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« June 2018 | Main

July 18, 2018

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of those who have worn Cubbie blue.

1. Bill Mueller.

Mueller lost his job as the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach in the purge of manager Mike Matheny and staff. Mueller hit .295 with a .403 OBP for the Cubs in 2001 and .266/.355 in 2002. He served as the Cubs' hitting coach under Rick Renteria in 2014, then resigned after the season when the team fired his assistant, Mike Brumley. He was then picked up by the Cardinals.

2. Scott Servais.

The former Cubs catcher is in his third season managing the Mariners, and has them at a surprising 58-39 so far this season - good for just second in the AL West thanks to the Astros (64-35). Servais worked 3 1/2 solid seasons on the North Side.

3. Sean Marshall.

Marshall came up through the Cubs system as a starter, but ended his career here as a strong set-up man in the 'pen. In one of their early moves, Theo & Co. traded Marshall to the Reds for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes.

4. Chris Archer.

Perennial subject of trade rumors - including back to the Cubs where he once was a prized prospect - Archer is 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA (3.79 FIP) this season (he was activated from the 10-day DL earlier this month). In 2011, the Cubs sent Archer, Sam Fuld, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos and Hak-Ju Lee to the Rays for Matt Garza, Fernando Perez and Zac Rosscup. Given all the players involved, the trade rippled for years in subsequent transactions; here's one analysis.

5. Adam Warren.

Warren is having his best season yet in the Yankees' bullpen, notching a 1.85 ERA. That's the Warren the Cubs thought they were getting for the 2016 season when they acquired him and PTBNL Brendan Ryan from New York for Starlin Castro. Warren had a difficult time adjusting to Joe Maddon's mix-and-match style, preferring instead Joe Girardi's more rigid approach to bullpen roles, and pitched so badly here he was sent to Triple-A after posting a 5.91 ERA in 29 appearances. He was traded back to the Yankees mid-season along with Billy McKinney, Gleyber Torres and Rashad Crawford for Aroldis Chapman - and he went back to being good again.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:54 AM | Permalink

July 17, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

"A day after Chicago police released a 20-second video of a fatal police shooting that sparked unrest and outrage, city officials said there are no immediate plans to release additional footage that could shed more light on the deadly encounter," the Tribune reports.

*

"One key question about the footage released Sunday was its lack of audio. When the body-worn cameras are initially powered on, they record video only. Audio kicks in as soon as the officer double-taps a button on the camera and puts it into 'event mode.'

"Department orders dictate that officers switch to event mode "at the beginning of an incident and will record the entire incident for all law-enforcement-related activities." The order also notes that if "circumstances" prevent the activation at the start of an incident, the officer should do so "as soon as practical."

"Steve Tuttle, a spokesman with the company that manufacturers the cameras used by Chicago, said it is not uncommon for officers, in the midst of responding to a call, to forget to double-tap the camera as a situation quickly develops."

*

Tuttle told ABC7's Chuck Goudie that "A lot of people have some misconceptions about this Axon Body 2 camera.

Tuttle said the police cameras are recording video at all times, but audio is activated only when officers push a start button when a incident is beginning.

On Saturday that apparently happened only after the actual shooting, leaving police with approximately 30 seconds of silent "buffer" video that is regularly recorded by the devices.

Officials say the body cameras do not routinely record audio because it "protects the officer's privacy," according to Tuttle.

"I could be patrolling around in a squad car for an hour or two with my partner and we could be talking about the chief or personal things. But until policy says you need to begin recording, it protects that privacy and that's why when people see these videos the first 30 seconds, there's no sound," he said.

Why do we need the audio when we've already seen that Harith Augustus was armed, ran from the cops and appeared to reach for his weapon? To answer these questions:

1. Did police create the situation, possibly with an unlawful stop?

2. Did police escalate the situation, in particular, when one officer reached for Augustus's hand (or gun) from behind/his side?

3. When were the first shots fired - before or after Augustus appeared to reach for his own weapon?

*

Here's mayoral candidate Troy LaRaviere, who has provided the most extensive comments - as far as I can tell - of any public official.

*

The Sun-Times also has comments from Garry McCarthy, Lori Lightfoot and Paul Vallas.

*

"Investigators looking into Saturday's fatal police shooting in the South Shore neighborhood will have 'tons' of video to review, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says. It will likely take months for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability to determine whether the shooting was justified," the Tribune says in an editorial.

"But Johnson took the unusual step of releasing a video clip - less than half a minute long - within 24 hours after the shooting. He hoped it would calm protesters by answering the key question of whether Harith Augustus was armed. On Monday, COPA promised to release the rest 'at the earliest point.'"

Maybe there's a good reason why it will take months to determine whether the shooting was justified, but I'd sure like someone to explain it to me.

It's also not clear to me why CPD and/or COPA doesn't release all of the video, outside of wanting to control the narrative by ultimately pairing it with the results of COPA's investigation. I understand that in releasing everything at once folks can take bits and pieces and create their own versions of what happened, but maybe that's the price we have to pay for transparency. Then again, maybe COPA's approach is reasonable. I really don't know. After all, there is an investigation going on, it's just not of the dead suspect but of the officers involved in killing him. But timeliness is in the public interest - and the videos are public records.

"Within weeks of the [Laquan] McDonald shooting, the city announced a new policy: Audio and video recordings of police encounters involving deadly force are now made public within 90 days," the Tribune recalls in its editorial.

"We'll point out, again, that the Illinois Freedom of Information Act generally requires public bodies to respond to records requests sooner than that. City Hall was violating that law by withholding the McDonald video without a valid exemption. Remember?"

How could anyone forget.

*

Just when it looked like CPS had superceded CPD as the key to the mayoral campaign, CPD is back on the forefront. This does not bode well for Rahm - nor McCarthy, really, who also, of course, has the stink of Laquan McDonald's death on him. This morning we learned that the trial of the officer who killed McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, has been set for September 5.

The candidacy of Lightfoot, who came face to face with the anger of African Americans toward city police as chair of the mayor's accountability task force, and reflected that back in the task force's blistering report, now ascends. LaRaviere may get a little boost. No one thinks Vallas is the person to handle these kinds of moments; it's not clear this is the sort of thing in his toolbox, which is why he'd make, say, a better governor than mayor. Rahm's coming machinations may just remind people how exhausted they are of him. Regardless of the details of Harith Augustus's death, which is sad and tragic in any case, an awful lot of people want change.

*

Finally, even the rabid right-wing media-hater spokesperson for the Chicago FOP thinks Fran Spielman's typical stenography is a bit much.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger
Even Ajit Pai sees "potentially" deceptive behavior.

nn_hja_sinclair_script_180402_1522710587302.nbcnews-ux-1080-600.jpg

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The Ex-Cub Factor
Trade ripples!

Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 10.43.54 AM.png

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From the Beachwood music desk . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Unsane, The Matches, Apocalypse Hoboken, the Jayhawks, Mortuary Drape, Volahn, Sargeist, the Handsome Family, Bambino, Matthew Sweet, DevilDriver, Capital Vices, and Dawn Landes.

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 9.57.50 PM.png

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Slum Village, Guilty Simpson, Silent Planet, Boy Pablo, Ignescent, Whitesnake, Lindsey Stirling, Evanescence, Quicksand, Genevieve, and Foster The People.

Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 10.51.58 AM.png

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Carolina Reaper Eating For Guinness Book Of World Records In Chicago At The Chi-Town Hot Sauce Expo.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Just say nyet.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's said Monday that he has "serious concerns" about right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media.

In a statement announcing a draft order that would require the merger applicants to attend a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, Pai said, "Based on a thorough review of the record, I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transaction. The evidence we've received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law."

Reuters reports that the FCC has the three votes needed to approve Pai's proposal, and the draft order - which has not been publicly released - notes that "Sinclair's actions here potentially involve deception" and possible "misconduct."

"This is a giant win for the public, and a huge setback for Sinclair's mega-merger plans," said Free Press policy director Matt Wood.

"Public outcry has been building over Sinclair's takeover of local television for months. Just last week, Common Cause and its allies delivered over 600,000 signatures to the FCC urging the agency to block Sinclair's merger," said Michael Copps, Common Cause special adviser and a former FCC commissioner. "The message is loud and clear: local news should reflect the concerns and interests of the communities they serve, not the will of a wealthy, powerful few. Sinclair's merger would make it too large and too powerful."

Although the Communications Act requires that the FCC allow applicants to argue their case before a merger can be denied, as Wood explained, "it is extremely rare for transactions to be sent to a hearing in the first place, much less for parties to fight it out and beat the FCC in that hearing. That's why analysts and investors rightly see today's news as potentially a fatal blow for this merger."

Indeed, an approved hearing order kicks off "a lengthy administrative process often viewed as a deal-killer," Politico says. "The agency used the same move in 2015 with the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, which the companies abandoned rather than go through the hearing process."

Wood added that perhaps "the most interesting part of Pai's announcement is his recognition that several of the divestitures Sinclair proposed are a sham that would leave the company in control of stations it purportedly sells off to relatives and cronies of Sinclair executives."

Earlier this year, 15 members of the Coalition to Save Local Media, including Common Cause, sent a letter to the FCC raising alarm about "sidecar arrangements" that Sinclair planned to use to make the merger appear to comply with federal audience-cap rules, even though the company would continue providing all services to the "sold" stations.

"We're encouraged by Chairman Pai's apparent recognition that Sinclair's proposed divestiture of stations to shell companies is in fact unlawful," Wood concluded. "We encourage the FCC to examine all other such shell-company arrangements held by Sinclair, Tribune, and other broadcasters, too."

The development came as a surprise considering that Pai is a Trump appointee and former Verizon lawyer who often has been accused of being too cozy with industries and companies he's charged with regulating - including Sinclair.

"As I have noted before, too many of this agency's media policies have been custom built to support the business plans of Sinclair Broadcasting," said the sole Democratic FCC commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel. "With this hearing designation order, the agency will finally take a hard look at its proposed merger with Tribune. This is overdue and favoritism like this needs to end."

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

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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.

* Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country.

* Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy.

* The Sinclair Sham.

* Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover.

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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 12:25 AM | Permalink

July 16, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Unsane at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.


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2. The Matches at the Metro on Saturday night.

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3. Apocalypse Hoboken at the Chop Shop on Friday night.

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4. The Jayhawks at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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5. Mortuary Drape at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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6. Volahn at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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7. Sargeist at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday night.

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8. The Handsome Family at the Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square on Saturday night.

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9. Bombino at Square Roots on Saturday night.

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10. Matthew Sweet at Square Roots on Friday night.

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11. DevilDriver at the Forge in Joliet on Friday night.

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12. Capital Vices at Wire in Berwyn on Friday night.

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13. Dawn Landes at Square Roots on Saturday.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Politico's Playbook on the extraordinary press conference that took place in Helsinki this morning after Donald Trump's extraordinary personal meeting with Vladimir Putin:

ON MEDDLING ... AP'S JONATHAN LEMIRE got the last question: "Who do you believe," the U.S. intelligence community or Russia? And can you warn Putin to not meddle again?

TRUMP: "All I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others. They said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be . . . I have confidence in both parties."

Wow.

But I can't help but notice that Lemire violated a fundamental rule of interviewing - particularly in press conferences - that we see violated again and again by our most elitely positioned reporters:

Don't ask more than one question at a time!

Doing so allows the subject being questioned to pick which question they want to answer - usually it's the last (and least consequentional) one - or to just muddle the picture in part by conflating the questions to their advantage.

*

Journos all over Twitter are congratulating Lemire (and Jeff Mason, the other American reporter allowed to participate) for having the courage to ask "tough" questions.

I'd say the bar is pretty damn low if we think the most obvious and pressing questions are also the "toughest" questions that take courage to ask. My god.

But it just goes to show how rarely that actually happens.

*

Trump just couldn't help making a hash of it anyway. Here's his full answer:

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At least one Republican member of Illinois' congressional delegation hasn't (completely) lost their mind:

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On the "Pakistani gentleman" mentioned by Trump:

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As far as the DNC server goes, it's being looked at by top men.

*

No, seriously, this DNC server business is pure bunk just like everything else that comes out of Trump's mouth. Most disheartening, though, is that 40 percent of the American public believes this crap. How do we overcome that?

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Small Type
The glorious world of baseball minutiae.

column_white_sox_report.gif

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Chicagoetry: Wells At Dearborn
Private contractors to clean toilets, run chow halls, build gyms, train bomb-sniffing dogs, service the phones. A TGI Fridays, a Nathan's, a KFC, an ice cream stand, pizza by the slice . . .

dearborngoetry.jpg

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A Little Girl's Daddy Is Never Coming Home
Our city is in crisis.

jjaugustus.png

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How The Fight Against Affirmative Action At Harvard Could Threaten Rich Whites
A corrupt admissions process favoring legacies, families of note, prep school athletes and kids of donors favors wealthy whites.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Art Life.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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A woman of color.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Full house.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 PM | Permalink

Small Type

Few days pass when I don't check the agate type in the sports section under "Deals" in the Sun-Times and "Transactions" in the Tribune. I can't pinpoint the logic behind this impulse that draws me to investigate the minutiae that no one except the people involved care about, but I rarely miss a day.

Who possibly could be interested other than the athletes themselves in the roster changes in the Frontier League, an independent circuit with no big league affiliation? The new softball coach at Oklahoma Christian? Why is this information in my daily newspaper other than to fill space?

Most days I venture no farther than the comings and goings of major league ballplayers. I never watched the reality TV show made famous by "You're fired!" but I can understand how that might have been compelling. Perusing the deals in baseball, some perverse instinct leads me to discover who in essence has been axed, terminated, or demoted.

Every day a handful of players are instructed to pack up their gloves, shoes and jock straps and vacate the premises. A number of managers have stated that this is their most difficult task, informing a player that he no longer is wanted. No player relishes the thought of the clubhouse man after a game telling him, "The Skipper wants to see you in his office." The news is never good.

Take the case of now-former White Sox relief pitcher Bruce Rondon whose name appeared in that small type Wednesday morning. The guy basically pitched himself back to the minor leagues the previous evening in the Sox' embarrassing 14-2 pasting at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals (who fired manager Mike Matheny four days later). Chances are Rondon's days as a major league pitcher are over. Matheny's odds may be more favorable in terms of major league employment.

Rondon, who had a shocking 16.88 ERA in 12 appearances during the month of June, entered in the top of the 6th inning Tuesday with one out and the Sox trailing 4-2. When he departed four batters later with the bases loaded, the score was 6-2. Enter Hector Santiago, who promptly served up a grand slam to the otherwise struggling former Cub Dexter Fowler, and Rondon's fate was sealed.

Rondon, a huge fellow at 275 pounds, was a hard-throwing righthander who had pitched in parts of four seasons for the Tigers before they released him last December. The Sox signed him - according to Baseball Reference he was awarded $1.2 million via arbitration - and he began the season at Charlotte, but was summoned to the South Side just a week after Opening Day. In his first two appearances, Rondon retired all seven batters he faced, striking out five.

However, in his fifth appearance, the Astros slammed him for four runs in a third of an inning, and things continued to be up-and-down from there. Relief pitchers are well-served if they can retire the first batter they face. In 35 outings, the ineffective Rondon failed in this area 13 times due to seven walks, a hit batter, and five hits. In 19 of his games, he either walked or hit at least one batter.

On only six occasions did Rondon retire every batter he faced. The opposition hit .298 against Rondon. On balls in play (BABIP) that number mushroomed to .424. Couple that with 27 walks in 29 innings, and you easily can understand why his name was in that itty-bitty type last Wednesday morning.

On June 24 manager Ricky Renteria summoned Rondon to face Oakland with the Sox leading 10-2. Rondon walked Khris Davis on four pitches, and Renteria immediately visited the mound to yank Rondon. A somewhat heated discussion occurred, but, indeed, Renteria didn't trust Rondon even with such a lofty lead. Relief pitchers who have an inability to throw strikes tend to lose favor rather quickly, regardless of the score.

Rondon initially was "designated for assignment," meaning that any team could claim him on waivers within a 10-day period. Poor guy. None of the other 29 clubs showed the slightest bit of interest.

So the White Sox "outrighted" the Venezuelan hurler to Triple-A Charlotte. Rondon thus was removed from the 40-man roster, but his salary is guaranteed for the remainder of the season. Imagine making more than a million dollars when you are unwanted in your profession.

I'm not sure why Rondon thinks he remains marketable, but he turned down the assignment to Charlotte and now is a free agent. Why would a team sign him today when just days before he was nixed by every organization when the Sox offered him in a waiver deal?

At age 27, when most people are just beginning their professional lives, Rondon's baseball future is murky at best. He's a part of a transient gambit. Of the 13 active pitchers on the Sox roster Sunday morning, only two (James Shields and Juan Minaya) were on the team a year ago. Players like Rondon drift through the system, here for a moment and then gone forever.

Utopia for Rondon would be finding a way to consistently throw the ball over the plate to retire batter after batter at the minor league level. If he were able to do that, there could be another contract offer for next season. After watching his performance the last 3 1/2 months, that doesn't seem likely.

* * * * *

While Rondon's departure is rather typical of the end-of-the-line, former All-Star Chase Utley of the Dodgers had the luxury last week of announcing that he'll retire at the end of the season. Utley is an aberration. He won't be summoned to the manager's office. His agent won't have to shop him around only to find that no team is interested in an aging player with a high salary. Utley will leave the game on his own terms. Unlike Rondon, you won't read his name in the small type buried in the sports page.

* * * * *

Another former White Sox player last week also received little more than a mention in the sports pages, yet his tenure with the team was far more memorable than Rondon's.
Sammy Esposito died at age 86 at his North Carolina home after a career in baseball that spanned 35 years. A local guy who attended Fenger High School on the South Side, Esposito wound up playing for his hometown team for 10 years. He first appeared in a Sox uniform in 1952, playing in just one game before entering military service for two seasons.

Esposito was noteworthy for a number of reasons. For one, he grew up a Sox fan, a genuine South Sider who could live at home and make the short trip to Comiskey Park when the Sox were in town. For another, Esposito, a shortstop by trade, never played regularly and was a .207 lifetime hitter. As a member of the 1959 pennant-winning White Sox, Esposito batted twice in the World Series. Because starting pitchers toiled deep into games, teams carried fewer relievers, so utility players like Esposito were valued.

Aside from the fact that Esposito's offensive skills were not his forte - he never appeared in as many as 100 games in any given season - the Sox had guys named Fox and Aparicio at second and short, respectively, and that duo tended to play every day. Future Hall of Famer Aparicio didn't arrive until 1956, so Esposito saw some action at shortstop prior to Little Looey's debut. But after that he was primarily a pinch hitter and runner with occasional starts at third base.

Every Sox fan was well aware that Esposito was local talent. While he was no Aparicio, he was a strong defender and a great teammate. He was a benchwarmer who knew his role and never complained. When called upon he was ready for anything.

This included a September night in 1960 in the midst of a pennant race. Fox had a consecutive game streak of 798 games halted by a virus that sidelined the diminutive second baseman. Esposito manned the position in a game against the front-running Yankees whom the Sox were trying to overtake. Late in the game with the Sox holding a 4-1 lead, Esposito booted what could have been an inning-ending double-play ground ball.

An irate fan, who reportedly had a wager on the local nine, leaped over the wall by first base and headed straight toward Esposito. Sammy ducked a roundhouse right and delivered a punch of his own before the distraught individual was hauled off to the slammer. The game continued. The Yankees scored four times, as was their habit, and the Sox swooned, finishing in third place. And the fan? He was fined $25 and left free to visit Comiskey Park in the future as often as he desired.

After his playing days ended, Esposito became head baseball coach at North Carolina State in 1967. In 21 years at the Wolfpack helm, his teams won 513 games and finished as high as third in the College World Series. His is a good baseball story.

* * * * *

For the current crop of White Sox, with the exception of Jose Abreu, who will be the American League's starting first baseman in Washington in Tuesday night's All-Star Game, a four-day respite should be a welcome relief. The Sox took two-of-three from the last-place Kansas City Royals over the weekend, capped off by a 10-1 shellacking of the Royals on Sunday. All things were peachy keen with Lucas Giolito pitching into the seventh inning and shutting out the opposition on just two hits. Yoan Moncada possibly gave us a glimpse of what's to come by hitting his 12th home run (his first from the right side) among his three hits.

* * * * *

For those who will miss daily baseball most of this week, you might be interested in a neat little pictorial book just released called Wrigley Field's Amazing Vendors. While the book focuses on the North Side ballpark, most vendors work both sides of town, so the images will be familiar to Sox fans as well.

wrigleyvendors.png

Lloyd Rutzky, who actually is a Sox fan, began his vending days in the '60s and still is a fixture in the third base seats at The Grate. The photos in the book were taken by Lloyd primarily in the 1970s, and not only bring back memories of the many colorful characters who contributed to the enjoyment of so many ballgames but also remind us that beer once cost 65 cents. The copy was written by former vendor Joel Levin.

We also should mention that guys like Lloyd have lasted far longer than the Bruce Rondons of the world.

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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 7:36 AM | Permalink

How The Fight Against Affirmative Action At Harvard Threatens Wealthy Whites

Perpetually in jeopardy, the use of racial preferences in college admissions is under greater threat than ever.

President Donald Trump has scrapped Obama-era guidelines that encouraged universities to consider race as a factor. He has proposed replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in a 2016 case upholding affirmative action by one vote, with the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, a lawsuit challenging Harvard's preferences for Hispanics and African Americans has uncovered the university's dubious pattern of rejecting academically outstanding Asian-American candidates - who don't qualify for a race-related boost - by giving them low marks for personality. Either the Harvard case, or a similar lawsuit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, could put an end to affirmative action.

If it is abolished, though, there will undoubtedly be increased pressure to also eliminate admissions criteria that favor a very different demographic - children of alumni and donors. Colleges are reluctant to drop these preferences of privilege for fear of hurting fundraising. But the political price of clinging to them could be significant.

The fates of affirmative action and what is sometimes called "white affirmative action" have long been intertwined. After the University of California, the University of Georgia and Texas A&M stopped using racial preferences, they discontinued preferences for alumni children as well.

Although it's generally regarded as legal for admissions offices to favor relatives of their graduates and benefactors, these advantages skew white. At Harvard, according to a filing in the current case against the university, alumni children - known as legacies - comprise 21.5 percent of accepted white applicants, compared to 7 percent of Hispanic admits, 6.6 percent of Asian Americans, and 4.8 percent of African Americans. Thus it can be difficult for universities to justify keeping these preferences in the absence of countervailing boosts for underrepresented minorities.

Already, student groups at a dozen elite campuses are mobilizing opposition to legacy preferences. Brown University students voted overwhelmingly in March to establish a committee to re-examine the use of legacy status in admissions. These organizations support affirmative action, and its demise would further energize them - and likely help them enlist liberal Ivy League alumni, especially those without teenage children. Legacy preference is widely unpopular; 52 percent of respondents to a 2016 Gallup poll said colleges should not consider whether an applicant's parent is a graduate, and only 11 percent said it should be a major factor. Moreover, without affirmative action, universities would likely look for other ways to sustain minority and low-income enrollment. Eliminating admissions edges for wealthy whites would be a logical start.

Data surfacing in the Harvard case could also incite anti-legacy fervor. Harvard and other elite universities typically justify legacy preference, when they talk about it at all, as a legitimate reward for alumni loyalty and volunteer work. They portray it as merely a tiebreaker between applicants of equal merit. Court filings, including Harvard's internal reports, show otherwise. The university's Office of Institutional Research found in 2013 that alumni parentage bestows an admissions boost equivalent to that for African Americans, and larger than for Hispanics, Native Americans, and low-income students.

Among applicants given the two highest academic rankings, Harvard accepted 55 percent of legacies, compared with 15 percent of non-legacies. Overall, across six years, Harvard accepted 33.6 percent of legacy applicants, versus 5.9 percent of non-legacies, according to Duke economist Peter Arcidiacono, an expert witness for Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff challenging Harvard's affirmative action policies.

Legacy preference isn't Harvard's only boost for affluent white families. Court documents show that Harvard maintains a list of candidates of special interest to the admissions dean, and accepted 42.2 percent of them. The dean's interest list includes "all applicants who the Dean of Admissions wishes to keep track of during the admissions process, whether they be children of donors, or an applicant the Dean met at some point in their high school career and wished to keep an eye on," said Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane. "Putting aside the tracking of this list, all applicants to Harvard go through the same rigorous admissions process."

One child of a donor was Jared Kushner, now President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser. As I reported in my 2006 book,The Price of Admission, Harvard accepted Kushner despite an undistinguished high school record after his father, who was not an alumnus, pledged a $2.5 million gift.

Overlapping with the dean's interest list is what's known as Harvard's "Z-List" of applicants who are initially waitlisted and then accepted on condition that they defer enrolling for a year. A filing by the plaintiffs cites my book and supports what I described anecdotally in it: The Z-list is Harvard's way of quietly ushering in well-connected applicants who may not measure up academically. Of the nearly 60 students per year who Harvard Z-lists, 46.5 percent were legacies and 58.8 percent were on the dean's interest list. Almost 70 percent were white; 14.3 percent were Asian; 4.4 percent were Hispanic, and 2 percent were black. Only 1.8 percent were the first generation in their families to go to college. Harvard admissions officials have described the Z-list as an effort to encourage students to take a year off before college to relax and mature, as well as to accommodate candidates whom Harvard would like to pluck from the waiting list but can't find beds for.

Two other significant preferences - for children of faculty and staff, and for recruited athletes - also disproportionately benefit whites. Harvard accepted 46.7 percent of faculty and staff children, who enjoy a larger boost than Hispanics and low-income students, though not as much as legacies, Arcidiacono found. Recruited athletes get the biggest edge of all, with an 86 percent acceptance rate. They comprise 16.3 percent of white students who are admitted to Harvard, as against 8.9 percent of blacks, 4.2 percent of Hispanics, and 4.1 percent of Asian Americans. This racial disparity, which may surprise Americans who see minorities playing college football or basketball on television, reflects that Harvard, like other universities, fields teams in numerous prep school sports like crew, sailing, fencing and squash.

Harvard's court filings don't dispute the scope of these patrician preferences. While the university normally downplays them to avoid the appearance of catering to the rich, in this lawsuit, it's embracing them - for legal reasons. When Harvard's treatment of Asian-American applicants came under scrutiny in 1990, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights let the university off the hook. It documented that Harvard admitted Asian-American applicants at a significantly lower rate than white applicants despite slightly stronger SAT scores and grades, but it attributed the higher bar to the university's boosts for alumni children and athletes, rather than racial discrimination. Harvard is making the same defense now. In the ultimate irony, it's trying to preserve affirmative action by acknowledging that its admissions process favors wealthy whites. As UC Berkeley economist David Card, an expert witness for Harvard, put it in his December 2017 report, "When exploring whether there is bias against Asian-American applicants, it is important to account for the fact that Harvard's admissions process gives special consideration . . . to children of Harvard or Radcliffe alumnae or alumni . . . applicants recruited to play a varsity sport at Harvard, and children of Harvard faculty or staff members."

Indeed, the best protection for affirmative action may be the threat that its elimination would pose to legacy preference. "Were this court to have the courage to forbid the use of racial discrimination in admissions, legacy preferences (and similar practices) might quickly become less popular - a possibility not lost, I am certain, on the elites" supporting affirmative action, Justice Clarence Thomas - not a fan of either race-based or legacy preferences - observed in 2003.

Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Kennedy - the two moderate justices who provided the key swing votes to preserve affirmative action in 2003 and 2016, respectively - had experienced the blessings of legacy preference in their own families. The son of a Stanford alumna, Kennedy went to Stanford, as did his two sons and one daughter. O'Connor, her husband, and two of their three sons attended Stanford. Delivering its commencement address in 1982, O'Connor assured the graduates that "there is no greater, more foresighted office in this land of ours than the Admissions Office of Stanford University," and expressed the wish that "you will all be lucky enough to have your children attend this paradise on Earth that we love and that we call Stanford."

Don't be surprised if affirmative action supporters ask Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing whether the Yale double alum (college and law school) hopes that his two daughters will one day attend his alma mater.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Previously in affirmative action and legacy admissions:

* The Truth Behind Jared Kushner's Acceptance Into Harvard.

* Jared Kushner Isn't Alone: Universities Still Give Rich And Connected Applicants A Leg.

* Harvard Students And DOJ Will Find Answers Elusive In Quest To Learn About Admissions Decisions.

* Item: Wildcat Strike.

* Stanford-Bound Chicago Teen Pens Defiant Open Letter To Dentist Who Shamed Him For Affirmative Action.

* Affirmative Asian-American Action.

* Trump Targets Affirmative Action To Stimulate Mid-Term Turnout.

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See also:
* Harvard Legacy Admit Rate At 30 Percent.

* Legacy Admissions Favor Wealth Over Merit.

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Plus:

* The CPS Clout Lottery.

* Arne Duncan's CPS Clout List.

* University of Madigan.

* Here's Bruce Rauner Lying About How His Daughter Got Into Prestigious Payton High School.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

July 15, 2018

A Little Girl's Daddy Is Never Coming Home

Trust in the police is at an all-time low. Anguish and anger in the community sky high. This is no time for business as usual. Recordings from officer body cams and any other video of the fatal police shooting Saturday evening of Harith (Snoop) Augustus must be released immediately.

Chicago can't afford even the hint of another case of "16 shots and a cover-up."

jjaugustus.png

Augustus, a 37-year-old barber, was well known in the South Shore neighborhood for bringing his 5-year-old daughter with him to work. Thank God, he didn't take the child to the shop Saturday afternoon.

Whatever version of events turns out to be true about what happened on 71st Street, one thing is clear: The loss of this young father's life is a tragedy. No amount of inquiry or pursuit of justice will bring the little girl's daddy back. My heart is broken for the child and her family. My soul is sick for the city.

A thorough and transparent investigation of the shooting is crucial to begin the long process of rebuilding the trust that has been harassed and beaten out of black and brown communities by bullies with badges for decades in Chicago and across the country.

Of course, I'm not talking about all police officers. Most officers do their jobs - and risk their lives - every day to protect the public to the best of their abilities. Yet too often the good allow the bad to poison the barrel. They look the other way and stay silent when they witness their colleagues disrespect, brutalize and even murder members of the public.

When Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 shots into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, at least half a dozen fellow officers lied in their written reports to cover up this modern-day lynching on the streets of Chicago.

They said the teenager had lunged at the officer. A chilling police dash-cam video - which was released more than a year later and only then after activist William Calloway and others went to court - showed the exact opposite.

Laquan was walking away from the officers when he was shot and killed. Most of the bullets ripped into his young body as he lay dying in the street.

I was in California on Saturday night, attending a charity event to raise money in the fight against autism and Parkinson's Disease, when I heard about the shooting in South Shore. A sense of sorrow washed over me at the news. It was just a week ago that thousands of us - black and white, red, yellow and brown, young and old - shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway to protest the violence in Chicago.

I have readjusted my travel schedule and will return to Chicago today. It's all hands on deck. Our city is in crisis.

A little girl's daddy is never coming home.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 PM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Wells At Dearborn

Wells at Dearborn

1. Alexander at Kandahar

Kandahar was founded
By Alexander the Great
During his questionable Afghan campaign,

As one of a series of fortresses established
To protect him and his armies
As he pursued the Persian Satrap Bessus.

At each of these fortresses,
Alexander left behind hundreds
Or thousands of Macedonian and Greek soldiers

As well as logistics and supply troops, builders,
Artisans, tillers, every type of worker needed
To create a real settlement.

Today, at Kandahar Air Field (KAF):

U.S. Army, Marines, Navy,
Air Force. British, Canadians, Belgians, Italians.
Mirage jets from France.

Private contractors to clean toilets, run chow halls,
Build gyms, train bomb-sniffing dogs, service the phones.
A TGI Fridays, a Nathan's, a KFC,

An ice cream stand, pizza by the slice . . .

The Greek biographer Plutarch described
The type of guerrilla-style fighting
Alexander faced during his campaign,

Comparing Afghan tribesmen
To a hydra-headed monster:
As soon as Alexander cut off one head,

Three more would grow back in its place.


2. Napoleon at Acre

Envious of Alexander, Napoleon
Impulsively extended his Egyptian campaign
Into Syria.

Unlike Alexander,
He never made Damascus.

He got bogged down at Acre,
His units overextended and
Finally overwhelmed by the

Tenacity, resourcefulness and determination
Of the Muslim guerrillas.

Finally, he bailed.
Upon his return to France,
He had his national Media declare:

"Mission Accomplished!"


3. Wells at Dearborn

During the War of 1812,
The Great White Father
Pressed the edge of the Western envelope.

Captain William Wells
Of the Legion of the United States,
Led a group of Miami Indians

From Fort Wayne, Indiana,
To aid the evacuation of Fort Dearborn,
The tiny beleaguered settlement

That eventually became Chicago,
Presently besieged by Potawatomi.
No Nathan's, No KFC, no French Mirages.

Among other Americans under siege there
Was his niece, Rebekah.

The Potawatomi
At first allowed them safe passage out,
But upon discovery

Of destroyed whiskey and guns,
They decided to attack.
Wells, himself raised by Miami Indians,

Was once their colleague.
Now, he was a traitor to them.
Knowing of the looming raid,

Wells painted his face black,
A sign of bravery and a signal
To his foes

That he knew their intent
And knew
He was going to die.

He set out on horseback
In front of the fleeing party.

The Potawatomi
Shot and killed him,
Scalped him,

Cut out his heart
And ate it.

Although considering him
An enemy, they respected
His strength and courage

And in this way
Believed they could absorb it
Into themselves.

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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 10:09 AM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

Thread.

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East Chicago Blues, Pt. 1,000,000,000
"A federal magistrate judge has sided with the American Civil Liberties Union by holding the East Chicago Housing Authority in contempt of court for violating a previous order that barred the local housing agency from warrantless searches," the Northwest Indiana Times reports.

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Previously in East Chicago:

* Flawed CDC Report Left East Chicago Children Vulnerable To Lead Poisoning.

* East Chicago Is Toxic.

* A Start In East Chicago.

* East Chicago Residents Screwed (Again) Over Lead And Arsenic.

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Musk Busk

Maybe we can ride little submarines - on electronic skates - to O'Hare!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #208: Best World Cup Ever?
Full of surprises. Plus: Cub Factors; The Return Of Rodon!; Matt Nagy Married His High School Sweetheart, Therefore He's A Great Guy Who Will Lead The Bears To Glory; Beasting Up The Summer League; 7-Player Trade!; and Schweinsteiger!

jimbenny.jpg

*

Disabled Border Kid Passed Through Chicago
"Even though [a Brazilian] was found to have a credible fear of returning to her home country, she had been detained in El Paso ever since, while her grandson, who has severe epilepsy and autism, was transferred to a facility in Chicago and later a state-run center in Connecticut because he needs constant care."

Families_Belong_Together_Rally_RZ_TT.jpgRachel Zein for the Texas Tribune

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When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech
"Educators can't teach kids to value the truth if they're suppressing students' ability to speak it."

Perry-column-250x167-c-default.jpg

*

Gagging At The Water Reclamation District
"Was there wrongdoing? We don't know, and they're not saying."

Illinois_Green_Party_1.jpg

*

Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover
"Viewers have every reason to expect that Sinclair's expanded control will instead lead to a decrease in local political news coverage and an uptick in highly suspect 'must-run' content handed down from Sinclair's corporate headquarters.

"Local viewers see no benefits from and express no increased demand for this content, which promotes anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and other racist bigotry and simply airs White House propaganda."

freepresssinclair.jpgFree Press/Creative Commons

*

Scholarly Publishing Is Broken. Here's How To Fix It.
"Giant, corporate publishers with racketeering business practices and profit margins that exceed Apple's treat life-saving research as a private commodity to be sold at exorbitant profits."

idea_sized-wall-boat-37138521050_d5e2fbdf29_o.jpg

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Weekend ChicagoGram

#gbhasse #comics #agitatorgallery #blackandwhiteart

A post shared by Gretchen Hasse (@gbhasse) on

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Weekend ChicagoTube

"New Ways to Fail" / Sarah Shook & the Disarmers.

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Weekend BeachBook

Pence Family's Failed Gas Stations Cost Taxpayers More Than $20 Million.

*

Youth Soccer Participation Has Fallen Significantly In America.

*

Five Years Ago: Rahmnado.

*

Go Tavern Legend.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Witch hunt.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:35 AM | Permalink

Scholarly Publishing Is Broken. Here's How To Fix It.

The world of scholarly communication is broken. Giant, corporate publishers with racketeering business practices and profit margins that exceed Apple's treat life-saving research as a private commodity to be sold at exorbitant profits. Only around 25 percent of the global corpus of research knowledge is "open access," or accessible to the public for free and without subscription, which is a real impediment to resolving major problems, such as the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Recently, Springer Nature, one of the largest academic publishers in the world, had to withdraw its European stock market flotation due to a lack of interest. This announcement came just days after Couperin, a French consortium, cancelled its subscriptions to Springer Nature journals, after Swedish and German universities cancelled their Elsevier subscriptions to no ill effect, besides replenished library budgets. At the same time, Elsevier has sued Sci-Hub, a website that provides free, easy access to 67 million research articles. All evidence of a broken system.

idea_sized-wall-boat-37138521050_d5e2fbdf29_o.jpgWall Boat/Flickr

The European Commission is currently letting publishers bid for the development of an EU-wide open-access scholarly publishing platform. But is the idea for this platform too short-sighted? What the commission is doing is essentially finding new ways of channeling public funds into private hands. At the same time, due to the scale of the operation, it prevents more innovative services from getting a foothold into the publishing world. This is happening at the same time as these mega-publishers are moving into controlling the entire research workflow - from ideation to evaluation. Researchers will become the provider, the product, and the consumer.

A global community to coordinate and regain control - to develop a public open-access infrastructure - of research and scholarly communication for the public good is long overdue. The issues of governance and ownership of public research have never been clearer. Another isolated platform will simply replicate the problems of the current journal-based system, including the "publish or perish" mentality that perverts the research process, and the anachronistic evaluation system based on corporate brands.

Researchers are still forced to write "papers" for these journals, a communication format designed in the 17th century. Now, in a world where the power of web-based social networks is revolutionizing almost every other industry, researchers need to take back control.

The European Commission has called for full, immediate open access to all scientific publications by 2020 - something often mocked for being unrealistic, and that current growth trends suggest we will fail to achieve. But it is unrealistic only if one focuses on the narrow view of the current system.

If we diversify our thinking away from the superficial field of journals and articles, and instead focus on the power of networked technologies, we can see all sorts of innovative models for scholarly communication. One ideal, based on existing services, would be something much more granular and continuous, with communication and peer review as layered, collaborative processes: envisage a hosting service such as GitHub combined with Wikipedia combined with a Q&A site such as Stack Exchange. Imagine using version control to track the process of research in real time. Peer review becomes a community-governed process, where the quality of engagement becomes the hallmark of individual reputations. Governance structures can be mediated through community elections. Critically, all research outputs can be published and credited - videos, code, visualizations, text, data, things we haven't even thought of yet. Best of all, a system of fully open communication and collaboration, with not an "impact factor" (a paper's average number of citations, used to rate journals) in sight.

Such a system of scholarly communication requires the harmonizing of three key elements: quality control and moderation, certification and reputation, and incentives for engagement. For example, it would be easy to have a quality-control process in which instead of the closed and secretive process of peer review, self-organized and unrestricted communities collaborate together for research to attain verification and validation. The recklessly used impact factor can be replaced by a reward system that altruistically recognizes the quality of engagement, as defined by how content is digested by a community, which itself can be used to unlock new abilities within such a system. The beauty is that the incentive for researchers switches from publishing in journal X to engaging in a manner that is of most value to their community. By coupling such activities with academic records and profiles, research assessment bodies can begin to recognize the immense value this has over current methods of evaluation, including its simplicity.

How will we fund scholarly publishing? Well, it's a $25 billion a year industry: I'm sure libraries can spare a dime. Making a more just system of scholarly communication open-source means that any community can copy it, and customize it suit the community's own needs, driving down costs immensely. Furthermore, initiatives such as the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services or a recent proposal for libraries to set aside just 2.5 percent of their budget to support such innovative systems, offer paths forward. The possibility is real for creating something so superior to the present system that people will wonder how publishers ever got away with it for so long.

All of the technology and traits to build a hybridized scholarly commons infrastructure already exists. It is up to academic communities themselves to step away from their apathy and towards a fairer and more democratic system for sharing our knowledge and work. That is, after all, what research is all about. The question of publishing reform is not theoretically or conceptually complex. The future of scholarly communication depends more on overcoming social tensions and the training to defer to a powerful system embedded in global research cultures than on breaking down technological barriers.

Members of the academic community ought to hold themselves accountable for the future of scholarly communication. There are simple steps that we all can take: many have already done so:

  • Sign, and commit to, the Declaration on Research Assessment, and demand fairer evaluation criteria independent of journal brands. This will reduce dependencies on commercial journals and their negative impact on research.
  • Demand openness. Even in research fields such as global health, 60 percent of researchers do not archive their research so it is publicly available, even when it is completely free and within journal policies to do so. We should demand accountability for openness to liberate this life-saving knowledge.
  • Know your rights. Researchers can use the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Rights Coalition Author Addendum to retain rights to their research, instead of blindly giving it away to publishers. Regain control.
  • Support libraries. Current library subscription contracts are protected from public view by "non-disclosure clauses" that act to prevent any price transparency in a profoundly anti-competitive practice that creates market dysfunction. We should support libraries in renegotiating such contracts, and in some cases even provide support in canceling them, so that they can reinvest funds in more sustainable publishing ventures.
  • Help to build something better. On average, academics currently spend around $5,000 for each published article - to get a PDF and some extra sides. A range of different studies and working examples exist that show the true cost of publishing an article can be as low as $100 using cost-efficient funding schemes, community buy-in, and technologies that go a step further than PDF generation. We can do better.
  • Use your imagination. What would you want the scholarly communication system to look like? What are all the wonderful features you would include? What can you do to help turn a vision into reality?

It is feasible to achieve 100 percent open access in the future while saving around 99 percent of the global spending budget on publishing. Funds could be better spent instead on research, grants for underprivileged students and minority researchers, improving global research infrastructure, training, support and education. We can create a networked system, governed by researchers themselves, designed for effective, rapid, low-cost communication and research collaboration.

Scholarly publishers are not just going to sit back and let this happen, so it is up to research funders, institutes and researchers themselves to act to make a system that represents defensible democratic values, rather than rapacity.

This post was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons. Comments welcome.

Aeon counter - do not remove

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:50 AM | Permalink

Brazilian Asylum Seeker Released After 11 Months In Detention; Grandson Had Been Held In Chicago

EL PASO - A Brazilian woman who was detained and separated from her disabled grandson after they sought asylum at a port of entry last year was released from federal custody Thursday, her attorney confirmed.

Maria Vandelice de Bastos and her grandson Matheus da Silva Bastos first sought refuge in August after she said an off-duty police officer threatened her and her grandson after she went to the press to decry the horrible conditions in Matheus's school, according to her asylum claim.

Even though she was found to have a credible fear of returning to her home country, she had been detained in El Paso ever since, while her grandson, who has severe epilepsy and autism, was transferred to a facility in Chicago and later a state-run center in Connecticut because he needs constant care.

Vandelice de Bastos was released after being granted humanitarian parole by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and immediately left El Paso to see her grandson, said her attorney, Eduardo Beckett.

"She said the first thing she's going to do . . . is go see him and she's very excited about that," Beckett said.

Despite her release, the asylum process for Vandelice de Bastos is far from over. El Paso-based immigration judge William Abbott dismissed her asylum claim and Beckett said they must now figure out whether to ask to judge to reconsider the case or ask the Board of Immigration Appeals for a review.

"Normally we would just [automatically] appeal, but in this case we found more evidence toward the end that wasn't submitted to the judge," he said. "But she will be out on bond the whole time the case is pending."

Asylum-seekers must prove they face persecution in their home country due to their "race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."

Beckett said that because Vandelice de Bastos spoke out against the school and the administration, it could be an act of political expression, and he said the fact that she was threatened by police means they aren't capable of or willing to protect her.

But the judge ruled that the off-duty officer was acting in a private capacity, not in his official role as a police officer, and dismissed the claim.

It's still unclear why Vandelice de Bastos and her grandson were detained and then separated. They sought asylum at the port of entry - which the Trump administration has said is the right way to seek asylum - rather than crossing illegally between the ports, and they were separated months before the start of President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy that separated thousands of immigrant families.

Vandelice de Bastos did have a prior removal from the country: Beckett said she visited the U.S. frequently under a valid visa for years until Customs and Border Protection officials stopped her at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in 2007. That's when Beckett said she admitted working as a babysitter in the underground cash economy, according to her documents in her case file. She was ultimately denied re-entry and signed a notice that she was prohibited from "entering, attempting to enter or being in the United States" for five years.

It's also unclear whether Vandelice de Bastos will have sole custody of Matheus once they are reunited in Connecticut because he's currently being cared for by a state agency, Beckett said. She has legal custody of her grandson through a Brazilian court.

"She's going to have to go to court, she's going to have to present evidence and she's going to have to convince [the court] that's the best interest of her grandchild," he said.

But at least for now, Beckett said, she's finally able to go see him.

"She's very happy she's going to be able to do that," Beckett said.

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Previously on the Beachwood:

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

* Illinois Immigrant, Labor, Legal Leaders Condemn ICE Raids.

* Chicago Activists Tell Undocumented Immigrants Not To Open Their Doors.

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

* U.S. Government Deporting Central American Migrants To Their Deaths.

* Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

* Immigrants Arrested In U.S. Raids Say They Were Misled On Right To Counsel.

* Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families.

* Immigrants Deported Under Obama Share Stories Of Terror And Rights Violations.

* Chicago Family Sues ICE & City Over Raid, Gang Database.

* Immigrants In Detention Centers Are Often Hundreds Of Miles From Legal Help.

* Chicago And The Deportation Machine.

* Immigration Sins Of The Past And The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Law And Farce: The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Jennings v. Rodriguez And The Forced Separation Of Families.

* Forced Separation Of Families & Forced To-Term Pregnancies.

* Here's A List Of Organizations That Are Mobilizing To Help Immigrant Children Separated From Their Families.

* Separated Migrant Children Are Headed Toward Shelters With A History Of Abuse And Neglect.

* The Shelter For Immigrant Children That Melania Trump Visited Has A History Of Violations.

* U.S. Turned Away Thousands Of Haitian Asylum-Seekers And Detained Hundreds More In Horrific Conditions In The '90s.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:15 AM | Permalink

July 13, 2018

Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover

Free Press on Thursday responded to filings by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Media, 21st Century Fox and Fox Television Stations, calling on the Federal Communications Commission to reject Sinclair's proposed takeover of Tribune.

In its filing to the FCC, Free Press states that broadcasters continue to rely on thoroughly debunked public-interest claims to bolster their weak arguments and misrepresent concerns raised by Free Press and other groups that have petitioned the agency to deny the merger.

Sinclair and the other broadcasters have utterly failed to demonstrate any public interest benefits from the transfer of broadcast licenses that is a central component of this deal, Free Press argues.

Sinclair claims that operational "efficiencies" and scale will allow it to improve local coverage. "These claims are dubious at best," Free Press states in its filing. "Such efficiencies are often just a euphemism for job cuts, leading to local journalist layoffs to combine multiple competing newsrooms into a single conglomerate."

Viewers have every reason to expect that Sinclair's expanded control will instead lead to a decrease in local political news coverage and an uptick in highly suspect "must-run" content handed down from Sinclair's corporate headquarters.

Local viewers see no benefits from and express no increased demand for this content, which promotes anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and other racist bigotry and simply airs White House propaganda.

Thursday's filing is the latest round of arguments between Sinclair and public-interest advocates as the FCC considers whether to approve the broadcast merger, which as originally proposed would have given the broadcast giant control of more than 233 local TV stations reaching 72 percent of the country's population, far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership.

People from across the political spectrum have called on the FCC to reject the deal, concerned that the merger would result in Sinclair laying off local reporters to replace their coverage with cookie-cutter content, forced broadcasts of politically biased commentary and official propaganda.

Earlier in the day, representatives from organizations opposing the merger, including ACLU, Common Cause, CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, and MPower Change gathered outside Federal Communications Commission headquarters to protest the deal. They delivered more than 670,000 petitions calling on the agency to reject Sinclair's proposal and commit to its central mission of promoting diversity, competition and localism over the public airwaves.

Over the past 18 months, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has attempted to remove all public-interest safeguards that would prevent Sinclair's massive merger from being approved. Following news of an internal investigation into Pai's dealings on Sinclair, Free Press called on the chairman to recuse himself from all decisions related to its proposed takeover of Tribune.

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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.

* Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country.

* Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy.

* The Sinclair Sham.

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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 8:59 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #208: Best World Cup Ever?

Full of surprises. Plus: Cub Factors; The Return Of Rodon!; Matt Nagy Married His High School Sweetheart, Therefore He's A Great Guy Who Will Lead The Bears To Glory; Beasting Up The Summer League; 7-Player Trade!; and Schweinsteiger!


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SHOW NOTES

* 209.

3:05: Best World Cup Ever?

* Deadspin: What In The Hell Happened To England?

* Hitzlesperger, Guardian: France vs. Croatia Is The Final A World Cup Full Of Surprises Deserves.

* Work rate!

29:23: Cub Factors.

* Coffman: Bryzzo Out; Wavy In.

* Miles: Baez, Contreras Owe All-Star Success To Hendry.

* Dexter Fowler: "Joe and Davey are different than any coaches I ever had. Obviously, they are a ton more laid-back."

44:08: The Return of Rodon!

Rodan_kaiju.jpg

* Kitchen vs. wheelhouse.

46:21: Matt Nagy Married His High School Sweetheart, Therefore He's A Great Guy Who Will Lead The Bears To Glory.

* Benny: Bears Coverage Operates In A Vacuum!

jimbenny.jpg

50:20: Beasting Up The Summer League.

* O'Donnell: Wendell Carter Jr. Looks So Good. The Bulls May Have A Star.

53:34: 7-Player Trade!

1:00:21: Schweinsteiger!

* Chicago Billionaire Joe Mansueto Buys 49 Percent Stake In Fire.

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STOPPAGE: 5:22

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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 2:00 PM | Permalink

Gagging At The Water Reclamation District

David St. Pierre, the executive eirector of Chicago's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, resigned effective June 27th, taking with him $95,000 plus benefits in a severance package first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The MWRD, a taxpayer-funded agency responsible for flood prevention and wastewater management, did not provide a reason for St. Pierre's departure in its press release. St. Pierre had been the subject of an investigation led by an outside law firm, but MWRD Commissioner Debra Shore told the Sun-Times that "a non-disparagement clause in the separation agreement with St. Pierre" prevented her from discussing the probe.

Green Party candidates for the MWRD Board of Commissioners, the nine-member body that oversees the district and its $1.2 billion budget, quickly called for more openness and transparency, tying the mysterious departure to other recent ethical lapses at the agency.

"When the head of a taxpayer-funded agency departs under investigation, the public deserves to know why," said Karen Roothaan, one of five Green Party candidates who will be on the ballot this November. "What was this investigation about? The current commissioners aren't telling us."

"Public officials have an educational duty," said Tammie Vinson, a Chicago Public Schools teacher and another of the candidates for a full six-year seat on the board. "There shouldn't be any gag orders or golden parachutes when there's wrongdoing. Was there wrongdoing? We don't know, and they're not saying. That's not an administration the public can have confidence in."

Independent research by the Green Party candidates and by media outlets had already revealed other scandals at the district prior to St. Pierre's departure, including its ongoing discharge of untreated sewers into the waterways (once every six days on average, according to a Chicago Tribune report) and the of MWRD commissioners awarding contracts to their own campaign donors, often in excess of the limits laid out in Cook County and City of Chicago campaign finance rules.

"No one should just assume everything's okay when the head of a billion-dollar government agency departs under a gag order," said Geoffrey Cubbage, a candidate for a two-year partial term on the board. "Five of the nine seats are up for election this November, and that means voters get to choose who's in charge at the MWRD: do they want more of the same from a Board of Commissioners that doesn't disclose major investigations to the public, or do they want a party running the show that takes no corporate contributions, and that has pledged to bring transparency and accountability to the district?"

All five Green Party candidates have called for an independent and fully-funded Inspector General's office at the MWRD, a reform that has been advocated for by many watchdog and good-government groups.

The Green Party candidates on the November 6th ballot will be: Chris Anthony, Karen Roothaan, and Tammie Vinson for full, six-year terms, and Rachel Wales and Geoffrey Cubbage to fill two partial, two-year vacancies.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:55 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Slum Village at Subterranean on Thursday night.


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2. Guilty Simpson at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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3. Silent Planet at Beat Kitchen on Thursday night.

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4. Boy Pablo at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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5. Ignescent at the Forge in Joliet on Wednesday night.

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6. Whitesnake on Northerly Island on Wednesday night.

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7. Lindsey Stirling at Ravinia on Tuesday night.

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8. Evanescence at Ravinia on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Quicksand at the Concord on July 7th.

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Genevieve at Beat Kitchen on July 6th.

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Foster The People at East Room on July 2nd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech

Students need to be able to express themselves; the freedom to do so is not only a question of their intellectual development but also one of human rights. Schoolkids may well rebel at the rules. They may challenge authority or, God forbid, even resist.

But punishing students for their political beliefs or their opinion of their school is to chastise developmentally appropriate behavior. Believe it or not, students have views on how good (or not) a school is beyond a standardized test score - and it's in our best interest to hear them. They know their schools; plus, education is meant to help students grow, to help them be free-thinking citizens. Alas, many school leaders seem too afraid of what their students are thinking to let them voice those thoughts out loud, and they suppress their students' rights in the process.

Last month, Joseph Munno, founder of University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men (UPrep) in Rochester, New York denied the first black valedictorian of the school, Jaisaan Lovett, the opportunity to give the ceremonial commencement speech, traditionally the preserve of valedictorians. Munno has not explained his decision, but there are several clues in Lovett's six-year tenure at the charter school, where he had had several run-ins with the school's principal. Lovett led a five-day student strike in his senior year, according to a USA Today report, because the school allegedly wouldn't order needed safety equipment for a lab.

"There's a lot of wrong things that go on at that school, and when I notice it I speak out against it," Lovett told USA Today. "(Munno) is a guy that doesn't like to be told 'no.'"

If I were the parent of a child at UPrep, I would certainly want to know if the laboratory didn't have the requisite equipment to keep my child safe. If a school leader will go so far as to refuse the first black valedictorian a chance to speak to allegedly spare himself embarrassment, then that school undoubtedly has bigger problems. Lovett had something important to say, but by taking away his right to speak, Munno exhibited values that are the opposite of what a school leader - a role model - is supposed to uphold.

In addition, graduation ceremonies comprise a major part of a school's culture; they differentiate one school from the next and establish norms and values. What students will learn from this principal's actions is that it's okay to discard community customs over personal differences. A school that suppresses students' voices isn't the kind of school where a parent like me would want to enroll his child.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, in whose office Lovett was an intern, stepped in, graciously inviting Lovett to give his commencement speech at City Hall instead. It was posted on the city's YouTube channel, giving Lovett a much wider audience than he would have had as school valedictorian, and parents and city residents a glimpse of his clashes with Munno.

In a statement released on Monday, UPrep's board of trustees announced that it had accepted Munno's resignation. "It is the Board's responsibility to put the best interests of the school and its students at the forefront," said board president Edward Yansen. "We are initiating an immediate national search for new leadership."

In this case, some form of justice was administered. Of course, it helped that since the initial article about the incident was published, there has been local and even national media attention on the story. Still, the board's statement doesn't include an apology to Lovett and fails to offer an indication that the alleged need for lab safety equipment has been addressed.

* * *

Munno isn't the only school official who has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation to suppress students' voices. Just last month in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, the Neshaminy High School student newspaper, the Playwickian, published an investigation by the outgoing editor-in-chief, Grace Marion, on the improper filing of student sexual harassment complaints against teachers. Through an interview with the principal, Robert McGee, she found that when a student files a complaint against a teacher, it stays in the student's file, not the teacher's, and is only kept while the student remains in the school.

Burying student complaints of sexual harassment in the students' files clearly protects potentially dangerous teachers, while sending the message that the school doesn't have the students' back. This misfiling adds insult to injury and is a mockery of justice. In her last published letter, Marion states that her reporters were censored, with several articles being removed from publication. She said that someone called her father to tell her that she would be harmed if a certain article was published. Marion believes the administration outed some LBGTQ+ writers to their parents.

"This month I worked on a piece about the mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints at Neshaminy," Marion wrote, displaying a rare courage and determination that she probably didn't learn from McGee's example. "If that piece doesn't appear here, it will be in the Courier Times. Or the Intelligencer. If I have to, it will be on Facebook and printed out on hundreds of flyers and put in every mailbox in the school district."

Writer, activist and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned numerous times in communist China for his human rights and democracy campaigns once said, "Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth."

Schools, which are supposed to encourage the pursuit of truth, damage their own credibility and their students' development when they try to censor their students. In these two cases, the tables have turned, and students have become the role models their educators should have been. No child is too young for his or her voice not to matter. Educators can't teach kids to value the truth if they're suppressing students' ability to speak it.

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

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

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

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

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

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

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

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 AM | Permalink

July 12, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

Here's what I went through this morning.

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Dr. Nick
I'm not going to name the place because I don't want to spoil it for the championship game, but the Beachwood's very own Nick Shreders, a Croatia fan, has been watching the World Cup at a Chicago bar with a bunch of faces who have become familiar during the tournament and on Wednesday he discovered who some of them are: Jesus Jones' bassist, two Mekons, and one Devil in a Woodpile. That is perhaps my favorite World Cup "moment."

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Beachwood Benny
I'm back at the Bucktown bureau for a couple days for another round of supercat-sitting.

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Millionaire Matters
"Far more millionaires move into California than leave, despite the state's highest-in-the-nation income-tax rate, a new study shows," Dan Morain writes for CALmatters.

Researchers at Stanford University's Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Franchise Tax Board sought to answer the question: Does California's top state income-tax rate, now 13.3 percent on people earning $1 million a year or more, drive the wealthy to leave for low-tax states?

Short answer: No, except on the far margin. The researchers reviewed 25 years of California tax returns from all high earners and found that more wealthy people relocate after a divorce.

Republicans regularly cite anecdotes of businesses owners and wealthy people decamping to low-tax states such as Nevada or Texas. But the study shows million-dollar earners moved to California even after voters raised income taxes in 2004 and 2012.

Seems relevant - as does this.

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Star Wars Museum Wars
Bigfoot architecture critic Paul Goldberger has written a history of sorts for Vanity Fair of George Lucas's quest to build his museum, including here in Chicago.

There's a lot to unpack, as they say; a lot that validates the notion some of us had from the beginning that Lucas has no one to blame but himself - and Rahm Emanuel - for his failure to get it done in Chicago (and before that, San Francisco).

Let's take a look. I'll bold certain points for emphasis, just to, um, emphasize them.

"The Urban Design Group is a commercial firm whose expertise was neither designing museums nor working in traditional architectural styles, and its scheme, as the San Francisco Chronicle critic John King wrote, 'looked like a generic Spanish-themed shopping center.' It was also 69 feet high, and design guidelines set by the Presidio Trust required that buildings be no higher than 45 feet, in order to preserve views toward the Golden Gate Bridge. The trust, not wanting to turn over public land to Lucas without giving others a chance to come up with alternative proposals, put out a general call for cultural projects and received 16 submissions, all of them no higher than 45 feet. Unwilling to compromise on the design, Lucas embarked on a public-relations campaign for his museum and his vision, enlisting Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, California governor Jerry Brown, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, among others, to endorse his proposal. (Disclosure: I was asked to consult with Lucas's organization to try to find ways to improve the building's design, but nothing came of it.)"

First, note how the Presidio Trust decided to put out a general call for projects. Rahm should have done the same here upon deciding that the public lakefront land offered to Lucas was available for development. Maybe some folks out there had some ideas of their own!

Second, Lucas refused to compromise, just as he did here. Only that one site would do?

Third, to overcome his unwillingness to compromise he embarked on a PR campaign. Sound familiar?

*

"The campaign failed to change the opinion of some San Franciscans that the central issue was not whether to accept a gift to the community but whether to allow a powerful figure to have his way with a cherished piece of local land . . . "

The Lucas Museum proposal here was repeatedly presented as a gift to the community.

*

"He at first refused to provide many details about his collection or about the curatorial plans for the museum, which encouraged the view that the project was a rich man's indulgence, a few sentimental paintings dressing up a showcase for Star Wars memorabilia."

Sounds familiar!

*

"Lucas seemed to treat the whole approval process with a sense of disdain verging on entitlement . . . "

Sounds familiar!

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" . . . made manifest in an interview he gave in September 2013 to Deborah Solomon of The New York Times, in which he complained that the Presidio Trust 'made us jump through hoops to explain why a museum was worth having.' He concluded: 'They hate us.'"

Sounds familiar!

*

"'[Lucas's wife] Mellody [Hobson] said, If you can't have it in your hometown, what about mine?" Lucas recalled. She had close ties to Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, who had already let it be known that he would be more than happy to give the Lucas Museum a home, and promised Lucas and Hobson that Chicago would not subject them to the nit-picking demands of San Francisco."

Sounds familiar!

*

"Emanuel organized a site-selection committee to review locations, and in June 2014 he offered Lucas a 17-acre parcel alongside Lake Michigan occupied by parking lots for the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field. Lucas liked it, and the mayor announced with excitement that 'Chicago, the most American of American cities,' was the new location for the Lucas Museum. Lucas and Hobson then ditched the Urban Design Group and its traditional building and this time managed to stage the competition Lucas said he had wanted in the first place."

*

"Iconic it may have been, but it would not turn out to be any easier for Lucas to sell in Chicago than his Beaux-Arts design had been in San Francisco. Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune architecture critic, called it a 'cartoonish mountain of a building that would be glaringly out of place amid the horizontal sweep of Chicago's lakefront . . . Overly abstract and under-detailed, it looks, from some angles, like a giant lump.'

"The biggest problem, however, wasn't the architecture, which Ma had already begun to refine and improve. It was the site itself. A small preservation organization named Friends of the Parks decided to object to the project on the grounds that the lakefront site was 'public trust' land and the city had no legal right to offer it to Lucas. The group filed a federal lawsuit to block the transfer. It was clear that Emanuel couldn't deliver the smooth approval process he had expected, and in June 2016, after rejecting some alternative sites the city offered, Lucas threw in the towel for the second time."

Perhaps Rahm should have actually consulted with stakeholders beyond his own committee before making untoward promises he couldn't keep.

*

"'Our issue was time,' Hobson said. 'Eventually we would have won, but George said, I'm 72 and I want to see this building built. We loved that building.'"

Really? Hasn't more time already passed than it would have taken for the lawsuit to wind its way through the courts?

*

"In San Francisco, an opposition group even prepared an advertisement that showed Darth Vader looming over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was never used."

Ha ha, good one.

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"Yet Lucas and Hobson were actually more flexible and willing to learn than many of their critics supposed."

There is no evidence supporting this assertion.

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Realization: George Lucas didn't know how to create a narrative to sell his museum of narrative arts!

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"By the fall of 2016, Lucas's plan had turned into a kind of bake-off between California's two most prominent cities. He wasn't looking for cash, or tax benefits, or any of the perks cities dangle in the hope of getting companies to relocate. He wanted an assurance that the route ahead would be smooth . . . "

He just didn't want to be hassled with . . . governing bodies and policy and other people's interests.

*

"When the Chicago plan fell apart, Hobson issued a public statement expressing particular regret that the city's 'young black and brown children will be denied the chance to benefit from what this museum will offer.'"

That might have been the most shameful episode of the whole saga. If Hobson and Lucas were so concerned with young black and brown children having access to his art collection, he would have built in or near one of their neighborhoods.

*

"Lucas was increasingly coming to think of the museum as an educational institution that would make art more accessible to children who grew up with little exposure to it. 'We saw that in Los Angeles there would be a hundred schools in a five-mile radius of the museum, and at Treasure Island there would be one,' he said. 'I said that the building on Treasure Island is a vanity project, and the one in Los Angeles will serve thousands of children.'"

So he did, supposedly, have an epiphany. In Chicago, it was still a vanity project. He only saw the light, if he is to be believed, later. He actually did learn.

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Money Honey Dummy
Maria Bartiromo, everyone.

Is it fair to characterize you as being slightly more political or politicized in your coverage than you were at CNBC?

Well, no. I definitely have stretched myself in terms of educating myself on what's going on today. I don't think I had an opportunity to study those things at CNBC. I was studying the stock market, balance sheets, corporations. It wasn't important at the time to study policy. Today it's the No. 1 factor driving markets. Most people don't realize how impactful policy is. I didn't know that initially.

She didn't know how impactful policy was. She hadn't studied it.

*

You got some blowback in the mainstream press for your recent interview with Trump too, that you let some unsubstantiated claims slide. What was the goal of the interview? And was it accomplished?

Frankly, I feel great about my exclusive. As the front pages of the Financial Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal all highlighted the following Monday, we made news on a number of items.

From the "exclusive" in which "we" made news:

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Voltron Art Show In Chicago.

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BeachBook

'He Didn't Recognize Me' | Migrant Parents Are Slowly Being Reunited With Their Deeply Traumatized Children.

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This Is What It Looks Like When A Coach Stops Pretending It's About Anything But Winning.

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China's Xu Bing Constructs The First Film Made (Almost) Solely From Surveillance Footage.

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A Fascinating Look Inside Facebook's Early Days.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: In Formation.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 AM | Permalink

July 11, 2018

SportsMondayWednesday: On The Road To The All-Star Game

Good to see Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana step up for the Cubs the last two days. But at this point I think I might be able to shut out the Giants for three innings. And these days every time I try to make an overhand throw it feels like my arm is about to fall off.

This is a San Francisco lineup, after all, that recently scored all of three runs in three days - in Coors Field.

Of course, this is a Cubs lineup that was hot, hot, hot heading into this three-game series and then proceeded to score one run in 11 innings on Monday and was shut out for six frames by retread extraordinaire Derek Holland last night. The team finally broke through for a pair in the seventh and that held up for a big win.

Bottom line is if the Cubs can split their six games this week on the West Coast heading into the All-Star break, they should be thrilled. And they are a third of the way there heading into this afternoon finale with the Giants.

It was clear in the series opener that Anthony Rizzo is ready to step away for a while. The first baseman who went almost the equivalent of a season without an error from last year into this one had two miscues in one inning to give the Giants the one run they needed to take the game to extras and eventually outlast the visitors in the series opener.

Before the San Francisco cool down (and anyone who has experienced that city's year-round climate knows that such a thing is particularly appropriate), the Cubs offense in general was cruising along with stellar numbers. Of course the on-base percentages are more important than the batting averages, but in that first game against the Giants, the Cubs sent up hitter after hitter - with the exception of Rizzo - who was batting above .280.

And while early this week most of the attention went to the All-Star snub of Tampa pitcher Blake Snell, more focus should have been on fans actually stepping up and rewarding a couple deserving Cubs with late surges at the ballot box and spots in the starting lineup.

Javy Baez and Willson Contreras had trailed in All-Star voting at second base and catcher from the start. But when the final tallies were announced, both had earned starting nods. After Tuesday's action they were hitting .291 and .289, respectively. More importantly, Baez continued to lead the team with an .883 on-base-plus slugging number and Contreras (.823) wasn't far behind.

Both players contribute such good defense that stellar offensive numbers aren't necessarily required for them to deserve All-Star status. But those numbers certainly don't hurt, especially with Rizzo slumping and Kris Bryant having an average season even before missing two weeks with another stupid injury.

Bryant was sidelined after he hurt his shoulder sliding into first. It has been said a million times before but must now be said again: Diving into first is stupid not just because players expose themselves to an unacceptable level of injury likelihood but also because it doesn't even work, i.e., they don't get there faster. Kris, for the love of all that is holy, stop head-first sliding into bases! Especially first!

Back to Baez: There was some commentary in the aftermath of the Giants win on Monday about fans having to take the "good with the bad" with his play. The reference was to his bobble of the ball and hesitation leading to Alex Hansen managing to sprint home from third after the second of Rizzo's errors.

Time to get this straight once and for all: There is no longer "good with the bad" with Baez. His offensive numbers speak for themselves and on defense, well, only a person who doesn't watch the Cubs consistently thinks Baez's bad plays match up with the good. Last year and then especially this year, Baez took a massive step up. He actually makes more heads-up plays to steal outs or bases (he now has 17 on the year) than anyone else in baseball.

Baez's misplay on Monday was the exception that proves the rule. It was shocking because Cubs fans couldn't remember the last time he had made a play like that this season. He is a richly deserving All-Star, and because he will be in the Home Run Derby, I will probably watch for the first time in forever (unless Chris Berman is still doing the broadcast; I know I can't take that guy and his "Back, back, back, back . . . " garbage for more than a few minutes).

Anyway, All-Star fun awaits the Cubs in a big way. Hopefully they can grab a few more Ws on the way there.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, but sometimes on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

The Lost Children Of Chon Thanh

The National Veterans Art Museum is proud to announce "The Lost Children of Chon Thanh," our upcoming exhibition of then-and-now photographic portraits by Bob Shirley and Reed Young.

In 1969, U.S. Army medic Bob "Doc" Shirley worked in a temporary clinic in the village of Chon Thanh, providing medical care to the local people. During that time, he captured poignant images of some of the children he treated.

Over 40 years later Larry Johns, curator of the current exhibition, saw Shirley's haunting portraits and began to wonder whether any of these children had survived, and what their lives were like now. Johns had lost a brother who was serving at a remote artillery post near Chon Thanh and had been trying to seek out people who might have had a connection with his brother during the war.

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Johns and his Vietnamese wife began a two-year search for the "lost children." With the help of New York freelance photographer Reed Young, and others, they were able to find 16 "kids" who had survived.

Johns listened to their stories and made emotional connections with the now-adult subjects, many of whom had became farmers with children and grandchildren of their own. Meanwhile, Young - whose colorful portrait essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, National Geographic and Time - created stunning new portraits of the "children."

"The Lost Children of Chon Thanh" contrasts enlargements from Shirley's exceptionally well-preserved 1969 original 35mm Ektachrome slides withYoung's present-day high definition digital images printed on metal.

nvam2.jpg

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"'The Lost Children of Chon Thanh' provides us with an intimate and moving look at the lives of children growing up in the midst of war, and how that experience shaped their lives in the present day," says NVAM executive director Brendan Foster. "Even more, the exhibition honors the love of a sibling for his fallen brother while celebrating the joy of the new relationships it helped create."

Johns says that "Had I known up front what the unlikely chance of success in locating any of these children actually was, I am certain I would never had started the process. It was only through a combination of extraordinary luck, coincidence and unlikely turns of events that this search was successful. With so many links in a long chain, without any one of them, the process would have dead-ended.

"It is difficult for me not to feel my brother's hand in this incredible endeavor. To be able to exhibit these photos at the National Veterans Art Museum really brings this project full-circle and allows us to not only share our journey of reconnection, but also offers viewers insight into the experience of Vietnam veterans like Bob Shirley and a glimpse at the lives the now-grown children of Chon Thanh."

The exhibit will be on display from July 31st through September 22nd.

About The National Veterans Art Museum

The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. No other museum in the world focuses on the subject of war from the artistic perspective of the veteran, making this collection truly unique. The National Veterans Art Museum addresses both historical and contemporary issues related to military service in order to give patrons of all backgrounds insight into the effects of war and to provide veterans an artistic outlet to work through their military and combat experiences.

The National Veterans Art Museum is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:49 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The man who shot and injured three law enforcement officers from the stairwell of a South Elgin condo building last week was beset by health and money problems and driven to desperation by a final phone call of bad financial news, his family said," the Elgin Courier-News reports.

"Frank Dripps, 52, was shot and killed by police on the Fourth of July, ending an hours-long standoff during which Dripps hunkered down with a shotgun and a rifle and fired at officers multiple times."

"On July 3, hours before his death, Dripps learned his Social Security benefit was being eliminated, said his wife, Paula Dripps. A letter to Frank Dripps dated May 28 said his $750 monthly Supplemental Security Income would be reduced to $167.50 due to a change in his family's income. Paula Dripps called that an error by the Social Security Administration in calculating her income.

"Then in a phone call last week, Frank Dripps was told his benefit would be cut to zero and he had been overpaid for several months and would owe a repayment of $6,000 to $7,000, his wife said. Dripps had been receiving benefits after he was diagnosed with two diseases that affected his spine and made it difficult to move and impossible to work, his family said.

"They said he was owed nothing and that we owed them," Paula Dripps said. "He was mad at the government."

"The July 3 phone call - on top of his spinal problems that had sidelined his career as a home construction contractor, depression, and feeling 'less' for not being able to care for his wife - was the last straw, [his wife] Paula Dripps said."

*

Dripps' family is not making excuses - and I'm not either. Obviously I know next to nothing about Frank Dripps' life and his problems. But I can't help but feel that Frank Dripps stands for something - many things all at once, not all of them pretty but deserving of sympathy - even while he put the lives of others in danger. Too many people are living on the edge of total despair, unable to find a way out.

"He wanted to end things himself, but he couldn't bring himself to do it," his sister Deborah told the Courier-News. "He wanted a way for someone else to relieve his pain for him."

*

"For the past 10 years, Dripps had struggled with spinal deterioration and had a dual diagnosis of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis and ankylosing spondylitis.

"Dripps at times had used a wheelchair, scooter, walker and sometimes a cane. A cane was with him when he was shot.

"Since moving to Illinois 13 months ago, finding a health care provider who would take on his case proved difficult, his wife said. There were a bevy of surgeries over the years - toes amputated, surgery on both feet, replacement of his left shoulder and plans for a hip replacement.

"'He was in constant pain, every day,' Paula Dripps said."

*

However . . .

"Frank Dripps' life took a turn for the better about 10 years ago when he married Paula, family said. The couple, who had been friends for 25 years before their courtship, got involved in a California church, recommitted their lives to Christ, and were baptized together, Paula said."

*

This turned out to be a far different story than I thought it would be when I first saw a headline a man killed who was mad at the government, which inferred to me a conspiratorial gun nut or somesuch who maybe thought he was receiving radio signals through his fillings. Instead, it appears to be the story of a difficult life - though one made sweeter by a loving partner - buffeted by bad luck, an unforgivably horrible health care system, and an incredibly harmful notion of masculinity.

*

"Police didn't initially return [Dripps'] fire. However, about a dozen area police departments and two SWAT teams responded to the scene," Law Enforcement Today reports.

Armed with a scoped rifle and a shotgun, police say Dripps barricaded himself inside a stairwell and was yelling vulgarities at police, saying he would, "shoot officers if they came at him."

Crisis negotiators attempted to talk him down throughout the four-hour standoff, during which police say he raised the weapons to his shoulder "off and on."

After retreating to his condo unit, police say the 52-year-old came charging out opening fire on police around 2:30 a.m. Hence, a SWAT team returned fire, and Dripps was struck. As a result, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Lost Children Of Chon Thanh
'This exhibit in Chicago juxtaposes images of children photographed by U.S. Army medic Bob "Doc" Shirley in Chon Thanh, Vietnam in 1969 with recent photographs by Reed Young of the same children taken nearly 50 years later.'

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Out: Bryzzo. In: Wavy
Cubs on the road to the All-Star Game.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"The Last Time I Saw Chicago" / The Three Deuces.

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BeachBook

Selecting A Supreme Court Justice Doesn't Have To Be A Battle Royale. Here's How Other Countries Do it.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: A million times.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

July 10, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

"[V]eteran NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams broke the news that President Trump would nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, roughly eight minutes before the much-hyped TV rollout," Politico's Morning Media newsletter reports.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: A scoop isn't reporting something that is going to be announced minutes or hours before it happens, it's reporting something we otherwise would not know if not for the reporter's work. Williams essentially got the scoop on a press release going out to the world by having a "source" throw him a bone he could chew on in public for eight minutes.

*

But the real media malfeasance surrounding Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee (so far) is the way journalists have played along with the narrative mostly (but not wholly) created by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). See Stare Decisis, The Supreme Court, And Roe.

*

Meanwhile, Politico's Playbook flagged this passage from the Times' profile of Kavanaugh:

"[P]eople who have worked with Judge Kavanaugh say he has little use for Washington pomp. 'Whatever the opposite of a Georgetown cocktail party person is, that's what Judge Kavanaugh is,' said Justin Walker, a law professor at the University of Louisville who worked as a law clerk for both Judge Kavanaugh and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. 'He'd much rather have a beer and watch a hockey game.'"

Spare me the "he's just a regular guy" routine. Unless he takes his judicial cues from the vagaries of the NHL, that's an irrelevant piece of information.

*

Supreme Court judges are human, too! They have favorite, um, sports and stuff! They eat and poop, too!

*

"I never see him prouder," Professor Walker added, "than when I see him talk about coaching girls' basketball."

No way!

(And who is Professor Walker? A former Kavanaugh clerk who was surely prepped with that line. I wonder if the reporter asked what Kavanaugh's worst quality was . . . )

*

"Years later, Justice Kennedy still spoke with admiration verging on awe of the young Brett Kavanaugh's work ethic, Professor Walker said, recounting the justice's words: 'Brett was always there the first thing in the morning before I came in and last thing at night when I was leaving. I'd say, Brett, you're working too hard. You've got to go home. But he would never listen to me.'"

My worst quality is that I work too hard!

*

"In a dissent in January from a decision upholding the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he issued a ringing endorsement of executive power.

"To prevent tyranny and protect individual liberty, the framers of the Constitution separated the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the new national government," Judge Kavanaugh wrote. "To further safeguard liberty, the framers insisted upon accountability for the exercise of executive power. The framers lodged full responsibility for the executive power in a president of the United States, who is elected by and accountable to the people."

Okay, we all know that, but how does it relate to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which he apparently finds to be . . . illegitimate?

(It turns out Kavanaugh's dissent is basically about what he sees as the ability of the CFPB director to exercise unchecked executive power.)

*

"Judge Kavanaugh's first nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stalled in the Senate, but he was confirmed after Mr. Bush renominated him in 2006."

Why did his first nomination stall? The Times doesn't tell us.

It turns out, according to the Washington Post, that Democrats found him to be "too partisan."

Good to know!

*

"In his opinions, Judge Kavanaugh has often been skeptical of government regulations, notably in the area of environmental law, and he has argued in favor of greater judicial power in reviewing the actions of administrative agencies on major questions."

More important to know than his hockey-watching, but much further down in the story, oh well!

Here's the thing: the New York Times does some great investigative work and its cultural coverage - including sports - is often admirably well-written, blind spots and all. But its news coverage often leaves me wondering if they have too few or too many editors.

*

"He has also been open to using the First Amendment to strike down government regulations. Dissenting from the full District of Columbia Circuit's decision not to rehear a three-judge panel's decision upholding the Obama administration's 'net neutrality' regulations, he said the government can no more tell internet service providers what content to carry than it can tell bookstores what books they can sell.

"The net neutrality rule is unlawful," he wrote, "because the rule impermissibly infringes on the internet service providers' editorial discretion."

That's just silly. It's like allowing phone companies to determine the speed and quality of your calls based on what you talk about. C'mon.

*

"Last year, he dissented from a decision allowing an undocumented teenager in federal custody to obtain an abortion, writing that the majority's reasoning was 'based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.' He said he would have given the government more time to find a sponsor for the teenager."

I sure hope there was more nuance than that in his dissent; the legal status of someone seeking a medical procedure should be irrelevant, and what's the difference if the kid has a sponsor other than hoping an adult would talk her out of the abortion? That's beyond your scope, Justice Kavanaugh.

*

"In 2015, he dissented from the court's decision not to rehear a three-judge panel's decision upholding an accommodation offered by the Obama administration to religious groups with objections to providing contraception coverage to their female workers.

"He agreed that 'the government has a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception for the employees of these religious organizations.' But he said the government had other ways of achieving that goal."

What's interesting is what Kavanaugh finds that the government has an interest in - and what it doesn't, according to him. There's your roadmap.

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Akhil Reed Amar writes the inevitable Times Op-Ed "A Liberal's Case For Brett Kavanaugh."

Amar is an esteemed legal scholar, but he's far from infallible. For example, in this 2016 interview he calls Hillary Clinton "lowborn." She was not; she grew up solidly middle class - if not upper middle class. Just sayin'.

*

From Seeking Alpha's newsletter:

"As an ideological conservative he's expected to push the court to the right on a number of issues, including business regulation. Kavanaugh has been critical of the expanding powers of federal agencies, including on measures like labor rights, credit-card fees and 'payday' loans."

But he's a Catholic who's really into his community!

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Just sayin' -

"[Kavanaugh] also has authored more than 800 opinions appellate court decisions, creating a long record of legal reasoning and positions that is sure to be scoured by Democrats looking to derail his nomination," the Sun-Times says in an editorial.

Everyone else says 300 opinions.

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Flores Folly
"A federal judge has turned down President Donald Trump's request to alter a decades-old legal settlement to allow long-term detention of children who entered the U.S. illegally with their parents," Politico reports.

"Los Angeles-based U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee dismissed as 'tortured' the Trump administration's legal argument to get out from under the so-called Flores consent decree agreed to back in 1997, dictating that children in immigration detention not be held more than 20 days.

"'Defendants seek to light a match to the Flores Agreement and ask this Court to upend the parties' agreement by judicial fiat,' wrote Gee, an appointee of President Barack Obama. 'It is apparent that Defendants' Application is a cynical attempt . . . to shift responsibility to the Judiciary for over 20 years of Congressional inaction and ill-considered Executive action that have led to the current stalemate.'"

Beachwood readers first encountered Flores on June 5th, and again on the 7th and reiterated on the 21st.

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Kill The Electoral College
From Axios:

"Remember that a shift of fewer than 80,000 votes in three states (Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) would have made Hillary Clinton president."

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Your TV Is Watching You
"The growing concern over online data and user privacy has been focused on tech giants like Facebook and devices like smartphones. But people's data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge," the New York Times reports.

"In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes. Marketers, forever hungry to get their products in front of the people most likely to buy them, have eagerly embraced such practices. But the companies watching what people watch have also faced scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates over how transparent they are being with users."

The Times notes that "Last year, Vizio paid $2.2 million to settle claims by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey that it was collecting and selling viewing data from millions of smart TVs without the knowledge or consent of set owners. "

From the Beachwood vault . . .

* November 2015: Own A Vizio Smart TV? It's Watching You.

* February 2017: Vizio To Pay $2.2 Million To Settle Charges It Secretly Collected Viewing Histories On 11 Million Users.

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Seemingly related: Illinois Man: Bose Headphones Are Spying On Me! (He May Be Right).

A quick check on Google finds many news organizations covering the man's initial filing of a lawsuit, but none of them reporting on a resolution to said suit. Assignment Desk, activate!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Ghostface Killah, Aly & AJ, Pixies, Radiohead, Smif N Wessun, Tesla, Weezer, Anthony Green, and Carbon Leaf.

pixies.png

Hey, that's not Kim Deal!

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As States Legalize Sports Betting, Will Sports Media Go All In?
"When I was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, I saw firsthand how traditional media outlets were slow to adapt to the Internet, much to their detriment.

"Now, with sports gambling, editors and reporters will ideally adjust appropriately, attracting more readers and subscribers by providing information that's useful to bettors.

"A potentially disastrous outcome would be if already cash-strapped media outlets are reluctant to change, and are slow to meet readers' needs."

vsin-sports-betting-musburger.jpg

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Stare Decisis, The Supreme Court, And Roe
"[T]he reality is that everyone believes in stare decisis to some extent, and also that everyone believes it has exceptions . . . the Supreme Court sometimes overrules precedent and changes the law (a proposition so banal that, frankly, I did not think I would ever need to demonstrate its truth)."

b2c56a3c-6b3c-4451-866f-16537546c23d.jpg

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More from the Beachwood music desk . . .

Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Janelle Monae, Jezi, Miki Howard, Iron Years, Snarky Puppy, and Jacob Collier.

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The Previous Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Big Brave, Poster Children, The Body, Lingua Ignota, Neil Young, Yanni, Lightweights, Dial Drive, The Ways of Tom, No Solution, The Bama Lamas, Jeremy Enigk, Jory Avner, and Bryan Adams.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 7.19.22 AM.png

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The Previous Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: XEUTHANIZEDX, The Kreutzer Sonata, The Wailers, Code Orange, Strange Foliage, Chris Duarte, Dusk, Joshua Hedley, Mount Eerie, Camp Cope, Johnny Moon and the Astronauts, The Posies, and The Sword.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 7.24.40 AM.png

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ChicagoGram

🥒Rick #homedecor

A post shared by Whit Krystof (@whitkrystof) on

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ChicagoTube

1965 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 7 Chicago at Detroit 4-15-1965.

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BeachBook

The Male Founder Of The Feminist T-Shirt Brand You Love Has A Dark Past.

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California's Gone Without Higher Ed Affirmative Action Since 1996. Black Enrollment At Top UCs Never Recovered.

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My Favorite Recipe.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Refined.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:26 AM | Permalink

Stare Decisis, The Supreme Court, And Roe

In a post last week, I highlighted the utter meaninglessness of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins' (R-Maine) claim that she would look for a Supreme Court nominee who respects precedent. The claim was bunk, I wrote, because Collins had professed that Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom she voted to confirm to the Supreme Court, was, in her view, a pillar of a judge who respects precedent. As I explained, in his first full term on the Court, Gorsuch voted to overrule or suggested he was open to overruling a prior precedent in 11 of the 60 cases heard.

Also last week, Rich Chen, a professor at Maine Law, wrote an Op-Ed for the Portland, Maine Press Herald offering some other reasons why Collins' promise to look for a nominee who respects precedent was utterly meaningless. As Rich observed, all judges respect precedent and believe in stare decisis (the doctrine that says even wrong decisions shouldn't necessarily be overruled). All judges also believe that respect for precedent and stare decisis are not inviolable and have exceptions; thus, all judges believe that some precedents can and should be overruled. The real question is which ones, and under what circumstances. (Here's a spoiler for you, Susan: Roe v. Wade,* and preferably soon.)

Rich also flagged that judges also believe that "incorrect" precedents can be chipped away and limited basically to their facts. That is, judges can adopt unpersuasive distinctions and silly arguments to limit the reach of a prior decision.

In another post last week, I elaborated on two of the ways that I think the modified Court will do that to Roe (I am still unsure that the Court will explicitly overrule it, at least in the short term, but frankly don't think that matters a good deal for many of the women who will be affected). One is by diluting the undue burden standard so it does not require any meaningful scrutiny of a state's purpose, or pay attention to a law's effects short of outright criminalization of abortion during the first trimester. The other is by expanding the government's interest in avoiding "facilitation" of abortions or "complicity" in them.

As I noted in this paper, these efforts at limiting Roe are well under way. Asher Steinberg wrote a post over the weekend that showcased several times Judge Brent Kavanaugh [now officially the nominee] has done this - that is, adopting arguments merely to limit the reach of a prior decision that some view as unpersuasive.

For now, however, I'd like to continue to press on Collins' absurd claim that when a nominee professes to believe in stare decisis and respect for precedent, the nominee will never overrule a prior Supreme Court case.

Again, the reality is that everyone believes in stare decisis to some extent, and also that everyone believes it has exceptions. As further proof of the fact that the Supreme Court sometimes overrules precedent and changes the law (a proposition so banal that, frankly, I did not think I would ever need to demonstrate its truth), consider two of the cases that are already on the Court's docket for next year:

* Gamble v. United States, in which the question the Court is being asked is "whether to overrule the 'separate sovereigns' exception to the double jeopardy clause."

* Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt, in which the question the Court is being asked is "Whether Nevada v. Hall, which permits a sovereign state to be haled into another state's courts without its consent, should be overruled."

Also on the Court's docket is Gundy v. United States, in which the Court is being asked to invalidate a law on "non-delegation" grounds, something which it hasn't done since 1935.

The point is that the Court is (not infrequently) asked to change the law. And sometimes it takes up that invitation. Just look at the Court's docket from last term, when it frontally and explicitly overruled several cases (for reasons such as that the prior case was "poorly reasoned"), and substantially modified others.

It is not hard, nor is it rocket science, to recognize that all judges and judicial nominees believe in, and will profess a belief in stare decisis. It is also not hard to recognize that all judges and judicial nominees believe that stare decisis notwithstanding, some cases should be overruled, or limited essentially to their facts. Susan Collins knows this too. She just won't do anything about it.

* I'm using Roe as a stand-in for Casey.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

The point Litman rightly makes here is so blindingly obvious ("a proposition so banal that, frankly, I did not think I would ever need to demonstrate its truth") that the media ought to be taken to task for its utter ignorance in going along with the narrative of Collins and others - and the upcoming political theater thereof - when it comes to stare decisis. Every judge believes in the importance of precedence - until they don't! Otherwise, Plessy v. Ferguson would still be the law of the land.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 AM | Permalink

As States Legalize Sports Betting, Will Sports Media Go All In?

Widespread, legalized sports gambling could change the way you watch your favorite sport.

It could also soon change how the media covers sports.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court in May gave states the option to allow sports betting, it seemed like a vast, untapped well of revenue had been opened. Until then, illegal sports wagering had been an industry worth about $150 billion a year.

Since the May ruling, Delaware and New Jersey have each implemented sports gambling, with Rhode Island, West Virginia and Mississippi not far behind. All of these states will be able to tax betting. Their casinos will be able to open sportsbooks to lure customers. And leagues are lobbying for a cut of each wager, though that hasn't yet come to pass.

Lost in all this has been the question of how the sports media will respond.

When I was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, I saw firsthand how traditional media outlets were slow to adapt to the Internet, much to their detriment. Now, with sports gambling, editors and reporters will ideally adjust appropriately, attracting more readers and subscribers by providing information that's useful to bettors. A potentially disastrous outcome would be if already cash-strapped media outlets are reluctant to change, and are slow to meet readers' needs.

A New Lens Of Analysis

"To not acknowledge sports betting would be to do a disservice to your audience," Barry Bedlan, director of sports products for the AP, said in an interview for this piece.

Bedlan had spoken hours earlier at a panel on sports betting at the annual convention of the Associated Press Sports Editors, the body of the nation's print and digital sports editors.

Bedlan predicted that in a few years, major papers and websites in states with legalized betting will have a position in the sports department in which a reporter writes exclusively from a bettor's perspective. Reporters on a team's beat, meanwhile, may start to inject gambling into routine coverage - noting the impact of a star player's injury on the betting line, for instance, or saying in a game recap whether a winning team covered the point spread.

The Associated Press highly values its credibility and strict adherence to journalistic ethics. The news agency has long provided point spreads - the number of points teams are expected to win or lose by - to its clients. But expect its offerings to expand.

"Straight predictions and picks should gain renewed importance - Team A will beat Team B, and here, quickly, is why, according to our experts," Jeff Rosen, assistant managing editor for sports of the Kansas City Star, wrote to me in an e-mail.

Even weather reports could become more important: For example, if snow is expected on a Sunday in Philadelphia during an Eagles home game, it will likely reduce the points that are scored. This bit of information would certainly interest gamblers wagering on the Over/Under, a bet on the total points scored in a game.

How Much Of An Appetite Is Out There?

The big question many in sports media face now is how deeply - and how soon - to cover betting.

Some of that, of course, depends on whether sports betting is legal in the state where the outlet is located. But out there for all to see is the success of the Vegas Stats & Information Network, a multiplatform gambling news outlet that launched in 2017 and enticed renowned broadcaster Brent Musburger away from ESPN to be its face.

[Editor's Note: Former Chicago sports editor and news executive Bill Adee is VISN's chief operating officer.]

It has a Sirius channel, podcasts, livestreams and a growing following that some media executives have surely noticed.

That doesn't mean everyone is pouring their resources into sports gambling. Some are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Kevin Manahan, sports director at NJ Advance Media, told me that a key question is whether bettors who have been making illegal bets will want more information now that the activity has been legalized, or whether they've already been getting what they need.

"We just don't know what the audience is going to be," Manahan said. NJ.com closely tracks what works with readers, so if there's an appetite for gambling analysis, it will respond appropriately.

Bill King, who covers the gambling issue for the Sports Business Journal, agrees that the big question is how much the gambling market will grow.

"What we're really talking about is taking an illegal business and making it legal," he said.

Does that mean new people will bet? There could be a huge swath of people who think it would be fun to lay down a $10 sports bet on a weekend, but had been turned off by the sketchiness of signing up for an illegal offshore account.

King also notes that the media in regions where betting has been legalized could benefit from advertising buys from bookmakers. Opening a betting account is more complicated than, say, signing up for a social media account. Many people will likely only have one or two betting accounts, which could lead to intense competition among bookmakers.

The Las Vegas Model Portends A New Era

Bill Bradley, an editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, believes sports gambling can be a big draw for newspapers and their websites.

When he became assistant managing editor for sports in 2015, Bradley took a reporter who was covering sports betting part-time and made that his full-time job.

The results were dramatic. The betting stories and videos were consistently among the sports section's top draws, and betting now has its own section on the paper's website.

Even simple stories, like Sunday's NFL lines and injury reports, have become more popular when reported and analyzed with the bettor's perspective in mind.

"Basically, it's found money," Bradley said.

In fact, the work of the reporter on the betting beat was so well-received that he wound up getting hired away - by the Vegas Sports Information Network.

Certainly in terms of journalistic ethics, offering reporting and analysis for betting demands some new rules in the newsroom, editors said. For reporters, that includes not betting on the team you cover or even the sport you cover.

And Mark Conrad, an associate professor at Fordham University and author of the popular textbook The Business of Sports: Off the Field, in the Office, on the News, cautioned that, amid the novelty of legal sports betting, the media also need to cover issues such as gambling addiction.

But a cultural change is afoot.

Bradley and Bedlan noted that many editors at the APSE meeting had, in the past, never bothered to learn even basic sports gambling terms such as "parlay" or "bad beat" because betting was illegal and perhaps not true to the spirit of sports.

[Editor's Note: I find this hard to believe.]

Now they're studying up.

Sports fans might want to do the same.

John Affleck is the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously:

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #31: Sweet Action! A Special Report On Sports Gambling.

* Welcome, Sportsbooks!

* States Getting Ready For U.S. Supreme Court To Legalize Sports Gambling.

* Supreme Court Delivers For Sports Bettors. Now States Need To Scramble.

* Full-Scale Sports Betting Arrives in Delaware.

* Item: Let It Ride.

* BeachBook: When Sports Betting Is Legal, The Value Of Game Data Soars.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:20 AM | Permalink

July 9, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Ghostface Killah at the Mid on Friday night.


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2. Aly & AJ at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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3. Pixies at the Tinley Park shed on Saturday night.

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4. Radiohead at the Bulls/Blackhawks arena on Friday night.

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5. Smif N Wessun at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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6. Tesla on Northerly Island on Saturday night.

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7. Weezer at the Tinley Park shed on Saturday night.

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8. Anthony Green at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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9. Carbon Leaf at City Winery on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:49 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Rich Miller has a roundup of Dan Ryan Shutdown coverage here, including the Twitter tustle between the mayor and the governor.

Which reminds me of this interview from 2016 I just came across by accident last week (unless I just forgot about it) with Bruce Rauner describing the first time he met Rahm Emanuel. The part I wanted to excerpt is just too long to re-post here, so click on the link and see for yourself.

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And indeed, Rauner helped make Rahm rich. You could almost say Rauner was Gordon Gekko to Rahm's Bud Fox!

Almost.

"Confidants of Mr. Emanuel's said he decided to try his hand at business because he wanted financial security for his family, before eventually returning to public service, " the New York Times reported in 2008.

Financial security? Rahm wanted to be filthy rich. That's a fact.

"He had a number in his head to make enough for the family," said Ezekiel J. Emanuel, one of Rahm's two brothers and a prominent bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health.

Enough for the family.

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"One of Mr. Emanuel's major deals was the purchase in 2001 of a home alarm business, SecurityLink, from SBC Communications, the telecommunications company that was run by William M. Daley, the former secretary of commerce in the Clinton administration and the brother of Chicago's mayor.

"Mr. Emanuel represented GTCR Golder Rauner, a Chicago private equity firm that was buying the business for an affiliate. Bruce Rauner, the firm's chairman, had first met Mr. Emanuel when he was still exploring job prospects in Chicago after getting a call from Mr. Bowles, an old friend.

"Instead of private equity, Mr. Rauner advised Mr. Emanuel to pursue investment banking, where his political experience might be more valuable in landing deals in regulated industries.

"Mr. Emanuel called him back after starting at Wasserstein and asked if he could take over coverage of GTCR for his new employer. That eventually led to the nearly $500 million SecurityLink deal."

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As a wise veteran journalist once said to me years ago, underneath the sauce all the noodles are connected.

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Happier times being rich together, before each was up for re-election in difficult political environments that called for, in their minds, trying to exploit violence in Chicago for personal gain.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #208: Local TV News Is Hurting America
The continuing problem no one talks about anymore. Plus: I Predicted The World Cup's Final Four; Mr. Cowley; The Blackhawks Signed Some Free Agents; White Sox Waiting Game Sucks; Land Of Boz; and Cubs Factors.

Featuring special guest Bucktown Benny!

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The Arts Of Life Annual Studio Sale 2018!
"Don't miss out on the chance to own a piece of work by one of our esteemed artists! The Annual Studio Sale only happens once a year and is a wonderful opportunity to find a work of art that you love while supporting a local cause. Stay for a drink and learn more about The Arts of Life."

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The White Sox Report: Grateful Dead
"The next two weeks will be among the season's most comforting basically because the Sox won't be playing very often."

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Trump Targets Affirmative Action To Stimulate Mid-Term Turnout
What if Steve Bannon is right?

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Bill Shine Goes From Covering Up Sexual Harassment At Fox News To Trump's White House
"[T]he latest signal that the president holds contempt for the concerns of women . . . [and] effectively solidifying the idea that Fox News is state-run TV."

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Man Up
The debut novel from an Englewood firefighter.

man up book cover.jpg

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ChicagoGram

Hidden mural #chicago

A post shared by Tim Inklebarger (@timinklebarger) on

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ChicagoTube

"It only took me 16 years but I finally uploaded this video of The Arrivals around 2002 live in Chicago. I think the event was called the Chicago Rockyards flea market or something like that. I remember Thick Records plugging the event on their message board. I want to say it was near the United Center but I could be wrong, it was a long time ago."

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Wisconsin's Wood Tick Races.

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Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy.

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I Don't Care How Rich You Are, You Can't Buy A UPS Truck.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Baked.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:31 AM | Permalink

Grateful Dead

What's in a name? When it comes to big league ballparks, it could be tradition, beer, insurance, banks, and a sampling of other businesses. With the exception of tradition - more than a notable ingredient of the game - all the others contribute to the teams' bottom lines.

For a number of reasons, I've tried my best not to mention the moniker at 35th and Shields in the past year-and-a-half. For one, I was used to The Cell. In fact, it was kind of apropos the way the White Sox had been playing. Watching a game from the first to ninth inning too often created feelings of being institutionalized as the losses piled up. I knew no one who used U.S. Cellular. The company meant absolutely nothing to me. But The Cell was cool and not inaccurate. I miss it.

And the truth is, I've never been quite sure what to call Guaranteed Rate Field. There I've written it! When the announcement was made about the change almost two years ago, I wondered if we were going to attend Sox games at the G-Spot. One fan tweeted, "The Sox will play at the G-Spot, where many men will try and fail to score."

That tag, however, never caught on.

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To this point, no label has been consistently applied to the former Comiskey, White Sox Park, and The Cell. Our esteemed Beachwood editor Steve Rhodes called it The Grate in an e-mail a few weeks ago. I suppose that's as good a name as any.

Other than paying the Sox about $2 million a year - enough to cover this season's salary of left-handed pitcher Hector Santiago, who gave up seven runs in the eighth inning at Houston on Friday - until the agreement expires in 2029, there is no connection between a mortgage lender and a major league baseball team.

And make no mistake: Guaranteed Rate is no better or worse than any other mortgage lender be it Comerica in Detroit or SunTrust in Atlanta, the two other places where lenders have naming rights. I know because I am a customer of G-Rate. Don't let anyone like the White Sox or the company's CEO Victor Ciardelli tell you that obtaining a mortgage from Guaranteed Rate involves just a few keystrokes and clicks.

Even after supplying what I thought was the end of the required documentation, it was never enough. I was prepared to count my spare change sitting in a jar on the kitchen counter. I figured they'd want to know about that too. I even had my shoe size ready for disclosure. And the rate was about the same as anywhere else.

Twenty ballclubs have corporate sponsors for their stadia. Some make sense like Coors Field in Denver, Miller Park in Milwaukee, and Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Show me a ballpark without beer and I'll show you a Little League game. Beer and baseball have a long association.

For those teetotalers or those who prefer screwdrivers, we have Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg and Minute Maid Park in Houston, where the White Sox were swept four straight last week by the defending World Series champion Astros. A slug of straight orange juice on a hot day might slake the thirst, although both of those venues have roofs.

The remaining sponsors - banks (5), insurance companies (4), telecommunications corporations (2), Target and Petco - supply nothing but cash as far as obvious connections to the game are concerned. But that's the world we live in.

According to Forbes, the Mets have by far the best monetary deal because Citibank has a 20-year commitment to pay the Mets $20 million annually for Citibank Field. The Braves are next, collecting $10 million a year from SunTrust for a 25-year contract for the new ballpark in Atlanta.

Most arrangements are more in line with what the Sox get from - how shall I say? - G-Rate, which actually is less in dollars than what the team garnered from U.S. Cellular. When the deal was announced, White Sox marketing director Brooks Boyer touted that "fans can expect aggressive co-promotion in addition to the naming rights." Outside of mortgage rates a point lower than prime, I can't imagine what that might be. A presence at SoxFest doesn't cut it for me.

Consider for a moment what would happen if the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers or Red Sox were to sell naming rights for their venerable stadiums. The outrage would be rampant. They might even lose a few season ticket holders and - heaven forbid - sponsors. Now think of the PR and goodwill that might have been generated if the Sox had dropped U.S. Cellular and said, "We are returning to our roots and tradition. From this day on our ballpark will be called Comiskey Park."

Of course, for a team that has outdrawn just four other franchises this season, losing the income may be more important than a name. The Sox last week signed their top draft choice, Nick Madrigal of Oregon State, for a bonus of almost $6.5 million. The money has to come from somewhere. (By the way, Madrigal is a middle infielder, positions presently manned by young players Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson. I'm not aware that general manager Rick Hahn has commented on what could be a logjam in the next couple of years. If all three continue to develop, someone will wind up playing another position or perhaps some place other than Chicago.)

But assuming that The Rebuild will bear fruit in 2020 . . . err, 2021 . . . I mean, by 2022, the fans will once again pack the park, and no longer will the cheap seats go for $7. We've seen this development on the North Side. No, once those days return to the South Side like 2005 and the few seasons thereafter, the $2 million collected in naming rights won't even cover a utility infielder.

The time when that occurs seems to be a dream after another horrifying week when the White Sox lost two of three in Cincinnati before the debacle in Houston.

Ricky's boys had a 3-2 lead on Thursday in the bottom of the ninth when Joakim Soria, who very well could be traded later this month, was summoned to close down the victory. In his previous 18 appearances, Soria hadn't allowed a run over 18 innings. In fact, he had been nicked for just eight hits while walking only three during the streak.

But his perfection ended abruptly Thursday. Soria faced six hitters, retiring only one as Yuri Gurriel's walkoff single signaled the start of the sweep by the Astros. The Sox lost all seven games between the two clubs this season. According to the Sun-Times, the Sox had never been winless in a season series in the history of the franchise.

Lucas Giolito did his best to salvage the last game against Houston, a 2-1 squeaker on Sunday which was decided on a two-strike safety squeeze bunt in the seventh inning. Giolito threw seven balls on his first eight pitches, walking the leadoff man before hitting Alex Bregman. However, he settled down and allowed just three hits, including Jose Altuve's solo home run in the fourth, before exiting with one out in the eighth.

We're accustomed to the little tidbits of optimism following many losses. Sunday it was Giolito's performance as he lowered his ERA to 6.59, dead last of the 88 pitchers who have started at least 13 games this season. We should be encouraged.

The next two weeks will be among the season's most comforting basically because the Sox won't be playing very often. They return to The Grate - that's the place where they play - for a two-game series against the Cardinals beginning on Tuesday. After another off-day Thursday, the putrid Royals will invade for three games over the weekend.

Then comes the much-anticipated four-game All-Star Game break. So just five games for the White Sox in 11 days. Talk about hitting the G-Spot.

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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 8:34 AM | Permalink

The Arts Of Life Annual Studio Sale 2018!

The Arts of Life, a Chicagoland non-profit arts studio for adults with and without disabilities, will be having their Annual Studio Sale on Friday, July 27th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 2010 West Carroll Avenue.

The talented group of artists who make up The Arts of Life have been featured at galleries and museums around the city and country, including most recently Heaven Gallery, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Andrew Edlin Gallery, and the Chicago city clerk's office.

Don't miss out on the chance to own a piece of work by one of our esteemed artists! The Annual Studio Sale only happens once a year and is a wonderful opportunity to find a work of art that you love while supporting a local cause. Stay for a drink and learn more about The Arts of Life.

Artworks on sale are one-of-a-kind and created by The Arts of Life eclectic group of 27 artists. Come purchase original paintings, drawings and more for as low as $10 (up to 75% off)!

Buy $40 or more in original artwork and receive a coupon for $50 off custom framing from local frame store Artists Frame Service.

Additional merchandise such as screen prints, t-shirts, handmade stationery and other collectibles will also be available at discounted prices.

Take advantage of this limited sale and find an original work of art you adore for yourself or a friend.

This event is free and open to the public. Beer provided by Pipeworks Brewing Co, with music by Mode Hexe and Mint Condition.

If you are not able to attend the main event on July 27th, any Studio Sale items not sold will be available for purchase at the Chicago Studio during normal business hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, 12-4 Saturday) through 8/28.

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Volunteer with The Arts of Life.

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See also:
* The Arts of Life on Facebook.

* The Arts of Life on Twitter.

* The Arts of Life on Instagram.

* The Arts of Life on YouTube.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Man Up

Man Up is a novel based on the true story of a young man who learns the hard lessons of fathering children without being equipped to care for them.

Throughout this coming-of-age story, the main character remains nameless (because He could be any man in the same situation).

After conflicts arise with the mothers of his first three children, he leaves without remorse, forcing them to fend for themselves.

As the story progresses and He matures, He meets Britney and falls in love for the first time in his life. They work hard to build a life together, and along the way have two daughters. He couldn't be happier. He finally has the life and family he has always dreamed of. However that happiness is fleeting. Suddenly Britney flips the script and leaves. Now he's the one left with the kids!

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Man Up is a gritty tale that will have you laughing, crying and rooting for the single father to succeed in raising his girls - and becoming a better man.

About The Author
Chicago native Darail Drake, who is currently a firefighter and father of seven, was raised in the tough neighborhood of Englewood. Darail was determined not to let his past determine his future. He overcame several obstacles including being abandoned by his father and becoming a teenage dad. With drive and determination, Darail entered the Chicago Police Department. After 11 years of working on the force, he switched gears and joined the Chicago Fire Department. Still fighting fires and saving lives, Drake is hard at work on his second novel, another story of inspiration and determination.

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Book release/signing:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

July 8, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #208: Local TV News Is Hurting America

The continuing problem no one talks about anymore. Plus: I Predicted The World Cup's Final Four; Mr. Cowley; The Blackhawks Signed Some Free Agents; White Sox Waiting Game Sucks; Land Of Boz; and Cubs Factors.


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SHOW NOTES

* 208.

* Benny's Bucktown Beachwood Bureau.

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2:07: The Continuing Problem Of Local TV News That No One Talks About Anymore.

* Local TV news is hurting America.

* Grant proposal: A Day In The Life Of Facts/News/Local TV/Media.

* Who is really stealing content.

19:07: I Predicted The World Cup's Final Four.

* Last week's Show Notes: "Don't sleep on France."

* Belgium's colonies.

* England's Sterling (not Sylvester).

* I couldn't find the tweet that was as clever as I remembered.

27:28: Mr. Cowley.

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* Joe Cowley Hates Women, Can't Write And Is A Lousy Reporter But Keeps Job.

* Cowley & Ozzie.

34:17: The Blackhawks Signed Some Free Agents.

36:28: White Sox Waiting Game Sucks.

38:31: Land Of Boz.

* Tigers Had Concerns About Chris Bosio Before He Was Fired.

42:56: Cubs Factors.

* "Almora's not sure he's doing anything differently against right-handers beyond just seeing more of them as his playing time has increased."

* "Lester, admittedly, had a bad year in 2017, with his ERA ballooning to 4.33. Physically, he simply could not recover between starts."

* Theo: "The majority of our answers lie within."

1:03:46: Jay Cutler Mopes Along On Kristin Cavallari Reality Show.

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STOPPAGE: 3:55

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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 11:57 AM | Permalink

July 6, 2018

Bill Shine Goes From Covering Up Sexual Harassment At Fox News To Trump's White House

While President Donald Trump's appointment of former Fox News executive Bill Shine to a top communications role was unsurprising to critics, many denounced the selection as the latest signal that the president holds contempt for the concerns of women.

As the right-wing news outlet's co-president, Shine allegedly helped to cover up the sexual harassment faced by many women at the network at the hands of powerful men including TV host Bill O'Reilly and CEO Roger Ailes. According to former Fox News personalities Julie Roginsky and Andrea Tantaros, Shine was dismissive of accusations against Ailes, helped to arrange meetings between Ailes and women he had sexually harassed, and suppressed reports of misconduct.

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"For years, Bill Shine actively covered up Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly's sexual misconduct at Fox News, created and fostered a toxic work environment at the network, and actively retaliated against women who reported their abuse," Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, said last month as the White House was weighing Shine's possible new role.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes suggested that Shine's entry into politics must give the public he's purported to serve the right to information about his time at Fox. Shine was ousted from the network last year and has denied the allegations against him.

Shine will work as an assistant to the president and as deputy chief of staff for communications.

Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct and assault by at least 16 women - and has been recorded bragging about such conduct. He is also currently considering at least two potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees who have expressed opposition to abortion rights, has terminated the White House Council on Women and Girls, and has publicly derided a number of female journalists on the basis of their looks.

Other critics noted that Shine's hiring is the latest direct link between Trump's White House and Fox News - of which the president reportedly watches several hours per day.

"In tapping Shine, Trump is effectively solidifying the idea that Fox News is state-run TV - a political sandbox where Trump floats his dumbest ideas in the morning, tweeting back and forth with the hosts of Fox & Friends, and then gets to hear his moronic ramblings echoed back to him at night as received wisdom," wrote Bess Levin at Vanity Fair.

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 7:28 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Janelle Monae at the Chicago Theatre on Thursday night.


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2. Jezi at Subterranean on Tuesday night.

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3. Miki Howard at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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4. Iron Years at the Burlington on Tuesday night.

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5. Snarky Puppy at Ravinia on Monday night.

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6. Jacob Collier at Ravinia on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:41 PM | Permalink

July 5, 2018

Trump Targets Affirmative Action To Stimulate Mid-Term Turnout

It was Steve Bannon - at the time, President Trump's top political advisor - who said, 'If the subject is race, we win.'

So, the U.S. Justice and Education Departments have launched an attack on affirmative action just in time to make sure Donald Trump can exploit race to drive conservative white turnout in the mid-term elections.

While Trump will use affirmative action to focus openly on race - in addition to immigration, another code word he uses for race - affirmative action affects gender, race and disability, and white women have been the biggest beneficiaries of the policy.

The law relative to affirmative action has not changed! But in another attempt to undo the accomplishments and tarnish the legacy of the first African-American president, Barack Obama, Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos are changing the Justice and Education Departments' directives and reverting to former President George W. Bush's more limiting guidelines, which will negatively affect the admission of people of color and women to equal educational opportunities.

Additionally, the guidelines are being issued in a timely fashion, so they will have an impact and can be considered in an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case involving Harvard University, alleging affirmative action is having a negative effect on Asian Americans. So, it has the added appeal to the Trump administration of being able to pit one group of people of color against another. Thus, Trump can also attempt to use affirmative action to divide communities of color.

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Affirmative action is equal opportunity. Affirmative action only gets people of color, women and the disabled in the pool so all will have equal consideration for a job, a job promotion, admission to educational opportunities or a business contract.

Affirmative action is not reverse discrimination.

A person or business must be qualified to be in the pool, so affirmative action is not against merit. Establishing affirmative action goals and a timetable is not a quota system. Only a judge can impose a hiring or admissions quota, and then only after intentional discrimination has been proven in a court of law. Finally, for half a century the Supreme Court has said "race" and "gender" may be one of many (e.g., "disability") considerations in the use of affirmative action.

Claiming affirmative action is reverse discrimination, against merit, a quota system or in any other way not equal opportunity, or discriminatory toward whites, is political racism - i.e., using race to achieve a desired political result. In this case, maintaining control of Congress.

Note: Links added by Beachwood.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:11 PM | Permalink

July 4, 2018

The [4th Of July Falls On A Wednesday This Year] Papers

* New York Times: In A Fox-Inspired Tweetstorm, Trump Offers A Medley Of Falsehoods And Misstatements.

* Washington Post: One-Third Of The World's Population Lives In A Declining Democracy. That Includes The United States.

* Jezebel: Trump Is Getting Rid of Guidelines That Encouraged Racial Diversity In College Admissions.

* The Hill: HHS Enters Damage Control Mode Over Family Separations.

* NPR: Plea Deal For Former Congressional IT Staffer Debunks Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories.

* National Review: Record-Low Number Say They're 'Extremely Proud' To Be American.

Happy Fourth of July!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Janene Gordon, Postal Inspector
"Watch and listen to some of the trials and tribulations of blazing a trail for women in federal law enforcement."

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How Not To Get Shot . . .
. . . and other advice from white people.

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The Ex-Cub Factor
Whoa, Carlos Zambrano and Dexter Fowler.

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July 4 Means Something Very Different When It's Celebrated In Britain!
It all comes down to exactly how you understand the origins and cause of the American Revolution.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Why The Oldest Building In Chicago Isn't The Oldest.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

See the Beachwood TL for the entire conversation about Sun-Times sportswriter Joe Cowley, including a couple posts from our vault.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Round and round.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:00 AM | Permalink

Independence Day: July 4 Means Something Very Different When It's Celebrated In Britain!

This year's July 4 celebrations will come freighted with rather more complexity than usual, and on both sides of the Atlantic too. 2018's commemoration of independence from British rule will take place just nine days before Donald Trump crosses the Atlantic for talks with his British counterpart, Theresa May. The two will follow the annual celebration of severance with a performance of togetherness, as Independence Day makes way for the "special relationship."

Given Trump's remarkably poor grasp of history - this is a man who recently asked if the Canadians had burned down the White House in 1814 - he'll quite probably be oblivious to any such tensions between the upcoming events of July 4 and those of July 13, the date of his visit to London. But if his advisers take a glance at the history books to think through this coincidence of timing, they might be pleasantly surprised. While many Americans unambiguously celebrate July 4th as a national event marking independence from the "mother country," in Britain the day has long been a chance to celebrate Anglo-American ties. How can it be both?

It all comes down to exactly how you understand the origins and cause of the American Revolution. For many Americans, the War of Independence was a righteous conflict against a tyrannical and perfidious enemy, the narrative of independence famously celebrated in films such as The Patriot. In this view, the Founding Fathers were exceptional and exemplary Americans, leading heroic yeoman farmers in the cause of national independence from the British Empire.

The problem with this idea is that it wasn't until relatively late in the day, towards the middle of the 1770s, that colonial American leaders actually set themselves firmly on the cause of full independence. And even when they did, many still found it difficult to shed completely their identities as "Englishmen" overseas, while a significant proportion of the American population remained either loyal to the Crown throughout, or tried to avoid choosing a side for as long as possible.

Hence why those leading the Revolution were initially so keen to claim that they fought for the legitimate rights of "Englishmen:" not to be taxed without consent, the right to rule by elected representatives. Even George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and later the first president, thought himself a loyal Englishman until well into the 1770s.

In later years, such ideas faded from view. Washington was elevated to the status of American demi-god, and during the 19th century, July 4th developed its modern form and function: an assertive national ritual which celebrated American difference and distinction. Even so, the older idea that independence was originally an "English" cause lingered here and there, embedded in the much celebrated language used by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence (which suggested his schooling in certain ideals of "Anglo-Saxon" rights), in the structures of the U.S. Constitution (including the two-house political system), and in the judicial system's roots in English Common Law.

This all meant that when the U.S. and Great Britain later developed increasingly close diplomatic connections, July 4th was ripe for re-interpretation.

The Best Of Friends

The key moment came on July 4, 1918 as Americans and Britons fought as allies on the Western Front. In London, various influential figures took the opportunity to revisit the history of American independence. For instance, Winston Churchill, later the most famous advocate for a "special relationship," delighted in telling an audience of Anglo-American dignitaries that Britons were now "glad to know that an English colony declared itself independent under a German king." As he gave this speech, government buildings across London and the British Empire proudly flew the Stars and Stripes.

trafalgarsquare.jpgGeorge Washington in residence in Trafalgar Square/Ham via Wikimedia Commons

British claims on American independence continued in the years that followed. In 1921, Lord Curzon, the foreign secretary, happily proclaimed Washington a "great Englishman" while dedicating a statue of the first president in Trafalgar Square. Much the same sentiment was heard a few days earlier when a gathering of politicians and diplomats opened Washington's ancestral home in Northamptonshire, Sulgrave Manor, as an Anglo-American shrine.

By the time of the bicentennial of American independence in 1976, the British political elite were well prepared to meet the challenge of celebrating July 4th. In a masterstroke of political symbolism, the government gifted to the U.S. a copy of the Magna Carta. The message was clear: while Jefferson's famous text appeared to mark a moment of transatlantic severance, in actual fact it revealed the deep history of the Anglo-American bond. The Declaration of Independence stood with the document signed at Runnymede in 1215 in the pantheon of English constitutional history.

maytrump.jpgShawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency

Will a similar claim on American independence surface in the pronouncements and performances linked to Trump's visit to Britain this month? May will surely follow precedent and celebrate the ties of the "special relationship;" Trump will likely bluster, reciprocate, and talk about his Scottish roots. But Trump's brand of nativism has little time or space for expansive Anglophilia, and he and May have yet to find an ideological or personal affinity of the sort enjoyed by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. This Independence Day, the special relationship may lose out.

Sam Edwards is a senior lecturer in history at Manchester Metropolitan University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:47 AM | Permalink

July 3, 2018

Janene Gordon, Postal Inspector

"'Show up with a hat and tie.' Those were the instructions given to law enforcement officer applicants in 1971. The applicants were always men. Janene Gordon changed that. As one of the first female postal inspectors and first to achieve a law enforcement retirement, she broke through many barriers. Watch and listen to some of the trials and tribulations of blazing a trail for women in federal law enforcement. Her remarkable career paved the way for the women who followed."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:27 PM | Permalink

How Not To Get Shot And Other Advice From White People

"Comedian, D.L. Hughley stopped by Sway In The Morning to talk about his satirical book on social injustice and police brutality called How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice from White People.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:16 PM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of those who have worn Cubbie blue.

1. Luis Valbuena.

Valbuena has appeared in 75 games for the Angels this year with starts at first, second and third. His slash line is a meager .211/.254/.355 and he may not be long for this league. In his last season with the Cubs in 2014, his OBP was a healthy .341, and Theo Epstein felt he was an underappreciated player. As recently as 2016, he hit .260 with a .357 OBP for the Astros. He's a career 8.7 WAR player, but has -.5 WAR this year.

2. Andrew Cashner.

Cashner is actually starting to pull together a decent season for the Orioles in a career plagued by injuries and inconsistency. Last Friday he retired 10 of the first 11 Angels he faced on his way to notching his fourth quality start of June. He has eight quality starts overall this season, though his ERA is a mediocre 4.48. Last year for Texas he went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA over 166 2/3 innings.

3. Arodys Vizcaino.

Vizcaino was once the the Cubs' closer-of-the-future. Now he's the Braves closer and he just got off the 10-day DL with a shoulder strain to reclaim his spot in the back of Atlanta's bullpen. Before hitting the DL, Vizcaino had coverted 15 of 17 save opportunities this season while registering a 1.82 ERA.

4. Alex Avila.

Avila hit the 10-day DL with a sore right hamstring last week. He's hitting .184 with a .240 OBP for the Diamondbacks. Last season he hit .239 with a .369 OBP for the Cubs. He does have a .996 fielding percentage - compared to .991 with the Cubs in 2017 - and his pitch framing is almost certainly way better than any that of any current Cubs catchers.

5. Peter Bourjos.

Bourjos opted out of his contract with the Braves - again - after being DFA'd. He did that once before this season and wound up back with Atlanta on a minor league deal. He was hitting .205. Bourjos had a strong spring training with the Cubs, but was cut in late March.

6. Carlos Zambrano.

7. Matt Szczur.

The Padres designated Matty Caesar for assignment on Monday and we're sad. He was always a Beachwood favorite and we thought he'd blossom with steady playing time in San Diego. He did notch a .358 OBP last season for the Friars, but this season his slash line was a paltry .187/.265/.267. At least his fielding percentage playing all three positions was a sterling 1.000! Maybe the Cubs could use him as organizational outfield depth?

8. Dexter Fowler.

Whoa.

By any measure, this has been a colossally disappointing season for Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler. He is hitting a weak .171/.276/.278 with five home runs in 66 games in the second year of his five-year, $82.5 million contract. A case can be made he is fifth on the team's outfield depth chart behind Tommy Pham, Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill.

On Monday morning, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak called Fowler's energy and effort into question during his weekly interview with Fox Sports Midwest broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. Here is a transcript, via Hardball Talk:

"It's been a frustrating year for everybody involved. Here's a guy who wants to go out and play well. I think he would tell you it's hard to do that when you're not playing on a consistent basis. But I've also had a lot of people come up to me and question his effort and his energy level. You know, those are things that I can't defend.

"What I can defend is trying to create opportunities for him, but not if it's at the expense of someone who's out there hustling and playing hard. And really I think everyone just needs to take a hard look in the mirror, and decide what they want that next chapter to look like.

"And in Dexter's case, maybe taking a brief time out, trying to reassess himself, and then give him a chance for a strong second half is probably what's best for everybody. I'm hopeful to touch base with him in the near future and decide what makes the most sense, but clearly he's not playing at the level we had hoped."

Meanwhile, the Cardinals placed Fowler on the paternity list Monday as his wife prepares to give birth to their second child.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:08 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

As I sort of indicated on Monday, I'm sort of taking this week off. Sort of.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

After Long Career Bailing Out Big Banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Now Runs Predatory Firm That Exploits The Poor For Profit
"As president of Warburg Pincus - a major New York private equity firm - Geithner helps manage a lucrative predatory lending outfit called Mariner Finance, which mass-mails loan checks to low-income Americans, hides exorbitant interest rates in the fine print, and quickly sues those who fail to repay the loan and interest in time, according to a detailed Washington Post report published late Sunday."

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ChicagoGram

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

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ChicagoTube

Chicago/Dogmatik.

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BeachBook

One Of The Web's Most Prolific Online Marketing Writers Has Been Promoting His Clients in Forbes, Enterpreneuer, Inc. And Other Publications Without Disclosure.

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When Sports Betting Is Legal, The Value Of Game Data Soars.

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TweetWood

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This extraordinary measure is a bit of a blockbuster, even if we don't know the details yet.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Strenuously object.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:56 PM | Permalink

After Long Career Bailing Out Big Banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Now Runs Predatory Firm That Exploits The Poor For Profit

After a lengthy government career defined by his central role in bailing out predatory Wall Street banks as former President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner appears to have found his true calling in the private sector, where he now heads a large financial institution that exploits the economic struggles of poor Americans for profit.

As president of Warburg Pincus - a major New York private equity firm - Geithner helps manage a lucrative predatory lending outfit called Mariner Finance, which mass-mails loan checks to low-income Americans, hides exorbitant interest rates in the fine print, and quickly sues those who fail to repay the loan and interest in time, according to a detailed Washington Post report published late Sunday.

obama-geithner.jpgWikimedia Commons

"It's basically a way of monetizing poor people," John Lafferty, who worked as a manager trainee at a Mariner Finance branch in Nashville, told the Post. "Maybe at the beginning, people thought these loans could help people pay their electric bill. But it has become a cash cow."

Part of the burgeoning "consumer installment" industry - which consists of firms that offer slightly larger loans than payday lenders - Mariner Finance has hundreds of thousands of customers who, often in desperation, use the loans to cover soaring medical costs, home repairs, and other urgent expenses.

Given that in our "new gilded age" 40 percent of Americans can't afford a $400 emergency payment, the market for predatory lenders like Mariner Finance is vast and growing.

"This industry is a pipeline to transfer money from the poor to the ultra-rich," Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org, wrote in response to the Post's report on Sunday. "Obama's treasury secretary Tim Geithner is president of one of the private equity firms making a killing from it. Your economy, rigged to redistribute wealth to the top."

In one illustrative case detailed by the Post, Barbara Williams - a 72-year-old retired school custodian - cashed a $2,539 loan check from Mariner to pay for dental work and hospital bills that had mounted after "three mini-strokes and pneumonia."

"Within a few months, Mariner suggested she borrow another $500, and she did," the Post reports. "She paid more than $350 for fees and insurance on the loan, according to the loan documents. The interest rate was 30 percent."

After Williams fell behind on her payments, Mariner sued and "won court judgement against her in April for $3,852, including $632 in fees for Mariner's attorney."

Reacting to the Post's reporting - which also revealed how Mariner harasses customers and their relatives with phone calls if they're late on payments - Splinter's Libby Watson wrote: "In a just world, Geithner would be shamed out of society and forced to beg for scraps after a story like this was published. Instead, he'll keep making millions - while people like Barbara Williams are forced to take out predatory loans to pay their hospital bills."

While Mariner refused to say how many loan checks it mails out to vulnerable Americans, the Post estimates that "the number is probably in the millions" - meaning there are likely countless others with stories similar to Williams'.

"Were there a few loans that actually helped people? Yes," concluded an anonymous former branch manager in an interview with the Post. "Were 80 percent of them predatory? Probably."

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

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Previously in Timothy Geithner:

* McClatchy: Were Geithner's Unpaid Taxes Errors Or Cheating? [LOL]

* USA Today: Area Man Who Claims 'Careless Mistakes' On Four Years Of Taxes Confirmed As Secretary Of The United States Treasury.

* ProPublica: Obama Leaves Financial System In The Hands Of Substitute Teachers And Empty Seats.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:43 AM | Permalink

July 2, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Big Brave at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.


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2. Poster Children at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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3. The Body at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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4. Lingua Ignota at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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5. Neil Young at the Chicago Auditorium on Saturday night.

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6. Yanni at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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7. Lightweights at Underground Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. Dial Drive at Underground Lounge on Saturday night.

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9. The Ways of Tom at Underground Lounge on Saturday night.

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10. No Solution at Underground Lounge on Saturday night.

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11. The Bama Lamas at Phyllis' Musical Inn on Friday night.

Bama Lamas

A post shared by Allison Grote Gerlach (@allisugerlach) on

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12. Jeremy Enigk at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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13. Jory Avner at Wire in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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14. Bryan Adams at Ravinia on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:33 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

For completists, there was no Weekend Desk Report.

Beachwood HQ will be at half-mast this week to mark the tenuous nature of our pseudo-democracy.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Weekend/Week In Chicago Rock
In production!

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The White Sox Report: How To Win
Can it be taught?

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #207: Finally, The World Cup Moves On
Knockout round couldn't come fast enough after hot start to tourney stepped in mud. Plus: LeBron Opts Out Of Bulls; Fuck Yu; Mystery Cubs Defy Evaluation; Bosio Balooza; White Sox: Come For The Dollar Dogs, Stay For The Game; and Schweinsteiger!

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Chicagoetry: A Garland Of Moons
I exist to resist.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Viaje al Sueño de mi Tierra . Artist Nicolàs De Jesús-2018.Chicago- Ameyaltepec. Náhuatl Language

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BeachBook

Heat Wave Doesn't Bother Local Contrarian.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Tales not so tall.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:16 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: A Garland Of Moons

A Garland of Moons

I conjured a garland
Of moons, like a garland
Of garlic

To resist the
Vampyric gales.
Fat, full moons

Which dissolve
Into the great, black lake.
All because I insist

On existing.
And I exist
to resist.

I shudder in this seemingly
Nuclear winter.
One needn't a mind

Of winter, just a mind.

I glean the perforated smiles,
The walking without knees,
The barking at trees,

Yet remain militantly open

To being momentarily arrested
By a Great Lake sunrise in which
Low clouds become a great reef of pink coral,

A floating diorama
Of gargantuan flamingos,

A multitudinous, silent chorale.
I shudder and wince, gasp and pray
While forcing myself

Forward, to both that lurid dawn
And the next leering dusk.
I thrill at minute triumphs:

A perfect song, a brilliant
Trope, a brittle rain,
Angels tumbling through the

Vexing clippers, those bewildering
Upper-atmospheric shifts
Toward permanent dark,

Angels honing in
On our every rickety vestibule
And every sickly Vampyre.

I'll proffer my moons!

I exist
To resist.

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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 9:45 AM | Permalink

How To Win

Sitting at a Sox game a couple of weeks ago with my friend Dave, he remarked, "Part of this team's problem is they don't know how to win."

This charge often is leveled at losing teams, yet defining its meaning is an abstruse exercise at best. However, in this particular game, a 4-3 loss to Detroit, the first of a three-game weekend sweep against a team that would then embark on an 11-game losing streak that just ended on Sunday, the White Sox managed to provide as good a definition as any.

Locked in a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning, the Tigers had runners on second and third with one out. A high-hopper to first baseman Jose Abreu offered a perfect chance for the soon-to-be-named All-Star to nab the runner, who was going on contact, at home. Aw, shucks. Abreu for an instant bobbled the ball, and John Hicks slid in ahead of the tag. The next two hitters struck out. By the way, Hicks, who had singled, advanced on a walk and a fly ball.

In the bottom of the inning, the Sox loaded the bases with one out. Unlike Abreu, Tiger first baseman Hicks cleanly handled a grounder for a successful force play at home. Another infield grounder ended the threat.

So how's this in explaining a lack of knowledge about winning: The inability to make routine plays in key situations with the game on the line that other teams execute with regularity?

Some might call this "choking," but we need to be gentle with this rebuilding crew. In a post last year on the team's website, general manager Rick Hahn said, "One thing Ricky [Renteria] and the rest of us have tried to emphasize since the organization meetings and again in spring training is to have a culture of what it means to be a White Sox and how we expect the game played and how we expect to go about our business from a preparation standpoint and in-game execution standpoint. That's not just in Chicago. That's throughout the minor leagues."

The sentiment is lovely, but obviously it's not working at the major league level due primarily to a lack of talent.

Former Arizona State baseball coach Bobby Winkles, who served Tony LaRussa on the Sox staff in the '80s, tells the story of when he was in the minor leagues and his manager called him into his office. "There's only one thing holding you back from making the major leagues," the skipper said.

"What's that, Skip?" responded Winkles. "Just tell me and I'll work on it."

"Your talent," deadpanned Winkles' manager.

The story describes what's missing at the major league level for the White Sox, but Hahn's declaration omits another ingredient: winning.

Assuming that Hahn's legions are thoroughly prepared to execute at bat, on the bases, in the field, and on the mound, surely the wins will far outweigh the losses. Furthermore, winning tends to beget winning as confidence and knowledge grow.

Since the Sox system is laden with outstanding prospects - MLB.com puts the Sox third behind San Diego and Atlanta - the teams at the lower levels should have winning records. Guess what? For the most part, they do. High Class-A Winston-Salem is leading the pack at 48-33. Low-A Kannapolis is 44-34, and Double-A Birmingham checks in at 38-40. While Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech receive a great deal of publicity at Triple-A Charlotte, the Knights are just 38-44.

Tossing out Triple-A, Sox farm teams in Double- and Single-A have a .549 winning percentage compared to top-rated San Diego with a .515 mark. Does this not give us hope for the future? Are things not as glum as watching the Sox get pummeled 11-3 and 13-4 in Texas last Friday and Saturday nights prior to rebounding for a 10-5 victory on Sunday?

That depends on whom you ask. Many observers would argue that wins and losses are inconsequential at the minor league level. The objective is to develop players who can excel in the big leagues. If a handful of prospects on a minor league club rise to become major leaguers, then who cares if their team wins a championship? However, things are a bit more complicated than that.

Since the Baltimore Orioles have the worst record in baseball so far this season, maybe their director of player development, Brian Graham, is not the best person to comment, but he had this to say three years ago on the Maryland Sports Network: "I think everyone wants to win, but I don't think they understand how to win. Teaching players how to win is teaching how to play the game correctly. Like defensive fundamentals. Outfielders keeping a double play in order by hitting the cutoff man, infielders executing a bunt play properly, pitchers holding runners. You have catchers blocking balls, catchers calling a good game.

"From a developmental standpoint, if you are winning games and your team is playing with a lead, you have so many more opportunities to execute in developmental areas. You have more opportunities to steal bases, opportunities to execute situational hitting . . . You have a chance to hit and run or hit behind runners. Hitters can work the count. All that happens playing in a game with a lead and you play from an aggressive, positive standpoint. Those opportunities don't present themselves as much when you are losing games."

Perhaps a more credible source would be the Mariners' organization since the big league club with a 54-31 record is headed for its best season in 15 years.

"You can't really lose all these games in the minor leagues," says Mike Micucci, the Mariners' minor league field coordinator who managed in lower levels for five seasons. "Be like 50 games under [.500], then get up here [in the majors] and it's all about winning. You have to learn how to win."

When Jerry Dipoto became the team's general manager less than three years ago, he, Micucci and farm director Andy McKay instituted the Productive Team Plate Appearance (PTPA) measurement so that players throughout the system were competing against one another for the best PTPA numbers.

The PTPA takes into account far more than slash lines, RBI and extra base hits. Among the eight criteria are advancing runners, stealing bases, taking pitches, and other factors that contribute toward team success rather than individual statistics.

"It puts everything in perspective," Micucci explains. "Whatever it takes to win, just get the job done. It allows you to do other things when you previously thought you didn't have to. It's a different way to look at how to win a baseball game. Everything is a positive if you are helping the team out."

Virtually every organization preaches that it teaches the "right way" to play the game. The Sox award minor league players of the month honors, but the Seattle method seems to codify exactly what the Mariners seek in their developing players. Weekly results for PTPA are circulated, and those with the highest ratings, regardless of what level, are celebrated at the end of the season along with honoring winning teams.

Of course, any of these approaches is susceptible to the available talent. Teams can employ the best coaching practices, planning, and preparation, but if talent is absent, good luck. On the other side, an organization can have outstanding young players who wither on the vine because of faulty, haphazard methods and poor coaching.

When the Yankees were winning all their pennants and World Series' in the 1950s, their Triple-A team at Denver very well might have been superior to cellar-dwellers like Washington and Kansas City. Future Yankees Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Don Larsen, Ryne Duren, and Johnny Blanchard were members of the Denver Bears, the elite team of the American Association. Future Yankee manager Ralph Houk guided the club for three seasons, 1955-57, winning two league championships.

In an interview in the Denver Post a number of years ago, Denver baseball historian Jay Sanford said, "Most of the players on those teams would have been in the big leagues if they were in any other organization. When they got their chance with the Yankees, many became the stars of the game."

Nary a negative word has been uttered about the Sox' talent in the minor leagues. Daily reports are circulated about the exploits of the young players who are developing into future stars on the South Side. They can hit, run, throw 100 mph fastballs, and slam tape measure home runs. But can they win?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 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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