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The [Monday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes / Posted on December 10, 2018

1. Shhhhhhhhhh.

Note I sent to our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman this morning:

ARE THE BEARS ACTUALLY GOOD?!!!!!

shhhhhh, don't tell anyone but ... they are now a legitimate .... super .... bowl ... contender .... aarrrgghhh! i mean ... my god ... i'm trying to rein it in but ... holy cow.

See also:

2. Strike Psych.

"The nation's first charter schools strike has ended. More than 500 teachers and nearly 7,500 students at Acero charter schools in Chicago are going back to class on Monday after days of intense negotiations between school officials and union leaders," WBEZ reports.

"Both sides reached a tentative agreement on Sunday morning, which calls for smaller class sizes, increases in salaries for educators, and the restructuring of the working day."

For some reason, Ed Burke's name doesn't appear in the report, even though he's taking credit on Facebook for resolving the strike:

Dear Alderman: Acero means "steel," as in "steel yourself for an indictment, not "steal," as in "don't steal credit where it's not due."

3. By Retiring, Fire Commissioner Avoided Discipline Over His Driver's Racial Slur.

No comment, just read it.

4. The Membership Integrity Committee Will See You Now.

"Strike rumors have been swirling around Columbia College for months now. The school's famously scrappy part-time faculty union - recently re-branded as CFAC (Columbia Faculty Union) - has been working without a contract since the last one expired in August 2017," Deanna Isaacs reports for the Reader.

As negotiations dragged on, union leadership had been ramping up the strike talk. By Thanksgiving week, even the administration was warning that a walkout looked imminent.

The fall strike didn't materialize, but something more surprising did: the sudden appearance of a mysterious tribunal, the Membership Integrity Committee, summoning union members to hearings where they'd be tried on charges brought by anonymous accusers. Punishment, potentially including fines, expulsion from the union, and other costs, would follow for those found guilty.

It's a complicated story, and a bizarre one to emerge on a 21st century college campus. As Jennie Fauls, an adjunct faculty member and assistant director of the Program of Writing and Rhetoric, put it in a November 21 opinion piece on the website of the Columbia Chronicle, "The Integrity Committee might as well have posted their decree in the Salem, Massachusetts town square in the late 17th century."

Here's the Fauls Op-Ed.

5. National Part-time Radio.

"According to union representatives, between 20 and 22 percent of NPR's 483 union-covered newsroom workforce - or 1 in 5 people - are temp workers. The number varies week to week as temps come and go," the Washington Post reports.

I can't hear you, I'm busy listening to this NPR story from November about "How Temp Workers Became The Norm In America."

6. Snitch Lasagna.

"Illinois lawmakers have created the nation's toughest test for allowing testimony from jailhouse snitches at criminal trials," AP reports.

Inspired by reform of the state's notorious and now-discarded system of capital punishment, it requires judges to make pretrial inquiries into the veracity of testimony by incarcerated informants before allowing or barring it.

Testimony by snitches - those claiming to have heard a defendant boast about or confess to a crime while behind bars - has helped convict 19 criminal defendants who were later exonerated during the past three decades in Illinois, more than any other state, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

The General Assembly put the law on the books last month by voting to override a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The Republican governor took the side of prosecutors in arguing that existing trial rules offer a buffer against errant testimony. The rules required state disclosure of all potential witnesses and the benefits informants have been offered in exchange for testifying, and a universal instruction to jurors prior to deliberation that jailhouse informants' testimony is historically unreliable.

Prosecutors also fear that while the required hearing is only for jailhouse snitches, it could open the door to pretrial approval of other witnesses, including eyewitnesses.

From the Innocence Project:

Safeguarding Against Unreliable Jailhouse Informant Testimony.

7. Tribune Editorial Cartoonist Who Once Bought Fake Twitter Followers Also Draws Fake News.

8. Juvy Junk.

"Psychiatrists at an Illinois youth prison have prescribed a powerful antipsychotic medication with a high potential for abuse to hundreds of juveniles in custody who have disorders for which the drug has not been approved, according to a new report," the Chicago Reporter reports. (Reporter Reports On Report!)

The drug quetiapine, sold under the brand name Seroquel, is an antipsychotic medication that was designed to treat severe psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But the drug has been prescribed at the Illinois Youth Center in downstate Harrisburg to kids diagnosed with conduct disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conditions for which the drug has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a prison watchdog group . . .

Seroquel is not approved by the FDA as a treatment for insomnia, said Dr. Michael Naylor, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and director of the university's Behavioral Health and Welfare Program. Most psychiatrists would not prescribe Seroquel for sleep issues for two reasons, he said: its serious physical side effects and strong potential for abuse.

"Seroquel is actually referred to as 'the jailhouse heroin,' because it gives a sort of feeling of well-being and a woozy high," Naylor said.

It has been used as a recreational drug with the street names "Suzie-Q," "Quell," and "Squirrel," he said, and abuse of the drug has been documented in correctional settings. A 2004 letter in the American Journal of Psychiatry estimated that 30 percent of inmates in the Los Angeles County Jail were faking psychiatric symptoms in order to get Seroquel prescribed."

Seroquel is also called "prison coke" and "baby heroin," according to a 2015 Albuquerque Journal investigation,

9. Bitcoin Bust.

"The biggest-ever bet on Bitcoin options is about to expire worthless," Bloomberg reports.

"Purchased for almost $1 million on LedgerX's trading platform just days after Bitcoin peaked a year ago, the call options have a strike price of $50,000 and an expiry date of Dec. 28, 2018. For the contracts to retain any value at expiry, Bitcoin would need to rally more than 1,400 percent."

Which, apparently, is not bloody likely.

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"Ari Paul, a cryptocurrency fund manager at BlockTower Capital, has indicated that he bought the options while simultaneously selling some of his fund's Bitcoin holdings. In a December 2017 interview with CNBC, Paul said the trade allowed him to lock-in some profit, reduce exposure to market declines and potentially earn a big payout if Bitcoin soared above $50,000.

When the options were purchased, causing a stir in crypto circles, Bitcoin was trading at about $16,200. The virtual currency has since become mired in one of the worst bear markets since its inception a decade ago, and extended losses on Friday, falling 7.7 percent to $3,360.08 at 9:05 a.m. Hong Kong time, consolidated prices compiled by Bloomberg showed.

"These calls let me capture upside while reducing my downside risk," Paul told CNBC. He later tweeted that the trade - selling some of his Bitcoin holdings while buying the call options - was profitable.

Paul, a former portfolio manager at the University of Chicago endowment, didn't disclose the performance of his entire fund. BlockTower declined to comment.

Before his was the UC endowment's portfolio manager, Paul was a risk specialist for the endowment. It looks like he now lives in the Greater New York area, perhaps because he didn't know the right people to screw up investments in Chicago.

10. Chicago Maroon: Early Decision Unfairly Favors Wealthy Applicants.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Go Ahead, Eat Raw Cookie Dough!
No reason to deny yourself, despite what they tell you.

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 11.55.56 AM.png

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ChicagoReddit

Caught this CTA employee having a great time on one of the holiday trains. CTA employees are the best. from r/chicago

Card

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Art Institute of Chicago: The First 125 Years

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BeachBook

Buying Organic Veggies At The Supermarket Is A Waste Of Money.

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Documents Point To Illegal Campaign Coordination Between Trump And NRA.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Ha ha. I made a point in tweeting about the signatures that the numbers were simply what candidates "claimed." I wonder if Amara's signatures would have had a better chance of being challenged if she claimed 40,000 instead of 62,000.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Inventive.

Permalink


MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - Harold vs. the Haters.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Go Ahead, Eat Raw Cookie Dough!


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