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August 30, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #267: Bipolar Cubs Now In Manic Phase

Hungry Nick and the dinosaurs. Plus: Steve Albini, Master Of Sparks; How Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana and Lucas Giolito Turned It Around; Chili Stew; This Would Be The Perfect Ending To The Bears' Kicking Circus And Give The City A New Hero To Replace Alligator Robb; and more!


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SHOW NOTES

* 267.

* Steve Albini, Master Of Sparks.

"Baseball is chess but you shout instructions to the pieces."

* New Yorker: The Survival Of Iggy Pop.

Coffman: "His torso looks like an old Chicago alley . . . "

7:00: Bipolar Cubs Now In Manic Phase.

* Coffman: Nats Envy.

* Jon Lester, Escape Artist.

* Inside Javy's Brain.

* Disrespecting 90.

* Gonzales, Tribune: Four Takeaways From The Cubs' Road Sweep Of The Mets.

* Willson of the Week: Contreras got thrown out of a game he wasn't even rostered for.

* Morrissey, Sun-Times: That 'Season-Defining Win' The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo Hyped So Hard To Teammates - Anybody Seen It?

* Catching conundrum:

* Wittenmyer, Sun-Times: First Responders? Cubs Hope To Get Help For Lagging Leadoff Spot From Ben Zobrist, Albert Almora.

* Rhodes: Maybe their awful night road game record is because almost all road games are at night! Or maybe we can blame the Cubs getting too used to day games at home, because somebody has to always blame day games at home for something other than their awesomeness.

* Jaffe, FanGraphs: Cubs Road Woes Threaten Their Playoff Perch.

* Bastian, MLB.com: How Did Quintana Turn It Around?

* Rogers, ESPN Chicago: How Yu Darvish Finally Found The Strike Zone And Turned His Season Around.

* Sullivan, Tribune: Yu Darvish Defends His Pitch Selection After Cubs Postgame Host David Kaplan's Critical Tweet.

* More on pitch selection:

* Bastian: Darvish Adds Knuckle-Curve To Diverse Repertoire.

* Nicholas Castellanos Is Wearing Lingerie, Breathing Through His Eyelids And Probably Doesn't Believe In Dinosaurs.

* Chili Stew:

Rhodes: It would be nice if someone could square all the contradictory circles here and hold the right people accountable. Sometimes it seems like Theo lets the inmates run the asylum, like the old Cubs days, and that combined with Maddon's softening on, say, respecting 90 leads one to have a greater understanding of the team's beer-and-chicken 2018 and this season's lack of urgency, Theo notwithstanding. And then there's Nick Castellanos showing up with hunger otherwise absent in the clubhouse. Methinks this organization's culture has gone astray.

-> "Theo Epstein has also noted that Castellanos is adept at handling the high fastballs that opposing pitchers use to take advantage of other Cubs batters."

-> "I was too outspoken," Chili Davis said. "I say whatever comes to mind and sometimes it might come off to some people as being challenging. I like to be challenged and I challenge these guys here. I ask questions and I make statements.

"I tell Peter Alonso,''Man, what's with the new leg kick? It looks like you got your ass up in the air and you're trying to create more power. You don't need to create power. You were born with it. How about we keep our leg down a little closer to the ground? And when we need to touch down and fire, we fire.' Boom! He makes the adjustments."

-> "Those experiences led the Cubs to fire John Mallee - the hitting coach for the 2016 World Series team - and hire Davis in October 2017. Davis was supposed to bring instant credibility as a three-time All-Star with 350 career home runs. The Cubs were supposed to de-emphasize launch angle, focus on situational hitting and minimize the boom-and-bust periods with their offense."

-> "Epstein has consistently praised Davis as a great teacher and blamed the friction on certain players who weren't ready to hear a new message and adapt their approach."

-> "That feeling is mutual with first-year Mets management team, which got the old-school hitting coach it wanted to get away from launch angles and back to an all-fields, shift-busting, situational-hitting, approach-based method that has helped a flawed Mets roster return to playoff contention in a hot second half this season."

If Theo thought launch angle wasn't a fad, why would he hire Davis in the first place? I don't think Davis believes that, I think he was merely trying to teach Cubs hitters that pitchers were adjusting to launch angle with four-seam fastballs high in the zone - the ones only Castellanos seems capable of hitting - and they had to make adjustments back. Kris Bryant and Contreras, for two, were unwilling to do that. Almost certainly others.

Davis was also brought in to improve the team's situational hitting, which obviously includes the clutch hitting that has been a persistent problem with this team since 2015 (and particularly with Bryant). Theo and Jed Hoyer have continued to speak about this being a problem this season.

I'm agnostic on Chili Davis, but it feels to me like we still don't have a full accounting of what went down - and that the organization itself clearly has a problem with its high-turnover coaching staff.

53:58: Giolito!

* Cameo: Noahbattacola by proxy.

56:49: This Would Be The Perfect Ending To The Bears' Kicking Circus And Give The City A New Hero To Replace Alligator Robb.

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 6.11.45 PM.png

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STOPPAGE: 11:15

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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 4:40 PM | Permalink

August 29, 2019

Steve Albini, Master Of Sparks

Earlier this month on Hit & Run:

"Matt Spiegel was joined in studio by musician Steve Albini to discuss his vast love and knowledge of baseball, his illustrious career that includes his work as a record producer, recording engineer, musician and professional poker player and more."

Here it is:

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From my notes . . .

* Albini explained why he loves baseball, particularly in comparison to other sports, but I can't find my notes on that.

Albini: All sports are two mobs fighting over a pill and trying to put it in a bucket/goal before time runs out. The only difference is playing surface - ice, wood, grass. These mob sports are all the same.

Then there are the pong sports: defeating the return of something over a net.

And golf is billiards.

Then there is baseball, where the ball is immaterial to scoring. The offense doesn't handle it. Every game, something absurd happens.

Baseball is chess but you shout instructions to the pieces.

Poker is chess but you capture money.

The hard part of poker is to be disciplined enough to throw hands away.

* Given the choice, Steve Albini's walk-up song would be ZZ Top's "Master of Sparks."

* Spiegel chose Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box," though fretting that Albini would disapprove of one of the leading grunge bands of the '90s, but Alibini professed to be unfamiliar with . . . the whole category?

* Albini also talked poker; Spiegel has been to his home for games and brought a series of interesting beverages . . .

* Albini records bands every day at his studio. That's his day job. You can book time with him.

* Albini's wife, Heather, runs UnconditionalGiving.org, which started as a "Letters to Santa" program in Chicago and has grown big-time.

* Albini: "The only cure for poverty is money."

* "In the third hour, Matt Spiegel kept musician Steve Albini around for an extra segment and even gave you a coffee recipe."

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However, not the first time this conversation has taken place:

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Previously in Steve Albini:

* God Factors:

"Psychedelic fungus infestation of European grain, not divine inspiration, is responsible for many of the 'visions' so lovingly portrayed in the Christian paintings of antiquity. How many people were pressed under stones or drowned or burned for Satanism while those of faith were quietly tripping their brains out on bad bread?"

* Item: Tomatillos and Squash:

"I couldn't find it online, but pick up the current Reader and turn to page 49 for a beautiful essay by Steve Albini about record stores. Albini wrote the piece for Reckless Records - it appears as an ad - as part of National Record Store Day. Albini is easily one of the city's best writers."

* Steve Albini, food blogger.

* Albini explains the Slayer to Sinful Desire in the studio.

* Steve Albini Calls Online Music Sharing The Best Thing Since Punk Rock.

* Albini In Toyland.

"Honestly, the biggest problem with music has always been the encroachment of outside industry into what functions best as a self-sufficient community, and that hasn't changed."

* Steve Albini On The Surprisingly Sturdy State Of The Music Industry.

* Psychology Today: Steve Albini Shows Punk Rock Ethics Are Good Business.

* Steve Albini Is A World Series Of Poker Champion.

* Steve Albini On Why He Hates Jazz 1.

* Steve Albini On Why He Hates Jazz 2.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 PM | Permalink

A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves

When Jason DeParle moved into the Manila slums with Tita Comodas and her family three decades ago, he never imagined his reporting on them would span three generations and turn into the defining chronicle of a new age - the age of global migration.

In a monumental book that gives new meaning to "immersion journalism," DeParle paints an intimate portrait of an unforgettable family as they endure years of sacrifice and separation, willing themselves out of shantytown poverty into a new global middle class.

At the heart of the story is Tita's daughter, Rosalie. Beating the odds, she struggles through nursing school and works her way across the Middle East until a Texas hospital fulfills her dreams with a job offer in the States.

goodproviderisonewholeaves.min-200x260.jpg

Migration is changing the world - reordering politics, economics and cultures across the globe. With nearly 45 million immigrants in the United States, few issues are as polarizing.

But if the politics of immigration are broken, immigration itself - tens of millions of people gathered from every corner of the globe - remains an underappreciated American success.

Expertly combining the personal and panoramic, DeParle presents a family saga and a global phenomenon.

Restarting her life in Galveston, Rosalie brings her reluctant husband and three young children with whom she has rarely lived. They must learn to become a family, even as they learn a new country.

Ordinary and extraordinary at once, their journey is a twenty-first-century classic, rendered in gripping detail.

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Trailer:

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See also:

* Mother Jones: Immigration In America Is Increasingly Asian, Female And Middle-Class. Why Don't We Talk About It?

* Texas Monthly: A Filipino Family's Journey To Texas.

* WBUR: Migration And America: 30 Years Following A Filipino Family To Texas.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 PM | Permalink

Luxury Vinyl Tiles Flooring Market Worth $31.4 Billion By 2024

According to the new market research report Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) Flooring Market by Type (Rigid, Flexible), End-Use Sector (Residential, Non-residential), and Region (North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and South America) - Global Forecast to 2024, the LVT flooring market is projected to grow from $ 18 billion in 2019 to $31.8 billion by 2024.

The luxury vinyl tiles flooring industry is projected to grow in parallel to the growth of the construction industry across the globe. Factors such as the increase in residential and non-residential constructions, innovation in flooring solutions, rising number of remodeling projects, along with a high demand for durable LVTs that can withstand various weathering actions and resist chemical attacks & deterioration are factors expected to support the market growth during the forecast period.

In terms of value and volume, the flexible segment is estimated to lead the luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) flooring market in 2019.

The flexible segment accounted for a larger share, on the basis of type, in the luxury vinyl tiles flooring market as it is affordable and is installed in regions that have extreme weather conditions. It is a traditional glue-down flooring material that inherits several properties such as durability, flexibility, ease installation, and budget-friendly. The growth of the flexible segment remains high due to its properties, which makes it a preferred LVT flooring solution for the residential as well as commercial application. The flexible LVT flooring solutions are considered suitable for almost all applications such as residential and commercial.

In terms of volume, the residential segment leads the luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) flooring market in 2019.

Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) enhances the aesthetic appeal of a building, along with properties such as durability, comfort, and protection from extreme weather conditions. These factors are also projected to drive the residential sector during the forecast period. In addition, the rise in housing renovations and maintenance is further projected to drive the demand for luxury vinyl tiles in the residential sector.

The use of LVT flooring solutions in residential buildings also enhances the aesthetic appeal and provides durability and comfort. Luxury vinyl tiles are preferred for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements, due to their waterproof features. Further, LVTs don't trap dust and pet dander in the bedrooms. All these factors are projected to drive the demand for LVT flooring solutions in the residential sector.

The Asia Pacific region is projected to account for the largest share in the luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) flooring market during the forecast period

The Asia Pacific region is projected to dominate the Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) Flooring Market, in terms of both value and volume, during the forecast period. Factors such as the increasing number of new housing units and huge investments in the infrastructural sector are projected to drive the luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) flooring industry growth in the Asia Pacific region. In addition, increasing demand in countries such as China, Australia, India, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, due to the increasing growth opportunities in these countries has driven the market for LVT flooring.

Mohawk Industries (US), Tarkett (France), Forbo (Switzerland), Shaw Industries, Inc. (US), and Interface (US) are the key players operating in the luxury vinyl tiles flooring market. Expansions, acquisitions, partnership, and new product developments are some of the major strategies adopted by these key players to enhance their position in the LVT flooring market.

Browse Related Reports:

* Flooring Market Type by Material (Carpets & Rugs, Resilient (Vinyl, Cork, Linoleum, Rubber, Resin), Non-resilient (Ceramic, Stone, Wood, Laminate)), End-use (Residential, Non-residential), and Region - Global Forecast to 2023

* Floor Adhesive Market by Type (Epoxy, Urethane, Acrylic, and Vinyl), Application (Tile & Stone, Carpet, Wood, and Laminate), Technology (Water-based, Solvent-based and Hot-melt based), and Region - Global Forecast to 2022

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Previously in markets:

* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

* Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire.

* Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 PM | Permalink

You'd Be Better Off Lighting Your Money On Fire Than Giving It To A Politician To Spend On TV Ads

Alright, you want to make this country a better place for yourself, your children and the many generations to come. So you make a donation to a political candidate you believe will fight for a better country.

But, in reality, you are wasting your money. Here's why.

Television has long been the golden goose of political advertising. The conventional wisdom is that the candidate who can spend the most on it will most likely win.

Including the exception of Donald Trump, almost every person elected president since 1960 has raised and spent more money than their opponent. That includes Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama - with a significant amount of that money being used to buy expensive television advertisements.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton raised over $1.1 billion, as opposed to Trump's grand total of less than $650 million. She outspent Trump almost three times over on television advertising.

So how is it that a presidential candidate won with less money raised and spent?

Spending Where It Counts

Some have attributed this to free media Trump received from television networks hungry for ratings. But, in many ways, that argument doesn't hold water, so consider a different answer: digital advertising.

While he was outspent on TV, Trump spent four times the amount Hillary Clinton did on digital ads, defined as any ad on a computer rather than the typical campaign ads on TV, mail or billboards.

Why would this be the answer?

As of 2016, a new era of politics has been established (arguably initiated by Obama in 2008), dominated by digital advertising. And no one has done it better than Donald Trump.



The Wasted Dollars Of TV Advertising

A typical House candidate will spend 65% to 70% of their entire political budget on TV and U.S. mail advertising.

When one of them advertises on TV, almost 80% of the money spent on the ads is spent broadcasting those ads to people who don't vote or live in that candidate's district. That's because TV does not allow you to target your audience to the same precise level as digital can. This is true from major metro TV markets to rural states.

So if you give to a political campaign, then over 50% of your money is being spent on TV ads that do not reach people who can vote for your candidate.

What's more, if you take into account what is spent on further advertising, it turns out that for every dollar you give, only 10 cents actually goes to engaging voters.

In effect, television advertising is the worst thing you can support in terms of impact for your money.

But, if you give to campaigns, both district-level and presidential, that advertise digitally, it is an entirely different story.



Digital Advertising Targets Better

When politicians advertise digitally, their advertising can get smarter and more targeted. That's because the digital advertising acquires more information on individuals and better learns what policies and causes the donor cares about.

For example, much of Trump's current Facebook advertising doesn't even ask for money, it asks for information about you, such as which issues you are interested in and whether you favor building "The Wall." Here's a screenshot:

trumpdigital1.png

And here are screenshots from a campaign website that the Facebook ad takes you to, which includes an "Official Secure The Border Survey."

digitaltrump2.png

trumpdigital3.png

Trump's digital ads not only ask for your opinion on a variety of topics, they also assign you a survey number and ask for all the data necessary (name, e-mail, ZIP code, phone number) to target you individually for future voting and fundraising.

This is even more valuable than the advertisement itself, because individuals can continually be targeted on topics they specifically care about.

Trump spent 44% of his massive 2016 election media budget on digital advertising. Commercial companies spend 54% of their advertising budgets on digital advertising. But U.S. Senate campaigns only spent 4% to 7% on digital advertising in 2016.

Who do you think is spending more money on figuring out how people are responding to different forms of advertisement?

Now that he's campaigning for re-election, Trump is currently running thousands of ads per day on Facebook alone. That's consistently more than the 23 Democratic candidates challenging Trump combined.



If this trend continues into the general election, it is pretty clear to me who is most likely to win.

It seems that the winners will be those who use digital wisely - the losers will be the ones who stick with TV.

Liberty Vittert is a professor of the practice of data science at Washington University in St Louis. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:47 AM | Permalink

Free Speech Warriors Or Police

The free speech police are at it again. No not the Berkeley undergrads. Not the #cancelculture Twitter mobs. Not the #MeToo harpies who cry wolf when men's expressive conduct involves whipping it out in hotel rooms.

It's the free speech warriors themselves - who also happen to be pretty anti-speech when it suits their purposes. The last 24 hours brought into stark relief just how the selective and self-serving some of the free-speech warriors' claims can be.

First, there is Bret Stephens. I won't catalogue my running list of concerns with Stephens's columns here (I'll just note that the column where he published someone else was pretty good).

Stephens has used his New York Times column to warn us about the great dangers of censorship in the modern age, including censorship via Twitter. Consider this speech he reprinted in the Times:

By now I'm sufficiently immunized to the way social media works that none of this hurts me personally, at least not too much. And, at its best, platforms such as Twitter are useful for injecting more speech, from a vastly wider and more diverse variety of voices than we ever heard from before, into our national conversation.

What bothers me is that too many people, including those who are supposed to be the gatekeepers of liberal culture, are using these platforms to try to shut down the speech of others, ruin their reputations, and publicly humiliate them.

Please read the emphasized portion twice before moving on.

Like so many free speech warriors, one of Stephens' favorite targets are college students who raise concerns about racism. (Imagine - hear me out - that one of their professors goes around saying that America would be better if it was whiter.)

Here is a representative excerpt from one of the Stephens's columns on campus free speech:

"They stress the need to respect and honor the feelings of others . . . In this way they give credence to the idea that feelings are trumps with a decisive authority of their own. That in turn emboldens their students to argue that their feelings are reason enough to keep certain speakers away." [Note: here Stephens was excerpting Anthony Kronman's book.]

This is a bracing, even brutal, assessment. But it's true. And it explains why every successive capitulation by universities to the shibboleths of diversity and inclusion has not had the desired effect of mollifying campus radicals. On the contrary, it has tended to generate new grievances while debasing the quality of intellectual engagement.

Hence the new campus mores. Before an idea can be evaluated on its intrinsic merits, it must first be considered in light of its political ramifications. Before a speaker can be invited to campus for the potential interest of what he might have to say, he must first pass the test of inoffensiveness. Before a student can think and talk for himself, he must first announce and represent his purported identity. Before a historical figure can be judged by the standards of his time, he must first be judged by the standards of our time.

Here, Stephens is arguing that "mollifying campus radicals" is one of the greatest threats to American democracy. He explains: "[I]t leaves them fatally exposed. It emboldens offense-takers, promotes doublethink, coddles ignorance. It gets in the way of the muscular exchange of honest views in the service of seeking truth."

So imagine the surprise when Stephens was "using these platforms to try to shut down the speech of others" . . . on campus to boot!

George Washington University associate professor David Karpf tweeted about the bedbugs at the New York Times: "The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens."

As this story recounts, "The tweet got nine total likes and zero retweets, Karpf said. So the professor was surprised when an e-mail from Stephens popped in a few hours later."

Stephens wrote an e-mail to Karpf and cc-ed Karpf's boss, the university provost: "I'm often amazed about the things supposedly decent people are prepared to say about other people - people they've never met - on Twitter. I think you've set a new standard."

Again, I'm just going to reproduce a paragraph from Stephens's column here:

What bothers me is that too many people, including those who are supposed to be the gatekeepers of liberal culture, are using these platforms to try to shut down the speech of others, ruin their reputations, and publicly humiliate them.

(Stephens is now insisting that what really set him off was being analogized to an insect: "Analogizing people to insects is always wrong . . . Being analogized to insects goes back to a lot of totalitarian regimes in the past.")

I'm just going to reproduce a few more excerpts from Stephens' columns here:

* On why progressives should suck it up and support Biden: "All of these struggle sessions play to the sound of chortling twentysomethings, who have figured out that, in today's culture, the quickest way to acquire and exercise power is to take offense. This is easy to do, because the list of sins to which one may take offense grows with each passing year, from the culturally appropriated sombrero to the traditionally gendered pronoun."

* On why Ralph Northam shouldn't resign for allegedly taking a yearbook picture in blackface or in a Ku Klux Klan outfit: "Then again, each of us might want to perform an internal audit before we join the cast-the-first-stone coalition . . . "

* On Sarah Jeong: "My main point was that we should be judged on the totality of our work, and that we are more than just a collage of quotes from our social media history or some foolish utterances from the near or distant past."

* On why Kevin Williamson should be a writer at The Atlantic: "Your critics show bad faith when they treat an angry tweet or a flippant turn of phrase as proof of moral incorrigibility. Let he who is without a bad tweet, a crap sentence or even a deplorable opinion cast the first stone."

* On the University of Chicago: "Those are fighting words at a time when professors live in fear of accidentally offending their own students and a governor needs to declare a countywide state of emergency so that white supremacist Richard Spencer can speak at the University of Florida. They are also necessary words. That isn't because universities need to be the First Amendment's most loyal guardians - in the case of private universities, the First Amendment generally doesn't apply. They set their own rules. Instead, it's because free speech is what makes educational excellence possible."

The ironies could not be any more clear: Stephens persistently argues that college students and Twitter accounts are a threat to American democracy for . . . asserting that there should be consequences when people say racist things (like not inviting that person to campus to speak again). And Stephens, a New York Times columnist, e-mails a university provost in order to get a professor in trouble for . . . something the professor said on Twitter . . . that hurt Stephens's feelings. There aren't enough chefs' kisses in the world for this kind of shallow hypocrisy.

Unfortunately, free speech hypocrisy doesn't always come in the form of some tantrum by a white dude who is a columnist for a national newspaper. (Imagine what Bret Stephens would feel about the things that women and people of color have said about them when they dare to speak publicly!)

Sometimes, the stakes are higher and the costs of free speech hypocrisy more pernicious.

Consider, for example, the Trump administration. Because of their concern for the First Amendment, the Trump administration signed an executive order "to promote free and open debate on college and university campuses" (because those Berkeley undergrads were so . . . mean to people they disagree with!).

The executive order states: "Free inquiry is an essential feature of our Nation's democracy, and it promotes learning, scientific discovery, and economic prosperity. We must encourage institutions to appropriately account for this bedrock principle in their administration of student life and to avoid creating environments that stifle competing perspectives, thereby potentially impeding beneficial research and undermining learning."

Because of the importance of free speech on campus, the executive order directed federal agencies and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to "take appropriate steps . . . to ensure institutions that receive Federal research or education grants promote free inquiry."

Just this week, the very pro-free-speech Trump administration deported an incoming Harvard freshman (who happens to be a Palestinian resident of Lebanon) because of something an immigration officer discovered on the prospective student's phone.

You guessed it . . . the thing the immigration officer discovered . . . was speech. Even more appalling is that it was (apparently) something that one of the student's friends said - "people posting political points of view that oppose the US on my friend[s] list." (Did the friend call the President of the United States . . . a bed bug?)

Again they hypocrisy could not be more clear: The same administration who is worried about free speech on campus deports a student - and prevents the student from getting to campus - for something the student's friend said.

If free speech on campus is such an important American constitutional value, then that free speech should extend to everyone - including Palestinian students who reside in Lebanon and professors who provide commentary on Twitter. It is beyond irksome to have people take seriously the claims of free speech warriors when those free speech warriors do everything they accuse their critics of (and more, since Berkeley students aren't deporting Milo last time I checked). Until these free speech warriors take seriously the free speech rights of people who don't agree with them, their free speech arguments are nothing more than opportunistic and hollow.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:36 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

Paper: What's an interview question you never want to be asked again?

Julien of the Chicago band Whitney: "Tell me about the name Whitney . . . Are you fans of Whitney Houston?" Of course we are! On the flip side one of our favorite interviews ever was with this guy named Russell Dean Stone. He took an old Whitney Houston Rolling Stone interview from 1993 and asked us the same exact questions the journalist asked her. Obviously a lot of the questions were completely unrelated to us but it was a fun challenge to try to answer them anyway.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Steve Albini, Master Of Sparks
Loves baseball, hates jazz.

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You'd Be Better Off Lighting Your Money On Fire Than Giving It To A Politician To Spend On TV Ads
No one seems to know this better than the Trump campaign.

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Free Speech Warriors Or Police
"There aren't enough chefs' kisses in the world for this kind of shallow hypocrisy."

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A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves
The politics of immigration are broken, but immigration itself remains an underappreciated American success.

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Vinyl Luxury Tiles Flooring Market Soaring
Caused in part by innovations in flooring solutions.

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ChicagoReddit

Twenty years ago, they drained the Paris canals and unearthed lots of historical junk. What would we find if we drained the Chicago River? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Chicago 51" / Whisperhawk

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BeachBook

School Administration Reminds Female Students Bulletproof Vests Must Cover Midriff.

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What's The Matter With Baseball?

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tipster Line: There is no low.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

August 28, 2019

Sinclair Completes Acquisition Of Regional Sports Networks From Disney

Sinclair Broadcast Group and The Walt Disney Company have announced the completion of the previously announced acquisition by Sinclair of the equity interests in 21 Regional Sports Networks (the "RSNs") and Fox College Sports, which were acquired by Disney in its acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

The transaction ascribed a total enterprise value to the RSNs equal to $10.6 billion, which, after adjusting for minority interests, reflects an aggregate purchase price of $9.6 billion. The aggregate purchase price is subject to certain adjustments.

The RSN portfolio, which excludes the YES Network, is the largest collection of RSNs in the marketplace today, with an extensive footprint that includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 National Basketball Association teams, and 12 National Hockey League teams.

The acquisition received the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice. Last year, Disney and 21st Century Fox entered into a consent decree with the Department of Justice that allowed Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox to proceed while requiring the subsequent sale of the RSNs.

The RSNs were acquired via a newly formed, indirect subsidiary of Sinclair, Diamond Sports Group. Byron Allen has agreed to become an equity and content partner in a newly formed indirect subsidiary of Sinclair and an indirect parent of Diamond ("RSN Holding Company").

Allen, who bought The Weather Channel in 2018, is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Entertainment Studios, a global media, content and technology company.

The aggregate purchase price, transaction costs, and an additional cash amount contributed to Diamond was funded through a $1.4 billion cash contribution from Sinclair, $1 billion of preferred equity issued by a parent company of Diamond (also an indirect subsidiary of Sinclair), a $3.3 billion secured term B loan facility entered into by Diamond, and $3.1 billion of secured notes and $1.8 billion of senior notes issued by Diamond and Diamond Sports Finance Company.

The RSN brands acquired by Sinclair are: Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Sun, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Ohio, SportsTime Ohio, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Carolina, Fox Sports Tennessee, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Kansas City, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports West, and Prime Ticket. Also included in the acquisition is Fox College Sports.

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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.

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

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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 9:49 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"McDonald's is introducing a new training program for its U.S. employees . . . after dozens of workers complained about sexual harassment. The Chicago-based company said Wednesday that its franchisees have committed to provide the training - a combination of online work and in-person discussions - to 850,000 employees," CBS and AP report.

"Beginning in October, it will educate workers about harassment and bullying, tell them how to report it, teach them ways to diffuse situations with customers or co-workers and discuss what bystanders can do."

But . . .

"McDonald's isn't requiring franchisees - who are independent owners - to provide the training. But the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance, which represents franchisees, helped develop the training and is calling on all owners to provide it."

So we shall see.

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"Studies suggest harassment is rampant in the fast food industry. In one 2016 survey of 1,271 U.S. female fast food workers, 40% said they faced sexual harassment on the job. Of those, 42% said they were forced to accept it because they couldn't afford to lose their job and 20% said employers retaliated in some way after they reported the harassment, including cutting their hours or giving them a less desirable schedule. The survey was conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Ms. Foundation for Women and Futures Without Violence.

"McDonald's, one of the world's largest fast food chains, has been a particular target of workers' ire. In May, the labor group Fight for $15 filed 25 sexual harassment charges against McDonald's with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It was the third time in three years that Fight for $15 had filed harassment charges on behalf of McDonald's workers. In all, around 48 cases have been filed with the government and four have been filed in state courts."

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Black Bears Ban
"When the Bears wear their 1936 throwbacks, they will inadvertently pay homage to the NFL's 12-year ban on black players. Historian @readjack examines the ban and the role George Halas played in its creation."

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Meat Helmut
"The hulking, Helmut Jahn-designed Thompson Center in the Loop is in dire need of repair. The 1.2-million-square-foot state office building is inefficient and expensive to operate - it costs the state $17 million a year - and officials said would cost about $300 million to overhaul," the Real Deal notes.

"But the 17-story building is also in a prime location, and in April, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill setting up a two-year process to sell the property at 100 West Randolph Street through a competitive bidding process.

"Now, the state is moving that process forward with a request for proposal for 'an array of technical and project management expertise' related to the sale, according to a release sent out this week. Proposals are due Oct. 4."

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I wouldn't overestimate the building's "prime location" - for how many years did the experts say the same thing about Block 37?

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Also, it's an incredibly inefficient space. Most of it is air!

Perhaps it can be used as a giant geranium (terrarium?), or a trampoline park, or a helium storage facility. Or perhaps the insides can be built out. Or perhaps it should be demolished. In any case, I wouldn't get expectations up.

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Lunch Rush
"It's back to school time, and there's growing concern that children may not have enough time to eat lunch," ABC7 Chicago reports.

"According to a recent survey, more than 20% of public schools are giving children less than 20 minutes to eat."

Assignment Desk, localize!

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Spout Doubt
"Millions of Contigo Kids Cleanable Water Bottles have been recalled because a silicone spout can detach and pose a choking hazard for children, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission stated Tuesday," CNN reports.

"Contigo, a Chicago-based company, has received 149 complaints, including 18 incidents in which the spout was discovered in a child's mouth. No injuries had occurred as of Tuesday. Recalled bottles should be immediately taken from children."

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Caution Flag
"I can't count the amount of times I've walked through the Chicago airport neon tunnel," race car driver Scott Hargrove writes. "The music is burned into my head . . . If only the moving walkways actually worked!"

Ha ha ha ha. But true.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Sinclair Completes Acquisition Of Regional Sports Networks From Disney
Byron Allen signs on as co-conspirator.

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ChicagoReddit

PSA: Kroger bottled water is dirtier than our tap water from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"My Autumn Love" / The Danderliers (1955)

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BeachBook

'Fastest Woman On Four Wheels' Jessi Combs Killed In Jet-Car Crash.

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Study: For The First Time In 30 Years, High School Sports Participation Is Down.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tip It Over Line: Right into the fucking sun.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

August 27, 2019

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of former Cubs.

1. Justin Wilson.

Mets savior.

2. Chili Davis.

Hitting coach for the Mets.

3. James Rowson.

Remember when the Cubs brought in hitting guru Rudy Jaramillo on a high-dollar contract to, um, teach the team how to hit? Well, when he was finally fired in June 2012, Rowson took over.

After the 2013 season, Rowson was not retained by the Cubs, so he joined the Yankees as their minor league hitting instructor.

In 2017, the Twins hired him to be their hitting coach, and he's still there, leading a historic offensive season.

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Rowson played for the Cook County Cheetahs in the independent Heartland League in 1998.

4. Josh Donaldson.

The Cubs selected the third baseman in the first round of the 2007 draft. The following year the team traded him to the A's along with Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton and Eric Patterson for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. Oops.

Donaldson slashed .268/.347.458/.805 in four seasons in Oakland, making one All-Star team, before the A's traded him to the Blue Jays for Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman, Brett Lawrie and Sean Nolin.

In four years in Toronto, Donaldson slashed .281/.383/.548/.931, making two more All-Star teams and winning the MVP in 2015.

On Aug. 31, 2018, Toronto traded Donaldson (with cash) to Cleveland for a player to be named later, who turned out to be Julian Merryweather.

Two months later, Donaldson reached free agency and signed with Atlanta. He's been a 4.5 WAR player so far for the Braves this season, with a slash line of .265/.379/.538/.918 - all except the BA are above his career numbers.

5. Amaury Telemaco.

The Cubs signed Telemaco as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1991. He made it to the big leagues in 1996 and stuck with the Cubs with limited success until the team waived him in May 1998.

Telemaco spent a couple season with the Diamondbacks, and then six years with the Phillies, compiling a career 4.94 ERA/5.11 FIP.

He came to our attention this week because of this anecdote from former Cubs catcher and current Mariners manager Scott Servais, as told to FanGraphs:

"We had a right-hander named Amaury Telemaco," said Servais, who caught for four teams during an 11-year playing career. "He came up with the Cubs [in 1996], and his first outing was against the Astros. [Craig] Biggio, [Jeff} Bagwell; the Astros had a really good team. Anyway, we called him up, and his pitch was a slider. He could throw a slider whenever he needed to.

"I'm warming him up in the bullpen, and his slider's not breaking. It's a cement mixer. I say to the pitching coach as I'm walking in from the bullpen, 'Dude, I thought this guy's pitch was a slider.' He goes, 'Yeah, I know. That's what they said. Maybe he'll find it during the game.'

"The game starts, and the slider's not breaking. [But] the hitters haven't seen it before - it's like a backup slider - and they keep popping it up, or rolling it over. He's got a [no hitter] through five innings. And he's got nothing. I'm like, 'This is incredible.' He had some deception, but be had a fastball that was 90-91 [mph] and a slider that was right straight ahead.

"He goes out for the sixth inning, and gives up a single. The crowd at Wrigley Field gets on his feet and gives him a standing ovation. He takes his hat off, and tips his cap! I can hear the Astros dugout screaming at him . . . He was rolling. It was unbelievable."

I think I remember that game.

6. Chris Rusin.

The former Cubs reliever is now in the Rockies organization and "remaking himself as a starter at Triple-A Albuquerque."

He was originally selected by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2009 draft and spent three seasons with the team between 2012 and 2014.

7. Terrance Gore.

The speedster with more stolen bases than hits in his major league career lurks in Triple-A Scranton for the Yankees.

On this date in 2007, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings went 4 for 6, with a double and two home runs, in a 12-6 win over the Atlanta Braves.

8. Sam Fuld.

Works in the Phillies front office.

9. Daniel Murphy.

Slashing .286/.336/.465/.801 for the Rockies.

10. Hector Rondon.

The former Cubs closer, who was essentially tossed aside when the team acquired Aroldis Chapman, is in his second season with the Astros, compiling a 3.75 ERA/4.64 FIP. He notched 15 saves for the 'Stros last year, but he's never been the same since Joe Maddon broke him.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:10 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Cooler Weather, Showers Could Make For Disappointing Labor Day Weekend," the Tribune reports.

That's being awfully presumptuous, Tribune. Sounds like heaven to me.

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West Nile File
"The number of human West Nile virus cases in Illinois has fallen dramatically from last year to this year, but public health officials caution that people shouldn't let their guard down yet," the Tribune reports.

"Only two cases of the virus have been reported in patients so far this year, one in Chicago and one in suburban Cook County, with no deaths, officials said. That compares with 176 cases reported for all of last year, with 17 deaths."

Whoa.

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The headline promises to tell us why, but it turns out the experts aren't certain what accounts for the turnaround.

"For some reason, many fewer mosquitoes are carrying the disease so far this year. Only about 400 mosquito batches have tested positive this year, compared with more than 3,000 last year.

"Mosquito researches think the explanation lies in the weather. The Culex pipiens mosquito - blamed as the primary species spreading the virus - likes dry, hot weather, when it can breed in stagnant water and be more active . . . This year, after a record rainy May, it's been mild, without the prolonged hot drought common in other years."

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"Similarly, only two birds have tested positive for the virus this year, compared with 34 birds for all of last year."

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"[T]ick-borne diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, as is the case with West Nile, have also decreased so far this year, with 205 cases of Lyme disease compared with 276 last year, and 69 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, compared with 151 last year."

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Finally: "George Balis, regional manager and entomologist for Clarke, a mosquito control service in St. Charles that does work for many municipalities in the Chicago area . . . dmitted that standard advice to minimize exposure to mosquitoes by wearing long-sleeved clothing in the heat of summer is 'almost comical.' Now that it's cooler outside, especially in the evenings and mornings, it may make more sense to cover up."

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Court Report
"Today, at my request, Governor Pritzker vetoed my Senate Bill 2128, a bill intended to improve the practice of court reporting in Illinois," state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said in a press release Monday.

"After the bill passed the General Assembly, I became aware of consequences unintended at the time that would be very disruptive to pending litigation and the practice of trial law if the bill became law."

Rich Miller explains at Capitol Fax:

That's a pretty unusual press release, so I asked Harmon about his bill's unintended consequences.

Sen. Harmon said there are three types of court reporters. The old fashioned stenographers and newer reporters who are called verbatum or voice writers who repeat everything into a recording device.

The third category is even newer, and Harmon wasn't aware of those folks. They make a recording, then send it off to be transcribed. The bill was an agreement between first two types of reporters, but, Harmon said, the final product "worked to the detriment" of the third category. Lots of lawyers had transcripts that couldn't be used if the bill had been signed.

What? They repeat everything into voice recorders? And then send it off to be transcribed? Doesn't that add an additional, unnecessary and weird step in the process?

Assignment Desk, activate!

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CapFax commenter OneMan:

"The Navy has been using verbatim, for a while, it even shows up during Maverick's hearing in Top Gun and a Quincy episode. Look for the guy talking into the cone in this scene."

Indeed. And now that you mention (show) it, OneMan, I've seen that in court and always wondered what the hell it was - like, does the dude need a breathing apparatus or something? Thing learned.

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Prison Papers
"In September 2018, three men mysteriously died in the same area of a downstate Illinois prison - in just three days," WBEZ reports.

"Documents obtained by WBEZ paint a picture of how those deaths happened over the course of three days, as Menard Correctional Center staff ignored warning signs and one employee falsified documents. The deaths raise questions about staff accountability, prison transparency and drugs behind bars.

"Illinois' Department of Corrections said it acted swiftly following the deaths and their internal investigation concluded that IDOC staff could not have prevented them.

"But advocates and a family member of one prisoner who died said the department has not been transparent about deaths behind bars, making it difficult to hold staff and officials accountable."

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Please click through for the (disturbing) details.

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Also: "At least 166 people died while in Illinois prisons from January 2017 to September 2018. In around half of those cases, IDOC's research department had no cause of death listed, according to Department of Corrections documents."

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Missing Milli
"And every day the 2016 Cubs creep a little closer to joining Milli Vanilli and the 1985 Bears on a list of one-hit wonders," David Haugh writes for the Tribune.

Milli Vanilli were hardly one-hit wonders. They were frauds, but they had more than one hit. To wit:

"Girl You Know It's True" was the duo's first single. It went to No. 2 in the U.S.

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"Baby Don't Forget My Number" went to No. 1 in the U.S.

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"Blame It On The Rain" also went to No. 1.

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"Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" also went to No. 1.

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"All Or Nothing" went to No. 4 (No. 1 in New Zealand!).

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Haugh also writes, "The challenge of winning the NL Central appears more daunting now with 23 of the final 32 games against divisional opponents and 14 September games on the road, where they have been as reliable as an on-time departure."

On-time departures are reliable, insofar as they are "on-time." What Haugh meant to say was "as reliable as a scheduled departure," and I'd add "from O'Hare" for good measure, though I think I'd find a completely different metaphor that isn't as strained.

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Memo to the world: Please hire me to edit your publication.

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Home Run
Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post post shows in "Nationals Find A Way To Keep Winning, Complete Sweep Of Cubs In Extra Innings" that high-quality gameday baseball writing is alive somewhere, if not here.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Ex-Cub Factor
Look who's doing it for the Mets.

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ChicagoReddit

A message from a teacher in CPS regarding the teacher haters on this sub from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Medusa's, 1989.

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BeachBook

The Sisters Who First Tried To Take Down Jeffrey Epstein.

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At The University Of Illinois, Preserving The Reputations Of Sexual Harassers.

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Where Have All The Race Horses Gone?

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15 Facts About My So-Called Life On Its 25th Anniversary.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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Re-upping.

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The Beachwood Tippy McTipster Line: There are no flukes.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:28 AM | Permalink

August 26, 2019

Arrow Up, Folks

Look no further than the past week if you question whether the White Sox are a vastly improved aggregation than the dismal product of the past two rebuilding seasons.

The fellows won five of seven games against the division-leading Twins on the road and the struggling Texas Rangers at home. They now stand at 60-70, not enough to enthuse the most skeptical observers, but only two victories shy of the total for the entire 2018 season.

Pitching led the charge. Delete a two-inning breakdown by the bullpen last Tuesday leading to a 14-4 pasting by the Twins, and you have a tidy 2.10 ERA for the week.

Lucas Giolito turned in perhaps his finest game in a Sox uniform on Wednesday, pitching a complete game and blanking the Twinkies 4-0 on a yield of just three hits. Giolito didn't walk anyone while striking out 12. This against a ballclub destined to set an all-time record for home runs.

Giolito, who will once again face Minnesota Tuesday evening at The Grate, set the tone for his starting brethren, Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease, Ivan Nova and Ross Detwiler. That quintet posted a 2.09 ERA last week over 43 innings in which they walked just four batters while striking out 46.

Lopez had a no-hitter going Sunday before he retired after five innings with what has become a polite common ailment, "flu-like symptoms." That covers the gamut of illnesses, but apparently he was given an IV for dehydration after throwing 80 pitches. Just think what he could have done if he was hydrated.

As impressive as Giolito and Lopez were, consider that Detwiler began the season in York, Penn., pitching for the Revolution in the independent Atlantic League. Detwiler was a first-round pick (6th overall) of the Nationals back in 2007, and the 33-year-old has pitched for seven big-league clubs. The Sox took a flier on him last spring after he pitched in just three games with the Revolution. Detwiler started eight more times at Charlotte before he was summoned to the South Side at the end of June.

In six innings of work last Thursday against the Rangers, Detwiler allowed only three hits, one of which was a home run by Elvis Andrus, the only run Texas scored in a 6-1 Sox victory. Detwiler struck out a career-high eight while walking no one.

The return from the IL of Yoan Moncada, who doubled and homered, received most of the headlines Thursday, while Detwiler's post-game comment, "Whenever they hand you the ball, you need to go out there and do your best," was straight out of Crash Davis's tutelage of Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham. But no one would have noticed if Detwiler had gone home and looked for another job when he was unsigned earlier this year. It's a good story - though underreported - of the journeyman ballplayer doing whatever he can to continue to play the game he loves.

The bullpen, aside from the hiccup Tuesday against the Twins, accounted for a 2.12 ERA over 17 innings. For the week, the relievers walked five and fanned 20.

For the season, Sox pitchers have struck out 2.28 more hitters than they've walked. Last week that number was 7.33.

Part of the story can be explained by getting ahead of the hitters. For instance, Giolito, who threw 115 pitches in his three-hit complete game shutout, had 0-2 counts on 11 hitters, of whom eight struck out. The other three were retired on two ground balls and a pop-up.

Lopez and relievers Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall, Jace Fry and Alex Colome had similar results on Sunday when they mired 12 hitters with 0-2 counts. One of those batters reached on Tim Anderson's 23rd error of the season, but the remaining 11 all were retired on four strikeouts and a smorgasbord of grounders and flyouts.

Sox pitchers are slowly closing the gap between walks and strikeouts. They now rank 12th in walks allowed and 25th in strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Anderson, despite missing a month with a sprained ankle, has committed four more errors than any other player in the major leagues. Many of his misplays seem to be more a result of poor judgement than a lack of ability. Fielding a ground ball on Saturday off the bat of Andrus, he threw almost underhanded to first, and the ball tailed away from Jose Abreu for an error. Andrus most probably would have been retired if Anderson had thrown overhand.

Submariners have had decent luck as pitchers, but it's not a recipe for success for a shortstop, especially one like Anderson who has a very strong arm. Many of his sensational plays emanate from going far into the hole and throwing across his body to first base.

His manager Rick Renteria and bench coach Joe McEwing both are former major league infielders. They work with Anderson, and one would think they could fix him.

Marcus Semien played a couple of seasons with the White Sox before being traded to Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija deal prior to the 2015 season. Inserted at shortstop with the A's, Semien made 35 errors. However, coach Ron Washington basically taught the kid how to play the infield. Semien hasn't made more than 21 errors since that 2015 season, and he's been charged with just 11 so far this season.

There is the argument that players who have greater range, such as Anderson, are prone to make more errors since they get more chances. However, many of Anderson's boots, bobbles, and errant tosses occur on plays than are made by much-less talented shortstops than he is. So Rickey and Joe need to fix him, and the sooner the better.

As August winds down and Labor Day approaches, the Sox are 14-11 for the month. They've won series' against baseball's elite, the Astros and Twins, while struggling against also-rans like the Angels.

This week will be another test for this fledgling band with the Twins coming to The Grate with revenge on their minds, before the Sox travel to Atlanta where the Braves have an eight-game winning streak and a six-game lead in the NL East. Let's see if the pitching holds up. If it does, these games will be another harbinger of just how far the rebuild has come.

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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 10:58 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Nats Envy

The contrast between the lineups couldn't have been starker. And it was especially on display from the sixth inning into the seventh as another critical game got away from the Cubs on Sunday afternoon. They were able to rally in the eighth and take it into extras but eventually choked it away in the 11th.

The victory gave the scorching Nationals their first sweep of a series at Wrigley Field since 2005, and left the Cubs 2 1/2 games in back of a Cardinals team that, it must always be remembered, to the ever-lasting embarrassment of Theo et al., has never tanked. The Cubs tanked for three stinking years, and while it led to a World Series title, it was supposed to lead to more than scratching and clawing for a second wild-card spot for the second year in a row.

The top half of the Nationals' order is filled with young (and a couple veteran), athletic hitters with speed and power and well above average on-base numbers. Trea Turner, Vic Robles and Juan Soto gave a clinic all weekend long on how to drive balls into gaps in one at-bat and then eke out a two-strike infield hit (or coax a walk!) the next. Oh, and Adam Eaton (still oh so speedy after all these years) and MVP candidate Anthony Rendon also chipped in plenty.

In the bottom of the sixth Sunday, Kris Bryant came up with a clutch single to tie the game at two. The Cubs were facing a tiring starting pitcher, Steve Strasburg (finished with a season-high 113 pitches) and had the heart of the order coming up with no outs. Unfortunately, on this day that heart consisted of the ice-cold Javy Baez, Kyle Schwarber and catcher Jonathan Lucroy. (Anthony Rizzo was out with back soreness.)

Javy started his at-bat by swinging at a pitch that was a foot outside, and eventually struck out on a ball in the dirt. Schwarber worked the count to 2-0 but, as he has done all season long, neither finished off a walk nor hit the ball with authority in the clutch; he popped out to left. Yes, Schwarber later hit a game-tying two-run homer, giving him 30 dingers on the year. But he entered this week with a .225 batting average and a .318 on-base percentage, despite having faced right-handed pitchers in the vast majority of his at-bats. He is the most disappointing player on the roster.

Lucroy struck out swinging on a pitch that was a foot-and-a-half outside. Threat eliminated in large part because these three Cubs couldn't even come close to putting the ball in play in a way that put pressure on the defense.

In the bottom of the seventh, Eaton pinch-hit for Strasburg and drew a one-out walk. Turner, who would later provide the centerpiece of the game-winning 11th inning rally with a ringing double to right-center, flew out for once. But then Robles singled to right, sending Eaton to third, and Rendon walked. Rowan Wick was replaced by lefty Kyle Ryan on the mound to create a lefty versus lefty match-up.

Up came Soto, who quickly fell behind in the count, in part because the home plate ump called a pitch that was clearly inside strike two. Soto was ticked but he didn't let it impact the at-bat, and a couple of balls and a couple of foul balls later, he muscled an inside fastball into the short-third gap. Baez fielded it and fired to first but he couldn't get the speedy Soto as the lead run scored.

And then to cap it all off, Asdrubel Cabrera lined a two-run single to right-center against Ryan, who had not been able to shake off Soto's hit and fired a fastball right down the middle for the veteran infielder.

The Nationals are a very good team right now, let's not overlook that. They have led in the eighth inning of their last 19 games, winning 15 of them, and they are now four games in front of the Cubs for the first wild card spot. But the home team didn't face two of their aces - Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin - and still couldn't manage to ever even take a lead in the series.

Soto, Turner and Robles have arrived in the majors in the last three years and given the Nationals a huge boost of hitting done the right way. No one has done anything close to that for the Cubs. Oh, and management has failed to draft and develop any pitchers of note other than that guy (Dylan Cease) they traded to the White Sox, in approximately forever.

Maybe just maybe it is time to take a slightly more critical look at Senior Vice President, Player Development and Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod, and his bosses Theo and Jed? They have, after all, overseen the Cubs' last eight drafts.

The contrast between the Cubs' drafting (and amateur free-agent signings) and the Nationals' couldn't be starker.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:28 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"When aldermen rushed to approve a $1.3 billion tax subsidy for the Lincoln Yards megadevelopment in April, the conventional wisdom at City Hall was that then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel wanted the deal done before he left office to burnish his legacy as a leader who made Chicago boom again," the Tribune reports.

"For developer Sterling Bay, there was uncertainty about reopening negotiations with incoming mayor Lori Lightfoot, who had expressed reservations about the deal for months.

"But the clock also was ticking for another reason. If Emanuel and Sterling Bay had waited much longer, the development no longer would have qualified for its record-high taxpayer subsidy, a Tribune analysis has found."

Strap in, folks. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

"To get the money, the area had to meet at least five state standards to be considered 'blighted.' The city could then designate it as a tax increment financing district. At the time of the vote, the area met the bare minimum."

The term "blighted" has long set off TIF critics, seeing as how obviously wealthy areas far from blighted as the word is typically understood have somehow qualified for the financing scheme anyway. But the definition of "blighted" in the statute is not the same as the way you or I use the word. From a 2017 DNA Chicago post:

Chicago's Loop is "blighted." So is Old Town. And Lincoln Square.

At least they are according to the definition of "blighted" used when determining whether an area is eligible for the creation of a Tax Increment Financing district, a funding tool that uses tax dollars to support public and private development.

Whenever a new TIF district is proposed - there's one on the table now, in the North Mayfair neighborhood - "Show us the blight!" is often the first objection raised.

To many, the word conjures up images of gutted, near post-apocalyptic urban landscapes.

But under Illinois' Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, the definition of "blight" is far broader. The act established 13 factors for determining blight, of which a proposed TIF district must meet five. A separate set of factors is used if the land is vacant.

One of those 13 factors concerns property values. Back to today's Tribune:

"Less than six weeks [after Lincoln Yards was approved], new property assessments were completed. The rising values of the Lincoln Yards land meant the TIF district no longer met one of the five standards, according to the Tribune analysis of the values of hundreds of parcels."

Too late. The deal was done.

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"The Tribune asked Lightfoot aides and a Sterling Bay spokeswoman whether they were aware that rising land values could have affected city funding. They did not answer that question, and instead issued general statements.

Lightfoot spokeswoman Anel Ruiz said the administration "will carefully scrutinize" the project and money going forward. So far, Sterling Bay has won the right to be reimbursed for $488 million in costs, but has to return to the City Council to request the remainder of the $1.3 billion.

Company spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said the TIF money is an "important economic development tool to benefit not just Lincoln Yards, but the entire city of Chicago."

If neither one of you are not going to answer the question, it's fair for us to assume y'all knew exactly what you were doing.

Also, Anel Ruiz and Sarah Hamilton, you are Today's Worst People In Chicago, though I have a feeling you're going to have company before I'm done with this story.

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Hamiton, by the way, is a former spokesperson for Rahm Emanuel (as well as the Chicago Police Department), which probably should have been mentioned in the article.

She doesn't appear to work directly for Sterling Bay, but instead is a hired gun as the managing director of Kivvit, which used to be David Axelrod's firm. Her job is to not tell the truth to reporters.

Instead, she does this:

"Head of Kivvit's Land Use Practice overseeing clients with developments ranging from small to mid- sized projects to 440 acre planned developments. Develop and manage communications and public affairs campaigns for clients including messaging, media relations, stakeholder recruitment, and events."

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Trib:

"The city plans to use as much as $1.3 billion to cover major public improvement projects needed to make the Lincoln Yards project work.

"The money is expected to cover most of the cost of five new bridges; a riverwalk; the realignment of the intersection where Elston, Ashland and Armitage avenues converge; 21 acres of parkland, a new Metra station; and the extension of The 606 recreational trail, said Ald. Brian Hopkins, whose 2nd Ward includes the area.

"Those are all things that the community wants, needs and will celebrate once they are open," said Hopkins, who supported the project. "And I don't know any other way to get them . . . That's why I supported Lincoln Yards."

If you don't know any other way to get infrastructure improvements in your ward but to jerryrig a TIF district, you should resign, Ald. Hopkins.

Also, see this thread from April:

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Trib:

"Anthony Stewart, co-founder of Black Workers Matter in the Austin neighborhood, disagreed [with Hopkins].

"Does anyone think the booming North Side is going to stop booming without city TIF money?" he said at a recent news conference supporting the lawsuit to halt Lincoln Yards.

"Instead of seeing investments in neighborhoods like mine, we see our property taxes diverted by mayor after mayor to the politically connected developers for projects in some of the richest neighborhoods," he added.

He's not wrong. In fact, people fed up with that is one reason why Lightfoot got elected. Was she in on it or did she just get played? Hard to say, especially given that she refused to answer the Trib's questions.

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"Leading the effort to create the Lincoln Yards TIF district were two aldermen - then-Finance Committee Chairman Ald. Patrick O'Connor, 40th, and the 2nd Ward's Hopkins."

Remember, O'Connor was Rahm's floor leader - his right-hand man on the council. (Before that, he was Daley's floor leader.)

"Both said they weren't aware of any behind-the-scenes concerns about the rising assessments."

In other words, both said they did their jobs incompetently! C'mon. O'Connor, in particular, is at least savvy enough in real estate to personally benefit from changing property values.

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City Hall knew.

"The city's redevelopment plan noted that if 2018 assessed values were finalized before the TIF vote, the new numbers would have to be used. And Emanuel's planning commissioner and another top department official were having discussions about the value of the Lincoln Yards land and what was going on with them, according to e-mails the Tribune obtained through an open-records request."

I would call that a smoking gun.

"In late February, Deputy Planning Commissioner William Jeffries told then-Planning Commissioner David Reifman that the final state 'equalization factor' - a necessary component of determining the equalized assessed value - would likely be released in May.

"It came out May 20, the final piece of the puzzle to set the 2018 assessment figures. On June 20, the assessments were made official by the county clerk. That's the point at which the information was available for the city to update figures to determine whether the TIF district was eligible.

"Reifman did not return a call seeking comment for this story and referred the matter to current city officials. Before Reifman went to work as Emanuel's planning chief, he was a partner at DLA Piper, which represented Sterling Bay in TIF negotiations with the city."

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Again, let's go back to April:

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And as I observed then:

Meanwhile, who is planning commissioner David Reifman? Well, for starters:

"Though hardly a household name, this heavy-hitting zoning guru has repped some of the biggest real estate developers on some of Chicago's most transformative projects in recent years," Chicago noted in 2016.

Boldface mine.

"When the mayor plucked Reifman in September for this key City Hall job, developers clinked their shovels in a toast."

Just so you know who he is.

Then, the next day:

"To the testimony of Reifman, who Spielman is so sick of, we'll turn back to WBEZ:

And address them they did - for five hours - with aldermen asking questions and David Reifman, head of the Department of Planning and Development and a cheerleader for the project, answering.

Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward, questioned how the Lincoln Yards area, on prime real estate along the Chicago River and sandwiched between two of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city, could be considered "blighted," a prerequisite for consideration as a TIF district.

"Just because it's vacant does not make it 'blighted,'" said Hairston. "If you want to look at blight, I've got several areas in my ward."

Reifman responded by pointing out photos of the Lincoln Yards site. "As you can see, this is vacant, unutilized, infrastructure-less land," said Reifman. Hairston told him there's a big difference between a multimillion-dollar vacant lot and a $25 vacant lot. "There's no way that you can make me think that this is blighted," said Hairston, "and I don't think it goes with the intent of the TIF law."

You'd have to squint awfully hard to even begin to think Reifman was right in this exchange.

Now, you might say, hey, wasn't he technically right about the term "blighted?" And I'd say, barely - by squinting awfully hard - and not within the intent of the law, as Hairston pointed out. He also knew that the site would soon be unblighted.

"Reifman suggested at several points the city could lose the development altogether. "Capital can go anywhere. They don't have to come to Chicago. They can look at the decisions we make today and say, 'You know what? We can go anywhere in the world."

Capital wants to come to Chicago. They should be paying us for the privilege!

"He said Lincoln Yards developer Sterling Bay is investing $300 million in infrastructure improvements unreimbursed. He said the TIF-funded improvements, which the developer will complete and the city will reimburse later, likely by issuing 'TIF Notes,' will help the entire 'region.'"

Citing those unreimbursed infrastructure improvements is plain disingenuous. What Sterling Bay is saying is, hey, let us build this motherfucking megaproject and we'll even install the roads, lights and bushes just where we want them! And then you can reimburse us for the rest - the TIF stuff! Whatta deal.

"Ald. Brian Hopkins, whose 2nd Ward includes Lincoln Yards, said putting off the vote was the wrong thing to do. 'Just like when New York City walked away from Amazon and said No thank you, we don't want all those jobs. And there's a backlash to that today, there's an outcry when people realize what folly that is. I won't let that happen here.'"

First, there is no backlash - not among the residents and taxpayers of New York City. Second, taxpayers said they didn't want to pay for all of those Amazon jobs! Let Amazon, the third most valuable company in the world, run by the world's richest man, pay their employees themselves! Brian Hopkins, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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"Hopkins called opponents 'misguided and misinformed' and touted the 10,000 construction jobs and 23,000 permanent jobs the Lincoln Yards development is expected to generate."

I don't doubt the project will create jobs - duh - but at what cost? Also, these projections always fall well short of what we're told come approval time.

That said, I'm sure there is a lot of misinformation out there - much of it propagated by Reifman!

Who is misinformed now, Ald. Hopkins?

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Trib:

"Among hundreds of pages of e-mails obtained by the Tribune were communications Reifman had with attorneys from DLA Piper, many of which were redacted. Reifman has said he gave up his professional and financial interest in the law firm in August 2015.

As Emanuel aides worked behind the scenes, the race to determine Chicago's next mayor was playing out. Candidate Lightfoot said the Lincoln Yards project was moving too fast and City Hall "should wait until there is a new mayor."

The City Council, however, pressed ahead. By the time Lightfoot was elected April 2, aldermen already had approved Sterling Bay's construction plans. A key vote to create the TIF district was scheduled for April 8 at the Finance Committee.

Late on April 7, Lightfoot asked for a delay, and Emanuel agreed.

The following day, top aldermen and Emanuel aides retreated to a side room off City Council chambers. Ald. Scott Waguespack recalled an exchange with Reifman, the planning commissioner.

Reifman "stuck his finger in my face" and told me that putting off a vote until Lightfoot had taken office "would put a stop to the TIF moving forward," said Waguespack, 32nd, who voted against the plan.

Bingo.

Lightfoot, who wouldn't be sworn in until May 20, faced a tricky political situation. The votes were there to pass the Lincoln Yards TIF over her objection, and she risked suffering a major loss before she was even mayor. Lightfoot also faced pressure from business interests and construction unions that wanted the project to proceed.

So Lightfoot negotiated with the developers. On April 9, Lightfoot announced that she'd secured promises for more of the construction work to go to minority- and women-owned firms. She dropped her opposition, and the next day aldermen voted to approve the TIF district.

This episode remains a bit foggy. It's still not clear exactly what Lightfoot was told and if she had better options. Her own statements have been opaque. Did she fold? Should we now start calling it Lightfoot Yards?

O'Connor, Emanuel's floor leader, insisted that Emanuel would have pulled the plug if Lightfoot had wanted him to.

"In the end, it was clear it was not the deal she would have made, but was something she felt comfortable enough with to move forward," O'Connor told the Tribune recently. "If she said 'no way,' it would have died."

If this is true, Lightfoot has a lot of explaining to do. But not everyone thinks it's true.

Waguespack, who is now Finance Committee chairman, sees it differently.

"She wouldn't have been able to stop it," he said. O'Connor and Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, who had handled property tax appeals on some properties for Sterling Bay, "would do everything they could to see it through."

And Rahm would have had (im)plausible deniability.

Waiting to vote until after Lightfoot took office in mid-May would have had the effect of setting the reset button. Not only could Lightfoot look to cut a different deal with Sterling Bay, but the approval process would have begun anew and could have stretched on for months.

By that time, tax assessments would have been finalized - and the rising property values meant Lincoln Yards no longer would have met the state standard to be declared a blighted area and eligible for TIF status.

By now you're probably wondering what Lightfoot has to say about all of this.

"Lightfoot declined an interview for this story. Her administration did not answer a list of questions. Instead, a spokeswoman issued a statement reiterating points Lightfoot made after the April vote suggesting that not everything in Sterling Bay's plan was a done deal."

This is unacceptable. When someone "takes the Fifth," you are not supposed to presume guilt under our system of justice. But when someone refuses to answer reporters' questions, I believe you are almost always within your (metaphorical) rights to presume guilt. I initially believed a version of this story that was at least mildly in Lightfoot's favor. Now I can only believe the worst - that she blew it, one way or another.

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Postscript:

"The Tribune's finding comes as community groups are asking a judge to reverse the City Council's decision. They say the area is not blighted and would be redeveloped without the taxpayer assistance, given that it's centered on the Chicago River just west of Lincoln Park . . . Critics contend such projects don't meet what's called the "but-for test" established for TIF districts across the country. To pass the test, public officials must show that development would not occur in the TIF area without - or but for - the tax subsidy.

"Opponents also question whether TIFs truly pay for themselves through the tax revenue they generate, as supporters argue, or actually boost the overall tax burden due to the need for additional city services.

"Perhaps nowhere is the question more pertinent than Chicago, where TIF districts blanket the city to an extent not matched by any other big city in America, according to a 2018 study by the nonprofit Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. A recent Cook County clerk's report determined that more than a third of property taxes collected in Chicago get funneled into 138 special taxing districts that include a fourth of the city's properties."

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Post-Postscript:

Just because Rahm is no longer in office doesn't mean he shouldn't be questioned about things that happened when he was in office. After all, reporters still seek out his views on, say, the Democratic primary, and he remains very much a public person. Besides that, he owes us. If he refuses to answer reporters' questions on topics like this, he should not be sought out on other topics - and he should no longer be allowed to be employed as a contributing editor for The Atlantic or a commentator for ABC News. Then again, he shouldn't have those jobs anyway.

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Post Post-Postscript:

Here's what I think happened. Rahm told Lightfoot that delaying the deal was impossible because that meant killing the deal. Lightfoot didn't campaign on killing the deal, but on slowing it down and "doing it right." Rahm, knowing that the TIF designation was slipping away, told Lightfoot that by delaying it she'd be killing it, and she wasn't willing to do that, right or wrong. Too much money at stake, and too much risk of alienating too many people she'll need down the line. That's why no one wants to say what really went down. Now, I don't think Rahm ever had any intention of letting her kill the deal, but he probably didn't have to say that. Everyone got cover. And to save face, Lightfoot was given some additional minority participation so she could say she got something out of the one-day delay.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Joe Biden's Imagination
It's time to get real, folks.

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Top 5 Chicago Comic Con Cosplays
From Duff Man Girl to Left Shark.

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TrackNotes: Codes Of Honor
Equine and human.

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SportsMonday: Nats Envy
End of a Cubs era.

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Arrow Up, Folks
The White Sox had a good week.

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ChicagoReddit

Something is up (Assignment Desk, activate!). I just got one for 2015, and while I haven't yet looked it up, I'm 99.9% certain I filed taxes to the state that year, just like every other year. Two commenters here just got bills from 2014.

I got a bill for Illinois taxes for a reporting period (2017) in which I wasn't even a resident of Illinois. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

JetRide Chicago Announcement.

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BeachBook

Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Covered Deemed Hostile To White House.

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The Wizard Of Oz: Five Appalling On-Set Stories.

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Abuela, Chef, Boss: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s Grandmother Feeds The Majors.

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Paul Bunyan And Other Fiberglass Advertising Giants Ride Again At Bell Plastics In Hayward, California.

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The Restaurant Of Mistaken Orders: A Tokyo Restaurant Where All The Servers Are People Living With Dementia.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Agreeing doesn't play into it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:32 AM | Permalink

August 25, 2019

Joe Biden's Imagination

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:55 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Codes Of Honor

Boy Oh Boy!

Candy-store like that on Friday, how on earth can Saturday fulfill? Well, sometimes luck hits you in the face, helped along by the congregation of the finest the endeavor has to offer, in this case both equine and human.

Travers Day yesterday had everything. See something say something, corporate blunders exposed, pictures say a thousand words and don't sneeze, horses run fast, and quite a number of people appreciate it.

After Code of Honor, under an exquisite ride by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, won the 149th Travers Stakes (Grade I, three years old, 10 furlongs, 1-1/4 miles, $1,250,000) by three in an awesome as-you-please manner, TV host Laffit Pincay III stated, "(Claude) Shug McGaughey is such a popular guy among these guys that when he wins a big race, they all win a big race."

It was McGaughey's fourth Travers win, his first since Coronado's Quest with Mike Smith in 1998. "That's too long," he Southern-drawled in the Winners Circle. He also won it back-to-back with the great Easy Goer in 1989 and Rhythm in 1990. He's also trained Personal Ensign, Lure, Point of Entry, Orb, Seeking the Gold and Honor Code.

Code of Honor paid $10.80, $5.20 and $3.80, with an exacta of $18.50 for one dollar. Tacitus Placed by three and Mucho Gusto took Show a half length behind Place. Not insignificantly, Code of Honor broke his maiden in his very first race right here at Saratoga. He was foaled in May 2016, so it was five months after he officially became a three-year-old before he actually became a three-year-old.

Johnny V. was modest. "Today I made sure, when I got him out in the clear, he responded and I'm glad for him," Velazquez told Maggie Wolfendale on the ride back. One of the most beautiful things you will ever see, Code' was smeared in dirt, his white forehead blaze nearly hidden and Johnny V. was brown dirt in his face and shin leggings. They both didn't care.

We were hanging on what Tacitus and Jose Ortiz did or were going to do. Danny Gargan, Tax's trainer out in the 12-hole, bitched for days about the post and petulantly vowed he and Irad Ortiz would send Tax right out of the gate. TV analyst and Hall of Fame Jockey Gary Stevens called BS and he was right. Irad became part of the race, but he was feeling things out more than anything. Tax finished seventh.

Meanwhile, Jose reluctantly took the lead on Tacitus, and what kind of bad karma must he have been sending to the horse. Into the clubhouse turn, all Jose was doing was head-turning to his right to see where Tax, or anybody else, was.

Stevens described. "I think the blinkers will come off. I don't think Jose sent him to the lead, I think (Tacitus) just pulled him to the lead. I saw (Ortiz) look three times to his right and you could tell he didn't want to be on the lead."

Even when we're tired of it, we still have to pay attention to Tacitus.

Before the race even gated, WAIT, we've got breaking news from Maggie down on the track!

Signs.jpeg

Fox used Terry Bradshaw to proudly and rightly introduce and marvel that Fox had the Travers coverage. Bradshaw is a quarterhorse guy. As if it was . . . something . . . Fox erected huge signs and placed them on the turf course right inside the rail of the dirt Travers. Wolfendale reported that Javier Castellano pointed out the signs and clued them that the horses might get spooked. "Those signs are NEVER there, there's never ANYTHING there. The horses wouldn't expect that." Wolfendale said. "Javier told them."

He was right. I've seen horses lose races, or worse, by being spooked by the tire tracks of the starting gate. Horses prone to that use shadow rolls, those white sheep fleece fashion statements on their noses. Think these jockeys aren't sharp as razors?

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The Travers was a great race because it was exciting and answered a lot of question. But the Personal Ensign Stakes (Grade I, fillies and mares three and up, nine furlongs, 1-1/8 miles, $700,000) two races earlier was the best race of the day.

Oh, SISTER!

Now the finest filly in the land, Midnight Bisou, daughter of Midnight Lute, out of the Repent mare Diva Delite, showed in the photo, no cheesecake, that she is destination watching, so go.

Showing determination she couldn't explain even if she could talk, 'Bisou got the final inch by sheer momentum she had struggled and paid for furlongs earlier.

Elate? That girl showed all the drive her pappy, Medaglia d'Oro, displayed to get me to love him. Elate even went off favored at 4-5.

Wire.jpeg

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith summed it up. "I've ridden some real good fillies in my time and this one's catchin' up real fast."

Um, who? Azeri, Royal Delta, Stardom Bound, Inside Information, Songbird. Just one more. Zenyatta. The biggest diva of them all.

The chart called it outfooted. But 'Bisou was last on the first turn. He must have had a lot of fun, but on the top of the turn, Smith told her it's time to go to work. She consumed a few others, spun out five or six wide into the stretch. Midnight Bisou displayed a gear at the sixteenth pole, and you'da thunk here she goes, race over.

But Elate seen her duty and she done it, eyeballing 'Bisou and answering "No." As if taunting, 'Bisou drew up cozy next to Elate and it was on. Smith only suggesting the whip to keep 'Bisou's head straight, Jose Ortiz race rode, pumping Elate's neck and head and nose to get the head bob he knew he needed.

I thought it was Elate, and dead heat goes through your mind, but that's why they have the photo.

Not that it doesn't enter your mind, but the moment screamed "take on the boys! (Breeders' Cup) Classic!" We'll just watch Midnight Bisou with best wishes and kindly ask if she might let us watch her run again.

I Western Unioned the city desk and declared the rest of the day would be gravy, the Personal Ensign was so good.

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We had some justice exacted upon some humans yesterday, but the horse still paid a price and if it lines up just right, a couple horseshoes to the foreheads of these people in stereo would be ultimate payback.

Shancelot, a son of Shanghai Bobby, came into the H. Allen Jerkens (Grade I, three year olds, seven furlongs, $500,000) three-for-three in his young career. He's fast, really fast.

Last out, in the Grade II Amsterdam, 6.5 furlongs July 28 at Saratoga, he wrested the lead early and never looked back.

Let's name names. Trainer Jorge Navarro and jockey Emisael Jaramillo, owners Ivan Rodriguez, Michelle Crawford and Albert Crawford.

In the Amsterdam, the horse had a 14-length lead at the eight pole, but Jaramillo didn't look behind him, he kept beating that horse and rode him out after the wire another furlong at least.

Saturday, retired jockey Richard Migliore, who made many bones here in Chicago, said a few things. From a handicapping perspective, he said Shancelot could easily bounce yesterday because he was ridden so hard. For no reason.

"That horse was being punished (in the Amsterdam) for running so fast," Migliore said. "They don't like that and you're sending the wrong message to the horse."

Lo and behold, Shancelot, being the quality horse he is, carbon copied the Amsterdam and took a strong lead Saturday. Clear by lengths, Jaramillo started beating that horse. He hit him at least 11 times I counted. In one sequence, he hit him BOOM . . . BOOM . . . BOOMBOOM. He hit that horse AFTER he crossed the wire.

I don't care if there's a rule to cover it or not. Jaramillo should be fined (YEAH, the grand total $1,100) and suspended for general abuse. Navarro should also be disciplined, such as that is in racing.

I've seen Jaramillo before. He's a hack riding for a hack trainer. They both get along at tracks nobody pays any attention to. This was only Jaramillo's third ride at Saratoga this season and there's a reason for that. He rides in the underbelly of Monmouth and Gulfstream.

I only wish Migliore and Stevens would have said more. First, excoriate Jaramillo and then go to the jocks' room and see if you can teach him.

Velazquez wove an exquisite tapestry of beauty in his rides Saturday.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:33 PM | Permalink

Comic Con Chicago 2019

Cosplay highlights.

1. Duff Man.

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2. Ahoy.

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3. Just Got Married.

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4. Cub-Boom.

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5. Left Shark.

leftshark.jpg

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See also: Greg's full Flickr set.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:03 PM | Permalink

August 24, 2019

The Weekend Desk Report

"When I awoke last Saturday morning to the news of Jeffrey Epstein's death, I realized that the moment had come: the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), the federal prison where he died, was about to get its fifteen minutes of fame," Aviva Stahl writes in "Why Federal Prisons Like The One Where Epstein Was Held Aren't Held Accountable" for the Columbia Journalism Review.

"As a freelance investigative reporter who frequently covers the prison system, I'd spent years trying to pitch stories about that facility, often without success. Last summer, I managed to publish an investigation into conditions at the MCC on the website Gothamist. "The story documented that MCC was overcrowded and understaffed, plagued by vermin and overflowing toilets, dogged by allegations of corruption and abuse, and beset by an almost total lack of medical care. None of that got much attention at the time. But as soon as news of Epstein's death started circulating, so did my piece.

"Of course, editorial interest ebbs and flows with the news cycle, and in the post-Obama era, perhaps more than ever, investigative reporting about (seemingly) non-Trump-related federal problems is a tough sell. But the almost total dearth of interest in MCC can be traced back decades; it isn't just a reflection of journalistic myopia that's plagued the American media landscape under the current president. It's also a reflection of the flawed metrics that newsrooms use to determine when jail and prison stories are 'newsworthy.'"

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And not just jail and prison stories, but I digress.

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"A few factors contributed to the almost total lack of MCC coverage until Epstein's death."

I'm going to make you click through to find out what those factors are.

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Perhaps my favorite insight, though - and an important rule of thumb for journalists everywhere - is Stahl describing how she was forced "to treat the morality of my main character as secondary to the moral obligation of those who oversee his incarceration."

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P.S.:

From the Gothamist post that Stahl references:

"When MCC first opened in 1975 as part of the broader renovation of New York's downtown civic center institutions, the move was praised as an important step towards prison reform. '[T]he new Metropolitan Correctional Center at Foley Square will bring to New York City its first piece of advanced - and humane - prison design' hailed The New York Times in an article published just before the facility's completion."

From that New York Times article, written by architecture critic Paul Goldberger:

"The new Metropolitan Correctional Center is, a superb example of an intelligently full secure environment that nonetheless manages to be comfortable and even, to the extent that any prison can, feel welcoming."

It's possible that was the case at the time, but that's not how it's worked out. Whether that was foreseeable, I do not know.

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Immigrant Protection Act Loophole?

via the Autonomous Tenants Union:

"On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Immigrant Protection Act into law, making Illinois the second state to prohibit landlords from evicting, intimidating, and retaliating against tenants on the basis of their immigration status.

"In our intertwined roles as a tenant-led union organizing against the displacement of our neighborhood's working class population, and as a coalition member combating deportations under the banner of the Albany Park Defense Network, the Autonomous Tenants Union (ATU) welcomes these new protections. At a time when our immigrant members and neighbors are under direct threat from the federal government and from those emboldened by its nakedly nativist, white supremacist rhetoric, it is vitally important that we fortify our defenses at the state and local levels.

"Unfortunately, the existing weaknesses in our tenant protections threaten to undermine the efficacy of this new law. The Immigrant Tenant Protect Act prohibits landlords from pursuing eviction 'based solely or in part on the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant.' However, because landlords are not required to provide cause for pursuing the eviction of tenants whose leases have expired and/or are on month-to-month rental agreements, this prohibition can only be enforced against the most egregious offenders - ones who go so far as to openly tout their prejudice. A landlord's whim is not a morally acceptable reason for someone to lose their home. This is why ATU advocates for a Just Cause law that would require landlords to prove that a tenant is in violation of their rental agreement in order to have them evicted.

"In order to add teeth to the prohibition on housing discrimination against immigrant tenants, the new law also establishes tenants' right to redress in both housing court and through civil litigation. Again, these essential measures are undermined by pre-existing holes in our tenant protections. Landlords typically have lawyers on retainer, but many working class tenants cannot afford an attorney and/or cannot afford to take time off of work to attend housing court. As a result, the average eviction trial in Chicago takes less than 2 minutes, and ends in a summary judgement in the landlord's favor. A tenant being evicted because of their immigration status cannot adequately assert the affirmative defense established by this law if they do not have a lawyer, which is why Chicago needs to join cities like New York and San Francisco in establishing a Tenant's Right to Counsel. Just as defendants in criminal cases have the right to a public defender, so to should those at risk of having their homes taken from them.

"This is a move into the right direction to prevent landlords from weaponizing fear by using deportation threats to get undocumented immigrants to move out of their apartments," said Antonio Gutiérrez, an undocumented tenant organizer with ATU. "We now need to educate our community about their rights and make sure landlords are held accountable to this new law."

"The passage of the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act is an important step forward in the struggle to defend our communities. But there is more work to be done to ensure that the promise of this law does not go unfulfilled. ATU will continue its fight for the full decommodification of housing, and calls on city and state lawmakers to continue to strengthen tenants' legal protections."

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An Illinois Funding First

via Illinois CASA:

"Illinois CASA has been awarded a $2,885,000.00 in state funding. This is the first time in Illinois CASA's 26 years of operation that they have received any state funding.

"This funding will split between 31 local programs across Illinois to expand their programing so more kids who have experienced child abuse or neglect can have a specially trained Court Appointed Special Advocate assigned to their case. In addition, there will be money to go into some counties to open new CASA programs to help serve the over 2,000 survivors who do not currently have access to a CASA program.

"'This funding means that more children across Illinois do not have to go through the court process alone,' says executive director Mari Christopherson."

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About Illinois CASA
CASA stands for court appointed special advocate. A CASA is a trained, community volunteer who advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are involved with the child welfare system. CASA volunteers serve in child abuse and neglect cases, Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) cases and sometimes in adoption proceedings. In Illinois there are 31 non-profit CASA programs with nearly 2,500 volunteers who in 2018 advocated for the best interests of 4,184 child victims of abuse and neglect.

Here are the three measures the CASA network works to improve:

* Safety: Less than 1% of children assigned a CASA re-entered protective care in 2018.

* Permanency: Children assigned a CASA have shorter lengths of time in protective care. DCFS: 17,481 cases. 4,351 closed. 25% Achieved Permanency (2020 DCFS Budget Briefing) CASA: 4,482 cases assigned. 1,667 closed. 39% annual closure rate.

* Well-Being: CASA volunteers are trained to advocate in court for the educational needs and physical and mental health needs of children. There were no serious injury reports or child deaths when a CASA was appointed.

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A Hideous Catastrophe
"We were dreading it, and yesterday began this year's edition of 'Players' Weekend' in Major League Baseball," John Ekdahl writes for Uni-Watch.

"While we knew what to expect, it's difficult to put into words just how awful it actually looked when the players finally took the field. You couldn't read the team names, you had difficulty making out the numbers and you couldn't read the nicknames. Wasn't that half the point of this exercise, to let players highlight their nicknames?

"In Chicago, the Cubs all wore blue hats instead of white. This was reportedly because Jon Lester didn't like the black hat pitchers were forced to wear due to the difficulty in picking up the baseball for hitters."

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Weekend Beachwood . . .

TrackNotes: Season's Greetings, Suckers
In racing analytics, it's SSS. Still summer, STUPID!

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #266: The Cubs' Double Bipolarity
Splitsville. Plus: Nick The Stick; Bullpenmanship; Dave Roberts Abused Brandon Morrow, Then Joe Maddon Finished Him; Ben Press; Cards > Brewers; Luke Box; Rickey Rentamanager; and The Kick And The Dead.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

What's the point of radio traffic reports if they have to be announced in under 30 seconds? from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Iron Maiden in Tinley Park on Friday night.

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Weekend BeachBook

5 Things People Still Get Wrong About Slavery.

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This Desert Is Covered In Rock Graffiti.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Weekend Desk Tipsy Line: Don't be shy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:55 AM | Permalink

August 23, 2019

TrackNotes: Season's Greetings, Suckers

It's like when Roryn MacJustinbeau is on the tee at the 810-yard, par-11 fifth hole and the Jethro in the gallery, which kind of resembles a public hanging mob anyway, screams, at the top of the backswing, "GET IN THE HOLE!!"

Yell all you want for your DVR, but it ain't happening. Same with the weather wonks around here who, and it gets earlier every damn year, say that summer is now over. Can't they think of the children, like me, who were taught astrological - or is it as astronomical - summer ends September 21? My Webers have plenty of LP. And what's with the that's-not-news plugs by all the Cheryl Burtons for McDunkBucks now serving the long-awaited pumpkin spiced-sugar 10W-20 sludge treat?

Miss Landers ALWAYS knew Fall does not start on Labor Day + 1. Does autumn begin when the Bears open? Or does Summer end when the Cubs are eliminated? Which was June 21 - the start of summer - back in the Pete LaCock days?

I refuse to be confused by the retail-driven drivel, because it's Travers Stakes weekend at Saratoga and they don't call it The Midsummer Derby for nothing!

In racing analytics, it's SSS. Still summer, STUPID!

We've got the 149th running in the race's 155th year. It's for three-year-olds who by now will have shed much of their adolescence, will still tussle for some sort of big-man-on-campus superiority, all the while trying not to look past this to the big Breeders' Cup jamboree, where The Older Horses loom.

Please remember that the Travers (Grade I, three-year-olds,10 furlongs, 1-1/4 miles, $1,250,000) is a supremely worthy race all it's own to win, not ridiculous as that braggin' Kentucky Derby can be, and OH so much more sublime!

Who can forget such highlight reels as 2015, when Frosted audaciously challenged American Pharoah and Keen Ice picked up the pieces and took a cruise in a canoe? Or 2004 when little Birdstone, fresh off the thwart job of Smarty Jones for the Triple Crown, again gutted out the win, notwithstanding the black and thunder and lightning rolling into The Spa right behind him.

Man o' War won it, Secretariat didn't run the Travers. 1941's Whirlaway is the only horse to win the Triple Crown and the Travers. Just three years ago, Arrogate broke the record with a sensational 1:59.36.

Bill Mott, who adds blinkers to his exasperating Tacitus in a hand-wringing effort to get him off the schneid, was recently heard muttering the say-uncle Derby kudo while actually confessing he maybe might just rather win the Travers, which means he would. He's going for the big double, after winning the Derby with Country House. Tacitus is the 5-2 favorite, based solely upon perceived talent, only adding to the pressure.

Like the Ringling Bros. coming to town, Saratoga features six Grade Is and a Grade II Saturday. Derby Day ran four Grade Is, two Grade IIs and a Grade III, A few clowns short and only one lion. It's no wonder I look up the date of the Travers the minute the Belmont is over. We start before 1 p.m. Saturday and it's an action-packed afternoon.

I assume Tacitus is named after Publius Cornelius "Corny" Tacitus, a famous Roman historian doing business in the Silver Age of literature. It makes sense. Our steed, the son of Tapit, is silverish gray. Let's do talk history, not even Jimmy the Hat could ask for a better angle.

Get these running lines, going back to April and his last win, the Wood Memorial: Bmp st, clip 1st; Unsettled; 3w1st,5w2nd,bump upr; Stmble bad,ins trns. What that means is he doesn't get out of the gate well, he makes his own worst trips, gets in traffic and has too much to do to finish first. In the Belmont, he and Jose Ortiz were right there halfway through the race but he pinballed at the top of the stretch and lost by one. In the Jim Dandy, after a bad start, he got caught behind horses and was forced(?) to go down to the dreaded dead rail. Valiant, but short.

That's what they're basing his favoritism on. Heart. But when will he be him? The Scarecrow needs a brain. Or blinkers. I can't wait to see what the tote says. You can't toss him, so it becomes a matter of what you're willing to pay for irritation. 4-1 minimum would be nice. I believe 6-1 for the win, run him underneath and love some of the others.

Like Code of Honor, second fave at 4-1. He comes in off an impressive Dwyer, where John Velazquez lost a whip he didn't need. But that's his only race since the Derby and it was back on July 6. A torso win in the Fountain of Youth, his last victory, tells me he may not be for this company.

Joe Talamo rides Bob Baffert's Mucho Gusto (6-1 ML). Baffert almost went stand-by on Horsey Air to get him to Saratoga Springs all the way from Del Mar. But a five-furlong work in :59 causes that. I'll go with him, but we have to keep an eye out. Mucho Gusto finished second to Maximum Security in the 99-heat index Haskell Invitational.

Tax (6-1) and Irad Ortiz are perfectly capable here, and you'd think Mongo punched him all the way to the 12-hole, the way his connections have been complaining. But he comes in off the best race of his life in beating Tacitus in the Jim Dandy. Let's hope the bettors forget about him.

I'm also looking at Scars Are Cool (30-1), a Malibu Moon colt stepping way up here. But look at that 12-point Beyer Speed Figure improvement last out here over nine furlongs. Owendale (6-1) burned me in the Preakness, but let's see.

And all these other races.

* Promises Fulfilled and Mitole, who regressed last time in the Vanderbilt when Imperial Hint smashed the track record, go at it in the Forego Stakes (Grade I, three and up, seven furlongs, $600,000).

* Separationofpowers and Mia Mischief square off in the Ballerina, (Grade I, fillies and mare three and up, seven furlongs, $500,000).

* A highlight of the day will be Midnight Bisou and Elate in the Personal Ensign (Grade I, fillies and mares three and up, nine furlongs, 1-1/8 miles, $700,000). Elate might be a shade lesser, but she's looking for her third straight.

Your TV is FoxSports 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and main Fox 4-5 p.m. It's a good crew.

And there's no doubt, it's Hi Hi Hi Hi There . . .

Hot fun in the summertime.

RailNotes
Maximum Danger?

Notice the "still is not 100%" in this report on Maximum Security. You remember. He's the one who was DQ'd in the Derby and then ran like hell in the inferno of Monmouth Park in the Haskell Invitational. On probably the hottest day of the year. Visually impressive, but you wonder what the heat did to him on a clusterfart of a day by the greedy Monmouthians. I wouldn't be surprised if he never runs again, let alone wins.

Jason Servis and owners Gary and Mary West have mismanaged this horse all along, unless there's something wrong with him, featuring and including the snit fit after the Derby DQ.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:24 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #266: The Cubs' Double Bipolarity

Splitsville. Plus: Nick The Stick; Bullpenmanship; Dave Roberts Abused Brandon Morrow, Then Joe Maddon Finished Him; Ben Press; Cards > Brewers; Luke Box; Rickey Rentamanager; and The Kick And The Dead.


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SHOW NOTES

* 266.

* Did this man invent the donut hole?

* The predictions business.

* Sports betting media.

* We're bringing sharpies back.

9:50: Nick The Stick!

* Mea culpa.

* Solidifies lineup.

* Fun dude.

23:00: Cards > Brewers.

25:43: Double Bipolarity.

* Home/Road.

* Offense/Offense.

29:27: Bullpenmanship.

* Rowan Wick was actually originally drafted by the Brewers in the 19th round of the 2010 draft, according to Baseball Reference, but he did not sign with them. Two years later, the Cardinals drafted him in the 9th round and signed him.

In 2015, he started transitioning from position player to pitcher; 2016 was his first full season on the mound.

In February 2018, the Cardinals waived him; he was selected by the Padres. He reached the majors that year, albeit with just 8 1/3 innings.

In November 2018, the Padres traded him to the Cubs for Jason Vosler (see No. 6 of this Ex-Cub Factor).

* Jesse Rogers, ESPN Chicago: Really, The Cubs' Bullpen Could (Should?) Be A Strength Down The Stretch.

38:37: Dave Roberts Abused Brandon Morrow, Then Joe Maddon Finished Him.

* Rogers: Morrow Done For Season.

* Rhodes: Taking responsibility is performative!

46:20: Ben Press.

* Zobrist will have to address the media.

48:04: Luke Box.

* Shut down Lucas Giolito and encase him in bubble wrap until next year!

51:19: Rickey Rentamanager.

* Wallenstein: Let Rickey Be.

* Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said neither he nor his players had ever seen a suicide squeeze with two strikes in the majors before Renteria had Yolmer Sanchez do it last week.

* Sullivan: Do The White Sox Protest Too Much? Rick Hahn And Rick Renteria Say They Have No Problem With Critical Fans.

58:43: The Kick And The Dead.

* Kahler, Sports Illustrated: Madness At 43 Yards: The Bears Kicker Competition Through The Eyes Of Those Who Lived It.

* Petchesky, Deadspin: It Is Hazardous To Be A Bears Kicker Under Matt Nagy.

* Bernstein: SI Raises Questions On Bears' Kicker Saga.

* Dickerson, ESPN: Nagy Defends Bears' Kicker Search Amid Backlash.

* This contest is not over!

Screen Shot 2019-08-23 at 3.26.07 PM.png

* Sun-Times: How Bears Chairman George McCaskey Walked 196 Miles - from Decatur To Soldier Field.

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STOPPAGE: 15:54

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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 1:34 PM | Permalink

August 22, 2019

Dude Picks Up Babe Ruth Book In Chicago Signed By Babe Ruth

Chris Brigandi and Jimmy Spence of JSA Authentication, at the 2019 National Sports Collectors Convention earlier this month.


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via Pop History Dig:

"In 1947, Ruth had also authorized a biography about his life and times - The Babe Ruth Story - which would be published in 1948. Written in the first person, Ruth's story was 'told to Bob Considine,' then a famous author and Hearst syndicated newspaper columnist. Considine's name appears on the book's cover along with Ruth's - as well as a hand-written note at the top, supposedly from Ruth, calling the book 'my only authorized story.'

"The Babe Ruth Story, however, was not written by Considine - or at least a good portion of it came from another source. Considine did meet with Ruth several times in attempts to interview him for the book. Another sports writer, Fred Lieb, who worked for the New York Telegram newspaper, became the real ghostwriter for the book."

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"A Babe Ruth autographed 1948 hardback edition of The Babe Ruth Story sold for $6,462.50 at Robert Edwards Auctions in 2008 - billed by the auction house as 'one of the most desirable of all baseball books.' Ruth-autographed copies of this book are especially rare since he was quite ill at the time and only singed a limited number of copies.

"As the Robert Edwards auction house has stated: 'Thus, signed copies of this book are not only rare but also represent one of the most important and final items ever penned by the legendary Sultan of Swat. For that reason they are highly prized by collectors today.' At least one other copy of a signed hardback edition of The Babe Ruth Story sold at Robert Edwards Actions for $4,740.00 in 2013."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"You may or may not have noticed Chicago's shoreline is shrinking," ABC7 Chicago reports. "According to the city's Park District the land along the lakefront is slowly disappearing."

"That's why Tuesday Park District officials launched a fact finding mission to assess the state of the city's 18 miles of shoreline."

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"Lake Michigan Has Swallowed Up 2 Chicago Beaches This Summer. Experts Say The Worst Could Still Be On The Way," the Tribune reported earlier this month.

"[The lake] has swiped fishermen from piers, swimmers from beaches and submerged jetties, creating hazards for boaters. It has flooded heavily trafficked parts of lakefront bicycle and pedestrian pathways, leaving some stretches underwater and others crumbling.

"But perhaps the most worrisome aspect of this summer is that these perils have occurred while the lake has remained mostly calm.

"Fall is the time of the year when wave conditions are historically the most severe on the Great Lakes," said David Bucaro, outreach manager at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District. "We're at a calmer period right now. There's been some summer storms. But that October, November time period is when we really experience historically the most powerful coastal storms. That's the conditions that we're monitoring and are most concerned with."

Yikes.

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"The Park District hasn't purchased sand to replenish its beaches in at least a decade, according to spokeswoman Michele Lemons, and adding new sand during this period of resurgent lake levels 'is not an effective solution' as officials believe the investment could be erased by powerful waves. But experts say inaction has consequences too.

The more beach sand that drifts into deep waters, the deeper the lake bed becomes, which, in turn, allows taller waves to crash ashore and increases erosion.

Sandy beaches typically slope down to the water's edge, allowing water to naturally drain to the lake. But sand-starved beaches can become flat and allow pools of standing water to form, according to Ethan Theuerkauf, a coastal geologist with the Illinois State Geological Survey. This stagnant water has been known to attract shorebirds that pollute it with their feces, presenting sanitary issues.

Yikes.

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Neither ABC7 nor the Tribune cited climate change as the cause of erosion, and at least one park official says they've been fighting the phenomenon for years (not as if climate change hasn't been occurring for years).

The Tribune did quote a beachgoer saying, "It's sad, but it's Mother Nature."

Is it? Is it just Mother Nature?

Because the Tribune newsroom has now essentially just endorsed that view. And maybe climate change has nothing to do with it - but then you have to say that, because readers are going to wonder. I certainly did. So I kept going.

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"Why are beaches disappearing?" the Tribune editorial board wondered, after reading its own paper's story.

"Blame in part a soggy spring that pelted Chicago with enough precipitation to push up each of the Great Lakes more than a foot above their monthly average. For two consecutive months, Lake Michigan has crested to its highest mark in more than 30 years, just an inch short of record levels set in 1986, the Tribune's Tony Briscoe reported."

Okay.

"Chicagoans have come to accept the fickle side of Lake Michigan. Lake levels rise and fall; that's just the cyclical nature of Mother Nature. Our lake has its impish side, we've noted previously. It keeps us guessing, and marveling. Six years ago, the lake sank to a record low of 576 feet above sea level. Today, levels are nearly 6 feet above that mark."

Oh, our impish lake!

"Scientists expect climate change to bring more frequent and intense severe storms, and in turn, more erosion."

And there it is. Believe me, folks, I had to hunt for it.

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"We'd like to lather up a 'Save Our Beaches' campaign, but solutions are hard to come by. On the Far North Side, condominium associations have applied for permits to construct or reinforce shoreline protections. The Chicago Park District could dump tons of sand to build up beaches that have washed away, but you know where most of that sand's likely to go - into the maw of the lake."

Or, and I'm just blue-skying it here, we could take the drastic action on climate change that we need. Or a "Save Our Beaches" campaign, whatever you think works best.

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"Local communities, residents and others should do what they can to protect our valuable shoreline, invest wisely in the lakefront and plan for an unpredictable future. Chicagoans should also recognize they are at the whim of a 1.3 quadrillion-gallon sheet of blue that at once enchants on a breezy summer afternoon - and maddens as shorelines crumble."

Oh, that impish lake and its whims!

"What to do about Lake Michigan? Fortify the shoreline, to the extent possible, mindful that scientists believe the future will bring increasing variability in lake levels."

But why? Like the Tribune editorial board, I've already forgotten!

"But also remember that Chicago perches on the shore of one of the Great Lakes, a powerful iteration of nature that isn't easily tamed."

It's just Mother Nature.

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Hey, maybe call this guy over at UIC - the Half Moon Bay Review did!

"Beaches are perhaps the most iconic feature of California, and the potential for losing this identity is real," said Sean Vitousek, professor of civil and materials engineering at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the [lead] author of one USGS study called, "Disappearing Beaches: Modeling Shoreline Change in Southern California."

You mean it's not just happening here, with our impish and whimsical lake? Rad!

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Wired also called upon Vitousek, last October:

"From comparing the model to how it performed over the historical data, we can sort of get a sense of is this model performing in a realistic manner," says Sean Vitousek, an engineer at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "And then we can use various projections in terms of sea level rise and wave heights going forward to sort of extrapolate where the shoreline might be over a long period of time."

Yes. Do that here, so we're not just subject to the many enchanting moods of our impish lake. We can actually plan for its whims!

"[B]y closely watching what cities like Los Angeles and nations like the Netherlands do to save themselves, the rest of the world might learn a thing or two about keeping our heads (and ports) above water," Wired notes.

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By the way, that USGS report? It's actually called "A Model Integrating Longshore And Cross-Shore Processes For Predicting Long-Term Shoreline Response To Climate Change."

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"Can Adding Sand To Beaches Save Them?" How Stuff Works wondered in May 2018.

"[R]ising sea levels and stronger coastal storms associated with climate change pose a threat to the sands that make up our beaches."

There's that pesky climate change again.

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"If you just dump sand on a beach, that sand is not going to stay there forever," our new friend Vitousek told How Stuff Works. "The current, methodical rate of beach nourishment is insufficient against the coming sea level rise."

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Finally, from Vox in 2017, and updated in January 2018:

A group of scientists reported in May 2017 that the U.S. Department of the Interior objected to climate change references in a news release about a study they published on coastal flooding.

"While we were approving the news release, they had an issue with one or two of the lines," Sean Vitousek, a research assistant professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, told the Washington Post. "It had to do with climate change and sea-level rise."

The Vox piece is titled "'Climate Change' And 'Global Warming' Are Disappearing From Government Websites."

And not appearing at all in the first place in some news reports.

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See also:

* The Conversation, via Scientific American, just last month: Climate Change Sends Great Lakes Water Levels Seesawing.

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And:

* Canadian Climate Change Study Forecasts More Erratic Conditions In Great Lakes.

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Plus:

* Washed Away: Northwest Wisconsin Copes With The Costs Of A Changing Climate.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Area Collector Finds Rare Babe Ruth Book Signed By Babe Ruth At Chicago Show
"Ruth-autographed copies of this book are especially rare since he was quite ill at the time and only singed a limited number of copies."

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ChicagoReddit

Why is it that all the Popeye's locations in/near the Chicago Loop are so bad? from r/chicago

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Popeye's is out of sandwiches. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

some lil friends to read alongside you

A post shared by Quimbys Bookstore (@quimbysbookstore) on

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ChicagoTube

Chinelo Mr Hulk brincando en la villita Chicago

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BeachBook

A Teen Art Group Covered A Milwaukee County Bus With Images Of Families Separated By ICE.

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Colorado Schools Issuing Buckets, Kitty Litter For Students To Go To The Bathroom During Lockdowns, School Shootings.

At least the NRA could pay for them.

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Their Mothers Chose Donor Sperm. The Doctors Chose Their Own.

Gross, disgusting and beyond infuriating.

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MLB To Horny Players: Please Use The Good Dick Pills, Not The Bad Ones.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you will find @BeachwoodReport.

The New York Times headline is "Giuliani Renews Push For Ukraine To Investigate Trump's Political Opponents." Just let that sink in before considering the horrific ironies, including Paul Manafort and 2016.

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Who Has Trump Offended This Week? A twofer: Jews and Asians! Both for "disloyalty." To him.

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Every day. DO YOUR JOB.

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Let's face it: Trump's lying, like his ignorance, bigotry and sexual assault, has been normalized.

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I've always liked Die Antwoord, but like many now-former fans I've removed them from my Facebook "likes" and canceled them. (Their recent problems go further than this link indicates; check it out for yourself if you want to know more. Also, good for Riot Fest.)

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This article is far more fascinating - in an awful way - than its ho-hum headline. Read it.

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Denmark is living the American Dream. We're not.

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The Beachwood Tip Your Door Dasher In Cash Line.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 AM | Permalink

August 21, 2019

Is This Land Our Land?

In recent years, Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" has become a rallying cry for immigrants.

Just last month, after President Donald Trump tweeted that four Democratic congresswomen of color needed to "go back where they came from," U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the four targeted, responded with a tweet quoting Guthrie's lyrics:

But not everyone sees the song as an anthem for inclusion.

In June, the Smithsonian's online magazine, Folklife, published a piece that lambasted the song for its omissions.

The article, titled "This Land Is Whose Land?," was written by folk musician Mali Obomsawin, a member of the Native American Abenaki tribe. She wrote of being shaken up "like a soda can" every time she heard the song's lyrics:

In the context of America, a nation-state built by settler colonialism, Woody Guthrie's protest anthem exemplifies the particular blind spot that Americans have in regard to Natives: American patriotism erases us, even if it comes in the form of a leftist protest song. Why? Because this land was our land. Through genocide, broken treaties and a legal system created by and for the colonial interest, this land became American land.

Obomsawin's article immediately generated a flurry of responses from conservative media outlets.

"Commie Folksinger Woody Guthrie Not Woke Enough For Mob," jeered Breitbart's John Nolte, delighted with this evidence of internecine strife among what he dubbed the "fascist woketards" of the American left.

The Daily Wire's Emily Zanotti soon joined the fray, penning a piece under the headline "This Land Is NOT Your Land: Woke Culture Now Demanding Woody Guthrie Be Canceled Over Folk Music Faux Pas."

But Obomsawin and her conservative critics might be surprised to learn that some of Guthrie's greatest champions have also had difficulties with the song.

As the author of three books on Guthrie, I sometimes wonder how the folksinger would respond to the criticism of "This Land Is Your Land" for its omissions.

While we can't know for sure, a glance at some of his unpublished writings and recently discovered recordings can offer some clues.

Seeger Sings A Different Tune

Pete Seeger, Woody's colleague and protégé, was perhaps the most responsible for lodging "This Land Is Your Land" in the public consciousness. After Guthrie died in 1967, Seeger continued to perform the song all around the world.

file-20190819-123731-1kqpq9n.jpgPete Seeger/Josef Shwarz, Wikimedia Commons

At the same time, Seeger made it clear that he was sensitive to the theft of Native American lands.

In his memoir, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Seeger recalled an incident during a 1968 performance:

Jimmy Collier, a great young black singer from the Midwest, was asked to lead ["This Land Is Your Land."] Henry Crowdog [sic] of the Sioux Indian delegation came up and punched his finger in Jimmy's chest. "Hey, you're both wrong. It belongs to me." Jimmy stopped and added seriously, "Should we not sing this song?" Then a big grin came over Henry Crowdog's face. "No, it's okay. Go ahead and sing it. As long as we are all down here together to get something done."

Sometimes, in an attempt to ease his conscience when performing "This Land," Seeger would add a verse penned by the singer and activist Carolyn "Cappy" Israel to acknowledge the theft of Native land:

Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 11.58.00 AM.png

Woody Wasn't Oblivious

Was Guthrie himself uncomfortable with the song's glaring failure to acknowledge the facts of settler colonialism?

There's no record of his views on the issue. But we do know that he was very aware of - and concerned with - the history of Native American dispossession.

file-20190819-123705-1u2csyz.jpgWoody Guthrie/ Al Aumuller, Library of Congress

For example, he was angry enough with his cousin, the country singer "Oklahoma Jack" Guthrie, for claiming credit for a song that Woody had written, titled "Oklahoma Hills." But as Woody wrote in an unpublished annotation to the lyrics, Jack had also left out "the best parts of the whole song" - the names of "the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek and Seminole" who had prior claim to the lands of Oklahoma.

Then there's a soundbite in a posthumously discovered live recording from 1949:

"They used dope, they used opium, they used every kind of a trick to get these Indians to sign over their lands," Guthrie says to the crowd.

One of these real estate tricksters was actually Woody's own father, Charley Guthrie. As biographer and journalist Joe Klein writes in Woody Guthrie: A Life, "Because he was able to speak both Creek and Cherokee, Charley became known as especially adept at relieving Indians of their property."

How did Charley learn these Native tongues? Was it possible that the Guthries had Native ancestors?

In a tantalizingly vague 1950 letter to activist Stetson Kennedy, Woody notes "the rainbow blends" of his own bloodline, including "pure virgin island negro" and unnamed "Indian tribelines."

And in an unpublished poem titled "Sweety Black Girl," written the same year, Guthrie writes:

Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 11.58.50 AM.png

Guthrie admitted that he was ashamed of his father's disreputable real estate practices. And while he may have idealized his own genealogy, there's no doubt that he was fully aware of "whose land was whose."

Native Americans See Guthrie As An Ally

Interestingly, not all Native Americans view the song in the same light as Obomsawin.

The song has proved adaptable and malleable enough to enable some Native American artists to work with it.

In 2007, the Anishinaabe songwriter and musician Keith Secola sang his Ojibwa-language version of "This Land" on the album Native Americana - A Coup Stick.

Secola said in an interview that his version "reflects a worldview, of being a part of the world and not detached from it. Woody was into people creating their own stories . . . That's what I got from him - how to apply this strategy, this procedure of songwriting, to the topics that affect American Indians."

A few years before Secola's cover, two of Guthrie's previously unpublished songs - "Indian Corn Song" and "Mean Things Happenin' in This World" - were recorded by the Navajo siblings, Klee, Clayson and Jeneda Benally.

"We wanted to keep the spirit of Woody Guthrie alive," Clayton said in a 2012 interview. "He wrote songs about the Dust Bowl and unions, but he also wrote about American Indian issues."

Clayson noted that "Indian Corn Song" was one of his favorite songs to play, because in it Guthrie "talks about wastefulness and how Indigenous people are . . . living off the planet in a balanced way."

Obomsawin might take heart from Secola, the Benally siblings and the other artist-activists who have adopted and adapted "This Land Is Your Land."

Woody Guthrie might not have been perfect, they say, but we don't need to "cancel" him. We'll work with him instead.

"Sweety Black Girl" and unpublished Woody Guthrie correspondence and annotations, words by Woody Guthrie © Copyright Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc., all rights reserved, used by permission.

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Will Kaufman is a professor of American literature and culture at the University of Central Lancashire. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:25 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

While conservatives melt down over the New York Times's 1619 Project, there is a critique I suppose you could say comes "from the left," if I must use that binary for the sake of discussion, which pains me because perhaps the critique actually comes from "history," not partisanship, but a critique nonetheless that pre-existed the project itself.

To wit:

In 2017, the Smithsonian reposted an essay at Black Perspectives by Davidson College colonial history professor Michael Guasco titled "The Misguided Focus On 1619 As The Beginning Of Slavery In The U.S. Damages Our Understanding Of American History."

"The year the first enslaved Africans were brought to Jamestown is drilled into students' memories, but overemphasizing this date distorts history," Guasco wrote.

Privileging that date and the Chesapeake region effectively erases the memory of many more African peoples than it memorializes. The "from-this-point-forward" and "in-this-place" narrative arc silences the memory of the more than 500,000 African men, women, and children who had already crossed the Atlantic against their will, aided and abetted Europeans in their endeavors, provided expertise and guidance in a range of enterprises, suffered, died, and - most importantly - endured. That Sir John Hawkins was behind four slave-trading expeditions during the 1560s suggests the degree to which England may have been more invested in African slavery than we typically recall. Tens of thousands of English men and women had meaningful contact with African peoples throughout the Atlantic world before Jamestown. In this light, the events of 1619 were a bit more yawn-inducing than we typically allow.

I think Guasco is saying it's even worse than we think - but also that using 1619 as a starting point posits the English as the settlers and the slaves as the alien outsiders, when in fact the truth is more complicated than that.

"In that light, the most poisonous consequence of raising the curtain with 1619 is that it casually normalizes white Christian Europeans as historical constants and makes African actors little more than dependent variables in the effort to understand what it means to be American."

I'm not expert enough in the matter to adequately analyze Guasco's work, and I've barely dented The 1619 Project, but I am interested in Guasco's contribution. Surely, it seems to me, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who headed up the Times project, is quite familiar with Guasco. Does she address it in her work? I don't know yet!

Anyway, Time magazine, hardly a source I would trust with this material to be sure but here goes, interviewed Guasco for a piece posted Tuesday titled "The First Africans In Virginia Landed In 1619. It Was A Turning Point For Slavery In American History - But Not The Beginning."

"People don't tend to want to think about early U.S. history as being anything but English and English-speaking," echoes Michael Guasco, historian at Davidson College and author of Slaves and Englishmen: Human Bondage in the Early Modern Atlantic World. "There is a Hispanic heritage that predates the U.S, and there's a tendency for people to willingly forget or omit the early history of Florida, Texas and California, particularly as the politics of today want to push back against Spanish language and immigration from Latin America."

While this doesn't strike me as the main point of Guasco's Smithsonian essay, the person he's echoing told Time this:

The 400th anniversary being marked this month is really the 400th anniversary of the Anglo-centric history of Africans in the U.S., says Greg Carr, the Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University. Dating the history of Africans in North America to 400 years ago "reinforces this narrative of English superiority." But, he argues, remembering the Spanish and indigenous sides of the history is more important now than ever, as "the people [officials] are closing the border to are [descended from] people who were here when you came."

Time itself states: "That said, something did change in 1619. Because of the central role of the English colonies in American history, the introduction of the transatlantic slave trade to Virginia is likewise central to this ugly and inescapable part of that story. In addition, the type of race-based chattel slavery system that solidified in the centuries that followed was its own unique American tragedy."

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Guasco tweets at length in a series of threads about 1619.

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From Guasco's university bio:

"I specialize in early American history, the American Revolution, the colonial Atlantic world, and the history of slavery. My research addresses the foundation and development of racial slavery in Anglo-America. My book, Slaves and Englishmen: Human Bondage in the Early Modern Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), describes how slavery shaped the way Englishmen and Anglo-Americans thought about and interacted with the world in the years before plantation slavery became commonplace in England's American colonies. I am presently at work on a new project: a multi-generational study of the Pleasants family of Virginia and the tradition of dissent in colonial America and the early United States."

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Is This Land Our Land?
Not everyone sees Woody Guthrie's iconic song as an anthem for inclusion.

Eerily similar to the Guasco's 1619 critique!

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ChicagoReddit

Someone's lost parakeet? Fullerton station inbound to loop. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

El Chino Del Rancho - El Grande de Chicago (feat. Auténtico Paraíso de Durango)

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Classic Beachwood

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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Sorry, no Twitter delight today, only disgust.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Available for parties.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:03 AM | Permalink

August 20, 2019

The Importance Of The 1619 Project

I had been taught, in school, through cultural osmosis, that the flag wasn't really ours, that our history as a people began with enslavement and that we had contributed little to this great nation.

Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote those words in her introductory essay to The 1619 Project, a special issue of The New York Times Magazine she edited that commemorates the 400-year anniversary of the arrival of 20 enslaved Africans who were sold into slavery to the shores of Virginia.

Often referred to as America's original sin, slavery is so pervasive that its residual effects can be found in everything from the stock exchange to our prison system. Slavery was instrumental in the formation of the United States. It's crucial that we understand its inner workings and aftereffects; only then can we create a moral, economic and social roadmap to achieving our democratic ideals.

Under slavery, our ancestors were robbed of our liberty, of opportunity to gain wealth, an education, due process, and basic dignity - and all those thefts bolstered an American economy; it was built on the back of slave labor.

Slavery may have ended 154 years ago, but its vestiges remain in our criminal justice system, in the systematic devaluation of our property, and in the harsh discipline to which we are disproportionately subjected.

Even as black students stand and pledge allegiance to the flag, they know their country considers them second-class citizens.

It's past time all students learn why black and white Americans can expect very different life outcomes, so that they can unlearn the myths of America and the black stereotypes that bolstered those falsehoods.

The disconnect between students' lived experiences and what they are taught in school is reinforced by the failure of our schools to properly teach about the institution of slavery. In a 2018 study, the Southern Poverty Law Center surveyed high school seniors and social studies teachers and found that only 8 percent of the students surveyed could identify slavery as a central cause of the Civil War. Less than a quarter could identify how the U.S. Constitution gave advantages to slaveholders. And while most teachers (90 percent) claimed they were comfortable teaching about slavery, 58 percent stated their textbooks were inadequate, and 40 percent believed their respective states offered insufficient support to teach our history.

Not teaching slavery adequately has resulted in a massive hole in school curricula - and that didn't happen by accident. Legislators, history activists and those who want to project a positive view of the U.S. proactively work to keep the subject from the books, principally by manipulating state education standards and authorizing sanitized texts.

Some people feel that slavery, when it existed here, was merely a fact of life that should now be seen as water under the bridge, as Coshocton resident Robert Brems wrote in March for the Coshocton Tribune.

Why teach history, he argued, to students who are likely uninterested in the whole enterprise?

"We should be proud of the fact that we fought a Civil War that devastated half of the country and took hundreds of thousands of lives to halt slavery here," he continued, saying that we should now focus on the good that has been done rather than the evil. "It has been 150 years since the Civil War, so let us put this part of our history in the rear-view mirror and look forward rather than back and learn from it."

While American textbooks deliver a slavery-lite version of history, other countries have chosen to confront the ugliness of their past, not a sanitized version of it.

For instance, schools in Germany are legally mandated to teach the Holocaust. In the apartheid museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, patrons are randomly sorted into the white or non-white entrance lines. We, too, can only learn from our history when we know it.

Learning the sordid details of U.S. slavery means recognizing that the current racial wealth gap that has black families seeing one dollar of net wealth for every 10 gained by white families stems from the system of white supremacy that did everything to maintain slavery - even go to war.

Brems and others should understand that our current criminal injustice system, one that sees African Americans incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites, is a remnant of America's fight to suppress black civil rights since the end of slavery.

We should recognize the connection between slavery and the our use of local property taxes to fund school districts, a system that blesses wealthy suburbs with educational largesse, but results in students of color receiving $23 billion less in education funding.

These are issues that will touch black students' lives, and they should know this history so they can begin dismantling modern systems of oppression.

One of the most damaging consequences of this miseducation of our children is the impression that our very democracy was developed by an idealistic group of "founding fathers," many of whom owned slaves. The reality is that the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in 1865, came out of black people's struggle for emancipation. Soon after, early civil rights legislation barred housing discrimination. The passage of the 14th Amendment, which ensures that those born in the U.S. are citizens and entitled to equal protection of the law, also occurred as a result of black people's demand for liberty. After passage of the 15th Amendment, all citizens were guaranteed the right to vote.

While there has been a constant assault on these freedoms - witness the voter suppression in Milwaukee, in the swing state Wisconsin, in the 2016 election - many wrongly assume these freedoms originated with our founding as a country in 1776. Instead, democracy was birthed in the struggle of enslaved Africans in the U.S. and their descendants; any semblance of truth to the words in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal" comes from their fight to be free.

The future of our democracy depends upon youth's understanding of our past. Teaching slavery isn't about airing dirty laundry. It's about baring the hidden roots of racism, the source of injustice in our modern-day society.

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

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

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

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

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

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

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

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

* When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech.

* Disrupting Education The NFL Way.

* The Voucher Program We Really Need Is Not For School - It's For After.

* Charter School Leaders Should Talk More About Racism.

* Bold, Progressive Ideas Aren't Unrealistic.

* White Coaches Pick The Wrong Side When They Talk Down To Their Black Athletes.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:54 PM | Permalink

The Right-Wing American Love Affair With One Of America's Most Disturbing Serial Killers

There's a direct link between a sociopathic killer in 1927 and the GOP's willingness to embrace a sociopathic president like Trump. That link runs through the work of Ayn Rand.

When Donald Trump was running for the GOP nomination, he told USA Today's Kirsten Powers that Ayn Rand's raped-girl-decides-she-likes-it novel, The Fountainhead, was his favorite book.

"It relates to business, beauty, life and inner emotions," he told Powers. "That book relates to . . . everything."

Trump probably knew that anything by Rand would be the right answer for Republicans; the party has embraced her for decades, to the point that Paul Ryan required interns to read her books as a condition of employment.

Powers added, "[Trump] identified with Howard Roark, the novel's idealistic protagonist who designs skyscrapers and rages against the Establishment." Roark raged so much in the novel that he blew up a public housing project with dynamite just to get his way.

Rand was quite clear about the characteristics she wrote into her heroes, and in particular Howard Roark. In her Journals, she writes of the theme of the book, "One puts oneself above all and crushes everything in one's way to get the best for oneself. Fine!"

On Howard Roark, she writes that he "has learned long ago, with his first consciousness, two things which dominate his entire attitude toward life: his own superiority and the utter worthlessness of the world. He knows what he wants and what he thinks. He needs no other reasons, standards or considerations. His complete selfishness is as natural to him as breathing."

Roark seems like the kind of man who would brag about grabbing women by the genitals because, "When you're a star, they let you do it." But this was long before Donald Trump was on the scene.

Instead, the man who so inspired Ayn Rand's fictional heroes was a real sociopath named William Edward Hickman, who lived in Los Angeles.

Ten days before Christmas, in 1927, Hickman, a teenager with slicked dark hair and tiny, muted eyes, drove up to Mount Vernon Junior High School and kidnapped Marion Parker - the daughter of a wealthy banker in town.

Hickman held the girl ransom, demanding $1,500 from her father - back then about a year's salary. Supremely confident that he would elude capture, Hickman signed his name on the ransom notes, "The Fox."

After two days, Marion's father agreed to hand over the ransom in exchange for the safety of his daughter. What Perry Parker didn't know is that Hickman never intended to live up to his end of the bargain.

The Pittsburgh Press detailed what Hickman, in his own words, did next.

"It was while I was fixing the blindfold that the urge to murder came upon me," he said. "I just couldn't help myself. I got a towel and stepped up behind Marion. Then, before she could move, I put it around her neck and twisted it tightly."

Hickman didn't hold back on any of these details: he was proud of his cold-bloodedness.

"I held on and she made no outcry except to gurgle. I held on for about two minutes, I guess, and then I let go. When I cut loose the fastenings, she fell to the floor. I knew she was dead."

But Hickman wasn't finished.

"After she was dead I carried her body into the bathroom and undressed her, all but the underwear, and cut a hole in her throat with a pocket knife to let the blood out."

Hickman then dismembered the child piece by piece, putting her limbs in a cabinet in his apartment, and then wrapped up the carved-up torso, powdered the lifeless face, set what was left of her stump torso with the head sitting atop it in the passenger seat of his car, and drove to meet her father to collect the ransom money.

He even sewed open her eyelids to make it look like she was alive.

On the way, Hickman dumped body parts out of his car window, before rendezvousing with Marion Parker's father.

Armed with a shotgun so her father wouldn't come close enough to Hickman's car to see that Marion was dead, Hickman collected his $1,500, then kicked open the door and tossed the rest of Marion Parker onto the road. As he sped off, her father fell to his knees, screaming.

Days later, the police caught up with a defiant and unrepentant Hickman in Oregon. His lawyers pleaded insanity, but the jury gave him the gallows.

To nearly everyone, Hickman was a monster. The year of the murder, the Los Angeles Times called it "the most horrible crime of the 1920s." Hickman was America's most despicable villain at the time.

But to a young Russian idealist just arriving in America, Hickman was a hero.

And while Hickman the man has, today, been largely forgotten, Hickman the archetype has lived on and influenced our nation in a profound fashion, paving the way for Donald Trump, a man with no empathy or consideration of social norms, to one day occupy the White House.

The kind of man who would pose with a tiny baby, the youngest survivor of a slaughter that he himself encouraged with his hateful rhetoric, and mug for the camera with a thumbs-up sign.

Ayn's Arrival

Two years before William Edward Hickman was sentenced to death, a 21-year-old Russian political science student named Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum arrived in New York Harbor on a French ocean liner. The year was 1926, and she was on the last leg of her dream trip to the Land of Opportunity, scurrying across the Soviet Union, Germany, and France before procuring a first-class cabin aboard the S.S. De Grasse, bound for the United States.

Alissa was a squat five-foot-two with a flapper hairdo and wide sunken dark eyes that gave her a haunting stare. And etched into those brooding eyes was burned the memory of a childhood backlit by the Russian Revolution.

She had just departed Leninist Russia where, almost a decade earlier, there was a harsh backlash against the Russian property owners - the people who were rich with Russian money like Donald Trump - by the Bolsheviks. Alissa's own family was targeted, and at the age of 12 she witnessed Bolshevik soldiers burst into her father's pharmacy business, loot the store, and plaster on the doors the red emblem of the state indicating that his private business now belonged to "the people."

That incident left such a deep and burning wound in young Alissa's mind, that she went to college to study political science and vowed one day she'd become a famous writer to warn the world of the dangers of Bolshevism.

Starting afresh in Hollywood, she anglicized her name to Ayn Rand, and moved from prop-girl to screenwriter/novelist, basing the heroes of several of her stories on a man she was reading about in the newspapers at the time. A man she wrote effusively about in her diaries. A man she hero-worshipped.

He was the most notorious man in American in 1928, having achieved a level of national fame she craved - William Edward Hickman.

What young Ayn Rand saw in Hickman that would encourage her to base a novel, then her philosophy, then her life's work, on him was quite straightforward: unfeeling, unpitying selfishness.

He was the kind of man who would revel in the pain parents would feel when their children were ripped from their arms and held in freezing cages for over a year.

In Hickman, Ayn Rand wrote that she had finally found the new model of the Superman (her phrase, likely borrowed from Friedrich Nietzsche). Only a worldview held by a man like Hickman, she believed, could ever prevent an all-powerful state from traumatizing another generation of small businesspeople and their children as the Bolsheviks had her family.

Hickman's words as recounted by Rand in her Journals, "I am like the state: what is good for me is right," resonated deeply with her. It was the perfect articulation of her belief that if people pursued their own interests above all else - even above friends, family, or nation - the result would be utopian.

She wrote in her diary that those words of Hickman's were, "the best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I ever heard."

Hickman - the monster who boasted of how he had hacked up a 12-year-old girl - had Rand's ear, as well as her heart. She saw a strongman archetype in him, the way that people wearing red MAGA hats see a strongman savior in Donald Trump.

As Hickman's murder trial unfolded, Rand grew increasingly enraged at how the mediocre American masses had rushed to condemn her Superman, much like today people Trump calls mediocre condemn him and the killings that may have emerged from his rhetoric, from Charleston to Charlottesville to El Paso.

"The first thing that impresses me about the case," Rand wrote in reference to the Hickman trial in early notes for a book she was working on titled The Little Street, "is the ferocious rage of the whole society against one man."

Astounded that Americans didn't recognize the heroism Hickman showed when he proudly rose above simply conforming to society's rules, Rand wrote, "It is not the crime alone that has raised the fury of public hatred. It is the case of a daring challenge to society . . . It is the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatever for all that society holds sacred, with a consciousness all his own."

In other words, a man who lives exclusively for himself. A narcissistic psychopath. A man who could sell out his own country to foreign powers, tearing apart his nation's people, just for his own enjoyment.

Rand explained that when the masses are confronted with such a bold actor, they neither understood nor empathized with him. Thus, "a brilliant, unusual, exceptional boy [was] turned [by the media] into a purposeless monster."

The protagonist of the book that Rand was writing around that time was a boy named Danny Renahan. In her notes for the book, she wrote, "The model for [Renahan] is Hickman." He would be her ideal man, and the archetype for a philosophical movement that could transform a nation.

"He is born with the spirit of Argon and the nature of a medieval feudal lord," Rand wrote in her notes describing Renahan. "Imperious. Impatient. Uncompromising. Untamable. Intolerant. Unadaptable. Passionate. Intensely proud. Superior to the mob . . . an extreme 'extremist' . . . No respect for anything or anyone."

The kind of man who would tell over 12,000 lies in two-and-a-half years, who would daily lie to the press and his nation, just because he could - and would revel in it.

Rand wanted capitalism in its most raw form, unchecked by any government that could control the rules of the market or promote the benefits of society. Such good intentions had, after all, caused the hell she'd experienced in the Bolshevik Revolution, just like they'd caused Fred Trump to be arrested and fined for refusing to maintain apartments that black people had moved into.

Rand, like Hickman, found in the extremes her economic, political, and moral philosophy. Forget about democratic institutions, forget about regulating markets, and forget about pursuing any policies that benefit the majority at the expense of the very rich - the rule-makers and rule-enforcers could never, ever do anything well or good. Only billionaires should rule the world, as Trump has suggested.

Trump personifies this, putting an advocate of destroying public schools in charge of public schools, a coal lobbyist in charge of the EPA, an oil lobbyist in charge of our public lands, and a billionaire described by Forbes as a "grifter" in charge of the Commerce Department. His chief of staff said that putting children in cages (where seven so far have died) would actually be a public good. Don't just ignore the rules; destroy them.

Welfare and other social safety net programs were, as Rand saw it, "the glorification of mediocrity" in society. Providing a social safety net for the poor, disabled, or unemployed, she believed, were part of a way of thinking that promoted, "satisfaction instead of joy, contentment instead of happiness . . . a glow-worm instead of a fire."

She, like Trump, lived a largely joyless life. She mercilessly manipulated people, particularly her husband, and, like Trump, surrounded herself with cult-like followers who were only on the inside so long as they gave her total, unhesitating loyalty.

Like Trump and his billionaire backers, she believed that a government promoting working-class "looters" instead of solely looking out for capitalist "producers" was throwing its "best people" under the bus.

In Rand's universe, the producers had no obligations to the looters. Providing welfare or sacrificing one nickel of your own money to help a "looter" on welfare, unemployment, or Social Security - particularly if it was "taken at the barrel of a gun" (taxes) - was morally reprehensible.

Like Trump saying, "My whole life I've been greedy," for Rand looking out for numero uno was the singular name of the game - selfishness is next to godliness.

Later in Rand's life, in 1959, as she gained more notoriety for the moral philosophy of selfishness that she named "Objectivism" and that is today at the core of libertarianism and the GOP, she sat down for an interview with CBS reporter Mike Wallace.

Suggesting that selfishness undermines most American values, Wallace bluntly challenged Rand.

"You are out to destroy almost every edifice in the contemporary American way of life," Wallace said to Rand. "Our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government-regulated capitalism, our rule by the majority will . . . you scorn churches, and the concept of God . . . are these accurate criticisms?"

As Wallace was reciting the public criticisms of Rand, the CBS television cameras zoomed in closely on her face, as her eyes darted back and forth between the ground and Wallace's fingers. But the question, with its implied condemnation, didn't faze her at all. Rand said with confidence in a matter-of-fact tone, "Yes."

"We're taught to feel concerned for our fellow man," Wallace challenged, "to feel responsible for his welfare, to feel that we are, as religious people might put it, children under God and responsible one for the other - now why do you rebel?"

"That is what in fact makes man a sacrificial animal," Rand answered. She added, "[man's] highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own happiness."

Rand's philosophy, though growing in popularity on college campuses, never did - in her lifetime - achieve the sort of mass appeal she had hoped. It was confined to college coffee shops, intellectual conferences, and true-believer journals, but never hit the halls of Congress, the mainstream television airwaves, or water-cooler political debates. There were the handful of "true believers," but that was it . . . until today.

Now, Rand's philosophy is a central tenet of today's Republican Party and the moral code proudly cited and followed by high-profile billionaires and the president of the United States.

Ironically, when she was finally beginning to be taken seriously, Rand became ill with lung cancer, and went on Social Security and Medicare to make it through her last days. She died a "looter" in 1982, unaware that her sociopathic worldview would one day validate an entire political party's embrace of a sociopathic narcissist president.

This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:30 AM | Permalink

Coming Music Movie Attractions

At Trafalgar Releasing, we are committed to bringing the best in entertainment and the arts to audiences all over the world.

Read on to find out more about music events happening in a cinema near you.

1. RUSH: CINEMA STRANGIATO 2019

In cinemas worldwide August 21

The Holy Trinity of Rock returns to the big screen on Wednesday when the first "Annual Exercise in Fan Indulgence" Cinema Strangiato brings Rush fans together in movie theatres worldwide.

Trailer:

BOOK NOW

2. ROGER WATERS US + THEM.

In cinemas worldwide October 2 and 6

Roger Waters, co-founder, creative force and songwriter behind Pink Floyd, presents his highly anticipated film, Us + Them, featuring state-of- the-art visual production and breath-aking sound in this unmissable cinema event.

Trailer:

BOOK NOW

3. METALLICA & SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY: S&M²

In cinemas worldwide October 9

On October 9, 2019, Trafalgar Releasing presents S&M², a must-see celebration of the 20th anniversary of Metallica's groundbreaking S&M concerts and album recorded with the San Francisco Symphony.

Trailer:

BOOK NOW

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of former Cubs.

1. Jeff Samardzija.

Remember the hype? The $16.5 million signing bonus? The nickname (Shark)? The former Notre Dame All-American wide receiver was gonna anchor the Cubs' rotation for, well, life. And then baseball, and business, interceded.

"On June 18, 2014, the Cubs offered Samardzija a five-year, club friendly deal that included multiple option years, which he rejected," his Wikipedia page notes.

"On July 6, 2014, he was revealed as a National League All-Star, but was not eligible to play because he was traded to an American League team."

And that was the end of the dream.

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Samardzija is back at Wrigley with the Giants this week and scheduled to start Thursday night's game. So how are things going for the former phenom?

"As can happen with any high dollar signing, Jeff Samardzija went from an exciting addition to the San Francisco Giants to an albatross weighing them down," Owen Poindexter writes for Forbes.

"Signed for $90 million from 2016-2020, he was good in the first year of that deal, good but unlucky in his second year, and a disaster in 2018. Now he is experiencing a mini-revival, providing innings in bulk at a 3.70 ERA. That figure, if it holds, would be his best since 2014. Is the Shark back?

"If we write off his 2018 season, Samardzija's revival looks less like a revival and more like a normal season."

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Reminder: How he got to the Giants, as noted by Wikipedia:

"On July 5, 2014, Samardzija, along with Jason Hammel, was traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for top shortstop Addison Russell, pitcher Dan Straily, outfielder Billy McKinney, and cash.

"On December 9, 2014, the Athletics traded Samardzija along with Michael Ynoa to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt, Rangel Ravelo and Josh Phegley."

The Sox signed Samardzija to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, and it was a pretty cruddy year.

"Despite a strong finish, Samardzija tied for the American League lead in home runs allowed (29) and led the league in earned runs allowed. Overall, Samardzija finished 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA. After the season, Samardzija revealed that had been inadvertently tipping his pitches, leading to his poor performance.

"On December 9, 2015, Samardzija signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the San Francisco Giants."

And here we are.

2. Felix Pie.

Pie was basically Corey Patterson-lite, with even less success. But guess what? He's still playing!

"Felix Pie is slashing .387/.474/.677 with Bravos de Leon in the Mexican League," FanGraphs noted Sunday.

"The 34-year-old outfielder, whose last big-league action came with the Pirates in 2013, has 22 home runs in 371 plate appearances."

3. Edwin Jackson.

This guy seems to appear in this column every other week, but guess what? "Edwin Jackson Continues His Resurgence."

Can't ignore that!

4. Drew Smyly.

Started the Bryce Harper game for the Phillies. Allowed five earned runs, seven hits and two walks over five innings; didn't get a decision. Purportedly using the cutter to save his career.

5. Jorge Soler.

At Long Last.

6. Carl Edwards Jr.

"The Padres announced that they've placed right-handed reliever Carl Edwards Jr. on the injured list with a strained pitching shoulder," MLB Trade Rumors noted earlier this month.

"San Diego just acquired Edwards from the Cubs at last month's trade deadline. The Cubs deemed the once-outstanding Edwards expendable after a few disappointing months, and things haven't improved since he changed uniforms. Edwards has given up six earned runs on four hits and four walks (with two strikeouts) in two appearances and 1 2/3 innings as a Padre."

Hard not to feel bad for the stringbean slinger.

7. Blake Parker.

The Cubs drafted Parker in the 16th round of the 2006 draft. From 2012 to 2014 he made 74 appearances out of the bullpen, including a 2013 season of 46 1/3 innings over 49 games in which he notched a nifty 2.72 ERA/2.90 FIP.

He went on to pitch for the Mariners, Yankees, Angels, Brewers, the Angels again, the Twins and then the Phillies, whom he signed with on July 30, which is why he's in this column this week, having tossed a scoreless inning in a Phillies win over the Cubs last Tuesday.

8. Junichi Tazawa

Taz signed with the Cubs in April and was released in July without an appearance with the big league club. The Reds picked him up nine days ago and assigned him to their Triple-A club.

9. Jake Arrieta.

Season-ending surgery.

10. John Mallee.

Fired. Search for answers failed.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

A postscript to Monday's lead item about the University of Illinois introducing beer sales to Memorial Stadium's general seating areas, via Food Dive:

"In search of sales growth, Big Beer has begun partnering with college football programs, where alcohol sales have long been banned inside stadiums, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"The football program at the University of Arkansas recently signed a $400,000 sponsorship deal with Anheuser Busch."

That's nice, but everyone knows when you've said Wisconsin, you've said it all.

Mondo Krafty
"The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Thursday Kraft Heinz Co and Mondelez International Inc will have to pay $16 million in penalty regarding a wheat manipulation case that dates back to 2015," Reuters reports.

"Kraft Heinz, which was Kraft Foods until 2015, and Mondelez bought $90 million of December 2011 wheat futures, which gave the companies a dominant position in the market, even though they never intended to take possession of the grain, the CFTC said.

"The move sent a false signal that the companies had demand for wheat and caused an artificial price fluctuation that earned them more than $5 million in profits, the CFTC said."

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I tried several punch lines to this item, mostly involving the Sex Pistols and Natasha Bedingfield, but to only poor results.

Across The Pond
"U.S. Steel reported a discharge of oil Tuesday from its Midwest Facility into the Burns Waterway, the second discharge from a Porter County steel mill into the ditch in two weeks, officials said," the Northwest Indiana Times reports.

"News of the discharge from U.S. Steel came less than a week after ArcelorMittal, another steelmaker along the waterway, took responsibility for the release of higher-than-permitted levels of cyanide and ammonia. The release by ArcelorMittal led to the death of some 3,000 fish, beach closures, precautions at a Region drinking water facility and the threat of a group lawsuit."

Future Shock
"Between record heat and rain, this summer's weather patterns have indicated, once again, that the climate is changing," the Guardian notes.

"U.S. cities, where more than 80% of the nation's population lives, are disproportionately hit by these changes, not only because of their huge populations but because of their existing - often inadequate - infrastructure."

I know y'all already know that, but click through on this one because disaster is upon us and it's important to know all the ways our doom will unfold.

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"What will the US climate feel like in 60 years if high current emissions continue? Winter in Phoenix could feel 12.4°F (6.9°C) warmer in 2080 while summer in Anchorage could feel 9.6°F (5.4°C) warmer . . . Chicago's climate in 2080 will feel most like today's climate near Lansing, KS."

Lansing has a "humid subtropical climate," fyi.

Daddy Issues
"Ford Motor Co. for decades has been defending a series of lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and racial abuse in the automaker's plants. The company has paid more than $30 million to settle some of those cases and CEO Jim Hackett in 2017 issued an apology to employees after scathing reports of rampant on the job abuses," Bloomberg Law reports.

"Since at least 2007, the company has leaned heavily on Eugene Scalia, the Trump administration's pick to run the Labor Department, and a team of other high-powered attorneys to defend it in the most significant lawsuits at the federal appeals level."

Well, Ford is certainly entitled to defend itself.

The lawsuits Ford has settled with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involved allegations ranging from exposure to pornographic images and demands for sex in exchange for career benefits, to actual sexual and physical assault.

Women were allegedly called degrading names and groped by coworkers. Those who complained were allegedly harassed even more in retaliation, told to forget the incidents, or subjected to increased scrutiny.

"Ford has a history of this. In the two plants located here in Chicago there's been a long pattern and practice of sexual harassment of women, especially toward women of color," said Antonio Romanucci, a partner at Romanucci & Blandin and Ward's co-counsel in one of the lawsuits against Ford.

One ongoing class action, Martin Chaidez v. Ford Motor Company, alleges that Ford's hiring practices systemically discriminated against Latino and Hispanic job applicants.

Scalia argued that the suit should be dismissed on technical grounds. That pitted the nominee against the Trump administration's EEOC, the federal agency that combats workplace discrimination.

Oh.

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#PortlandStrong
Proud Boy-In-Chief Threatens To Make Antifa A Terrorist Organization After Weekend Protests In Portland.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Importance Of The 1619 Project
"Often referred to as America's original sin, slavery is so pervasive that its residual effects can be found in everything from the stock exchange to our prison system. Slavery was instrumental in the formation of the United States. It's crucial that we understand its inner workings and aftereffects; only then can we create a moral, economic and social roadmap to achieving our democratic ideals."

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The Right-Wing's Love Affair With One Of America's Most Disturbing Serial Killers
"To nearly everyone, Hickman was a monster. The year of the murder, the Los Angeles Times called it 'the most horrible crime of the 1920s.' Hickman was America's most despicable villain at the time. But to a young Russian idealist just arriving in America, Hickman was a hero."

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Coming Music Movie Attractions
Us, Them & the Holy Trinity.

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Tribune Tower's Timeless Luxury Living
One of the saddest architecture and newspaper developments in Chicago history.

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The Ex-Cub Factor
From the Shark to the Snake.

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ChicagoReddit

Are there underground fights in Chicago? from r/chicago
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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Neurosis at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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BeachBook

What Fareed Zakaria Gets Wrong About Afghanistan: Everything.

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Mars, Nestle, Other Food Companies Face Complaints Of Forced Labor At Palm Oil Supplier.

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Websites That Peddle Disinformation Make Millions Of Dollars In Ads, New Study Finds.

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Travel Sites Mislead By Falsely Declaring Few Rooms Remain.

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This Street Artist Transforms Cement Blocks into Mind-Blowing Illusions.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find at @BeachwoodReport.

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Comments, tips, suggestions, corrections, jokes, pleas and pledges welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

Tribune Tower, A Chicago Icon, Transforms To Offer Timeless, Luxury Living

The iconic Tribune Tower has been impeccably reimagined for the future, providing buyers with an array of distinctive, luxury condominiums and lavish amenities while still honoring the heritage of the historic building.

An architectural landmark on Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile, Tribune Tower is positioned to offer residents a luxury lifestyle in the city's most premier location.

Originally designed in 1922 by architects John Mead Howells and Raymond M. Hood, the reinvigorated Tribune Tower will include 162 residences with 56 meticulously designed one to four-plus bedroom floor plans, ranging in price from the $700,000s to $7+ million.

Property owners and co-developers CIM Group and Golub & Company have designed and brought to life a sales gallery located at 401 N. Michigan Avenue suited to give guests a glimpse of life at Tribune Tower, sparing no luxurious detail.

"The renovated Tribune Tower presents a unique opportunity for buyers to enjoy the benefit of living in a historic icon in the most coveted location in Chicago, while offering incredible amenities that luxury buyers have come to expect," said Lee Golub, principal, executive vice president of Golub & Company. "It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to live in a one-of-a-kind building with an amazing historic pedigree. This will never come about again."

Residents of Tribune Tower will have access to four levels of unrivaled amenities, including a luxury spa amenity area, state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor pool, driving range simulator, co-working lounge, meeting rooms, entertainment areas and event spaces complete with a bar and prep kitchen.

A private courtyard will offer access to the residential outdoor oasis, a rare luxury in the city.

A terrace with outdoor grilling stations, as well as a sun deck provide additional spaces for residents to entertain and soak up Chicago's warm summer months.

The 25th floor Crown Amenity offers intimate seating and dining areas framed by the stunning flying buttresses and provides 360° views of the city.

Located at the intersection of the Magnificent Mile and Chicago River, Tribune Tower is at the heart of Chicago within walking distance to the city's arts, culture, retail and dining destinations, making it the ideal residence for the cultural connoisseur, avid shopper, gourmet or downtown professional.

Tribune Tower Residences Sales Gallery is located at 401 N. Michigan Ave, 28th floor, Chicago, IL 60611 and can be visited by appointment by calling (312)-967-3700.

For more information on Tribune Tower Residences, visit www.tribunetower.com. Please contact the sales gallery at (312)-967-3700 for sales inquiries.

For all media inquiries, please contact Kate Glending at kglending@agencyh5.com or (312-374-8584).

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See also:

* Curbed: Get A Peek At The $7.6M Tribune Tower Condo.

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Plus:

Tribune East Proposal.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

August 19, 2019

The [Monday] Papers

"University of Illinois officials hope the start of beer sales in Memorial Stadium's general seating areas boosts slumping ticket sales for home football games," AP reports.

ME: When in human history has the introduction of beer sales not increased attendance to any event anywhere on the planet?

SERVER AT THE BAR WHERE I'M WRITING THIS: If you give people an opportunity to drink at an event, people will go even if they don't care about the event."

Sounds like a winner, U of I.

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SERVER: Also, college students plus beer is rarely a losing proposition.

ME: I like the way you think. Call me sometime when you've got no class.

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"The expanded beer sales could also help keep football fans from leaving the stadium at halftime to tailgate."

Or, monetize tailgating yourself, U of I, with beer and burger stands in the parking lot.

In fact, you don't even have to play the game, just open the stadium. And/or the parking lot. The only thing that's really mandatory is the beer.

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"A Division of Intercollegiate Athletics compilation shows that Memorial Stadium was only about 56% full on average last year. That's the worst in the Big Ten."

I believe it was Carl Sandburg who said: "If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell."

Corollary: If you can't win on the field, win at the beer stand. If you can't win at the beer stand, you're doing something wrong regardless of what's happening on the field. If you can't win at the beer stand or on the field, you are the worst college ever.

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Assignment Desk: Who gets the beer contract(s)? Follow the money.

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Dick Jokes
"Republicans in Springfield last week got a preview of the field of possible candidates to take on U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, in 2020. Some of the rhetoric was not subtle," Bernie Schoenburg notes in the Springfield State Journal-Register.

Let us count the Trumpian ways.

"I need you to help me kick Slick Dick to the curb," said former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, 56, of Libertyville.

Immature nickname, check.

"Dick Durbin is not for us. He's not for this country," said Peggy Hubbard, 55, of Belleville, who is retired, served in the Navy and worked for the IRS.

Jingoistic othering, check.

"Dick Durbin isn't taking care of the working man, he's taking care of the illegal immigrants," said Dr. Tom Tarter, 67, a cancer surgeon of Springfield.

Ignorant racism, check.

"He's done nothing for this state for the past 20 years and it's time for him to leave," said Dr. Robert Marshall, a radiologist in his 70s from Burr Ridge.

Disingenuous outsiderism, check.

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It gets worse - just click through and see for yourself.

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Block That Cliche
Ironically, this is the 76,318,054the story to use a famous inmate's prison number to ensure that readers understand that the famous person is indeed now an inmate with a prison number.

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Neville Mind
"Illinois Supreme Court Justice Scott Neville sent staffers to the Cook County Assessor's office Friday to clear up controversy surrounding a Homeowners Exemption he erroneously received on a Bronzeville property, according to the office," NBC5 Chicago reports.

Neville was required to paid back four years of the exemption, an Assessor's spokesman confirmed, amounting to nearly $3,000.

Neville does not live at the address where the exemption was given and rules state a homeowner must live at the address. The property lists Neville's mother as the owner, but she died 28 years ago.

The Assessor's office said Neville offered to pay more since he had received the exemption for more than 15 years, but the rules state only four years must be reimbursed.

Okay, but why not accept 15 years' worth of payments? Isn't that what Neville was offering?

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Neville was just slated for re-election by the Cook County Democratic Party. His pledge via his campaign website: "You can have a fair system, but you have to fight for it everyday."

Okay, but who do we have to fight? Scott Neville! You never know what he'll do if you don't keep an eye on that guy.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Joel Paterson Lets It Be
"As a follow up to his holiday album Hi-Fi Christmas Guitar, Joel Paterson will release a collection of vintage instrumental, guitar-centric covers of songs from the Beatles' catalog," Bloodshot Records has announced. Looks like a fun project.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 2.50.30 PM.png

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The Secret History Of Koch Industries
"If you want to understand how we killed the unions in this country, how we widened the income divide, stalled progress on climate change, and how our corporations bought the influence industry, all you have to do is read this book."

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Pair with Jane Mayer's Dark Money and get a full picture of how a few dumb rich kids trying to evade taxes and maintain their inherited fortunes bought their way into the public discourse in part by manipulating a credulous media that to this day doesn't know what hit them.

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Northwest Wisconsin Washed Away
Meet the seven counties that are, in effect, the Upper Midwest's canaries in the climate change coal mine.

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From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

Let Rickey Be
The (temporary, at least) case for Rickey Renteria, bunting fetish notwithstanding.

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Brady, Mahomes No Trubisky
Bears QB has apparently been so good in practice that he doesn't need any preseason snaps, unlike, say, the defending Super Bowl champ or the reigning MVP.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #265: It's The Cubs' Dutch Oven, We're Just Living In It
Series win against Pirates can't make up for the Philadephia Phreakout. Plus: Bears Kick Camp.

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ChicagoReddit

Morning storm's casualty. Thankfully no one got hurt. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

CJ Ramone at the Chop Shop on Sunday night.

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BeachBook

Folk Alex Jones.

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Confessions Of A Uni Dropout.

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The Whistleblower Who Got It Wrong.

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A Tissue Sample From 1966 Held Traces Of Early HIV.

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At Black Woodstock, An All-Star Lineup Delivered Joy And Renewal To 300,000.

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Slayer Too Terrifying For NASCAR.

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Why Some Doctors Purposely Misdiagnose Patients.

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Food Industry Warns Against Dangerous Restrictive Diet Plans Like Beyonce's.

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28 Weight Loss Myths.

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There Were Never 57 Varieties Of Heinz Ketchup.

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Illinois Corn Growers Expecting Worst Yields In Two Decades.

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This Dude's Reaction To Hearing "Spirit Of The Radio" The First Time Is Everything.

Why my face hurt?

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

The first time I tweeted this, Kass deleted his tweet so my original retweet referred to a tweet that no longer existed. Then he tried again. So I did too. Such a yellow-bellied way to Twitter. Let's see if this one lasts.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Historically marked.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:39 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Tom Brady No Mitch Trubisky

Dude, the Bears play a game that matters in a little more than two weeks!

Season-opening Thursday night football (Sept. 5)! Hosting the Packers! And . . . let's dial it down a bit. Three exclamation points is the charm after all.

Still, it is time to start the hype. This will be the Bears' biggest game since the 2006 Super Bowl in Miami.

We were reminded of that delightful game over the weekend with a delightful oral history in the Tribune about Devin Hester's glorious return of the opening kickoff. Hester is still the only player to achieve that feat.

What was so cool is that by the start of that championship showdown, Bears fans knew they could not afford to tune into games even a few seconds late. Hester had already established himself as a phenomenon - in his rookie year - and those who had been paying attention at all knew his returns were not to be missed.

And it wasn't just that Hester received a mediocre kick, started one way and then made the gloriously decisive cut to his right that sent him through about half the coverage team in less than a second. It was that the Colts were so incompetent that they let it happen.

If they weren't prepared enough to make sure Hester didn't beat them on a return, who knew what other screw-ups awaited. Unfortunately, the Bears ended up making significantly more of those negative plays than their foes. Result: Peyton Manning led the Colts to their one and only Super Bowl victory.

Back in the offseason earlier this year, one of the holes in the Bears roster was returning kicks. So they went out and signed Cordarelle Patterson, who is a stellar kickoff return man if not the dual threat Hester was (kickoff and punt returns).

Indeed it appears the Bears are all set at just about every starting position in all three phases except kicker. And even there, the team made a decisive move over the weekend when it released Elliott Fry, leaving Eddy Pineiro the last leg on the roster - for now.

And sure, general manager Ryan Pace made it clear the previous week that he wasn't all that confident in Pineiro when he made a sizable offer to the Ravens for backup kicker Kaare Vedvik, only to be outbid by the Vikings.

But as it stands right now, the Bears know who all the major players will be when the season kicks off on the fifth. That is especially the case because coach Matt Nagy has fully implemented his "avoid injuries no matter what" plan and did not play a starter for a single play in the Bears' exhibition loss to the Giants last Thursday.

It is a little strange that virtually every other starting quarterback, including multiple Super Bowl winners Tom Brady and Eli Manning, will take some snaps or have already taken some snaps in preseason games this year. And reigning MVP Pat Mahomes - you remember him, the guy the Bears could have drafted in the first round in 2017 and kept all their draft picks instead of trading up for Mitch Trubisky - will also see some game action.

But Trubisky has apparently been so good in practice that he will sit out. Wait, Trubisky did hand the ball off three times in the pre-season opener, I do have to point that out. Why he did that we're still trying to figure out.

Anyway, game time in two weeks and two days-ish people! Woo hoo!

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:36 AM | Permalink

Washed Away: Northwest Wisconsin Copes With The Costs Of A Changing Climate

On the morning of July 12, 2016, Joan Elias awoke to discover she was stranded in her home. Elias, who lives on 21 mostly-wooded acres in rural Iron County, was cut off from the outside world by an unexpected - and unprecedented - deluge.

A powerful storm system rolled in the night before and stalled over northwestern Wisconsin. In many locations it delivered a torrent of rain measuring 10 or more inches - a typical summer's entire rainfall - in only 8 hours. Some locations in southern Ashland County received 14 inches of rain.

The landscape surrounding Elias's home, within the town of Gurney, is a patchwork of forests and hayfields growing on clay soils that predominate beneath a wide expanse of northern Wisconsin. Clay is slow draining, so much so that it's commonly used to line artificial ponds. The ground was already saturated by previous storms, meaning the clay had become a virtual regionwide plug for rain.

With nowhere else to drain, the rainfall choked streams and rivers with swirling runoff that resembled creamy tea, laden with the clay sediment and rich with red iron oxides. The water that rushed toward Lake Superior would reach volumes previously unheard of in many local riverbeds.

Notable among these waterways was the Bad River, which drains about 1,000 square miles of northern Wisconsin into Lake Superior. Between 8 p.m. on July 11, when the storm system moved in, and 11 a.m. the following morning, the volume of water flowing through the Bad River in Odanah skyrocketed from 300 to 40,000 cubic feet per second - a 130-fold increase.

The Bad River's watershed includes Vaughn Creek and another small creek near Elias's property in Gurney. By daybreak, those creeks, which are typically a lazy trickle in July, had swelled into sizable flows, making the roads surrounding her home impassable.

But it wasn't simply a temporary flood that separated Elias and her neighbors from the surrounding world. Over the course of the day it became clear that the churning waters had devastated the local road network, and the damage was spread well beyond Gurney. Hundreds of washouts on roads across northwestern Wisconsin had cut off thousands of residents and visitors from workplaces, grocery stores, emergency services and medical care, all during the height of the summer tourist season.

Saxon Harbor, a popular campground and marina on the south shore of Lake Superior about 10 miles north of Gurney, was destroyed. At the nearby reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, including the community of Odanah near the mouth of the Bad River, the flooding also caused extensive damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. Across the region, major highway closures made travel even for residents who could leave their homes extremely difficult. In all, four people lost their lives across the region due to the storm and resulting floods.

Flood damage to property, roads, bridges and other infrastructure stretched from Wisconsin's border with Michigan's Upper Peninsula westward across Iron, Ashland, Bayfield, Sawyer, Washburn, Douglas and Burnett counties, an area encompassing nearly 10,000 square miles. Wisconsin Emergency Management documented the widespread devastation near Lake Superior and areas farther inland with extensive aerial surveys.

A majority of the road washouts resulted from failed culverts, the concrete or steel pipes that route streams beneath roadways. Most of the culverts had been installed decades prior to the 2016 storm under engineering guidelines that had not considered the possibility of a deluge of this magnitude.

The culverts were too narrow to handle the vast volumes of water racing through the watershed. Many became clogged with debris. Where they failed, churning floodwaters backed up and ate away at the roadway above. In many townships few routes were spared.

More than a dozen of these washouts were in Gurney.

"We couldn't go anywhere," Elias said. "My neighbors and I were stuck."

One of those neighbors had lung cancer and badly needed oxygen.

"He was stranded," said Elias. "So some of our other neighbors took it upon themselves to get him out by blazing a trail through the woods and fields. We all used that path until we could get out by the road, which was a week."

Within that week, crews hastily repaired enough roadways throughout the region so that isolated residents like Elias and her neighbors could at least get to and from their homes. But the work was only beginning.

State and federal authorities declared the floods a major disaster, freeing up funds for rebuilding, and local officials quickly began making damage assessments and applying for grants to rebuild and replace washed out infrastructure. Major detours would linger, however, as state highways and other major connectors remained closed for weeks or months.

Over the subsequent weeks, months and years, communities across northwestern Wisconsin would continue the rebuilding process, though their efforts have often come up against practical, budgetary and bureaucratic barriers, including federal and state rules that can incentivize short-sighted planning by encouraging and even stipulating that infrastructure be rebuilt as it was prior to the disasters. This requirement in particular has been a source of frustration for communities in northwestern Wisconsin - and elsewhere - attempting to construct more resilient infrastructure, including roads that can withstand an uncertain but assuredly wetter future in the Midwestern United States.

The 2016 flood followed a similarly intense storm in June 2012 that caused heavy flood damage in northeastern Minnesota, but also affected northwestern Wisconsin, including in the city of Superior in Douglas County, as well as western Bayfield County. After another major flood hit the region in 2018 - a flood that damaged roads at many of the same locations that washed out in the 2016 disaster - the local search for solutions has taken on more urgency.

Warnings Of Repeat Disasters

Chequamegon Bay is a large, shallow inlet on Lake Superior's southern shoreline. The bay is protected by the Apostle Islands archipelago and Chequamegon Point, and for centuries has been a center of settlement and commerce.

In the late 19th century, the cities of Ashland and Washburn sprang up along the bay's shores as local centers of northern Wisconsin's timber and mining industries. Today, the two cities are home to more than 10,000 people, and thousands more live and work in surrounding tourist, farming and Lake Superior Chippewa tribal communities. The region is also a gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, which in 2015 drew nearly a quarter-million tourists who spent $36 million in communities surrounding the park, according to the National Park Service.

science-climate-flooding-lakesuperior-southshore-satellite-nasa.jpgA June 2014 satellite image highlights northwest Wisconsin, northeast Minnesota and western Lake Superior, including Chequamegon Bay. Communities along Wisconsin's entire shoreline experienced major floods after extreme precipitation in 2012, 2016 and 2018/NASA Earth Observatory

The region largely developed before there was any scientific understanding of the interplay between weather, climate, ecosystems, land use and infrastructure. Settlers clearcut ancient forests and drained wetlands, both of which greatly reduce surface water runoff, to make way for farms and villages and a network of roads to connect them. In doing so, they at once built a local economy and set the stage for future problems.

In addition to its historic importance, Ashland is also home to Northland College, a small liberal arts school founded in 1892. Northland is part of an intercollegiate group of campuses that emphasize the environment called "EcoLeague," and the college prioritizes environmental sustainability, both in its academic programming and its operations. Northland faculty have helped lead the charge locally to address the region's vulnerability to climate change, and have at times offered blunt assessments of the problem.

"Chequamegon Bay is arguably the least climate-adapted spot in the country from an infrastructure viewpoint," said Randy Lehr, a former Northland professor of sustainable development, in a 2014 interview with Wisconsin Sea Grant. Lehr is now dean of science and math at Sierra College in Rocklin, California.

science-climate-flooding-money-infrastructure-costs-ashland-2016-hwy2-odanah.jpgThe Bad River spills over a portion of Hwy 2 near Odanah in the reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in July 2016. A streamgage on the river rose from 300 to a record 40,000 cubic feet per second in 15 hours/Ashland County

Lehr went on to make a startling pronouncement: Precipitation estimates for the region, which engineers had for decades used to locate and size culverts, bridges and ditches, were woefully inadequate.

"As we've learned more about how weather patterns set up around here, we were way off - 40-50% off on precipitation estimates on the lower side," Lehr said at the time, adding that climate-change-driven extreme precipitation was likely to exacerbate the problem as the years unfold.

It wouldn't take long for Lehr's warnings to bear out.

Probability In Action

The July 2016 flood caused more than $38 million in damage to local infrastructure, much of it due to inadequately sized culverts, according to local officials. In various places, the precipitation and resulting floods were deemed indicative of a "100-year," "500-year" or even "1,000-year" event, terms that can lead to confusion.

For instance, a similarly extreme storm in June 2018 wreaked havoc in many of the same locations, even as construction crews remained in the midst of repairing damage from 2016. The 2018 storm and floods were in some places considered a "1,000-year" event and caused an estimated $13 million in damage to infrastructure, prompting yet another federal disaster declaration.

The 2016 and 2018 storms themselves followed a "100- to 500-year" storm in 2012 that caused major flood damage in Douglas and Bayfield counties and parts of Minnesota. Some communities, such as the town of Maple in eastern Douglas County, faced damage to the exact same stretches of road after each successive storm in 2012, 2016 and 2018.

Now, residents and local leaders are left pondering how the region has been pummeled with so-called 100-year or larger storms three times in six years.

"I have personally seen four 100-year storms" since the 1980s, said Tom Innes, who has been chairman of the town of Gurney since 1990. "And whatever this last storm was called - some people call it a 500-year storm, some people call it a 1,000-year storm - I don't know what it is, but I'm not four or five hundred years old."

Part of the issue is that the terms "100-year flood" or "500-year storm," are colloquial and imprecise shorthand for probability calculations. A "100-year" storm or flood is one that, based upon historical precipitation or stream gage data for a given location, has a one in 100 (or 1%) chance of occurring in that location over a 24-hour period in any given year. Similarly, a 500-year storm or flood has a 0.2% probability of occurring in any year, while a 1,000-year storm has a 0.1% chance. Simply because such storms have a low probability of occurring in any single year does not keep them from occurring in quicker succession than their names suggest.

Moreover, the storms in 2012, 2016 and 2018 were geographically massive events with widely differing precipitation totals across northwestern Wisconsin. What may have qualified as a "1,000-year" storm in one location could have nearby amounted to a much lower precipitation total and not even qualify for the "100-year" label.

Confusing terminology aside, Randy Lehr pointed out in 2014 that the probability calculations for these low-frequency, high-intensity storms were significantly underestimated in the region for decades. Because these estimates are one of the variables engineers use to calculate culvert sizes, the underestimation had disastrous consequences.

Keeping Pace With Precipitation

Scientists in the region are helping local officials better understand how they can try to minimize the impacts of the next disaster. One of those scientists is Matt Hudson, associate director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College, a role Lehr previously held.

Hudson and his students monitor streamflow and water quality in Chequamegon Bay tributaries, as well as water quality in the bay itself. They're building a long-term dataset that Hudson hopes will inform future decisions related to local infrastructure and land use. Concern about the bay's water quality has grown since the 2016 and 2018 floods filled it with huge volumes of sediment and wastewater.

"The big thing people notice after a flood event is all of a sudden the bay turns brown, and nobody wants to be out there fishing or swimming, and people become concerned about water quality issues," Hudson said.

Hudson has increasingly served as an unofficial advisor to local officials who are trying to rebuild and improve the regional infrastructure system so it better withstands major storms in the future. Any large storm will send runoff into Lake Superior, but preventing washouts can help minimize environmental damage, as well as the cost of rebuilding.

science-climate-flooding-money-infrastructure-costs-hudson.jpgNorthland College professor Matt Hudson monitors stream flow and water quality in tributaries of Chequamegon Bay from his office/Will Cushman

Hudson explained that roads in the region have long been built under "100-year" storm guidance first developed in the 1960s and '70s and based on historical data from the mid-20th century. Updated estimates, available via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlas 14 precipitation tool, factor in precipitation records through October 2011.

In northern Wisconsin, the newer estimates significantly increase the precipitation associated with storms that have a 1% chance of happening each year. For instance, in Ashland the previous estimate for such a storm was 5.4 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. The new estimate puts the total at 7.33 inches, more than one-third additional rainfall.

"And that doesn't include data from 2012, 2016, and 2018, when we had these large events," Hudson said. "So that current guidance from Atlas 14 is probably already outdated."

Factor in ongoing climate change effects, and the problems of planning infrastructure for future conditions becomes all the more difficult.

"What do we build for? What do we expect in the future? It's really uncertain," Hudson said. "It makes it really difficult to provide guidance."

Hudson hopes long-term streamflow monitoring can help, as well as climate models that point to more frequent large-scale storms.

Local officials who are responsible for rebuilding roads, meanwhile, hope they're able to make enough improvements to withstand more big storms when they come. But for many it has been a struggle.

The Difficulties Of Rebuilding

The seven counties in northwestern Wisconsin that have borne the brunt of the repeated storms and floods since 2012 are home to 124 townships and many more municipalities. Each of these townships, cities and villages is responsible for maintaining local roads within its borders. For the dozens that have recorded washouts and other damage due to flooding, a major challenge has been not only to repair the damage but to reinforce the roads so future floods aren't as destructive.


Funding is the largest barrier these communities face. In some circumstances, the damage from a single storm can exceed a township's entire annual revenue, as happened in Gurney following the 2016 flood, according to town chair Tom Innes. This isn't a difficult feat when most townships bring in a few hundred thousand dollars or less in annual tax revenue and the cost to repair a single washed out culvert can exceed $100,000. Even in places where damage is not so expensive, barriers abound to building more resilient roads.

For instance, most townships and smaller municipalities do not employ engineers with the technical skills required to plan major roads projects. One consequence of this: For decades, some townships installed culverts that were too small even under the old 100-year storm guidance, instead favoring less expensive options.

The problems that small culverts cause are two-fold. First, they are more likely to fail even after a smaller storm. Second, when they're replaced using federal cost-share programs like those through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, local officials often have no choice but to replace them as they were prior to the disaster, thanks to a FEMA rule that requires rebuilding damaged infrastructure to its previous specifications.

science-climate-flooding-money-infrastructure-costs-ashland-2016-wildcatrd.jpgA damaged culvert sits in the scoured bed of Troutmere Creek beneath a washed-out portion of Wildcat Road in Ashland County following the 2016 storm/Ashland County

Following the 2016 and 2018 floods, Ashland County's Highway Commissioner Emmer Shields assisted local townships with their damage assessments and rebuilding plans. He described the frustration of encountering the same problem again and again: woefully undersized culverts that had failed and were replaced with culverts, also called pipes, of the same size.

"We were looking at these pipes and saying, 'Well, okay, no wonder it failed,'" Shields said. "'Even for a normal 100-year storm, or a 50-year storm, or a 25-year storm, this thing was way undersized, so it's pretty obvious why it failed. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.' But you go to FEMA, and they say 'Oh no, we only will pay for replacing it the way it is.' So if you've got a 24-inch pipe that's buried 20 feet down, you go to all that trouble of excavation and replacement and then put another 24-inch pipe in. It is just really ridiculous."

Shields is hardly alone in expressing these concerns. WisContext interviewed more than a dozen local and county officials in Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron and Sawyer counties in July 2019 about the constraints that keep them from building more resilient road infrastructure following washouts. All of them identified funding and the FEMA rule as two top barriers.

"It's basically a 'Band-Aid' that's just going to cause future problems that cost more money," said Martin Laasko, a supervisor for the town of Maple, about the FEMA rule.

But in most communities there is simply no viable alternative.

"We don't have the money," said Mark Liebaert, chair of the board of supervisors for Douglas County. Liebaert described FEMA funding as a sort of catch-22 for cash-strapped local governments that can't even keep up with basic road maintenance on their own, let alone repair and upgrade damaged infrastructure.

"Even if we're smart, which I assume sometimes we are smart enough to recognize that it might not be the best to keep putting back [the same infrastructure that was washed out], we don't have the money to do anything different," he said.

Liebaert blamed state-imposed levy freezes on county governments for part of the funding crunch, adding that the opioid epidemic has helped blow a gaping hole in Douglas County's annual budget in recent years. He said the county has had to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars out of its highway budget to cover costs associated with the addiction crisis.

"We're decreasing the highway budget at a time when we need to increase the highway budget," he said.

To be sure, counties and townships are not alone. The state has stepped in to help rebuild after the successive floods. Wisconsin's Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources have provided technical assistance and grant funding to rebuild lost or damaged infrastructure, including a $1 million grant to help rebuild Saxon Harbor. The marina is scheduled to reopen in August 2019 after three years of rebuilding.

Still, the state has long dealt with its own transportation budget crunch and is hardly in a position to fund all of the upgrades that local officials say are necessary.

Meanwhile, county governments have expended considerable resources assisting townships and municipalities in a variety of ways related to the flooding disasters. County staff have been instrumental in documenting and organizing mountains of evidence related to damage and repairs, a FEMA requirement that can dissuade townships and villages from even applying for funds, as well as consulting on engineering and environmental questions.

That's not to mention the sums of money some counties have loaned to townships to repair damage since it can take years for FEMA funding to materialize.

The town of Gurney is one such loan recipient. Town chair Tom Innes said that if not for a county loan or another source, his township wouldn't have been able to make all of the repairs it did following the 2016 floods.

Innes has worked with FEMA four times over the course of about 30 years. He credits this experience with giving him a leg to stand on after the 2016 flood in negotiations with the federal agency, which ultimately relented and agreed to fund several upgrades that the state DOT and DNR agreed were necessary.

Still, Innes described his negotiations with FEMA as frustrating and contentious.

"You have to dance to their music," he said. "And they look for a lot of ways not to have to help you."

In an e-mail, a FEMA spokesperson said the agency "does provide options that provide flexibility for [a funding applicant] to use funding differently than restoring the pre-disaster design and function of the facility," including its Improved Projects program. The spokesperson did not say how often FEMA approves such projects or respond to the specific concerns that Wisconsin officials described to WisContext.

science-climate-flooding-money-infrastructure-costs-ashland-2016-badriver-culvert.jpgThe Bad River in Odanah reached record stream flow in 15 hours following the immense July 2016 rainstorm. Upriver, a failed culvert contributed to a portion of State Hwy. 13 washing out in Ashland County/Ashland County

Innes said he appreciates that FEMA is responsible for protecting against fraud and waste, but decried what he viewed as the agency's obstinance with regard to funding upgrades. Even after agreeing to one such upgrade - swapping a badly damaged culvert that had washed 300 yards down a streambed with a wider and longer replacement - Innes said the agency dragged its feet, and it took 16 months to receive reimbursement for the project. Without a loan from Iron County, he said the work could not have been completed.

Despite the frustrating process, Innes is confident that Gurney is now considerably more resilient to future floods.

"I think our town roads are in better shape than they ever were and probably able to withstand another crisis like [the 2016 flood], or at least have a fighting chance to," he said. "They're better than they were before the flood, no doubt."

Seeking Greater Resilience

Despite many obstacles, communities throughout northwestern Wisconsin are prioritizing flood mitigation strategies and working on creative solutions to minimize the impacts of future storms. Following the 2016 flood, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa established a tribal mitigation planning team, which is charged with assessing natural hazard risks and developing a strategic mitigation plan. Other communities are also becoming more clear-eyed about the threat of future floods. In 2019, Sawyer County named flooding its top emergency-planning priority. The county is home to Hayward, which a 2018 regional flood-risk study identified as the most vulnerable city in the region to a major flood.

That study was a product of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, a planning consortium made up of 10 counties and five tribal nations in northern Wisconsin.

With the use of data from Lidar surveys, the commission modeled the flooding risk to communities in the seven-county region affected by the 2016 and 2018 storms. The idea was to give officials as much information as possible to prioritize future flood mitigation projects, according to the commission's deputy director, Jason Laumann.

The study modeled the effects of a 100-year storm and a 500-year storm across the entire region, and Laumann said the results were strikingly similar to the local effects recorded in the 2016 and 2018 floods. This modeling focused on risks to private property and public infrastructure, and gives communities a starting point to prioritize buyouts and make strategic investments in improving roadway stream crossings, he added.

"This is also a tool to leverage grant funding," Laumann said. "Looking for opportunities to get federal dollars [and] state dollars for projects, retrofitting, further flood studies and greater analysis."

Perhaps the only local government that has considerable funding of its own to put toward flood mitigation is the city of Superior, which experienced heavy flood damage primarily in 2012.

Superior's funding comes by way of Enbridge. The port city is a hub for its continental pipeline system that carries one-fifth of all U.S. daily crude oil imports, and a state oil terminal pipeline tax generates millions of dollars in revenue for the city annually. In 2018, tax revenue from the pipeline was equal to more than 20% of the city's $30 million operating budget, according to Mayor Jim Paine.

He said stormwater management is the city's most pressing climate-related infrastructure problem.

"It's ironic because obviously fossil fuel production and use is the main culprit for causing climate change," Paine said. "It's also, however, what we're using to build the resiliency that we need to meet the dangers of the climate crisis. So, I mean, maybe that's irony [or] maybe it's just a sort of perfect justice, but that's the money that we use."

science-climate-flooding-money-infrastructure-costs-superior-paine.jpgImproving stormwater management in Superior is a top priority of Mayor Jim Paine/Jim Paine

Meanwhile, environment-focused nonprofits and research institutions are also getting involved. The Wisconsin Wetlands Association is promoting the re-establishment of wetlands, as well as reconnecting streams and rivers to wetlands where possible. It's part of a regionwide effort to "slow the flow" of runoff entering rivers and ultimately Lake Superior. Local governments are on board with the effort, seeing wetland reclamation as another tool for protecting infrastructure, but it is expensive.

The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve in Superior, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-affiliated research and outreach program of the University of Wisconsin System, also promotes wetlands as a means for flood control. The program is planning a partnership with The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin to train people in local governments and others on the use of its "Wetlands by Design" tool, which assists in prioritizing sites for restoration based on outcomes like flood mitigation. The Reserve also works with the city of Superior to train contractors in the Twin Ports region about best practices for reducing erosion and surface runoff during storms and floods.

"Especially in the context of the predicted future of more extreme storms, and based on what we have anecdotally been experiencing over the last seven or eight years, this has really resonated with the local construction contractors," said Karina Heim, the Reserve's coastal training program coordinator.

Another nonprofit whose mission might not at first seem all that related to road infrastructure is the Superior Rivers Watershed Association. The organization works closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to improve habitat for native brook trout by expanding fish passage in Lake Superior tributaries. Since 2014, the group has used grant funding to replace culverts along Wisconsin's Lake Superior shoreline that were impeding the passage of fish, primarily brook trout, to upstream habitat.

The 24 culverts built so far are generally larger than the ones they've replaced and have shown much better resilience to flooding than older ones, said Kevin Brewster, who manages the program.

"At the time of the 2016 flood, the worst in the region, we had about 18 culverts in the ground and we lost two," Brewster said. "They did extremely well because they were designed right."

Brewster said the group, which also works with local tribes, the DNR and National Park Service, has plans to replace more culverts and continues to apply for more grant funding to fund this work.

science-climate-flooding-money-infrastructure-costs-ashland-2016-hwye-culvert.jpgThe July 2016 rains were so intense that there were even failures among larger culverts, such as this washout of a section of Hwy. E in Bayfield County/Ashland County

The July 2016 rains were so intense that there were even failures among larger culverts, such as this washout of a section of Hwy. E in Bayfield County.

At a legislative level, a new bipartisan effort in Congress may affect how federal agencies like FEMA prioritize funding for disaster relief. A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, would direct the Federal Highway Administration to factor in resiliency as it awards disaster recovery grants to local governments. The bill follows a 2018 audit of the highway administration's emergency relief program that highlighted problems with how the program awards and tracks funds for infrastructure resilience and upgrades.

The bill would also establish a formula and grant funding to support transportation projects that "improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events," according to a press release from Baldwin.

It is unclear exactly how the bill, which passed a Senate committee vote in July 2019, would affect how FEMA prioritizes disaster funding in the future were it to become law.

Bracing For What Comes Next

For many local officials and residents of northwestern Wisconsin, the hope is that funding can someday catch up with their monumental need to build climate resiliency into roads and other infrastructure, and that they won't have to continue to rebuild the same structures every time a big storm hits simply because of a lack of willpower to alter what they view as deeply problematic rules.

In northern Iron County, Joan Elias shared her deep interest in the natural resources surrounding her home. That passion has led her to volunteer in roles that let her be outside while providing a useful scientific service, roles such as stream monitoring near her home.

"There's a culvert crossing where I did volunteer water quality testing upstream of Vaughn Creek," Elias said, describing a moment after the 2016 storm. During the course of her water quality testing, she observed severe damage to this culvert - damage that had previously been overlooked and would in all likelihood cause problems during the next big flood. Her understanding was that FEMA had, in fact, declared the culvert to be fixed.

"The culvert looked fine from above, but I saw that the bottom edge of it was curled in like a lip and there were boulders in there," she said. "Our town chair really had to argue with FEMA around that one. It was because of my observation that FEMA believed him."

In the end, the agency funded the culvert's repair, Elias said, though she wished it had agreed to replace it with a larger one.

"Whatever we can do to keep floods from getting worse," she said.

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

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Previously in Wisconsin:
* Song of the Moment: On, Wisconsin!

* Tribute: The Mars Cheese Castle.

* Wisconsin Cheese Production Continues To Grow.

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

* Tips For Growing Blueberries In Wisconsin.

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

* The Top 10 Wisconsin Insect Trends Of 2016.

* Wisconsin's Penokees Are A Geologic Gem.

* Wisconsin Researchers Aim To Make Cows Happier.

* Wisconsin And The Extinction Of The Passenger Pigeon.

* The Life Of Land After Frac Sand.

* Blueberry Maggot Fly Poised To Expand In Wisconsin.

* Efforts To Boost Marten Numbers In Wisconsin Meet Ongoing Failure.

* How To Raise A Pizza.

* RECALL! Wisconsin Pork Sausage Patties.

* Making The Most Of Wisconsin's Autumn Garden Harvest.

* Who Is Stealing Wisconsin's Birch?

* How To Harvest And Process Wisconsin's Edible Tree Nuts.

* Lakes, Cheese And You.

* When Oshkosh Was Sin City.

* Wisconsin Workers, Chicago Commuters And The Cost Of Living.

* Chicago vs. Wisconsin.

* Before Dairy Ruled, Wheat Reigned In Wisconsin.

* The Allure Of Destination Breweries As Rural Economic Engines.

* Green Bay Packers Fans Love That Their Team Doesn't Have An Owner. Just Don't Call It 'Communism.'

* When UW Arboretum Restoration Research Fired Up An Oscar-Winning Disney Doc.

* The National Bobblehead Hall Of Fame Has Opened In Milwaukee.

* Melted Cheese Tops Wisconsin Championship.

* Wisconsin's Big Marketing Cheese.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:54 AM | Permalink

Let Rickey Be

Had Twitter existed in 1949 when the Yankees hired future Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel, the tweets would have lambasted the hallowed franchise's management.

However, the world apparently was gentler and more polite 70 years ago, as exhibited by legendary sportswriter Tom Meany, who wrote in the Saturday Evening Post:

"There has been considerable speculation over the reaction of the old-line Yankees to the appointment of Stengel. It will be novel, to say the least, for them to be directed by a manager who thus far has gained more fame by his humor than by winning pennants."

Stengel contributed mightily to his reputation by saying things like, "The secret to managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the four guys who haven't made up their minds."

But the consternation about Casey emanated from his record as much as from his behavior. In nine seasons guiding the old Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves, his teams never finished higher than fifth in the eight-team National League and topped the .500 mark just one time. His winning percentage was .455.

In the ensuing 12 years, blessed with the likes of Rizzuto, Mantle, Maris, Berra, Ford, Skowron, and many others, Stengel led the Yanks to 10 pennants and seven World Series titles.

Then he finished out his career beginning in 1962 with the expansion New York Mets, who went 175-404 in parts of four seasons with Stengel at the helm.

Then there's Joe Torre, another fellow whose plaque resides in Cooperstown in recognition of his six American League titles and four World Series championships in a dozen years with the aforementioned Yankees.

However, Torre began his managerial career with the Mets for five seasons where his teams never finished higher than fourth. He fared somewhat better in Atlanta and St. Louis, but in 14 seasons before the Yankees hired Torre, his winning percentage as a manager was .471. Like Stengel, having players named Jeter, Rivera, O'Neill, Posada, Clemens, Mussina, Pettitte among others greatly enhanced Torre's chances for success.

Terry Francona has been very successful as the skipper of the Red Sox (2004-11) and Indians (2013-present). Yet he's another highly-respected manager whose charges never finished above .500 in his first four seasons (1997-2000) managing the Phillies. Those clubs won only 44 percent of their contests.

When Francona was hired by Boston prior to the 2004 season, he had the luxury of penciling Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz into the lineup. That duo combined for 84 home runs and 269 RBIs as the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. Hitters like that make managers look like geniuses.

By now you might have figured out where all this is going. If not, you clearly aren't part of the social media maelstrom surrounding White Sox skipper Rickey Renteria. The posts on Twitter tend to range from tepid endorsement to folks demanding his immediate ouster. Now, Twitter is filled with a wealth of baseball information some of us would never otherwise have access to. But it's also where dissatisfaction with Renteria has coalesced. Twitter is quite effective in performing that function.

Had the internet existed when Stengel and Torre began managing big league clubs, the reaction very possibly would have been similar to the criticism aimed at Renteria today.

After Sunday's 9-2 pasting by the Angels - the White Sox 19th loss in the last 22 games in Anaheim dating back to 2013 - Renteria's teams, the 2014 Cubs and the White Sox of the past three seasons, have won a total of 257 games while losing 352, a winning percentage of .422.

But as everyone knows, he's been in charge of two rebuilding outfits, and, as yet, he's never been blessed with a strong roster from top to bottom. Therefore, it's too early to judge Renteria's ability to manage effectively at the major league level.

Using this season as an example, the White Sox have virtually no depth on the big league roster. Ryan Goins was called up from Charlotte last month to fill in at shortstop after Tim Anderson sprained his ankle. Goins, a seven-year veteran having previously played for Toronto and Kansas City, has been called upon again this month to man third base in the absence of the injured Yoan Moncada.

Goins has started 418 games as a major leaguer. Prior to the 18 games at third base in place of Moncada, Goins had opened games at the position exactly six times during his career. He's a middle infielder, not a third baseman. In the seventh inning of Saturday's 6-5 loss in Anaheim, Goins was charged with an error on a smash by Justin Upton down the third base line. Had he fielded the ball, a double play might have ensued. As it was, a bases-loaded walk followed, and the Sox blew what had been a four-run lead earlier in the game.

This is not a knock on Goins or Renteria. There simply isn't anyone else to replace Moncada, who most likely would have made that play on Saturday. Yolmer Sanchez played third last season, but putting him back there and Goins at second would create two position changes, disrupting the double play combo of Anderson and Sanchez, and arguably weakening the infield defense in two spots.

When Renteria was hired, his ability to develop young players was listed as a major criteria for his employment. If you consider the progress of fellows like Moncada, Anderson, Aaron Bummer and Lucas Giolito, things are moving in the right direction. Reynaldo Lopez has displayed flashes of excellence, and Eloy Jimenez, despite two trips to the IL, hit his 22nd home run of the season Sunday. People are enthused about his future. In this regard, Renteria at the minimum earns a passing grade.

Renteria's handling of the bullpen, a very important chore, has also been reasonable considering that some of his relievers have come and gone due to - I will be kind - an inability to retire hitters on a consistent basis.

Rickey has identified the guys, such as Bummer and Evan Marshall, who can get people out, and he uses them in games that are winnable. Bummer has pitched in games where the Sox have a 28-13 record, while they are 23-14 when Marshall has pitched. Closer Alex Colome has converted 23 of 24 save opportunities, and the team is 35-12 when Colome pitches.

Conversely, Renteria uses relievers like Jace Fry (19-32 record in games where he's appeared), Jose Ruiz (7-27) and Josh Osich (10-31) when a victory appears out of reach. He saves his best arms to preserve a chance to win.

Much has been made about the team's spirit and fight as well as the clubhouse atmosphere. Despite losing 100 games last season, players sprinted to first base, and if they didn't, the bench awaited them. We'll never know if there are disgruntled players on the team, but from all outward appearances, it is a positive, jolly crew even though they're 13 games under .500. Ask Jose Abreu if he wants to remain on the South Side. Using that as one measurement, Renteria has created a more positive work environment than, say, his predecessor Robin Ventura.

The biggest rap against Renteria is that he is enamored with an old-fashioned paradigm, especially when it comes to bunting. I'm not aware that Renteria has been asked why the team bunts so often, but if he were, he might say that even in the new world there is a time and place for everything.

The analytics tell us that bunting is generally a losing proposition. But analytics can also tell us when bunting might actually be a good idea - like when a poor fielding pitcher such as Wade Miley (or Jon Lester) is on the mound.

Take last Wednesday against the front-running Houston Astros. Sanchez laid down a bunt in the second inning with the bases loaded that Miley tried to scoop to the catcher as Welington Castillo came down the line from third. The ball went to the backstop, and two runs scored. Of course, not every situation turns out so splendidly, but sometimes, given who is on the field and who is at the plate, putting pressure on the defense and making them work instead of accepting the probability of a strikeout seems credible.

So a bunt doesn't always diminish your chances for scoring in the sense that other factors are involved. And don't forget, many players - Rod Carew, Brett Butler, even Mickey Mantle - used the bunt not only to sacrifice but also to get on base. And while we're at it, the analytic trend of shifts that leave half the infield unguarded screams for a bunt to a place where no one is present.

The Sox do not catch teams napping. They bunt all the time, and even if it's expected, if a bunt a well-executed, especially a safety squeeze, there really is no defense for it. Renteria, like Joe Maddon, uses this a lot. Possibly too much, but he's got a team where guys like Adam Engel strike out time and time again. The fielders could sit down, and it wouldn't make a bit of difference. A kid like Engel who can really run and who is a decent bunter should use the technique. Otherwise, he continually goes up to the plate, strikes out, and sits down.

In Tyler Kepner's New York Times column Sunday, he highlighted the success of the Astros, "who have been at the forefront of baseball's analytics revolution." Renteria and the Sox organization often are criticized for a lack of reliance on modern sabermetrics, and Renteria rarely talks about using the available data. Then again, when is he asked about it?

After all, before throwing him overboard for Maddon, Theo Epstein, one of the most analytically inclined executives in the game, hired Renteria. It's puzzling why the Sox rarely talk about analytics, but they definitely use them, just like every other major league team at this point. (And by the way, as of today, Renteria is a plus-5 in the Pythagorean standings, which purport to measure generally via run differential what a team's W-L record should be vs. what it is, crediting or debiting the manager with the difference, while Maddon is a minus-3.)

Sure, the White Sox organization is not as forward-thinking as the Astros organization. But who is? (By the way, the Sox won the season's series against the Astros, taking four of seven games, including two-of-three last week, which isn't to make an absurd comparison, but it is one of the more satisfying, though ultimately irrelevant, aspects of a very tough season.)

All of this is not intended to put the Sox manager on a pedestal. He frequently bats Anderson seventh because he says that's what Tim likes. The kid is hitting .330 for a team that has trouble scoring runs. Bat him second, Rickey. Give him as many opportunities as possible.

Furthermore, the Sox had nothing to lose when they signed Astros' reject A.J. Reed, who had amassed 62 home runs and 212 RBIs at Triple-A in 2017-18. However, Reed quickly showed that he couldn't hit major league pitching, yet Renteria continued to bat him in the middle of the lineup.

Losing never is easy, and the first target is the man in charge. Despite the criticism, Renteria appears even-keeled. There have been no temper tantrums or ragging on players or unhappy fans. He remains positive and good-natured. These qualities don't necessarily translate to a winning ballclub, but at least let's wait until the guy can put a legitimate major league lineup on the field.

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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 9:35 AM | Permalink

August 16, 2019

The Secret History Of Koch Industries And Corporate Power In America

Christopher Leonard's Kochland uses the extraordinary account of how one of the biggest private companies in the world grew to be that big to tell the story of modern corporate America.

The annual revenue of Koch Industries is bigger than that of Goldman Sachs, Facebook, and U.S. Steel combined. Koch is everywhere: from the fertilizers that make our food to the chemicals that make our pipes to the synthetics that make our carpets and diapers to the Wall Street trading in all these commodities. But few people know much about Koch Industries and that's because the billionaire Koch brothers want it that way.

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For five decades, CEO Charles Koch has kept Koch Industries quietly operating in deepest secrecy, with a view toward very, very long-term profits. He's a genius businessman: patient with earnings, able to learn from his mistakes, determined that his employees develop a reverence for free-market ruthlessness, and a master disrupter. These strategies have made him and his brother David together richer than Bill Gates.

But there's another side to this story. If you want to understand how we killed the unions in this country, how we widened the income divide, stalled progress on climate change, and how our corporations bought the influence industry, all you have to do is read this book.

Seven years in the making, Kochland reads like a true-life thriller, with larger-than-life characters driving the battles on every page. The book tells the ambitious tale of how one private company consolidated power over half a century - and how in doing so, it helped transform capitalism into something that feels deeply alienating to many Americans today.

This post first appeared at New America under a Creative Commons license.

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The Secret History of Koch Industries.

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See also:

* New Yorker: Kochland Examines The Koch Brothers' Early, Crucial Role In Climate-Change Denial.

"If there is any lingering uncertainty that the Koch brothers are the primary sponsors of climate-change doubt in the United States, it ought to be put to rest by the publication of Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America, by the business reporter Christopher Leonard.

"This seven-hundred-and-four-page tome doesn't break much new political ground, but it shows the extraordinary behind-the-scenes influence that Charles and David Koch have exerted to cripple government action on climate change.

"[The] book reveals that [the Koch brothers[ played an earlier and more central role in climate-change denial than was previously understood."

* NPR: Kochland Explores How The Famous Brother Duo Made Their Money.

"What Kochland, the new book from Christopher Leonard, adds to the story is not so much an account of the ways in which the brothers spend their money, but rather, a richly reported tale of how they make it - the inner workings of one of the nation's largest private corporations.

"To be sure, the Koch brothers aren't entirely self-made. They got a sizable head start from their father. Fred Koch, a co-founder of the far-right John Birch Society, assembled his own mini-empire of ranches, factories and oil pipelines. But Charles and David Koch supersized this fortune."

* New York Times: The Truth About Koch Industries.

"[R]anks among the best books ever written about an American corporation."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:53 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #265: It's The Cubs' Dutch Oven, We're Just Living In It

Philadephia Phreakout.

Plus: White Sox Almost Sweep Astros.

And: Bears Kick Camp.


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SHOW NOTES

* 265.

* Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night Lights.

2:12: The First State.

The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle in present-day Delaware in the middle region by establishing a trading post at Zwaanendael, near the site of Lewes in 1631. Within a year all the settlers were killed in a dispute with area Native American tribes.

In 1638 New Sweden, a Swedish trading post and colony, was established at Fort Christina (now in Wilmington) by Peter Minuit at the head of a group of Swedes, Finns and Dutch. The colony of New Sweden lasted for 17 years.

In 1651 the Dutch, reinvigorated by the leadership of Peter Stuyvesant, established a fort at present-day New Castle, and in 1655 they conquered the New Sweden colony, annexing it into the Dutch New Netherland.

Only nine years later, in 1664, the Dutch were conquered by a fleet of English ships by Sir Robert Carr under the direction of James, the Duke of York. Fighting off a prior claim by Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, Proprietor of Maryland, the Duke passed his somewhat dubious ownership on to William Penn in 1682. Penn strongly desired access to the sea for his Pennsylvania province and leased what then came to be known as the "Lower Counties on the Delaware" from the Duke.

* Bethany Beach, not to be confused with Botany Bay.

* The Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

10:12: Philadelphia Phreakout.

* Rhodes: "You know, Heinz Ketchup may not have 57 varieties of ketchup, as I learned this week, but Yu Darvish certainly does."

* How Derek Holland was just like Donald Trump.

* Coffman: "Fortunately we're reasonably confident Derek Holland is not a sociopath, a narcissistic monstrosity."

* It's go time!

* Why was Darvish pulled after seven?

"No, it was him," Maddon said, responding to whether it was about 92 pitches or what. "Be very clear about that. I would not give you disingenuous information. No. He had had it."

* Little Tommy Hottovy.

* Where the hell is Mark Loretta?!

* Coffman: How did the Cubs find themselves with David Bote at shortstop and Ian Happ at second?

* Rhodes: "This was an organizational loss."

* FTW?

* Vargas.

* Milestone:

* Cubs in second wild-card spot; Phillies, chasing them, just closed the gap by three games!

40:39: White Sox Almost Sweep Astros.

* Ivan "Super" Nova.

* Tim Anderson better than David Bote.

44:19: Bears Decamp Notes.

* The Death of Preseason.

* Tribune: Matt Nagy Scripts A Night Scrimmage - Complete With A DJ, Portable Lights And An Air Raid Siren.

Sure, but did he bring in wind machines?

* Hub: Bears Were Frontrunners For Ravens-Turned-Vikings PK Vedvik - Until They Weren't.

* Greatest Fan Mailbag Ever?

* Remembering The Emanuel Hall Era: Emanuel Hall's Game Is 100 Percent Speed, But His Speed Can Win The Bears Games.

* Is Kyle Long Okay?

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STOPPAGE: 9:07

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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 12:11 PM | Permalink

August 15, 2019

Joel Paterson Lets It Be

As a follow up to his holiday album Hi-Fi Christmas Guitar, Joel Paterson will release a collection of vintage instrumental, guitar-centric covers of songs from the Beatles' catalog, entitled Let It Be Guitar! Joel Paterson Plays The Beatles.

The album - out on September 20th - features the guitarist's signature blend of vintage jazz, exotica, blues, rockabilly, western swing and country, and uses classic Beatles songs as a sonic template for the mid-century musical journey.

The album's pre-order link is live on both Joel Paterson's and Bloodshot Records' sites.

Sneak Peak / "Michelle"


Let It Be Guitar! showcases fresh new arrangements of these familiar tunes, employing a wide variety of musical styles and guitar sounds, paying tribute to Paterson's biggest influences including Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Jorgen Ingmann, James Burton, Buddy Emmons, Ernest Ranglin and many more. Paterson and his accompanying band will perform at least three shows to promote the release: SPACE in Evanston on September 21st and The Green Mill in Chicago on November 22nd and 23rd.

Of the inspiration for the album, Paterson says, "This is the guitar record I've always wanted to make. I love the Beatles and their artistry and attention to detail in the recording studio - and I love all-things-guitar. So, I had a great time diving into these amazing songs, coming up with my own arrangements, and at the same time paying tribute to some of my favorite guitarists and vintage recording techniques of yesteryear."

The album's liner notes were written by singer/songwriter and fellow vintage appreciator J.D. McPherson and give further explanation of the project: "Each of Joel's interpretations of these songs are concise, genre-bending, stylish tone poems, mixing both Joel's and the Beatles' own century-spanning inspirations into one zesty musical stew. Contained within certain tracks, you may even find nods to OTHER instrumentalists who have delved into the Beatles' body of work . . . It's almost the meta-sonic equivalent of a Liverpudlian Rube Goldberg drawing."

Recorded in Chicago at Reliable Recorders and at Paterson's home studio, Let It Be Guitar! features Joel on guitar, pedal steel, and lap steel; Beau Sample (Devil in a Woodpile, The Modern Sounds, The Fat Babies) on bass; Alex Hall (The Flat Five, The Western Elstons, The Fat Babies) on drums; and Chris Foreman on Hammond B3 organ.

One of the busiest musicians on the roots music scene today, Paterson can be heard playing with The Modern Sounds, The Joel Paterson Organ Trio featuring Chris Foreman, Devil in a Woodpile, The Western Elstons, and many other Chicago-based projects.

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See also:

The Joel Paterson Organ Trio with Chris Foreman at the Chicago Blues Fest in June:

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Joel Paterson with The Western Elstons in 2018:

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Joel Paterson with Kelly Hogan in 2017:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:21 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Basically everywhere in the U.S. east of the Rockies - in Massachusetts and in Chicago and in Texas - people seem to believe that the classic division of four seasons doesn't apply," Robinson Meyer wrote for the Atlantic last month.

"Our state actually has 12 seasons," they say. What are they? First, there's Winter, as you might expect. But then Winter becomes Fool's Spring and Second Winter. Then there's the Pollening, which precedes Actual Spring. And while Summer follows, it's only an entrée to Hell's Front Porch.

Sometimes all of that seems to happen on the same day. Which isn't to use the passive voice; it's not just happening; we made it happen.

"July is shaping up to be the warmest July on record - and probably the warmest month ever measured, since July is the hottest month of the year," Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth, told me. "Obviously, we still have half the month to go. But so far, it's on track." (Since most of the planet's land surface is north of the equator, and since land heats up faster than the ocean, the Northern Hemisphere's summers are the hottest months of the year for the whole planet.)

If that mark is realized, then two months in a row will be the hottest of their type ever measured, since last month was the hottest June ever recorded. And the odds are good that 2019 will be the second-warmest year on record, Hausfather told me. Either way, it's a near-certainty that the past six years, including this one, will be the hottest six years ever measured.

Well, the data is in and housedad was right:

"July was the hottest month measured on Earth since records began in 1880, the latest in a long line of peaks that scientists say backs up predictions for man-made climate change," AP reports.

"Because July is generally the warmest month on the calendar, meteorologists say this means it also set a new all-time monthly record for the past 140 years."

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We are the arrogant ass. We've killed us.

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Can't wait for Donald Trump to retweet Nelson Otto of Jefferson City, Missouri, who thinks climate change is just a recurring media narrative that belies the truth. What's so interesting to me about Otto's argument - which I present as an exemplar of what and how Trump Country thinks - is that in his effort to defeat the experts he so distrusts, he cites someone he makes sure we know is a Ph.D, climatologist and former NASA scientist. So credentials mean something to him - just as they do to Trump, a zealous credentialist who is, for example, enthralled with people who have Ivy League degrees.

What Otto doesn't tell readers is that "Spencer is a signatory to 'An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming,' which states that 'We believe Earth and its ecosystems - created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence - are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth's climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.'"

No science can defeat that argument.

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Similarly, Otto is a Chicago violence concern troll who somehow is up on the latest doings here. I wonder where he gets his news from.

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Edit Desk
"A north suburban man has been charged with a hate crime for attacking a motorcyclist displaying a Mexican flag with an ice pick Wednesday in unincorporated Gurnee," the Sun-Times report.

Not to detract from the story itself, but did the Mexican flag feature an ice pick on it? Turn the beat around, my friend: A north suburban man has been charged with a hate crime for [allegedly, while we're here] grabbing an ice pick out of his car during a traffic altercation and threatening a motorcyclist while yelling racist slurs about his presumed Mexican heritage Wednesday in Gurnee.

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Here's the Tribune-owned Lake County News-Sun's version:

A traffic altercation near Gurnee Wednesday morning led to a felony hate crime charge against a man from unincorporated Gurnee who attacked a motorcyclist with an ice pick while yelling "racial slurs and racial expletives," according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Geez, they too omit an "allegedly" in their lead.

I mean, I'm sure it's true that "[The man] denied the attack to deputies, but the motorcyclist provided a photo showing Zens wielding the ice pick, [a sheriff's office spokesperson] said. Deputies, who spoke with Zens at his residence, also found an ice pick in his Hyundai, which corroborates the other man's statement," but still.

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Marijuana Mile
"Cannabis companies are eyeing sites on some of the priciest retail streets in Chicago, including the Magnificent Mile, as they get ready to sell recreational marijuana in Illinois," the Tribune reports.

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Brown Town

I thought Jeans Day would run away with this, but then there were only 12 votes. I have to put more effort into these things instead of taking the easy, obvious routes.

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ChicagoReddit

Is anyone traveling to Kansas City or nearby this weekend, by chance? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

#chicago #frontporch #painter #carpenter

A post shared by ErbGf (@rob_chico) on

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ChicagoTube

"Badge" / Dave Mason at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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BeachBook
Be our friend and maybe you'll get gems like this in your news feed on days when the Facebook algorithm works even slightly to our favor!

Tourists In The Bronx.

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This Guy Makes Stunning Art Out Of Drywall.

Facebook is incredibly frustrating for our page for two reasons: One, just because you like or friend the page doesn't mean Facebook is delivering every post to you. In fact, our most widely distributed posts tend to reach about 10 percent of our followers. Two, one reason for that is that when we post articles that already have wide distribution - like pieces from national news organizations - Facebook sends them out to far more of our followers than our original pieces or work that is fascinating or funny or just damn important but hasn't had wide distribution already. Hence, the rich get richer, so to speak, and great work by smaller organizations and/or people gets smothered. THAT'S the real Facebook bias, and it drives me bonkers. (Also, the more folks interact with our pieces, the more of our pieces they'll see, and the more widely they'll be distributed to others, so even simply liking a post really helps.)

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you will find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Freshmacher.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:59 AM | Permalink

August 14, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

"A party official said that a banner, a flag and signs promoting President Donald Trump were stolen overnight from the Republican Party of Illinois' tent at the Illinois State Fair," the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

"It's unfortunate that political decorum has kind of fallen this low," Illinois GOP executive director Anthony Sarros said.

Yes, political decorum has fallen really low when a banner and signs promoting a president who has called Mexican immigrants racist, installed a Muslim travel ban, retweets white nationalists, tells congresswomen of color to back to their "home" countries, both-sides a neo-Nazi rally where a white supremacist killed one of the good guys, and puts children in cages are stolen.

Shame on the sign-stealers. There's just no room for that in America.

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Tumbling Dice
Well, you trust them to run a 12,000-member police force outfitted with guns, so . . .

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Kass Gas
The difference is that Sarah Sanders was a public employee who lied daily in the service of a white nationalist administration while Chris Cuomo is a reporter - and one who's employer has been falsely vilified by a violence-inciting president. I mean, there are other flaws with this tweet, but that's the main one.

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Today's Worst People In The Universe
I was out most of the day on a mission of great national import, only to return to a long list of bad people in the news today. I mean, besides the ones I opened this column with. To wit:

* Steve King On Rape: What's The Big Deal?

* Eric Trump: Media Down With The Sickness.

* Ben Shapiro's Advice For Poor People: Have You Ever Considered Just NOT Being Poor?

* Trump's Immigration Chief: That Statue Of Liberty Poem Was About Europeans OK??

* Wisconsin Republicans:

* Barstool Sports' Founder Says He'll Fire Unionizing Workers - Labor Officials Say "No Way."

* Chris Matthews Is A Strong Candidate For 'Man With The Worst Jeffrey Epstein Take'

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ChicagoReddit

I know it would be somewhat controversial, but I really think a Chipotle would do well in Pilsen and I'm surprised there isn't one there yet. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Chicago Boogie" / The Chicago Blues All-Stars (1970)

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BeachBook

The Case That Made An Ex-ICE Attorney Realize The Government Was Relying On False "Evidence" Against Migrants.

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Lightning Struck Near The North Pole 48 times. It's Not Normal.

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Is Big Soda Winning The Soft Drink Wars?

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Meet Fairbnb, A Platform Trying To Be 'Fairer' Than Airbnb.

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102-Year-Old Tattooist Is Keeping An Ancient Philippine Tattoo Tradition Alive.

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Lee Hadwin Never Dreamed Of Being An Artist. To His Surprise, He Becomes One In His Sleep.

"For nearly 40 years, Lee Hadwin has been making complex works of art while sleepwalking. He doesn't remember any of them."

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you will find @BeachwoodReport.

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Lori Lightfoot's floor leader:

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Business casual.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:06 AM | Permalink

August 13, 2019

The [Tuesday] Papers

Here's a thread from this morning "unrolled" for you about the possible commutation of Rod Blagojevich's sentence.









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ChicagoReddit

Vet bills super expensive in Chicago area? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Tom Waits, "Chicago."

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BeachBook

West Antarctica Is Melting - And It's Our Fault.

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The Banana Is One Step Closer To Disappearing.

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What California Knows About Kamala Harris.

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Olive Garden To Offer Lifetime Pasta Passes: Unlimited Pasta, Soup, Salad And Breadsticks For Life.

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PBR Has Released A New Hard Seltzer With 8% Alcohol - Higher Than Most Beers On The Market.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you will find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Yakety sacks.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

August 12, 2019

SportsMonday: Sky Dogs

Winning is hard.

Always remember that as the Cubs battle through the dog days hanging on to a slim lead in the division (two games over the Cardinals, 2.5 over the Brewers) heading into Monday's action.

I opened the Tribune sports section this morning (yes, I am a dinosaur, although I will try to provide a link or two herein) to read the jump portion of Paul Sullivan's column on the Cubs' Sunday comeback victory and found another couple of stories of note.

One broke down the White Sox meekly succumbing to the A's again despite ace Lucas Giolito striking out 13 in a stellar effort on Sunday.

The other chronicled the Chicago Sky blowing a big lead and losing to the Los Angeles Sparks (a team named after the phenomena that usually starts huge wildfires in the Los Angeles area. Strange).

The second link doesn't take you to a Tribune story because the Tribune doesn't bother to cover the Sky. They ran a few paragraphs from a wire service account. The Sun-Times has covered the Sky with an actual reporter this summer, although it appears that they do so only because that content has a dedicated sponsor - good for the Sun-Times by the way and hey, Tribune marketing people, what are you doing? Then again, are there any Tribune marketing people left?

Anyway, remember back when the All-Star break rolled around and everyone paused to take a look at what the White Sox had accomplished thus far? The reports were uniformly positive. It was clear that the White Sox had taken significant steps forward and their rebuild was progressing smartly.

Since then, not so much. The post-All-Star break White Sox rarely win even when Giolito is pitching and almost never win when someone else is on the bump. This is a baseball team that is a long, long way from winning. Among other things, several new, stellar, starting pitchers will be needed next year. Hopefully one or two of them will return from Tommy John surgery. Another one or two will need to be signed as big-money free agents.

Anyone confident Jerry Reinsdorf will step up and do that? If you are, sorry, but you are delusional. The White Sox have many promising young players in the majors and minors but a sizable number of those players will be busts. And who knows if manager Rickey Renteria really has what it takes to manage a winning team.

The Sky has improved significantly this season and have a record of 14-10. If the season ended today, they would be seeded fifth in the playoffs and would play a single-game elimination contest at home against the eighth seed. The WNBA playoff seeds are based on records - winning a division or conference doesn't matter. The winner of that game would advance to a second-round elimination game. If it was the Sky, this time they would be on the road against the No. 4 seed. The winner of that game advances to a semifinal series against the top seed. That series would be best-of-five.

So the Sky have already won enough to have a great chance of making the postseason (they have 10 games left in the regular campaign), a sizable step up from the bottom-feeding they were doing in 2017 and '18. They are back in action on Friday night when they get another crack at the Sparks at Wintrust.

But they blew a 16-point lead on Sunday in Los Angeles. Ouch. And there is work to be done before this season can be declared an absolute success.

The Cubs have been so bad on the road this season that winning on Sunday in Cincinnati felt like a major breakthrough, even though it only gave them a split of the four-game series. But overall, with less than 45 games left, they are 10 games above .500 and have a great chance to advance to the postseason for a fifth(!) consecutive season.

Hey Cubs fans. Appreciate it.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:35 AM | Permalink

Field Of Reality Checks

As the sweet music fills the background at the very end of the story, Kevin Costner says, "Hey, Dad, you wanna have a catch?" After seeing the movie at least 10 times, I'm still a basket case at this point.

Field of Dreams isn't my favorite baseball movie. It's my favorite movie, period. Sure, there are some close seconds like To Kill a Mockingbird, A Few Good Men, and any of the Godfather flicks, but the adaptation of W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe hooks me, reels me in, and consumes me regardless of how many times I've seen it.

However, for me it's the kind of film that requires viewing these days in the wee hours of the morning, alone on the couch, immersed in deep thoughts and memories. Come sunrise you usually can find me rummaging through the hall closet, seeking my mitt even though my adult sons are miles away. Pounding a ball into my glove in lieu of a game of catch provides enough of a fix so I can proceed with the dearth of responsibilities that await me.

Aside from the nostalgia and relationships that Field highlights, it's the anthem to the game that appeals to old-timers like myself. "The one constant through all the years," proclaims James Earl Jones, "has been baseball. This field, this game is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good."

There have been some laudable movies about other sports, but Jones's monologue would ring hollow in Draft Day or even Hoosiers.

Despite my attraction for this 30-year-old masterpiece, I had no desire to stick around The Grate last Friday in order to see it on the videoboard in centerfield after the White Sox were blanked 7-0 by the Oakland A's. As already mentioned, my viewing occurs when I see the film listed on the TV guide during the early morning hours.

Besides, after the A's scored five times in the top of the eighth, my wife and I were more than ready to vacate the premises.

Of course, the big news splash last week is that the Sox and Yankees will meet next August 13 in Dyersville, Iowa, the site of the actual field from the movie. A pop-up stadium will be constructed with 8,000 seats. Capitalizing on the nostalgia theme, the field will have the same dimensions as Comiskey Park, which was unceremoniously torn down after the 1990 season to make way for the present ballpark.

In addition, there will be arched windows in the right field wall in an attempt to replicate those defining features on the back walls of the lower deck in left and right field at the old Comiskey. Nice they thought of that now instead of 30 years ago when the drawings for the new park were created.

Please be clear. I love stuff like outdoor NHL games in January on college campuses or in baseball parks. And I have no problem with the White Sox brass doing its best to spur interest in the ballclub with zany promotions and events aimed at bringing in revenue and nurturing a wider audience. Harold Baines Day on Sunday was lovely, with his family and former teammates in attendance. Harold's speech to the 30,951 fans was perfect. The lone blemish was the 2-0 blanking the A's put on the local team, whose Lucas Giolito struck out a career high 13.

Having dinner with friends Saturday evening, I asked what they thought about next summer's game in Iowa. "Cute," my pal Chuck said, and I suppose that's as good a description as any ,although for the folks planning this event, it's not quite so simple.

The game will be nationally televised on Fox so millions can see that Chicago has two baseball teams. They also hopefully will see a ballclub in the throes of a successful rebuild, so maybe the tourists from Fargo or Spokane will buy a ticket to The Grate the next time they're in Chicago.

However, the kind of exposure most interesting to me are games in October. I couldn't care less whether fans in Albuquerque or Laramie learn about Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson in August. I'd much rather they tune in when the leaves are turning yellow and red to see our Sox engaged in games that really count.

So the exposure angle appeals to me not in the least.

Nor does the paltry seating capacity, which will make this game the smallest draw of the season. And who will be sitting in those seats? Someone at Saturday's dinner table said, "The people from Iowa." It surely won't be the rank-and-file who filled the park on Sunday. Obviously the guy in the M&M jacket will have his usual place behind home plate, but my guess is that the other 7,999 patrons will dig deep into their pockets for tickets that sell for much less at The Grate.

I'm certain the Sox front office is well aware that it is giving up a home weekend game against the Yankees where a four-game, Thursday-to-Sunday set in June of this season drew an average of 32,525. Revenue from gate receipts has become less and less important over the years as revenue streams from broadcast rights and team gear have become equally or more critical.

Nevertheless, it's not a stretch to think that next August's game - scheduled for a Thursday before a Friday open date and then weekend games back at The Grate - would draw upwards of 35,000 if it were played on the South Side. All of which leads me to assume that the Sox have figured out how this loss of revenue will be compensated. Will tickets cost four times as much? Will Fox make up the difference? Will MLB pay the Sox for the opportunity to showcase the game?

Having once navigated the stairs at Comiskey selling beer and other delicacies, I'm also aware that the vendors will lose out on a hefty payday because of a mid-summer Yankee game played 207 miles away from 35th and Shields. Maybe the Sox will charter a bus for the fellas and gals so that they can hawk their items in Dyersville. Yeah, right!

Maybe I needn't be such a sourpuss. This game will make lots of people curious, engaged, and gleeful. Come next August there will be a buzz about the Sox playing on the Field of Dreams. Wouldn't it be otherworldly if the Sox trailed by a run in the bottom of the ninth with a man on base, and Jose or Eloy or Yoan stepped to the dish and hit a high, towering drive over those arched windows of the right field fence. Now that's a movie I'd be ecstatic to see day, night or any time.

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Meanwhile back to reality . . .

After subduing Detroit, basically a Triple-A team, three-out-of-four earlier in the week, the Oakland A's provided a much stiffer challenge over the weekend. The Sox scored three runs 0 all coming in Saturday's 3-2 win with the help of some shoddy defense by the usually dependable A's.

Starting pitchers Ross Detwiler, Reynaldo Lopez and Giolito covered 17⅔ innings, allowing 15 hits and four earned runs while walking eight and striking out 20, good for a combined ERA of 2.04.

Most of that fine pitching was for naught since the offense went 16-for-90 (.178) and 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. The Sox managed to scrape out just four extra-base hits in the three games. This is an oft-repeated script.

Now the Houston Astros come to town for three games beginning Monday night. The 'Stros are 77-41, tied with the Yankees for baseball's second-best record behind the 79-41 Dodgers. Since the All-Star break, Houston has won 20 of 28 games while the Sox have dropped 20 of 30. Please remember that back in May the Sox split a four-game set in Houston. We'll see if they can be as competitive this time.

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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 9:02 AM | Permalink

U.S. Gold Medalists Raise Fists, Take Knees

A gold medalist hammer thrower and a member of the gold medal-winning men's U.S. fencing team staged individual protests during ceremonies at the Pan Am Games over recent days to call attention to their country's racism, mistreatment of immigrants, and ongoing gun violence epidemic.

Imboden wasn't alone in protest at the Games. On Saturday, hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised her fist in protest on the podium as the "The Star-Spangled Banner" played following her gold medal win.

As USA Today sports columnist Nancy Armour points out:

The life of an Olympic athlete is one of endless sacrifice.

For hammer thrower Gwen Berry and fencer Race Imboden, their principles won't be among them.

Berry and Imboden are almost sure to be disciplined for their protests on the medals stand at the Pan American Games. Berry raised her fist during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" after winning gold Saturday, one day after Imboden took a knee during the men's team foil medals ceremony.

"Somebody has to talk about the things that are too uncomfortable to talk about. Somebody has to stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who's making it worse," Berry told USA Today Sports on Saturday night.

"It's too important to not say something," Berry added. "Something has to be said. If nothing is said, nothing will be done, and nothing will be fixed, and nothing will be changed."

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said Saturday it was "disappointed" Imboden had broken a pledge the U.S. team athletes take concerning political demonstrations, warning that "consequences may result."

Despite the predictable backlash from right-wingers who accused both Imboden and Berry of being insufficiently patriotic, Armour argues such sentiments clearly miss the point.

"We praise athletes from foreign countries for their courage when they protest against their broken and corrupt governments," she writes. "Is the America of 2019 so much different?"

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

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Previously:

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

* Why Colin Kaepernick Matters.

* Your Turn: Colin Kaepernick's Protest.

* Youth Football Team (8-Year-Olds) Take Knees In Belleville.

* Taking A Knee In Trump Country.

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

* A Long History Of Protest For Black Athletes.

* Which Side Are You On? | Donald Trump And The NFL's Rich White Owners Vs. Colin Kaepernick, African Americans And People Against Unjustified Police Killings.

* Beto O'Rourke's NFL Comments Have Gone Viral.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:48 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

1. Chicago's Favorite Library Books.

"In Chicago, millions of books and people pass through the Chicago Public Library's 80 locations each year. In 2018 alone, 10.5 million books, DVDs and other materials were circulated throughout the city," the Tribune reports.

"With so many books to choose from in the library system, what are Chicagoans reading the most?"

I'll skip the fiction selections - you can click through to see those for yourself - and go right to the good stuff:

"The top nonfiction title of 2018 was Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury, about the Trump administration, which was checked out 4,110 times. The rest of the most popular books were memoirs or biographies. Tara Westover's Educated: A Memoir and Becoming by Michelle Obama, as well as I'll Take You There, a biography of Mavis Staples by Greg Kot, and Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir by J.D. Vance, rounded out the top five."

I wonder if next year Soulless, the R. Kelly book by Jim DeRogatis, will be on the list.

2. Nugget News.

"Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets are back," the Sun-Times reports.

"The chain announced on Twitter last week that the beloved spicy nuggets would be returning a week earlier than expected."

I didn't know that their spicy nuggets were beloved. I thought that was their shakes.

(Checks story.)

Oh yeah, it's a Chance the Rapper thing, which is why it's news overseas too.

Dude, you're a global superstar, if you're gonna bring something back, make it bigger than Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets, like, say, the Great Beer Palace or Tommy La Stella.

3. QB 2B.

"Trubisky hasn't exactly passed the eye test since camp began," the Tribune's Dan Wiederer reports. "For every flash of brilliance, there's been a warning sign or two that 2019 may remain a bit of a roller coaster for the offense. There have been too many interceptions, too many throws that are off the mark and too many days where the quarterback and his offense have been uneven. Yes, they're playing against that aforementioned elite Bears defense. And yes, training camp will always have some trial-and-error dynamics at play. But to the naked eye, Trubisky has looked like a developing middle-tier quarterback and far from an MVP candidate."

4. Deadly Shedd Mystery.

"More than 30 stingrays died at the Shedd Aquarium early this year, but officials have not figured out why and have replaced the fish with catches from the Gulf of Mexico," the Tribune reports.

Wait. Shouldn't they find out what caused the deaths before putting new fish into the same environment?

(Reads story.)

Wait. Shouldn't they find out what caused the deaths before putting new fish into the same environment?

5. Can I Get My Nickel Back?

From a private Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 1.43.42 PM.png

From the comments:

"Someone told me they had two Nickelback tickets on the passenger seat in their car. Someone smashed the window and left two more."

An oldie but a goodie.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

20 Ways Trump Is Consciously Following Hitler's Template
"A younger Trump, according to his first wife, kept and studied a book translating and annotating Adolf Hitler's pre-World War II speeches in a bedside cabinet . . . The English edition of My New Order, published in 1941, also had analyses of the speeches' impact on his era's press and politics. 'Ugly and appalling as they are, those speeches are masterpieces of demagogic manipulation . . . '"

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New from the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

SportsMonday: Sky Dogs
It's August, and the winnin' ain't easy.

*

The White Sox Report: Field Of Reality Checks
'Maybe I needn't be such a sourpuss. This game will make lots of people curious, engaged, and gleeful. But just who will get to see it, and for how much?'

*

TrackNotes: Finding The Arlington Million
Because money is where you find it.

*

U.S. Gold Medalists Raise Fists, Take Knees
Responding to 'a president who spreads hate.'

*

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #264: Measuring Maddon's Managing
He doesn't suck, but he does seem to grind up bullpens and talk a lot of shit. Plus: Cubs Media Meatheads Set The Tone; Cubs Hunger Games; Time For Theo To Move on?; Rickey Bunteria; Missing Trubisky; Boynton Beach Bingo; and Schweinsteiger!

I'm solo on this one, people! And check out the Show Notes.

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ChicagoReddit

These towing companies are getting out hand from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Orquesta La Solución ‎- Desde Mi Barrio En Chicago (Ebirac, 1973) Full Album [Latin/Salsa]

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BeachBook

Interactive Border Wall Mural Tells Stories Of Deported.

*

Behind The University Of California's 'Admission By Exception' Side Door.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you will find @BeachwoodReport.

*

*

*

*

*

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Third parties welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

20 Ways Trump Is Consciously Following Hitler's Template

A new book by one of the nation's foremost civil liberties lawyers powerfully describes how America's constitutional checks and balances are being pushed to the brink by a president who is consciously following Adolf Hitler's extremist propaganda and policy template from the early 1930s - when the Nazis took power in Germany.

In When at Times the Mob Is Swayed: A Citizen's Guide to Defending Our Republic, Burt Neuborne mostly focuses on how America's constitutional foundation in 2019 - an unrepresentative Congress, the Electoral College and a right-wing Supreme Court majority - is not positioned to withstand Donald Trump's extreme polarization and GOP power grabs. However, its second chapter, "Why the Sudden Concern About Fixing the Brakes?," extensively details Trump's mimicry of Hitler's pre-war rhetoric and strategies.

Neuborne doesn't make this comparison lightly. His 55-year career began in the 1960s by challenging the constitutionality of the Vietnam War. He became the ACLU's national legal director in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president. He was founding legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School in the 1990s. And he has been part of more than 200 Supreme Court cases and Holocaust reparation litigation.

"Why does an ignorant, narcissistic buffoon like Trump trigger such anxiety? Why do so many Americans feel it existentially (not just politically) important to resist our forty-fifth president?" he writes. "Partly it's just aesthetics. Trump is such a coarse and appalling man that it's hard to stomach his presence in Abraham Lincoln's house. But that's not enough to explain the intensity of my dread. LBJ was coarse. Gerald Ford and George W. Bush were dumb as rocks. Richard Nixon was an anti-Semite. Bill Clinton's mistreatment of women dishonored his office. Ronald Reagan was a dangerous ideologue. I opposed each of them when they appeared to exceed their constitutional powers. But I never felt a sense of existential dread. I never sensed that the very existence of a tolerant democracy was in play."

A younger Trump, according to his first wife, kept and studied a book translating and annotating Adolf Hitler's pre-World War II speeches in a bedside cabinet, Neuborne noted. The English edition of My New Order, published in 1941, also had analyses of the speeches' impact on his era's press and politics. "Ugly and appalling as they are, those speeches are masterpieces of demagogic manipulation," Neuborne says.

"Watching Trump work his crowds, though, I see a dangerously manipulative narcissist unleashing the demagogic spells that he learned from studying Hitler's speeches - spells that he cannot control and that are capable of eroding the fabric of American democracy," Neuborne says. "You see, we've seen what these rhetorical techniques can do. Much of Trump's rhetoric - as a candidate and in office - mirrors the strategies, even the language, used by Adolf Hitler in the early 1930s to erode German democracy."

Many Americans may seize or condemn Neuborne's analysis, which has more than 20 major points of comparison. The author repeatedly says his goal is not "equating" the men, as that would trivialize "Hitler's obscene crimes to compare them to Trump's often pathetic foibles."

Indeed, the book has a larger frame: whether federal checks and balances - Congress, the Supreme Court, the Electoral College - can contain the havoc that Trump thrives on and the Republican Party at-large has embraced.

But the Trump-Hitler compilation is a stunning warning because, as many Holocaust survivors have said, few Germans or Europeans expected what unfolded in the years after Hitler amassed power.

Here's how Neuborne introduces this section. Many recent presidents have been awful, "But then there was Donald Trump, the only president in recent American history to openly despise the twin ideals - individual dignity and fundamental equality - upon which the contemporary United States is built. When you confront the reality of a president like Trump, the state of both sets of brakes - internal [constitutional] and external [public resistance] - becomes hugely important because Donald Trump's political train runs on the most potent and dangerous fuel of all: a steady diet of fear, greed, loathing, lies, and envy. It's a toxic mixture that has destroyed democracies before, and can do so again.

"Give Trump credit," he continues. "He did his homework well and became the twenty-first-century master of divisive rhetoric. We're used to thinking of Hitler's Third Reich as the incomparably evil tyranny that it undoubtedly was. But Hitler didn't take power by force. He used a set of rhetorical tropes codified in Trump's bedside reading that persuaded enough Germans to welcome Hitler as a populist leader. The Nazis did not overthrow the Weimar Republic. It fell into their hands as the fruit of Hitler's satanic ability to mesmerize enough Germans to trade their birthright for a pottage of scapegoating, short-term economic gain, xenophobia, and racism. It could happen here."

20 Common Themes, Rhetorical Tactics And Dangerous Policies

Here are 20 serious points of comparison between the early Hitler and Trump.

1. Neither was elected by a majority. Trump lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes, receiving votes by 25.3 percent of all eligible American voters. "That's just a little less than the percentage of the German electorate that turned to the Nazi Party in 1932-33," Neuborne writes. "Unlike the low turnouts in the United States, turnout in Weimar Germany averaged just over 80 percent of eligible voters." He continues, "Once installed as a minority chancellor in January 1933, Hitler set about demonizing his political opponents, and no one - not the vaunted, intellectually brilliant German judiciary; not the respected, well-trained German police; not the revered, aristocratic German military; not the widely admired, efficient German government bureaucracy; not the wealthy, immensely powerful leaders of German industry; and not the powerful center-right political leaders of the Reichstag - mounted a serious effort to stop him."

2. Both found direct communication channels to their base. By 1936's Olympics, Nazi narratives dominated German cultural and political life. "How on earth did Hitler pull it off? What satanic magic did Trump find in Hitler's speeches?" Neuborne asks. He addresses Hitler's extreme rhetoric soon enough, but notes that Hitler found a direct communication pathway - the Nazi Party produced cheap radios outfitted with only local tunings that carried the Führer's speeches, bypassing Germany's news media. Trump has an online equivalent.

"Donald Trump's tweets, often delivered between midnight and dawn, are the twenty-first century's technological embodiment of Hitler's . . . radios," Neuborne says. "Trump's Twitter account, like Hitler's radios, enables a charismatic leader to establish and maintain a personal, unfiltered line of communication with an adoring political base of about 30-40 percent of the population, many (but not all) of whom are only too willing, even anxious, to swallow Trump's witches' brew of falsehoods, half-truths, personal invective, threats, xenophobia, national security scares, religious bigotry, white racism, exploitation of economic insecurity, and a never ending-search for scapegoats."

3. Both blame others and divide on racial lines. As Neuborne notes, "Hitler used his . . . radios to wax hysterical to his adoring base about his pathological racial and religious fantasies glorifying Aryans and demonizing Jews, blaming Jews (among other racial and religious scapegoats) for German society's ills." That is comparable to "Trump's tweets and public statements, whether dealing with black-led demonstrations against police violence, white-led racist mob violence, threats posed by undocumented aliens, immigration policy generally, protests by black and white professional athletes, college admission policies, hate speech, even response to hurricane damage in Puerto Rico," he says. Again and again, Trump uses "racially tinged messages calculated to divide whites from people of color."

4. Both relentlessly demonize opponents. "Hitler's radio harangues demonized his domestic political opponents, calling them parasites, criminals, cockroaches, and various categories of leftist scum," Neuborne notes. "Trump's tweets and speeches similarly demonize his political opponents. Trump talks about the country being 'infested' with dangerous aliens of color. He fantasizes about jailing Hillary Clinton, calls Mexicans rapists, refers to 'shithole countries,' degrades anyone who disagrees with him, and dreams of uprooting thousands of allegedly disloyal bureaucrats in the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the FBI, and the CIA, who he calls 'the deep state' and who, he claims, are sabotaging American greatness."

5. They unceasingly attack objective truth. "Both Trump and Hitler maintained a relentless assault on the very idea of objective truth," he continues. "Each began the assault by seeking to delegitimize the mainstream press. Hitler quickly coined the epithet Lügenpresse (literally 'lying press') to denigrate the mainstream press. Trump uses a paraphrase of Hitler's lying press epithet - 'fake news' - cribbed, no doubt, from one of Hitler's speeches. For Trump, the mainstream press is a 'lying press' that publishes 'fake news.'" Hitler attacked his opponents as spreading false information to undermine his positions, Neuborne says, just as Trump has attacked "elites" for disseminating false news, "especially his possible links to the Kremlin."

6. They relentlessly attack mainstream media. Trump's assaults on the media echo Hitler's, Neuborne says, noting that he "repeatedly attacks the 'failing New York Times,' leads crowds in chanting 'CNN sucks,' [and] is personally hostile to most reporters." He cites the White House's refusal to fly the flag at half-mast after the murder of five journalists in Annapolis in June 2018; Trump's efforts to punish CNN by blocking a merger of its corporate parent; and trying to revoke federal Postal Service contracts held by Amazon, which was founded by Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.

7. Their attacks on truth include science. Neuborne notes, "Both Trump and Hitler intensified their assault on objective truth by deriding scientific experts, especially academics who question Hitler's views on race or Trump's views on climate change, immigration, or economics. For both Trump and Hitler, the goal is (and was) to eviscerate the very idea of objective truth, turning everything into grist for a populist jury subject to manipulation by a master puppeteer. In both Trump's and Hitler's worlds, public opinion ultimately defines what is true and what is false."

8. Their lies blur reality - and supporters spread them. "Trump's pathological penchant for repeatedly lying about his behavior can only succeed in a world where his supporters feel free to embrace Trump's 'alternative facts' and treat his hyperbolic exaggerations as the gospel truth," Neuborne says. "Once Hitler had delegitimized the mainstream media by a series of systematic attacks on its integrity, he constructed a fawning alternative mass media designed to reinforce his direct radio messages and enhance his personal power. Trump is following the same path, simultaneously launching bitter attacks on the mainstream press while embracing the so-called alt-right media, co-opting both Sinclair Broadcasting and the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox Broadcasting Company as, essentially, a Trump Broadcasting Network."

9. Both orchestrated mass rallies to show status. "Once Hitler had cemented his personal communications link with his base via free radios and a fawning media and had badly eroded the idea of objective truth, he reinforced his emotional bond with his base by holding a series of carefully orchestrated mass meetings dedicated to cementing his status as a charismatic leader, or Führer," Neuborne writes. "The powerful personal bonds nurtured by Trump's tweets and Fox's fawning are also systematically reinforced by periodic, carefully orchestrated mass rallies (even going so far as to co-opt a Boy Scout Jamboree in 2017), reinforcing Trump's insatiable narcissism and his status as a charismatic leader."

10. They embrace extreme nationalism. "Hitler's strident appeals to the base invoked an extreme version of German nationalism, extolling a brilliant German past and promising to restore Germany to its rightful place as a preeminent nation," Neuborne says. "Trump echoes Hitler's jingoistic appeal to ultranationalist fervor, extolling American exceptionalism right down to the slogan 'Make America Great Again,' a paraphrase of Hitler's promise to restore German greatness."

11. Both made closing borders a centerpiece. "Hitler all but closed Germany's borders, freezing non-Aryan migration into the country and rendering it impossible for Germans to escape without official permission. Like Hitler, Trump has also made closed borders a centerpiece of his administration," Neuborne continues. "Hitler barred Jews. Trump bars Muslims and seekers of sanctuary from Central America. When the lower courts blocked Trump's Muslim travel ban, he unilaterally issued executive orders replacing it with a thinly disguised substitute that ultimately narrowly won Supreme Court approval under a theory of extreme deference to the president."

12. They embraced mass detention and deportations. "Hitler promised to make Germany free from Jews and Slavs. Trump promises to slow, stop, and even reverse the flow of non-white immigrants, substituting Muslims, Africans, Mexicans, and Central Americans of color for Jews and Slavs as scapegoats for the nation's ills. Trump's efforts to cast dragnets to arrest undocumented aliens where they work, live, and worship, followed by mass deportation . . . echo Hitler's promise to defend Germany's racial identity," he writes, also noting that Trump has "stooped to tearing children from their parents [as Nazis in World War II would do] to punish desperate efforts by migrants to find a better life."

13. Both used borders to protect selected industries. "Like Hitler, Trump seeks to use national borders to protect his favored national interests, threatening to ignite protectionist trade wars with Europe, China, and Japan similar to the trade wars that, in earlier incarnations, helped to ignite World War I and World War II," Neuborne writes. "Like Hitler, Trump aggressively uses our nation's political and economic power to favor selected American corporate interests at the expense of foreign competitors and the environment, even at the price of international conflict, massive inefficiency, and irreversible pollution [climate change]."

14. They cemented their rule by enriching elites. "Hitler's version of fascism shifted immense power - both political and financial - to the leaders of German industry. In fact, Hitler governed Germany largely through corporate executives," he continues. "Trump has also presided over a massive empowerment - and enrichment - of corporate America. Under Trump, large corporations exercise immense political power while receiving huge economic windfalls and freedom from regulations designed to protect consumers and the labor force. Meanwhile, "Hitler despised the German labor movement, eventually destroying it and imprisoning its leaders. Trump also detests strong unions, seeking to undermine any effort to interfere with the prerogatives of management."

15. Both rejected international norms. "Hitler's foreign policy rejected international cooperation in favor of military and economic coercion, culminating in the annexation of the Sudetenland, the phony Hitler-Stalin nonaggression pact, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the horrors of global war," Neuborne notes. "Like Hitler, Trump is deeply hostile to multinational cooperation, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the nuclear agreement with Iran, threatening to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, abandoning our Kurdish allies in Syria, and even going so far as to question the value of NATO, our post-World War II military alliance with European democracies against Soviet expansionism."

16. They attack domestic democratic processes. "Hitler attacked the legitimacy of democracy itself, purging the voting rolls, challenging the integrity of the electoral process, and questioning the ability of democratic government to solve Germany's problems," Neuborne notes. "Trump has also attacked the democratic process, declining to agree to be bound by the outcome of the 2016 elections when he thought he might lose, supporting the massive purge of the voting rolls allegedly designed to avoid (nonexistent) fraud, championing measures that make it harder to vote, tolerating - if not fomenting - massive Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, encouraging mob violence at rallies, darkly hinting at violence if Democrats hold power, and constantly casting doubt on the legitimacy of elections unless he wins."

17. Both attack the judiciary and rule of law. "Hitler politicized and eventually destroyed the vaunted German justice system. Trump also seeks to turn the American justice system into his personal playground," Neuborne writes. "Like Hitler, Trump threatens the judicially enforced rule of law, bitterly attacking American judges who rule against him, slyly praising Andrew Jackson for defying the Supreme Court, and abusing the pardon power by pardoning an Arizona sheriff found guilty of criminal contempt of court for disobeying federal court orders to cease violating the Constitution."

18. Both glorify the military and demand loyalty oaths. "Like Hitler, Trump glorifies the military, staffing his administration with layers of retired generals (who eventually were fired or resigned), relaxing control over the use of lethal force by the military and the police, and demanding a massive increase in military spending," Neuborne writes. Just as Hitler "imposed an oath of personal loyalty on all German judges" and demanded courts defer to him, "Trump's already gotten enough deference from five Republican [Supreme Court] justices to uphold a largely Muslim travel ban that is the epitome of racial and religious bigotry."

Trump has also demanded loyalty oaths. "He fired James Comey, a Republican appointed in 2013 as FBI director by President Obama, for refusing to swear an oath of personal loyalty to the president; excoriated and then sacked Jeff Sessions, his handpicked attorney general, for failing to suppress the criminal investigation into . . . Trump's possible collusion with Russia in influencing the 2016 elections; repeatedly threatened to dismiss Robert Mueller, the special counsel carrying out the investigation; and called again and again for the jailing of Hillary Clinton, his 2016 opponent, leading crowds in chants of 'lock her up.'" A new chant, "send her back," has since emerged at Trump rallies directed at non-white Democratic congresswomen.

19. They proclaim unchecked power. "Like Hitler, Trump has intensified a disturbing trend that predated his administration of governing unilaterally, largely through executive orders or proclamations," Neuborne says, citing the Muslim travel ban, trade tariffs, unraveling of health and environmental safety nets, ban on transgender military service, and efforts to end President Obama's protection for Dreamers. "Like Hitler, Trump claims the power to overrule Congress and govern all by himself. In 1933, Hitler used the pretext of the Reichstag fire to declare a national emergency and seize the power to govern unilaterally. The German judiciary did nothing to stop him. German democracy never recovered."

"When Congress refused to give Trump funds for his border wall even after he threw a tantrum and shut down the government, Trump, like Hitler, declared a phony national emergency and claimed the power to ignore Congress," Neuborne continues. "Don't count on the Supreme Court to stop him. Five justices gave the game away on the president's unilateral travel ban. They just might do the same thing on the border wall." It did in late July, ruling that Trump could divert congressionally appropriated funds from the Pentagon budget - undermining constitutional separation of powers.

20. Both relegate women to subordinate roles. "Finally," writes Neuborne, "Hitler propounded a misogynistic, stereotypical view of women, valuing them exclusively as wives and mothers while excluding them from full participation in German political and economic life. Trump may be the most openly misogynist figure ever to hold high public office in the United States, crassly treating women as sexual objects, using nondisclosure agreements and violating campaign finance laws to shield his sexual misbehavior from public knowledge, attacking women who come forward to accuse men of abusive behavior, undermining reproductive freedom, and opposing efforts by women to achieve economic equality."

Whither Constitutional Checks And Balances?

Most of Neuborne's book is not centered on Trump's fealty to Hitler's methods and early policies. He notes, as many commentators have, that Trump is following the well-known contours of authoritarian populists and dictators: "there's always a charismatic leader, a disaffected mass, an adroit use of communications media, economic insecurity, racial or religious fault lines, xenophobia, a turn to violence, and a search for scapegoats."

The bigger problem, and the subject of most of the book, is that the federal architecture intended to be a check and balance against tyrants, is not poised to act. Congressional representation is fundamentally anti-democratic. In the Senate, politicians representing 18 percent of the national population - epicenters of Trump's base - can cast 51 percent of the chamber's votes. A Republican majority from rural states, representing barely 40 percent of the population, controls the chamber. It repeatedly thwarts legislation reflecting multicultural America's values - and creates a brick wall for impeachment.

The House of Representatives is not much better. Until 2018, this decade's GOP-majority House, a product of 2011's extreme Republican gerrymanders, was also unrepresentative of the nation's demographics. That bias still exists in the Electoral College, as the size of a state's congressional delegation equals its allocation of votes. That formula is fair as far as House members go, but allocating votes based on two senators per state hurts urban America. Consider that California's population is 65 times larger than Wyoming's.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court's majority remains in the hands of justices appointed by Republican presidents - and favors that party's agenda. Most Americans are unaware that the court's partisan majority has only changed twice since the Civil War - in 1937, when a Democratic-appointed majority took over, and in 1972, when a Republican-appointed majority took over. Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's blocking of Obama's final nominee thwarted a twice-a-century change. Today's hijacked Supreme Court majority has only just begun deferring to Trump's agenda.

Neuborne wants to be optimistic that a wave of state-based resistance - call it progressive federalism - could blunt Trump's power grabs and help the country return to a system embracing, rather than demonizing, individual dignity and fundamental equality. But he predicts that many Americans who supported Trump in 2016 (largely, he suggests, because their plights have been overlooked for many years by federal power centers and by America's capitalist hubs) won't desert Trump - not while he's in power.

"When tyrants like Hitler are ultimately overthrown, their mass support vanishes retroactively - everyone turns out to have been in the resistance - but the mass support was undeniably there," he writes. "There will, of course, be American quislings who will enthusiastically support an American tyrant. There always are - everywhere."

Ultimately, Neuborne doesn't expect there will be a "constitutional mechanic in the sky ready to swoop down and save American democracy from Donald Trump at the head of a populist mob." Whatever Trump thinks he is or isn't doing, his rhetorical and strategic role model - the early Hitler - is what makes Trump and today's GOP so dangerous.

"Even if all that Trump is doing is marching to that populist drum, he is unleashing forces that imperil the fragile fabric of a multicultural democracy," Neuborne writes. "But I think there's more. The parallels - especially the links between Lügenpresse and 'fake news,' and promises to restore German greatness and 'Make America Great Again' - are just too close to be coincidental. I'm pretty sure that Trump's bedside study of Hitler's speeches - especially the use of personal invective, white racism, and xenophobia - has shaped the way Trump seeks to gain political power in our time. I don't for a moment believe that Trump admires what Hitler eventually did with his power [genocide], but he damn well admires - and is successfully copying - the way that Hitler got it."

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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See also:

* Time: Donald Trump Supports Are Using The Word 'Lügenpresse."

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Plus:

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And:

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Previously: Trump And Hitler.

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Previously noted:

* The New Yorker: The Weaponization Of National Belonging, From Nazi Germany To Trump.

* Salon: This Is The Week It Became Accurate To Compare Trump To Hitler.

* The Forward: Trump And Hitler Are More Alike Than We Think.

* The Daily Beast: Trevor Noah Compares Trump To Hitler.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

August 11, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #264: Measuring Maddon's Managing

He doesn't suck, but he does seem to grind up bullpens and talk a lot of shit. Plus: Cubs Media Meatheads Set The Tone; Cubs Hunger Games; Time For Theo To Move on?; Rickey Bunteria; Missing Trubisky; Boynton Beach Bingo; and Schweinsteiger!


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SHOW NOTES

* 264.

:20: Boynton Beach Bingo.

* There is a Boynton Beach but it's in Florida. "Coach" is in - checks notes - Bethany Beach.

* Boynton Health Services.

* Delaware, The Blue Hen State.

* 64% Of Fortune 500 Firms Are Delaware Incorporations: Here's Why.

2:58: Cubs Meathead Media Sets The Tone.

* Every single game is not predictive. In fact, no single game is.

* The podcast is correct in regard to the standings and the upcoming schedule!

* Assignment Desk: Are the Cubs bad on the road against everyone or just, say, teams that are above .500? Or in the division? Or something?

8:26: Measuring Maddon's Managing.

* It's almost wholly just one thing: He seems to destroy bullpens.

* Assignment Desk: Do Maddon's bullpens suffer a disproportionate number of injuries this time every season? Did Maddon's bullpens in Tampa suffer the same fate?

* Dear media assessors: Base your method on the typical not the optimal (especially when you only apply the optimal to the home team).

* He's grown a thin skin instead of a thick skin.

* Try Not To Suck: The Exceptional, Extraordinary Baseball Life of Joe Maddon.

* Steve Cishek knocks on the door of the IL. The IL opens the door and says, "What took you so long?"

* Assignment Desk: Do pitchers who lead the majors in appearances/innings over the course of a season or two typically end up injured? (Especially when they are over 30?)

* Sports media meatheads who have not adapted to analytics make their audiences less knowledgeable about the game(s), not more.

* Yes, I just called Maddon "Madigan."

* Jesse Rogers: Maddon Confident He'll Be Back With Cubs In '20.

Look, just because Maddon claims he's confident doesn't mean he is! Lotta bullshit in this one.

* The Cubhouse!

35:25: Renteria Lite.

* Everything is great! Even the home runs Yu Darvish just gave up to lose a game to the Reds!

* Hugh Darvish!

38:03: Cubs Hunger Games.

* Hoisted on his own Joetard!

* Maddon's metaphysics.

39:47: More Media Misfires.

* (Actually Jordan Bastian, MLB.com:) Bauer's Outing Highlights New Challenge For Cubs.

* Gordo: 'Nothing To Be disappointed About,' Cubs Catcher Victor Caratini Says After Losing Interim Job Twice.

47:52: Time For Theo To Move On?

* Verducci: The Cubs Way: The Zen Of Building The Best Team In Baseball And Breaking The Curse.

* How The Houston Astros Disrupted Player Development To Become The Model MLB Franchise.

* The Fallacy Of How The Cubs Were Built.

55:17: Rickey Bunteria.

* Plus: White Supremacy And White Sox Wives.

57:52: Missing Trubisky.

* Rhodes: "An artificial narrative based on misplaced hope."

1:01:35: Schweinsteiger!

* The Montreal Impact, Trump and Meeting The Moment.

* The Weekend Desk Report.

1:09:04: Postscript | TrackNotes: Finding The Arlington Million.

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STOPPAGE: 9:22

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:55 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Finding The Arlington Million

Saturday was Arlington Million Day at beautiful Arlington Park.

Not really anywhere near, in location or spirit, to Buckingham Fountain.

If you saw it, form your own opinion. If you saw it, kudos to you for finding it on TV, which also means you've ponied up, no pun intended, for the full sports package. It was also on Altitude TV, which ran Colorado Avalanche feel-good spots.

"Veni Vidi Vici," Chad Brown said. I can speculate that because I took Latin in high school and it was one of the best things I ever did, not that I wasn't already a whiz speller.

Brown was effusive in his praise for Arlington Park and AP's godfather, Dick Duchossois, and why not? Brown swept three very important turf races in a country that values dirt much more, and it sets up Brown to cash in on the grass races in the rich Breeders' Cup, November, Santa Anita. Money is where you find it.

Before we go any further, they showed a snip of Dick D. accepting his induction into the Racing Hall of Fame just last week. He said that of all the things in the world, the one thing all countries have in common is horse racing. A common language, a common love. "We all speak the same language, the love for the game." Ain't that the truth?

I spent three different sessions figuring out my TV strategy as Arlington seemed to be saying "We run when we run" and follow us. A look at the Metra Northwest Line to Harvard confirmed that trains and races and cashing tickets do not mix. Both NBC and FoxSports2 were covering Saratoga, but only Fox showed the Arlington races. It was an "Oh, by the way, out in Chicago . . . "

The lure of Saratoga bit as I bought the past performances from there for only one race. The Fourstardave (Grade I, one mile, turf, $500,000). Scintillating it was.

Uni, a Chad Brown with Joel Rosario up, was the big fave, they said. The Irish Gidu opened a huge lead, normally unfulfilling, but there was a point there where you thought . . . :22 and three, :44 and three, hellish, especially on turf.

Mark Casse's Got Stormy, Ricardo Santana up, was in the same bunched-together race, went along, slammed the final paces, won, and broke the track record in 1:32 flat. My payout? It was really fun to watch.

Concentration Arlington.

In the Bruce D.($75,000 stakes, one mile, polytrack), named after Duchossois' son, the house handicapper gushed over Dabo, a Dale Romans/Jose Valdivia who apparently moved eyeballs. Well, he did Saturday. Coming from nearly last, he closed like gangbusters like he was chasing his only bucket of oats.

On to what they call the International Festival of Racing.

The 31st Beverly D. (Grade I, fillies and mare three and up, 1-3/16th miles, $600,000, turf) was, Chad Brown turf, Sistercharlie's race to lose. She won.

1:52.43 broke the course record. Stablemate (rabbit?) Thais ran it high. Sistercharlie showed her true class - there was a lot of class checking in the handicapping Saturday - by establishing her run throughout and then pouring it on by the eighth pole to zip through to the win.

John Velazquez was succint, easy with a great horse. "She was running good on the back. I was patient not to ask her until the eighth (pole)."

On to The Secretariat (Grade I, three-year-olds, one mile, turf, $500,000), Chad Brown, turf. I screwed up my wager. I was in a tantrum that Van Beethoven got up for second, ruining my exacta. Lo and behold, I did have him in the exacta, and my only explanation is that I saw the odds on the board and switched. Ask anybody, I've been stupid both ways.

Winner Valid Point, he and Van Beethoven both sons of the late, esteemed sire Scat Daddy, continued the trend of great closing kicks, making his way to the sixteenth many lanes into the center of the course and romping. Javier Castellano had jumped off of Fog of War to ride this one.

Hey, who's that in the winners circle? Sweet Swing Billy Williams! Besides Jason Heyward, call me when the Cubs get as good an outfielder.

Big dance, the 37th Arlington Million (Grade I, 1-1/4 miles, 10 furlongs, turf, $1,000,000). Chad Brown, turf.

The fat skinny was Bricks and Mortar. Brown, you know, and Irad Ortiz. Just the facts, ma'am, he came in on a five-race win streak, triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures all the way. Can't lose. The kind you lukewarm try to beat.

What happened is that class wills out. And when you have such a great turf course as Arlington, everything is equal and you really do run to see who's best.

Bricks and Mortar (Giant's Causeway[Storm Cat that's my boy]) out of Beyond the Waves (Ocean Crest), is the best turf runner in the land, destined for the Hall of Fame, although the horse never sees that money.

The Arlington feed, I think, on the screen, didn't show the split times. At 1:59.44 at the classic distance on turf, that's not bad. Too bad they didn't show the respectable splits.

What does it all mean?

I predicted Bricks and Mortar perhaps in open lengths, which he did by nearly two. Sistercharlie locked. Valid Point. No intrigue was introduced into the turf division. Vis a vis the Breeders' Cup.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing, as challengers will come against these good/great horses in the big test of Breeders' Cup.

RailNotes
* Anyone familiar with TrackNotes knows I have disparaged and trashed Arlington Park, as owned by Churchill Downs Inc. I'm thinking it over, but Arlington looked so beautiful yesterday, I missed the place.

They didn't gussy up for the day, it's always that nice. I used to get there so early, I just walked in, and saw the tail end of the morning workouts. That cliche when you walk up the stairs and see Wrigley's grass? I get those goosebumps at the track. The horses, as beings, do that to you.

* But, alas, I did a scenario. What if I was there? The Million went off at 6:15. Big crowds, cash your ticket and get on the train. The train to the city was 6:29!!! The next train was 8:29. Why do I believe Arlington enjoys giving me the big single digit right where they please? It's in Arlington Heights, suburban, car . . . Oh, can it.

* Why doesn't the Racing Form say in its conditions the Nth running anymore? Such as the the 116th running of the Saratoga Special? I'll answer that. Because young punks who disguise high design and data savvy for laziness don't care. Don't want to work? Eliminate it. What is is like to live a life without details? It's obliviousness they seek.

* In the interest of full disclosure, I feel bad about getting in a pissing match with an online horse racing forum.

It seems trivial, and I should have known better, but there are important issues.

Those people who use devices and websites to hide, offer nothing, get in the way and tell me I'm ignorant. I give people way more credit than they will ever earn.

In true Beachwood manner, I did the research, crunched the numbers, found interesting things and laid out the argument. But what do you do with people when it's all about them and they don't really read? Does a guy who told me he's run the forum for 20 years forget how to listen and comprehend? Do people, through social influences, turn into fruit flies?

I will say this. I have worked with truly monumental people in the written and visual aspects of journalism for many years. I've fallen into great organizations.

Now, I'm in another one.

I pulled a Beachwood and they couldn't handle it.

There's a saying in racing charts: Game, Prevailed.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:02 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

This is everything right here, isn't it?

RINKEBY, Sweden - Johnny Castillo, a Peruvian-born neighborhood watchman in this district of Stockholm, still puzzles over the strange events that two years ago turned the central square of this predominantly immigrant community into a symbol of multiculturalism run amok.

First came a now-infamous comment by President Trump, suggesting that Sweden's history of welcoming refugees was at the root of a violent attack in Rinkeby the previous evening, even though nothing had actually happened.

"You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden!" Mr. Trump told supporters at a rally on Feb. 18, 2017. "They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible."

The president's source: Fox News, which had excerpted a short film promoting a dystopian view of Sweden as a victim of its asylum policies, with immigrant neighborhoods crime-ridden "no-go zones."

But two days later, as Swedish officials were heaping bemused derision on Mr. Trump, something did in fact happen in Rinkeby: Several dozen masked men attacked police officers making a drug arrest, throwing rocks and setting cars ablaze.

And it was right around that time, according to Mr. Castillo and four other witnesses, that Russian television crews showed up, offering to pay immigrant youths "to make trouble" in front of the cameras.

"They wanted to show that President Trump is right about Sweden," Mr. Castillo said, "that people coming to Europe are terrorists and want to disturb society."

Looks like Trump and Fox News misread the dates on the memo and got ahead of Putin, so Putin had to send over some henchmen to retrofit the racist fake news.

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Who's Zoomin' Who?
As a follow-up to Friday's column about journalese - the obscuring, misframing and cliched language of the media - here is George Carlin appearing before the National Press Club, ostensibly roasting the way politicians talk. But guess what? Replace "politicians" with "media" and you get a highly accurate depiction of journalese, which in part is due to journalists' adoption of the language used by those they cover. And yet, they laugh as if the joke isn't also on them.

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Reminder: The Tribune has no intention of correcting its March editorial when it built an entire editorial around a George Carlin bit - and got the bit exactly, oppositionally wrong. But then, they've never been big on accountability for themselves, just everyone else.

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Blinded By The Slight
Not hard to see at all. First, Trump loves the power to pardon; simple as that. Second, Jared told him, laughably, that this will help him get Democratic crossover votes in the 2020 election; they're both dumb enough to believe it. Third, it's revenge against the Obama DOJ, the Mueller FBI, and James Comey via his close friend Patrick Fitzgerald, who was the U.S. Attorney here who prosecuted Blagojevich. Fourth, Patti Blagojevich is now at least an ostensibly Trump-supporting voice on right-wing media, including Fox News. This would be both a reward and an appeal to keep it up. The real question is: What is the downside to Trump? One, it's swampy, though that's never stopped him before. Two, Republicans don't like it, though that's never stopped him before. Any others?

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Patti Blago
Let's not forget what a miserable creature Patti Blagojevich is - as if her pleading to Trump through bullshit right-wing narratives could ever let us do that. Here is just one tiny reminder, I didn't have time to more thoroughly catalog her inner corruptness:

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Oh, okay, one more:

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Plus, this classic:

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Finally:

Don't let the Jackson family, perhaps guilt-ridden for their part in Obama senate seat scheme, fool you - Blagojevich was a disastrous governor even without the corruption, which is impossible to separate out from his performance anyway.

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Fact Check, Please

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Hero Herc
Such a momentous day in history.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour
My co-host Jim "Coach" Coffman is out of town this weekend, so I'm planning to record a solo episode late Sunday afternoon after the Cubs-Reds series concludes.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Have always wondered what these slots in the alleys are for. Does anyone know? from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

This place.

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

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Gloria Gaynor Performing "Killing Me Softly" At City Winery on Friday night.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling of the delights and disgust you will find @BeachwoodReport.

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The President Of The United States.

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The Weekend Desk McRibTipLine: Seize the day.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:22 AM | Permalink

August 9, 2019

All My Happiness Is Gone

Friends are warmer than gold when you're old
And keeping them is harder than you might suppose
Lately, I tend to make strangers wherever I go
Some of them were once people I was happy to know


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He Was Alive And Living In Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:05 PM | Permalink

Stop Referring To Corporatists As 'Centrists' And 'Moderates'

In his book Failed States, preeminent linguist Noam Chomsky described the significant gap between the policy positions of the U.S. electorate and their elected "leaders" as a "democracy deficit." That gap, he concluded, is the product of the deceptive manner in which "elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population . . . freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people."

At its essence, the Bernie Sanders-inspired "political revolution" entails a substantive, issue-driven strategy designed to eliminate the "democracy deficit." It offers a unique vehicle for societal transformation from what President Jimmy Carter described as "an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery" to the realization of the promise offered by President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address: "government of the people, by the people and for the people."

As a movement, the "political revolution" can succeed only if progressives come to understand the symbiotic relationship between the corporate public relations industry, commercial media outlets, and the politicians who have been subsumed by corporate wealth and power. This includes the need to identify and expose the methodology deployed by that unholy troika (corporate PR flaks, commercial media and corporatist politicians), to wit, the adroit use of select words and phrases ("talking points") to frame public discourse and to conceal the deceits utilized to persuade the electorate to vote against its own interests.

One of the many deceits the troika deploys is to conceal one of its critical components by referring to corporate money-compromised Democrats as either "centrists" or "moderates."

"Centrist" implies that the positions held by Democrats who tow the corporate line are mainstream, whereas progressives, who advance the interests of the vast majority of the electorate, are depicted as "far left."

Issue polls, however, reveal that it is the progressive agenda that is decidedly mainstream.

A poll taken last year revealed that, prior to this year's health insurance/pharmaceutical industry propaganda campaign, 70% of all Americans, including 52% of Republicans and 84% of Democrats, supported Medicare for All. A separate 2018 poll revealed more than eight in 10 Americans - 81% - supported a Green New Deal. A whopping 82% of Americans want the federal government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.

"Moderate" conveys the deceptive notion that those who tow the corporate line are being reasonable, whereas those who aspire to achieve the progressive agenda are - at best - utopian dreamers. The "moderate" descriptor is also used to depict corporatist politicians as "realists." This, in turn, positions the "realist" to derisively dismiss immensely popular progressive policies as unattainable "pie-in-the-sky."

The colloquy regarding Medicare for All that emerged during last week's CNN debates provides an ideal opportunity to dissect the troika and its methodology.

Instead of a robust debate that would permit the electorate to make an informed electoral decision, CNN presented what Julie Hollar of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting described as an "over the top industry-friendly spectacle."

The two Medicare for All champions on the first debate night, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), were placed at center stage, literally surrounded by a team of corporate money-compromised "lower tier" candidates. The time allotted to answer questions was scarcely sufficient to deliver anything more than the industry-friendly sound bites that not only came from the corporatist candidates on stage but also from well-timed commercial break ads produced by the Orwellian-labeled, Partnership for America's Health Care Future, the newest insurance and pharmaceutical industry-funded PR front group.

Ostensibly objective moderators carefully scripted their questions to ensure that the event would be conducted within an industry-preferred frame.

A recent academic study revealed that the Medicare for All Act, introduced by Sanders and co-sponsored by 14 Senate Democrats, would save $5.1 trillion over the next decade. Yet, the questions CNN's Jake Tapper posed about how it would be paid for strongly implied otherwise. Tapper then included bait-and-switch questions, which ignored the reality that minimal "middle-class tax increases" would be more than offset by the elimination of premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

The most absurd insurance/pharmaceutical industry talking point was embodied in questions that speciously characterized replacement of the existing, inordinately expensive and dysfunctional for-profit system with a single-payer system as an effort to take away someone's health insurance.

If someone offered you a brand-new Mercedes free of charge, provided you were willing to trade in your sputtering, old 1965 unsafe at any speed Corvair, would you say, "No way! You want to take my old clunker away"?

The U.S. spends nearly two-and-a-half times more per capita for health care than the average per capita health care expenditures among the 34 single-payer nation-members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Yet, according to a 2014 Commonwealth Fund study, the U.S. healthcare delivery system ranked dead last among eleven industrialized nations in terms of "quality, efficiency, access to care, and healthy lives."

Our profit-before-people health care system, even under the so-called "Affordable Care Act," often extracts harsh economic tolls from those who have to choose between food and the cost of medicine. Each year, more than 770,000 Americans file for bankruptcy because of unpaid medical bills. Per a 2009, pre-ACA Harvard Medical Study, 45,000 Americans die each year simply because they can't afford coverage.

In single-payer countries, no one dies for lack of coverage or is forced into bankruptcy by reason of unpaid medical bills.

That these ugly truths about the indefensible U.S. health care system were, to the extent possible, ignored by commercial media, not only during what was supposed to be a "debate" but also during the presentation of nightly "news," should surprise no one. (Indeed, the one issue that is likely to be scrupulously avoided during future commercial media-run debates is "media reform.")

That doesn't mean that progressives are powerless to recognize, expose, protest and condemn the use of corporate propaganda techniques. At the very least, progressive writers, activists and politicians should not reinforce troika deceptions by repeating their Orwellian descriptions of corporatists as "centrists" and "moderates."

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

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Previously: Bold, Progressive Ideas Aren't Unrealistic.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 PM | Permalink

'Warspeak' Permeates Everyday Language. Why It Matters.

In a manifesto posted online shortly before he massacred 22 people at an El Paso Walmart, Patrick Crusius cited the "invasion" of Texas by Hispanics. In doing so, he echoed President Trump's rhetoric of an illegal immigrant "invasion."

Think about what this word choice communicates: An enemy that must be beaten back, repelled and vanquished.

Yet this sort of language - what I call "warspeak" - has relentlessly crept into most aspects of American life and public discourse.

linguisticbattlefield.jpg
It's a linguistic battlefield out there/Complot, Shutterstock

After the Columbine shooting, I started writing about how "gunspeak" - the way everyday turns of phrase, from "bite the bullet" and "sweating bullets," to "trigger warnings" and "pulling the trigger" - reflected a society obsessed with guns.

But warspeak's tentacles extend much further. Words and phrases derived from war imagery crop up in advertisements, headlines and sports coverage. They've inspired an entire lexicon deployed on social media and in politics.

The intent might be as benign as the creative use of language. But I wonder if it communicates larger truths about American violence and polarization.

The Political Battlefield

For decades, America has been fighting metaphorical wars - wars on heart disease, drugs, smoking, cancer, poverty, advertising and illiteracy.

Then there are the culture wars, which have intensified recently to include wars on Christmas, abortion, bathrooms, cops and women. These are different: They involve people on two sides of a polarizing issue.

War targets an enemy - someone or something to be defeated, using whatever means necessary. It's one thing when you're at war with a disease. It's quite another when you're at war with a group of people on the other side of a political issue.

The political arena seems to have become especially fertile ground for warspeak.

Otherwise boring legislative machinations have been energized with the drama of a life or death struggle. The Republican-controlled Senate uses a "nuclear option" to confirm judges by a simple majority of 51 votes rather than the older standard of 60 votes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's ability to speed along the appointment of conservative judges constitutes the latest volley in a "judicial arms race."

Elections deploy the language of military campaigns. Republican donors and lawmakers warned Trump of a potential bloodbath before the 2018 midterm elections. Meanwhile, Democrats running for president strategize in their campaign "war rooms" for ways to build up "war chests" that will leave them with enough funds to compete in the "battleground states."

The political media reinforces it all. In its coverage of the July primary debates, the New York Times wrote that moderates were "throwing firebombs" at progressives. Cory Booker, the "happy warrior," sparred with former Vice President Joe Biden, who "took incoming fire" all night, but "shot back" and survived, even as moderator Don Lemon "threw a generational warfare bomb."

Our Semantic Arsenals

Then there are the less obvious ways warspeak has become part of everyday speech.

Baseball players mash bombs while basketball players drain three-point bombs. Social media is replete with photobombs and tweet bombs, and there are so many bombshells on cable news that it's a miracle your TV hasn't exploded.

Everything has been "weaponized." According to Google's Ngram Viewer, the use of the word in print has increased by more than a factor of 10 between 1980 and 2008.

You might have seen "weaponized" applied to race, feminism, children, immigrants, ICE, higher education, free speech and songs.

But did you know that tennis serves, laughter, paperwork and Midwestern niceness can also, apparently, be weaponized?

Then there are the warriors in our midst - weekend warriors, gridiron warriors, keyboard warriors and spiritual warriors. Meanawhile, the country's future software engineers sign up for coding boot camps to learn their trade.

We're all in the trenches now, and most of us don't even know it.

Why Warspeak Matters

Semantic wars, like all wars, are costly. But the role of warspeak in today's society isn't as easily quantified as a military budget or body count.

Nonetheless, I believe warspeak matters for three reasons.

First, it degrades our ability to engage with one another about important issues. Law professors Oren Gross and Fionnuala Aolain have written about how the framing of issues as a "war" can "significantly shape choices." There is an urgency that's communicated. Instantaneous action is required. Thought and reflection fall by the wayside.

Second, in the context of politics, warspeak seems to be connected to violent political attitudes. In 2011, researchers at the University of Michigan found that young adults exposed to political rhetoric charged with warspeak were more likely to endorse political violence.

Finally, if everything from weather to sports is laden with violent imagery, perceptions and emotions become needlessly distorted. Political carnage and carnage in the classroom, weaponized songs and weapons of war, snipers on the hockey rink and mass shooters all blur together across our cognitive maps.

Why They Do It

There's a reason why writers, talking heads and politicians deploy warspeak: It commands people's attention in an increasingly frenzied and fractured media environment.

I wonder, however, if it contributes to political polarization - what Pew Research describes as the "defining feature of American politics today."

And I wonder if it's one reason why, according to Gallup, Americans' stress, worry and anger increased in 2018, to the highest point in a dozen years.

One thing is clear: Americans no longer need to be enlisted in the army to suffer from battle fatigue.

Robert Myers is a professor of anthropology & public health at Alfred University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:52 AM | Permalink

24 Hours With The Game Show Network

11 a.m.: Wheel of Fortune - Episode 5919

11:30 a.m.: Wheel of Fortune - Episode 5920

Noon: Match Game

12:30 p.m.: Match Game

1 p.m.: Catch 21

1:30 p.m.: Catch 21 - Episode 4058

2 p.m.: The Chase - Episode 3008

3 p.m.: Best Ever Trivia Show - Hard Day at the Office

3:30 p.m.: America Says - The Walkers vs Opera Pals

4 p.m.: America Says - Pizzeria vs. Animal Trainers

4:30 p.m.: Common Knowledge - Moviegoers vs. Role Players

5 p.m.: Common Knowledge - Mommy Mayhem vs. Card Club

5:30 p.m.: Family Feud - Sudduth Family vs. Mcleod Family

6 p.m.: Family Feud - Hughes Family vs Reynolds Family

6:30 p.m.: Family Feud - Hughes Family vs Bronston Family

7 p.m.: Family Feud - Brawley Family vs. Bronke Family

7:30 p.m.: Family Feud - Brawley Family vs. Schiano Family

8 p.m.: America Says - Potluck Posse vs. Ex-Roomies

8:30: America Says - The Sooners vs. The Thrones

9 p.m.: America Says - Seniors vs. Millennials

9:30 p.m.: Family Feud - Episode 16-044

10 p.m.: Family Feud - Episode 16-045

10:30 p.m.: Family Feud - 16-046

11 p.m.: Family Feud - Walton Family vs. Sabella Family

11:30 p.m.: Family Feud - Walton Family vs. Lewis Family

Midnight: America Says - Pizzeria vs. Animal Trainers

12:30 a.m.: Chain Reaction - Episode 1044

1 a.m.: Best Ever Trivia Show - Hard Day at the Office

1:30 a.m.: Common Knowledge - Moviegoers vs. Role Players

2 a.m.: Winsanity - Sister Act

2:30 a.m.: Divided - Stepping Up

3 a.m.: Paid Programming

3:30 a.m.: Paid Programming

4 a.m.: Paid Programming

4:30 a.m.: Paid Programming

5 a.m.: Paid Programming

5:30 a.m.: Paid Programming

6 a.m. Paid Programming

6:30 a.m.: Paid Programming

7 a.m.: Paid Programming

8 a.m.: Chain Reaction

8:30 a.m.: Chain Reaction

9 a.m.: America Says - Restaurant Staff vs. Church Choir

9:30 a.m.: America Says - Baseball Buddies vs. The Meyers

10 a.m.: America Says - Spin Class vs. Card Sharks

10:30 a.m.: America Says - Students vs. Teachers

11 a.m.: Cash Cab - Episode 3001

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Previously:
* 24 Hours With QVC
* 24 Hours With Tru TV
* 24 Hours With Current TV
* 24 Hours With The Military Channel
* 24 Hours With The Hallmark Channel
* 24 Hours With TVGN
* 24 Hours With Retroplex
* 24 Hours With Penthouse TV
* 24 Hours With The DIY Network
* 24 Hours With BET
* 24 Hours With CNBC
* 24 Hours With WWMEB
* 24 Hours With PRISM TV
* 24 Hours With Al Jazeera America.
* 24 Hours With Fuse.
* 24 Hours With Pop TV.
* 24 Hours With BET Soul.
* 24 Hours With BabyTV.
* 24 Hours With Jewelry Television.
* 24 Hours With XFHS.
* 24 Hours With Freeform.
* 24 Hours With Baby1.
* 24 Hours With RUS-TV.
* 24 Hours With The Esquire Network.
* 24 Hours With Velocity.
* 24 Hours With WYCC.
* 24 Hours With FM.
* 24 Hours With The Great American Country Channel.
* 24 Hours With Lakeshore TV.
* 24 Hours With CAN TV19.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:05 AM | Permalink

Beverage Category Ripe With Opportunity

Beverages have always played a significant role in foodservice and the category is continuously evolving. Chicago-based Technomic's recently released Away-from-Home Beverage Study covers how consumer demands and business conditions have shifted within the past few years.

"Beverage growth has outpaced that of foodservice within the past few years thanks to innovative options such as nitro coffee, plant-based milks and other alternative beverages entering this space," says David Henkes, principal at Technomic. "Although challenges like third-party delivery are encroaching on beverage occasions, the category has a lot of opportunities available through offering a wide variety of innovative beverage options to their guests."

The 2019 Away-from-Home Beverage Study is part of Technomic's Away-from-Home Beverage Navigator Program.

Key takeaways from the report include:

* 40% of consumers will not purchase any beverage or will leave an operation if their preferred beverage is not available.

* Overall, away-from-home beverages grew about 4.1% over the past few years, slightly above foodservice growth.

* 59% of total beverage sales are coming from just three segments: quick-service restaurants, coffee cafes and full-service restaurants

The 2019 Away-from-Home Beverage Study serves as a guide for food and beverage professionals to measure the size of the industry and category, understand path to purchase, uncover unmet needs and develop and grow beverage strategies.

Research components of this report include consumer and operator surveys, qualitative research with 40 foodservice operators and interviews with major chains, distributors and beverage suppliers.

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See also:

* ABC7 Chicago: Arizona Iced Tea Maker To Launch Line Of Cannabis-Infused Products.

* Food Business News: Bringing More Fiber Options To The Beverage Category.

* Bloomberg Businessweek: Cult-Favorite Topo Chico Breaks Out Of Texas With Help From Coke.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:28 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Let's talk about the importance of language. It may seem like it goes without saying that journalists should choose their words carefully, but the evidence is before us every day that the news business is rampant with careless usage, and prone to the manipulations of others' agenda-driven language choices to frame - and often constrain - public discourse. (See, for example, Frank Luntz).

Journalists also often lazily fall back on what I call journalese, the handy cliches, frames and narratives used to avoid the effort involved in more thoughtful coverage that more closely aligns with reality. Instead, we get political consultant-speak like "investments" for spending and "revenues" for taxing.

I bring this up today - well, I bring it up a lot, but I bring it up today in particular because of some of the posts featured on the site right now.

In the Books section, I picked up a piece from The Conversation on how "warspeak" permeates our everyday language. Now, when I first saw this piece I thought it might be a bunch of hippy-dippy nonsense concluding with a call for us all to simply put good vibes into the universe to solve all our problems. It's nothing of the sort. It's a well-written, well-argued article that shows just how much - way more than you realize - of our language uses the terms of war, and how that impacts our discussions.

In the Politics section, I picked up a piece from Common Dreams on something that has bugged me for a long time: the way the media, at the behest of politicians like, say, Rahm Emanuel, use the terms "moderate" and "centrist."

To wit:

"Centrist" implies that the positions held by Democrats who tow the corporate line are mainstream, whereas progressives, who advance the interests of the vast majority of the electorate, are depicted as "far left." Issue polls, however, reveal that it is the progressive agenda that is decidedly mainstream.

A poll taken last year revealed that, prior to this year's health insurance/pharmaceutical industry propaganda campaign, 70% of all Americans, including 52% of Republicans and 84% of Democrats, supported Medicare for All. A separate 2018 poll revealed more than eight in 10 Americans - 81% - supported a Green New Deal. A whopping 82% of Americans want the federal government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.

"Moderate" conveys the deceptive notion that those who tow the corporate line are being reasonable, whereas those who aspire to achieve the progressive agenda are - at best - utopian dreamers. The "moderate" descriptor is also used to depict corporatist politicians as "realists." This, in turn, positions the "realist" to derisively dismiss immensely popular progressive policies as unattainable "pie-in-the-sky."

Now, I'm not sure I would use "corporatist" in place of "moderate" and "centrist" - though I'm not saying I wouldn't. Maybe what we're really measuring, though, is how much change a candidate wants: "moderates" want a little change - you could argue a "moderate" amount, and therefore the term is correct. However, the way "moderate" is used, as the Common Dreams writer notes, is not only as a way to describe political positioning but temperament. Moderates, however, can be just as zealous, ideological and downright nuts as anyone else. For example, "moderates" essentially represent the status quo. I would argue, along with virtually the rest of America, that the status quo is, well, nuts. Take our current health care system, for example. No, really, take it. And flush it in the ocean. Guns, the same. And climate change? How "moderate," when taken to mean "reasonable," is it that we're not only doing nothing about our immolation of the planet but actually going backward? If allowing civilization to kill itself off is "realistic," I wanna be crazy.

"Realistic," of course, is a political synonym for "cynical." It means, "Come on, people are too greedy and corrupt to really believe in using public policy to impose doing the right thing." Except when it comes to, say, the behavior of the poor. Then the wealthy and powerful impose all the "morality" they want.

Those arguing for "realism," of course, just want to keep their schemes and scams going, be it the idea that it takes "grease" to make government's wheels turn or the highly disingenuous argument that corporations are people with free speech rights that include virtually unlimited campaign contributions.

We're quite familiar with these kinds of arguments in Chicago, like, say, when even some "reformers" defended patronage (in the form of party merging with government) because it allegedly resulted in more efficient garbage pick-up, despite thousands of municipalities the world over that proved otherwise.

When I first came to Chicago in 1992, I quickly learned the nomenclature, including the term "goo-goo," a derisive term for someone who believed in "good government." I was baffled: Who isn't for good government? Ohhhh, Chicago isn't!

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A ton has been written on this topic with far more depth and eloquence than here, but it's my way of providing a little introduction to those pieces on the site today - and to remind you to think about the words you see used in the news. And think about how a subject is framed - for example, is a policy choice described as two narrow competing choices, or a wider array of possibilities? Is one choice conveyed as "utopian" or "catastrophic" in order to promote the "reasonable" option? How do the word choices reflect the viewpoint of the reporter (and/or the editor), and/or the of the news subject? Is the reporter (and/or editor) adopting the language of those being covered, or using clear, truth-telling language?

As I've written before, Alex Jones is right about one thing: There is a war going on for your mind. (And if you read the "warspeak" piece, you'll see the irony of me using that line.) Journalists unwittingly - or not - contribute to that war far too often, instead of sidestepping it and/or settling it. Journalists too often "report" using the frames, language and even values of those they cover, instead of maintaining the values of their own profession to observe the actions of others. And by and large, they're not really interested in changing, so it's up to you to mentally defend your mindspace and pierce the madness to find the truth.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

All My Happiness Is Gone
Friends are warmer than gold when you're old
And keeping them is harder than you might suppose
Lately, I tend to make strangers wherever I go
Some of them were once people I was happy to know

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The Ex-Cub Factor
From Jake Fox's fashion line to Crimson Tide's Scotty.

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Stop Using The Terms 'Centrists' And 'Moderates'
Deceitful conceits.

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Why Everyday 'Warspeak' Matters
We're all in the trenches now, and most of us don't even know it.

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TV's Heart Attack Problem
'What kind of person do you imagine having a heart attack? Is it a middle-aged white businessman clutching his chest? That can have serious consequences.'

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Beverage Category Ripe With Opportunity
'Understand path to purchase, uncover unmet needs and develop and grow beverage strategies.'

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24 Hours With The Game Show Network
Family feuds, mommy mayhem, card sharps and animal trainers.

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ChicagoReddit

Divvy gets you closer from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

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ChicagoTube

The Canoise - Something I Could Do b/w Born In Chicago - 45 Single.

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BeachBook

Weeping Girl Left Abandoned By ICE Pleads With 'Government' To 'Let My Parents Be Free.'

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Revealed: How Monsanto's 'Intelligence Center' Targeted Journalists And Activists.

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Ethics & Organizational Culture.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Because no victims at the hospital wanted to meet with them.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Civility not required.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

August 8, 2019

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of ex-Cubs.

1. Jake Fox.

The Cubs drafted Jake Fox in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft. He was basically one in a series of 4-A sluggers without positions (Baseball Reference lists him as a pinch hitter, left fielder and catcher) the team thrived in during that era. Between 2007 and 2009 (those two years; he did not play for the big league club in 2008), he appeared in 89 games for the Cubs and the results weren't good. He hung around Oakland and Baltimore for a few years and then called it a career.

Fox was in the news recently because he's launching a fashion line called The Fox Code.

"The goal of the brand is to capture the mentality behind baseball, though . . . people who don't play baseball also could be inspired by the brand," the Sun-Times reports.

Um, okay.

2. Matt Szczur.

Beachwood favorite Matt Szczur was a 5th-round pick of the Cubs in the 2010 draft, and though his numbers are terrible, we remember him fondly here as a key utility outfielder. In May 2017, the Cubs broke our hearts and traded him to the Padres for Justin Hancock. In the winter of 2018, Matty signed as a free agent with the D-backs. He's spent this season at Triple-A Reno, slashing .308/.375/.562. He's still battling for bone marrow donations. (Hancock, by the way, appeared in 12 1/3 innings over 10 games for the Cubs in 2018, to an awfully lucky 1.46 ERA - his FIP was 4.62. He became a free agent after the season and is apparently still without a team; don't know if he's retired, injured or both.)

3. Brandon Hyde.

Brandon Hyde served as Cubs bench coach under Rickey Renteria. When the Cubs replaced Renteria with Joe Maddon, Maddon brought in his own bench coach in Davey Martinez. The Cubs kept Hyde in the organization, moving him to first-base coach. After Martinez went to Washington to manage the Nationals, Hyde became Maddon's bench coach. Last December, the Orioles hired Hyde to be their manager, where he remains while suffering a horrendous season, including a dugout "altercation" with Chris Davis.

4. Brett Anderson.

Theo Epstein brought in Brett Anderson to be the Cubs' fifth starter in 2017 to the bewilderment of most everybody. It did not go well - partially due to injuries - and he was released on July 31st of that year. It was reported this week that he was pretty unhappy with how things went here, but the details were not reported. Anderson finished 2017 with the Blue Jays, and has spent the last two seasons with the A's, pitching to a 3.99 ERA (but a 4.68 FIP) this year. Anderson faced the Cubs at Wrigley on Tuesday night and got the win, giving up seven hits and two earned runs in six innings in the A's 11-4 rout of Jon Lester & Co.

5. Zack Godley.

Zack Godley was a 10th-round pick of the Cubs in the 2013 draft, and spent his first two seasons as a professional in A ball. In the winter of 2014, he was traded with righthander Jeferson Mejia to the D-backs for Miguel Montero. Mejia has failed to reach the minors and is now pitching in low-A ball for the A's organization. Godley had a few decent seasons as a starter for Arizona but was waived after compiling a 5.28 FIP this year as a swingman. The Blue Jays picked him up on Wednesday.

6. Jason Vosler.

The Cubs drafted the corner infielder in the 16th round of the 2014 draft. The Cubs traded Vosler to the Padres last November for Rowan Wick, who has suddenly emerged as a bullpen beast. (Wick, it turns out, spent his first three seasons as a professional as a catcher/outfielder.) Vosler just hit for the cycle for Triple-A El Paso.

He also did a stint on the Crimson Tide as "Scotty."

7. Neil Ramirez.

Once-promising Neil Ramirez, who was with the Cubs from 2014 through part of 2016, is now a journeyman reliever reportedly nearing a deal with the Blue Jays.

8. Billy McKinney.

Outfielder Billy McKinney came to the Cubs from the A's in the July 2014 trade that sent Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija to Oakland and brought McKinney, Addison Russell and Dan Straily here. Two summers later, McKinney was packaged with Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren and Rashad Crawford for Aroldis Chapman. Two summers after that, the Yankees shipped McKinney to the Blue Jays with Brandon Drury for J.A. Happ. All told, he still has just 334 major league plate appearances, and a few days ago the Blue Jays sent him back down to the minors.

9. Pierce Johnson.

Pierce Johnson was a first-round pick of the Cubs in 2012 and pegged for the starting rotation by now. Instead, he pitched all of one inning (in relief) for the Cubs - in 2017 - before they waived him. He was picked up by the Giants and appeared in 37 games for San Francisco in 2018 (FIP: 4.51) before he was released last winter. He signed on with the Hanshin Tigers, and has now racked up a team-leading 31 holds out of the bullpen while notching a sparkling 0.84 ERA.

10. Fernando Rodney.

The much-traveled Rodney started his season in Oakland and is now shooting arrows for Washington, lodging two saves and a 2.87 ERA (3.15 FIP). By all accounts, the Nats are pretty happy with him right now.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:15 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Once upon a time in America, Toni Morrison wrote in Beloved, her masterpiece, the presence of a black face in a newspaper would induce something close to horror in certain readers," Dwight Garner writes for the New York Times.

"That face wasn't there for any happy or noble reason. It wasn't even there because the black person had been killed or 'maimed or caught or burned or jailed or whipped or evicted or stomped or raped or cheated,' because those things didn't qualify as news. The purpose of the photo had to be more unusual.

"Over the course of her long and exceptional literary career, which included the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, Morrison, who died on Monday at 88, brought a freight of news about black life in America (and about life, period) to millions of readers across the globe. Much of this news was of the sort that, in terms of its stark and sensitive awareness of the consequences of racism, opened an abyss at one's feet and changed the taste of the saliva in one's mouth."

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"The second lesson came a few weeks later, while on temporary night assignment for a week or two at police headquarters in Hyde Park, near the university," Seymour Hersh writes in Reporter: A Memoir of his City News days in Chicago The process had quickly become familiar: hang around with other reporters; ingratiate yourself with the desk sergeant; buy him all the coffee he wants; help him, if he asks, with last week's Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle; and wait for the radio to sound off. Late at night comes a report of a deadly fire in the black ghetto a few miles to the west, with many victims. Off I go.

"A shabby wooden frame house, twenty or so blocks north of my dad's cleaning store, was a pile of embers by the time I arrived. A cluster of bodies, wrapped in white sheeting, was lying in perfect order on a small lawn. They were wrapped in size - daddy bear, mommy bear, and three or four little bears. I was horrified. A distressed fire chief - or was it a cop? - told me that the best guess was that the father had gone berserk and set fire to the home, killing his wife and children, if they were his wife and children. I asked a lot of questions, but essentially got nowhere, though someone - perhaps a neighbor - gave me the names of those thought to be the dead, and some details about the family, if that was the family lying under the sheets.

"What a story, I thought, but I knew how much I didn't know. Still, I had to get to a pay phone and dictate what little I knew to rewrite. It was, I thought, a story that could end up on the front page. As I was yapping away, Mr. Dornfeld, he of the sometimes muddy boots, cut in on the call. There are traumatic events we remember all our life, and I remember every word he said: 'Ah, my good, dear, energetic Mr. Hersh. Do the, alas, poor, unfortunate victims happen to be of the Negro persuasion?" I said yes. He said, "Cheap it out." That meant that my City News dispatch would report the following, give or take a phrase: 'Five Negroes died in a fire last night on the Southwest Side.' It might also have included an address.

"I thought, having worked for years in a family store in a black area, that I knew a lot about racism. Dornfeld taught me that I had a lot to learn.

"There was one final lesson to learn just before I would go off for compulsory army training, after only seven or so months on the job at City News. It was my shameful, but unavoidable, involvement in what we now call self-censorship. I was back on overnight duty at the central police headquarters when two cops called in to report that a robbery suspect had been shot trying to avoid arrest. The cops who had done the shooting were driving in to make a report. Always ambitious, and always curious, I raced down to the basement parking lot in the hope of getting some firsthand quotes before calling in the story. The driver - white, beefy, and very Irish, like far too many Chicago cops then - obviously did not see me as he parked the car. As he climbed out, a fellow cop, who clearly had heard the same radio report I had, shouted something like, 'So the guy tried to run on you?' The driver said, 'Naw. I told the nigger to beat it and then plugged him.'"

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Blago Bullshit

Just an egregious job by Maggie Haberman and the New York Times.

No wonder so many find it so easy to believe Blago got a raw deal. The charges involving the Obama senate seat were easily the weakest. I wouldn't have even cared much if Blago was acquitted of those. It's the rest of the indictment that sent him to the pokey for so long - deservedly so.

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As an aside, let's not forget that Blago was utterly incompetent.

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Content-free statement taken seriously and tweeted out by esteemed local political reporter.

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It's not the first time the media has embarrassed itself covering Blago's travails. Can they get anything right?

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National media also forgetting - or ignorant of - Patti's role in her husband's schemes.

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Ivanka Wanka
Here's veteran Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet taking seriously Ivanka Trump and an unnamed White House official reading from a prepared statement. Really?

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A different approach by Jezebel: Ivanka Trump Learns How To Dog-Whistle.

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David Berman Was Alive And Living In Chicago
"David Berman, the reluctant songwriter and poet whose dry baritone and wry, wordy compositions anchored Silver Jews, a critically lauded staple of the 1990s indie-rock scene, died on Wednesday. He was 52," the New York Times, among a raft of others, reports.

"His death was announced by his record label, Drag City, which released music by Silver Jews and Berman's latest band, Purple Mountains."

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Highly recommended - for both fans and those unfamiliar with is work: This July interview with The Ringer.

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ChicagoReddit

Chicagoans without cars: from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

NHL Worst Plays of The Year - Day 25: Chicago Blackhawks Edition.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Memo to New York Times (and every other newspaper out there): Hire more interesting people.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Dropping rhymes.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:41 AM | Permalink

According To TV, Heart Attack Victims Are Rich, White Men Who Clutch Their Hearts And Collapse. That's A Problem.

What kind of person do you imagine having a heart attack? Is it a middle-aged white businessman clutching his chest? Someone like Roger Sterling from Mad Men, who had two heart attacks in Season 1?

While Mad Men was set in the 1960s, popular culture continues to repeat this stereotype. Can you think of any women in news reports, magazines, literary fiction, television drama or film who have been depicted having a heart attack or with any other symptoms of heart disease?

womenheartattack.jpgWomen have heart attacks too, and can have different symptoms than men, like jaw pain, breathlessness or nausea, as well as the familiar chest pain. So why don't we see this on TV?/Shutterstock

If not, this is hardly surprising. Several studies over the past decades have shown the popular media tend to pay little attention to women's experiences of heart disease compared with men's.

That can have serious consequences. Women may fail to recognize they're at risk of heart disease or having a heart attack because their experiences don't match what's most commonly portrayed.



Read more: Explainer: what happens during a heart attack and how is one diagnosed?


A review of studies analyzed how heart disease was portrayed in North American popular media and public health campaigns. It found a white man in a well-paid professional job (the Roger Sterling type) was represented as the typical person at risk from or already dealing with heart disease.

Even when the media covered women's experiences of heart disease, the study showed there was a distinctive approach. North American popular media often portrayed women at risk as white, middle-aged and of high socioeconomic status. That's despite medical research showing non-white and less advantaged women in the U.S. experience higher levels of heart disease.

Women tended to be shown juggling intensive caring roles for their family with stressful employment, placing them at risk of heart disease. Women not in heterosexual relationships were rarely acknowledged.

Why Does It Matter?

The gendered nature of media portrayal of heart disease can have serious health effects. Epidemiological research shows cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death for women in wealthy countries such as the U.S., where it is number one for women, and Australia, where it is number two for women.

Yet, media coverage often fails to acknowledge these statistics. As a result, women and health-care providers can neglect the warning signs of heart disease. This can lead to lower quality care, poorer health outcomes and higher rates of potentially avoidable deaths.

A recent Australian study showed women and people aged under 45 years were more likely to be undertreated for their heart disease symptoms.

Women were less likely than men to be prescribed the recommended medications, have blood tested for lipids (fats), or have their body mass or waist measured.

A spokesperson for the Heart Foundation, which funded the study, suggested one reason is these demographic groups tend not to fit the "heart attack victim" stereotype, and media representation of heart attacks played a role in reinforcing those stereotypes.

By contrast, American research found breast cancer has received far more media attention as a health risk to women compared with heart disease and women are consequently more aware of breast cancer risks.

Facebook, Digital Media Doing Better Job

The public generates masses of information about their experiences of illness, disease and surgery on blogs and social media sites. But hardly any research has looked at what kinds of information about heart disease is shared on these platforms.

My research on Australian women's use of digital health technologies found women often use Facebook groups to find and share health and medical information. Many heart disease or heart failure support groups operate on this platform, some of which have thousands of members.

Facebook can be an important forum for attempts to challenge the male face of heart disease. The U.S.-based Women's Heart Alliance was established to fight for equity in medical treatment to be offered to women with heart disease. An analysis of its Facebook page found female members often complained medical professionals had ignored their heart disease symptoms when they sought help.



Read more: Women have heart attacks too, but their symptoms are often dismissed as something else


The Heart Foundation has drawn attention to the importance of Australian women realizing they may be at risk from heart disease for some time now. A special section of its website provides important information targeted at Australian women about what it's like for women to experience heart attacks and other symptoms of heart disease. It also outlines risk factors for women and warning signs.

Initiatives directed at women by organizations such as the Heart Foundation and the Women's Heart Alliance, as well as social media groups such as these Facebook communities, have made a start on challenging the wealthy male face of heart disease.

Other forms of popular culture continue to lag well behind. It's time characters other than the Roger Sterling alpha male, including not only women but men from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, are recognized as being at risk from heart disease too.

Deborah Lupton is a professor at the Centre for Social Research in Health and Social Policy Centre at UNSW. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

August 7, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

Wow.

Saturday . . .

Dentist No. 1: Stares at x-ray for a really long time. Finally says, you have a cracked tooth.

Me: Wary because he looked at the x-ray for so long, I ask, are you sure?

Dentist No. 1: There's no question about it. If we can save the tooth, we'll do a root canal. If we can't we'll extract it and replace it with an implant.

Ultimate cost: About $5,000.

Accept Medicaid: No.

I walk out in pain. Something, besides the cost, wasn't right.

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I get a same-day second opinion.

Dentist No. 2: Looks at single x-ray of tooth in question, says, I see an infection.

Me: Is the tooth cracked?

Dentist No. 2: Um, hmm, well, I see a little bit of a line, but it's hard to tell and I don't want to root around in there while you're still in pain. I'm going to write you a prescription for antibiotics. Come back next week, I want to clear up that infection first and then we'll take another look.

Cost: $0.

Accept Medicaid: Yes.

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This morning, on return visit to Dentist No. 2 . . .

Dentist No. 2: Looks at fresh x-rays of whole mouth, says, okay, just finish your antibiotics. In a few weeks, we'll do a deep cleaning, too. Have a nice day!

Me: That's it? I was worried we'd be doing something more serious today.

Dentist No. 2: Nope.

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So: Either Dentist No. 1 is a con artist or Dentist No. 2 is incompetent.

Or, of course, Dentist No. 1 could be incompetent, but the whole discussion of pricing and procedures sounded awfully scammy.

We'll see!

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What really hurts is that I went to Dentist No. 1, at Wicker Park Dental Group, solely because I used to be a patient of the late, beloved Dr. Dortch, from back in the day. Dortch is longer with us, sadly. I took a chance on the new(ish) owner of his business. I should've known that was a mistake by the gentrified office furnishings that no longer include Tony Fitzpatrick artwork. Nothing gold stays!

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I was this/close to telling Dentist No. 1 to just pull the damn thing for the initial $300 solely to relieve the pain. But I don't have $300 laying around, and as I've indicated, that was merely the first of the thousands of dollars they planned to get out of me. I left that office on Saturday morning in excruciating pain and rolled the dice instead on a dentist's office across the street from where I live that has terrible Yelp reviews. I found those reviews to be totally wrong.

But the final verdict isn't in. I'll let you know when it is, and fill in a few more details, like Dentist No. 1's cost breakdown, whether you want them or not!

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Clear The Air
"Seven years after the closure of the Crawford coal plant in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, the site is still a lightning rod for neighborhood activism and outrage," Kari Lydersen reports for the Energy News Network.

At a community meeting Tuesday, residents demanded city and state officials and the global conglomerate that purchased the site install air monitors during remediation slated to start soon.

When a city public health official stoically explained that air monitoring isn't considered necessary or typical in such situations, residents responded that this is no "typical" site. Rather, it is a symbol of environmental injustice in a heavily industrial and residential neighborhood where low-income, largely Mexican immigrant residents can't bear any additional health burden.

I would add that residents don't need monitors for symbolic reasons, but because neither the city nor the company remediating the site can be trusted.

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"Residents were angry to hear of Hilco's purchase of the site in 2017, since the firm is known for developing massive logistics hubs. LVEJO, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups have argued that hundreds of diesel trucks serving a warehousing center could present a greater risk to public health even than the coal plant."

Great job, everyone.

"Under state law, the site remediation program requires different tiers of cleanup for industrial or commercial versus residential sites, with more stringent requirements for residential reuse."

Residents deserve the most stringent requirements be met, regardless of the law.

"A similar battle over remediation plans is likely to play out about five miles to the east of Little Village in Pilsen, home to the city's other coal plant closed in 2012. Hilco has reportedly also purchased that site, which is also surrounded by homes and across the street from a park. "

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ChicagoReddit

Lo-Fi bar in the city? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Excerpt of Barbra Streisand's "Send in the Clowns" Trump parody at the United Center on Tuesday night.

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BeachBook

The Vegetarians Who Turned Into Butchers.

This is a really interesting article on a variety of levels and from a variety of angles, some of which may enrage you and others that may validate you somehow. Also, read the comments.

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The Endangered Sex Scene.

Not sure it's endangered; what this article describes is a new kind of consent-filled choreography.

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- via My Modern Met, which had a field day in its newsletter Tuesday . . .

Surreal Photo Mash-Ups Cleverly Merge Animals With Food.

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These Crafty Cakes Look Like They're Covered In Elaborate Embroidered Patterns.

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Before Macro Photography Was Invented, This Scientist Used To Illustrate His Microscopic Findings.

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Watch What This Artist Can Do With A Single Sheet Of Paper.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

"Yes, I agree with the shooter."

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Get shotty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 PM | Permalink

August 6, 2019

The Long-Term Costs Of Trump's Racism

Many commentators have pointed out the overlap between the racism that President Donald Trump regularly articulates and the policies his administration pursues.

On the rhetorical side, Trump told several American congresswomen to "go back" to where they came from (all the congresswomen are women of color), and he countenanced a chant to "send her back" regarding one of the women, Ilhan Omar, who also happens to be a refugee.

Trump has referred to countries in South and Central America as "shithole countries" and asked why we couldn't get more immigrants from (white) Norway. Trump calls Don Lemon "stupid" while pronouncing that he (Trump) is the "least racist person ever." Trump pronounced Elijah Cummings's district in Baltimore "infested," and asked "Who would want to live there?" Trump announced his presidential campaign by declaring that Mexico was not sending its best people to the United States - it was sending criminals and rapists. Trump routinely bemoans how America is being "invaded" by Central and South American migrants. And the list goes on.

The sentiments that the President routinely shares are also reflected in his policies. The Trump administration instituted an entry ban that suspended entry from several Muslim majority countries. The administration has attempted to prevent people who cross the border outside of ports of entry from applying for asylum. It has narrowed the eligibility for asylum in numerous cruel ways. It has not initiated a single Voting Rights Act lawsuit. It has switched positions and argued that states can purge voters from voter rolls and that state laws disproportionately disenfranchising voters of color do not discriminate on the basis of race. The administration has attempted to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as well as temporary protected status for persons from Haiti (as well as other countries). It has attempted to require asylum seekers to first seek asylum in a third country. And this list, too, goes on.

The president's racist statements understandably color people's perceptions of the administration's policies. When the president routinely declares that he wants more immigrants from white countries and views immigrants from South and Central America as dangerous infestations, it is not hard to see many of his immigration policies as racist. The president has already announced the racist worldview that informs these policies. A different president with a similar viewpoint and policy goals might have skipped the announcements and simply enacted the policies. As some commentators like to say, this president is "Saying the quiet part out loud."

This is one of many tragic upshots of the Trump presidency; it has reminded us that racism and racists are not a thing of the past. As other commentators have written, Barack Obama's election shattered a glass ceiling and also fueled an angry backlash that included the election of Trump. Throughout the Obama administration, many failed to see the full reality of America's racism. Yes, we saw the outrageous allegations that Obama was not American. Yes, we understood the racial undertones of the attacks against him and his policies. But America had fired Jim Crow, right? We were just doing his exit interview, right? Wrong.

Somehow the racist voices on Breitbart seemed like outliers - the last, futile gasps of a dying ideology. Somehow the battle against the kind of racism that shouted out loud seemed like it was all but over, and that what work was left would be in eradicating the kind of racism that speaks politely and doesn't intend to offend. Wrong.

The Trump presidency is a reminder that there are still a significant number of Americans, and in fact many members of our political elite, who are open to (or at least untroubled by people embracing) the idea that black and brown people are inherently less deserving than whites to claim what America has promised.

Our legal regime and political system is informed by shared understandings about the continued existence and extent of racism. So we must reckon with what the Trump administration has made painfully clear. As we enter in earnestness into the 2020 presidential election season, there will be a temptation toward messianism. In the days after Trump's election, t-shirts were printed and statuses updated with the request to "Wake me up in 2021." There is something seductive in the idea that a new president and a new administration will put America back on track and somehow obliterate the last four years, and that electing the right Democrat will save us from our demons.

It's not that simple. We must reckon with the fact that the shifts in public discourse over the last four years will not disappear in 2021, and that the Overton window has now changed. (The Overton window describes the range of ideas that are accepted in public discourse. Imagine all the possible positions on any given policy topic as falling on a spectrum.) Wherever you are on the spectrum, to your immediate left and right there will likely be positions you can agree with or at least some you do not agree with but could imagine a reasonable person holding. Most people will hold views that fall within a window along this spectrum that represents all socially acceptable views; outside of this window are ideas that we would consider nutty and unacceptable.

The Overton window, however, can change, and these changes can be brought about not by people inside the window, but by people outside of it. The more we hear a nutty idea, the more likely it is that the Overton window will widen to accept it. In fact, it may be that the more we hear radical political propositions, the more likely we are to accept policy propositions that we once would have thought went too far.

There are, of course, good objections to the Overton window as a descriptive framework to explain what is happening in American politics. Because of party polarization, it may be the case that there isn't just one Overton window, but a window on the left and a window on the right with a no-man's land of moderation in the middle. And of course for those who try to use the concept of the Overton window to blame the racist Trump voter on Breitbart and Trumpist rhetoric, there is the possibility that many people simply felt this way all along but were not speaking up because they thought it would not be socially acceptable to do so - though now they know they have many kindred spirits and thus feel like it is safe to speak.

None of these critiques change the reality that the window of acceptable public discourse has moved to accommodate Trump's rhetoric - particularly as no Republicans meaningfully object to any of his rhetoric. (Marty Lederman wrote a very important post on this point.)

But the widening (or just shifting) Overton window is not the only longer-term cost of Trump's racism. Another may be a skewed legal culture, in which it is more difficult to identify racist policies. A bare majority of the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the addition of the citizenship question to the census. But in that case, there was a mountain of evidence that the addition of the citizenship question was a racist, partisan ploy. The extreme record in that case may make anything short of it seem less preposterous than it actually is.

The result may be that subsequent administrations inherit a much higher threshold for identifying racism. When commentators say that the president is "Saying the quiet part out loud," the implication is that other administrations that might want to pursue similar policies (like reducing asylum eligibility or ending TPS or DACA) would do so without broadcasting their racist motivations to the world. And there is a real danger that people would allow a hypothetical, more competent administration - one that didn't campaign on a promise of a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" or routinely insult black and brown people based on racist tropes - to enact the exact same policies as the Trump administration, precisely because that hypothetical administration would not go around saying the quiet part out loud.

If that is a real concern, perhaps it is time to revisit (again) the rule in Washington v. Davis, or at least revisit how the modern Court has applied that rule. Washington v. Davis held that facially neutral policies (policies that do not make explicit use of race) are invalid only if they were driven by a discriminatory purpose, and the Court has established a very high threshold for proving discriminatory purpose. The high threshold often requires direct evidence of discrimination (though that is not formally required). If we are concerned that more competent administrations would get a pass because they avoid producing evidence of discriminatory intent, then perhaps it is time to revisit how Davis is applied.

That legal change may occur only if our culture experiences a wider shift in the way we talk about racism. We need to focus more on explaining what racism is, what it entails, and why it is dangerous. There is a tendency to define racism as a narrow set of beliefs, rather than as a system that operates to the systemic disadvantage of non-whites. Focusing on how policies themselves may be racist without focusing on their racist motivating purposes (or at least a narrow set of racist motivating purposes) might build important connections between the malevolent incompetent Trump administration and a malevolent competent one. If we spend more time focusing on Trump's policies and explaining why they are racist rather than focusing on his words, that might get us part of the way there.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

Superstar Athletes Popularize Unproven Stem Cell Procedures

Washington Nationals' ace Max Scherzer - whose back injury has prevented him from pitching since July 25th - is the latest in a long list of professional athletes to embrace unproven stem cell injections in an attempt to accelerate their recovery.

But many doctors and ethicists worry that pro athletes - who have played a key role in popularizing stem cells - are misleading the public into thinking that the costly, controversial shots are an accepted, approved treatment.

"It sends a signal to all the fans out there that stem cells have more value than they really do," said Dr. James Rickert, president of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, which advocates for high-quality care. "It's extremely good PR for the people selling this kind of thing. But there's no question that this is an unproven treatment."

Stem cells and related therapies, such as platelet injections, have been used for the past decade by top athletes: Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, Gordie Howe, Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning.

Stem cells are offered at roughly 1,000 clinics nationwide, as well as at some of the country's most respected hospitals.

Depending on the treatment, the cost can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Insurance does not cover the treatments in most cases, so patients pay out of pocket.

Yet for all the hype, there's no proof it works, according to Paul Knoepfler, a professor in the department of cell biology and human anatomy at the University of California at Davis.

"There's really not much evidence that it's going to help [Scherzer], other than as a psychological boost or as a placebo effect," Knoepfler said.

Scherzer, 35, said he received a stem cell shot Friday for a mild strain in his upper back and shoulder.

According to a news story on the Major League Baseball website, Scherzer also previously had a stem cell injection to treat a thumb injury.

If the diagnosis of Scherzer's mild muscle strain is correct, it should completely heal itself with 10 days of rest, Rickert said, so Scherzer would probably feel ready to play by Monday even without the stem cells. But Rickert said he worries about other athletes who are tempted to return to the field too soon.

"The risk from the stem cell procedure is that it could give someone a false sense of confidence, and they could go back to play too early" and reinjure themselves, he said.

A spokesperson for the Washington Nationals declined to provide information about Scherzer's treatment, such as the type of stem cells used or the name of the clinician who administered them.

Clinics that offer stem cell treatments prepare injections by withdrawing a person's fat or bone marrow, then processing the cells and injecting them back into aching joints, tendons or muscles.

Another popular treatment involves concentrating platelets - the cells that help blood clot. Many people confuse platelet injections with stem cell injections, perhaps because the shots are promoted as treatments for similar conditions, said Dr. Kelly Scollon-Grieve, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Premier Orthopaedics in Havertown, Pa.

When it comes to pain, injections can act as powerful placebos, partly because suffering patients put so much faith in treatment, said Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon and former consultant for the Philadelphia 76ers.

In a recent analysis, more than 80% of patients with knee arthritis perceived a noticeable improvement in pain after receiving a placebo of simple saline shots.

Team doctors often treat athletes with a variety of therapies, in the hope of getting them quickly back on the field, said Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine. Athletes may assume that stem cells are responsible for their recovery, when the real credit should go to other remedies, such as ice, heat, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone shots, massage, physical therapy or simple rest.

"These are the richest, most highly paid athletes around," Caplan said. (Scherzer and the Nats agreed to a $210 million, seven-year contract in 2015.) "So anything you can think of, they're getting. But I wouldn't use them as a role model for how to treat injuries."

While athletes often talk about their stem cell treatments, Caplan said he wonders, "Would the inflammation or problem have just gone away on its own?"

Sports fans shouldn't expect to have the same reaction to stem cells - or any medical intervention - as a professional athlete, DiNubile said.

In general, athletes recover far more rapidly than other people, just because they're so young and fit, DiNubile said. The genes and training that propelled them to the major leagues may also aid in their recovery. "They have access to the best care, night and day," DiNubile said.

Whenever a top athlete is treated with stem cells, word spreads quickly on social media. Fans often end up doing the stem cell industry's marketing for them: A 2015 analysis found that 72% of tweets about Gordie Howe's stem cell treatments were positive. Of 2,783 tweets studied, only one mentioned that Howe's treatment, delivered in Mexico after Howe's stroke, was unproven and not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Howe died in 2016.

The Mexican stem cell clinic provided Howe's treatment at no charge. Clinics use such donations as a form of marketing, because they generate priceless publicity, said Leigh Turner, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics who has published articles describing the size and dynamics of the stem cell market.

"Clinics provide free stem cell treatments or offer procedures at a discounted rate, and in return they can generate YouTube testimonials, press releases and positive media coverage," Turner said. "It's also a good way to build relationships with wealthy individuals and get them to refer friends and family members for stem cell procedures."

Stem cell clinics often feature athletes and other celebrities on their websites and in marketing materials.

In a 2018 column, Los Angeles Times writer Michael Hiltzik noted that stem cell treatment has failed three Los Angeles Angels; Shohei Ohtani, Andrew Heaney and Garrett Richards, who is no longer with the Angels, tried stem cells in the past three years in an effort to avoid surgery. All ended up needing surgery anyway.

As DiNubile said, "The marketing is clearly ahead of the science, no question."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:56 AM | Permalink

UChicago Shakespeare Specialist David Bevington Remembered

"Professor Emeritus David Bevington, the extraordinarily prolific editor of Shakespeare's full canon and author of seminal books about English Renaissance playwrights, died peacefully at home in Chicago on Aug. 2. He was 88 years old," the University of Chicago said Monday.

"Remembered by friends and family as a vibrant, generous and intellectually inquisitive man, the longtime University of Chicago professor possessed an infectious enthusiasm for the works he taught. He lived life with boundless energy - teaching, writing, hosting social events and playing chamber music with friends until just before he died.

"As a scholar, Bevington helped build UChicago's Department of English Language and Literature into a national center for graduate study in the English Renaissance."

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"When possible, Bevington opted to teach class in the large Edward M. Sills Seminar Room, which features a large, oval table accommodating several dozen, rather than in a more traditional classroom in which all the students might face a lectern. He felt this format fosters greater participation and discussion among students, and went out of his way to encourage the sharing of ideas and opinions. However, because so many students elected to take his popular classes, the room at times became overfull," according to his Wikipedia page.

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Rapid Fire Questions.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

Highlights | Lolla 2019

In no particular order.

1. H.E.R.


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2. Kacey Musgraves.

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3. Childish Gambino.

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4. Tame Impala.

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5. 21 Savage.

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6. Normani.

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7. Shaq.

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8. Lil Wayne.

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9. Gary Clark Jr.

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10. Idles.

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11. J Balvin.

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12. Beach Bunny.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Manet And Modern Beauty

"The first Art Institute exhibition devoted exclusively to Édouard Manet in over 50 years focuses on the transformation of the artist's style in his later years."


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What to look for . . .

A Cafe-Concert.

"The artist compresses the complexity of the café life he loved so much into a single dense painting."

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Jeanne (Spring).

Distilling the season of spring into a single painting.

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Woman Reading.

"Manet stages his paintings like a film director. And as with any good director, he creates the world he wants the viewer to see."

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See also:

* New York Times: Manet's Last Years: A Radical Embrace Of Beauty.

"The Art Institute of Chicago explores the great paradox of the 19th-century's greatest painter: from a scandalous youth of frank nudes to flowers, fruit bowls and fashionable women."

* WTTW: Modern Manet: Beauty, Fashion And Intimacy In New Show At Art Institute.

"The show includes gems from the Art Institute collection and significant loans such as the lush masterpiece 'In the Conservatory,' borrowed exclusively for the Chicago exhibition from the State Museum in Berlin."

* Rebellious: Manet And Modern Beauty Offers Feminist Visions Of Women.

"Regarded as the father of modern art, Édouard Manet had eight years on his friend Claude Monet and was key to the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His Boating, 1874-1875 (not to be confused with Monet's The Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881) is one of 90 pieces featured in Manet and Modern Beauty."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

It's always something.

Right now, it's a tooth infection. I know - there are people out there dying of brain cancer at this very moment. I'm well aware. I have perspective.

But just fyi, I was in a great deal of pain at the end of last week and particularly on Saturday until I saw two dentists and made two trips to Walgreen's before finally getting my hands on some painkillers.

I will tell that story some other time - like after Wednesday, when I go back to the dentist and find out if we've knocked out the infection (with amoxicillin) and need to then "extract" the tooth or do a root canal.

Meanwhile, painkillers work - even if I didn't get any hydrocodone, which is the best.

Now, to the news . . .

Medicaid Mess Mitigated
"A new Illinois law aims to eliminate the giant headache of applying for and keeping Medicaid health insurance," WBEZ reports.

Well, this one strikes close to my heart. My heart, actually. Longtime readers (and Twitter followers) may recall my travails with Medicaid. My low income has (just barely) qualified me for Medicaid since Obamacare allowed states to expand coverage.

I'm also in the awful position of losing my Medicaid if I make just a little bit more money - or cut my expenses by just a little bit. For example, adding a third roommate due to significantly rising rent almost screwed me out of my health insurance last year. Unfortunately, making or saving just a little more money will actually cost me a lot of money if I have to buy a plan on the Obama marketplace - in fact, so much more that I won't be able to have health insurance at all. That would be a disaster not only for the obvious reasons, but for the immediate reasons of not being able to otherwise afford a monthly prescription I need, much less something like, say, taking care of a painful tooth infection. Something more serious like so many suffer every day? Forget it. So, yeah, Medicare for All sounds like a fantastic idea to me.

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"More than 3 million people who are low-income or disabled in Illinois have medical coverage through Medicaid - about one in four people statewide."

So Medicaid is a program that touches a lot of people in Illinois. Seems like it should be covered as such! But I digress . . .

"But Illinois has struggled with a backlog of applications that reached more than 120,000 under former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. That caused people who were enrolled to get dropped from Medicaid, and made it harder for new people to get on the rolls."

My experience with Medicaid has been that, bureaucratically speaking, it's a mess. (But you want all Americans to be put into such a program, huh? Yes! First, Medicare is one of the best-run government programs we have. It's not the same as Medicaid. Perhaps the difference is that everyone gets Medicare, while Medicaid is for society's undesirables, and treated as such. Second, be it Medicare for All or some other version of a universal, single-payer system, the evidence around the world is in as starkly as our nation's lax gun laws. Are you telling me we are not capable of running a health care system as well as the rest of the world? Well, I, for one, will not sit here while you tear down the United States of America!)

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The backlog under Rauner was at least partly intentional, by the way, as his administration contracted with third parties to essentially kick people off the Medicaid rolls in the name of waste, fraud and abuse. Let me tell you something: Anyone who is able to scam Medicaid to get benefits should be hired to run the whole damn system, or run for governor, because it's incredibly difficult to navigate honestly, much less swindle it.

Also, and this doesn't get talked about much, it's not just about the insurance, it's about access to health care providers. Finding a Medicaid doctor (or dentist) is not easy, and they don't tend to be top-of-the-line (nor do their affiliated hospitals), no offense intended. As far as I understand it, Medicare for All would ameliorate that.

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"The backlog is down to about 95,000 applications, Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker said during a news conference on Monday to discuss the new law."

And Bruce Rauner was supposed to be the one who could run government like a business. As I've always said, that's all fine and good, but what business? Arby's?

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"The new Illinois law aims to make it easier for people to get and keep their Medicaid insurance by renewing more applications automatically, instead of having people apply every year. And Medicaid enrollees will have to submit just one pay stub to prove they qualify."

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Also, this from RiverBender.com, though it looks like it could be a press release, and I'm saying that for real, not snarkily:

"In the past few years, Illinois has seen too many people who qualify for health care coverage needlessly knocked off the system and unable to get medical care," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Health care is a right for all, not a privilege. Today we are making sure taxpayers are getting more of what they're paying for, and we are advancing health care for vulnerable people who need it most."

Crafted by the bipartisan, bicameral Medicaid Legislative Working Group, SB 1321 enables key state agencies - the Dept. on Aging, Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services, Dept. of Human Services and Dept. of Innovation and Technology - to lead one of the most aggressive cross-agency efforts in Illinois history to expand access to health care for low-income Illinoisans and eliminate the application backlog that had grown to more than 120,000 people under the previous administration. Since taking office, the Pritzker administration has already reduced the backlog to 95,000 applications - a 20 percent reduction.

I'll believe it when I see it, but if true, thanks and keep going!

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Portillo's Plays Match Game
"More than 600 workers at popular restaurant chain Portillo Restaurant Group organized to counter management firings and calls to quit, after the business received a flurry of letters saying workers' names and Social Security numbers didn't match," Crain's reports.

These so-called "no match" letters are mailed by the Social Security Administration. By themselves, they say nothing about a worker's immigration status, and a mismatch can be caused by simple errors like a misspelled name. However, employers sometimes interpret them to mean a worker cannot legally work in the United States.

Portillo's "did the right thing" after workers organized themselves, according to an e-mail from workers' rights organization Arise Chicago. The business backed away from calls for voluntary termination, rehired workers who were fired or left involuntarily, and paid back wages for time lost.

See also: No More "No Match" Letters.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Highlights | Lolla 2019
Shaq!

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The Long-Term Costs Of Trump's Racism
There will be those who will no longer say the quiet parts out loud but aim for the same ends.

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Superstar Athletes Popularize Unproven Stem Cell Procedures
"These are the richest, most highly paid athletes around. So anything you can think of, they're getting. But I wouldn't use them as a role model for how to treat injuries."

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Shakespeare Mourns Bevington
Remembering the U of C's beloved English professor.

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Manet And Modern Beauty
""Regarded as the father of modern art, Édouard Manet had eight years on his friend Claude Monet and was key to the transition from Realism to Impressionism."

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ChicagoReddit

Any dog for a day programs in Chicago? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Barry Manilow's "Showstoppers" Comes to Chicago (1991).

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BeachBook

The Invention Of Twang.

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The Endless, Invisible Persuasion Tactics Of The Internet.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Mmm, TwinBerry . . .

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

August 5, 2019

SportsMonday: Home Cubs > Road Cubs

The sweep is the thing. Avoiding it, especially on the road and in the division, has saved the Cubs season. And after suffering one at quite an inopportune time this past weekend, it will take the Brewers awhile to recover, if they do at all this season.

In a given three-game stretch, of course, it doesn't mean much if a team wins two of three or three of three. But over the course of time . . .

The Cubs finished their most recent road trip with a 3-6 record and they have lost every road series they have played against division opponents all season long (!). But after they were swept in St. Louis early in the season they have avoided a similar fate time after time, including of course the game three win in Milwaukee and the game two victory in St. Louis.

Oh, and the Cubs have been completely dominant at home.

The starting pitching is also the thing. The Cubs' staff has been much better than the Brewers' all season long. But when Milwaukee ace Brandon Woodruff went down with an oblique strain two weeks ago, it widened the gap to where it was only a matter of time before a weekend like this one happened.

Woodruff is thought to be out for at least another four weeks.

Openers of the sort deployed by the Tampa Bay Rays regularly in the past season-and-a-half have been innovative. But they just don't beat a good old-fashioned starter delivering six-plus stellar innings. That was what Jose Quintana did to start this past weekend's action, and it set the tone.

Quintana ran into some trouble in the seventh on Friday and while one of the runners he put on at that point scored, the other did not. And from then on, the Cubs bullpen was dominant.

Joe Maddon had us all scratching our head when he deployed Kyle Ryan for a second consecutive day on Saturday. But he finished an inning in efficient fashion and fortunately was not needed on Sunday.

At this point Ryan is the guy most likely to be overused by the manager, who infamously left him in for two-and-a-third innings in a game about a week ago.

But Derek Holland rode to the rescue over the weekend. The veteran lefty who Theo picked up from the San Francisco Giants for cash considerations early last week has been good enough against lefties in general and Christian Yelich in particular to have earned Maddon's trust virtually immediately.

And yes, he gave up a three-run home run to the Cardinals' Matt Wieters on Thursday. Otherwise he has been lights out. And hopefully his effectiveness will be enough to discourage Ryan abuse.

Maybe best of all has been the boost given to the top of the order by Jason Heyward's strong play and Nicholas Castellanos settling right into the No. 2 spot. Heyward's leadoff home run on Friday helped pace the Cubs, and then when he hit another one on Sunday, it meant the Cubs were bouncing right back after Yelich had hit a round-tripper of his own in the top of the first.

What a joy to see Castellanos grinding out at-bats right from the get-go. He is a pro's pro in the batter's box and so far at least he feels like just the addition the Cubs needed to spark a hitting renaissance. Then again, perhaps we will reserve judgement until the Cubs hit the road again.

This week starts with three at home against the A's starting tonight. Oakland just finished sweeping two from the Cardinals over the weekend after the team took two of three from the Brewers earlier last week. Then the first of those road tests arrives.

In fact it is a big, ol' road trip that kicks in Thursday. The Cubs play four in Cincinnati followed by three in Philly and three in Pittsburgh. If they are still in front after that stretch, then we are onto something.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 PM | Permalink

Walking And Crawling

Watching the White Sox these days is somewhat similar to observing a would-be toddler preparing to walk. The little guy or gal first figures out that crawling is the lone available means to get from Point A to Point B. Once those stubby, little legs gain strength, standing, albeit holding onto something, becomes a bold endeavor, and the first wobbly, exploratory steps are soon taken to the delight of parents, grandparents and anyone who appreciates the marvels of how we humans develop.

However, it's not that simple. That first step is celebrated, but crawling remains an option because that initial stride is followed by series of stumbles and plops. These kiddies are not foolish. They remember that motoring on all fours wasn't so inconvenient after all. Literally, there is one step forward and a generous display of crawling until the steps become more secure and numerous, and off we go.

Eloy Jimenez is a case in point. Just two years ago he was hitting .345 at Double-A while last season he was slashing .355/.399/.996 at Charlotte - a sure sign that he was ready to walk into the major leagues. Sox loyalists clamored for the front office to promote the kid to the big time. Sort of like uber prospect Luis Robert today.

After hitting his first two home runs as a major leaguer in Yankee Stadium in the same game in mid-April, Eloy was off to a splendid beginning with a .319 batting average. His eighth-inning, two-run blast at Wrigley Field on June 18 to provide the margin in a 3-1 win over the Cubs will easily make the highlight video for this season and will be remembered for a long time.

However, among other developments have been two trips to the injury list. In the seven games since returning for the second time, Jimenez was in a 4-for-29 funk until he unleashed a three-run homer to right center Sunday in a 10-5 thrashing of the Phillies. Prior to that home run, Jimenez's first since July 18th and his 18th of the season, Eloy hadn't driven in a run since his return from the IL, while striking out 10 times without drawing any walks. His average has dropped to .235, hardly the stuff from a guy who once was the No. 3-rated prospect in baseball.

Despite the trials and tribulations, Eloy Jimenez bobbleheads with be the door prize Saturday at The Grate before the Sox face the A's. Assuming that Jimenez eventually fulfills the potential predicted for him, maybe an Eloy blow-up doll waits in the wings.
While patience is required for our Eloy, consider Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who was the top-rated prospect when he debuted for the Blue Jays in late April. Amidst all the excitement and hoopla, Vlady was hitting a measly .191 after 13 games without a home run and just one RBI.

However, the 20-year-old Guerrero appears to have found his comfort level. Since the All-Star Game, his 24 RBIs are second only to the Twins' Nelson Cruz's 26, while Vlady's hitting at a .361 clip since the break. Overall, Guerrero's slash is .279/.352/.819. This data is not aimed to remind us that Jimenez to this point hasn't lived up to the hype - it's to illustrate that these young guys are works in progress. As mentioned, the irrepressible Vlady was below the Mendoza Line at the start of his career.

While Jimenez and shortstop Tim Anderson are back playing again, Yoan Moncada pulled up lame with a strained hamstring in the first inning last Tuesday and will be lost at least for another week after going on the IL. This clearly hurts a team that has lost 17 of 23 games since the All-Star break. Moncada was rolling along at .301/.358/.893, better even that the flashy Vlady. Lest we be remiss, one year ago this morning, Moncada's line was .222/.305/.705. Yes, folks, this guy has learned how to walk.

With four games at cellar-dwelling Detroit (32-75) beginning this evening, just maybe the tough times are over for the South Siders. Surely taking two-of-three in Philadelphia was encouraging.

Bizarre as well. The 15-inning 4-3 victory last Friday night featured Phillie pitcher Victor Velasquez playing left field like Carl Yastremzski. He made two outstanding throws to the plate the last two innings, nailing Jose Abreu and just missing the speedy Leury Garcia.

Then he took a hit away from Jimenez with a shoe-top diving catch to close out the top of the 15th, all in support of center fielder Roman Quinn who wound up pitching the last two innings. It was great theater.

Reflecting on the malaise of the past few weeks, there are some obvious explanations. In the 17 losses, the Sox scored only 32 runs, hitting .152 with runners in scoring position. Compare that to the 39 runs in the team's six wins in which they hit a robust .418 with runners thirsting to score. Granted that NL East Division foes, the Mets and Phillies, threw pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola against the Sox, and you can understand the challenges that the athletes faced. However, they also lost four straight to Kansas City while getting outscored 28-11 in losing three-of-four to the Twins.

Perhaps the most promising aspect of the recent streak has been the bullpen. Sox relievers have a 3.46 ERA since the All-Star break, good for 5th among all the 30 clubs. That number shrinks to 2.33, the best in the majors, since July 18.

The bullpen corps has been led by the surprising Aaron Bummer, a left-hander who didn't even make the team out of spring training. Last season Bummer split time between the South Side and Charlotte. His ERA with the big club was 4.26, and he gave up more hits than innings pitched.

But here is another case of a young - Bummer is 25 - player who has learned to walk. Bummer's 1.69 ERA is tied for 10th among all relievers, and he's done it by throwing primarily fastballs and cutters. Opposing batters are hitting .178 against him.

While there are high expectations and more than enough buzz for prospects like Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech, Bummer was a 19th-round draft choice out of the University of Nebraska, which makes you wonder whether these youngsters might be better off away from the spotlight while they hone their craft.

While the relievers have been effective, the same can't be said for the starters, who have a 5.27 ERA over the last 23 games. Part of that is a result of the fact that the team lacks a fifth starter. Veteran Hector Santiago, whom the Sox signed in June after the Mets released him, will get an opportunity to start the nightcap of a doubleheader in Detroit on Tuesday. He joins a cast that this season includes Manny Banuelos, Dylan Covey, Ross Detwiler, Ervin Santana and Odrisamer Despaigne, all of whom have been called upon to fill the No. 5 spot.

Reynaldo Lopez got his sixth win on Sunday even though he failed to complete the sixth inning. This is a pattern which requires fixing. The first two times through the order, Lopez has held opponents to a .260 batting average. However, the third time he's faced hitters in a game that number balloons to .321, and the on-base percentage is an astounding .399.

The fellows return home for a weekend set with the steady, consistent A's, who stand at 64-48, just a half-game out of a wild card berth. Those baby steps will come in handy. Let's hope the Sox aren't back to crawling come Sunday evening.

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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 9:03 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Three years after Illinois' voter registration database was infiltrated by Russian hackers, Illinois and local officials are spending millions to upgrade the cyber defenses protecting voters and their ballots leading up to the 2020 election," the Tribune reports.

"The June 2016 breach of the state's voter database remains the warning sign for election system vulnerability, with national security experts now saying all 50 states had been targeted for Russian intrusion. At least 21 states reported being contacted by addresses associated with Russia, largely by scanning public websites, but Illinois' data breach was the most significant.

"All told in Illinois, personal information involving 76,000 voters was viewed, including names, addresses, partial Social Security numbers, dates of birth and driver's license numbers. State election officials contacted the victims and provided steps to take on identity theft. No one contacted the state attorney general's office to say his or her information had been compromised."

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This is what really struck me, though:

State officials dispute some of the statements made about the extent of the Illinois breach in the heavily redacted Senate intelligence panel's report released last month.

The report quoted Department of Homeland Security staff as saying of the Illinois hack that "Russia would have had the ability to potentially manipulate some of that data, but we didn't see that." Of Illinois, the DHS staff said that "the level of access that they gained, they almost certainly could have done more. Why they didn't . . . is sort of an open-ended question."

But state election officials said the report overstated what the Russians accomplished in breaching Illinois' database.

"That is completely counter to everything that we have ever been told and to what we know," Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the State Board of Elections, said of the assertion that the Russians could have manipulated the voter data.

"We know where they got in and we know what the permissions were once you broke into that area. It wouldn't have allowed you to change or edit or delete any data," he said. "We saw what they tried to do unsuccessfully."

I wonder what accounts for the difference between the U.S. Senate report and what state officials say. Seems important to reconcile.

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Meanwhile . . .

"State election officials acknowledge that hacking attempts to their systems continue to this day but say they so far have been rebuffed."

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Sub Flub
"Last school year, almost a third of 520 [CPS] schools - 152 - had at least one regular education or special education teacher position open all year long, a WBEZ analysis shows," the station reports.

The problem is most acute at schools serving low-income and black students. They are twice as likely as all other schools to have a yearlong teacher vacancy. Chicago's 28 schools with majority white student populations had no yearlong vacancies.

And making matters worse CPS also has a severe substitute teacher shortage, a WBEZ analysis shows. At 62 schools, half the time a teacher was absent no substitute showed up.

Here, again, there is a racial disparity. When majority black and Latino Chicago public schools request a substitute to cover a class, subs didn't show up 35% of the time, data from September 2018 through March 2019 shows. That's compared to 20% at majority-white or racially-mixed schools.

Now, why would that be?

"Substitute teachers can turn down any school assignment."

Oh.

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Net Bet
"[E]ven as some major-league teams have announced plans to extend the netting - and the White Sox across town were the first to install it from foul pole to foul pole - the Cubs say they don't know what they're going to do," the Tribune reports.

"We are currently exploring and researching expansion of protective netting," team spokesman Julian Green said by e-mail. "No decision has been made to date.

"Given the pitch and slope of our field walls, which are not a straight line, there is a bit more complexity to installing and securing protective netting to the foul pole. We will review all available options to determine the safest and enjoyable environment for our fans."

Julian Green, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago. But Tribune, for the zillionth time, why accept an e-mail statement that allows the "speaker" to avoid actual questions, including questions raised by the . . . e-mail statement? Ridiculous.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Largest Cashmere Manufacturer Of Mongolia Comes To The USA
Already at a Chicago outlet mall.

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From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

The White Sox Report: Walking & Crawling
And bobbleheading.

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TrackNotes: Casino Crazy & Whitney Day
Ignorance is one thing, but stupidity is what comedy is made of, unless it's really happening.

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TrackNotes: Punching Up
I'm not saying fixed, just probable.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #263: House Of Theo Crumbling
This is his mess. Plus: Trade Shade; Cubs Narratives We Can Put To Bed; Kimbrel Is Killing Us; Missing Maldonado; Cubs Farm System Still Sucks; Here Come The Brewers; Evil Sports Programming Network; The Ex-Cub Factor; Rickey Ventura; Seeing (Soccer) Stars; and Trubisky Continues To Be . . .

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ChicagoReddit

On the Eisenhower today at 12:21am. This guy will not die of old age. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

How To Draw The Bulls Logo.

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BeachBook

Faced With Commercialization, The Black Punk Community Turns To Its Past For A Guide To Keep Resisting.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Right in front of you.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 AM | Permalink

August 4, 2019

TrackNotes: Punching Up

The benchmark that is Saratoga Race Course makes it a byword for "form."

All things being equal, unless a horse hates the Saratoga surface, and some do, races, and the horses in them, run formfully. There are so many good horses, you have to look at all of them.

Saturday, you could have called it very formful, on a high level, or chalky. And just like last night's boxing matches, the featureds delivered, but the undercard may have stolen the show.

In the Lure (1-1/8 miles, turf, four-and-up, $100,000), Noble Indy and Voodoo Song popped out to the lead, leaving Lucullan a good four or five lengths behind in an elongated field. Announcer Larry Collmus caught the move as Lucullan asserted on the turn and prepared to dispose of Noble Indy at the top of the stretch.

Meanwhile, Sacred Life, far back in the early going, spun around in the middle of the turf and the stretch was on. You couldn't have blamed Lucullan and Luis Saez if they didn't even see 'Life, but they must have. The two beautiful long striders, Lucullan a bit longer, dueled, but Lucullan would not be denied, by a nose. I saw them, but at 2-1 and 5-2 respectively, they didn't pay much.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin loved the ride Saez gave Lucullan, who had run just once this year after a 14-month layoff. Saez explained his perfect stalking trip:

"It was beautiful. That was the plan. I knew that (Voodoo Song) and (Noble Indy) had the most speed, so everything went according to plan. It was perfect. At the three-eighths he was pulling me, but I still waited because I knew the horses in front were stopping. I had to save him until the end. When I let him go, he took off."

Then, it got better. Before NBC came on, the kids at Fox, Gary Stevens, Andy Serling, Laffit Pincay III and Maggie Wolfendale, surmised The Test (Grade I, fillies three years old, 7 furlongs, $500,000) might outshine the Whitney Stakes, Saturday's feature. Fox panel member Tom Amoss trains Serengeti Empress, who won the Kentucky Oaks first Friday of May, and while the colleagues laid it on thick, Serengeti' is a legit horse.

Amoss said all day he'd tell Jose Ortiz to send from the one-hole and try to gain the upper hand over Covfefe in the nearby three-hole, with third contender Bellafina between them. 'Empress did just that and it soon became a two-horse race with Covfefe and Joel Rosario.

Turning into the stretch. Serengeti' and Covfefe, clean as morning mist, pulled away from the other, dirt-encrusted runners and exchanged haymakers the rest of the way. Serengeti' gave every ounce, but Covfefe found that mysterious momentum that makes it look like she's running downhill, and she prevailed by a half length. Again, not much of a payoff at $26 for a dollar on the exacta.

It was chalk up top as Bob Baffert's McKinzie won the Whitney Stakes by nearly two in perhaps the most powerful way fans have wanted to see from him.

The day was a tribute to Marylou Whitney, the "Queen of Saratoga" who married into the family that built Saratoga. When the old man died, they closed the stable, so she started her own operation. After her Birdstone beat the undefeated Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont, Whitney apologized to the entire world for thwarting a Triple Crown to the beloved Smarty'. "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry that Smarty Jones couldn't win. We kept saying it'll be exciting."

They say she did a lot for charity, famously for backstretch workers, but, cynically, I've never seen the numbers or specific benefits. I'm sure she did something, but take a camera back there and show me. Or is there nothing to show?

McKinzie is named for the late Los Alamitos Race Course executive Brad McKenzie, who passed away two years ago.

"I'm just glad that this horse is as good as he is, because we named him at Brad's funeral," Baffert said. He was choked up tearful speechless in the post-race TV interview.

For McKinzie's performance, it was fine. But I got suckered into Vino Rosso again and that goddamned overnight Grade IX stakes bum horse is not going to get another penny of mine, even if it's an effing walkover. He gallantly brought up the rear in third, a wuss move he's perfected, like Harold Ramis's "If we ever see combat, I'll be right behind you guys every step of the way." I eyed place horse Yoshida, who ran quite nicely, but he's no McKinzie.

Note: I misstated Jack the Cat's jockey's name. It's KENDRICK Carmouche. The bad news is that after he dropped off the television screen, they're pinging Carmouche's smartphone for coordinates. I'm wondering if this happened.

The Fights
It was no Ali-Frazier, but in a bizarre way, the heavyweight fight between favored Polish emigre Adam Kownacki, fighting out of Brooklyn, and perennial challenger Chris Arreola, the Mexican who Kownacki called an "Aztec warrior," was interesting, almost like a flyweight mosquito fight as the two exchanged punches for 12 full rounds.

Kownacki earned the big decision 117-111, 117-111 and 118-110, but the story of the fight is that they set an all-time record in 34 years of CompuBox stats with 2,172 punches thrown and 667 landed between them.

Wagering on boxing is difficult. The odds flash had Arreola at +1200 and Kownacki at -900. How do you bet on that as if it isn't figured out? I'm not saying fixed, just probable.

Deontay Wilder, a leading heavyweight contender, was on the microphone for Fox Sports, getting better as he went along. He nobly admitted he was butchering Kownacki's name, which is pronounced with Polish consonants and vowels you can't even see.

And it sure was good to see Lennox Lewis ringside again. Lewis is the last UNDISPUTED heavyweight champion of the world.

It ended in the eighth with a truly inadvertent head butt to the eye, but veteran light heavyweight Jean Pascal was winning anyway as the underdog against Marcus Browne. The doctor stopped the fight as Browne's sight was compromised, and all three judges ruled 75-74 for Pascal. Browne was getting overconfident and sloppy when Pascal dropped him to the canvas three times in the seventh.

Pascal gets an "interim" 175-pound title in boxing's wacky ranking system, which means the 36-year-old Haitian-Canadian gets on the ladder to who knows where.

I've never placed a successful boxing wager.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:30 PM | Permalink

August 3, 2019

TrackNotes: Casino Crazy & Whitney Day

There's a great Twilight Zone episode where two-bit armed robber gambling punk Larry Blyden is shot dead by police. He wakes up in a fabulous suite with Sebastian Cabot apparently his butler.

He can have anything he wants, and the big guy - don't deny yourself the Pritzker metaphor - means ANYTHING. The food is exquisite, the booze flowing, the dames at his feet and . . . and the dice are rolling, the cards flushing and the one-armed bandits cherries across. Every time. EVERY TIME.

This is no diss to Mr. French, but from now on, I will see our two-bit robbing city, county and state politicians as fat white-suited satans.

Now, just as sure as Lake Michigan is five feet higher and risin', the Chicago metropolitan area and various points Downstate will be washed by the saturation of gambling in all forms. And it's not for just fun.

Like Sky Masterson before us, we'll warble our plea that luck be a lady tonight. The good news is that, like the moon, there's a bright side and a dark side.

The bulletin came through Thursday that Hawthorne Race Course will cancel its Spring 2020 meet in order to build a new casino.

Casino? I thought just race- and sportsbooks, and slots. But this Hawthorne thing is the big magilla. It will include everything a Las Vegas casino has, all that and table games.

Hawthorne Director of Publicity and Racing Analyst Jim Miller only affirmed the same when I asked him about certain plans, including configuration of the Hawthorne plant. Hawthorne is holding specifics close to the vest.

Hawthorne will submit an application to the Illinois Gaming Board by the end of August, but it already seems a done deal. For Fairmount Park in Downstate Collinsville as well, which is estimating $50 million in facility improvements.

"With approval we anticipate beginning construction as quickly as possible," Miller said. "Because of this, we will have a brief period next spring where we cannot conduct racing during the day while construction is going on."

Hawthorne sits on 119 acres in Stickney, between the Stevenson and Eisenhower and spanning the land between Cicero Avenue and Laramie. The main track is a mile and features one of the longest home stretches in the country. Its back door is inches from the Cicero city line and the site of the 2009-demolished Sportsman's Park, a sad story perpetrated by the genius Bidwills of Chicago Cardinals fame.

Conversely, the Carey family has owned Hawthorne since 1909, with requisite ups and downs along the way, including a challenging racing economic climate for several years now, and a serious outbreak of equine herpes, not unique to Hawthorne, in 2012 that necessitated a quarantine lockdown.

I've always liked Hawthorne because management and the people who go there do it for one reason: horse racing. They have different areas there, with simulcast in a big concourse, the Gold Cup Room with service and tiered rows of tables, a spot for handicapping club members and betting tournaments, and rows and rows of seats just like the ballpark, if you wish. It's all glassed in as protection against the various types of weather it sees, in both Thoroughbred and Standardbred (harness) racing. You don't feel a caste system, as at so many other sports venues.

Like Phil Georgeff before him, Peter Galassi is as good a race announcer as America has.

It's not as pretty as Arlington Park, but I've never seen Miller Lite-fisted wiseguy posers with small straw fedoras at Hawthorne. Thankfully.

I will admit I haven't paid much attention to the nuances of gambling expansion in Illinois. I just figured new politicians, floodgates open, scoundrels scrambling for pieces of pie and then it will be here.

The buzzwords around here have been five casino licenses, sportsbooks, and wagering at sports venues!(?)

In the horse racing world, Illinois tracks have begged for slots since BTN - Before TrackNotes - and since racinos like Charlestown, Parx, Indiana Downs and many other bull rings got them.

Don't ever forget that Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) owns Arlington Park. While Hawthorne and Fairmount got ahead of it all in making their splashy announcements, CDI must be considered a honey badger in the thicket, perhaps with claws out, skids already greased, as it will most assuredly disembowel all obstacles to get what it wants.

Think I'm kidding? When CDI changed from purse winnings to a point system for Kentucky Derby eligibility, it shut out Hawthorne's Illinois Derby, a race run since before Arlington's existence. It was mean-spirited and vicious. Hey AP, next time your grandstand burns down, maybe Hawthorne will be nice enough to run your races for you and you get 12 percent. Or maybe not.

While the Illinois Derby has been run at various tracks, primarily Sportsman's, it's now at home at Hawthorne, although its running has been spotty, only once in the last four years. But we've seen fine horses like Ten Most Wanted, Pollard's Vision, Cowtown Cat, Multiplier and your 2002 Illinois and Kentucky Derby parlay, War Emblem.

CDI pushed into majority ownership of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and plans on expanding that facility and also seeking another casino license outright. From what I've seen in simple searches, they also have a right under this legislation to establish a real casino footprint at Arlington itself, just like Hawthorne.

In a dilemma only a mini-monopoly would suffer, what will CDI do, with Des Plaines so close to Arlington Park? For that matter, what about the collision of the concentric circles of all these casinos' markets? At some point in the foreseeable future, there will have to be some shakeout.

The bright side of this moon is that Illinois' gambling legislation requires that the three racetracks continue live racing as a requisite in keeping the gaming license.

"(Hawthorne's) goal is to revitalize racing in the state of Illinois," Miller said. "We want to bring back prestigious races like the Hawthorne Gold Cup and Illinois Derby. Additionally, we want to offer a daily racing product that is on par with the top circuits in the country and we believe this legislation will allow us to do just that."

By rights, that's as it should be. Horses I can think of like Seabiscuit (came but rained out), Equipoise (both tracks), Coaltown, Round Table (both tracks), Kelso, Dr. Fager, Manassas, Citation, Damascus, John Henry, Cigar, Cryptoclearance and, of course, Secretariat all trod these parts. Let's aspire again.

Arlington hasn't been relevant in dirt - or artificial surface - races in many years. Fine, let Arlington have its vaunted turf program and let Hawthorne lead on the dirt. These new resources should free both of them to do what they want, playing to their strong points.

But TrackNotes will also issue this clarion call: Hawthorne needs to be a leader in all measures to reduce horse deaths, of which it has had more than its share. The Illinois Racing Board must lead on severely limiting or eliminating drugs in horses, race day or not. Just DO IT!

This is the opportunity these tracks have demanded, cajoled, cried for, complained about and survived for. Fans have been waiting for this too, with the caveat that it improves racing here. Let's see who does it better.

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On a short note, ignorance is one thing, but stupidity is what comedy is made of, unless it's really happening.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has selected five sites for the Chicago casino feasibility study: Harborside (111th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway), the former Michael Reese hospital (31st Street and Cottage Grove); Pershing and State; Roosevelt and Kostner; and the former U.S. Steel parcel (80th Street and Lake Shore Drive).

I don't know how you do it, but the casino must be located in a place that has other things. These arguments have me wondering. What possible knowledge can these dense politicians think they possess about the economic impacts of casinos?

Except everybody knows that dropping a casino in neighborhoods crushed and exploited by the Daleys and Emanuels - and so many before them - of this world intensifies the misery. At least this time, Lightfoot seems like just a more genteel version of a knucklehead politician.

I'd vote for Sebastian Cabot any day, but he's dead.

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Oh, we have racing today.

Your big one is Saratoga's Whitney Stakes (Grade I, nine furlongs, 1-1/8 miles, $1,000,000).

Never call "a race for the ages" or race of the year before it's run, please. Which is what some people did earlier this week.

The hook was having the top four horses in the Breeders' Cup Classic "rankings." McKinzie, Thunder Snow, Vino Rosso and Preservationist. Don't try to find the purpose of those rankings, there is none. All that counts is who's in the gate in November and what their odds are, okay?

Well, Frosty, Thunder Snow was scratched Saturday morning with a fever and cough. Hey touts, see where he's never won in America? That's a burden lifted for me.

Vino Rosso will now take more money, but he has killed me in the past. Like a German techno band, he was a one-hit wonder for the longest time after winning the 2018 Wood Memorial, taking way too much money along the way. He won the $155K Stymie at Aqueduct in March and just beat the nice Gift Box and Lone Sailor last out in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Call me at 4:30, we'll pour a pinot noir, and tell me what to do with him.

Preservationist, six years old, has only run eight times. But he won his first and only stakes race, the Grade II Suburban last out at Belmont, beating the VERY highly regarded Catholic Boy by open lengths. He's won four of his last five, thriving under the Jimmy Jerkens/Junior Alvarado trainer/rider combo. 3-1 morning line? I'll take it.

Bob Baffert's McKinzie will be your favorite. Straight out for the win, I'm not sure, as he's had some tendency for finishing second by whiskers. He runs in good company, but has never beaten a top-top horse. But just LOOK at those seven triple-digit Beyer Speed figures! Easy, he should be in the Exacta. Queasy, his low price will hurt the Exacta. But I'll have to include him.

I'll have an eye on Monongahela at a price, based solely on a 12-point improvement 102 in the Philip Iselin, Grade III, last out at Monmouth.

Keep an eye on favored Serengeti Express, Bellafina and Covfefe in The Test (Grade I, seven furlongs, $500,000) in what could be a great race.

I got a hot tip from the-other-fox Valley Fan Girl. Race 11, $80K allowance for New York-breds, 5-1/2 furlongs, turf. Jack the Cat, the 9 horse. Son of Courageous Cat (Storm Cat), the Tom Albertrani trainee looks on the rise with a 9-point Beyer improvement last out in his first win. He's three years old, so room for improvement. 12-1 morning line. I like the switch last and today to Kendall Kendrick Carmouche in the irons.

NBCSportsNet weakens with just one hour at 4 p.m. to cover the Whitney. FoxSports2 does a good job up to 4. Then there's always TVG if you're desperate. NYRA.com streams the races.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:52 PM | Permalink

August 2, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #263: House Of Theo Crumbling

This is his mess. Plus: Trade Shade; Cubs Narratives We Can Put To Bed; Kimbrel Is Killing Us; Missing Maldonado; Cubs Farm System Still Sucks; Here Come The Brewers; Evil Sports Programming Network; The Ex-Cub Factor; Rickey Ventura; Seeing (Soccer) Stars; and Trubisky Continues To Be . . .


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SHOW NOTES

* 263.

:25: This Is Theo's Mess.

* Road woes.

* Unrepaired offense.

* Maddoning.

* The Slumpy Slumpster!

9:26: Trade Shade.

* Two players who were DFA'd, one utility player who was in Triple-A, and a butcher in the outfield who should be a platoon player and is a free agent at season's end.

* Make or breakers all broke.

* The shittiest defensive outfield in the league?

23:46: Cubs Narratives We Can Put To Bed.

* Rest.

* Tone-setting.

24:28: Kimbrel Is Killing Us.

29:40: Missing Maldonado!

* Descalso is on the IL.

32:51: Cubs Farm System Still Sucks.

34:15: Here Come The Brewers.

35:15: Evil Sports Programming Network.

38:11: The Ex-Cub Factor!

* Trevor Bauer's goodbye to Cleveland:

* Isaac Paredes.

Shined In MLB Futures Game.

* A Pitcher's Dazzling Show At A Stadium Speed Pitch Challenge Earned Him A Deal With The A's.

44:48: Rickey Ventura.

* Netscape.

* Just wait 'til next year!

53:00: Seeing Stars.

* USA Today: Christian Pulisic's first two goals for Chelsea.

* ESPN: USWNT Players Draw Sellout NWSL Crowd To Chicago Red Stars Game.

* (Forget the Fire.)

58:01: Trubisky Continues To Be . . .

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STOPPAGE: 7:47

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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 2:13 PM | Permalink

The Largest Cashmere Manufacturer Of Mongolia Comes To The USA

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia - During the Mongolian president's U.S. visit this week, that country's largest cashmere manufacturer, the Gobi Corporation, is preparing to announce its plans to enter the U.S market by September.

The subsidiary Gobi Cashmere USA will be located in Los Angeles, and is launching an e-commerce website specially dedicated to U.S customers.

The Gobi Corporation currently supplies high-quality raw cashmere products to the international market. However, its presence in the U.S. has been small due to fierce competition from China. As of now, Gobi Corporation has franchise stores in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. If a trade bill under consideration is passed, cashmere companies from the young democratic nation would be able to better compete with its competitors.

Increased trade between the U.S. and Mongolia would benefit many stakeholders in the cashmere supply chain, including nomads, employees and, ultimately, consumers.

The nomads of Mongolia rely on the sale of their raw cashmere to manufacturers for half of their annual income, which is badly needed for educating their children as well as other annual costs.

Nomads herd goats whose raw cashmere is supplied to the market. The traditional Mongolian nomadic way of coexisting with livestock offers a special feature of differentiation to cashmere sourced from Mongolian land, in terms of traditional heritage, and special care and humane treatment for the goats.

Additionally, Gobi has more than 2,800 employees - 80% of them female. As a part of the company's social responsibility, Gobi thrives to be the number one organization that leads others by example by taking good care for the employees' well-being, especially for those in need. This is another driver of the company's expansion to the international market, as the production increase will directly affect the employees' standard of living.

Mongolia, a landlocked country sandwiched between Russia and China, is utilizing its third-neighbor policy to its highest potential by expanding its diplomatic relations with countries around the world.

Diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the U.S. were formally established on Jan. 27, 1987, and it has expanded both on economic and political platforms. On July 26, 2018, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho and nine other members Congress introduced a trade bill seeking to promote trade between the U.S. and Mongolia by allowing duty-free treatment for certain imports from Mongolia, such as cashmere products and textile materials.

Mongolian President Battulga Khaltmaa visited the U.S. on Wednesday to express his full support for the trade bill and appreciation to the sponsors.

The trade act would be helpful the Mongolian economy in a variety of ways beyond opening the U.S. market to its cashmere. Mongolia supplies about 48% of the total raw cashmere to the world market, making it the second-largest raw cashmere supplier, yet they use only 15% of it to make ready-to-wear finished cashmere garments locally. The remaining 85% of the raw cashmere is sold as a semi-processed material to other markets with less added value, which is becoming the focus area of the Mongolian government and domestic cashmere manufacturers. The U.S. is considered as the second largest cashmere consumer country. This duty-free treatment would open a tremendous opportunity for Mongolia to diversify its economy.

The world has heard about the rich history of Mongolian invasions hundreds of years ago, but now, they are ready to invade the world cashmere market with their silky-soft pure products. And now they are coming to your doorsteps, America.

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See also:

* New York Post: Mongolian President Gifts Trump's Son Barron Horse Named 'Victory.'

* NAADAM: Nine Facts About Cashmere.

* Wikipedia: Human Rights In Mongolia.

* New Europe: Europe And Mongolia Discuss Human Rights.

* Ekklesia: Rule Of Law And Independence Of Judiciary 'Under Threat' In Mongolia.

* Slate: Bolton Of Mongolia.

* NPR: Mongolia's Capital Banned Coal To Fix Its Pollution Problem. Will It Work?

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And:

* Mongolians In Chicago.

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Plus:

* NPR: How A Mongolian Heavy Metal Band Got Millions Of YouTube Views.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

August 1, 2019

Katie Got Bandz Is Back

"Four long years after her last mixtape, the Queen of Drill drops Rebirth - and revisits the site of the Bronzeville projects that taught her to persevere," The TRiiBE reports.

"The next chapter of Katie's career has finally arrived . . . and she's excited about where it might take her. In May, she dropped two music videos on YouTube to build hype around an upcoming project: one for the hard-hitting single 'Errthang' and another for 'Verified,' a radio-ready track with emerging Chicago star El Hitta. She also says there's a documentary about her life in the works."

The goods, y'all:

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Previously in Katie Got Bandz:

August 20, 2013: Katie Got Bandz on Sway.

October 23, 2013: "Meanwhile, Rockie Fresh and Katie Got Bandz collaborated with [R.] Kelly on a remix of his 'My Story,' which includes the lyrics 'And you know who you is girl - we been fuckin' since the 12th grade' and 'They asked them in a interview, Why do he love these girls? They only thing he had to say was, Motherfuck the world!'"

June 20, 2016: Katie Got Bandz at the WGCI Summer Jam.

June 28, 2017: BeachFest 2017! The Playlist (No. 80, "Lil Bitch").

January 8, 2019: Katie Got Bandz Defends R. Kelly.

Damn.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

From this morning's Politico Playbook:

THIS PRIMARY HAS BECOME, in part, a referendum on BARACK OBAMA. See Booker, Cory, right here. And see Trump, Donald Jr., on Twitter: "It was nice to see Democrats finally go after Obama's failed policies very aggressively. Wish they would have done that years ago." Here's Neera Tanden, retweeting DJT Jr.: "Good job everyone." And Steve Israel -- the New York Democrat who ran the DCCC for two cycles -- went with this: "Democrats need to make this a referendum on Pres. Trump. Instead they're making it a referendum on [Barack] Obama."

I'm not one to defend politicians, but this popular mainstream media take is wholly disingenuous.

First, up 'til now, media pundits have largely insisted that, in order to win in 2020, Democrats have to do more than just not be Trump; they have to explain to the middle- and working-classes how they intend to improve their quality of life.

Then, when Democrats discuss those very things, those same media pundits complain - with supreme arrogance - that Democrats are arguing among themselves instead of going after Donald Trump.

Reminder: we are in the primary phase. Democratic candidates are putting themselves before Democratic voters right now. That doesn't mean there should be no general election considerations, and certainly a discussion on how best to campaign against Trump - and who is best-equipped to do so - is in order, but JESUS CHRIST!

The last two nights have been DEBATES! The very word describes a process whereby disagreement, argument and fighting is inherently part of the process. That's exactly what these candidates have been on stage to do! My god.

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To wit:

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More Playbook:

'MEDICARE FOR ALL' is no longer a goal, but now a litmus test for serious Democratic candidates. If you're a candidate, and you support some version of it, you might find yourself explaining how that version is the real version, not the other guys'.

Democratic candidates have been discussing - and proposing - universal health plans for decades. Medicare for All is just the latest flavor. Let's stop acting like it's such a huge departure from the past.

The fact is, Obamacare sucks. Who is happy with it? Years of stories about its fault lines but come the debates it's a perfect program that shouldn't be touched? (And by the way, Medicare for All or any other single-payer plan doesn't have to eliminate private insurance; Western European nations with single-payer systems still retain private insurance plans, too.)

As far as the primary being a referendum on Obama, so be it! Why shouldn't it be? Every intraparty battle is a referendum on the previous leadership.

It's also something the media should have seen coming, given the surprising popularity of Bernie Sanders in 2016. Why was Sanders popular? Because his supporters saw him as Obama-in-action, not the disappointing Obama who was all talk and hewed toward the status quo. In Bernie, they saw the real deal, and that's what is driving Elizabeth Warren's campaign too - the notion that she would've jailed corrupt bankers and isn't going to just pussyfoot around.

Or you can have Joe Biden, who is basically Obama without the eloquence, leaving you with . . . what?

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More . . .

THE ATLANTIC'S ISAAC DOVERE in Detroit: "There's an elevated train here, in the city's downtown, called the People Mover. It doesn't cost much to ride. It goes in a loop every 15 minutes or so. It moves only in one direction, around and around.

"It's a lot like the Democratic primary, after two rounds of formal debate and seven months of campaigning. There have been flashes of dynamism in the campaign so far, candidates who've popped for a news cycle or two. But take a step back, and the race has barely changed since before the weather grew warm.

"Former Vice President Joe Biden is the front-runner in every poll, but he's a weak front-runner, without a commanding lead or evidence of deep attachment among the voters surveyed. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is holding on to his core voters, but he doesn't seem to be expanding their ranks.

"Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Senator Kamala Harris of California; and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are always in the mix in third or fourth place. And then there's everyone else: the candidates who sometimes grab as much as 4 or 5 percent but rarely more, and rarely for more than a few days. The only major change is that former Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas, a onetime front-runner, is now firmly a part of the latter tier."

Um, so? What's the point - that you're bored?

Another way to look at it is that the Dems have an awfully strong field - Biden, Warren, Sanders and Harris leading the way. And you know what? Castro and Klobuchar have their own appeals. I personally don't like most of them, but from an analytical point of view, I don't see anyone having a particular problem taking on Trump and winning.

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Also, if Medicare for All is a litmus test and the primary is thus far a referendum on Obama, then why is Biden winning?

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#DemDebate Twitter pundits also angry that Biden is under attack for racism and misogyny for the first time when no one said boo before, either in his eight years as vice president or his long career before that. To those media pundits, that makes the attacks on Biden illegitimate. I'd say it's about time, and only illustrates the slow march toward wokeness that many are taking. I mean, nobody said boo about sexual harassment for a long time, either. And Obama began his presidency opposing same-sex marriage. Things change! The attacks on Biden - and his record - are perfectly legitimate.

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To wit:

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Also:

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And now, from a real reporter:

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

CPD Not In Body Camera Compliance
"How often do Chicago police officers fail to activate their body cameras? It's hard to know."

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Edward Snowden's Permanent Record
"So I just completed an international conspiracy across twenty countries, and somehow the secret never leaked. On Constitution Day, the result will be on shelves worldwide."

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Katie Got Bandz Is Back
The queen of drill delivers the goods, y'all.

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The Ex-Cub Factor
One still needs anger management, another is a Mud Hen now, and yet another just may face his old team tonight.

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Intelligent Automation Week Chicago 2019
Here's the press invitation!

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ChicagoReddit

Slovak Dumplings in Chicago? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

DJ Flashback Chicago, Ghetto Love V1 (Side B)

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BeachBook

Click through for the backstory.

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Old playbook.

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So Long, Mini Shampoos: Holiday Inn's Owner Switching To Bulk Sizes To Cut Waste.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: You know the drill.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 PM | Permalink

CPD Not In Body Camera Compliance

The Office of Inspector General's Public Safety Section has issued a report regarding the Chicago Police Department's non-compliance with the review of randomly selected body-worn camera recordings.

CPD Special Order S03-14 requires watch operations lieutenants to review one recording daily, across all watches. These reviews enable CPD supervisors to assess whether officers are properly using BWCs and conducting themselves according to CPD policy.

In addition to failing to complete all required random reviews from November 2017 through March 2018 in seven districts, CPD also failed to implement a standardized process for randomly selecting recordings for review, and did not provide guidance, standards, or training for WOLs. Furthermore, CPD's BWC Program Evaluation Committee, tasked with ensuring compliance and evaluating program effectiveness, did not initially hold quarterly meetings as required.

OIG recommended several corrective measures to come into full compliance. CPD acknowledged the need to improve compliance and identified steps it has taken or is planning to take to address OIG's recommendations.

However, CPD did not provide a timeline for implementing the automation of its random review process. Until that is implemented, the effectiveness of the random review process may continue to be compromised.

"Body-worn cameras are an important tool in promoting better, more accountable policing and public understanding of the challenges of officers in the field," says Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

"Formulating policy for their use and putting them into operation - itself still a work in progress as they are not yet in use for all field operational personnel - are necessary but not sufficient conditions for assuring full and effective implementation and compliance with policy.

"That additionally requires full compliance with robust, periodic, standardized internal accountability and evaluative mechanisms. Our review revealed that on this latter front, CPD management fell substantially short of its own mark. CPD has acknowledged as much and has committed to correcting these shortcomings. At this moment in the City's history, building public confidence in the Department to improve public safety outcomes requires no less."

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See also:

* CBS2 Chicago: How Often Do Chicago Police Officers Fail To Activate Their Body Cameras? It's Hard To Know.

* Sun-Times: Chicago Police Supervisors Did Not Properly Monitor Body Cameras: IG.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:34 AM | Permalink

Edward Snowden's Permanent Record

"Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government's system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down," Macmillan Publishers says.

"Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online - a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet's conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:11 AM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of former Cubs.

With the trade deadline passed, Carl Edwards Jr., Martin Maldonado and prospects Paul Richan, Alex Lange and Thomas Hatch are now officially ex-Cubs.

I'm sure we'll see their names again in this column. Meanwhile . . .

1. Zac Rosscup.

The Dodgers just sold him and his 5.00 ERA (7.89 FIP) to the Cardinals for cash - I don't know how much cash, but he's a Cardinal now so the Cubs might even (hopefully) see him tonight!

2. Jason Motte.

The one-time Cardinals closer went 8-1 for the 2015 Cubs, with six saves and a 3.61 FIP. He retired after spending the 2017 season with Atlanta, but is mentioned here because he was seen on the field at Busch Stadium at the start of the current Cubs-Cardinals series.

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Adding:

3. Edwin Jackson.

Is a Mud Hen now.

4. Eddie Butler.

Eddie was known to have an anger management problem when he was with the Cubs, and apparently things haven't changed that much. From June, playing for the NC Dinos in the Korean league:

The Dinos released Butler about a month later, in early July.

5. Drew Smyly.

He's feeling like a whole new pitcher in Philly.

6. Wade Davis.

Sharp on the road, putrid at home.

7. Josh Donaldson.

"Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson smacked his 200th career home run [last month], a feat the Cubs were no doubt hoping he'd achieve in their uniform when they selected him 48th in the 2007 draft. The former Auburn Tiger never hit a single dinger for the club, though, and changed organizations a little over 12 months after the Cubs drafted him. It was exactly 11 years ago today, on July 8, 2008, that Chicago dealt Donaldson to Oakland. It's now safe to say the Donaldson pickup has been among the best of A's executive Billy Beane's impressive tenure with the franchise.

"Beane sent veteran right-handers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Cubs, acquiring Donaldson, outfielders Eric Patterson and Matt Murton, and righty Sean Gallagher in return. When the deal was consummated, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted it was the Cubs' counterattack after the NL Central rival Brewers acquired lefty CC Sabathia from the Indians the day before."

8. Tim Federowicz.

The Rangers are expected to DFA him on Friday.

9. Jeimer Candelerio.

Might be moving to first base.

10. Danny Hultzen.

The comeback story continues, as do the accolades.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

Press Invitation To Intelligent Automation Week Chicago 2019

The Intelligent Automation event series would like to invite all members of the press to join them at Intelligent Automation Week Chicago 2019.

This is one the leading events surrounding the topic of automation technology and brings together all industries to discuss the latest innovations being made.

The 2019 event will include speakers such as:

* Özgür Genç, Head of Global Intelligent Automation & Shared Services - OTC, Procter & Gamble

* Willie Session, Head Security Risk, U.S & Chief Security Risk Officer, HSBC Bank

* Linda Kulhanek, CPA, MBA, Vice President, Finance & Chief Financial Officer, Houston Methodist Hospital

* Marlee Laks, Director, GCS Process Automation CoE, American Express

* Frederick Kauber, Chief Product & Technology Officer / Adjunct Professor, Executive Management of Technology (eMOT) Masters Program, BFS Capital & New York University

* Christy Schultheiss, Vice President, Process, Project & Change Management, Lowe's

The event will also bring together the leading solution providers in the automation space. These solution providers are leading the charge by developing the latest technology that can help optimize business solutions across all industries.

We will be joined by UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Antworks, and more, who will take part in a variety of sessions, as well as showcase demos at their respective booths.

Members of the press are being invited to learn more about Intelligent Automation Week Chicago and see how this event has become a catalyst for the industry. Sessions will be held that showcase the upcoming initiatives in the space and paint a picture of what the future landscape will look like.

For more information on the Intelligent Automation Week Chicago 2019 and how to join, please contact the IA Event Series Marketing Manager, Geena Monaco at 218976@email4pr.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - College Radio, Eh?
TV - John King's Dog Whistle.
POLITICS - CTU Strike Notebook.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Run, Mitch, Run.

BOOKS - What We Do To Whistleblowers.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Recall! Chicago's Favorite Gyros Slices.


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