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« August 2019 | Main

September 16, 2019

SportsMonday: The Unbalanced, Obsessive-Compulsive Matt Nagy

One thing we have learned about coach Matt Nagy over the last six months or so: If the man isn't careful he tends to wander into the intersection of obsessive and compulsive.

He did it with the Bears' search for a kicker early in the summer, and his play-calling very much had that feel on Sunday as the Bears pulled out a heart-pounding 16-14 victory over the Broncos. Paging Andy Reid! I know you have plenty to worry about with the Chiefs (although they look like they are going to kill just about everyone again this year), but we Bears fans sure would appreciate it if you would have a chat with your protégé in Chicago about maintaining an even keel.

Bringing in nine guys to take a shot at the place-kicking job and having them all take 43-yard kicks (because that was the distance of the kick Cody Parkey missed at the end of last season's crushing playoff loss) in front of reporters at the end of a training session? Troubling.

Oh and it failed. We all remember that right? The kicker is the guy the Bears traded a seventh-round pick for completely outside of the nine-man tryout fiasco. Yes the pick is conditional - on Pineiro being on the active roster for at least five games this season - but I'm thinking at this point the condition will be met.

Then we had Sunday's play-calling performance.

Responding to a game in which you called almost five times as many passing plays as running plays by calling way too many runs in the next game? More troubling. How was this guy able to find the right balance between run and pass right from the get-go last year and keep it going all season long and then completely lose it in the first two games of the next season?

I'm afraid I don't have an answer to that one.

Along these lines I would like to register a complaint. Hey NFL, please don't ever do that to us again. Please do not give us Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calling the Bears game one week and Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth calling it the next.

Despite being the announcing tandem that generally calls the most boring game of the weekend on Fox the last several years, Stockton and Schlereth continue to hang on to their jobs. You would think that there would be a form of relegation going on here. The announcing team that does the most boring games should be lopped off at the end of every season and other guys should get a shot.

But no, Stockton and Schlereth are still yammering away for fun and profit. Stockton mis-calls at least six plays a game and even worse, Schlereth still hasn't met a hoary old football cliché he doesn't love.

Some of the worst of it happened during the Bears' only touchdown drive. We get it Mark, you are a former offensive lineman and good running games are just about your favorite things in the world. But the successful teams in the NFL the last decade or so have almost always passed first. They have used the pass to set up the run.

But there was Schlereth urging the Bears to keep pounding away, keep running the ball and running the ball and running the ball. That worked - barely - on the Bears' lone touchdown drive. It did not work in subsequent drives in which the Bears had the chance to put things away with just a couple first downs.

The primary feature of the best play-calling schemes in the NFL is not complicated. It is balance. The best teams find the balance. In the first week, the Bears passed too much. The coach over-corrected and the next week, they ran too much. And of course plenty of this stuff depends on personnel, i.e., you need to have a good enough quarterback to throw the various passes a successful offense needs.

The Bears squeaked out of Denver with a 1-1 record. They face a desperate, 0-2 Washington team next Monday night. Hopefully the coach and his assistants can use that extra prep time on charting an effective course back to balance.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:07 AM | Permalink

Start Now!

"We were shooting truthfully to be .500 or better," White Sox manager Rickey Renteria said a week ago. On Sunday, his team suffered its 84th loss in what will be its seventh consecutive losing season.

Renteria might be excused for his optimism for this season after last year's edition, losers of 100 games, went 29-38 after the All-Star Game, a stark improvement over the first half of the season. And his bright and bushy prognostication looked reasonable when the action halted for the annual mid-season classic this past July as the Sox stood at 42-44.

However, just when we thought that .500 was within reach, the White Sox have had trouble beating almost anyone. After losing series' last week to the Royals and Mariners, two teams with a combined 117-183 record, Renteria's bunch sunk to 19 games under the break-even mark, thanks to a 23-40 showing in the second half.

The scene in Seattle over the weekend was especially revealing as the fellows dropped a 10-inning 2-1 decision on Saturday when former Sox Omar Narvaez hit a ball off the top of the right field wall and was credited with a home run rather than a two-out double. Leading 10-5 on Sunday going into the bottom of the eighth, the Sox bullpen coughed up a sure-fire victory as the Mariners walked off with an 11-10 decision, the winning run scoring on a bases-loaded walk.

So when Renteria also said last week that "I'm expecting this [losing] is it. We are finishing this season, and we are talking about coming back into next season ready to battle," his credibility was close to zilch.

Despite some notable individual performances, are we to believe that progress is being made? Spin doctors far more adept than Renteria and general manager Rick Hahn might face a stiff challenge to explain the steps forward.

Why not start reversing the trend now? Whatever happened to finishing strong?

The team's problems were on full display in the last three games. Sox pitchers walked 24 batters while striking out 25, just an awful showing. While the boys scored some runs, the batsmen drew just five bases on balls while fanning 33 times.

Too small a sample size, you say? Not really. Sox pitchers this season have issued the third most walks among all 30 teams, while the hitters have drawn the fewest free passes of any team. They strike out more often than all but five other clubs, and they are 24th in on-base percentage. That, my friends, goes a long way explaining why this team is headed for another 90 losses.

There's no question that the emergence of the young core of Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Lucas Giolito and others provide promise for the future. However, without fixing the already-mentioned deficits, this team will be hard-pressed to compete with baseball's elite.

Of course, help apparently is on the way. USA Today has named outfielder Luis Robert its Minor League Player of the Year, proclaiming, "He moves with the almost effortless grace of a certain Hall of Famer," a direct reference to Ken Griffey, Jr.

Previous honorees include Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Ronald Acuna, Jr., Alex Bregman, Kris Bryant and Xander Bogaerts. It would be cool if Robert, 22, had a "Jr." for a tag, but after slashing .328/.376/1.001 to go along with 32 home runs, 92 RBIs and 36 stolen bases over three minor league levels, his name could be Joe Smith and the anticipation would be just a stimulating.

Robert walked 28 times this season in 122 games while striking out 129. The Sox will live with that since his on-base percentage was .376.

According to people like Hahn, the service time issue never is a consideration when it comes to the timing of promoting players like Robert to the big league club. It's just coincidence that Robert may not appear on the South Side until the 2020 season is a few weeks old. But whenever he arrives, he'll immediately assume a spot in the White Sox outfield, which has some gaping holes. Most likely he'll play center between Jimenez in left and whoever winds up in right. Possibly Adam Engel, who homered Sunday and has shown signs of improvement at the plate, will be the centerfielder with Robert in right.

The scenario for the other top prospect, second baseman Nick Madrigal, is not as clear. The Oregon State product, who also is 22, had a splendid season following Robert from Winston-Salem to Birmingham and then Charlotte, although Madrigal's game is much different than Robert's. Madrigal is the table-setter for the likes of power guys like Robert. Madrigal hit .311 for the season with an on-base percentage of .377, due to the fact that he walked 44 times while striking out just 16 in 120 games. He doesn't hit home runs. He gets on base. Furthermore, he made only four errors all season.

Madrigal does what the current group doesn't do: He walks far more than he strikes out.

However, it's not as though the current Sox second baseman, Yolmer Sanchez, necessarily is in need of replacement. One analytic formula (UZR) FanGraphs uses for rating defenders lists Sanchez as the best defensive second baseman in the game. After making three errors in the season's first five games, Sanchez has been charged with just four miscues since, handling 590 chances flawlessly. He has a strong arm, turns the pivot on the double play, and his range is admirable.

Sanchez, a switch-hitter, is batting .247 with an OBP of .318. Both are close to the major league averages. Unlike Madrigal, Sanchez, who is 27, strikes out about 21 percent of his at-bats, but similar to Madrigal, he has just two home runs this season.

Sanchez is very popular among his teammates, and his antics - pouring Gatorade over himself was a real crowd-pleaser last season - have become a team staple.

Sanchez has performed better than expectations, which creates a bit of a dilemma since Madrigal, if he can approach what he's done so far at the major league level, represents exactly what this team needs. If Madrigal assumes the regular second base assignment, then Sanchez becomes the utility infielder, a role that also fits Leury Garcia. Might a trade be in the works during the offseason?

One prospect getting playing time as the season winds down is catcher/first baseman Zack Collins, who does have a discerning eye at the plate. Despite an anemic .123 batting average, the 24-year-old has walked 10 times in 64 plate appearances. Compare that to Anderson's 12 free passes in 474 trips to the plate.

Of course, Anderson is vying for a batting title, hitting .332 as the Sox travel to Minnesota to open a three-game set beginning tonight. His approach at the plate obviously is far different than a guy like Collins. Anderson has become successful at hitting pitches off the outside corner to right field. Taking those pitches apparently is not an option. He averages 3.40 pitches per plate appearance compared to the MLB average of 3.93.

That's fine as long as the lineup includes guys who exhibit greater patience, and right now the Sox don't have any of those. Anderson has been hitting second in the lineup more often than not, usually behind leadoff man Garcia, whose on-base percentage is a mere .306.

Madrigal possibly could fill the need for a leadoff man who makes contact, takes some pitches, and gets on base. If Collins can cut down on his strikeouts, he could be another man in the order who sees a lot of pitches and takes his walks.

None of this will make much difference unless Sox pitchers miraculously start throwing many more strikes. The idea that young pitchers like Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Jace Fry and others are works in progress who will develop control as they mature is simply that - an idea. In this era of home runs, putting hitters on base without swinging the bat is a portent for calamity.

The Sox have 13 games remaining, seven of which are against Detroit, losers already of 104 games. The Sox have to win eight to avert 90 losses. You would think that could be a reasonable, although sad, goal. Forget the talk about 2020. Finish strong.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:38 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Spot the groupthink narrative:

* The Athletic: Eddy Pineiro's Emotional Game-Winner Serves As Early Validation For Their Kicking Competition.

* Adam Hoge, WGN Radio: Bears Get An Ugly, Yet Validating Win For Matt Nagy.

"Consider it another validating moment for Nagy, whose kicker competition tactics in the offseason were often questioned and criticized. Sunday, the winner of that competition saved the game, and maybe the Bears' season."

* Bears radio announcer Jeff Joniak: "The Bears' kicking contest was mocked, but they got the right guy."

I've already called out the narrative that Pineiro "won" Matt Nagy's offseason kicking contest, and now I'm going to have to call out the narrative that Sunday's performance "validated" Matt Nagy's offseason kicking contest.

First, let us recall this item from September 5th:

Unbearable
In case you haven't heard, the Bears open the NFL season tonight at Soldierz Field against the Packers. But we may already have in hand the season's worst take:

Actually it's the easiest thing in the world to argue.

First, it was madness! Are you kidding me?

Second, none of the nine kickers in their competition made the team! Once they were done with their scientifically, consultant-added kick-off, they went out and traded for Eddy Pineiro instead!

Oh, but that's not all. The Bears had such confidence in Pineiro that they then tried to trade for Baltimore's Kaare Vedvik. The Vikings got him instead - and he was so bad they released him.

So yeah, finding it hard to argue against the Bears' approach takes an awful lot of strenuous work, beat-sweetening and blue-and-orange-colored glasses.

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Back to today:

You could argue that Pineiro "won" the offseason kicking competititon because he's the Bears' kicker, but the fact is that the kicking contest that was mocked didn't produce Pineiro. It is true that Pineiro had to win the job over two kickers who emerged from the contest, Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry, but that's a thin reed to connect Pineiro to the spectacle many folks found bizarre. Pineiro would have been available to acquire in a trade regardless of whether Nagy held a nine-kicker contest. The only thing Pineiro had to do with Nagy's methods was competing under "Augusta Silence" conditions.

It's also hard to say Pineiro won the job when the Bears tried to replace him immediately with Vedvik.

That's not to take anything away from Pineiro. He seems like fun, and I actually approve of nicknaming him Eddie Dinero/Eddie Money.

But he did not win Nagy's contest, and therefore his performance Sunday did not vindicate Nagy's methods. In fact, the way Pineiro came to the team essentially invalidates Nagy's contest, because it failed to produce the team's kicker.

*

Also: One game does not validate anything. If Pineiro goes on to lose the next game for the Bears, is Nagy suddenly invalidated? It's preposterous.

You don't have to create and propagate narratives. Stop with the concepts. Just report. That's what Sports Illustrated did, and that's why we know how crazy the path to Pineiro actually was.

*

Reminder: I don't focus on this sort of thing because I care so much about the Bears and sports, but because I care so much about journalism. Sports coverage is a terrific parallel to political coverage in so many ways, but mostly in mindthink. This is part of how news gets manufactured, and untethered to reality. And pretty soon you hear every Jane and Dick on the street repeating the narratives and much of a citizenry has been led to believe that Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet. Journalism has a quality problem; most of it isn't very good. Most of it doesn't hold up under fact-checking. Much of it hurts people, and makes us stupider.

*

Reminder: Rahm Emanuel's early observation that the media largely trafficked in narratives has largely guided his messaging techniques.

Of course, he's not alone in the political world: People like David Axelrod get big bucks to create and embed narratives - just as elite journalists get relatively big bucks to accept those narratives and push them along or come up with their own out of their own little heads.

*

Another narrative:

I hope so, but disgraced double-doinker Cody Parkey made three field goals in three attempts in his first Bears game, against the Packers. It's. One. Game.

*

And yet, Hoge:

"And his kicker made the kick, leaving just one question from this reporter to Eddy Pineiro: Do the Bears finally have their kicker?"

That's your one question, and to the kicker? Wrong!

First, it's a question with an unknowable answer. Second, the kicker is the wrong guy to ask. Maybe ask some kicking experts!

I would have liked some reporters to actually ask Pineiro about the actual kick - how he lined up, the effect of being a mile high, the angle, the hold, the snap, what was said on the sideline before he went out there, how he felt in warm-ups - instead of how he felt.

*

Reminds me of some Cubs reporters stating the Cubs had "found their offense" upon the return of Ben Zobrist and the call-up of Nico Hoerner, right before they went back to hitting less than a blackjack player at 17.

*

I would have also liked to have seen some mention - and maybe it's somewhere, but I haven't seen it - of if this invalidates Nagy's decision last week to not allow Pineiro to attempt that 51-yarder against the Packers.

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Like many others, I'm baffled at the absence of Tarik Cohen in this season's offense. He's what really made last year's offense go.

Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush isn't baffled: "Let's face it, Tarik Cohen is an All-Pro punt returner." What?

*

At least the media has finally come around on Mitch Trubisky. He sucks.

Former Bear and current commentator Patrick Mannelly said on The Score this morning that Nagy's strategy Sunday was clearly to "limit the decision-making of Mitch Trubisky."

Trubisky is now someone the Bears have to scheme around.

"(Nagy's) limited by the guy with the ball in his hands," Mannelly said.

Even Hoge, a big Trubisky booster who picked the Bears to win the Super Bowl this year, says he's not seeing a quarterback who is processing information fast enough, which is a friendly way of saying Trubisky isn't smart enough to run Nagy's offense - or maybe any NFL offense.

Hoge also said he sees "evidence that he's not the franchise savior they thought he was when he was picked No. 2."

If Trubisky's lost Hoge . . .

Contests Better Than Nagy's

Seinfeld's.

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Gene Hackman's.

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Remembering Daniel Johnston
"Daniel Johnston, a singer-songwriter and visual artist whose childlike, haunted songs brought him acclaim as one of America's most gifted outsider voices, was found dead on Wednesday morning at his home in Waller, Tex., outside Houston. He was 58," the New York Times reports.

Johnston appeared twice on this site.

At the Bottom Lounge in 2012:

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At the Vic in 2017:

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Remembering Eddie Money
"Eddie Money, whose string of rock hits in the late 1970s and '80s included 'Baby Hold On' and 'Two Tickets to Paradise,' died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 70," the New York Times reports.

Eddie Money appeared three times on this site.

* In 2009, he was No. 60 of our Trivial Pursuit: Music Choice Edition feature: "Eddie Money was born Eddie Mahoney." The legal department of Music Choice made us take this feature down because somehow they "owned" the trivia facts we were cadging from their channel, a proposition our lawyer basically acceded to, as crazy as it sounds.

* In our 2009 post Takin' Care Of Schaumburg, it was noted that Money was among many collaborators of Randy Bachman.

* In a 2014 Local Music Notebook, we noted that Money was also a Survivor collaborator.

I was surprised to find we never captured him in performance here in our The Week In Chicago Rock and The Weekend In Chicago Rock features, though those started maybe halfway through the site's life and were discontinued in the last year or so.

Remembering Ric Ocasek
"Ric Ocasek, the songwriter, rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the Cars, was found dead on Sunday afternoon at his townhouse in Manhattan," Jon Pareles writes for New York Times.

"The New York Police Department confirmed the death but did not give a cause. Sources have differed on Mr. Ocasek's age; some say he was 70, but a few public records and previous articles about him suggest that he was 75.

"From 1978 to 1988, Mr. Ocasek (pronounced oh-CASS-eck) and the Cars merged a vision of romance, danger and nocturnal intrigue and the concision of new wave music with the sonic depth and ingenuity of radio-friendly rock. The Cars managed to please both punk-rock fans and a far broader pop audience, reaching into rock history while devising fresh, lush extensions of it."

Huh, I always pronounced it oh-CASE-eck.

*

I have mixed feelings about The Cars. And I loathed the songs and videos that people like this are tweeting out:

The first two records, though. Especially the first.

*

From our long-lost trivia feature:

"The Cars' Benjamin Orr was born Benjamin Orzechowski."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Wisconsin Is America's Goatland
And we're not talking about Aaron Rodgers.

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The Hidden Places Of World War 2
Funny how Trump has sparked a renewed interest in World War 2 because this time we're on the wrong side. Just think about that.

-> I didn't bother to check a style guide, but I always get tripped up whether I should use World War 2 or World War II. I mean, wars aren't Super Bowls.

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The U.S. Supreme Court's Border Wall Fiasco
"It is not just that the Court is siding, again and again, with Republicans and the Trump administration that causes us worry. It is that it does so on such specious grounds."

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Sinclair, ABC Light AOC On Fire
#Cubs.

-> One day the North Siders might show up on a list like this.

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How An American Country Music Pioneer Entered African Mythology
"[I]n death, [Jimmie] Rodgers would go on to inspire not just luminaries of American music, but also the Kipsigis peoples of the Rift Valley in Kenya - whose folk music found its way back to America decades later."

-> The transmission of culture.

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From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #269: Dead Team(s) Walking
Winter is here. Plus: After Over 70 Years, The Cubs On WGN Is Coming To An End; Tim Anderson Chases Obsolete Award; I AM SO SICK OF MITCH TRUBISKY; Ryan Pace Had One Job This Offseason And He Failed At It Miserably; 'Scuse Us While We Kiss The Sky; Blackhawks Open Training Camp Again!; A Chicago Bull Is Dominating The World Cup; Really Good Chicago Fire News Broke While We Were Recording This; and Chicago Red Stars Rolling.

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The White Sox Report: Start Now!
A plea to finish strong.

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SportsMonday: The Unbalanced, Obsessive-Compulsive Matt Nagy
Paging Andy Reid!

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ChicagoReddit

Failed hit and run (Lakeview) from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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BeachBook
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find at our Facebook page.

Medicaid's Dark Secret.

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American Immigration: A Century Of Racism.

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A Prison Lifer Comes Home.

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

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The Beachwood Tipz Line: Ain't no lips when you're dropping tips.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

September 13, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #269: Dead Team(s) Walking

Winter is here. Plus: After Over 70 Years, The Cubs On WGN Is Coming To An End; Tim Anderson Chases Obsolete Award; I AM SO SICK OF MITCH TRUBISKY; Ryan Pace Had One Job This Offseason And He Failed At It Miserably; 'Scuse Us While We Kiss The Sky; Blackhawks Open Training Camp Again!; A Chicago Bull Is Dominating The World Cup; Really Good Chicago Fire News Broke While We Were Recording This; and Chicago Red Stars Rolling.


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SHOW NOTES

* 269.

:16: Winter Is Here.

* SportsMonday: Glorious Fall Goes Dark.

* The Cubs are not sparking joy. Time to clean house.

* Rhodes: "We thought 2016 was the start of something. Turns out it was the end of something."

* Jason McLeod's "lateral move."

* Bernstein: The Cubs Understand They're Lagging Behind In Drafting And Player Development.

* Cubs losing every phase of the game: second-worst defense in the league, an offense even more broken than last year's including the worst production in the majors out of the leadoff spot, a bullpen melting down nightly and a 1 1/2-man rotation: Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks at home.

* Epstein Frustrated By Struggling, Uninspired Cubs: 'I Don't Think There's Any Excuse For How We're Playing.'

* Andracki: The Cubs' Leadoff Woes Are Even Worse Than You Imagined.

* PECOTA still has a chance!

37:45: After Over 70 Years, The Cubs On WGN Is Coming To An End.

* As a "superstation" with unusual reach, WGN-TV helped make the Cubs an international brand, and Wrigley Field an international destination.

43:02: Tim Anderson Chases Obsolete Award.

* Wallenstein: 3 Reasons To See The White Sox Season Through.

45:24: I AM SO SICK OF MITCH TRUBISKY.

* Take the "L" and move on!

* The secret concern the media obfuscates: Mitch is dumb.

52:37: Ryan Pace Had One Job In The Offseason And He Failed At It Miserably.

* The Bears still do not have a kicker.

1:00:57: 'Scuse Us While We Kiss The Sky.

* Diamond Shines And The Storm Surge: Lessons From The WNBA's First Round.

* The Sky features a married couple!

1:04:50: Blackhawks Open Training Camp Again!

1:05:12: A Chicago Bull Is Dominating The World Cup.

1:07:08: Really Good Chicago Fire News Broke While We Were Recording This.

1:08:08: Chicago Red Stars Rolling.

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STOPPAGE: 10:57

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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 1:14 PM | Permalink

The U.S. Supreme Court's Border Wall Fiasco

It was just over a month ago that the Supreme Court stayed the injunction prohibiting President Trump from reappropriating funds to construct the border wall. The stay has largely gotten lost in the never-ending cycle of Trump administration news - and like many of those stories, this one dropped late on a Friday evening: By a 5-4* vote, with the conservatives in the majority, the Court allowed the president to reappropriate funds that were originally set aside for the military. The decision will allow construction on the wall to begin.

Since this case was neither fully briefed nor argued, the Court did not issue a full opinion explaining its decision. Instead, the Court released a summary order suggesting there were several reasons for granting the stay. But it provided only one reason to think that the challengers would ultimately lose: "[T]he plaintiffs have no cause of action to obtain review of the Acting Secretary's compliance with Section 8005, the statutory provision that allows the Defense Secretary to transfer funds, when doing so 'is necessary in the national interest,' and the funds will be used 'for military functions (except military construction).'"

Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan would have denied the stay request entirely. And the asterisk to the 5-4 vote breakdown is that *Justice Breyer would have stayed the decision announcing the injunction, but only with respect to the government's ability "to finalize the contracts at issue," "not to begin construction" on the wall.

The Court's decision is troubling for many reasons. We will focus on just two of them.

First, the Court's reasoning does not make much sense - which suggests that the Court has reached a level of deference toward the executive branch, and perhaps toward the Trump administration in particular, that is cause for concern.

Second, the decision is another reminder of how the Court can tinker with the availability of remedies for government misconduct without adjusting the scope of available rights - which has the effect of giving the government much of what it wants without instigating as much meaningful public scrutiny or accountability.

First, the merits of the Court's analysis. And before that, some front-end definitions for those readers (and co-authors . . . ) who are not law professors who teach federal courts:

When Congress passes a law, they can also create what is called a private right of action, which is a right for plaintiffs to sue people (including government actors) for violating some statute. Without a private right of action, even people whose statutory rights are violated can't always sue someone in court.

For example, in Alexander v. Sandoval, the plaintiffs argued that Alabama's English-only drivers examinations violated a DOJ regulation promulgated under Section 602 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - and impeded their ability to get drivers licenses in the process. Before getting to that argument, though, the Court held that the plaintiffs could not sue to enforce the regulation because Congress had not given them a private right of action to enforce the statute. In Sandoval, the Court announced the general rule that private rights of action to enforce federal law must be created by Congress.

But the requirement of a private right of action applies only to alleged violations of statutes, not to alleged violations of the Constitution. If you want to sue someone for violating one of Congress's statutes, you need Congress's go-ahead to do so. If you want to sue someone for violating your constitutional rights, however, you should be able to go right ahead and do that.

You can think of the distinction like this: when the Constitution was ratified by "the People" (at least the white, male people) the People delegated to Congress the authority to pass laws which they (Congress) could change and alter as they please. But Congress can't just change the Constitution as they please, because that power is retained by the People under Article V. When someone violates a statute they are violating Congress's will and therefore Congress is responsible for determining what happens next, not individual citizens. But when someone violates the Constitution they are violating the rights retained by the People, and therefore individuals can sue to get federal courts to stop their rights from being violated.

Sandoval involved only the claim that Alabama had violated a DOJ regulation/federal statute, not a Constitutional violation. That is not the nature of the border wall suit. The complaint in the border wall case alleges that the president violated both statutes and the Constitution when he reappropriated money to construct the wall. And the complaint is explicit on this point: The plaintiffs' second claim for relief is specifically entitled "Separation of Powers, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution." (That is also their third claim, and the fourth claim alleges a violation of the "Presentment Clause, Article I, Section 7, Clause 2 [of the Constitution].") And in contrast to the rule that Congress must authorize suits to enforce particular statutes, the Court has emphasized that "the ability to sue to enjoin unconstitutional actions by state and federal officers is the creation of courts of equity, and reflects a long history of judicial review of illegal executive action, tracing back to England." (Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Ctr., Inc.)

Even when someone wants to sue because of a violation of statute, a statute explicitly creating a private right of action is not always required. In particular, a private right of action is not required to seek equitable relief (i.e., declaratory judgments and injunctions rather than money) to restrain the executive branch. And that is what the plaintiffs in the border wall suit are seeking - equitable relief. The Court has said that "the equity jurisdiction of the federal courts is the jurisdiction in equity exercised by the High Court of Chancery in England at the time of the adoption of the Constitution," (Grupo Mexicano de Desarrollo v. Alliance Bond Fund), and so "equitable relief . . . is traditionally available" even in the absence of a statutory cause of action (Armstrong).

Over the years, the Court has consistently stated this rule in various ways:

We ordinarily presume that Congress intends the executive to obey its statutory commands and, accordingly, that it expects the courts to grant relief when an executive agency violates such a command. (Bowen v. Mich. Academy of Family Physicians)

Or take this footnote from Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB, in which the Court, just 10 years ago, allowed a private party to seek an injunction invalidating the structure of the PCAOB on constitutional grounds:

The Government asserts that "petitioners have not pointed to any case in which this Court has recognized an implied private right of action directly under the Constitution to challenge governmental action under the Appointments Clause or separation-of-powers principles." The Government does not appear to dispute such a right to relief as a general matter, without regard to the particular constitutional provisions at issue here. See, e.g., Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 74 (2001) (equitable relief "has long been recognized as the proper means for preventing entities from acting unconstitutionally"); Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 684 (1946) ("[I]t is established practice for this Court to sustain the jurisdiction of federal courts to issue injunctions to protect rights safeguarded by the Constitution"); see also Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 149, 165, 167 (1908). If the Government's point is that an Appointments Clause or separation-of-powers claim should be treated differently than every other constitutional claim, it offers no reason and cites no authority why that might be so.

You can make the same point about the Appropriations Clause or Presentment Clause, in addition to the border wall plaintiffs' separation-of-powers claims. Some of the above cases underscore that the Court has occasionally contrasted the general availability of suits that seek equitable relief for constitutional violations with its stinginess when it comes to suits that seek damages for constitutional violations.

But the important point is that the Court has, time and time again, agreed to review an equitable claim that the president or an agency exceeded its constitutional or statutory powers - including in major presidential power cases like Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer or Dames & Moore v. Regan.

To be sure, Congress can make the choice to preclude equitable claims in some cases. But there is no argument that Congress did so here - except by failing to explicitly create an affirmative cause of action, which the cases cited above make perfectly clear does not deprive the plaintiffs of a cause of action. More importantly, the plaintiffs' suit isn't even to enforce these statutes: The plaintiffs' claim is that the president lacks the funds and can't appropriate them under the Constitution; the administration's defense is that a statute (in particular, section 8005) allows the president to appropriate the relevant funds.

In fairness, there is some slippage between at least one of the constitutional arguments here and a statutory claim. Under the governing Youngstown framework, in order to figure out whether Article II authorizes some presidential action, you look to see whether Congress has authorized the action - including through statute (or through acquiescence). But it doesn't follow that there is an exception to the general rule of judicial review of illegal executive action when the equitable claim for relief is that the president exceeded his constitutional powers. That exception would contradict the rule that equitable relief against illegal executive action is presumptively available.

The weakness of the single merits argument that the Court made to support its conclusion substantiates the concern motivating one of Linda Greenhouse's recent columns - that the costs of this decision include the Court's reputation. It is not just that the Court is siding, again and again, with Republicans and the Trump administration that causes us worry. It is that it does so on such specious grounds.

But that is just the first concern with the Court's stay order. The second concern is the implications of the Court's position, which is part of a recent trend of withdrawing remedies in cases involving constitutional or statutory violations. The general gist of the trend is that he Court has, over time, whittled away the availability of different remedies for constitutional violations without modifying the scope of the underlying rights. Think of the exclusionary rule (where the Court has crafted myriad exceptions), suits for damages (where the Court has expanded the scope of qualified immunity), or habeas corpus (where the Court has likewise ratcheted up the threshold for relief). Leah has written about this phenomenon in this article.

One of the concerns with this trend is that it allows the Court to practically and effectively authorize unlawful government action and restrict rights (since the rights are unenforceable, except as refracted through the Court's remedial standards) without having to be accountable for doing so. Decisions that turn on technical questions like the existence of a cause of action or the scope of qualified immunity tend to capture less public attention and coverage than decisions about the scope of the underlying constitutional rights. (Consider, for example, Carpenter v. United States, which generated a ton of commentary and coverage when the Court recognized that the Fourth Amendment is implicated by extensive government GPS tracking. Mr. Carpenter's conviction was subsequently upheld by the lower federal courts because the court concluded that the evidence did not have to be excluded from his trial, in light of one of the exceptions to the exclusionary rule.) Thus, these decisions allow the Court to accomplish the same troubling consequences without any of the accompanying accountability or scrutiny.

There is at least one upcoming case this term that could be a part of this trend - a case that actually presents the question whether the plaintiffs have a cause of action. That case is Hernandez v. Mesa, which is now back up at the Court for a second time. The case involves the tragic shooting of a 15-year old Mexican national who was allegedly hiding under the culvert at the Texas-Mexico border when a customs and border patrol officer shot and killed him without provocation, in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. (His family alleges in the complaint that he and his friends were playing a game where they would run up and touch the United States side of the border fence.) The question the Court will address is whether the plaintiffs have a cause of action to sue the CBP officer who shot and killed their son for damages.

The case may not garner a lot of headlines or attention. But it is deeply significant when thinking about how to hold law enforcement officers accountable for executive overreach, including unlawful killings. And like the border wall case apparently did, the case now depends on whether the plaintiffs have a remedy for the unlawful action. That may not be as easy to explain or as headline grabbing as an issue like "did the officer violate the Fourth Amendment?" but it is no less important, as the border wall case underscores.

Disclosure: Leah is among the counsel to the Hernandez family in Hernandez v. Mesa.

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See also:

* The New Yorker: A Green Light On The Border Wall As Trump's Supreme Court Victories Mount.

* Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court Rules For Trump On Asylum Ban At Southern Border.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

Sinclair, ABC Light AOC On Fire

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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.

* Sinclair Completes Acquisition Of Regional Sports Networks From Disney.

* Sinclair Rampage Continues: Acquires 20% Interest In YES Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:40 AM | Permalink

The Hidden Places Of World War 2

Four decades after the launch of World War II, a new book journeys us to places few have been.

In The Hidden Places of World War II: The Extraordinary Sites Where History Was Made During The War That Saved Civilization (Lyons Press/Rowman & Littlefield), Navy veteran, award-winning journalist, and recognized historian Jerome M. O'Connor takes readers back to the world's biggest and most significant war, to the overlooked places to describe little-known events where history was made.

Many of the sites were thought to be closed or locked away forever or believed to never have existed. Some of the war-changing events described here were ignored for decades by military historians. With historical and contemporary photos, the book opens the eyes of both a new and older generation of readers, in an exploration of the actual locations that changed history.

hiddenwarplaces.jpg

O'Connor (www.historyarticles.com) has had many firsts over the years, as a contributor to the Chicago Tribune, Naval History magazine, British Heritage, and other publications, including being the first to write about Churchill's secret war rooms in 1977. The U.S. Naval Institute, in 2000, awarded him "Author of the Year," acknowledging his writings as "significant contributions to the history of World War II."

The book brings to life the side of the war few have seen. Many military history readers are unaware that all five of the Atlantic Nazi U-boat bunker bases not only exist in nearly their original appearance but can also be visited.

Many of the one-time Army Air Force bases in England contain parts of runways, crew quarters, chapels and hangars.

In Nuremberg, Hitler's vast parade grounds with intact grandstands, half-finished 50,000 capacity congress hall, and even his reviewing podium projecting into the grounds, remain three quarters of a century later.

In London, enter a grand mansion where 59 captured Nazi generals had generous privileges and nearly open access to the house, with every word they spoke being secretly recorded from hidden microphones inside and out. These are among the many places revealed that were overlooked by history.

"Secret missions, hidden war rooms, code breakers, and top secret orders," O'Connor says. "This book has it all. If you are a history buff, a war veteran, or just a curious student of the most significant time in this nation's modern history, you will find many items to explore here."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:11 AM | Permalink

How An American Country Music Pioneer Entered African Mythology

In 1933, country music pioneer Jimmie Rodgers died of tuberculosis. Just 35 years old and at the peak of his career, his demise left a legacy of a life and career unfinished.

This installment from the animator Drew Christie's Drawn & Recorded series, which tells little-known stories from the annals of modern music history, recounts the improbable story of how, in death, Rodgers would go on to inspire not just luminaries of American music, but also the Kipsigis peoples of the Rift Valley in Kenya - whose folk music found its way back to America decades later.

Director: Drew Christie

Writers: Drew Christie, Bill Flanagan

Narrator: T Bone Burnett

Producers: T Bone Burnett, Bill Flanagan, Van Toffler

Website: Gunpowder & Sky

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:49 AM | Permalink

Wisconsin Is America's Goatland

Wisconsin's self-proclaimed moniker as "America's Dairyland" is taking on fresh meaning in the 21st century thanks to a growing market for milk from an animal that bleats rather than moos.

While the state's traditional dairy cattle industry continues to hemorrhage producers at a record pace, Wisconsin's dairy goat industry is in the midst of a long-term, and accelerating, growth spurt. Indeed, in 2019 Wisconsin can reasonably claim to be America's dairy (goat) land.

agriculture-money-dairy-goats-growth-laclare-1.jpgLet 'em bleat/LaClare Family Creamery

Data from the United States Department of Agriculture, which counts livestock across the United States every 5 years, shows just how much Wisconsin dominates the nation's dairy goat industry. In 2017, the most recent year the USDA surveyed producers, the size of Wisconsin's dairy goat herd easily topped the nation at more than 83,000-head. California came in a distant second, with some 43,000 dairy goats, while Iowa, Texas and Missouri rounded out the top five.

It's not only the sheer size of Wisconsin's dairy goat herd that stands out: The state also leads the nation in the value of sales from dairy goat operations and is the epicenter of national growth in goat dairy.


While these figures give Wisconsin producers bragging rights among their peers elsewhere, they also reveal just how much, and how quickly, the industry has grown in the state in recent years.

Between 2002, when the state's herd amounted to about 26,000 goats, and 2017, the number of dairy goats in the state skyrocketed some 222%.


This explosive growth - about half of which occurred in the five years between 2012 and 2017 - has even caught some producers off guard.

"It would've really surprised me when we started 10 years ago that now there would be so many goats in the state," said Becky Mills, who milks 110 goats and 280 cattle in Winnebago County with her husband, Marvin, and their son.

Wisconsin's Dairy Goat Dominance

The industry's growth is especially astonishing given its humble beginnings in the 1980s, when tariff threats prompted a scrappy upstart from France to bring European-style goat dairy processing to rural Wisconsin.

Arnaud Solandt moved with his parents from France to the U.S. in 1983. At the time, his father represented French food manufacturers to foreign markets and agreed to a four-year stint abroad. Solandt had just graduated from high school and decided to follow his parents and attend college in the U.S., but tragedy struck two years later when a car wreck killed his father and severely injured his mother. With his mother requiring care and two younger sisters at home, Solandt said he had little choice but to alter his plans.

"I had to get working," he said. "My father had been representing a French goat cheese company at the time, and the owner asked if I could get involved for a few months answering calls at the office and taking orders."

Then, a long-running trade spat between Europe and the U.S. over the use of hormones in American beef came to a head when widespread boycotts of American veal in European countries including France, Italy and Germany prompted U.S. officials to threaten a 100% tariff on French cheese.

"It was only a threat, but [American] buyers wanted to hold off on their purchases," Solandt said. "So I asked my [employers] 'Why not make goat cheese in the U.S.?' They said it wouldn't be easy, but find some goats and find a building and we'll see."

Solandt traveled far and wide in search of a region with enough dairy goats to start a cheese processing operation, he said, from Minnesota to Oregon and beyond. It was at a goat conference in California where he met a dairy goat farmer from Wisconsin who told him about a small dairy-goat cooperative in the south central part of the state that might fit what he was after.

At the time there were only about 5,500 dairy goats in Wisconsin, according to the USDA, with a quarter of them concentrated in Columbia and Dane Counties. Solandt soon came to an agreement with the co-op to purchase milk, and together with his French partners purchased an abandoned cheddar processing plant in Preston, in Adams County.


 

"The threat of tariffs was lifted at that point," Solandt said. "But there wasn't much risk and the building was very cheap. We found something in Wisconsin that was very good."

On July 4, 1989, the new company, called Montchevre, accepted its first milk delivery. After a couple years struggling to make ends meet, business began taking off in the early 1990s, Solandt said. Eventually, Montchevre bought a much larger processing plant in Belmont, in Lafayette County, and cultivated a milk supply network that steadily grew the dairy goat industry in Wisconsin and eastern Iowa.

By the time Solandt and his business partners sold the company to the Montreal-based dairy processor Saputo in 2017, Montchevre had 320 employees, contracts with about 500 farms and was the top-selling brand of goat cheese in the U.S.

Raising Dairy Goats Can Be Tricky

The Mills in Winnebago County are among the roughly 500 farms that contracted with Montechevre and now sell milk to Saputo. The family entered the dairy goat business in 2009 after years of experience milking cattle and quite a bit of research about what to expect with goats, Becky Mills said.

She noted that while there are important differences between cattle and goats, including what she called their "vastly different" nutritional needs, Mills believes having a history in traditional dairy helped ease the transition to goats. She's witnessed numerous people enthusiastically start milking goats without enough preparation only to realize how difficult it can be to produce high-quality milk and turn a profit.

"I'm thankful I have a background with dairy cattle," she said. "The number of people that just decided that they're going to milk goats because they think there's money in it and they jump in completely blind is astounding."

agriculture-money-dairy-goats-growth-laclare-3.jpgLaClare Family Creamery

Anna Thompson Hajdik, vice president of the Wisconsin Dairy Goat Association, said there are several common misconceptions about dairy goat farming that can lead to trouble for new producers who haven't done their homework. Chief among them is that goats are fine, or even thrive on, eating substandard forage.

"One of the kind of grand myths out there about the dairy goat world is that goats will eat anything," Thompson Hajdik said in an interview on Wisconsin Public Radio's The Morning Show. "And that is a myth that, you know, so many of us in the industry are really . . . working hard to dispel. They are actually quite finicky."

In fact, Thompson Hajdik said in a follow-up interview with WisContext, achieving high-quality goat milk can require even more nutritional care than in cattle.

"Goats are a little more high-maintenance than cows, and getting a high level of performance means really tailoring the diet in some ways even more than cows," she said.

Feeding goats the right diet to achieve high-quality milk can be tough, Mills said, especially in years like 2019, when cold and wet conditions led to a rise in hay and grain prices. These and other expenses can be too much for many new and smaller producers to handle, as evidenced in the churn of dairy goat operations in Wisconsin.

Between 2002 and 2017, the number of dairy goat farms in the state grew by about 350, but that overall growth, concentrated in southwest and western Wisconsin, masks the industry's volatility. A quarter of Wisconsin counties actually had fewer dairy goat farms in 2017 than in 2002.


 

The finicky nature of dairy goats can also make scaling up an operation more difficult, Thompson Hajdik said, which is one reason why the average dairy goat herd in the U.S. includes only 15 goats. However, there are signs that Wisconsin's industry is becoming more consolidated.

Wisconsin's Largest Dairy Goat Businesses

The only measure of dairy goat farming that USDA tracks where Wisconsin lags behind other states is in its total number of dairy goat farms. With just a little over 1,000 farms, Wisconsin ranks 14th in the nation, slightly fewer than California and a number of other Midwestern states and well behind Texas, which boasts more than 3,600 farms.

As a result, the average size of Wisconsin's dairy goat herds tops the nation, signaling a more developed, and more consolidated, local industry.


 

For example, a pair of massive new farms in Calumet County have demonstrated that, with enough capital, scaling up a goat operation in Wisconsin is possible. The farms include Drumlin Dairy, which milks about 8,000 goats and contracts with Saputo, as well as the nearby Chilton Dairy, which has capacity to milk between 6,500 and 9,000 goats and supplies LaClare Family Creamery in Malone, in Fond du Lac County. Chilton Dairy is owned by Milk Source, which also operates several of the state's largest dairy cattle operations.

Meanwhile, Drumlin is a venture of the owners of Holsum Dairy, another large dairy cattle producer in the state. When Holsum announced the new venture in 2016, those in the industry said it would easily be the largest dairy goat operation in the nation.

The two farms, which are located just 7 miles from each other in the town of Brothertown, milk as much as 20% of the state's dairy goats, accounting for a large part of the growth seen in the state's herd in recent years.

Though Drumlin Dairy and Chilton Dairy are enormous, they do not necessarily qualify as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Wisconsin. Known as a CAFO, this type of business must house an equivalent of at least 1,000 animal units, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which defines one goat as one-tenth of an animal unit. That means a goat dairy would have to be at least 10,000-head to meet the threshold for air and water quality standards that come with a CAFO permit.

Drumlin Dairy is regulated under a CAFO permit for Holsum that includes nearby dairy cattle operations, according to Raechelle Cline, a spokesperson for the WDNR.

Management at both Drumlin and Chilton dairies declined to comment, as did representatives at Saputo.

However, Drumlin Dairy general manager Kevin Wellejus told Green Bay's Fox 11 in 2016 that Holsum was "approached by processors" to fulfill demand for goat milk in the state.

Meanwhile, Larry Hedrich, who owns and operates LaClare Family Creamery with his family, said that a contract with Chilton Dairy has allowed his processing business to flourish. The Hedrich family has milked dairy goats since the 1970s, and today milks several thousand goats. Unlike most Wisconsin producers, however, they no longer sell their milk but process it into dairy products on-site in what is known as a farmstead creamery operation.

"We had come to the conclusion that if we were to survive in the long-term we had to add value to our milk," Hedrich said. "And that caused us to look at processing milk products."

agriculture-money-dairy-goats-growth-laclare-2.jpgLaClare Family Creamery

After a trip to Europe in 2009 to study how farmstead operations there work, the Hedrich family jumped into the business, with Larry's daughter, Katie, becoming a cheesemaker. Business steadily grew, Hedrich said, sometimes faster than they could manage.

"We ran short on milk for the first few years until I talked to Milk Source," Hedrich said. "The [contract] with Chilton Dairy is what's allowed our plant here to grow."

More broadly, Hedrich points to Wisconsin's extensive dairy infrastructure as key to growth of the wider industry.

Even with the success of businesses like Montchevre and LaClare in Wisconsin, some are anxious that the industry's growth is beginning to crowd out smaller producers, leading to a dynamic that is somewhat reminiscent of the dairy cattle industry, said Mills and Thompson Hajdik.

There are only a few major goat milk processing plants in the state, including Saputo, that contract with smaller farms, and they can exercise considerable power over producers by dictating milk hauling routes and determining when to accept new supply contracts. As of fall 2019, Saputo was not accepting new contracts, according to Mills, but potential plans for an expansion of its plant in Lancaster, in Grant County, could significantly add capacity and demand for more milk.

Still, Mills remains concerned that potential smaller producers could be left on the sidelines as larger operations fulfill demand among processors.

"Why should the plants go to 10 little guys if there's one big one?" said Mills.

The farmstead route can be an expensive risk itself, made even riskier by new producers who might find the notion of producing artisanal goat cheese more romantic than financially feasible, Thompson Hajdik said.

"For people wanting to get into goats, the biggest thing is you've got to have a plant that's willing to take your milk before you take the leap," she said. "People can have stars in their eyes about goats and making a living milking goats, but the economics of it is just so complex. We're in a better place overall than dairy cattle, but when you have these 7,000-head dairies coming in, you're starting to see similar dynamics. As a small producer, there's just so much that's out of your control, particularly if you're going to just milk goats and sell your milk. That kind of tension is something a lot of people don't realize."

This post was originally published on WisContext as part of 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.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:58 AM | Permalink

Black Athletes Have A Trump Card They Are Not Using Enough

Few things are as ensconced an American tradition as football - except the exploitation of black labor and police harassment of black folk. Black people make up 13 percent of the population but comprise 31 percent of the people killed by police and 39 percent of people killed while not attacking, according to a Vox analysis of FBI data. Regardless of educational level, blacks are consistently paid less than whites. Black exploitation is American as apple pie.

And black men make up 70 percent of the football players in the NFL.

There's a disconnect between the cultural and economic power that black athletes wield and the way they are treated - and it's time that they ignored critics and leveraged that power to boost black communities.

One of those critics is businessman and rapper Jay-Z, who recently launched a partnership with the NFL to help produce the Super Bowl halftime show and other events.

At the news conference to announce the venture, he said that he has "moved past kneeling," referring to players' protests against police brutality.

Many people have not moved on, particularly former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who ignited the movement and remains without a job after being blackballed by the league.

As long as the systemic and inequitable treatment of black people persists, players should not move past kneeling. When it comes to power and leverage, black athletes hold a trump card. Without black athletes, Friday night lights, homecoming, sports betting and the economies of entire cities wouldn't look the same. It's hard to think of any effort that has successfully sought to change the culture that allows this race-based police brutality and labor exploitation that has done so without significant contributions from black athletes. If our most famous athletes can take a stand, then maybe we all can.

This reality is at the heart of the argument raised by former ESPN host turned Atlantic columnist Jemele Hill in her essay, "It's Time For Black Athletes To Leave White Colleges."

Hill argues that the revenue and prestige that predominantly white colleges receive from big-time athletics is derived from the exploitation of black men. Although black men make up only 2.4 percent of the total undergraduate population of the 65 schools in the "so-called Power Five athletic conferences," Hill writes, they make up "55 percent of the football players in those conferences, and 56 percent of basketball players."

Meanwhile, historically black colleges and universities, known as HBCUs - which, Hill argues, provide better educational environments for black students - are struggling to generate revenue from athletics. She urges black athletes to work collectively to become part of programs at HBCUs, and transform HBCU sports into the ones to watch.

Of course, saying that black students should go to HBCUs prompted a backlash that the essay was "racist" and "promoting segregation."

But Hill's argument is sound. On the field, black athletes' labor is exploited while colleges make millions off their success. And when the students graduate, they still have to live in the same world as the rest of us, in which their trophies cannot protect them from being harassed and exploited.

Just last year, a police officer was caught on video harassing Milwaukee Bucks basketball player Sterling Brown. The officer can be heard saying, "Sorry, I don't follow the Bucks. I didn't recognize you. I didn't recognize your famous name."

We know that when our athletes take a stand, everyone takes notice. In November 2015, black members of the football team at the University of Missouri showed their support of Jonathan Butler, a graduate student who went on hunger strike to draw attention to the failure of the university system president to address racism on campus. The footballers offered administrators an ultimatum: The president had to go or the team wouldn't play. The very next morning, he resigned.

Kaepernick recognized his own power when he took a knee - and as fellow players followed suit, the NFL had to recognize that power, too. What if black athletes across sports and different levels exercised their power collectively like the Missouri football team? I'm pretty sure that kind of collective effort has a greater likelihood of producing the kind of change in policing that black people want to see than the halftime shows Jay-Z plans to produce.

Jemele Hill's call for black athletes to take their talents to HBCUs isn't a radical one; black athletes have the economic leverage and the moral high ground to disrupt inequality. The only people who advise otherwise are those benefiting from the status quo.

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

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

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

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

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

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

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

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

* 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.

* The Importance Of The 1619 Project.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:05 AM | Permalink

September 11, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Tuesday, because it was Day 2 of Doing Taxes. Today is Day 3.

Of course, so much of Doing Taxes is not the actual taxes part, it's the set-up and infrastructure. Ready to print out the forms you need? Great! Uh-oh, the printer is out of paper.

Now, there's a ton of paper around here because I live in an art studio. All kinds of funky paper. But paper that the IRS will accept, i.e., standard white 8 X 11 without holes or unicorns or embossed revolutionary slogans? That's a different story.

Fortunately, I have my own secret stash. Unfortunately, I have no idea where it is, and even if found, I would need the Navy SEALS to extract it. Looks like I'm off to Walgreens!

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Back from Walgreens and, whew, is it hot out there. I hate summer! Fall all year 'round is the life for me. Anyway, got the fan pointed right at me and now the printer is full of nice, beautiful paper from a nice, beautiful sheaf, because I just wanted to say sheaf. Print!

Oops, looks like this printer needs a new ink cartridge. Again, call in the Navy SEALS. But wait! I have a printer socked away in that one closet by the kitchen and I bet it still has ink cartridges in it! Now I'm the Navy SEAL, maneuvering this thing out of its place in that closet where, for all I know and by all appearances, it is holding the entire building up. Oh well, worth it.

Extracted! Building still standing. And sure enough, cartridges! I don't remember them being so hard to remove, and now there's ink all over my fingers, but cartridges!

Now that I've got the cartridges out of that printer, I need to put the cartridges in this partridges. But how? Oh, I see. Behind that door with the tape job that keeps it in place so the printer continues to work properly instead of shut down because the door (flap?) is loose. And I am not going to violate the integrity of that tape job, which I sense from the look of it my roommate spent hours applying to get just right. And for all I know these cartridges don't even work in that printer. (Spoiler: they don't.)

Now, who has a printer I can use? The clock is ticking! My taxes are due on the 15th, but I need to send out a particular form to my one (of two) remaining investor before then. And it comes to me: I can send a print job to the local UPS store. Yay, local UPS store! They will even deliver, but even I'm not that lazy, though if they brought lunch with them they might have a deal.

So I send them my print job, go pick up my print job, and now I'm ready to Do My Taxes. But wait. This form looks weird. WTF? What did Trump do to the 1040? Oh christ, the 1040 has been redesigned and part of it is now a different form altogether and I need that form, which means another print job and another trip to the UPS store to pick it up, and boy am I hungry. Idea: UPS should also be United Pizza Store. Pizza and parcels! Delivered.

Okay, now I'm ready. Ready to do some math. This year I swear I'm going to be more careful about how I carry losses forward (I'm an S Corp), because I'm almost out of losses to carry and I think I've carried more losses forward in previous years than necessary. What I don't count on is how that will negatively impact my state taxes. Dammit! C'mon, Pritzker!

There must be an optimal solution, but do I have the patience to work out what it is? I do not. But I will spend part of today reviewing the matter because I'm already incensed that I'm paying more in taxes than Amazon and a bunch of billionaires, and boo hoo, somebody's gotta pay for society, you jackwagons. Maybe it should be those who manipulate and destroy it to their advantage.

See also: Richest Could Lose Hundreds Of Billions Under Warren's Wealth Tax.

First, this article is about the 15 richest Americans. Must be nice to be catered to so! Let me tell you something, you could cut the richest Americans' treasures by 90 percent and they wouldn't notice anything missing, that's how rich they are. Maybe that's a reality TV show! See how long producers can whittle away at their fortune until they notice something missing. "Honey, I swear I had 495 cars but today I only count 494! Maybe I left it at our 12th house, or do we only have 11, because one seems to be missing . . . "

Also, this is certainly one way to frame an article - and I realize it's based on an academic paper that framed the question this way - but another way to frame it would be: "Richest Would Finally Pay Their Fair Share Under Warren's Tax Plan."

The media's insistence on framing everything through the prism of the wealthiest and most powerful in our society has been hugely damaging to our political discourse, to say the least. The media is hugely complicit in life-and-death inequities.

Anyway, maybe next year I'll hire a lobbyist to find a clever way to exempt me from taxes. Or I'll find a way to become a walking TIF district. I'm blight in motion, people!

Opportunity Zones? Didn't we used to call those Enterprise Zones? All I know is, they don't work.

And bam, here it is:

"President Trump has portrayed America's cities as wastelands, ravaged by crime and homelessness, infested by rats," the New York Times reports.

"But the Trump administration's signature plan to lift them - a multibillion-dollar tax break that is supposed to help low-income areas - has fueled a wave of developments financed by and built for the wealthiest Americans.

"Among the early beneficiaries of the tax incentive are billionaire financiers like Leon Cooperman and business magnates like Sidney Kohl - and Mr. Trump's family members and advisers."

The point of those schemes is never to help the poor. Or, rather, the rich find a way to turn everything to their advantage, including helping the poor, as long as the poor are never actually helped.

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At least I have the Cubs to fall back on. Not. Has any team ever had more "worst" losses in a season?

It's like getting broken up with over and over by the same person. "I get it, you don't like me anymore! You don't have to keep explaining!"

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Okay, I'm gonna get some 7-11 coffee (paging Fred Klonsky, who is utterly disbelieving that I consume 7-11 coffee in a neighborhood - Logan Square - so suffused with coffee shops that you can get a coffee contact high just walking down the street, but I like 7-11 coffee, and the coffee "bar" there has all kinds of neat fixins, including little marshmallows) and Finish My Taxes. And then I'll have to go back to the UPS store to make copies for my records, and then go to the post office to mail the originals to the good IRS folks of Cincinnati, because that's where my taxes go for some reason, so there's a lot more left that can go wrong.

And then my brother and his wife arrive in town for the weekend. "Hey, there's a great place for coffee down on the corner . . . it's called '7-11.' Get me a large French Vanilla, and two French Vanilla creamers, which I use to make it more French Vanilla-y. And throw some sprinkles in there. I bet you don't get coffee like this in Minnesota!"

Also, this. Mmmm, liquid candied crack . . .

But I'm not talking about French Vanilla coffee that comes out of a machine - though, god, I wish I was! - but French Vanilla coffee made in an actual pot and brewed right there in front of you, in a pot with a label on its handle that says "French Vanilla" on it.

And it is coffee.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Failed Mayor Rahm Emanuel Yuks It Up With Failed Governor Chris Christie On ABC's Expert Panel
Wanting to deny people health care is hilarious.

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Reminder: Rahm is a banker now. He could've done anything in his post-mayoral life. He doesn't need more money. He decided to make more money. That tells you everything you need to know about his core being. He wants to be something (a man of wealth and influence), not do something (solve problems and help people when it's not just a coincidental byproduct of his politics).

What these people do in their post-political careers matters for what it tells us about them. (Paging Jimmy Carter.) My favorite example is former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who campaigned for the U.S. Senate on behalf of the middle class, but upon losing went to work in wealth management - managing wealth for the wealthy.

Then there are the Daleys. They love the city so much! But after leaving City Hall, Richard M. Daley went to work investing in Russia and sitting on boards of companies like Coke. So much for rebuilding souls.

And Bill, who just spent months telling us how much he cares about the city and everything he was gonna do for us?

"Bill Daley," the Tribune recently noted, "has joined the Bank of New York Mellon as a top executive and moved to Manhattan.

"Daley told the Tribune he won't sell his Chicago home and plans to return to the city. In the meantime, he has rented a place in New York, where he'll spend 'the vast majority' of his time."

I wonder where he'll pay his taxes.

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Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire
"The penetration of sexual lubricants in North America is high, and the market revenue has been increasing steadily."

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Positive Coaching, Align!
Founder of youth sports organization passes torch.

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ChicagoReddit

ELI5: What are the economics of a tiny and inexpensive 2 floor motel (The Ohio House) occupying the corner of the Ohio and Lasalle? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Chicago ball.

A post shared by Diallo Wilson (@sonnydwilson) on

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ChicagoTube

Adam Ant at the Vic on Saturday night.

That music's lost its taste so try another flavor . . .

My favorite version of this song, though, is by the Blue Ribbon Glee Club - especially the part that has (I'm pretty sure) kazoos. I'm not certain because I'm usually in the next room listening when they practice at my house every Monday night. But it sounds like kazoos - or them imitating kazoos. Anyway, here's some other fine selections of theirs that I highly recommend.

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BeachBook

For Years, Willie Wright Has Terrorized Women In Andersonville, Victims Say. What Will It Take To Stop Him?

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A Trump Family Must-Read.

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'Someone's Gotta Tell the Freakin' Truth': Jerry Falwell's Aides Break Their Silence.

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Is Crinkle Concrete The Next Architectural Trend?

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

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They're not getting paid the big bucks to tell you the truth. Also, don't let them go off the record. Also, they get rewarded for lying and don't care what you think. Also, stop talking to them so much.

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The Beachwood Tippage Line: Tippage.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:50 AM | Permalink

September 10, 2019

Failed Mayor Rahm Emanuel Yuks It Up With Failed Governor Chris Christie On ABC's Expert Panel

The ABC political show This Week on Sunday devoted a chunk of time to attacking Medicare for All, drawing fire for the segment's panel makeup and language.

Of particular gall was the fact that the panel's nominal liberal was former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a fiercely right-wing Democrat whose decades-long career in Washington, as Intercept editor Ryan Grim recently detailed in his book "We've Got People," has been devoted to stifling the party's progressive wing.

rahm_christie.png

Sunday was no different as Emanuel, now an investment banker with the firm Center View Partners, took aim at Medicare for All by framing the broadly popular policy proposal as a danger to Democratic electoral hopes in 2020.

During the discussion, Emanuel attacked progressive calls for Medicare for All. Both men claimed that voters would viscerally reject any attempt to change the nation's healthcare system, both by getting rid of private insurance and offering care to non-citizens.

Recounting how he recently "biked around Lake Michigan, nearly 1,000 miles, through Michigan and Wisconsin," Emanuel said that at diners in the two Midwestern states, one constant theme emerged.

"Nobody at a diner ran at me and said, take my healthcare away," said Emanuel.

Likely accurate.

Besides, why would someone make such a plea to a disgraced ex-mayor who has nothing to do with their health care?

Also:

The former mayor was joined during the panel discussion by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a staunch Republican and longtime supporter of President Donald Trump. The duo were joined by Rich Lowry, editor of hard-right magazine National Review, ABC reporter Mary Bruce and Axios reporter Alexi McCammond. So, ideologically well-balanced. 🙄

Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid added that the hostility around Medicare for All on network shows is becoming hard to ignore.

The right tilt of the three partisan members of the show was noted by Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel.

Emanuel has been an ABC contributor since July.

Julie Oliver, a Democrat running for Congress in Texas' 25th district, opined on Twitter that Emanuel's position at the network might have something to do with the temperature of his takes on progressive priorities.

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

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See also:

* Splinter: Exactly Nobody Needed This.

* Tribune: Mayor Emanuel Gets Chummy With GOP Ex-Gov. Chris Christie.

* The Contrary Perspective: ABC's Obnoxious Tag Team: Christie And Emanuel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

Founder Of Positive Coaching Alliance Passes Torch

The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), the leading non-profit dedicated to transforming youth sports to provide character development in youth athletes, announced Monday that Chris Moore will succeed the organization's founder as CEO.

With leadership experience at some of the country's largest and most influential youth sports organizations, Moore will continue to build on founder Jim Thompson's mission since he established PCA two decades ago: to transform youth sports so sports can transform youth.

Moore will report to the PCA's Board of Directors and will be charged with taking the organization to the next level of growth while leading the national effort to promote positivity in youth sports as a way to increase participation and enjoyment for kids and develop them as people of character.

"I'm proud of all we've achieved in the past 20 years, but we have only scratched the surface of youth sport's potential to develop the kind of high-character people our world will need to face the coming daunting challenges," said Thompson. "I am excited about Chris taking PCA to the next level of impact. He has the experience, skills, passion, character and vision needed to do so and I will do everything I can to help him."

pcalogo.png

The PCA has conducted thousands of live group workshops nationwide and offers invaluable educational resources with its online Development Zone Resource Center for high school and youth sports leaders, coaches, parents and athletes. The organization has grown to a national presence of 18 local chapters, a staff of 70 and nearly 200 trainers creating a positive, character-building youth sports environment for millions of youth athletes.

"As a PCA partner for more than four years, I have seen first-hand what this organization's focus on the character-building benefits of youth sports can accomplish," said Moore. "I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to capitalize on the national awareness and training structure that Jim and his amazing team have created and solidify PCA's position as a leading voice on youth sports in America."

A veteran of the industry, Moore has driven considerable growth at both nonprofit and corporate organizations over the past 25 years. Most recently, as CEO of US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sports organization in the country, Moore accelerated revenue growth by creating value for its 55 local state associations and more than 6,000 clubs and leagues across the country. He also increased sponsorship and partnership engagement, rebranded the Association and mobilized an army of nearly one million grassroots volunteers to help transform the lives of 3 million youth soccer participants.

Prior to US Youth Soccer, Moore was president and chief operating officer of GENYOUTH, where he facilitated the organization's growth from a start-up to a high-performing, youth empowerment organization dedicated to creating healthier kids, schools and communities nationwide. While at GENYOUTH, Moore convened leaders in the public and private sectors, media, schools, health professional organizations and the National Football League, to collaborate on a nationwide platform to improve the health of our nation's youth. He also led GENYOUTH's partnership with former First Lady Michelle Obama to promote Fuel Up to Play 60, in conjunction with her signature "Let's Move" program to reduce the incidence of obesity in the U.S.

Moore serves as a champion on the Aspen Institute's "Project Play 2020," a collaborative effort by leading sports, health, media and other organizations to increase national sports participation rates and related metrics among youth. He also advises the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in their effort to change the culture of youth sports by creating a national youth sports strategy. Moore graduated from Lake Forest College and received his MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

"I'm delighted to have Chris stepping forward to provide leadership to our formidable movement of talented and committed Staff, National and Chapter Board Members, Trainers, Leadership Council Members, National Advisory Board Members, Partner Youth Sports Organizations and Volunteers. He is the right person to do this," Thompson added. "A special thanks to Greg Santore of Odgers Berndtson, Search Chair Karen Francis DeGolia and the entire Search Committee for identifying a perfect fit to join and lead a team so committed to our mission of developing Better Athletes, Better People."

Disclosure: The Beachwood's Jim "Coach" Coffman is a member of the PCA.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:26 AM | Permalink

Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire

The global sexual lubricant market is expected to reach revenues of around $1.7 billion by 2024, according to Arizton's recent research report, growing at a CAGR of close to 8% during the period 2018−2024.

Key Highlights Offered In The Report:

* The global sexual lubricant market is expected to witness an absolute growth of 125% - a phenomenon leap of over $200 million revenue between 2014 and 2024.

* Factors such as the rise in the Sjogren's syndrome and female sexual arousal disorders (FSAD) have aided in market growth.

Further, the increased adoption of sex toys such as vagina massagers and masturbators is boosting the demand for sexual lubricants as complementary products among end-users.

* Water-based lubricants dominate the sexual lubricant market. However, silicone-based and hybrid lubricants are increasingly gaining foothold in the market; both the segments are expected to register high CAGRs of about 7.5% during the period 2018−2024. Further, the demand for oil-based lubricants remains high in APAC and MEA countries.

* The number of active sexual lubricants users in the U.S. surpassed the 50 million mark in 2018 from 47 million in 2011.

* Changing socio-cultural patterns and demographic preferences are boosting the demand for sexual lubricants worldwide.

Sexual Lubricant Market - Segmentation

* The research report includes detailed market segmentation by distribution, end-user, products, gender, and geography.

* The water-based sexual lubricant segment is expected to have an incremental growth of over $360 million, growing at the CAGR of over 7% during the forecast period.

* North America was the largest market in the global sexual lubricant market, accounting for a market share of 37.96%

Market Segmentation By Product Type

* Water-based

* Silicone-based

* Oil-based

* Hybrid

Sexual Lubricant Market - Dynamics

The global sexual lubricant market is characterized by the presence of international vendors and has been witnessing consolidation in the last few years. The competitive landscape is intensifying. The increased awareness among end-users of the availability of sexual lubricants is playing an important role in driving the market, particularly in developing countries.

Key Drivers And Trends Fueling The Growth Of The Global Market

* Increased Awareness of Sexual Rights among Women

* High Availability of Sexual Lubricants

* High Influence of Internet on End-Users' Purchasing Behavior

* Introduction of Private Labels increasing Market Competition

Sexual Lubricant Market - Geography

The penetration of sexual lubricants in North America is high, and the market revenue has been increasing steadily. The APAC market for sexual wellness products is witnessing high growth in regional markets such as India, China, Japan, and South Korea due to increasing popularity of sexual lubricants among end-users. The market in Europe is characterized by high demand for water-based and silicone-based sexual lubricants.

Major Vendors

* LifeStyles

* BioFilm

* Church & Dwight

* KarexBerhad

* Reckitt Benckiser

Other vendors include B. Cumming, CalExotics, Cupid Limited, Eau Zone Oils & Fragrances, Empowered Products, Good Clean Love, Guy & O'Neill, Hathor Professional, HLL Lifecare Ltd., ID Lubricants, Innovus Pharma, Kaamastra, Live Well Brands, Lovehoney, Mayor Laboratories, MD Science Lab, PHE, pjur group, Sensuous Beauty, Sliquid, The Yes Yes Company, Tenga, Topco Sales, Trigg Laboratories, Thai Nippon Rubber Industry (TNR), and XR.

* Explore our health and wellness profiles to know more about the industry.

* Read some of the top-selling reports:

-> Sexual Wellness Market in East Asia - Industry Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

-> Condom Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

-> Sexual Wellness Market in Europe - Industry Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

-> Maternal and Child Dietary Supplement Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

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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.

* Luxury Vinyl Tiles Flooring Market Worth $31.4 Billion By 2024.

* Global Condom Market On Fire.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

September 9, 2019

The [Monday] Papers

Working on (hopefully finishing) my taxes today (for various reasons, I do them in the fall, not spring), then I've got (another) dentist appointment. Greatest day ever!

[Embed "Today" here. No, don't. I can't stand that guy, and all in his ice cream truck driver uniform. But it is one of the few Smashing Pumpkins songs I like, and I always thought that note he hits first at 1:27 and many times after that was an emblematic sound of the alternative music of the day, a siren call . . . though not as great as the siren call of the Replacements. Plus, the Pumpkins were phony fake posers.]

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Global Condom Market On Fire
"The penetration of sexual wellness products in North America remains high."

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New from the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

ICYMI: Beachwood Sports Radio: Double Zoinks
Bears not who we thought they were. But who are they? Plus: Chicago Predicts Bears Season, Audio Version; Cubs Suddenly Better Than Bears; Like Theo Before Him, Rick Hahn Is A Stone-Cold Liar, and more!

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SportsMonday: Glorious Fall Goes Dark
Cubs done. The Bears?

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The White Sox Report: Keep Watching!
At least three good reasons why.

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ChicagoReddit

Are 31st beach bathrooms still open? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Luis Navarro - El De Chicago (CORRIDOS 2019)

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

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The Beachwood Q-Tip Line: Take it to the house.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Glorious Fall Goes Dark

The Bears will bounce back. The little Bears are done, i.e., the Cubs are no longer a serious contender to win a playoff series, let alone a pennant.

The North Siders might still squeak into the postseason but who could possibly be optimistic about their chances in even a wild card game against a Nationals team that will be able to choose between three aces (Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin) who are all better than the Cubs' best?

And the Cubs in a series of any length against the scorching Atlanta Braves or the way-out-in-front Dodgers or even the Cardinals? I don't think so. There are the final seven regular season games against St. Louis for the team to give the end of the season a little bit of a positive spin. But it's not bloody likely.

The primary happenstance that we all knew would do in the Cubs this year if it happened, is happening - their old pitchers are getting too old in a hurry.

Jon Lester and Cole Hamels have been lousy for a while now and it sure doesn't feel like slumps. It feels like their runs as well-above-average starting pitchers are coming to an end. And the team has developed no one to take their places. Oh, and their hitting and their bullpen aren't good enough either.

So let's move on to the gridiron, eh? First of all, let's dispense with the one positive to come out of the Bears' season-opening debacle - it was only one game. The Bears lost their opener at home last year and went on to finish 12-4. That must be taken into account. And yes, the fact that last year's loss was all about Aaron Rodgers' brilliance as opposed to the Bears' offensive ineptitude hurts, but still.

Whoops, wait a minute, there is one other post-game positive: An honest evaluation of Mitch Trubisky has finally commenced.

It couldn't have been clearer in the season opener that Trubisky is still a long way from championship quarterback material. Multiple local sports scribes have finally stopped drinking Bears Kool-Aid long enough to point out that, wow, trading up to get Trubisky instead of just staying put and drafting Pat Mahomes (or Deshaun Watson) in the first round in 2017 sure was stupid.

And when the defense shows it lacks depth at some point this season, hopefully it will be pointed out that Pace's trading up in draft after draft (throwing away five draft picks in the last three years alone to acquire players - Trubisky, Anthony Miller and David Montgomery - who have shown few signs of justifying those trades) is not a sound strategy in general or in the specifics. And at the very least it must always be acknowledged that it is a strategy that no one else in the NFL deploys.

We have been trying to point this out since the day of that draft but let's go ahead and do it again: This awesome Bears defense could be paired up with the reigning MVP! And yes, you didn't know that Mahomes would be MVP in 2018 right after the '17 draft, but there were plenty of reasons to believe he would be much better than Trubisky - in the short term and the long.

But what the scribes say doesn't matter (okay, it matters a little, I mean, what am I doing here if not? Don't answer that). What matters is that Matt Nagy was paying attention and will adjust his way of doing things - particularly his game-planning game plans - accordingly.

The imbalance between the running game and the passing game last Thursday evening was so severe it qualifies as ridiculous (and again, we do not use that term loosely at Beachwood Sports). Nagy called 53 through-the-air plays to 12 on the ground. There were a few run-pass options that might have changed the numbers a bit if Trubisky had made different choices, but not enough to matter.

If the Bears had been chasing a multi-score deficit, a fan might be able to justify that imbalance at least a little bit, but the home team never trailed by more than a touchdown.

Nagy doesn't just need more balance - he needs an attitude adjustment. The most important thing going forward with this offense will be to do everything you can to not allow it to blow games all by itself. We're not saying become a ball-control, run-dominant squad - that won't work either. It is clear the Bears can still use the pass to set up the run more than vice versa and yet still dish out plenty of handoffs.

Next up is the Broncos, who will have far less recovery time this week after playing the late Monday game. Hey Bears, let's go for good ridiculous this time! You can do it!

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:17 AM | Permalink

Reasons To Keep Watching

Bobby Winkles, the baseball coach who won three NCAA championships at Arizona State before managing the Angels and A's in the 1970s, tells the story about his near-miss at making the major leagues as an infielder in the White Sox organization in the 1950s.

Winkles had advanced all the way to Triple-A Indianapolis in 1959 when his manager, the old catcher Walker Cooper, summoned the young Winkles to his office.

"Bobby, there's only one thing keeping you from being a major leaguer," Coop said.

"What's that, Skip?" enthused the fledgling youngster. "I'll work on it."

"Your ability," said Cooper, and that was that. Winkles was finished as a player after that season.

Current White Sox manager Rickey Renteria conceivably could have a similar conversation with almost half his roster even though, because of rebuilding, all the athletes are wearing a Sox uniform with 19 games remaining in the season. Renteria is stuck basically with two groups of players: legitimate and wannabe major leaguers.

A reasonable place to begin is the pitching staff. After Dylan Cease's 3⅓-inning start against the Angels on Sunday, he along with Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Ivan Nova have been the starting pitchers in more than 68 percent (98 games) of the team's games this season. Giolito has established himself as one of the top pitchers in the game, while the other three have had their moments of competence.

Despite walking five hitters Sunday and throwing 88 pitches, miraculously Cease only gave up a first-inning run to the Angels as the Sox won 5-1.

How about the other 45 games in which a parade of pitchers - Dylan Covey, Ross Detwiler, Manny Banuelos, Carlos Rodon, Ervin Santana, Odrisamer Despaigne, Hector Santiago, Carson Fulmer and Ryan Burr - have toed the rubber to face the opponents' first batter? It's not a pretty picture.

The aforementioned gang of nine has covered almost 200 innings, the equivalent of one proverbial "innings eater." The only problem is that the combined ERA of these fellows, as starting pitchers, is an alarming 7.01. Any one pitcher giving up that many runs might be accused, as Walker Cooper told Winkles, of a lack of ability. He certainly would be eating his innings at a lower level.

Meanwhile, the quartet which has handled the vast majority of starting roles this season has a 4.60 ERA, which still is a few ticks above the 4.52 posted by all starting pitchers in MLB this season. Subtracting Cease from the mix, Giolito, Lopez and Nova have an ERA of 4.35.

Suffice it to say that the ballclub hasn't had an effective fifth starter - let alone a fourth - all season, a fact that partially explains why they currently stand at 63-80 in this Year Three of the rebuild.

Nevertheless, despite losing 10 of their last 13 contests while going 21-36 since the All-Star break, attractions worth observation remain between now and the end of the season. Two of those are focused on Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu, who currently are leading the American League in batting and RBIs, respectively.

Temporary manager Joe McEwing - Renteria had surgery last Friday to repair a rotator cuff - rested Anderson on Sunday, giving the shortstop two consecutive days off given that the team is idle today before Kansas City visits The Grate for three games starting Tuesday.

Anderson, a .240 hitter last season, stands at .334, six points better than the Yankees' D.J. LeMathieu. Only free agent-to-be Anthony Rendon of the Nationals is hitting higher, at .337.

After missing about a month with a sprained ankle, Anderson returned to the lineup on July 30th and has raked at a .363 pace since. In that time over 165 plate appearances, the budding Sox star has walked a total of four times. Pitchers continue to give the guy something to hit, and he's missing less and less. Coming into this season, Anderson had struck out 26 percent of his plate appearances. He's lowered that to about 21 percent this season.

The last White Sox hitter to lead the league in hitting was Frank Thomas, in 1997 with a .347 mark. Prior to that, Luke Appling led in 1936 (.388) and 1943 (.328). In 119 years, that's it. Go Timmy!

Meanwhile, Abreu has been on a tear. In seven games this month, Jose has driven in 10 runs to increase his total to 112, five more than runner-up Raphael Devers of Boston. The Braves' Freddie Freeman leads both leagues with 115.

On Sunday, Abreu hit his third home run in the last four games. The blast that almost cleared the seats in left field was his 31st of the season. Abreu now has 600 RBIs for his six-year White Sox career. That's easy math. He also is within shouting distance of the 36 home runs, his career high, he hit as rookie.

Dick Allen stands alone with 113 RBIs in 1972 as the only Sox player who has led the American League in runs driven in. Stay tuned.

Giolito also is worth watching. He appeared to be headed for his 15th victory last Friday, exiting after seven innings with a 4-2 lead over the Angels. For just the second time this season with the Sox leading after seven innings, the bullpen wasn't able to hold on as Aaron Bummer and Alex Colome each gave up home runs in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively; the Sox dropped a 5-4 decision.

Giolito will get four more starts to try to improve upon his 14-8 record and 3.27 ERA, facing the Tigers, Royals, Indians and Twins. So far in 2019 in 12 games against these foes, Giolito has gone 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA.

Despite the lofty accomplishments of guys like Anderson, Abreu and Giolito, we're still talking about a team 17 games below .500. As mentioned, you can point a finger at the lack of depth in starting pitching, but there's not enough fingers on both hands to target the other deficiencies of this team.

Ridiculous baserunning was on full display last week. With the Sox trailing the Indians 8-6 in the ninth inning last Wednesday, our fellows loaded the bases with one out. Eloy Jimenez hit a screamer to dead centerfield that was headed for a bases-clearing drive until Oscar Mercado made an unbelievable over-the-head diving grab. Abreu could have crawled home from third. However, he was running with the crack of the bat, so the bases remained jammed as Ryan Goins fanned to end the game.

Abreu was apologetic afterward even though Renteria pointed out that his run was pretty much meaningless since the Sox were down by two. However, the play made the Sox look unprofessional and unprepared, while it also would have been helpful to see how relief pitcher Nick Wittgren would have reacted protecting a just one-run lead with the tying run on second.

On Saturday en route to an 8-7 loss to the Angels, Yoan Moncada's fifth-inning base hit scored Anderson from second as the Sox mounted a comeback. The routine throw from the outfield was cut off by Albert Pujols, who found Moncada foolishly halfway between first and second for an easy out. In a close game every out counts.

There have been many other gaffes on the bases, botched rundowns, and ill-advised throws from the outfield. Ballclubs can have players leading the league in hitting and RBIs, but without the mental acumen to minimize mistakes, along with questionable ability, you have a recipe for lots more losses than victories.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:58 AM | Permalink

Global Condom Market On Fire

The global condom market is expected to reach over $12 billion by 2024, according to Arizton's recent research report, growing at a CAGR of over 9% during 2018−2024.

Key Highlights Offered in the Report:

* The global condom market is likely to realize an absolute growth of 121% - a phenomenon leap of over $7 billion revenue between 2014 and 2024.

* Buoyed by the demand from institutional buyers (USAID, UNFPA, NGOs, and private agencies), the overall shipment of institutional condoms is expected to reach over 39 billion units by 2024, witnessing an absolute growth of 65% between 2018 and 2024.

* The female condoms market is expected to register a high CAGR of about 21% during the forecast period. The market remains highly concentrated in Africa with the institutional demand accounting for almost 95% of the overall unit consumption in 2018.

* Spurred by innovations such as flavors and designs, the demand for branded condoms in the commercial market is likely to register a CAGR of over 11% globally during the period 2018-2024.

* The increasing visibility of condoms in mass-market retail chains such as Walmart, Tesco, Sainsbury's; drug retailers such as Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Boots; and e-commerce websites such as Amazon and eBay has aided in market growth. Further, growing advertising and promotional activities on social media platforms are likely to boost the demand for condoms further world over.

Key Offerings:

* Market Size & Forecast by Revenue and Units | 2018−2024

* Market Dynamics - Leading trends, growth drivers, restraints, and investment opportunities

* Market Segmentation - A detailed analysis by product, end-user, distribution, material, and geography

* Competitive Landscape - Profile of 4 key vendors and 26 other vendors.

Condom Market - Segmentation:

* The research report includes detailed market segmentation by product, end-user, material, distribution, and geography.

* The female condoms segment is gaining popularity and is expected to contribute about 1.96% in terms of revenue by 2024.

* The global female condom market will post a CAGR of over 21% in terms of revenue during 2018-2024.

Market Segmentation By Product:

* Male Condom

* Female Condom

Market Segmentation By End-User:

* Branded

* Institutional

Market Segmentation By Distribution:

* Retail Stores

* Specialty Stores

* Mass Market Players

* Drug Stores

* Grocery Stores

* Online Stores

Market Segmentation By Material:

* Latex

* Non-latex

* Polyurethane

* Polyisoprene

* Nitrile

* Lambskin

Market Segmentation By Geography:

* North America

* APAC

* MEA

* Europe

* Latin America

Condom Market - Dynamics:

The introduction of female condoms has created a new market segment itself, though the adoption is at the nascent stage. The segment is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 21% during the period 2018−2024. With organizations actively seeking to commercialize the scale of production and usage of female condoms, the market is expected to offer significant growth opportunities to vendors during the forecast period.

Key Drivers And Trends fueling Market Growth:

* Popularity of Sex Education Programs increasing Awareness

* High Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

* Innovative Condom Designs

* Efforts toward Family Planning and Birth Control

Condom Market - Geography:

In 2018, APAC was the largest segment of the global condom market, accounting for the highest market shares in terms of revenue and unit shipment. The penetration of sexual wellness products in North America remains high, and the market revenue has been increasing steadily. The European market is characterized by high demand for premium condoms. However, the stringent government regulations will remain a hindrance to market growth in the region.

Market Segmentation By Geography:

North America
US
Canada

Europe
France
Germany
UK
Russia
Italy
Spain
Poland
Sweden
Portugal
Netherlands
Norway
Denmark
Turkey

APAC
China
Japan
India
Australia
Malaysia
Indonesia
Singapore
South Korea
Thailand
Myanmar
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Vietnam
Cambodia
Philippines
New Zealand

Latin America
Brazil
Mexico
Argentina
Chile
Peru
Colombia

MEA
South Africa
Nigeria
Kenya
Algeria
Ethiopia

Major Vendors In The Global Market:

* Church & Dwight

* LifeStyles

* Reckitt Benckiser

* Okamoto Industries

Other vendors include MAPA (BILLY BOY),Convex Latex, Cupid Limited, Fuji Latex, HBM Group, HLL Lifecare Ltd, Innova Quality, IXu, KarexBerhad, LELO, MTLC Latex, Sagami Rubber Industries, Shandong Ming Yuan Latex, Shanghai Dahua Medical Apparatus, Silk Parasol, StaySafe Condoms, STRATA Various Product Design, Thai Nippon Rubber Industry, Tianjin Condombao, Veru (The Female Health Company), Innolatex, Nulatex, and Tianjin Human Care Latex Corp.

* Explore our health and wellness profiles to know more about the industry.

* Read some of the top-selling reports:

-> Sexual Wellness Market in East Asia - Industry Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

-> Premature Ejaculation Therapeutics Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

-> Sexual Wellness Market in Europe - Industry Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

-> Maternal and Child Dietary Supplement Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

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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.

* Luxury Vinyl Tiles Flooring Market Worth $31.4 Billion By 2024.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2019

The Weekend Desk Report

"The University of Illinois is spending $900,000 on four buses to shuttle employees and others between its Urbana/Champaign and Chicago campuses," AP reports.

Wait, what?

"The service is for faculty members, students and staff members traveling on university business."

Okay, but is there really a lot of university business that requires such a commute? UIC students who have a Thursday class in Champaign?

"The service is scheduled for launching on Oct. 31, and will offer three round trips daily between the two campuses. They will depart in the early morning, at midday and late afternoon."

Three trips daily? What am I missing here? Or are these party buses? Then, maybe.

"University President Tim Killeen says the idea has been under consideration for almost two years."

He would have decided sooner if the commute by car hadn't been so distracting.

"Killeen says the 18-seat buses will be 'well-appointed' with onboard Wi-Fi, tables and a restroom so people can work in comfort."

Also, with bumper stickers: My other bus is a classroom.

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How is the distance here calculated at just 2 hours, 21 minutes?

Driving to Orland Park when I worked in the Tribune's bureau there used to take 45 minutes to an hour. Is Champaign a lot closer than I think?

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Water Polo
"Dozens of people jumped into the Chicago River Saturday morning, to show just how clean it is," CBS2 Chicago reports.

Write your own punchline.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Beachwood Sports Radio: Double Zoinks
Bears not who we thought they were. But who are they? Plus: Chicago Predicts Bears Season, Audio Version; Cubs Suddenly Better Than Bears; Like Theo Before Him, Rick Hahn Is A Stone-Cold Liar, and more!

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America Still Hungry
37.2 million Americans face hunger, including 11.2 million children.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

According to Spotify, Chicago is the only city that cares about my music. Here is my new single. from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Chicago: A Third World City / Philmore Green, Full Album Stream

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Weekend BeachBook

Meet The Entitled Kara Swisher.

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Bold Thief Steals Every Guitar From Pilsen Music Store: 'This Might Be The End Here,' Shocked Owner Says.

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'Behind Closed Doors': The Friction Between The Nike Brand And Its Corporate Culture.

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100-Drone Aerial Light Show Viewable From The Parking Lots South Of The iHotel Off South First Street, Champaign, Hosted By Aerospace Engineering At The University Of Illinois.

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Beachwood and Butt-Head Tip Line: Spank the funky.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 PM | Permalink

September 6, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #268: Double Zoinks

Bears not who we thought they were. But who are they? Plus: Chicago Predicts Bears Season, Audio Version; Cubs Suddenly Better Than Bears; Like Theo Before Him, Rick Hahn Is A Stone-Cold Liar, and more!


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SHOW NOTES

* 268.

:11: Double Doink Da Bears.

* Coffman, Tru Time: "In college, Pat Mahomes threw more passes in a month's worth of games at Texas Tech than Mitch Trubisky threw in his entire career."

* Matt Nagy is talking about practice.

* Maybe Mitch needs a timeout.

* Scott Mitchell Trubisky vs . . .

* Ha Ha.

* Freezing Cold Take.

* Plea to Matt Nagy: Don't turn Tarik Cohen into Devin Hester.

* Then punt! (But really?)

* MVP.

* Favorite play situation.

* Rodgers' clock.

Maybe it's like in The Quick and the Dead: There's a click before the strike.

* Depth bomb.

* You can call him Ray.

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42:38: Chicago Predicts Bears Season.

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48:27: Cubs Suddenly Better Than Bears.

* Schwarber 4, Pineiro 3

* Zobrist 5-for-5, Trubisky 26-for-45

* Boom or bust.

57:32: Like Theo Before Him, Rick Hahn Is Lying And Violating The CBA.

* Glanville: What We'll Lose By Limiting September Rosters After This Season.

1:02:37: Sky vs. Sun.

* Has playoff implications.

1:04:34: Blackhawks Training Camp Opens Next Week.

1:04:32: Hutchison Has A Hammy.

1:04:57: No College Football News.

1:05:00: No Chicago Fire News.

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STOPPAGE: 5:49

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:39 PM | Permalink

September 5, 2019

37 Million Americans Still Face Hunger, Including More Than 11 Million Children

A new report released Wednesday by the United States Department of Agriculture found that 1 in 9 households (11.1%) in the United States encountered difficulty at some time during 2018 in providing enough food for their family.

This represents a decline of 0.7 percentage points from last year and is the lowest rate since prior to the recession. There was a particularly large decline in food insecurity among households with children, which went from 15.7% in 2017 to 13.9% in 2018 and represents the lowest rate in at least 20 years.

While the declines are certainly good news, 37.2 million Americans still face hunger, including 11.2 million children. Some of the groups experiencing above-average rates of food insecurity include households with children led by single parents, households with children under age 6, and households with low incomes.

Among people who are food insecure, approximately one-third have incomes above 185% of the federal poverty line, and most do not quality for any federal nutrition assistance programs. For these households, charitable food assistance may be the only option.

"While we are encouraged by the decline in food insecurity rates, the fact that more than 37 million Americans struggle to put food on the table is unacceptable," said Kate Leone, chief government relations officer of Feeding America. "Additionally, the Administration has proposed a rule change to SNAP that could jeopardize this progress. By its own estimates, the proposed rule would take SNAP benefits away from more than 3 million individuals and increase food insecurity. We urge the administration and Congress to protect SNAP."

Feeding America is leading efforts against this SNAP proposal and encouraging others to do the same. The public has 19 days remaining to submit comments here to the USDA - deadline September 23 - on how dangerous this proposal is to the health and well-being of many Americans.

The USDA's report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2018, is published by USDA's Economic Research Service and reports on data collected in December 2018. The report also presents statistics on how much households spent on food, and the extent to which food-insecure households participated in federal and community food assistance programs for 2018.

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See also:

* ThinkProgress: The Trump Administration Plans To Gut Food Stamps, Hitting Red States Hardest.

* PBS NewsHour: Here's Who Could Lose Food Stamps Under Trump's Proposed Changes.

* Center for Public Integrity: Lawmakers Target Anti-Poverty Programs After Paid Trips To Disney.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:24 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

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Unbearable
In case you haven't heard, the Bears open the NFL season tonight at Soldierz Field against the Packers. But we may already have in hand the season's worst take:

Actually it's the easiest thing in the world to argue.

First, it was madness! Are you kidding me?

Second, none of the nine kickers in their competition made the team! Once they were done with their scientifically, consultant-added kick-off, they went out and traded for Eddy Pineiro instead!

Oh, but that's not all. The Bears had such confidence in Pineiro that they then tried to trade for Baltimore's Kaare Vedvik. The Vikings got him instead - and he was so bad they released him.

So yeah, finding it hard to argue against the Bears' approach takes an awful lot of strenuous work, beat-sweetening and blue-and-orange-colored glasses.

Scott Mitchell Trubisky
"Mitch Trubisky . . . currently resides in the Bortles Valley where you can be a top-3 draft pick and have people still be shocked when you do something capable on the field," Drew Magary writes for Deadspin.

He's not wrong!

"There are times when Mitch looks razor sharp, and then there are times when he looks like he just converted from playing slot receiver."

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The rest of Magary's piece is gold, including, "Rahm's not mayor anymore! You're FREE. Until he goes on television again eight seconds from now."

Go read it all.

Sweet & Sour
WGN-TV premiered Savoring Sweetness: The Life and Times of Walter Payton last night.

If you savor the truth, though, you'll have to read the book.

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In the Beachwood today . . .

Chicago Predicts The Bears Season
We have the best, most comprehensive and surprising aggregation of Bears predictions you'll find anywhere!

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The Truth About The New Halas Hall
(Hint: It's absurd.)

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Coffee Talk

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New on the Beachwood . . .

State Terrorism Task Force Distributes STOP The Bleed Kits To Every Illinois School
"A STOP the Bleed kit contains a C-A-T tourniquet, QuikClot Bleeding Control Dressing, Emergency Trauma Dressing, MicroShield Mask, Nitrile gloves, Trauma shears, Permanent marker and Instruction card."

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ChicagoReddit

Hoping to adopt a dog, landlord asking us to pay for his liability insurance from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Tyler, the Creator at UIC on Wednesday night.

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BeachBook

Alpine Valley Sold For $7.5 Million.

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

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The Beachwood Tip Your Cap Line: Sometimes you just gotta do it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 PM | Permalink

The Truth About The New Halas Hall

The Bears "unveiled" their Halas Hall upgrade last week to a wide-eyed and mouths-agape media all too happy to propagate the company line that the building is now a "game-changer." All I could do was wonder, again, why our schools can't get the same treatment. I could only come up with the same old answer: Capitalism is great for creating wealth, but awful for distributing it.

Now, I don't begrudge the players their luxuries. But it would be interesting to do a little analytical study to see if there is any correlation at all between an NFL team's facilities and their won-loss record. Assignment Desk, activate!

(For years, us Minnesotans were told, for example, that a new, taxpayer-funded ballpark would reap wins by the bucket. Instead, it has yielded the worst record in the majors.)

The best write-up on the "new" Halas Hall I saw, which also evoked schools, albeit in a very different way, came from the Chicago Architecture blog, which, purposely or not, put the abs in the absurd:

"The new HOK-designed building has more drama than a high school musical, with black carpets, brick walls, recessed linear lighting, and a black hallway lined with the illuminated numbers of retired Bears players arranged like markers on a gridiron."

Nice.

"The lights come on as the players walk down the hall, accompanied by music, and arrive at a 46-foot video wall. There are about 175 video screens in the Halas Hall expansion. Your man cave weeps."

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"The Bears' newest Halas Hall expansion is an apt illustration of just how far the franchise has come under McCaskey ownership - one of the last NFL teams to join the 20th century in terms of facilities is now leading the way in the 21st," Mark Potash writes for the Sun-Times

But wait: It was under McCaskey ownership that the team lagged behind - for decades! How they get credit now is beyond me. A more accurate appraisal might read: "It only took 100 years, but the McCaskeys have finally acceded to providing their players with the kind of facilities other teams have had for years."

(This is an example - extrapolate to all kinds of news coverage - of how a newspaper I would edit would read as opposed to the newspapers you read now; it would contain more truth.)

"The Bears gave the media a tour of the expansion Thursday morning and it looks like they thought of everything - more lounge areas; more conference rooms; two enclosed patios, a learning center for staff training. The Bears even installed a 4,200-square-foot rooftop garden area, where they will grow their own herbs.

"Safety Eddie Jackson gave it the ultimate compliment: 'I feel like they're giving Alabama a run for their money.'"

So maybe your lead is: "It's not quite Alabama, but the Bears are finally starting to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to training facilities."

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The Tribune's coverage was less breathless - I mean, they drained all the fun out of it, as the Trib is wont to do - but for the life of me I don't understand why any reporter (or editor) would feel compelled to include quotes like these in a work of journalism:

"Throughout the process our goal was not only to develop a more collaborative work flow across the building but to create an experience for everyone entering Halas Hall so that it becomes more than just a work space," team President and CEO Ted Phillips said.

Added general manager Ryan Pace: "This upgrade furthers the continued support from the McCaskey family and their commitment to attract, develop and retain the most talented roster possible both on and off the field."

If Phillips and Pace really said those things - like, out loud instead of words written by a PR staffer and attached to their names in a handout - I give them all the credit in the world for perfecting the AI of Human Press Release without having computer chips inserted into their brains.

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To an earlier point, in 2015 Stack ranked every NFL team's weight room. Now, I know weight rooms don't equal the full facility, and I don't know what Stack's methodology was, but it was all I could find on short notice. And guess what? The Bears' weight room ranked 5th - and that was in the second of four consecutive years finishing last in their division. The New England Patriots' weight room - and the weight rooms of a boatload of teams better than the Bears that year - ranked 27th. The Patriots went 12-4 that year, though they did lose to the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game. (And the Broncos did have the 4th-best weight room in the league - one better than the Bears! - so there's that.)

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Where does it end? Because, mark my words, in two or three years we'll start to hear rumbles about how the Bears need to update Halas Hall. Everyone else is doing it! It doesn't end, because there is no limit to the amenities that can be offered. And who ultimately pays for it? Fans. Because that's how capitalism creates wealth and distributes it.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:51 AM | Permalink

Chicago Predicts The Bears Season

In no particular order.

Rick Morrissey, Sun-Times: 10-6

Rick Telander, Sun-Times: 11-5

Patrick Finley, Sun-Times: 10-6

Jason Lieser, Sun-Times: 12-4

Mark Potash, Sun-Times: 10-6

Jim Coffman, Beachwood Reporter: 11-5

Gritty: 8-8

Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus: 3-13

Joe Maddon: No thanks, that would be outcome bias.

Nicholas Castellanos: Undefeated, winning 16 straight home openers.

Lincoln Yards: If the Bears hurry up, we win it all.

Ted Cruz: 0-16 because black people live there.

John Kass: What did Trump say? I'll go with that while the left tries to herd votes with emotion, like feeling bad about children separated from their families and locked in cages.

J.B. Pritzker: No thanks, but every win will be taxed fairly.

Lori Lightfoot: I know I said 16-0, but it's a lot worse than we'd been told so we're all going to have come together and share the pain with something less than that.

Rahm Emanuel: I'm through making tough decisions, you fuckwits.

Frank Robb: Would you guys stop calling me, christ, get over it!

Richard M. Daley: Parking Meters 16, Chicago 0

Sports Illustrated: 7-9

Football Outsiders: 7.9 - 8.1

Las Vegas: 9.5 - 6.5

Adam Hoge, WGN Radio: 13-3

Pro Football Focus: 8.1 - 7.9

Brad Biggs, Tribune: Win the division, lose to Saints in NFC Championship game. (Tribune writers didn't predict records.)

Rich Campbell, Tribune: Win the division, lose to the Rams in the NFC Championship game.

Colleen Kane, Tribune: Win the division, lose to the Rams in the NFC Championship game.

Dan Wiederer, Tribune: Win the division, lose to the Eagles or Rams in the first-round divisional game.

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: 8-8

The Athletic's panel of 44 national and local writers and editors: The League's Most Disappointing Team (and a second-place finish in the division).

Steve Rhodes, Beachwood Reporter: 10-4-2

Alyssa Barbieri, USA Today's BearsWire: Her prediction is formatted in a game-by-game gallery, so forget it. 0-16 for you.

The Sporting News: 11-5 (a game behind the 12-4 Packers, whom they will lose to in the first round of the playoffs).

J.J. Stankevitz, NBC Chicago: 10-6 (tieing the Vikings, but nabbing a playoff spot; losing to the Eagles in the NFC Championship.

Ed Burke: "I don't care, but I'd sure like the Bears' legal business."

Jenny McCarthy: 0-16. "That team is too vaccinated."

Hub Arkush, Pro Football Weekly: 11-5 but no Super Bowl.

Arthur Arkush, Pro Football Weekly: 12-4, lose in the Super Bowl to the Patriots.

Eric Olson, DeKalb Daily Chronicle: 10-6, second place.

Kyle Nabors, Northwest Herald: 12-4, lose in Super Bowl to the Chiefs.

J.C. Talon, Pro Football Weekly: 14-2, beat the Chargers to win the Super Bowl.

Sean Hammond, Shaw Media: 11-5ish. Win the division but don't make the Super Bowl.

Caleb Carter, Shaw Media: 11-5. Win the division but don't make the Super Bowl.

Jake Bartelson, Shaw Media: 11-5. Win the division but don't make the Super Bowl.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2019

State Terrorism Task Force Distributes STOP The Bleed Kits To Every Illinois School

The Illinois Terrorism Task Force announced Wednesday significant steps to improving trauma management training at schools in Illinois.

Following the recommendations of the School Safety Working Group, more than 7,000 STOP the Bleed kits have been distributed to schools in Illinois ahead of the 2019-2020 school year. STOP the Bleed is a national campaign intended to train, equip and empower bystanders to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

A STOP the Bleed kit contains a C-A-T tourniquet, QuikClot Bleeding Control Dressing, Emergency Trauma Dressing, MicroShield Mask, Nitrile gloves, Trauma shears, Permanent marker and Instruction card.

"Our top priority will always be preventing violence from occurring, but we must also be prepared for worst case scenarios.," said Acting IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. "STOP the Bleed kits and the training that comes along with them can save lives and I applaud the Illinois Terrorism Task Force for implementing this program statewide."

This summer, the Regional Offices of Education distributed one STOP the Bleed kit to each school in Illinois. Each school district is being asked to train a minimum of five teachers/staff in each building where children attend school. Upon completion of this training, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, via the Regional Offices of Education, will distribute an additional five kits to the school.

"STOP the Bleed kits provide the tools to help the public save lives, but the knowledge and confidence to save a life comes with proper training," said Mary Connelly RN, Director of the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team (IMERT). "With more certified trainers, the mission of helping and protecting our communities can grow."

The Illinois Terrorism Task Force is calling on those in our medical community, volunteer organizations and police and fire community to join this mission.

In order to meet the demand of the more than 5,000 public and private schools in Illinois, more trainers are needed to provide this invaluable hands-on training.

MERT, in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Women's Health, has pledged to train one thousand school nurses by February 2020. Yet, even more help is needed.

The 90-minute STOP the Bleed training was developed by the American College of Surgeons specifically for the public and is offered by trained healthcare and public safety volunteers at no associated cost to the school.

To find a training course, or learn more about how your organization can help provide training, visit www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 PM | Permalink

Tru Time

I hear Matt Nagy will have his starters sit out the second quarter against the Packers Thursday night to optimize health at halftime. Given how good the local sports commentariat thinks these Bears are going to be, three full-strength quarters out of four should be more than enough to blow away Green Bay.

The biggest football game in Chicago since the 2010 NFC championship loss (that actually occurred in January 2011) to that same delightful team from Wisconsin kicks off the 100th season of NFL football on NBC at 7:20 p.m. And no, I don't think anyone will sit out any of it.

I'm also optimistic about the Bears but the problem against the Packers is the team from up north wins the quarterback match-up in a landslide. Aaron Rodgers has been winning NFL football games with his arm for more than a decade now. There isn't a starting quarterback in the NFL who isn't in his first year at the helm who has thrown fewer passes against live competition post-high school than Mitch Trubisky.

That doesn't mean young Mitch won't be a winning signal-caller overall. It does mean that if he struggles at the start of the season we will all have to scratch our heads yet again about why Ryan Pace and Coach Nagy continue to ignore obvious elements of successful quarterback selection and development.

I understand you don't want to get your quarterback hurt in meaningless preseason games. And perhaps even more important, you don't want to get any of your best offensive linemen hurt.

But Trubisky hasn't thrown enough passes against competition, period. He didn't throw enough in his one season as a starter for a mediocre team with a mediocre scheme at North Carolina, and he hasn't thrown enough passes in games in the NFL. Why Nagy doesn't acknowledge this and get him some game work in the preseason (like many other NFL coaches continue to do with quarterbacks with far more experience than Trubisky) continues to mystify.

In college, Pat Mahomes threw more passes in a month's worth of games at Texas Tech than Trubisky threw in his entire career. It was no wonder Mahomes hit the field flying last year and kept it going until just missing a trip to the Super Bowl, while winning the MVP award.

And Mahomes, who was drafted eight picks after Pace made that crushingly bad trade up to get Trubisky No. 2 in the 2017 NFL draft, will always be a primary peer for the Bears' quarterback. The other one is the Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson, who was also about a hundred times more accomplished coming out of college in 2017 (and was drafted right after Mahomes) than Trubisky. And he looks poised to have a huge season this year as well.

Then again, neither Mahomes nor Watson has the Bears' defense working to get them short fields to work on. Barring significant injuries, there is no reason to believe this Bears unit, with nine of 11 starters returning (I consider the nickel package the starting defense at this point, and the Bears brought in new nickel back Buster Skrine to go with new safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix), won't be one of the best in the NFL. Oh, and did we mention that four of those nine were named All-Pro first team at the end of the 2018 season?

It is time for Trubisky to upgrade from game manager to game winner if he is to even begin to justify being drafted that high. But for a Bears team that again this season features a great defense first and foremost, the most important thing will be for him to not screw up.

Last season may have ended with the double doink, but more importantly it ended with Trubisky completing several beautiful throws to star wide receiver Allen Robinson during the clutch drive that set up that field goal attempt. If Cody Parkey had made that kick, the Bears could have said Trubisky didn't just win a game with his arm, he won a playoff game.

My prediction is the Bears win the division at 11-5 and the quarterback will get another great shot at postseason glory.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 PM | Permalink

The Conversations Summit

Hope For The Day has rallied a coalition of more than 40 organizations - from community non-profit agencies to academic institutions - to dedicate to a day filled with education, inspiration and activation on mental health.

The 2019 Conversations Summit will include interactive workshops and panels of community leaders and representatives, including U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly and Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris. The event will conclude with a call to action and musical performance by the musical artist Gnash.

The Summit will also feature workshops and speakers on topics crucial to youth today, all intersecting with mental health. These include school stressors, self-expression, economics, identity and orientation, social and criminal justice, personal agency, and family dynamics.

The event, which is free and runs from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, will be graciously hosted by the University of Illinois-Chicago the Isadore & Sadie Dorin Forum.

"We chose to hold the Conversations Summit during National Suicide Prevention Month because prevention starts with a conversation on our mental health," says HTFD founder Jonny Boucher. " Not only will attendees interactively learn about how mental health influences all of us, but also how each of us plays a critical role in starting the conversation beyond this summit in our personal and professional lives."

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PANELS

Boys Don't Cry: Confronting stigmas that compel silence on men's mental health

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Panelists: Davey Muise (Musician & Lived Experience Advocate); Jordan Meyers (Banyan Treatment Centers); Jeremy Foster (CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters Chicago); Dan Carcillo (Retired, Chicago Blackhawks & Lived Experience Advocate)

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You Can't Wear That: Exploring stigmas that impacts women's mental health

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Panelists: Rosabelle Eales (Artist/Creative Management); Kelsey Huff (Shaped Podcast); Rebecca Langan (Working On Womanhood); Hannah Lucas (Founder, Not Ok App); Jenna Korsten (Mental Health Advocate & Stoneman Douglas HS Alum)

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Mental Health & Intersectionality: Examining the complex nuances of stigma and mental health in modern culture

1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Panelists: Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia (Chicago Beyond); Brandon Breaux (Artist & Designer) Swopes (Visual Content Creator & Social Influencer); Nick Heinman (SocialWorks)

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Our Minds & Our Voices: A discussion on public policies that impact mental health

3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Panelists: U.S. Rep Robin Kelly; Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris; Officer Catherine Sanchez (Chicago Police Department)

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CLOSING ADDRESS

We Are In This Together: A call for today's use to take proactive action on mental health

4 p.m. - 4: 45 p.m.

Speakers: Jenna Korsten, Hannah Lucas, Jonny Boucher

Performance: Gnash

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Summit Partners

University of Illinois-Chicago, Playworks, Reginald & Paul Sewell Foundation, Prevent School Violence Illinois, Youth in Crisis Coalition, Sarah's Inn, NAMI Chicago, Westmont JR High School, Ben's Memorial Mile, CASEL, Lisle Township, Angel Forever, M;nd Your M;nd, NotOk, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Mental Health America of Illinois, Youth Guidance, Prevention Partnership, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership, Banyan Treatment Center, State of Emerge-A-City, NAMI DuPage, Schultz Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Young Invincibles.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:03 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

I had to go to the dentist this morning.

While sitting in the chair waiting to be worked on, I sent the following e-mails to our very own Tim Willette:

* "If things don't go well, all my passwords are richrath."

* "It's like a chop shop in here."

* "This is a tooth mill!"

And then when it was all over:

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Things have changed a lot since the last time I went to the dentist. They don't x-ray you with that big machine left over from the war anymore. Instead, they just use basically x-rays on a stick. "Just bite down on that." Don't I get a radiation gown? "Yeah, we don't do that anymore."

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There are also TVs in every "bay." (I guess you don't get your own room anymore; it's an open floor plan.) Yay, this TV is set to "Music Choice!" Boo, it's set to the Top Hits channel!

At least I've now heard an Ariana Grande collaboration with someone whose name I've already forgotten. The song, too. Good, I don't want that crap stuck in my head.

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Still to research: He only cleaned the left half of my teeth. He said he'd like to do them all, but the insurance companies want dentists to do half one day and half another. I asked if they got paid more money that way and all I heard was some mumbling, and possibly the word "radiation." So on Monday it's the right side. For now, half my mouth feels fresh!

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Come Monday . . .

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Everything You Need To Play Baseball Is Made In China - And Getting Hit By Trump's Tariffs
Golf, lacrosse, basketball and other sports will feel the pinch, too.

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The Conversations Summit
A day dedicated to education, inspiration and activation on mental health.

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Sinclair Rampage Continues With Stake In YES
"With this investment, we will have 23 RSN brands, including Marquee with the iconic Chicago Cubs, and 21 RSN brands acquired from the Walt Disney Company."

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Tru Time
"In college, Pat Mahomes threw more passes in a month's worth of games at Texas Tech than Mitch Trubisky threw in his entire career."

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ChicagoReddit

Old dude trying to start skating again and looking for others to skate with from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Land of Lincolns at Taste of Chicago 1992.

Singer and guitarist Jean Lyons had previously played in Barbie Army, Fudge Tunnel (not this Fudge Tunnel) and Fang Beach (she played bass - at least on their first demo), while working at Flying Fish Records, according to the Tribune and Punk Database.

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"[I]n their high, thin, girlish voices, which, struggling to be heard over Jean Lyons's loud, rough-and-tumble guitar, really do sound like a Barbie army," Franklin Soults wrote for the Reader. "But instead of the so-what boredom that usually sets in after the initial appeal of gutsy, all-too-human amateurism wears off, this group's all-around smarts make that gutsy appeal stick and click."

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I wasn't able to locate where Lyons is today - and truthfully, I didn't look for her bandmates (not that they aren't worthy!). I had a dentist's appointment.

UPDATE 4:25 P.M.: She lives in Colorado and works for UPI as a regional correspondent.

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BeachBook

My Brother Went Missing In Chicago, And My Search For Him Turned My World Upside Down.

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Binge Drinking, Raucous Parties And Trauma From Sexual Encounters Shadow UC-Davis Marching Band.

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Remembering Rahm.

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AVP Chicago.

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

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Gruesome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Everything You Need To Play Baseball Is Made In China - And Getting Hit By Trump's Tariffs

Since 1983, Kim Karsh has helped baseball teams deal with an inconvenient fact of the modern economy: Almost everything you need to play America's homegrown sport is now made in China, from cleats to batting helmets.

Lately, supplying the game's amateurs and fans has gotten more difficult. Karsh owns California Pro Sports in Harbor City, California, where invoices for big customers now include a caveat: Prices are up due to the Trump administration's tariffs on Chinese imports, and they could rise further on short notice.

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"We have to explain to our customers that the trade war affects them as it does us," Karsh said. "We can pass on pretty much everything to the consumer. The problem is, now they will shop lower-quality items. Some understand, and other people don't."

Although duties set to kick in soon will affect all manner of sports equipment that hasn't been made in America for decades, baseball enthusiasts are perhaps affected most because so many items are needed to play the game.

Baseball caps were hit first by the third round of China tariffs that went into effect at 10% last September and rose to 25% in January, on top of the 7.5% base tariff. Those added about a dollar to the cost of a hat, Karsh said. Trump's tariff will rise to 30% in October, bringing the total to 37.5%, and possibly causing another price increase.

Retail prices for metal bats have already risen $5 to $10 each, Karsh said, even though a 10% hike on bats and other sporting goods was put off until Dec. 15 as the Trump administration made a concession to the Christmas shopping season. On Aug. 23, President Donald Trump said he would jack up the levy to 15%.

Baseballs themselves faced tariffs starting Sept. 1, and although Karsh said prices haven't increased yet, he's expecting to add between $3 and $5 per dozen.

"If you can buy now that would be a plus," Karsh told customers in August, figuring the only direction the tariffs will go is up.

Since the sporting goods industry has become so dominated by Chinese imports, teams have little ability to shop around. Meanwhile, equipment is not the only mounting cost, with rising fees at municipal fields and less volunteer labor from parents. That raises the barrier to entry for a game that's supposed to be accessible to everyone.

"Baseball is struggling. The expense of playing the game has gone up sky high," said Charles Blackburn, executive director of the National Amateur Baseball Federation, a 105-year-old volunteer group that organizes teams and tournaments. "It's a tax on top of a tax. They're discouraging people from playing the game of baseball."

Global Small Ball

The story of how baseball gear became a product of China is the tale of globalization, writ small.

In the 1800s, when baseball consisted of loosely organized leagues with few uniform standards, balls were made in a factory in Natick, Massachusetts, and sewn together by women who worked out of their homes. The manufacturer, Harwood, developed the iconic figure-eight seam design involving 108 stitches and horsehide tanned on the outskirts of town.

As baseball developed, the major leagues standardized their balls and cut exclusive sourcing deals, first with Spalding and then with St. Louis-based Rawlings. Partly owned by Major League Baseball, Rawlings is now the nation's largest supplier of baseball gear, and also a heavy importer from China.

Even slight alterations in baseball materials and construction can lead to heated debates, fueled most recently by a rise in home runs that some have theorized may have to do with the 5-ounce spheres having less drag.

But the physical ball hasn't changed much since 1977, when Rawlings officially started producing them for both the National and American Leagues. A cork center is coated with rubber, wound with hundreds of yards of wool and cotton yarn, and finished with hand-sewn leather. Since it remains a labor-intensive process - with no machine yet able to navigate those 108 stitches - manufacturers have moved around the world in search of lower wages and higher-volume suppliers of raw materials with less toxic production processes.

"We had the facilities and the know-how," said Bill Sells, senior vice president for government affairs at the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. "And as the market developed, others became proficient at making balls, and it went overseas."

While the major leagues won't be affected much by tariffs on Chinese imports, everyone from Double-A players down through the office softball team will be.

Rawlings made its balls in Puerto Rico until the 1960s, when it moved to Haiti - along with other ball manufacturers, like Wilson - in search of lower labor costs. As workers in Haiti agitated for higher pay and the political situation destabilized, Rawlings moved production to Costa Rica, where balls are still produced for the major leagues and Triple-A teams.

But in 1994, Rawlings started sourcing lower-end balls for mass consumption to China. Now America imports $69.5 million worth of baseballs and softballs from China annually, compared with $18.5 million from the next-largest supplier, Costa Rica.

Not Just Balls

Only one company in the world still produces baseball gloves in America - Texas-based Nokona, which sells mitts for hundreds of dollars each.

Wooden bats are still produced in the U.S., which is rich in lumber. But metal and composite bats are largely made in China, and those are the ones used by club and school leagues with the tightest budgets.

Although U.S.-based sporting goods companies now produce almost none of their own gear, increasing the cost of imports from China could still jeopardize thousands of U.S. white collar jobs in design, product development, and sales and marketing.

Rawlings, which declined to comment, argued against tariffs in a June letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. It said that if tariffs were imposed, "entire product lines" could be eliminated, and job losses within its 670-person domestic workforce would be "inevitable."

So far, no major manufacturers have responded to Trump's tariffs by saying they will move their supply chains out of China. Baden Sports, a family-owned sporting goods manufacturer based in Renton, Washington, tried to rush its orders to get inventory through customs before new duties take effect. After that, CEO Michael Schindler says they'll try to distribute increased costs.

"We're working hard with our suppliers to help alleviate the hit," Schindler said. "The Chinese government changes the currency to account for about 2%. Then you pass a couple percent on to your customers, and you might eat a percent or two. Everybody participates in the pain. It's in everybody's best interest to keep the thing going."

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But Schindler acknowledged China may not be his company's last stop. As China moves on to higher-tech products like electric cars, Schindler said, the painstaking work of ball manufacturing may migrate to nations earlier on in their industrial evolution, like Bangladesh and Malaysia - just as his company shifted from Taiwan and South Korea in the 1980s to Japan and on to China. For his next move, Schindler is thinking about someplace closer to his customers, like Mexico or the Dominican Republic.

The problem is, other countries don't have the labor force or the port capacity yet to handle a total exodus from China. Also, relationships with suppliers are hard to build: Baden has worked with the same Taiwanese-owned company since 1979, as it moved with him from country to country. It's easier to relocate within Asia than to move halfway across the world - especially when the tariff situation seems to change from week to week.

"If you're not thinking about it, you're nuts," Schindler said. "It's almost impossible to do anything about it quickly. And partially because when the tariffs were first talked about, you never really knew. It's really hard to make hard and fast decisions when you really don't know."

Think About The Kids

Uncertainty also faces most baseball teams and leagues as they plan next season's purchases.

The Fort Wayne TinCaps, a Class A team, has braced for a cost increase. The team bought 8,160 balls last year at $53 a dozen, which comes to $36,040. Rawlings has an exclusive contract to supply the TinCaps with Chinese-made baseballs, so there's no way to bargain down the price. Although the TinCaps share the cost of bats and balls with their major league affiliate, the San Diego Padres, collectively the tariffs could mean a significant cost increase by next year.

And that could also affect the fan experience, from Double-A teams on down, said team president Michael Nutter. One of the traditions of these games is tossing balls out to eager fans, which can get expensive if prices rise.

"I know some teams and operators are really strict with the baseballs and discourage players from throwing them to fans and trying to protect every single baseball," Nutter said, while noting that he'll continue to encourage fielders to be generous. "Really, to us, this is a cost of doing business."

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Youth sports have even less wiggle room. Tariffs have been on the minds of school baseball team managers across the country, many of whom operate on fixed budgets from local governments, dues paid by parents and ticket sales.

"Anytime there's an increase in equipment cost, it gets passed on to the gate, or you have another fundraiser," said Shelton Crews, executive director of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association. "I know up here in Tallahassee, parents have to raise so much money or make up the difference in cash."

At a certain point, increased prices will translate into lower sales, especially for the mom-and-pop shops like Karsh's that already operate on razor-thin margins.

"We can survive, but it's very unfortunate what they're doing," Karsh said. "The manufacturers have put all their eggs in one basket. But there's not much I can do about it. Not much anybody can do about it."

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

September 3, 2019

Chicago's Apocalypsticks Won The 2019 APA Ladies 8-Ball Championship

Five Chicago residents are $10,000 richer after a recent visit to Sin City. But their good fortune didn't happen in the casino. The team of the Apocalypsticks won the 2019 APA Ladies 8-Ball Championship last month in Las Vegas.

The Apocalypsticks were one of only 256 worldwide to qualify for the American Poolplayers Association's (APA) Ladies 8-Ball Championship held at the Westgate Resort & Casino.

The Apocalypsticks took home $10,000 and ultimate bragging rights upon returning home to their local poolroom. Team members include: Courtney Glascoe, Darlene Dantes, Silva McDermott, Crystal Banks and Nicole Riggio.

apocalypsticks.jpg

The teammates are members of the Chicago APA Pool League that includes nearly 1,500 players.

The Ladies 8-Ball Championship, held Aug. 11 - 14, was part of the APA's World Championships ,which featured six divisions, nearly 15,000 total players and more than $1.2 million in prize money.

Here's the video of the Apocalpysticks' championship match against the Femmes Fatales of Brentwood, New York:

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The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world's largest amateur pool league, known as the APA Pool League, throughout the United States, and the Canadian Pool League in Canada. Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9‑Ball League play.

The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.

The APA produces four major tournaments each year - the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the U.S. Amateur Championship and the APA Junior Championships - that, together, pay out nearly $2 million in cash and prizes annually.

The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues, PoolDawg and Valley-Dynamo.

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See also: Meet The Apocalypsticks.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:24 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

It was another Weekend at Benny's.

bennycolumn.jpg

I love that cat.

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Of course, every time I see Benny he lobbies for more cat news in the Beachwood. I'm always like, "Dude, you should be my cat correspondent!" And he's like, "How much does it pay?" And that's where the conversation always ends.

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See the entire weekend photo album here.

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Back In Black To School
"The new school year began Tuesday for about 350,000 Chicago Public Schools students. Children and their parents dodged raindrops as weather made for a soggy start to the morning," the Tribune reports.

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Labor Nay
"The sights and sounds of the annual Labor Day parade drew thousands of spectators Monday, marking one of the last hurrahs of summer," the Rockford Register-Star reports.

"Members of Ironworkers Local 498 rode atop a steel girder to recreate 'Lunch Atop a Skyscraper,' a famous 1932 photo of ironworkers having lunch 69 floors above New York City during the final months of construction of the RCA building. The Local 498 girder in Rockford's parade was on the back of a truck and carried nine men and two women who waved to onlookers."

It's pretty awesome! Click through to see.

However . . .

"According to archivists, the photograph was in fact prearranged. Although the photograph shows real ironworkers, it is believed that the moment was staged by Rockefeller Center to promote its new skyscraper. Other photographs taken on the same day show some of the workers throwing a football and pretending to sleep on the girder. The photo appeared in the Sunday photo supplement of the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, 1932."

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"Some historians believe there was a sturdy level of the structure, then called the RCA building, just below the frame," the Washington Post reports.

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Still, these are pretty cool:

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Also: Timmy never fell down a well.

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Labor Day Lead
"Cookouts, parties, and family dinners were pretty common this Labor Day, but they're running differently in University Park," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"[M]any families in the south suburb still can't trust their running water. And they have been going without safe, lead-free running water all summer, but never saw this continuing all the way into Labor Day weekend. And they've had it."

The Illinois Attorney General's Office filed suit against University Park's water supplier, Aqua Illinois, last month.

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"According to Aqua, things are improving and impacted residents can drink and use their tap water if they run the water for two to three minutes and then use specialized filters.

"As a reminder, you can consume your tap water while under the advisory if you take the proper protective steps, which include running cold tap water for two to three minutes and then filtering cold tap water through faucet filters or pitcher filters certified by the NSF to remove lead," Aqua said in a community update issued this past Friday. "If you haven't already, we recommend impacted customers watch our video tutorial outlining these steps."

"But University Park families said they would not be taking that chance."

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Aqua's core values are Integrity, Respect and the Pursuit of Excellence.

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Aqua's chairman, president and chief executive officer is Christopher Franklin.

"Franklin also attained national print and broadcast media coverage for the company, changed the name and rebranded the company and its subsidiaries, and expanded its investor relations outreach to increase analyst coverage of the company."

Good job, Franklin.

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"[W]e have built unprecedented momentum in our municipal acquisition strategy, which is largely the result of the passage of fair market value legislation in a number of our states," Franklin said in an earnings call last February.

From an August 2018 press release:

"Aqua America Inc. (NYSE: WTR) today stated that amended legislation signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner will continue to allow companies like Aqua to pay a fair market value for water and wastewater systems, benefitting local governments, customers, and the environment."

Then-state Sen. Kwame Raoul was one of the sponsors of that bill - not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that. I really don't know. I have no clue. Just flagging it. Perhaps someone can fill me in. But maybe play nice with your customers and show some gratitude. Many folks run their tap water through filters as a matter of course, but no one wants to be warned by the water company that they ought to do it just to be safe. That does not inspire confidence - which means, Mr. Franklin, you've failed at your job. You are in charge of people's water! Act like it.

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Meanwhile . . .

"All public schools in East Chicago, Indiana were ordered closed Monday due to a water boil order."

Wasn't Monday a holiday? Or was Monday the day the schools were ordered closed? To wit:

"All schools will be closed Tuesday due to a citywide boil advisory, the School City of East Chicago said in a news release Monday night," the Northwest Indiana Times reports.

Whatever the case, that strikes me as not good.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

An Exuberant Latin American History Of Pop Art
This looks really cool - at the Block Museum up at Northwestern this month through December.

The exhibition examines how Pop Art's bold and colorful imagery, references to mass culture and representations of everyday objects, signs and symbols, were embraced by artists working across the hemisphere. Pop América also takes a timely and critical look at the social and political impulses behind Pop Art from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s.

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Taylor Swift Killed Arlington Park
The real reason why we can't have nice things.

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Patience And Payment
How the White Sox need to finish what they've started.

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Beachwood Sports Radio: 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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ChicagoReddit

r/inclusiveor Chicago edition from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Toy Hunting In Chicago.

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BeachBook
A sampling of our latest offerings over there.

As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Feel It Most.

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Tracksmith Marketing Itself As The Anti-Nike.

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What We'll Lose By Limiting September Rosters.

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When A Southwest Airlines Flight Was Delayed, Passengers Got Increasingly Frustrated. Then The Gate Agent Did Something Remarkable.

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What I Know About Famous Men's Penises.

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

It's really an interesting phenomenon - how many people don't believe in the truth when it gets in the way of their earnings, or acquiring/maintaining power. They just don't believe we should live in a world where facts matter. Our whole culture is built on deceit. Deceiving each other for money, influence, sadist satisfaction. That's why I hate it so much when journalists - and others in "truth professions," such as those in the criminal justice system - betray their core values (and so blithely). Of course, every profession should be a truth profession. Would we really fail to function economically if everybody just decided to be honest? Perhaps we'd prosper more! Instead of working hard to create fake trust with consumers, for example, you could actually earn real trust! Wouldn't profits skyrocket? A race to the truth top! Anyway, this Ring dude is a failure as a human.

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From Inc.'s Founders Project: First, I Lost on Shark Tank. Then, I Sold My Startup for Over $1 Billion.

"Failing on Shark Tank was a low point for Ring founder Jamie Siminoff - but it forced him to succeed."

Good job, everyone.

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"Does Trump Ever Lie? White House Press Secretary Says 'No.'"

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"The Trump Team Is Now Lying About Lying."

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The Beachwood McTipster Line: Skat, Kat.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 PM | Permalink

At The Block Museum | An Exuberant Latin American History Of Pop Art

Chicago audiences will discover an expanded history of Pop Art when The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University opens the exhibition Pop América, 1965-1975 this fall.

Running Sept. 21 through Dec. 8, the bilingual exhibition challenges and reframes familiar notions of Pop Art by bringing together artists from North and South America, as well as the Caribbean.

untitled-design-43.jpgHugoRivera-Scott, Pop América, 1968. Collage on cardboard, 30 x 21.5 inches (76.5 x 54.5 cm). Courtesy of the artist. © Hugo Rivera-Scott. Photo by Jorge Brantmayer.

The Block Museum is the final and largest metropolitan area venue for the touring exhibition, which was organized by Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art.

Winner of the inaugural Sotheby's Prize, which was established to honor exhibitions that explore overlooked or underrepresented areas of art history, Pop América is the first exhibition to unify Latin American and Latinx expressions of Pop.

The exhibition examines how Pop Art's bold and colorful imagery, references to mass culture and representations of everyday objects, signs and symbols, were embraced by artists working across the hemisphere. Pop América also takes a timely and critical look at the social and political impulses behind Pop Art from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s.

"It feels timely to consider the ways in which ideas, politics and culture have long cross-pollinated across the Americas resulting in innovative and beautiful works of art," said Block Museum director Lisa Corrin. "Pop América expands the canon of art history and our understanding of Pop, shifting the focus away from what was happening in London and New York, to include other expressions of Pop sensibilities."

Exhibition Artists: New Revelations And Familiar Faces

Pop América features nearly 100 artworks by more than 40 artists working in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the United States, sparking a reconsideration of Pop as a U.S. and European phenomenon. The exhibition reshapes debates over Pop's perceived political neutrality and aesthetic innovations, creating vital dialogues that cross national borders.

The artists in the exhibition include Antonio Dias, Rubens Gerchman, Roy Lichtenstein, Marisol, Cildo Meireles, Marta Minujín, Hugo Rivera-Scott and Andy Warhol, among others. United by their use of Pop's visual strategies, these artists have made bold contributions to conceptualism, performance and new-media art, as well as social protest, justice movements and debates about freedom.

"This exhibition will expand both the idea of what Pop Art was, and for many visitors will bring to light what was happening in Latin America in the mid-1960s-1970s," said Corinne Granof, academic curator at The Block Museum.

"A lot of the artists included in the exhibit will be familiar, especially Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein and Latin America artists, such as Marisol," said Granof. "However, the exhibit also includes work by Brazilian artists Rubens Gerchman, Amaral and Cildo Meireles, Columbian artist Beatriz González, Raul Martinez from Cuba and Marta Minujín from Argentina. Many of these artists are not as widely known, and it will be a revelation to encounter their impactful works that play off Pop in compelling and powerful ways."

Global Pop, Global Modernisms

Pop América reinforces trends within art history to think globally and across borders to find commonalities among artists in different regions. The exhibition is one of several in recent years that have reexamined Pop Art and put it into a global context, including International Pop (Walker Art Center, 2015) and The World Goes Pop (Tate, 2015-16).

Pop América also compels visitors to rethink concepts of "America," a question that is especially relevant today. The addition of the accent over the é in América contests the presumed primacy of the United States in artistic, economic and political realms, and reinforces a greater sense of transnational unity. At the same time, the exhibition has the potential to open up conversations about nationality, borders and migration.

The Block Museum of Art has announced that the entirety of its 2019-2020 exhibition schedule will be devoted to the idea of "Global Modernisms," and this exhibition is the first within that framework. Pop América is one of several exhibitions that explore new ways of looking at modernist approaches that were thriving beyond Europe and the United States.

Upcoming exhibitions include aesthetic innovation throughout the Arab World and the Middle East, Turkey, India and - with Pop América - Latin America. The Block Museum is committed to looking at art across time, culture and place, and the 2019-20 schedule promotes new vantage points from which to consider artists' response to modernity.

The Politics Of Pop

The exhibition title is drawn from a 1968 print by Chilean artist Rivera-Scott with its verbal cue to "pop" - or to explode - the idea of America. While the print itself uses familiar visual strategies from iconic Pop artworks, such as Lichtenstein's "Explosion" (1967) - including an animated comic book-like stylized text, flat colors and Ben-Day dots - the emphasis on action that Rivera-Scott conveys through the expression "Pop América" is highlighted throughout the exhibition.

The works are divided into sections that allow visitors to think in active terms, including "Facing América," "Mediating América," "Consuming América," "Liberating América" and "Fashioning América." In many cases, Latin-American and Caribbean Pop art movements engage with material culture in ways familiar from the U.S. context, but reveal different political weight in the context of oppressive military regimes, state censorship, economic challenges and leftist resistance movements. The exhibition sheds light on these stylistic parallels, as well as the specific political circumstances of the individual countries it represents.

The exhibition is groundbreaking in its exploration of the way in which Pop Art was used throughout the Americas as an intentional strategy for communicating sensitive, politically challenging content.

"In North America, Pop Art often emphasized the superficial, surface and appearance, an idea reinforced by such iconography as celebrities and fashion, consumer products, Coke bottles and Campbell's soup cans, comic books - any motif that comes from the world of popular culture," Granof said. "This playful spirit of Pop Art is also apparent in iterations of Pop from the Global South. However, using similar frames of reference, there is sometimes a more political inflection or outright critique that comes through in the Latin American expressions of Pop. At the same time, looking at this work through a different lens, we start to see the stronger political tendencies in U.S. Pop Art."

Public Tours And Programming

Free tours of the exhibition will be held Sundays at 3 p.m. and on select Tuesdays at noon. Spanish-language tours will be held Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 19 and Nov. 9. More information on Pop América tours is available on The Block Museum website.

A full season of free cinema and programming will delve deeper into the topics of the exhibition and several programs, including the Sept. 28 Opening Celebration, will be presented in partnership with Chicago's National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA), one of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States. The Pop América collaboration is the first in an ongoing partnership between NMMA and Block Museum aimed at expanding NMMA's reach to Chicago's Northshore, and sharing the wealth of NMMA's cultural knowledge with Northwestern University's audiences.

Fall Programming Highlights

* Opening Celebration: Pop América Pop In, Saturday, Sept. 28, noon to 4 p.m.

The opening day "Pop In" offers celebration activities for all ages including printmaking with Instituto Gráfico de Chicago, radio broadcast with Yollocalli Arts Reach, live son jarocho music and exhibition tours.

* Contesting Freedom: Pop América, 1965-1975, A Conversation With Curator Esther Gabara, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 6 p.m.

Hear directly from Esther Gabara, curator of Pop América, about the artists from across the hemisphere who shared dreams and struggles over the idea of a singular América.

* Cesáreo Moreno: Mi Casa es Su Casa, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.

This guided tour will examine select works in Pop América created by Mexicans on both sides of the border to uncover similarities between them.

* América Now: Chicago Artists in Dialogue, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 6 p.m.

An in-depth conversation with three Chicago artists who will consider how ideas and approaches from Pop América remain relevant in our contemporary moment.

* Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America, Oct. 3 - Nov. 1

Block Cinema And Chicago Partner Locations

This groundbreaking touring film series offers the first comprehensive survey of Latin America's vibrant experimental film history. Screening partners include Nightingale Cinema (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.), Filmfront (1740 W. 18th St.), Comfort Station (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and ACRE (1345 W. 19th St.).

Credits And Catalogue

Pop América, 1965-1975 is co-organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas. The exhibition is curated by Esther Gabara, E. Blake Byrne associate professor of romance studies and associate professor of art, art history and visual studies at Duke University. At the Block Museum, the exhibition is curated by Corinne Granof, curator of academic programs.

Support for Pop América, 1965-1975 is provided by the Sotheby's Prize and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and its President and Founder Ariel Aisiks. The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alumnae of Northwestern University.

Pop América, 1965-1975 also is a bilingual (English/Spanish) 216-page catalogue published by Duke University Press that explores Pop art as a hemispheric art movement. Reconstituting a network of artists who were active some 50 years ago, Pop América explores how Latin American and Latino/a/x artists adapted familiar languages of mass media, fashion and advertising to create provocative artwork in a range of mediums.

The Block Museum is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

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See also:

* McNay Art Museum trailer.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink

Sinclair Rampage Continues: Acquires 20% Interest In YES Network

As part of a consortium led by Yankee Global Enterprises, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. ("Sinclair") (NASDAQ: SBGI) announced that an indirect subsidiary of Diamond Sports Group has acquired a 20% equity interest in the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network ("YES Network"), valued at approximately $346 million on a total enterprise value of $3.47 billion. In addition, under the YES Network management team, Sinclair will direct the YES Network's traditional and virtual distribution relationships.

The YES Network is the country's most-watched regional sports network (RSN), broadcasting games, programs and specialty content for the New York Yankees, the Brooklyn Nets, Major League Soccer's New York City FC, and the WNBA's New York Liberty.

"We are excited about partnering with such a renowned franchise as the New York Yankees," said Chris Ripley, president & CEO of Sinclair. "With this investment, we will have 23 RSN brands, including Marquee with the iconic Chicago Cubs, and 21 RSN brands acquired from the Walt Disney Company last week."

Since its launch in 2002, the YES Network has earned 118 Emmy Awards, and has consistently been ranked as one of the most valuable sports business brands in the world. In addition to televising 128 regular season Yankees games per season, the YES Network also airs pre-and postgame shows; Yankeeography, the Emmy award-winning biography series on past and present Yankees greats; and Yankees magazine, the weekly magazine show consisting of Yankees highlights, player profiles, behind-the-scenes features and interviews.

The investment was funded as part of Sinclair's initial cash equity capitalization into Diamond Sports Group.

Other investors in the YES Network include: Yankee Global Enterprises, Amazon, RedBird Capital, funds managed by Blackstone's Tactical Opportunities business, and Mubadala Capital. Advisors for Sinclair were Guggenheim and Liontree.

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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.

* Sinclair Completes Acquisition Of Regional Sports Networks From Disney.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 AM | Permalink

September 2, 2019

Patience And Payment

His fastball frequently is clocked in triple digits. The curveball and changeup are rated 55/60 and 45/50, respectively, by FanGraphs. He was the freakin' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018.

Yet, Dylan Cease is finding out just how difficult it is to get hitters out in the major leagues. Part of the problem with guys like Cease and other hot prospects, not only with the Sox but throughout the baseball universe, is that the expectations and ballyhoo are so intense and lofty that anything less becomes a disappointment suffered by a portion of the faithful that you'd think their dog just died.

Last Thursday, when Cease gave up back-to-back homers to the Twins' Jake Cave and C.J. Cron, not even the most fearsome hitters in the Twins' scary lineup, to start the top of the third inning, the Sox trailed 7-0 and he was finished for the day. He had faced 16 batters, 11 of whom reached base. This obviously was not the Dylan Cease advertised as a crucial piece of this rebuilding scheme.

Cease's record sunk to 3-7 while his ERA swelled to 6.92. He's been tagged for 13 home runs in just 52 innings in this homer-happy era. The Sox's other Dylan, Covey, got a one-way ticket to Charlotte for similar performances earlier this season.

There must be an explanation for Cease's lack of success thus far. Last week manager Rick Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper thought possibly Cease was tipping his pitches. Maybe. However, there's no guarantee that hitters can drive the ball more than 400 feet even if they know what's coming. The crux of the matter is that the 23-year-old right-hander, who was drafted by the Cubs as a high schooler five years ago, is still learning how to pitch.

Finesse is required. It's not what you throw but when and where you throw it. We also should note that Cease wasn't lights out at Charlotte before he was summoned to the South Side for his debut in early July. In 15 starts at Triple-A this season, Dylan gave up more hits than innings pitched while walking more than four batters per nine innings. Compare that to the season before when Cease yielded only 82 hits in 124 innings while fanning 160. His ERA was a sparkling 2.40.

But now that Cease is playing against the big boys, none of his minor league numbers really matter. Assuming that he's healthy - assistant trainer James Kruk visited the mound on Thursday after Cease threw a pitch far above Nelson Cruz's head that banged off the screen; Cease assured everyone he was feeling fit - Cease will continue to be a student of his craft at the highest level. A contending team wouldn't be able to afford a student such as Cease. For a club going nowhere this season, the Sox are willing to accommodate his trials and tribulations.

But take heart, people. The list below will show you it's not how you start but how you finish. Present and past pitchers who wobbled and swayed in their initial seasons are easier to locate than a Dylan Cease breaking ball. Included is teammate Lucas Giolito, who briefly appeared for the Nationals in 2016 before throwing his first pitch for the White Sox a year later. The list includes the first three seasons for Sandy Koufax and Zack Greinke, and the initial two years for the other pitchers.

Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 8.37.30 AM.png

The major takeaway is that all of these moundsmen walked too many hitters as young pitchers but later developed command as they learned and improved. Of course, there always is the possibility that Cease doesn't possess the fiber of a big league pitcher, but that verdict is a long way off. For now, patience is required.

Furthermore, he is not alone. Reynaldo Lopez failed to complete the first inning Saturday evening against Atlanta, facing nine hitters, retiring only two, while giving up six runs and as many hits.

The White Sox have had a number of sorry weeks this season, but the past seven days might qualify as the nadir. Being swept both by the Twins and Braves, Renteria's charges were outscored 47-23. The combined ERA of all pitchers not named Lucas Giolito was a horrifying 9.00 as the team dropped all six decisions.

Old age creates challenges to short-term memory. For this oldster, I'm having a difficult time recalling the team's last win.

Leaving the most recent fiasco for a moment, the one player who has established himself as a legitimate major leaguer on the Sox roster is a guy who is unsigned for the future. Of course, that's first baseman Jose Abreu, who recently recorded the 1,000th hit of his career, all of which has been spent on the South Side.

Abreu has sworn allegiance to the Sox, and The Chairman has averred that the 32-year-old Cuban will play his entire career in a Sox uniform. While some of the team's personnel moves can be questioned, the signing of Abreu to a six-year, $68 million contract prior to the 2014 season has to be one of the most intelligent decisions in team history.

Looking at an array of big thumpers in the game today, Abreu stacks up with the best. The list below shows that Abreu leads all others in hits while ranking fourth in RBIs. He drove in his 103rd run of the season on Sunday. With nine more, he will have averaged 100 RBIs a season for his career. In addition, he is one of the lowest paid players among the big run-producers.

Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 8.41.37 AM.png

Don't misunderstand. This is not an appeal for a GoFundMe campaign for Abreu. I only bring this up for comparison. However, I also wonder why Abreu's name is not more prominently mentioned as one of the more attractive free agents for the 2020 season. Is it because other clubs won't mess with Jerry Reinsdorf? Is age a factor?

Abreu was hit twice on Saturday by Dallas Keuchel on his left bicep. The swelling and multi-colors of his ample upper arm were apparent on television. Not only did Abreu stay in the game, but he played again on Sunday. He missed time last year with an infection unrelated to baseball. Abreu may not be indestructible, but he's clearly beyond durable.

There are four players in the chart above who are older than Abreu, including Nelson Cruz, 39, who has had a dandy time against the White Sox this season, hitting .471 with eight homers and 23 RBIs. David Ortiz played until the age of 40. Over his last seven seasons, starting when he was 33, Big Papi averaged 32 home runs and 100 RBIs. Might not Abreu's body provide him a chance to play as long as people like Cruz and Ortiz?

Why wouldn't there be competition for signing Abreu? Therefore, Rick Hahn will need to open the vault as wide as possible to make sure that Abreu remains in the fold. Anything less not only will significantly weaken the team, but it also will supremely tax the patience of fans who remain loyal to the strategy of building a contending ballclub for the future.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:28 AM | Permalink

September 1, 2019

TrackNotes: This Is Why We Can't Have Arlington Park Anymore

We have an addled orange sadist doing the bidding of all the satans he knows and those he dreams to meet.

We have a fabulously wealthy - naturally - whiny little tart invention with a suitably two-way first name regurgitating what passes for culture bitching out her bubble-world indignities toward a society she no longer lives in.

And we have a corporation that should have its name stripped from the venomous mast of its soulless existence.

TrackNotes is taking it back! We're taking back the old saying that we can't, Johnny, have anything nice anymore. It's no longer a pop hook, it's ours now. I'm tired of having things taken away by people whose inevitable fate will be to poison the earth they are buried in or scattered upon.

Churchill Downs Inc., long parlayed with the word 'evil' inside this html, announced last week that it would not enter an application for casino gaming operations at its Arlington International Racecourse, sparking serious momentum for the track's demise.

Yes, your gut feeling is always right. William Carstanjen would be the first to say, "It's not me, it's the company and our responsibility to shareholders." That's because he's a goddamned, emphasis damned, lawyer, specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Who has absolutely no appreciation, or even awe, certainly no love, for horses. He's afraid of them. And he's in charge of Churchill Effing Downs! How much hypocrisy and fraudulence can one person contain within himself?

Typically for things that have been ruined, the Kentucky Derby is no longer a race. It's an idea, turned into a nebulous you-don't-even-know-what-it-is carnival CDI has monetized into an "event" not even resembling a serious test of horse and rider. CDI has spent millions developing it's All-American caste system designed to tell you you deserve to spend more money, because you're special, but only in the pricing-tier boxes we designate. The Twin Spires long ago dwarfed underneath the East-West Tollway style of monoliths of Oak Brook and Naperville. Pride of the Twin Spires? Hell, no.

It doesn't start or end here. Factually sharp, the sadness and incredulity can't help but seep out in Ray Paulick's videocast. God almighty.

Since shadow-boxing Dick Duchossois (more on this mirage of a person later) "merged" the track with Churchill Downs Inc. in 2000, after owning it himself since 1983, the legitimately world-class dirt-and-turf facility has suffered from various factors, not ready for the new millennium, in degenerating into low-quality racing and 364 1/2 days' per year obscurity. And overblown illegitimate hype that last half day.

The twists and turns of these events were difficult to precisely predict, except for the scorched-earth nature of CDI's machinations, but this news is not the least bit surprising. It all boils down to the the degree of disgust, driven by greed. CDI's stock price has been a darling for years. The shock of it all and this documentation, however, gives me a physically sick feeling I can't describe.

Remember this as you might the first horseshoe ever to touch its ground in 1927: "We're a gaming company, not a horse racing company," a CDI executive who can still sleep at night said several years ago. That's been my guiding light since he said it.

After bitching and moaning as poor, poor pitiful corporations always do, about not being able to compete because it couldn't get slots to support the purses of racing it so dearly loves, CDI finally got gambling in Illinois, through the desperation of incompetent politicians. Carnivorously, it had already made its play by muscling in to majority ownership of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and going to bed with Neil Bluhm, a self-described asshole.

CDI has depicted the requirement of allocating 17-20 percent of track casino-based revenue directly to horse racing - translate, purses - as a tax. Dick Duchossois, now with racing blood on his hands, who would be the first to say he loves racing, goes along.

The bumpkins in Pixley, I mean Arlington Heights, see it as mostly cosmetic. And CDI, typically, doesn't pay so much as a bale of hay of responsibility.

So investing in a new casino at Arlington Park so close to Des Plaines makes not much sense.CDI also lusts after the Waukegan casino license, a town ripe as schmucks for the exploitation it seeks.

That press release writers would imply that CDI would "relocate" the track elsewhere would elicit from me one second of introspection before I would punch somebody in the mouth. Do they honestly believe we would believe they would undertake a capital project of such scale?

I cut no slack, and hold no hope. But CDI bullied its way into this and will probably seek to get a better deal from the state legislature out of a half victory of gambling legislation that was rushed, poorly written and certainly a failure in execution.

Common sense never wins. But the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, in condemning CDI's actions, makes an eminently proper demand.

Hit CDI, including "Arlington's considerable property tax break ($2.47 million this year), the track's recapture subsidy ($4.47 million in 2019 alone, straight from horsemen's purses), and the chance to apply for a sports betting license linked to Arlington (a form of gaming that will do nothing to benefit purses)." Wanna play hardball? CDI has all the guts, public officials, no.

CDI answers to no effingbody about Arlington, doesn't divulge revenues or profits, and blackmailed Springfield to get where it stands today.

Dick Duchossois. Dick Duchossois.

He made his money elsewhere. His reputation is as a paragon of passion for the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing. He's 97 years old. He's patted on the head in an Illinois racing game that was, once, long ago, great. Grand Pa Pa.

I do have to wonder if he wants to be remembered for one of the last things he does. Which is turn his back on racing, with the same petulance he has showed time and again.

He's been living off of, as Chicago is prone to do, the 1985 fire that destroyed the buildings. Am I being cynical by thinking corporate sponsorships and a million underwritten smackers compelled him to raise tents and run the Arlington Million, just weeks later? Guess who bailed him out? The Carey family at Hawthorne.

Jim O'Donnell reports: "'Churchill Downs Incorporated will not close Arlington Park,' the 97-year-old industrialist said. 'The Illinois state legislature will close Arlington Park. Only its members can change things.'"

No, Dickie, you got what you wanted and it's not enough. It never is.

Sounding every bit the political welfare king he had to be to have amassed such riches.

Passion for racing? This is a guy who closed Arlington Park for two years in 1998 and 1999 because he got snitty about the boo-hoo price he had to pay to contribute to society, vis a vis his loudly self-declared persecution by the Illinois legislature.

They say, if not for Double D . . . Then why didn't he see to it that the final turn was maintained as horses died in 2007? Why didn't he at least cajole CDI into giving Arlington Park the respect it once held in making it the premier summer meet of the Midwest? Why didn't he tell CDI that they were cannibalizing themselves - and THE GAME - by running Churchill Downs and Arlington at the same time?

At least we know where Duchossois stands:

"But he also lauded the decision-making of both Carstanjen and Bill Mudd, the president and COO of CDI." The Herald.

"The two Bills have yet to make a wrong decision," Duchossois said. "They serve the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders and they have done a fantastic job in that sense."

What about the game? What about Thoroughbred horse racing? That has lionized you despite your in-the-end attitude?

Duchossios, aided by a reputation machine, says what he is but doesn't, really, live what he says he is. Nine times out of ten, bubbles get burst, all too inevitably.

Who are you, TrackNotes? You haven't been out there for 10 years.

They started marketing the facility instead of the game. "You too can pretend to be a wiseguy!" Following, they raised prices. The racing is low-level, unbefitting. Make a day of it? The food sucks. They enjoy taking money from "guests" with a sincere middle finger right back.

The grating music too loud. A horse who opened at 15-1, rightly, gets pounded down to 3-2. How do I do that? The train schedule, the same train Seabiscuit rode, never meshed with the last post or the ticket cashing. I seriously thought about going up there this season, but I said to myself "TrackNotes, you'll only get aggravated because you know who you are."

Eddie Arcaro. Bill Shoemaker. Laffit Pincay, Jr. Randy Romero, who passed this week. Jimmy Winkfield, Isaac Murphy, Phil Georgeff. Seabiscuit (rained out but came), Citation, Cigar, John Henry "The Steel Drivin' Horse," Secretariat, Gio Ponti, The Pizza Man. Bill Hartack, Johnny Longden, Pat Day, Calvin Borel, Inez Karlsson, George "The Iceman" Woolf. Bricks and Mortar just weeks ago. The Tin Man, Beat Hollow, John Henry. Rene Douglas. Eddie Delahoussaye. Earlie Fires, who carried Chicago racing on top of a horse nearly into his seventies.

You cannot reason with people who have no heart, who don't think about anything but the twisted rationalizations of the pitiful way they treat the game.

There's a place in hell for Bill Carstanjen and Dick Duchossois and spokesshill Howard Sudberry. Truth scares them.

They all insulted and marginalized racing at Arlington years ago, hanging on, trading on the Illinois horsemen who truly love the sport. The sight of the wrecking ball haunts me.

And, now, small minds decree that I can't have anything nice anymore.

Stop.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:23 PM | Permalink

MUSIC - How Africa Adopted Jimmie Rodgers.
TV - Sinclair, ABC Light AOC On Fire.
POLITICS - SCOTUS's Border Wall Fiasco.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Dead Team(s) Walking.

BOOKS - The Hidden Places Of World War 2.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Wisconsin Is America's Goatland.


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