seasons so that your operating income is topped by only five other franchises. Despite playing second fiddle to the Cubs and drawing about 21,000 spectators a game, you've amassed a tidy trove. In addition, you and your group bought the Sox for $20 million, and today you could sell for as much as $1.6 billion. Of course, this is merely a number on a piece of paper, but it's impressive.

So once your team becomes a legitimate contender, what can we expect? The announcement last week that you will extend the protective netting from foul pole to foul pole is safe, reasonable and fan-friendly. Can we expect similar moves once the team is fighting for a championship?

We understand ticket prices will rise although we ask that you don't price the middle-class fans right out of your stadium. A beer already costs $10 - and you're selling much less than years ago - even though Wrigley has taken over as the city's largest beer garden. We don't anticipate your bolting from NBC Sports Chicago now that the Cubs will depart in favor of their own network. We're going to pay more for cable because of it whether we watch the Cubs or not.

My guess is that Sox fans won't crave a fancy food and beverage club or two to satisfy corporate tastes and to pad your bottom line. You'll be tempted to sell $200 tickets, but we trust you'll use restraint. You have spent wisely, and your coffers reflect this. We suspect that you clearly comprehend that you have a core of fans who are sticking with this team just as they have for generations.

It boils down to this, Mr. Chairman: Don't be the Cubs.

Respectfully,
Roger Wallenstein
The White Sox Report
The Beachwood Reporter

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:41 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

"After withstanding a verbal beating from some Chicago aldermen about homogeneous leadership, the developer planning the Lincoln Yards megaproject is taking a formal step to change," Crain's reports.

"Sterling Bay, which recently won City Council approval for its $6 billion North Side mixed-use campus, today announced it has hired veteran communications pro Keiana Barrett as its first director of diversity and strategic development.

"Barrett, who previously served in public affairs roles with Chicago Public Schools and the DuSable Museum of African American History and was chief of staff for former 7th Ward Ald. Sandi Jackson, will be tasked with developing and implementing 'strategic programs that forge a diverse, inclusive community, culture and climate within the company' at Sterling Bay, the developer said in a statement.

"The hire comes after some city officials criticized Sterling Bay for a lack of executive diversity as the developer vied for up to $1.3 billion in tax-increment financing to help facilitate the development of Lincoln Yards."

Keiana Barrett has appeared just once in the Beachwood, though I'm reasonably sure she deserves to have appeared more. See: Sandi Jackson's Disdainful Goodbye.

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When Rahm Emanuel, Sterling Bay didn't feel the need to employ a diversity director. Just sayin'.

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Also, diversity is something that should be embedded in your company's DNA. If you have to hire someone to do that for you, you are a poor leader and terrible human being. Also, it won't work.

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Dank Bank
"The branch bank of the future is coming, and your friendly neighborhood teller may be history," the Tribune reports.

"With transactions migrating online, customer traffic down and once-bustling branches closing their doors, major banks including Fifth Third, Chase and Capital One are racing to create cozier, millennial-friendly spaces in the Chicago area offering financial advice, technical support and in some cases, cappuccino."

But no tellers. All transactions will be done via ATM. How confusing for bank robbers. Will no one think of the bank robbers? How will they ply their trade without tellers to hand notes to? What are they doing to do now, approach the barista and demand the tip jar?

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Oh, also: Lame. Only the worst kind of people want to hang out at a Capitol One cafe.

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Bank Wank
The headline sold me, so I clicked through: "First Midwest Exit Ignites Unlikely Banking War In Tiny Leland, Ill."

Subhead: "Most small towns are out of luck when they lose their last bank these days. This one 70 miles west of Chicago now has more banks than it knows what do with."

That, it turns out, is an exaggeration, but that's not why I got so disgusted upon reading the story. No, I got disgusted because every voice in the story - three - comes from an e-mail or press release. PICK UP THE PHONE AND INTERVIEW SOMEONE.

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I've said it a zillion times before, I'll say it a zillion times again: Do not accept e-mailed statements. They are the equivalent of press releases. They cannot be interrogated. It is pure laziness. You might as well ask your news subjects to write your stories for you, because that's what you are doing.

If I was the editor of a news organization - as I should be! - I would ban e-mailed statements. Especially from spokespeople. That's a double-doink, folks.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The World Cube Association Was Here, And Brought Their Twisty Puzzles With Them
Highlights.

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For Many NBA Players, Finding A Better High School Was Critical To Success
"All of the athletes in my study spoke about how beneficial it was when they left their troubled neighborhood schools in order to join teams or participate in athletic programs at better-resourced and safer schools in more affluent areas."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #257: Bulls Luck Out, Get Their Teen Man
Or should that be Man Teen?

Anyway . . .

Pace and space - too late. Plus: Cy Alzolay; Confounding Contreras And His Balls; Cubs Lineup Limits; Who Hurt Hendricks?: Don't Sleep On The Reds; Questioning Cardinals; Here Comes Kimbrel; White Sox Pledge Nets; The Bears Did Have A Bad Offseason, and USWNT Manages Not To Embarrass Us This Week.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

CTA employees counting fare intake by hand 1977 from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Hey look, the Rolling Stones playing a song some say is the most racist in all of rock and no one seems to care.

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Weekend BeachBook

For Generations, Illinois' Child Welfare Agency Has Failed To Adequately Serve Spanish-Speaking Families With Children In Its Care.

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Years Ago, The Border Patrol's Discipline System Was Denounced as "Broken." It's Still Not Fixed.

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When The University Of Wisconsin Persecuted Gay Students.

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The Sameness Of Cass Sunstein.

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Black Superstars Pitch Adidas Shoes. Its Black Workers Say They're Sidelined.

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Chester Cheetah And The Chicago Popcorn Drought.

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FujiFilm Unveils Instant Camera That Prints Audio On Photos So You Can Hear Your Pics.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk McRibTipLine: Check it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:11 AM | Permalink

June 22, 2019

For Many NBA Players, Finding A Better High School Was Critical To Success

When University of Southern California freshman Kevin Porter, Jr., became a first-round NBA draft pick Thursday, he spoke about the hardships he'd faced.

"I been battling through adversity all my life. Still am," Porter told ESPN after he became the final first-round draft pick.

Porter explained that he wore No. 4 j at USC to honor his father, who was shot and killed when Porter was just 4 years old.

In many ways, Porter's story reflects the collective experience of 10 professional athletes I interviewed to learn more about how they overcame their difficult childhoods. I was interested as a researcher in sports psychology, and because I have a decade of teaching and coaching experience in a community in Atlanta.

All 10 athletes attended high school in the 1990s or early 2000s. They all told me about losing loved ones to violence and going to school in chaotic environments.

For instance, a former player in the NBA D-League (now known as the G-League since Gatorade began sponsoring it) that I'll refer to as "Iggy" said: "I grew up next to a drug house. A lot of gangs, violence, drugs and prostitution. My cousin was murdered at 19 right down the street."

Another athlete told me that on his first day of high school, school officials held a memorial service for a student who was murdered in the community.

"I'll be honest with you, school was hell," said Charles, a basketball player who won a national title at the University of Louisville. "Just walking through the halls I had to protect myself."

A different athlete discussed how he was born when his father was in jail for murder and only had only spoken with him three times in his life. The athletes I spoke with related how these social problems trickled into their schools and created a stressful learning environment for students, teachers and administrators.

A Way Out

All of the athletes in my study spoke about how beneficial it was when they left their troubled neighborhood schools in order to join teams or participate in athletic programs at better-resourced and safer schools in more affluent areas.

Some of the athletes, like Ben, were intentionally moved from their community and enrolled into a better school with more resources. His mother spent years earning a nursing degree at night, which gave her the financial ability to move Ben to the suburbs.

Other athletes just got lucky. Jared, a professional basketball player born in Philadelphia, told me how a chance encounter changed the course of his life.

"I was really struggling and trying to find a team to play for. I was getting my haircut and some guy asked me if I played ball, because I was big for my age. Next thing I know I am talking to Allen Iverson's best friend and given a scholarship to the top private school in the city."

Six of the athletes I spoke to said that if they didn't have sports to get them out of their environment, the risk of premature death or incarceration would have been high.

Private School Advantage

An analysis shows many of the NBA top draft picks in 2019 have similar educational backgrounds.

Of the 24 first-round draft picks who attended high school in the United States, 16 attended private schools, while only eight attended public schools.

Overall, 45% of the 2019 NBA first- and second-round draft picks went to private schools, versus 35% for public schools.

porternba.jpgKevin Porter Jr. is introduced prior to the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft at Barclays Center/Brad Penner, USA Today Sports

Porter played at Rainier Beach School in Seattle - a public school where his father once played for the same coach. Like many of the schools the athletes in my study attended, Rainier was at one time quite a troubled school. Not so long ago, it struggled with declining enrollment, poor test scores and low graduation rates.

The school has turned things around in some ways, but still has low levels of reading and math proficiency.

Public schools in poor American communities face obstacles that schools in wealthier districts do not, such as overcrowded classrooms, teacher burnout, disciplinary problems and high suspension rates.

Ben, one of athletes in my study who currently plays professionally in Europe, described his school learning environment in Detroit: "It was chaos. Overcrowded classrooms. We had to walk through metal detectors everyday. It was just normal, like they were preparing us for jail."

Another athlete from Atlanta discussed how his school sports team spent more time fighting in the courtyard than in the gym practicing.

The athletes all spoke of high community gang affiliation and/or lack of positive role models.

What Does This Mean?

All 10 athletes in this study said moving to a safer school with more resources and more structured learning or athletic environments helped them succeed.

Which raises important questions: Why should kids from poor neighborhoods have to leave their communities and local schools to achieve their dreams? Can't neighborhood schools be improved so students don't feel like they need to find a way out? And what of those not so lucky to have found a new school to nurture their dreams, or those for whom sports is not a viable way out?

Rob Book is a PhD candidate and lecturer at the University of Southern Denmark. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:48 PM | Permalink

June 21, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #257: Bulls Luck Out, Get Their Teen Man

Pace and space - too late. Plus: Cy Alzolay; Confounding Contreras And His Balls; Cubs Lineup Limits; Who Hurt Hendricks?: Don't Sleep On The Reds; Questioning Cardinals; Here Comes Kimbrel; White Sox Pledge Nets; The Bears Did Have A Bad Offseason, and USWNT Manages Not To Embarrass Us This Week.


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SHOW NOTES

* 257.

2:07: Bulls Luck Out, Get Their Teen Man.

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Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 1.26.34 PM.png

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Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 1.28.39 PM.png

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New York Times: 2019 NBA Draft Results: Analysis Of Every Pick In Round 1.

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31:20: Cy Alzolay.

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36:29: E-2.

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39:26: The Cubs' Lineup Limits.

* Schwarber, Bote, Descalso, CarGo . . .

* Missing Zobrist.

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47:32: Who Hurt Hendricks?

* Joe Maddon, that's who.

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52:03 Don't Sleep On The Reds.

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54:40: Here Comes Kimbrel.

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56:00: Questioning Cardinals.

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59:17: White Sox Pledge Nets.

* Theo dodges, media lets him off the hook.

* Back to Cubs catchers.

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1:04:30: The Bears Did Have A Bad Offseason.

* Former John Fox fanboys turn on him to defend new hero Ryan Pace at all costs.

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1:11:24: USWNT Manages Not To Embarrass Us This Week.

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STOPPAGE: 13:36

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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 1:13 PM | Permalink

The World Cube Association Was Here, And Brought Their Twisty Puzzles With Them

"The World Cube Association governs competitions for mechanical puzzles that are operated by twisting groups of pieces, commonly known as 'twisty puzzles.' The most famous of these puzzles is the Rubik's Cube, invented by professor Rubik from Hungary. A selection of these puzzles are chosen as official events of the WCA."

One of those events was held last Sunday in Arlington Heights.

Highlights:


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Brian Johnson had himself a day!

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Rubik's Solve.

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Cubing Vlog.

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Superdupercuber.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:53 AM | Permalink

June 20, 2019

The [Thursday] Papers

While I was prepping for and then participating in a business meeting Wednesday, accompanied by enough Old Style that I wasn't sufficiently motivated to write a column, FBI agents were raiding the Far South Side ward office of Ald. Carrie Austin.

I'll have more on that later, but for now, can you guess why I'm so annoyed by these "reporters'" behavior this morning?

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Answer: Real reporters don't ask for a statement or if a news subject has "anything to say." Real reporters ask actual questions. Obviously I have no idea if a specific question would have elicited a response, but asking for a statement is inviting a rote, content-free response.

(Possible questions - and ask just one at a time, please - could include: "Have you spoken to the FBI? Have you hired a criminal defense lawyer? Were you warned about the raid ahead of time? What did they take out of your office? Where is your God now?")

Anyway, like I said, more on Austin to come, as well as some material on Willie "Casino" Cochran, though he's a far less consequential mope than Austin.

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Im🍑ment Inquiries
"Freshman Rep. Sean Casten, an Illinois Democrat who flipped a suburban Chicago congressional district in 2018, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday he backs launching an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump," Lynn Sweet reports.

"Casten is among the 44 House Democrats facing the toughest GOP challenges in 2020, according to a 'frontline' list compiled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"His public call stands out because Casten is only the third in this group of 44 to support an impeachment inquiry. Casten joins freshmen Katie Porter of California and Tom Malinkowski of New Jersey - a friend whose office is down the hall from Casten's."

Good for Casten. But even more significant:

"Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., also on Wednesday called for a Trump impeachment inquiry, notable since she is part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership team and the speaker has counseled restraint."

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Some might say I wrote this item just because I wanted to use the peach emoji. Sources say that's not entirely true, but it's also quite delicious that "Thanks to its distinctive cleft, the emoji is commonly used for 'buttocks."

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As for the rest of the delegation:

"Rep. Bobby Rush, through a spokesman, is the only one from Illinois calling for impeachment. Reps. Mike Quigley, Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia, Danny Davis and Schakowsky support launching an impeachment inquiry."

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Also:

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For those not ready to call for an impeachment inquiry, I would ask: What have you yet to learn about the president that would change your position? Does the Mueller report, in your estimation, provide evidence of the President of the United States committing crimes?

Of course, impeachment needn't be limited to what's detailed in the Mueller report. Trump has provided a laundry list of impeachable actions, any one of which might have derailed any other president. The good folks in Congress should be pressed harder to explain why Trump has not yet, in their minds, reached the bar for impeaching and removing a president.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Joe Biden Just Pledged Fealty To The 1% And Got Wistful About White Segregationists
Oh, Uncle Joe. Do we really have to invite him to Thanksgiving?

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See also:

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Remembering Sleezy D
Chicago acid house pioneer dies of kidney failure.

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Rand McNally Releases Updated Motor Carriers' Road Atlas Line
The annual editions are anticipated by professional drivers.

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Boeing Moving Launch HQ To Space Coast
Not to be confused with Space Ghost.

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The Premier Lacrosse League Was Here
See the super-cool highlights.

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Meat Is Masculine
More great work about advertising and gender. (With lessons for news media, too.)

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ChicagoReddit

Any michelin star restaurants I can go to without feeling bad about wearing very casual clothes? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Duke of Chicago / Dancing Shoes breakdance.

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BeachBook

Hormonal Birth Control, The Pill And Wellness Creep.

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Knox College Has A Massive Collection Of Documents With Famous Signatures.

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Amazing Wood Sculptures Carved To Look Like Figures Are Trapped Inside.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRipTipLine: Monetize.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:26 AM | Permalink

June 19, 2019

Boeing Moving Launch HQ To Space Coast

To strengthen collaboration and integration across its portfolio, Boeing is relocating the headquarters of its Space and Launch division to Titusville, on Florida's revitalized Space Coast.

Space and Launch, a division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, currently has its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

"Looking to the future, this storied Florida space community will be the center of gravity for Boeing's space programs as we continue to build our company's leadership beyond gravity," said Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and Chief Executive Officer Leanne Caret. "The time is right for us to locate our space headquarters where so much of our space history was made over the past six decades and where so much history awaits."

In announcing the relocation of the headquarters to a region that includes Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base, Boeing leaders said the timing of the move makes sense for multiple reasons:

  • The Boeing-built X-37B uncrewed, reusable space vehicle continues to perform record-setting, long-duration missions for the U.S. Air Force.
  • Boeing's satellite programs anticipate increased tempo in local payload processing and launch activity.
  • The company is enhancing its focus on mission integration and launch system operations in collaboration with Air Force partners nearby at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, and strengthening relationships with Air Force Space Command in Colorado and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
  • The CST-100 Starliner commercial spacecraft is preparing for two flight tests later this year ahead of operational missions to the International Space Station beginning in 2020.
  • Boeing continues to achieve milestones toward delivery of the first two core stages of the world's most powerful rocket, NASA's Space Launch System, for uncrewed and crewed missions to the moon's orbit leading to the first crewed lunar surface landing in 50 years, and then to Mars.
  • The International Space Station is poised to follow NASA's road map for commercialization of low Earth orbit, even as this national laboratory is positioned for continued scientific and technological research until at least 2030.
  • The United Launch Alliance joint venture continues to meet vital launch needs for national security, scientific and telecommunications missions through its Atlas and Delta rockets, while entering the formal qualification phase for the new Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle.
  • Boeing is studying and advancing future space capabilities in collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

"Boeing has been a dominant presence on the Space Coast for six decades, and this move represents a continuation of that legacy and future commitment," said Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Space and Launch. "Expanding our Boeing presence on the Space Coast brings tremendous value for our commercial and government space programs through focused leadership, strategic investment, customer proximity and additional contributions to the vitality of the region."

The headquarters move will have no impact on Boeing's space operations in other states, including California, Texas, Alabama, Colorado and Louisiana.

"Boeing will continue to be a dynamic space presence in its existing locations, contributing to the vitality of those aerospace hubs, collaborating with our regional partners, and inspiring future generations of space engineers, technicians and innovators," Chilton said.

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Also:

Space Coast not to be confused with Space Ghost.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 PM | Permalink

Joe Biden Just Pledged Fealty To The 1% And Got Wistful About White Segregationists

Just hours after appearing at Monday's Poor Peoples Campaign event in Washington, D.C. and promising to work for the less fortunate, 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden went straight to a Wall Street fundraiser in New York City where he solicited donations from, among others, a pro-Trump billionaire.

The fundraiser was held at the Manhattan penthouse apartment of investor Jim Chanos. Biden told wealthy attendees "You guys are great" and "You guys are incredibly important" before singing the praises of working class Americans, according to CNBC.

bidenwallstreet.jpgJoe Biden addresses the Moral Action Congress of the Poor People's Campaign on Monday/Alex Wong, Getty Images

Biden also "suggested" to the crowd that he had raised nearly $20 million already for his campaign, citing 360,000 donors that have contributed an average of $55, approximately $19.2 million.

At one point during the evening, CNBC reported, the former vice president asked supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis for help, but the plea didn't result in any benefit for the Democratic frontrunner. Catsimatidis told Biden he was set on Trump and, on Tuesday, tweeted that he and his family - major figures in New York Republican circles - were all in for the president.

Biden's appearance at Chanos's apartment came on the same day the former vice president took the stage in Washington to wax on his strategies to end poverty. But the former vice president's remarks concentrated mainly on his relationship with former President Barack Obama, the Washington Post reported, and his desire to work with the GOP - at one point leaning over moderator Joy Ann Reid to tell her that it was possible to "shame" Republicans into working with Democrats.

"Joy Ann, I know you're one of the ones who thinks it's naive to think we have to work together," said Biden. "The fact of the matter is, if we can't get a consensus, nothing happens except the abuse of power by the executive branch. Zero."

Biden also used his time onstage to take issue with those calling for real change rather than incrementalism.

"Folks, look, if you start off with the notion there's nothing you can do, well, might you all go home then, man?" Biden said. "Or let's start a real, physical revolution if you're talking about it."

Biden continued to attend fundraisers in New York on Tuesday, though it was unclear if he courted any additional deep-pocketed Trump backers.

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

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See also:

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Plus:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:21 AM | Permalink

Meat Is Masculine

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has introduced a new rule in its advertising code which bans adverts which feature gender stereotypes "that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offense."

This is a welcome step towards challenging the everyday normality of patriarchy in popular culture. But gender stereotypes in advertising cannot be untangled from human oppression of other animals. Consuming other animals is normalized in our culture, so those sorts of "stereotypes that are likely to cause harm" go unnoticed, and aren't usually judged to have caused "serious or widespread offense."

meatman.jpgIt's always a bloke seen attacking a huge burger in the adverts, isn't it?/Odua Images via Shutterstock

In recent years there has been an increase in the popularity and visibility of veganism - and there are more new vegan products being launched in the UK than anywhere else in the world. While animal ethics remains a core reason for adopting vegan practices, increasingly health concerns and the climate crisis are prompting people to switch to veganism.

We have previously written about adverts that reproduce harmful gender stereotypes while normalizing human oppression of other animals. For example, in a 2015 Father's Day TV advert for Aldi supermarket, a girl's voiceover says her favorite thing is cooking her father a roast dinner.

The accompanying visual shows a woman's hand serving a roasted chicken's carcass. This is followed by a voiceover from a boy explaining his favorite thing is watching his father eat a "juicy steak." This communicates a subtle message - girls aspire to prepare and serve cooked animals and sons aspire to share the adult male pleasure of consuming those animals.

Is that "likely to cause harm?" Obviously consuming animal products is harmful to the animals - but it harms humans too, especially women. This isn't just about reinforcing gender stereotypes, like in the Aldi advert. Research has shown that some married women are deterred from vegetarianism because of the disapproval, rejection and even violence from their husbands. But are boys also being harmed by these stereotypes? Certainly insofar as they are encouraged to identify with a version of masculinity that depends on power over women and over other animals.

We have argued elsewhere and here that "humor" is a defensive response that attempts to insulate oppressive power relations from critique. But we should remain alert to the potency and power dynamics of jokes in advertising.


Read more: Vegans: why they inspire fear and loathing among meat eaters

Just A Bit Of Fun?

Like many adverts, Cravendale's "Milk Me Brian" uses comedic armor to deflect criticism of its gender stereotypes. It features a spoof origin myth of the human consumption of cows' milk. The advert begins with a modern man gazing through a kitchen window at a field of contented-looking cows, while a woman is busy with housework in the background. "Brian" daydreams a bygone version of himself - lying beside a sleeping woman and being visited by a spectral cow inviting him to "Milk me, Brian." The voiceover then heralds Brian as a "lion among men," for having solved the "problem" of expropriating cows' milk for human consumption.

"Milk Me Brian" naturalizes male dominance as resulting from controlling female reproductive processes. That is, Brian is lionized for successfully milking a cow. Comparing men to lions in particular, is a common tactic for normalizing rigid and immutable hierarchical social relations. This is because patriarchal cultural meanings tend to associate masculinity with charismatic carnivorous animals, who are used to symbolize masculine power and authority.

Cultural Studies researcher Vasile Stanescu wrote in 2016 about the highly successful 2008 Burger King campaign "The Whopper Virgins." It featured "blind" taste testing by people in countries who had been "deprived" of American fast food. The campaign used the tag line: "Real locations. Real burgers. Real virgins." These adverts play into shared understandings of links between meat eating, gender and western superiority. Here, lack of familiarity with Western fast food is equated with sexual immaturity ("virgins") and inferior masculinity.

The Male Appetite

Feminist scholar Carol J. Adams has written about connections between gender and animal products for 30 years. Her work illustrates the symbolic links between the consumption of meat and the oppression of of meat and the oppression of women - and the way that adverts are never only promoting products, but also promoting dominant cultural meanings.

Foremost among these are gender stereotypes that harm women and harm non-human animals. The packaging of dead flesh and female flesh have long been connected in advertising. Adams has collected a massive archive of advertising imagery in which both meat and women are presented as wanting to be ravished/consumed.

In advertising images such as "Chick It Out," which advertised a new menu at a self-styled "eatery and funhouse" in Nottingham in the Midlands, anthropomorphic images of animals as human women are presented in sexually provocative ways. They position both women and animals as purposed for the enjoyment of appropriate male appetites for food, sex and power. Eating and fun, therefore, at this venue (and many others using similar imagery) is aimed at the straight male meat eater and, by association, communicates this space as a place for men.

If the advertising watchdog really wants to remove harmful gender stereotypes, it needs to recognize and address how the invitation to consume any bodies as objects for enjoyment reinforces these destructive power relations and objectifies both animals and women.

Kate Stewart is a principal lecturer in sociology at Nottingham Trent University. Matthew Cole is a lecturer in sociology at The Open University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:50 AM | Permalink

Rand McNally Releases Updated Motor Carriers' Road Atlas Line

Just as the first day of summer begins around the third week of June, so launches updated editions of the guide that has been helping truck drivers navigate North America for decades, Rand McNally's Motor Carriers' Road Atlas.

The 2020 edition of the atlas - available in paperback, and a version with laminated pages and a spiral binding - released for sale Tuesday. The atlases are available at travel centers, in bookstores and on e-commerce stores, and at Rand McNally's online store.

randtruckatlas.jpg

Although technological innovation in the commercial transportation sector continues at a meteoric pace, professional drivers still count on the printed annual edition to provide the big picture and a fail-safe backup for truck-accessible routing, state trucking regulations, and cross-country tolling information. That's why the atlases, year-after-year, elicit five-star reviews for accuracy, dependability, and ease of use.

"The Motor Carriers' Road Atlas is an essential item that drivers keep in their truck cabs," said Stephen Fletcher, CEO of Rand McNally. "Although Rand McNally provides advanced fleet management and logistics technology, it's also critical to our customers that we provide updated and upgraded atlases each year."

This year, the atlases include:

  • Revised U.S. state and Canadian province maps;
  • Updated restricted routes, low-clearance, and weigh station locations;
  • An updated fuel tax chart as well as revised state and province information including weight and size limitations, registration guidelines, and phone numbers and websites for state police and operating authorities;
  • Hotlines for road construction and conditions;
  • Updated toll system contact information for each state;
  • And, an updated review of Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) regulations.

In addition, the atlases feature fresh new covers that celebrate the truck and the open road. Learn more about the atlases here!

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See also:

* The Atlantic: How A Modern-Day Mapmaker Does His Job.

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And:

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Via Wikipedia:

"In 1856, William Rand opened a printing shop in Chicago and two years later hired a newly arrived Irish immigrant, Andrew McNally, to work in his shop.

"The shop did big business with the forerunner of the Chicago Tribune, and in 1859 Rand and McNally were hired to run the Tribune's entire printing operation.

"In 1868, the two men, along with Rand's nephew George Amos Poole, established Rand McNally & Co. and bought the Tribune's printing business.

"The company initially focused on printing tickets and timetables for Chicago's booming railroad industry, and the following year supplemented that business by publishing complete railroad guides.

"In 1870, the company expanded into printing business directories and an illustrated newspaper, the People's Weekly.

"According to company lore, during the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Rand McNally quickly had two of the company's printing machines buried in a sandy beach of Lake Michigan, and the company was up and running again only a few days later."

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"The first Rand McNally map, created using a new cost-saving wax engraving method, appeared in the December 1872 edition of its Railroad Guide.

"Rand McNally became an incorporated business in 1873; with Rand as its president, McNally as vice president, and George Poole as treasurer.

"The Business Atlas, containing maps and data pertinent to business planning, was first published in 1876. The atlas is still updated today, now titled the Commercial Atlas & Marketing Guide.

"The Trade Book department was established in 1877, publishing such titles as The Locust Plague in the United States.

"Rand McNally began publishing educational maps in 1880 with its first line of maps, globes, and geography textbooks, soon followed by a world atlas.

"The company began publishing general literature in 1884 with its first title, The Secret of Success, and the Textbook department was established in 1894 with The Rand McNally Primary School Geography.

"Also in 1894, the company opened an office in New York City headed by Caleb S. Hammond, who later started his own map company, C. S. Hammond & Co."

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"Rand McNally published its first road map, the New Automobile Road Map of New York City & Vicinity, in 1904.

"In 1910, the company acquired the line of Photo-Auto Guides from G.S. Chapin, which provided photographs of routes and intersections with directions.

"Andrew McNally II (son of Frederick McNally) personally took photos on his honeymoon for the Chicago-to-Milwaukee edition.

"The company continued to expand its book publishing business, with best-selling children's books such as The Real Mother Goose in 1916 and Kon-Tiki in 1950.

"A Rand McNally map appended to the 1914 edition of The New Student's Reference Work.

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"Rand McNally was the first major map publisher to embrace a system of numbered highways.

"One of its cartographers, John Brink, invented a system that was first published in 1917 on a map of Peoria, Illinois.

"In addition to creating maps with numbered roads, Rand McNally also erected many of the actual roadside highway signs. This system was subsequently adopted by state and federal highway authorities.

"The oil industry quickly developed an interest in road maps, enticing Americans to explore and consume more gasoline. In 1920, Rand McNally began publishing road maps for the Gulf Oil Company, to be freely distributed at its service stations.

"By 1930, Rand McNally had two major road map competitors, General Drafting and Gousha, the latter of which was founded by a former Rand McNally sales representative.

"The Rand McNally Auto Chum, later to become the ubiquitous Rand McNally Road Atlas, debuted in 1924. The first full-color edition was published in 1960 and in 1993, it became fully digitized."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:08 AM | Permalink

Highlights | The Premier Lacrosse League's Week 3 In Chicago

Well, Bridgeview.

Also, I always want to write "lacrosse" the sports like "La Crosse" Wisconsin, only without the space, but I digress.

Some fun highlights from last weekend . . .

Every Goal From Week 3 In Chicago.


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The Best Saves From Week 3 In Chicago.

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See also:

* Premier Lacrosse League.

* "The Premier Lacrosse League and NBC Sports announced today that [the June 9th] game between Chaos LC and Atlas LC from Red Bull Arena averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 412,000 viewers across NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, making it the most-watched outdoor pro lacrosse game in history and the most-watched pro lacrosse game in 14 years (2005, NLL indoor championship, Toronto-Arizona, 689,000 viewers on NBC)."

* BuzzFeed: Lacrosse Is Actually America's Fastest-Growing Sport.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

Remembering Sleezy D

"Sleezy D, one of house music's early pioneers, has died," DJ reports.

Sleezy's real name was Derrick Harris, and he was a Chicago acid house legend. The cause of death was apparently kidney failure.

Sleezy used to hang out in Marshall Jefferson's studio, and they'd take cassette tapes down to the Muzic Box in Chicago where legendary DJ Ron Hardy was the resident.

When Marshall's day job at the post office changed shift patterns so that he was working nights, Sleezy would take the tapes down himself - he became a 'face' at the seminal house club. A keen dancer who started sneaking into the Muzic Box when he was underage, Sleezy would often be on the floor from the beginning of the night to the end - right up to the present day.

In a recent issue of DJ Mag, Sleezy recounted those early days at Muzic Box: "There were kids pretending to be gay to be in the scene, that's how it was in Chicago - it was in to be gay. The promoters were structuring the parties to scare away the gang bangers . . . a lot of straight kids pretended, but the ones who were gay were proud of it."

DJ reports that "Sleezy was taken into hospital earlier this week with kidney failure, which he sadly wasn't able to recover from. Because he wasn't insured, friends of Sleezy have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family towards funeral costs. He is survived by his three children.

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I've Lost Control.

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Trust.

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A tribute.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

June 18, 2019

FBI Sued For Jon Burge Records

Lucy Parsons Labs sued the FBI on Monday for its records on late Chicago police commander Jon Burge.

The FBI maintains investigative, arrest and prosecution records about Burge, who went to jail for perjury about torture directed under his watch. LPL filed suit after long delays in the processing of their requests despite the clear public interest in the release of records.

Lucy Parsons Labs, a non-profit focused on government transparency, believes the files could shine light on allegations that Burge tortured at least 118 individuals in police custody. Lucy Parsons Labs is represented by Matt Topic and Josh Burday of the Chicago law firm Loevy and Loevy.

"The chief law enforcement agency in the country has a truly abysmal track record on complying with federal open records laws" said Parsons executive director Freddy Martinez. "It's shocking they continue to stonewall on records about the Chicago Police Department's historical use of torture decades after investigating these abuses. Instead of transparency around one of the Chicago Police Department's darkest moments, the public is instead misled, delayed and denied the true accounting of CPD's history."

In the suit, LPL says "The FBI has indicated that it will not produce the requested records until December 2020."

The lawsuit.

The original FOIA request and ensuing correspondence.

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About Lucy Parsons Labs
Lucy Parsons Labs is a charitable Chicago-based collaboration between data scientists, transparency activists, artists, & technologists that sheds light on the intersection of digital rights and on-the-streets issues.

Lucy Parsons Labs has previously collaborated with the Chicago Reader to expose how Chicago law enforcement agencies use civil asset forfeiture to collect nearly $72 million in cash and assets. Lucy Parsons Labs also used a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to uncover the use of invasive Stingray surveillance technology by the Chicago Police Department, and sued the FBI "Over Files on Dead Hacker Who Turned In Chelsea Manning."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 PM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: Cubs Look To Get Well Against Sox

After a rough seven-game stretch (2-5) on the road, the Cubs can settle in at home this week against below average teams from the AL Central and the NL East. Then one of the hottest teams in the National League, the Atlanta Braves, heads this way a week from Monday.

There is every reason to believe better times are ahead.

The Cubs learned against the Dodgers over the weekend that most of their starting pitching isn't quite good enough against a good lineup and their hitting definitely isn't good enough against strong pitching. Then again, the squad avoided disaster with the victory on Saturday, what with Yu Darvish finally throwing the sort of gem (seven innings, one earned run, 10 strikeouts) for which the Cubs are paying $126 million.

And Anthony Rizzo's game-saving, ninth-inning two-run blast off Kenley Jansen might have been the Cubs' biggest hit of the year.

Fortunately, while the Cubs (39-32) were scuffling along, the Brewers weren't doing any better. Milwaukee led the division by only half a game after posting another loss Monday night, with both teams tied in the loss column.

First up for the Cubs are the White Sox, who are only two games under .500 despite a run differential of negative-57(!). What's that you say? I should have led this thing with the latest analysis of this year's exciting edition of the "Crosstown Classic?"

Let me know when White Sox management starts trying to win again. Then a preview will be more than a passing glance.

While these two games and the return engagement at G↓Rate are probably the last big games of the year for the Sox, they are a tiny blip on the schedule for the home team. Several players have showed some promise for the South Siders this year (although Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada have both slowed after strong starts) but the only one who really matters is Lucas Giolito.

And Giolito's excellence (10-1 and in contention to start the All-Star Game) is the latest, greatest example of the amazing difference an ace starter can make for a team, especially a young team.

It is hard to imagine the Sox wouldn't have suffered at least several sizable losing streaks already this season if Giolito hadn't suddenly discovered Cy Young form and become the guy who stops such streaks before they start. It has been remarkable to watch.

As for the Mets, they have lost two in a row and six of their last 10. As the Braves have stepped up in the last few weeks and taken command of the division (a three-game lead over the Phillies), the Mets have fallen back to 34-38.

Unless they can put together a win streak, the only big news for the forever second fiddle in the Big Apple for the rest of the season will be how much of their talent will they sell off and how quickly.

Then the aforementioned Braves arrive for four games. Perhaps by then they will have cooled off a bit. The Cubs can only hope. Atlanta has won 10 of its last 11 games as it has raced to the top of not only the the NL East but also the National League at large (at least the portion of the league located east of Los Angeles).

Freddie Freeman is having another possible MVP season (.313/.404/.592) and he and Ronald Acuna, Jr. have been on fire of late. And look out for Braves ace Mike Soroka, who has taken a huge step up with an 8-1 record this year to go with his 2.12 ERA.

Hopefully the Cubs will load up on wins this week before they face an actual test six days down the line.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:44 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Since the election of President Trump, Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have introduced or voted on legislation to curb mass protests in what civil liberties experts are calling 'an attack on protest rights throughout the states,'" the Washington Post reports.

"Democrats in many of these states are fighting the legislation . . . Critics doubt whether many of the laws would pass Constitutional muster.

"The Supreme Court has gone out of its way on multiple occasions to point out that streets, sidewalks and public parks are places where [First Amendment] protections are at their most robust," said Lee Rowland, a senior attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

"This is by no means the first time in American history that widespread protests have inspired a legislative backlash, says Douglas McAdam, a Stanford sociology professor who studies protest movements.

"For instance, southern legislatures - especially in the Deep South - responded to the Montgomery Bus Boycott (and the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education) with dozens and dozens of new bills outlawing civil rights groups, limiting the rights of assembly, etc. all in an effort to make civil rights organizing more difficult," he said via e-mail.

Apparently neither he nor the reporter could be bothered to pick up the phone and participate in a real interview, but I digress.

"Similarly," he added, "laws designed to limit or outlaw labor organizing or limit labor rights were common in the late 19th/early 20th century."

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Full Terror Assault
Cave-In-Rock, Illinois.

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Indiana Gas Attack
"Gasoline tax hikes in Illinois will likely send more drivers looking for better prices in Indiana, but it's unclear if a higher levy on cigarettes will have the same effect, industry analysts said," AP reports.

I have questions.

1. Illinois drivers along the Indiana border, maybe, but aren't they already crossing state lines for gas? And cigarettes?

2. Why gas but not cigarettes?

3. Industry analysts are paid by industry, right?

Let's see:

"Starting July 1, the Illinois gas tax will double from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon, compared to the 29 cents per gallon tax in Indiana."

So until now, the Illinois gas tax was 10 cents lower than the gas tax in Indiana? So Indiana drivers were coming into Illinois for gas, right?

Also wondering: How far will drivers go to save 9 cents in tax a gallon? If you fill up with 20 gallons, that's $1.80 saved! Then you have to calculate the cost of the gas you use to drive to across the border to save $1.80, so it's gonna be less than that.

But I digress:

"'The gas station convenience store industry in Illinois is on the endangered species list,' William Fleischli, the executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association/Illinois Association of Convenience Stores, told the Northwest Indiana Times."

It is? I'm not saying it isn't, but pony up the data, Bill.

"GasBuddy.com petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan agreed.

"Drivers that shop around will find easy savings by going into Indiana, and that will likely lead to a loss in gallon sales for Illinois," DeHaan said.

Again, pony up the data. In fact, let's put a GPS on Illinois drivers near the border and test it out for ourselves!

"Also next month, cigarettes will cost $1 more per pack in Illinois on top of the $1.98 tax per pack already in place. Elena Ivanova, of Chicago's health department, told the Associated Press that the tax on cigarettes in the city - already the highest in the nation - will increase to $8.16 per pack."

Okay, you don't need an official to tell you a fact. The tax will increase to $8.16 a pack for it won't. It's in the legislation.

"By comparison, Indiana taxes every pack of cigarettes 95 cents."

That looks like a greater savings than gas. Twenty packs will save $20!

"Gus Olympidis, the CEO of Family Express convenience stores, said that although Indiana's cigarette taxes are much lower, that cost advantage could be lost during the next legislative session when Indiana lawmakers could again consider raising cigarette taxes."

But they have the advantage right now!

"A proposal to raise the tax by $2 per pack failed in the Indiana Legislature this year, despite support in the polls and the backing of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce."

The backing of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

"Nonetheless, Fleischli predicts that the cigarette and gas tax hikes, combined, will be devastating to businesses in Illinois."

Nonetheless! The petroleum/convenience store guy says so!

Missing in the story: Consumers, historical data, economic projections and any mention of how the additional tax money will be spent in ways that even a chamber of commerce seems to think is worth it.

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Against Da Fence
This is a fun event, I'll be there.

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University Of Chicago Actually Does Right Thing
"They attended the University of Chicago a few years apart and, until recently, didn't know the other existed," WBEZ reports.

"But their experiences with sexual harassment and gender discrimination derailing their studies at the University of Chicago five decades ago brought Cheryl Sundari Dembe and Marilyn Webb together. This past Saturday, they both finally received Ph.D.s from the prestigious university in Hyde Park.

"Both women, inspired by the #MeToo movement, had individually reached out to the university to finish what they started as students in the 1960s.

"The university said it wanted to right a wrong that was allowed to persist for so many years. It's believed to be the first university in the country to take this step for former students."

More of this, please. In all sectors of society.

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Scooter Cooter
Look, I'm not necessarily against the scooters. I don't know enough about the ins and outs to really say, but as a general concept it's actually pretty cool. Nonetheless, I'm entertained by the mayhem we're seeing so far . . . now being tracked by ChicagoScooterFails.

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Rolling Dead

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I swear I saw a social media post this morning of Keith Richards in the bowels of O'Hare, but now I can't find it. Oh well. By the way, not a Stones fan. Don't get me started. I am a Dead fan, though I would not call myself a Deadhead.

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Fraternization

At least they're not on scooters, but . . . whatever. Please kill me.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

FBI Sued For Burge Records
Agency says they won't be ready until December 2020.

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Cubs Look To Get Well Against Sox
Dodgers left a mark.

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ChicagoReddit

Frisbee Golf from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Video Kid At Chicago Music Exchange.

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BeachBook

Robert Therrien, The LA Artist Who Gained Fame For His Giant-Sized Sculptures Of Chairs And Other Everyday Objects, Has Died At 71.

I hope he is buried in an oversized coffin.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: No filter.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:49 AM | Permalink

June 17, 2019

The [Monday] Papers

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LATE UPDATE:

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Bric-a-Brac's Rocking Weekend
Serving Chicago's necessities for six years.

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John Oliver: Impeachment
Brilliant journalism.

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The Importance Of John Roberts
"This is a trying time for a justice who wants his court to be seen as an impartial institution. The president for months now has been suggesting that the Supreme Court over which Roberts presides is in his back pocket."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #256: Cubs Not In First Place
Wait, what? Plus: White Sox Finally Reach Mediocrity; Bears Continue Contest Between Kickers Who Won't Be On Opening Day Roster; USNWT's Excessive Celebration; Raptors Beat Wrecked Warriors; and Zombie Blues Rise From Dead.

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Germans In Illinois
"The promise of cheap land and fertile soil in rural areas and emerging industries in cities attracted three major waves of German-speaking immigrants to Illinois in search of freedom and economic opportunities."

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Inventor Develops Enhanced Doorknob
The doorknob originally invented by an African American in 1878.

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Black History Fair Project: Chicago Fire Engine Company 21
Unit helped invent the fire pole, and were hella fast to fires.

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Heirloom Books
"In my family, hand-me-down books were the heirlooms, not jewelry or anything like that."

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Lucas Giolito's Changeup
Former coach and new catcher changed his trajectory.

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Take Five: Mariachi Sirenas
The Tribune says they are Chicago's first all-female mariachi group. All we know is that they are the Beachwood's favorite Chicago mariachi group.

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ChicagoReddit

My favorite shot from the Puerto Rican People's Day Parade from Saturday from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

I Used To Work In Chicago / Eddie Vespa

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BeachBook

The Profound Silence Of Marshawn Lynch.

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Iran's Art Scene Is Languishing Under U.S. Sanctions.

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Champagne, A Cactus And A Bike Named Gertrude: Graduating Students Share Their Keepsakes.

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Tone Deaf Records Opens In Portage Park With More Than 12,000 Albums.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Redux.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:52 PM | Permalink

The Importance Of Chief Justice John Roberts

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report out, and President Trump engaging in unprecedented obstruction of congressional efforts to investigate him and his administration, calls for the U.S. House of Representatives to at least begin an impeachment inquiry are ramping up. Even House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has recognized that "[t]he president's continuing lawless conduct is making it harder and harder to rule out impeachment or any other enforcement mechanism."

If the House were to open an impeachment inquiry and that inquiry ultimately resulted in a vote to impeach, Trump wouldn't be the only one in the spotlight. Chief Justice John Roberts would be there, too, because he would be responsible for presiding over the trial that would take place in the Senate. And that's why it's more important now than ever that Roberts demonstrate that he's capable of being the impartial umpire he famously promised to be at his confirmation hearing.

The constitutional rules governing impeachment are sparse, but the broadest guidelines are clear. The president and other civil officers "shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

The House of Representatives has the "sole Power of Impeachment," but impeachment alone doesn't remove someone from office. Instead, a person can be removed from office only if two-thirds of the members of the U.S. Senate, which "shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments," vote to convict. And "[w]hen the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside . . . "

In sum, although Trump apparently thinks that federal judges have a significant role to play in impeachment - he's at least twice claimed that the courts might help him out were he to be impeached - the Constitution suggests otherwise.

Indeed, the Supreme Court has previously held that a claim that a Senate procedure for trying impeachments was unconstitutional could not be "resolved by the courts." Thus, under the Constitution, only one judge would play a role in the impeachment of Trump, and that judge is Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Constitution doesn't provide any details about what the chief justice should do as presiding officer over a trial of the president, but the Senate rules governing impeachment provide, among other things, that the "Presiding Officer possesses authority to rule on all evidentiary questions," or he can "put any such issue to a vote before the Senate." They also allow that "any Senator may request that a formal vote be taken on a particular question."

It's difficult to know in advance what a trial of Trump might look like or how it might play out, given the numerous different issues, some potentially involving complicated legal questions or sensitive national policy considerations, that such a trial might involve.

And it's also difficult to say in advance what sorts of decisions the chief justice would be asked to make in such a trial, or whether any of his rulings will be dispositive.

When Chief Justice Salmon Chase presided over President Andrew Johnson's trial, he "claimed the authority to decide certain procedural questions on his own, but the Senate . . . overruled him at least twice."

When Chief Justice William Rehnquist presided over President Bill Clinton's trial, he "ruled on some procedural questions" that went without challenge by the Senate, but he later diminished the significance of his role, remarking that "I did nothing in particular, and I did it very well."

Notwithstanding these uncertainties, one thing is clear: Whatever the precise parameters of his role, the chief justice will be front and center if the Senate considers, and ultimately votes upon, allegations that Trump has committed "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" that make his removal from office appropriate.

Given the prominent role the chief justice would play in such a process, it is critical that the public view Roberts as an impartial figure, beholden neither to the president nor to those who are trying to remove the president from office.

In some ways, this is a part that Roberts has been positioning himself to play for years. He has long insisted that judges are not simply politicians in robes. And although his record leaves no question that he is an incredibly conservative jurist, he has sometimes shown a willingness to part ways with the other conservatives on the court.

This is a trying time for a justice who wants his court to be seen as an impartial institution. The president for months now has been suggesting that the Supreme Court over which Roberts presides is in his back pocket.

And later this month, the court will be deciding a challenge to a major initiative of the Trump Administration - the effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census over the objections of the Census Bureau's own experts, who advised that adding the citizenship question would undermine the accuracy of the Census count that is mandated in the Constitution.

Although the Administration claims that it added this question to help with enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, there's long been reason to question that claim - and the evidence that that claim is false has only grown in recent weeks.

If Roberts votes to uphold this plainly unlawful administration action, it will give credence to Trump's claim that he can simply look to the conservative justices on the Supreme Court to save him.

That would be a deeply troubling state of affairs - both for the court and for the country. And it would be particularly troubling now, as the possibility continues to grow that there could be an impeachment trial in the Senate. If that were to happen, the country would need to believe that Roberts can preside over that trial with fairness and impartiality. What the chief justice does in the remaining weeks of this court's term may affect whether that's a realistic possibility.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 PM | Permalink

John Oliver: Impeachment

This is motherfucking journalism (almost) better than the greatest sex you've ever had. This is also the way the "real" news should be delivered. After all, everything he said was true - and explained in a way that is far superior than traditional television reports (or crappy cable reports).


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* Compare and contrast to one local pundit.

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Previously in John Oliver:

* Mobile Homes (Item 2).

* The Reality Of Bail.

* The Incestuous World Of Daily Fantasy Sports.

* John Oliver, American Hero, Robocalls The FCC.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:56 AM | Permalink

Inventor Develops Enhanced Doorknob

"I needed an easier way to find my way around at night without bumping into things or fumbling for the doorknob," said an inventor from Orlando. "This inspired me to come up with this convenient idea. It also keeps doorknobs from damaging walls when the door opens."

He developed the patent pending REFLECTIVE DOOR KNOB to make it easier to get around the house at night or in the dark. This keeps the user from inadvertently bumping into walls or other obstacles.

The design also safeguards the adjoining wall from damage caused by a door opening and striking it. The invention provides added peace of mind. It is adaptable for use with any door. Additionally, the doorknob features a highly visible design.

The original design was submitted to the Orlando sales office of InventHelp. It is currently available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers. For more information, write Dept. 18-ORD-2707, InventHelp, 217 Ninth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or call (412) 288-1300 ext. 1368.

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Also:

"Although it is difficult to provide an exact date of when door knobs first came into use, the first documentation of the invention of a door knob was in 1878," according to Handsome Handles.

"The U.S. Patent Office received a submission made for improvements on a door-closing device by an African-American inventor named Osbourn Dorsey. Door knobs and door handles are now a vital part of modern doors!"

osbournedorsey.jpgOsbourn Dorsey

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"Before Dorsey's invention people closed and secured doors in a variety of ways," according to Reference.com.

"Many people used some type of latch to keep doors closed, whereas others used leather straps as handles.

"Even after the doorknob was invented it took years for people to embrace them fully and begin installing them on the doors in their homes."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:13 AM | Permalink

Bric-a-Brac Rocked Its 6th Anniversary Weekend

Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles is a Chicago gem, self-described as "your one-stop shop for all the necessities that no one really needs!"

That means: "New and used vinyl and cassettes, vintage movie posters, 80s/90s toys, and all kinds of pop culture ephemera! Plus everything you need to tell the world exactly how you feel - questionable t-shirts, obnoxious buttons, and offensive patches. Always buying or trading quality goods!"

That sounds like all the necessities everybody really needs!

They celebrated their 6th-year anniversary this weekend and we stole the highlights from their social media. Thanks for all you do, Bric-a-Brac!

1. Cowboys.

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2. Blood People.

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3. Pledge Drive.

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4. Stuck.

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5. Jordan Reyes.

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6. X-49 Cleaner.

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7. Eddie Cockroach.

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8. DJ Raul Z.

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Also at Bric-a-Brac on June 7th:

Late Nite Laundry.

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Hoom.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:19 AM | Permalink

How Lucas Giolito Changed Up His Career

So what's up with Lucas Giolito? How did last season's least effective starting pitcher become one of baseball's best in less than a year?

Regardless of the answer, this has been great fun. Giolito is the first White Sox pitcher since Chris Sale who represents a legitimate chance for a win every time he takes the mound.

Like last Friday night. Even though the Yankees were in town, with Giolito pitching, more than 31,000 fans showed up bursting with optimism, and they weren't disappointed. After giving up a first-inning home run, he shut down the visitors until he departed in the seventh, earning his 10th victory while shrinking his ERA to 2.22.

Let's look at Giolito's record from a year ago, his first full season in the major leagues. His ERA of 6.13 was the highest of all starting pitchers. He also walked 90 batters, more than any other hurler in either league. In this century no pitcher has led in both walks issued and highest ERA in the same season.

Nevertheless, Giolito still won 10 games. In those victories over 61-plus innings, his ERA was a respectable 3.36. In his 13 losses, that number mushroomed to an appalling 9.70. That's about as inconsistent as you can get. Giolito's bosses apparently saw enough promise to keep him with the Sox rather than sending him to Charlotte for more development. After all, the team was rebuilding en route to 100 losses. Why demoralize the kid?

Historically Giolito's experience, while enlightening and exciting for Sox fans, isn't totally unique. Many athletes have provided us with peaks and valleys, although Giolito's abrupt turnaround ranks close to the top.

There are those among us who remember Virgil Trucks, a hard-throwing righthander in the American League in the 1950s. He had had some good years with the Tigers, winning as many as 19 games, but the 1952 season saw his record drop to 5-19. Amazingly, two of his five wins were no-hitters.

Maybe the Tigers figured Trucks had seen his better days because they traded him to the lowly St. Louis Browns, who then sent him to the White Sox midway through the 1953 season. Virgil caught fire - his nickname actually was Fire - and finished the season with a combined 20-10 record. In parts of three seasons on the South Side, Trucks went 47-26 with a 3.14 ERA. Looking back, those no-hitters were no accident.

More recently, consider the case of Zack Greinke, the ace of the Arizona Diamondbacks. As a 21-year-old in 2005 in his second season with Kansas City, he was 5-17 with an ERA of 5.80. Contributing to Greinke's woes was his battle with anxiety and depression.

Because of the support of the Royals and competent professional help, Greinke rebounded mightily. He won a Cy Young Award in 2009 with Kansas City, leading to some huge free agent contracts - he's making $35 million this season - and today he's just five wins shy of 200 at age 35.

Sox beat writer Daryl Van Schouwen of the Sun-Times last week wrote a piece about Giolito's stunning season in an attempt to decipher the reasons for Lucas's precipitous about-face. Van Schouwen and others have mentioned Giolito's new "arm swing," a term with little notoriety until very recently. I think it means that Lucas's delivery is more compact this season as his arm remains closer to his body as opposed to a long extension of the limb on his delivery a la Chris Sale.

Reports say that Giolito worked last winter with his old pitching coach Ethan Katz from the tony Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. For a tuition of almost $40,000, the 120-year-old institution not only boasts a college preparatory program but also excellent coaching. In addition to Giolito, the baseball team had pitchers Max Fried, now with the Braves, and the Cardinals' Jack Flaherty on the same staff with Lucas.

Katz departed Harvard-Westlake for professional baseball with the Seattle Mariners organization, where he was a pitching coach for two seasons. Today he is the assistant pitching coordinator for the Giants. Giolito credits Katz with introducing him to drills which altered his off-season workouts.

Nevertheless, Giolito had a horrible spring training, with an ERA of 8.84 over 18 innings, and after his first five starts this season nothing much had changed. He was 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA.

But since May 7 over eight starts, no one has been more effective. Try out these numbers: eight straight wins; an ERA of 0.94; opponents' batting average of .149; over 57⅓ innings, he's walked 14 while striking out 65; and he's given up just two home runs in this homer-happy era.

Giolito also sings the praises of catcher James McCann for calling a good game and helping Giolito's rhythm.

Clearly, Giolito's pitch selection has changed from a year ago, and since McCann is responsible for giving the signs, which Giolito rarely shakes off, McCann has discovered a few tendencies. Most prominent is that Lucas throws many more off-speed pitches than in the past. Almost a quarter - a 10 percent uptick - of his deliveries are changeups. Because Giolito's fastball has topped out at 98 and averages more than 94, the changeup, delivered about 12 mph slower than the fastball, has become very effective. Last season the difference between the two pitches was about 8 mph.

In total this season, fastballs and changeups have comprised 80 percent of Giolito's deliveries.

Because McCann sets the pace, Giolito is taking less time between pitches. This works nicely for many athletic endeavors. Ever see Steph Curry shoot a free throw? He gets the ball and shoots it. No contemplating or waiting. He has supreme confidence so there's no reason to hesitate.

As Giolito's confidence grows - and it certainly has - he doesn't need to question his ability or think long and hard about his next pitch. McCann does that for him. Mark Buehrle was the master of this trait. He had an idea of what he wanted to do with each pitch and didn't need to think much about his game plan. Even after giving up a home run, Buehrle would stick to his pattern, and that's exactly what Giolito has been doing. The home run last Friday didn't rattle him whatsoever as McCann kept him focused and on point.

While Giolito now ranks among the elite starting pitchers in baseball, two teammates have taken his place at the bottom. Of the 81 starting pitchers listed by MLB.com, Reynaldo Lopez ranks dead last in ERA with a mark of 6.31. Occupying the 80th spot is Ivan Nova at 6.28. In the realm of opponents' batting average, Nova is last. The other guys are hitting a robust .329 against him. Second worst is his buddy Lopez, who's responsible for a .290 opponents' batting average.

The buzz surrounding the White Sox is becoming louder and louder these days as the team reached the .500 mark after beating the Yankees last Thursday and Friday before dropping a pair over the weekend. The four-game series drew 130,100, an average of 32,525 a game. With two games this week against the Cubs at Wrigley, the Sox will send Nova and Giolito to the mound. The highs and lows will be on display for all to see. Maybe Nova can use some of Giolito's drills and techniques before he faces the Cubbies on Tuesday evening.

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

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1. From Bill Friedman:

One more for your "They were terrible to start . . . then got better."

Greg Maddux's first full season with Cubs:

6-14, 5.61 ERA in 30 starts. 1.638 WHIP

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Germans In Illinois

"This engaging history of one of the largest ethnic groups in Illinois explores the influence and experiences of German immigrants and their descendants from their arrival in the middle of the nineteenth century to their heritage identity today.

"Co-authors Miranda E. Wilkerson and Heather Richmond examine the primary reasons that Germans came to Illinois and describe how they adapted to life and distinguished themselves through a variety of occupations and community roles."

germansillinois.jpg

"The promise of cheap land and fertile soil in rural areas and emerging industries in cities attracted three major waves of German-speaking immigrants to Illinois in search of freedom and economic opportunities.

"Before long the state was dotted with German churches, schools, cultural institutions, and place names.

"German churches served not only as meeting places but also as a means of keeping language and culture alive.

"Names of Illinois cities and towns of German origin include New Baden, Darmstadt, Bismarck, and Hamburg.

"In Chicago, many streets, parks, and buildings bear German names, including Altgeld Street, Germania Place, Humboldt Park, and Goethe Elementary School."

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"Today, German heritage in Illinois is celebrated in festivals and carnivals statewide, while some communities in Chicagoland - as well as Moline, Peoria, Gibson City, Mascoutah, Waterloo and Millstadt - feature popular German restaurants. Museums and research centers on German-American history and heritage are found in several large metro areas, including Chicago, and the Quad Cities," the downstate Jacksonville Journal-Courier notes.

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"Historically the bulk of Chicago's Germans lived in the North Side with the center of the German population being Lakeview. In German the North Side was called the 'Nord Seite,'" Wikipedia notes.

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* Immigrant's Voyage, Germany To Illinois, 1851.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:30 AM | Permalink

June 15, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #256: The Cubs Are Not In First Place

Wait, what? Plus: White Sox Finally Reach Mediocrity; Bears Continue Contest Between Kickers Who Won't Be On Opening Day Roster; USNWT's Excessive Celebration; Raptors Beat Wrecked Warriors; and Zombie Blues Rise From Dead.


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SHOW NOTES

* 256.

1:10: Zombie Blues Rise From Dead.

* Belleville Blues, Too.

* Belleville West Basketball Standout Liddell Chooses Buckeyes Over Mizzou, Illinois.

* Nebraska Sucks Too; After All, It Only Has One Cameral.

* 'It Shouldn't Be Called Hockey, It Should Be Called Goalie.'

* 'It Shouldn't Be Called Goalie, It Should Be Called Health.'

* Conn Smythe Trophy Is Indeed Awarded To The MVP Of The Playoffs.

* Craig Berube Is Still Interim Head Coach.

* Joel Quenneville Is The New Head Coach Of The Florida Panthers.

* 20 Years Ago, The Day The Arena Came Tumbling Down.

* Blues Blow Stanley Cup Final Game Seven Ratings Out Of The Water.

19:48: Raptors Beat Wrecked Warriors.

* 'It Shouldn't Be Called Basketball, It Should Be Called Health.'

* Our Man Fred VanVleet & Farms Is The Best Player Rockford Has Produced.

* Medic!

33:18: The Cubs Are Not In First Place.

* Coffman: It's Up To Yu, Now.

* Baseball Prospectus: "Willson Contreras's inability to frame pitches is eating virtually all of the value he's building by being one of baseball's best slugging backstops."

* Andracki: A Small Change In Interactions With Cubs teammates Has Paid Huge Dividends For Kyle Hendricks.

* Beer Trifecta!

* Won't You Come Home, Ben Zobrist, Won't You Come Home.

53:45: White Sox Finally Reach Mediocrity.

* Whoa, this news just broke:

* Rhodes: Keep Colome & Co.

57:31: Bears Continue Contest Between Kickers Who Won't Be On Opening Day Roster.

59:22: USNWT's Excessive Celebration.

* Maybe the 13th goal against Thailand wasn't worth going nuts over.

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STOPPAGE: 6:31

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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 4:02 PM | Permalink

June 14, 2019

Heirloom Books

"In my family, hand-me-down books were the heirlooms, not jewelry or anything like that."


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See also:

* Reader: For Chelsea Rectanus, Owning A Used Bookstore Is 'As Great As The Romance Would Lead You To Believe.'

* On Facebook:

* On Instagram:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:56 PM | Permalink

Black History Fair Project: Chicago Fire Engine Company 21

The city's first African-American engine company helped invent the fire pole and were famous for the speed with which they got to fires.


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See also:

* CBS2 Chicago: History Of The Fire Pole Started With Black Chicago Firehouse In 1870s.

* Chicago's Engine Company 21: An Experiment with Interracial Democracy in an Era of Reconstructions, 1872-1927.

* Original members of The Chicago Fire Department Engine 21, established December 21, 1872.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:41 PM | Permalink

Take Five: Mariachi Sirenas

The Tribune says they are Chicago's first all-female mariachi group. All we know is that they are the Beachwood's favorite Chicago mariachi group.

1. Game of Thrones cover.


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2. Piel Canela.

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3. Colestrol.

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4. La Cecilia.

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5. La Reina es El Rey.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:15 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"The former president of a fraternity at Northwestern University is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the association's account," the Sun-Times reports.

If you're like me, the image of the suspected perp that just popped into your mind is something like this:

zabka.jpg

And maybe he did look like that at one time.

But the dude in question is old enough to be that dude's grandfather - unless that's a typo there:

"Peter Schellenbach, 77, was charged with a class 1 felony count of theft for allegedly stealing $460,000 from the Sigma Chi Home Association while he was its president from 2006 to 2012, the office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a statement."

He's been one credit short from graduation for five decades! I smell movie script.

Or maybe he was a returning student. I hate to picture the initiation ritual. I still smell movie script.

"Schellenbach, of north suburban Glencoe, pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in Cook County Circuit Court, the attorney general's office said. The charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison."

He can finish his degree in the joint. Meanwhile, Sigma Chi Stateville!

"Schellenbach allegedly transferred the fraternity's money to his personal account, the attorney general's office said. He allegedly used more than $267,000 to fund an Iraqi investment account with Sterling Currency Group, whose owners were convicted of fraud in federal court in 2018."

Now I really smell a movie script.

"He also used Sigma Chi's money for personal expenses, including online trading websites, credit cards and the Chicago Yacht Club, the attorney general's office said. When board members asked Schellenbach about the missing money, he allegedly said the withdrawals - some as large as $70,000 - were loans he would repay."

That's what they always say.

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Wanna work on the script with me? HMU.

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Working titles: Old Man Sigma, The Last Frat Boy, Sigma 77, Ocean's 77, Old Man and the Chi.

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Starring Walter Matthau. Except he's dead. I know I want Jonah Hill involved. (Shouldn't he play Flounder in an Animal House remake?)

Gene Hackman is retired, but maybe with Quentin Tarantino directing, he could be lured into the role in a career-making comedic turn.

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I'll have some stuff on the real news of the week - the new mayor, the city council, gaming, pot, etc. - later or in the next few days. A lot I couldn't get to this week.

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ChicagoReddit

Permanent Dibs.... from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Lamp Artist Paul Snagel.

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ChicagoLinkedIn

Lee Bey:

"A thing I've done for more than a year (and should talk about more): Every month, I give a slide lecture to CPD recruits on the history of Chicago neighborhoods, particularly those that are black and brown. With maps, photos and numbers, the presentation shows how the so-called ghetto was made by through policies, practices, policing and laws created by the city's establishment. And if equitable and just policing is possible at all, it begins when police are not another tool of oppression and containment . . . "

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Also from Lee:

"I finally stopped by Mayor Lightfoot's office lobby today to see the installation of my 12 images of South Side architecture. It looks great! A big thanks to the mayor and her team for this opportunity. The space also includes a map by artist Amanda Williams that depicts the insidious practice of redlining . . . "

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BeachBook

Meatless Fast Food Burgers Probably Aren't Any Healthier - And They're Definitely More Expensive.

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Bellingcat And How Open Source Reinvented Investigative Journalism.

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Something That Wasn't There: Daddy Lacan.

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How To Run A Caliphate.

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How U.S. 'Good Guys' Wiped Out An Afghan Family.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Dummy up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

June 13, 2019

The [Thursday] Papers

"A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit from a parks advocacy group that sought to stop construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago's Jackson Park," WBEZ reports.

"On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey said there will be no delay in building the $500 million presidential center in a portion of the South Side park.

"'The facts are clear in this case, and the law is more settled than the parties are suggesting,' Blakey said. His bench ruling surprised both sides after listening to oral arguments from lawyers representing the nonprofit Protect Our Parks and the City of Chicago at Tuesday's packed courtroom hearing."

I wonder why they were surprised. I don't mean that in a snarky way, but did neither side really have an inkling things could go this way? Honest question. Especially because if you take the judge's ruling - and we'll get to that - at face value, it was a slam dunk.

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"Still, the Obama Presidential Center faces other hurdles. Under the National Environmental Policy Act as well as consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the federal government must review any changes to Jackson Park that come with building the presidential center.

"'Today's ruling, while disappointing, is by no means the final word,' said Charles A. Birnbaum, president and CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, which is an official consulting party to federal level reviews. 'Though the carefully orchestrated local approvals process has been enabled by pliant municipal officials, there are still federal-level reviews underway for this nationally significant work of landscape architecture that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.'"

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The Tribune opined:

"At the core of the case, Blakey said, was the struggle between park preservation and a city's need to, at times, encroach on parkland for the public good. Blakey ruled that it's up to lawmakers, and not the courts, to decide what encroachments on parkland are justified. The Obama Center is a public benefit, a city attorney argued, and the judge agreed."

I'm not sure that's quite right. Blakey did say, essentially and citing precedent, that life is complex and parkland isn't sacred and there will be times when a public body will decide it is in the public's interest to rearrange some of that land. But land use still must meet certain legal tests that it is entirely appropriate for the courts to adjudicate. In Chicago, that particularly applies to lakefront property and its nearby environs, as Blakey's ruling dove deep into the legal requirements specifically governing, for example, previously submerged land. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, Blakey also eviscerated their arguments in finding the city's siting of the Obama Center entirely within legal bounds.

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Trib:

"We're glad Blakey ruled swiftly because the Obamas have options if they decided Chicago couldn't accommodate their plans."

Oh, please! As if!

There has been absolutely no hint of the Obamas taking their Center elsewhere if they received a disfavorable ruling. In fact, if the Obamas wanted to play nice with the city that has so generously begged them to locate their library center here, they could easily accommodate the lawsuit's plaintiffs by nudging their proposed footprint out of the contested corner of parkland, and maybe even not demand that the city permanently close some streets along the way.

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Now, highlights from Blakey's order:

The Foundation performed an analysis of the proposals from all submitting entities, evaluating the sites based upon the following criteria:

• Project Site and Access: desirability of site, surrounding community, control of site, local accessibility, global accessibility

• Project Execution: education impact, tourism impact, economic development impact, enhancements to the physical environment

• Community Engagement: engagement plan, quality/breadth of partners, means of engagement

• Indications of Support: partnership structure, alignment of mission, financial capacity.

The Foundation assigned numerical scores to each site based upon the above evaluation criteria, and ranked the sites based upon these scores. The Washington Park Site received the highest score at 122 out of 150; the Jackson Park site received the second highest score at 121 out of 150; and the UIC's proposed locations received a combined score of 120 out of 150, putting it in third place.

So a wash, basically. From what I understand, based on what people in a position to know have told me, the Obamas wanted the Jackson Park site from the get-go anyway. The "competition" was mostly a dog-and-pony show designed to, yes, collect ideas but also to give the appearance of an open, community-oriented process despite the fact that it was a fait accompli behind the scenes. Also, from what I understand, the UIC bid in particular never had a chance, even though it may have been the most interesting. I also believe the Washington Park site to be better than the Jackson Park site for the same reasons cited by the plaintiffs in this court case. In other words, the Obamas chose the worst site of them all!

See also: Obama Library Follies.

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"The site selected for the OPC within Jackson Park comprises 19.3 acres, or 3.5 percent of the 551.52 acres comprising Jackson Park."

Three percent of 551 acres is indeed a tiny sliver - of the total. But 19 acres is still a huge chunk of land. For comparison: A football field is about 1.32 acres. Buckingham Palace's total floor space is 19 acres. Nineteen acres is about nine-tenths the size of Alcatraz. And so on.

I get that the point is that there is plenty of Jackson Park left over after the Obamas take their cut. But let's also remember it's no small cut.

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It also raises the question: Just how much parkland would an entity like the Obama Foundation be allowed to take before it would be considered against the public interest?

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"The OPC site also includes land within the park that currently exists as city streets: the portion of East Midway Plaisance Drive North between Stony Island Avenue and South Cornell Drive, and a portion of South Cornell Drive between East Midway Plaisance Drive South and East Hayes Drive. Id. As part of the OPC construction, these street portions would be closed and removed 'to restore' the landscape's connection to the Lagoon and Lake."

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"In early January of 2015 - before the Jackson Park site selection - the Foundation expressed 'concerns regarding the City's lack of control' over the proposed Jackson and Washington Park sites and indicated that 'consolidating ownership of the sites and local decision-making authority in the City was a prerequisite to a successful bid.'"

In fact, as I've reported before, the City Hall belatedly realized that the park district hadn't taken care of this matter as expected and rushed to get it done. This part of the process was indeed "rigged."

From Blakey's ruling:

"Subsequently, in February 2015 - in an open meeting during which members of the public spoke and submitted written comments - the Park District's Board of Commissioners voted to approve the transfer of 'approximately 20 acres of property' located in Washington Park or Jackson Park to the City. Following this meeting, the OPC site's boundaries within Jackson Park shifted to the north and east.

"In February 2018, after a public meeting, the Board of Commissioners confirmed authority to transfer the reconfigured site to the City . . .

"[T]he Plan Commission found that the OPC project conformed with the LPO and approved the Foundation's application under the LPO. In doing so, the Plan Commission adopted the DPD Study as its findings of fact. Under the City's Municipal Code, the Plan Commission serves as the final decision-maker as to whether a project complies with the Lakefront Plan of Chicago and the purposes of the LPO.

"Also at the May 17 hearing, the Plan Commission recommended approval of the Foundation's application for a zoning amendment. Again, the Plan Commission adopted the DPD Study as the Commission's own findings of fact."

It was all Rahm's show, I remember it well. If Blakey's point is that the city's controlling authorities all did their due diligence, he is sadly mistaken. I'm not sure that can propel a lawsuit to victory, though.

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"The City did not perform a comparative analysis of the economic or other community impact on the City as a result of building the OPC at one particular location versus another."

The City did not want to know what such an analysis would show.

"Rather, the DPD Study looked at the Jackson Park site specifically, while studies performed by private institutions analyzed the impact of generally placing the OPC in Chicago and the State of Illinois."

Done. Deal.

"The DPD Study first looked at the environmental and community impact of placing OPC on Jackson Park. Generally, it concluded that the OPC would increase recreational opportunities on the South Side of Chicago, bring more visitors to Jackson Park and the surrounding communities, increase the use of surrounding open space, and improve safety.

"Specifically, it found that by closing certain streets within Jackson Park, and by expanding or reconfiguring other streets in and around Jackson Park, the OPC would, for example: (1) improve access by pedestrians through the park, across the lagoons to the lake; (2) offer unimpeded pedestrian and bike access to the Museum of Science and Industry from the South Side"; (3) replace some of the land currently occupied by Cornell Drive with a "restful Woodland Walk"; (4) create new pedestrian access points and ADA compliant design features; and (5) reduce air and noise pollution, improve existing bird habitats, and attract new wildlife to the OPC site area. In total, the DPD Study found that the roadway work conducted in connection with the OPC will create a net gain of an additional 4.7 acres of publicly available park space throughout Jackson Park.

"The DPD Study also addressed the OPC's economic benefits. It found that the OPC would create nearly 5,000 new, local jobs during construction, and more than 2,500 permanent jobs once the OPC opens."

This will not happen. It never does.

"Deloitte Consulting similarly completed a report, commissioned by the Chicago Community Trust, assessing the OPC's economic impact on the State of Illinois and City, as well as the South Side. It projected that the OPC's construction and operation would create an increase of $11.3 million in revenue generated on an annual basis from state and local taxes within Cook County."

The next time a study like this comes true will be the first.

"A study commissioned by the University of Chicago and conducted by Anderson Economic Group also projected that by building the OPC on the South Side, tax revenue for the City and for Chicago Public Schools would increase by a combined $5 million annually."

If not, the study's authors should be responsible for making up the difference.

"The City has estimated the costs for roadway alterations and other infrastructure work in Jackson Park at $174 million to $175 million."

Take the over.

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All that said, again, I'm not sure it's enough to beat the Obama folks in court. It just illustrates that the Obama Center is the fruit of bad public policy pushed through by a mayor with no patience for the public and an ex-president whose hypocriticality is matched only by his ego.

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I don't want to assume the judge's reading of the facts is the correct one, but here is where he really ridicules the plaintifffs, who argued that the Jackson Park site was previously submerged land, which is legally significant.

(Excerpt of 1822 Map of Federal Township, including Far West Section 13 in which the OPC site is located).

Nevertheless, Plaintiffs contend that the OPC site constitutes formerly submerged land, based solely upon an Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) Technical Report. Plaintiffs fail to note, however, that the map to which they site in the ISAS report documents the "Late Pleistocene and early Holocene lake levels."

In other words, Plaintiffs invite this Court to find that because the OPC site may have been submerged approximately 11,000 years ago, it constitutes "formerly submerged" land for purposes of the public trust doctrine.

Respectfully, this Court declines Plaintiffs' invitation.

Respectfully.

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Also:

Here, as in Paepcke, sufficient legislative intent exists to permit diverting a portion of Jackson Park for the OPC. The relevant piece of legislation - the Park District Aquarium and Museum Act (Museum Act) - explicitly states that cities and park districts with control or supervision over public parks have authorization to: purchase, erect, and maintain within any such public park or parks edifices to be used as aquariums or as museums of art, industry, science, or natural or other history, including presidential libraries, centers, and museums . . . (emphasis added).

Yeah, the Illinois General Assembly added that part in 2016. Skids greased.

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"Unconvincingly, Plaintiffs attempt to twist this public benefit into a private purpose, arguing that the Museum's mission merely 'seeks to preserve and enhance the legacy of the former President and his wife' rather than benefit the public. But this Court cannot accept such a mischaracterization; under Plaintiffs' theory, any museum with which a select group of individuals disagree could violate the public trust."

First, now it's a Museum. It started as a Library. I thought it had become a Center. Perhaps it's all three. But is there really a question as to its central purpose? To preserve and enhance the legacy of the former president and his wife. Full stop. Everything else is public relations.

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See also: Law Professors Clash Over Suit Challenging The Obama Center Location.

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Who Is Judge John Blakey?
A Notre Dame guy who previously worked as a prosecutor for Cook County and then for the feds here.

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"Sen. Mark Kirk on Friday recommended a high-ranking prosecutor in the Cook County state's attorney's office for the federal bench in Chicago," the Tribune reported in May 2014.

"As head of special prosecutions, John Blakey, 48, drafted the state's anti-racketeering statute designed to target street gangs and has also been involved in prosecutions brought against sex traffickers and organized retail theft rings. His father, G. Robert Blakey, now a professor emeritus at Notre Dame Law School, drafted the 1970 federal RICO act originally designed to target mobsters.

"Blakey was most recently the lead prosecutor at the closely watched trial of the so-called NATO 3 - three out-of-state men who were the first to be tried in Cook County under the state's terrorism statute. A jury rejected the terrorism counts but convicted the three of possessing Molotov cocktails."

Uh-oh.

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"The issue before a jury has rarely been so divergent: Did three out-of-state men who came to Chicago in the days before the NATO summit in 2012 want to violently bring about an anarchist revolution or were they just loud-mouthed simpletons who liked to brag?" the Tribune reported in February 2014.

It's the question both sides agreed that jurors must settle as they began deliberating Thursday night after sitting through nearly three weeks of testimony and about five hours of closing arguments Thursday in the first terrorism case brought by Cook County prosecutors.

Both the prosecutors and the attorneys for the so-called NATO 3 told jurors that their verdict would be a reflection on American society and that they would help define the line between terrorism and violence.

"When your hatred boils over into plots of violence, you've crossed the line - the line that protects us all," said Assistant State's Attorney John Blakey, who got the last word with jurors.

"Is this what the war on terror has come to?" attorney Molly Armour, who represents Brent Betterly, asked jurors.

Betterly, 25, Jared Chase, 29, and Brian Church, 22, were arrested in May 2012 after allegedly assembling four Molotov cocktails using empty beer bottles, gasoline and an undercover Chicago police officer's cut-up bandanna . . .

In closing rebuttal to jurors after the defense lawyers had spoken, Blakey gave each defendant a nickname - calling Church "Mr. Cop-on-Fire," Chase "Captain Napalm" and Betterly "Professor Molotov" - and accused them of trying to conceal their violent plans "behind the legacy of nonviolent protest."

"Martin Luther King? Gandhi? Mother Teresa? I don't see them in court," he told jurors.

Oh boy.

But defense attorneys said the undercover recordings showed that the three were too stoned, drunk or just plain stupid to be terrorists and were goaded into building the Molotov cocktails by inexperienced officers desperate to find a "bogeyman" after months of searching for criminal activity among activist groups.

Church's attorney, Michael Deutsch, said the decision by prosecutors to charge the case as a terrorism "denigrated" both the "real" terrorist-fighting work done by authorities and "real victims" of terrorist attacks.

"To me it trivializes terrorism - the most serious type of case," Deutsch said. "You think of al-Qaida or the people who blew up Oklahoma City. This is not a case of terrorism."

At times Chase's attorney, Thomas Anthony Durkin, took an openly mocking tone in his closing argument, drawing laughter in the courtroom when he held up the slingshot that Chase planned to use to fling marbles at the windows of the Prudential Building, then home to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign headquarters.

Durkin sarcastically referred to the slingshot as the "tools of the terrorism trade for sure" and called the wacky plot the "coup de grace" of the state's terrorism case.

See also the link between this case and Homan Square.

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Blakey's Obama Center ruling is persuasive, despite my misgivings, but given his over-the-top prosecution of the NATO 3, I'm less inclined to believe he issued it in good faith.

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P.S.: Bone Zone
An addition to Wednesday's Bone Zone item:

"As I've been in office for two weeks now, we see people coming to the office with promises that were made. People say there were promises for liquor licenses or permits. They have already invested money without the permits. Without the proper channels. It goes back to the mayor's concern about how . . . aldermen have used their prerogative," Sigcho-Lopez said.

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See also: Byron Sigcho-Lopez Blasted "Greedy" Developers For Years. What Happens Now That He's In Charge?

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ChicagoReddit

Good Car Hookup Spot? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

GWAR intervew at the Riv, 1995.

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BeachBook

Minneapolis Institute Of Arts Dedicates Exhibit To Philando Castile.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: All night and day.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

June 12, 2019

Chicago's Katie Renshaw Is Diageo's U.S. Bartender Of The Year

Chicago's Katie Renshaw won the title the 2019 U.S. Bartender of the Year on Monday following a two-day, five-challenge competition held by the United States Bartenders' Guild.

Renshaw's flawless attention to detail and outside-the-box thinking immediately caught the eye of the judges' table, leading her to win the Bulleit Final Frontier Challenge as well as the national title.

Katie_Renshaw_Bartender_of_the_Year.jpgBartender extraordinaire Katie Renshaw/Photos by Shannon Sturgis

The competition brought together 15 of the nation's top bartenders who are pushing craft mixology's boundaries through innovative cocktails perfect for food pairings, flavor profile assessments and more with the ultimate goal of representing the U.S. at the global competition in Glasgow, Scotland this September.

This year's U.S. applicant pool saw thousands of talented individuals from around the country compete in regional challenges that tested creativity and spirits knowledge, as well as speed, precision and presentation.

In total, only 15 bartenders advanced to nationals that were hosted in Lexington, Kentucky, culminating with the finals at Bulleit Distilling Co.'s Visitor Experience in Shelbyville about 45 minutes away.

"Winning [this] has been one of my biggest dreams since I started bartending, especially with getting a pass-off from Laura Newman, who I competed with last year, and who really inspired me to be myself in this competition," Renshaw said.

Katie_Renshaw_Speed_Round_Showdown.jpgKatie Renshaw flexing her craft during the Speed Round Showdown.

On Sunday and Monday, competitors showcased their abilities to seamlessly merge art and science, and taste and technology, to create cocktails featuring a selection of Diageo Reserve brands including Bulleit® Bourbon, CIROC® Vodka, Johnnie Walker® Blended Scotch Whisky, Ketel One® Vodka, Tanqueray No. TEN® Gin, Tequila Don Julio®, TALISKER® Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Zacapa® Rum.

This final round of competition was judged by a mix of six award-winning cocktail bar owners, and nationally and globally recognized beverage industry influencers, including 2018 US winner Laura Newman, 2018 Global winner Orlando Marzo and acclaimed bartenders and educators such as Julie Reiner, Anu Elford, Jackson Cannon and Charles Joly.

The USBG World Class Sponsored by Diageo mission is to unite the hospitality industry to advance professional bartending and elevate the craft. This is the eighth year for the U.S., and the 11th year globally. While the competition takes place in the spring and summer, education and events occur year-round.

Day one in Lexington drew upon Kentucky's heritage, asking first for a complementary or contrasting cocktail to pair with a classic Southern dessert staple, followed by a second challenge to create a best-selling signature drink that fit within a fictitious restaurant's theme and dinner menu.

Day two's challenges at Bulleit Distilling Co.'s Visitor Experience were inspired by the whiskey brand's frontier spirit and commitment to technology + culture. Each cocktail used a cutting-edge technique or unexpected technology that took skill, imagination and outside the box collaboration.

Two speed rounds completed the competition featuring a challenge to mix, pour and garnish six classic cocktails and two wild card drinks highlighting a DIAGEO Reserve Brand that was assigned at random, all the while engaging with the judges in 10 minutes or less.

"Each year I think I've seen it all with the awesome level of skill and passion this competition inspires," said Aaron Gregory Smith, executive director of the USBG. "But every year I am blown away. The talent pool is deep, but the best part is the continued opportunity for growth and success that exists within our tight-knit bartending community."

USBG World Class Sponsored by Diageo finalists also enjoyed a sneak peek behind the scenes at Bulleit Distilling Co.'s new Visitor Experience that will open soon this summer. From a technologically advanced, sensory-rich bar experience, to eco-friendly and sustainable practices throughout the facility, the finalists were the first guests hosted - appropriate for a brand built by bartenders and named as the best-selling brand at the world's best bars for multiple years by Drinks International.

Cocktails created for the duration of this year's competition can be found on Twitter and Instagram using the handle @WorldClassUS. When showcasing your own mixology or sampling award-winning recipes from this year's competitors, USBG World Class Sponsored by Diageo reminds you to do so responsibly.

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FLEX YO HUSTLE
Created by 2019 U.S. Bartender of the Year Katie Renshaw

FLEX_YO_HUSTLE_Cocktail.jpg

Ingredients:

1 oz Bulleit 10
1 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz coconut milk-oolong syrup
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz lime juice
1 oz cardamom-infused cream
1 egg white
Soda water
1/4 cup coffee-bourbon caviar

Preparation:

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake, and pour into a collins glass over a collins spear ice cube. Garnish with Coconut ash, engraved lemon peel.

Ideal Serve:

Collins glass

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RECIPE UPDATE

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See also: Katie Renshaw: Bartender, Musician, Hooligan.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:53 AM | Permalink

Highlights | Printers Row Lit Fest 2019

You can find video of various panels broadcast by C-SPAN's BookTV here; they aren't embeddable. Meanwhile, more ephemeral highlights here:

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View this post on Instagram

Poster at Lit Fest

A post shared by Donna (@donushka365) on

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Souvenirs.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

The True Dangers Of Reality TV

"Some of these shows have the ethics of a cash register."


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See also:

* 'Someone Is Going To Die': MAFS Star Clare Verrall On Reality TV Toll.

* Jono Pitman Wishes He Never Met Clare Verrall.

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Previously:

* Reality TV That Lied Straight To Your Face.

* Evergreen Park Reality TV Star Is Dead.

* 63 Up: Real Reality TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:37 AM | Permalink

Afghan Cricket Team A Sentimental World Cup Favorite

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics estimates there are about 76,000 people identifying as Afghan nationals living in the UK. When their cricket team played their first match in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on June 1, it must have felt to their Australian opponents as if a fair proportion of that population had come to Bristol to cheer their team on.

As it turned out, Australia - a giant of the cricket world who has won the World Cup five times - beat Afghanistan quite easily, as expected. But the spirit in which the Afghanis played and the ebullience of their supporters in the crowd won them many friends among neutrals, who were quite happy to cheer them on against the "old enemy" from down under.

afghancricket1.jpgThe Afghanistan team celebrate taking a wicket in its match against New Zealand on Saturday/Mark Kerton, PA Wire

To some, the inclusion of Afghanistan on the world sporting stage may come as a surprise, as the country is more popularly known for its long history of war, conflict and colonial and imperial rule than sporting prowess. But this is its second men's World Cup tournament and the national team won many admirers for the way in which it beat Scotland in the 2015 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.

Like most countries that were former territories of the British Empire, cricket was played in Afghanistan during the 19th century but the the Afghan Cricket Federation - now known as the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) - wasn't formed until 1995. The Taliban lifted its ban on cricket in 2000 and the first national team was formed.

The team has been more recently supported by powerful political groups, such as the Hezb-e Islami/Gulbuddin, which congratulated them after a victory against Pakistan. Before a 2012 one-day international between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Taliban representatives contacted the ACB to offer support. These groups perhaps saw cricket as a way to demonstrate the legitimacy of their regime, locally and globally.

From 2001, the team quickly progressed and made the semi-final of the Asian Cricket Council Trophy in 2006. In April 2009, Afghanistan gained one-day international status - an incredible achievement in just eight years which they justified with their World Cup win over Scotland in 2015.

Coming Of Age

In 2017, Afghanistan was awarded full member status of the ICC and played its first test match in 2018, losing heavily to India, one of the game's giants. But they recovered to win a one-off test against Ireland in March 2019. Playing in test "whites" is significant as it reflects a form of acceptance on to cricket's world stage.

But this appearance as being global equals in cricketing terms masks underlying tensions between former colonial powers and colonized countries about how cricket should be played. What forms of cricket are most valued - test cricket or limited overs competitions - remain contested, with the Western countries tending to value the longer form of the game and with Asian countries generally preferring one-day cricket.

afghancricket2.jpg Afghanistan national cricket team captain Gulbadin Naib at an event for the Cricket World Cup 2019 at the British embassy in Kabul in April/Jawad Jalali/ EPA-EFE

As part of the shift in dominance in the game - and the growing power of the Asian countries, the Asian Cricket Council has helped support the Afghan team alongside the ICC providing funding to support the development of cricket in the region. Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India - which recently offered use of training facilities in Uttar Pradesh - have supported the development of the Afghan team, which strengthens cricket in the South Asia region. At grassroots level, The Afghan Connection, a UK based charity, has - in partnership with the MCC - supported cricket development in Afghanistan by building pitches and training coaches.

National Identity

Cricket as a metaphor for the Afghan nation was played out in the BBC's 2012 film Afghan Cricket Club - Out of the Ashes. Despite unstable political conditions in Afghanistan, the film follows men learning to play the cricket and documents their friendships, passion and humor. Cricket was portrayed as the vehicle through, which against all the odds, as refugees living in makeshift camps in Pakistan, these men found hope, salvation and a reason to feel proud of their nation.

This popular metaphor offers a romantic view that cricket is the way to bring peace to Afghanistan. Globally, the success of Afghan cricket has captured public imagination because of Afghanistan's perceived inferiority globally - in cricketing and socioeconomic terms - to the West. Beating "them", the former imperial and colonial nations, at their own game, mirrors broader power struggles that ordinary Afghans across the diaspora negotiate and challenge on a daily basis.

Despite its popularity in Afghanistan, cricket does not embrace everyone. Women's cricket is not supported by the state or any other social institution. A women's cricket team was formed in 2010 but disbanded in 2014 by the ACB, partly due to lack of funds and also due to death threats which threatened the girls and women's safety.

In this context, girls and women continue to organize their own teams and they play cricket to challenge ideas of Muslim female fragility, and create their own spaces to play on their own terms. This is why the ICC has granted Afghanistan full test status, despite regulations which state that new member nations must have a women's national team to be eligible. This exception reproduces gender inequalities and is contradictory to the ICC's commitment to the global development of women's cricket.

On Tuesday, June 18, at the Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, 19,000 spectators will attend and millions more will watch and listen on TV and radio. Many of these will be Afghan fans hoping to see their team excel against England - the host country and favorite to win the competition. The match will no doubt evoke media narratives about peace, war and ongoing conflict - but even if history is made on the cricket pitch, and huge celebrations follow, we need remember the Afghan people and their ongoing day-to-day realities beyond the boundary.

Philippa Velija is head of education and sociology in the School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences at Solent University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:25 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Our man on the rail Tom Chambers weighs in on the Uberpocalypse.

(Ubergeddon? Truth is, both suffixes are pretty stale at this juncture. Yesterday, I called it a Cluberfuck, but that's not entirely satisfying either.)

Anyway, Tom:

"They did stay very true to their business model. Flood small areas with people (cars), cause chaos, then charge a first-born to get people out of it.

* Is it possible, with what they get paid, all the Uber drivers were just plain hungry?

* The shot of cars on the street looked like this.

* With so many Uber cars in one area, doesn't GPS get overloaded? Telling them all to go to the same place? Meet me at the coal mine!

* Did the Uber drivers kick their three guests out of their cars then charge them ultra-surge pricing to get out?

"I hate Uber and will never use it as long as humanely possible. As a frequent pedestrian, they make my life miserable."

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I didn't see any follow-ups to the Uber debacle, and it's not the most urgent story in the land, but I do think there are unanswered questions and fresh angles to pursue, some of which I flicked at on Tuesday. Here are some other seemingly relevant Uber stories, though, that have popped up in the last 24 hours:

* People's World: Communist Party USA To Hold 100th Anniversary Convention In Chicago.

"Interest in socialism is on the rise," [national] party chair [John] Bachtell says. "Millions of young workers face a future of Uber and Amazon jobs, part-time work, and are drowning in student debt. They increasingly wonder if there's a future with the rise of automation, big data, and robotics - and many are looking to the Communist Party."

* AP: Uber Tests Drone Food Delivery, Launches New Autonomous SUV.

"Uber is testing restaurant food deliveries by drone. The company's Uber Eats unit began the tests in San Diego with McDonald's and plans to expand to other restaurants later this year."

* CNN Business: Fly Inside Uber's New Air Taxi Cabin.

The company plans to offer aerial ridesharing in 2023.

* ValueWalk: Uber Sued For Discriminating Against Wheelchair-Users.

"Uber has been sued in cities around the United States for its violation of disability laws by failing to provide wheelchair-accessible service, yet it has continued its policy of denying that service.

"Carlson Lynch, LLP is a national class action firm which currently has 21 lawyers spread across offices in Pittsburgh, San Diego and Chicago. Since 2010, the firm has dedicated significant resources to litigation on behalf of individuals with disabilities. The firm is committed to pursuing impactful cases that advance the interests of the disabled community on the largest possible scale."

* Hit The Mute Button: Why Everyone Is Trying To Silence The Outside World.

Uber is trialing a feature that allows customers to stop their drivers from talking. But there's growing evidence that cutting ourselves off like this isn't healthy.

"The mute button was invented in 1956 by Robert Adler, an Austrian-born engineer working for the Zenith Radio Corporation in Chicago . . . "

* Tribune: Electric Shared Scooters Arrive In Chicago On Saturday: Here's What You Need To Know.

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Previously in Uber:

* Uber Uber Alles. (Rated F for Funny)

* Uber's Surge Pricing May Not Lead To A Surge In Drivers.

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Taj Obama

"Sign a CBA, replace the public park land, working with community. It isn't that hard!" - Bronzeville Regional Collective

It's not that hard if you really care about public parks and the community. If you don't, it becomes harder - but nothing that can't be overcome by a wily politician with an ego the size of a presidential library center that looks like a mausoleum.

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Bone Zone
"The alderman who succeeded Daniel Solis in representing Pilsen and other neighborhoods wants an investigation into all license and permit decisions his predecessor made for years before it came to light he was wearing a hidden wire and cooperating with federal investigators," the Tribune reports.

"Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 25th, introduced a resolution to the City Council Wednesday, saying the investigation of Solis' decisions is needed because 'for over two decades the constituents of the 25th Ward have been subject to an unchecked pattern of patronage especially with regard to licensing and zoning.'"

That would be a massive lift, of course, but I'd love to see a city council cleansing; for example, I believe new finance committee chair Scott Waguespack should convene a truth commission that would lay bare what predecessor Ed Burke wrought in the decades he held the post. Chicagoans deserve to know the truth about the way their government has been run in their lifetimes - and that includes City Hall, too.

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Summers Time
Former city treasurer Kurt Summers said a couple noteworthy things in an "exit interview" he gave to the Hyde Park Herald:

* "[T]he treasurer does not control Chicago's budget, revenue department or debt. In his opinion those entities should work in concert. The comptroller of New York City can audit municipal departments. The San Francisco treasurer is also the revenue collector. Washington's mayor appoints the city's chief financial officer whose term lasts longer the mayor's, meant to provide a degree of independence.

"For efficiency's sake, Summers urges a consolidation of all balance sheet debt liability and asset activities into one place. 'If you had that all along, that would be substantially more beneficial,' he said: As the Chicago treasurer has to invest based in large part on the city's big fiscal obligations, 'If the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, then everyone's guessing - and that's clearly not efficient,' he said. Revenues and expenditures should not be divorced from balance sheet activity.

"I think that the benefit of having a separately elected financial office for the people in Chicago is significant," he said, calling the job "a separate fiscal watchdog and fiduciary independent of what the mayor's office does."

* "Every element of financial stability, prosperity and progress, we lag the nation in every category along racial lines," Summers told the paper. "There needs to be a disproportionate investment in the areas that are on the wrong side of that coin and have gotten the raw deal from this city since its inception. I think that we should be the leaders who support and drive that change."

* After namechecking several political colleagues he came up with, the paper said that "Summers was, however, conspicuously laconic about Preckwinkle, noting that he did not endorse during the mayoral election and declining to say whom he voted for. In December, he attacked Emanuel on Twitter for his supposed blame of Black Chicagoans' values for the violence in the community. Summers criticized Emanuel's closing of 50 neighborhood schools, mental health clinics and the Laquan McDonald cover-up. Asked for follow-up comment during the interview, he said he had nothing more to add."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Reversing Rahm's Mental Health Disaster
Re-opening clinics on the table.

*

Chicago's Katie Renshaw Is Diageo's U.S. Bartender Of The Year
Self-described hooligan stepped behind a bar for the first time just three years ago.

*

Blues Fest Highlights
Featuring: BettyeLaVette, ThornettaDavis, ToronzoCannon, JimmieJohnson, DonBryant, JoannaConnor, LarkinPoe, and Dom Flemons.

*

Lit Fest Highlights
Souvenirs.

*

The True Danger Of Reality TV
"Some of these shows have the ethics of a cash register."

*

Afghan Cricket Team Sentimental World Cup Favorite
See you at Old Trafford.

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SteveBook Specials

*

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ChicagoReddit

What's the best way to deal with groping on the CTA? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

1976 Bally OLD CHICAGO Pinball Machine In Action

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BeachBook

Dementia Stopped Peter Max From Painting. For Some, That Spelled A Lucrative Opportunity.

An extraordinarily infuriating story on several levels, capped off by a suicide this week.

*

How Did WeWork's Adam Neumann Build A $47 Billion Company.

An extraordinarily infuriating story on several levels.

*

2020 Candidates Call Out McDonald's Over Sexual Harassment.

*

The Restaurant Owner Who Asked For 1-Star Yelp Reviews.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Doodle-ooh.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

June 11, 2019

Highlights | Blues Fest 2019

You shoulda been there.

Bettye LaVette.


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Thornetta Davis.

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Toronzo Cannon.

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Jimmie Johnson.

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Don Bryant.

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Joanna Connor.

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Larkin Poe.

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Dom Flemons.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:22 PM | Permalink

New Mental Health Task Force Holds First Hearing On Fixing What Rahm Wrought

WHAT: Chicago's Mental Health Task Force, chaired by Ald. Sophia King (4th), will convene the first public forum on public mental health services called for by the recently-enacted "Public Mental Health Service Expansion Resolution."

Residents will be able to provide written and spoken testimony on the mental health needs in the city and provide recommendations on the re-opening the closed public mental health clinics and expanding current mental health services at existing clinics.

WHERE: Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd., Conference Rooms 1106 and 1107.

WHEN: Thursday, June 13th, 6 p.m. Speakers representing community organizations will be available for interviews at 5:30 p.m.

WHO: Alds. Sophia King, George Cardenas, Jeanette Taylor and others will be present for the event, hosted by the Mental Health Task Force and supported by the Collaborative for Community Wellness. The Collaborative is a coalition of mental health professionals, community-based organizations, and community residents working to address mental health inequity and redefine mental health services to match the needs of the community.

The task force was created to study the impact of the previous Mayor Rahm Emanuel's decision to close public mental health clinics; to assess the geographic areas most in need of mental health services and the types of services needed; and to determine recommendations.

The task force was created after significant public outcry and organizing by the Collaborative for Community Wellness, which published a report in 2018 on mental health service disparities in Chicago.

"We truly hope that the task force and city council will listen to the residents of Chicago who are asking for free, publicly funded, long-term, trauma-informed mental health services," said Dr. Arturo Carrillo, Mental Health and Family Services Program Manager at St. Anthony Hospital. "Public mental health clinics are crucial to ensuring that the needs of community residents most impacted by trauma are met."

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See also: Rahm Emanuel Closed Half Of Chicago's Mental Health Clinics. What Was The Impact - And Will Lori Lightfoot Reopen Them?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:35 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Thousands of Uber drivers and their families and friends were promised a free party Monday night at the Museum of Science and Industry," Block Club Chicago reports.

"What they got instead was an 'unorganized catastrophe,' as one person put it on Twitter."

This is one of those stories that is simultaneously hilarious and maddening, a self-owning metaphor that in one way - the Fuck Uber! way - is immensely satisfying and in another way - the I am not a monster! way - elicits boatloads of sympathy for those caught in the gears of perhaps the giggest of the gig economy. In other words, it's got everything, excluding (so far) a happy ending.

"The Monday night party was organized by Uber to show appreciation for its drivers, with employees told they'd get free access to the museum and free food for themselves and several guests. But the event proved far more popular than Uber had originally anticipated."

I'm not sure how Uber could underestimate how popular free food in a cool setting with guests would be, but then again, Uber has yet to turn a profit - which isn't to say the folks at the top are so poor they've taken to driving, um, Uber in their spare time to pay rent. Hardly.

"Drivers and others then took to social media to blast Uber, complaining they'd been stuck in traffic for hours only to be told the museum's parking lot was full and they've have to find parking elsewhere or - as happened later in the night - the museum itself was too full and they couldn't come in."

Uber should have at least ordered pizzas for those stuck in their cars - or sent the catering staff out to circulate in the parking lot. My god.

"We're thankful for the thousands of partner drivers and their families who attended tonight's event to celebrate Uber in Chicago," an Uber spokesman told Block Club. "However, hundreds more than RSVP'd came and we had to close admission to the event for everyone's safety when the venue reached capacity."

Hmm. I'm slightly sympathetic to Uber if hundreds of drivers showed up without RSVPing. Your job is to confirm appointments..

"Inside the museum, photos showed large crowds of people and event wait staff reportedly walking over museum exhibits to serve food."

Whoa. Does the museum have its own event staff, or did they or Uber hire a third party? Were exhibits damaged? Is the sub okay?

"Young children were crying as their families were turned away due to the museum being at capacity, some attendees said."

Check the 'young children crying' box.

"The Museum of Science and Industry referred questions about the event to Uber."

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Twitter:

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*

*

*

*

*

*

*

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Assignment Desk: Call Lyft and find out if A) their business surged while the city's Uber force was idled, and B) if they're seeing an influx of drivers crossing over from Uber today.

Also, check in with the museum and see if Uber is no longer welcome to hold events there, among other questions, like who staffs those events. Presumably Uber signed a contract, too. Presumably that contract says, "Don't trash the exhibits."

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See also: The Uber IPO Is A Moral Stain On Silicon Valley.

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Previously:

* Uber Uber Alles.

* Uber's Surge Pricing May Not Lead To A Surge In Drivers.

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ChicagoReddit

Moving back: Should I worry about old parking tickets? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Chicago Harp That Rules The World.

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BeachBook

How MLB Adopted The Save 50 Years Ago.

*

Should Community Colleges Build Housing?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

*

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Easy peasy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:25 AM | Permalink

June 10, 2019

The [Monday] Papers

Did President Trump commit high crimes and misdemeanors? Laura Washington never says. Apparently that's the last thing on her mind when it comes to impeachment.

"Impeachment may offer a short-term gain, but it promises long-term pain: four more years of President Donald Trump."

This is a rather spurious claim - unless Washington possesses the world's only functioning crystal ball. And it's not as if she has a track record indicating she has a particular predictive power.

"An impeachment drive by U.S. House Democrats would cheer Trump haters everywhere. It would humiliate and infuriate the man himself. That would be a beautiful thing to watch. But impeachment also would burn through the Democrats' political energy and distract vital attention from the 2020 presidential campaign."

I don't get this line of reasoning. Trump's behavior in office is already a campaign issue. It's going to continue to be a campaign issue. It should be a campaign issue. Not only that, it's the most urgent issue facing the nation. Democrats should just ignore it? How in the world is the president's behavior - you know, committing crimes - a distraction instead of the central issue? If not this president, under these circumstances, with the evidence at hand, then which president, when?

"It would make Trump a victim and solidify his base."

His base is solidified. Not only that, his base isn't more likely to unsolidify by Democratic persuasion about, say, health care. Besides that, who cares. Sometimes there are issues more vital than a president's base. The Constitution comes to mind.

"It would also alienate centrist Republican and independent voters who would abhor the partisan circus of an impeachment drive."

First, there aren't many centrist Republicans and independents left to abhor. Second, the partisanship is all on the Republican side. The facts aren't partisan. And they are incontrovertible.

"The 'Impeach!' crowd keeps forgetting that winning impeachment in the U.S. House will not remove Trump from the White House."

Aside from the patronizing use of the word "crowd," which is commonly used by pundits to point a finger at a group of people holding an unfavorable opinion in order to insinuate that they are just a dumb mob, no one is forgetting that impeachment in the House will not remove Trump from the White House.

"After that, the U.S. Senate must vote to remove Trump from office. There is no chance the lily-livered, Republican-controlled Senate will go there."

Again with the crystal ball. You never know, once proceedings get underway. More evidence may even come forward. Dynamics change. These things have a way of taking on a momentum of their own. Besides that, so what? If Republicans in the Senate stymie Trump's removal from office, so be it. That doesn't justify Democrats abdicating their responsibility to the nation to try their damndest to uphold the rule of law.

"Democrats should focus on getting crucial legislation through Congress and on nominating a presidential opponent who can take Trump out at the polls."

Of course, the same Senate Republicans who would presumably stand in the way of removing Trump from office are standing in the way of Democratic legislation. And "nominating a presidential opponent who can take Trump out at the polls" is not a decision the party can simply make, as opposed to nominating someone who can't. Nobody will know if a potential nominee can take out Trump until Election Day.

"A national poll conducted in late May by Hill.TV and the HarrisX research firm found 35% of registered voters supported impeachment proceedings against Trump, compared with 45% who did not. Another 20% said they were unsure or didn't know. That's down from a similar survey taken in November, when 40% of registered voters favored impeachment. The voters have it right."

First, I wouldn't trust anything coming out of the notorious Hill. Second, that poll was taken before Robert Mueller made his public remarks two weeks ago. Since then, the public's desire to commence impeachment proceedings have grown, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour Marist poll.

"A slim majority of Americans (52%) want one of the following: to begin impeachment proceedings (22%), to continue investigations into potential political wrongdoing of Trump (25%) or to publicly reprimand him - that is, censure (5%)," NPR reported just two days ago.

"Thirty-nine percent say no further action should be taken and that the current investigations should end. That is largely reflective of Trump's base, as Trump maintains a 41% approval rating in the poll . . . "

"The share that supports beginning impeachment proceedings is up from 16% a month ago - before former special counsel Robert Mueller spoke out about his probe into 2016 Russian election interference and the Trump campaign, but after the release of his report."

And guess what?

"The growth in support comes from a near doubling of the number of independents who say they want impeachment rather than continuing investigations, publicly reprimanding Trump or taking no further action."

Emphasis mine.

So far from impeachment being the "sinking ship" that Washington states it is, it's more like a giant aircraft carrier that just takes a little momentum before it gets fully up to speed. That's how these things work. Nancy Pelosi knows that. She's playing it cool to avoid a perception of partisanship by starting with committee investigations. With those results, she may move to impeachment proceedings. She's being methodical. Not all of us think that's necessary, but that's her strategy. There is also more to come out of ongoing investigations in Eastern Virginia and the Southern District of New York.

Advising Democrats to focus their energies on choosing a nominee - how, any more than they already are? - is a cynical, silly and wholly irresponsible position that disregards mountains of evidence about presidential wrongoing. What was the point of Mueller investigating if the results ought to be ignored? What was the point of all that investigative journalism? Should that not have been done?

If the idea was to simply amass evidence to use in a campaign, then that's the ultimate in partisanship. If the idea was to find the truth, and act on it appropriately, then impeachment proceedings must commence.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Remembering Dr. John In Chicago
With a dash of Leon Redbone.

*

The Illustrated Flora Of Illinois
Two new entries in the series.

*

Global Chainsaw Market On Fire
Multiple innovations in features, including horsepower, torque capacities and mobility are expected to increase demand.

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New from the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

SportsMonday: It's Up To Yu, Now
All those good feelings ready to come crashing down at Coors Field tonight.

*

Track Notes: Not Upset At All
Horse racing nearly always exists in circular logic, no pun there to be pardoned.

*

The White Sox Report: Russian Interference
"You may not believe this, but they're having an election right now to see who gets to play in what they call the All-Star Game . . . "

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ChicagoReddit

Expense evening for somebody in Chicago from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Garbage First Met At The Metro.

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BeachBook

Joanna Stingray, The Woman Who Smuggled Punk Rock Out Of The USSR.

*

Africa's Lost Kingdoms.

*

Mark Twain's Portfolio, Part 1: Existential Hedging & The United Fruit Company

*

Sierra Leone, 2000: A Case History In Successful Intervention.

*

Even Keebler Elves Are Trying To Rip You Off.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

I mean, you wouldn't publish a poll based on just eight respondents, would you?

*

Ho-hum, the president lies a lot.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Got beef?

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:15 AM | Permalink

Remembering Leon Redbone And Dr. John

Well, mostly Dr. John because Leon Redbone never appeared in these pages. Somehow we even missed both of them together performing "Frosty the Snowman."


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Dr. John . . .

1. With Etta James doing "Groove Me."

*

2. With Etta James and Allen Toussaint doing "Something's Got A Hold On Me."

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3. At Blues on the Fox in Aurora, 2013.

*

4. Blues Fest, 2014.

*

5. At the Arcada in St. Charles, 2015.

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6. At City Winery, 2015.

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See also:

* NPR: Leon Redbone Has Died, Age Unknown.

* New York Times: Leon Redbone, Idiosyncratic Throwback Singer, Is Dead At 69.

* Slate: Dr. John Was Both Deeply Traditional And A Total Freak.

* The Atlantic: Dr. John's Reverent Subversion Of New Orleans Cliché.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:38 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: It's Up To Yu, Now

What the heck are we going to complain about now, Cubs fans?

Kyle Schwarber had a big weekend in the leadoff spot. It has been more than a week since the Cubs bullpen blew a save, and sources tell me they might have a new guy coming in to upgrade the whole operation.

Javy is Javy. We will never complain about that - especially after he hit the critical, opposite-field, two-run homer to give Cole Hamels the perfect early cushion on his way to throwing a masterpiece on Friday to start the weekend right.

We still worry about Willson Contreras's defense, but what an arm on that guy! (And who has a better backup catcher than Victor Caratini?)

Kyle Hendricks's ERA hasn't quite dipped below 3 - it is in fact 3.00. I suppose that is slightly irritating.

The upcoming schedule is a bit of a concern, although it is cute that in the upcoming three weeks with just one off day, that off day happens to be the day before a series with the White Sox.

The weather still hasn't completely cooperated. I guess we could beef about that.

And the Cubs are on Sunday night baseball again in a week, subjecting us to more inane commentary from an ESPN crew that is four-people strong yet has fewer keen insights in a given game than regular ol' hometown commentator Jim Deshaies has in an inning.

Anyway, it is a pretty good place to be, the one where the Cubs found themselves after they capped off a sweep of the Cardinals with a 5-1 victory Sunday evening. This next week will put it to the test, what with a trip to Colorado for three games starting Monday night followed by four with the National League-leading Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.

The history of that ballpark is a downer, there is that. The land where it was built had long housed a mostly Mexican-American working class enclave before it was cleared out by the power brokers of the day.

Let's see, we could opine on the fact that Boston is on the verge of possessing the World Series trophy, the Lombardi Trophy and the Stanley Cup at the same time. That obviously isn't good. But if the alternative is the most boring city in the country possessing the storied NHL championship trophy, I say, Go Bruins! Also, I think Boston is the more skilled team and it is always good when the talent beats the goons in that frozen arena.

The NBA and NHL drafts are coming up and hope always springs eternal in the days leading up to those events, does it not? And sure, the Bulls are still run by the same incompetent crew that has given us multiple recent lousy seasons, but most of us agree that the Blackhawks could do worse than Stan Bowman at the helm, don't we?

Actually maybe not, eh? So we can certainly begin to complain about the winter sports distracting us from the baseball action in the last few weeks of June.

Then again, when does Yu Darvish pitch again? That guy is still a big ol' disappointment after all.

Then again, maybe this time he really is turning a corner.

Then again, he's scheduled to pitch tonight in Coors Field. Cubs fans might have something to complain about soon after all.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:12 AM | Permalink

The Illustrated Flora Of Illinois

New in the series.

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Flowering Plants: Asteraceae, Part 2

By Robert H. Mohlenbrock.

In this second volume on the aster family, botanist Robert H. Mohlenbrock recognizes 133 species in 42 genera, as well as seven hybrids and 29 lesser taxa.

Flowering Plants: Asteraceae, Part 2 provides an easy-to-use key to the genera and species and a complete description and nomenclatural and habitat notes for each plant, including its usefulness, if applicable. The book details the most important features of the species and includes common, locally used names. Synonyms that have been applied to species and lesser taxa in Illinois are given for each species.

flora1.jpg

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Grasses: Panicum to Danthonia, second edition

By Robert H. Mohlenbrock.

Since the publication of the first edition of Grasses: Panicum to Danthonia in 1973, 20 additional taxa of grasses have been discovered in Illinois that are properly placed in this volume.

In addition, numerous nomenclatural changes have occurred for plants already known from the state, and many distributional records have been added.

This second edition updates the status of grasses in Illinois. Paul W. Nelson has provided illustrations for all of the additions.

flora2.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 AM | Permalink

Global Chainsaw Market On Fire

According to Arizton's recent research report, the global chainsaw market is expected to reach over $4.5 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of around 5% during 2018−2024. The report offers market share in terms of unit volumes during the forecast period.

Key Highlights Offered in the Report:

* Around $3.5 billion in incremental revenue opportunities to be capitalized in the next five years in the chainsaw market.

* Increasing demand for chainsaws and growing awareness toward safety regulations in the construction sector to positively impact the global chainsaw market.

* Since the gas-powered chainsaws segment accounted for over 70% of market share in 2018, multiple innovations in features, including horsepower, torque capacities, and mobility are expected to increase the demand for gas-powered chainsaws during the forecast period.

* Leaf blowers are likely to dominate the commercial application segment market. The segment is likely to grow at a CAGR of 5% during the period 2018-2024.

* North America is likely to dominate the global chainsaw market in terms of revenue and unit shipments during the forecast period due to increasing technological advancements and product expansion.

* Chainsaw manufacturers to emphasize the development of eco-friendly equipment. For instance, Husqvarna offers X-torq, E-Tech II, and Auto Tune technology in its chainsaws to increase the demand in the market.

Chainsaw Market - Dynamics

Increasing technological innovations are expected to give rise chainsaws that are lightweight, safe, noise and vibration reduced, and efficient. Lightweight chainsaws tend to offer high flexibility for performing challenging jobs such as pruning.

Major Vendors:

* STIHL

* Husqvarna Group

* Blount International

* Robert Bosch

* STIGA

Other vendors include Makita Corp., MTD Products, Yamabiko Corp., The Toro Company, EMAK, Techtronic Industries, Stanley Black & Decker, Globe Tools Group, Zomax GROUP, SUMEC, WEN Products, AL-KO KOBER, Snow Joe, Hitachi Power Tools, Lowe's Companies (Kobalt), Pellenc, Einhell Germany, Generac Power Systems Inc., Positec Tool, Active, Chervon, Cobra, Rochford Garden Machinery, Talon Tough Tools, and R&R Products.

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See also:

* Asia Times: Sri Lanka To Ban Chainsaws.

* PA Home Page: Learning Chainsaw Safety In Monroe County.

* WBIR: Chainsaw Artist Carves Sculptures From Logs.

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Previously: Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 AM | Permalink

June 9, 2019

Russian Interference

Deep within the Lubyanka Building in Central Moscow at Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters, agents Mikhail and Ivan were biding their time last week on a particularly slow day.

(Translated from the Russian by our Beachwood interpreters, who have listening devices buried deep within the Russian intelligence agencies.)

Mikhail: I know there's not much going on, Ivan, but get your feet off the desk and look busy.

Ivan: I'd be happy to if you can suggest something for me to do.

Mikhail: Well, we can't interfere in an election in America for another year-and-a-half, but I've discovered a good way we can practice. Have you ever heard about the American game of baseball?

Ivan: I've heard of it. The one that takes forever where the ball is thrown a high speeds, and someone with a club tries to hit it?

Mikhail: Yes, that's the one. It's not called a club. It's a bat, and from what I understand, they don't usually make contact with the ball, but when they do, it goes a long way. A very curious game.

Ivan: So how can we sabotage that? It already seems kind of crazy. Do people actually watch baseball?

Mikhail: Not as many as a few years ago, but baseball is the second-most popular game in America during the summer right behind football practice. And there's a big game coming up in July.

Ivan: So what does that have to do with us?

Mikhail: You may not believe this, but they're having an election right now to see who gets to play in what they call the All-Star Game.

Ivan (taking his feet off his desk and leaning forward with rapt attention): An election? Throughout the country? Democrats vs. Republicans?

Mikhail: No, no, no. It has nothing to do with politics. At least not the politics we spy on. Trump doesn't have time to follow baseball. He's too busy playing golf. This election is very different but something which is very familiar to us.

Ivan: I want to hear more.

Mikhail: Well, for one thing people can vote many, many times. Like five times a day. Not only in Chicago, but everywhere. From our intelligence, we've discovered that the game has positions, and that people who pay attention to baseball have favorite teams. They want the players from their teams to play in this game in July.

Ivan: I've heard of this term, 'All Star.' Like Michael Jordan or LeBron James. But you say the voters want players from their teams, and they don't vote for the very best players?

Mikhail: Basically that's the case. I know it sounds crazy, yet somehow the best players usually get elected anyway. That's where we come in.

Ivan: You mean we can try to help inferior players get elected while the real all-stars watch? This sounds really interesting . . . and a lot of fun.

Mikhail: They do have a ballot, but the individual teams decide who gets on the ballot for each position, not unlike our very own elections here in Russia. I don't know much about this, but intelligence says that in the American League at a position called first base, a player named Chris Davis from Baltimore is on the ballot. His batting average is .161, which is very poor. Earlier this year he went 62 times without making contact with the ball. Well, maybe he made contact, but he never reached first base. We definitely should work to get him as many votes as possible. We can hack into the Baltimore market and cast a few thousand votes.

Ivan: Who should win the election for first base? Who is really the best player?

Mikhail: It could be close. Chicago has someone named Jose Abreu, a Cuban, and helping the Cubans should be a priority for us as well. They sure don't get any help from the U.S. Abreu is tied for the most RBIs - I'll explain later - in his league, but his batting average is just mediocre, only .250. The New York team, which has loads and loads of dollars, has a guy, Luke Voit, and Carlos Santana from Cleveland is doing well.

Ivan: Is Santana a Cuban?

Mikhail: No, he's a Dominican. Many of the players in baseball are Dominican. About 12 percent. Not bad for a country of less than 11 million. The U.S. has 330 million, but 30 percent of baseball players come from other countries.

Ivan: Hmmm. Maybe we Russians should start playing baseball. I hear those guys make a lot of money.

Mikhail: And they have a difficult time detecting drug use. Some of the balls they're hitting this season go much farther than a football [soccer] field, and some little guys are hitting them. It's something we might bring up with our sports federation.

Ivan: Are there other Cubans we can help?

Mikhail: Funny you ask. The Chicago team has another one, Yoan Moncada, who plays on the other side of the field from Abreu. He's young, good-looking, and he wears this white headband which goes great with the black stuff he rubs on his cheeks. He wasn't much good last year, but now he's improved. He's hit 12 home runs, balls that have gone over the fences, some way over the fences. But there's strong competition. Houston has a young player, Alex Bregman, who gets a lot of publicity because he's good and he plays for one of the best teams. Same with Rafael Devers of Boston, which won last year's championship.

Ivan: I can start creating thousands of fake e-mail addresses and use them five times a day to vote for Moncada. We can use Facebook posts to send rumors of drug use about Bregman and Devers. Same with Twitter. This is what we do. I can get Moncada thousands more votes as early as this afternoon.

Mikhail: Yes, all good ideas. But listen. Moncada only needs to be in the top three vote-getters. This is just a primary like Iowa or New Hampshire, places where we've always done nicely. The top three then face off for a final vote, and, who knows, the rules might say you can vote as often as you like. We have until June 21 before the primary closes.

Ivan: Anyone else we should help?

Mikhail: As long as we're talking about Chicago, we have another one. By the way, the team is called the White Sox. There's another team in the city, the Cubs. But their fans probably already have figured out ways to stuff the ballot box. The White Sox have a talented player who stands between Moncada and Abreu. They call him a shortstop. His name is Tim Anderson. But getting him elected will be a huge challenge.

Ivan: How so?

Mikhail: Outside of Chicago, people don't like him. He's does this thing after hitting one of those long balls. He throws his bat or sometimes just stands there watching the ball.

Ivan: What's he supposed to do? Is breaking any rules?

Mikhail: Not that our intelligence can detect. The other players just don't like it. You're not supposed to brag when you are successful. You have to act like it happens every day. Lots of Americans don't like their president boasting and bragging all the time about what he says are his accomplishments. I guess the same rules apply to baseball. Who knows? Americans are weird.

Ivan: So what about Anderson? Is he any good?

Mikhail: Yes, but not as good as another Dominican, Adalberto Mondesi, who plays for Kansas City. He's young and talented and having a great year. But he may need our help also because no one pays any attention to Kansas City. They're pretty awful.

Then there's Francisco Lindor who missed much of the early season with an injury, but he's come on strong recently. Znd Minnesota has a shortstop Jorge Polanco. His batting average is .333, second best in the league.

Anderson is right behind, but unless he learns to catch the ball when he's out at shortstop, he'll make 25 or 30 errors this season. That's not good.

Ivan: Okay, we'll cast thousands of votes for Anderson, but why wouldn't the people in Chicago just vote for the best player?

Mikhail: I already told you. It's all about having players from your favorite team play in this game. Teams like the White Sox tell people to vote for their players. They don't say, Vote for the best player, they say, Vote for our player.

Ivan: I don't get it. The strategy doesn't seem to work if, like you say, the best players usually get elected anyway.

Mikhail: That is strange. You think it's fixed?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:04 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Not Upset At All

Horse racing nearly always exists in circular logic, no pun there to be pardoned.

We love the stars, sometimes even to destination viewing. Curlin, Rachel Alexandra, Goldikova, California Chrome, Gio Ponti, Zenyatta, I guess. American Pharoah was a million-lumens time exposure and we felt damn lucky he saw it through all the way to the Breeders' Cup Classic before retiring at three. Seabiscuit and then Secretariat soothed their times and were the toasts of the globe.

But a consistent winner, or dominator, is also the wolf, stifling betting scenarios through tote favoritism.

Sorry, we don't got dat dis year. Despite all of those people who should know better than to project their champagne wishes and caviar dreams on a horse we like - like - like War of Will. Who I thought was going to be just as tired yesterday as he was.

Sir Winston, a son of Awesome Again out of the Afleet Alex - I loved that horse - mare Le Gran Bailadora, "upset" the 151st Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

I hate labels, which is how they called it an upset over Kentucky Derby mugging victim and Preakness winner War of Will, second favorite at 5-2, and race favorite Tacitus (9-5), who finished second after running probably some coupla hundred yards more while wide much of the time. Winston 10-1 and me hitting the life jacket exacta - $48 on the $1 dollar exacta $20 wagered - I was not upset at all.

Sir Winston paid $22.40, $8.80 and $6.00 in one of the very few lucratives of the day.

Joevia, the one-horse, inheriting the lead after the four Tax didn't seem to want it, set the pace much of the way with quickish opening splits of 23-and-four and 48-and-three.

Owner Terry Farmer, a Kentucky-based owner and Bluegrass State hierarchy denizen, having been told at least a few times he looks like the prime minister, Sir' was named after Winston Churchill. In the depression of the week with what we saw from stinky orange lard load, I was waiting for one of those birdie snipes complaining about how the horse who won in New York wasn't named after an American.

The racing media is no different than much of the other, and it seems to want to keep things in a certain comfortable order. Mike Watchmaker, the Daily Racing Form's national handicapper, went nine dimensions of backhanded non-diss on Sir Winston. "He wasn't impossible on paper."

Yes, the rail, as at Pimlico's Preakness, was the halo of success. All week. Big Sandy, as it always does, generally paid no good to stone closers, so racing Saturday required honest, all-race effort.

Joel Rosario and 'Winston seemed to enjoy the day, sitting mid- to back-pack, keeping in mind how long those one-and-a-half miles can be. Stewart Elliott ruined Smarty Jones in the fastest middle quarters of all time, after spending Belmont week hitting the late night talk shows.

Tacitus and Jose Ortiz were just ahead of him, but he was in the 3-4 lane, while 'Winston, like my Galaxy 5000 turntable, tracked precisely on the rail groove. He even pulled a Phil Georgeff and spun out of the turn like a sling shot. Around they went, subtle changes and moves that make racing so exciting, War of Will pumped it up at the top of the turn, which he had to do, but the needle went E and he finished ninth, second to last. Tacitus appeared to be the best horse on the day, for all 12 furlongs, but he may have run 13.

Digress, Bourbon War creeped back up to 10-1 off a 12-1 morning line and once as low as 6-1, which was way too low. Former jockey and horse riding track interviewer Donna Brothers said the Belmont Stakes is run two-thirds on the turns, as sweeping as those turns are.

I don't know if I liked Sir Winston or his 10-1 nose. He hadn't won a race of any import, but he was keeping good company, including Tacitus. He fit my giraffe angle, running a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the Peter Pan right here at Belmont, after middling 80s and a clunk 65 in the Blue Grass Stakes just before. But it seemed the jockey change from Julien Leparoux, a nice underachiever who's better on turf, to wily Rosario paid off. 'Winston trainer Mark Casse also trains War of Will.

Many people worry about the Eclipse Awards that crown division "champions." I prefer the running. But Derby delinquent Maximum Security's owners, Gary and Mary West, got a lot of comebackin' to do. Duck the Preakness is one thing, but get the horse back on the track.

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Belmont Stakes Day is better than it used to be, Triple Crown or no. But while the dais denizens Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey called it one of the greatest racing days of the year, besides the Breeders' Cup, or even one of the greatest racing cards of all time, except for the Breeders' Cup, further scrutiny is required.

It was good, but many of the fields were short with enough scratches to pique curious. Payouts weren't enough for a ham-and-cheese at a good Manhattan deli.

The Metropolitan Handicap, known now as the Met Mile, was touted as the best race ever. Fine, but the ones who were bums, in my mind, ran to their bumdom. The names were there, McKinzie, Thunder Snow, (ugh) Firenze Fire, Pavel. But worst-kept-secret wiseguy Mitole, an enjoyable and versatile horse who made this his seventh straight win, stretched to that mile and will never pay $9 again. I'll never feel guilty about cashing a ticket, but this one seemed easy pickings.

Belmont's sandy loam nearly started on fire in The Acorn, the Grade I $700,000 dirt mile for fillies. Guarana, an apple of Ghostzapper's eye - have you heard this before? - ran as eyepopping fast as the 'Zap, with a twist.

Serengeti Empress, winner of the Kentucky Oaks, did the atomic in blasting to go and setting early splits of 21-and-four and 43-and-four, just for starters. Jose Ortiz, jabbing with brother Irad, stayed with that pace, picked up Serengeti's jacks and continued with Guarana, winning by six and setting a new race record of 1:33.58. It was marvelous to watch. She stayed all through the wire just like her old man.

I'm not saying this is or will be a great season. We'll know something after the races are run.

As for me, it's hunkering down to handicapping.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:23 PM | Permalink

June 8, 2019

The Weekend Desk Report

"When people think of beach volleyball, Chicago typically doesn't come to mind. California and the East Coast usually are associated with volleyball in the sand," the Sun-Times reports.

I dunno, when I think of beach volleyball I think of North Avenue Beach. Right? And then I think of a few dumb movie scenes, like the homoerotic and strangely costumed one from Top Gun, or an actual dumb movie like Side Out, starring C. Thomas Howell, Peter Horton and Courtney Thorne-Smith (natch). Then I think about how much I dislike female volleyball outfits on several levels. I don't ever think about the East Coast. I do think about California - after all that.

(If I ran a news organization, I'd ban leads that presuppose what people typically think, or express a stereotype about something - say, people who have tattoos or ride motorcycles or shoot pool being ruffians, or comics being for kids, I mean, we could recite them all - and then explain how in reality that thing is different. First, it's not original. Second, don't tell readers how they or others typically think.)

"But over the last three decades, beach volleyball has become increasingly popular among Chicagoans. And our scene has impressed even the snobbiest Californians."

Doubtful.

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Why not just say it? "When it comes to beach volleyball, Chicago isn't exactly Huntington Beach (or whatever), but North Avenue Beach is better than nothing."

Bobby Rush Begrudgingly Squeezes Out Faux Apology
"He stopped by the Sun-Times editorial board to air his concerns about how he is being portrayed in the media in light of his comments," the Sun-Times's Mary Mitchell writes in a Rush-friendly column.

"When I asked him if he thought he should apologize personally to Lightfoot, he blamed 'hyperbole' and 'campaign rhetoric' for his unfortunate remarks."

Not good enough. Rush clearly doesn't get it. That's fine. Move on - but don't give him a free pass. It's up to him to earn back any smidgen of goodwill he may have left and not simply be granted it by a friendly columnist. Besides that, he's overstayed his welcome and every day he remains in Congress is a day he does a disservice to the people he nominally represents.

The Unsinkable Dorothy Cook
"Since that last [mayoral] election, Brown has changed her name to Dorothy Brown Cook, taking the name of her husband, Benton Cook III, who also has been implicated in the [yearslong federal] probe [of her office]," the Sun-Times's Mark Brown writes. "The couple married in 2009."

That is one tricky rebranding.

Fencik On Fox
"What I find refreshing - and I liked John Fox - but John Fox didn't treat fans with respect," Fencik said. "And I'm a fan, and I'm a season ticket holder. And it was kind of like this, hey, you don't deserve to know, or I'm not going to give you a lot of information."

True, but just to add: Fox's disrespect of the fans came via his disrespect of the Chicago media - who, for the most part, just sat back and took it.

Chicago Values
"It was beyond exasperating that Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, was fined a feeble $2,000 for exerting 'improper influence' to help win a $5.5 million taxpayer subsidy for a client of his private law firm," the Better Government Association's Marie Dillon writes for the Tribune, her former employer.

You know what was worse? Learning that the Chicago Board of Ethics had thrown the book at him. That $2,000, announced May 1, was the maximum penalty the board could levy.

I'll wait while you go running through your home screaming.

Back? OK . . .

"With that in mind, the Board of Ethics drafted dozens of proposed changes to the city's ethics laws and sent them last week to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and all 50 aldermen.

"The headliner: Ethics scofflaws could now draw a fine of up to $20,000 - or higher if the board could put a price tag on the financial benefit gained from the violation.

"The board noted that Chicago's fines are 'among the lowest of its big city peers.' New York can impose fines of $25,000, and Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco can levy up to three times the financial benefit."

Click through for the rest. Then go get a beer.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Bloodshot's 25th Summer
Acts will be out en force.

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State Police Hides Secret Spying Program from Illinoisans
The Arab American Action Network went to court Friday to force release of records.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #255: The Craig Kimbrel Signing Is So Cub
Go get an elite player in push for World Series - but do so under an artificial budget imposed by Tom Ricketts that depended on a player unexpectedly getting waylaid by a divorce. Plus: Joe Sheehan Sucks; CarGo, We Go?; How Pedro Strop Is Like Cheap Trick; Freezing Cold Takes; The White Sox Could Have Easily Afforded Keuchel; The Chicago Media Got The Tim Anderson Imbroglio Exactly Wrong; Bears B.S.; The Raptors Could Actually Win This Thing; and The Blues Could Actually Win This Thing.

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Toronto's Multicultural Raptors: Teamwork And Individualism
Raptor Morality in a superior city.

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Thanks To The Raptors, Ontario Is Awash In Free McDonald's Fries.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

The 1962 Auto Show at The Original McCormick Place. from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Listening to Records 📻 (May 2017)

A post shared by Madison Borth (@madisonborthcollages) on

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Groucho in Chicago.

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Weekend BeachBook

Wicker Park Was The Best Neighborhood In The World Until Trend-Seeking Yuppie Scum, Sleazebag Developers And City Hall - Along With Its Adjacent Aldermen - Ruined It For All The Worst Reasons.

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Americans Spend An Average Of $736 A Year Shopping Drunk.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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She's trying to spoon-feed some of you.

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The Weekend Desk McRibTipLine: Dead.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:46 AM | Permalink

State Police Hides Secret Spying Program from Illinoisans

The Arab American Action Network, a grassroots community organizing and social services institution based in Southwest Chicagoland, issued a call Thursday for the Illinois State Police to turn over records about a secret surveillance initiative known as the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative.

AAAN filed a lawsuit to uncover these records in February; the ISP filed a response in state court to keep these records hidden from the public.

On Friday, the AAAN appeared for the first time in court, to once again demand that the ISP turn over its records. The SAR Initiative infringes on the civil rights of Illinoisans, especially members of the Arab and Muslim community whose everyday activities are often deemed "suspicious."

On December 21, 2017, the AAAN requested records from the ISP, including blank copies of forms and reports used to surveil Illinois residents; statistical records tracking the prevalence of Suspicious Activity Reports; and training materials regarding Suspicious Activity Reporting practices. The ISP failed to provide these records, providing only certificates of training and a single statistic.

"The secret spying program operated by the Illinois State Police threatens the free speech and privacy rights of all Chicagoans, and we believe specifically targets members of the Arab and Muslim communities," said Muhammad Sankari, lead organizer for the AAAN. "Nobody should be afraid to meet friends in public, express views on social media, or organize politically. We call on the Illinois State Police to end their policy of secrecy and to stop hiding basic information about their publicly funded activities."

"From the 1969 police murder of Fred Hampton to recent police infiltrations of racial and social justice organizations, including Movement for Black Lives groups and Occupy Chicago, police in Illinois have criminalized the basic civil right of political activity," said Wally Hilke, an attorney with Community Activism Law Alliance representing AAAN. "This lawsuit demands that the unaccountable, secret surveillance program run by the Illinois State Police be subjected to public scrutiny."

"Our first goal is for the Illinois State Police to put their program in the light of day, so the public can evaluate it," said Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the AAAN. "Ultimately, we're confident that the public will demand an end to this public spying program, which criminalizes residents based on their race, their national origin, the language they speak, and their political beliefs."

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See also:

* Sun-Times: Chicago-Based Arab American Group Calls State Police Surveillance 'Discriminatory.'

* ACLU: Where's The Suspicion In Government's "Suspicious Activity" Reports?

* The Nation: Mass Surveillance Begins At The Local Level. So Does The Resistance To It.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

June 7, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #255: The Craig Kimbrel Signing Is So Cub

Go get an elite player in push for World Series - but do so under an artificial budget imposed by Tom Ricketts that depended on a player unexpectedly getting waylaid by a divorce. Plus: Joe Sheehan Sucks; CarGo, We Go?; How Pedro Strop Is Like Cheap Trick; Freezing Cold Takes; The White Sox Could Have Easily Afforded Keuchel; The Chicago Media Got The Tim Anderson Imbroglio Exactly Wrong; Bears B.S.; The Raptors Could Actually Win This Thing; and The Blues Could Actually Win This Thing.


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SHOW NOTES

* 255. (Ha ha, perfect.)

1:13: The Craig Kimbrel Signing Is So Cub.

* Go get an elite player in push for World Series - but do so under artificial budget imposed by Tom Ricketts.

* Keg Kimbrel.

* Tribune: 8 Things To Know About Craig Kimbrel, Including The Origin Of His 'Pterodactylian' Pitching Stance.

* Coffman demonstrates:

coffmankimbrel2.jpg

* Karate Kimbrel.

* Rhodes: "The only thing wrong with this signing is that they didn't do it sooner."

9:03 White Sox Could Have Easily Afforded Keuchel.

* C'mon, Hahn!

10:03: Ownership Did Not "Step Up."

13:10: No Mo Zo.

16:53: Cubs Closing Carousel.

22:23: Joe Sheehan Sucks.

* Rhodes: I'd show you his tweets but I'm blocked for no good reason other than I pointed out an inaccuracy or diplomatically disagreed with him on something. So I can only show you the other side of the conversation:

29:38: How Cubs Pitching Prospect Adbert Alzolay Finally Found Consistency.

33:19: CarGo, We Go?

38:12: Validating Kimbrel.

* Rays and Twins were in on him.

39:55: Freezing Cold Takes.

* Old Takes Exposed.

* How too much of sportswriting - and political reporting - works.

* Morrissey: With Home Run Totals Up Again, Should We Be Talking About PEDs Anew? (Rhodes and Coffman: No.)

45:10: Theo's Summertime Moves.

* Coffman: Jose Quintana can't get over the hump to give you sex.

* Rhodes: The Q Man. Giggity.

* MLBTradeRumors: "Epstein has been active on the trade market throughout his Chicago tenure, making at least one deadline acquisition each season dating back to 2015: Dan Haren (2015), Aroldis Chapman & Mike Montgomery (2016), Jose Quintana, Alex Avila & Justin Wilson (2017), Cole Hamels, Brandon Kintzler & Jesse Chavez (2018). There aren't many misses in this group either, as most of these acquisitions have found ways to contribute (nor are there many position players).

"This year, of course, they won't have the August 31 deadline to take advantage of as they have in every season since emerging as surprise contenders in 2015: Austin Jackson & Fernando Rodney (2015), Joe Smith (2016), Leonys Martin (2017) and Daniel Murphy (2018)."

49:20: How Pedro Strop Is Like Cheap Trick.

51:15: The Raptors Could Actually Win This Thing.

* Toronto's Multicultural Raptors: Teamwork And Individualism.

* Toronto population: 2.93 million.

* Greater Toronto: 5.9 million.

* Toronto is the fourth-largest city in North America, having passed Chicago in 2013.

* Toronto is Charles Barkley's favorite city.

* In a better world, Steve Kerr would coach the Bulls and Adam Silver would commission every sports league.

1:00:40: The Blues Could Actually Win This Thing.

* Judgement calls.

1:04:06 Bears B.S.

* Trubisky is AWESOME; Augusta Silence!; Cordarelle Patterson Is Passing!

1:05:23: Chicago Media Got The Tim Anderson Imbroglio Exactly Wrong.

* Shame on Jason Benetti, Steve Stone, Dan Bernstein, Connor McKnight and all the rest of 'em! Stow your hometown prisms and act like professionals.

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STOPPAGE: 16:31

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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 2:26 PM | Permalink

Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire

According to Arizton's recent research report, the global functional chewing gum market is expected to reach revenues of around $10 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of approximately 4.5% during 2018−2024.

Key Highlights Offered In The Report:

* Nicotine chewing gums constitute the largest segment for functional chewing gums and is projected to grow at an absolute rate of 28.5% during the forecast period.

* APAC is expected to be the fastest growing market, with China contributing more than 50% share in the region.

* Online sales of chewing gums are likely to grow rapidly during the forecast period.

* Increasing automation of the confectionery manufacturing market is likely to affect gum manufacturing. For example, Fertin Pharma, a Denmark-based gum manufacturer, has been developing robotic solutions for manual gum production.

* The demand for chewing gums with innovative functionalities, such as after-party or hangover-relieving, eyesight-protecting, focus-elevating properties, is rapidly growing in the market.

The report includes a detailed market segmentation by product type, distribution and geography.

* In 2018, nicotine gums were the largest segment, holding market share of around 32%, with the APAC region as the largest user base. This segment is expected to observe the highest incremental growth of over $700 million during the forecast period.

* The online channel is expected to be the fastest-growing distribution channel, growing at a CAGR of over 20% during the forecast period.

* With increasing consumer consciousness about appearances in social gatherings, the demand for breath-freshening and teeth-whitening oral care products has grown rapidly in recent years. Studies also suggest that chewing gums can provide several benefits, including pain relief and stave off hunger pangs. They also help to induce weight loss.

Key Drivers And Trends Fueling Growth:

* Growing popularity of smoking-cessation therapy.

* Rising demand for slimming chewing gum and sugarless gum.

* Beneficial effects on reducing anxiety and increasing alertness.

Functional Chewing Gum Market - Geography

APAC is the largest market for functional chewing gum, accounting for over 40% share of the global functional chewing gum market in 2018. The rising number of diabetic patients is expected to drive the market for sugarless functional chewing gum in APAC.

Major Vendors:

* Mars Incorporated

* MONDELĒZ International Inc.

* Perfetti Van Melle

* Lotte

* The Hershey's Company

Other vendors include Cloetta, Khloros Innovation, Lemon Pharma, Functional gums S.R.L, Ezaki Glico, Masterfoodah, Per Os Biosciences LLC, Meiji Holdings, Project 7, SmartGum LLC, Wugum, Fazer, Ragolds, Think Gum, Retrobrands USA LLC, Omega Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline, Cipla, and Fertin Pharma.

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See also:

* Ars Technica: Archaeologists Find DNA In A 10,000-Year-Old Piece Of Chewing Gum.

* The Journal: Ever Stick Chewing Gum Under Your Seat?

* Golf Gum™ Combines The Cognitive Benefits Of Chewing Gum With The Physical Benefits Of Caffeine - An Energy Breakthrough Backed By Science.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

Toronto's Multicultural Raptors: Teamwork And Individualism

The Toronto Raptors have succeeded in establishing themselves as a major cultural and economic player in both the city of Toronto and beyond, with several offshoots of the outdoor fan zone Jurassic Park popping up in the suburbs and across Canada. The Raptors have cemented themselves into the fabric and psyche of the city, with Raptors gear flying off the shelves.

The Raptors have also succeeded in telling their story from the point of view of individuality and hard work. These are themes I wrote about 15 years ago in my book, Who Da Man?: Black Masculinities and Sporting Cultures, which was based on what is probably the only scholarly article written about the Toronto Raptors, "Who Got Next? Raptor Morality and Black Public Masculinity in Canada."

In Who Da Man?, I tried to understand sports outside of its own narrative. That means that I didn't want to look solely at the fan's perspective on things; instead I looked at what sports, and the Raptors, meant from a sociological, or let's say deeper, point of view.

whodaman.jpg

I argued that the arrival of the Raptors in the late 1990s in a hockey town constituted an attempt to construct an American version of Black masculinity and individuality, which I called Raptor Morality, in Canada. Raptor Morality refers to a mentality that puts forth a "determined Black male who is fiercely individualistic and committed to a dream of 'making it' through the brutal channels of professional sport."

To make my argument, I looked at the Raptors from a deeper lens than the one the media usually takes, which is to focus solely on the game. In doing so, I consulted the work of several Black writers, most of whom had nothing to do with sports, including people like African-American novelist and essayist James Baldwin and Canadian writer and poet Dionne Brand. These writers gave me a chance to see Black life beyond basketball.

I teach the text in my fourth year class on Sport, Race and Popular Culture. The feedback from my students, most of whom wear Raptors gear and hail from municipalities like Brampton and Scarborough, is that they appreciate the fact that you can examine the Raptors, and sport, from a different (not necessarily better) lens than the one the media takes, which only focuses on the sport itself or the positive effects of the sport on the city.

Multicultural Teamwork

To some extent, the Raptor Morality I wrote about still exists. Maybe it has to exist. Perhaps high-performance athletes have to be fiercely individualistic to deal with such brutal realities as making it through the channels of high performance sport, something the classic documentary Hoop Dreams showed us years ago.

But the morality on display in 2019 is to the Raptors' credit. For example, the Raptors are an example of both individualism and a kind of multicultural teamwork both on and off the court.

For one, not only have the Raptors succeeded in showcasing the incredible diversity of Toronto, that diversity (while not perfect) has now become a draw for many African-American NBA players. It's no wonder Charles Barkley called Toronto "my favorite city."

The main players in the Raptors' story in 2019 are not only a multicultural tour de force but also represent certain ethics beyond individualism. Masai Ujiri, the team president, is a Nigerian-Canadian who runs a charity called Giants of Africa and has been central in establishing a presence for the NBA there. The level of Ujiri's charitable activity is unusual and laudable for someone in his position.

raptors1.jpgPascal Siakam soars to the hoop over Andre Iguaodala during Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Toronto/Gregory Shames, The Canadian Press

So it's no accident that two of his best players are from Africa. Serge Ibaka is from the Congo - and part Spanish. Pascal Siakam is from Cameroon. Ujiri personally scouted Siakam years ago at a Basketball Without Borders camp. Siakam's rags-to-riches story, and his level of dedication to Cameroon and Africa more broadly, is also commendable. It is also, understandably, one of the main storylines of this postseason, and exemplifies the new Raptor Morality.

Another multicultural angle is represented by superfan Nav Bhatia, a Sikh car dealership owner from Mississauga who has attended every home game in the Raptors' 24-year history. If that's not enough of an accomplishment, Bhatia has launched the Nav Bhatia Superfan Foundation to give back to the community through basketball. In addition, he has recently become a spokesman for racial tolerance, given the recent racist abuse he received in Milwaukee during the Eastern Conference Finals and his highly commendable decision to confront his abuser with a gesture of peace.

Finally, there is Drake: ambassador for the Raptors and, in the eyes of many, the city. Drake has used his Afro-Jewish heritage to signify his belief that Toronto is wonderfully unique and superior to American cities. To this end, Drake's mission - borne out in the recent documentary The Carter Effect - has been to represent his city.

All told, this is the story of Raptor Morality in 2019, almost 25 years after the team first began playing. It's a truly sentimental time for fans of the team. Many of the team's icons have embodied hard work and beating the odds, but also a dedication to greater causes than basketball. As much as the on-court success, it's translated into a groundswell of civic pride previously unseen. It is a marvel to watch.

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See also:

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Gamal Abdel-Shehid is an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

June 6, 2019

Bloodshot's 25th Anniversary Summer Live Schedule

This year is our 25th and, in celebration, our acts will be out en force this summer.

* Square Roots Festival will have a special Bloodshot Records stage on July 13, including performances from the Mekons (supporting their new album Deserted), Murder By Death (supporting their new album The Other Shore), the Vandoliers (supporting their new album Forever), and surprise guests. The Mekons just premiered a new video:


* The great Fitzgerald's American Music Festival will be hosting another satellite 25th anniversary celebration with performances from Robbie Fulks, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, the Waco Brothers, and former label artist Alejandro Escovedo, July 3 - 6. (tickets/info).

* Ruby Boots will be performing her first Chicago street festival at this year's Ribfest on June 16th. The buzz around her recent release Don't Talk About It gained her a recent Stagecoach performance and tons of acclaim.

A taste . . .

The Mekons - Deserted

mekonsdeserted.jpg

Tour Dates.

"Lawrence of California."

Emboldened by a sold-out tour and a surge of interest in the States after the release of the documentary Revenge of the Mekons, the Mekons retreated to the fringes of Joshua Tree National Park and popular culture to record their new album Deserted.

The long-running, genre-hopping, impossible-to-kill British folk-punk collective summoned the forces of magic, fear, and superstition for an album of shifting sand Sturm und Drang. It is at once a distorted howl into the emptiness of space, as well as a quiet submission to the shimmering allure of a mirage. The heat and endless horizon can lead to madness or clarity, and while there is relief when the sun goes down, you know the deep chill is not far off.

Jon Langford said of the album's origin:

"The idea was to go to a brand new studio our bassist the Baron had set up just outside Joshua Tree in Yucca Valley, CA and see what happened - we were in the middle of a hectic tour and had been attempting to write material first by e-mail and then in the van . . .

"Most of what we wrote was abandoned after arriving at the Los Gatos compound. The desert is not unlike the ocean (just drier) and equally inspirational to old pirate punk rockers. The harshness of the environment, the bold and embattled plants and creatures that live there are metaphorical for us perhaps. Have you seen the desert after the rain?

"There are deserts everywhere. We took time to ponder the vastness and the weirdness of the desert. Going to the country to get your head together is a ripe old rock cliché. We went to the desert to have our brains scoured . . . We went from one desert to another. A more hopeful place where we arm ourselves with spikes and endure."

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Murder By Death - The Other Shore

Murder By Death - The Other Shore - Album Cover Art_1.JPG

Tour Dates.

Alas.

Murder By Death's eighth full-length album, The Other Shore, is a space-Western about a ravaged Earth, its fleeing populace, and a relationship in jeopardy. It's an epic journey rocketing toward the unknown - in the universe, within the characters represented through 11 songs, and through the band's evolving sound. But basically, the quest poses the ultimatum: Stick with what you have or risk it all to find something new.

Recorded at La La Land in Louisville by Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, White Reaper, Ray LaMontagne, Basia Bulat) and Anne Gauthier, The Other Shore sonically captures the mood of two lovers choosing separate paths, one who stays on Earth and one who leaves it.

As trailblazers of the early 2000s indie-Americana style, the Louisville, KY-based quintet finds a way of taking tried & true rock-and-roll and knocking it slightly off axis, into tottering revolutions of something eerie, emotional, immediate, lush, and uniquely theirs. As the album and voyage progress, the atmosphere transitions from earthy to cosmic, sober to festive - from folksy Midwestern indie rock ("Stone") and piano-laden devil-on-one-shoulder/angel-on-the-other Leonard Cohen-style balladry ("Only Time"), to buoyant new wave recalling The Cure ("Bloom") and celebratory jangly singalongs ("I Have Arrived").

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Sarah Shook & the Disarmers - Years

BS259_Years_cover_1800_1.jpg

Tour Dates.

"Good As Gold."

Sarah is self-defined as a vegan, bisexual, atheist mom in a country band from the South. She was home-schooled and raised in a strict, religious family that didn't allow her to listen to any sort of secular music. Years is about overcoming life challenges and getting people to listen and understand those who are different than themselves.

This is the follow-up to the band's debut album Sidelong, which was released in 2017 to enthusiastic responses from The Wall Street Journal, She Shreds, KEXP, and others. Years has received recent attention from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Noisey, Rolling Stone Country, Slant, QNotes, News & Observer, Paste, WellRed Comedy Podcast, WUNC Morning Edition, and elsewhere.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:50 AM | Permalink

63 Up: Real Reality TV

Fifty-six years after ITV first aired its landmark 7 Up documentary, 12 of the 14 men and women first seen as seven-year-old children in 1964 have returned to share the story of their lives in one of the most influential experimental television documentaries.

63 Up is the ninth installment in a series originally designed as a one-off special made by Granada as part of ITV's World in Action strand. The original was based on the famous Jesuit motto: "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man."

Using interviews and footage of the seven-year-olds at play together, the program explored issues of class and aspiration. The 14 children were selected from different backgrounds and talked on camera about their ambitions, feelings, values and experiences. Among the production team was a young researcher, Michael Apted.

7Up.jpgAt seven/ITV

When Granada decided to revisit the children seven years later - with Apted now in the director's chair - a franchise was born. Apted and the crew, many of whom have worked on all episodes, have returned every seven years to document the lives of the contributors. Over the decades, viewers around the world have followed them through education, work, relationships, children and grandchildren - and now many are planning their retirement.

More than just documenting the life course of 14 individuals, the program has offered a lens through which we have been able to see social and cultural change at work - from the micro-level of participants' careers, marriages, divorces, parenting and illnesses to broader social themes of employment, poverty and politics. Its blend of personal and political has been emulated in many shows since it began, but no other show has allowed us to see the way the two intersect throughout the duration of an individual's life.

63 Up keeps to that formula. In the first part (of three), cabbie Tony spoke of the tensions between Uber and black cab drivers and expressed his regrets over voting Leave - yet also shared some of the personal struggles he and his family have gone through, including him and wife Debbie raising one of their granddaughters.

The same is true of former farmer's son Nick, who left Yorkshire to study at Oxford - as a contemporary of Theresa May. An academic now based in the US, he shared his take on Trump ("Oh ... gosh") while also speaking of the treatment he is undergoing for throat cancer and welling up recalling the birth of his son.

Although the participants were divided on whether they believed that their course in life was established at seven, it is clear to see that class division and problems with social mobility have affected them somewhat - and they particularly see this as a concern for their children and grandchildren. Sue laments that her generation "had wonderful support from the council. If your parents had a council house, you got a council house . . . now council housing is so hard to get." Peter, meanwhile, worries that his children's generation will be worse off than his own.

21up.jpgAt 21.

There are, of course, limitations with the sample of participants: all are English, only four were women, and only one from a BAME background. In 63 Up, the discrepancies are made more apparent by the absence of one of the previous female participants, Suzy, and the death of another, Lynn (whose family has contributed to this installment). While this suggests the extent to which times have changed since 1964, Apted has said the lack of diversity - especially in relation to gender - is one of his main regrets.

Landmark Television

The Up series has a long legacy. It has spawned multiple versions around the world and a second UK series, 7 Up New Generation, which follows children who turned seven in 2000. Up has also inspired several similar series' that follow individuals as they age, including Channel 4's Citizen 2000 and the BBC's Child of Our Time.

The show's influence can be seen across a wide range of factual broadcasting. In 1964, seeing "ordinary" people sharing details of their lives on TV was still a curiosity - and the Sun and the Guardian have both referred to 7 Up as "the first reality show."

The Guardian goes further, describing it as a "documentary marvel" that "makes all other reality TV look trivial," while the Telegraph says it is "a reminder than reality TV can be a noble enterprise."

Fame And Mixed Fortunes

While not exactly becoming household names over the show's 55 years, the participants have become like family to the show's devotees - you want to know what has happened in the often troubled life of Neil and you mourn the death of Lynn (who died in 2013 after a short illness and is given a tribute in the current series). In a clip repeated from 42 Up, academic Nick jokes: "I would like to be more famous for science than for this program, but unfortunately, Michael, it's not going to happen."

neil7.jpgNeil at seven.

Of all the participants in the series, Neil has the most memorable story with the most dramatic (and therefore most TV-friendly) journey. From the bubbly seven-year-old who declared his ambition to be an astronaut, to the man struggling with mental health problems, homelessness and addiction in his 20s, to being given a home by fellow participant Bruce and then becoming a lay minister in his church and Liberal Democrat campaigner in his 40s and 50s.

neil63.jpgNeil at 63.

It is Neil's story that, perhaps, has the most resonance today in the light of the debate over negative press for its duty of care towards participants in the Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island. He has said he has no regrets about taking part - and this is something echoed by many of his contemporaries, with Sue claiming "it's a lifelong achievement to be part of this program."

Much of the press surrounding the show this year has raised the inevitable question of its future. Contributors have acknowledged they are not sure what will happen, and that they will only keep making shows if they involve Apted and the rest of the crew they have built a decades-long relationship with. With Britain's Got Talent having been won by an 89-year-old earlier this week, don't bet against the possibility of 70 Up.

Ruth Deller is a reader and principal lecturer in media and communication at Sheffield Hallam University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"At least one car of a CTA Green Line train derailed Thursday morning, at the 47th Street 'L' station in the Bronzeville neighborhood," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"CTA spokesman Steve Mayberry said the southbound train derailed near 47th Street around 11:05 a.m.

"The Chicago Fire Department said seven people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The CTA, as of 1 p.m., said it may take up to six hours before service is fully restored. For now, passengers are being bused between Roosevelt Road to 55th Street."

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Seems like a good time to re-up this one, from our very own Scott "The Commissioner" Gordon: Off The Rails: A Recent History Of CTA Screw-Ups.

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Cubs Get Kimbrel
Me and Jim "Coach" Coffman will have all the hot takes - and a coupla cold ones - tomorrow on The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour.

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Rahm's New Job

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Nature Sucks
"A plant that can cause second-degree burns is growing near the Chicago River bridge," WGN-TV reports.

Stay away from the wild parsnip, folks.

"A Vermont woman who received the equivalent of second-degree chemical burns to her legs after falling into a wild parsnip plant is warning others about the dangers of the seemingly harmless herbage," Fox News (I know) reported last year.

Click through and check out the graphic images, gross.

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Chocolate Thunder
"A suburban Chicago cancer patient who ordered a 42-pound (19-kilogram) package of THC-infused chocolates from a California dispensary to self-medicate has been sentenced to four years in prison," AP reports.

"Thomas J. Franzen of Montgomery pleaded guilty in Kane County Circuit Court to possession of more than 5,000 grams (176 ounces) of cannabis, a felony that carried a prison term of from probation to 15 years."

Franzen has Stage 4 cancer, according to his lawyer.

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Allies Invade France

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New on the Beachwood . . .

63 Up: Real Reality TV
"More than just documenting the life course of 14 individuals, the program has offered a lens through which we have been able to see social and cultural change at work - from the micro-level of participants' careers, marriages, divorces, parenting and illnesses to broader social themes of employment, poverty and politics. Its blend of personal and political has been emulated in many shows since it began, but no other show has allowed us to see the way the two intersect throughout the duration of an individual's life."

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Trump Screws Farmers
"Ag producer sentiment dropped to its lowest level since October 2016, erasing all improvements recorded following the November 2016 election."

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The Ex-Cub Factor
Darwin Barney, owner? It could happen!

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Former SAIC President To Pen Memoir About Years As Bank Of America Chairman
Not fond of any banker, but what a life Walter Massey has led.

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Illinois Camp For Young Burn Survivors
"Camp 'I Am Me' is a truly unique camp that allows young children who have been burned by scalding water, chemicals, fire, or electricity to be in a judgement-free environment with others who have gone through similar experiences."

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ChicagoReddit

Rahm Emanuel Is Going to Wall Street from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Reign at Cobra Lounge.

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BeachBook

Joe Biden's Atrocious Record Finally Coming To Light Now That The Obama Halo Is Fading.

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EPA Chief Blames Media For Reporting On Climate Change.

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Confirmed: Lorne Michaels Is A Royal Dick.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Quite possibly the most absurd thing the New York Times has ever published, including its pre-Iraq War coverage.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Let her fucking cry.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

June 5, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Legislation that aimed to diversify corporate boards in Illinois passed during the final days of the General Assembly's spring legislative session, but was stripped of a key provision that would have mandated minority representation," the Tribune reports.

"The bill, H.B. 3394, would have required Illinois companies to have at least one woman, an African American and a Latino on their boards. But the version that passed the Senate dropped that requirement in favor of one mandating that publicly traded companies in Illinois report on their websites the demographics of their board and executive ranks as well as plans for promoting diversity in the workplace."

I'm pretty sure most publicly traded companies already do that. If not, you can almost always just look at the board yourself and at least make some determinations as to diversity. So a big nothingburger.

"It's a different bill, but I do believe the objectives of the original bill will be met," said Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, D-Westchester, who authored the bill.

Hardly. Look, I don't know if a legal requirement as to the makeup of corporate boards is the way to go, but don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining.

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"Data collected by the Tribune last month found that of the 30 most valuable companies according to market capitalization in Illinois, all but one had at least three women on their boards. Half had only one African American, and six - Walgreens, Kraft-Heinz, Mondelez, Arthur Gallagher, IDEX and TransUnion - had no African Americans."

Half of the boards had no Latinos at all, and the rest had only one Latino board member or declined to comment.

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"While this legislation moves us in the right direction and toward a commendable level of transparency, I am disappointed that the end result was significantly watered-down and has no regulatory teeth," Felicia Davis, president and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, told the Tribune. "Building diverse corporate boards, ones that truly reflect the population of our state, is no small undertaking. The understandable concern is that companies won't prioritize diversity on their boards if it is not required."

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Note: I slightly edited some of the Tribune passages for higher quality, including adding links - like to their own damn review last month.

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American Eyewear
"When so many industries got globalized in the 1980s, the American makers of eyeglasses got pummeled from two directions: The Italians were better at fashion, and the Chinese could copy just about any design and produce it cheaper than anybody. Hallowed names like Bausch & Lomb, American Optical and ArtCraft all hit the skids in the years that followed," Crain's reports.

"Today the surviving makers of eyewear in the U.S. can be counted on one hand. But the biggest of all, State Optical, is just five years old and based in Vernon Hills, where a partnership of four headed by CEO Scott Shapiro is churning out high-quality acetate frames in a 20,000-square-foot plant where 65 people are employed."

I did not know this. Or if I did, I forgot.

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But is it really okay for State Optical to say this?

"State Optical Co. is a first-of-its-kind brand of luxury American eyewear proudly being manufactured in Chicago, USA."

After all, they're based in Vernon Hills, and the last time I asked Alexa, Vernon Hills was not Chicago.

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"'The U.S. eyewear manufacturing industry may be "poised for a comeback,' in the view of one company owner," Invision reports.

"Charles Whitehill, owner of Shuron, says demand is increasing for his firm's offerings, according to an article published by Crain's Chicago Business.

"The comments were part of a profile on State Optical, which the publication says is the largest U.S. eyewear maker. Shuron, based in Greenville, SC, is the second-largest.

"We've got customers from Canada and Japan and all over coming to us to make American products for them, said Whitehill, who is 82. 'We can't keep up with the orders.'"

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It turns out State Optical has been a bit of a media darling in recent years. To wit:

* Observer: This 'Made in Chicago' Optical Brand Is Bringing Luxury To The Midwest.

* Chicago: Everything You Need For A Gourmet Picnic. (They're the sunglasses.)

* CNN Business: Chicago Factory's Rare Mission: Manufacture Eyewear In U.S.

So maybe not as much as it first appeared on Google, but in 2017, yes.

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This Just In

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First Carlin, Now The Dead

With no corrections as far as I can see. Hey Trib edit board, hold yourself accountable before preaching to everybody else. (See both the thread and the Cap Fax post.)

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ChicagoReddit

Volunteer stuff for elderly lady to do from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

Take it EZ.

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ChicagoTube

Vince "Lefty" Johnson's original "Night Train" / West Side Chicago Blues.

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BeachBook

"I Work In The Environmental Movement. I Don't Care If You Recycle."

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A Computer Engineer Had The Brilliant Idea Of Using Snapchat's Gender-Swapping Filter On Artworks.

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Student Punished After Putting High School Up For Sale On Craigslist.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Global capitalism is brutal. Our luxuries - and mere conveniences - are provided by the broken backs of other people we deem "less than" or merely ignore. Including children. Real trade agreements would fix this.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: On the regular.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 PM | Permalink

Illinois' Camp For Young Burn Survivors Provides Emotional Support, Week Of Fun To Those Affected By Injuries

From June 16 - 22, nearly 70 burn-injured children between the ages of eight and 16 will attend Camp "I Am Me" - Illinois' camp for young burn survivors.

The 29th annual week-long camp is hosted by the nonprofit Illinois Fire Safety Alliance at YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside, and features a wide array of camp activities as well as special activities that deal with the specific needs of burn survivors. Donations received from individuals, groups and businesses across Illinois allow for Camp "I Am Me" to be fully funded for the families, which would otherwise cost approximately $2,400 per camper.

firecamp0.jpg

"Camp 'I Am Me' is a truly unique camp that allows young children who have been burned by scalding water, chemicals, fire, or electricity to be in a judgement-free environment with others who have gone through similar experiences," says Philip Zaleski, executive director of the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance. "Through our work with hospital burn units, the State Fire Marshal's Office, and fire departments across the state we hope to reach all burn-injured children in Illinois so they can benefit from our support program."

firecamp1.jpg

Campers at Camp "I Am Me" can participate in nearly 50 activities, from horseback riding and archery to escape rooms and cardboard boat races. But the activities that may have the biggest impact are those designed specifically for emotional healing. Through character development, journaling, and therapeutic sessions that help build self-confidence, they are able to take advantage of resources often not available in their hometowns.

firecamp2.jpg

"When the children attend camp, they find that they are not alone," Zaleski said. "The physical and emotional recovery from their burns is taken on from a community approach in which everyone helps and learns from each other. They don't have to hide or be afraid to be themselves. Instead, they learn how to become more confident and bring that confidence back home."

firecamp3.jpg

The positive impact of Camp "I Am Me" is evident as more than one-third of the camp volunteers are former campers, returning and dedicating their time to help the campers, just as they were helped years earlier. In addition, members of the fire service, medical community and others volunteer their time resulting in a one to one volunteer to camper ratio.

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Camp "I Am Me" 2018.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

Former SAIC President To Pen Memoir About Years As Bank Of America Chairman

Walter E. Massey, former chairman of Bank of America, will publish his memoir, In the Eye of the Storm: My Year as Chairman of Bank of America During the Country's Worst Financial Crisis, with Beckham Publications, the house announced. Release is set for spring 2020.

"Massey's memoir will offer an insider's gaze at events and people that never before have been revealed publicly," says publisher Barry Beckham. "He starts with his shock and surprise after learning that the board had chosen him, and it's nonstop from there."

massey.jpg

Beckham says that although this memoir will focus on Massey's time with Bank of America, it will incorporate relevant details of his early life in Mississippi and other professional activities.

Massey's breadth of accomplishments includes president of Morehouse College, director of the National Science Foundation, director of Argonne National Laboratory, and provost of the University of California state system. He retired just a few years ago as president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and more than 40 higher education institutions have awarded him honorary degrees.

Beckham promises that Massey has more than one memoir to write. "But we think that his years at Bank of America are more important now, before he fixes his view on the world of science and higher education," says Beckham.

Massey, chairman of Giant Magellan Telescope Organization, was awarded the Vannevar Bush Award in April for his exceptional leadership in science and technology.

Beckham and Massey met in 1970 when both joined the faculty at Brown University. Massey, born and raised in segregated Hattiesburg, Mississippi, became Brown's first black physics professor and later dean of the college. Beckham was director of the graduate writing program and head of the Sankore Society, the organization of black faculty and administrators.

Beckham Publications has created a YouTube channel featuring excerpts of Massey's first chapter.

"Discussing the first stage gives readers a side-by-side view of how the book is progressing," says Beckham.

The publisher plans a meet-and-greet with Massey at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, 2019 and to begin a nationwide book tour in Chicago in April, 2020.

Assisting Massey is novelist Rosalind Kilkenny McLymont, executive editor of The Network Journal and CEO/Publisher of AfricaStrictlyBusiness.com.

Her published work includes Africa Strictly Business: The Steady March to Prosperity and novels The Guyana Contract and Middle Ground. DreamGalaxy has acquired the film rights for Middle Ground.

Ruth Simmons, president of Texas-based Prairie View A&M University, will contribute the foreword.

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Via Wikipedia:

"Born on April 5, 1938 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Massey displayed a gift for mathematics as a child, and by the middle of high school his academic achievements had earned him a Ford Foundation fellowship to Morehouse College in Atlanta.

"There, he began studying theoretical physics, which he chose in part because it gave him the chance to rise above the discrimination he had witnessed as a youth in the segregated South of the 1940s and 1950s. Massey graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1958 . . .

"While finishing his doctoral studies, Massey began working in 1966 as a member of the research staff at Argonne National Laboratory, which is operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by the University of Chicago.

"Massey's work at Argonne focused on the study of the many-body theory of liquids and solids, which attempts to explain the properties of systems of interacting particles in various states. He also continued his own research, applying correlated basic functions to both liquid and solid helium. Two years later, Massey accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Illinois.

"While continuing to pursue his own research, Massey's tenure at the University of Illinois was also defined by his commitment to achieving racial and social equality as well as to improving access to science and technology education.

"On his first night on campus, 264 black students who had protested racial discrimination at the university were arrested. This incident led him to become advisor to the Black Students Association and first chairman of the Black Faculty and Staff Association.

"In his teaching, meanwhile, Massey found that many of his black students lacked the preparation in mathematics and the sciences necessary for success at the college level. This led to his interest in and commitment to the improvement of science teaching in high schools.

"In 1970, Massey was offered an associate professorship at Brown University, which he accepted and would soon after complete some of his most significant academic research to date, collaborating with Humphrey Maris on the study of changes in sound waves in superfluid helium. By 1975, he had been appointed a full professor and dean of the college

"Also at Brown, Massey continued his efforts to support diversity in the sciences, developing and directing the Inner City Teachers of Science (INCTOS) program, through which Brown undergraduates studying to become science teachers served as mentors and tutors in urban high school science classes. The impact of this program earned Massey the distinguished service citation of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1975.

"In 1979, Massey's demonstrated success as a researcher and administrator at Brown led to his return to Argonne National Laboratory, this time as its director, in addition to which he was also appointed professor of physics at the University of Chicago."

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Walter Massey Reflects On How LIGO Nearly Didn't Get Built.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:40 AM | Permalink

Farmer Sentiment Hits Lowest Level In Over Two Years

Ag producer sentiment dropped to its lowest level since October 2016, erasing all improvements recorded following the November 2016 election.

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, based on a mid-month survey of 400 agricultural producers across the U.S., declined 14 points in May to a reading of 101, down from 115 in April.

The decline in the barometer came about because producers' perspectives on both current and future economic conditions worsened considerably compared to a month earlier. The Index of Current Conditions fell to a reading of 84, down from 99, and the Index of Future Expectations fell to 108, down from 123.

"Ag producers are telling us the agricultural economy weakened considerably this spring as the barometer has fallen 42 points (29%) since the start of this year," said James Mintert, the barometer's principal investigator and director of Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture. "Farmers are facing tough decisions in the midst of a wet planting season and a lot of uncertainty surrounding trade discussions."

The Large Farm Investment Index, which measures producers' attitudes toward making large investments in their farming operation, has ebbed and flowed over the past year; however, since the beginning of 2019, the index has trended significantly lower. In May, just 18% of farmers stated it was a "good time" to make large farm investments while 81% stated it was a "bad time," pushing the investment index down to a reading of 37. This is the lowest Large Farm Investment Index reading since the Ag Economy Barometer's October 2015 inception.

Farmers' optimism toward short- and long-term farmland values has also waned since the early part of 2019. For example, the percentage of farmers that expect farmland values to decline over the course of the upcoming year jumped from 21% in January to 25% in March and most recently to 30% in May. Looking farther ahead, just 39% of producers said they expect farmland values to rise over the next five years, compared to 48% expecting rising values in the March survey.

Agricultural trade continues to be a source of concern for producers. For the past three months, producers were asked whether they expect the soybean trade dispute with China to be resolved by July 1 and whether they feel the resolution will benefit U.S. agriculture. When the question was first posed in March, 45% of respondents expected the dispute to be resolved by July 1; that number declined to 28% in April and fell further to 20% in May. Regarding whether they ultimately expect an outcome favorable to U.S. agriculture, 77% said yes in March, which declined to 71% in April, and fell further to 65% in May.

"At this time, a majority of producers still expect a favorable outcome for agriculture to the trade dispute," said Mintert, "but that majority appears to be shrinking."

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Mintert's video review of the latest ag survey:

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See also:

* Pacific Standard: The Trump Administration Promised To Help Farmers. These Chicken Farmers Say It Has Not Delivered.

* Tribune: Midwestern Farmers And Other Victims Of Trump's Tariffs.

* AFP: American Garlic, Honey Farmers Cheer Trump's Tariffs On China.

* KLCC: Pending President's Signature, $11M Slated For Hazelnut Farms Affected By Disasters.

* WCYB: Nearly 1 Year Later, Local Farmers Still Waiting For Bailout Assistance.

* CNBC: Trump's Mexico Tariff Threat Worries U.S. Farmers Already Pummeled By China Trade War.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:37 AM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of former Cubs.

1. Darwin Barney.

Barney is an investor in a consortium trying to land an MLB franchise for Portland.

2. Neil Ramirez.

Ramirez accepted a minor league assignment from the Indians to go down to its Triple-A team in Columbus and see if he could work out his problems.

3. Billy McKinney.

McKinney met the left-field wall at the Grate up close and personal in May as a member of the Blue Jays, but was back down in Triple-A Buffalo a week later.

4. Jim Riggleman.

Riggs reportedly might get yet another big league managing job.

5. Davey Martinez.

The dreaded vote of confidence.

6. Brandon Hyde.

Reportedly changing the culture in Baltimore.

7. Koji Uehara.

Retired.

8. Jeimer Candelario.

Sent down to Triple-A Toledo, then put on the IL, yet still on the All-Star ballot.

"It's a disappointing turn of events for the 25-year-old Candelario, whom the Tigers hoped could solidify himself as their third baseman of the future," MLB Trade Rumors notes.

"Acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Justin Wilson to the Cubs, Candelario burst onto the scene in Detroit late that summer, hitting .330/.406/.468 down in 106 plate appearances down the stretch.

"While the 2018 season was an uneven one for the switch-hitter, he still managed to swat 19 homers, 28 doubles and three triples.

"The 2019 season simply hasn't been a good one . . . Candelario's power has simply evaporated. He's hitting more line-drives and fly-balls than he did in 2018 but hasn't seen the corresponding uptick in exit velocity or hard-hit rate that one would prefer to accompany such trends."

9. James Russell.

Playing for Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican League.

10. Junior Lake.

Also playing for Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican League.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:29 AM | Permalink

June 4, 2019

The [Tuesday] Papers

Unexpectedly ran into The Klonsky Brothers at a Logan Square coffee shop this morning and had a lively conversation worthy of Hitting Left, and this afternoon I'm meeting a dear Chicago ex-pat who has subsequently lived in Fiji, China and New York City, so just some quick hits.

* Where Should A Chicago Casino Go?

I'll have more to say about this later - I think JB Pritzker is abominally wrong about preferring an underserved neighborhood to downtown - but for now, I'll just re-up this Beachwood beauty:

Welcome To The New Chicago Casino!

Granted, the material is dated, but it's at least worth the price of admission.

FYI: I'm all for sports betting, but not so keen on casinos.

More on that later, too.

* Iconoclastic Chicago Architect Stanley Tigerman, Who Shaped The City With His Buildings And Ideas, Dies At 88.

I only had the pleasure of talking to Tigerman once, but it yielded a memorable quote that readers seemed to love, though some of the more staid among us were appalled:

Let's be clear. The Sun-Times Building has never been hailed as great architecture. Not even close, leading professionals say. John Vinci calls it "a dog." Stanley Tigerman calls it "that funny little fucked-up building." Franz Schulze calls it "undistinguished, ordinary, second-rate." But the Sun-Times Building does belong to a place and time.

That funny little fucked-up building. Perfect.

* Ed Burke Pleads Not Guilty On Political Corruption Charges.

Just to get in front of this, if anyone says or writes that the only or real thing Burke is guilty of is not changing with the times, they are not worthy of publicly observing Chicago politics. Burke has been on the council for 50 years, and he's seen colleagues sent to the pokey for far, far less than he's accused of. Perhaps his worst crime is thinking he was untouchable, but don't give me that malarkey about how times have changed. As prosecutors have said for years, fraud and bribery has always been fraud and bribery. The tolerance for it within the political culture - and City Hall - may have changed, but the law and the feeling in the U.S. Attorney's Office has not.

* University Of Chicago Lab Middle School To Reprint Yearbook After 'Circle Game' Photos.

That's at least the fourth yearbook re-do in the Chicago area this year; Walter Payton College Prep, Highland Park High School, and Oak Park and River Forest High School have already sent their yearbooks back to the printer for the same or similar reasons.

My question is this: What about the yearbook advisors? Is anyone editing these things?

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I also thought of saying, "It's not OK," but thought that might be a little too cute, considering the subject matter is no joke.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

SportsMondayTuesday: The Cubs' Crucial Couple
And it's not Bryzzo.

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ChicagoReddit

Comcast - Paying to use my own Modem from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Canada's Blood Ceremony at the 2nd Annual Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival at Reggies on Saturday night.

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BeachBook

Industry Dude Says Ultra-Cheap Mattresses Are A Threat To The Industry.

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Protect Yourself From Hidden Fees.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRipTipLine: Hats off.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:29 PM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: The Cubs' Crucial Couple

A number of Cubs haven't been hitting, but what has really been killing the club the last few weeks has been the struggles of two: Javy Baez and Willson Contreras. If they aren't hitting, and they didn't hit at all in Houston and then St. Louis, it creates a gaping hole in the middle of the lineup that is almost impossible to fill.

The good news? They both hit home runs to cap off an 8-2 victory over the Angels on Monday in the team's return to the Friendly Confines after a brutal road trip. Maybe, just maybe, that was a sign that they'll both snap out of their slumber this week. And as those two go, so go the Cubs.

Contreras needs to hit to distract us from his misadventures elsewhere in his game. He continues to be a fundamentally poor pitch framer and stopper - he still hasn't learned to start his glove in the right place and to rotate it rather than moving it to get calls on the corners, and even worse, forgets to use fundamental mechanics to best stop pitches in the dirt in virtually every game. He also reminded us on Sunday that he can be aggravatingly bad running the bases.

That game featured Contreras reaching on a walk - which he still has done remarkably well this season, leading to robust on-base (.398) and OPS (.962!) numbers despite his recent struggles - and then almost getting doubled off first on a relatively routine fly to center.

Harrison Bader, who is a below average defensive centerfielder for the Cardinals despite his speed, took a nap after making the catch on that play. After multiple teammates hollered at him he finally threw late to first. But Contreras wasn't done screwing up. A few batters later he did manage to get himself doubled off first on a routine line drive to second. Argh.

In the ninth, with the Cubs trailing 2-0, Contreras had reached again when Jason Heyward shot a single into left-center field. In that situation, a baserunner must, must, advance station to station. His run doesn't matter unless the guy behind him scores. So he has to absolutely make sure he is not thrown out on the bases.

So sure enough he rounded second and needlessly headed for third. Fortunately, he got there safely. But it was still an unnecessary risk. It didn't matter when he later scored on a groundout because the baserunner behind him was stranded and the Cubs lost.

As for Baez, well, there are a couple things going on. First, we don't know how much his heel continues to bother him. My guess is it was bothering him enough to make a difference in the past week, especially when facing a host of strong Astro and Cardinal pitchers. There is also the question of whether his free-swinging style can ever be maximally efficient against better pitchers. The answer to that is probably, "No, but who cares." He is such a good all-around player that he is allowed to hit the way he hits - especially if he continues to maintain a .918 on-base plus slugging.

The good news is that the Brewers didn't take advantage of the Cubs' struggles to open up a decent-sized lead in the division in the past few weeks. The locals trail Milwaukee by a game but are tied in the loss column with 26.

Next up are the scorching Rockies, in town for night games Tuesday and Wednesday and a get-away contest Thursday afternoon. Pitchers for both teams will have their work cut out and then some.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:40 AM | Permalink

June 3, 2019

Rethinking Run Differential

At the risk of providing legitimacy for what I regard as a mostly meaningless statistic, let's consider run differential, an item that has become popular in the past five seasons or so.

We can start with the bright side. Unlike much of sabermetrics, run differential is extremely simple without any complicated formula. It's not difficult to take the number of runs a team scores during the course of the season and subtract the number plated by the opposition. An understanding of positive and negative numbers is required, but that's about it. My apologies for repeating what you already know.

One other positive aspect of this exercise is that teams from any era can be compared to one another. Doesn't matter whether home runs are the soup du jour, as they are today, or whether the stolen base ruled major league baseball as it did in the days of Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock.

The games are played to see which team scores more runs. Therefore, good teams that win a lot of games should have a very favorable run differential. That's not news. What would be unique is if a ballclub that wins, say, 90 games in a season scored fewer runs than the opposition.

The greatest run differential in history belongs to the 1939 New York Yankees, who outscored their opponents by 411 runs en route to a 111-45 record. Joe DiMaggio hit .381 that season, and Lou Gehrig retired after just eight games due to the cruel disease that today bears his name.

The Yanks ended the season 17 games ahead of second-place Boston before sweeping Cincinnati in four games in the World Series. Best team ever? Run differential says it was.

In 1959, the White Sox ended a 40-year drought as far as winning an American League pennant is concerned. We didn't call it run differential, but we were very much aware that the Sox were extremely adept at winning close games.

Compared to the New York group 20 seasons previously, the Sox scored just 81 more runs than their foes, but they still won 94 games in the 154-game schedule. Catcher Sherm Lollar led the team with a modest 22 home runs and 84 RBIs. The more prominent statistics were shortstop Luis Aparicio's 56 stolen bases - he led the league nine consecutive seasons, 1956-64 - and his 98 runs scored, accounting for almost 15 percent of the team's total.

How can a ballclub such as those '59 Sox average only approximately a half-run more per game than the competition and still manage to finish 34 games over .500? Try a 35-15 record in one-run contests. Speed on the bases, an effective bullpen backing up strong starting pitching, and excellent defense were the ingredients.

We never contemplated the total number of runs scored, but we sure knew how many one-run games the Go Go Sox were winning.

Jumping ahead to the present season, the White Sox are raising all kinds of eyebrows after having finished a homestand Sunday winning six of seven games.

Lucas Giolito, easily the worst starting pitcher in baseball last season, has basically overnight become one of the best. In Sunday's 2-0 win over Cleveland, possibly the finest game the Sox have played over the past few seasons, Giolito pitched into the eighth inning without walking a batter - he led all pitchers last season in issuing bases on balls - while giving up just five hits. Giolito now has won his last six starts, limiting the opposition to a .150 batting average while posting an ERA of 1.03. In 43⅔ innings, he has walked eight and struck out 48.

The White Sox now find themselves just a game under .500 at 29-30, good for a tie with Cleveland for second place in the Central Division. If the season had ended Sunday, the Sox would have missed the wild card by a mere two games.

Yet their run differential resides at minus-43, which in no way indicates the strides this team is making. The Oakland A's have the same won-loss record as the White Sox, but their run differential is plus-24.

What, if anything, can one conclude about this anomaly? Only that when the White Sox get beat they often get slaughtered, while the A's have unceremoniously buried a number of opponents. Baseball Reference tracks blowout wins and losses - games decided by five or more runs. So far the Sox have lost 14 such contests while winning just seven, while Oakland has 10 blowout victories against seven embarrassments.

Two series' last month accounted for all of the negative run differential for the White Sox so far this season. The Red Sox pummeled the local Sox 30-5 in three games in early May, and prior to last week the Twins clubbed the South Siders 26-5 in a three-game sweep in Minneapolis. So there you go: six games, a minus-46 run differential. Take those away, and the Sox have played the opposition about straight up, just as their record indicates.

So where to go from here?

Begin with the four starting pitchers behind Giolito. Reynaldo Lopez, Ivan Nova, Dylan Covey and Manny Banuelos simply have to improve. That quartet owns a combined 6.21 ERA, meaning that the ol' run differential is going to balloon higher unless those fellows do a better job of controlling the opposition.

Covey showed a bit of swagger Friday evening in a 6-1 White Sox win. After Francisco Lindor homered on Covey's third pitch of the game, the righthander proceeded to shut out the visitors over six innings. A lone walk was the key as the Indians' eight hits produced only Lindor's tally.

Meanwhile, Cleveland played like, well, the White Sox on too many prior occasions, making four errors and going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

However, the White Sox also need to tighten up their act, as shown on Saturday when they had Indians' starter Jefry Rodriguez on the ropes in the bottom of the third inning. The Sox had taken a 1-0 lead and had runners at first and second with only one out. Taking his lead at second, Yolmer Sanchez may have had aspirations of stealing third.

Possibly Cleveland stole a sign, or maybe Lindor, no stranger to deception and intrigue, observed a fine opportunity to surprise Yolmer. TV analyst and former pitcher Steve Stone, who frequently displays great prescience, noticed something.

"Any time I see the shortstop take off his glove I worry about a pickoff, and Lindor just took off his," observed Stone, assuming that Lindor was signaling a move to catch Sanchez.

Sure enough, Rodriguez whirred to throw a perfect strike to Lindor, whose stealth allowed him to sneak behind Sanchez, who was a dead duck. To make matters worse, Charlie Tilson, the runner at first, strayed too far away from the bag and became the second out on a weird double play. End of rally. Momentum killer and a precursor to the 5-2 final Cleveland victory.

While Stone made his observation from his perch high above home plate, you wonder why third base coach Nick Capra or first base coach Daryl Boston didn't notice Lindor's treachery. Did anyone from the dugout detect Lindor's behavior? We'll never know because Stone didn't mention it again, nor was the question posed to manager Rick Renteria in his post-game presser.

However, we can thank the Cleveland shortstop for something. Even though the play went against the White Sox, it was far more interesting than contemplating run differential.

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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 9:08 AM | Permalink

Remembering Roky Erickson

"Roky Erickson, one of the most enduring and adventurous exponents of American psychedelic rock, has died at the age of 71," the Guardian reports.

"Erickson was the frontman of the 13th Floor Elevators, a psych-rock band from Austin, Texas, where he grew up. Their rollicking debut single, 'You're Gonna Miss Me,' included on the Nuggets compilation that defines 1960s garage rock, remains one of the most celebrated songs from that scene - R.E.M.'s Peter Buck once described it as 'Louie Louie, sideways.' It reached No. 55 in the U.S. charts and prompted a TV appearance on American Bandstand; Janis Joplin at one point considered joining the band."

Roky made these pages a few times over the years, and was celebrated by local rock critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. Let's take a look.

1. Roky's Revival.

"Roky Erickson turned 60 this month, and, really, that's something of a miracle right there," our very own Don Jacobson wrote in this 2007 post.

"Not only did he manage to survive the acid-drenched late '60s San Francisco psychedelic rock scene, where he was considered something of a magic child in a culture where such prodigies were frequently worshipped to death, but also the long, lonely years that followed in which he coped as best he could with the ravages of mental illness under the misinformed and smothering guardianship of his wacky mother back home in Austin, Texas. That he is now seemingly fully recovered from his 'schizophrenia' (a disputed diagnosis) - free even of anti-psychotic drugs - and has made a triumphant return to the rock 'n' roll stage is a story that has few equals even in the excess-stained annals of music lore."

Go read the rest.

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2. At Wicker Park Fest in 2013.

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3. At Beat Kitchen in 2014.

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4. Greg Kot, 2006: Roky Erickson Documentary Tells Of A Mind Coming Undone.

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5. Jim DeRogatis's Favorite Roky Erickson Songs About Monsters.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:29 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

* WBEZ called the session "epic," reporting that "The conveyor belt of wins rolled along at a dizzying pace over the weekend, after some of the governor's key priorities appeared to be in doubt Friday."

I would add that the session wasn't just a political win for the governor - it was a win for just about everybody. Even the state's "pro-business" groups - and in-the-minority Republicans - left happy:

* The Sun-Times called the session "historic" and "stunning."

* The Springfield State Journal-Register called it "a session to remember."

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With all due credit to JB Pritzker, being the successor to Bruce Rauner certainly helped his cause.

"Despite being forced into overtime this weekend after failing to meet its scheduled May 31 adjournment date, the size and scope of Pritzker's achievements less than six months into office - often with Republican support - represented the release of a pent-up desire among lawmakers to show accomplishments after four years of governmental dysfunction and gridlock due to the ideological battles between former one-term GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature," the Tribune writes.

(We also see here, like in the WBEZ post, the tendency of media to see everything through the political lens of the governor/mayor. While understandable to some degree, to another degree it helps contribute to the bossism of Illinois politics by conferring even more power on those at the top, and relegates those affected by policy to the sidelines as afterthoughts to the, gulp, I'm gonna say it, Game of Thrones-like culture.)

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"The collegial atmosphere of Senate Democrats and Republicans on Sunday belied the partisan tensions that existed for the previous four years under Rauner. Republicans joined with Democrats for easy passage of a host of motorist-related fees and the gambling expansion to pay for the state's first major public works program in a decade - a $45 billion multiyear package of transportation and building improvements - with the opportunity for rank-and-file lawmakers to engage in ribbon-cuttings to show their constituents a substantive return for their tax dollars."

You know, you don't have to cover those ribbon-cuttings. Meanwhile, citizens actually get better roads and bridges.

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"Senate Republican leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, who voted for the measure, called the infrastructure program 'monumental.'"

Reminder: Brady is on the conservative side.

"Despite having only 19 Republicans in the Senate, the parties found common ground on key issues such as infrastructure, Brady said.

"Senate Republicans came to the table," Brady said. "We didn't seek to turn it over."

Is there a lesson in that?

(Yes, and it's not just about coming to the table, but about being invited to the table by the majority.)

"Brady stood alongside Pritzker at his news conference following the Senate adjournment."

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"The public works plan, which won plaudits of traditional Republican-oriented business groups, would be paid for through a variety of sources, including a doubling of the current 19-cent-per-gallon state motor fuel tax, last raised in 1990, and it would be indexed to future increases in inflation."

At this juncture, I will note that Pritzker is being compared in some quarters to former dealmaker governors Jim Thompson and George Ryan. I can't vouch for all the ins and outs of Springfield at the moment, and I'm not here to defend Pritzker (what others see as praise I see as criticism), but I don't sense he operated anything like Thompson or Ryan this session. Those guys truly ran, in the language of Illinois politicis, a Combine of Democrats and Republican who smelled the meat a-cookin' and larded up Christmas tree honeypot troughs to slurp from. (Did I get enough cliches in there?) The dealmaking of Thompson and Ryan, no matter how lauded in some corners because it "got things done," was nasty, sleazy, stenchy stuff. All right in front of us. I'm sure some unseemly things just went down in the GA, but what Pritzker & Co. really delivered were things people seemed to want: legal pot, legal sports betting, a shot at a graduated income tax that will make the super-rich pay more, and an large infrastructure initiative. This is also a pro-choice state, and that was codified.

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And yes, Pritzker's party had both chambers. Still, we've seen that that doesn't always portend success.

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The fails?

* An elected school board for Chicago. The will is there, but the bill put forth by Robert Martwick was badly flawed, and apparently the GA didn't have the bandwidth to fix it, especially with Lori Lightfoot on the scene and a fresh review of the structural options needed.

* The Cook County assessor's bill. Fritz Kaegi's nascent effort to turn his office's inequitable assessments upside down - one of the most urgent matters facing Chicago, as well as the rest of the county - failed by a thousand slings from businesses and property management folk. I can't tell if they torpedoed it out of sheer greed or if the bill was actually poorly considered and written.

* Pensions. I simply do not know if the state's pension problems were adequately addressed in this session. Certainly, there was no grand, overarching solution. (There's a word for this, and I can't think of it this morning.) [Update 6 p.m: Global is the word I was looking for.] Certainly there was some chipping away. I'm still catching up with the coverage.

Of course, I could quibble with some of the details of the pot and gambling (not gaming, for christ sake; that's a propaganda term not a journalism term) bills - and I will! - but no one (including me!) was going to get everything they wanted out of those. Multiple stakeholders hashed it out and compromised to get it done. Of course, this being Illinois, those stakeholders weren't necessarily keeping the best interests of us citizens in mind. But again, at least until I see further analysis, the shenanigans seemed to have been kept to a minimum. Still not a pretty process, but progress.

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Has "vertical capital" always been a phrase at the capitol? I don't believe I've ever heard it before, and yet it's everywhere. It refers to buildings above-ground, like schools and hospitals, as opposed to "horizontal capital," which is roads and bridges. Maybe I don't recall it because it's been such a long time since we've had a capital bill.

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Does the success of the session mean state legislators deserve a pay raise? Not if they're going to be dishonest about it.

"Most folks get annual cost-of-living increases in their jobs, or are evaluated for them. It's not an outrageous expectation that more than once in a 10-year period we'd get them," says state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

That line of reasoning presumes every legislator has been there for a decade, which isn't true. A legislator in their first term would presumably get the same pay raise as a veteran. Find another reason.

Then again, don't. At $67,836 a year, state legislators are still doing quite well compared to the average Illinoisan. Stow it.

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The spending bill the GA has sent to the governor includes an additional $100 million for DCFS. Happy to see it. Then again, the bill also includes $100 million for rural broadband. Not that rural broadband isn't important, but is there a state agency more vital - and more decimated, both in terms of finance and competence - than the Department of Children and Family Services? DCFS's current annual budget is $1.18 billion, so while $100 million can do an awful lot, it's actually not a lot for such a critical operation.

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Flashback Friday.

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Cubs Drub

Woes hitting with runners in scoring position continue.

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At least, unlike the Cardinals, the Cubs get to leave . . .

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New on the Beachwood . . .

A Superseding Weekend At Benny's
From the Beachwood Bucktown Bureau.

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Remembering Roky Erickson
From the Beachwood vault, plus Kot and DeRogatis.

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It's Getting Worse: The IRS Now Audits Poor Americans At About The Same Rate As The Top 1%
Poor taxpayers continue to bear the brunt of the IRS's force. For example, Americans who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the country's largest anti-poverty programs, are audited at a higher rate than all but the richest taxpayers.

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Rethinking Run Differential
When the numbers don't add up. In The White Sox Report.

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Endless War
The event at the Hairpin Arts Center features the My Lai Memorial Exhibit, by Chicago Veterans for Peace, depicting the brutal massacre by U.S soldiers in 1968 of more than 500 Vietnamese in their home village as a lens to confront the horror of war for those civilians caught on the other side of American firepower both in Vietnam and in our endless wars in the past 50 years, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

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ChicagoReddit

Moved into McKinley Park about a week ago for an internship... today a couple dudes came by and set this sign up at the corner of where I'm living. A week ago, I was just some guy from the suburbs of Detroit. Now I am the man who lives at the center of the greatest city in America from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"From Cayenne to Chicago" - Gunzy

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BeachBook

Paper-And-Pencil LSAT Ends Its Run.

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Facebook Flashback.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Take me home.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:03 AM | Permalink

June 2, 2019

The Weekend Desk Report

A lot of action in Springfield, obvi.

The superseding Ed Burke indictment. (I looked it up to be sure, and it's not spelled superceding, which somehow I feel would be more satisfying.)

A misogynist, racist, anti-Semitic, pathologically lying crime boss as president.

But first: Weekend at Benny's!

Longtime readers know that several times a year, usually holiday weekends, when our very own Dr. Nick travels with his wife (and now young son), I cat-sit for him. And the cat I sit for is the greatest cat ever, including that noxious motherfucker Garfield.

And given that this weekend is Memorial Day Weekend - according to the Beachwood calendar - I've been back at Benny's tearing it up.

1. Benny Close-Up.

I tried to get him to pose with his stuffed rat, but he wasn't cooperating. I guess he wanted the spotlight all to himself.

bennycloseup1.jpg

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2. Benny With Chicken.

Because he wouldn't pose with his friends, I had to fool him and photograph him with friends in the background. For example, here he is with Chicken.

bennycloseup.JPG

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3. Benny's Belly.

Benny is pretty greedy for affection. When he goes for the belly rub, he tilts his head first, and then goes for the flip-over maneuver that exposes his underside to the elements. Who, besides a Republican and Rahm Emanuel, could resist?

bennybelly.JPG

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4. Benny Circle.

Look at how he forms a circle when he scrunches up. Maybe most - or all - cats do it, but I don't come into contact with animals much, which is why all of this remains a novelty to me. Look at how he tucks his tail in. Does he do that consciously or is it programmed into his DNA? (Cats have DNA, right? That's not just a human thing?)

bennycircle.JPG

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5. Cat Coincidence.

Song playing as I type this at the cafe I'm at.

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6. I Do Not Lack For Self-Awareness About All Of This, Believe Me.

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7. Quagmire And James.

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8. Benny Hardly Working.

Dude, if you're gonna get in between me and my laptop, at least do some editing for me.

bennylaptop2.JPG

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Previously in Benny:

* Our very own Roger Wallenstein co-hosts The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour with Benny Shreders, aka Sir Benjamin J. Katt, Esq.

* Weekend At Benny's.

* Dr. Nick & Beachwood Benny.

* Our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman co-hosting The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour with Benny Shreders, aka Sir Benjamin J. Katt, Esq.

* A Benny Christmas.

* Shy Benny Hides From Mayoral Endorsement.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #254: Netgate
Excuses exhausted. Plus: Patrick Mannelly Great Ever; The St. Louis Bores; Astros Series Asinine; Defining Darvish Down; Contreras Can't Catch; The Dooche; Justin Verlander Reminds Us He Wanted To Be A Cub; The Cubs' Bill Buckner; White Sox Wild?; Burton's Boo-Boo; Stanley Cup Finals Moves To Nation's Most Boring City; and Why You Should Both Love Steve Kerr And Root For The Raptors.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

McDonalds on Chicago is trying a new way to fight loitering from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

DGAF Music - The South Side Party (1992) Chicago

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Weekend BeachBook

Dear Political Journalists: Learn How To Do Your Jobs And Stop Hurting America.

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A Scandal A Day Keeps The Media Away.

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Lori Lightfoot Hangs Art About Redlining In Her Office.

Rahm Emanuel, on the other hand, was a redliner.

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Yoga's Instagram Provocateur.

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A Dollar Store Beat, Please.

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A Punjabi Hockey Announcer Is Changing The Face Of Canada's Favorite Sport.

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Art Institute Of Chicago Selling 300 Works Of Chinese Art.

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Trump Rushed Off Stage After Secret Service Spots Man Carrying Photo Of John McCain.

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Indiana Teachers Head To Brewery For Externships.

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Female Trainee Agents Allege Discrimination At FBI Academy In Lawsuit.

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Amsterdam Cracks Down On Annoying Tourists Who Are Ruining Everything.

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LOL, Posted The Day Ed Burke Was Hit By A Superseding Indictment.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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At this juncture, anyone wearing a Sex Pistols or Ramones t-shirt is a poser of the first order.

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My god. And I'm the one living in poverty.

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My god. And I'm the one living in poverty.

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A reminder, too, that there is nothing inherent about the rules of grammar and language. It's whatever we want it to be, and most grammar rules are not only artificial, but not taken seriously by grammar experts - only by mediocre editors clinging to endlessly repeated nostrums passed down by other mediocre editors.

Also: I once thought the copy editing rules enforced in the newspaper world were the rules of the world, existing apart from humans. Then I went to work for a magazine that had many of its own rules in direct opposition to what I had worked hard to learn over my newspaper career. Out the window! Why? Just because. Style is a house choice; no more, no less.

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The Weekend Desk McRibTipLine: Records to play.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 PM | Permalink

It's Getting Worse: The IRS Now Audits Poor Americans At About The Same Rate As The Top 1%

Every year, the IRS, starved of funds after years of budget cuts, loses hundreds more agents to retirement. And every year, the news gets better for the rich - especially those prone to go bold on their taxes. According to data released by the IRS, millionaires in 2018 were about 80% less likely to be audited than they were in 2011.

But poor taxpayers continue to bear the brunt of the IRS's remaining force. As we reported last year, Americans who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the country's largest anti-poverty programs, are audited at a higher rate than all but the richest taxpayers. The new data shows that the trend has only grown stronger.

Audits of the rich continue to plunge while those of the poorest filers hold steady, and the two rates are converging.

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.36.32 PM.png

Last year, the top 1% of taxpayers by income were audited at a rate of 1.56%. EITC recipients, who typically have annual income under $20,000, were audited at 1.41%.

Part of the reason is ease. Audits of EITC recipients are largely automated and far less complicated.

"While the wealthy now have an open invitation to cheat, low-income taxpayers are receiving heightened scrutiny because they can be audited far more easily. All it takes is a letter instead of a team of investigators and lawyers," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. "We have two tax systems in this country, and nothing illustrates that better than the IRS ignoring wealthy tax cheats while penalizing low-income workers over small mistakes."

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.33.51 PM.png

In a statement, IRS spokesman Dean Patterson acknowledged that the sharp decline in audits of the wealthy is due to the agency having lost so many skilled auditors. And he didn't dispute that pursuing the poor is just easier. Because EITC audits are largely conducted through the mail by lower-level employees from a central location, they are "less burdensome for taxpayers than in-person audits as they mail in their documentation and don't have to take time out of the workday," Patterson said. "Correspondence audits are also the most efficient use of IRS' limited examination resources."

In April, Wyden, citing ProPublica's reporting, asked IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to deliver a plan to address the agency's disproportionate focus on auditing the poor. The deadline has passed, but Wyden's office said the senator still expects a response. The IRS did not comment on the delay.

The agency audited 382,000 recipients of the EITC in 2018, accounting for 43% of all audits of individuals last year. When we mapped the estimated audit rates for every county in America, the counties with the highest audit rates were poor, rural, mostly African American and in the South, a reflection of the high number of EITC claims there.

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Natassia Smick and her husband were among those unlucky 382,000 households. We wrote about them last year. They live outside Los Angeles and saw their entire refund frozen in February 2018. For a couple who earned about $33,000 in 2017, that $7,300 refund was big money ($2,000 of it stemmed from the EITC). When it didn't come, Smick said she had to abandon plans for catching up with her credit card debt.

After Smick sent in all her supporting documents, it took until this May to get a final answer from the IRS. Fourteen months after it all started, the IRS said it agreed Smick and her husband were due about $7,000, she said. But the agency disagreed on the remaining $350, because it couldn't verify her husband's employment for part of the year. Smick said the IRS was wrong to hold back the $350, but she couldn't afford to contest it and further delay the $7,000.

"I'm not going to fight anymore," she said. "We have already waited too long, and we are not in a financial position to wait another three months to appeal."

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A new study by academic and government researchers shows that there has been a big cost to these audits: They've discouraged hundreds of thousands of families who might qualify for the credit from claiming it in future years.

For poor taxpayers, the worst part of the EITC audits is usually the beginning. That's because they almost always begin with the shock of a refund being held.

But the audits also hardly ever end well. According to data in the new study, most end without the taxpayer responding at all, and the poorer the audit target, the more likely that is to happen. Those with wage income under $10,000 per year, for instance, didn't respond at all in 64% of the EITC audits. For those with income over $40,000 per year, that rate dipped to 35%.

The diminished response rate of the poorest taxpayers in part reflects that they are harder to reach: In 15% of those audits, the mail couldn't be delivered. But earlier studies have also shown that many poor taxpayers don't understand they are being audited or have trouble deciphering what the IRS is asking in its letters.

The EITC is aimed mainly at low-income workers with children. Last year, 26 million households received an average credit of about $2,500. Most EITC audits require taxpayers to dig up documents to show that a child meets the legal threshold of a "qualifying child," a status that's distinct from a dependent. The IRS has long blamed the law's complexity as the main reason taxpayers may incorrectly claim the credit.

Smick was among the rare audit veterans who prevailed. Taxpayers rarely win against the IRS regardless of how likely they are to qualify for the credit, according to the new study, which was done by Day Manoli, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin, and researchers with the IRS and Treasury Department.

The authors sliced the population of EITC recipients into categories. At one end of the spectrum were tax returns with red flags that made it almost certain they would be audited. On the other end were returns very unlikely to be audited. Looking over time, the outcomes of those audits weren't all that different. When those returns with red flags were audited, the taxpayers prevailed 7% of the time. The taxpayers at the other end of the spectrum - the group seemingly most likely to qualify for the credit - only prevailed 10% of the time.

The audits have a long-term impact on the lives of those who go through them, the study found. In the years after they were audited, wage earners were 68% less likely to claim the credit compared with similar taxpayers who had not been audited. They were even 14% less likely to file taxes at all.

These taxpayers surrender "benefits from potentially legitimate EITC claims," the study authors write, and, when they fail to file taxes at all, leave money on the table in the form of other credits and withholdings.

Because the IRS conducts so many EITC audits - between 380,000 and 600,000 per year over the past decade - at the very least, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers have likely avoided claiming the credit in response to having it denied through an audit. And by discouraging people from claiming the credit, the audits clash with an avowed goal of the IRS: to encourage people to claim it. About a fifth of those eligible for the credit don't claim it - while the IRS runs education campaigns to increase uptake.

EITC recipients are audited at such a high rate in part because Republicans in Congress have long pressured the IRS to reduce incorrect payments of the credit.

The IRS estimates that there was about $18 billion in incorrect claims in 2018. In most contexts, $18 billion is a big number, but compared to the full scope of unpaid taxes, which likely total more than $600 billion each year, it's not so big.

And while that $18 billion number, which Republicans touted as a "big problem" in the April hearing, is often cast as a kind of government waste, the study shows things are far more complicated.

In the years following an audit, the study found, children who were claimed on one taxpayer's return often were claimed on a different taxpayer's return. In other words, the kids might have just been claimed on the wrong return, and if that's the case, the money should have been paid out, just to someone else.

The authors distinguish between the $18 billion in "gross overpayments" of the credit, which would include such misdirected payments, and what they call "net overpayments," money that shouldn't have been paid out at all. The "net" number, they say, could be one-third to one-half smaller than the "gross" one.

The IRS, in its statement, said the study had focused on a sample of only one type of taxpayer (single and head-of-household filers), and so the estimate of "net overpayments" should not be generalized to the entire EITC-claiming population.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

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Previously in tax scammage:

* McDonald's Breaks Promise To Raise Wages.

* Last Year, Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes. Now, It's Trying To Kill A Local Tax That Aims To Help the Homeless.

* Trump Vowed To Punish Companies That Moved Jobs Overseas. Is Congress Rewarding Them?

* After Long Career Bailing Out Big Banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Now Runs Predatory Firm That Exploits The Poor For Profit.

* Jeff Bezos Just Became The Richest Person Ever. Amazon Workers Just Marked #PrimeDay With Strikes Against Low Pay And Brutal Conditions.

* A Sweet New Century For America's Most Privileged.

* With Nation Transfixed By Kavanaugh Monstrosity, House GOP Votes To Give Rich Another $3 Trillion In Tax Cuts.

* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

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

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

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

* The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare: It's Bigger Than Trump.

* Oxfam Names World's Worst Tax Havens Fueling 'Global Race To Bottom.'

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

* State Tax Incentives To Corporations Don't Work.

* GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 Of America's Largest Corporations A $236 Billion Tax Cut.

* Triumph Of The Oligarchs.

* Amazon Short-List Proves Something "Deeply Wrong" With America's Race-To-The-Bottom Economy.

* Apple's $38 Billion Tax Payment Less Than Half Of $79 Billion They Owe.

* U.S. Surpasses Cayman Islands To Become Second-Largest Tax Haven On Earth.

* Less Than Year After GOP Tax Scam, Six Biggest Banks Already Raked In $9 Billion In Extra Profits.

* After Budget Cuts, The IRS's Work Against Tax Cheats Is Facing "Collapse."

* $6.5 Billion: A Low-Ball Estimate Of The Walton Family's Haul After 16 Years Of Bush, Obama And Trump Tax Giveaways.

* Illinois Could Recover $1.3 Billion Lost To Corporate Tax Loopholes.

* Whatever You Paid To Watch Netflix Last Month Was More Than It Paid In Income Taxes All Last Year: $0.

* Number Of U.S. Corporations Paying 'Not A Dime' In Federal Taxes Doubled In 2018.

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Previously in The Paradise Papers:

* 'Paradise Papers' Reveal Tax Avoidance, Shady Dealings Of World's Rich And Powerful.

* Just How Much Money Is Held Offshore? Hint: A SHIT-TON.

* Development Dreams Lost In The Offshore World.

* Keeping Offshore 'Hush Hush,' But Why?

* Tax Havens Are Alive With The Sound Of Music.

* Today In Tax Avoidance Of The Ultra-Wealthy.

* Go To Town With This Offshore Leaks Database.

* The Paradise Papers: The View From Africa And Asia.

* The Paradise Papers: The End Of Elusion For PokerStars.

* The Paradise Papers: An Odd Call From The Bermuda Government.

* The Paradise Papers: Nevis Is An Offshore Haven Of Opportunity

* The Paradise Papers: The Long Twilight Struggle Against Offshore Secrecy.

* The Paradise Papers: A Fair Tax System Will Be Lost Without Public Pressure.

* Item: Today In The Paradise Papers: Through Death Threats And Scare Tactics, Honduran Reporter 'Perseveres.'

* The Paradise Papers: Journalists Flee Venezuela To Publish Investigation.

* Last Stop: Chicago.

* The Paradise Papers: 'Africa's Satellite' Avoided Millions Using A Very African Tax Scheme.

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Previously in The Panama Papers:

* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Previously in carried interest, aka The Billionaire's Loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

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

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

* Despite Trump Campaign Promise, Billionaires' Tax Loophole Survives Again.

* Carried Interest Reform Is a Sham.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:19 AM | Permalink

Endless War

The Hairpin Arts Center hosts a four-day event celebrating the powerful impact of art and activism in a world torn by war and violence featuring visual and performance art, workshops, veteran storytelling, interactive art projects, and voices calling for action and resistance June 6 - 9.

The event features My Lai Memorial Exhibit by Chicago Veterans for Peace, which depicts the 1968 brutal massacre by U.S soldiers of more than 500 Vietnamese in their home village as a lens to confront the horror of war for those civilians caught on the other side of American firepower both in Vietnam and in our endless wars in the past 50 years, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

hairpin1.jpg

To counter the Pentagon and our political system's constant stream of messages calling for aggressive militarism globally and in our own communities, the event also features "Posters of War and Resistance." The artworks powerfully expose the trauma of war from the viewpoint of returning veterans and community activists, inspire resistance and speak for peace and social justice.

Endless War invites us to face the painful impact of our political and military actions and become actively engaged in changing ourselves, our communities and our world to create a more tolerant, just and peaceful society that celebrates our common humanity and rejects violence and war.

Dates:

Thursday, June 6th: 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Friday, June 7th: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Saturday, June 8th: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Sunday, June 9th: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Location: Hairpin Arts Center, 2810 North Milwaukee Avenue

Admission: Free; some programming offers suggested donation

Programming Details:

Thursday, June 6th - 6:30 p.m. Opening Reception with guest speaker Kathy Kelly

Thursday, June 6th - 7:30 p.m. Performance Art by Poet's Eye, Artist's Voice

Thursday, June 6th - 8 p.m. Gallery Chat and Q&A with Mac MacDevitt

Friday, June 7th - 4 p.m. Participatory Performance Sessions with Joseph Lefthand

Friday, June 7th - 7:30 p.m. Chicago Screening Premiere of "The Whistleblower of My Lai"

Saturday, June 8th - 1 p.m. Participatory Performance Sessions with Joseph Lefthand

Saturday, June 8th - 2 p.m. Woodard Plaza's Songs for Peace

Saturday, June 8th - 4 p.m. Gallery Talk with Aaron Hughes and Barry Romo

Saturday, June 8th - 7:30 p.m. Live Storytelling with Army Vietnam veteran Dennis Stout

Sunday, June 9th - 2 p.m. "Building Capacity for Compassion" Workshop with Burrell Poe

Sunday, June 9th - 4 p.m. Gallery Chat and Q&A with Mac MacDevitt

Sunday, June 9th - 5:30 p.m. Closing Circle

In addition to programming, the exhibit features the My Lai Memorial Exhibit (Chicago Veterans for Peace), War is Trauma and Inaugurating Resistance Portfolios (Iraq Veterans Against the War and Justseeds Artists' Cooperative), Posters from the Chicago Peace Building Program (American Friends Service Committee), Veterans Art, video installation (Aaron Hughes), personal sculptural collage building, a storybooth, and calls to action.

My Lai Memorial Exhibit
The My Lai Memorial Exhibit honors the Vietnamese who died in our American War. The exhibit panels on the Vietnam War and the My Lai Massacre examine the tragic impact of our political and military actions on the people of Vietnam. The Memorial Exhibit explores how our governmental and military policies and practices developed, nurtured, implemented and then covered-up a campaign that led to the killing of two million Vietnamese civilians during the course of the war; a campaign that allowed and encouraged the atrocity at My Lai and other mass killings on the ground and from the air with bombs and artillery shells.

The My Lai Memorial Exhibit has traveled to 13 cities - from the West Coast, through the Midwest and from Florida to Maine.

"Posters of Trauma and Resistance"
A selection of posters that speak to the trauma of war from the viewpoint of returning veterans and community activists, inspire resistance and speak for peace and social justice. Posters from Justseeds Artists' Cooperative and Iraq Veterans Against the War including "War is Trauma," "Celebrate People's History - Iraq Veterans Against the War," and "Inaugurating Resistance" Portfolios. Also included are posters from the Chicago Peace Building Program of the American Friends Service Committee.

"AHMED: A Selection Of Ahmed Jabar Shareef's Photographs"
This powerful video by Aaron Hughes is based on photos taken by Ahmed Jabar Shareef, a 9-year-old Iraqi boy who came to New York to receive medical assistance in 2006 thanks to the generous support of Global Medical Relief Fund. Aaron Hughes is an artist, activist, organizer, teacher, and Iraq War veteran based in Chicago.

Speakers and Presentations:

Thursday, June 6th

6:30 p.m.: Opening Reception with guest speaker Kathy Kelly, Member Chicago Veterans for Peace and Co-coordinator Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Kathy will share current projects of Voices for Creative Nonviolence which has deep, long-standing roots in active nonviolent resistance to U.S. warmaking.

7:30 p.m.: "Their Voices, Our Voices" Performance Art by Poet's-Eye Artist's Voice.

An original piece of images and text readings that respond to the My Lai Memorial Exhibit. The piece will incorporate graphics and writings from the exhibit as well as visitors' reflections and the artists' own impressions.

8 p.m.: Gallery Chat and Q&A with Mac MacDevitt, creator of the My Lai Memorial Exhibit.

Friday, June 7th

4 p.m.: "Our Bodies Know More Than We Can Tell - Reflections on War, Trauma and Resistance" - Participatory Performance Session with Artist Joseph Lefthand.

Inviting individuals or small groups who are in the interactive area of the Memorial Exhibit to process their experience thru movement in the performance space. Their movements will be reflected in real time on the screen using filters that will digitize their movements. The videos created can be shown as part of our Closing Circle on Sunday.

7:30 p.m.: Chicago Screening Premier of the documentary The Whistleblower of My Lai.

Director: Connie Field. Producer: Connie Field and Gregory Scharpen. Clarity Films. This film is a unique fusion of opera and documentary. It examines Army helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson's discovery and subsequent exposure of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

Saturday, June 8th

1 p.m.: "Our Bodies Know More Than We Can Tell - Reflections on War, Trauma and Resistance" - Participatory Performance Session with Artist Joseph Lefthand.

Inviting individuals or small groups who are in the interactive area of the Memorial Exhibit to process their experience thru movement in the performance space. Their movements will be reflected in real time on the screen using filters that will digitize their movements. The videos created can be shown as part of our Closing Circle on Sunday.

2 p.m.: Songs for Peace at Woodard Plaza with Nick DuFLoth and Friends.

An outdoor sing-a-long at Woodard Plaza located across the street from Hairpin Arts Center encouraging passersby to take part in singing to well-known songs about peace.

4 p.m.: "Political Prints and Graphics" - Gallery Talk with Aaron Hughes and Barry Romo.

Explore the use political art and print graphics to expose injustices and call for action with Chicago-based Aaron Hughes, an artist, activist, organizer, teacher, and Iraq War veteran.

7:30 p.m.: "No Human Being Should Ever Have to Do This" - Live Storytelling by Dennis Stout.

Dennis shares stories of the men in his Army unit; both the challenges they endured on long-range patrols and the suffering they caused to Vietnamese civilians when they moved up a valley with orders to "kill anything that moves." Dennis was the first infantryman in Vietnam to report members of his unit for war crimes.

Sunday, June 9th

2 p.m.: "A Compassionate Response to a Violent World" Workshop with Burrell Poe.

We will come together to practice compassion with each other and learn about 3 components of compassion: Loving kindness, Self-compassion, and common humanity. We will do activities and practice skills related to these principles with one another. After the workshop we will walk through the exhibit.

4 p.m.: Gallery Chat and Q&A with Mac MacDevitt creator of the My Lai Memorial Exhibit.

5:30 p.m.: Closing Circle.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

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