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« December 2019 | Main | February 2020 »

January 31, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #289: In The Wake Of Sports

Kobe Bryant's Brand. Plus: The Kris Bryant Boondoggle; In The Wake Of The Tribune; Coach Getting Wobbly On The 49ers; Goodnight Sweet Bears Prince; Baker's Baloney: Cubs Not Following Rhodes' Offseason Blueprint At All; Coach Went To A Bulls Game; Illinois Women's Basketball Teams Kicking Ass All Over The Place; The Bobby Shuttleworth Era Begins!; and AAU's Pullman Play.


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SHOW NOTES

* 289.

10: Kobe Bryant's Brand.

* Rhodes: As one person tweeted, "I will mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant and feel bad for his family while also remembering that the man got away with rape and that the woman he assaulted is now going to have to re-live the horror of it all over again as media and cruel people attack her and venerate him." In The [Monday] Papers.

* Wemple: The Washington Post's Misguided Suspension Of Felicia Sonmez Over Kobe Bryant Tweets.

* Coffman: "The whole world needs to be a little more judgemental. You drop off a couple letters and what's the word? Judgement."

15:36: The Kris Bryant Boondoggle.

* The Cubs did it, but apparently it's not impeachable.

* Wittenmyer vs. Nightengale.

'No Ill Will Whatsoever:' Kris Bryant Focused On Season After Losing Grievance Against Cubs.

vs.

Kris Bryant Reportedly Believes Cubs 'Openly Lied' During Hearing.

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* Affordability.

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* As of November 2019, Michael Bloomberg was the 14th-richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated at $58 billion.

26:48: In The Wake Of The Tribune.

* We won't have David Haugh's column to kick around anymore.

29:24: Coach Getting Wobbly On The 49ers.

* Mahomes too good.

* via Wikipedia:

"Patrick Lavon Mahomes, Sr. (born August 9, 1970) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball from 1992 to 2003 for the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, and Pittsburgh Pirates. He also pitched in two seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, 1997 and 1998, for the Yokohama Bay Stars. He most recently played for the Grand Prairie Air Hogs of the independent American Association in 2009. He is the father of NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes."

33:25: The 12th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Shakira & JLo Edition.

* Natasha: "Look, we've all got bigger fish to fry right now and we can do it over the embers of a once-promising democracy, but dammit, JLo got screwed."

* "Out of Sight is a 1998 American crime comedy film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Frank, adapted from Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name."

The critics loved it.

38:57: Bears Appear To Bid Goodnight To Their Sweet Prince.

* Sign Cornerback Deemed Top CFL Free Agent.

40:35: White Sox Sit On Their Hands For Another Week!

* Keuchel's apology.

42:11: Baker's Baloney.

* Sandoval: "Do you have a bologna company or something innocuous?"

* Apparently Joe Espada didn't have enough bologna.

46:18: Cubs Not Following Rhodes' Offseason Blueprint At All.

* Go Reds?

50:56: Dylan Strome Alert.

51:30: Coach Went To A Bulls Game.

* Zach LaVine is close to an All-Star bid, maybe will get cigar.

52:33: Illinois Women's Basketball Teams Are Kicking Ass All Over The Place.

* DePaul women: 19-2

* Northwestern women: 18-3

* Loyola women: 13-5

* Chicago State women: 13-7

* Illinois women: 10-10

* UIC women: 3-18

1:03:55: The Bobby Shuttleworth Era Begins!

1:04:30: AAU's Pullman Play.

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STOPPAGE: 7:09

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

I doubt this will be corrected because it's just not what they do.

Classic Fran.

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And what a needless embargo for the papers to agree to. Really? I've run out of ways to register my disgust. If you don't understand why this is wrong, send me some money and I'll come to your house and explain it.

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Chicago Fire Festival
"The City of Chicago is suing a Rockford-based coffee company for trademark infringement, claiming the company's logo is an imitation of the Chicago Fire Department's symbol," the Sun-Times reports.

"Fire Department Coffee and the Fire Department both feature logos that consist of the letters D, F and C intertwined in a stylized monogram, which is likely to confuse consumers into thinking the city has endorsed or sponsored the business, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday."

It definitely looks like a rip-off, but I doubt customers will be confused. The Chicago Fire Department operating a chain of coffee shops across the state? C'mon.

The company is run by firefighters, though, and they clearly pilfered the logo.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #289: In The Wake Of Sports
Kobe Bryant's Brand. Plus: The Kris Bryant Boondoggle; In The Wake Of The Tribune; Coach Getting Wobbly On The 49ers; Goodnight Sweet Bears Prince; Baker's Baloney: Cubs Not Following Rhodes' Offseason Blueprint At All; Coach Went To A Bulls Game; Illinois Women's Basketball Teams Kicking Ass All Over The Place; The Bobby Shuttleworth Era Begins!; and AAU's Pullman Play.

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Same Old NFL: League Abuses Trademark To Shut Down New York Jets Parody Store
They don't call it the No Fun League for nothing.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Sy Smith at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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BeachBook

White Nationalist State Department Official Still Active In Hate Movement.

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These Images Show The Sun's Surface In Greater Detail Than Ever Before.

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The Nightmare Of Facebook Listing Your Butthole As A Place.

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

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Just friends.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:36 AM | Permalink

Same Old NFL: League Abuses Trademark To Shut Down New York Jets Parody Store

The National Football League seems to be gunning for a spot in our Hall of Shame by setting a record for all-time career TDs - no, not touchdowns, but takedowns. We've written before about the NFL's crusade against anyone who dares use the words "Super Bowl" to talk about, well, the Super Bowl.

But the NFL's trademark bullying doesn't end there. One of the NFL's latest victims is Zach Berger, a New Yorker who sells merchandise for frustrated New York Jets fans through a website called Same Old Jets Store.

Most of Berger's products feature a parody version of the Jets' logo, modified to say "SAME OLD JETS" - a phrase that's been used for decades to criticize the team's performance and express fans' sense of inevitable disappointment. His other products include "MAKE THE JETS GREAT AGAIN" hats and clothing that says "SELL THE TEAM" in a font similar to one used on Jets merchandise.

jets.png

But if you're a cynical Jets fan in need of new gear, you're out of luck for now. Earlier this month, the NFL contacted Shopify, the platform Berger uses for his store, and claimed that every item sold by Same Old Jets Store infringes its trademarks. The NFL didn't even bother to identify which trademarks were supposedly infringed by which products - its formulaic notice just asserted trademark rights in the names and logos for the NFL and all 32 of its teams, then identified every product listing as "infringing content." The league's only explanation for its complaint was an obvious copy-and-paste job that parrots a legal test for trademark infringement, claiming consumers are likely to believe the gear was put out or approved by the NFL.

Seriously? The idea that consumers would think the NFL is selling official merchandise that mocks the Jets (using a phrase the team's owner has called "disrespectful"), or says "SELL THE TEAM," is ridiculous. On top of that, Berger's parodies of the Jets' logo and merchandise are protected by the First Amendment and trademark's nominative fair use doctrine, which protects your right to use someone else's trademark to refer to the trademark owner or its products. (Nominative fair use, by the way, is also why you can call the Super Bowl "the Super Bowl.")

Disappointingly, Shopify responded to the infringement complaint by taking down Berger's listings, without questioning the NFL's absurd claims or giving Berger a chance to respond. Even worse, when Berger contacted Shopify and explained why the NFL's complaint was baseless, Shopify simply stated that it had forwarded Berger's message to the NFL and would not restore the listings "until this matter is resolved between the parties." More than a week later, the NFL has yet to respond - which isn't surprising, since Shopify already did exactly what the NFL wanted.

It's disappointing that the NFL continues to use bogus trademark claims to get its way. It's also disappointing that Shopify seems uninterested in standing up for the rights of its users. We hope that both will come to their senses.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

January 30, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

"Interim Chicago police Superintendent Charlie Beck unveiled a massive restructuring Thursday that will move hundreds of detectives and narcotics and gang officers from specialized units to police districts in a bid to bring added resources and better coordination to combating violence," the Tribune reports.

"The reorganization also creates a new office to carry out policing reforms required by a federal consent decree - headed by the highest-ranking African American woman in the department's history."

If history is any guide, hundreds of officers will be moved back to specialized units in a few years to better combat violence. But creating a new office to carry out reforms required by the consent decree is probably a good thing, though ultimately it will be up to the new permanent chief and the rank-and-file to embrace reform.

One thing is for certain, though: Beck is not merely a caretaker police chief. To some degree, at least, he's a reformer who is sympatico with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and he's laying the groundwork for the next chief that should get some difficult decisions out of the way and smooth the path for his successor (who just might end up being his pal Sean Malinowski).

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More . . .

"To overhaul training and enact other reforms, Beck created an Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform, appointing as its head Barbara West, the first African-American woman to ascend this high in the department.

"The reform office will be placed at the very top of the department organization structure with the Office of Operations, which will spearhead the effort to continue to tamp down violence after three consecutive years of declines in shootings and homicides. That office will be led by First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio."

West is often named on media shortlists of potential chiefs. Riccio is most recently known as the guy who pissed off Lightfoot last summer for going on vacation after she had cancelled time off department brass, though it turned out the trip was pre-paid and pre-approved.

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Meanwhile . . .

Garry McCannabis
"Former Chicago Police Supt. and mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy has a new gig: Security consultant to a weed company," Block Club Chicago reports.

Shouldn't every mention of McCarthy come with the appellation "disgraced," as in "disgraced former Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy?" After all, he is the only person in the known universe to leave two departments under federal consent decrees for widespread civil rights violations.

*

Anyway . . .

"MOCA Modern Cannabis, which is in a race with three other companies to open a dispensary in a small area of River North, brought McCarthy on as a security consultant to advise on measures for their planned dispensary at 216 W. Ohio St., located a few blocks from where McCarthy lives."

MOCA's Logan Square location is the one that was burgled for 200 large a few days after legalization, as Block Club notes.

Also . . .

"[McCarthy] aims to help MOCA as they work to open the dispensary in River North, working with Michael Chasen, a retired police detective and MOCA's chief security officer."

Chasen's name is familiar to reporters who often found him on the other end of their phone calls to his Area, among other things.

And . . .

"McCarthy said it was an easy decision to consult given that he worked to decriminalize cannabis in both Chicago and Newark, where he also served as top cop . . . News reports from the time paint a murkier picture."

Thank you for saying so, and not letting him get away with such a claim unvetted. You can click through for the picture those news reports painted.

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Busting Black Migration Myths
"The story of black Chicagoans leaving the city is largely mired in speculation and sometimes makes for grand political theater. Among the narratives offered by some have been: black residents leave because of violence; they are embarking on a reverse migration to the South; and they're being pushed out," Natalie Moore reports for WBEZ.

"A new report from the University of Illinois at Chicago busts some of those myths. Instead it finds a much more complicated story: black population trends in Chicago are strongly correlated to racial inequities in the city - and the pattern goes back decades."

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Surveilling Bridgeview
"Since 2016, documentary filmmaker Assia Boundaoui has been waiting for answers from the FBI to one question: Which parts of her Arab American community in Bridgeview were surveilled after 9/11? After a court hearing last week, she learned she will have to keep waiting," the Tribune reports.

"A journalist by profession, Boundaoui said she needed to know why her community was being tracked so in 2016, she submitted questions through a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI. Eventually, she received more than 33,000 heavily redacted documents that contained more than 500 names of people and organizations from Muslim communities around the country . . .

"In late December, the FBI acknowledged having about 40,000 more documents related to the operation that it hadn't initially released. At the agency's normal processing rate of 500 pages per month, according to an affidavit by Hardy, the first release of these pages to Boundaoui would be in March of this year."

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Soda Taxes Work
The soft drink industry uses every trick in the book to try to convince politicians a tax on sugary drinks is bad policy. But the evidence is clear.

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The 12th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Shakira & JLo Edition
"Look, we've all got bigger fish to fry right now and we can do it over the embers of a once-promising democracy, but dammit, JLo got screwed."

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Why Public Wi-Fi Is A Lot Safer Than You Think
Advice to avoid public Wi-Fi is mostly out of date and applicable to a lot fewer people than it once was.

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ChicagoReddit

Found: brown knitted hat with fur pompom near Wacker and Stetson. Distinctive pattern. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Soul Avengers at Martyrs' on Monday night.

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BeachBook

When Ghost Kitchens Become Mysterious Grubhub Listings.

I call them Gruber.

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Afternoon Of The Pawnbrokers.

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

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I go there for the articles.

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The Beachwood Wing Line: Fly right.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:02 AM | Permalink

Soda Taxes Work

This year's Australian of the Year, Dr James Muecke, is an eye specialist with a clear vision. He wants to change the way the world looks at sugar and the debilitating consequences of diabetes, which include blindness.

Muecke is pushing for Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government to enact a tax on sugary drinks to help make that a reality.

Such a tax would increase the price of soft drinks, juices and other sugary drinks by around 20%. The money raised could be used to fund health promotion programs around the country.

The evidence backing his calls is strong.

Don't Believe The Myths

Several governments around the world have adopted taxes on sugary drinks in recent years. The evidence is clear: they work.

Last year, a summary of 17 studies found health taxes on sugary drinks implemented in Berkeley and other places in the United States, Mexico, Chile, France and Spain reduced both purchases and consumption of sugary drinks.


Read more: A sugary drinks tax could recoup some of the costs of obesity while preventing it
Reliable evidence from around the world tells us a 10% tax reduces sugary drink intakes by around 10%.

The United Kingdom soft drink tax has also been making headlines recently. Since its introduction, the amount of sugar in drinks has decreased by almost 30%, and six of 10 leading drink companies have dropped the sugar content of more than 50% of their drinks.

In Australia, modelling studies have shown a 20% health tax on sugary drinks is likely to save almost $2 billion in health care costs over the lifetime of the population by preventing diet-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease and several cancers.

This is over and above the cost benefits of preventing dental health issues linked to consumption of sugary drinks.

Most of the health benefits (nearly 50%) would occur among those living in the lowest socioeconomic circumstances.

A 20% health tax on sugary drinks would also raise over $600 million to invest back into the health of Australians.

So What's The Problem?

The soft drink industry uses every trick in the book to try to convince politicians a tax on sugary drinks is bad policy.

Here are our responses to some common arguments against these taxes:

Myth 1: Sugary drink taxes unfairly disadvantage the poor.

It's true people on lower incomes would feel the pinch from higher prices on sugary drinks. A 20% tax on sugary drinks in Australia would cost people from low socioeconomic households about $35 extra per year. But this is just $4 higher than the cost to the wealthiest households.


Read more: Australian sugary drinks tax could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes and save 1,600 lives
Importantly, poorer households are likely to get the biggest health benefits and long-term health care savings.

What's more, the money raised from the tax could be targeted towards reducing health inequalities.

Myth 2: Sugary drink taxes would result in job losses.

Multiple studies have shown no job losses resulted from taxes on sugar drinks in Mexico and the United States.

This is in contrast to some industry-sponsored studies that try to make the case otherwise.

In Australia, job losses from such a tax are likely to be minimal. The total demand for drinks by Australian manufacturers is unlikely to change substantially because consumers would likely switch from sugary drinks to other product lines, such as bottled water and artificially sweetened drinks.

Myth 3: People don't support health taxes on sugary drinks.

There is widespread support for a tax on sugary drinks from major health and consumer groups in Australia.

In addition, a national survey conducted in 2017 showed 77% of Australians supported a tax on sugary drinks, if the proceeds were used to fund obesity prevention.

Myth 4: People will just swap to other unhealthy products, so a tax is useless.

Taxes, or levies, can be designed to avoid substitution to unhealthy products by covering a broad range of sugary drink options, including soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks.


Read more: Sweet power: the politics of sugar, sugary drinks and poor nutrition in Australia
There is also evidence that shows people switch to water in response to sugary drinks taxes.

Myth 5: There's no evidence sugary drink taxes reduce obesity or diabetes.

Because of the multiple drivers of obesity, it's difficult to isolate the impact of a single measure. Indeed, we need a comprehensive policy approach to address the problem. That's why Muecke is calling for a tax on sugary drinks alongside improved food labeling and marketing regulations.

Towards Better Food Policies

The Morrison government has previously and repeatedly rejected pushes for a tax on sugary drinks.


Read more: Sugary drinks tax is working - now it's time to target cakes, biscuits and snacks
But Australian governments are currently developing a National Obesity Strategy, making it the ideal time to revisit this issue.

We need to stop letting myths get in the way of evidence-backed health policies. Let's listen to Muecke - he who knows all too well the devastating effects of products packed full of sugar.

Gary Sacks is an associate professor at Deakin University; Christina Zorbas is a PhD candidate at Deakin; and Kathryn Backholer is a senior research fellow at Deakin. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Previously:
* Soda Tax Could Save Thousands Of Lives And $1 Billion In Mexico.

* Cook County Repeal Of Soda Tax Was A Mortal Mistake.

* The [Tuesday] Papers, February 20, 2018:

"The beverage industry created 'Citizens for a More Affordable Cook County' in August. One purpose of the PAC: It was an unsubtle political threat hanging over the commissioners who did not support the repeal.

"The grassroots-sounding name was designed to deliberately obfuscate the fact that the PAC, spawned with the help of the American Beverage Association, gets almost all of its funding from companies related to the beverage industry.

"The PAC treasurer is lawyer/lobbyist Michael Kasper, who also does work for Illinois House Speaker/Democratic Party of Illinois chair Michael Madigan."

* Where 'Yes! To Affordable Groceries' Really Means No to a Soda Tax.

* Soda Industry Steals Page From Tobacco To Combat Taxes On Sugary Drinks.

* Seattle Council Locks In Fund For Soda-Tax Revenue, Overriding Mayor Durkan's Veto.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:15 AM | Permalink

Why Public Wi-Fi Is A Lot Safer Than You Think

If you follow security on the Internet, you may have seen articles warning you to "beware of public Wi-Fi networks" in cafes, airports, hotels and other public places. But now, due to the widespread deployment of HTTPS encryption on most popular websites, advice to avoid public Wi-Fi is mostly out of date and applicable to a lot fewer people than it once was.

The advice stems from the early days of the Internet, when most communication was not encrypted. At that time, if someone could snoop on your network communications - for instance, by sniffing packets from unencrypted Wi-Fi or by being the NSA - they could read your e-mail. They could also steal your passwords or your login cookies and impersonate you on your favorite sites. This was widely accepted as a risk of using the Internet. Sites that used HTTPS on all pages were safe, but such sites were vanishingly rare.

However, starting in 2010 that all changed. Eric Butler released Firesheep, an easy-to-use demonstration of "sniffing" insecure HTTP to take over people's accounts. Site owners started to take note and realized they needed to implement HTTPS (the more secure, encrypted version of HTTP) for every page on their site. The timing was good: earlier that year, Google had turned on HTTPS by default for all Gmail users and reported that the costs to do so were quite low. Hardware and software had advanced to the point where encrypting web browsing was easy and cheap.

open-wifi.png

However, practical deployment of HTTPS across the whole web took a long time. One big obstacle was the difficulty for webmasters and site administrators of buying and installing a certificate (a small file required in order to set up HTTPS). EFF helped launch Let's Encrypt, which makes certificates available for free, and we wrote Certbot, the easiest way to get a free certificate from Let's Encrypt and install it.

Meanwhile, lots of site owners were changing their software and HTML in order to make the switch to HTTPS. There's been tremendous progress, and now 92% of web page loads from the United States use HTTPS. In other countries the percentage is somewhat lower - 80% in India, for example - but HTTPS still protects the large majority of pages visited. Sites with logins or sensitive data have been among the first to upgrade, so the vast majority of commercial, social networking, and other popular websites are now protected with HTTPS.

There are still a few small information leaks: HTTPS protects the content of your communications, but not the metadata. So when you visit HTTPS sites, anyone along the communication path - from your ISP to the Internet backbone provider to the site's hosting provider - can see their domain names (e.g. wikipedia.org) and when you visit them. But these parties can't see the pages you visit on those sites (e.g. wikipedia.org/controversial-topic), your login name, or messages you send. They can see the sizes of pages you visit and the sizes of files you download or upload. When you use a public Wi-Fi network, people within range of it could choose to listen in. They'd be able to see that metadata, just as your ISP could see when you browse at home. If this is an acceptable risk for you, then you shouldn't worry about using public Wi-Fi.

Similarly, if there is software with known security bugs on your computer or phone, and those bugs are specifically exploitable only on the local network, you might be at somewhat increased risk. The best defense is to always keep your software up to date so it has the latest bug fixes.

What about the risk of governments scooping up signals from "open" public Wi-Fi that has no password? Governments that surveil people on the Internet often do it by listening in on upstream data, at the core routers of broadband providers and mobile phone companies. If that's the case, it means the same information is commonly visible to the government whether they sniff it from the air or from the wires.

In general, using public Wi-Fi is a lot safer than it was in the early days of the Internet. With the widespread adoption of HTTPS, most major websites will be protected by the same encryption regardless of how you connect to them.

There are plenty of things in life to worry about. You can cross "public Wi-Fi" off your list.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:30 AM | Permalink

The 12th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Shakira & JLo Edition

Look, we've all got bigger fish to fry right now and we can do it over the embers of a once-promising democracy, but dammit, JLo got screwed.

Do I like JLo's music? No. Do I like her movies? Not really. Did I watch quite a few around the turn of the century because they played on long-haul flights and I traveled for work? Yes. Was she upstaged in Anaconda by Jon Voight's accent? I mean, who wasn't? Did l fall asleep during Out of Sight? I did. Did I still like it enough to watch The Wedding Planner? Uh-huh. Were she and Matthew McConaughey both charismatic and charming while playing horrible people? Yes. Was their chemistry so bad it felt like they were in different movies? Pretty much. Did I like The Wedding Planner enough to sit through Maid in Manhattan? Oh fuck no. Is that because it was too soon after Schindler's List to buy Ralph Fiennes as a traditional romantic lead? Yes. Is it still too soon? It is. Did he screw the pooch again with his genuinely unsettling portrayal of Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies? Yes he did, it will always be too soon, brilliant actor but no fucking thanks. Are we getting off topic here? Maybe.

The point is, Jennifer Lopez has been out here singing and dancing and acting and being the person who most closely resembles Jennifer Lopez for a billion years now. She's done every kind of film you can imagine, from art house to biopic. She's made albums in two languages. She was 50% of the original celebrity portmanteau and one of the first fashion memes. And back in the fall, when she agreed to co-headline the Super Bowl halftime show, she was heading for her first Academy Award nomination. This Sunday was supposed to be a coronation, the final elevation of JLo from pop culture artifact to respected A-lister.

Instead, she's going into the performance nursing the sting of an Oscar snub. She appears nowhere in the promos, having been relegated to a "special guest" of Shakira which . . . is totally fair, come on, Shakira is clearly the bigger musical star. I can't believe they were asking her to share the billing, what is she, Coldplay? Does a foreign-born act have to be Viagra years old to get a solo headlining spot?

Anyway, back to JLo. On top of everything else, Netflix just dropped the Aaron Hernandez docuseries, so we can all feel profoundly uncomfortable for ever having enjoyed the soul-crushing torture porn known as NFL football. Plus, she's still engaged to ARod and, like, what's that portmanteau? JaLord?

So yeah, should you happen to tune in around halftime this Sunday, spare a thought for JLo and the career-defining February she won't be having. I'm sure she'll be out there like the consummate pro she is, singing and dancing and acting like someone who isn't choking on the disrespect.

Fuck the NFL for screwing over both Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, and also fuck the universe.

Here are your official Super Bowl halftime prop bets.

1. What songs will Shakira perform solo? The song featured in the promo is "Whenever, Wherever."

2. Will JLo perform solo ala Missy Elliott or will she duet with Shakira ala Lenny Kravitz? Oh crap, they're going to make her sing the Beyonce part in 'Beautiful Liar," aren't they?

3. Is she going to perform any of her own songs?

4. How many costumes will Shakira and JLo combined wear?

5. Will there be any other surprise guests?

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Post-game post-script:

I'm not sure there's much to add, but I will say for a half-time show sponsored by a major soft drink manufacturer, JLo sure seemed thirsty. Also, to complete the record, I will note that two Reggaeton stars performed and neither was Pitbull, which I think we can all agree was a rare win for humanity. I'll add that Shakira performed with Bad Bunny, who is from Puerto Rico, while JLo performed with J Balvin from Colombia and I find that genuinely charming, like they were trying to pretend this wasn't a huge open-air diva fight to which JLo brought her crotch while Shakira brought a guitar, a backup band, a flipping drum set and several hundred adorable children. I'm not going to say who won (Shakira) but I'm pretty sure someone (Shakira) wound up clad in gold while some other basic Betty (not Shakira) wound up in silver. It was Shakira, guys. Shakira won. - Natasha Julius

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Previously In Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Coverage:
* The 2009 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bracket: Bruce Springsteen Edition.

* The Who's 2010 Super Bowl Suckage.

* Let's Not Get It Started And Say We Did: The 2011 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet.

* The 2012 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Madonna Edition.

* The 2013 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Beyoncé Knowles Edition.

* Tweeting The 2014 Super Bowl Suckage: Bruno Mars & Red Hot Chili Peppers Edition.

* The 2015 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet: Katy Perry Edition.

* The 8th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Coldplay Edition.

* The 9th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Lady Gaga Edition.

* The 10th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Justin Timberlake Edition.

* The 11th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Maroon 5 Edition.

* Postscript: The 11th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Maroon 5 Edition.

* 'I Just Couldn't Be a Sellout' | Why Rihanna Turned Down The Super Bowl Halftime Show.

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Comments/wagers.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

January 29, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

"A Chicago Police training exercise next to Whitney Young High School caused the school to go on lockdown Tuesday during finals when students spotted a gunman outside, the school's principal told parents," Block Club Chicago reports.

Apparently the school hadn't been told there would be a drill next door.

"[Principal Joyce] Kenner, in an e-mail to parents, said three students spotted a gunman outside the school, under a nearby bridge. She then put the prestigious selective enrollment school on lockdown."

Well, this is why they have drills! In the event of a real gunman, they'll notify the school!

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"Chicago Police said they got a call of a man with a gun at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday in the 1300 block of West Jackson Avenue.

Kellie Bartoli, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department, confirmed a training was taking place outside of the police academy, which sits next to the Whitney Young High School campus.

Bartoli said there was a person with a gun, who was participating in the training drill.

"The call was cleared immediately when it was determined this was part of academy training," Bartoli said in an e-mail.

In a way, you could say the system worked!

Also, next time pick up the damn phone so you can ask the police flak some questions instead of just cutting-and-pasting her e-mailed statement.

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Clearview Longview
"The Chicago Police Department is using a controversial facial recognition tool that allows investigators to search an image of unknown suspects to see if it matches a database of three billion photos lifted from websites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter - a technology privacy advocates say is so ripe for abuse that cops should stop using it immediately," the Sun-Times reports.

"Clearview AI, the Manhattan-based firm that developed the software, has come under fire after a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Chicago earlier this month seeking to halt the company's data collection and after the New York Times published a bombshell report detailing the privacy concerns its technology has brought to the fore."

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"Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said facial recognition software like Clearview adds 'jet fuel' to the department's ability to identify and locate suspects."

Jet fuel is one way to describe Clearview's capabilities. Here's another, via the Times:

But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year, according to the company, which declined to provide a list. The computer code underlying its app, analyzed by The New York Times, includes programming language to pair it with augmented-reality glasses; users would potentially be able to identify every person they saw. The tool could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew.

And it's not just law enforcement: Clearview has also licensed the app to at least a handful of companies for security purposes.

"The weaponization possibilities of this are endless," said Eric Goldman, co-director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University. "Imagine a rogue law enforcement officer who wants to stalk potential romantic partners, or a foreign government using this to dig up secrets about people to blackmail them or throw them in jail."

Clearview has shrouded itself in secrecy, avoiding debate about its boundary-pushing technology. When I began looking into the company in November, its website was a bare page showing a nonexistent Manhattan address as its place of business. The company's one employee listed on LinkedIn, a sales manager named "John Good," turned out to be Mr. Ton-That, using a fake name. For a month, people affiliated with the company would not return my e-mails or phone calls.

Seems Mr. Ton-That likes his privacy!

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But it gets worse:

"While the company was dodging me, it was also monitoring me. At my request, a number of police officers had run my photo through the Clearview app. They soon received phone calls from company representatives asking if they were talking to the media - a sign that Clearview has the ability and, in this case, the appetite to monitor whom law enforcement is searching for."


shocked-face-with-exploding-head_1f92f.png

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Back to the Sun-Times:

"Before she was elected Mayor last April, [Mayor Lori] Lightfoot told the ACLU of Illinois that she would go as far as to halt the use of the technology while convening a panel to investigate its use.

"During this process I will place a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology or its expansion absent an emergency situation arising from a legitimate law enforcement need," she wrote in an ACLU questionnaire.

But since taking office, no review or moratorium has taken place. In fact, with the addition of Clearview to CPD's facial recognition arsenal, the city's capabilities have only expanded under her watch.

Asked about the expansion late last week, Lightfoot reiterated her vow to review the city's use of the technology with the assistance of privacy advocates and community members.

The city aims to advance protections and integrate "national best practices for the use of this technology to ensure nothing but the full protection of personal and constitutional rights for our residents and visitors," her office said in a statement.

The city "is working responsibly to confront the risks and promises of these tools," Lightfoot's office said.

Work faster.

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Maybe this technology could be rigged to warn schools when CPD is holding active shooter drills next door.

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See also: Clearview's Face Surveillance Shows Why We Need a Strong Federal Consumer Privacy Law.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The 10 Least-Reported Humanitarian Crises Of 2019
Nine are in Africa.

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Baseball Furies
"Baseball Furies is a documentary that explores the complex relationship between baseball, music, and artists who reject the cookie-cutter parameters of the American Dream."

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Atari Hotel Announced For Chicago
"Atari Hotels level up hotel entertainment with fully immersive experiences for every age and gaming ability, including the latest in VR and AR (Virtual and Augmented Reality)."

So maybe you won't even be staying there, it will just seem like it!

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ChicagoReddit

The Year of Chicago Music Band Roster - deadline extended until Friday, Febraury 14, 2020, at 5pm CST from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Tate McRae at Schubas last Tuesday night.

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BeachBook

Miniaturist Perfectly Recreates Historic Interiors At A Staggering 1:12 Scale.

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Can You Beat The Buffet? Let's Try!

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

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"I feel nothing for you."

"I'm ambivalent about you."

"I'm too shy shy, hush hush, eye to eye."

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Only the President of the United States is allowed to do that.

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The Beachwood Tattletale Line: Do tell.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:51 AM | Permalink

The 10 Least-Reported Humanitarian Crises Of 2019

Out of the top 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises in the world last year - many of them climate-related - nine were on the African continent, according to a new report.

Madagascar had the least-reported crisis in the study - entitled "Suffering in Silence" - released Tuesday by CARE International, as 2.6 million people in the country are affected by chronic drought which has left more than 900,000 in immediate need of food assistance.

Out of 24 million online media articles examined by CARE International, just 612 reports were about the humanitarian emergency in Madagascar - and the country was just the most extreme example of the international community's neglect of the world's second-most populous continent.

aidworker.jpgAn aid worker speaks with two women in Madagascar/Clément Radar, CARE

"In 2019, over 51 million people suffered in 10 crises away from the public eye," the report says. "Although for the average person on Earth, life is better today than ever before, around 2% of the global population (160 million people) will require $28.8 billion in humanitarian assistance to survive. This is a fivefold increase of needs since 2007."

With 80% of Madagascar's population engaged in agriculture, the climate crisis and resulting drought has caused damage to many families' livelihoods. Food shortages brought on by chronic drought conditions also led to Madagascar having the fourth-highest rate of malnutrition in the world, making it easier for diseases like measles to infect over 100,000 people in 2019.

CARE International noted that millions of people in Africa are "suffering in silence" even as the climate crisis gains more international attention, thanks to grassroots climate activists like Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion, and students all over the world - including across Africa - who have led climate marches over the past year.

"The increased public attention for the global climate crisis is encouraging, but we must ensure that the conversation is not limited to the Global North and much-needed transformations there," said Sally Austin, head of emergency operations for CARE International. "It is shocking to see how little media reporting there is about human suffering related to global warming in the South, the lack of political action to address this injustice, and solutions applied to ease the burden for communities."

Other crises in Africa that have been intensified by the climate crisis include Zambia's droughts, which left 2.3 million people in need of food assistance, and a mix of extreme drought and flooding in Kenya.

In southern Africa, where Zambia lies, temperatures are rising at two times the global rate. The pattern has contributed to a sharp drop in wheat and maize crops as well as in safe drinking water in much of the country.

Daily life for many in Zambia illustrates what climate leaders mean when they warn that people in frontline communities - who have contributed the least to the climate crisis - are suffering the most.

"The drought has placed additional hardships and risks on women as they cope with the changing climate," the report says. "For example, some women now report waking up as early as 3 a.m. in order to be the first to collect the scarce water available and then spend all day searching for food. Many have resorted to collecting whatever wild fruits they can find to feed their families."

In Kenya, rainfall in 2019 was at least 20% below average, and as CARE International says, "When there is not too little rainfall, there is far too much."

"Heavy rains displaced tens of thousands of people during the fall months and destroyed farmland and livestock," the report says. "This worsened an already dire food situation in the country."

North Korea is the only country on CARE's list that isn't in Africa; other underreported emergencies are taking place in Eritrea, Central African Republic, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and the countries of the Lake Chad Basin - made up of Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.

None of the countries on the list were covered in more than about 9,000 media articles all over the world throughout 2019.

Armed conflicts are major drivers of humanitarian crises in several African countries. CARE's report notes that the climate crisis is worsening political and economic instability across the continent.

"We're seeing increasing linkages between the effects of man-made climate change and the longevity and complexity of humanitarian crises," said Austin. "From Madagascar to Lake Chad to North Korea, the majority of crises ranked in our report are partly a consequence of declining natural resources, increasing extreme weather events and global warming more broadly."

The report notes that three of the least-reported crises in the world are also on the United Nations' list of the least-funded international emergencies.

With this in mind, CARE says, media outlets and humanitarian groups can help to close the gaps by considering "reporting as a form of aid."

"Crises that are neglected are also often the most underfunded and protracted," the report says. "With close links between public awareness and funding, it needs to be acknowledged that generating attention is a form of aid in itself. As such, humanitarian funding should include budget lines to raise public awareness, particularly in low-profile countries."

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:37 AM | Permalink

Baseball Furies

"Baseball Furies is a documentary that explores the complex relationship between baseball, music, and artists who reject the cookie-cutter parameters of the American Dream."


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I couldn't find it this morning, but I thought I had written in the past (at least to friends and a few bewildered White Sox fans) about how the pre-gentrified Cubs were the team of choice among a large swath of the indie rock set. It wasn't so much their loserdom, but their loserdom within the context of the unique experience that was actually the real experience of baseball - day games, the red brick, the bleachers, the rooftops, Harry Caray, the rituals, the mythology - instead of the prepackaged corporate version of the game. It was authentic. The ineptitude of the team only made it all the more charming - which isn't to say we didn't want to win, but "Wait 'til next year!" was a rallying cry of undimmed hope in an alternate culture in which winning wasn't the only thing, or even a thing at all.

I grew up in a Minneapolis suburb watching those games via WGN-TV, preferring to vicariously bask in the Wrigley Field sunshine beaming through my TV than to actually go outside and enjoy the sunshine outside my door. That's how I became a Cubs fan.

Certainly those days are long gone, but I'm still a residual Cubs fan, or as I've been saying for a few years now, the Cubs are the team I follow. I don't like to use the word "fan" anymore. For one thing, team ownership has disgusted me for too long. For another, it's just not the same - which isn't to say I prefer losing to winning. I don't. But the truth is, I wouldn't mind either if I could have the old experience back. It's the kind of thing - like Wicker Park or Malort as an inside joke or, back then, grunge - that the mainstream, starting with the ad guys, grabs a hold of and strangles to death, shorning it of all social critique and turning it into fashion.

But anyway, yes. "It's the perfect game," says Steve Albini.

Steve Albini.

And that's the flip side, trying to explain this to some "cool" anti-sports people who don't understand why or how I could follow sports as much as I do, though not nearly as much as I did as a kid. They sound like Buzz Osborne in the trailer: "I hate the people who play sports." Me too, mostly. But Buzz also loves baseball, as do I.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

Atari Hotel Supposedly Coming To Chicago

Atari®, one of the world's most iconic consumer brands and entertainment producers, announced a deal Tuesday with GSD Group, a leading innovation and strategy agency, led by founder Shelly Murphy and partner Napoleon Smith III, to acquire the rights to build video game-themed Atari Hotels in the United States, with the first location breaking ground in Phoenix later this year.

Atari, a trailblazer in the gaming industry, is pioneering an exciting new concept: a unique lodging experience combining the iconic brand with a one-of-a-kind video game-themed destination. Atari Hotels level up hotel entertainment with fully immersive experiences for every age and gaming ability, including the latest in VR and AR (Virtual and Augmented Reality). Select hotels will also feature state-of-the-art venues and studios to accommodate esports events.

Hotel development and design is being led by Shelly Murphy's GSD Group and Napoleon Smith III, producer of the wildly successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise reboot. True North Studio, a leading Phoenix-based real estate developer, currently working alongside GSD Group with Steve Wozniak's Woz Innovation Foundation, will develop the first Atari-branded hotel.

Atari-House-2-1920x1080-1.jpg

More than 2.5 billion gamers across the world spent more than $152.1 billion on games in 2019 alone, an increase of 9.6% year on year. One of the most distinctive trends in gaming is gamers gravitating toward recognizable intellectual property. Atari Hotels will offer consumers exactly that, marrying the origins of gaming and the future of the booming industry into a fun and unique travel destination.

"When creating this brand new hotel concept, we knew that Atari would be the perfect way to give guests the 'nostalgic and retro meets modern' look and feel we were going for. Let's face it, how cool will it be to stay inside an Atari?!" said Napoleon Smith III.

The first of the Atari Hotels is planned to break ground in 2020 in Phoenix with initial additional hotels planned in Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose.

About Atari
Atari is an interactive entertainment company. As an iconic brand that transcends generations and audiences, the company is globally recognized for its multi-platform, interactive entertainment and licensed products. Atari owns and/or manages a portfolio of more than 200 games and franchises, including world-renowned brands like Asteroids®, Centipede®, Missile Command®, Pong®, and RollerCoaster Tycoon®. Atari has offices in New York and Paris.

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Atari Twitter . . .

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

January 28, 2020

The Mad Gasser Of Mattoon

In 1944, a bizarre criminal assaulted the small town of Mattoon, Illinois. Victims reported smelling a strange odor in their bedrooms before being overcome with nausea and paralysis. The mad gasser vanished after 10 days, leaving residents to wonder whether he had ever existed at all.


Show notes.

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"This case has long been cited in college psychology classes as a perfect example of mass hysteria. Occurring during World War II, when so many men were off fighting and so many women were left alone, the gassings have been explained away as the product of paranoia, panic, and delirium," Illinois Times reported in 2003.

"But [author Scott] Maruna dispels this idea, giving credence to many who came forward to report a smell coming through their windows at night, and in some cases seeing a shadowy figure running into the darkness."

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"[Maruna] claims Farley Llewellyn, town outcast and son of a grocery store owner, was responsible. Maruna wrote in a 2003 book that Llewellyn wanted revenge on Mattoon residents who had ostracized him for being homosexual," Belt noted in 2015.

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"There's a bit of a problem with that theory though; police were watching [Llewellyn] and he was safely tucked up at home when some of the attacks occurred. That's countered by the argument that there were copycats," Exemplore said last August.

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Jon Hansen took a crack at the case for WGN Radio last November.

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Which brings us right up to this week:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:43 AM | Permalink

Goop's Bunk Science, Now On Netflix

For years, experts have said that Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by the actor and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, markets pseudoscience and overblown cures. And for years, despite the criticism, Goop has just kept growing.

Now the company, which was valued at $250 million in 2018, seems poised to reach an even larger audience. Earlier this month, Goop announced details of three new ventures: a distribution partnership with the cosmetics giant Sephora; a "wellness experience at sea" with Celebrity Cruises; and - to the chagrin of many science advocates - a six-part series on Netflix, the streaming service with more than 150 million subscribers.

The Netflix show features Paltrow and colleagues exploring a range of alternative healing practices, including energy healing, exorcism, and sessions with psychic mediums.

"What we try to do at Goop is to explore ideas that may seem out there, or too scary," Elise Loehnen, the company's chief content officer, explains in the series trailer, which also boasts that the show will feature risky and unregulated treatments.

"We're here one time, one life," Paltrow exudes in the trailer, reflecting her signature embrace-new-ideas attitude. "How can we really milk the shit out of this?"

goooop-1480x833.jpg

The backlash was immediate. On Twitter, many doctors and scientists questioned why Netflix would partner with Goop.

Some upset Netflix customers announced that they had cancelled their subscriptions.

"I'm frustrated that Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop and their pseudoscientific empire is being given a platform," Timothy Caulfield, a professor of health law and science policy at the University of Alberta in Canada and a longtime Goop critic, told Undark.

Medical disinformation can have serious consequences, and it can spread quickly online. But Goop's continued success raises question about how experts should effectively respond to questionable information - and about what it is, exactly, that Goop is selling to its many fans.

Wellness Summits & Italian Silk Shirts

Paltrow, who won an Academy Award for her performance in the film Shakespeare in Love, started Goop in 2008.

Originally a newsletter highlighting some of Paltrow's favorite recipes and lifestyle tips, the company grew quickly.

Today, Goop publishes content on a popular website, hosts pricey wellness summits, and has launched pop-up stores in major cities.

Its content is often a little tongue-in-cheek - one video series, called "Yep! You Can Drink That!" features a Goop editor wandering around Los Angeles sipping things like camel milk and bone broth - and targeted toward affluent, health-conscious women.

On Goop's website, customers can buy makeup, candles, cookbooks, or a $650 Italian silk shirt.

The company sells supplements with names like "Why am I so effing tired?" (loaded with B-vitamins, a month's supply of 30 pill packs costs $90), along with an $84 "amethyst crystal-infused water bottle" that helps "you tap into your own intuition."

At times, these claims have gotten the company into trouble. In 2017, after Goop claimed that women could experience numerous health benefits by inserting a $66 piece of jade into their vaginas, the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force investigated the company for unsubstantiated claims about that and other products, resulting in a $145,000 settlement.

These kinds of claims - and prices - have invited skepticism, anger, and outright mockery from many critics. In particular, Jen Gunter, an OB-GYN and author, has built a large public following through her sharp, informed, and often viral takedowns of Goop's statements about women's health, which she has described as "a load of garbage."

Sometimes, though, it can seem as if the backlash simply fuels the Goop brand. A 2018 New York Times profile noted that Paltrow, in speaking to a group of Harvard Business School students, said of such "cultural firestorms:" "I can monetize those eyeballs."

Indeed, the cycle may sound familiar to observers of the 21st-century digital media landscape: a celebrity (in this case, Paltrow) makes a statement. In interviews and on social media, experts clamor to explain why that statement is misleading, false, or dangerous. Instead of apologizing, the celebrity rebukes the critics and doubles down on the claim - and in return receives a publicity boost, as well the aura of edginess that comes from controversy.

Recently, Paltrow has expressed regret about some of Goop's past actions. "We made a few mistakes back in the early days," she told CNBC in a segment that aired last week, adding that the company had recently started its own science and regulatory team that will allow Goop to back up its health claims - or clarify when content is "just for your entertainment."

But in statements and interviews, Paltrow and Goop have defended their exploration of unconventional treatments, often referencing the long history of establishment medical authorities ignoring or downplaying women's experiences.

"I think the reason why Goop has become as popular as it has become, is because women feel largely ignored when it comes to talking to their doctors about how they're feeling," Paltrow told CNBC. "They are wanting to check out alternative ways of healing, and having autonomy over their own health and their own selves and their own sexuality and their own relationships."

That claim has not satisfied Goop's critics.

"Giving women misinformation and disinformation about their health under the guise of empowerment is not feminism," Gunter wrote on Twitter last week. "It is the patriarchy."

Celebrities Facilitating Bunk

For some of Goop's fans, perhaps these kinds of condemnations seem beside the point. Goop has emerged at a time when for many Americans - and especially affluent Americans - health is not simply about curing ailments, but about fine-tuning the body, optimizing performance, exploring new lifestyles, and even achieving ecstatic experiences. A large wellness industry has emerged to meet those desires, often drawing on practices that seem edgy, exotic, or simply weird.

And that industry has been fueled by celebrities. In many cases, for holistic medicine practices, "the personal anecdote seems just as powerful as citing a peer-reviewed study," said Chelsea Platt, a sociologist at Park University in Missouri who studies wellness culture.

Anecdotes and narrative, Platt added, are especially powerful "when you have Gwyneth Paltrow or Kourtney Kardashian or someone telling you, 'Oh, this is my daily routine, this is what works for me.'"

Platt does worry about the message that companies like Goop may be sending to many people - and her concerns are about class, and about broader conceptions of what it means to be healthy. Goop, after all, offers a vision of wellness that's also very expensive.

"It's creating yet another marker of what counts as a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body, and further connects what it means to make moral, healthy choices to a certain type of consumption and commodification," Platt said. "It narrows who is able to achieve this."

And yet, while these and other criticisms of the Goop machine achieve rapid currency each time Paltrow and her colleagues announce a new partnership, or introduce a product that strains credulity, it's unclear if the pushback achieves anything - or even, perhaps, gives Goop added momentum.

I ran this question by Caulfield, who has been tracking Paltrow's health-related statements for close to a decade, and who published, in 2015, a book on medical misinformation and celebrity culture titled Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? Since then, of course, Paltrow's platform has only grown.

"In the short term you may be facilitating bunk - you're spreading it - but I think it's important to correct the record," Caulfield said, citing research on how to effectively respond to misinformation. "Long term, I still think it's important to make sure that what's scientifically accurate is out there."

The tone, though, can matter. "It's not effective to just mock and make satire," Caulfield said. "I think I'm guilty of that sometimes."

And yet, when he first started commenting on Paltrow publicly, Caulfield said, people would often react with annoyance, telling him to leave her alone and suggesting that her ideas were kooky but harmless.

"Nobody says that anymore," he said. "There is this growing recognition that the spread of misinformation is serious."

This post originally appeared on Undark.

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See also:

* Truth in Advertising: Up Close With Some Goopy Claims.

* Ars Technica: Goop's Netflix trailer: Paltrow Sinks Into A Vagina, Spews Pseudoscience.

* USA Today via Sun-Times: Gwyneth Paltrow's New Goop Lab Show Is Delightfully Wacky.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:57 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. "Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has endorsed Rep. Bobby Rush in his re-election campaign," Shia Kapos reports for her Politico Illinois Playbook.

Flashback: Preckwinkle Stands Behind Bobby Rush - Even After Racially Inflammatory Remarks.

Also: Bobby Rush sucks.

2. How Ken Griffin Became A Multi-Billionaire Business Titan.

"In 1987, while many of his classmates at Harvard were out partying and living the stereotypical college life, a student named Ken Griffin was already focused on building his future. The 19-year-old was busy developing the skills and laying the groundwork for what would eventually become a financial empire, amongst the largest such firms in the world. His setup was Spartan and ordinary by most standards, composed of a telephone, a personal computer and a fax machine (eventually enhanced by a satellite dish he placed on the roof of his dorm), but his ambition was anything but modest," Maxim says.

"Raising $265,000 that included money from his mother, grandmother and two other investors, Griffin sought opportunities to profit off the convertible bonds market. Despite these humble beginnings, it didn't take long for Griffin to get noticed by the financial community."

I'm not sure how raising $265,000 from his mother, grandmother and "two other investors" qualifies as "humble beginnings," but you do you, Maxim.

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P.S.: $265,000 in 1987 dollars is about $600,000 today.

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One of those "other investors" was his dentist, according to the New York Times.

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That same Times article says his father was a project manager for General Electric, though it's also been reported that his father was a building supplies executive, which could be the same thing.

Which isn't to say he's merely a silver spooner - he obviously is a math whiz, though one who decided to use his powers for evil. But enough of the humble beginnings.

3. Red Light District.

"Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty Tuesday to a bribery charge and agreed to cooperate in a burgeoning, widespread probe of public corruption that has sent shock waves from Chicago's City Hall to Springfield," the Tribune reports.

"During the lengthy hearing in federal court, Sandoval admitted soliciting multiple payments from a red-light camera company for acting as its 'protector' in the state Senate."

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This thread by the Sun-Times's Jon Seidel nicely captures the details.

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My favorite Sandoval is Hope. My god, what a talent.

4. Let's Active.

"On Tuesday, [ActiveCampaign] announced the closing of its $100 million Series B. This is among the largest Series B funding rounds in Chicago, according to data from Crunchbase, and comes over three years after ActiveCampaign raised its Series A," Built In Chicago says.

"ActiveCampaign has created a customer experience automation platform that helps businesses automate their marketing efforts across social platforms, e-mail, messaging, chat and text, with hundreds of integrations and pre-defined automations."

I must confess I had never hard of ActiveCampaign - which was founded in 2003 - before today's headlines.

And yet, more than 90,000 companies worldwide reportedly use their platform!

You can start your free, 14-day trial here and give it a whirl.

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This is not an endorsement. Something tells me it's evil. Let me know!

5. U of Jewels.

"Less than a year after opening, the Jewel-Osco in Woodlawn has a new owner: the University of Chicago," Crain's reports.

Huh? Are they expanding the econ department or something?

"A venture connected to the university paid $19.8 million in November for the 48,000-square-foot grocery-and-drug store at 61st and Cottage Grove Avenue, according to a deed filed with Cook County. The venture acquired the store from the developers that built it, Chicago-based DL3 Realty and Wilmette-based Terraco Real Estate.

The University of Chicago considered the Jewel-Osco "an important community asset and decided to purchase the property to ensure that it remains locally controlled rather than going to a national buyer," university spokesman Jeremy Manier wrote in an e-mail.

First, for the zillionth time, pick up the damn phone. Second, I don't get it. Why does the University of Chicago care who owns the store and why do they want to own it? Answers not forthcoming!

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"Yet the deal still needed a subsidy to work out. DL3 and Terraco financed the Jewel-Osco project, which cost more than $20 million, with $11.5 million in New Markets Tax Credits acquired by Northern Trust."

Is that a public subsidy?

"New Markets Tax Credits are federal income tax credits used to encourage private investment in low-income communities around the United States," according to tax firm Baker Tilly.

So federal tax credits were used to help a private university buy a grocery store. Something is missing here.

6. Lori Is A Cop.

"Though Mayor Lori Lightfoot believes the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park will be a 'tremendous' asset for Chicago, she is charting a more activist role in addressing concerns of local residents, telling the Chicago Sun-Times ex-Mayor Rahm Emanuel was too eager to please the Obama Foundation," Lynn Sweet reports.

"I think the city of Chicago in the prior administration, essentially said, 'Come, whatever you want you get.' That's not who I am," Lightfoot said . . .

"[T]he City of Chicago itself had been relatively on the sidelines and kind of letting the process be played out between the center activists, pro and con, (the) University Chicago and coming out of that discussion, I said to my team, 'There's a void here that we have to fill'" about the impact on South Shore and Woodlawn residents.

There is no written agreement obligating the U. of C. to do anything; the school's bid landed the project for the South Side.

Lightfoot hinted something might be in the works.

Bobby Rush, who endorsed Bill Daley for mayor before turning to Preckwinkle, could not be reached for comment.

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Lightfoot probably won't go as far as I'd like to see her go forcing concessions out of the Obama Foundation - in fact, I don't much like the project as a whole at all to begin with - but she won't hand them the keys to the city the way Rahm did either. Same to developers on the whole.

7. Carol Stream.

"Carol Stream was the namesake of the DuPage County village developed by her father, Jay," the Tribune reports.

A Wheaton native who spent all of her adult life in Arizona, she returned periodically to Carol Stream, which today has a population of 40,000.

"When I go back, I'm so proud that people have taken such good care of the town," Stream told the Tribune in 1991. "It's like they're taking good care of me."

Stream, 77, died of respiratory failure Jan. 18 at HonorHealth Scottsdale Thompson Peak Medical Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, said her cousin, Debra Campbell. A longtime resident of nearby Paradise Valley, Stream had suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and pneumonia.

Carol Jayne Stream grew up on the north side of Wheaton, along Geneva Road. Her father, Jay, was a developer in DuPage County during the 1950s, building homes in Wheaton and Naperville through his company, Durable Construction.

At one point, Jay Stream was frustrated by the red tape and required infrastructure improvements related to a 350- to 400-home subdivision he had been proposing in Naperville. According to the 1984 history of Carol Stream, Build Your Own Town, the Carol Stream Story, written by historian Jean Moore, an employee at Naperville's City Hall reportedly told Stream, "Why don't you go build your own town?"

So Carol Stream is named after a person and not a stream? What's next, no buffalo in Buffalo Grove? Oh.

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"Stream's final visit to the suburb was in 2010.

"In 2008, my family had a chance to visit her and her mother and brother at their house in Paradise Valley, and she was warm, funny and clever, and she was very interested in what happened in Carol Stream," said Carol Stream village trustee Rick Gieser. "She was very, very proud of the fact that the town was named after her. She was disappointed that Glenbard North High School (in Carol Stream) was not named for her, and I reminded her that an elementary school also is named after her and she said, 'I want both.'"

For all your achievements as a namesake.

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TIL: Glenbard is a portmanteau of Glen Ellyn and Lombard.

8. UIC Receives Archives Of Chicago's First Hospice.

"AIDS patients were a particular focus for the hospice, and in 1992 it partnered with Chicago House, a residential center that provided patients with end-of-life care."

9. The EITC And Minimum Wage Work Together To Reduce Poverty And Raise Incomes.

Duh.

10. McDonald's Doubles Down On Chicken For Breakfast.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Goop's Pseudoscience Now On Netflix
Gwyneth Paltrow is just the latest in the world's longstanding series of snake oil salesfolk, monetizing the gullible while doing them grievous harm.

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The Mad Gasser Of Mattoon
In 1944, hysteria swept Mattoon, Illinois, as residents reported a paralyzing gas being sprayed into their bedrooms. Today, the mystery remains: real or not?

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ChicagoReddit

Send Valentine's Day cards to sick kids at Lurie Children's Hospital from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Chicago" / Martin Taylor

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BeachBook

Leaked Documents Expose The Secretive Market For Your Web Browsing Data.

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50 Surprising Facts About Bubble Wrap.

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Iconic Songs Played By Musicians Around The World.

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

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Business casual.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

January 27, 2020

Why Your Zodiac Sign Is Wrong

I was born a Capricorn (please don't judge me), but the Sun was in the middle of Sagittarius when I was born.

As a professor emeritus of astronomy at the University of Illinois, I am often asked about the difference between astrology and astronomy. The practice of astrology, which predicts one's fate and fortune based on the positions of the Sun, Moon, stars and planets, dates back to ancient times. It was intermingled with the science of astronomy back then - in fact, many astronomers of old made scientific observations that are valuable even today. But once Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo realized the planets orbit the Sun, rather than the Earth, and Newton discovered the physical laws behind their behavior, astrology and astronomy split, never to be reunited.

The science of astronomy is now at odds with one of the basic organizing principles in astrology - the dates of the zodiac.

The Constellations Of The Zodiac

Over the course of a year, the Sun appears to pass through a belt of sky containing 12 ancient constellations, or groupings, of stars. They are collectively called the zodiac and consist almost entirely of animal figures, like the ram (Aries), crab (Cancer) and lion (Leo). It is a disappointment to many that the constellations only rarely look like what they represent. How could they, since they are truly random scatterings of stars? They are meant to represent, not to portray.

zodiac2.jpgThe word "zodiac" comes from a Greek phrase that means "circle of animals"/Tartila, Shutterstock

Although the constellations of the zodiac, which date back to Mesopotamia or before, may seem definitive, they are only one example of those produced by the various cultures of the world, all of which had their own, frequently very different, notions of how the sky is constructed. The Incas, for example, made constellations not from stars, but from the dark patches in the Milky Way.

The number of constellations in the Western zodiac comes from the cycles of the Moon, which orbits the Earth 12.4 times a year. Roughly speaking, the Sun appears against a different constellation every new Moon, the stars forming a distant backdrop to the Sun. Though the stars are not visible during daytime, you can know what constellation the Sun is in by looking at the nighttime sky. There you will see the opposite constellation.

zodiac3.jpgThe Sun is in Leo here, which means at night, you'd see Aquarius/PNGGuru

Astrology suggests that each sign of the zodiac fits neatly into a 30-degree slice of sky - which multiplied by 12 adds up to 360 degrees. In actuality, this is not the case, as the constellations vary a great deal in shape and size. For example, the Sun passes through the constellation Scorpio in just five days, but takes 38 days to pass through Taurus. This is one of the reasons astrological signs do not line up with the constellations of the zodiac.

Precession Of The Equinoxes

The main reason astrological signs fail to line up with the zodiac, though, is a wobble in the Earth's rotational axis called precession. As a result of its rotation, the Earth bulges slightly at the equator, not unlike how a skater's skirt fans out as she spins. The gravity of the Moon and Sun pull on the bulge, which causes the Earth to wobble like a top. The wobble causes the Earth's axis, which is the center line around which it rotates, to swing in a slow circle over the course of 25,800 years.

This movement alters the view of the zodiac from Earth, making the constellations appear to slide to the east, roughly a degree per human lifetime. Though slow, precession was discovered with the naked eye by Hipparchus of Nicaea around 150 B.C.

In ancient times, the vernal equinox - or the first day of spring - was in Aries. Due to precession, it moved into Pisces around 100 B.C., where it is now and will remain until A.D. 2700, when it will move into Aquarius and so on. Over the course of 25,800 years, it will eventually return to Aries and the cycle will begin again.

As a game, astrology and its predictions of fate and personality can be fun. However the subject has no basis in science. It is to science what the game Monopoly is to the real estate market.

Astrology diverts attention away from the very real influences of the planets - primarily their gravitational effects on one another that cause real changes in the shapes, sizes and tilts of their orbits. On Earth, such changes likely caused past ice ages. Direct collisions between Earth and celestial bodies can cause very rapid changes, such as the impact of an asteroid off the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago that had global effects including the disappearance of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals.

Astronomical studies will eventually allow the prediction of such events, while astrological predictions will get you absolutely nowhere.

James Kaler is a professor emeritus of astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:12 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"The luxury helicopter that crashed Sunday morning in California, killing all nine people on board including former NBA star Kobe Bryant, was once owned by the state of Illinois," Ben Orner reports for Capitol News Illinois.

What a weird, local twist.

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"The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter was built in 1991, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's aircraft registry. The state of Illinois used it from 2007 to 2015, according to helicopter information database Helis.

Under the direction of former Gov. Bruce Rauner, the state sold the helicopter along with four other surplus aircraft in 2015 for $2.5 million. Rauner said selling the aircraft "also avoided an additional $1 million in inspections and repairs," according to an Associated Press story after the sales.

The winning bid for the helicopter was $515,161, placed by user "Jimbagge1," according to a listing on the state's online auction website, iBid. Both the aircraft and its two engines had just under 4,000 hours of airframe time when the copter was sold.

At the time of the crash, the registered owner of the helicopter was Island Express Holding Corp of Van Nuys, California, which registered it a month after it was won at auction.

The state of Illinois previously attempted to sell the helicopter in 2014, but receive zero bids, according to that auction's iBid listing.

Ultimately, this isn't meaningful at all. It's just . . . weird.

Kobe Commentary
Obviously, the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the others on that helicopter, who have mostly been consigned by the media to the "others" bin if mentioned at all, is a tragedy. I will confess that before the encomiums rolled I didn't realize how much Bryant apparently meant to Los Angeles, the NBA and, um, others. Perhaps that's because the first thing I think of when I hear the name Kobe Bryant is his rape case in Colorado. He almost certainly did it - he seemed to admit as much in the apology letter that helped settle his case.

That doesn't make his death any less of a shock, but I'm almost as shocked at the outpouring of statements from certain quarters that ignore his ignominy - especially while praising his apparently sincere dedication to women's sports (perhaps that came about not only because of his daughter but to make amends for his past?). It strikes me as awfully tone deaf. I had to search Twitter for "Kobe" and "rape" to see if I was the only one who remembered the case. To wit:

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And so on.

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On the other hand . . .

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And then there are the recalls of legacy-burnishing stories of how he "rebuilt" his life, as if his victim didn't need to rebuild her life.

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Just think how this makes his victim feel.

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The New York Times obit, "Kobe Bryant's Brilliant and Complicated Legacy," seemed like it would strike the right tone.

Bryant, who died with his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash on Sunday, was an unquestioned basketball great, but his legacy is not so straightforward.

It didn't. The sexual assault doesn't appear until the 17th paragraph of a 24-paragraph piece. And then it only gets that one paragraph - without so much as a link to a summary of the case, the findings, his "apology."

Instead, Bryant is cast as "the central and enduring figure in one of the most gripping soap operas in modern professional team sports," apparently for the tension between him and Shaquille O'Neal and not, for example, the rape case (nor buying his wife a $4 million ring as a peace-offering to save his marriage, which remains vulgar as hell).

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With all due respect and sorrow, there is more to life than sports and celebrity. We all have lives of worth. The woman in Colorado, wherever she is now, has a life of worth, one perhaps irretrievably damaged by our star. Let us stand up for her now, too.

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What happened Sunday was stunning and sad, and much of the grief absolutely genuine. But I also find a portion of the public mourning by public people to be performative and offensive. It would be different if Kobe more fully came clean and more fully accepted the consequences of his actions. He didn't.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Why Your Zodiac Sign Is Wrong
Astronomy vs. astrology.

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ChicagoReddit

DuSable High School basketball team, 1962. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Old Style The #1 Beer in Wisconsin and Chicago (1982)

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

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The Beachwood Loose Lips Line: Sink ships.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:25 AM | Permalink

January 25, 2020

TrackNotes: Mucho Despicable

I did worse(!) than Rosie. Sat down just in time to see Zulu Alpha win the Pegasus Turf at 12-1 or so. $176 Exacta and nearly $900 Trifecta.

The Pegasus was just what we thought it would be.

Chalk 3-1 Mucho Gusto way outside in the gate, 2019 Eclipse Award winner as top jock Irad Ortiz, Jr. sent him and crafted the win. Why not? With these pretenders, what are they going to say? Look out for . . . Oh, just GO! They said afterward he's booked for the Dubai World Cup. Can't wait.

NBC had a goofy crew, trying to make more of this race than it was. Jerry Bailey stayed well within the confines of this race itself, as its own entity, not calling it a premier pantheon race. The main guy said, "You win this race, and you are right in the running for horse of the year . . . [One Mississippi] . . . at the end of the year." This is where TrackNotes raises voice at the TV: "C'MON!"

Eddie Olczyk reached with Diamond Oops, who finished fourth in a race past his distance, but I had him too.

Gulfstream is despicable. On the turf course, there were at least five pairs of starting gate tire ruts, which is incriminating evidence the track is mismeasured. Multiple starting points and finish lines. The turf course looked bad, and it was clear they don't use plywood or masonite under the gate wheels to eliminate the disfiguration. Horses can and often are spooked by those tracks, which are a whole lighter color; they often jump over them by instinct.

The Gulfstream grandstand and clubhouse are jokes, even on television. This is absolutely no disrespect to a local institution we love, but Gulfstream looks no bigger than a three-hole Danley Garage. Which is true, I've heard, because they robbed racing enjoyment square footage for the casino and the shopping mall.

If it's Barbie's I Married A Wiseguy Racetrack Fun Set, perfect.

Otherwise, no. And the Pegasus World Cup Invitational will have to pay for the illusion of racing romance and meaning in the future.

There's another name for that.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

1. Loverboy Works For The Weekend At The Genesee On Saturday.

Somebody turn Mike Reno loose already.

2. Patrick Kane The Star Of The Show At All-Star Game, Despite Blues Fans' Displeasure.

Or maybe because of!

3. Jordan Brand Unveils Its Chicago-Themed NBA All-Star Jerseys.

Come with pockets to hold your chips, though no place to store your bile.

4. RPM Seafood's Menu Brings Casual Luxury To Chicago's Riverfront.

Wear a three-piece sport coat.

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Alternate: Black loosened-tie only.

5. I will not be making a coronavirus joke. First, it's serious. Second, all the jokes have already been made and I'm already having a humor hangover.

6. At first I though this said, "How To Watch The OCD League," which would be quite a different thing.

7. Legal weed continues to spur headlines and articles I never thought I'd see in the Tribune. Something is wrong with that, though. People needed chic weed-inspired housewares to make their spaces look dope before the law changed, ya know. Or is weed's target legal market now more closely aligned with the Trib's?

8. Chicago Area Under Winter Weather Advisory.

Isn't the Chicago area inherently under a winter weather advisory all winter?

9. U of C Alum Helps Unlock Clues to Giant Squid's Mysterious Ways.

Is the answer the free market?

10. Schaumburg Taking New Approach To Preserving Historic Architecture.

It's now willing to leave its borders to find any?

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #288: Comical Cons
Rickey and Ricketts. Plus: The Houston Asterisks; The Green Bay Packers Are Not In The Super Bowl; The Byzantine Bears; The Blackhawks Might Be Back!; Is Zach LaVine An All-Star?; Bulls Attendance Finally Rightsizing; Illinois Hoops It Up!; and TrackNotes: Death, Destruction & The Pegasus.

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TrackNotes: Death, Destruction & The Pegasus
New year, old remnants.

Adding . . .

TrackNotes: Mucho Despicable
Gulfstream is a joke. If it's Barbie's I Married A Wiseguy Racetrack Fun Set, perfect.

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Trump Screws Consumers
Widens door for financial abuse.

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Breaking The Two-Party Doom Loop
The case for multiparty democracy.

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Meet OANN's New Chief White House Conspiracist
"Ms. Rion most recently led and produced the One America News Investigates' three-part series featuring investigations centered in Ukraine with special guest Rudy Giuliani."

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Recall! Amity Ground Beef
Chicago company recalling approximately 2,020 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically clear, thin pliable plastic.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Taken at the Chicago Brown Line stop from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Perfect day for some Snoopy Sno Cones!

A post shared by Bric-a-Brac Records (@bricabracrecords) on

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Weekend ChicagoTube

"25 or 6 to 4" / The Peanuts Gang

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

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The Weekend Desk Canned Beer Line: The sound of freshness.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:36 AM | Permalink

January 24, 2020

Trump Eviscerates Consumer Protections

On Friday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a policy statement attempting to narrow the federal law that prohibits abusive financial acts and practices by banks, debt collectors, payday lenders, and other consumer finance companies.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis Congress enacted a statute that prohibits abusive acts or practices in consumer finance. Current federal law prohibits taking unreasonable advantage of consumers who do not have the ability to protect themselves or lack an understanding of the risks in complicated financial contracts.

"Today's policy statement attempts to rewrite federal law without authorization from Congress or a court order," said Christopher Peterson, director of financial services for the Consumer Federation of America. "The new policy statement fabricates a 'good faith' exception that lets businesses engaging in abusive practices off the hook for financial penalties when they claim violations of the law were unintentional."

The policy also imposes a new cost-benefit framework on law enforcement that will slow investigations and create an artificial barrier to protecting the public.

"Every American consumer deserves law enforcement that is creative and flexible enough to protect them from abusive financial practices," Peterson said. "Today's decision will embolden debt collectors, payday lenders, and other finance companies to be more reckless and indifferent to the welfare of their customers.

"This policy will make it easier for the banking industry to insert tricks and traps in their contracts with the public. Under the Trump Administration, our consumer protection agency is protecting payday lenders, debt collectors, and credit reporting agencies instead of consumers. And, sadly, our federal consumer protection officials issued this unpopular and unlawful statement on a Friday afternoon, hoping that the public will not notice."

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See also:
* Bloomberg Law: CFPB Limits Its Own Powers Against Abusive Conduct In New Policy.

* Housing Wire: CFPB Now Taking Friendlier Approach To Financial Abuses.

* CNBC: The Supreme Court Could Upend Consumer Financial Protection As We Know It.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:33 PM | Permalink

Recall! Amity Raw Ground Beef Products

Amity Packing Company of Chicago is recalling approximately 2,020 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically clear, thin pliable plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Friday.

The raw ground beef items were produced on Jan. 6, 2020. The following products are subject to recall:

1-lb. VACUUM-PACKED, packages containing "Pre 95% LEAN/5% FAT GROUND BEEF" with lot code "0060," case code "11402" and USE/FREEZE BY date of "01/31/2020" on the product label.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number "EST. 6916" printed on the right, front side of the package. These items were shipped to retail locations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The problem was discovered after Pre Brands received two consumer complaints reporting findings of clear, thin pliable plastic in raw ground beef.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Pre Brands at (844) 773-3663. Members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Nicole Schumacher, Pre Brands' chief marketing officer, at (312) 837-3812 or at NSchumacher@eatpre.com.

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday.

Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via e-mail to MPHotline@usda.gov.

For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at https://foodcomplaint.fsis.usda.gov/eCCF/.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:42 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #288: Comical Cons

Rickey and Ricketts. Plus: The Houston Asterisks; The Green Bay Packers Are Not In The Super Bowl; The Byzantine Bears; The Blackhawks Might Be Back!; Is Zach LaVine An All-Star?; Bulls Attendance Finally Rightsizing; Illinois Hoops It Up!; and TrackNotes: Death, Destruction & The Pegasus.


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SHOW NOTES

* 288.

* Coffman: "We were promised change!"

* Rutter: "Tom Ricketts is irritating not because he's rich, but because he's greedy."

1:52: The Houston Asterisks.

* Black Jack McDowell:

* The Daily Beast: Did This Notorious Internet Troll Dupe MLB Fans And Players Into Believing A New Astros Conspiracy?

* Whit Merrifield: "Jose Altuve took my spot."

* Star Tribune: Five Twins Potentially Impacted By Astros Sign-Stealing Scandal.

* AP: Metrodome Superintendent Admits To Adjusting Ventilation System.

* Wall Street Journal: Was The '51 Giants Comeback A Miracle, Or Did They Simply Steal The Pennant?

16:10: The Green Bay Packers Are Not In The Super Bowl.

* Coach picked 'em, to his everlasting shame.

* Coach leans Niners, Rhodes leans Chiefs.

23:08: The Byzantine Bears.

* Vikas A. of North Potomac, Md., writes to Brad Biggs:

Matt Nagy is the head coach who designs and calls offensive plays. Bill Lazor is the offensive coordinator who doesn't design or call plays. Dave Ragone is passing-game coordinator but not the run-game coordinator. John DeFilippo coaches the QBs, who are the primary component of the passing game, and Juan Castillo coaches the O-line, an important component to the passing and running game. Am I the only one whose head is spinning from confusion? I'm concerned that with so many cooks in the kitchen the meal is going to be a total mess. Has a current or former team employed such an organizational structure with success, and if not, why should we believe the Bears can pull it off?

Click through to see Biggs' answer.

* Raheem Mostert appeared in two games for the Bears in 2016 and did not get a carry or a reception.

32:35: White Sox Con!

* "Starring" Rickey Rentamanager.

* Coach is correct: Luis Rojas is the son of Felipe Alou and the half-brother of Moisés Alou.

42:57: A Different Kind Of Cubs Con.

* Rosenthal: What To Know About The Marquee Network.

50:45: The Blackhawks Might Be Back!

* Five-game winning streak before dropping game to Panthers this week.

* ESPN NHL Power Rankings:

"Signing little-known Czech forward Dominik Kubalik last May to a one-year, $925,000 contract looks genius. The 24-year-old (whose rights were acquired from the Kings last season) is a dark horse Calder Trophy candidate, with 21 goals through 49 games."

* ESPN's Midseason Analytics Awards:

"The John Gibson Award -

"Criteria: Given to the goalie who does everything humanly possible to carry his team to victory on a nightly basis, despite getting nothing resembling help from the players who are supposed to be defending in front of him. Honoring the +53.4 goals above average that John Gibson saved from 2016 to 2019 (the second-best rate, behind Sergei Bobrovsky, among all goalies in that span), ultimately netting Gibson a grand total of one third-place vote for the Vezina Trophy - because the team in front of him wasn't good enough to get him enough wins.

"Winner: Robin Lehner, Chicago Blackhawks"

56:15: Is Zach LaVine An All-Star?

* Coach: No.

* Rhodes: No.

* David Kaplan: Yes.

59:24: Bulls Attendance Finally Rightsizing.

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1:00:30: Illinois Hoops It Up!

Loyola Women:

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Northwestern Women:

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Loyola Men:

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DePaul Men:

* Illini Men:

* UIC Men:

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1:07:15: TrackNotes: Death, Destruction & The Pegasus.

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STOPPAGE: 11:58

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

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Tom Chambers:

Pegasus World Cup Invitational to-day is in Florida.

The Dubai World Cup in late March is the climax of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, United Arab Emirates.

There's also a Japan World Cup.

The Breeders' Cup World Championships aren't that worldly. BC is like hoping the Queen, or even Charles runs, but they send Harry, the permanent third-stringer.

The Arlington International Festival of Racing is very similar. Knockabout English or Irish benchwarmers visit. The British accents are irresistible.

Back when, I thought what a stupid name for the Pegasus. "World Cup" is both pretentious and lazy branding. Invitational implies exclusivity. It's probably more like a phone call: "Wanna run?"

You not only landed on the best of this bunch, you even know Dubai's race exists!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 PM | Permalink

Meet One America News Network's New Chief White House Correspondent

One America News Network ("OAN") has announced that Chanel Rion will lead OAN's White House coverage as the network's Chief White House Correspondent.

"We're delighted to have Chanel lead our White House coverage. She's fully engaged in the news cycle and not afraid to ask the tough questions," stated Robert Herring, Sr., CEO of One America News Network. "Chanel has garnered a large following amongst OAN viewers."

Ms. Rion has been instrumental in One America News's coverage of President Trump's re-election campaign, the White House, and US National Security. She has taken her reporting and investigative efforts globally - reporting from the North/South Korean border; Kyiv, Ukraine; and Budapest, Hungary.

chanelrion.jpgChanel Rion

Ms. Rion most recently led and produced the One America News Investigates' three-part series featuring investigations centered in Ukraine with special guest Rudy Giuliani. The One America News Investigates programs exposed Hunter Biden's corruption and money laundering activities and former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's perjury before Congress and the American people. Most recently, via Twitter, Ms. Rion is believed to be the first journalist to report Ukrainian Flight 752 over Iran was shot down by Iranian forces despite the Iranian government's initial claims of mechanical issues.

On Sunday, October 27, 2019, Ms. Rion provided coverage of President Trump's address to the world announcing that US Forces eliminated ISIS Leadership. Ms. Rion asked the President if the pull-out of US troops in Syria the prior month was strategically tied to the raid on ISIS leadership. The President's response included, "It's a great question and you're doing a great job."

Chanel Rion is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in International Relations.

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See also:
* Daily Beast: Rudy Giuliani Teams Up With A Seth Rich Conspiracy Theorist to Save Trump.

* Politico: 'Stunning Piece Of Propaganda:' Journalists Blast One America News Series.

* Wonkette: What Is Up With Chanel Rion, Traditional Dinner-Making Fiancée Of Courtland Sykes?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:55 AM | Permalink

The Case For Multiparty Democracy

Excerpt adapted from Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America by Lee Drutman.

Today, American parties are more united internally around competing visions of national identity than any time since the Civil War. This division defines national partisan conflict and communicates to voters what is important. And because it is binary, it communicates only two, irreconcilable options. Voting means endorsing one of these visions, either implicitly or explicitly. A vote with reservations counts the same as a vote without reservations. An enthusiastic vote for Trump's anti-immigration policies counts the same as a hesitant vote against Clinton.

A multiparty system in America would not collapse such thinking into reductionist binary generalizations. It would offer more options across the spectrum and give voters more ability to see nuance and shades of gray. A ranked-choice voting system, where voters could order their preferences, would add even more precision and nuance to elections.

drutmanbook.jpg

All societies have some social divisions - across religion, geography, education, class, and so on. When some of those identities point in one political direction and some point in other directions, we are less likely to approach partisan politics in us-versus-them terms and more likely to be broadly tolerant of the other side(s). But when the major social group identities all line up with one big partisan division, partisan conflict reduces all issues into a single us-against-them dimension. This is when politics turns toxic.

In a multiparty system, it's a lot less likely (though not impossible) for all the relevant social divisions to cumulate on a single partisan dimension. It's more likely for some groups to be allies on certain issues and enemies on other issues. In a multiparty system, it's less likely for politics to collapse into binary conflict when the political landscape communicates more complex, multifaceted choices.

In a multiparty system, there is no "lesser of three evils" or "lesser of four evils" campaign strategy. Say you're running in a five-party race. Going hard after another candidate or party is a risky strategy. You might both get dragged down, since there's often a "backlash effect" when a candidate or party goes negative. And since parties need to form governing coalitions after the election, overly nasty pre-election fighting can make post-election negotiations challenging. In short, negative campaigning is a riskier and more complicated strategy in multiparty systems. This is especially true when ranked-choice voting is involved, since parties and candidates are also competing to be voters' second and third choices.

Certainly, some negative campaigning occurs in all democracies. But multiparty democracies experience less. And to be sure, some negative campaigning is necessary for political accountability. A cross-partisan love fest would leave voters unclear of the alternatives and the differences, and with little basis on which to choose. Negative campaigning often involves surfacing details about candidates' voting records and public statements, information that is relevant for voters.

But while it can certainly energize and engage voters, too much negative campaigning also "tends to reduce feelings of political efficacy, trust in government, and perhaps even satisfaction with government itself." It makes partisans more resentful of each other. It supplies increasingly vicious attacks for voters to repeat and internalize (e.g., "Lock Her Up"). Toxic two-party politics creates a uniquely fertile ground for negative campaigning to spiral out of control, leaving resentful, distrustful voters in its wake.

In multiparty systems, campaigns also tend to be more policy-focused. That's because in a more crowded field, parties look for clearer policy spaces that distinguish them from each other. Moreover, as smaller tents, parties have fewer internal differences to navigate. In a two-party system, specific agreement is harder within parties (since they have to be broader coalitions). So parties emphasize vague but grand promises and values, and they especially focus energy on the shortcomings and the alleged extremism of the other party as a way to distract from their own internal fights.

In multiparty democracies with proportional electoral systems, parties rarely win outright legislative majorities. Parties do not campaign as the "true majority," and partisan voters do not perceive themselves as the true majority. Citizens vote for parties expecting they will form coalitions in government and then compromise to make policy. No party expects to gain total power to enact its agenda if only it holds out and wins the next election.

In multiparty democracies with proportional electoral systems, parties also do not make grand electoral promises about what they will do in power. They understand that governing requires a multiparty coalition, and what they can achieve will depend on the coalition that forms. They can only promise to advocate for particular policies and values, which leads to less overpromising. In a two-party system, parties are campaigning for control of government. This leads to rampant overpromising. And in American politics, it also leads to disappointment. Anti-majoritarian political institutions make it difficult for narrow majorities to succeed.

If voters learn what politics should be about through electoral campaigns, multiparty and two-party democracy communicate different messages. Multiparty democracy communicates that democracy is about building coalitions and alliances. Two-party democracy communicates that democracy is about the true majority triumphing.

Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America.

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Drutman: "Breaking The Two-Party Doom Loop" on C-SPAN last September:

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See also:
* The Atlantic: The Two-Party System Broke The Constitution.

* The New Yorker: Can Ranked-Choice Voting Save American Democracy?

* Politico: How To Fix Polarization: Multimember House Districts.

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Plus: Unlock Congress.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

January 23, 2020

TrackNotes: Death, Destruction & The Pegasus

Lemmetellyasomethin'.

This horse racing game is really rough, and that does not include the bad beat bets.

In this installment, pay attention up top, because I may not be in the mood to elaborate the crap in the scroll down.

Spinning into 2020, there's nothing that even suggests the new season will be any better than any other year, or even any good. There's only one thing we know for sure: All of today's optimism or tomorrow's joy will halo from the horses themselves, nobody else.

Locally, our own racing palace - and I mean that - Arlington Park, this minute exists in a netherworld that evil corporations almost always universally create. You could say that Churchill Downs Inc., the confessed hater of horse racing, is strangling AP to death, but it's more like, and sadistically as painful as, a prolonged oxygen deprivation. Where the depraved murderer enjoys varying the grip to inflict more misery through the momentary deceptions of hope. When the cops ask why, "I had to erase my past."

Picture it this way: There is a big asteroid out in the solar system, shaped just like an oval wrecking ball, heading directly, for wont of a landmark, the Metra station between Arlington Heights and Palatine. Probably a little more than two years out, but don't expect a date or time in advance.

Pond-rippling out, horses are still dying at Santa Anita, the land of milk and honey, a place where politicians and people are both adept and apt to ban the game.

The family holiday letter tardily arrived just today. Our beloved Empire Maker passed just days ago. Although at 20 you could say he had a full life, he was still making babies for the very highly respectable fee of $85,000 per.

He was the son of the great Unbridled, the 1990 champion who won the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic that year. Empire Maker won $1,985,800 on the track in four high-profile races (Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, Jim Dandy) including the 2003 Belmont Stakes, where he turned tables in Funny Cide's Triple Crown bid after Placing to 'Cide in that year's Derby.

He was the sire of Emollient, Bodemeister and the great filly/mare Royal Delta. But you may remember him from such progeny as Pioneerof the Nile, who begat sensational American Pharoah, himself named top sire in this freshman year at Breeding U.

But there was also bad news about Uncle El-Ahmed and cousin Justin. It looks like their money problems may have caught up with them for good as their Zayat Stables went into receivership amid ugly tales of unpaid bills and clandestine asset liquidation, including breeding rights shares of 'Pharaoh.

Ahmed doesn't sound hopeful. "I am ready if needed to walk away and give you the keys and full control (of the stable's assets) if that is what you want," the e-mail (to creditors) said, according to the suit. While a puzzle that $287 million from Egyptian beer couldn't go farther, we'll keep great memories phorever of 'Pharoah!

So it's off to the races!

Well, OK. But we've got the haughtily-titled Pegasus World Cup Invitational (9 furlongs, 1-1/8 miles, dirt), from underachieving Gulfstream Park, Hallandale, Florida. Its $3,000,000 purse allows this Grade II-level-maybe race to hang on as a Grade I. There's proof.

The race already came a clunker when it was announced Thursday that 7-5 favorite Omaha Beach was scratched because of swelling in one of his legs. Winner of five of his last six, he was getting faster and faster, and had just won the Malibu Stakes Dec. 28 by a goosebumpy three lengths. And Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith rode the steed into history, passing HOF'er Jerry Bailey for the most Grade I wins ever: 217. Also for Saturday, Spun to Run, who bested 'Beach in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, was scratched from the race with a skin rash.

The race might be better for betting, but it will probably depend on which horse is on its best mettle. Pure darts handicapping.

It's disappointing.

I firmly believe Omaha Beach was the most talented horse in America in 2019. But he had a hard time getting to the gate. On the eve of the Derby, the pre-race favorite was found to have an entrapped epiglottis, a (minor) tissue obstruction of his windpipe. And he missed the Del Mar meet with a virus but roared back with a spectacular gut job in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Watch that finish and you will see Jose Ortiz taking the whip to Shancelot while Smith is merely race riding 'Beach as he glides the rail for the win. That, racing fans, is ultimate horse heart on display.

Omaha Beach has also been one of the most versatile horses, winning at distances from six to nine furlongs, fast and sloppy. Nice, huh? But it's early closure as Omaha Beach will never run competitively again.

A very little history on the Pegasus.

With a $1 million entry fee, cuttable by owners into shares, the very first mention of the race for January 2017 said winner-take-all. But that didn't last as a more traditional purse structure took hold.

Arrogate won, notably beating California Chrome, who was eased up perhaps because of the chicane at the start which may have caused an injury.

Gulfstream's rebuilt track already mismeasured, it uses a run-up in timing, meaning some yards are run before the clock starts! Naturally, the first Pegasus was mistimed, the clock and individual GPS disagreeing. This happens at Gulfstream ALL THE TIME. These kinds of races practically start on the first turn.

The race was more formful in 2018, with a beefed up $16 million purse, helped along by track ownership buying three entry slots, like the TV station buying Bears tickets to avoid the blackout. Gun Runner won.

The purse plunged last year to $7 million, City of Light winning in the slop. The $3 mil this year is horribly out of scale with the quality of Saturday's race.

As new years and new decades don't take their shapes until months or years in, the Pegasus is really a remnant of the last year's racing season. 2020's field is Grade II through slim name recognition at best, this year by two horses who won't even run. Only two of the remaining horses won their last race - Grade IIIs - with the others noticeably worse. There's no Omaha Beach or Spun to Run or Maximum Security in this race.

The Pegasus Turf will be a more well-rounded race. Tune in on the big peacock NBC, 3:30.

It's all for the best, though, as I won't be butt-hugging the couch the whole day. I'll be Pulling a Rosie and joining the festivities later.

Seems like the way to go.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:01 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"At a time when leading legislators' private side jobs are increasingly under scrutiny, newly elevated state Senate President Don Harmon will step down as a partner at the law firm Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd. to focus full-time on his new leadership position," WTTW reports.

The Beachwood gets results! (See "Oak Park Lawyer Gets Big Side Job.")

*

"Harmon told Chicago Tonight on Wednesday he met with the firm's founding partner Mary Patricia Burns on Tuesday to discuss his exit.

"We began the discussion of me stepping away from the practice in order to devote more time to the Senate presidency," said Harmon, a Democrat who represents Illinois' 39th District, which covers parts of Oak Park. "We're working out all those details but I've recognized that I just don't have the time capacity to be a good senate president and to practice law the way I practiced it."

So it's about time, not the myriad conflicts of interest. That doesn't exactly signal a new era in ethics. I would've preferred Harmon acknowledging that at the least, legislators' side jobs are a bad look, and at the most, we all know it's a dirty business that has hardened voters' cynicism, hobbled democracy and made for bad government. So let's call it a half-step, at best.

*

Via the Sun-Times:

"I was very careful to manage the conflicts, and my firm was incredibly committed to making sure I had the chance to maintain my integrity," Harmon told WTTW. "The simple fact of the matter is I just don't have the time to be a good Senate president and live up to my responsibilities to my partners and my clients."

To which Rich Miller at Capitol Fax replied: "The headline of that article was nonsense, by the way. "Illinois Senate President Don Harmon 'stepping away' from law firm job amid conflict of interest scrutiny." Somebody does the right thing for a change and that's the response? Yeah, that'll encourage more of this sort of behavior."

But Harmon didn't stay he stepped away from his law firm because it was the right thing to do - he clearly said he simply wouldn't have the time to continue practicing law as the state senate president.

In fact, if Harmon was stepping away to do the right thing, as Miller presumes, he would've done so before now. So his motive may be time or, more likely, because (particularly at the moment) it's a bad look. Neither of those constitutes being the right thing to do. (And the notion that the Sun-Times headline would discourage others from doing the same is silly and backwards.)

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Juice WRLD
"Juice WRLD, who rapped about his struggles with substance abuse and achieving meteoric success, died of an accidental drug overdose during a December drug raid at Midway Airport in Chicago, a medical examiner ruled on Wednesday," the New York Times reports.

"The rapper, whose real name was Jarad A. Higgins, died on Dec. 8 as a result of oxycodone and codeine toxicity, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said. He was 21.

"The autopsy findings corroborate law enforcement accounts that Mr. Higgins had gone into convulsions while officers searched a private jet that had been carrying the hip-hop star for drugs and guns."

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"The raid turned up 70 pounds of marijuana in 41 vacuum-sealed bags and six bottles of liquid prescription codeine cough syrup that were hidden in unmarked luggage, according to the authorities, who said they were tipped off about the drugs."

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Previously in the Beachwood: Remembering Juice WRLD.

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See also:

* XXL: Juice Wrld's Family Releases First Statement Since Rapper's Death.

* TheThings: Eminem Song Shatters Records And Immortalizes Juice WRLD.

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Peddling Pot
"Saying they have years, and, in some cases, decades of experience selling marijuana, a group of black citizens say they cannot wait on delayed government bureaucracy to establish policy for them to land jobs in the lucrative new legalized cannabis industry. They need and want jobs now," the Defender reports.

"The men and women, some ex-felons, have turned to Tio 'Mr. Ceasefire' Hardiman, executive director of Violence Interrupters, to assist them in their quest to secure permits, just like food vendors, to distribute and sell marijuana legally in their neighborhoods."

This is amusing yet common sensical, though ultimately the social equity piece of the current cannabis law has been worked out over years and seems well thought-out.

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ChicagoReddit

What messes up the CTA bus tracker? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Austeros de Durango - Andamos Por Chicago

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

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The Beachwood Script Line: Go off.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

January 22, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

In fact, journalists do a disservice to citizens by continuing to namecheck Rush as a former Black Panther, which gives him some progressive cred he doesn't deserve but cloaks him in a patina of righteousness. His former Black Panthership became irrelevant a long time ago.

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See also: The [Bobby Rush] Papers.

And there's been a lot more since that post; just use the search bar.

*

It just shows the power that narrative and branding have over journalists. The identifiers for Rush should have been updated a long time ago.

*

"Rush is the first Congressional Black Caucus member to back the former New York mayor and says he's doing so because of Bloomberg's vow to invest in African American communities," Shia Kapos writes for her Politico Illinois Playbook.

"I feel connected to him on a range of issues," Rush told Playbook, ticking off gun prevention, the environment, job security and even trade with China. But it's Bloomberg's focus on boosting economic opportunity that prompted him to endorse.

"He wants to provide more businesses, more jobs, more home ownership, more investment in the African American community," Rush said. "None of the other candidates have made similar commitments to the African American community."

Okay, that's pure folly. Why let him get away with it unchallenged?

1. Rush feels "connected" to Bloomberg on issues including gun prevention, the environment, job security and even trade with China.

How in the world does Bloomberg's stance on those issues set him apart from virtually every other Democratic who is running?

2. None of the other candidates have pledged to provide more businesses, jobs, home ownership and investment in the African-American community? Pure bunk. In fact, Bloomberg's record on that score is even more fraught than Pete Buttigieg's.

To wit, from the Beachwood earlier this month:

"Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is the 8th-richest person on the planet with a fortune estimated at $57.1 billion. His wealth has spared him from doing any fundraising for his presidential campaign. He will spend at least $150 million on television and internet ads. He has a $10 million ad that will air during the Super Bowl," Erick Johnson writes for the Crusader.

"On Wednesday, January 8, Bloomberg brought his presidential campaign to Olive-Harvey College on Chicago's Far South Side.

"It's a neighborhood that has far less wealth and affluence than Bloomberg. So does most of Black Chicago, which has long suffered from poverty, disinvestment, little affordable housing and the many police brutality issues that have impacted Blacks in the last several years.

"None of these were mentioned in Bloomberg's speech."

There's more; go read it.

*

At least Kapos included this:

"This isn't the first time Rush has backed a wealthy, white guy. Recall he stood up for Bill Daley during the first round of last year's mayoral race in Chicago."

So let's put the Black Panther piece to bed.

*

Meanwhile, one of Rush's opponents, who has appeared in some national press, appears to be making a lot of shit up.

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None of Gad's problematic claims appear this morning's Q&A with the Sun-Times. The paper does, however, ask if climate change is real. You might as well as if gravity is real. The science is proven. Continuing to ask candidates that, instead of asking what they would do about it, only gives oxygen to debunked deniers.

*

If the Q&A was, as I suspect, in writing and filled out days (or even weeks) ago, it's still incumbent on the paper to update as developments warrant. I'd say in this case developments warrant.

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Park Place
"Arlington International Racecourse officials on Tuesday denied the Arlington Heights racetrack is for sale or that any offers have been made to purchase it," the Daily Herald reports.

Really? Maybe the track isn't for sale, per se, but I hear selling the real estate for development is a done deal.

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ChicagoReddit

Do you think it'd be overkill to wear a surgical face mask through O'Hare? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Heilung at the Riv on Monday night.

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

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The Beachwood Treyf Line: Beer blessed.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:24 AM | Permalink

January 21, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers

The big news over the weekend in Illinois politics was the election of Oak Park Democrat Don Harmon to the state senate presidency, replacing the retiring John Cullerton.

Harmon defeated Maywood Democrat Kimberly Lightford. Lightford was (and remains) the senate majority leader. Harmon had been the assistant majority leader, so in a sense he leaped over his colleague to get the top job.

Also:

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I must confess, I didn't know (Son of) Emil Jones had the power to be a player. But apparently he was the one who brought the votes over to Harmon in the second round of voting to crown him king.

According to Tina Sfondeles at the Sun-Times, Jones may have been exercising a grudge with layers of irony that put the white guy in over the black gal.

Kimberly Lightford's vote for a white candidate for Illinois Senate president over a fellow African American politician - 11 years ago - may have helped cost her this year's Senate president's job on Sunday.

After hours of tense, behind-the-scenes negotiations between lawmakers on Sunday, Lightford lost out to Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, who will replace retiring Senate President John Cullerton.

Publicly, party leaders made a show of unity. Lightford, who is Senate majority leader, hugged Harmon on the Senate floor Sunday afternoon as she nominated him to become the next Senate president. Harmon, who is white, was elected unanimously after hours of negotiations.

But afterward, accusations flew of personal betrayal, and long-time simmering feuds bubbled over.

Lightford, D-Maywood, blamed former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr., and his son, Emil Jones III, who is currently in the Senate, for her loss. She would have been the first female black Senate president. She thinks their opposition may stem from an 11-year old grudge.

In 2009, Lightford voted for Cullerton, the white candidate, for Senate president, over Sen. James Clayborne Jr., who is black.

Lightford claims Jones III, D-Chicago, acted as a double agent, calling what he did a personal betrayal. Lightford claimed the elder Jones, 84, also helped to steer votes away from her, a claim he denied to the Sun-Times on Sunday.

Now, just because Lightfood suspects she was "betrayed" doesn't mean she was. Doesn't mean she wasn't, either.

For example:

Reached Sunday night, the elder Jones denied he got involved in the race or that his son voted for Harmon over bad blood.

But he brought up Lightford's vote for a white candidate over a black one in the 2009 Senate president election.

"I don't know how you can come back and say I want the black support when you had that opportunity to support the black and you didn't," the elder Jones said.

So we supported the white guy, just like she did back then!

"Reached Sunday evening, Jones III said he told Lightford on Friday night he would support Harmon. He also told her he would resign as co-chair of the Illinois Senate Black Caucus."

Why resign from the caucus? Because he no longer represents black interests?

Jones III denied that he voted for Harmon over any bad blood.

"Leader Lightford stated that she had certain votes and me reaching out to those members directly, they told me otherwise," Jones III said.

Jones III downplayed that he won't get a leadership post, despite helping bring votes to Harmon.

As for Lightford's claims of payback, Jones III suggested Lightford hadn't been straight with him: "A friend would not let you go down on a sinking ship. If your ship is sinking and you know it's sinking, let your friend know."

I don't know what this means. Her ship was sinking and she should've reached out to him? Didn't she?

*

What's sad, of course, is that Jones didn't offer up, at least in this account (or the reporter didn't ask for), his supposed real reason for supporting Harmon. If it wasn't bad blood, what was it?

*

And then:

*

To wit:

"State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is one of the most powerful people in Springfield, talked about as a possible future president of the Illinois Senate," the Sun-Times reported in March 2017.

"He's also a partner in a Chicago law firm that's been paid more than $9 million in the past five years for doing legal work for state agencies, government workers' pension funds and local governments whose citizens he represents in the Senate, a Chicago Sun-Times examination has found.

"That covers work done for more than 20 government bodies, including the city of Chicago, Cook County, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the agency that owns McCormick Place and Navy Pier."

Look, public officials should not be allowed to have side jobs - or to make their elected offices their side job. Or to essentially combine them into a racket. It's that simple.

Don't like the salary? Don't run.

*

"The firm - Burke Burns & Pinelli - has done work for agencies whose budgets Harmon votes on, including the Illinois Department of Transportation, and government pension funds regulated by Harmon and his fellow legislators, as well as the village of Rosemont, one of the suburbs he represents in the Illinois Senate, according to records and interviews.

"His firm also worked on applications for millions of dollars in five state grants that went to Cinespace Chicago Film Studios - where TV shows including Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire are shot. The state money included a $10 million grant that Gov. Bruce Rauner ordered the West Side studio to repay in 2015 after the Sun-Times reported that the money was supposed to buy property for an expansion, but the land owners said they weren't going to sell."

Click through to read the rest if you want; it's a very familiar script to those who follow Illinois politics.

*

"Mary Patricia Burns, the majority owner of the law firm, didn't respond to a call and emails seeking comment."

If Harmon derived no financial benefit from the firm's dealings with government agencies - and the firm didn't derive benefit from Harmon's position - why would Burns be afraid to talk? Defend your guy!

*

"Harmon - who once worked as deputy legal counsel to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago - was elected to the state Senate in 2002. At the time, he was a lawyer with the firm Mayer Brown LLP, where he 'practiced corporate banking and municipal law,' according to the online biography on his law firm's website. In 2005, he joined his current firm, where he is one of seven partners but says he 'has no ownership interest.'

"As president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, Harmon is among the top leaders of the legislative chamber, whose members are part-time and typically also hold other jobs. Harmon's yearly pay as a state senator is $78,163.

"He says his law firm salary is less than that but won't say how much he makes."

That doesn't sound right.

"Asked whether he gets any additional compensation beside salary, Harmon would say only that his total pay from Burke Burns & Pinelli is less than the governor's $177,412-a-year salary - the cap on his pay under Illinois ethics law because his firm gets state business."

Aha.

*

"Eric Herman, a spokesman for Cinespace, says Burke Burns & Pinelli was hired in 2010 'because they have a great reputation.'"

Perhaps because they employed the state senate's future president!

Eric Herman is a former Sun-Times reporter, and therefore Today's Worst Person in Illinois.

*

I looked through the Beachwood vault and was surprised to find that Lightford's name has never appeared in these pages. I thought for sure I had dinged her for ridiculous behavior typical of someone holding her spot in the political universe, but no.

Harmon, on the other hand, is a different story.

From December 17, 2009:

Rich Miller and his Capitol Fax Blog readers have selected Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) as the state's best legislator.

"John Cullerton's ascension to the Senate Presidency has propelled Harmon into the upper echelons of legislative power," Miller writes. "He is a likely future Senate President himself. Harmon was an overwhelming favorite in the nominations. This one was representative . . . "

Smart, hardworking, and not an ideologue.

You mean this Don Harmon?

"Back on February 13, state rep Kevin Joyce introduced a bill to expand the kinds of materials open to the public under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. On April 3 that bill passed the house and was sent to the senate, where it sat in committee for weeks. Legislators tell me that during that time city lobbyists got in touch with their allies in the senate, and on May 18 Senator Don Harmon gutted the bill, removing the language about the FOIA and adding an amendment that extended the life of the four Chicago TIF districts: Madden/Wells, Roosevelt/Racine, Stony Island/Burnside, and Englewood Mall. None of these fall into Harmon's legislative district.

"Harmon - who didn't return calls for this story - is from Oak Park, whose TIF policies seem to be almost as nutty as Chicago's, hard as that is to believe. (Hardly a week goes by without some Oak Parker calling and asking me to write about one TIF debacle or another.)"

*

By the way, that same Beachwood column led with this:

"A consulting firm headed by former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr.'s stepson John Sterling has been paid more than $787,000 under a Cook County contract funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, despite failing to provide required weekly reports - for 21 months," Carol Marin and Don Moseley report.

"Retired Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, the political godfather of President Obama, is mounting a formidable effort to re-elect embattled Cook County Board President Todd Stroger," Sneed reports.

Just sayin'.

*

From January 20, 2014:

"Leading legislative fauxgressive Don Harmon - once voted the state's best legislator by Rich Miller and his Capitol Fax readers - also comes out pretty stinky.

"In 2009, state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) was among the members of the General Assembly to vote to give the United Neighborhood Organization an unprecedented $98 million state grant to build charter schools in Chicago," the BGA reports.

"But UNO wasn't the only group that ended up benefiting from the grant, which was part of a massive capital spending bill that provided money to infrastructure projects across the state.

"Harmon's law firm did, too - collecting at least $35,000 for legal work it subsequently performed for UNO, according to copies of invoices and payment records obtained from the State of Illinois.

"What's more, the Better Government Association found the firm, Burke Burns & Pinelli, had done legal work for UNO prior to Harmon's June 2009 vote.

"This means Harmon not only voted on a measure ultimately benefiting his firm, he also voted on a measure benefiting a past (and continuing) client of his law firm."

There's a lot more there, so click through. After all, the piece is called "UNO, Law Firm In Harmony."

*

So I had to chuckle when I saw this Crain's headline: "Can This Oak Park lawyer Tame Springfield's Culture Of Corruption?"

Only if he starts with himself!

*

P.S.: Getting far less attention than the ministrations of Jones et al:

"Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is the new Senate president, thanks, in large part, to a group of moderate suburban and downstate Democrats who quietly supported him in his monthslong rise to the head of the chamber," Capitol News Illinois reports.

"The group, calling itself the 'X Caucus' is made up of 'approximately 10 to 12' members depending on the issue, said Democratic Tinley Park Sen. Michael Hastings."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Mansplaining To A Millionaire
"Tom Ricketts is irritating not because he's rich, but because he's greedy."

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SportsMonday: The Blackhawks Might Be Back!
"They have pulled within three points of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Is that all, you say? Well, it is a lot better than where they were when they started their current five-game win streak."

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ChicagoReddit

Is there any chance I can get an entry construction job? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Towertop of Chicago.

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BeachBook

1977 Chicago Comic Con.

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

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The Beachwood Resist Line: Name those editors.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:36 AM | Permalink

Mansplaining To A Millionaire

Chicago Cubs fans booed the team owner last weekend, and he had no idea why.

Wut? Wait. Why, he wondered, and I'm not kidding.

At the risk of the obvious, I shall Mansplain to Tom how this works.

At the moment boos cascaded upon him, he was wearing a shirt with an open collar. That proved he was just one of the guys. You normally don't boo one of the guys. Still, they booed him lustily at the annual Cubs Convention, and he seemed crestfallen. When your crest falls, it's not a good day for a rich guy's gusto.

The fact that Tom Ricketts is worth about $900 million seems a fact to which he applies no self-reflection. Here, I'll help.

The loot is in a family trust, but he spends it how he wants. He pretends that a pile of money makes no real difference to him or anyone else. But $900 million apparently does not make you a Man Of The Common Folk if that's your goal.

Tom Ricketts has other flaws, too. He's dull. He has a round, dull head. That's an unhelpful combination for a celebrity.

What he came to sell - a new cable TV package to benefit himself - met with loud disagreement.

The Cubs fans reacted as if Tom Ricketts is a bad person. I know, Tom. You're a swell guy.

It's not that having a lot of money makes you a Bad Person. But it does not make you a Good Person, either. That's the equation that affluence cannot buy and perhaps confuses Tom Ricketts the most.

Being rich does not prove anything for good or ill, though human experience does suggest that being rich is a terrible burden to being a good person. Tom Ricketts is irritating not because he's rich, but because he's greedy. And he's dull.

As for money, he wants more. He needs more. His greed is presumptive. That's not just an opinion. He has arranged his public life for this goal, and he cannot flee the consequences.

If you like the Cubs, he wants more of your money for that privilege.

He lives in a world defined by "more," though someone has suggested to him that he is a celebrity. This is an enormously erroneous perception. He is mostly a dull person with lots of money.

Team executive VP Theo Epstein works nearly as hard at his Gee Whiz I'm An Average Palooka schtick because his net worth is a mere $25 million. Club GM Jed Hoyer's pile of simoleons is less apparent to the naked eye, though he did pay $3.1 million for a 7,400-square-foot, six-bedroom Ravenswood home last summer.

Even Cubs manager David Ross has a pile of $11 million. He only looks like the guy working the third shift at a Ford assembly plant. Nope. He's part of the most wealthy 0.000001 percent of people on the planet.

Baseball been berry, berry good to me.

This does not mean that collective Cubs management is a pack of fat hyenas, but it does mean their sensory perception is limited. Their eyesight will tend not to see average lives because those are invisible to them.

Guys who buy Maseratis with pocket change do not understand guys who buy Fords on the six-year loan plan.

The best they can do is pretend to be regular people as a marketing device.

Vast piles of dough don't turn people into miserable cretins, but it can make them indifferent to lives they do not share, or see very frequently.

Your life, my life. Different animals. They can't help it.

So Tom Ricketts came to the annual Cubs Convention to tell his fraternal Common Folk that he had come up with a way to be even more flush with cash. It was a new way to make all those people in the convention hall pay for watching the Cubs on cable TV.

The Common Folk knew all about this plan even before Ricketts explained to them again with slow, clear words as if they all were Lenny Small in Of Mice and Me or small furry pets.

So he Millionaire Mansplained the deal to the assembled proletariat.

Boooooo, they all said to the crestfallen Tom. He seemed puzzled in a way that guys with $900 million in the bank seldom are. They hire people to be puzzled for them.

The Ricketts family has a new cable TV deal because Tom With An Open Collar can survive only for so long on $900 million while he waits for his really rich father to croak and leave Tom with several billion dollars more.

Maybe having $900 million does not automatically signal a deep personality disorder. But it can make a person mistake what they do (making money selling balcony tickets to a double feature) with some grand improvement of the human condition

Tom Terrific sells a product. People like the product, though he didn't invent it. He just owns the method of manufacture these days. He might as well be a door-to-door Fuller Brush franchisee. He sells a thing that someone owned before he was born, and someone else will own after he dies.

He seems competent at selling, but even the most mentally incapable owners of the team made lots of money selling tickets.

Hawking pot-scrubbing implements on the street corner does not make Tom Ricketts a special person. Customers love the pot scrubbers, but not him. This is a distinction he seems not to have intuited before the Cubs Convention affirmed the distaste.

Ricketts has many skills, chiefly that he's mostly managed not to gag on the silver spoon that came with his birth certificate. His life is devoted to making his pile of $900 million ever higher.

But he has a limitation, and it daunts him. Confuses him. He's unloved.

The Cubs are beloved by their fans for reasons I cannot always understand, but the team's owners have never been beloved, a fact owners have often found disconcerting. But even one-time plunderer and walking yeast infection Sam Zell was never confused why fans thought him to be a reprehensible infection.

Cubs fans barely tolerate the owners, even in the rare good days of the team.

In that regard, the Cubs' new "Marquee" network is a barely disguised money grab to make fans pay for what used to be free. The plan also makes the Ricketts family even richer. This is the main industry of being rich.

Rich people - I have been designated to be their official spokesperson - consider this getting-richer-at-your-expense transaction to be the natural grist of social machinery.

Guys with $900 million in the bank do not sense why that plan irritates people who drive compact models of Chevies and Fords. But it does.

So, Tom, this message is for you and only you: Boooooooooo! Don't take it personally.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

January 20, 2020

SportsMonday: The Blackhawks Might Be Back!

The Blackhawks have done it. They have won five in a row.

Their reward? They have pulled within three points of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Is that all, you say? Well, it is a lot better than where they were when they started the streak.

Another reward? The Hawks (54 points in 50 games) have put a little space between themselves and Western Conference Central Division bottom-feeders the Predators (51 in 47) and Wild (50 in 48). Emphasis on "little."

The current streak was the bare minimum needed for the team to reassert themselves as at least peripheral contenders for the playoffs this year. The bottom line is they will probably need yet another similar streak to move up to "probable playoff participant" status.

One other quick note on the Blackhawks' record after their latest triumph, a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday: With the win, the Hawks improved to 24-20-6 overall.
But just because the first two numbers are "24" and "20" doesn't mean the squad "is now four games over .500." Observers, led by veteran play-by-play man Pat Foley, continue to describe the team's record in that fashion.

That would have been fine when the letter at the top of the third column was "T," standing for ties. But that third column hasn't been ties for a long time now. The letters at the top of that column are now "OTL," which is, of course, short for "overtime losses." It should actually be "overtime and shootout losses" but no biggie.

In other words, the Hawks are actually still two games below .500, with 24 wins and 26 total losses (yes, the overtime losses are worth a point, but they are still losses!). Let's start to make that change.

Or we could just stop referring to winning percentages in this context. After all, hockey (and soccer for that matter) standings have always been about teams' total points, and they continue to be. Oh, and the first tiebreaker is total wins.

The teams that are tied for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference after Sunday's action are the Pacific Division's Coyotes and Golden Knights, who have both totaled 57 points in 51 games. Remember that in the NHL, divisions still matter in playoff standings (as opposed to the NBA, which should just list their standings by conference at this point).

The Blues (68), Avalanche (60) and Dallas Stars (58), have the top spots in the Hawks' Central Division. and the top three in each division in the NHL make the playoffs no matter how their point totals compare to teams in other divisions.

Still, it isn't just that the Hawks have won five in a row; it is that they have taken their overall performance to a significantly higher level in their last two games.

On Saturday in Toronto, under the bright lights of Hockey Night in Canada, the Hawks dominated the Maple Leafs 6-2 behind great performances from Jonathan Toews (two goals, two assists) and Dominik Kubalik (the same) capped off by one of the goals of the year:

Then on Sunday, the Hawks recorded the win over the Jets. One last note about the standings by the way: Winnipeg is tied with the Hawks at 54 but has played one fewer game.

Sunday's thriller featured Patrick Kane recording his 1,000th career point with the second assist on Brandon Saad's slam dunk third-period goal:



It also featured a great performance by goalie Robin Lehner, especially in the second period, when forward Drake Caggiula essentially went on a crime spree. He went to the penalty box for two minutes (on an interference penalty that was actually called with 15 seconds left in the first period), then four minutes (more interference combined with a crushingly stupid unsportsmanlike conduct infraction), then two more unbelievable minutes (tripping).

The Jets, whose power play ranks among the top 10 in the NHL, never did score with the man advantage.

The bottom line is, the Hawks have come a long way and they have a long way to go. One other column in the expanded standings in goal differential: the top team in the Central Division, the defending Stanley Cup champs St. Louis Blues (wow does it suck to write that), are a plus-24. The Hawks are -5. How about the next modest goal is to get that number at least back to zero?

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

January 19, 2020

The Weekend Desk Report

Still on the hunt for a new living space - I've had a couple close calls but no deal sealed. Reach out if you know of something and/or someone looking for a roommate.

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Rent Bent
"The inevitability of higher apartment rents isn't the only threat on the horizon in 2020 for Chicago's renters," Don DeBat writes for Loop North News.

"In 2019, rents have increased a modest 1.4 percent year-over-year. Chicago's median two-bedroom rent now is $1,285, compared with the national average of $1,192, reports a new survey by Apartment List, a national apartment research firm.

"However, tenants leasing in hot lakefront and downtown neighborhoods easily will pay $2,500 to $3,000 a month for a swank two-bedroom layout in a newer, amenity-filled high-rise."

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"Many professional apartment management companies have stopped taking refundable security deposits, mostly to avoid the massive bookkeeping work to compute the tenant's tiny annual interest earnings of 0.01 percent as required by the Chicago Landlord Tenant Ordinance. The annual interest payment typically costs a landlord only a few cents a year per unit, but it is an accounting nightmare for major management firms. Imagine sending out 20 cent checks to thousands of tenants every year. The cost of the postage stamp would exceed the interest payment.

"Significant application, move-in, and pet fees generally have replaced security deposits in the downtown rental apartment markets. Application fees range from about $80 to $100 per renter. Non-refundable move-in fees start at about $350 and go to $500. Some landlords also charge move-out fees."

Security deposits were supposed to be used to motivate renters to keep an apartment in good shape, lest they end up having to pay for the repairs. They were not intended to generate revenue. But apparently that's not how landlords see it - are they really such an accounting nightmare? C'mon - and now they just take your money as a move-in fee for the cost of . . . you moving in? It's a rip-off, plain and simple.

Intended Consequences
"As a new task force formed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot explores ways to increase affordable housing in Chicago, developers have a warning: Beware of unintended consequences," Crain's reports.

Here we go!

"Residential developers worry the panel is a first step in the city's push to strengthen a Chicago ordinance requiring them to include affordable apartments or condominiums in their projects. And they'll be relying heavily in the coming months on a familiar argument: that tougher regulations would be counterproductive, discouraging rather than encouraging the creation of housing in the city."

Tougher regulations certainly wouldn't prevent the creation of more affordable housing in the city. If they discourage the development of more unaffordable housing, so be it - though I doubt developers would simply stop building. That's how they make money.

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By the way, why characterize the rules as "tougher" instead of, say, "fairer?"

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Anyway . . .

"City housing officials say there's not much data to support that conclusion [that "tougher" rules will discourage development]. But many developers say the current rules, last revised in 2015, already have had a negative impact.

"All they do is restrict development," says Jim Letchinger, founder and CEO of Chicago-based JDL Development.

Data, please.

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"With the [Affordable Requirements Ordinance], [Lightfoot's] challenge is finding the regulatory sweet spot: the optimal level of regulation that produces more affordable housing without depressing development."

But I thought the city just said there is no data to support the notion that regulation that produces more affordable housing produces development.

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Also: Maybe it's good to develop more affordable housing while "depressing" development overall! Maybe that's the sweet spot!

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"Developers have never been the most sympathetic bunch, and they certainly aren't these days. They've profited from one of the biggest apartment booms in decades, charging high rents and selling projects for much more than they cost to build. But rising prices for construction materials and labor have cut into profit margins, and raising money for new projects is getting harder amid concerns about rising property taxes, they say."

So it's not enough that developers have been raking in the dough for years at historic levels; now we have to insure that "rising prices for construction materials and labor" don't cut into those hefty profit margins and they make just a little bit less?

Also, rising prices for construction materials means that companies who produce those materials either have to cover their own rising costs or are trying to increase their own margins. Why should we favor developers over them?

Further, rising labor costs means that laborers - real people with real families - are making more money, though probably not considerably more. Is that a bad thing? Maybe they haven't been getting a fair wage all this time considering how much developers have been making in a historic building boom.

Let's not just frame this as developers vs. people who need affordable homes - though that should be enough.

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"For developers, the economics are simple: If the government makes something less profitable to produce, businesses will make less of it. Typically, government regulations reduce profits by imposing higher costs on businesses. But the ARO depresses profits by decreasing the rental revenue a building can generate, sometimes by so much that a developer won't move forward."

Yeah, not so much. Do auto companies produce fewer cars because the government imposes standards such as, "This car will not blow up when you turn the key?" Do food companies produce less food because the government requires the food not be poisoned?

If the answer to those questions are Yes, so be it. I suspect that answer is No because of supply-and-demand and greed - folks in business still want to make money.

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Also, what of the cost imposed on government (and society in general) of a lack of affordable housing? Or perhaps developers are suggesting that affordable housing is the government's business, and they are more than willing to pay taxes (along with everyone else) to see to it that it gets built and our people are adequately housed. I would go along with that! Just make sure the subsidized housing is, um, contained within market-built housing so as to not repeat the horrors of stacking poor people on top of each other

Oh, wait, that's what we're trying to do in the first place!

(And by the way, "affordable housing" isn't just for the poor; it's for all of us who aren't rich.)

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"A couple of years ago, Chicago developer David 'Buzz' Ruttenberg was drawing up plans for a 40-plus-unit condo project on Orleans Street on the Near North Side. But Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th, who represents the neighborhood, wouldn't approve the plans unless 20 percent of the units were classified as affordable, Ruttenberg says.

"We couldn't afford it, so we took a pass," says Ruttenberg, chairman emeritus of Belgravia Group.

I did a quick search this morning and couldn't find more on this deal, but I'd like to have it vetted before it's repeated. I did find plenty of deals Ruttenberg did in conjunction with Burnett. I suspect "couldn't afford it" means "couldn't make as much money as we wanted to," but so be it. What would Ruttenberg have the city do? If the market was building enough affordable housing on its own, the city wouldn't have to impose any regulations on developers to do so.

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By the way, if you haven't figured it out already, Ruttenberg is a millionaire.

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State TV

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #287: The Houston Asterisks
The rules were clear. Plus: Pathetic Playoff Picks; Louisiana State's Universe; Bye Bye Bourbonnais; Is Jonathan Toews Back?; Bulls Midseason Report: It's The Underachieving That Stands Out; Red Star Rachel; Klopas Is Back; and Illinois Starts To Hoop It Up.

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ChicagoReddit

Wanting to move to Chicago to work in a Michelin star restaurant any advice on making that feasible? from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

The Handcuffs at Montrose Saloon last Sunday night.

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

Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion In Assets To Limit Abuse Payouts; Surely Going To Hell.

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In God We Trust, But Which One?

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At The Bottom Of The Sea, They Wait To Feast On Alligators.

The true nature of nature.

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

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Republican operative booed at convention.

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The Weekend Report Rip & Tip Line: Conscious conscience.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:45 AM | Permalink

January 17, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #287: The Houston Asterisks

The rules were clear. Plus: Pathetic Playoff Picks; Louisiana State's Universe; Bye Bye Bourbonnais; Is Jonathan Toews Back?; Bulls Midseason Report: It's The Underachieving That Stands Out; Red Star Rachel; Klopas Is Back; and Illinois Starts To Hoop It Up.


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SHOW NOTES

* 287.

:37: Astros Asshats.

* Coffman: The Rules Were Clear.

* Wallenstein: Tech In, Garbage Out.

* LA City Council To Ask MLB To Award World Series Trophies To Dodgers.

* Plaschke: For Three Years We Wondered, And Now We Know.

* Yu Garbage:

* Rosenthal: Jessica Mendoza Just Gave ESPN A New Reason To Dump Her When She Criticized The Whistleblower In The Astros Cheating Scandal.

* Coffman: An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind!

22:06: Pathetic Playoff Picks.

* Stop the pundits before they predict again!

* Don't dismiss the Titans.

* Russell Wilson is elite.

* P.S.: NFL still recycling white guys.

36:16: Louisiana State's Universe.

40:36: Bye Bye Bourbonnais & Other Bears Bits.

* Halas Hall easier to spell.

* The Truth About The New Halas Hall.

* Lake Forest to get needed economic boost.

* Rhodes: "I can't decide if I care or not."

* John DeFlippedout.

* Minor Lazor.

* Jimbo Covert and Ed Sprinkle.

* Duke Slater and Alex Karras.

* Kyle Long:

* Marshawn Lynch:

55:56: White Sox Offseason Finally Over.

57:05: Cubs Offseason Never Got Started.

1:02:01: Is Jonathan Toews Back?

* Greenfield: Yes.

* Coffman: No.

1:03:27: Bulls Midseason Report: It's The Underachievement That Stands Out.

* Just as it was at the quarter pole.

1:03:57: Red Star Rachel.

1:04:13: Klopas Is Back.

1:04:43: Illinois Starting To Hoop It Up.

* Loyola women started out 9-0, now 12-3.

* Northwestern women upset No. 15 Indiana in OT after late rally.

* Illini men crack Top 25.

* Loyola men beat SIU, have won four of five.

* No. 14 Villanova squeaks past DePaul men in OT.

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STOPPAGE: 6:21

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 PM | Permalink

January 16, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

So a tooth saga that started in August finally (hopefully) ended yesterday when they just pulled that sucker out, and by "they" I mean my favorite dentist of the five who ultimately looked at the thing (six if you count the supervisor of a UIC dentistry student).

I had never had a tooth pulled before, and I was surprised at how quickly it went. Like, bim boom bam. Gone.

I was prescribed painkillers - Tylenol 3, which has codeine in it, and 800mg ibuprofens, which I call superprofens - but the thing is, there's no pain. And this, I've learned, is not unusual. Often, once the tooth is gone, the pain is gone too, for the pain was in the tooth.

I'm on antibiotics - for the third time since this wonderful journey began - because the gum is still infected. Other than that, I'm back to my normal state of crappiness, and I can start eating like a normal person again, though there is now a hole at the very back of my lower left rack of teeth. Maybe I'll store stuff there, or insert a Bluetooth something or other. Or maybe the government already has . . .

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I'd show you a picture of the tooth, but they didn't let me keep it. Apparently it was hazardous medical waste.

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Council Was Lit
"Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's unscripted and heartfelt speech on the floor of City Council chambers Wednesday may be remembered for changing the course of how aldermen do business," Shia Kapos writes in her Politico Illinois Playbook.

I'm not quite sure about that, but it was A Moment.

Lightfoot had stood silent while aldermen hashed out whether to study set-aside contracts for LGBTQ business owners. The mayor proposed the plan but got pushback from minority aldermen concerned it could cut into contracts that people of color and women were trying to get.

They worried "privileged" gay white men would find ways to abuse the system and went so far as to suggest testing to determine if an applicant really was gay.

The language was sometimes sophomoric and unsophisticated, but one would like to hope it was not intentionally homophobic.

Much of the pushback toward the proposal came from African American aldermen led by Black Caucus Chairman Jason Ervin (28th) and caucus member Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), spotlighting the larger disconnect with the LGBTQ community.

Not so long ago, expecting Chicago's black community to back a mayoral candidate who happened to be gay seemed impossibly far-fetched. And when aldermen wrapped up their discussion, Lightfoot began to speak and it's hard to see who else could've moved the chamber so convincingly.

You'll have to click through to get the goods.

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From the Tribune:

"Lightfoot criticized the tenor of the aldermen's questions, which included Burnett during a committee hearing about the ordinance on Tuesday invoking the Adam Sandler film I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, in which two straight firefighters pretend to be gay so one can earn health benefits."

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From the Sun-Times:

"Ald. Maria Hadden (49th), the only gay black woman on the City Council, said she doesn't know whether to react with anger or laughter to the debate, which included Ald. Walter Burnett's reference to a 2007 Adam Sandler comedy about two New York City firefighters who pretend to be gay to secure medical benefits for a child.

"We've got to do better, you guys. Being afraid is never an excuse to dismiss" a legitimate concern about discrimination, Hadden said.

Also:

"Ald. David Moore (17th) demanded the roll call and cast the only 'no' vote."

Huh. I wonder why.

To CBS2 Chicago:

"Ald. David Moore (17th) said his questions about the study were not answered sufficiently when the measure was approved in committee earlier this week.

"I want to make sure that the policy is right, and right now I'm not feeling that the policy is right, because I don't want to even hurt the very people that we're trying to help," he said.

How so? After all, this is about conducting a study, not implementing a policy.

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Previously from David Moore, when he and others tried to delay the legalization of recreational pot in Chicago either out of ignorance about how the social equity piece works (see the item Pot Shots) or for the purpose of political grandstanding, via CBS2 Chicago:

Ald. David Moore (17th) - who voted for the delay - was so incensed by the fact the Black Caucus did not stand united in favor of the ordinance, he said he was resigning from the Black Caucus.

"I'm upset about many of the members of my Black Caucus, because at the end of the day, if we can't stand for equity for black people, we don't need a Black Caucus, and as of today David Moore is not in the Black Caucus," he said at the December City Council meeting. "They're going to have to show me why I should be in the Black Caucus, because if they can't stand up for equity for minorities, then what are we fighting for?"

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I wasn't able to determine this morning if Moore is a Preckwinkle dead-ender, though I did find this from the Daily Line in 2017:

"Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has tapped John Roberson as her new director of external affairs - the person who serves as go-between with outside and community groups. Roberson, who has a long history in the Daley administration, replaces Jonathan Buckner. Roberson's previous gig was as chief of staff to Ald. David Moore (17)."

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Moore is a member of the progressive caucus, and as far as I can tell seems to have a progressive agenda. He has also been relatively outspoken about minority contracts, once telling the Sun-Times that his aldermanic role model was Pat Dowell, "because of her commitment to getting contracts for African-American businesses."

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It's great that Moore is such a fierce advocate for contract equity, but not so great that he can be so misguided and myopic in that pursuit.

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Also, a reminder that Mayor Lori Lightfoot is not only gay but African American. Seems relevant, somehow.

Lipinski & Labor
"By the narrowest of margins, the state's largest labor group has decided to stick with embattled Southwest Side congressman Dan Lipinski in his bid for re-election," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's.

"Multiple sources report that the Illinois AFL-CIO late Wednesday chose to endorse Lipinski over rivals Marie Newman and Rush Darwish in the March Democratic primary by a margin of roughly 20 out of 1,000 votes cast by the trade group's affiliated unions."

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I don't know how AFL-CIO voting works, but does that mean that Lipinski beat his nearest rival but had fewer votes than Newman and Darwish combined - in other words, his opponents split the vote?

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"The action came even though the Chicago Federation of Labor dumped Lipinski, recommending that labor remain neutral in the contest after backing Lipinski against Newman in 2018. The Illinois AFL-CIO usually - but not always - follows the recommendations of the CFL in Chicago area contests . . .

"Other sources tell me that the race has caused increased consternation among labor groups, with Service Employees International Union strongly pushing Newman but more conservative trade unions and AFSME preferring the incumbent."

Yup.

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"In related news, CFL announced that it backs Kim Foxx for reelection as state's attorney and county tax appeals Commissioner Michael Cabonargi for clerk of the circuit court.

"The organization was neutral four years ago when Foxx unseated then-incumbent Anita Alvarez."

I wonder: Is it Foxx's policies or her incumbency that won them over?

Oberweis's Overbite
"House GOP hopeful Jim Oberweis loaned his campaign $1 million, according to a Federal Election Commission report posted Wednesday, while former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance - pardoned by President Donald Trump for the murder of two civilians in Afghanistan - headlined a series of fundraisers this week for the state senator," Lynn Sweet reports for the Sun-Times.

"Oberweis, from Sugar Grove, is in a seven-way Republican primary for the 14th Congressional District seat held by freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill."

He's also at least a seven-time loser who keeps trying to buy his way into higher office, right?

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Here's Oberweis's telling of the Lorance saga, via press release:

Jim Oberweis is hosting several events with 1st Lt. Clint Lorance who was just recently pardoned by President Donald Trump after serving time in Fort Leavenworth military prison for alleged war crimes.

"The story of Clint Lorance is a compelling one," Oberweis said. "What he had to endure is shameful. President Trump did the right thing pardoning him. I think everyone who comes out to the events we are hosting will enjoy having the opportunity to meet him."

In March of 2012, Clint Allen Lorance deployed to Southern Afghanistan as the Squadron Liaison Officer to the Commander for the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. In June 2012, Clint was selected to replace an Infantry Platoon Leader who was medically evacuated dues to shrapnel wounds to his eyes, face, and abdomen incurred from the blast of an IED. Three days after taking charge as the Platoon Leader, on July 2, 2012, Clint directed the men of his platoon to open fire on three Afghan males speeding toward his platoon on a motorcycle.

Just after a year later, Clint was convicted of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Evidence surfaced showing a direct link between the motorcyclists to known terrorists. Eventually, President Trump agreed with the evidence and gave Clint a full pardon.

Now, here's the truth, first via Wikipedia and its sourced footnotes:

"Clint Allen Lorance (born December 13, 1984) is a former Army officer previously commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army who in August 2013 was found guilty on two counts of second-degree murder for ordering soldiers in his platoon to open fire at three men on a motorcycle in southern Afghanistan in July 2012 . . .

"He was confined in the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas until he was fully pardoned and ordered released by President Donald Trump, on November 15, 2019 . . .

"At the end of a three-day trial, Lorance was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder, obstruction of justice, and other charges 'related to a pattern of threatening and intimidating actions toward Afghans' as the platoon's leader. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, forfeiture of all pay, and dismissal from the Army . . .

"On January 5, 2015, the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, Major General Richard Clarke, completed a review and upheld Lorance's conviction."

Now, from Lorance's own platoon:

"Though many members of the platoon have never publicly expressed their views of the case, nine came forward to testify against Mr. Lorance at his trial, and in interviews several have contradicted Mr. Lorance's account of a split-second decision to protect his troops. The picture those soldiers paint is of a young lieutenant who, during just three days in command, ordered soldiers to fire repeatedly on unarmed Afghans, tried to falsify reports in order to cover up his actions and so alienated and outraged his troops that they refused to follow orders and turned him in."

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Also, it just occurred to me: Does Oberweis mean Overwhite?

Don't answer that, I'm just going to believe it does.

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ChicagoReddit

Anyone have experience dealing with huge bills after towing? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

#dogwalker

A post shared by Carlos Vazquez (@thekrood) on

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Sound Art.

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

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The Beachwood Snip Line: Snip it real good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:04 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Corrupt IOC Bans Protests
Warns that raised fists, kneeling and other political actions will not be allowed at Tokyo 2020 Games.

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The Constitution & Lying
Is there any recourse?

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United's New Carhartts
Hitting the runway just in time for winter.

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Tech In, Garbage Out
"The suffocating irony of the Astros' scandal is that the information was relayed to the hitter via banging on cans, which have been around for years," writes our very own Roger Wallenstein.

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The Fall Of 1987
A dope novel.

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ChicagoReddit

Nonprofit looking for stories of people having trouble finding/keeping affordable housing due to pets from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Maquina 501" / Paraiso Tropical, in Chicago

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

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This may sound promising on the surface, but I'm sure it won't end well.

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From everything I've read, I highly doubt he said it, fwiw.

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Unreachable.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Within your reach.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:08 PM | Permalink

January 14, 2020

New United Carhartt Uniforms Hit The "Runway" Right On Time For Winter

Customers are seeing a new look on United Airlines runways.

Welcoming the new year, United is debuting new uniforms designed by Carhartt Company Gear exclusively for the airline's 28,000 Technical Operations, Ramp Service and Catering Operations employees.

CCG worked directly with United employees for nearly three years to create a collection of uniform pieces that deliver hard-working designs that stand up to the unique demands of their jobs.

"This is more than a fashion statement for United Airlines," said Kate Gebo, executive vice president of Human Resources and Labor Relations at United Airlines.

"This highly inclusive design process reflects how highly we value the input of our employees and union leadership. Every day all over the globe our employees on the ground are facing the coldest colds and the hottest hots. Through our partnership with Carhartt - the leader in workwear - we've confidently created a uniform collection enabling our employees to look good and feel good while continuing to deliver the best service for our customers."

Approximately 1,000 employees from both domestic and international operations participated in focus groups and "wear tests" where their input was used to enhance garment features and functionality.

The Carhartt collection includes over 50 pieces, each designed to address our below-wing workforce's specific needs, like bottoms with custom-design pockets to fit wands and other tools, color-blocking on hi-visibility gear to address dirt and grime and fabrics designed to address the wide range of climate conditions across our system.

As a part of this effort, Carhartt also put an emphasis on the women's collection, ensuring these employees have garments that have both proper fit and function. These various design elements and options created will help employees perform safely and efficiently.

"Carhartt Company Gear offers one of the most comprehensive and innovative workwear solutions in the marketplace and our relationship with United is a testament to our custom product offering," said Andi Donovan, senior vice president of Carhartt Company Gear. "Our goal is to work collaboratively with companies to outfit their entire operation with the best gear that fits their specific needs and based on the feedback we've received from those on the front lines at United, the new uniforms are working hard for each and every one of them."

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The uniform refresh is part of a larger effort to revamp all United uniforms for more than 75,000 employees. Each decision with United's uniform design partners - Tracy Reese, Brooks Brothers and Carhartt - has been driven by employee feedback, with a focus on high quality fabrics, improved breathability and overall enhanced fit.

The next step in this cohesive collection will be to complete a second wear test before revealing final designs from Brooks Brothers and Tracy Reese for flight attendants, pilots, and customer service representatives. United expects to share more information in Summer 2020.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:29 PM | Permalink

Olympics Warns Athletes That Kneeling, Fist-Raising And Other Political Actions Will Be Banned At The Tokyo 2020 Games

The International Olympic Committee - long a swirling cesspool of corruption, censorship, and reputation-laundering for repressive regimes - has attained a new low, issuing guidance to athletes competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that no political protests will be tolerated, specifically banning kneeling or raising fists.

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Protests by Olympians - particularly Black Americans - have made political history, from the raised fists of John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Games (with Peter Norman standing in solidarity) to Jesse Owens' thwarting of Hitler's propaganda dreams for the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

"So the IOC is doubling down on the disgraceful treatment of athletes in 1968?" asked Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The IOC expelled Smith and Carlos in 1968.

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The update comes less than five months after the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee reprimanded U.S. athletes Race Imboden and Gwen Berry for their act of protest at the medal podium. Imboden kneeled to protest "the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart" including "a president who spreads hate," and Berry protested social injustice in America.

The IOC announced the guidelines for Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter on Thursday. Among the specific actions (pdf) now banned:

* Displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands

* Gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling

* Refusal to follow the Ceremonies protocol

"When an individual makes their grievances, however legitimate, more important than the feelings of their competitors and the competition itself, the unity and harmony as well as the celebration of sport and human accomplishment are diminished," the guidelines read. The new rules still allow athletes to express their views on social media and in interviews and at press conferences, the new document states.

Failure to abide by the guidelines will result in the athlete's action being evaluated by their "respective National Olympic Committee, International Federation, and the IOC, and disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary."

Critics pointed to the fact that while the new document asserts that the podium and playing field must be a politics-free zone, the IOC itself is not politically neutral.

"The truth is, it's not the mixing of politics and sports that [IOC president Thomas] Bach and the IOC don't like," Nancy Armour opined for USA Today. "It's the mixing of politics they don't like with sports."

It's just fine for Bach to lobby for the issues he finds important. Or to foster good relationships with world leaders who might someday bankrupt their economies in exchange for sparkling venues, five-star hotels, and Olympic traffic lanes that allow IOC members to avoid the general populace on the roads and in the airports.

But God forbid athletes should stay silent about racism, homophobia, inequality, or murderous regimes. You know, issues that have a direct effect on their lives.

That the types of protest now barred appear to take specific aim at black athletes wasn't lost on other critics either.

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Advocacy group People for the American Way rejected the new guidelines in a Twitter thread Friday that drew attention to an Op-Ed published at HuffPost in 2017 by Diallo Brooks, the group's director of outreach and public engagement.

"The right to raise our voices, make a speech, march in a rally, or take a knee in protest - whether in front of a government building or a football field - is at the heart of what it means to live in a free country," wrote Brooks.

"Young men of color who play sports are more than just entertainers, and they should not be penalized for speaking out peacefully against injustice," he wrote. "They must be allowed to have a voice. And when their voices are threatened, we have to raise our own and stand with them."

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:55 PM | Permalink

Tech In, Garbage Out

We called him Pickles, although I never knew why. It might have been his last name. He was a kind old gentleman, positioned behind home plate shielded by one of those balloon chest protectors. He worked alone, calling not only balls and strikes but also the bases for Little and Pony League games of my youth.

One evening there was a close play at second base that challenged the eyesight of Pickles, who never strayed much from his post behind the plate. Before making a decision, he meticulously strolled toward the center of the diamond to summon the baserunner and the second baseman.

The infielder claimed he put the tag on the kid before he reached the base. Turning to the runner, Pickles inquired about the veracity of this initial testimony. In that age of innocence, and because Pickles was an adult whom kids respected, the youngster reported that he was, indeed, out. He jogged toward the bench with a clean conscience without even a whisper of protest from coaches or parents in the stands.

Upon learning of the penalties levied against the Houston Astros for stealing signs en route to their World Series championship in 2017, the image of that honesty and truthfulness so many years ago bubbled up to the surface. Of course, our big league heroes of the times even then were engaged in various acts of trickery and treachery like stealing signs the old fashioned way. However, we kids were far removed from that, being focused on the rudiments of the game.

This latest scandal, a modern day version of what major league ballplayers have been doing for more than a century, is predictable and exactly what MLB deserves.

Things might have been more palpable if, say, the Royals or Marlins - losers of more than 100 games last season - had been caught red-handed. Who would have cared? But the world champions, who most probably would have defeated the Dodgers anyway, is an entirely different matter.

So here we are in a world of publicized and celebrated high tech, when every time the first baseman so much as scratches his crotch, it's embedded in the towers of data collected by organizations intent on getting a competitive edge. MLB worships this glut of information. Every telecast is increasingly chock full of sabermetrics, launch angles, spin rates, spray charts and thousands of other tidbits documented by Amazon Web Services (AWS), FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus, and numerous other information centers.

Should we be surprised that the fellas in the dugout, with plenty of time to plot and scheme, engaged the computers and cameras to devise communication about the upcoming pitch to their hitters? The logical question is, "What took them so long?"

What's interesting about the investigation of the Astros is that the "what did they know and when did they know it?" mystery was easily solved.

Pitcher Mike Fiers, who started 28 games and was 8-10 with a 5.22 ERA for the '17 Astros, disclosed in November in an article in The Athletic that the team was unlawfully stealing signs. Apparently Carlos Beltran, among the personnel that MLB questioned, had zero notion of a cover-up. Without much encouragement, he described the plot to the interrogators. Beltran was the team's primary designated hitter in 2017 and was named manager of the Mets right after last season. Surprisingly, Beltran, being a player at the time, seems exempt from any punishment. Apparently the Commissioner puts the onus on the manager and front office for stopping and/or reporting cheating.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was a coach with the Astros and knew about and aided the scheme, is also out, as is Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who, along with general manager Jeff Luhnow, was suspended for this season and then quickly fired by Astros owner Jim Crane.

So in less than two months, the Commissioner's office completed interviews and fact-finding and issued punishments this week. You have to wonder what's taking so long for Kris Bryant's grievance about service time. He has a very credible case, about as clear as the sign stealing debacle. I guess that's what happens when agents and lawyers are involved.

The suffocating irony of this latest scandal is that the information was relayed to the hitter via garbage cans, which have been around for years. Pounding on one with a bat meant an off-speed pitch was coming. No pounding indicated a heater was in the works.

MLB.TV showed a clip from September, 2017 of a game in Houston when White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar was facing the Astros' Evan Gattis to lead off the eighth inning. After Gattis fouled off a few pitches, Farquhar stopped his windup and summoned catcher Kevan Smith to the mound. Farquhar might not have been the greatest relief pitcher we've ever seen, but he may have been one of the smartest. He quickly realized that the garbage can pounding (or lack thereof) was telegraphing his deliveries. He and Smith made adjustments; Gattis struck out; and Farquhar retired the next two hitters for a perfect inning. The Sox won the game 3-1 against the eventual champions.

Catchers and pitchers always use a different set of signs with a runner on second base so that the hitter isn't getting prompts from his teammate. There's nothing illegal about the runner trying to help the hitter, and we all know that there have been coaches like Joe Nossek whose specialty was solving the opponents' signs. Nossek always had a job, serving five different clubs including two stints (1984-86, 1991-2003) with the White Sox.

There are other acts of trickery which are part of the game. The hidden ball trick rarely is successful, but when it works, everyone except the victim gets a real kick out of it. Pitchers who have mastered the art of balking without getting caught create a big advantage for holding on runners and limiting stolen bases. A first baseman who fakes a throw back to the pitcher on a routine pick off occasionally gets the runner stepping off the base. Gaylord Perry made a Hall of Fame career by throwing an illegal pitch. Other pitchers were not above adding "foreign" substances to baseballs.

Conversely, consider golf, a game where players have been known to call penalties on themselves. It happens fairly frequently on the PGA tour. For weekend hackers, guys who cheat usually have a difficult time getting a foursome.

Of course, baseball is very different. Even the jargon includes hints of treachery. When the middle infielders in a potential double play situation take a few steps closer to second base, it's known as "cheating." Or a centerfielder "cheats" toward left or right depending on what pitch is being thrown.

What's a bit puzzling with the Astros' situation is that the players, manager and coaches knew that using the garbage-can technology was prohibited. I'm not naïve enough to think they wouldn't consider breaking the rules, but players come and go, Fiers among them. Once he got to Detroit, he didn't hesitate to spill the beans to help his Tiger teammates. In addition, all the players belong to the same union. Maybe the Astros were helping themselves, but you could argue that they were jeopardizing their union comrades on the opposing teams.

This will not be a popular argument, but now that there are ingenious (or not) methods for things like stealing signs, what if everything was legal? It would make each team adjust in new and modern ways by devising undetectable communication systems between pitchers and catchers like Danny Farquhar did a few years ago. This will not be the last time ballclubs bend or break the rules. Teams need to be savvy and defensive. If not, it's their own fault.

Or baseball could employ the Pickles method. A guy strokes a 450-foot home run, and as he crosses the plate, the ump asks him if he knew what pitch was coming. Good luck with that one.

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

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1. From Alan C. Heineman:

Great column! One of the main points I'd make in all this is that there's a bright line between what is expressly forbidden by the rules of MLB and what may be "okay" edge-getting. Thus, Gaylord Perry, who made a HOF career out of self-admittedly violating an explicit rule, should be deleted from the HOF - at least until Bonds, Clemens and others who (probably) took steroids are admitted. Whereas Rose, who not only violated what is arguably the First Commandment - thou shalt not consort with gamblers on baseball - but may well have shaved runs to win bets for himself and/or his associates should never, ever, ever be cleared. Sign-stealing by human means is not forbidden; everyone in baseball is aware that this can happen without penalty. Was there an explicit rule that tech can't be used for that purpose? Case closed.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:50 PM | Permalink

The Fall Of 1987

LOS ANGELES - Based on his viewpoint that the historic contributions of the Hip-Hop generation has largely been ignored by popular culture, actor and comedian Doug E. Doug has released his first novel, titled The Fall of 1987, which tells the dramatic story of a young Black man investigating the mysterious death of his brother during the rise of the Hip-Hop genre.

"I noticed that there was little attention paid to my generation in media," said Doug. "Mythmakers and storytellers go on and on about the World War II generation - the so-called 'Greatest Generation.' The achievements of the Civil Rights generation are chronicled with due heroism and some complexity. Now, we are launching into the voices and perspectives of the Millennials and Gen Y."

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Doug wants to lead an effort to preserve the experiences of the Hip-Hop generation and their impact on the world.

"This book is a step toward dealing with complexity of life in the Post-Civil Rights era amidst the highly destructive crack epidemic and the dawn of mass incarceration," Doug said. "Our voices are desperately needed right now during this highly charged political climate where we can have a greater and decisive social impact."

The Fall of 1987 centers on 19-year-old Joe Thomas Jr., who decides to piece together the stories told to him about the last days of his brother's life to solve his murder. While trying to solve the "case," Joe examines the forces and events that shaped his life and caused the break-up of his family. But will Snake, a dangerous drug kingpin and former employer, let him move on with his life?

Doug's book will be available on Amazon on Wednesday, January 15.

About Doug E. Doug
During his 30-year career, Doug E. Doug has established himself as and writer, producer, and actor with a flair for both comedy and drama. He started as a stand-up comic in New York City where he was seen at the Apollo Theater by Russell Simmons. Impressed by Doug, Simmons asked him to write, and host a syndicated late-night program Simmons produced called The New Music Report.

Doug's entrée into film began when he spoke one line in Spike Lee's film Mo' Better Blues. He is well-known to movie viewers for his starring role as the spirited pushcart operator turned bobsled racer in the feature film Cool Runnings.

Audiences also recognize Doug for his roles as a ne'er do well in Hangin' with the Homeboys, for which he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor; class comedian in Class Act; a soldier enlisted for an unusual duty in Operation Dumbo Drop; an ill-fated high school student in Dr. Giggles; and the hilarious FBI agent in That Darn Cat.

In the Warner Brothers science-fiction comedy Eight Legged Freaks, Doug portrayed a paranoid small-town radio host with visions of an alien invasion. In the animated DreamWorks film Shark Tale, he is the voice of Bernie the jellyfish.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:38 PM | Permalink

Can The Constitution Stop The Government From Lying To The Public?

When regular people lie, sometimes their lies are detected, sometimes they're not. Legally speaking, sometimes they're protected by the First Amendment - and sometimes not, like when they commit fraud or perjury.

But what about when government officials lie?

I take up this question in my recent book, The Government's Speech and the Constitution. It's not that surprising that public servants lie - they are human, after all. But when an agency or official backed by the power and resources of the government tells a lie, it sometimes causes harm that only the government can inflict.

My research found that lies by government officials can violate the Constitution in several different ways, especially when those lies deprive people of their rights.

Clear Violations

Consider, for instance, police officers who falsely tell a suspect that they have a search warrant, or falsely say that the government will take the suspect's child away if the suspect doesn't waive his or her constitutional rights to a lawyer or against self-incrimination. These lies violate constitutional protections provided in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

If the government jails, taxes or fines people because it disagrees with what they say, it violates the First Amendment.

And under some circumstances, the government can silence dissent just as effectively through its lies that encourage employers and other third parties to punish the government's critics.

During the 1950s and 1960s, for example, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission spread damaging falsehoods to the employers, friends and neighbors of citizens who spoke out against segregation.

As a federal court found decades later, the agency "harassed individuals who assisted organizations promoting desegregation or voter registration. In some instances, the commission would suggest job actions to employers, who would fire the targeted moderate or activist."

And some lawsuits have accused government officials of misrepresenting how dangerous a person was when putting them on a no-fly list. Some judges have expressed concern about whether the government's no-fly listing procedures are rigorous enough to justify restricting a person's freedom to travel.

Spreading Distrust And Uncertainty

But in other situations, it can be difficult to find a direct connection between the government's speech and the loss of an individual right. Think of government officials' lies about their own misconduct, or their colleagues', to avoid political and legal accountability - like the many lies told about the Vietnam War by Lyndon Johnson's administration, as revealed by the Pentagon Papers.

nytpentagonpapers.jpgIn 1971, the New York Times and the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers, exposing officials' lies about the war in Vietnam/Jim Wells, AP

Those sorts of lies are part of what I've called "the government's manufacture of doubt."

These include the government's falsehoods that seek to distract the public from efforts to discover the truth.

For instance, in response to growing concerns about his campaign's connections to Russia, President Donald Trump claimed that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him during the campaign, even though the Department of Justice confirmed that no evidence supported that claim.

Decades earlier, in the 1950s, Sen. Joseph McCarthy sought both media attention and political gain through outrageous and often unfounded claims that contributed to a culture of fear in the country.

When public officials speak in these ways, they undermine public trust and frustrate the public's ability to hold the government accountable for its performance. But they don't necessarily violate any particular person's constitutional rights, making lawsuits challenging at best. In other words, just because the government's lies hurt us does not always mean that they violate the Constitution.

What Else Can People Do?

There are other important options for protecting the public from the government's lies. Whistleblowers can help uncover the government's falsehoods and other misconduct. Recall FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, Watergate's "Deep Throat" source for the Washington Post's investigation, and Army Sgt. Joseph Darby, who revealed the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. And lawmakers can enact, and lawyers can help enforce, laws that protect whistleblowers who expose government lies.

Legislatures and agencies can exercise their oversight powers to hold other government officials accountable for their lies. For example, Senate hearings led Sen. McCarthy's colleagues to formally condemn his conduct as "contrary to senatorial traditions and . . . ethics."

mccarthycohn.jpgSen. Joe McCarthy, left, talks with his attorney, Roy Cohn, during Senate hearings in 1954/United Press International via Wikimedia Commons

In addition, the press can seek documents and information to check the government's claims, and the public can protest and vote against those in power who lie.

Public outrage over the government's lies about the war in Vietnam, for example, contributed to Lyndon Johnson's 1968 decision not to seek reelection.

Similarly, the public's disapproval of government officials' lies to cover up the Watergate scandal helped lead to Richard Nixon's 1974 resignation.

It can be hard to prevent government officials from lying, and difficult to hold them accountable when they do. But the tools available for doing just that include not only the Constitution but also persistent pushback from other government officials, the press and the people themselves.

Helen Norton is the Rothgerber Chair in Constitutional Law at the University of Colorado-Boulder. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:14 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Gov. Pritzker set aside about ten minutes for interviews with some political reporters last week," Rich Miller notes at Capitol Fax.

And we're seeing a spate of reporters from various news organizations produce stories from those 10-minute interviews.

But let me just say something: 10 minutes?

Please. You've been had.

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The governor could've given an hour to five reporters one day and still had time to work half a shift.

Then maybe next month choose another five reporters.

Or, hell, do it once a week.

Ten-minute interviews are designed to give the appearance of access while only providing enough time to spew out talking points and let a reporter get in one or two of the most shallow questions on their list. It's not a serious effort to engage the press - though the press laps it up. The TV stations will probably bill their interviews as exclusives, which to them means nobody else was on the line or in the room when an official answered a question, even if the official answered the same question to a dozen others.

It's just PR, though we're already seeing stories framed around innocuous statements because no news organization has the guts to say there's nothing here, let's not publish or telecast anything.

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Sources And Methods
"As some pot buyers in Illinois are finding their store shelves bare, state regulators have notified shops across the state they are investigating apparent violations of a rule meant to prevent stockpiling marijuana from a single grower and ensure that retailers are operating on an equal playing field," the Sun-Times reports.

"Just over a week after recreational pot sales kicked off statewide, regulators sent a letter saying they were aware of violations and investigating whether stores were sourcing more than 40% of their product from one grower. The law is aimed at preventing pot growers from entering into exclusive agreements with specific shops and making sure all stores have a diversity of products from different sources."

Geez, we can't go a single week of legal pot in Illinois without breaking the rules.

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"The warning comes as some dispensaries grappling with the pervasive supply shortage said they were worried that some companies that own both dispensaries and cultivation sites were trying to control the market by limiting product available to competitors . . .

[State Sen. Heather Steans (Chicago-D)] said independent dispensaries have reported seeing a dropoff in deliveries from GTI and Cresco Labs, a pair of multi-state operators based in River North that run multiple grow operations and dispensaries across Illinois.

"I've gotten some specific numbers from some dispensaries, and it's a dramatic change in what product they're getting from [GTI and Cresco]," she said. "That concerns me greatly."

Jason Erkes, Cresco's chief communications officer, said the dispensary made deliveries to every shop that had orders with the company on Wednesday and Thursday. He didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the warning letter from IDFPR.

"There's a shortage of product," Erkes said. "There's nothing to deliver to anybody."

Last week, as many Chicago pot shops were forced to close their doors to recreational buyers due to supply issues, Erkes downplayed the effects of the shortage on his company.

"There are no product supply shortages - just a shortage of state-approved employees to help efficiently service the hundreds of people that have been showing up every day to make their first legal cannabis purchase in Illinois," Erkes said.

Jason Erkes, you are Today's Worst Person in Illinois.

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Pot Strong
"Workers at Cresco Labs marijuana grow facility in Joliet are voting on whether to unionize Tuesday, two weeks after recreational weed sales started in Illinois," the Tribune reports.

"One hundred of the roughly 130 workers at the facility are eligible to vote to join the United Food & Commercial Workers union, said Zach Koutsky, legislative and political director for Local 881 UFCW.

"The workers want higher wages, lower health care costs, more respect on the job and other requests, Koutsky said."

One week in and the recreational pot industry has truly arrived in Illinois.

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Plus: Teamsters wanna get you high. Check out the logo/pin.

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According to the Trib, the results of the union vote are due in tonight.

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Martwick Is A Cop
According to Second City Cop, the FOP has endorsed Robert Martwick.

You might remember Martwick, a property tax appeals lawyer who moonlights as a state representative senator, from the catalyzing moment he provided Lori Lightfoot during her campaign for mayor.

The irony is that a certain faction of Preckwinkle dead-enders liked (and still like) to say during the campaign that "Lori is a cop" because of her work as a federal prosecutor, as head of the CPD's office of professional standards, and as president of the Chicago Police Board. Perhaps her work at OEMC and as the chair of the police reform task force was also not to their liking.

And yet, the FOP won't be endorsing Lightfoot anytime soon.

They sure do like one of Preckwinkle's chief allies, though.

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New on today's Beachwood . . .

Coffman: The Rules Were Clear
And now the Astros are (rightly) facing the consequences.

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ChicagoReddit

King Day Festival: Tomorrow Is Today | The Art Institute of Chicago - January 20th Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Free with admission from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"The Hopes, The Dreams, The Tears" / The Bushes (Chicago, 1969)

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BeachBook

The First Fast Food Restaurant To Add A Dark Meat Option Will Win The Chicken Sandwich War.

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

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This is still going on - just like undisclosed conflicts from Op-Ed authors. This is an easy fix, people! If the media wanted to fix it.

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He could be a hero, but no.

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The deficit will matter again when a Democrat becomes president.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Dust and broom.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:05 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: The Rules Were Clear

All sport has is its rules.

When disputes arise, and I had the delightful responsibility to try to adjudicate arguments about rules in a number of tricky situations when I was president of the Welles Park Parent Association youth baseball and softball leagues, you go to your rules and hope desperately that they show a clear path forward.

One example: in a potential championship-winning game as a player was headed for home with the game-winning run, he took his helmet off before he touched home plate. Neither coach noticed it and a one side celebrated as the other began to accept defeat. But the plate umpire did notice and called the runner out to send the game to extra innings.

Pandemonium ensued but the arbiter had a rule book with him and pointed to the section that stated that if a player did this, this was the appropriate penalty. After some time passed and emotions cooled (from the outside it seems completely ridiculous that people would get upset over this but in the middle of it all it seemed strangely rational), the call stood. The rule, fortunately enough, was clear. And sure, to the best of my knowledge, this call had not been made at any other point in any other game in this division during the entire season. In the end, it didn't matter.

Then there was a dispute about pitch counts. In each of our divisions, our rule book stated how many pitches a player was allowed to throw per week. We kept careful totals, with scorekeepers for either side checking each competitor's totals with each other after each half inning. As players get older, the number of pitches allowed increases.

Another thing we do in our league is allow some players to "play down," i.e., play with younger players so they can play with siblings or because we know they will have a better experience if they do so. We only do this if we are confident the overall competitive balance will not be affected.

So we get to the third round or so of the playoffs and a controversy is brewing. One coach who was allowed to have his older daughter play down has pointed out that in the rulebook, pitch counts are established based on players' ages, not their division. So his daughter, who is a very good pitcher, should be able to pitch to the limit for players her age, not the ones in the division.

I ended up ruling that she would have to abide by the limits for the younger league. But that decision was not clearly justified by the rules. I fear I did the wrong thing and I know the coach involved is still pissed at me.

If the rules aren't clear, you need to go back to work in the offseason, solicit potential changes, debate their merits and put some of the changes into play. The fix for the pitch counts was easy. Many others are not and there is always the chance they will have unintended consequences.

In the instantly infamous case of the Astros taking advantage of advances in video technology to steal signs in the 2017 and '18 seasons, baseball had rules discouraging the practice, but they were barely enforced and when they were, it was with a wink and a nod.

But after complaints were filed about the Red Sox using Apple Watches to communicate to hitters whether catchers had called for fastballs or not, baseball tightened the rules. Then Houston was caught using a different system to do the same thing. And the Astros are now facing the consequences. The punishments may seem harsh.

But the rules were clear.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:29 AM | Permalink

January 13, 2020

The [Monday] Papers

"Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is the 8th richest person on the planet with a fortune estimated at $57.1 billion. His wealth has spared him from doing any fundraising for his presidential campaign. He will spend at least $150 million on television and internet ads. He has a $10 million ad that will air during the Super Bowl," Erick Johnson writes for the Crusader.

"On Wednesday, January 8, Bloomberg brought his presidential campaign to Olive-Harvey College on Chicago's Far South Side.

"It's a neighborhood that has far less wealth and affluence than Bloomberg. So does most of Black Chicago, which has long suffered from poverty, disinvestment, little affordable housing and the many police brutality issues that have impacted Blacks in the last several years.

"None of these were mentioned in Bloomberg's speech."

Johnson isn't the first reporter to make that point, but he goes on to effectively make points such as this one:

"The rally at Olive-Harvey was held inside a large auto shop garage where students learn the vocational trade of repairing vehicles while earning college credit. Most of the students are Black. Hardly any of them were among the largely white crowd that came to see Bloomberg promote his All-In Economy campaign, which aims to include people from all socioeconomic backgrounds in succeeding in America's economic market."

I'd like to excerpt the rest of the story, but that would be stealing, so go read the rest.

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Like An Old Neighbor
"State Farm, for decades the top dog of U.S. auto insurance, is on track to lose that status within just a few years unless trends favoring online insurers abate," Crain's reports.

Perhaps State Farm could up its online game instead of pretending/wishing - like so many newspapers - that the Internet doesn't exist? Oh, but the good old days!

"After business losses following a series of uncharacteristically sharp rate hikes in 2016 and 2017, the 17 percent national market share the Bloomington-based giant held in 2018 was its lowest in more than 20 years. Nipping at its heels was Geico at 13.4 percent."

Huh. Is that because of the Internet or because of that damn gecko?

"If the growth rates the two have averaged over the last five years persist, Chevy Chase, Md.-based Geico will overtake State Farm as the country's largest auto insurer around 2022."

*

"For its part, State Farm says 2019 was a pretty good year, but it didn't provide numbers to back that up.

"Our most recent 2019 data shows growth in auto policies in a majority of states, including the states you've mentioned," spokeswoman Gina Morss-Fischer says. "It's common for auto market share to fluctuate, especially after instituting auto rate cuts, because market share is measured by premium. We're unable to share our growth plans, because the information is proprietary."

Gina Morss-Fischer, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago. Or Illinois. Or wherever you are. But Crain's is a close second for feeling obligated to publish your nonsense. Doing so, as news organizations so often do, only makes articles less true.

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Formula For Success
"A west suburban accountant pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling millions of dollars from a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, using the money to finance a luxurious lifestyle that included the purchase of yachts and homes," AP reports.

Sultan Issa admitted in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that the wealthy family wasn't his only victim. He also stole millions from individual investors, including $500,000 from a widow who trusted him to invest funds from her late husband's estate.

The 46-year-old Hinsdale resident admitted to stealing a total of at least $65 million over seven years. But prosecutors say a tabulation of Issa's thievery continues and the final total could be higher.

During his appearance before U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood, Issa said he is taking prescription medication and seeing a psychologist to treat his anxiety and depression. Asked what he did wrong, Issa replied: "I just basically lied to a lot of people."

Hey, it worked for Rahm Emanuel - and Donald Trump, for that matter - so you can hardly blame him. Maybe the lies just weren't big enough.

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Crop Circle
"Production of Illinois' two most valuable crops fell by roughly one-fifth last year, according to final crop yield numbers released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture," the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

Corn and soybean growers saw production drop 18.6% and 20.4% respectively compared with 2018.

Farmers harvested just over 1.8 billion bushels of corn, down from more than 2.2 billion the year before. Soybean production decreased from around 667 million bushels to just over 532 million.

2019 was the worst year for corn since 2012, when farmers produced about 1.3 billion bushels. Soybean production had its worst year since 2013, which saw 461 million bushels.

Holy cow, what's up?

"Wetter-than-normal planting and growing conditions are to blame for last year's stunted production, said Mike Doherty, senior economist at the Illinois Farm Bureau in Bloomington.

"We had the latest-planted corn crop at least in my history of 30 years as an ag economist here" because of record-breaking spring rain, Doherty said. "I've never seen anything like it."

January through June was the wettest first six months on record in Illinois, according to the state climatologist's office.

In April, the month when farmers begin to plant corn and soybeans, less than a week was suitable for planting. Illinois then saw its third-wettest May and wettest June in state history, forcing many farmers to plant most of their crop in the summer.

"Just about every time these farmers were turning around, they were being hammered with the worst field conditions that they had seen," Doherty said.

Well, does that have anything to do with climate change?

Unasked, and therefore unanswered.

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Prosperity Gospel
"The slogan once plastered outside the Rev. Clarence Smith Jr.'s storefront church on Chicago's West Side promised to make the 'ministry meaningful to the imperfect man,'" the Tribune reports.

"It turns out Smith has been far from perfect himself, federal authorities allege.

"Smith, who has led the New Life Impact Church in the Lawndale neighborhood for years, has been indicted on charges alleging he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a federal program intended to feed needy children, spending the money on a $142,000 Bentley luxury vehicle and other personal expenses."

Perhaps he was driven to it by climate change. (You're welcome, defense bar.)

*

"It's not the first time that Smith, 45, has been accused of financial malfeasance. Nearly a decade ago, he pleaded guilty in DuPage County to using forged signatures to swindle an elderly man's estate out of more than $100,000, court records show."

And yet, he was able to get his priest license, or whatever.

*

"In 2012, four years before purchasing the Bentley, Smith filed for personal bankruptcy, claiming he had only $20 in cash on hand and owed more than $80,000 in restitution from his DuPage conviction, according to court records.

"He has been sued by at least two food supply companies for defaulting on contracts and currently owes more than $8,000 in overdue property taxes on his one-story brick church in the 3500 block of West Cermak Road, records show."

Now I'm starting to be impressed. The guy hustles.

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Deere's Headlights
"[Moline-based] Deere & Co. [last] Wednesday said it will cut costs and ramp up investment in data-driven agriculture technology and its services business to make itself more profitable," Reuters reports.

Note: Cutting costs means laying people off. Not to make itself profitable, but to make itself more profitable.

*

"In a pitch to investors, Chief Executive Officer John May said the measures are expected to boost operating profit margin to 15% by 2022 from 12.5% projected for this year."

Played that way, it's a zero-sum game, folks. We fire you to put more money in our pockets.

*

"May, who took over Deere's reins in November, aims to shore up the company's fortunes which have taken a hit from Sino-U.S. trade tensions as well as poor weather in the American farm belt that has slowed equipment purchases by farmers."

Note: Sino-U.S. trade tensions means Donald Trump's insane tariffs. Poor weather means climate change.

*

"In response to weak demand, the company has cut production and laid off workers . . . The company is also carrying out a voluntary separation program for its salaried employees, now projected to result in savings of $120 million, lower than $150 million estimated earlier. May expects the cuts to add 1 percentage point to Deere's profits by 2022."

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P.S.: Speaking of voluntary separations . . .

It's the same playbook everywhere. And it's fueled by greed.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Beachwood Sports Radio: 'Yotes & Notes
News, views and blues. Including: It's Already Too Late For The Cubs; The Bullhawks; Coach Likes That; The Vegas Bowl; The Ryan Pace Bowl; Sox's Steves; Repulsive Rickettses; Red Star Fiancee; and The Disastrous Chicago Fire.

*

The Top 100 Chicago Rap Songs Of The Decade
It ends where it starts.

*

Upcoming Spacewalks
NASA TV this month.

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Insurance, Minorities & Cancer
"This is the first study to use statistical mediation methods and a large cancer registry database to quantify the extent that adequate health insurance is a factor in the stage of breast cancer diagnosis among a diverse population of women in the United States."

*

How To Blow The Whistle
"If you need to avoid leaving a metadata trail about your interest in this topic, make sure to buy at a physical bookstore and pay with cash."

*

Easy Ice Acquired By (Yikes) Freeman Spogli
The company operates under three brands: Ice Masters in Kansas and Missouri; Automatic Icemakers in Chicago; and Easy Ice in all other cities and states.

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ChicagoReddit

Oak Street Beach From the Signature Room Today. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Lawndale Blues" / Eddie Taylor

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BeachBook

Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.

*

Remembering June Bacon-Bercey, A Pioneering African-American Meteorologist.

*

The Dutch Don't Want You To Refer To The Netherlands As Holland Anymore.

*

An Oral History Of Rickrolling.

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

*

*

*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Free laundering.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:12 AM | Permalink

The Top 100 Chicago Rap Songs Of The Decade

Top 50 - 9:04

Top 25 - 13:15

Top 10 - 17:01


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By: @naytiggy @somanyshrimp @the.chill.spot @camsigliere @chimeka_

Outro Song

Follow Free Isaiah on Instagram: @free.isaiah

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:10 AM | Permalink

January 10, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #286: 'Yotes & Notes

News, views and blues. Including: It's Already Too Late For The Cubs; The Bullhawks; Coach Likes That; The Vegas Bowl; The Ryan Pace Bowl; Sox's Steves; Repulsive Rickettses; Red Star Fiancee; and The Disastrous Chicago Fire.


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SHOW NOTES

* 286.

* Pi, man.

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2:15: Bullhawks Blues Pt 1.

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8:08: The 'Yotes.

* CBS2 Chicago: DNA Testing Underway For Captured Coyote.

* Wikipedia: Rabies.

* Illinois Department of Public Health: The last human case of rabies in Illinois was reported in 1954.

* The North Dakota Department of Health: "[T]he rabies vaccine has not been given in the stomach since the 1980s. For adults, it should only be given in the deltoid muscle of the upper arm (administration to the gluteal area is NOT recommended, as studies have shown this can result in a less effective immune response). For children, the anterolateral aspect of the thigh is also an acceptable site (depending on the child's age and body mass). Rabies immunoglobulin is recommended to be given at the site of the bite, if possible."

* Charlie Coyote vs. Chance The Snapper.

* Nature is vicious, amoral and unjust.

* Gene Lyons: "After I broke several ribs falling from Mount Nebo and suffered intense pain, Albert transitioned from an outdoor to an indoor cat, spending 90 percent of his time sitting with me, watching Red Sox games and purring. It was quite moving. After I healed up, he headed back to the hay barn."

* Tribune, 2008: Cops Kill Cougar On North Side.

* Cougar Bait.

* Katrina Bodowski's eye-rolling hairless pussy.

* Green Bay Radio Bleeps Vikings In Lizzo's "Truth Hurts."

* Tribune: After a 12-Year-Old Died By Suicide, His Family Scoured Their Home For Signs. Then They Learned He Researched It At School.

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21:49 Bullhawks Blues Pt. 2.

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22:17: It's Already Too Late For The Cubs.

* Haugh: Cubs Fans Need To Be Patient. Once The Kris Bryant Grievance Is Finally Resolved, The Team Will Make Its Moves.

That makes no sense whatsoever. The rest of the league has moved on without the Cubs. The damage has been done.

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23:55: Ukrainian Plane Made By Chicago-Based Boeing Taking Off From Iran Shot Down By Russian-Made Missiles In Midst Of Retaliation Against America.

* Also: "The Ukrainian government adopted Kyiv as its standard Latinization in 1995, making Kyiv mandatory for use in legislative and official acts . . . Kiev, on the other hand, is a direct transliteration of the Russian spelling of the city's name."

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31:31: Coach Likes That.

* Coffman: "Every once in a while, the guy who has been the butt of jokes bounces back in a big way."

* Safety base.

* The Athletic: 'Jimmy Was Kind Of Like Ferris Bueller:' Inside 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's Early Football Career.

* ESPN, January 2018: Belichick Didn't Want To Trade Garoppolo.

Two weeks before the Nov. 1 trading deadline, Belichick met with Kraft to discuss the quarterback situation. According to staffers, the meeting ran long, lasting half the day and pushing back Belichick's other meetings. The office was buzzing. The meeting ended with a clear mandate to Belichick: trade Garoppolo because he would not be in the team's long-term plans, and then, once again, find the best quarterback in the draft and develop him. Belichick was furious and demoralized, according to friends. But in the end, he did what he asks of his players and coaches: He did his job. One morning in late October, Belichick texted San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and asked him to call. Belichick had long admired Kyle's father, Mike, who not only had been one of the NFL's smartest tacticians but had also personally defended Belichick to commissioner Roger Goodell during the Spygate scandal. At the combine this past February, Kyle, weeks into the 49ers job after being the offensive coordinator for the Falcons, met with Belichick for hours to learn from his team's humiliating Super Bowl loss. Belichick believed that Garoppolo would excel under Shanahan, and when he and Shanahan connected on the phone, Belichick offered the quarterback for a second-rounder.

It was a steal, leaving Patriots staffers stunned and confused. Why would the game's shrewdest long-term strategist trade two backup quarterbacks in a two-month span when his starter was 40 years old and banged up? And why did Belichick practically give away a quarterback whom the coaches saw as a potential top-10 player for much less than he could have gotten last spring? It made no sense. Belichick handled the trade as he always does, by not explaining it to the coaches and by burying them so deep in work that they didn't have time to gossip. Most in the organization understood that it was an extreme case, with extreme personalities, but they felt that Belichick had earned the right to make football decisions. Belichick, having always subscribed to the philosophy that it's time to go once an owner gets involved in football decisions, left the impression with some friends that the current dynamic was unsustainable.

Brady, though, seemed liberated. Kraft hugged Brady when he saw him that week, in full view of teammates. A few days later during practice, some players and staffers noticed that Brady seemed especially excited, hollering and cajoling. Brady was once again the team's present and future. His new backup, Brian Hoyer, was a longtime friend and not a threat. The owner was in Brady's corner. "He won," a Patriots staffer says.

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* Jimmy G's Date With A Porn Star.

* "Feels great, baby!"

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* Russell Wilson mic'd up.

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45:47: The Vegas Bowl.

* Money Pours In On LSU Despite Clemson's Success As Underdog.

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52:01: The Ryan Pace Bowl.

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54:37: Sox Sign Steves Stone And Cishek.

* Plus: What Will The 2020 White Sox Lineup Look Like?

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1:02:47: Repulsive Rickettses Really Rich.

* Morrissey: For The Cubs, Bricks And Mortar Come Before Pitchers And Catchers.

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1:06:05: Red Stars Acquire J.J. Watts' Fiancee, Which Angers J.J. Watt.

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1:07:22: Disastrous Chicago Fire Logo Gets One-Year Reprieve.

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STOPPAGE: 1:11:29

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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 1:33 PM | Permalink

Easy Ice Acquired By Freeman Spogli

Easy Ice, LLC ("Easy Ice"), the leading provider of commercial ice machine rental and related services, announced it has been acquired by Freeman Spogli & Co. ("Freeman Spogli"), management and other investors.

Easy Ice's co-founders, Mark Hangen and John Mahlmeister, and the rest of the management team will continue to lead and operate the company. Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2009 and co-headquartered in Phoenix and Marquette, Michigan, Easy Ice provides ice machine rental and related services for more than 25,000 ice makers across 47 states.

Easy Ice is the only national platform offering a comprehensive subscription service for commercial ice machines that includes installation, cleaning, preventive maintenance, repairs, backup ice, and peak demand ice.

This full-service offering allows Easy Ice's customers to outsource this mission-critical function and focus on their core operations.

Easy Ice's reputation as the "The Ice Machine Experts" is a result of its scale, unmatched national footprint, broad service offering, ice machine refurbishment capabilities and utilization of timely and high quality in-house and third-party technicians.

"We look forward to leveraging Freeman Spogli's experience in developing value-added distribution and retail services companies," said Mark Hangen, co-founder and CEO of Easy Ice. "John and I felt strongly that Freeman Spogli's proven track record of driving strong organic growth and supporting strategic acquisitions would make them an invaluable partner as we continue to execute our multipronged growth strategy."

"A decade ago, Mark and John set out to create a business that addressed the major pain points and challenges faced by owners of commercial ice machines." said John Hwang, a Partner at Freeman Spogli. "Since then, they have successfully positioned Easy Ice as a value-added service partner to all its customers. We look forward to supporting Easy Ice and the management team as long-term investors in the Company."

About Easy Ice

Easy Ice is the national leader in the full-service ice machine subscription industry with warehouse and distribution facilities in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and Orlando.

Since its founding in 2009, the company has rapidly grown its ice machines under management to 25,000 units across 47 states.

The company operates under three brands: Ice Masters in Kansas and Missouri; Automatic Icemakers in Chicago; and Easy Ice in all other cities and states.

About Freeman Spogli & Co.

Freeman Spogli & Co. is a private equity firm dedicated exclusively to investing in and partnering with management in consumer and distribution companies in the United States.

Since its founding in 1983, Freeman Spogli has invested over $4.7 billion in 63 portfolio companies with an aggregate transaction value of over $24 billion, and is currently making investments from FS Equity Partners VIII, L.P.

Freeman Spogli has offices in Los Angeles and New York.

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See also:

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And:

* "We're more than an ice machine business, we're your partner in your ice needs."

* "We started Easy Ice to eliminate the hassles of ice machine ownership. We believe that one day, our flat fee, all-inclusive, guaranteed service will be the way businesses ensure their ice supply. Why do we believe that? - because ice machines are a bad investment. They are capital intensive, an operational liability, require specialized labor, and create no differentiation, price premium, customer loyalty, or competitive barriers. Those are textbook reasons for outsourcing. Add to that a service industry that only makes money when the ice machine breaks and there is no reason for a business to invest in that asset. Our incentives are perfectly aligned with those of our customers - we are profitable only when the equipment runs reliably. We own and operate more ice machines than any business in the US and are committed to translate our learnings in to better solutions for our customers. We'd love to make your ice machine hassles a thing of the past!"

* "The firm made its name in the 1980s through a series of leveraged buyout transactions. Throughout the 1980s, Riordan, Freeman & Spogli also executed leveraged buyouts of several supermarket retailers including Bayless Southwest (Phoenix), Boys Markets (Los Angeles), P&C Foods (Syracuse, NY), Piggly Wiggly (various Southern states), and Tops Markets (New York and Pennsylvania)."

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Plus:

"Freeman Spogli, according to its website, typically invests in medium-size consumer and distribution businesses. Its current investments include Petco, the pet supplies retailer; Boot Barn, a chain of Western wear stores; and Totes Isotoner, the maker of umbrellas, boots and accessories. Ronald P. Spogli, co-founder of the firm, was ambassador to Italy under President George W. Bush," the New York Times reported in 2014 upon the firm announcing it would allow an independent adviser to monitor its practices.

"Freeman Spogli may not have acted out of the goodness of its heart. Documents obtained by The New York Times show that the independent adviser appointment was disclosed after officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission raised questions about several of the firm's practices. Those questions arose from an examination in April 2013 related to two older Freeman Spogli funds and were posed in a private letter that the S.E.C. sent to the firm in May 2013.

"According to the letter, S.E.C. officials said that Freeman Spogli appeared to be violating fee-sharing arrangements with its investors in two funds, despite promises to the contrary. And Freeman Spogli, the S.E.C.'s letter said, appeared to be reaping fees from investment-banking-type transactions without fulfilling the regulatory requirement of being registered as a broker-dealer."

Update, please. Assignment Desk, activate!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

Upcoming Spacewalks

Four astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station for three spacewalks in January to complete battery upgrades and finalize repairs to an invaluable cosmic ray detector.

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch of NASA are scheduled to conduct spacewalks Wednesday, Jan. 15, and Monday, Jan. 20, to finish replacing nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries that store power generated by the station's solar arrays on the station's port truss.

Assuming the battery work goes as planned, NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and space station Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) will exit the station Saturday, Jan. 25, to finish installing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer's (AMS) new cooling apparatus and lines begun in November and December, and verify they are ready for use.

ams_repair_third_spacewalk.jpg

Live coverage of all three spacewalks will begin at 5:30 a.m. EST on NASA Television and the agency's website.

These will be the second and third spacewalks for Meir, who will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for both spacewalks. Koch, who will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2), will perform the fifth and sixth spacewalks of her career.

Morgan, who will be EV1 for the AMS spacewalk, and Parmitano, who will be EV2, performed the three previous spacewalks to repair the spectrometer, which is searching for dark matter and antimatter in the universe using the station's unique location and capabilities for scientific research.

The spacewalks will be the 225th, 226th and 227th in support of space station assembly and maintenance.

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Plus:

Three Days In Space With Christina Koch.

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See also: Wikipedia: NASA TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

Study: Lack Of Insurance Cause Of Survivorship Gap In Minorities With Cancer

Lack of insurance coverage is a major cause of delayed breast cancer screening and treatment among minority women, which could lead to a decrease in a patient's chance of survival. Nearly half of the disparity in later-stage diagnosis between non-Hispanic white women and black, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander women was mediated by being uninsured or underinsured, according to a new study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine.

Non-Hispanic white women were insured at a higher rate at the time of diagnosis compared with non-Hispanic black women, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic women, according to the study published in JAMA Oncology. The research was led by Gregory Calip, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the UIC College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Naomi Ko, assistant professor at the Boston University School of Medicine.

"Diagnosing cancer at a later stage and lack of health insurance have negative consequences for patients and their families," said Calip, who is also a member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center. "Studies have examined the association of premature cancer-related mortality with lost productivity, and one estimated that in 2020 it will be just over $147 billion. The figure exceeded $308 billion when lost productivity of caregivers was considered."

Insurance is a modifiable risk factor, and "having adequate health insurance for all could reduce the persistent racial outcome disparities in breast cancer," Ko said.

"Patients diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage typically require more intensive treatment and are at a higher risk for treatment-related morbidity and poorer overall quality of life, especially compared to those who receive chemotherapy," she said. "Diagnosing breast cancer early is not only beneficial for individual patients and families but also on society as a whole to decrease medical costs and promote equity among all populations."

More than 177,000 women age 40 to 64 who were diagnosed with invasive stage I to III breast cancer between 2010 and 2016 were included in the study, which used data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results, or SEER, program. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, SEER includes population-based cancer incidence data for about 28% of the U.S. population, including demographic and clinic information.

This is the first study to use statistical mediation methods and a large cancer registry database to quantify the extent that adequate health insurance is a factor in the stage of breast cancer diagnosis among a diverse population of women in the United States.

Assisting Calip and Ko were Dr. Susan Hong, director of survivorship at the University of Illinois Cancer Center; and Dr. Robert Winn, director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Cancer Institute and National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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See also:

* Reuters: Lack Of Insurance May Explain Much Of Disparity In Breast Cancer Reduction.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 AM | Permalink

How To Blow The Whistle

In A Public Service, activist/trainer Tim Schwartz presents the clearest-ever guide to securely blowing the whistle, explaining how to exfiltrate sensitive information from a corrupt employer - ranging from governments to private firms - and get it into the hands of a journalist or public interest group in a way that maximizes your chances of making a difference (and minimizes your chances of getting caught).

Parts of A Public Service read like a spy thriller, covering detailed operational security planning - everything from buying a burner phone to doing research into possible journalists to take your docs to - all without leaving a trail that can be traced back to you.

whistlebook.jpg

Schwartz draws on the lessons of whistleblowers who remained anonymous (like the Panama Papers' John Doe); to those who got away with it, more or less (like Edward Snowden); to those who ended up in jail for their bravery (like Reality Winner).

Schwartz goes over their planning and execution with a fine, forensic lens, making it clear where they were smart, where they were lucky, and where their luck or their planning failed them.

Every technical lesson is presented in clear, easy-to-follow terms - and more importantly, this technical material is embedded in super-sharp context explaining how to assess your risks and use your technological information to counter them.

Schwartz begins at the beginning, with steps for getting data out of a network without leaving signs that point to you, and then carries on through the whistleblowing process - sanitizing identifying information in the files, securely transmitting them, and then covering any trace of your possession.

Just as important are Schwartz's chapters on how to figure out who you should leak your documents to, and then how to contact them in a way that is likely to get your leaks taken seriously enough to rate a follow-up (both public interest groups and journalists get far more tips than they can handle, so this is every bit as important as the security advice).

He also discusses when you might expect to have to go public - as with a workplace sexual assault accusation, say - and how to prepare yourself both mentally and technologically for the inevitable fallout.

The book ends with a chapter of sample cases and a chapter of advice to journalists and public interest groups who might want to receive leaks of this sort, explaining how to be a good steward of that information and a safe haven for leakers.

This is an outstanding, simple guide to a daunting and vital subject. Schwartz has done outstanding work explaining the ethical, personal, technical and legal considerations in blowing the whistle.

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From the publisher:

"Governments and corporations now have the tools to track and control us as never before. In this whistleblowing how-to, we are provided with tools and techniques to fight back and hold organizations, agencies, and corporations accountable for unethical behavior.

"Can one person successfully defy a globe-spanning corporation or superpower without being discovered? Can a regular citizen, without computer expertise, release information to the media and be sure her identity will be concealed?

"At a time we're told we are powerless and without agency in the face of institutions such as Google, Facebook, the NSA, or the FBI, digital security educator Tim Schwartz steps forward with an emphatic 'yes.' And in fewer than 250 pages of easy-to-understand, tautly written prose, he shows us how.

"A Public Service can teach any one of us the tricks to securely and anonymously communicate and share information with the media, lawyers, or even the U.S. Congress.

"This book is an essential weapon in the pervasive battle to confront corruption, sexual harassment, and other ethical and legal violations."

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The author is also an artist.

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Plus:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:02 AM | Permalink

January 9, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

"Perhaps the only thing in shorter supply than weed at marijuana shops when they began selling to the public Jan. 1 were state-badged employees to work behind the counter," Crain's reports.

Some marijuana shops have closed or reduced hours for recreational sales because of shortages of marijuana. Cresco Labs and PharmaCann closed dispensaries Monday to give employees time off after five days of long shifts, not because they were out of weed.

"On Saturday, the leadership of our company was working registers because we didn't have enough employees," said Cresco spokesman Jason Erkes. Ben Kovler, CEO of Green Thumb Industries, could be seen working the counter and behind the scenes at the company's Rise dispensary in Mundelein on New Year's Day.

Dispensary workers have to be licensed by the state's Department of Financial & Professional Regulation - after undergoing a background check.

DFPR says it's working as fast as it can to get folks licensed. You'd think they would've been prepared for this, but, well, you know.

"The department currently licenses about 2,000 cannabis dispensary agents," IDFPR said in a statement Wednesday. "With Illinois' adult-use program going into effect, the department received an influx of new agent applications.

"The department is working as quickly as possible within the statutorily mandated timeframe to process those applications and ensure applicants undergo a background check and meet the requirements for licensure."

Road Trip

"As long lines and limited recreational supplies have persisted in Chicago since sales began Jan. 1, some are looking beyond the city's limits to buy marijuana," the Sun-Times reports.

Linda Marsicano, a spokeswoman for Green Thumb Industries, said the company has seen customers traveling from Chicago to its Rise dispensaries in suburban Joliet and Mundelein - and even to its location nearly 200 miles away in Canton outside of Peoria.

Marsicano said the three dispensaries have been able to meet demand and not had to suspend their recreational sales, like some Chicago shops have done, in the busy first week. She did not immediately have details on the stores' wait times, but said the stores' supplies can be viewed online.

The Sun-Times did not provide a link to do just that so I will: Scroll down this page for the location you are looking for.

Pot Stocks

"[Multi-state operators] already in the Illinois market have first mover advantage in this market of 13 million residents and 117 million tourists annually. In addition, the companies with the most cultivation capacity have the potential to thrive while others lack inventory," says TipRanks.

"We've delved into these three U.S. cannabis MSOs with a strong market position in Illinois that will benefit from the opening up of the adult-use market. According to TipRanks' Stock Comparison tool, all three currently have a Strong Buy consensus rating and over 70% upside potential."

Click through to find out who they are!

The College Football Pot Report

"Big food-and-drink companies are slowing work on products containing cannabidiol after regulators sounded a note of caution making space for smaller players to capture more of the budding market," the Wall Street Journal reports in "Adding CBD To Food, Drink Was A Hot Trend, Until FDA Chimed In."

The Food and Drug Administration told consumers in November that there isn't enough research to ensure cannabidiol, or CBD, is safe to consume. It isn't clear the cannabis-derived compound helps curb anxiety, facilitates sleep or conveys other benefits some producers and consumers ascribe to it, the agency said in an online post.

Unlike THC, the compound in marijuana that imparts a "high," CBD isn't psychoactive. Still, the FDA said people should consider risks associated with it, such as liver damage.

The FDA is concerned that people may mistakenly believe that trying CBD can't hurt, the
message read.

The money quote is from Beachwood college football correspondent Mike Luce, who is also the co-founder of Chicago-based cannabis market intelligence firm High Yield Insights:

"It was all gas on one foot from the consumers' interest," Luce said. "Now there's a very strong foot on the brakes from the FDA."

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So no cannabisque anytime soon? And you can forget about starting your mornings with Cannabisquick.

The College Pot Report

"Although Illinois recently legalized cannabis, University administrators have continued to say they still prohibit the use and possession on campus," the Daily Northwestern reports.

Well, that hardly seems fair.

Although the possession of cannabis for recreational use remains prohibited on campus, some have questioned if the University will change its policy on medical cannabis. Senior Associate Vice President Luke Figora said it is unlikely that the University will change its policy any time in the near future.

"I don't think there are any plans to change the approach toward medical marijuana," Figora said. "AccessibleNU has a process in place to work through any accommodation needs for students and so that's the kind of home for those requests."

Figora said the University is subject to federal laws, such as the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act which requires a drug-free campus community.

"As long as the federal laws haven't been changed with respect to the status of marijuana as an illicit drug, the University doesn't have much flexibility in terms of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act," Figora said. "And so, from that perspective, until there's a federal law change, there's not much the University would do in terms of its own policy changes."

I guess Northwestern will remain pot-free!

Brand Extensions

* Beyond Cannabis.

* Impossible Cannabis.

* Meat-Based Cannabis.

* Can O' Bis.

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ChicagoReddit

Coyotes have had an interesting few days in Chicago. Here's some reliable info on coyotes and humans. Please use facts when discussing coyotes and don't give in to fear-mongering. We can all live together in harmony. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

2020 Chicago Artist Watch List | iLLANOiZE Radio

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BeachBook

Elizabeth Warren's New Bankruptcy Plan Is A Big Dig At Joe Biden.

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The Surprising History Of McDonald's And The Civil Rights Movement.

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

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Thread.

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The Beachwood Coyote Line: The howling wind wails.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:20 AM | Permalink

January 8, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Amazon plans to open a three-building distribution center on the site of the former Maywood Park horse track, as part of the e-commerce giant's ongoing race to deliver packages to customers faster," the Tribune reports.

"It will be Amazon's largest distribution center near Chicago, less than two miles from the city limits."

All the more reason to keep a keen eye on conditions there - especially given that the new facility is intended to help improve Amazon's delivery speed. Just last November, Reveal concluded that "Amazon's internal injury records expose the true toll of its relentless drive for speed" in a deeply reported investigation.

What, if any, provisions are local governments like Melrose Park making to ensure a safe workplace? Unasked.

The Trib does note this, however:

Amazon . . . has been beefing up its network of distribution centers in the Chicago area and throughout the state to keep up with the fast-rising volume of online shopping.

Amazon has opened more than 20 warehouse facilities within the past four years, according to supply chain and logistics consulting firm MWPVL International.

The largest is a 1 million-square-foot facility in Aurora. Recently, Amazon has been adding a series of smaller warehouses near densely populated suburbs and neighborhoods, in order to deliver orders as quickly as an hour or two in some areas.

In September, Amazon confirmed that the company signed a 237,000-square-foot lease for a distribution center in Skokie. At the time, Amazon said it has more than 11,000 full-time workers in Illinois.

Not mentioned but noted by Curtis Black last month for the Chicago Reporter:

"Safety records obtained by workers at the Amazon fulfillment center in Monee in Will County show that over 10% of its workers suffered injuries last year, and 40 were injured so badly that they couldn't return to work, often sustaining permanent disabilities, according to Warehouse Workers for Justice."

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Similarly, the Sun-Times headlines the Melrose Park facility as aiding the company's "need for speed" with no mention of the widely reported impact on workers.

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See also:

* The Atlantic: Ruthless Quotas At Amazon Are Maiming Employees.

* Vox: Amazon Warehouse Workers Doing "Back-Breaking" Work Walked Off The Job.

* Portland Mercury: What It's Like To Work At Troutdale's Notoriously Dangerous Amazon Warehouse.

* New York Post: Inside The Hellish Workday Of An Amazon Warehouse Employee.

* John Oliver:

Let's keep our eyes on the ball, folks!

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Lipinski's List
Via Shia Kapos's Politico Illinois Playbook:

"This is shady," Stickney Mayor Jeff Walik told Playbook about Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski listing him as a supporter on Tuesday.

"They called twice, and I said I was staying neutral. I did not give anyone permission to use my name" to endorse Lipinski, said the south suburban mayor who generally leans Democrat.

That's not the only kink in Lipinski's announcement that 28 municipal leaders were endorsing him. Despite a primary challenge on his left flank from Marie Newman, the 3rd district congressman listed eight Republicans among his endorsements and one name, Tom Heller of Forest View, who is no longer a mayor.

At least he's not dead, as far as I can tell.

Lipinski spokeswoman Sally Daly acknowledged "minor miscommunications" in the endorsement rollout and added: "The mayors who have endorsed the congressman support him because of the tangible results that he has delivered for the district and their communities." It's not about politics, she said.

Endorsements are not about politics? Sally Daly, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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How hard is it to say, "We screwed up. Sorry!"

Anyone unwilling to say that loses the benefit of the doubt and we can all presume bad intent until proven otherwise.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Inventors Of Sports Bra, Hard Hat & Ibuprofen Among Hall Of Fame Inductees
Also: The woman who invented the word processor and a dude who invented the (modern) parachute.

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Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens The Unsolved Murder Cases Of The Civil Right Era
"The South's Simon Wiesenthal."

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The Ex-Cub Factor
Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro together again! With a little Arismendy Alcantara to make us totally feel nostalgic for some godawful teams.

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ChicagoReddit

Saw a two month old thread on the "Worst Chicago apartment management" companies. Just curious, what are some of the best. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Kinsey Report at FitzGerald's on Tuesday night.

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BeachBook

Driverless Forklifts Are Now A Thing.

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

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I mean, Peter Baker has done some really good work, and written some fantastic books, but a bumper car analogy isn't exactly "brilliant" in my book, namely because it doesn't really approach the truth.

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The Beachwood Rip Line: Pull the cord.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:56 AM | Permalink

Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens The Unsolved Murder Cases Of The Civil Right Era

Reporter Jerry Mitchell, who spent years investigating the most infamous murders of the civil rights movement, will speak at a National Press Club Headliners event on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 about his upcoming book, Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Right Era.

Race Against Time chronicles Mitchell's quest to unearth the truth behind some of the most gruesome and harrowing unsolved murders of the civil rights era. Mitchell's reporting is credited with helping to bring killers to justice for the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Church in Birmingham, and the murder of three civil rights workers commonly referred to as the Mississippi Burning case.

race-against-time-9781451645132_lg.jpg

This event will take place in the Club's Zenger Room at 8:30 a.m., and will feature a moderated discussion with the author, an audience question-and-answer session, and a book signing. Doors open at 8 a.m. with a light breakfast of coffee, tea, muffins and pastries.

Tickets cost $5 for members of the National Press Club and $10 for the general public. Please click here to purchase tickets.

Preordered books will be available for pickup and signing at the event. Attendees will also be able to purchase books at the door. Proceeds from the book sales will benefit the National Press Club Journalism Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the Club, so the Institute asks that you leave all outside books at home.

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From Wikipedia:

"Jerry W. Mitchell is an American investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi. He convinced authorities to reopen seemingly cold murder cases from the Civil Rights Era, prompting one colleague to call him 'the South's Simon Wiesenthal.' In 2009, he received a 'genius grant' from the MacArthur Foundation.

"Mitchell was a court reporter for the Clarion-Ledger in 1989 when the film Mississippi Burning inspired him to look into old civil rights cases that many thought had long since turned cold. His investigations have led to the arrest of several Klansmen and prompted authorities to reexamine numerous killings during the civil rights era.

"In 1996, he was portrayed by Jerry Levine in the Rob Reiner film Ghosts of Mississippi, about the murder of Medgar Evers and the belated effort to bring killer Byron De La Beckwith to justice."

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Jerry Mitchell: Righting the Wrongs of the Past

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From the publisher:

"In Race Against Time, Mitchell takes readers on the twisting, pulse-racing road that led to the reopening of four of the most infamous killings from the days of the civil rights movement, decades after the fact.

"His work played a central role in bringing killers to justice for the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham and the Mississippi Burning case.

"Mitchell reveals how he unearthed secret documents, found long-lost suspects and witnesses, building up evidence strong enough to take on the Klan. He takes us into every harrowing scene along the way, as when Mitchell goes into the lion's den, meeting one-on-one with the very murderers he is seeking to catch. His efforts have put four leading Klansmen behind bars, years after they thought they had gotten away with murder.

"Race Against Time is an astonishing, courageous story capturing a historic race for justice, as the past is uncovered, clue by clue, and long-ignored evils are brought into the light. This is a landmark book and essential reading for all Americans."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

Inventors Of Sports Bra, Hard Hat & Ibuprofen Among Hall Of Fame Inductees

Twenty-two innovation pioneers were announced as the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) 2020 class of Inductees on stage at CES® on Tuesday.

These innovators, whose landmark inventions range from the hard hat to the sports bra, will be celebrated as the newest class of Inductees during the NIHF Induction Ceremony. In partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), NIHF will honor these Inductees in Washington, D.C. on May 6-7 at one of the innovation industry's most highly anticipated events - "The Greatest Celebration of American Innovation®."

The Class Of 2020

* R. Rox Anderson: Laser Dermatology

Anderson has improved lives across the world with his invention of laser dermatology treatments and procedures that are now commonly used to remove birthmarks, scars and other skin lesions.

* Sylvia Blankenship and Edward Sisler (Posthumous): 1-MCP for Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Freshness

Blankenship and Sisler invented 1-MCP, a compound that has become essential in preventing food waste, and increasing accessibility to fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers.

Bookbinder received his bachelor of science degree in organic chemistry from Northern Illinois University.

* Dana Bookbinder, Ming-Jun Li and Pushkar Tandon: Bend-Insensitive Optical Fiber

Bookbinder, Li and Tandon invented the bend-insensitive ClearCurve® optical fiber. Because it can bend without significant signal loss, ClearCurve optical fiber has reached locations previously inaccessible to optical fiber and advanced data transmission across an array of industries.

* Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller and Polly Smith: Sports Bra

Lindahl, Miller and Smith invented the sports bra, a revolutionary garment that has enabled women's participation in athletic activities and advanced women's health and well-being.

* James McEwen: Automatic Surgical Tourniquet

McEwen invented the first microprocessor-controlled automatic surgical tourniquet system, and his innovations ensure safer outcomes in nearly 20,000 surgeries across the world each day.

* Mick Mountz, Peter Wurman and Raffaello D'Andrea: Mobile Robotic Material Handling for Order Fulfillment

Mountz, Wurman and D'Andrea invented the Kiva system, a revolutionary warehouse order fulfillment system that uses mobile robots and control software to bring inventory shelves to workers, dramatically improving all aspects of fulfillment operations.

* Margaret Wu: Synthetic Lubricants

Wu advanced the field of synthetic lubricants, and she has revolutionized the way both automotive and industrial lubricants are designed and synthesized.

* James Abercrombie and Harry Cameron: Blowout Preventer (BOP); (Posthumous)

Abercrombie and Cameron invented the world's first reliable blowout preventer (BOP) to successfully contain catastrophic blowouts from oil and natural gas wells. This mechanism allowed operators to close wells, control pressure during drilling operations, protect the environment and save lives.

* Stewart Adams and John Nicholson: Ibuprofen (Posthumous)

Adams and Nicholson co-developed ibuprofen, which is used worldwide to safely and effectively treat pain, fever and inflammation related to conditions from headaches to arthritis.

* Evelyn Berezin: Computer Systems for Business Use (Posthumous)

An expert in logic design and data transmission, Berezin invented a computer reservations system for airlines and founded a company that developed the first computerized standalone word processor for business use.

* Edward W. Bullard: Hard Hat (Posthumous)

Bullard invented the hard hat, the first commercially available industrial head protection device. Originally designed for miners, hard hats are now used by millions of people in an array of industries.

* James Floyd Smith: Modern Parachute (Posthumous)

Smith invented the modern parachute. A trapeze artist turned aviator, Smith's invention led to the creation of the parachute industry and provided safe landings across the world, saving countless lives.

Born in Illinois.

* Frank Zybach: Center-Pivot Irrigation (Posthumous)

Zybach invented the center-pivot irrigation technology that has revolutionized agricultural production not only in America's heartland but throughout the world.

The Celebration

The Class of 2020 will be honored at "The Greatest Celebration of American Innovation," a two-day event held in our nation's capital.

Danica McKellar - star of the TV show The Wonder Years, Hallmark Channel regular, and author of New York Times bestselling McKellar Math books - will serve as master of ceremonies.

May 6 - Illumination Ceremony at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum at the USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, where new Inductees will place their names on illuminated hexagons in the museum's Gallery of Icons™.

May 7 - The 48th Annual National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., where the new Inductee class will be honored for its contributions to society during an evening event including a black-tie dinner, ceremony and after party.

The 2020 National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is sponsored by the USPTO, Qualcomm, AgroFresh, Corning, North Carolina State University and Red Point Digital.

About The National Inventors Hall Of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Explore the NIHF Museum digitally in Google Arts & Culture's "Once Upon a Try" project. For more information, visit . To nominate an inventor for Induction, visit invent.org/nominate.

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Previously:

* Inventor Invents Enhanced Doorknob.

* Stinky Seaweed Spurs Invention.

* Tailgate Kitchen.

* The Chicago Man Who Invented The Remote Control Has Died.

* Pitch-O-Matic: Get Your Invention Seen On TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

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

1. Darwin Barney.

Boy did former Cub Factor writer Marty Gangler used to hate Darwin Barney. He once wrote that Barney "should never be starting on a major league roster."

True, the following week he begrudgingly acknowledged that "Darwin Barney Is Adequate," but I'm not sure he ever really thought that.

(Perhaps my favorite line of Marty's about Darwin, circa April 2012: "So yeah, I have no illusions of this even being a .500 team this year, but I do know that I'd be up for a beer with Mr. LaHair. Heck, I wouldn't even have an issue if Darwin Barney tagged along - he'll always run to the bar to get the next round because he sure doesn't walk much."

(Then again, there was "Free eye exam for every Darwin Barney seeing-eye single" and "Darwin Barney started every game this week and got six hits with no walks. He just continues to be Darwin Barney," so it's hard to choose.)

The last time The Ex-Cub Factor featured Barney was last June, when we noted he was "an investor in a consortium trying to land an MLB franchise for Portland."

Now Barney has a new gig: manager of the Ranger's Triple-A team in Nashville.

2. Starlin Castro.

Barney's one-time infield colleague was once seen as a foundational piece for the Cubs, before the team finally lost patience with his seeming inability to focus. Castro found greener grass in New York, returning to the All-Star Game as a Yankee in 2017 (he appeared in three as a Cub), then found himself stuck in Miami the last two seasons.

Now Castro is back with a winner: The Nationals just signed him to a two-year, $12 million deal. He's the presumptive starting second baseman, the position he has manned almost exclusively after starting his career as the Cubs' shortstop of the future.

The Castro signing has baffled some in Washington, but FanGraphs speculates that Castro's second-half surge - due to a change in his launch angle, suggesting sustainability - is behind the deal.

3. Arismendy Alcántara.

MLBTradeRumors.com:

"The Angels signed former Cubs' prospect Arismendy Alcántara. Alcántara hasn't played at the highest level since 2017, and his career .189/.235/.315 line (49 wRC+) reflects the plate discipline woes that have done him in. He's still just 28 years old, though, and his 2019 return to affiliated ball following a year in the Mexican League went well. The utilityman was productive across two minor-league levels in the Mets' organization last season and showed better discipline than he has in his MLB career."

4. Steve Cishek.

"It turns out Steve Cishek was too rich for the Boston Red Sox' blood, after all," NBC Sports Boston reports.

And, apparently, the Cubs' blood.

Or maybe the Cubs figured they'd used up the best parts of what's left of Cishek's oft-used arm.

Anyway . . .

The free-agent reliever has agreed to a one-year, $6 million contract with the Chicago White Sox that includes a second-year option also worth $6 million, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Tuesday.

Cishek, a Falmouth, Mass., native who spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Cubs, had expressed interest in signing with the Red Sox in free agency, per The Athletic's Peter Gammons.

Gammons also noted the right-hander may be out of Boston's price range, however, given the team's stated goal of shedding payroll in 2020 and staying under the luxury tax in Chaim Bloom's first season as chief baseball officer.

Cishek still took a slight pay cut to join the White Sox, as he earned $13 million in base salary over two years with the Cubs with an additional $1 million in incentives.

I'd say that's too rich for the Ricketts' blood, but I'm not sure the Ricketts' have blood.

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"The White Sox will be Cishek's sixth MLB team entering his 11th MLB season. The 33-year-old put up solid numbers for the Cubs, posting a 2.55 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 150 appearances in the last two seasons."

5. Jen-Ho Tseng.

Reminder: Tseng was the Cub's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2017.

Now?

"Auckland Tuatara have added to their depleted pitching depth, signing a former Major League pitcher and a talented prospect for their final push for the Australian Baseball League playoffs," New Zealand's NewsHub reports.

"Former Chicago Cubs right-hand hurler Jen-Ho Tseng has agreed to join the club until the end of the campaign and will link up with the side on Thursday for a road series against the Sydney Blue Sox."

6. Brett Anderson.

Anderson only got 22 awful innings in for the Cubs in 2017 before he was released that July (although his 8.18 ERA was paired with a 4.52 FIP, so maybe not as awful as we thought). He signed with the Blue Jays and pitched to a 3.82 FIP the rest of that season, then spent two seasons back in Oakland, where he played for the first five years of his career.

In 2018, he notched a 4.48/4.17 ERA/FIP line, and in 2019 3.89/4.57 (over 176 innings, the most the oft-injured pitcher has thrown since 2015.

The Brewers have now signed him to a 1-year, $5 million deal.

7. Mike Freeman.

Cleveland has designated him for assignment.

"Although the Indians booted Freeman from their 40-man roster, he's actually coming off a respectable season. Freeman amassed a personal-high 213 plate appearances in 2019 and slashed a playable .277/.362/.390 (good for a nearly league-average 99 wRC+), though he did benefit from an unsustainable .388 batting average on balls in play. Defensively, Freeman saw action at three infield positions - second, third and short - as well as left field. Freeman even pitched two innings for the team . . .

"Considering his decent 2019 showing, it's possible Freeman will return to the open market a little over a year after the Indians signed him to a minor league contract. Before joining the Cleveland organization, Freeman received big league at-bats with the Diamondbacks (who chose him in the 11th round of the 2010 draft), Mariners, Cubs and Dodgers. He's a lifetime .232/.316/.332 hitter across 304 PA in the majors and a .305/.372/.418 batter in 2,030 attempts in Triple-A ball."

But . . .

"Freeman . . . accepted his outright assignment to Class AAA Columbus and was invited to spring training in February in Goodyear."

He's even scheduled to appear at Tribe Fest.

8. Elliot Soto.

Who?

"The Angels have signed shortstop Elliot Soto to a minors pact with an invitation to major league camp, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.

"A 15th-round pick of the Cubs in 2010, the diminutive Soto (5 foot 9, 160 pounds) hasn't gotten past Triple-A ball among his three professional organizations - Chicago, Miami and Colorado.

"The 30-year-old Soto did, however, show well at the minors' highest level last season in the Rockies organization, as he batted .305/.380/,480 (111 wRC+) with 10 home runs and eight stolen bases over 463 plate appearances."

9. Shane, Jeremy and Luke Farrell.

"The Toronto Blue Jays are getting set to name Shane Farrell as their new amateur scouting director, per sources for Robert Murray (via Twitter), previously of The Athletic. Farrell has been the west coast crosschecker for the Chicago Cubs," MLBTradeRumors.com reports.

Chicago and Toronto both are undergoing behind the scenes makeovers this offseason, to varying degrees. Toronto is in need of new blood due to the departure of Ben Cherington to Pittsburgh. Chicago, meanwhile, has remade parts of their scouting and development departments, ostensibly driven by the stagnation of the team's development pipeline.

Farrell's departure from Chicago isn't all that shocking after interviewing for and missing out on a VP of Scouting role that went to Dan Kantrovitz, a former assistant GM with the A's. The Cubs also lost national crosschecker Sam Hughes to the Yankees this offseason, per The Athletic's Sahadev Sharma.

Farrell, of course, is the son of the well-known former Red Sox and Blue Jays manager John Farrell, currently a scout for the Reds. The Cubs still have one Farrell connection, as Shane's brother Jeremy is an assistant director of baseball development with the organization, while the third Farrell brother, Luke Farrell, is a former Cubs farmhand, who made 9 quality appearances for the Rangers in 2019.

Luke Farrell is a Northwestern University product, selected by the Royals in the 6th round of the 2013 draft. As far as I can tell, he's still with the Rangers.

10. Pierce Johnson.

"Pierce Johnson reportedly signed a two-year with the San Diego Padres," FanGraphs notes.

"The 28-year-old right-hander had a 1.38 ERA in 58 relief appearances this year with NPB's Hanshin Tigers."

It's a 2-year, $5 million deal.

For a hot second there it looked like Johnson might actually be an example of the Theo regime actually drafting and developing a starting pitcher. He ended up only pitching one inning for the Cubs big-league team - in 2017 - giving up two hits and a walk.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:22 AM | Permalink

January 7, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers

"On Dec. 31, Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois announced that he would issue 11,017 pardons to people with low-level marijuana convictions. That announcement came on the eve of the state's marijuana legalization going into effect," The Appeal notes.

"All told, state officials estimate that a total of 116,000 convictions involving 30 grams or less of marijuana are eligible for pardons under the new law, reported CBS News. The process is not automatic, but state officials have sought to make it as close to automatic as possible. There are also an estimated 572,000 marijuana arrests that will be expunged over the next five years. People may also apply for expungements of convictions for marijuana possession over 30 grams, putting the total number of possible pardons at over 700,000.

"That number is a reminder of the enormous scale of marijuana arrests in this country and the millions of people subjected to state force under marijuana prohibition. Marijuana laws, in Illinois and elsewhere, moreover, were and are not enforced equally. Despite similar rates of use between Black and white people, Black people are arrested for marijuana offenses at rates several times higher than those for white people."

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In 2011, Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky reported for the Reader that "People all over Chicago smoke pot - but almost everyone busted for it is black."

To wit:

"Yes, marijuana is illegal. Yet studies show - and come on, everybody knows - that it's widely used by all racial groups. By and large, however, black people are disproportionately getting busted for it.

"The ratio of black to white arrests for marijuana possession in Chicago is 15 to 1, according to a Reader analysis of police and court data. And by the time the cases make their way through the court system, the gap widens even further: the ratio among those who plead or are found guilty is 40 to 1.

"Here's another way to look at it: almost nine of every ten people who end up guilty of possessing marijuana in Chicago - 86 percent, to be precise - are black men."

An additional idea on the social equity front: Let black men step to the front of these long lines.

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Meanwhile . . .

"Marijuana arrests keep going up in the U.S. even though more states are enacting cannabis legalization laws," Forbes contributor and marijuana law reform Tom Angell advocate noted in October.

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But here in Illinois:

"On Thursday, January 2, the [Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation] concluded the first round of applications for new dispensary licenses. A preliminary count shows that more than 700 applicants submitted applications seeking almost 4,000 licenses. More than 600 of the applicants identified themselves as qualifying for social equity applicant status. The Department will award up to 75 new dispensary licenses, which will be announced by May 1, 2020."

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And:

"A handful of marijuana dispensaries around Illinois halted recreational weed sales over the weekend and plan to remain closed to the public this week, as they deal with product shortages," the Tribune reports.

"For months, dispensaries have anticipated marijuana shortages. Nearly every state that allows recreational marijuana has had stores run out of product or run low during the first days of sales."

Remember, Illinois dispensaries can only sell marijuana grown by a licensed Illinois cultivator. Only home-grown for us!

"Many of the state's 21 growing facilities are expanding capacity, but construction takes time, as does growing marijuana."

Also: Medical marijuana comes first.

"Another factor at play is an increase in the medical marijuana patient count, which has roughly doubled in the past year. Illinois law requires dispensaries to make sure they have enough cannabis for medical patients.

"Some Illinois dispensaries said they were having difficulty keeping enough weed in stock for medical marijuana patients before recreational sales began. Dispensaries instituted buying limits last week and limited hours for recreational sales."

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"Despite selling nearly $11 million worth of recreational weed in the first five days of legal weed, a half-dozen dispensaries in Chicago did no recreational sales Monday," the Sun-Times reports.

"[T]he state's cannabis cultivators are . . . feeling the pressure.

"Mark de Souza, CEO of Goose Island-based Revolution Global, said the company's cultivation center in downstate Delavan is 'getting buried now at a level that is even overtaxing our electronic ordering systems.'

"Products are selling out within three to six minutes each day, leaving dispensary operators frustrated, according to de Souza. He said Revolution has been shipping $200,000 worth of cannabis flower each week."

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ChicagoReddit

Anyone interested in joining a competitive karaoke team? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Replicant at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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BeachBook

Experts Condemn Keto. Will People Finally Stop?

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

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Rant-based.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:43 AM | Permalink

January 6, 2020

SportsMonday: Liking That

Immature male specimens of our delightful species love to mock people when they are down.

The pathetic schoolyard taunts become high school heckling. One of the keys to enjoying a college sporting event is for it to be consistently loud because if it isn't, you run the risk of hearing some of the profane crap the young fellas in attendance are spewing about their teams' foes.

Some fans never move on from this phase. There are plenty of middle-aged guys taking in games who never miss a chance to give it to opposing players who are seen as weak and/or vulnerable. Heck, many players never move on either.

Every once in a while, though, the guy on the other end of the taunts has his day. I give you Minnesota Viking Kirk Cousins' initial, brief postgame comments from Sunday:

If you don't know the history, that must strike you as an awfully explosive reaction from a team to its quarterback's seemingly mundane words. It is hard to imagine why the words "You like that?" might possibly provoke such a powerful flood of emotion.

So, the history: In 2015, Cousins had taken over as the starting quarterback for the Washington Racial Slurs. He did some things well as a signal-caller but he certainly wasn't lighting the world on fire and plenty of people, including members of Washington's front office, doubted whether he was a good enough quarterback to lead his team to consistent success.

Cousins was keenly aware of the doubts and when, after a late season win, Cousins screamed "You like that?!" (apparently to reporters) on his way to the locker room, a catch phrase was born:

(He also once yelled, "How you like me now?" to Washington executive Scot McCloughan.)

In 2018, Cousins became a free agent and signed a contract with the Vikings that made him the highest paid player in NFL history on annual basis, but has had an up and down career since then. He has led teams to more wins than losses but has had an unbelievably bad record in high profile games.

One thing that hasn't changed since then has been opposing players having fun at Cousins' expense after victories. A Google search reveals at least a half dozen incidents of opposing players screaming "You like that?" after their teams have knocked off Cousins. It happened several times just this past season.

Cousins is a big strong football player but he can come across as needy and even neurotic at times. In other words he is the sort of guy schoolyard bullies zero in on like deadly drones.

So when the Vikings shocked the football world with a victory over the favored Saints in New Orleans yesterday, Cousins had his chance to even the score a bit.

I'm no Vikings fan, but I found myself reacting emotionally to Cousins' quick little speech and his teammates' response. He delivered the line perfectly, without telegraphing it in any way. A few of his fellow players seemed unsure initially why there was the big reaction but after a few beats they were all surging toward him in congratulations.

Every once in a while, the guy who has been the butt of jokes bounces back in a big way. And surely even the most immature among us can enjoy that happenstance for at least a little while.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman likes that, and welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:00 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Welcome back! Chicago got really high while you were away.

"At least six Chicago dispensaries will be closed to recreational marijuana customers Monday as many retailers grapple with supply issues in the wake of legalization," the Sun-Times reports.

This is not an unexpected development.

Industry analysts - and even pro-pot lawmakers - have warned of a shortage in Illinois.

Andy Seeger - an analyst at the Brightfield Group, a cannabis research firm based in the Loop - noted that product shortages will continue to be an issue until more cannabis is cultivated and introduced into the market. A full harvest takes around 13 to 16 weeks to grow, he said.

"Demand will continue to increase for the next year and a half, two years at least as people enter the market, get more comfortable, the stigma is removed or they sample products while out with other people," Seeger said. "It's going to be up to supply to really meet that."

Go read the rest for details on which dispensaries will be closed and when they will resume sales.

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National Advancement Of Utilities
"When utilities around the country have wanted to build fossil-fuel plants, defeat energy-efficiency proposals or slow the growth of rooftop solar power, they have often turned for support to a surprisingly reliable ally: a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People," the New York Times reports.

"In 2014, the top officials of the N.A.A.C.P.'s Florida division threw their organization's weight behind an effort to stymie the spread of solar panels on residential rooftops and cut energy efficiency standards at the behest of the energy industry. The group's Illinois chapter joined a similar industry effort in 2017. And in January 2018, the N.A.A.C.P.'s top executive in California signed a letter opposing a government program that encourages the use of renewable energy."

Boldface mine.

"The president of the group's Illinois conference, Teresa Haley, said that her group typically got $5,000 to $10,000 a year from the energy industry and that the money did not influence the group's activities. 'They do have their lobbyist who contacts us and says, "We need your support.'"

"Ms. Haley added that her group's local branches held votes on which initiatives they support, sometimes backing utilities and sometimes opposing them. In 2012, for example, the Chicago branch successfully fought to close two coal-fired power plants in minority neighborhoods."

Okay, but . . .

"In December 2016, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Future Energy Jobs Act, with support from utilities, environmentalists, renewable energy advocates, and politicians from both sides of the aisle. The legislation preserved net metering, created a community solar program, fixed the state's renewable energy standard, subsidized two Exelon nuclear power plants, and required both large utilities in the state - ComEd and Ameren - to significantly expand their energy efficiency programs," according to the Energy and Policy Institute, which describes itself as "a watchdog organization working to expose attacks on renewable energy and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests."

Months after the legislation became state law, Ameren told the Illinois Commerce Commission, the state's utility regulatory agency, that it could not realistically or cost-effectively meet the new efficiency targets for 2018.

Environmentalists and the state's consumer advocacy organization, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), filed testimony to prevent Ameren's plan from being adopted by the ICC. Ameren fought back.

"Chicago-based bureaucrats like CUB and the Clean Jobs Coalition don't have knowledge of or interest in downstate Illinois," Ameren spokesperson Marcelyn Love told Midwest Energy News. "In fact, they have likely never been to the southern region of the state. We know the needs of our customers best. We have designed programs to meet the needs of people living in central and southern Illinois, not Chicago."

NRDC energy efficiency expert Noah Garcia said at the time that Ameren's request "adjusts the goal posts so if Ameren's goals are lower it potentially makes it easier for them to receive a financial reward by going above those targets."

As Ameren and opposing groups exchanged barbs in the press and submitted testimony to support their positions in front of the ICC, Ameren mobilized politicians in its service territory as well as influential civil rights groups to write letters in support of the utility's plan.

Midwest Energy News reported that the president and vice president of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce, the president of the Springfield Urban League, and the state president of the Illinois NAACP all voiced support for the company's proposal.

The Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Urban League, and Illinois NAACP had either received money from the Ameren corporation between 2013 and 2018, or have an Ameren-sponsored program in which the funding isn't disclosed. Additionally, months before the Springfield Urban League's president wrote a letter to the ICC in support of Ameren's plan, the utility announced a partnership with the organization and presented a $15,000 grant to the League for an after-school program.

From the second of the Midwest Energy News news articles cited by the Energy and Policy Institute:

"Next week, an Illinois utility will seek permission from state regulators to lower its energy efficiency targets - in the name of social justice."

The goods:

"The president and vice president of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce and the president of the Springfield Urban League recently filed comments in the commission's docket supporting Ameren's reduced targets, and the state president of the Illinois NAACP has supported the company's proposal. The AARP also filed a comment in support of Ameren's request.

"Special interest groups favor archaic 'untargeted' policies and priorities and oppose Ameren Illinois' plan," commented Springfield Urban League President and CEO Nina Harris. "The Natural Resources Defense Council, Citizens Utility Board and Environmental Defense Fund have mounted a campaign to stop investment in our community. They claim it is 'a luxury that cannot be afforded.' Nothing could be further from the truth...These groups are hypocritical and don't want to see Ameren's plan move forward, but, instead, want to see a plan designed to benefit businesses rather than the people and communities who need assistance the most."

On August 31, eight public comments were filed by individuals praising Ameren's commitment to training minority contractors and supporting minority businesses.

It seems Ameren has only ever wanted what's best for minorities.

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And yet, from Scientific American last April:

"To us [energy] is just another dimension of social justice challenges," says Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP's Environmental and Climate Justice Program. "With clean energy, not only is it often a more affordable way of accessing energy, but it also puts us in control of our energy."

Now, remember the lead of the New York Times article that kicked off this item:

"When utilities around the country have wanted to build fossil-fuel plants, defeat energy-efficiency proposals or slow the growth of rooftop solar power, they have often turned for support to a surprisingly reliable ally: a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."

Back to Scientific American:

"[A] study did not uncover the root of why rooftop solar panels are typically sparser in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. But the findings mesh with reports from industry and nongovernmental organizations, which have previously shown that a lack of diversity in the environmental and solar-power fields has hindered efforts to spread solar power's benefits.

Causal factors may connect to the well-documented historical pattern of racial discrimination that has left many minority neighborhoods in the U.S. stuck with problems like insufficient public infrastructure and predatory home loans.

"The disparity in rooftop solar is the same disparity as in everything else," says Naomi Davis, founder and president of the Chicago-based nonprofit organization Blacks in Green.

The study also adds to the body of research showing that black and Hispanic Americans bear the brunt of the costs of fossil fuel use. For one thing, they are exposed to higher levels of air pollution than white Americans - regardless of income levels. There are more direct economic effects as well.

Also:

The advocacy work done by Davis, the Chicago nonprofit leader, has helped shape state legislation aimed at increasing renewable energy in Illinois.

She has also secured funding for solar job training and has set up a social enterprise program in hopes of establishing a solar panel assembly plant in Chicago's predominantly black Woodlawn neighborhood by 2021.

Davis sees solar power as just one small piece of a bigger holistic approach to building sustainable neighborhoods, but she wants to make sure black communities are not left out of the economic transition to clean energy in the U.S.

"Step back and create partnerships where money flows directly to frontline environmental justice community-based organizations," Davis says. "And then depend on those organizations to write the story."

I can't vouch for any of that, but it at least sounds good and right. And this this bio of Naomi Davis is impressive.

On the other hand, her group is dependent on ComEd for funding.

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Finally, let's return to Illinois NAACP's Teresa Haley.

"The local and state leader of a national civil rights organization is The State Journal-Register's 2019 First Citizen," the Springfield paper announced in October.

"Civil rights leader Teresa Haley, president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the NAACP Illinois State Conference, was named First Citizen during a breakfast presentation Thursday at Erin's Pavilion at Southwind Park."

Go smoke pot!

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That's Joyce!
"The longtime principal at one of Chicago's elite public high schools was suspended and the school's former swimming coach was criminally charged over alleged off-the-books rentals of the school's pool facilities to outside clubs, according to a new report from the Chicago Public Schools inspector general," the Sun-Times reports.

The watchdog report released to the public Monday comes less than three years after the IG's office first discovered potential wrongdoing by the principal and coach, who were reprimanded by the school district at the time for similar dealings.

The charges against former Whitney Young High School coach Andrew Parro and the suspension of one of the district's most respected principals, Joyce Kenner, were revealed in Inspector General Nicholas Schuler's 2019 year-end report, which details the office's oversight investigations for the year.

Our old friend Joyce Kenner!

I'll say one thing for her: She's a survivor. Go read the whole article and marvel at how she not only avoided losing her job but received what the IG called "the weak side of discipline."

And it's not like Kenner has a stellar ethical track record. From this column on Jan. 17, 2019:

"I can hardly let the [mayoral] candidates' praise of Whitney Young High School principal Joyce Kenner go without noting how undeserving she is of any civic acclaim - much less how undeserving she is of still holding her job. From the Beachwood vault:

February 25, 2008:

"The youngest son of NBA legend Michael Jordan entered Whitney Young Magnet High last fall under a little-known loophole that gives principals of Chicago's elite-eight college prep schools wide-ranging discretion - on top of new powers they could get this week," the Sun-Times reports.

"Marcus Jordan was a junior-year transfer.

"That means he never had to sit through the freshman admission test that eighth-graders take for Chicago's college prep high schools. He was exempt from being judged by a mathematical formula involving tests, attendance and grades that is used by Young and seven other CPS college preps to decide freshmen admission.

"Instead, as a transfer, Marcus' fate was left up to the principal of Young, an academic and basketball powerhouse.

"'Transfers into selective-enrollment high schools are entirely principal discretion,' said CPS spokesman Michael Vaughn."

Whitney Young Principal Joyce Kenner put it this way: "[The Jordan family] has done a great deal for this city."

And this city has done a great deal for the Jordans. We made him rich and famous; rich and famous enough, in fact, to clout his kid into a magnet school.

August 25, 2009:

Anthony Beale is now the second alderman to admit he made a phone call to the principal of Whitney Young to get his daughter into the school, the Sun-Times reports.

"You're talking about an A-minus student," Beale said.

Yes. But was this straight-A student left out of Walter Payton Prep because of a similar call?

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It gets better.

"[Whitney Young Principal Joyce] Kenner said she had a 'personal relationship' with Beale, whom she knew as a baseball coach when her son was playing baseball. 'When he called me, it wasn't about him being a political figure,' Kenner said."

It was about her personal relationship with Beale.

I don't know which is worse.

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Similarly, Kenner didn't know Ald. Ricardo Munoz as an alderman when he called her to get his daughter into her school. "She knew Munoz as the father of a boy her son played basketball with."

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It gets better.

"I try not to be political at all,'' Kenner said. "If you ask me how many aldermen there are, I don't even know."

The principal of Whitney Young doesn't know how many aldermen there are?

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And finally:

"Even Michael Jordan, whose youngest son by-passed the usual admission process by transferring to Whitney Young as a junior in 2007, did not contribute [money] to the school, Kenner said."

March 22, 2010:

"In 2008, former U.S. Sen. Braun sought help for two students, though she said Monday she does not recall placing a call to Duncan's office. Pickens said she called him, seeking help getting a student into Whitney Young Magnet High School, and he asked Principal Joyce Kenner to call the former senator back.

"Braun said she called Kenner to inquire after one child's mother told her the student's application had been 'lost in a computer glitch.' Braun said Kenner told her: 'I'll take care of it.'"

Personally.

"The child got into Whitney Young, despite a below-average admission score."

Also the result of a "computer glitch."

"This process is not pure, and everyone knows it," Braun said. "The process is a disaster, and quite frankly, I don't have a problem making a call. If the process were not as convoluted as it is, parents wouldn't be asking for help."

The Chicago Way: Game the process instead of fixing it.

"Kenner, who has testified under subpoena in the federal investigation, said the admissions problems are 'old news.'"

Old news to her, she knew about the list!

"'There is a new framework in place for principal discretion,' she said in her e-mail response. 'I think we have an opportunity to move on from this issue.'"

Her e-mail account refused to answer further questions.

"Burnett requested consideration of a student in 2008 whose test score did not get him into Whitney Young. The log suggests the principal offered the student future enrollment as a consolation and notes that Burnett 'was OK with that offer.'"

March 25, 2011:

"In 2009 the Whitney Young boys varsity basketball team had one of its best seasons, winning the Class 4A state title with a squad that included seven players who joined college programs," the Tribune reports.

"But the team wasn't even supposed to be in the playoffs, the Tribune has found. After its coach, Tyrone Slaughter, was found to have violated Chicago Public Schools recruiting rules, district regulations called for the team to be banned from the postseason, but officials failed to enforce that penalty.

"Slaughter received a six-game suspension and then went on to break recruiting rules again. In February he was suspended for 10 days by the Illinois High School Association after he held a team practice at a suburban middle school 23 miles from Young."

And he still has his job?

Yup, sports sure teaches character.

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But this is my favorite part:

"In addition, the Tribune has learned that Joyce Kenner, the principal at Young, was found to have violated CPS policy when she admitted two basketball players in 2008 even though they did not go through the required process for selective enrollment at the magnet school. The students were on the championship team roster."

January 23, 2012:

"The Chicago Schools Inspector General has recommended that Principal Joyce Kenner be banned for life from hand-picking kids for admission to Whitney Young Magnet High," the Sun-Times reported last January.

"So when candidate after candidate in their welcoming remarks slobbered over how great Kenner was, I threw up a little in my mouth. (Paul Vallas even jokingly thanked her for not running for mayor; she certainly has the graft part down.)"

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Entire Species Are Being Wiped Out
"Ecologists at the University of Sydney are estimating that nearly half a billion animals have been killed in Australia's unprecedented and catastrophic wildfires, which have sparked a continent-wide crisis and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in desperation."

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American Pot Is The Gold Standard . . .
. . . but Canada is winning the export game.

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The New Public Domain
Includes George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, silent films by Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and books such as Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, E. M. Forster's A Passage to India, and A. A. Milne's When We Were Very Young.

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Another Wikipedia Gender Problem
"The gender imbalances in both Wikipedia's editor population and the site's biographies - both over 80 percent male - are well-documented. But what of the backbone of the encyclopedia - the sources cited within its pages?"

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The Complexity Of BoJack Horseman
"Few viewers will think of BoJack as a horse. Instead he is the mediator of bleak dysfunction, aided by the absurdist capacity for animation to create aesthetic distractions and exaggerate comic situations. Just as the old Road Runner cartoons represented meaningless repetition and relentless battles against the world without essential purpose or meaning, BoJack is the existential variant of this concept in the contemporary era.

"BoJack's perpetual hypocrisy, addictions and mistreatment of others may be funny, but they also serve as proof that he cannot change anything - that the world itself keeps repeating endless cycles of seemingly inhuman or inhumane models of existence."

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How The Russians Bugged Selectric Typewriters In The U.S. Embassy
The Soviets managed to intercept top secret communications in the U.S. embassy in Moscow and nobody could figure out how . . . "

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Global Electric Guitar Growth
"The electric guitar market worldwide is poised to reach $546.9 million by the year 2025, bringing in healthy gains adding significant momentum to global growth . . . The shifting dynamics supporting this growth makes it critical for businesses in this space to keep abreast of the changing pulse of the market."

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Beachwood Sports Radio: We Found The Bears' Turds
They're in the front office. Plus: Ravens Over Saints; Don Hahn; Maddon's Post Deleted; Bulls Still Suck; Blackhawks Still Suck; Bears Beat Beard In Bowl; DePaul Dropped By The Hall; Loyola Vexes Valpo; and The Illini Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.

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Chambers: Nothing (Wrong) From The Head Up
The only thing worse than these Bears crybaby excuse cooks are the fans who swallow it.

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Jim Coffman Likes That
Every once in a while, the guy who has been the butt of jokes bounces back in a big way.

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ChicagoReddit

9th floor atrium at Harold Washington :) from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Disco Biscuits at the Riv on Saturday night.

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

How Ring Went From Shark Tank Reject To America's Scariest Surveillance Company.

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Ghosting Julian Assange.

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Sculptor Creates Detailed Miniatures Streetscapes Of Philadelphia And New Orleans.

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

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We're the religious nuts.

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The Beachwood Trip Wire Line: Ope.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:53 AM | Permalink

January 4, 2020

Global Electric Guitar Growth

The electric guitar market worldwide is poised to reach $546.9 million by the year 2025, bringing in healthy gains adding significant momentum to global growth, according to the report Electric Guitar - Market Analysis, Trends, and Forecasts.

Electric Guitar, one of the segments analyzed and sized in this study, displays the potential to grow at over 3.5%. The shifting dynamics supporting this growth makes it critical for businesses in this space to keep abreast of the changing pulse of the market.

Representing the developed world, the United States will maintain a 2.7% growth momentum. Within Europe, which continues to remain an important element in the world economy, Germany will add over $4.3 million to the region's size and clout in the next five to six years. Over $3.4 million worth of projected demand in the region will come from Rest of Europe markets.

In Japan, Electric Guitar will reach a market size of $33.9 million by the close of the analysis period. As the world's second largest economy and the new game changer in global markets, China exhibits the potential to grow at 5.4% over the next couple of years and add approximately $32 million in terms of addressable opportunity for the picking by aspiring businesses and their astute leaders.

Presented in visually rich graphics are these and many more need-to-know quantitative data important in ensuring quality of strategy decisions, be it entry into new markets or allocation of resources within a portfolio. Several macroeconomic factors and internal market forces will shape growth and development of demand patterns in emerging countries in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. All research viewpoints presented are based on validated engagements from influencers in the market, whose opinions supersede all other research methodologies.

Competitors identified in this market include:

* C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.

* Carvin Corporation

* Dean Guitars

* Epiphone Guitar Corp.

* Fender Musical Instruments Corp.

* G&L Musical Instruments

* Godin Guitars

* Karl Hfner GmbH & Co. KG

* Rickenbacker International Corporation

* Samick Musical Instrument Co., Ltd.

* Schecter Guitar Research

* Yamaha Corporation

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See also this guitar market analysis featuring both acoustic and electric guitar sales.

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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.

* Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire.

* Industrial Lubricants Market Booming.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 AM | Permalink

The Complexity Of BoJack Horseman

For more than 100 years, across the world, in many diverse cultures, animation has featured talking animals. Indeed, the anthropomorphized cat, dog, mouse, ape, duck and rabbit have populated animation in a way that has defined much of its distinctive nature - by using animals to subvert social and cultural norms.

Netflix's animated comedy-drama BoJack Horseman is another example of this. But BoJack, played by Will Arnett, is not a horse as playful companion like Maximus in Tangled or Bullseye in Toy Story. He is not an abused victim like Boxer in Animal Farm, and does not possess the lyrical equine beauty of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. BoJack is literally a horse-man.

Like Bottom in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, he seems to have acquired a head that makes him think and feel differently. Not for BoJack the revelry of love, however. His thoughts are dominated by his own mortality, sense of failure, and deep misanthropy.

Few viewers will think of BoJack as a horse. Instead he is the mediator of bleak dysfunction, aided by the absurdist capacity for animation to create aesthetic distractions and exaggerate comic situations. Just as the old Road Runner cartoons represented meaningless repetition and relentless battles against the world without essential purpose or meaning, BoJack is the existential variant of this concept in the contemporary era.

BoJack's perpetual hypocrisy, addictions and mistreatment of others may be funny, but they also serve as proof that he cannot change anything - that the world itself keeps repeating endless cycles of seemingly inhuman or inhumane models of existence.

The combination of humankind and animal here echoes past adult-orientated animated series such as I Am Not An Animal, not just posing broad questions about what it is to be human but also offering challenging insights about humankind's incapacity to fulfill its own potential. "We're all terrible, so we're all OK."

From season one, there is BoJack's own poignant realization that he may not ever be a "good person." In season five, we meet Vance Waggoner, the vile embodiment of all things wrong with men and patriarchy in the #MeToo era. Across all 61 episodes so far, BoJack Horseman has explored all the ways in which humankind seeks to find its most acceptable moral and ethical identity in the face of its "real world" foibles, failings and feelings.

bojackphilbert.jpg

In a Truman Show-styled intervention in Season Five, BoJack is cast in Philbert, a TV detective show that more than resembles his own life. It serves as yet another knowing device that reveals how humankind has become indistinguishable from how it has been mediated - or indeed, how it uses its (social) media.

We're All BoJack Horseman

This began from the show's inception. A washed-up sitcom star from a 1990s show, Horsin' Around, BoJack eyes a comeback by writing a revealing warts-and-all autobiography. In this alone, Bojack is a coruscating satire of Mister Ed the primetime American sitcom of the 1960s in which a talking palamino essentially outskills his human foil, Wilbur, for comic effect.

BoJack is also the mirror image of the children's animation Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse. The Netflix show is parodying the idea of the popular novelty act of distinction, but stressing how such carnival confections are forgotten legacies of the entertainment industry.

BoJack coats all such innocence with deep-rooted cynicism, playing out the view that humans are inherently selfish, revealed by the (bad) things they do, and rendered (self-)conscious only by the realization that they ought to be better.

The writers of BoJack Horseman have a highly sophisticated engagement with the contradictions and ambiguities of humanity. The program constantly stresses that the material world, for all its challenges and issues, needs to be understood as a resilient search for meaning and effect.

BoJack as a character becomes a site for this discussion. He is also a painful reminder of the old ironic joke about the mistreatment and perpetual misery of a circus elephant. "Run away," say the elephant's friends. "What?" he replies, "And miss out on a career in show business?"

All of this makes BoJack one of the most complex animated characters ever created. And the show itself demonstrates that animation - as it has shown in many forms globally in its long history - is a complex art form with serious purpose - even when it's funny.

Paul Wells is the director of the Animation Academy at Loughborough University. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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See also:

* New Yorker: The Bleakness And Joy Of BoJack Horseman.

* Wikipedia:

"The show has consistently garnered widespread critical acclaim, with many critics calling BoJack Horseman a masterpiece. Vanity Fair crowned BoJack Horseman as the greatest television series of the 2010s, and other magazines like Rolling Stone and Time have also named BoJack Horseman as one of the best television series of the 2010s. The show is frequently cited as one of the best animated series of all time."

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Note: The final episodes of the final season arrive this month.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

Entire Species Are Being Wiped Out

Ecologists at the University of Sydney are estimating that nearly half a billion animals have been killed in Australia's unprecedented and catastrophic wildfires, which have sparked a continent-wide crisis and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in desperation.

News Corp Australia reported this week that "there are real concerns entire species of plants and animals have been wiped out by bushfires following revelations almost 500 million animals have died since the crisis began."

"Ecologists from the University of Sydney now estimate 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been lost since September," according to News Corp. "That figure is likely to soar following the devastating fires which have ripped through Victoria and the [New South Wales] South Coast over the past couple of days, leaving several people dead or unaccounted for, razing scores of homes and leaving thousands stranded."

The horrifying figures come as images and videos of animals suffering severe burns and dehydration continue to circulate on social media.

Mark Graham, an ecologist with the National Conservation Council, told the Australian parliament that "The fires have burned so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies."

Koalas in particular have been devastated by the fires, Graham noted, because they "really have no capacity to move fast enough to get away."

As Reuters reported this week, "Australia's bushland is home to a range of indigenous fauna, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats, and echidnas. Officials fear that 30 percent of just one koala colony on the country's northeast coast, or between 4,500 and 8,400, have been lost in the recent fires."

Australia's coal-touting Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced growing scrutiny for refusing to take sufficient action to confront the wildfires and the climate crisis that is driving them. Since September, the fires have burned over 10 million acres of land, destroyed more than a thousand homes, and killed at least 17 people - including nine since Christmas Day.

On Thursday, the government of New South Wales declared a state of emergency as the wildfires are expected to intensify over the weekend.

"We've got a lot of fire in the landscape that we will not contain," said Rob Rogers, deputy commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service. "We need to make sure that people are not in the path of these fires."

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:58 AM | Permalink

Wikipedia's Gender Problem

Aiming to provide the "sum of all human knowledge," Wikipedia is one of today's most highly trafficked websites. Of its content, Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation - the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia - writes: "We believe in 'knowledge equity,' which we define as the idea that diverse forms of knowledge should be recognized and respected."

But does the encyclopedia live up to this vision, or is it playing a part in perpetuating and entrenching long-standing biases?

The gender imbalances in both Wikipedia's editor population and the site's biographies - both over 80 percent male - are well-documented. But what of the backbone of the encyclopedia - the sources cited within its pages?

The linked citations that appear at the bottom of Wikipedia pages provide both verifiability to the page content and visibility to the sources themselves - potentially a lot of visibility. A 2010 study - which opens with the line "Want to stir up a room full of college faculty and librarians? Mention Wikipedia" - found that in a survey, 85 percent of college students reported browsing Wikipedia during the early stages of research projects, and more than half noted linked citations as a reason for turning to the site.

Librarian Merrilee Proffitt, quoted on the Wikimedia blog, observes that citations can "lead end users to libraries where they can find those trusted sources and others like them - for free."

After the University of Washington added links to its digital collections, Wikipedia directed more than 11,000 visitors to their collections over the course of one year.

Ball State University measured a seven-fold increase in annual page views after adding links to its digitized sheet music collection.

And a very recent study, available in preprint, found that readers of the English Wikipedia click an external link once for every 147 page views. (Wikipedia receives about 20 billion page views a month.)

Meanwhile, the Internet Archive has been scanning Wikipedia's source documents to make them easily accessible to students working late into the night. The potential for knowledge discovery via Wikipedia is enormous.

Even self-citation, a practice men engage in more often than women, attracts the attention of browsing scholars. According to one study, the average self-citation will receive one additional, independent citation within a year, and three independent citations within five years. Visibility has value. It's far easier to miss a person's work if it's not there.

But how do citations get into Wikipedia to begin with? And whose work is being cited?

A cursory glance at Wikipedia's 10 most cited sources reveals that they are almost exclusively authored by men. (Nine were authored by men and one was authored by "The MGC Project Team," which has female members).

The most-cited source - "Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification," referenced a whopping 2.8 million times - was properly lauded for being useful and open access. But less attention was paid to the fact that a bot inserted the bulk of these references.

That "bot factor" puts people like Jane Darnell, a Wikipedia editor who strives to make women more visible on the site, at a technical disadvantage.

Darnell, who focuses on paintings and their documented catalogs, notes that women rarely appear as lead authors. The catalogs are credited to the person who writes the introduction, generally a museum director, generally a man. Whenever possible, she adds the names of additional contributors, often women, to the catalog descriptions on Wikidata, a crowd-sourced database that acts as an information hub for Wikipedia and its sister sites.

"This helps improve the visibility for women researchers," Darnell says.

But her additions often require considerable digging through exhibition catalogs and other primary sources. Her careful work, and that of like-minded editors seeking to correct for Wikipedia's gender bias, does not match the blistering pace of automated editing. Technology can easily propagate bias, or even amplify it.

Of course, all Wikipedia articles are not made equal. To get a more complete picture of the site's sourcing inequities, I took some time to look at how women authors are cited on what Wikipedia editors consider to be the site's most important pages.

I started with the site's mathematics project, one of several projects created to help interested editors collaborate and monitor coverage of specific subject areas.

As part of the project, mathematics articles are assigned a priority - top, high, mid, or low - indicating "how important it is that Wikipedia should have a high quality article on the subject."

Top priority articles are a "must-have for any reasonable mathematical encyclopedia," and these pages are more likely to be included in fixed versions of Wikipedia distributed in print, on flash drives, or on memory cards.

Of the books cited in top priority math pages, I looked for those written by a single author or editor - per the source's metadata - and I matched each author to their gender using online biographical records. For authors that I couldn't match, I guessed the gender based on name.

I concluded that just 77 of the 1,753 sources, roughly 4 percent, were authored by women. The number of female authors was similarly low, about 5 percent, for sources cited in high priority pages, the next highest tier.

Mathematics has long been known for its abysmal underrepresentation of women. Although women earn just under one-third of math and statistics doctorates, a 2016 study found that only 8.5 percent of single-authored publications in top mathematics journals are by women. Might Wikipedia pages on other subjects show more gender parity?

To probe that question, I turned to Wikipedia's project on literature, a subject area in which women are better represented. I found that only about 15 percent of the single-author books cited in top priority literature pages were written by women. (Women authored roughly 22 percent of sources cited in top priority pages and 27 percent of those cited in mid priority pages.)

One factor in the gender imbalance is the content of the pages themselves. Among a list of top priority pages that includes James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Gustave Flaubert, George Orwell and Marcel Proust, there wasn't a single page devoted to a woman. Because a Wikipedia page about a literary figure will typically reference that figure's canon, the imbalance in citations is partly driven by the number of texts authored by the subjects of the pages themselves.

The skewed perception of what counts as important is itself worthy of note. Of the 31 authors, playwrights and poets that Wikipedia recommends should be included in every language version of the site, none are female. Where is Toni Morrison? Ursula Le Guin? Virginia Woolf? Alice Munro? Nadine Gordimer? Gabriela Mistral? Emily Dickinson? Anne Frank? Mary Shelley? Gertrude Stein? Jane Austen? Sappho?

Only in the "expanded list" of 246 essential writers do women begin to appear, and they remain outnumbered - even counting Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, whom Wikipedia conveniently groups into a single entity, "the Brontë family."

The Royal Society of Chemistry recently released a plan to eliminate gender bias from research publishing.

Among the findings, the Society's report notes that papers with a female corresponding author - a role traditionally reserved for the most senior member of an authorship team - receive fewer citations than those with male corresponding authors. Also, men are less likely than women to cite a paper with a female corresponding author. In light of the gender imbalance among Wikipedia editors, it's worth examining whether the same patterns hold true on Wikipedia.

Digital libraries like Wikipedia can provide vast access to knowledge, but they can also further diminish voices that are already marginalized on traditional shelves. Whether Wikipedia serves to empower and engage all people or to perpetuate and entrench long-standing biases is up to us.

Kirsten Menger-Anderson is a writer and researcher based in San Francisco. She is the author of Doctor Olaf van Schuler's Brain. This post was originally published on Undark.

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See also: What A Deleted Profile Tells Us About Wikipedia's Diversity Problem.

"Clarice Phelps may have been the first black woman to help discover an element. For Wikipedia, that wasn't enough."

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

American Pot Is The Gold Standard, But Canada Is Winning The Export Game

After 20 years of experience, legal marijuana growers in the U.S. have the reputation of creating the best product in the world, scientifically grown and tightly regulated for quality and safety. The crop would be in high demand internationally - perhaps the centerpiece of a new U.S. industry - if not for the regulatory conundrum in which growers operate.

Because marijuana is legal in many states but still illegal federally, marijuana growers are unable to ship their products to other countries or even other American states that have legalized the drug. So while U.S. cannabis firms have driven product innovation and mastered the science of large-scale grow operations, they restlessly wait for the export curtain to lift.

Instead Canada has emerged as the dominant exporter in the burgeoning global trade of marijuana, which ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics estimated at $14.9 billion in sales for 2019.

Companies there are raising capital and building international trade ties despite having an unlikely climate to be an agricultural pot haven.

Rezwan Khan, vice president of global corporate development for cannabis seed supplier DNA Genetics, believes that U.S. cannabis is the world's best but said, "Canada has a huge advantage, because they can fill a gap."

Best In The World

Khan said California cannabis especially is superior because its growers have been developing legal marijuana products since 1996, longer than everywhere but Amsterdam.

"California has been the epicenter of cannabis culture for many years," he said.

Its cannabis seeds have been distributed all over the world, and many foreign firms are trying to reproduce the quality of West Coast marijuana. But Khan said it takes more than seeds and water to grow good weed.

The genetics and sophistication underlying the U.S. cannabis industry lead to better-quality and higher-potency flowers for those who smoke marijuana and innovations in oils, tinctures and edibles.

"The world wants that technology," said Michael Sassano, CEO of Solaris Farms, the largest cannabis hybrid greenhouse in Nevada. "The Netherlands had a big jump; they could have done anything. But the U.S. is the one that turned the industry into what it is today, with all the products we make, not Canada."

The other draw of American-grown cannabis, according to Denver-based cannabis law expert Bob Hoban, is that foreign customers value the regulatory oversight that ensures the product is safe and unadulterated.

"It's being regulated by a government agency, which is not necessarily what's happening around the rest of the world," Hoban said.

Hampered Growth

Because federal law prohibits the sale and use of marijuana, growers have not had easy access to the banking system. For example, Denver's LivWell Enlightened Health had to pay cash for its HVAC system.

And with sales limited to in-state retailers, it hasn't been cost-effective to invest in much automation for its production line. Most of its processing and packaging is done by hand.

The patchwork of legalization means cannabis isn't always grown where it's easiest to grow - in warm climates with limited rainfall. Instead, it's grown where it's legal.

California, Oregon and Colorado grow most of the country's authorized marijuana as legally isolated islands.

That leaves cold Canada as a somewhat odd choice to be the world's leader in marijuana exports.

When Canada legalized marijuana in 2018, its firms could be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. So Canadian companies represent a back door for U.S. firms to access capital and export markets and, for smaller firms, provide a potential exit strategy. Many U.S. marijuana growers are positioning themselves as attractive acquisition targets for Canadian firms eyeing the lucrative U.S. market.

Canadian firms are using their head start to sign trade deals and secure licenses to sell marijuana internationally. While the market remains limited, at least 30 countries - including Mexico, Germany and Italy - have legalized medical marijuana. And the numbers are growing as scientific studies have demonstrated its utility for pain control, nausea and glaucoma.

"There's more than enough time for American companies to catch up," said Kris Krane, president of 4Front Ventures, which grows and sells marijuana in nine states. "But the longer that we wait, the longer we continue to maintain this unsustainable prohibition, the more difficult it's going to be for American companies to catch up."

Ready To Export

Changing public sentiments about marijuana in the U.S. have many American cannabis firms readying for the day they can legally sell their products elsewhere.

"If the state borders do break open, we're preparing for that," said Sassano, who also is board chairman at Somai Pharmaceutical, a holding company based in Dublin that distributes medical cannabis products to pharmacies across Europe.

That means an industry that began mainly as small mom-and-pop growers and retailers must now consider its corporate hygiene and whether it's meeting legal requirements to sell in these new markets.

LivWell is building large-scale indoor cannabis growing rooms in Colorado and Oregon designed to scale up production for interstate or international commerce. The new rooms have 30- to 40-foot-high ceilings and state-of-the-art LED lighting cool enough to sit close to the plants.

"Then you farm vertically," said Dean Heizer, LivWell's chief legal strategist. "We learned that from the microgreens that people are farming in old cities and in old skyscrapers. If you can cultivate in cubic meters, you can scale. If you're cultivating in square feet, you can't."

With 11 states plus Washington, D.C., approving recreational use and 33 states legalizing medical marijuana, industry insiders believe marijuana may be legalized nationally in the near future, greatly expanding their market.

In November, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill with more than 50 co-sponsors that would effectively make marijuana legal in the U.S. Though unlikely to pass Congress immediately, it is seen as a sign of hope for the future.

"It's just a matter of time," Krane said. "How much time is very much a question of debate."

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:32 AM | Permalink

January 3, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #285: We Found The Bears' Turds

They're in the front office. Plus: Ravens Over Saints; Don Hahn; Maddon's Post Deleted; Bulls Still Suck; Blackhawks Still Suck; Bears Beat Beard In Bowl; DePaul Dropped By The Hall; Loyola Vexes Valpo; and The Illini Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.


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SHOW NOTES

* 285.

1:46: The Virginia, George & Ted Show.

* Turds.

* Ted Phillips talks football with you.

* Potash: Pace's Belief In Trubisky Seems Strong, But Is It Real?

* Potash: Playoffs Or Bust For Pace, Nagy & Trubisky In 2020?

* Kevin Michael Gilbride is the son of Kevin Bernard Gilbride.

* Chambers: Nothing (Wrong) From The Head Up.

* Thread.

* Chaser.

* The kicking contest Eddy Pineiro didn't win.

* Bears Fires Helfrich, Heistand And 2 Others.

* "In the third hour, Mike Mulligan and David Haugh discussed Bears coach Matt Nagy expressing his belief that the team's kicking woes have been addressed with Eddy Pineiro's performance this season . . . "

36:41: Ravens Over Saints.

* How Josh McCown Played A Huge Role In Eagles' Turnaround, Made Life Easier For Carson Wentz Behind The Scenes.

* Marshawn Lynch's Return To Seahawks Was 'Magical' Despite Loss To 49ers.

47:58: Don Hahn.

* New-Look White Sox.

* Wallenstein: Edwin A Win.

* Jane Leavy.

1:00:22: Maddon's Post Deleted.

1:02:56: Bulls Still Suck.

1:03:21: Blackhawks Still Suck.

* The 'Lanche.

* The 'Yotes.

* The 'Nucks.

1:05:15: Bears Beat Beard In Bowl.

* Brandon Peters.

1:07:28 DePaul Dropped By The Hall.

1:08:09: Loyola Vexes Valpo.

1:08:27: The Illini Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.

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STOPPAGE: 11:17

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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 3:12 PM | Permalink

January 1, 2020

How The Russians Bugged Selectric Typewriters In The U.S. Embassy

In the 1970s, the Soviets managed to intercept top secret communications in the U.S. embassy in Moscow and nobody could figure out how.

While an antenna was eventually found hidden in the embassy's chimney, it took years to determine how what data was being collected for transmission and how.

As a last resort, all equipment at the embassy was shipped back to the U.S. for analysis.

From IEEE's Spectrum:

After tens of thousands of fruitless X-rays, a technician noticed a small coil of wire inside the on/off switch of an IBM Selectric typewriter. (NSA engineer Charles) Gandy believed that this coil was acting as a step-down transformer to supply lower-voltage power to something within the typewriter. Eventually he uncovered a series of modifications that had been concealed so expertly that they had previously defied detection.

A solid aluminum bar, part of the structural support of the typewriter, had been replaced with one that looked identical but was hollow. Inside the cavity was a circuit board and six magnetometers. The magnetometers sensed movements of tiny magnets that had been embedded in the transposers that moved the typing "golf ball" into position for striking a given letter.

Other components of the typewriters, such as springs and screws, had been repurposed to deliver power to the hidden circuits and to act as antennas. Keystroke information was stored and sent in encrypted burst transmissions that hopped across multiple frequencies.

For more on this fascinating story, check out former intelligence officer and technologist Eric Haseltine's new book The Spy in Moscow Station.

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From the publisher:

In the late 1970s, the National Security Agency still did not officially exist - those in the know referred to it dryly as the No Such Agency. So why, when NSA engineer Charles Gandy filed for a visa to visit Moscow, did the Russian Foreign Ministry assert with confidence that he was a spy?

Outsmarting honey traps and encroaching deep enough into enemy territory to perform complicated technical investigations, Gandy accomplished his mission in Russia, but discovered more than State and CIA wanted him to know.

Eric Haseltine's The Spy in Moscow Station tells of a time when - much like today - Russian spycraft had proven itself far beyond the best technology the U.S. had to offer. The perils of American arrogance mixed with bureaucratic infighting left the country unspeakably vulnerable to ultra-sophisticated Russian electronic surveillance and espionage.

This is the true story of unorthodox, underdog intelligence officers who fought an uphill battle against their own government to prove that the KGB had pulled off the most devastating penetration of U.S. national security in history. If you think The Americans isn't riveting enough, you'll love this toe-curling nonfiction thriller.

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An IBM Selectric.

selectric.jpgOliver Kurmis (CC BY 2.5)

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Haseltine at the Book Soup Bookstore in Los Angeles last May, via C-SPAN.

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Haseltine on security at a New Yorker conference five years ago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:05 AM | Permalink

Public Domain Day 2020!

On January 1, works from 1924 will enter the U.S. public domain1, where they will be free for all to use and build upon, without permission or fee.

These works include George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, silent films by Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and books such as Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, E. M. Forster's A Passage to India, and A. A. Milne's When We Were Very Young.

These works were supposed to go into the public domain in 2000, after being copyrighted for 75 years. But before this could happen, Congress hit a 20-year pause button and extended their copyright term to 95 years2. Now the wait is over.

2020_montage.jpg

How will people celebrate this trove of cultural material?

* The Internet Archive will add books, movies, music, and more to its online library.

* HathiTrust will make tens of thousands of titles from 1924 available in its digital library.

* Google Books will offer the full text of books from that year, instead of showing only snippet views or authorized previews.

Community theaters can screen the films. Youth orchestras can afford to publicly perform the music. Educators and historians can share the full cultural record. Creators can legally build on the past - reimagining the books, making them into films, adapting the songs

Here are some of the works that will be entering the public domain in 2020. (To find more material from 1924, you can visit the Catalogue of Copyright Entries.) A fuller (but still partial) listing of over a thousand works that we have researched can be found here. (You can click on some of the titles below to get the newly public domain works.)

Films

  • Buster Keaton's The Navigator
  • Harold Lloyd's Girl Shy and Hot Water
  • The first film adaptation of Peter Pan3
  • The Sea Hawk
  • Secrets
  • He Who Gets Slapped

  • Dante's Inferno

Books

  • Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
  • E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

  • Ford Madox Ford, Some Do Not... (The first volume of his Parade's End tetralogy)
  • Eugene O'Neill, Desire Under the Elms
  • Edith Wharton, Old New York (four novellas)
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin, We (the English translation by Gregory Zilboorg)
  • A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young
  • Hugh Lofting, Doctor Dolittle's Circus

  • Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan and the Ant Men
  • Agatha Christie, The Man in the Brown Suit
  • Lord Dunsany (Edward Plunkett), The King of Elf's Daughter

Music

  • Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin
  • Fascinating Rhythm and Oh, Lady Be Good, music George Gershwin, lyrics Ira Gershwin
  • Lazy, Irving Berlin
  • Jealous Hearted Blues, Cora "Lovie" Austin (composer, pianist, bandleader) (recorded by Ma Rainey)
  • Santa Claus Blues, Charley Straight and Gus Kahn (recorded by Louis Armstrong)
  • Nobody's Sweetheart, music Billy Meyers and Elmer Schoebel, lyrics Gus Kahn and Ernie Erdman

(Only the musical compositions referred to above are entering the public domain. Particular recordings of those compositions, such as Yuja Wang's performance of Rhapsody in Blue, might still be copyrighted. You are free to copy, perform, record, or adapt Gershwin's composition, but may need permission to use a specific recording of it.)4

Why celebrate the public domain?

A wellspring for creativity. The goal of copyright is to promote creativity, and the public domain plays a central role in doing so. Copyright law gives authors important rights that encourage creativity and distribution. But it also ensures that those rights last for a "limited time" so that when they expire, works can go into the public domain, where future authors can legally build upon their inspirations. As explained by the Supreme Court:

[Copyright] is intended to motivate the creative activity of authors and inventors by the provision of special reward, and to allow the public access to the products of their genius after the limited period of exclusive control has expired. Sony v. Universal (1984).

Several of the works above were based on public domain works. Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms adapted Greek myths to a rural New England setting. Dante's Inferno fused parts of Dante's Divine Comedy with elements from Dickens' A Christmas Carol. In 2020, anyone can use these works as raw material for their own creations, without fear of a lawsuit.

Access to our cultural heritage. The public domain also enables access to cultural materials that might otherwise be lost to history. 1924 was a long time ago. The vast majority of works from 1924 are out of circulation. When they enter the public domain in 2020, anyone can make them available online, where we can discover, enjoy, and breathe new life into them. (Empirical studies have shown that public domain books are less expensive, available in more editions and formats, and more likely to be in print - see here, here, and here.)

The works listed above are famous, that is why we included them. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows what forgotten works you might find?

In 2019, works from 1923 went into the public domain and came online. This allowed enthusiast Parker Higgins to create 1923: A monthly zine of public domain treasures, where he unearths and shares everything from costume drawings from the legendary Hippodrome theater to illustrations of birds, to journals from a group of Mexican futurists known as "los estridentistas."

1923zine.jpgImages from 1923: A monthly zine of public domain treasure

It also inspired Techdirt's Gaming Like It's 1923, a contest inviting the public to create games based on the newly public domain works.

Unfortunately, the fact that works from 1924 are legally available does not mean they are actually available. After 95 years, many of these works are already lost or literally disintegrating (as with old films5 and recordings), evidence of what long copyright terms do to the conservation of cultural artifacts.

In fact, one of the items we feature below, Clark Gable's debut in White Man, apparently no longer exists.

For the works that have survived, however, their long-awaited entry into the public domain is still something to celebrate.

(Under the 56-year copyright term that existed until 1978, we would really have something to celebrate - works from 1963 would be entering the public domain in 2020!)

Rhapsody in Blue . . . Now Open for You!6

The law that expanded the copyright term is sometimes referred to as the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act," because it was supported by Disney in an effort to prevent the short film Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse's screen debut, from going into the public domain. (The film will now be in the public domain in 2024.)

But it was not just Disney that lobbied for the extra 20 years. The Gershwin Family Trust also pushed for the extension, so that George and Ira Gershwin's works from the 1920s and 1930s would remain under copyright.

The Gershwin Trust's goal was not only to continue receiving royalties, but also to exert creative control. As Marc Gershwin explained:

The monetary part is important, but if works of art are in the public domain, you can take them and do whatever you want with them. For instance, we've always licensed Porgy and Bessfor stage performances only with a black cast and chorus. That could be debased. Or someone could turn Porgy and Bess into rap music.

(In response to the concern about rap music, Steve Zeitlin wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed, "The work of the Gershwin brothers drew on African-American musical traditions. What could be more appropriate?")

Sometimes this creative control takes the form of restrictions on new uses: the estate presided over a Broadway-friendly version of Porgy and Bess encouraging the director to make controversial changes including a more upbeat ending and new dialog. Other times the estate simply exercises a veto: for example, it stopped a British clergyman from rewriting the song "Summertime" because "his lyrics were terrible."

After 95 years of exclusivity, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is now entering the public domain, where it will be freely available to the next Gershwin, even if he is a rap artist, or his lyrics are "terrible."

As explained in a 1998 New York Times editorial:

When [then-U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)] laments that George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue will soon "fall into the public domain," he makes the public domain sound like a dark abyss where songs go, never to be heard again. In fact, when a work enters the public domain it means the public can afford to use it freely, to give it new currency . . . [works in the public domain] are an essential part of every artist's sustenance, of every person's sustenance.

Perhaps Shakespeare's heirs would not have approved of 10 Things I Hate About You or Kiss Me Kate (derived from The Taming of the Shrew), or West Side Story or Romeo Must Die (from Romeo and Juliet). But the ability to freely reimagine Shakespeare's works has spurred a vast amount of creativity, from the serious to the whimsical, and allowed his legacy to endure.

Of course, it is entirely understandable that the Gershwin Trust would want 20 more years of copyright. Gershwin's music had enduring popularity, and was still earning royalties. But when Congress extended the copyright term for Gershwin, it also did so for all of the works whose commercial viability had long subsided.

Unlike the Gershwin Trust, no one benefitted from continued copyright. Yet those works - probably 99% of the material from 1924 - remained off limits, for no good reason.

(A Congressional Research Service report indicated that only around 2% of copyrights between 55 and 75 years old retain commercial value. After 75 years, that percentage is even lower. Most older works are "orphan works," where the copyright owner cannot be found at all.)

George Gershwin said of Rhapsody in Blue: "I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness."

Indeed, Rhapsody is a musical melting pot: it draws on everything from African-American blues, jazz, and ragtime styles, to French impressionists and European art music, to Jewish musical traditions, to Tin Pan Alley. Now that it is in the public domain, this wonderful composition can be part of your kaleidoscope, where you can draw upon it to create something new, just as Gershwin drew upon his influences.

More Works!

Technically, many works from 1924 may already be in the public domain because the copyright owners did not comply with the "formalities" that used to be necessary for copyright protection.7 Back then, your work went into the public domain if you did not include a copyright notice - e.g. "Copyright 1924 Edith Wharton" - when publishing it, or if you did not renew the copyright after 28 years.

Current copyright law no longer has these requirements. But, even though those works might technically be in the public domain, as a practical matter the public often has to assume they're still copyrighted (or risk a lawsuit) because the relevant copyright information is difficult to find - older records can be fragmentary, confused, or lost.

That's why Public Domain Day is so significant. On January 1, the public will know that works published in 1924 are free for use without tedious or inconclusive research.

In an abundance of caution, our lists above only include works where we were able to track down the renewal data suggesting that they are still in copyright through the end of 2019, and affirmatively entering the public domain in 2020. However, there were many exciting works from 1924 for which we could not locate renewals. They will also be in the public domain in 2020, but may have entered the public domain decades ago due to lack of renewal. Here are some of those works.

  • W. E. B. Du Bois, The Gift of Black Folk
  • Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
  • Jelly Roll Morton, King Porter Stomp
  • Gertrude "Ma" Rainey ("Mother of the Blues"), Counting the Blues
  • It had To Be You (music Isham Jones, lyrics Gus Kahn)
  • Everybody Loves My Baby, but My Baby Don't Love Nobody but Me (music Spencer Williams, lyrics Jack Palmer)
  • The Thief of Bagdad
  • Greed
  • White Man (Clark Gable's film debut)

It's a Wonderful Public Domain . . . What happens when works enter the public domain? Sometimes, wonderful things. The 1947 film It's A Wonderful Life entered the public domain in 1975 because its copyright was not properly renewed after the first 28-year term. The film had been a flop on release, but thanks to its public domain status, it became a holiday classic.

Why? Because TV networks were free to show it over and over again during the holidays, making the film immensely popular.

But then copyright law reentered the picture. In 1993, the film's original copyright holder, capitalizing on a recent Supreme Court case, reasserted copyright based on its ownership of the film's musical score and the short story on which the film was based (the film itself is still in the public domain). Ironically, a film that only became a success because of its public domain status was pulled back into copyright.

What Could Have Been

Works from 1924 are finally entering the public domain, after a 95-year copyright term. However, under the laws that were in effect until 1978, thousands of works from 1963 would be entering the public domain this year. They range from the books The Fire Next Time and Where the Wild Things Are, to the film The Birds and the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, and much more. Have a look at some of the others.

1963_montage.jpg

In fact, since copyright used to come in renewable terms of 28 years, and 85% of authors did not renew, 85% of the works from 1991 might be entering the public domain!

Imagine what the great libraries of the world - or just internet hobbyists - could do: digitizing those holdings, making them available for education and research, for pleasure and for creative reuse.

Want to learn more about the public domain? Here is the legal background on how we got our current copyright terms (including summaries of recent court cases), why the public domain matters, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

You can also read James Boyle's book The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (Yale University Press, 2008) - naturally, you can read the full text of The Public Domain online at no cost and you are free to copy and redistribute it for non-commercial purposes.

You can also read "In Ambiguous Battle: The Promise (and Pathos) of Public Domain Day," an article by Center Director Jennifer Jenkins revealing the promise and the limits of various attempts to reverse the erosion of the public domain, and a short article in the Huffington Post celebrating a previous Public Domain Day.


1 In 2019, published works entered the U.S. public domain for the first time since 1998. However, in the interim, a small subset of works - unpublished works that were not registered with the Copyright Office before 1978 - had been entering the public domain after a "life plus 70" copyright term. But, because these works were never published, potential users are much less likely to encounter them. In addition, it is difficult to determine whether works were "published" for copyright purposes. Therefore, this site focuses on the thousands of published works that are finally entering the public domain. Please note that unpublished works that were properly registered with the Copyright Office in 1924 are also entering the public domain after a 20 year wait - for those works, copyright was secured on the date of registration.

2 The 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act gave works published from 1923 through 1977 a 95-year term. They enter the public domain on January 1 after the conclusion of the 95th year. Works published from 1923-1977 had to meet certain requirements to be eligible for the 95-year term - they all had to be published with a copyright notice, and works from 1923 - 1963 also had to have their copyrights renewed after the initial 28-year term. Foreign works from 1924 are still copyrighted in the U.S. until 2020 if 1) they complied with U.S. notice and renewal formalities, 2) they were published in the U.S. within 30 days of publication abroad, or 3) if neither of these are true, they were still copyrighted in their home country as of 1/1/96. Note that the copyright term for older works is different in other countries: in the EU, works from authors who died in 1949 will go into the public domain in 2020 after a life plus 70-year term, and in Canada, works of authors who died in 1969 will enter the public domain after a life plus 50-year term.

3 Fun fact: in the UK, the Peter Pan play and novel are subject to an unusual piece of legislation that gives the Great Ormond Street Hospital perpetual royalties from their use (just royalties, not creative control). You can read more about Peter Pan and copyright here.

4 The list of public domain music refers to the "musical composition" - the underlying music and lyrics - not the sound recordings of those compositions. Federal copyright did not used to cover sound recordings from before 1972 (though pre-1972 sound recordings were protected under some states' laws). However, a new law from 2018 called the Music Modernization Act ("MMA") has federalized copyright for pre-1972 sound recordings, in order to clear up the confusing patchwork of state law protection. Recordings from 1924 will enter the public domain in 2025. Importantly however, unlike the rest of copyright law, the MMA allows for uses of orphan works: if those older recordings are not being commercially exploited, there is a process for lawfully engaging in noncommercial uses. For more information about this law, please see the Copyright Office's summary. While musical compositions are still copyrighted, there is a "compulsory license" that allows people to make recordings if they pay a standard royalty and comply with the license terms. However, this compulsory license doesn't cover printing sheet music, making public performances, synchronizing audio with video, or making "derivative works." And, of course, it requires payment. Public domain compositions can be freely recorded.

5 Many silent films were intentionally destroyed by the studios because they no longer had apparent value. Other older films have disintegrated while preservationists waited for them to enter the public domain, so that they could legally digitize them. (There is a narrow provision allowing some restorations, but it is extremely limited.) The Librarian of Congress estimates that more than 80% of films from the 1920s has already decayed beyond repair. Endangered film footage includes not only studio productions, but also works of historical value, such as newsreels, anthropological and regional films, rare footage documenting daily life for ethnic minorities, and advertising and corporate shorts. (For more information, see here.)

6 Here are some resources for this section. Several New York Times editorials expressing concern about term extension discussed the Gershwin estate's lobbying efforts. See Keeping Copyright in Balance, (February 21, 1998), Dinitia Smith, Immortal Words, Immortal Royalties? Even Mickey Mouse Joins the Fray (March 28, 1998), and Steve Zeitlin, Strangling Culture With a Copyright Law (April 25, 1998). Sources about the Gershwins's royalties and creative control include NPR, Managing the Gershwins' Lucrative Musical Legacy and John J. Fialka, Songwriters' Heirs Mourn Copyright Loss, the Wall Street Journal (Oct. 30, 1997) ("A nationwide license for a Gershwin song that would have fetched $45,000 to $75,000 15 years ago . . . now goes for between $200,000 and $250,000."). Additional resources about musical borrowing by the Gershwins include Olufunmilayo B. Arewa, Copyright on Catfish Row: Musical Borrowing, Porgy and Bess, and Unfair Use, 37 Rutgers L.J. 277 (2006); David Schiff, Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue (1997); and The True Origins of Gershwin's "Summertime".

7 Millions of books published from 1925 - 1963 are actually in the public domain because the copyright owners did not renew the rights. Efforts are underway to unlock this "secret" public domain, but compiling a definitive list of those titles is a daunting task. The relevant registration and renewal information is in the 450,000-page Catalog of Copyright Entries ("CCE"). Currently, there is no way to reliably search the entire CCE, but thankfully the New York Public Library is in the midst of converting the CCE into a machine-searchable format. Even after this is complete, however, confirming that works without apparent renewals are in the public domain involves additional complexities. As of September 2019, the HathiTrust Copyright Review Program has completed this process with 506,989 U.S. publications, and determined that 302,915 (59.7%) are in the public domain, and can therefore be made available online. The work of the New York Public Library, HathiTrust, and other groups continues, with the goal of opening these public domain books to the public.


Special thanks to our tireless and talented research maven and website guru Balfour Smith for building this site and compiling the list of works from 1924.

Creative Commons License Public Domain Day 2020 by Duke Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Comments welcome.

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