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April 30, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Frenship at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.


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2. Preoccupations at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on Saturday night.

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3. Kevin Morby at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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4. The Rumble at Cobra Lounge on Friday night.

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5. Pancho Barraza at the Rosemont Theatre on Saturday night.

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6. Hank Wood & The Hammerheads at ChiTown Futbol on Saturday night.

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7. Chew at ChiTown Futbol on Saturday night.

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8. Violent End at ChiTown Futbol on Saturday night.

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9. Greg Ashley at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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10. Space Raft at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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11. Rick Murray & The Mudcats at the Greenstone United Methodist Church on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:42 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

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White House Correspondents Sinners

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Daily Don.

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Ill Doctrine.

For more abundant commentary on the WHCD, see @BeachwoodReport.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The White Sox Report: Roof Shots
"Don't tell me how hard you hit it, tell me how often you hit it," writes our very own Roger Wallenstein in the face of the exit velocity craze.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production, as is (still) the last Week In Chicago Rock.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

This is kind of bonkers, give it a look.

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BeachBook

When Misogynists Become Terrorists.

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Two Sisters, A Bully And An Apology 60 Years In The Making.

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Economics Is Bullshit.

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Defunct Northwest Indiana Coal Plant Slated To Become Massive Data Center.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Eruption disruption.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:35 PM | Permalink

Roof Shots

This is a quiz. Name the statistic where the major league leader can go 0-for-4, striking out each time, and still continue to be the MLB leader?

Here's a hint. As of Sunday morning, Yoan Moncada, Franchy Cordero, Jorge Alfaro and Teoscar Hernandez all were in the top 10 in the category. We're familiar with Moncada, but who are these other guys?

I'll save you the trouble of investigating. Cordero is a rookie outfielder with the Padres; Alfaro, a catcher, has played a total of 53 games for the Phillies; and Hernandez roams the outfield for Toronto.

What we're talking about here is the stat du jour, otherwise known as exit velocity, just one of the analytic gems produced by cameras and radar that apparently are present in ballparks throughout the country.

Exit velocity - along with a host of other heretofore undocumented curiosities which have been part of the game forever - was introduced in 2015. Under the auspices of Amazon Web Services (AWS), how hard a batter propels a ball has become almost as popular as a red hot with extra onions at a Sox game.

Not a home run is hit without the fans watching on TV and often those in attendance finding out the exit velocity and distance almost before the batter crosses home plate. How amazing is that? And Amazon doesn't even have to screw the post office to deliver this information.

I relish a hard line drive as much as anyone. I care not whether it's a base hit to center or a home run into the left field seats. If either is a walk-off for the White Sox, I'm delighted. Nevertheless, exit velocity is primarily a useless statistic but one that keeps popping up because of the hype it receives from broadcasters, teams' publicity departments, and the geniuses in the Commissioner's office.

Don't tell me how hard you hit it, tell me how often you hit it.

All one has to do to understand the futility of exit velocity is check out the leaders. For instance, Cordero, a 23-year-old prospect with San Diego, is hitting an uninspiring .234 with six home runs. His on-base percentage is a limp .281. Alfaro shares the catching duties for the surprising Phillies. He was hitting .193 after Saturday's action, but when he does hit the ball, it travels at an average speed of 96.6 mph, well above the major league average of 89.12. Hernandez, who ranks seventh at 96.7, makes better contact. He's hitting .296.

Then there's Moncada, whose exit velocity is 98.2 after getting two hits and being robbed of another in Sunday's 5-4 loss at Kansas City.

After yesterday's game's, no one - not Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, nor Mike Trout - has a higher average exit velocity than Moncada. He's the best in baseball.

He's also the leader in another much less desired category. In the 26 games Moncada has played this season, there have been just two games when he hasn't struck out. He's whiffed 47 times, four more than any other hitter in the game. At this rate, Moncada will strike out almost 300 times this season. The all-time record is 223 set by Mark Reynolds in 2009. Three seasons later when he was a member of the White Sox, Adam Dunn came very, very close by striking out 222 times. But let's be fair. The Big Donkey did slam 41 homers that season with 96 RBI.

None of this is meant to disparage Moncada. He is a work in progress. You don't want to be taking a bathroom break when he comes to the plate. When he puts the ball in play - the ol' BABIP - he's batting .423, which ranks him fourth among all players. That's scary, and it tells us that if only the kid can make contact more often, the sky is the limit. It also tells us that his exit velocity comes in plenty handy once his bat meets the ball.

The player who arguably is having the greatest opening month is Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius. He's hit 10 homers and driven in 30 runs in April with a slash of .340/.436/1.202. And his average exit velocity is 87.57, below the MLB average. But the key is that Gregorius has struck out just 13 times.

There are all kinds of players, past and present, not noted for exit velocity who either are in the Hall of Fame or headed there. Houston's reigning MVP Jose Altuve ranks 215th this season in exit velocity while Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is 129th. Ichiro is far past his prime, but it's a safe bet that not many of his 3,089 hits would have raised eyebrows on the exit velocity spectrum.

Talking about Ichiro, there have been 321 batted balls this season which have traveled at least 100 miles per hour. Ichiro has done it. He's number 321 at 100.1. Oops, there I go. Talking about exit velocity or EV for those in the know.

Long before AWS came along, the tape measure home run was responsible for asserting a ballplayer's masculinity and strength. Mickey Mantle was king. No one ever hit a ball out of Yankee Stadium, but on May 22, 1963 The Mick hit a game-winning shot that ricocheted off the facade of the third deck, just inches from going out of the stadium. Estimates of the distance are as lofty as 734 feet! And Mantle did accomplish these Herculean feats somewhat often. He's credited with six homers that traveled more than 600 feet.

Before its demise in 1991, hitting a roof shot at Comiskey Park was the standard by which White Sox hitters could be measured. A "Roof Shot" always was a big deal since it was 347 feet down the left field line, and the roof rose to 135 feet.

It took a real man to hit one onto or over the roof of the upper deck. In its 81-year history, there were 44 balls that disappeared beyond the reach of the fans. Babe Ruth was the first to do it. The Sox' Ron Kittle did it seven times. And Dave Nicholson, a Sox outfielder in the '60s known for his power but more so for his strikeouts, socked one estimated at 573 feet over the left field roof. That was a lot more fun than exit velocity.

There are many statistics in our saberworld that do have meaning. One is Weighted On-Base Average or wOBA. As Fangraphs explains, "Not all hits are created equal. Batting average assumes they are." What wOBA does is "combine all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value."

So . . . the Sox' Matt Davidson, who homered three times on Opening Day in Kansas City, continued last week to torture the lowly Royals. He hit two home runs in each game Thursday and Friday as the Sox took both contests in a five-game series in which the Sox won the first three before losing the last two. Davidson's two-run blast in the 11th inning on Friday turned out to be the game-winner. Feats like that contribute greatly to wOBA.

The average wOBA is about .320. Right now Davidson ranks No. 11 with a .418 mark. Part of his improvement is due to patience and fewer strikeouts. Last year his strikeout-to-walk ratio was a horrifying 37 to 4. This season he's still whiffing with regularity at a bit more than 32 percent, but his walks have risen to 13 percent of his plate appearances.

Most of the damage Davidson has inflicted so far has come against the Royals, where in seven games he's slashed .462/.563/.1.308 with seven homers and 12 RBI. Royal pitchers have struck him out only four times.

My apologies for filling this space with so many numbers, rankings and explanations, but this is the world we've been living in for some time now. Thankfully we still have a few ball parks with upper decks in the outfield awaiting the next towering blast that lands on or over the roof.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

April 28, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

Plan accordingly.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #198: Ryan Pace Still Sucks
He got the Bears' first-round pick right Thursday night, but he only filled a hole of his own making. Plus: The Cubs Are Cohering; The White Sox Aren't Worth Watching Yet Like We Thought They'd Be: and Men In Red Over Red Bulls.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Chicago Wolves 2018 Playoff Goal Horn.

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Weekend BeachBook

You Could Be Flirting With Paid Impersonators On Dating Apps.

Sick, sad world.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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Rahm's latest donors.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Just in time.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:21 PM | Permalink

April 27, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Exeunt at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.


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2. Martha at Logan Square Auditorium on Thursday night.

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3. Bad Moves at Logan Square Auditorium on Thursday night.

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4. Jeff Rosenstock at Logan Square Auditorium on Thursday night.

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5. Claire and the Bears at the Heartland Cafe for International Pop Overthrow on Wednesday night.

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6. District 97 at Reggies on Thursday night.

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7. Carpenter Brut at the Concord on Thursday night.

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8. Archspire at the Forge in Joliet on Thursday night.

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9. Carnifex at the Forge in Joliet on Thursday night.

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10. Keb' Mo' at City Winery on Thursday night.

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11. Au/Ra at the Chop Shop on Monday night.

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12. Rick Astley at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:32 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #198: Ryan Pace Still Sucks

He got the Bears' first-round pick right Thursday night, but he only filled a hole of his own making. Plus: The Cubs Are Cohering; The White Sox Aren't Worth Watching Yet Like We Thought They'd Be: and Men In Red Over Red Bulls.


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SHOW NOTES

* 198.

* Putting the troll in comptroller.

* Rascals and scoundrels.

* Michael Madigan's Magic Machine.

5:15: Draft Daze.

* Coffman: The One Guy Ryan Pace Better Not Take In The First Round Of Tonight's NFL Draft.

* Saints Willing To Mortgage Future For Marcus Davenport.

* Packers Big Winner Of Round One.

* 49ers' McGlinchey Pick Draws Mixed Reviews.

* Rosenthal: Ryan Pace Is Worst GM In NFL.

* Rick Spielman's Winning Draft Philosophy.

* Roquan Smith.

* Baker Mayfield, Loose Cannon.

* Josh Rosen 'Pissed' About Falling In NFL Draft, Has 'Chip' Over 'Nine Mistakes Ahead Of Me.'

* Josh McCown's Daughter Weighs In On Sam Darnold Pick.

* Meet Evan Silva:

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* How Matt Nagy Schooled The Patriots:

"Head coach Andy Reid's and offensive coordinator Matt Nagy's creative play design and blend of West Coast and spread concepts were tailor-made for the kind of personnel the Chiefs now have, but especially Alex Smith.

"The Chiefs attacked the Patriots with a variety of formations and options. There was lots of motion pre-snap. There was read-option. There was run-pass option. There were jet sweeps and fake jet sweeps. There was pistol. There was play-action. There were plenty of crossing routes.

"Rookie running back Kareem Hunt did a little bit of everything. Dynamic wideout Tyreek Hill lined up pretty much everywhere, including the backfield. Smith - who threw for more than 300 yards for just the seventh time in his 13-year career - deftly controlled all of it."

50:06: Cubs Cohering.

* Rhodes: Cubs clicking but still herky-jerky.

* Coffman: It's coming. They're cohering.

* Anti-sentimentalist who hates Cutesy Cubbie Stuff Coffman: Wrigley ruined. The place is ridiculous.

* "The Harry Caray Death Cult is still going strong."

* Albert Almora's latest web gem.

* Kris Bryant Out Again On Friday.

* "Keep sending him up!"

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* Kris Bryant's amazing helmet spin.

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* Javy Baez, baseball savant.

1:05:07: White Sox Not Worth Watching Yet Like We Thought They Would Be.

1:07:05: Fire Beat Red Bulls In New York.

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STOPPAGE: 7:22

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:17 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"Immigration officers in the United States operate under a cardinal rule: Keep your hands off Americans," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"But Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents repeatedly target U.S. citizens for deportation by mistake, making wrongful arrests based on incomplete government records, bad data and lax investigations, according to a Times review of federal lawsuits, internal ICE documents and interviews.

"Since 2012, ICE has released from its custody more than 1,480 people after investigating their citizenship claims, according to agency figures. And a Times review of Department of Justice records and interviews with immigration attorneys uncovered hundreds of additional cases in the country's immigration courts in which people were forced to prove they are Americans and sometimes spent months or even years in detention.

"Victims include a landscaper snatched in a Home Depot parking lot in Rialto and held for days despite his son's attempts to show agents the man's U.S. passport; a New York resident locked up for more than three years fighting deportation efforts after a federal agent mistook his father for someone who wasn't a U.S. citizen; and a Rhode Island housekeeper mistakenly targeted twice, resulting in her spending a night in prison the second time even though her husband had brought her U.S. passport to a court hearing.

"They and others described the panic and feeling of powerlessness that set in as agents took them into custody without explanation and ignored their claims of citizenship."

One man was wrongly held for 1,273 days.

*

"Salem Media, owner of the influential conservative outlet RedState, froze the site on Friday and dismissed many of its writers," CNN's Brian Stelter reports.

"Bloggers were locked out of their accounts - some just temporarily, while the cuts were made, and others permanently.

"Erick Erickson, the site's longtime editor who left in 2015, tweeted about what he called the 'mass firing' on Friday morning.

"Very sad to see, but not really surprising given Salem's direction," he wrote. "And, finally, after all these years, they've turned off my account."

"Multiple sources told CNNMoney that they believed conservative critics of President Trump were the writers targeted for removal."

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"I don't think people fully grasp the depth of what the Russians were doing in 2016," veteran investigative reporter and author Michael Isikoff tells Chicago magazine ahead of a Chicago Humanities Festival appearance on Saturday with David Corn.

We often use the words "meddling" or "interference" in the election. It was a full-scale assault on American democracy that was far more extensive and sophisticated than anybody realized at the time. It had been in the works for quite a few years, and this is something that is a real national security threat that's going to be ongoing. It didn't end with the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. We're facing another election - congressional election - this year and a presidential election in 2020. This a serious national security issue.

Isikoff and Corn will discuss their book Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.

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"The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower in June 2016 on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton has long insisted she is a private attorney, not a Kremlin operative trying to meddle in the presidential election," the New York Times reports.

"But newly released emails show that in at least one instance two years earlier, the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, worked hand in glove with Russia's chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well-connected Russian firm.

"Ms. Veselnitskaya also appears to have recanted her earlier denials of Russian government ties. During an interview to be broadcast Friday by NBC News, she acknowledged that she was not merely a private lawyer but a source of information for a top Kremlin official, Yuri Y. Chaika, the prosecutor general.

"I am a lawyer, and I am an informant," she said. "Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

*

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #188
Is in post-production.

-

ChicagoGram

#cta #chicagotransitauthority #publicbuilding #chicago

A post shared by Gretchen Hasse (@gbhasse) on

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ChicagoTube

Fly Me To The Moon | Best Tap | Center Stage Dance, Chicago

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BeachBook

Drew Cloud Is An Oft-Quoted Expert On Student Loans. One Problem: He's Not Real.

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UIC's $3 Million Research Breakdown.

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Saint Elliot Rodgers And The 'Incels' Who Canonize Him.

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8 Chicago Metal Bands You Need In Your Life.

*

How The New York Times Reported A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Story.

*

Mummies. At The Field.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Alt delete.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:24 PM | Permalink

April 26, 2018

The One Guy Ryan Pace Better Not Take In The First Round Of Tonight's NFL Draft

Consistently good NFL teams trade down in the draft way more than they trade up. Exhibit A is the Patriots' draft record over the past 15 years - they have consistently made moves to increase their number of picks rather than decrease them, and that is a big reason they are good year after year after year.

Successful NFL teams are always on the lookout for a sucker who falls too hard for a prospect and is willing to give up multiple picks so that at the very least he can appear to be aggressive. Sound like someone we know? And so many members of the professional sports commentariat continue to fall for it. The local guys shouldn't feel too bad - the national guys do it too.

Because of course we remember what general manager Ryan Pace has done in the Bears' last two drafts. He has moved up. The guy who is supposedly building through the draft had all of five picks in the third one he oversaw for the Bears last year. The Packers, Vikings and Lions averaged 10 picks each.

Not a coincidence that the Packers, Vikings and Lions again finished ahead of the Bears in the NFC North this past year, for the fourth year in a row.

The evidence builds and builds that Pace isn't even an average general manager, let alone above replacement. The latest evidence? No matter how much Bears brass tries to spin it (they were at it again during Tuesday's typically worthless pre-draft press conference), they botched the tender they gave restricted free agent receiver Cam Meredith. For a million bucks more - a contract offer of $2.9 million rather than $1.9 million - they could have either signed Meredith or received a second-round pick as compensation.

Instead, they watched as New Orleans swooped in and offered him a two-year contract with more than $5 million guaranteed. They either wouldn't have done that if the Bears had properly tendered Meredith (almost certain) or the Bears would have received the pick. And the Bears, who had been forced to spend more on restricted free agent cornerback Kyle Fuller than they had planned when the Packers did the same thing with him earlier in the off-season, didn't want to do it again.

Attention, Bears beat writers. It makes absolutely no sense when a team that is short on wide receivers and flush with cap space lets a receiver asset go for nothing. Their assessment of his injury doesn't matter in the slightest! They offered him $1.9 million!

It is far more likely that Pace is under pressure to keep the payroll well under the cap, which of course translates into more money for the McCaskeys. So he figured he could get away with the lower offer to a player coming back from a serious knee injury. He figured wrong. Just like he figured wrong last year when he failed to franchise Alshon Jeffery and then watched as the receiver given away for nothing had a great season for the Super Bowl champion Eagles.

So we have ample reason to be wary of Pace heading into tonight's draft. If the Giants don't go for a quarterback at No. 2, there is a decent chance that one of the top four guys - most pundits seem to believe it is UCLA's Josh Rosen, which I don't understand but it's not the first time - will be available when the Bears pick at No. 8.

If that is the case, the team needs to make a move with a team that wants to move up to take Rosen. The Bears have way too many holes to fill to pass on an opportunity to increase their inventory of selections. We'll have our fingers crossed. Stranger things have happened, right?

If Pace stays where he is (far more likely, of course), hopefully Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith or Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson will be available. Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick would not be a disaster, nor would Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. If Pace continues to operate the way he has, he has probably fallen in love with one of those guys. Worst case scenario: he is enamored of physical freak/workout warrior Tremaine Edmunds, a linebacker out of Virginia Tech who is quite simply too questionable for a top 10 pick.

If Pace stays put (I don't think even he can move up in this draft) and takes Edmunds, it may finally be time to grab a pitchfork and march on Lake Forest.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:23 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

*

Marty is right.

"If there's been a north star for the Vikings - especially in the six drafts Spielman has led since he was given the GM title in 2012 -- it's the principle that more picks are better. And in recent years, few teams have been more diligent about stockpiling draft choices than the Vikings," the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says in a report titled: Vikings Find Success In NFL Draft Numbers: Stockpiling Picks Has Made Them Regular Draft Winners.

The Vikings made 58 draft picks from 2012-17, despite receiving only two compensatory choices during that time. They're tied with the Browns for the third-most picks in the draft since 2012, behind only the 49ers (61 picks) and the Seahawks (59).

And while the sheer act of stockpiling picks is no guarantee of success (as the Browns certainly prove), the teams with the best draft performance in recent years have often made their marks by picking plenty of players.

Using Pro Football Reference's Draft Approximate Value metric - which distills a player's longevity and productiveness for his original team into a single number - the Vikings have received the second-most production in the league from their draft picks since 2012, with a total of 430 points.

Only the Rams, whose 51 picks were tied for the eighth-most in the league since 2012, scored higher (470).

Of the 10 teams that made the most picks from 2012-17, six - the Rams, Vikings, Seahawks, Packers, Lions and Redskins - also were among the teams with the highest Draft AV scores.

Only two of the 10 teams that made the most picks (the Browns and 49ers) were among the teams with the lowest Draft AV scores, and only one of the most successful teams - the Jaguars -- was also among the 10 clubs that made the fewest picks.

Spielman has often said he likes to have at least 10 picks in a draft. That's partly to give him collateral for trades, but it's largely because of something he said Tuesday: In a game where success eludes even the best evaluators, it's better to have more chances to play.

Of course there is room for honest debate over draft strategy and philosophy, and every year is different for every team. But clearly, Hoge calling out Bears fans who would like to see a team supposedly (rhetorically, that is, but not really) rebuilding through the draft acquire more picks - especially given the dearth the team has had in the Ryan Pace years - is not cool.

*

"The success of their first-rounders (Adrian Peterson in 2007, Percy Harvin in 2009) and veteran acquisitions such as [Jared] Allen helped put the Vikings in position to play for the NFC title in 2009, but the roster was left in dire need of young talent after the 2010 season. Since then, the Vikings have only left the draft with fewer than 10 players twice, and they've never selected fewer than eight.

"In recent years, few teams have turned in more draft cards than they have, and few have coaxed more success out of those picks."

*

Or, as our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman puts it today:

"Consistently good NFL teams trade down in the draft way more than they trade up (Exhibit A is the Patriots' draft record over the past 15 years - they have consistently made moves to increase their number of picks rather than decrease them and that is a big reason they are good year after year after year."

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Digg Me Out
"Last month, Digg, an old beloved content aggregation destination, made the sad announcement to its loyal following that it was shutting down its RSS platform, Digg Reader," Cale Guthrie Weissman reports for Fast Company.

Good riddance, aggregators are killing newspapers!

"Multiple sources tell me that Digg, formerly owned by Betaworks, has been sold to the little-known Boston-based ad-tech company BuySellAds."

Made for each other, spammy ad-tech is killing newspapers, even though it's all over our site!

"Most recently, Digg raised a Series C round of funding that was led by Gannett."

Oh.

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Fighting Facebook
"Facebook is up 2.4 percent postmarket after easily topping expectations with its Q1 earnings as ad revenues grew by 50% Y/Y and user growth met expectations," Seeking Alpha reports.

"Daily active users rose 13 percent to 1.45B for March. Monthly active users also rose 13 percent, to 2.2B as of March 31.

"Ad revenues grew by half to $11.795B from a year-ago $7.857B. Of that, mobile ad revenue made up 91%; a year ago mobile ad revenue was 85% of the total."

*

Facebook is a powerful platform that does a lot of good, including spreading journalism far and wide. It isn't stealing journalism's profits any more than Google is. Use it to your advantage and stop whining.

*

A fair number of journalists pushed back against this Axios post, but it has a lot of truth to it:

"Facebook and Google execs privately complain about the barrage of critical coverage they face, charging that media companies have a financial incentive to attack them and that media execs are settling scores. They're right."

That's not to say Facebook (or Google) is harmless, because it obviously isn't. Its practices are horrible in many ways. But Facebook's technology and platform can be used for both good and bad. Smart media will harness the power of platforms without wholly depending on them.

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Gun Nuts
"The Chicago Police Department has routinely failed to flag people whom it believes may be mentally unfit to legally carry a gun, raising concerns by the city's watchdog that the department has missed out on a critical tool to remove guns from those who pose a threat to public safety, according to a new report issued Wednesday," the Tribune reports.

The oversight is particularly embarrassing for a Police Department constantly harping on the need for stricter gun laws.

The office of city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson conducted the review after receiving a complaint in January 2017 that raised concerns about Chicago police's practice of returning firearms to individuals who had threatened suicide.

Ferguson's report noted that the state Firearm Owners Identification Card Act required the Police Department to notify Illinois State Police within 24 hours of determining a person posed "a clear and present danger."

But the Inspector General's review discovered that only once had that happened in 37 incidents over a recent 3 1/2-year period in which Chicago police confiscated a gun from a person before transporting him to a mental health facility.

What's more, Ferguson's office identified only one other instance between December 2013 and April 2017 in which Chicago police notified state police about a FOID card holder considered to be dangerous.

The timing of the OIG's report could hardly be more relevant. Rich Miller of Capitol Fax connects the dots to Travis Reinking.

*

Meanwhile . . .

"Illinois lawmakers bypassed a Wednesday deadline without moving to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's rejection of a measure to create a state gun dealer's license, which means the Republican's veto stands - a victory for gun rights activists on their annual lobby day in Springfield," Chicago Tonight reports.

"But it's not the end of the gun control debate at the statehouse. While Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, did not attempt an override because he said he didn't want to legislators 'to take what for some of them is a very difficult vote' if he wasn't confident there was enough support for it to become law, he immediately filed a new version of the bill (Senate Bill 337)."

Translation: Harmon didn't want to put state senators in swing districts in jeopardy if the bill was just going to go down in the state House anyway, as it looked like it would do.

Still, taking "difficult" votes is in the job description of lawmakers - it's what we pay them to do. Job security isn't. I hate how easily we accept this. It's a difficult vote for the other side too.

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"In Illinois the law worked and it worked exactly as it was supposed to," Richard Pearson, Illinois State Rifle Association director, said Wednesday. "It worked in Illinois, but the failure comes in this case with the father."

This is John Kass's tortured argument, too, because curbing access to guns is never the answer. Advocating measures to prevent future slaughters is just a "hard-left" hot take, in Kass's tribal, blinkered world. Stop trying to gut the Bill of Rights! #2A.

"You want 'common sense' gun laws? How about promoting Gun Violence Restraining Order bills in the states?" Kass writes. "A GVRO would allow family members living with a mentally ill person to seek a court order to temporarily seize their guns."

Good idea! Not sure anyone but, well, the NRA and the hard-right would oppose such bills. But what makes Kass think a father who returned guns to Travis Reinking would have gone through the strenuous process it would have taken to get a GVRO on his kid, much less even want to?

"Son, I want you to have these guns back. But also, I'm going to get a restraining order to prevent me from giving you these guns back."

Travis Reinking's father would not have sought such an order, and that is the problem. Kass is content to depend on Reinking's father to protect the public - and blame him when he fails to do so because he has no idea what to do about his son. Many of us are not. And that's not a hard-left hot-take, but a considered, independent, open-minded viewpoint not shaped by the ideological propaganda Kass turns to shape his thoughts in order to squeeze intellectually dishonest arguments through the needle of a newspaper column.

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"A large crowd of pro-gun advocates marched from the Bank of Springfield Center to the Capitol on Wednesday for the annual Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day," the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

"Organizers for the rally estimated 2,500 people were in attendance. The Secretary of State's office, which oversees the Capitol grounds, estimated the group included 1,000 people."

LOL.

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Journalists shouldn't rely on others for crowd estimates; learn how to do it yourself!

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"Kaleb Huddleston, a freshman at Lanphier High School said he felt more American teens support guns than those who support gun control."

Huddleston can feel whatever he wants, but the facts don't support him and the reporting should have shown that.

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"Illinois senators Wednesday approved a bill to raise the legal age for buying tobacco to 21," the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

"The Senate voted 35-20 on Senate Bill 2332, which now goes to the House. The legislation would raise the age to legally buy tobacco to 21 across the state. The Illinois Lung Association said that 24 municipalities in Illinois have already adopted the higher age requirement, including Chicago, Aurora and Evanston. Peoria voted this week to raise the age to buy tobacco there."

Meanwhile, back at the gun rally:

"Other bills they attacked were House Bill 1664, which would create a hotline to tip off police to individuals with possible gun access that could be a danger to others, and HB 1465, which would prohibit ownership of semi-automatic rifles and .50-caliber rifles to anyone under 21 years old.

"When you tell me that nobody's coming for our guns, they just proved it here three weeks ago. We voted on a bill in the Senate that is literal confiscation if you're under the age of 21," said Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia.

Joke's on Anderson, the gun bill was just a distraction so we could come for your cigarettes!

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Texting Rahm
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has conducted city business on his private devices and accounts, has agreed to have a digital forensics company collect and preserve information, including text messages, from his personal cellphone," the Tribune reports.

Ewww, somebody's gonna read his texts!

*

"Emanuel's decision, revealed in an April 11 court filing, comes in response to an ongoing Chicago Tribune lawsuit that accuses the mayor of violating open records laws by failing to produce and preserve e-mails and text messages on his personal accounts in which he discussed public business . . .

"The Tribune has asserted that Emanuel flouted state law by not preserving texts and e-mails about public business on personal accounts.

"The Tribune also noted that Emanuel had failed to turn over a single text message in response to a pair of public records requests filed by its reporters in 2015, despite evidence that the mayor often communicates via text.

"The Tribune on Monday asked Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen M. Pantle to issue an order declaring Emanuel has violated the state's open records act and the Local Records Act relating to the preservation of government records, including e-mails and texts. Pantle took the matter under advisement."

I only hope one day we can read the headline "Rahm Emanuel Found In Contempt."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The One Guy Ryan Pace Better Not Take In The First Round Of Tonight's NFL Draft
If he does, it'll be time to grab the pitchforks and head to Lake Forest.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

What A (Wonderful) World.

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BeachBook

The Score's Danny Parkins Can't Stay Hydrated.

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Ford To Stop Selling Every Car In North America But The Mustang And Focus Active.

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30 Years Of The Illinois Butterfly Network.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: How does it work.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:56 AM | Permalink

April 25, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Two-and-a-half years after a Chicago police officer was indicted for murder, the public will finally have access to a complete court docket on Thursday that will shed light on what has happened in one of the city's most high-profile criminal cases," according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

"On Friday, Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan ordered the court clerk to create a list of all documents and orders filed in the ongoing case against Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The clerk must release the list, generally known as a 'docket sheet,' to the public by Thursday, when the court will hold a hearing on the matter.

"Gaughan's order comes after the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, along with seven news organizations, intervened in the case in early March to argue that the court should publicly release a docket sheet and all documents filed in the case. Despite a well-established First Amendment and common law right of public access to court documents, only a handful of the more than one hundred filings have been made available to the public. The court has not made any specific findings, as required by law, to justify keeping these documents under seal."

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Assignment Desk
I'm serious about being available to take these on. HMU!

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Let's make this song!

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Also available to report on Tronc, the Sun-Times and all other manner of things.

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You know what nobody covers in Chicago? Digital media. Let's make it a beat!

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So many other coverage/project ideas, from sports to business to politics, in deep dives, snarky blogs or daily e-mail newsletters. Let's do it.

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I also have an idea for a website called Assignment Desk. Ask me about it!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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The Ex-Cub Factor
First of a new, ongoing series tracking the movements of former boys of blue.

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Great Lakes Water Politics
"The eight Great Lakes states - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec collectively form a $4.7 trillion economy, the fourth-largest in the world. It's no wonder that people across North America and around the globe want in on that water."

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Piece's TV
Educating the people about Chicago's subculture.

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ChicagoGram

Your street art is part of my collection

A post shared by FLASH ABC MARS (@flash_abc) on

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ChicagoTube

Black Rhino Gets CT Scan In Chicago.

Article here.

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BeachBook

Man Gets 50 Years In Prison For $1.5 Million Fajita Scheme.

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Doing The 'Sober-Living Dance' On California's Rehab Riviera.

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Why Suspensions Are On The Rise In The NHL Playoffs.

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Fulton Market McDonald's To Feature Food It Serves Around The Globe.

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Jeff Rosenstock On His Notorious Pitchfork Set And Sticking To His DIY Principles.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Card sharks.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:38 PM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

First of a new ongoing series tracking the movements of those who have worn Cubbie blue.

1. The 'Special' Skill Gleyber Torres Is Already Showing.

"After going hitless in his first game, Gleyber Torres has shown at least some of why the Yankees have been so high on the second baseman," Dan Martin writes for the New York Post.

"In Tuesday's 8-3 win over the Twins, Torres had a pair of singles for his first multi-hit game and added his first RBI."

The special skill is his makeup, though in another report it's his ability to adjust.

Comment: It's gonna hurt to watch Torres become a star, but no Cubs fan should regret trading him to the Yankees for the right to abuse Aroldis Chapman on the way to a World Series championship.

By the way, the Yankees also got Billy McKinney, Rashad Crawford and Adam Warren in the deal. Then they signed Chapman back as a free agent after the season. Well played, Brian Cashman.

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Bonus reporting from Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic:

"The 2016 non-waiver deadline was not the first time the New York Yankees wanted infielder Gleyber Torres.

"The Yankees identified Torres as their No. 1 target in the 2013-14 international class, but something went amiss after their international scouting director, Donny Rowland, called general manager Brian Cashman and former vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman from Venezuela and said, 'We've got to get this guy.'

"'The next day, literally the next day, he disappeared,' Rowland said. 'I couldn't find the dude.'

"Torres, it turns out, had reached a verbal agreement with the Chicago Cubs to sign for $1.7 million, then went underground, according to major league sources. Players in the international market typically stop attending tryout camps once they cut such deals with help from their agent/trainers, who are known as buscones. The signings become official on July 2."

2. Christian Villanueva Has Become Relevant.

"For most of his professional career, now in its 10th season, Christian Villanueva has been largely irrelevant," Travis Sawchik writes for Fangraphs.

"He appeared on Baseball America's top-100 list in 2012 - but as the last player on that list.

"He was the 'other guy' in the deal the that sent Kyle Hendricks - and Villanueva - from the Rangers to the Cubs for Ryan Dempster on July 31st, 2012."

To my memory, Villanueva was more highly thought of than that by the Cubs brass. He wasn't ever going to be Kris Bryant, but he looked like a guy with a solid glove who just needed to hit a little to have a major league career.

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"At the end of the 2016 season, with seemingly no place for him in the Cubs' infield or on their 40-man roster, Villanueva was granted free agency. He signed a minor-league deal 10 days later with the San Diego Padres.

"At that point in time, Villanueva wasn't particularly relevant in baseball circles. He wasn't particularly relevant last season, either, when he slashed .296/.369/.528 with 20 homers in Triple-A, a trying year personally after his brother died in the spring."

Um, that's not a bad slash line! Especially under the circumstances. Anyway . . .

"A player with whom few were acquainted a month ago now leads baseball in wRC+ (236) among hitters with 70 or more plate appearances and is eighth in WAR (1.4) as the season approaches May."

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Here's what Cliff Corcoran wrote for Sports Illustrated at the time of the Cubs-Rangers trade:

"As for the players the Rangers gave up in the deal, Hendricks isn't an elite prospect. The 22-year-old righty was an eighth-round pick out of Dartmouth in the 2011 draft and has pitched well at High-A this year, posting a 2.82 ERA in 20 starts and walking just one man per nine innings, producing an outstanding 7.47 K/BB ratio, but he's a soft-throwing command and control pitcher, the sort of college arm that tends to find its limit in the high minors where location and deception aren't enough to get out high-level hitters. Villanueva, signed out of Mexico in 2010, is the key player in the deal."

3. White Sox's Chris Volstad Allows One Run In Short Start Tuesday.

"Volstad (0-1) was stuck with the loss Tuesday against the Mariners. He allowed one run on three hits while striking out three over 4.1 innings," CBS's RotoWire reports.

"Volstad was thrust into a starting role Tuesday after making his first four appearances in relief this season, including a three-inning outing just three days ago. The 31-year-old was generally effective in Tuesday's loss but was lifted from the contest after throwing 66 pitches. He could be called upon for another start Sunday against the Royals."

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Volstad was a Cub in 2012, starting 21 games, pitching 111 1/3 innings, and going 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA. The Cubs acquired him in a trade with the Marlins - who got Carlos Zambrano in return. That was Zambrano's last year in the major leagues; he went 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA for the Fish.

4. Rockies Place Chris Rusin On 10-Day DL.

He's got an intercostal strain.

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Rusin was a fourth-round pick of the Cubs (140 overall) in the 2009 draft. He debuted with the Cubs in August 2012, then started 13 games for the club in 2013. He only pitched 12 2/3 innings in the bigs for the Cubs in 2014 before he was waived.

5. Royals' Justin Grimm Lands On The DL.

Lower back tightness.

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I think we all remember Grimm's Cubs career, so I won't recount it here. But a reminder of how he got to Chicago: He was traded here in July 2013 by the Rangers along C.J. Edwards, Neil Ramirez, and Mike Olt, in exchange for Matt Garza.

Note: Olt was once a highly rated third-base prospect in the Rangers' system who helped make Christian Villanueva expendable to the Cubs.

6. Jorge Soler Could Be Part Of The Royals' Future.

"[F]or three weeks [he] has been the combination of power and plate discipline the Royals have hoped for," Sam Mellinger writes for the Kansas City Star.

Then again . . .

"The Royals were at a crossroads in the winter of 2016, with two paths ahead of them," Max Rieper writes at Royals Review.

"Either push all their chips in and try their hardest to win a championship in 2017, or being the rebuild process by tearing it all down. They picked a third option - try to do both."

That meant trading Wade Davis to the Cubs for Soler.

"Complicating matters was a forearm injury suffered by Davis in 2016 that may have given some teams pause. But by trading him for a young major leaguer, the Royals may have hurt the rebuild and hurt their chances of competing at the same time.

"Soler could still make this trade pan out, but it seemed puzzling at the time."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:01 AM | Permalink

April 24, 2018

The Battles That Shaped Great Lakes Water Politics

Two centuries of urbanization and industrialization around the Great Lakes have often hinged on tension among those who've desired their extraordinary supplies of fresh water.

The lakes and the surrounding watershed contain nearly one-fifth of the surface freshwater on Earth, and currently about 40 million people in the United States and Canada use their waters.

The eight Great Lakes states - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec collectively form a $4.7 trillion economy, the fourth-largest in the world. It's no wonder that people across North America and around the globe want in on that water.

The Great Lakes states and provinces rely on a binational agreement to try and keep Great Lakes water in the region.

Stateside, that agreement takes the form of the legally binding Great Lakes Compact, which went into effect in 2008 and relies for enforcement on both state governments and a regional body comprised of the eight Great Lakes governors.

With a few specific exceptions, the Compact bars public utilities or private interests from taking Great Lakes water out of the lakes' hydrologic drainage basin - a process known as diversion. That limit is in place because people within the region are all too aware of how attractive that water, and the opportunity it represents, are to others who live outside of it. A series of controversies over the past 200 years or so have driven that reality home.

The lust for Great Lakes water is only going to come from more corners over the next several decades, as journalist Peter Annin explained in an Oct. 22, 2015 talk at Monona Terrace in Madison. Co-director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College in Ashland, he is the author of the 2006 book The Great Lakes Water Wars which, along with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Egan's 2017 book The Death And Life Of The Great Lakes, is one of the seminal texts on the lakes' political and environmental history.

The talk, recorded for Wisconsin Public Television's University Place, came as the city of Waukesha was in the midst of its ultimately successful bid to tap into Lake Michigan for its drinking water supply.

Because Waukesha is located entirely outside the Great Lakes Basin but inside a county that straddles its border, the city's request was an important test for a provision of the Compact that allows such communities to use the water, dependent on unanimous approval from all eight regional governors. The request, approved in June 2016, has proven to be the most controversial Great Lakes water issue of the decade so far, rivaled only by Swiss corporation Nestlé's bottled-water operations in Michigan and Taiwan-based electronics manufacture Foxconn's interest in sourcing Lake Michigan to supply an in-the-works factory in southeastern Wisconsin.

Annin touched briefly on the Waukesha diversion in his talk, but mostly focused on how bold moves by both public and industrial entities have shaped Great Lakes water politics, and how the increasing instability of water resources around the U.S. and the world will shape those politics in the future.

"The Great Lakes region, the North American continent and the entire world are all entering a period of increased water tension," Annin said. "Those tensions are primarily driven by water scarcity, and they're going to put increased pressure on water-rich regions of the world like the North American Great Lakes."

Key facts:

  • In 2015, about 800 million people around the world lacked access to clean drinking water, and unhealthy water conditions kill two million per year, most of them children. And it may get far worse: the United Nations has projected that by 2025, two-thirds of the global population will suffer at least intermittent water shortages. The U.S. Department of the Interior has projected that by the same time, large swaths of the western United States have the potential to face water crises. (In March 2018, the Guardianreported on growing inequalities in water access around the world.)
  • The Colorado River watershed, a major source of drinking water for the western U.S., has become depleted because when states agreed on dividing up water rights in the 1920s, the region was experiencing larger than usual amounts of precipitation. Several other regional water crises and conflict have playing out around the U.S. in the 21st century, including ongoing suits between southeastern states over water rights in the Apalachicola River Basin.
  • Existing water tensions across North America, and the expectation that such disputes will only spread, tends to be the major factor informing debates over Great Lakes water resources.
  • Hatched in the mid-20th century, competing American and Canadian plans to build shipping canals around the continent would have both involved massive engineering projects to send Great Lakes water across the American West, possibly as far as northern Mexico and the Canadian prairies. Neither of these plans ever came to fruition.
  • Great Lakes water policy largely revolves around the geographic and hydrological boundary of the Great Lakes Basin. Within the Basin, rain and snowmelt and rivers and streams ultimately drain into the lakes themselves, and from there into the Atlantic Ocean. Outside of the basin line, water drains into other watersheds, including those of the Mississippi River and Hudson Bay.
  • Over the past 200 years, humans have created several diversions of water into, out of, and within the Great Lakes. Most are in the form of canals, but the most controversial is Chicago's Sanitary and Ship Canal, which opened in 1900 and reversed the flow of the Chicago River to move Lake Michigan water (and flush a lot of sewage) into the Mississippi River. This led to a court battle between the states of Illinois and Missouri, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided to allow the diversion. Called the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the diversion has lowered water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron by 2.5 inches. It also provides a potential channel for invasive species to move from the Mississippi River Basin to the Great Lakes and vice versa.
  • In the late 1990s, the Canada-based Nova Group devised a plan to ship tankers of Lake Superior water to customers in Asia. The company's proposal sparked fierce political and environmental controversy because, while the plan by itself wouldn't have had much effect on Great Lakes water levels overall, permitting it would have set a precedent possibly allowing Great Lakes water to be shipped just about anywhere. The Nova Group eventually abandoned the proposal, and the episode inspired officials in both the U.S. and Canada to craft new policies guarding the lakes, which eventually led to the Great Lakes Compact.

Key Quotes:

  • On hot spots for water conflict in and around the Great Lakes Basin: "Note if you will how far the basin line is from the lakes' shoreline in some areas of the watershed, and how truly remarkably close the basin line is to the shoreline in other areas of the watershed. It's these areas where the basin line is closest to the shoreline where water tensions in the Great Lakes region are highest."
  • On putting the overall water resources of the lakes into perspective: "Only one percent of the water in the Great Lakes Basin is renewed annually through rainfall, snowfall and groundwater recharge. Just 1 percent. So, think of the lakes as a gift from the glaciers 10,000 years ago depositing this water bank account in the Great Lakes region. And then you have this 1 percent of water interest that flows through that bank account on an annual basis. And then, of course, the secret is that we're not consuming more than that 1 percent on an annual basis where then we'd have to dive into the principal of our water bank account. And scientists tell me we're not even close to consuming that water . . . but that we could do a better job of accounting for that water at this crucial time in water history."
  • On getting used to fluctuations in Great Lakes water levels: "If you have a pier or if you're a marina operator . . . or run an ore freighter business, those changing water levels can be a real frustration for humans. But it's important for us to realize that that's part of the natural system in the Great Lakes Basin . . . The low spots become heavily vegetated. And then those become important stopover points for neotropical migratory birds and waterfowl, et cetera. And then always, the water levels come back up, and that vegetation gets inundated. And that sort of bird nursery, then turns into a fish nursery. And that's part of the whole cycle."
  • On why ambitious mid-20th century plans for a canal system diverting water out of the Great Lakes didn't happen: "Huge engineering marvels, these plans, which happened to occur at a time of rising environmental consciousness in North America, also fiscal consciousness. These are hugely expensive projects. They had influential supporters, both the United States and Canada at the time. But ultimately, they fell under their own financial weight, their gargantuaness and also the controversy that occurred from the, you know, the environmental opposition to this. Nevertheless, these plans are out there. You can still find fans of them on the Internet. And the concern is that, under a period of crisis or whatever, these sorts of things, or parts of these things, might be dusted off."
  • On the lasting impact of the Nova Group proposal: "This is a controversial Canadian diversion proposal from the last part of the last century. And that is the Nova proposal of 1998 out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. This was a plan to ship 158 million gallons of pristine Lake Superior water to Asia in tankers. The idea - this was an era before FIJI water - the idea was to create a global market for Lake Superior water all over the world by shipping it all over the world. And they saw where bottled water was headed. And so this could not be stopped by anti-diversion laws in the United States or Canada at the time, and it became enormously controversial . . . With the water diversion controversy, it's all about precedent. It's all about legal precedent . . . if you're talking about setting international precedent, if you can send Great Lakes water to Asia, the lawyers argued, where couldn't you send it?"
  • On the lessons of the Aral Sea: "In 1960, the Aral Sea was the fourth-largest inland water body in the world. But starting in 1960, the Soviet Union embarked on a massive, collective, kind-of classic communist agricultural irrigation program to make the desert bloom in Central Asia . . . So they tapped into the large rivers that fed the Aral Sea and then sent that fresh water through a far-flung collection of irrigation canals and pipelines, again, to make the desert bloom. And the desert did bloom, but at great cost to the Aral Sea's ecosystem . . . In 1960, there was a teeming fishery here, ferry boats taking people to Kazakhstan, back to Uzbekistan, fishing trawlers passing overhead, 40-50 feet depth of water. Now, today, all directions of the compass, as far as the eye can see, no water. As a Great Lakes guy, it was a very chilling place to visit. So the farmer's gain was the fisherman's loss."
  • On the potential human threat to the Great Lakes: "I don't believe one can credibly stand on the shore of a North American Great Lake today and argue that these lakes are so vast and so massive that they're invincible. In fact, what the Aral Sea situation shows is that despite the magnitude, these large water bodies are indeed vulnerable to over-use."

This post was originally published on WisContext which produced the article in a partnership between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Cooperative Extension.

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Previously:

* Great Lake Warriors.

* Song Of The Moment: The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.

* Chicago's Greatest Jinx Ship Headed To Drydock.

* When Great Lakes Ice Doesn't Melt.

* Great Lakes Segregation.

* Researchers Seek Warning System For Destructive Waves On Great Lakes.

* Great Lakes Endangered Shorebird Has Record Year.

* Why EPA Region 5 Director Is A Disaster For The Great Lakes.

* Cold Weather Hampers Great Lakes Shipping.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:53 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

State Democratic leaders re-elected Michael Madigan as party chair on Monday with just one no vote. He remains Illinois' King Democrat. He is the brand - even without Gov. Bruce Rauner's help.

Michael J. Madigan's Democratic Party of Illinois!

Emblazon it on coffee mugs, keychains, t-shirts and business cards. Make Democrats wear it, because they can't deny it. He is them. They are him.

Madigan isn't to blame for all the state's woes, as Rauner would have all of us believe. But he isn't a benevolent dictator, either. He's been a cancer on this state's politics - useful only in barring the door to an even worse governorship than we've already had under the current occupant.

In that role, he has led a united opposition that has kept party progressives in the fold instead of seeing them split off in panic about the disruption Rauner has brought - which was exactly what Rauner was hoping would happen. Instead, progressive-leaning legislators have backed Madigan instead of crumbling in the service of short-term relief from the crises wrought by a budget-standoff and liberation from their pharaoh.

But still, one might have hoped it was time to finally change the guard at the top of the party. After all, Madigan would still be Speaker of the House and a bulwark against Rauner's radical agenda should the governor somehow be re-elected. What a perfect time for Illinois Democrats to heal themselves, with Rauner's likely departure and a fresh start for all on the horizon. Revelations of Madigan's fumbling of sexual harassment in his organization also came at just the right time, politically, in presenting an additional reason to make a change.

Illinois Democrats don't want change, though. Not really. They like the way things are. They like having Michael Madigan on their side. The stink of his sleaziness wafting off him - and onto them - is just the price they don't mind paying to keep Michael Madigan's Magic Machine going.

And it is a Machine - an old-fashioned kind that ought to be in a museum but instead stands as a living, breathing tribute to Richard J. Daley's Democratic Party of old, with no separation between politics and governance. Madigan runs both the party and the General Assembly. He controls the jobs, he controls the money, he controls everything of consequence on his side of the aisle. There is nothing progressive about it. There is nothing liberal about it. There is nothing Democratic about. While Rauner's obsession with Madigan is incredibly counterproductive, it's not a lie to say that state Democrats more accurately practice a political philosophy called Madiganism than anything else. It is to him where their loyalties lie, above all else.

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Rauner is no better, just worse at it than Madigan. It's almost as if Rauner aspires to be Madigan-like. It's almost as if he doth protest too much. Projection is a helluva psychology. After all, Rauner is essentially the Illinois Republican Party. He funds it and runs it, even if he's not nominally the chair. He controls the money and the machinery. But at least the radical right-wing has rebelled against the party to stand up for its beliefs, no matter how horrid those beliefs are. The state's left wing, barely existent as it is, just cowers - even at a moment when Madigan might have been vulnerable. Now was the time for demands! But just about the only thing that is progressive in this state is the branding adopted by Regular Democrats in certain wards and districts with constituencies that like to think of themselves that way without needing results. It's a nice coat to where, but one easily taken off when inconvenient, which is most of the time. Being a progressive in Illinois is like being a reformer - a practical marketing choice that even Madigan is tilting toward right now. Even Rahm Emanuel, who has made a career out of progressive-punching, has been rhetorically remade. (Remember, too, that it was Barack Obama who once called Todd Stroger a "good progressive" in trying to help push him across a campaign finish line.)

That's not to say those in the party with progressive leanings should never have gone into league with Madigan in the first place - it was wholly necessary in the General Assembly as an emergency measure to keep a united front against Rauner, lest we become Alabama. But it's another to keep Madigan in charge of the party machinery - with gusto! - and continually set aside his unsavory methods while highlighting the moral turpitude of Republicans.

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"U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson said she was surprised when Madigan asked if she would be among those who nominated him for the chairmanship at an afternoon meeting at a Springfield hotel," the Tribune reports.

Don't be surprised, Robin - you got the part! As a relatively progressive African-American woman, you were perfect for the role of Reassuring Supporter Expressing Concern That The Old Rich White Male Property Tax Appeals Attorney Has Everyone's Best Interests At Heart And Is Willing To Change. Oscar-worthy!

Save your surprise for the next time Madigan does something for the party or the people of Illinois that isn't just coincidentally in service of maintaining his power, because that'll be the first time.

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"But Kelly said she was committed to doing all she could to ensure Democrats win in November, saying her time in Washington has proved the importance of being in the majority."

I know Madigan is known for his tactical brilliance, but I'm not sure he really has a good track record when it comes to gubernatorial races. Beyond that, a fresh face as chair of the state party might actually have done wonders for the Pritzker (D-Madigan) campaign and, yes, voters. Madigan would have remained House Speaker, so why not maximize his use there - for now - while reaping the benefits of a new chair who isn't only using the party for his own purposes and will actually build its infrastructure and help energize voters? (Pritzker himself has stated the truth that there really isn't much of a state party and he's intent on building one. This could've been a start, but maybe after the election?)

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"Madigan won the support of 35 of the 36 committee members. Voting 'no' was Peter Janko of Marengo, who last month won a primary election for a spot on the panel of party leaders. Janko said he had nothing personal against Madigan - the two had lunch before Monday's meeting - but argued that the party needed 'fresh new blood, fresh ideas.'"

He's not wrong!

"Peter Janko is one of the many first timers that took up Sen. Bernie Sanders' call to run for office," a bio says. "A lifetime activist, Peter began working toward a better planet as far back as the 1970s. While still in his teens, he became involved in the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War protests, and the ecology movement (as it was known as back then). Peter is founder of Medicare for All Northern Illinois, an Our Revolution local chapter."

Peter Janko, you are Today's Best Person In Illinois.

*

Back to the Trib:

"Madigan said divisions in the Republican Party as conservative candidates challenge Rauner will only help Democrats win in the fall. Rauner narrowly won his primary election against Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, who built support by bashing the governor's signature of bills to expand taxpayer funding of abortion and protect immigrants in the country illegally. Last week, Sen. Sam McCann of central Illinois launched a third-party bid for governor with the goal of running under a new Conservative Party label.

"McCann received $50,000 from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, which has fought against Rauner's efforts to weaken collective bargaining rights. The Madigan-aligned union endorsed Pritzker in the Democratic primary, and Rauner's campaign contends Madigan is behind McCann's bid in an effort to peel away support."

He's not wrong!

And while it might be a pleasing, even delicious move to many Democrats, it's still sleazy. Hell, Rauner ought to fund an independent who will peel voters away from Pritzker - and I mean someone better than Dock Walls! - and see how Democrats feel about that.

I know it's Illinois, but it's not cool no matter which side does it.

*

"On Monday, Madigan dismissed questions about whether he was involved in McCann's campaign."

What does "dismissed questions" mean? It doesn't sound the same as "denied" questions? Ignored? Waved reporters away?

For the answer to that, let's turn to Bernie Schoenburg of the Springfield State Journal-Register:

"Madigan also was asked if he's backing state Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, in McCann's recently announced campaign for governor under the Conservative Party banner. Rauner's campaign says the 'Madigan machine' backs McCann.

"Madigan responded that Rauner's people 'ought to take a good look at themselves' and find something in the governor's record on which to base a campaign.

"'They never want to talk about their record on anything because they don't have any record that they would be proud to talk about,' Madigan said. 'So their method is to talk about other people, be critical of other people.'"

That's not a denial.

*

Schoenburg also reports that "Janko defeated an incumbent, Mark Guethle of North Aurora, in the March primary to get on the central committee. Janko was a supporter of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for president in the 2016 primaries and said he was wrongly painted during his campaign for the state central committee as being in league with Republicans."

Nothing in Illinois should surprise us, but Janko hardly looks like someone in league with Republicans.

Madigan, on the other hand, is in league with a Republican!

*

Also: Gee, I wonder who spread that smear around . . .

*

Madigan certainly knows which way the wind is blowing, though. I haven't listened to this yet, but he appeared on WCPT with Janko and Ben Joravsky yesterday, my god.

*

Danny Davis, you are almost Today's Worst Person In Illinois.

*

"Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia on Friday issued a glowing review of Mike Madigan as chair of the state Democratic Party - saying he is the 'clear choice' and 'will turn a statewide majority into progressive action.'"

Like he did before when he had a statewide majority?

*

"[I]t's not the first time the two have had each other's backs. Garcia in 2016 endorsed Madigan over a heavily-funded opponent. Garcia, who was named a Bernie Sanders national delegate, appeared in mailers endorsing Madigan."

And that wasn't even one of the opponents that Madigan usually puts up himself!

*

Detour into that last link: "Gonzales believes Madigan's longtime campaign foot soldier Shaw Decremer engineered the last-minute filings . . . "

That would be this Shaw Decremer.

*

And yet:

"As a progressive Democrat, it is my intention to support a state party chair who will work with me to advance our most fundamental goals," Garcia said in a statement released on Friday. "I will support a chair, who, above all, knows that our goal as a Democratic Party and as a progressive movement must be to build a broad coalition that can deliver this change. Michael Madigan is the clear choice."

To be clear, there is nothing progressive about Mike Madigan. But here's where Chuy really goes over the top in spit-take fashion:

"[Madigan] puts first the interests of the people of Illinois and the progressive principles of the Democratic party."

Nobody believes that. Nobody.

*

Chuy Garcia (D-Gutierrez), you are Today's Worst Person In Illinois.

-

New on the Beachwood . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Oozing Wound, Blue Dream, Avantist, King Tuts Tomb, Khruangbin, Camila Cabella, Impiety, Divine Eye, Slawomir, Blue October, and the Trey Anastasio Trio.

wound.jpg

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Jungle Green, Otto Rollo, US Girls, Matchess, The Residents, Dave Davies, The Smithereens, and Max Weinberg.

matchess.jpg

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Leticia Teodoro, Team Chicago Brasil.

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BeachBook

Change-Of-Address Scam Moved UPS Corporate Headquarters To Tiny Rogers Park Apartment, Feds Say.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Forever young.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:57 AM | Permalink

Piece's TV

Educating the people about Chicago's subculture.

At CAN-TV through June 15.

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See also:

* Mixed-media model.

* On Instagram.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:54 AM | Permalink

April 23, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Oozing Wound at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

@oozingdude sick as always #oozingwound #emptybottle #chicago #421 #post420

A post shared by Karly (@funeralparties) on

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2. Blue Dream at Record Breakers for Record Store Day on Saturday.

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3. Avantist at Record Breakers for Record Store Day on Saturday.

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4. King Tuts Tomb at Happy Gallery on Saturday night.

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5. Khruangbin at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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6. Camila Cabello at the Riv on Sunday night.

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7. Impiety at The Mid on Friday night.

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8. Divine Eye at The Mid on Friday night.

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9. Slawomir at the Copernicus on Saturday night.

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10. Blue October at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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11. The Trey Anastasio Trio at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"The differences start in how the burial markers look at Oak Woods Cemetery on the city's South Side," the Tribune reports.

"One, a Confederate Mound, lists the names of thousands of Confederate soldiers who were captured and died at Camp Douglas in Chicago. It's topped with a bronze statute of a Confederate infantry soldier. Farther north, a simple gravestone marks where famed African-American journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett was buried. She shares a gravestone with her husband that states, 'Crusaders For Justice,' under their names.

"On Sunday, two groups held simultaneous but separate ceremonies, putting a spotlight not only on the juxtaposition of the markers in the Grand Crossing cemetery but also on the contrasting opinions of the role Confederate monuments should have in modern America. Both ceremonies remained peaceful, and the opposing groups did not interact with each other Sunday morning."

An anti-racism coalition called Smash White Supremacy wants the Confederate monument removed.

*

"The Confederate Mound was first dedicated in 1895 by President Grover Cleveland with about 100,000 people in attendance. But it hasn't been without controversy. In 1992, some alderman were against a proposal that would have given the site historical landmark status. That proposal failed."

According to the Chicago History Museum:

"In June of 1891, members of the Ex-Confederate Association of Chicago met to appeal to donors they considered sympathizers of the Confederate dead in order to construct a monument in their honor. The Ex-Confederate Association originally intended to debut the statue during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, but the project was not finished in time. The 1895 dedication ceremony drew a significant crowd, including a visit from President Grover Cleveland and his whole cabinet."

See photos at the link.

*

Back to the Trib:

"David Keller, who wrote a book about Camp Douglas, said the mass grave is noteworthy because it contains the most Confederate soldiers north of the Mason-Dixon Line."

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Note: I added all the links in the Trib story.

-

Sun-Times video:

*

CBS2 Chicago report on the monument, from last August:

*

From Adeshina Emmanuel for Chicago magazine last September in a piece titled How The South Side Came To House A Not-So-Controversial Confederate Memorial ("It's meant to honor those killed in a POW camp. It was created to symbolize unity. Yet, now, a symbol of a regime that espoused white supremacy is comfortably situated inside a cemetery surrounded by a black community")

Every year, rifle-toting men in Confederate costumes come to the South Side of Chicago carrying Confederate flags stitched with the outline of Illinois.

This is the Illinois chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a hereditary group that visits the Oak Woods Cemetery in Greater Grand Crossing for an annual memorial service honoring thousands of rebel soldiers buried at Confederate Mound. Some leave flowers at the base of the monument, which has plaques bearing the names of the 4,000 or so soldiers who were identified out of more than 6,000 dead.

Looming over the mass grave site is a more than 40-feet-tall monument topped by a larger-than-life bronze statue of a solemn Confederate soldier. He stands there looking down on Confederate Mound with his arms crossed across his chest, holding his hat in his hand.

You won't see anything else like him in Chicago.

Links as they were by Chicago.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The White Sox Report: Welcome To The Regression
"We've been offered the Kool-Aid by the Sox PR gurus," our very own Roger Wallenstein writes. "Like most fans, I very much want to drink the Kool-Aid, but I've never been fond of the lemon-lime that they're offering. I like the red kind. The cherry. Once it's an option, give me a pint."

*

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!: A Hostile Environment
"Make the country so fucking shit that no one wants to stay, trapped in an endless fucking cycle of hold music and fear. On purpose! You nasty, heartless fuckers."

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Meet The Man Who Takes Care Of Honeybees On Chicago Skyscrapers.

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BeachBook

Is That Empty Air In Your Chip Bag A Scam?

*

When Beauty Is A Troll.

*

They Spewed Hate In The President's Name.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Hot or not.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:38 AM | Permalink

A Hostile Environment

Make the country so fucking shit that no one wants to stay, trapped in an endless fucking cycle of hold music and fear. On purpose! You nasty, heartless fuckers.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit Crap News, Tim.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Is Going To Paris.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Grow Some Balls; Tell The Truth.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! MP Is A Wanker Santa.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! New Year's Rant.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The 'Environment" Beat.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Answer The Fucking Question.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Day-Glo Fuck-Nugget Trump.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Dickens Meets The Jetsons.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! What Real Business News Should Look Like.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Facts Are No Longer Newsworthy.

* Pie's Brexit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Real Life Is Not Game Of Thrones.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Labor: The Clue's In The Title!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Where Is The War Against Terrorble Mental Health Services?

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

* Jonathan Pie's Idiot's Guide To The U.S. Election.

* President Trump: How & Why.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! All The News Is Fake!

* Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! 2016 In Review.

* Inauguration Reporting.

* New Year: New Pie?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! A Gift To Trump?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Strong And Unstable.

* Pie & Brand: Hate, Anger, Violence & Carrying On.

* Socialism Strikes Back!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Carnage.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Papering Over Poverty.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Queen's Speech.

* Showdown: North Korea vs. Trump.

* Time For The Royal Scroungers To Earn Their Keep.

* Cricket vs. Brexit.

* The Real Jonathan Pie.

-

Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:56 AM | Permalink

Welcome To The Regression

It's Sunday morning, and the sun is making a valiant effort to burn through the cloud cover. The thermometer already is registering in the mid-50s as I gaze from my balcony overlooking Lincoln Avenue. Finally spring is beginning to bloom, and the Sox are home to play the young and talented Houston Astros. Sunday parking is $10. Round-trip on the El is less than half. I possess a voucher that the team passed out at last season's final home game that gets me an upper deck box seat for free.

I'm feeling good. Most other seasons, I'd be out the door. But I'm not going today. Call me a fair weather fan - which, I suppose, is literally true for this grandfather - or someone who is in need of a reminder of his allegiance to the team which I've always revered. But the heart of the matter is that I am wary of watching the opposition score four times in the first inning followed by three walks and a grand slam in the top of the second as the local bunch falls behind 8-0 before the first beer can be consumed. We all have choices. This would not top my list. Not even close.

Free Ticket.jpg

The just-described scenario occurred Saturday night as the Sox got slaughtered again, 10-1. Pitching prospect Lucas Giolito was gone by the end of the second frame, allowing five hits and walking seven. There will be many 10-year-olds playing in park leagues around the city in just a few weeks who have better command than that.

Should we be shocked? Well, not with the recent memory of four days prior on Tuesday in Oakland when Giolito's buddy Carson Fulmer, another of the team's hopes for the future, was handed a 6-1 lead thanks to Yoan Moncada's second inning grand slam. Yet Fulmer failed to retire anyone in the bottom of the second before Ricky Renteria, along with anyone else with the slightest interest, had seen enough. Fuller faced 10 hitters. He got behind nine of them. He threw 46 pitches of which only 21 were strikes. His teammates wound up scoring 11 times but still dropped a 12-11 decision in 10 innings.

The numbers present a sorry picture. Fourteen losses in 16 games this month after a 7-1 defeat in Sunday's game that I elected to watch on TV. The Astros outscored the Sox 27-2 over the weekend. Tossing out the extra-inning loss in Oakland, the Sox scored a total of five runs last week while the other guys plated 45. For the season the starting rotation has an ERA of 6.52, by far the worst in the major leagues. With runners in scoring position, the ballclub is hitting .188. Only the Giants are more ineffective.

Remember last September when the boys went 15-14? Today The Rebuild appears to be morphing into The Regress.

Renteria and general manager Rick Hahn admitted their frustration with this recent tailspin. Meanwhile, veteran broadcaster Steve Stone basically said, "Keep the faith," calling Giolito's performance an "aberration" while he and Hawk Harrelson on Sunday continually talked about the process of developing young players who will make the Sox a contender in 2020. Some will become fixtures on the South Side while others can be used for trades for established veteran players. This is how rebuilding is done.

Reynaldo Lopez, the lone starting pitcher who's shown any ability to get people out, pitched five innings on Sunday, exiting with the score knotted at one. He got high praise from Stone and Harrelson, which is not surprising when you compare the 24-year-old righthander with the other four starters.

However, Sunday was Lopez's shortest stint of his four outings, primarily because he threw 100 pitches as he walked four batters, contributing to the 100 bases on balls issued by Sox pitchers so far this season. Only Atlanta with 102 has provided more free passes than our fellows.

Lopez is the new Jose Quintana on the South Side. Despite a sparkling 1.50 ERA, the kid's record is 0-2 because his mates have scored a total of four runs for him. Go ahead, Reynaldo. Text Quintana. He'll commiserate.

The Astros were more than pleased to take advantage of the White Sox' complete lack of competition during the weekend. Not so long ago in 2013 they were experiencing similar hardships, losing 111 games. Marwin Gonzalez, MVP Jose Altuve and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, who was the winning pitcher Saturday, were the initial building blocks on that club as Houston began its rise from embarrassment, resulting in last season's World Series championship.

Looking back five years, the Astros dropped 18 games by at least seven runs. They didn't win their fifth game until April 19, a number the White Sox continue to pursue with their present 4-14 mark. Houston had six-game losing streaks five times. And the season closed with 15 consecutive ghastly defeats. Predicting that the same franchise would be atop the baseball world in just four years would have been folly. But obviously it happened.

Of course the key word in all of this is "prospects." Draft and trade intelligently, develop young talent, and be patient. Don't rush these youngsters. Years ago most fans couldn't name the Sox minor league affiliates. Today Charlotte, Birmingham, Winston-Salem and Kannapolis have become familiar names for many Sox loyalists.

Nevertheless, we know that not all of the fledgling athletes at the lower levels will find their way to the South Side. If we needed any reminder, one occurred last week when the Sox announced that No. 1 prospect, outfielder Eloy Jimenez, was coming off the disabled list - he had recovered from a strained pectoral muscle after having a sore knee in spring training - to join the Double-A Birmingham Barons.

To make room for Jimenez, the Sox released outfielder Courtney Hawkins. Remember him? The kid from Corpus Christi, Tex. who did a back flip to Kenny Williams' consternation the moment he was announced as the Sox' first-round draft choice in 2012?

Hawkins once (in 2013) was the Sox top prospect, yet he never played a game above Double-A. In spring training in 2015 he slashed .412/.429/1.282 with four homers and 10 RBI. That spring I watched him hit two laser shots in consecutive at-bats that landed far up on the berm at Camelback Ranch. It was exhilarating.

But when the real games began, Hawkins, who is just 24-years-old today, couldn't make contact. In parts of seven minor league seasons, he struck out about a third of the time. He did slam 79 dingers, but after a series of hand and foot injuries, a .222 lifetime batting average, and as many as 160 strikeouts in 103 games, the Sox gave up on Hawkins last week.

Please understand. Eloy Jimenez is not Courtney Hawkins. At least no one thinks he is. But we are operating on faith here.

We've been offered the Kool-Aid by the Sox PR gurus. Like most fans, I very much want to drink the Kool-Aid, but I've never been fond of the lemon-lime that they're offering. I like the red kind. The cherry. Once it's an option, give me a pint.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:52 AM | Permalink

April 21, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

-

New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

*

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #197: On The Baseball Beat With The Cubs Conundrum And The White Sox Slog
Herky-jerky season finally coming into focus, sorta. Plus: The Bread Man!; Bumbling Bears; and Seat Geek Stadium.

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ChicagoGram

-

ChicagoTube

MSI Chicago Photo Booth Video.

-

BeachBook

Mariska Hargitay's New Documentary Explores The Backlog Of Untested Rape Kits In The United States.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Down.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:52 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #197: On The Baseball Beat With The Cubs Conundrum And The White Sox Slog

Herky-jerky season finally coming into focus, sorta. Plus: The Bread Man!; Bumbling Bears; and Seat Geek Stadium.


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SHOW NOTES

* 197.

1:00: Cubs Conundrum, Sox Slog.

* NewsDiffs.

* Cubs Rout Rockies 16-5 Behind Another Big Game From Javy Baez.

* Baez-Almora A Suddenly Dynamic Duo Cubs Can't Break Up Now.

* Red Sox Now 17-2.

* Tyler Saladino goes, Trayce Thompson arrives.

* March 24, 2015 - The White Sox Report: Enter Courtney Hawkins.

* The Cincinnati Reds Are 3-16 (And Now Managed By Former Cubs Manager Jim Riggleman).

30:37: The Ex-Cub Factor.

* Dan Vogelbach, Trevor Cahill, Rene Rivera, Geovany Soto, Miguel Montero, Joe Girardi.

* The New York Yankees are 9-9.

* Marmalade.

* The Philadelphia Phillies are 12-7.

* Pierce Johnson, Jeff Samardzija, Luis Valbuena, Chris Rusin.

* The San Diego Padres are 8-13.

* The Process, The G League and Gregg Popovich.

* Coal's not coming back!

49:22: The Bread Man!

* Artemi Panarin delivering for Blue Jackets.

* The Less-Than-Thrilling Reason The Toronto Maple Leafs Are Not The Maple Leaves.

* Ex-Blackhawk Richard Panik Arrested In Arizona

51:22: Bumbling Bears.

* Fourth-worst front office when it comes to preparation for contract negotiations.

* Crane Kenney vs. Ted Phillips.

* Kiper on Bears draft possibilities.

* Forte, Hester.

1:02:12: Seat Geek Stadium.

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STOPPAGE: 5:33

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:21 AM | Permalink

April 20, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Jungle Green at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.


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2. Otto Rollo at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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3. US Girls at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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4. Matchess at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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5. The Residents at the Old Town School on Tuesday night.

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6. Dave Davies at the Genesee in Waukegan on Thursday night.

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7. The Smithereens at the Genesee in Waukegan on Thursday night.

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8. Max Weinberg at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:48 PM | Permalink

April 19, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

"Leading black lawmakers in Springfield say they will press to close a loophole in state law that allows suburban police to avoid administrative scrutiny after shooting people, an omission highlighted in a recent Better Government Association/WBEZ investigation," the BGA and WBEZ report.

"'It's outrageous,' said state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, responding to the probe's findings that not a single officer was disciplined, re-trained or fired after 113 suburban police shootings over 13 years. What's more, no reviews for policy violations or mistakes were conducted in the vast majority of those shootings."

I have to admit that I have not yet read this piece of what seems like stellar journalism. It's been in my read-later app alongside so much other work I haven't yet gotten to - because there's too much good, important stuff to keep track of. Is this, weirdly, a golden age for Chicago journalism? I say weirdly because, well, tronc.

Also, there are notable large holes in the local media fabric, particularly when it comes to beat coverage. Real digital innovation that connects with sustainable business models is still lacking. But on the investigative front, the work we're seeing here is awfully compelling and impactful. (I happen to believe the Tribune and ProPublica Illinois should have won that Pulitzer hands down, but that's a different post.)

Anyway, back to the BGA/WBEZ today:

The four-part BGA/WBEZ investigation identified dozens of questionable police shootings - most in predominantly black suburbs. They included 20 police shootings in which officers fired at moving cars, 30 in which suspects were unarmed and another half-dozen in which police shot each other or innocent bystanders.

National experts told the BGA and WBEZ that police often violated their own policies and best practices by ramping up confrontations instead of de-escalating them, endangered innocent bystanders and even tampered with evidence after a shooting.

Still, the investigation found that in 113 shootings, not a single suburban officer was disciplined, retrained or fired after pulling the trigger. That's because of an omission in the 2015 police reform bill - sponsored by Raoul and pushed by the black caucus - that mandated police shootings throughout the state undergo an independent investigation.

Many suburban police chiefs and municipal officials interviewed said they assumed the investigations, which are performed by the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force, also included reviews of whether officers violated policies, procedures and best practices. But the state police only look for criminal violations, a much higher standard than reviewing for mistakes, errant police tactics or violations of policy, all of which are far more common problems found in some police shootings, according to experts.

Raoul and other lawmakers interviewed for this report said they were surprised to learn such a fundamental police function as policy reviews after shootings was routinely ignored throughout suburban Cook County.

Now they know, thanks to the BGA and WBEZ.

Graybangers
"During January 1984, the Chicago Police Department labeled more than 700 people as suspected gang members following arrests for various crimes," Mick Dumke writes for ProPublica Illinois.

One was in his early 30s and identified as a member of the Black P Stones.

By last fall, nearly 34 years later, that individual was 77 - and still in what police commonly refer to as the department's "gang database."

In fact, the 77-year-old was one of 163 people in their 70s or 80s in the database, which now includes information about 128,000 people and counting, according to records I obtained through a series of requests under the state Freedom of Information Act.

It's hard to fathom that there are so many elderly, active gang members in Chicago who need to be tracked by police. But those aren't the only curious entries in the database. As of this March, it also included 13 people who are supposedly 118 years old - and two others listed as 132.

Over the last year, all kinds of questions have been raised about the way the police department collects and uses its gang data). But it's become clear to me the database is riddled with dubious entries, discrepancies and outright errors.

Those errors aren't just amusing aberrations conjuring images of gray gangbangers, though - they have serious consequences for real people. Go read the rest to find out how and why.

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Comment from Michael Clarke, via Facebook:

So the math here:

"During January 1984, the Chicago Police Department labeled more than 700 people as suspected gang members following arrests for various crimes," Mick Dumke writes for ProPublica Illinois.

"One was in his early 30s and identified as a member of the Black P Stones. By last fall, nearly 34 years later, that individual was 77 - and still in what police commonly refer to as the department's 'gang database.'"

This person was "in his early 30s" 34 years ago and was 77 last year? Am I missing something?

Me: You're right, that doesn't add up.

Amazon HQ2-Fer
"Later this year, Amazon will begin accepting grocery orders from customers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal anti-poverty program formerly known as food stamps. As the nation's largest e-commerce grocer, Amazon stands to profit more than any other retailer when the $70 billion program goes online after an initial eight-state pilot," the Intercept reports.

"But this new revenue will effectively function as a double subsidy for the company: In Arizona, new data suggests that one in three of the company's own employees depend on SNAP to put food on the table. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, the figure appears to be around one in 10. Overall, of five states that responded to a public records request for a list of their top employers of SNAP recipients, Amazon cracked the top 20 in four."

This is a long, in-depth report that demands particular attention here as Chicago vies for Amazon's "second headquarters" through a combination of begging, pleading, and massive tax subsidies contained in a secret offer we may never see.

Also, let's ask the mayor about this.

Sister Faculty
"Loyola's non-tenure track faculty union reached a tentative agreement with the university Monday night, but the graduate student union - which includes teaching and research assistants from the College of Arts and Sciences - hasn't received the same opportunity to negotiate with the university," the Loyola Phoenix reports.

"Formed in February 2017, the graduate student union hasn't been recognized as a union by Loyola, despite its recognition by the National Labor Relations Board. In October, Loyola officials said they wouldn't proceed with negotiations with the union, and The Phoenix has reported graduate students are prohibited from holding other jobs while working for the university."

Um, what?

Go read the rest for the whys and wherefores.

Garden Party
"Mayoral challengers Willie Wilson, Garry McCarthy and Paul Vallas have forged a mutual nonaggression pact. They've agreed to lay off each other, attack Rahm Emanuel and unite behind whoever forces the mayor into a runoff," Fran Spielman reports for the Sun-Times.

"If Emanuel is feeling ganged up on, he's not about to say. He's too busy executing his Rose Garden strategy of ignoring his opponents to avoid putting them on equal footing with the two-term incumbent mayor of Chicago."

That's not what a Rose Garden strategy is. A Rose Garden strategy is about holing up in your office and basically avoiding campaigning, or at least largely avoiding the media. Its name derives from presidents seeking re-election who essentially campaign from inside the White House, projecting power, grandeur and above-it-allness. Emanuel is hardly hiding in City Hall these days.

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"The man who served as former President Barack Obama's first White House chief of staff has veered from that Rose Garden script just once since the field started to fill with mayoral challengers."

So enamored of the theme she uses it twice in the same article!

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This statement by Emanuel about challenger and former CPS CEO Paul Vallas is notable, though; not because it veers from a Rose Garden script but because he might as well be talking about former mayor and patron Richard M. Daley, who was Vallas's boss.

"This is a person who is the architect of kicking the can down the road - from skipping pension payments, eliminating direct-line revenue support for teachers pensions to Chicago's corporate account . . . It took the city seven long, hard years to fix what he broke," Emanuel said.

"We're not going back. It's not gonna be back to the future . . . Since this is the day, we're not gonna have Groundhog Day again here in Chicago. It's not gonna happen."

Of course, Emanuel has frequently spoken of the dark old days - without mentioning who was in charge back then and how much Emanuel supported him. Maybe in this campaign he'll finally be forced to say the name of his old friend.

The Dorothy Brown Show
She's in - again.

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I just don't understand what the point is of seeking a comment - any comment - from a spokesperson, getting this, and actually publishing it.

Now, a question one might ask - and of the mayor, not a flak - is if the incumbent acknowledges that the large field indicates unhappiness with his job, especially given that it's reflective of his low approval rating. And how that might change the way he campaigns - even governs!

But really, I don't see the need to seek comment every time someone new enters the race. So many better questions to ask. Like: Who was mayor when Paul Vallas was supposedly bankrupting the city?

The Aristocrats
"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrat J.B. Pritzker spent a combined $105.2 million to win their respective party nominations - the equivalent of more than $100 per vote cast in last month's primaries, new campaign finance records show," the Tribune reports.

"Pritzker, a billionaire Hyatt Hotels heir and philanthropist, led the way by spending a record $68.3 million to win the crowded Democratic primary at a cost of $119.04 per vote. Pritzker collected more than 573,000 votes, or 45.2 percent of ballots cast, and won by nearly 20 percentage points based on unofficial vote totals. Pritzker is self-financing his campaign.

"Rauner, a wealthy private equity investor seeking a second term, spent nearly $37 million in eking out a narrow 2.8 percentage-point win over state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton. Rauner got around 361,300 votes - 51.4 percent - at a cost of $102.33 per vote. In contrast, Ives spent nearly $4.3 million in getting more than 341,000 votes at a cost of $12.55 per vote."

The interesting (though unanswerable) question to me is, what would the results have been if every candidate had the same amount of money to spend. Let's experiment next time!

Toni Time
"Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Wednesday is expected to become the first African American and woman chosen to lead the county Democratic Party, a sign of a changing political landscape and her ability to weather a storm," the Tribune reports.

How is that a sign of a changing political landscape? African-American women hold several (elected!) county positions, and while outgoing party chief Joe Berrios is male, he is a Latino (and one steadfastly supported by Preckwinkle for years).

It just seems like more of an inevitability to me than a changing landscape. Preckwinkle has been the vice chair for years and the heir apparent. Now Berrios is gone and she moves up. (I mean, I know some local reporters tried to make a competitive race out of this, just like they tried with the county board president's race, but in neither case was it ever close.)

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"Just a few months ago, Preckwinkle was viewed as politically vulnerable, given her headlining support of the much-loathed and now-repealed pop tax, but then she easily won the Democratic primary and the commissioner candidates she backed also prevailed."

Was viewed by politically vulnerable by who?

If she was thought by the political professionals to be vulnerable, she would have drawn a stronger challenge than the tainted, discredited Bob Fioretti, whose most recent campaign before this one was badly losing a state legislative race.

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Was the pop tax "much-loathed?" I mean, it wasn't exactly liked (and didn't poll well, sure), but it seems to me the media loathed it more than any other group of voters. After all, pop-tax repealers were the ones thrown off the board, not pop-tax supporters.

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"Preckwinkle has pledged to work toward 'lasting change,' but she is viewed as a transitional leader."

First, someone can enact lasting change in just one term. Second, viewed as a transitional leader by who? I hate these passive constructions so common in journalism. What reporters really mean when they write this way is that this is how they and other reporters, and perhaps a half-dozen political consultants and insiders at best "view" things. That's how the "consensus" of "conventional wisdom" comes to be. Believe me, I've been there.

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"Preckwinkle also is viewed as comfortable with two sometimes-divergent camps within the county Democratic Party: old-school politicians who have seen their strength slip as the power of patronage politics wanes, and self-styled progressives who rely more on issues than political troops to win elections."

Boy, is there a lot of passive viewing in this piece. Just say it! Preckwinkle is generally reform-minded but has also always been steadfastly loyal to the party and loathe to challenge the Machine or the behavior of anyone in it. She stays in her own, goody-goody lane.

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And why are progressives "self-styled?"

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"The progressives' growing strength - and the split with regulars - played out last month, when a slate of three candidates backed by County Commissioner Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia defeated candidates backed by establishment Democrats."

Sure, progressives are ascendant in the party right now. But this split has played itself out for decades.

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"Changes could include Michael Rodriguez, who represents Garcia's 22nd Ward as committeeman, taking Preckwinkle's current spot as city executive vice chairman; Thornton Township Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli, whose south suburban township led Democratic voter turnout, filling the first vice chairman seat left vacant after the death of Tim Bradford; and state Sen. Laura Murphy, the Maine Township committeewoman, taking the place now held by Robert Martwick Sr., who did not run for committeeman in March. The rest of the executive committee would not change."

When Frank Zuccarelli gets bumped up and everything else mostly remains the same, the landscape has changed much at all. But Preckwinkle will run a cleaner, tighter ship than Berrios.

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"I certainly had my differences with Joe Berrios as assessor, but honestly, compared to his predecessors, I thought he did a pretty good job as the party chair: very inclusive, very fair, you know beginning to shift the party into a more grass-roots-oriented direction," said Ald. Joe Moore, 49th Ward committeeman. "If he were running for re-election as party chair, I wouldn't have any problem supporting him."

Joe Moore, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

Soul Sucker
"Detective April Hope stomped into the Chicago police station feeling as gloomy as the springtime sky, as low as a dirty sidewalk, as tired as a cliche."

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P.S.: Clean sidewalks are just as low as dirty sidewalks.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Chicagoetry: Happy
For 10 minutes.

The Creative Life Of Martysaurus Rex
More important than football.

Harry The Hat
He came from Ambassador East; A liar, a cheat, a braggart, a thief.

The Chicago Authority
A 9-piece band dedicated to celebrating the music of one of the most popular and prolific (and still touring!) bands of all time: Chicago!

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Grupo Super T Desde.

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BeachBook

America Pays A Steep Price For Ignoring The Crimes Of George W. Bush.

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The New York Times Hasn't Opposed A War In The Last 30 years.

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'It Smells Like Death' - Alabama Endures New York Poop Train.

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Rahm Thinks Small On North Branch.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Too spicy for the pepper.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:00 PM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Happy

Happy

Two weeks ago
I was happy
For about 10 minutes!

It was really cool and

Now the insomniac sky
Glows with light pollution
Reflecting off the low, wet

Clouds.
More silent, if distant, joy.
When that good wave comes

You mean to hang on
For dear, brief life, you
Don't want to share, or

Vent. You hum!
You reel! You feel so good
You worry God

Will seek sure vengeance!

Like the moon joy
Waxes, for a few seconds peaks,
Then wanes.

Things get back
To normal:

The weight, the heft,
Of persistent loss.
This we share.

But just stop
And look: sometimes
Joy is there.

You long to hoard it
Like golden light

Under a low,
Wet cloud.

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J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:00 AM | Permalink

The Chicago Authority

A 9-piece band dedicated to celebrating the music of one of the most popular and prolific bands of all time: Chicago!


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Based in Western New York, btw.

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YouTube channel.

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The real Chicago - still on tour and hitting the road this summer with REO Speedwagon.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:21 AM | Permalink

Harry The Hat

"Most people know Harry Anderson as Judge Harold T. Stone, the affable star of NBC's Night Court, which ran for nine seasons from 1984 to 1992," David Hill writes at The Ringer.

"To Anderson, however, playing Judge Stone was just a job. He never set out to be an actor, and his arrival at the center of a hit sitcom was something of an accident. Harry Anderson was no actor. He was a magician. He was a comedian. He was a storyteller and a showman. At his heart, however, Harry Anderson was a hustler."

True. Night Court was the least of it.

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"Anderson was born in 1952 in Newport, Rhode Island, into an unhappy home. His father, a salesman, left him and his mother alone. Anderson moved around a lot in his younger years, living in a dozen states by the time he was 16 years old. He and his mother moved to Las Vegas, where she took a job as a casino dealer, then to Chicago, where she worked as a prostitute - a fact about which Anderson has been blunt and refused to hold against her.

"She did what needed to be done to try to keep us together," he told People magazine. In Chicago, Anderson spent many days alone in the lobby of the Ambassador East Hotel, a popular spot for men to play cards and gamble. The card players would look after Anderson while his mother was busy, teaching him to play games, make wagers, and perform card tricks.

By the time he was 16, Anderson left Chicago to live with his father in Los Angeles. He took up magic as a serious hobby during high school, and joined a club in which he socialized with other future magic stars, like Jonathan Pendragon and Paul Harris. During the summer of his senior year at North Hollywood High School, Anderson visited San Francisco. It was here that he first saw a street hustler performing the shell game. For Anderson it was a revelation - he could put his magic skills to work and earn some real money! He developed his own shell game routine and hit the streets, though according to Anderson he was impeded by not having a crew. He had to hustle "against the wall," meaning he had no shills to interrupt the game, to place winning bets when the crowd grew tired of losing, or to look out for the police or trouble. After Anderson had his jaw broken by an upset customer, he reworked his shell game into an act instead of a con. He performed it as a parody of a street hustler and kept a hat out for donations rather than taking bets on where the pea was each time. He channeled the men he played cards with in the Ambassador East Hotel in his youth and adopted a persona he called "Harry the Hat," a fast-talking con man who was always one step ahead of the audience but still "a bit of a nincompoop." "I've played cards with people who don't share a language, but we can play cards," he told The Globe and Mail. "It was out of admiration for them that I decided to become a magician. I think that's where Harry the Hat came from."

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"Here's the ten bucks I'm gonna owe you in about five minutes."

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"Pick A Con, Any Con."

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"It's covered."

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On Late Night, 1982-87.

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On Carson, 1988.

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"A liar, a thief, a braggart, a cheat."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

Martysaurus Rex: A Creative Life More Important Than Football

Martellus Bennett: Smarter than your average (ex-)Bear.


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Previously:

* Is Martellus Bennett The Most Interesting Man In Chicago?

* Martellus Bennett's Black Kid Adventures.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

April 18, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

I'll be there. Will you?

Happy 420 + 1. No better band to rip you out of your Friday haze and throw back into another than OOZING WOUND. The thrashing trio has celebrated the release of all three of their Thrill Jockey records right here with us and we've loved em every step of the way. The Wound makes the people go insane with their simultaneously hilarious and terrifying blend of heavy riffage, crushing rhythms and piercing screams. All three original OOZERs (welcome back, Kyle!) cut their teeth in some beloved local bands (CACAW, ZATH, UNMANNED SHIP, BAD DRUGS) and they're widely known around these parts to deliver one of the most brutal live shows in town. Get ready for the beatdown of your life.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Visiting the Toys 'R' Us Closing Bankruptcy Sale in Chicago (Video Essay).

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Don't hedge.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:57 PM | Permalink

April 17, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

It's not always easy for me to keep up with our Week/Weekend in Chicago Rock feature, so sometimes I fall behind. But I always catch up. So here we go, in reverse chronological order, with the new stuff - last weekend - on top.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Margo Price, Front 242, Cocksure, Jinjer, Cradle of Filth, George Porter Trio, The Wood Brothers with Nicki Bluhm, Poi Dog Pondering, Willie Nile, Wyclef Jean, Candlebox, and Lullwater.

margoprice.jpg

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Rivers Cuomo, Champagne Mirrors, Pod Blotz, Zahar, Heart, Built to Spill, Robin Trower, The Lawrence Arms, Los Lobos, and Essaie Pas.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.10.21 AM.png

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Reaganomics, Benny and The No Goods, Size 5s, Death and Memphis, Supa Bwe, Albert Hammond Jr., Phillip Phillips, Judas Priest, Saxon, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Udusic, Espejos, Wild Rose, Intocable, Ministry, Kasbo, Drive-By Truckers, and Gosh!

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.45.29 AM.png

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Silent Age, Soft Kill, Pat Benatar, Rachel Drew and the Bitter Roots, Electric Dirt, Common Deer, and Lo Moon.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.18.36 AM.png

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: FACS, Ethers, DIM, Pig's Blood, The Handcuffs, Los Amigos Invisibles, The Steepwater Band, Courtney Marie Andrews, Attila, James Bay, Nightwish, and House of Lords.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.22.23 AM.png

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Tiger Hatchery, Melkbelly, Lightning Bolt, and Flaw.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.25.16 AM.png

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Ross The Boss, Alvvays, Cro-Mags, Hannah Ellis, Devin Dawson, Dixie Dregs, Hieroglyphic Being, Matchess, and Jeremiah Chiu.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.28.11 AM.png

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: General Joystick, Blue Steel, Hatebreed, Kelly Lee Owens, Carmen Villain, Dying Fetus, Crowbar, Acacia Strain, Stanley Clarke, Stella Donnelly, Matador!, and Lil Skies.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.32.58 AM.png

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All caught up!

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ChicagoGram

#maxwellstreet #chicago 1987 #streetphotography #street

A post shared by @ gboozell on

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ChicagoTube

Bean Soup Times: What Willie Wilson Told Black Media.

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BeachBook

With Settlement Of Jilted Spouse's Lawsuit, Archaic 'Heart Balm' Law Nears A Quite End.

*

The Bonkers Game That Shouldn't Have Been.

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Domino's Unveils Pizza Delivery To Unusual Locations.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

And then Axelrod's outfit.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: A war for your mind.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:06 AM | Permalink

April 16, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Margo Price at Thalia Hall on Friday night.


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2. Front 242 at the Metro on Friday night.

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3. Cocksure at the Metro on Friday night.

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4. Jinjer at the Forge in Joliet on Friday night.

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5. Cradle of Filth at the Forge in Joliet on Friday night.

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6. George Porter Trio at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night.

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7. The Wood Brothers and Nicki Bluhm at the Vic on Friday night.

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8. Poi Dog Pondering at the Arcada in St. Charles on Saturday night.

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9. Willie Nile at City Winery on Saturday night.

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10. Wyclef Jean at the Metro on Sunday night.

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11. Candlebox at City Winery on Sunday night.

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12. Lullwater at City Winery on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:03 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The NBA Saves The Day

The playoffs are here! Tra la, tra la. The playoffs are here! Tra la, tra la. I refer, of course, to the NBA playoffs. And they began with quadruple headers on Saturday and Sunday. There is postseason hockey as well, but I think I have established previously that I am always a basketball guy first.

Have I mentioned lately how cool it is to be a sports fan in this day and age? The weekend was a total washout in terms of baseball (although nice comeback on Saturday, Cubs - never has a team made so much of so little production at the plate with nine runs in the eighth on just three hits) but that just cleared things out so we could focus on the winter sports postseasons.

That little Cubs comment is all I have this week in terms of local sports content. That was the only Chicago baseball over the weekend, a terrible weather game that never should have been played.

Yes, yes, Zlatan was in Bridgeview on Saturday and, yes, he headed in a goal. But from the local perspective that was just another disappointing loss for a home side that appears to be going backward.

So we look to the national scene and we find . . . all sorts of cool stuff. In fact, we start by looking to the international scene, where there was again the opportunity to begin both Saturday and Sunday with live, late-morning Premiership soccer (on the telly of course). On Saturday, my soccer-playing daughter and I watched a big bounce-back win for Manchester City over Tottenham Hotspur.

And the next morning it was Manchester United taking the pitch versus the worst team in the league - West Brom-Albion. So what happened? WBA pulled out the unlikeliest of 1-0 victories. That "bottom team" (English for last place) is still doomed to relegation, but what a day it was for West Brom in an otherwise completely lost season.

Then it was on to the NBA playoffs, where the first game of the day was Milwaukee visiting Boston. The Celtics are a dead team walking with star point guard Kyrie Irving sidelined until next season after knee surgery. But they still have enough to beat the Bucks and they eked out an overtime win in the most exciting game of the day.

Next up was Cleveland hosting the Pacers, and it was not close. To all those who have grown tired of LeBron James dominating the Eastern Conference playoffs year after year after year - I mean, it has been a decade-and-a-half, man! A decade-and-a-half! - take heart. Victor Oladipo's 32 points led the Pacers to a shockingly easy 98-80 victory.

That broke LeBron's personal win streak of 21 consecutive first-round playoff wins. His Cavaliers and Heat teams had swept through the first round of the playoffs for five consecutive years since a loss in a Game 4 match-up with New York in 2012. So that result was slightly refreshing.

Eventually I capped off the day watching the Timberwolves battle the Rockets hard for 48 minutes before succumbing 104-101. Jimmy Butler's team couldn't quite finish off a shocking upset, but they were right there until the end and this series could be considerably more competitive than people thought.

Baseball will be back tonight. Thank goodness the Sox get to leave town and head west, where they will take on the Oakland Athletics at 9:05 Central Daylight Savings time. The Cubs are scheduled for a night game with the Cardinals at Wrigley, but given the controversy after they played in terrible weather on Saturday, can they really take the field tonight in wind chills that might dip below 20 degrees?

Oh, and there will be a basketball doubleheader starting at about 7 p.m. It will begin with the crazy 76ers, who finished the season with 16 consecutive wins and blew out Miami in their playoff opener Saturday. Philadelphia has been doing this for the last couple weeks with superstar Joel Embiid sidelined due to a facial fracture. And then San Antonio plays at Golden State after that.

Bring it on.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:23 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"The U.S. Supreme Court has for the second time rejected an appeal by imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his convictions on corruption charges. The justices did not comment Monday in letting stand the convictions and 14-year prison term that Blagojevich is serving," the Tribune reports.

Reminder: Trying to "sell" Obama's Senate seat was the least of Blago's multiple crimes. Try shaking down a children's hospital, for example. The evidence against him was, in the words of a federal appellate court, overwhelming. He also actually got a major break when it came to sentencing. See The [Monday] Papers of April 31, 2015.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The White Sox Report: Cold-Cocked
"I've yet to get my arms around the rationale that spending $50 on a ticket to risk frostbite promotes enjoyment," our very own Roger Wallenstein writes. "We have the NFL for that."

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SportsMonday: The NBA Saves The Day
While baseball is MIA.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Dio, January 23, 1985, Rosemont Horizon (audio only).

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BeachBook

Domino's Unveils Delivery To Non-Traditional Hot Spots.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Before it's too late.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:55 AM | Permalink

Cold-Cocked

E-mails came from readers in Phoenix and St. Louis. Both wanted to make sure I was aware that the White Sox-Rays' game last Monday drew exactly 974 patrons. Thanks, guys. Glad to know you're not so busy that you might miss something as fascinating as White Sox attendance on a wintry day against an opponent with as many challenges as the local ballclub.

Apparently the Tampa Bay Times broke the story. Quite possibly their beat writer had time to actually count the bodies in the stands as he sat through a 5-4 Rays' victory, which broke the team's eight-game losing streak. You can be assured that if Sox management went through the same exercise, the silence would be deafening. As it were, the team announced the paid attendance as 10,842.

If nothing else, we might guesstimate that the club has sold a few more than 10,000 season tickets for this rebuilding season. Hip Hip Hooray!

Even if the game had been played in the evening, as originally scheduled, in 60-degree temperatures, there still would have been enough room for a freight train to chug through the ballpark. Two seasons ago a mid-April Tuesday-through-Thursday home series against the Angels saw an average of a little more than 12,000. Last year's second game at home against Detroit drew 10,842 when it was 48 degrees with a 23 mph wind. Those were paid admissions.

Because of revenue sharing, more than 25 years ago teams began announcing "tickets sold" rather than "tickets used." Therefore, one can never be quite sure how many people are in the park unless, of course, you personally count them, which might have been the case last Monday.

Knowing that the day would be more like February than April, Sox management switched the game to a 1:10 p.m. start as the teams faced off with the thermometer reading 35 degrees, along with a brisk wind. Sox fans are loyal, but most are not so masochistic to freeze their asses off when there are at least 70 future opportunities to watch a ballgame in warm sunshine.

Old-timers have memories of crowds barely in four digits or less, maybe not on a regular basis but certainly in recurring situations depending on weather, the team's won-loss record, and placement on the schedule.

Perhaps the most dismal season in memory was 1970 when the White Sox lost a franchise record 106 games. They drew just 11,473 on Opening Day and followed up the next two afternoons with an average of 1,200. Worse yet, by the end of September in two games against Kansas City, attendance was 672 and 693 on consecutive days. And that, my friends, is how you draw 495,000 for an entire season.

Of course, things are nowhere near as dismal today. But you have to wonder how the schedulemakers decide to slate early April games in places like Chicago and Minneapolis, where the Sox were unceremoniously snowed out of three games over the weekend.

Last week was Tampa Bay's only foray into Chicago this season, so Roger Bossard and his crew were given the ultimatum to clear the real estate of snow and prepare the field for play. Meanwhile, across town, the Cubs, who had an open date on Tuesday, scrubbed their opener and waited 24 hours.

Consider this: The Sox go to Tampa Bay on August 3-5 to complete the six-game season series against the Rays. What problem would arise if the two series simply were flip-flopped? Why play in Chicago in April and Florida in August?

Even the casual observer can decipher that there are five major league baseball teams in California. Two more call Florida home. We have two in Texas, one in Arizona and another in Georgia. Three more have either a dome or a roof, for a total of 14 where weather most likely would not be a factor in early April. There even is a decent chance for acceptable baseball conditions in St. Louis, Washington, Baltimore and Cincinnati at the beginning of the season.

So why on earth are cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Kansas City and Cleveland scheduled to host games the first few weeks of the season when we know that winter has not released its grip? Games Sunday were postponed in all five of those locales because of the horrible cold, wet weather. A year ago Sunday the high temperature in Chicago was 82. Let's face it, that was an aberration. The truth is that baseball in Chicago in April is at best a crapshoot.

Perhaps the prospect of starting the season by playing, say, two weeks on the road - where the visitors win about 45 percent of the time - strikes the schedulemakers as an unfair advantage for the warm weather clubs and a penalty for their brethren to the north. However, good ballclubs win no matter where they play. Of the 10 teams last season that qualified for the postseason, only the Yankees played below .500 on the road, and they were close at 40-41.

The powers-that-be might argue that giving a team a majority of road games at the season's start and a healthy dose of home games in August and September could affect the outcome of the six-month campaign. I've always been under the impression that a win (or loss) in April counts the same as it does in September.

And what about the fans? Being fan-friendly is a centerpiece of MLB public relations, which advertises that the ballpark is a great place to bring the family and enjoy the National Pastime. Yet many folks were priced out of the market years ago, and I've yet to get my arms around the rationale that spending $50 on a ticket to risk frostbite promotes enjoyment. We have the NFL for that.

Rest assured that absolutely nothing will change. Even when the doubleheaders pile up during the season and teams have to dip into the minor leagues for starting pitchers, there will be little or no discussion about tweaking the early-season schedule.

Possibly this cynicism is a result of the Sox' lackluster 4-8 record at this point. If they were 8-4, would I be shaking my head at the irrationality of April baseball in Minnesota?

At the present time, aside from eight losses in the last 10 games, is there cause for concern about super prospect Yoan Moncada? Manager Ricky Renteria has settled on Moncada in the leadoff spot in the order, yet only five players in the major leagues have struck out more often than Moncada's 24. He has drawn eight walks, but his .298 on-base percentage is not leadoff quality.

In parts of three minor league seasons, Moncada fanned approximately 30 percent of the time. While the sample size is small, he's whiffed a bit more than 41 percent of his at-bats in the big leagues. Patience is required because the guy appears to be a superb athlete with a boatload of potential. I just wish he'd make more contact.

Then there is Lucas Giolito, on whose right arm a generous helping of Sox fortunes rest. In 18 innings over three starts, the 23-year-old righthander has provided plenty of help for the opposition by walking 12 batters and hitting another four. Seven of those morphed into runs. This is very un-Lucas like. Last season in 45 innings, he hit only three batters while averaging 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings. So far that number has dwindled to 4.0.

Notwithstanding recent challenges, all indications point to youngsters like Moncada and Giolito being building blocks toward future White Sox success. Shall we assume that all they and their cohorts need is a bit of decent weather?

Traveling to Oakland this week for three games will offer a huge improvement in the climate department before the Sox return home on the weekend to host the World Series champion Houston Astros. Be assured that good seats are still available.

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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 Frederick J. Nachman:

Ticketholders for Monday's game vs. the Rays were told two days in advance they could exchange those tickets for a later date; therefore, there was zero incentive to trek to a weekday afternoon on a miserable day. I'd be interested in what the walk-up sales were that day.

2. From Patrick Cassidy:

Seems to me the solution is scheduled doubleheaders so the season can start later.

Opening in the warmer or domed cities would be okay by me too, but that would mean the same cities open the season every year.

Anyway, I don't know whether to blame Obama or Hillary.

3. From Steve Nidetz:

Two things to consider:

1.) MLB tried a warm-weather, domed-stadium start to the 1984 season for about 10 days and had to back off afterward when those teams howled about losing attendance because kids were still in school as opposed to more summery dates.

2.) Nobody has suggested MLB return to a 1969-style schedule in which you played only teams within your division the first month of the season. That way, if there were postponements, there would be plenty of time later in the season in which to make up those games. Having the Sox play the Rays (or the Cubs vs. the Braves) here in April is especially asinine.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:28 AM | Permalink

April 15, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

"Milos Forman, a filmmaker who challenged Hollywood with his subversive touch, and twice directed movies that won the Oscar for best picture, died on Friday. He was 86," the New York Times reports.

"Mr. Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - a tragicomic story of revolt and repression in a mental institution - won five Oscars, including those for best director and best picture.

"The film put Mr. Forman in the front rank of those who struggled to make big, commercial films with countercultural sensibilities. His sympathy for the odd man out was always apparent."

*

McMurphy: But I tried, didn't I? Goddamnit, at least I did that.

*

Of course, the movie was adapted from Ken Kesey's novel.

"Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, the narrative serves as a study of the institutional processes and the human mind as well as a critique of behaviorism and a celebration of humanistic principles," Wikipedia notes.

-

New on the Beachwood this weekend . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #196: Are The Cubs Bad? (Yes Maybe)
Alarmingly so. Some might say "fragile." Time to panic. Plus: Coffman In Vegas; The Cam Meredith Debacle; The White Sox Are The 2014 Cubs; Patrick Sharp, Thank You For Your Service; Lottery Bulls; and Schweinsteiger!

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Tumbleweed Rolling Down The Burlington Northern Railroad Tracks In Brookfield.

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Weekend BeachBook

Colleges Recruit At Richer, Whiter High Schools.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

*

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Disgraceful.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:54 AM | Permalink

April 14, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #196: Are The Cubs Bad? (Yes Maybe)

Alarmingly so. Some might say "fragile." Time to panic. Plus: Coffman In Vegas; The Cam Meredith Debacle; The White Sox Are The 2014 Cubs; Patrick Sharp, Thank You For Your Service; Lottery Bulls; and Schweinsteiger!


-

SHOW NOTES

* 196.

* Ray Romano and David Spade.

* Saget goes blue:

* Mandalay Bay sportsbook.

* Coffman: "Too many schmucks littering the place with their decrepitude."

* The Delano.

* The Bayside Buffet.

* Nevada Panel Keeps Barrier Between Gaming, Marijuana.

17:15: The Cam Meredith Debacle.

* Hoge: Hard To Find Logic In Bears Giving Cam Meredith Away.

* The Saints Stole Cam Meredith.

* Bears sign Bennie Fowler though.

And while the local fanboy media loved Ryan Pace's handling of Kyle Fuller's restricted free agency, the view was different elsewhere . . .

* Packers Play Bears Perfectly In Game Of Tag With Kyle Fuller.

30:00: Patrick Sharp, Thank You For Your Service.

32:01: Lottery Bulls.

36:16: Are The Cubs Bad?

After recording but as I prepared these Show Notes, the Braves were pummeling the Cubs . . .

*

*

*

Oh, we were just talking about him . . .

* Explaining The Happ-Almora Conundrum.

And from 24 hours previously:

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED!

* Maddon did not see the play in question.

* C'Mon Man.

* Sports Illustrated: Two Legitimate Baseball Brawls In One Day.

* New York Times: Angels Are Reborn, And Not Just Because Of Shohei Ohtani.

* Gerrit Cole, everybody.

* Justin Verlander, everybody. (Though I don't get that .320 thing.)

55:20: The White Sox Are The 2014 Cubs.

* Michael Kopech, everybody.


* All Nicky Delmonico does is get on base.

1:03:12: Schweinsteiger!

* FINAL: Zlatan 1, Fire 0.

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STOPPAGE: 6:00

-

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:41 PM | Permalink

April 13, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Rivers Cuomo at Beat Kitchen on Tuesday night.


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2. Champagne Mirrors at the Hideout on Wednesday night.

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3. Pod Blotz at the Hideout on Wednesday night.

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4. Zahar at Moe's Tavern on Wednesday night.

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5. Heart at the Arcada in St. Charles on Wednesday nighit.

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6. Built to Spill at the Vic on Thursday night.

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7. Robin Trower at the Copernicus on Thursday night.

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8. The Lawrence Arms at the Metro on Thursday night.

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9. Los Lobos at the Rialto in Joliet on Thursday night.

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10. Essaie Pas at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:28 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"In a symbolic milestone, Sears will soon close its last store in Chicago - the city the iconic retailer has called home or been closely connected to for 120 years," USA Today reports.

"The store, at 4730 W. Irving Park Road, will go out of business in mid-July with the liquidation sale of its merchandise starting on April 27."

That's the Six Corners store. It used to look like this. Now it looks like this.

Soon it will look like this:

*

"The Chicago storefront is part of a batch of 265 Sears and Kmart locations that were purchased by the real estate investment trust Seritage Growth Properties in 2015, then leased back by the retailer. An investment firm owned by Eddie Lampert, Sears Holdings' CEO, has a significant ownership stake in Seritage."

Ohhhh.

"For Sears Holdings, the Seritage deal meant it now had to pay rent on properties it once owned. Sears Holdings paid an additional $200 million in rent and other expenses to Seritage in 2016," the New York Times reported last fall.

"In [a] statement, the company said rent payments would decline as Sears Holdings reduces the size of its stores, as more customers shop online. This year, it expects rent payments to total $160 million.

"But as Sears Holdings exits those leases, higher-paying tenants are coming in, which benefits Seritage shareholders, including Mr. Lampert's hedge funds. 'In properties where Sears has given up the lease,' said Wes Golladay, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, 'Seritage has moved in restaurants, small grocers, gym chains, a pretty broad-based group of new lessees who are paying more than $18 a square foot, from the $4 that Sears was paying.'"

*

But wasn't the fall of Sears inevitable? After all, Amazon.

"For many, the story of Sears is a reflection of the carnage occurring throughout much of retail right now. In recent days, the stocks of J.C. Penney, Macy's and Dillard's all tumbled after they reported another round of quarterly sales declines. Some analysts expect Sears to report a third consecutive double-digit decline in same-store sales in the second quarter.

"But what may ultimately lead to the collapse of the once-great retailer is a dose of Wall Street financial engineering.

"Under the direction of the hedge-fund moneyman Edward S. Lampert, Sears has borrowed to the hilt. Many of its most valuable assets have been sold off. Its stores have been starved for cash and attention."

Oh.

*

Why does that sound familiar?

(Early warning.)

*

"Mr. Lampert typically led from afar. As the largest shareholder through his hedge fund and, since 2013, the company's chief executive, Mr. Lampert has overseen the company's operations via videoconference from his home in Miami. He sets foot inside Sears headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., roughly once a year for the annual meeting, according to interviews with several former executives."

Eddie Lampert, you are Today's Worst Person Barely Ever In Illinois.

*

"Mark Cohen, who was CEO of Sears Canada from 2001 to 2004, and now is a professor at Columbia Business School, says that Lampert is 'the wizard behind the curtain, managing the business from Florida or Connecticut or aboard his yacht' via teleconference and taking from the company all he can," Vanity Fair reported last month in a deep dive titled "'They Could Have Made a Different Decision': Inside the Strange Odyssey of Hedge-Fund King Eddie Lampert."

Deck: "In 2003, many were skeptical when Lampert married Sears to Kmart. Now, with hundreds of stores closed and thousands thrown out of work, Lampert defends his strategies in his first in-depth interview in 15 years. The author also tracks down the man who kidnapped Lampert before the Kmart deal went through."

*

"While admitting he runs the company primarily from Florida, Lampert counters that he has put a fortune of his own money into the business. Cohen responds that Lampert's money is collateralized against hard assets, of which Lampert will take control if the company defaults on the loans."

*

At least Lampert runs his business like the State of Illinois, even if he refuses to visit:

"The pension fund, for retired Sears employees, is underfunded by around $1.6 billion, and both Lampert and Sears are being sued for investing employees' retirement money in Sears stock, when the top brass allegedly knew it was a terrible investment."

*

At least Lampert runs his business like the City of Chicago, even if he refuses to visit:

"Lampert rarely visits Sears Holdings headquarters, outside of Chicago - some say only once a year, for the annual board meeting. Lampert dismisses any criticism of his long-distance management style, saying he's a big believer in handing over power to his management team. 'There are cultures where people work from home, and they still get things done,' he says. 'The ability to trust people, the ability to empower people, that's the model.'

"Mark Cohen, for one, isn't having it. 'He's had a puppet board who have never pushed back in any way that anybody has ever seen, and why would they?' he says. 'They're all handpicked Eddie acolytes, and people have asked me for over a decade, 'How does he get away with this - it's a public company and why isn't the board in action [given] the continued failure of the business?' To which I say, 'The board is meaningless . . . There's no governance here whatsoever.'"

*

Finally:

Robert Chapman, a California-based hedge-fund manager, calls Sears Holdings "a total shit show" that is in "secret liquidation" mode. He says he recently came out of a Kmart in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that offered so many bargains he couldn't believe his eyes. "He's not calling it a liquidation sale," he says of Lampert, "but if you've gone into one of the stores, it's a liquidation deal."

Cohen says, "[Lampert] is a guy who may have harbored some notion of running this business, but if he did he's pivoted to just simply manipulating it, if you will, for his own benefit . . . This is the creative destruction of a very weak brand [Kmart] and a perfectly viable brand [Sears], both of which together were doing something like $50 billion when he took over, and he's getting away with it because he's been able to treat this like a private company. No public company would ever allow a chief executive officer to remain in their seat who was so intimately tied to these manipulations and presiding over the failure of a business like this. This is not normal, if anything is normal these days. This is certainly not normal."

Cohen believes that a bankruptcy filing is inevitable, and that Lampert will end up benefiting from it because he will be able to "walk away" from onerous store leases and other liabilities, such as the underfunded pension plan, and get rid of those assets that he hasn't been able to sell. Since he's the largest Sears Holdings creditor, Cohen says, "he'll then bring this thing right back out as a new company, and he'll become the new shareholder, and he'll start this process all over again because Sears still has a substantial inventory of at least theoretically valuable real estate, and as long as there's any plus value to any consequential outcome it's all to his benefit."

Eddie Lampert, everyone.

*

We Went Inside A Sears And Saw Why The Company Is Dying.

*

Abandoned: Sears Canada.

*

Come See The Deader Side of Sears.

*

At least Sears has finally gotten the hang of the Internet.

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See also: Saving Sears | A Beachwood Special Report.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Do U.S. Oligarchs Exist? Not In Mainstream Media
"That avoidance is revealing when one considers an indisputable fact: U.S. oligarchs have done far more to undermine U.S. democracy than any Russian."

*

Pennies From Chicago
Adventures in coin roll hunting.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #196
Will be recorded on Saturday this week.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

29th and Dearborn/Johnny Dodds and his Chicago Boys.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Deal.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:35 AM | Permalink

Pennies From Chicago

Adventures in coin roll hunting.


-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:55 AM | Permalink

April 12, 2018

Do U.S. Oligarchs Exist? Not In Mainstream Media

TV news shows are good at getting viewers riled up. Day and night, I hear the anchors on CNN and MSNBC getting us riled up about the schemes of this or that "Russian oligarch with links to the Kremlin." I've heard that phrase incessantly in recent weeks.

And plenty of others have heard the "Russian oligarch" phrase. Merriam-Webster.com reported that "oligarch" was one of its most searched-for words on April 5th "following reports that Robert Mueller had questioned Russian businessmen to whom this descriptor applies."

But here's a phrase I haven't heard from any of the purportedly progressive hosts on MSNBC: "A U.S. oligarch with links to Washington."

That avoidance is revealing when one considers an indisputable fact: U.S. oligarchs have done far more to undermine U.S. democracy than any Russian.

Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 3.43.42 PM.png

Take, for example, Brian L. Roberts - who certainly fits the dictionary definition of "oligarch" as "one of a small group of powerful people who control a country or an industry." As chair and CEO of Comcast, Roberts runs the company his dad founded and has sole voting rights over one-third of the corporation's stock. His compensation last year of $28.6 million was less than what 14 other U.S. oligarchs - I mean, CEOs - "earned." His net worth is estimated to be over $1.65 billion.

Does this oligarch have "links to Washington?" In one recent year, Comcast devoted nearly $19 million to lobbying, second only to military-industrial firm Northrop Grumman. Last year, Comcast spent more than $15 million lobbying. And oligarch Roberts has been a top D.C. power player for decades, having gotten his way with one president after another - from President Clinton's deregulatory, anti-consumer Telecommunications Act of 1996 to President Trump's current effort to end net neutrality on behalf of Comcast and other giant internet providers.

Clinton's pro-conglomeration Telecom Act and Trump's net neutrality assault have both undermined U.S. democracy. No Russian had a hand in it. (You may have heard that the Trump-propagandist Sinclair Broadcast Group will soon own more than 200 local TV stations; until the Telceom Act, a company could legally own no more than 12.)

You've got to hand it to U.S. oligarchs; so many of them stay on top no matter which party runs Washington. They sure have greater staying power than Russian oligarchs - who, we're constantly told, end up dead or in prison if they fall out of favor with President Putin.

Roberts certainly has the lifestyle of an oligarch. He maintains a seasonal dacha - I mean, second home - in Martha's Vineyard, where he keeps his custom-built Sparkman & Stephens sloops, and where he has hosted President Obama, including at an A-list cocktail party thrown for the then-president in August 2013. And Roberts just built a sprawling mansion in North Palm Beach, not far from Trump's Mar-a-Lago.

But his primary residence is in Philadelphia; Obama has been a regular presence at Comcast mansions there as well. In 2013, speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser in the Philadelphia home of Roberts' top lobbyist, Obama said, "I have been here so much, the only thing I haven't done in this house is have Seder dinner."

While Russian oligarchs are often passionate game-hunters, Roberts is an avid golfer, carrying an impressive 8 handicap. Obama has famously golfed with him "on the lush fairways of the Vineyard Golf Club."

There's one last factoid I need to add about Roberts. As Comcast's CEO, he is the ultimate boss of those allegedly progressive hosts on MSNBC. Which may help to explain their silence about U.S. oligarchs, since it would be difficult to bring up the topic without mentioning their boss.

* * *

I really shouldn't single out Roberts. Nor the MSNBC hosts he employs. Because the problem goes way beyond this particular oligarch and that particular corporate news outlet.

Roberts is just one of dozens of powerful U.S. oligarchs. They compose a "U.S. ruling class" and preside over a "corporate state" - a couple more phrases one virtually never hears in mainstream U.S. media. One reason these oligarchs get little critical coverage and no systemic scrutiny is because - as in Russia - oligarchs are owners or major sponsors of mainstream media.

Let me be clear, so as to not overstate things: Fox News hosts are free to tarnish certain oligarchs, Democratic ones like George Soros - and MSNBC hosts gleefully go after Republican oligarchs like the Mercers and the Koch brothers.

But to get a more accurate and complete view of the workings of the U.S. political system (aka "U.S. oligarchy"), I have a suggestion: Disconnect from MSNBC, CNN, Fox and other corporate news sources and turn instead to high-quality, independent progressive media.

If you do, you'll see that the problems plaguing U.S. democracy and the U.S. economy are definitely the work of oligarchs. But they don't speak Russian.

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 7:41 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"The cause of strep throat is bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus," according to the Mayo Clinic.

Hello group A streptococcus, my old friend.

*

I am a 7-year-old.

*

After a lifetime of throat issues, strep and otherwise, I have a new accompanying symptom.

*

The last time I had strep - just five months ago! - it was preceded (most likely, never officially diagnosed) by this (the viral kind).

*

Shit's fucked up, people.

*

Don't tell mom.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Loop, "Draconis" (Original Mix).

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: While it lasts.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

April 11, 2018

Schneemann Im Frühling | Subway Surfers Chicago Update

"Wow, da ist ja ein Schneemann in dem Spiel, aber es ist so warm, warum schmilzt er nicht in Chicago? Der Winter ist schon längst vorbei!"


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:26 PM | Permalink

Meet The First (And Only) African-American Woman To Own A NASCAR Team

"Melissa Harville-Lebron, a 47-year-old single mother raising her three biological children as well as her siblings' four kids, started her career in the entertainment industry as an intern at Sony Music," Black Enterprise reports.

"In 2005, she launched her own music label while working for New York City's Department of Correction office. Nearly a decade later, she suffered from a severe asthma attack that forced her into early retirement and inspired her to take the risk of launching a multifaceted entertainment company, W.M. Stone Enterprises Inc., in 2014.

"She created E2 Northeast Motorsports under the umbrella of W.M. Stone Enterprises, Inc. The E2 Northeast Motorsports team became the first multicultural team to race competitively in NASCAR, with four black and Latino drivers - two in the camping world truck series and two in NASCAR's Whelen All-American Series. Two of the drivers are brothers and Harville-Lebron's sons, Eric and Enico."

Here's Harville-Lebron on Sway in the Morning this week:


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Former captain, New York City Department of Corrections.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:41 PM | Permalink

Vinyl Fetish Club's Reckless Records Haul

"When I walked in and they were playing Televison's 'See No Evil' . . . I knew I was in the right place."


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* Gerry Mulligan Quartet, What Is There To Say?. His last (pianoless) quartet record.

* The Cannonball Adderly Quintet in San Francisco. "With his brother, Nat, on the trumpet . . . the birth of soul-jazz; it all starts with this 1959 recording."

* Sonny Stitt, What's New!!!. "Not just What's New, but What's New!!!

* Lon and Derreck Van Eaton, Brother. "Ringo Starr plays drums."

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See also: Vinyl Fetish Club's YouTube channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:58 AM | Permalink

Buildings' Department Backlog Endangers Chicagoans: Blocked Exits, Seniors' Homes Without Water, Bricks Falling Onto A Sidewalk Used By Schoolchildren, And Mouse, Rat, Mold And Bed Bug Infestations

A report released Tuesday by the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General found that the City of Chicago Department of Buildings had a backlog of more than 5,000 complaints, some dating back to 2013, almost 200 of which described serious health and safety hazards.

OIG's audit also found that DOB met its department response deadline for only 36.5 percent of building complaints in the first five months of 2017. The audit also determined that DOB did not have an effective strategy for prioritizing complaints, and exceeded the Municipal Code of Chicago mandatory 21-day deadline for several complaint types. In addition, the City Data Portal and DOB Building Violation websites failed to provide a property's full violation history.

"Deadlines that fail to meet legal mandates set by the City ordinance, public information that lacks transparency, and unaddressed health and safety hazards pose far too many risks to the residents of Chicago," said Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

"We encourage DOB to approach improvements to its complaint-based inspection operations holistically and programmatically, utilizing robust performance metrics to inform a comprehensive, rather than a piecemeal, approach."

Among OIG's recommendations:

  • Immediately identifying and addressing open, overdue emergency complaints.
  • Conducting a staffing analysis to determine how many inspectors and support staff are needed to manage each bureau's workload and respond promptly to complaints, along with guidance and training on the most efficient methods of identifying and processing complaints.
  • Working with 311 to improve the information collected from complainants, as well as the Office of Budget and Management to obtain the technology necessary for all inspectors to enter complaint outcome and inspection information electronically from the field.
  • Improving the usefulness of publicly available data and working with the Department of Innovation Technology to provide more meaningful and complete property information to the public.

The full report.

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From the report:

"This backlog of 5,473 overdue open complaints included some dating back to 2013, and included complaints describing such serious life and safety hazards as,

  • water leaking down an elevator shaft onto electrical wires;
  • homes without water;
  • seniors without water;
  • no hot water for a week at a daycare center;
  • blocked exits and escape routes;
  • an unfenced excavation site;
  • loose, unsecured slats that pose a fall hazard on a 3rd floor walkway;
  • bricks falling onto a sidewalk used by children walking to school;
  • mouse, rat, mold, and bed bug infestations; and
  • living spaces without carbon monoxide or smoke detectors."

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"OIG identified a number of reasons for DOB's large backlog of overdue complaints and low overall on-time complaint response rate. These reasons fall into three general categories: insufficient human and technological resources, poor prioritization, and lack of performance monitoring."

-

"Some supervisors cited a dearth of inspectional and clerical staff to explain why their operations were not running efficiently.

"They stated that without sufficient inspectional staff, bureaus could not address complaints in a timely manner.

"Only three bureaus - Conservation/Code Enforcement, Vacant Property/Demolition, and Refrigeration - are equipped with laptops or mobile phones that interface with CSR, allowing supervisors and inspectors to review, assign, track, and complete complaint inspections electronically.

"Personnel in the other nine technical bureaus must use paper forms to review, assign, and record complaint-based inspection results, which must then be manually entered into a computer upon an inspector's return to the office.

"Without sufficient clerical staff to enter inspection data into CSR and Hansen 7, supervisors and inspectors enter data themselves, which is a poor use of their time and expertise.

"DOB management agreed that bureaus were understaffed, and noted that a previous commissioner's intent to 'right-size' the number of inspectors per bureau was never implemented.

"Department management stated further that it had completed staffing analyses for three bureaus (Elevators, Ventilation, and Boilers), but OIG found that these analyses focused on the number of inspectors needed to conduct annual, permit, and license inspections, not complaint-based inspections."

-

From DOB management's response, included in the audit:

"[DOB] notes that it has added inspector positions respectively in the following recent budget years: 10 in 2017 and 1 in 2018."

-

"DOB also notes that a 2015 change in state law had the unintended consequence of impacting DOB's ability to hire plumbing inspectors.

"DOB and LCGA immediately undertook efforts to seek an amendment to the state law but the State process unfortunately took approximately 6 months to correct.

"Once the state law was corrected, DOB was able to hire 6 plumbing inspectors in 2017 and will be hiring an additional 4 in 2018 which will enable the department to respond to plumbing related 311 referrals in a timely manner and to make staffing adjustments based on volume and the triage assessment."

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"DOB notes that the 21-day investigation language was enacted in June of 1981. DOB will work with the Law Dept. on appropriate language to submit for the 2019 Management Ordinance which will maintain the spirit of the law that investigations be conducted in a timely manner consistent with public health and safety."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:17 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Tribes.


*

Or, if you want to watch in segments, put "Tribes movie" into the YouTube search bar and you'll figure out how to easily piece it together. One of my favorites.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Vinyl Fetish Club's Reckless Records Haul
"When I walked in and they were playing Televison's 'See No Evil,' I knew I was in the right place."

*

Buildings' Department Backlog Endangers Chicagoans: Blocked Exits, Seniors' Homes Without Water, Bricks Falling Onto A Sidewalk Used By Schoolchildren, And Mouse, Rat, Mold And Bed Bug Infestations
"Unaddressed health and safety hazards pose far too many risks to the residents of Chicago."

*

Meet The First (And Only) African-American Woman To Own A NASCAR Team
This 47-year-old single mother and former corrections department captain raising seven kids started her career in the entertainment industry as an intern at Sony Music. Then she took two of her sons to a NASCAR race and everything changed.

*

Subway Surfers Chicago Update
Schneemann im Frühling.

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ChicagoGram

#chicagoskyline #twoflats #fromthehighway

A post shared by Gretchen Hasse (@gbhasse) on

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ChicagoTube

Chicago artist Liz Flores.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

This article was a disgrace.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Real and imagined.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 AM | Permalink

April 10, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Despite almost a decade of newsroom cuts, which have left no more 25,000 journalists in the more than 1,300 dailies across the country, journalists have been remarkably accepting of their buyouts and layoffs," veteran media reporter Ken Doctor writes for Nieman Lab.

I don't know what the fuck that first sentence means, but that's the way he wrote it. And now, a cutaway (or four):

Ladies and Gentlemen . . .

Mr. . . .

Conway . . .

Twitty.


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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Winner: The Odyssey Of Echo Company
It's an extraordinary time to be Traverse City author Doug Stanton.

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ChicagoGram

A post shared by Helen Sanz (@helensanzcor) on

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ChicagoTube

Banda el Recuerdo la de la Mayor Trayectoria en Chicago "Los Mayeles."

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Long-lived.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

April 9, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Reaganomics at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Friday night.


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2. Benny and The No Goods at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Friday night.

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3. Size 5s at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Friday night.

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4. Death and Memphis at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Friday night.

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5. Supa Bwe at the Metro on Friday night.

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6. Albert Hammond Jr. at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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7. Phillip Phillips at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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8. Judas Priest at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond on Friday night.

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9. Saxon at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond on Friday night.

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10. Kyle Hollingsworth Band at Chop Shop/1st Ward on Friday night.

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11. Udusic at The 2040 on Friday night.

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12. Espejos at The 2040 on Friday night.

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13. Wild Rose at The 2040 on Friday night.

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14. Intocable at the Rosemont Theatre on Saturday night.

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15. Ministry at the Riv on Saturday night.

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16. Kasbo at Chop Shop/1st Ward on Saturday night.

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17. Drive-By Truckers at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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18. Gosh! at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:19 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

*

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

It Started In Chicago: The Politics Of Naming Streets After MLK
Richard J. Daley rejected a proposal to name a downtown street after the slain civil rights leader. Instead, he segregated Dr. Martin Luther King Drive to the South Side.

*

From The Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

TrackNotes: Pricelining To Churchill Downs
A golden opportunity to get acquainted with many of the Derby players.

*

The White Sox Report: Cold Truth
It's still a rebuild.

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ChicagoGram

Greetings on this beautiful spring morning. 😑

A post shared by Unabridged Bookstore (@unabridgedbookstore) on

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ChicagoTube

Early warning if you need a miracle. Bring the dead!

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Lit.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 PM | Permalink

Winner: The Odyssey Of Echo Company

The Society of Midland Authors announces its choices Monday for its annual awards, honoring the best books by Midwest authors published in 2017. In each category, a panel of literary judges chose a winner, as well as one or more honorees whose work was also deemed worthy of recognition. The Society will present the awards May 8 in Chicago.

ADULT NONFICTION

WINNER: Doug Stanton, The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War. (Stanton lives in Traverse City, Michigan.)

See also: It's An Extraordinary Time To Be Traverse City Author Doug Stanton.

HONOREES:

* Bonnie Rochman, The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids - and the Kids We Have. (Rochman grew up in Missouri; she now lives in Seattle.)

* Lindsey Fitzharris, The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine. (Fitzharris grew up in Mount Prospect; she now lives in Great Doddington, United Kingdom.)

* Rich Cohen, The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse. (Cohen is a Glencoe native; he now lives in New York.)

The judges for Adult Nonfiction were Mervin Block, Jim Schwab and Joyce Burns Zeiss.

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BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

WINNER: Jonathan Eig, Ali: A Life. (Eig lives in Chicago.)

HONOREES:

* Donna Seaman, Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists. (Seaman lives in Chicago.)

* A. James Fuller, Oliver P. Morton and the Politics of the Civil War and Reconstruction. (Fuller lives in Monrovia, Indiana.)

* David A. Nichols, Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower's Secret Campaign Against Joseph McCarthy. (Nichols lives in Winfield, Kansas.)

The judges for Biography & Memoir were Bob Remer, Taylor Pensoneau and James Plath.

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ADULT FICTION

WINNER: Sharon Solwitz, Once, in Lourdes. (Solwitz lives in Chicago.)

HONOREES:

* Curtis Dawkins, The Graybar Hotel. (Dawkins lives at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan.)

Lesley Nneka Arimah, What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky. (Arima lives in Minneapolis.)

Ben Greenman, Don Quixotic. (Greenman was born in Chicago and attended graduate school at Northwestern University; he now lives in Ridgewood, New York.)

The judges for Adult Fiction were Anne Calcagno, Eckhard Gerdes and Amy Hassinger.

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CHILDREN'S FICTION

WINNER: Erika L. Sanchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. (Sanchez lives in Chicago.)

HONOREES:

* Aaron Reynolds, Creepy Pair of Underwear! (Reynolds lives in Fox River Grove.)

* Natasha Tarpley, The Harlem Charade. (Tarpley lives in Chicago.)

* Helen Frost, When My Sister Started Kissing. (Frost lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.)

The judges for Children's Fiction were Debbi Chocolate, Shari Frost and Brian E. Wilson.

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CHILDREN'S NONFICTION

WINNER: Mary Losure, Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd. (Losure lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.)

HONOREES:

* Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat, Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz. (The authors are former Illinois residents who now live in New Jersey.)

* Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, Meet Cindy Sherman: Artist, Photographer, Chameleon. (Greenberg lives in St. Louis; Jordan was raised in Cleveland and lives in New York City.)

The judges for Children's Nonfiction were Marlene Targ Brill, Lisa Holton and Patrick McBriarty.

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POETRY

WINNER: Marcus Wicker, Silencer. (Wicker was raised in Ann Arbor; he now lives in Memphis.)

HONOREES:

* Jim Daniels, Rowing Inland. (Daniels was born in Detroit and now lives in Pittsburgh.)

* Erin Adair-Hodges, Let's All Die Happy. (Adair-Hodges lives in Toledo.)

The judges for Poetry were Linda Nemec Foster, Robert Sutherland and Bill Yarrow.

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JAMES FRIEND MEMORIAL AWARD FOR LITERARY AND DRAMATIC CRITICISM

WINNER: Adam Morgan, editor-in-chief of the Chicago Review of Books, a contributing writer at Chicago magazine, and a book critic for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

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AWARDS BANQUET DETAILS

The annual awards dinner will take place Tuesday, May 8, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan, 22nd floor. A reception with cash bar begins at 6 p.m. followed by the dinner and awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 each. Reservations can by made by PayPal or check at www.midlandauthors.com.

The Society, founded in 1915 by a group of authors including Hamlin Garland, Harriet Monroe and Vachel Lindsay, has given out annual awards since 1957. The juried competition is open to authors who live in, were born in, or have strong ties to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:51 AM | Permalink

It Started In Chicago: The Politics Of Naming Streets After MLK

More than 1,000 streets in the world bear the name of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

At least 955 of those streets can be found in the U.S. They're in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Martin Luther King streets cross a diversity of neighborhoods - rural and urban, residential and commercial, large and small. The range of these named streets across the country makes it seem that remembering and memorializing King was inevitable.

Yet, for some communities, the drive to name public spaces in King's name has taken years as well as heated debates, boycotts, petition drives, marches and even litigation

My research over the past 20 years has examined the role of African Americans in the King street-naming process. I have found that the nation's Martin Luther King streets - while seen by some as celebrating the victories of a movement that left racism safely in the past - are one terrain on which a continuing struggle for civil rights has played out.

It Started In Chicago

The geographic range of King streets reflects the influence of King's work. It also reflects the cultural and political power of African Americans, who are largely responsible for bringing street renaming proposals before local city councils and county commissions.


Just months after King's assassination in 1968, Chicago became the first city to rename a street for King. Ald. Leon Despres, a white liberal and King supporter, initially proposed renaming a street in the city's central business district. However, Mayor Richard J. Daley followed with a different resolution. He wanted to place King's name on South Park Way, a road more than 11 miles long that runs strictly through African-American communities on Chicago's South Side.

Daley was no fan of King and infamous for his shoot-to-kill order against rioters after the civil right leader's murder. When King came to Chicago in 1966 to challenge segregated housing, he encountered great hatred from taunting and violent white crowds.

As Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor wrote in their book "American Pharaoh, Daley was seeking to mend his and the city's public image in the lead up to the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Indeed, he held the street renaming dedication ceremony a week before the convention. At the same time, the mayor didn't want to alienate his political base of racially hostile whites.

Two black city aldermen objected to Daley's proposal. One of them, Alderman A.A. "Sammy" Rayner, called the street renaming "tokenism" and called on city leaders to do "something bigger." He and William Cousins Jr. suggested renaming a proposed Crosstown Expressway. It was planned to cut across, and unite, different parts of Chicago. But the City Council eventually approved the mayor's plan to rename South Park Way as Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, which it remains today.

Even now, 50 years later, proponents still must fight to convince many municipal officials that King's name belongs on major roads.

More Than Just A Name

Many of the activists with whom I have spoken view King streets as a way to carry on King's unfinished work to create racial equality and economic justice in the U.S.

Greater visibility, they argue, can communicate the legitimacy of King's message. More streets named after the civil rights leader, especially in prominent parts of town, can help educate a wider white public of the relevance and resonance of civil rights and black historical contributions.

Some cities honor King with important thoroughfares that connect a variety of neighborhoods. These include Albuquerque, Austin, New Bern in North Carolina, Oakland-North Berkeley, Savannah and Tampa.

However, public opposition over the past half century has led most cities to rename smaller streets or portions of roads located entirely within poor African-American neighborhoods. Opponents tend to be white business and property owners on affected roads. In public, most cite concerns over cost and inconvenience. Some suggest the association with King's name will stigmatize their neighborhood.

For example, when a Chattanooga real estate developer faced the prospect of his new development on West Ninth Street being named for King, he expressed concern about renting offices to potential clients because a MLK address, in his words, would create "racial overtones." Suggesting King's name was out of place on the road, he said: "West Ninth Street is not related to Dr. King . . . It is no longer a solid black street . . . It is no longer a residential street or rundown business street. It is a top class business street."

Many cities have resorted to dedicating a road to King, rather than force a full name and address change. Several cities such as Zephyrhills, Florida, and Statesboro, Georgia, also created renaming ordinances in direct response to King street-naming efforts. While these policies now apply to all renaming efforts, they were created with the original intent of limiting how and where citizens remember King within their communities. These policies echo a long history of black disenfranchisement, procedural injustice and segregated public spaces.

In places such as Tulsa, Indianapolis and the North Carolina city of Greenville, King roads have doubled as memorials and boundaries between King's supporters and those who do not identify with or desire to be associated with him. Extending King's name even a few blocks can become contentious.

davismeetsmlk.jpgEditor, CC BY-SA

For many African Americans, the fight to have a voice in King street naming parallels recent activism against Confederate monuments and symbols of white supremacy. In the same way, it is about claiming and exerting one's right to belong, and remembering and being remembered in communities where rights were denied for generations.

Roads Of Resilience

The neighborhoods through which many King streets run reflect both the resiliency and precariousness of black American life. In the words of journalist Doug Moore, King's road in St. Louis is "where hope and despair collide." King streets host disproportionately high numbers of churches, government offices and schools, as well as beauty parlors and barber shops. These provided valuable refugee and mobilization spaces during the civil rights movement and today serve as hubs of resourcefulness, aid and creative community-building. These institutions exist alongside high crime rates, poverty, abandoned buildings, food deserts and sputtering redevelopment efforts.

Revitalization is on the minds of many King street activists. They want to raise incomes, property values and quality of life without the forced displacement of gentrification. These efforts, while more formalized than in the past, have moved slowly if not failed without private and public support.

These activists believe that convincing the larger public to care about King streets is of critical importance. King namesakes don't just memorialize. They can open up critical discussions of the continuing power of racism. They can be avenues - literally and figuratively - to continuing the civil rights leader's work of battling racial and economic inequality and the creation of a black sense of belonging and place in the U.S.

Derek H. Alderman is a geography professor at the University of Tennessee. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

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1. From John Kuczaj:


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:39 AM | Permalink

Cold Truth

While Ricky Renteria's outfit and Sox fans shivered through snowflakes and 30-degree temperatures last week, consider all the thousands of Chicago kids who play baseball and softball on school teams in March and April. You think the Abreus and Moncadas of the world have it tough? None of the local youngsters have the luxury of at least playing away games in Florida, California, Texas, or in heated domed stadiums.

Guys who played baseball in Chicago in the early spring have painful memories of episodes like hitting a fastball off the handle of the bat without the benefit of batting gloves as the wind whistled in their faces while an occasional snow flurry drifted by.

(See The White Sox Report: Cold Predictions.)

So there's not much sympathy in this corner of the conditions the Sox opened their home season in last Thursday on the South Side. Even though a rather robust snow shower dominated the middle innings, the Sox persevered to build a 7-3 lead after seven innings against a mediocre Detroit Tiger contingent. Yolmer Sanchez's two triples, accounting for three RBI, led the assault, giving James Shields a great chance to win his second straight decision.

Then the bullpen happened. We've known for some time that the team's bullpen would have much to say about the Sox fortunes this season, and we got a big dose of that on Thursday. Nate Jones gave up a single tally in the eighth before purported closer Joakim Soria allowed three runs after two outs in the ninth to knot the game at 7.

Of course, by this juncture, only a handful of Sox faithful remained from the announced Opening Day crowd of 33,318. This saved thousands of fans from witnessing what happened next: a couple of hits, a walk, an overturned call against the Sox, and a runner going from second to third on a flyball in the 10th inning as the Tigers scored twice against Gregory Infante and Aaron Bummer, to complete the 9-7 comeback.

Let's hope that was a temporary migraine rather than a preview of what's to come. However, the headache was pounding away again on Saturday.

In a lackluster performance on many levels, the Sox were beaten 6-1. Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito had little success locating his pitches, although he lasted until two outs in the sixth inning, departing with a 5-0 deficit. Giolito walked three batters and hit as many. Four of those free passes came around to score. End of story.

Well, not quite. Renteria summoned Juan Minaya, who finished last season as the team's closer, to pitch the top of the ninth. Poor Juan threw 23 pitches, of which only seven were strikes. Walking four straight hitters was enough to get a one-way ticket to Charlotte at the end of the day.

Interestingly, Infante followed Minaya with the bases loaded and no outs. Inexplicably he retired the Tigers on a pop-up and two strikeouts. It all required just eight pitches.

The two teams mustered only five hits between them on Sunday as the Tigers swept the Sox 1-0 in front of approximately 35,000 empty seats.

In the team's four losses prior to Sunday, the bullpen had allowed 18 earned runs in 13.3 innings for an appalling 12.15 ERA.

Anyone with the least bit of interest in this edition of the South Siders knows that the team has a stable of young prospects. However, that does not hold true as far as relief pitchers are concerned. Before the departure of Minaya, the average age of the eight members of the relief corps was a few ticks short of 30. Only Bummer at 24 could be considered a prospect.

Furthermore, the crew at Triple-A Charlotte is primarily veterans. Bruce Rondon, 27, arrived Sunday to replace Minaya. No doubt the fellow was confused upon arrival since Rondon pitched for the Tigers the past three seasons. He entered the visitors' clubhouse only to be told that, no, he actually now was a member of the Chicago White Sox.

Apparently the rather large right-hander - he's 6-foot-3, 275 pounds - regained his senses by the ninth inning, striking out three of his former teammates in order.

Forgive us if we feel insulted having our team lose three straight in the home opening series to a team like Detroit, a bunch that appears to be heading nowhere this season with aging stars like Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and a dearth of prospects at the big-league level.

The bright spot, however, came Sunday when Reynaldo Lopez pitched seven innings of two-hit baseball, his second strong outing in as many opportunities. This kid throws hard, has plenty of mound presence, and at age 24 will only get better.

Chances are some of the Sox pitching prospects on the farm will be steered toward relief roles because that's where the organization is weak. Meanwhile, we have glimpsed the truth about a rebuild that we hoped would not be: it's still in progress.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Pricelining To Churchill Downs

The Kentucky Derby is America's biggest race and so typically absurdly American. Yet, it's our biggest single race, a race that really does bring people together. A chance for every red-blooded male to be an American wiseguy for a day in a room full of decked out dames, and who doesn't love that?

Saturday was a golden opportunity to get acquainted with many of the Derby players, ammo for the Derby party.

If I run into anyone who prepped their Derby Day experience by watching these, it'll be a blush wave of happy.

There were no surprises Saturday as Aqueduct, Keeneland and Santa Anita all dodged bad weather and gave us more to go on for horses who are now Pricelining tickets to Churchill Downs.

In the Wood Memorial on Long Island, it went all Canoga Falls soap as Vino Rosso withstood a jockey objection to visit the winners circle over Enticed in the 94th running of the race Secretariat lost before his Triple Crown.

Remember, these are 3-year-olds, so some are more mature than others. As the two took control in the stretch, Enticed inside in the two-lane, he drifted out a smidge and (do they still have?) bumper cars ensued. Vino Rosso, a wide body if there ever was one, was all over his lane and traded paint with Enticed quite a few times. Vino Rosso really did have the upper hand and won by three.

But wait! Junior Alvarado, rightly and by his duty, lodged a complaint against John Velazquez. NBC analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey pooh-poohed just some bumpin's by the boys. Then, during the first head-on replay, Bailey said "Wait. I don't know about that." They went Swiss, probably because both are in the Derby, with the "whatever happens . . ." argument.

The frowns of Vino's owners, Mike Repole and Vinnie Viola (also owner of the Florida Hurricanes), two "neighborhood" guys right out of Central Casting, turned upside down as Vino's win was upheld. The horse is the son of Curlin, out of a Street Cry mare, so he has the cred. I'm kinda diggin' him.

At Keeneland, some would call him much-maligned, others puzzling, but Good Magic, another son of Curlin, threw in a workmanlike performance in winning the 94th Blue Grass Stakes 1-1/2 lengths over Flameaway.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and 2-year-old Horse of the Year came in with questions galore. He had only the one win in four races and lacklustered the Fountain of Youth a month back. He'd gone 82-89-100-89 in Beyer Speed Figures before this and scored a 95 in the Blue Grass. People really want to hype this horse, but I don't see it. Rising superstar trainer Chad Brown still has some work to do here.

But the Blue Grass also provided a subplot that, while it may have seemed funny at first view, was actually a very dangerous situation that also ended up having Derby implications.

The Tiznow colt Sporting Chance, under Luis Saez, was behind the two leaders and subtly but firmly angled inside under a right whip. Compensating, Saez whipped left side and Sporting Chance did an exit, stage right and veered very quickly and sharply six lanes out to his right. It was comical to watch, but it could have been disastrous.

On the replay, Bailey spoke as if he was riding the horse. "Sometimes you have to put away the whip. It's obvious this horse resents it." Bailey instructed. "Put the whip AWAY, young man!"

The stewards took him down and, guess what, Free Drop Billy was elevated to third and now has enough points to run in the Derby, although he has no business being there.

Out West, it was a two-horse race in the Santa Anita Derby. Bob Baffert's Justify, under Hall of Famer Mike Smith, got all the adulation, the heartthrob of millions. He took on Bolt d'Oro, son of the great Medalia d'Oro, who had come out of an epic struggle with McKinzie in the San Felipe, where he was placed first after a DQ.

With a grand total of two races under his saddle, a $54,000 maiden win and a $75K optional claimer win in Santa Anita mud, 104 and 101 Beyers respectively, Justify was gettin' the rhetoric of a great, even though he hadn't proven a thing.

NBC anchor Laffit Pincay III even said that "They talked about American Pharoah and said he breathed different air. We're starting to hear the same things about this horse, Justify." What? You just don't get that excited, or excited like that.

At a low price, I'll need a lot of convincing on Justify. But why the electric hype?

"Justify no doubt benefited by getting an uncontested lead on Saturday, but he was giving away plenty of experience to Bolt d'Oro, and he held Bolt d'Oro safe through the lane for a three-length victory," said the Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman. That's the weakest of endorsements.

Justify got a preliminary 107 Beyer, but that seems inflated. After the race, Bailey and analyst Randy Moss were falling all over themselves to say that there is no way either Bolt d'Oro or Justify will be "odds on" favorites in the Derby. It was a clumsy way of saying they don't deserve favoritism, and I agree.

For the record, Justify just ran his third race, his first stakes race. A race with only two real horses in it, as he tries to win in Kentucky after not running at two years old. Apollo, 1892.

Louisville is not a walk in the park, Justify.

Other Nice Things

* Eddie O. is back.

Eddie Olczyk was rocking the bet touch screen, looking stout, back in the swing. With a $500 NBC stake, Eddie made big wagers and lost $3 on one of the races. That's real, and why we love Eddie the horseplayer.

* Katie Gensler was doing the quick trainer and jockey interviews in the Keeneland paddock and I thought to myself, she looks familiar. Nine seconds later, I knew I knew her as Katie Mikolay, who did the same duty at both Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course.

She was good then and she's good now. She knew the trainers she interviewed and their horses, and how they might run with the other horses. She's always done her homework, and that's what horseplayers like.

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Tom Chambers is the Beachwood's longtime railbird. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:12 AM | Permalink

April 7, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

"This year Zanies celebrates its 40th anniversary," Steve Heisler notes for the Reader, "but it's the only remaining comedy club within city limits that programs stand-up seven nights a week."

I did not know that.

"Its vibe, however, remains trapped in the 80s. Most shows cost $25 but stipulate a two-drink minimum."

So two drinks on top of $25 tickets? That's pretty pricey, especially to see folks who are probably at least moderately funny but not exactly household names.

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It's also kind of odd to me that the comedy clubs in the area outside of the city limits are mostly tourist traps. Tourists travel to the suburbs just for a few generic laughs?

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OTOH, I suppose some folks find a stand-up comedy club to be a better bet than improv, which dots the city (right?). Improve is more likely to be hit-or-miss. Right? Ah, the taxonomy of the Chicago comedy scene.

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Plus, I wonder how much laughter a two-drink minimum induces. Those are unearned laughs!

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Time to disrupt the stand-up model!

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Some might say the Neo-Futurists, and others I'm sure, already have. But more! Uber for comedy!

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And, of course, content-wise, stand-up has been constantly disrupted, either in singular approach or, say, the alt-comedy movement. But the comedy club model? I'd like to know more. Assignment Desk, activate!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #195: Ramblers Wrap, Baseball Begins
Candlesticks always make a nice gift. Plus: White Snox, Bulls Stank, Scrubs, Shohei Goodman, Blackhawks Bigwigs Back, and just a little Schweinsteiger.

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

The 1956 American Derby at Chicago's old Washington Park.

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Weekend BeachBook
A sampling.

Black Father Gives Son The Talk About Holding Literally Any Object.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Chicken roost.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:40 PM | Permalink

April 6, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Silent Age at The 2040 on Monday night.


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2. Soft Kill at The 2040 on Monday night.

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3. Pat Benatar at the Rialto in Joliet on Tuesday night.

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4. Rachel Drew and the Bitter Roots at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Wednesday night.

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5. Electric Dirt at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Wednesday night.

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6. Common Deer at Reggies on Thursday night.

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7. Lo Moon at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #195: Ramblers Wrap, Baseball Begins

Candlesticks always make a nice gift. Plus: White Snox, Bulls Stank, Scrubs, Shohei Goodman, Blackhawks Bigwigs Back, and just a little Schweinsteiger.


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SHOW NOTES

* 195.

* The Mendoza Line.

* Ron Shelton: "A former minor league baseball infielder in Baltimore's farm system, he played with the Bluefield Orioles (Rookie), Stockton Ports (A), Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs (AA) and Rochester Red Wings (AAA) between 1967-1971."

Oh, and he wrote Bull Durham.

* Our favorite scenes (plus an interloper):

Just One More Dying Quail A Week And You're In Yankee Stadium.

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Mound Convention.

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Toughest Job A Manager Has.

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John Goodman in The Babe.

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Strikeouts Are Fascist/Hold It Like An Egg

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"I Can Get Us A Rainout."

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* Today's World: No Hijinks Allowed!

* Dilly, Dilly.

9:27: Ramblers Wrap-Up.

* Milton Doyle.

* Coffman: "The NBA is baseballifying itself."

* Ramblers Ranked No. 7!

* Sister Jean, Anthony Rizzo and God.

* Joyce Kenner, everyone.

38:54: White Snox.

46:30: Bulls Stank.

47:50: Scrubs.

55:31: Shohei Goodman.

1:01:28: Blackhawks Bigwigs Back.

1:04:29: The Chicago Fire Are So Aggravating.

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STOPPAGE: 5:38

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:34 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"A 15-year effort to build a school in Chicago's Dunning neighborhood is underway with an unusual complication: Construction workers are taking careful steps to avoid disturbing human remains that may lie beneath the soil," the Tribune reports.

"The $70 million school is to be built on the grounds of a former Cook County Poor House where an estimated 38,000 people were buried in unmarked graves. Among the dead are residents who were too poor to afford funeral costs, unclaimed bodies and patients from the county's insane asylum."

SoftTacoSupremacist wins the day with this presentation of the story on Reddit: "Future Haunted CPS School Being Built On Site Of Estimated 38,000 Unmarked Graves."

The commenters there do their duty, too.

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About Dunning, via Wikipedia:

"The neighborhood is home to Wilbur Wright College, Mount Olive Cemetery, and the Eli's Cheesecake factory . . .

"Following the Civil War, Andrew Dunning purchased 120 acres just south of the county [poor farm and asylum] to start a nursery and lay the groundwork for a village. He set aside 40 acres for the settlement, but proximity to the insane hospital kept settlers away.

"Initially transportation links were poor. Although trains brought employees and commuters from the city, visitors had to walk two and a half miles from the depot to the county farm. After a single three-mile track was extended to the facilities in 1882, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 'crazy train' brought patients, supplies, and medicines. The county built a station, naming it for Dunning."

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Metal Tears
"A few weeks ago, after almost 50 years in business, British heavy metal band Judas Priest lodged its highest chart debut ever when the group's 18th studio album, Firepower, entered the Billboard charts at No. 5," Allison Stewart writes for the Tribune.

"Just when you think there are no surprises left, here comes one that we couldn't have anticipated," said lead singer Rob Halford. "We're over the moon."

Halford has been with the band through most of that five-decade stretch, shepherding it through its '80s boom years (home to hit albums British Steel and Screaming For Vengeance), more tours than he can count, and the recent announcement by lead guitarist Glenn Tipton that he would no longer tour due to Parkinson's disease.

At the Newark, N.J., show the night before, Tipton made a surprise appearance. "It was so emotional, there were metal tears everywhere," says Halford, who says Tipton might appear at the band's upcoming local dates (at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond on Friday, and Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington on Sunday) if he feels up to it.

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Metal tears are real, people.

metaltears.jpgAlan/flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

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From Stewart's interview of Halford:

"I love America dearly. What's really important is the common good and unity of the people of this country, and making sure that everybody gets a fair shake, and that to me doesn't appear to be the case right now. Teachers should not need to have to buy books for the kids, or pencils and pens. That's absurd, this is America. I think evenness and equality and a level playing field from any administration is an absolute responsibility."

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Shell Knew, Too
Documents bolster an investigative report published last year showing that Shell lobbied against climate legislation and invested billions in fossil fuels despite knowing the dangers of global warming.

One such document, a confidential 1988 report entitled "The Greenhouse Effect," outlines a comprehensive study of climate science and the projected impact of fossil fuels, and reveals that the company secretly had been commissioning such analyses since at least 1981.

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The "Too" refers to the fact that Exxon has already been exposed as having learned years ago through their own climate science research that global warming was real and an existential threat.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #195
Is in post-production.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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ChicagoTube

Highly recommended:

Budda Power Blues e Maria João - "Hole In My Soul" | Agora Nós | RTP

"Inspirado no blues de Chicago e no som britânico da década de 60, o álbum The Blues Experience é composto por 10 canções autobiográficas."

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ChicagoGram

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BeachBook

Community Policing.

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Chinese Tariff On Ginseng A Blow To Central Wisconsin.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Synced up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:53 AM | Permalink

April 5, 2018

Shell Knew, Too

Royal Dutch Shell's scientists warned the oil giant about the threat that fossil fuel emissions pose to the planet as early as the 1980s, according to a trove of documents obtained by a Dutch journalist and published Thursday by Climate Files.

The documents bolster an investigative report published last year showing that Shell lobbied against climate legislation and invested billions in fossil fuels despite knowing dangers of global warming.

One such document, a confidential 1988 report entitled "The Greenhouse Effect," outlines a comprehensive study of climate science and the projected impact of fossil fuels, and reveals that the company secretly had been commissioning such analyses since at least 1981. The report acknowledges the central role that fossil fuels - especially oil - play in increasing CO2 emissions that drive global warming.

shelllogo-2.jpgFraserElliot/flickr

"Although CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere through several natural processes," the report states, "the main cause of increasing CO2 concentrations is considered to be fossil fuel burning."

This latest confirmation that Shell, for more than three decades, has been privately aware of its products' contributions to the climate crisis but opted to publicly promote skepticism about climate science mirrored similar findings about ExxonMobil in 2015.

"Just like Exxon, Shell knew about the dangers of climate change and instead chose to embark on a decades-long campaign of deception," said 350.org executive director May Boeve. "These reports reaffirm that fossil fuel companies have been - and always will be - bad actors.

"To all elected officials and institutions let this be a sign: there's no excuse left to have ties to these rogue corporations. It's up to all of us to hold the likes of Shell accountable, and build the fossil free world that puts people and our planet first."

Friends of the Earth Netherlands, or Milieudefensie, sent Shell - a Dutch company - a liability letter on Wednesday informing the oil giant that it has eight weeks to bring its policies into compliance with the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement or it will be forced to face off against the environmental group in court.

"Many of us are doing [our] best to put an end to the climate problem," said Milieudefensie director Donald Pols. "In the meantime, Shell continues to invest in new oil and gas sources. Shell, just like the rest of us, should take its responsibility to stop wrecking the climate."

"If we win this case," added Friends of the Earth International chair Karin Nansen, "it has major consequences for other fossil companies, and opens the door for further legal action against other climate polluters."

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

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Previously on the Beachwood: Exxon Knew.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:08 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Settlement agreements between Bill O'Reilly and two of his accusers - made public for the first time on Wednesday - filled in previously unknown details about tactics employed by the former Fox News host to silence women who came forward with sexual harassment allegations against him," the New York Times reports.

"The documents show that two women who reached settlements, Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Gomez Diamond, were required to turn over all evidence, including audio recordings and diaries, to Mr. O'Reilly. In addition, Ms. Mackris was required to disclaim the materials 'as counterfeit and forgeries' if they ever became public."

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Dear CTA: MAKE THIS HAPPEN

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Chicagoetry: Bite
Stray dogs, service truck blind spots, Harlem Avenue.

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ChicagoGram

This looks awesome. #StuffInOurFreeArea #quimbys #nightingalecinema

A post shared by Quimbys Bookstore (@quimbysbookstore) on

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Blue.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Don't eat tourist.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:01 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Bite

Bite

I eat fear every day. Fat with it.
I bike through cold rain
With worn down brakes, worried

For wipeouts, for drivers plowing
Through yellow arrows across Harlem Avenue,
Stray dogs, service truck blind spots, potholes,

Toward the liquor store where
My black neighbors are meaner to me than ever,
Insulting me to my face now

For being a "white guy,"
Fucking with my bike, in one case
Actually stealing the lock

I didn't use
For the minute
I'd be in there.

Like never before, like
I had anything
To do with it.

Perhaps I do.
I never take the bait.

The owners are cool, I'm a regular,
But one of them doesn't defend me.
Other black customers usually

Do. I just thank them and
Suck it up.

The owners are brown-skinned, (mostly) no accents,
Won't guess where from (OK: Arab?
Persian? East Indian? I don't press).

Then to downtown for work.
On CTA, don't drive.
I listen like a motherfucker:

No earpods, cellphone stashed.
Just the other day, Dude got into it
With a K-9 security guard,

Guard with a muzzled German shepherd.
"Bitch!" "Faggot!" On my last two trips downtown
In a row, in fact (I stayed still, kept quiet,

Had a fair amount of cash to pay back
A loan from a friend,
Still, quiet, fiercely alive),

To lead tour groups outdoors
Through the Loop, obliged to address,
Among other things,

Trump Tower.
By necessity, I've learned precisely
How to do it.

You have to learn.

I eat fear every day: repress, sublimate,
Sensitive to triggers, often random images
Or music, stray bits of

Conversation.
Smoking more, too, for sure.
Praying more, too, for sure,

Not because I believe
But because it makes me
Feel better.

If I could hide
I would probably hide.
But I can't, so I stay strong

And keep moving forward, moving
To refine, biting
My cold, grey tongue

Until it sort of hurts.
I keep moving.
I keep moving.

And praying.

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J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

April 4, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Members of Loyola University Chicago's nontenure-track faculty staged a one-day strike Wednesday, frustrated that more than two years of negotiations have yet to produce the union's first contract," the Tribune reports.

"Instructors in the College of Arts and Sciences and the English Language Learning Program started picket lines Wednesday morning at the Rogers Park campus and held a rally in the afternoon to support efforts to secure better pay, health benefits and job security."

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From The Picket Line:

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Loyola's Twitter team is on the case.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 5.07.05 PM.png

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

CPD Gets Downstate FBG Duck Shows Shut Down
Assignment Desk, activate!

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Welcome, Sportsbooks!
We can't wait for you to get here.

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Ramblers Notebook No. 1: What Have You Done For Us Lately?
Next year is here.

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Recall! Good Foods Curry Chicken Salad
Made in Wisconsin, sold in Illinois.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

ALB Artwork.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

A Late-Nite Writer Reveals What It's Like To Be The Only Woman In The Writers' Room.

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Before #MeToo, There Was Catharine A. MacKinnon And Her Book, Sexual Harassment Of Working Women.

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The History Of Institutional Racism In U.S. Public Schools.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Legs.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:30 PM | Permalink

Ramblers Notebook No. 1: What Have You Done For Us Lately?

"Loyola University Chicago finished the 2017-18 season ranked No. 7 in the final USA Today Coaches Poll, which was revealed this week," LoyolaRamblers.com reports. "Loyola ranked behind only Villanova, Michigan, Kansas, Duke, Virginia and Texas Tech."

That sounds about right.

"During this season to remember, the Ramblers knocked off four nationally ranked teams, disposing of No. 5 Florida, No. 22 Miami, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 24 Nevada."

The Florida win came in December, while the others were in the NCAA Tournament. Still, it is remarkable that Loyola was never ranked this year - until now.

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"Even after winning the MVC tournament, the Ramblers were 46th in the [tournament seed] committee's rankings, below the final four at-large selections that played in the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio," notes Rodger Sherman at The Ringer.

"Before the tournament, I wrote about how the Ramblers were good enough to be a no. 9 seed, but the committee apparently believed that Loyola's resume was not worthy of a spot in the field at all were it not for the MVC tournament triumph that mandated its inclusion."

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Proposal: Give automatic bids to conference winners, not conference tournament winners.

But What Have You Done For Us Lately?
"The Ramblers lose three of their top six players from this season, including double-figure scorers Donte Ingram and Aundre Jackson," ESPN's Jeff Borzello notes as he looks ahead to next year.

Three starters return: the backcourt of Clayton Custer and Marques Townes, and big man Cameron Krutwig.

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Reinforcements:

"Loyola-Chicago signed three players during the early signing period: Franklin Agunanne, Isaiah Bujdoso and Cooper Kaifes. Agunanne (La Lumiere) and Bujdoso (Sunrise Christian) both come from successful high school programs, while Kaifes played on renowned AAU program MoKan Elite."

Red Line Series?
"One school Loyola would love to play is just a few miles south on the Red Line," the Sun-Times reports.

"[Loyola coach Porter] Moser said he 'absolutely' wants to play DePaul and admitted they've 'talked many times.'

"But Loyola hasn't played DePaul since 2012, when the Ramblers beat the Blue Demons 69-61 on the road."

It would be fun to see an annual tournament pitting all of the local teams against each other, with the winner getting to wear the crown of, say, "Chicago's Big Ten Team" for the following year.

Sister Saturation
This is the only one Sister Jean article you really need to read - the rest is Urge Overkill.

Loyola's Legacy

You have likely seen, read or heard about the historic 1963 Loyola team that broke racial barriers on the way to a national championship. If you haven't, or even if you have, take 7:06 to watch this.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:23 AM | Permalink

RECALL! Good Foods Curry Chicken Salad

Good Foods Group, a Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin establishment, is recalling approximately 130 pounds of fully cooked ready-to-eat curry chicken salad products due to misbranding and an undeclared allergen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Tuesday.

The products contain tree nuts, specifically cashews, a known allergen, which is not declared on the product label.

The ready-to-eat curry chicken salad items were produced on March 27, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:

* 130-lbs of 32 oz. deli cups with "GOOD FOODS, CURRY CHICKEN SALAD, MADE WITH WHITE MEAT CHICKEN" on the deli cup lid and "GOOD FOODS, ARTICHOKE & JALAPENO DIP, WITH rBST-FREE* GREEK YOGURT" on the side of the deli cup. The product bears lot code 489221-2B, with a time stamp range of 23:30 to 00:30.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number "P-45623" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to a retail locations in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

The problem was discovered on April 2, 2018 when the firm was notified by a customer that the deli cup container for the curry chicken salad products had a correct label on the lid, but an incorrect label on the side of the cup.

The firm inadvertently labeled the side of the containers with labels for Artichoke & Jalapeno Dip, which does not contain cashews. Therefore, tree nuts (cashews) are not listed in the ingredient statement applied to the side of the cup.

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.

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 that recalling firms are notifying their customers of the recall and that actions are being taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted here on the FSIS website.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Good Foods Consumer Relations at 1 (844) 872-6999. Members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Jim Garsow, vice president of marketing for Good Foods Group, at (262) 806-0191.

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Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov.

The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

NOTE: Access news releases and other information at FSIS' website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Follow FSIS on Twitter at twitter.com/usdafoodsafety or in Spanish at: twitter.com/usdafoodsafe_es.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

April 3, 2018

CPD Gets Downstate FBG Duck Shows Shut Down

"Warnings from the Chicago Police Department about a rap group from Chicago that was scheduled to perform in Southern Illinois this past weekend caused two law enforcement departments and a university to cancel shows at three different venues Friday," the Southern reports.

"The rap group FBG Duck was originally booked to play at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Student Center on March 30, but a call from the Chicago Police Department to the Southern Illinois University Public Safety Department informed the college about the group's violent history, according to Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry."

I always hate seeing reports like this - rap groups seem to be targeted disproportionately to other acts with audiences that are sometimes unruly, and we all know why.

On the other hand, could it be true that danger was afoot?

"Henry said Chicago Police told SIU the group was dangerous - they allegedly come heavily armed with firearms, they sell drugs, and many are members of the South Side Chicago gang Gangster Disciples. Henry said there are known members of the Black Disciples in Carbondale, and the two gangs are rivals."

Hmmm, even if this is all true it seems like a pretty sketchy reason to shut down their shows. I'd like to know more.

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Previously in the Beachwood: FBG Duck: Life On The Low End.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Larry Washington:

FBG Duck is not a gang it's one person. As a matter of fact he just signed to Sony. Do your research

Reply: You know, I thought about clarifying this report but didn't. You might want to direct your ire, though, to the Southern, which is where this is excerpted from. I searched long and hard for more information, because, as should be clear by the accompanying link to an interview we previously carried, I know exactly who FBG Duck is. However, he was almost certainly performing with the Fly Boy Gang downstate, so that's probably where the confusion came in. If you have more information, I'd be happy to add it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:28 PM | Permalink

Welcome, Sportsbooks!

"Illinois lawmakers held a Senate hearing Tuesday to consider the legalization of sports betting across the state," NBC Chicago reports.

"During the hearing, legislators discussed what platforms might be used, what state regulations would be put in place, and how the bets would be taxed.

"There is currently a federal ban on sports betting, however the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a decision to overturn it."

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"Major League Baseball's representation at the hearing, Bryan Seeley, said that 'if Illinois is going to legalize sports betting, there are some important things that need to be in the legislation,' namely, giving the league the ability to talk to bookmakers. Representatives for the Chicago Cubs and White Sox were also in attendance at the hearing."

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"The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling in the next few months," according to a GateHouse Media report.

"'So far, I think almost 20 states have either considered bills or have passed bills that would legalize sports betting, and I think at this point, Illinois certainly needs to join that conversation,' said state Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford."

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Beware estimates of revenue generation and tax receipts in these reports; they draw on self-interested consultants whose work is rarely aligned with reality.

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The PGA is in, joining the NBA and MLB.

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"Five state senators and representatives have filed bills since January that'll spark the sports wagering conversation in Springfield. Democratic state Sen. Steve Stadelman of Loves Park, chairman of the gaming committee, said he expects public hearings within two months," the Daily Herald reports.

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This was today, of course.

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What it looked like.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:23 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

So to follow up on Monday's post: It turns out former WLS-TV anchor Linda Yu is an investor in the group that bought the Sun-Times last summer.

So that's at least one woman.

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Yu is also the host of a new video food series for the Sun-Times that starts Saturday.

So Yu is both owner and worker - an arrangement that could be described as, um, awkward.

But maybe not as awkward as the wife of the CEO also being employed by the company.

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Only tangentially related, if that . . .

"Retired WLS-Ch. 7 news anchor Linda Yu on Wednesday sold her four-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot town home on the Near North Side for $1.215 million," the Tribune reported last June.

"Yu, 70, Chicago's first Asian-American TV anchor, retired from ABC7 in November after more than three decades on the air in Chicago.

"Now, Yu has sold her longtime, contemporary-style town home, which she bought in 1984 for $488,000. Yu first listed the town home in August 2015 for $1.475 million. She reduced her asking price to $1.399 million last October and then cut her asking price again to $1.299 million in February."

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On the Beachwood today . . .

Thanks, Tribune, For A Growing American Nightmare
Corporate overlords might as well have sold out to the Daily Stormer for all they care.

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The Slits' Viv Albertine Has A New (Her Second) Memoir Out That Brilliantly Chronicles Outsiderism, But Does She Really Have To Be Done With Men?
"I just want to blow a hole in it all."

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The Art Of Chinese Rubbings
Mirroring China's past. At the Art Institute (& The Field Museum).

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Free Spirit Media: South Side Choreographer Fears Sidelining Of Black Creators As Hip Hop Dance Blows Up.

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BeachBook

The FBI's Bullshit About The Sacramento Shooter's iPhone Confirmed.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: A real difference.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:47 AM | Permalink

Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country

In a tweet Monday morning, President Donald Trump praised conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is seeking his administration's approval of a proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media.

Free Press, which has asked the FCC to deny the transfer of Tribune broadcast licenses to Sinclair, has called on Trump-appointed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to recuse himself from the merger proceeding. The agency's inspector general's office is investigating rulings during Pai's tenure that have helped pave the way for the proposed deal by removing limits on how many stations a company can control in a single city.

If approved, the merger would give Sinclair control of more than 233 local TV stations reaching 72 percent of the country's population, far in excess of congressional limits on national broadcast audience reach.

The president's tweet follows a viral video made by Deadspin showing local Sinclair newscasters in several markets forced to read from a script repeating many of Trump's talking points about "fake news" coverage, a favorite theme of his administration.

For more than a decade, Free Press has fought Sinclair's unlawful expansion and its misuse of the public airwaves to push a reactionary agenda. Over the past year, Free Press has raised serious concerns that Pai was acting deliberately to lift any public-interest safeguards that would prevent Sinclair's massive merger from being approved. In February, Free Press called on Pai to recuse himself from all decisions related to the Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed takeover of Tribune Media.

In August 2017, Free Press filed a formal challenge to the proposed deal, stating that the transfer of station licenses would give Sinclair a broadcast reach far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership, and would harm the public interest. Free Press and other groups have challenged the FCC's April 2017 decision to reinstate the UHF discount, which allows conglomerates to use an obsolete rule to undercount the stations they own.

In March 2018, Free Press filed a lawsuit, joined by Common Cause, Communications Workers of America and the, United Church of Christ, to overturn the FCC's December ruling to repeal local media-ownership limits that stood in the way of the deal.

"Sinclair has long tried to evade the rules preventing it from using the public airwaves to push its reactionary political agenda to a national TV news audience," Free Press president and CEO Craig Aaron says. "It's now found a friend and ally in the Trump administration, and is eager to air pro-Trump propaganda in exchange for policy favors that let Sinclair get even bigger.

"For its part, the FCC seems intent on looking the other way as long as the media merger in question involves a friend of the administration. Never mind that such consolidation undercuts local reporting, forces journalists to read canned propaganda to keep their jobs, and harms communities with coverage that regularly traffics in racist stereotypes and right-wing conspiracy theories.

"This Trump-Sinclair love affair looks like a quid pro quo - and it should be a national scandal. If the deal is allowed to proceed, it would expand the company's long-standing pattern of evading public-interest obligations and abusing its market power to score political points, spread propaganda and serve Trump's political agenda. That's why we have asked the FCC and Justice Department to reject this deal. If they don't, the courts must step in to protect the public airwaves and unplug Trump TV."

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Beachwood Added Value:

"We aren't sure of the motivation for the criticism, but find it curious that we would be attacked for asking our news people to remind their audiences that unsubstantiated stories exist on social media, which result in an ill-informed public with potentially dangerous consequences," said Scott Livingston, Sinclair's senior vice president of news, in an e-mailed statement," Bloomberg reports (emphasis mine).

"The promos served no political agenda, and represented nothing more than an effort to differentiate our award-winning news programming from other, less reliable sources of information."

The e-mail could not be reached for follow-up questions, though sources familiar with Livingston's thinking say the e-mail was quite satisfied to have weaseled its way into news stories without scrutiny.

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"Sinclair Broadcast Group president and CEO Christopher S. Ripley told me in an e-mail that his stations' "commentary offers a viewpoint that may be ignored by other organizations," Mike Allen "reports" for Axios.

"[O]ur critics are stretching to prove a non-business or sinister intent that just simply does not exist."

And I won't deign to answer them in any form but e-mails to friendly reporters!

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When I asked Ripley if he'd run this promo campaign again, or give local stations more flexibility next time [because that's the most salient question on most Americans' minds], he replied: "The objective of the campaign was to increase viewership so it will either succeed in that regard or not and that is how I would determine if we would do this campaign again."

So if forcing news anchors around the country to run canned liberal statements would increase viewership, you'd do that instead?

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AGAIN: E-mail interviews are not interviews, they are requests to news subjects to send in public relations statements to be inserted into articles without vetting or assessment of journalistic value, which is almost always nil. "Please send me a fake comment and I'll put it in the story! Really! I'm that lazy!" At least charge a fee if you're going to weave free passes into your work.

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But they did it. Many of them with a smile. At least Good Germans had guns to their heads - or the threat thereof - when they did bad deeds.

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Check that - almost all of them did it. One exception so far:

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Finally, what is Tribune Media's responsibility in all of this? I understand they, like much of Corporate America, labor under the belief that maximizing value for shareholders is legally the end-all be-all and they have no choice but to sell to the highest bidder, even if the bidder is the Daily Stormer, but were there other bids? Was there another way out? (And did the really have to kick the Tribune out of Tribune Tower? People who run their lives this way . . . unfortunately, their pathological values are rewarded most in our culture, so we must toil under their sick rule. You can either go along - live each day performing the equivalent of reading Sinclair's canned statements - or friggin' stand up for yourself and say, "No.")

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From Wikipedia:

"On March 1, 2017, reports surfaced that Sinclair was in discussions to acquire Tribune, which was approached by Sinclair management about a possible merger in late February . . .

"The reports of Sinclair's interest in acquiring Tribune led several unnamed station owners - which also inquired about purchasing some or all of Tribune's assets outright or through a consortium - as well as Tribune shareholder Starboard Value to approach 21st Century Fox about taking options to thwart the deal as a defensive measure . . .

"Fox was considering a partnership with private equity firm The Blackstone Group - in which Blackstone would help finance the acquisition, while Fox would contribute its existing owned-and-operated stations to the joint venture - to bid for Tribune.

"Fox eventually dropped its bid for the company shortly before final bids were submitted to Tribune board members and shareholders on May 5, after it and Blackstone were unable to agree on an offer structure in such a short time period . . .

"[O]n May 8 . . . Sinclair announced that it would acquire Tribune for $3.9 billion, along with the assumption of Tribune's $2.7 billion debt load; it beat Nexstar Media Group, which was not willing to make a higher bid closer to Tribune's appraisal price, for the stations."

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For that matter, did Tribune Media really have to sell itself, or was that just a great way for its last string of itinerant corporate overlords to cash out? (Ugh, the question answers itself, doesn't it?)

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Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

* Trump's FCC Chair Continues To Shaft The Public, Offer Major Handouts To Big Media.

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

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See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To Fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

The Slits' Viv Albertine Has A New (Her Second) Memoir Out That Brilliantly Chronicles Outsiderism, But Does She Really Have To Be Done With Men?

"Viv Albertine's new memoir is a chronicle of outsiderness that goes beyond her years in the Slits to explore class and gender, her parents and sibling rivalry," Sean O'Hagan writes for the Guardian.

Ooh, that sounds good.

"[A]nd why she's done with men."

Ugh. Ya know, sometimes Not All Men is the appropriate response.

Let's take a look.

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"Her father's diary, which Albertine discovered after his death, is one of the few threads of connection she now has with the man who left her life soon afterwards. By turns poignant and self-pitying, his entries punctuate one part of her compelling new memoir, To Throw Away Unopened. They reveal among other things that, even at 11 years old, Albertine was possessed of the defiant attitude that would later help to define her both as a musician in the most subversive punk group of all, the Slits, and as a late-flowering memoir writer still fuelled by a sense of anger and outsiderness even in her 60s.

"Oh my God, I still have that attitude," she says, laughing, when I mention this, "I'm still angry at so much - class, gender, society, the way we are constantly mentally coerced into behaving a certain way without us even knowing it. I feel so oppressed by the weight of it all that I just want to blow a hole in it all." She pauses for a breath as if to still her emotions, and continues calmly. "Some people will say that I'm bitter and twisted, but so what? I'm 63 and I've been an outsider as far back as junior school. When you've fought and fought to keep positive and to keep creative even though there was not a space to be creative, well, you show me any human who is not angry after 60 years of that."

Damn straight!

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"She tells me that she is done with making music. 'I'm just not interested in playing any more. I came to that decision the night my mum died. I don't worship musicians. I don't worship rock 'n' roll.'"

You just lost me, Viv.

"I don't miss it. I see music as a vehicle like writing or filmmaking, but I don't think it's a very relevant medium for me at the moment."

It's always relevant, Viv.

*

"Albertine's first book began with a chapter entitled Masturbation (Never did it. Never wanted to do it)."

Link added. Oh, and really?

*

"It was an insider's account of what it was like to be caught up in the white heat of the punk moment and, more revealingly, how difficult it was to live a so-called normal life in the wake of such a briefly liberating cultural upheaval. I tell her that I witnessed the Slits on stage several times back then, drawn to the anarchic otherness of their music and their utter disregard for the protocol of performance - Ari Up once famously had a pee on stage. It was the shock of the new writ large and it confused a lot of people - much more so than the recognizably rockist thrust of the Sex Pistols or the Clash.

"When Albertine first saw the Slits play, which was months before she joined them, she understood their implications immediately. 'Boys listen to music differently, they bone up. I didn't know how to listen to music so I wouldn't actually have known if they were out of tune or not playing in time. It really didn't matter to me. It wasn't the point.'"

Yeah, she may not have known "how" to listen to music, but speak for yourself, sister, plenty of women do know how - and plenty of men don't.

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"Now, everyone has gone to music school and they all play brilliantly and you think, Why are they even playing live? It's all so bloody middle class now."

Just patently untrue. While there is more talent than ever out there, they haven't all gone to music school (not that there's anything wrong with it) and live shows outside of arena acts are as raucous as ever. (A punk expressing exceptionalist nostalgia is the worst.)

*

"In writing the first book, Albertine also found herself thinking about the emotional and psychological demons that drove many of punk's key figures as much as their shared cultural disaffection. 'There was a lot of passion and self-belief running through punk, of course,' she says now, 'but many of the people who were drawn to it were also struggling with personality disorders, with the fallout of things that had gone wrong at home. I now think everyone in punk was on some sort of spectrum, actually.'"

Maybe, but it's not like growing up in a healthy, functional home endows one with bad taste in music. You can grow up relatively happy and still be drawn to music communities, subcultures, and stuff that doesn't suck.

*

"To Throw Away Unopened could well have been called How to Be Alone. Albertine is done, she tells me, with boys as well as music. As both her books attest, she does seem to have had a run of bad luck on the boyfriend front. 'It's not a run,' she exclaims, 'it's a fucking lifetime. I've been dating since I was 13. All I can think to do now is to stop having relationships. I cannot go through that any more.'"

This piece doesn't explain her pattern of relationship problems, but one might wonder if it's her instead of them - say, her own (daddy, most likely) issues and poor choices in partners.

*

"I ask her finally what she has learned about herself through writing in such a self-revealing way. She pauses for a moment, then says: 'I know that I want to stay an outsider now. I hate the very thought that I would ever not be an outsider.'"

To that, I can say "Amen."

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Excerpts from three BBC documentaries that included The Slits:

*

They played better than Viv lets on.

Cut,, 1979.

*

Bonus: "I Heard It Through The Grapevine."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:39 AM | Permalink

The Art Of Chinese Rubbings

Mirroring China's past.


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See also:

Tribune: Chinese Bronzes Exhibit At Art Institute Brings Ancient Objects To American Soil For The First Time.

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Emperors And Their Bronzes.

*

The Piece Mold Process.

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Emperor Qioalong: The Making Of An Empire.

"Emperor Qianlong was a politician, militant, priest, scholar and artist who amassed a large collection of paintings, calligraphy, jades, ceramics and bronzes in order to give himself a universal connection with history and the cosmos."

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The Field Museum's Chinese Rubbings Collection.

The Making Of A Chinese Rubbing.

"Professor Yang Bo of the Shandong Provincial Museum demonstrates the making of a Chinese rubbing."

*

Age of Empires: Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

April 2, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. FACS at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.


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2. Ethers at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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3. DIM at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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4. Pig's Blood at Livewire on Friday night.

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5. The Handcuffs at Martyrs' on Friday night.

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6. Los Amigos Invisibles at Joe's Bar on Friday night.

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7. The Steepwater Band at Martyrs' on Friday night.

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8. Courtney Marie Andrews at Schubas on Saturday night.

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9. Attila at the Forge in Joliet on Saturday night.

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10. James Bay at the Metro on Saturday night.

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11. Nightwish at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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12. House of Lords at the Arcada in St. Charles on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:04 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Monumentally Cool

Everybody enjoy that extraordinary sports weekend?

Yes, Chicago played in the Final Four and, yes, the local baseball teams made their 2018 debuts (hey Cubs, you need to do better than that, sheesh), but this past weekend was also about women's basketball and, wait for it, MLS soccer.

I will acknowledge I never would have guessed I would write the last two words of that last sentence, but after tuning in to the first-ever Los Angeles Football Club vs. Los Angeles Galaxy soccer game (the LAFC is an expansion club and the new rivalry has the clever little nickname of El Tráfico) on Saturday out of curiosity, I proceeded to watch a couple of the best sports moments I've ever seen.

The game was the third-ever for the LAFC and the team has hit the pitch running. The squad won its first two games on the road and took a 3-0 lead early in the second half on Saturday. But the reason so many people tuned in finally happened in the 71st minute. That was when international superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović made his debut for the Galaxy.

Ibrahimovic, who plays internationally for Sweden, has been a goal-scoring marvel for professional teams in just about all the best leagues (most recently for Manchester United and before that PSG). A knee injury sidelined him in December and it did not appear he would be getting back in the lineup anytime soon for Man U.

So he was transferred to the Galaxy. He arrived a little more than two days before his first game, giving him time for essentially one practice with the team that has been the most successful in MLS history, with a half dozen championships in the last 15 years.

Shortly after he entered the game, the Galaxy had pulled to within a goal at 3-2, after falling behind to a seemingly unsurmountable 3-0. Then Ibrahimovic struck with his first goal, a long glorious volley over a goalie who had ventured too far off his line.

If the performance had ended there, it would have been enough. But no, in stoppage time, with the game now tied, the splendid striker started to make a run, realized he was offsides - and that onsides teammate Ashley Cole would be able to get to the ball - went toward the front of the net and then, truly unbelievably, headed in Cole's cross.

Monumentally cool.

The Galaxy held on for another minute to finish the historic win. In more than 5,000 total regular season games in MLS history, only one other time has a team come back from a three-goal deficit to win.

* * * * *

And then there was Arike Ogunbowale, who only had the MOST. DRAMATIC. BASKETBALL. WEEKEND. EVER.

On Friday, the junior guard capped off Notre Dame's amazing 91-89 overtime victory over 9.5-point favorite UConn in their Final Four semifinal with a glorious off-the-dribble, long two-point jump shot to win it with one second left.

How could she possibly top that? With a game-winning three-pointer in the last second of the national championship game to give Notre Dame a 61-58 victory over Mississippi State - on a play that wasn't designed for her.

Extraordinary.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

I feel like people aren't talking about how UConn was able to inbound the ball to a player who actually had a decent look, in part because ND and Arike were too busy celebrating! Watch the video!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 PM | Permalink

McDonald's Breaks Promise To Raise Wages

CHICAGO - McDonald's is breaking its highly-touted April 2015 pledge to pay the 90,000 workers at its corporate stores $1 an hour above the local minimum wage, the Fight for $15 announced Monday.

Worker paystubs in three major metropolitan areas where the company has large numbers of corporate stores, including Chicago, show cooks and cashiers being paid less than $1 above the local minimums.

McDonald's made the announcement of the increase three years ago in the face of massive worker protests calling for higher pay and union rights. At the time, CEO Steve Easterbrook said the increase was in response to employee surveys and was about delivering "better customer service."

The move was widely panned as inadequate because the increases only applied to a small fraction of McDonald's employees, but nevertheless the company has failed to make good on its promise.

"McDonald's publicity stunt has turned out to be a sham," said Kayla Kuper, who is paid $11.40/hour at a McDonald's corporate store in Chicago, where she should be paid a minimum of $12/hour. "We can't take this company at its word. That's why we need union rights - so that we can hold McDonald's accountable and win the decent wage and basic benefits we need to support our families."

Workers employed at McDonald's corporate stores in at least three regions across the country - Greater Chicago, Los Angeles County and the Bay Area - have not received the announced higher wage.

  • Greater Chicago: The minimum wage in the city is $11.00 and $10.00 in surrounding Cook County. In the City of Chicago, workers employed at McDonald's corporate-owned stores are earning as little as $11.25/hr and in Cook County workers are earning as little as $10.35/hr.
  • Greater Los Angeles: In the City of Los Angeles, and portions of Los Angeles County, the minimum wage is $12.00. In L.A., workers at McDonald's corporate-owned stores are earning as little as $12.39/hr.
  • Bay Area: There are numerous minimum wages in the Bay Area that are higher than California's state minimum wage of $11.00, including Milpitas ($12.00) and San Jose ($14.50). Workers in McDonald's corporate-owned stores are earning as little as $12.35/hr in Milpitas and $14.10 in San Jose.

The Fight for $15 announced Monday it has set up a toll-free hotline for McDonald's workers who believe they are being shortchanged by the company. And workers said they would hold protests Tuesday at McDonald's stores in the three metropolitan areas where they are being paid less than promised.

The news that McDonald's lied about its own pay hikes comes as the company is spending tens of millions of dollars marketing itself as "America's best first job."

"Instead of spending tens of millions plugging itself as 'America's best first job,' maybe McDonald's should use that money to keep its promise to me and the other workers it's been stiffing," said Fanny Velazquez, who is paid $12.62/hour at a McDonald's corporate store in Los Angeles, where the minimum wage is $12/hr.

A year after the April 2015 announcement of the raises, Easterbrook touted the purported increases at McDonald's shareholders meeting, noting that the raises and improvements to benefits resulted in "lower turnover and higher customer satisfaction scores."

But Bloomberg reported in March that employee turnover at McDonald's is becoming an increasingly serious problem, and McDonald's wages have failed to remain competitive compared to many of the key players in fast food, retail and other industries that compete with the fast-food giant for employees.

In March 2016, Costco raised its minimum wage for existing and new entry-level workers to $13/hr. In October 2017, Target raised its hourly minimum wage to $11/hr and committed to increasing its minimum wage to $15/hr by the end of 2020. And Walmart announced in January 2018 that it would raise its minimum wage to $11.00 in February and would provide employees who have been with the company for 20 years with a one-time bonus of up to $1,000.

The revelation that McDonald's is lying about wage increases in corporate stores is just the latest example of how the world's second-largest private employer mistreats employees. In 2014, workers in three states filed class-action lawsuits against the company alleging widespread wage theft. That same year, the federal government charged McDonald's with illegally harassing, intimidating and even firing workers who went on strike calling for $15 and union rights.

In 2015, workers filed more than two-dozen complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, alleging unsafe working conditions at McDonald's restaurants. And in 2016, fast-food workers filed sexual harassment complaints with the EEOC, alleging widespread sexual harassment on the job.

Also, low wages at McDonald's cost taxpayers $1.2 billion a year, according to the National Employment Law Project.

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Bloomberg: Company Says Minimum Wage Pledge Was Never An Ongoing Policy.

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Previously:

* McDonald's Faces Global Crackdown In Brazil; Chicago Worker Testifies.

* McDonald's, The Corporate Welfare Moocher.

* McDonald's And The Global Revolution Of Fast Food Workers.

* McDonald's Moving International Tax Base To UK.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:29 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Until women hold 50 percent of elective offices in Illinois - and Congress, for that matter - the energy and effort to get more women voted in cannot let up," the Sun-Times editorial board said in a long editorial Friday.

This is a big, fat meatball right over the plate; you'd think there would be enough self-awareness and experience on the paper's editorial board to recognize the need for self-disclosure and a mea culpa within this piece. Something like, "We recognize we are failing too, and promise to do a better job." Then again, you wouldn't expect something like that.

To wit:

I don't know the makeup of the Sun-Times' newsroom - I couldn't find a staff list on their website - but the top four editors are all men.

I also couldn't find (in the time I allotted myself, at least) a complete list of the investor group that bought the Sun-Times last summer, but among the publicly named, the chairman is a man, the CEO is a man, the corporate restructuring expert is a man, and the biggest individual investor is a man.

In fact, all the members of the investment group shown in this photo are men.

So when Chicago Federation of Labor president Jorge Ramirez, the aforementioned chairman, said at the time of the purchase that "The little guy won here," he really meant it. At least the "guy" part.

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I own 92.5 percent of The Beachwood Media Company; a male investor owns the remaining 7.5 percent. I would love to do better! Inquire within.

*

I edit and publish The Beachwood Reporter. I am male. I would love to do better! Inquire within.

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Pretty Prehistoric
"I'm a sucker for a rom-com, but when Pretty Woman came out in 1990 I couldn't believe something so retrograde got produced," Northwestern professor Katie Watson writes in a Sun-Times opinion piece so I don't have to.

"So I was shocked to learn that in this #MeToo moment 28 years later, producers are still drilling the 'hooker with a heart of gold"'mine for cash, recycling Pretty Woman as a Broadway musical currently previewing in Chicago."

This is the theme of a post I've been meaning to write for almost a month - I opened a file on it on March 6th and it's just sat there waiting for me to flip through Google to find the plethora of source material over the years excoriating the movie's misogyny in order to make the point Watson is making. So good on her. Where is everybody else?

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

McDonald's Breaks Promise To Raise Wages
Paystubs reveal the sham; company responds by claiming/admitting the pledge was not meant to be "ongoing policy."

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The Gender Pay Gap(?)
"I thought I was supposed to be interviewing a feminist."

"I am a feminist."

In the latest episode of Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!

*

The White Sox Report: Mighty Matt Davidson
Acquired from Arizona for Addison Reed, he seemed like a bust - until Thursday night

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TrackNotes: Exclamation Point
Oh, what a race it was.

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SportsMonday: Monumentally Cool
This extraordinary sports weekend was also about women's basketball and - wait for it - MLS soccer.

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ChicagoGram

#CraveArt #TreasureHunt

A post shared by Joël Maximé, Jr. (@cravechicago) on

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ChicagoTube

South Side Super Heroes! (1995)

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Drag City Now On Spotify And Tidal.

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TwwetWood
A sampling.

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TONIGHT!

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: It is I.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:29 AM | Permalink

The Gender Pay Gap (That Isn't?)

"I thought I was supposed to be interviewing a feminist."

"I am a feminist."


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See also:

* Daily Howler: Just How Large Is The Gender Wage Gap?

* Wikipedia: Gender Pay Gap.

* New York Daily News: Women Launch #PayMeToo Amid Trove Of UK Gender Pay Gap Data.

* Vox: A Stunning Chart Shows The True Cause Of The Gender Wage Gap.

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And:

"What now gets labeled feminism on [college] campuses," says Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis, "has to do with dialing back a lot the progress women have made establishing ourselves as consenting adults."

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Editor's Note: This post is not an endorsement of any of the views within. And this note is not a distancing from any of the views within.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:36 AM | Permalink

Mighty Matt Davidson

The kid needed a ride to the ballpark on a Sunday morning last September, so my brother-in-law, Bill, a weekend Uber driver, picked him up at his downtown high-rise apartment building east of Michigan Avenue.

Later he texted me this photo asking if I knew this guy.

"Sure," I answered. "That's Matt Davidson. Plays for the Sox. Why do you ask?"

Matt Davidson.jpg

Turns out that Bill, a Cub batboy in the mid-50s, conversed with the White Sox designated hitter-third baseman all the way to 35th Street, including a question about what kind of pitching Davidson finds toughest to hit.

"Changing speeds," was the response.

Evidently three Kansas City hurlers weren't familiar with the scouting report last Thursday as Davidson made national headlines by becoming just the fourth player in history to hit three home runs on Opening Day.

The first one came off Royals' starter Danny Duffy, in the top of the fourth with the bases empty on a fastball that narrowed the Kansas City lead to 4-2. The next inning, he hit another solo shot on a fastball from Blaine Boyer, as the Sox surged ahead 6-4. In the eighth, he completed the hat trick with a three-run laser to left on what appeared to be a slider from lefty Brian Flynn that broke right over the plate, giving the Sox a more-than-comfortable 11-4 advantage en route to the 14-7 victory.

Coupled with two dingers from shortstop Tim Anderson and another one from Jose Abreu, Ricky Renteria's outfit tied a MLB record set by the Mets in 1988 of six Opening Day round-trippers.

Davidson joined Toronto's George Bell (1988), Detroit's Dmitri Young (2005), and the Cubs' Tuffy Rhodes (1994) as the only players ever to homer three times on Opening Day.

(Rhodes was emblematic of those pre-Theo Cubs: Despite his heroics, the Cubs still dropped a 12-8 decision to the Mets in that opener 24 years ago. He then hit just five more homers the remainder of that season and soon was out of the major leagues. Remarkably, though, he resurfaced in Japan in 1996 and began a 13-year career there where he hit 464 home runs - including 55 in 2001, which tied him with the legendary Sadaharu Oh for the all-time Japanese single-season league record.)

Davidson is no Rhodes; barring injury, Matt will hit appreciably more than five home runs the rest of this season. Last year he accounted for 26 dingers in his first full year in the major leagues.

The path to being a regular on the South Side has not been an easy one for the 27-year-old native of Yucaipa, California, a town of 58,000 in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

Drafted in the first round (35th overall) out of high school by the Diamondbacks in 2009, Davidson was a run-producer in the minor leagues, driving in as many 106 one year at Class A and consistently hitting around 20 home runs per campaign. He also struck out with great regularity - 24 times in his first 76 major league at-bats in 2013. Prior to the 2014 season, the D'backs dealt him to the Sox for closer Addison Reed.

The trade initially looked like a bust for the White Sox as Davidson struggled mightily in the minors in 2014 and '15, hitting .199 and .203, respectively, and fanning a total of 355 times despite accounting for 43 home runs those two years.

However, Davidson's situation took a turn upward in 2016 at Charlotte when his batting average rose to .268 while the power numbers continued at their previous level. He earned a promotion to the big club at the end of June, and then-manager Robin Ventura immediately inserted him into the starting lineup as designated hitter.

Just as quickly, Matt's aspirations once again were dashed. In his second at-bat, he singled and advanced to third on a double by long-forgotten J.B. Shuck. Trouble was, Davidson awkwardly hit second base, breaking his foot and ending his season.

"There were times in '14 and '15 where I definitely thought I was done," Davidson told MLB Central on Friday. "Once you've had that failure, it's always kind of in your head . . . because you've been there."

Last season, Davidson returned to play in 118 games for the White Sox. He credits manager Ricky Renteria's philosophy of concentrating on the present with helping him maintain his confidence.

"Trying to get rid of that [negative thinking] and not pulling it along but just trying to let it go and live in the present . . . is something Ricky preaches," said Davidson. "I just focus on the routine every day and staying right there. I think everything will take care of itself. It's something we're all trying to do on the South Side."

One might surmise that Opening Day starter James Shields and Saturday's pitcher Lucas Giolito also benefited from that kind of approach. In the interest of kindness, let's just say that both were out of sorts at the outset of the team's first two games.

Shields had a shocking first inning. Four batters into his outing, he trailed 4-0. That's as bad as it can be. He retired the next two hitters before Alex Gordon doubled. Certainly the Sox were poised to lose the first of what some pundits predict will be losses north of 90.

Not so fast. Big Game James rebounded almost beyond belief, lasting six innings while yielding nary a hit the remainder of his afternoon. He got the win.

Giolito came out Saturday without his usual command and limped through five innings, allowing three runs, four hits and as many bases on balls. Lucas is a strikeout pitcher, but he fanned just one batter in his season's debut.

Nevertheless, Giolito kept the Sox in the game so that Yoan Moncada's line drive home run to right center leading off the eighth inning cut the Sox deficit to 3-2. Avisail Garcia's single and a walk to Davidson set the stage for newly-acquired catcher Welington Castillo to blast a 3-0 pitch off the right field wall, giving the Sox their eventual 4-3 come-from-behind win.

Two other aspects worth mentioning are the two walks Davidson drew over the weekend. Last season he walked just 18 times, accounting for a meager .260 on-base percentage. In addition, relievers Danny Farquhar, Nate Jones and Joakim Soria kept the Royals in check over the final three innings. If this is any kind of preview of the quality of the bullpen, forgive us if our eyebrows just rose a few inches.

Winter weather postponed Sunday's contest as the Sox boarded their plane for Toronto, where they'll engage the Blue Jays in three games before their home opener at the Grate on Thursday against the Tigers.

Clearly, we've just tip-toed into the season, but what fun the first two games were. The Davidson story, well, makes us feel good. Way to go, Matt. And, by the way, if and when you become an established big league ballplayer making millions of dollars over a number of seasons, take an Uber every now and then. It's a nice touch.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:24 AM | Permalink

April 1, 2018

TrackNotes: Exclamation Point

All long days come with highs and lows.

Saturday's trajectory was remarkably symmetric, a midday apogee of Thoroughbred horse racing enjoyment Telstarred from a flawlessly executed Carnival halfway around the world, and the nadir a half-assed, why-bother attempt at conducting a seemingly important race in the run-up to America's most illustrious equine event. Chicken-egg validated as the national cable channel televising the race chose against even dispatching the award-winning analyst or Hall of Fame jockey to the venue. The center of American horse racing Saturday, just a day's ride from Hawthorne, this capsule couldn't have come near the aircraft carrier if it was on a string.

Dubai World Cup Day, the exclamation point on the Festival of Racing, starts here at 6:30 a.m. That's early, so I didn't get the wagering fired up until race four. But oh what a race it was.

Every player has an angle on every horse he considers. The four-horse in the UAE Derby (Grade II, 1-3/16ths miles, $2,000,000, Dirt) had never run on dirt. Batting .500 on turf and synthetic, he did win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last November. TVG analyst Simon Bray decreed that you never bet a low-priced horse trying something for the first time in the biggest race of his life. Full disclosure, I listened.

Hindsight is everything, so it now appears that trainer Aidan O'Brien, probably the best in the world, feels his Mendelssohn, son of the gone-too-soon Scat Daddy, can make the trip over again and parlay the Kentucky Derby eligibility points he earned into a bed of roses.

Mendelssohn, half-brother to the wonderful Beholder, rushed up to the lead in the two-lane by the time they hit the wire for the first time. Yulong Warrior poked ahead on the first turn, but by the time they hit the backstretch, Mendelssohn had wrestled the lead away. Full of energy every step of the way, Mendelssohn powered the turn, slungshot into the stretch and went and hid. Rayya and Reride couldn't hold on to the leash and Mendelssohn poured it on to win by an expanding 19 lengths.

My first thought was of his ability to make the trip to Kentucky, with the required quarantine at either Belmont or Arlington Park. Then, will he be the Derby favorite? Not unless the mass media touts the hell out of him, and he does not have a Sister Jean-cute hook. Plus, who'd he beat here? Rayya is a filly and the American Reride was only the winner of two minor stakes previously.

But whatever you do, don't forget this one. His race was that good.

Race five, the Al Quoz Sprint (Grade I, straightaway 6 furlongs, $1,000,000, Turf) buoyed my spirits as Jungle Cat, helped by the gate scratch of favorite Blue Point, held off Stormy Liberal for the win.

Mind Your Biscuits repeated in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (Grade I, 6 furlongs, $2,000,000, Dirt). Severe seconditis or worse in America, 'Biscuits apparently has to go across the world to win. But, um, he set a new Meydan track record of 1:10.12.

The undercard is often the most satisfying part of a boxing or racing gala, and we still had the main event, the Dubai World Cup (Grade I,10 furlongs, $10,000,000, Dirt) to go.

Before the race, Bob Baffert, trainer of 4-5 favorite West Coast, winner in the second-fastest Travers Stakes of all time last summer, seemed not in the least confident.

"He appears to have made the trip well, seems comfortable. We won't really know 'til the race." Baffert said. Are you nervous? "I'm always nervous," Baffert said, nervously.

Contender North America was left standing in the gate in the advantageous two-hole at the bell and Thunder Snow, who almost literally took three steps and stopped in last year's Kentucky Derby, and Christophe Soumillon scooted to the rail early on the first turn. He led the rest of the way, setting a new track record of 2:01.38. West Coast might have had a chance to catch him at the top of the stretch, but he never caught up and finished more than five back. Mubtaahij finished his typical third. North America finished last of 10.

At this point, the day's trajectory took a decided downturn. Yes, there were warning signs.

At 10 a.m., TVG, which had been doing just fine with the Dubai feed and all those British accents and Nick "The Sarge" Hines solid and measured in the California studio, burst on the air with absolutely make-it-stop annoying Todd Schrupp blasting the big day at: GULFSTREAM! Site of Saturday's Florida Derby. This is a won't-go-away guy who brings on acid reflux while he gets under your skin and scratches the blackboard and gives you paper cuts while listening to microphone feedback.

Gulfstream, which was a featured track on the old Horse Racing TV channel that TVG bought with British exchange betting money, must have TVG by the short ones like the Russians have the Orange Sherbet just up the coast from Hallandale, Florida.

By now, Gulfstream was playing all its post-time games - more on that later - and TVG lost all perspective.

They would cut immediately from a Dubai race to show a crap claimer race from Florida. Still screwing around with its post times, Gulfstream, for whom racing is nothing more than a rent-paying hole in the Pegasus mall down by the Sam Goody, sets up a $30,000 claiming race to go off at the same time as the $6,000,000(!), 1.5-mile Dubai Sheema Classic. What did TVG do? Showed 'em both SPLIT SCREEN!

I can only thank God I could watch the betting site stream, which has a better picture. But this is wholly indicative of the small insults and amenity deductions American institutions are so good at in pleasing themselves at the expense of all of us.

After a break, I watched but didn't get back into it until the Florida Derby. Lo and behold, NBC Sports Network comes on and analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey are in a studio somewhere. I felt so good that they all saw through the BS and didn't even go to Florida.

Audible won the race, but big effing deal. He hates to train. He's beaten nobody. I can't wait to see 19 other horses pass him by in Kentucky. I don't know how good he will be, but me and my friend the Hof did like Hofburg, and he finished a nice second.

Gulfstream's Post-Time Games
Gulfstream Park has been playing with its post times since I've been playing the horses. This season, it is out of control. A giant middle finger to the game.

I have seen races go off past post times anywhere from 10 minutes to 33 minutes. Also, Fair Grounds, the self-beleagured property from Churchill Downs Inc., ran the Louisiana Derby 31 minutes late last week. I will say I have never seen it at Arlington Park or at Hawthorne.

So what's the big deal?

If you've got a big day going, SPENDING MONEY at various tracks on a summer afternoon, it is absolutely aggravating to have two nice undercard races, or two features, go off at the same time, when one of them messed with the post. Only in America, and I mean that. In a Gulfstream post-parade, you'll see "0 Minutes to Post" for twice as long as the post countdown. How do a horse and jockey get ready?

As often happens, the racing media is not doing enough. Daily Racing Form national handicapper Mike Watchmaker has mentioned it in his column, but it's always been a footnote at the bottom.

Jon Lindo at Gaming Today led with it a while back, but it's going to take above-the-fold prominence from the big boys to even start the discussion. Not that these tracks will listen. Podunk is as podunk does.

New York might be the best. You don't mess with Saratoga or Belmont. California is good. Kentucky is great.

The races in Dubai went off like clockwork on a perfectly prepared race course where race and jockey integrity are everything.

To answer your question, Gulfstream did a record handle Saturday.

No Rambler Renaissance
Nobody asked, but.

Fixed is a very harsh word, but I do think it happens by osmosis in many, or maybe most, sporting events.

No, Loyola did not do enough to win Saturday night. I think it's from the depths of the subconscious that the NCAA basketball tournament rises teams that can be called the usual suspects.

When the two Michigan guys nearly grasped hands to keep the middle Loyola guy out of the lane on a possible missed free throw, I thought that's another illegality they allow these days, although the Rambler should have swatted them away (foul!). When the Loyola guy, on the very same play, went straight up for the rebound, with no contact and the Michigan guy falling backwards into him, and the Loyola guy was called for an over-the-top foul, I knew it was over.

I made enough on the ponies to cover my Ramblers wagers, not that you should count on that. But it sure was a lot of fun watching them. They play the game the way it ought to be played. But there will be no renaissance. The coaches and players for the usual suspects are too lazy.

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Tom Chambers is the Beachwood's longtime railbird. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:53 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Tweets I did not push the button on Saturday night:

"Hey Sister Jean, where's your God now?"

"Sometimes God says No."

"I guess Loyola was actually on a Mission from Dog."

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For example, DePaul's prayers worked too when the mayor built them a sparkling new arena with plenty of room to spread out for the 500 or so fans who actually attend their lousy games. Ain't God good!

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Speaking of God, I guess He was too busy charting Loyola's basketball season to intervene in the affairs at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th.

But He did make his presence known at Marlins Park on Friday night.

Now, the last thing I want to do is bust on Anthony Rizzo. He's a Stoneman alum from Parkland who has thrown himself into the recovery work in an admirable fashion. But really, a God who would somehow make the second Miami Marlins game of the major league baseball season go 17 innings to commemorate 17 deaths in a school shooting is a pretty lousy God in my book. A God who bothers to manipulate the length of baseball games but doesn't prevent cold-blooded, maniacal murders?

Apparently that's what a lot of people believe. Then again, a lot of people believe God blesses their guns.

Rizzo's tweet was liked 31,000 times, with more than 5,000 retweets and 200 replies, including several like this:

Sure, angels all around the ballpark but not at the high school when it counted. Maybe they were at the track.

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I find this kind of religiosity - well, most kinds, but particularly this kind - offensive. Of course I cut Rizzo a huge bunch of slack considering all he's been doing for Parkland. Of course I do. But c'mon.

Similarly, the Sister Jean saga injected the sadly familiar specter of a God who cares about the outcomes of (some, apparently, but not all) basketball games into society's bloodstream once again - lapped up by a media that cannot resist stale narratives of fairy tales and so-called Cinderellas. (Loyola was no Cinderella; they were arguably seeded too low, though the argument could be made that, given the margins of their victories, they were seeded just right - like one of Goldilocks's three bears!)

Then again, maybe it's true. Maybe that's the God we have. I don't find that comforting, though; I find it utterly terrorizing. Worship that? Never. But it would explain the world we live in.

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"When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a 1981 book by Harold Kushner, a Conservative rabbi. Kushner addresses in the book one of the principal problems of theodicy, the conundrum of why, if the universe was created and is governed by a God who is of a good and loving nature, there is nonetheless so much suffering and pain in it - essentially, the evidential problem of evil," Wikipedia notes.

First, I would ask why we assume God, if there is one, is good. Perhaps God is both our omniscient creator and a bastard.There's no reason God has to be nice. That's just wish fulfillment.

Second, how do we define "good people?" Fifty-one percent good? Or even "bad things?" I mean, sometimes people claim a horrible thing turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to them because of the changes that followed.

In the case of Kushner, he was moved to write his book after his 14-year-old son died of an incurable genetic disease. I always wonder why, with all the misery and death in the world from the beginning of time, some folks only start to question their concept of God when one of their own kids, for example, suffers. I get that it's different when it happens to you, but really? You never stopped to wonder about the goodness of God after learning of the countless slaughters the world over? The Holocaust alone didn't do it for you? Are we really that myopic?

Third, my recollection of the Kushner book, which may be wrong but I do own it and I did read it years ago, is that God created the laws of physics, and fairness dictates that God not interfere with those laws. If God did, those laws may as well not exist. And then there would be no free will, and all sorts of implications would flow from that basically ruining the world as God wants it to be. God's approach instead is to let nature take its course and que sera sera. The chill God. Therefore, accidents happen, diseases come into existence and spread, and death is inevitable. Of course, God could've created a different set of laws to prevent all that, but maybe God is a bit of a sadist. Maybe God likes to watch. Or maybe God is an absentee landlord. That's what Al Pacino tells Keanu Reeves in The Devil's Advocate:

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Throughout history, humans have perceived God or gods as imperfect. The Old Testament depicts a God full of human emotion, such as wrath and, um, barbaric pettiness. The Greeks, of course, had a set of gods that were far from All Good. In modern times, we have a God who seems to enjoy the sportsbook. It is one of God's best inventions. But is God cheating or just watching?

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Here's the media when they find a Hallmark storyline so irresistible they just can't exercise any semblance of discipline and show a light touch, instead needing to pound it into the ground to satisfy whatever craven agenda and psychological emptiness that exists inside them:

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Can't wait to find out what God's "bigger plan" is:

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Saturday TV Special
A marathon of Matlock Part 1s, via our very own Tim Willette. Too late now, I know, but maybe the Part 2s will be next Saturday (they aren't today):

matlockpartone.png

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Correction Of The Day
Also via our very own Tim Willette:

"Correction: An earlier version of this article implied that chimpanzees ran the government depicted in 1968's Planet of the Apes and its sequels when in fact political authority was vested in orangutans and chimpanzees served as a kind of scientist and intellectual caste."

C'mon, Vox, that was a central part of the conceit! Sheesh.

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New on the Beachwood since Wednesday . . .

How Does This Keep Happening?
Groupon, Heineken, Walmart . . .

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #194: Chicago Accountant Upstages Loyola, Cubs, White Sox
Scott Foster Is The Emergency Backup Goalie We Need. Plus: Cubs Opener A Perfect Preview Of The Season To Come; White Sox Opener A Perfect Preview Of The Season To Come; and So You're Saying Loyola Has A Chance?

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Weekend ChicagoGram

Crosseyed and painful.

A post shared by Tyler Clark (@localmythologies) on

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Weekend ChicagoTube

STOP AIDS, 1988.

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Weekend BeachBook
A sampling.

This Artist Took 4,000 Portraits To Show The Range Of Human Skin Color And The Results Exceeded The Pantone Library.

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Why Are There So Many Online Mattress-In-A-Box Companies?

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How Warehouses For Personal Junk Became A $38 Billion Industry.

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Shazam For Nature.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Some kind of blue.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:21 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Surprise: Sinclair-Tribune Merger Maimed.
POLITICS - How Affirmative Action Fight Threatens Harvard's Whites.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - How To Fix Scholarly Publishing.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: Wells At Dearborn.


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