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« May 2020 | Main | July 2020 »

June 30, 2020

This Summer's Soundtrack Started In Chicago

"A strain of hip-hop that started in Chicago was tweaked by bedroom producers in Britain before taking over Brooklyn. Now it's the soundtrack to a summer of unrest."


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See also: Hip-Hop Is The Soundtrack To Black Lives Matter Protests, Continuing A Tradition That Dates Back To The Blues.

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Previously:
* Did The Chicago Drill Movement Change The Music Industry?

* Chicago Drill vs. Brooklyn Drill vs. UK Drill.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:21 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

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Thread about structural racism at the Tribune, the rmedia generally, Mike Royko and City News Bureau (actually that one is just dickish bigotry).

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Bear Blues

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Remember The '85 Bears? No, Actually You Don't
It's a cerebral cortex illusion. It's a deja vu trick of brain chemistry recollection. What most people actually remember are highlights and other people's restated recollections played perpetually on Chicago television."

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Tip Your Cap To The Negro Leagues
The Beachwood, too, tips its collective hat.

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ChicagoReddit

Penny Mustard Commercials from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Jazz Legend Freddy Cole Dead At 88.

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

Can someone put giant masks on those guys, please?

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The Beachwood Drip Drip Drip Line: Drip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:44 PM | Permalink

Remember The '85 Bears? Actually, No You Don't

Presuming the NFL stumbles into actually playing football this year without infecting all the players, fans, coaches, and officials, Chicago will celebrate an anniversary.

This is one of those physical events that seems closer in the rear-view mirror than it really is.

It's been 35 years since the Super Bowl that Chicagoans revere.

Not so long ago, right?

Wrong. A really long time ago, even though it doesn't seem so.

That means by the time the Super Bowl is played on Feb. 7 - if it does get played - 12,327 days will have elapsed, counting leap years, since the Bears last won a game that everyone seems to remember so clearly.

But here's the psychic skin abrasion. Most current Bears fans could not have seen it either live or contemporaneously on television any more than most Cubs fan saw Babe Ruth "Call His Shot."

They know "about" the game, but that is not memory.

I know this seems impossible to be true.

But the culprit is obvious.

It's age, my brothers and sisters, my friends, and comrades. Time is a predator creeping up on your aging bones and even more decrepit mental faculties.

This analysis is inspired by dstillery.com, a national though New York-based marketing data and demographic analysis company. They slice the NFL's facts and sell them to vendors who need to know the customers.

The several thousand facts they know about the Bears market focus on one relevant insight - the average Bears fan currently is a male between 35 and 44 years old. They constitute the biggest demographic population watching the team now.

Nearly half of all NFL fans are women (47 percent) and almost one in three NFL fans fall between the ages of 18 and 34 years of age.

So?

That means much of Chicago's current herd of active fandom had just been born or was no older than 9 for that Super Bowl. Female fans constitute a rising tide. How many 10-year-old females watched the NFL in 1985 as fans of the game?

Everyone who empirically now can prove they remember precise details of the 1985 Super Bowl is old. They are a fast-receding slice of the herd.

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What do you most remember? Super cool, punkish, quarterback dude Jim McMahon, of course. He turns 62 next year. He's eligible for Social Security. He's old, too. An old, but cool punk.

Anyone have enough nerve to tell coach Mike Ditka he'll be 82?

The '85 Bears have become candidates for assisted living accommodations. Walter Payton would have been 67 had he survived.

If McMahon was a chronological peer of yours in 1985, you're old, too. Collegian in 1985? You are 55 or so now. Ask your son or daughter. Is that old? Yes, mom and dad, they will answer. You are old.

You might be a grandparent now.

Sorry, but 55 is the new . . . 55. Run all the 5Ks you want.

That Super Bowl year was closer to the year Eisenhower decided to build a national highway system than 2021 will be to that game. The CD was invented in 1985. The Internet had its first dot.com address.

But this is not some idle exercise in ageism. What it reflects is how seldom the Chicago Bears have been good since then. Their most-recent great-remembered season was in the previous century.

The corollary is that this historic lack of recent success makes that game seem far more significant than had the team been regular playoff participants. Chicago remains fascinated and obsessed with it, even the stiff, staged, and creaky "Super Bowl Shuffle."

Tell the truth. Does the Shuffle still seem cool when you watch replays?

"We are the Bears' shufflin' crew
"Shufflin' on down, doin' it for you
"We're so bad, we know we're good
"Blowin' your mind like we knew we would."

Not quaintly dated at all, right? Odd what we thought was cool in 1985.

The years have only added and reinforced what then-childhood fans believe they remember. But such evidence can be tricky. We can remember the lingering puff of smoke, but not the fire.

Biologists now believe that adults might remember many things from their early childhood, though the memories are not accessible.

You believe you should remember something, but you don't really. Everybody else seems to remember and tells you so. Don't worry. They are unlikely to remember, either.

There is even a dividing at age 10 when linguistic skills are flowering, and young childhood memories are fading.

Memories, it seems, are not data stored in data computers except in the mistaken consciousness of many Bears fans.

It's called Infantile Amnesia, the apt clinical name that coincidentally applies for Bears fans and their perceptions.

It's a cerebral cortex illusion.

Plus, the memory of Jim McMahon, and the Super Bowl Shuffle, even the Super Bowl itself, is a product being sold for profit by Chicago media and the Bears media arm, too. This shared past is a valuable piece of the franchise. Advertising dollars sustain the resurrection.

But it's an illusion.

You only think you remember specifics from a televised football game from when you were 10, or 6 or 4. Actually, it's a deja vu trick of brain chemistry recollection.

So it's been 35 years since that event, though you'd think it almost was yesterday based on the sanctified, intensified, artificial memory.

What most people actually remember are highlights and other people's restated recollections played perpetually on Chicago television. People telling you about their memories, with video.

If you were 45 then - not an outlandish number - you are 80 now. What do you actually remember clearly at 80, even about who you were as a child?

These era leaps also depend on which era it is. Some eras power perception more intensely. The gap between 1985 and now might seem in our emotional recollections to be brief. But it's the same gap between the Civil War and the 20th Century - 1865 to 1900.

Being sure we remember what we might not recall is a way of refreshing our affections about an event we treasure for its rarity.

But it's not actually a retrieved memory at all. It's a reconstructed, reflected image in the rear-view mirror.

The older you get, the more dedicated you are to your treasure chest of memories. And the more likely you are tricking yourself.

Bears fans should be more capable of remembering the totally forgettable 2007 Super Bowl against the Colts. No one expected the Rex Grossman-led Bears would win, and they didn't. The game lived down to its low expectations and leaves no lasting imprint on Chicago fans and their devotion.

It was just another game the Bears didn't win.

But everything about 1985 was different. McMahon holds a unique spot in this memory, as though 1985 marked the natural Shakespearean end to his career saga. I bid thee farewell. So long Jim, and thanks for your career.

He was the property of the Bears for seven years between 1982 and 1988. But he played thereafter for six other teams and nine years.

Those years seem invisible to memory. You can almost hear the TV narrator say: "Oh, by the way . . . "

• San Diego Chargers (1989)
• Philadelphia Eagles (1990 - 1992)
• Minnesota Vikings (1993)
• Arizona Cardinals (1994)
• Cleveland Browns (1995) Practice squad)
• Green Bay Packers (1995 - 1996)

He retired from the Packers - the actual freaking Green Bay Packers. That exit followed the 1996 season, which finished with Green Bay's Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in New Orleans.

Oh, by the way, it was 11 years to the day of the Bears' Super Bowl victory over the Patriots in the same venue.

McMahon showed up at the White House for the traditional Super Bowl champs' celebration. He wore his Bears jersey.

But who remembers that?

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

* 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

* The Fonz Lives And Franco Is Dead: News You Can't Use.

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

* How To (Pretend To) Negotiate A Labor Deal.

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:14 AM | Permalink

Tip Your Cap To The Negro Leagues

Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, in collaboration with civil rights hero Rachel Robinson and baseball legend Hank Aaron, are joined by scores of baseball players and other professional athletes, sports executives, entertainers, journalists and others for an unprecedented tribute to the 100-year anniversary of the founding of baseball's Negro Leagues.

The Tip Your Cap campaign, which is being directed by Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick, is intended to bring long overdue recognition and respect to the enormously talented and courageous men and women who played in the Negro Leagues from 1920 through 1960. The campaign was conceived when long-planned centennial events in major league stadiums across the country were cancelled due to COVID-19, and the response has been extraordinary.

The campaign is making a simple request. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is asking Americans - anytime between now and July 23rd - to submit a brief video or photo of themselves tipping their caps in honor of these sports and civil rights heroes to photos@tippingyourcap.com and to post them on their social platforms with the hashtag #tipyourcap2020.

"Today," President Obama said. "I'm tipping my hat to everybody in the Negro Leagues who left a century-long legacy of talent and spirit and dignity in our country. So, here's to Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and everybody else, including three brave women who did us all proud."

"When I was a kid," President Bush said, "my favorite baseball player was Willie Mays. It turns out Willie Mays played in the Negro Leagues for a brief period of time. I can just imagine what baseball would have been like had the predecessors to Willie Mays been able to play major league baseball."

"I love Satchel Paige, Byron Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Ernie Banks," said President Clinton, who tipped a Chicago Cubs cap in honor of baseball great Ernie Banks, who began his career in the Negro Leagues. "This cap is for Hillary, too, when finally, the Cubs won the championship. Long before that, the Negro Leagues made baseball better and America better."

"I've been a baseball fan all of my life," President Carter wrote, "and the Negro Leagues are an important part of the sport's history. I am thankful that the era of segregated leagues is long over, and I tip my cap to the pioneers who showed the world that Black players belong in America's game."

Among the many others who have already tipped their caps are Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Billie Jean King, Tony Bennett and Bob Costas. The videos and photos will be highlighted on Twitter and Instagram accounts @tipyourcap2020. They will also be celebrated on a tribute website (tippingyourcap.com), which will become part of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's commitment to keeping the spirit and contribution of the Negro Leagues alive.

National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world's only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America. The privately funded, 501 c3, not-for-profit organization was established in 1990 and is in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri's Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District.

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Tipping their caps:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:05 AM | Permalink

June 29, 2020

The [Monday] Papers

"Three more youngsters were killed in another shattering weekend of gun violence in Chicago, one week after five children were fatally shot and a week ahead of the Fourth of July holiday," the Tribune reports.

In response, police chief David Brown said this morning that he was putting 1,200 more cops on the street this weekend, the Sun-Times reports.

It will take more than that - or less - to change the dynamic that gives rise to the conditions that create these heartbreaking acts of violence and death. It's not about the number of cops the police put on the streets, or about mobile units or 'corridor strategies' or any of that. The police may at times mitigate (or simply move elsewhere) these shootings, and interrupting violence today and tomorrow can save lives, but over the long term the cycle isn't going to end until the city, state and country embark on a comprehensive strategy that focuses on materially changing the conditions of the neighborhoods where these tragedies continually take place.

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What does investment in these neighborhoods mean? It means more than attracing this business or that store and then crowing about it. That's hardly enough. Defunding police and shifting resources to social workers and similar needs isn't enough either, though it's certainly progress, however incremental. What we need is a bold economic development vision that redistributes current resources to (vastly) increase equity, a formula for distributing future resources, massive desegregation by race and class, and a huge imagination. (Here's one place to start. It was just back in the news, too.)

One guide may be to look at what Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel did in their tenures as mayor and now do the opposite.

For example, Daley tore down the city's public housing towers without an adequate plan for displaced residents. (He pretended that. under the so-called Plan for Transformation, that the projects would be replaced by new housing that mixed subsidized units with market-rate units, but that did not - or barely - came to be.) How about a massive investment in scattered-site housing?

And Rahm's largest mass school closings in U.S. history not only failed to live up to its promises, but quite literally hurt students. I don't know about the feasability of reopening some of those schools, but if we're really going to invest in underserved communities at a level that matters, that's a good place to start. And along with that, CPS should reverse its shift into a "portfolio district" filled with selective schools kids have to test into and then travel all over the city to attend; let's truly put neighborhood schools at the heart of the system.

All of these things, of course, have to work in concert with each other. If the emphasis is put on neighborhood schools in a district with segregated housing patterns, the schools will be segregated. Hence, scattered-site subsidized housing and imaginative economic development projects that can help shift the population.

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Oh, and by the way, if you are white and you moved to the suburbs for the schools, you have contributed to structural racism.

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Meanwhile . . .

"President Donald Trump sent a letter and a poke in the eye on Friday to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot concerning the weeks of horrendous gun violence that have devastated Chicago," the Tribune editorial board says.

"Trump's intent was political gamesmanship. But if that's all Pritzker and Lightfoot absorbed from the insults, then they are missing an opportunity to make Chicago safer because the president offered support. He said he's willing to ask members of his administration to help the pair devise plans to combat the violence."

For example, don't report crime and you won't have cases!

I mean, really. I don't know what kind of alternate universe that editorial board lives in, but in this one Trump promised four years ago that he could solve Chicago's crime problem in a couple of days and we're still waiting for the plan. I'm almost ashamed to even be caught responding to this kind of tripe. The Trib even admits up front that Trump's offer was simply political gamesmanship. Taking him up on his offer is impossible because there is no offer, and the only kind of solutions the administration would come up with would be unconstitutional as well as including massive increases in firepower, which is not what we need.

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"To get at the root of the problem requires decades of work to eradicate joblessness and hopelessness in isolated neighborhoods. Decades of work? Chicago and its children don't have time to spare. The bullets are flying now."

True enough, but you said that decades ago.

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Also, it can happen a lot faster than that; look at how quickly the federal government got money out the door in response to the coronavirus. Look at how fast corporations (except newspapers) pivot to changing conditions. Hell, look at how fast the world's scientists are now working on a COVID-19 vaccine. Start now.

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"Which brings us back to Trump's letter. He wrote: 'If you are willing to put partisanship aside, we can revitalize distressed neighborhoods in Chicago, together. But to succeed, you must establish law and order. The combination of crime, high State and local taxes, and onerous State and local government regulations have caused thousands of Illinoisans to flee to other States. Between 2010 and 2019, Illinois lost more of its population than any other state in the Nation. If you are interested, I am willing to ask members of my Cabinet to meet with you and help devise a plan to make Chicago safe, since a successful formula has escaped both you and your predecessors. My Administration would also welcome the opportunity to engage with you and your colleagues as you develop bipartisan policy recommendations to improve policing and make our great cities safer for all.'

"If you're an elected Democrat in Illinois, you could read the above and see only the digs at your party and attempts by Trump to push his law-and-order campaign. Or you could filter out the noise and think about your terrified constituents. Trump is offering more federal support to improve policing and make cities safer."

By cutting taxes and regulations?

Let's face it, the Tribune editorial board is not a serious partner in this endeavor.

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"Pritzker and Lightfoot should call him on it. Schedule a meeting with Justice Department officials. Draw up a wish list. Federal dollars and law enforcement assistance are valuable. Maybe it means more manpower, more imaginative approaches, more technology. There are existing, effective social service programs in Chicago, ranging from gang conflict mediation to teen mentoring, that would benefit from a targeted infusion of federal dollars."

I didn't see where Trump is offering more federal dollars. Beyond that, I'm pretty sure CPD, like every other department in the country, and the city are in fairly regular contact with the DOJ and its grant-making programs - though not as much as they could be given that the Trump administration refused to oversee the federal consent decree aimed at reforming the Chicago Police Department, an effort that is intended to create a better police department that cares more about the people they protect and serve, and in turn helps create an environment with less crime. But I guess the Trib forgot about that.

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Dear Mayor: It's not enough.

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Every neighborhood needs a plan, interwoven into bold institutional and economic restructuring.

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We Are Now Florida
"Bars across Chicago reopened this weekend - and people in Wrigleyville lined up to celebrate," Block Club Chicago reports.

On Saturday night, Clark Street felt and looked much like it did on a normal summer night before coronavirus upended the city, though social distancing and new guidelines are part of the new normal. As patrons bounced from bar to bar in packs, some donned face masks. Many did not.

Crowds waited in long lines with little to no adherence to the 6-feet social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some people said they do have worries about the pandemic and are concerned they're part of the problem as cases rise throughout the country - but others said they're young and wanted to get out during the summer.

Phase 4 sucks.

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See also:

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Washington Post Editor Should Resign

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Reporters too.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Chicago Cops Still Secretly Detaining People
Paging Homan Square.

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Here's Why Illinois Should Rename Calhoun County
But Chicago's South Calhoun Avenue is safe.

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Prove Your Paranormal Powers, Win $250,000
Or just refer someone for $5,000.

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Meet These Rising Latino Studies Scholars
UIC announces seven students working in the humanities who comprise the 2020-2021 cohort of a national fellowship program designed to mentor Latino studies scholars as they complete their doctoral research and improve their job-market readiness.

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The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles IX: Here Come The Evictions
"It might be worth thinking twice about what you're taking part in if you're throwing people out of their homes via Zoom - a platform you're only using because it's not safe for people to leave their homes."

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The Myth, Mirth, Malarkey And Magic Of Glastonbury And The Arts
The inimitable Jonathan Pie delivers the (bad) news.

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Global TV Market Spikes With Pandemic
Watching stuff surges.

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New from the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #310: Is Baseball Really Back?
The virus doesn't care how much we want it to be. Plus: Other Sports Are Also Back Pending Death; Pandemic Baseball Sucks; Hub Bubs; Hall Of Fame Hossa; The Mystery Of Mitch's Motivation; Choking On Chalk; and It Was Unmistakably A Noose.

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TrackNotes: A Tale Of Two Tracks
Hawthorne and Arlington are each on the cusp of very different fates.

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Real Service Time
Our very own Roger Wallenstein looks back at ballplayers who served during wartime.

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ChicagoReddit

Baha'i House, from above from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Vulcan Glass Art Live | Chicago Art Show Stuff

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BeachBook

Kids From Around The World Photographed Surrounded By Their Weekly Diet.

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

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The Beachwood Get A Grip Line: Grip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:45 AM | Permalink

The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles IX: Evictions

"It might be worth thinking twice about what you're taking part in if you're throwing people out of their homes via Zoom - a platform you're only using because it's not safe for people to leave their homes."


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Previously:
* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles: Parts I - III.

* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles: Parts IV and V.

* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles Part VI: Testing ALF.

* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles Part VII: Bursting Bubble Leagues.

* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles VIII: Prisons & Jails.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:20 AM | Permalink

Meet These Rising Latino Studies Scholars

Seven students working in humanities comprise the 2020-2021 cohort of a national fellowship program designed to mentor Latino studies scholars as they complete their doctoral research and improve their job-market readiness.

Presented by the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, or IUPLR, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, each fellow will receive a yearly stipend of $25,000, a faculty mentor in Latino studies, monthly teleconferences with other fellows and opportunities to present their research.

The IUPLR/UIC Mellon Fellows Program has been supported for the past six years with two grants from the Mellon Foundation totaling over $1.6 million.

"We are grateful to the support of the Andrew Mellon Foundation, which has allowed us to support 36 fellows working in Latino humanities studies," said principal investigator of the grants Maria de los Angeles Torres, UIC professor of Latin American and Latino studies and former executive director of IUPLR. "Especially in times of great uncertainty, the humanities make important contributions to rethinking our world."

The latest honorees, who have completed their fifth year of doctoral studies and attend an IUPLR member institution, are:

* Óscar Daniel Campo Becerra, a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic literary and cultural studies at UIC.

* Allison Guess, a Ph.D. candidate in earth and environmental sciences (human geography) at the City University of New York.

* Alana de Hinojosa, a Ph.D. candidate in Chicana/o and Central American Studies at the University of California-Los Angeles.

* Alexandrea Pérez Allison, a Ph.D. candidate in English and a graduate portfolio student in Mexican American and Latina/o studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

* Ana Cristina Perry, a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the City University of New York.

* Rosanna Simmons, a Ph.D. candidate in Chicana/o and Central American studies at the University of California-Los Angeles.

* Alberto Wilson III, a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Houston.

The Inter-University Program for Latino Research, currently based at the University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies, consists of 21 university-based Latino research centers that aim to promote policy-focused research and advance the Latino intellectual presence in the U.S. Founded in 1983, the group supports research and programs that foster greater understanding of U.S. Latinos in politics, economics, culture, art, history and immigration.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:17 AM | Permalink

Global TV Market Spikes With Pandemic

The global television station market is expected to grow from $127.62 billion in 2019 to $143.17 billion, according to the new report "Global Television Station Markets 2020-2030: COVID-19 Implications and Growth."

Due to the global pandemic of coronavirus infection, the market for television seeing significant demand in 2020 as consumers ramp up media consumption to stay informed, as well as to spend time during home quarantine. The market is expected to stabilize at a compound annual growth rate of 6.9% and reach $158.42 billion by 2023.

Increasing demand for high-definition content and advertisement is the key factor driving the growth of the global television station market.

Demand for high-quality OTT-TVs such as HBO Go and others is growing as customers choose high-quality videos and content.

Besides this, businesses concentrate on raising sales by ads as television is the most influential outlet for targeting a wider audience and future clients.

One of the innovative firms, iSpot, is placing a TV banner in another domain: the potential to target and monitor advertiser-defined audience segments across the TV ecosystem as a whole.

Therefore, the Increasing demand for high definition content and advertisement is expected to drive the growth of the television station market.

The emergence of newer technologies is also a key trend. ATSC 3.0 is the latest edition of the Advanced Television Systems Committee Guidelines, which specifies precisely how TV signals are transmitted and interpreted. ATSC 3.0's key benefit is picture quality, including high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut (WCG), and high frame rate (HFR).

In addition to the image and audio enhancements, ATSC 3.0 also helps you to watch video transmitted on handheld devices such as phones and tablets as well as in cars.

Samsung revealed it would support ATSC 3.0 in 13 of its 8 K TVs by the end of 2020, while LG will follow the standard in six of its OLED sets. Also in 2020, a company called BitRouter has developed an ATSC 3.0 set-top box that can connect to TVs via HDMI.

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Previously in markets:

* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

* Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire.

* Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021.

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

* Global Condom Market On Fire.

* Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire.

* Industrial Lubricants Market Booming.

* Global Electric Guitar Growth.

* Early Impacts Of COVID-19 On The Pet Food Packaging Market.

* Global Music Recording Industry Trajectory & Analytics 2020-2025.

* The Global Premature Ejaculation Market Is Exploding Quickly.

* Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Market On Fire.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

June 28, 2020

Service Time

The issue of service time was one of contention included in the sordid public display of selfishness on the part of Major League Baseball and the players association as plans for this season were negotiated.

Surprisingly, the owners easily gave in to the players on this one item, agreeing to grant a year of service even if nary a game is played this season.

All of which means that players eligible to become free agents after the 2020 season, will still retain this vaunted privilege. Stars like Mookie Betts, George Springer, Marcus Semien and Trevor Bauer, despite playing in a 60-game season as was announced last week, will remain eligible to entertain multimillion-dollar offers this fall while all other players can add a year on their journey to free agency.

We often hear about today's players' reverence for the past. They recognize the cruel and unjust treatment endured by Jackie Robinson as he opened the door for all the other Black players who followed him. Prior to the formation of their union in 1966, each individual player was at the mercy of the owners when it came time to negotiate one-year contracts rather than the common multi-year agreements of today. Any alert present-day athlete understands how powerless his brethren were decades ago.

Nevertheless, do today's players know what service time meant 80 years ago when both benchwarmers and All-Stars missed entire seasons because their country needed them during World War II?

Consider the iconic Joe DiMaggio, who answered the call after the 1942 season by enlisting in the Army Air Force. Keep in mind that Joltin' Joe was 28-years-old at the time in the prime of his career, having played seven years for the Yankees. He not only had set the unbreakable record of hitting safely in 56 straight games in 1941, but also averaged 31 homers and 133 RBIs a year while hitting .339.

DiMaggio was absent for three seasons, returning to The Bronx in 1946. While in the Army, he requested to be sent into combat, but the brass wasn't buying it. Instead DiMaggio played a lot of baseball during the war, teaming up with other pro players to entertain the troops and the public. Stomach ulcers finally resulted in his discharge in September, 1945.

Just two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Cleveland's Bob Feller became the first professional athlete to enlist in the armed forces, joining the Navy. Feller, a hard-throwing 23-year-old from Van Meter, Iowa, had won 76 games the previous three seasons, yet he wouldn't return to the mound until 1945, when he pitched in only nine games. He basically was gone for four seasons.

Unlike DiMaggio, Feller did see combat, on the USS Alabama in the Pacific Theater. He rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer before being discharged. After the war, Feller went on to win 20 games three more times before retiring in 1956.

Red Sox Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams didn't go as willingly as DiMaggio and Feller. He was drafted in 1942, but applied for, and received, a deferment on the basis of being the sole support for his single mother. Teddy Ballgame was roundly chastised by the press and public, so much so that he enlisted in the Naval Reserves, eventually becoming a fighter pilot.

Williams missed the seasons of 1943-45. He was 24-years-old when he took a hiatus from baseball, having played four years in Boston, averaging 32 home runs and 129 RBIs. Williams was the last player to hit .400, having posted a .406 batting average in 1941. When he left for the Navy, he took his .356 career BA with him.

While he wasn't pleased, Williams was recalled during the Korean War, and this time he flew 39 combat missions. He played in just 43 games combined in 1952-53.

So before anyone complains how statistics will be compromised because of today's pandemic, consider that Williams hit 521 home runs despite missing most of five seasons in his prime. Using his career average of 37 homers a season, the Splinter might have blasted more than 700 dingers had he not been called away.

Looking at the aforementioned Hall of Famers, think about a situation where today's best player, Mike Trout, who's 28, would miss the next three seasons. Trout already has won three MVP awards in his nine years with the Angels, averaging 32 home runs and 102 RBIs while playing centerfield as well as anyone in the game.

If things go according to plan, he'll miss 100 games this summer. While DiMaggio, Feller, Williams, and all the other players who served in the military received not one cent from their ballclubs during their time in the military, Trout will get his prorated salary this season after the union whined, complained and cried foul over the money offered by the owners. Need I say more?

Altogether, approximately 500 ballplayers who appeared in a major league game served in World War II. Two didn't come back. Harry O'Neill appeared in one big league game in 1939 as a catcher with the Philadelphia A's. He never got to bat. O'Neill was killed on Iwo Jima in 1945. Elmer Gedeon, an outfielder, appeared in five games for the Washington Senators, also in 1939. He perished when his plane was shot down over France in 1944. Both were 27 when they died. As far as I know, you'll not find a plaque, let alone a statue, commemorating either.

To provide a picture of the widespread impact the war had on baseball, the 1941 White Sox, who broke even at 77-77, saw 15 of their players called away for either service in the military or to work in a war-related industry once the U.S. became involved. Their two best players, shortstop Luke Appling and pitcher Ted Lyons, left the South Side to serve. Appling was gone for the 1944 season, while Lyons, beginning at age 42, served three years, 1943-45. Both eventually were elected to the Hall of Fame.

The Browns, who played second fiddle to the Cardinals in St. Louis from 1902 until they moved to Baltimore in 1954, won their only American League pennant in 1944, primarily because many of the stalwarts of the game were absent. Because the Cards' top players - like Stan Musial, who missed only the 1945 season - were in St. Louis and not Europe or the Pacific, the Cardinals dispatched the Brownies in six games to win the World Series.

World War I saw a similar scenario. Hank Gowdy was a catcher for the Miracle Braves of 1914, which saw the club rally from last place on the Fourth of July to win the National League pennant. Four years later Gowdy was the first active player to enlist in the Army. In 1944 at the age of 53, Gowdy left his job as a coach with the Reds to re-enlist, becoming the only major leaguer to fight in both wars. Gowdy retired as an Army major. The baseball field at Fort Benning is named after him.

Shoeless Joe Jackson, owner of the White Sox' all-time highest batting average of .356, left the team after 17 games of the 1918 season to join many other pro ballplayers in the shipyards in Delaware.

As a testament to Jackson's value to the team, the Sox won the 1917 American League pennant with 100 wins before conquering John McGraw's Giants 4-2 in the World Series. Without Jackson for most of 1918, the fellas slipped to 57-67 before Joe returned in 1919 to lead the team back to that infamous World Series. With the exception of Shoeless Joe, the Sox roster was basically the same for all three seasons. Unfortunately, the MVP award hadn't been invented at the time.

So as we contemplate the opening of this truncated season, when names of Army bases, buildings, streets, team mascots, and other memorials are being challenged, maybe it's appropriate to rename Service Time as it relates to big league ballplayers. How about Pot of Gold Years, When I Become Richer Years, or Greed Time? Service Time should be reserved for what it truly meant.

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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 5:07 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: A Tale Of Two Tracks

Chicago was once, a very long time ago, a capital of American horse racing, if based on volume alone.

Now, there are just two, each on the cusp of very different fates.

The famous one, Arlington Park, is mired, at least for fans, in the confusion and angst of its very survival, which might be divulged in as little as 15 months.

The other, Hawthorne Race Course, has embarked, given a new slate, upon its future with the opportunity it waited so long to get.

We revisit because the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Churchill Downs Inc., owner and operator of Arlington, reached agreement on a truncated racing schedule for 2020. Pandemic aside, the agreement was required to be final at the beginning of the year.

They'll start on July 23 and run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through September 27, first post 2 p.m. every day. Arlington Million Day, which also includes the Beverly D. and the Secretariat Stakes on Arlington's vaunted turf course, will not be run.

Both sides thanked Illinois Racing Board commissioner Thomas McCauley and executive director Domenic DiCera for their efforts in reaching an agreement. My feeling is that those two and others from the IRB said something like, "This ends now."

ITHA came out of the talks well with Hawthorne losing one skirmish over dark days.

Arlington will not be allowed to divert money from the horsemen's purse fund for stakes races. That is unless it accumulates nearly $10 million in purse proceeds, which would require a huge bump up of handle. The same will hold true for 2021, with Arlington having the option of subsidizing stakes races itself.

But the real stakes explosion came because of the impossibility of running a prep schedule or even fitting in Million Day; severely curtailed international travel; and the absence of fans.

"Arlington, of course, is a place that relies heavily on retail," ITHA president Michael B. Campbell told me. Meaning, the track depends greatly on getting butts in the seats and selling the food and drinks that ensue. Arlington has simulcast betting sprinkled throughout the building and a separate OTB way over on the third turn. When fans return.

Recapture is an archaic and complicated calculation from the days when off-track simulcasting, to tracks and OTBs, was coming into its own in the 1980s. Tracks complained that they could lose money on wagers not made through the track. With Illinois one of the last states, that I could find, still taking recapture money, the track owner has the right to keep that money, taking it out the horsemen's purse account. Hawthornes circles it back into purses. CDI keeps it, about $4.5 million this year.

Can we trust CDI?

There was controversy early this year when the prospect of wagers placed at Arlington through its TwinSpires.com account deposit wagering service not being accounted for arose. Campbell said back then that with Arlington's very strong urging of fans to open mobile accounts, even at the track, state racing officials were trying to find advance-deposit wagering (ADW) accounting in the books. CDI is very secretive about its finances.

ITHA last week also described Arlington's near incognito operating of its OTBs, not selling programs or even allowing ticket cashing at the OTBs that are open. All I'll say is the last time I was at the Weed Street OTB in Chicago, I found the cinderblock bunker highly claustrophobic and wouldn't go in there with Buzz Aldrin's moon suit with this virus thing going on.

Hawthorne also lost out on picking up a handful of dark days, while waiting for Arlington to open.

When our tracks are running their meets, they become the host track for purposes of receiving, in another complicated formula, portions of revenues made on weekdays in the Illinois Track Wagering Network when neither Hawthorne or Arlington are running.

Hawthorne lost a bid to get dark days in the run-up to Arlington's opening. Hawthorne had only accumulated a handful of dark days before being shut down by the pandemic. At the IRB meeting, Hawthorne assistant general manager John Walsh had a good reason. Arlington did not.

Walsh said his track had racked up nearly $750,000 so far in expenses to keep its barns open for thoroughbreds, while also in the midst now of a standardbred meet. Arlington's barns have been closed. Sounds fair.

But CDI and Arlington, demonstrating time after time its disinterest in investing in horse racing, came up with a sob story about how $450,000 in drainage system repairs are required on the backside before the track can open. SO WHAT? That's a capital expense, the building.

Keep in mind that Arlington does not want to reinvest recapture money into purses. They refused to apply for the casino license they whined and cried about for years and years because it did not, once again, want to reinvest any casino revenues back into racing, which is a requirement by the Illinois Gaming Board.

I asked Campbell what it's like to be in a battle royale with Arlington every year to get as little as a bucket of water out of them to support racing.

"I go back to (CDI CEO William) Carstanjen last fall saying that it was with a heavy heart that CDI wouldn't be applying for a gaming license," Campbell said. "Who doesn't apply for a casino license?"

A no-bid license the state gave them.

"We're interested in the game and the animals and our families. We thought that if ever in the world there was a safe haven for racing, a bastion for racing, It would be Arlington," Campbell said. "We're up against a corporate mentality."

The image I have is the guy whose foot trips over the intravenous drug tube or the power cord for the respirator and, tired of the whole thing, just lets the patient die. Oops!

Rumors of a sale aren't going away so, CDI, sell the track already and get out of town.

The Pride Of Stickney

Meanwhile, on the other end of the suburb-o-plex is the pride of Stickney, Hawthorne Race Course.

With its casino license approval anticipated as early as next month, Hawthorne director of publicity and racing analyst Jim Miller said gaming could be in place in about 12 months.

Miller said Hawthorne is practicing patience.

"If we have to take a little bit of a hit right now, we know it will pay off in the future," Miller said, alluding to the broader underpinnings casino revenues will give its purses. "If we need to expand racing dates in the future (to react to Arlington's fate) we're ready to do so."

Hawthorne would not have been able to run its upcoming fall meet without churning the recapture money back into purses.

As for the Arlington agreement, "The last thing we wanted to see is the horsemen not have an opportunity to race in Illinois for an extended period, and then running the risk of losing them to another state," Miller said.

As for the blueprints, Miller said the casino facilities will be built inside the current building.

"We hope to have the sportsbook up sooner." The track will not install temporary slots to begin generating revenue. "We just want to do this right."

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Midnight Bisou
The world is her oyster.

Midnight Bisou, nearly skipping down the final furlong, blitzed the Fleur de Lis Stakes at Churchill on Saturday. If nothing else, just watch her move (#5, red cap) on the turn and moving into the stretch. SeeYa!

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 PM | Permalink

Chicago Cops Still Secretly Detaining People

Public Defender Amy Campanelli announced Tuesday the filing of a lawsuit demanding the Chicago Police Department abide by state law to provide a phone - and phone number for her station house unit - to all arrested people within one hour of detainment.

The lawsuit follows mass arrests of mostly peaceful protestors in late May and early June following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minnesota police. During the protests, police made thousands of arrests, and attorneys say their attempts to reach their clients were repeatedly blocked. Isolation from counsel - a situation which enables false confessions - remains a longstanding issue in Cook County, despite being made more visible by the events of the past month.

The unwillingness of police in Cook County to provide reasonably timely station house representation - and the overwhelming access to justice issues that grow out of it - exists in the shadow of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.

Between 1972 and 1991, Burge tortured at least 119 people - most of them young Black men - in order to force false confessions. Cook County still lives in that legacy, leading the nation in exonerations based on false confessions. Between January 1989 and December 2013, 95 people were exonerated in Cook County. False confessions accounted for almost 40% of these wrongful convictions. False confessions disproportionately affect the most vulnerable arrestees, including children and people with special needs or mental illnesses. Denying access to counsel within a reasonable time - one hour, the lawsuit urges, rather than "as soon as is practicable" - increases the opportunity for and risk of false confessions.

The Public Defender has been collecting data on clients' access to phone calls since April 2020, finding 33% of 1,468 defendants surveyed recounted that police never offered them access to a phone. Those who were given access to a phone faced an average wait time of 4.2 hours after being taken into custody.

Quality station house representation is available in Cook County but it is not being utilized immediately following arrest. In 2017, Chicago Appleseed found that the Public Defender's Police Station Representation Unit and First Defense Legal Aid provide high-quality, consistent, and passionate representation for their clients, but that only about 1.3% to 1.4% of arrested people (644 out of 50,083 arrests) in Cook County actually requested and successfully received a station visit in 2017.

Clearly, the barriers to full representation of detained individuals in Cook County are represented in the Public Defender's data - barriers that are controlled almost entirely by the Chicago Police Department.

With this lawsuit, the court has the unique opportunity to ensure adequate access to counsel following arrest. A favorable opinion here would help to eliminate Cook County's false confession problem and would support the fundamental right of access to counsel.

Our state legislature is also well-positioned to address this unconscionable barrier to justice. Illinois House Bill 4796 (sponsored by Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago) amends the Code of Criminal Procedure (1963) to explicitly provide that every person in police custody has "the right to communicate free of charge with an attorney of their choice and family members as soon as possible, upon being taken into police custody, but no later than one hour after arrival at the first place of custody and before any questioning by law enforcement occurs."

Under this amended rule, detained individuals must be given access to a phone to make at least three calls; the ability to retrieve phone numbers contained in their cell phone; and, if the jurisdiction of custody has a station house representation unit, that telephone number must be prominently displayed.

The lawsuit includes a coalition of activists (including Black Lives Matter, #LetUsBreathe Collective, Stop Chicago, UMedics, and GoodKids MadCity) and attorneys, including Campanelli.

Kaitlyn Filip is a JD-PhD student in Communication Studies at Northwestern University. She is a Chicago Appleseed Fellow and the Director of Communications/Events of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law chapter of the Collaboration for Justice. Her work has focused on access to justice domestically and internationally.

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Here's the press conference announcing the lawsuit.

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See also, from the Project On Government Oversight: Pretrial Detention In A Pandemic | Jurisdictions have failed to protect the pretrial rights of the accused. In a pandemic, those failures can be deadly.

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Comments welcome.

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1 From Steve Rhodes:

I realize Homan Square has been erased - at least by some - from our city's history, but this is exactly the dynamic that made it an off-the-books interrogation site. Just for example, see the real-time tweets from 2012 about the CPD "disappearing" detainees to Homan - three years before the Guardian blew the lid off the place.

Chicago media argued that Homan Square was not newsworthy in part because these violations occurred all over the city, not just at that one facility. Of course, Homan Square was unique as a site to secretly store detainees for questioning, but the fact that these violations were nonetheless commonplace strikes me as quite newsworthy, but what do I know.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 AM | Permalink

Here's Why Illinois Should Rename Calhoun County

When I toured the South Carolina Governor's Mansion in 2019, I noticed the multi-volume papers of John C. Calhoun on display. It struck me as remarkable that Calhoun's ideas would be featured so prominently given his vigorous defense of slavery and his role in laying the groundwork for the Civil War.

But the reality is Calhoun's legacy until now has been quite prominent in American society - and not just in the South.

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 4.33.37 AM.pngConstruction workers extracted a Calhoun statue in Charleston, South Carolina last week/Sean Rayford, Getty Images

His statue stands between the two chambers of the House and Senate in the South Carolina Statehouse. However, a separate statue in Charleston has been removed from the town square following nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd during an encounter with police. The statue had stood for 124 years just a block from Mother Emanuel Church, site of the horrific shooting massacre in 2015 of nine Black worshipers by an avowed white supremacist. The church is also located on Calhoun Street.

Despite his historic prominence, Calhoun's days as a revered icon in the public sphere are gradually coming to an end.

Calhoun Is All Around Us

Numerous cities and counties, streets and roads, schools and other public places are named for Calhoun, a slaveholder who served as Secretary of State, Secretary of War, a U.S. senator, and two terms as Vice President.

For instance, the Calhoun State Office Building sits in the capitol complex in Columbia, South Carolina's state capital city.

There are counties named for him in his home state, as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and elsewhere in the South. There is even a Calhoun County in Michigan named for him. [And, one in Illinois, Land of Lincoln.]

Major streets in Columbia and Charleston still bear his name.

Colleges And Universities

Despite his prominence elsewhere, Calhoun is about to become less prominent on the landscape of American higher education.

The board of trustees at Clemson University, a public university, announced on June 12 that its Honors College would no longer be named after Calhoun.

South Carolina's "Heritage Act" prevents renaming of buildings without legislative approval, but the honors college is an organizational unit, not a building.

This is a particularly significant development given that Clemson University sits on what was once Calhoun's plantation, which his daughter and her husband, Thomas Clemson, inherited.

While public memorials of Calhoun appear to be on the decline, what I find more significant - and more troublesome - is the way that Calhoun's ideology has been ingrained in the American culture and psyche, thanks in large part to the way his ideas were embraced in U.S. institutions of higher learning long after his death.

I make this observation as a historian and author of a chapter for the forthcoming book Persistence Through Peril: Episodes of College Life and Academic Endurance in the Civil War South.

Who Was He?

Calhoun, who was born in 1782 and died a decade before the Civil War began, in 1850, was not only a slaveholder and an ardent defender of slavery, but a chief architect of the political system that allowed slavery to persist.

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 4.30.42 AM.pngEngraved portrait of John C. Calhoun/Stock Montage, Getty Images

More enduring than the effects of his political career - which included the annexation of Texas to expand the number of slaveholding states - are the repercussions of his political ideology.

As a political theorist, Calhoun is best known for two ideas: "concurrent majority" and "nullification. A concurrent majority is the notion that a minority of the electorate - namely, one with money and property - can veto a political majority.

This idea is related to his belief in nullification theory, which is the idea that a state can void federal laws. Nullification made the idea of South Carolina seceding from the nation - and the creation of the Confederacy - a political possibility and then a reality.

Calhoun laid out his arguments for these ideas in his treatise A Disquisition on Government.

While some Americans defended slavery as "a necessary evil" Calhoun viewed slavery as "a positive good."

He held paternalistic views of Blacks as well as other non-whites, declaring: "We make a great mistake when we suppose that all people are capable of self-government."

The Calhoun Curriculum

Calhoun's political doctrines were taught explicitly in college classrooms for decades after his death. There are still remnants in the curriculum.

His own views on nullification theory, states' rights and secession were formed when he studied at Yale University, where the college's president, Timothy Dwight, introduced to him the idea that New England could leave the young nation and become a separate country. Yale named a residential college in his honor in 1931. It renamed it in 2017 after the intense pressure from students and alumni that followed the Charleston massacre at the Mother Emanuel Church.

In the chapter that I am writing for Persistence through Peril, I am explaining how Calhoun's ideologies permeated Southern institutions of higher education. His views were taught at the Military Academy of South Carolina before, during and after the Civil War. When those cadets studied the U.S. Constitution, their professors and texts emphasized Calhoun's interpretation of it.

John Peyre Thomas, a Citadel graduate and Confederate Army colonel who served as professor, superintendent and later trustee at The Citadel, heaped praise upon Calhoun, having served as editor for The Carolina Tribute to Calhoun in 1857.

In a speech given at Clemson University on June 22, 1897, Thomas declared, "It is conceded that Calhoun's standard in the science of government is so lofty as in some respects to be unattainable in our day and generation."

The Road Ahead

Decades of teaching a particular doctrine do not fade easily or quickly. The United States is now witnessing another racial awakening with protests for social justice. Symbols of racism and white supremacy are being removed from higher education.

On June 17, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees reversed its 16-year moratorium on renaming buildings, put in place after the statue known as "Silent Sam" was torn down in 2018.

The University System of Georgia, which includes the University of Georgia, also moved in June 2020 to review the names of its buildings. This would include the University of Georgia's Grady School of Journalism, which is named after Henry Grady, an avowed white supremacist.

After Calhoun's death in 1850, his colleague in the Senate, Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, remarked about him: "He is not dead. There may be no vitality in his body, but there is in his doctrines." He was prophetic in his words.

Calhoun's ideologies fueled the Civil War, gave comfort to those who believed in the "Lost Cause" (that is, to show the Civil War in the best light possible from the Confederate point of view) and perpetuated the teaching of racist and white supremacist attitudes.

Because the ideas he espoused have flourished, I believe that dismantling his legacy will take much more than just removing statues of his likeness or renaming buildings, streets and other public places named in his honor.

Christian K. Anderson is an associate professor at the University of South Carolina. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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See also Rich Miller's 2015 "On Calhoun County" post at his Capitol Fax blog.

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Comments welcome.

1. From Steve Rhodes:

I was originally going to headline this piece "Here's Why Chicago Should Rename South Calhoun Avenue," but thankfully I double-checked before doing that and learned that Chicago's South Calhoun Avenue is named after John Calhoun, founder of the Chicago Democrat, the city's first newspaper.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:29 AM | Permalink

June 26, 2020

Prove Your Paranormal Powers, Win $250,000

Can you read other people's thoughts? Can you move objects with your mind? Can you predict the future? More to the point, can you prove it? If you can, the Center for Inquiry Investigations Group will give you $250,000.

For two decades, CFIIG has offered those who profess to have supernatural, paranormal or occult abilities the opportunity to definitively prove their claims under mutually agreed upon testing conditions. For several years, the award for passing the CFIIG Challenge was $100,000, but no one has ever been able to claim the prize.

That award has now been raised to $250,000.

"We've been waiting for 20 years now for someone to come along and blow our minds, and while many have tried, no one has proven they can actually do what they say they can do," said James Underdown, CFIIG founder and Executive Director of Center for Inquiry West in Los Angeles. "Maybe all the real superpowered folks were just waiting for us to raise the stakes. Hopefully a quarter million bucks will do it.

"And just to help get the word out, we're also offering a $5,000 referral prize to the person who sends us a winning challenger. So you don't even need to have magic powers to get some extra cash. You just have to know someone who does."

CFIIG was originally founded as the Independent Investigations Group in 2000 and consists of diverse volunteers who bring myriad skills and knowledge to the table. The team recently became an official program of the Center for Inquiry, an international nonprofit organization that advances reason, science, and humanist values. CFI is also the home of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the medical myth-busting website Quackwatch.

With its two main groups based in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, CFIIG is the largest paranormal investigation group in the world, with allied groups and Field Investigators in the United States, Canada, UK, Italy, Australia, South Africa, and Germany. It has conducted dozens of investigations and tested numerous paranormal claimants for the CFIIG Challenge.

CFIIG recently offered a chance for "Hollywood Medium" Tyler Henry, who professes the ability to communicate with the dead on his E! Television Network show, to demonstrate his powers and claim the prize money, but Henry has so far been unresponsive.

In 2018, CFIIG performed an experiment at California's Salton Sea to demonstrate the curvature of the Earth to a group of Flat Earthers, which was covered by National Geographic Explorer. (The Flat Earthers were, alas, unmoved.)

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:52 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #310: Baseball Is Back! (But Is It Really?)

The virus doesn't care how much you want to watch a game. Plus: Other Sports Are Also Back Pending Death; Pandemic Baseball Sucks; Hub Bubs; Hall Of Fame Hossa; The Mystery Of Mitch's Motivation; Choking On Chalk; and It Was Unmistakably A Noose.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #310: Baseball Is Back! (But Is It Really?)

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SHOW NOTES

* 310.

1:30: The Red Stars Are Back!

* "The NWSL will be the first U.S. team-based league to return to play on Saturday with its Challenge Cup. (The Orlando Pride pulled out after several players tested positive.)"

* FiveThirtyEight: Megan Rapinoe And Tobin Heath Have Opted Out. But There's Still Lots To Root For In The NWSL.

4:46: Sports Are Back!

July 5: Formula One restarts

July 8: MLS is Back Tournament starts

July 10: NHL training camps open

July 23-24: MLB Opening Day

July 24: WNBA projected to start regular season

July 25: PLL begins its Championship Series tournament

July 30: NBA projected to restart

7:00 Sports Are Maybe Back, Pending Various State Lockdown Rules And An Athlete Dying.

* Coffman: "We are so far into unchartered territory now it's hard to know where to begin."

* Coffman: "College football is essentially morally bereft."

* Safely Reopening High School Sports Is Going To Be A Lot Harder Than College And The Pros.

* MDT: Mountain Daylight Time.

* You first.

vs.

* Tell us about it . . .

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33:15: Pandemic Baseball Sucks.

* FanGraphs: Team Entropy Could Be the Real Winner In A 60-Game Season.

* FanGraphs: Billy Hamilton, On Second, With No Outs.

* FanGraphs: So Just How Much Less Baseball Will The New Extra Innings Rule Give Us?

* The asterisk on the season:

coronavirus-1200x675.jpg

40:20: Hub Bubs.

43:34: Hall Of Fame Hossa.

* (And Doug Wilson.)

44:58: The NFL Might Also Be Back! (Maybe).

47:30: The Mystery Of Mitch's Motivation.

* Rutter: "Trubisky requires what the equally unsolvable predecessor Jay Cutler also could have used - a rewired network of mental operational connections."

* In the arena:

53:25: Choking On Chalk.

* Chambers: "The operating BS of the majority is that if one horse wins all three of the races this year, it will be a Triple Crown. No. And. NO!"

In other words . . .

coronavirus-1200x675.jpg

56:50: It Was Unmistakably A Noose.

* Coffman: Ride, Sherman, Ride!

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STOPPAGE: 4:39

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:10 PM | Permalink

The Myth, Mirth, Malarkey And Magic Of Glastonbury And The Arts

"In a year's time, after watching Netflix and Amazon Prime and your Insta feed and nothing else I guarantee you'd turn around and think where the fuck did all that go?"


"How many times have you read a sentence in a book or heard a lyric in a song or a line in a movie or a play that articulates a thought that you never thought that anyone else has ever had, but you? In fact, you didn't know that it was possible to articulate that thought or emotion until you heard it articulated. That's some powerful shit. There's a cure for a lot of societies ills right there. There's magic in that, that you are not alone, that you are part of something, a community, humanity. The realization that human experience is something that we experience together. Dancing together, laughing together, crying together, singing together, THAT'S ART."

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Previous Pie:
* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

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

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

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

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

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

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

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

* Pie's Brexit.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

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

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

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

* President Trump: How & Why.

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

* Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! 2016 In Review.

* Inauguration Reporting.

* New Year: New Pie?

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Strong And Unstable.

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

* Socialism Strikes Back!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Carnage.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Papering Over Poverty.

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

* Showdown: North Korea vs. Trump.

* Time For The Royal Scroungers To Earn Their Keep.

* Cricket vs. Brexit.

* The Real Jonathan Pie.

* A Hostile Environment.

* Jonathan Pie | Trump's America.

* Pie: Putin's America.

* Amazon And The Way Of The World.

* Horseface, Ho-Hum.

* Of Turbines, Trump And Twats.

* Breaking: Trump Still Racist.

* It Says Here.

* The Real Climate Crisis Hypocrites.

* Jonathan Pie On The Campaign Trial.

* We're Fucked, Mate.

* The Tale Of Dominic Cummings.

* Jonathan Pie's Black Lives Matter Report Brilliantly Illustrates The Point Of Jonathan Pie.

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Previously in Pie's Lockdown:
* Jonathan Pie: Lockdown: Low-Footprint Content.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 2.: Spare Bedroom Shithole.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 3: Tele-Vision.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 4: A Trump Drinking Game.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt 5: Madness Sets In.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 6: Question Time.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 7: Back To School.

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:06 AM | Permalink

June 25, 2020

America Is Exceptional In All the Wrong Ways

As our incompetent president flounders in the face of crises - leading the worst coronavirus response in the industrialized world, and seeking to crush nationwide protests for Black lives - the hard truth about this country comes into focus: America is not exceptional, but it is the exception.

No other industrialized nation was as woefully unprepared for the pandemic as was the United States. With 4.25% of the world population, America has the tragic distinction of accounting for about 30% of pandemic deaths so far.

Why are we so different from other nations facing the same coronavirus threat? Why has everything gone so tragically wrong in America?

Part of it is Donald Trump.

He and his corrupt administration repeatedly ignored warnings from public health experts and national security officials throughout January and February, only acting on March 16th after the stock market tanked. Researchers estimate that nearly 36,000 deaths could have been prevented if the United States had implemented social distancing policies just one week earlier.

No other industrialized nation has so drastically skirted responsibility by leaving it to subordinate units of government - states and cities - to buy ventilators and personal protective equipment.

In no other industrialized nation have experts in public health and emergency preparedness been muzzled and replaced by political cronies like Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who in turn has been advised by campaign donors and Fox News.

In no other industrialized nation has COVID-19 so swiftly eviscerated the incomes of the working class. Around the world, governments are providing generous income support to keep their unemployment rates low. Not in the U.S. Nearly 40 million Americans have lost their jobs so far, and more than 30% of American adults have been forced to cut back on buying food and risk going hungry.

At best, Americans have received one-time checks for $1,200, about a week's worth of rent, groceries and utilities. After a massive backlog, people finally started collecting their expanded unemployment benefits - just in time for the expansion to expire with little to no chance of being renewed.

In no other nation is there such chaos about reopening. While Europe is opening slowly and carefully, the U.S. is opening chaotically, each state on its own. Some are lifting restrictions overnight.

And not even a global pandemic can overshadow the racism embedded in this country's DNA. Even as Black Americans are disproportionately dying from coronavirus, they have nonetheless been forced into the streets in an outpouring of grief and anger over decades of harsh policing and unjust killings.

As protests erupted across the country in response to more police killings of unarmed black Americans, the protesters have been met with even more police violence. Firing tear gas into crowds of predominantly black protesters, in the middle of a pandemic caused by a respiratory virus that is already disproportionately hurting Black communities, is unconscionably cruel.

Indeed, a lot of the responsibility rests with Trump and his hapless and corrupt collection of grifters, buffoons, sycophants, lobbyists and relatives.

But the problems at the core of our broken system, laid bare by this pandemic, have been plaguing this country long before Trump came along.

* America is the only industrialized nation without guaranteed, universal healthcare.

No other industrialized nation insists on tying health care to employment, resulting in tens of millions of U.S. citizens losing their health insurance at the very moment they need it most.

* We're the only one out of 22 advanced nations that doesn't give all workers some form of paid sick leave.

* Average wage growth in the United States has long lagged behind average wage growth in most other industrialized countries, even before the pandemic robbed Americans of their jobs and incomes. Since 1980, American workers' share of total national income has dropped more than in any other rich nation.

* America also has the largest CEO-to-worker pay gap on the planet. In 1965, American CEOs were paid 20 times the typical worker. Today, American CEOs are paid 278 times the typical worker.

* American workers are far less unionized than workers in other industrialized economies. Only 10.2 percent of all workers in America belong to a union, compared with more than 26% in Canada, 65% in Sweden, and 23% in Britain. With less unionization, American workers are easily overpowered by corporations, and can't bargain for higher wages or better benefits.

So who and what's to blame for the largest preventable loss of life in American history?

It's not just Trump's malicious incompetence.

It's decades of America's failure to provide its people the basic support they need, decades of putting corporations' bottom lines ahead of workers' paychecks, decades of letting the rich and powerful pull the strings as the rest of us barely get by.

This pandemic has exposed what has long been true: On the global stage, America is the exception, but not in the way we would like to believe.

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 3:58 AM | Permalink

Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland

Abiding by the rules of the common misconception, I claim my birthright as the most non-Chicago Chicagoan in the history of demographics.

Being uniquely market-conscious is my speciality.

I also still have club memberships for Circuit City and Blockbuster video and a 10-cent off coupon for A&P bananas. I shopped for socks at Kresge, for Pete's sake.

A marriage was inspired by - I'm not kidding - an eHarmony profile, and they kept sending sign-up solicitations after the divorce. The second bite of that marketing apple did not appeal to me.

So, clearly I stand on the precipice of cultural self-awareness. A claim that you might be culturally self-aware is the first sign that you are not. Let the evidence speak for itself.

Nonetheless, there is no dispute about my Non-Chicago Chicagoan credentials. This NC-C identity is the tradition of those who live in Chicago suburbs, exurbs, boroughs, villages, regional affiliates and various minimum-security prison municipalities, and then claim this proximity makes them Chicagoans.

Or that they live in "Chicagoland," a realm just as real as Oz.

As with many hideous misconceptions, this was started by the Chicago Tribune, specifically by owner Colonel Robert McCormick to snooker advertisers into thinking they were reaching the entire unified region simultaneously. As if it were a single area. The fib caught on with credulous civilians, too.

But "Chicagoland" is a totally Chicago variety of concocted idea, not the result of evolutionary social forces. It was designed to make a buck. It has.

I have lived in six of those suburbs (in nine different residences), always intending to be permanently situated, except for those three months under court order.

Based on my expertise, every suburb does feel it is sort of Chicago, but for different reasons. Many feel just as resolutely they are not Chicagoans and have no wish to be.

Here's the record of my non-denominational hajj - town by town, burg by burg. From Indiana headed West and then angling North.

VALPARAISO: Whitest place I've ever lived. No, wait. Missoula, Montana, was whiter.

Valpo has a college, nice downtown, pleasant Lutheran social environment. It's a Garrison Keillor before-his-troubles sort of place. Everybody there with money has inherited it or escaped from Chicago. In Valparaiso, "escaped from Chicago" means "escaped from Black people."

In both Valparaiso and Missoula, the racial diversity on the college football and basketball teams was enough to materially change the population ratios in the town.The KKK once tried to buy Valparaiso University, but the Lutherans got there first.

Chicago might consider Valpo a Chicagoland suburb, but Valpo does not. Chicago is a foreign country like Lithuania or Bulgaria we sometimes visited.

Best city parks I ever saw, and was host to great county fair.

MERRILLVILLE: Essentially created out of highway crossroads at I-65 and U.S. 30 to give white people in Gary a place to which to escape Mayor Richard Hatcher and Black people. They did.

Merrillvillians pretend to outsiders that's not true. But it is.

The newspaper where I worked and home where I lived were both near the intersection. It was like living in a disorganized but really busy warehouse.

But Merrillville has no visible downtown, uptown or midtown. It's a series of strip malls, highway-hugging retailers and car dealerships with a North-South dividing line - 59th Street - between it and Gary. Like the Mason-Dixon Line, this line is invisible but significant.

Andrean Catholic High School was built in Merrillville, just south of 59th Street. The school's sports teams are the "59ers," just in case you missed the symbolic point.

North of that line is where much of Merrillville used to live.

Merrillvillians use the South Shore Railroad to reach Chicago jobs. That's all they really like about Chicago. They don't care who the mayor of Chicago is, or who the governor of Illinois is. Really. They're not angry at Chicago. They just don't care.

The residents do not lust to someday be Chicagoan. They visit if there's a good reason. That's all.

That's because Merrillville is the defacto capital of steel mill-sired "Da Region." It does not care about anything West of the state line. It's a unique world that barely cares about Indiana politics, especially Gary.

But if you pressed the point, the Ville considers itself superior in every way to Chicago, except for pro sports.

The city has a distinct mood. It has two Serbian Orthodox parishes and maintains an old-time Euro-ethnic vibe from one end of the U.S. 30 boundary to the other.

Merrillville is not unique in one sense.

Almost all Northwest Indiana municipalities and their populations dislike Chicago. They especially dislike that Chicago somehow presumes their fealty without any valid reason or permission.

All they know about Chicago they see on Chicago television news.

But it's not just Chicagoans they dislike. Merrillvillians particularly resent Valparaiso, almost as much as they dislike Chicago. Valpo dislikes both places and, in fact, almost everywhere else that is not Valparaiso.

EVANSTON: First, a telling anecdote. City council once held a public debate on the city's moral duty to provide Lake Michigan boat ramps for people from Morton Grove. Moral duty. They had witnesses. It was so precious.

Evanston takes itself very seriously.

City does have fabulous midsized-city downtown. But Evanston is largely what it is, both good and ill, because of Northwestern University.

The school brings culture, big-time college sports (relatively speaking) and also soaks up 40 percent of the available tax base without much compensation, at least in money.

Lived there during my brief "money years" in a grand, two-story stone Edwardian home - that was wonderful - but I lost my beloved golden retriever Sophie. That was awful.

Evanston should be, though does not seem to be, a fabulously rich town. It also remains one of the most residentially segregated cities in Illinois (a residual from the old red-line, racial zoning days). The segregation now seems to be enforced by economics. The city has too many homes that people of normal means could never own.

There are deep, unbridgeable lines between haves and have-nots in Evanston.

Yes, they believe they are Chicagoans, separated at the invisible boundary only by Howard Street asphalt.

But when no outsiders are listening, Evanstonians generally believe they are superior in every meaningful category to everyone. Maybe they are.

WILMETTE: Spent a year house-sitting for a friend. It was a million-dollar house in a million-dollar neighborhood. Typical Wilmette demographic. Have seldom spent a more miserable year in my life.

No divide between haves and have-nots there. There are no have-nots.

Wilmettians know that their servants cannot afford to live in the town where they work.

They - like Winnetkans, Lake Foresters, Highland Parkers, Kenilworthians and Lake Bluffers - pay for large swatches of Chicago's high-end arts. New Trier, the high school of record, is soaked with impossibly toxic levels of nuclear smugness.

This is just me. But the North Shore sort of creeps me out. Not freak; just creep. It's not only too much money constricted in too few hands. It's the presumption of privileged authority that doesn't even need to be stated. What? Me privileged?

WHEELING: If you don't like the sound of private jets on the landing glide path 500 feet over your head, Wheeling won't be for you. It's central feature is the theoretically named Chicago Executive Airport which, lIke almost all aspects of being verifiably Chicagoan, it's not.

But in one-year-plus living there, I never heard anyone call it Chicago Executive Airport. That's silly. It's Palwaukee Municipal Airport, like Comiskey is still Comiskey even if the structure isn't. The airport's 412 acres at the intersection of PAL-atine Road and Mil-WAUKEE road marks the village's dominant feature.

In one year, 77,000 planes by official count flew right over my home. That's 218.75 a day, every day, but who's counting? The noise whiners who live near O'Hare can kiss my grits.

Another city without much center. Ethnically diverse. Generally nice folks who work hard for the money. The most unpretentious sort-of-but-not-quite North Shore village. Despite the jets, I liked it.

If you live there for 10 years, sooner or later a private jet carrying millionaires will crash into a condo pool near you.

But villagers evince no hint of North Shore snootiness. If one asked the average Wheelingtonian if he or she considered themselves a Chicagoan, they would answer: Where?

GLENVIEW: Never lived there, but was lured there under false pretenses once to be fired by someone from Chicagoland. So it counts.

Glenviewites think they are part of the North Shore and thus are Chicagoans. They aren't either.

Glenview is North Shore and Chicagoan only if Peoria is.

LAKE VILLA: Tucked against the state's northern boundary with Wisconsin, this has been my home for a decade.

I could tell more Chicagoans they could transport themselves the 50 miles from Chicago on the Metra. But if I tell them about the charming lakeside serenity, they might come and despoil the contemplative atmosphere.

So, we can't have that.

The only exception to the charm is continuous line of EMT, fire, police and paramedics screaming south down the highway because this corner of Lake County (Lake Villa, Antioch, Lindenhurst) has no hospitals.

So every medical emergency, unresolved heat rash and bruised shin produces roaring highway sirens past my front door headed south for Libertyville.

On the other hand, it's an hour closer to Miller Park in Milwaukee than it is to Wrigley Field. Same variety of National League teams, just little traffic. No Ricketts family, either.

Happy here for a decade, which is pushing the immobility world record for me. So I must really like the place. As for intrusions by Lake Villa's official civic plans and initiatives, there are none that I can see. This place moves like Easter Island stone statuary.

Except for an occasional summer parade, Lake Villa practiced social distancing even before there was a pandemic. The official Census claims the village has 8,626 residents spread over seven square miles, but I have never seen more than 200 humans in one place.

There is a sign that points to the "business district" 1,000 feet off the main road, otherwise you would not know that's what it was.

You cannot tell you actually are in the business district, even when you are there.

How not-Chicagoan and non-Chicagoland is Lake Villa? There are actual Packers fans here. They're out in public and walk around freely.

This litany accumulates to describe 20 or so years hereabouts in my personal Chicagoland, which might seems like a long time for you, but not for me. The compendium does not include 22 homes in six other states previously - Florida (twice), Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin and Montana.

It does not even include the antebellum Kentucky mansion where I spent most of my childhood summers. I never surrendered my love for that old house.

I've been busy.

Few of those I met were any version of Chicagoan, but almost all the inhabitants thought they and their hometowns were unique, special and clearly better than everywhere else.

In some ways they all were right. And also wrong.

As for me, when I left each outpost on my unofficial French Foreign Legion tour of America, it was without law enforcement urgings. If you don't include that unpleasantness in Montana.

I once asked a sweet, elderly school teacher friend in Montana what she thought about Californians moving into Montana and raising property prices. "Gut-shoot 'em at the border," she said without a smile.

She was sort of a Chicagoan.

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See also:

* Rutter: What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* McClelland: Actual Crank Calls To Misleadingly Named Suburbs.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

* 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

* The Fonz Lives And Franco Is Dead: News You Can't Use.

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

* How To (Pretend To) Negotiate A Labor Deal.

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

So let me see if I have this straight:

The CTU is mad because the school board that voted Wednesday against removing cops from schools is unelected. But the vote leaves in place the option for Local School Councils, which are elected, to remove cops from schools. So in the end, it's up to the electeds. Isn't that what the CTU wants?

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The CTU presumes, for some reason, that elected officials would have voted to remove cops from schools. Now we shall see!

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Let me try this in another configuration: The CTU is against leaving the decision up to an unelected board or elected school councils. They're trying to find the sweet spot!

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"Chicago's school board voted Wednesday not to remove cops from schools, a decision we find regrettable," the Sun-Times says in an editorial that basically echoes my position.

We'll stand by the evidence, some of which we offered in an editorial a couple of weeks ago, that the presence of police officers does not make schools safer, just a little more like the anteroom to prison.

The normal ways in which kids misbehave too often become criminalized when the school cop, rather than a counselor or social worker, is called in. Arrests, handcuffs, fingerprinting, criminal records and higher dropout rates follow.

But here's an additional point we'd like to make today, having sat through three hours of debate by the school board. We take our position - that cops have no place in the daily life of schools - with a good dose of humility, respecting the arguments on the other side.

I haven't made my way through the research on the matter, but I understand it's pretty unequivocal in finding that placing cops in schools is counterproductive, to say the least. But I also have to respect the parents, teachers and, yes, even students who welcome officers in their buildings - especially people like school board member Dwayne Truss, a longtime West Side activist and former Raise Your Hand board member who lives in Austin:

So I, too, oppose cops in schools - with a large dose of humility. I also oppose the CTU's disingenuous ways, no humility needed.

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False Conviction
"A Coal Valley man's 2008 murder conviction was vacated Tuesday, thanks in part to the work of the Illinois Innocence Project," the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

"Newly discovered evidence showed that Nathaniel Onsrud was not responsible for the death of his four-month-old son. Onsrud was released from the Illinois Department of Corrections Tuesday."

Whenever I see this stories, I always try to imagine what it's like being these people - the unworldly frustration and inner turmoil at being falsely convicted of murder. Your one life taken away from you. And in this case, accompanied by a dead child. What torture.

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"Onsrud is the 15th Innocence Project client to be released or exonerated. The project, founded in 2001, is housed at the University of Illinois Springfield."

You have to wonder how many people spend their life in prison wrongly convicted. And sure, we hear about a handful of reversals in murder cases, but what about those wrongly convicted of all manner of other, lesser crimes? How sturdy, really, is our criminal justice system?

*

How does such a thing happen?

"Exculpatory documents were not disclosed to defense counsel."

Whoever is responsible for that should now occupy Onsrud's former cell.

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"Rock Island County State's Attorney Dora A. Villarreal also announced her office will be auditing all cases handled by Margaret A. Osborn, the former assistant state's attorney who obtained Onsrud's guilty plea," the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports.

Michael D. Oppenheimer, of Erickson & Oppenheimer Ltd., who represents Onsrud along with the Illinois Innocence Project, said police coerced Onsrud into confessing, and he later pleaded guilty to murder at the advice of his defense attorney.

He tried to withdraw his guilty plea, but now-retired judge Charles H. Stengel denied his motions. Onsrud, now 33, has maintained his innocence for the past 13 years while serving his 60-year prison sentence.

Oppenheimer said the prosecutors withheld at least 1,200 pages of documents from Onsrud's defense attorney.

Onsrud's defense attorney was not told that the Cook County Medical Examiner's initial autopsy, which was done at the request of the Rock Island County coroner, ruled the infant's death as an accident, but the report was changed to indicate homicide, Oppenheimer said.

Stengel retired in 2013.

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McCOVID-19
"A judge on Wednesday ordered several Chicago McDonald's restaurants to adopt new safety measures for social distancing, training and masks, granting a partial win to workers who sued the fast food giant for allegedly failing to adequately protect them from COVID-19," the Tribune reports.

"In issuing the preliminary injunction, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Eve Reilly said the restaurants were not enforcing their mask policies or training employees about social distancing in a way that is consistent with Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker's order, creating a public nuisance."

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Bluff Snuff
"Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara on Wednesday called Mayor Lori Lightfoot's bluff - saying if she's serious about making disciplinary changes to the police contract, she'll eliminate the requirement that Chicago Police officers live in the city and give them the right to strike," Fran Spielman writes with no apparent interference from her Sun-Times editors.

How in the world does suggesting such a ridiculous bargain constitute calling the mayor's bluff?

*

"One proposed disciplinary change would allow anonymous complaints - without a sworn affidavit.

"If they want to get rid of the [sworn] affidavit, then take the residency requirement out of the frickin' contract and also take the no-strike clause out of our contract and then, let's see how serious you really are. Give us the same ability that teachers have and give us the ability to live outside the city and then we'll entertain the conversation about getting rid of the affidavit," Catanzara told the Sun-Times.

"They're full of it . . . You keep talking about the affidavit. That's a gigantic ask for us. You're gonna be willing to give up residency and the no-strike clause? I guarantee they're gonna say 'no.' But, it's equal to me. It's what we want you to give up in exchange for what you're asking us to give up. They're not gonna do it any more than we are."

Emphasis mine because it shows that, far from calling a bluff, in which one party makes an offer that tests the sincerity of the other party in its very doableness, Catanzara admits what he is proposing is dead-on-arrival - even acknowledging that he himself would not agree to the deal!

But that's Fran. Tomorrow she'll check in with Ray Lopez again.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland
"A realm just as real as Oz," the brilliant David Rutter writes.

"I have lived in six of those suburbs (in nine different residences), always intending to be permanently situated, except for those three months under court order."

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America's Exceptionalism
Let us count the ways.

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Dear Media: Stop With The Racist Mascots And Team Names Already
"The continued portrayal of racialized mascots in news media directly violates fundamental tenets of professional journalism."

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ChicagoReddit

So angry and frustrated with so many people suddenly not wearing masks on public transportation jn Chi. Got off a bus today and switched el cars because so people decided to just not wear masks in a huge city all of a sudden. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Tamburitza Music: The Popovich Brothers of South Chicago

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BeachBook

Devin Nunes Can't Sue Twitter Over Statements By Fake Cow, Judge Rules.

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

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The Beachwood Alsip Line: Alsip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 AM | Permalink

Dear Media: Stop With The Racist Mascots And Team Names

The Native American Journalists Association joins the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, and Society of Professional Journalists to call for immediate discontinuance of race-based sports mascots in media.

NAJA is joined by NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, and SPJ to reiterate its demand for the immediate and permanent discontinuance of racialized sports mascots by news outlets. This discontinuance should include clear policy development and implementation that clarifies the harm they cause, and the practical editorial methods to avoid their use on all platforms.

The continued portrayal of racialized mascots in news media directly violates fundamental tenets of professional journalism. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics makes clear that journalists should act to minimize harm:

"Consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of publication. Provide updated and more complete information as appropriate."

A growing body of scientific research clearly demonstrates the harm caused by the portrayal of race-based mascots in media. The harm includes negative impacts on the self-esteem of Indigenous youth, increased prejudicial attitudes toward Indigenous people, and increased stereotyping of other minority groups.

This evidence has been ignored by media outlets to the detriment of Indigenous people, and media outlets owe it to their organizations, readership and society to do better. The socially responsible remedy to this grave injustice is to cease any further dissemination of sports mascots, nicknames and logos.

This policy change is long overdue. NAJA has long held the stance that Indigenous-themed mascots and team names inherently reinforce racist attitudes and behaviors. They perpetuate stereotypes and act as a replacement for the accurate and authentic portrayal of history, culture and lived experience. This replacement "disappears" contemporary Indigenous lives in the broader fabric of society, rendering it more difficult to address the life or death issues confronting many Indigenous communities.

Multiple professional organizations have recognized the negative impact racialized mascots have on the mental health and well-being of Indigenous people. The American Psychological Association has affirmed that Indian mascots establish unwelcome and hostile learning environments for Indigenous students and foster negative stereotypes of Indigenous people.

In 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled trademark registrations that it deemed disparaging to "a substantial composite" of Native Americans. Webster's New World College Dictionary has also labeled the Washington NFL team name as a racial slur.

NAJA demands that all media outlets treat these images, names and logos in the same manner as other racist terms and images and cease using them. We encourage our non-Indigenous colleagues to refer to the SPJ Code of Ethics, the AP Stylebook and NAJA for guidance when presented with an editorial choice to publish or broadcast racialized sports mascots.

For further guidance and to access research, please refer to the Reading Red Report page on the NAJA website.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

June 24, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

"We've been here time and time and time again."


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This CBS This Morning report isn't terrible, but it ends on an error, as we're told not to expect a federal consent decree in Minneapolis like the one we have in Chicago because the Trump administration is opposed to such decrees. The Chicago decree, though, came with Trump as president nonetheless, after state Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued the Chicago Police Department in federal court.

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Also, deputy chief Barbara West comes off as lacking in insight; hopefully, as a potential future chief, and even just in her current job, she's better than that in real life. She oversees the department's new Office of Constitutional Policing & Reform.

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Cops In Schools
Late today the Chicago Board of Education voted 4-3 to keep police officers in schools, though this isn't necessarily the last word.

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"The majority of board members opted to let local school councils continue to decide if they want police officers stationed in their schools," WBEZ reports.

"However, the school district's $33 million contract with the Police Department expires in August. That means board members must vote again on continuing the program either at the July or August board meeting. One board member, Sendhil Revuluri, indicated that his vote may change if the contract is not drastically changed."

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"Mr. Revuluri is Managing Director of Strategic Development at PEAK6 Capital Management, an entrepreneurial investment firm that leverages technology to efficiently manage risk in the options market," according to his board bio.

He does have an extensive background in education, though, and has two children currently attending CPS schools.

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Back to WBEZ:

"Seventy-two of 93 traditional high schools have police assigned to them, and another 48 officers go between various elementary schools.

"Wednesday's vote was highly unusual because the mayor has publicly said she wanted to retain the program and she handpicks the board members. It's unheard of for the board to consider a motion that doesn't have the backing of the mayor and the school district leadership."

That's a good thing! Enough with the boss mayors. Give Lightfoot credit for the board she appointed, which is the most progressive board in Chicago history and likely at least as progressive if not moreso than an elected board would be, despite the whining of the CTU and its allies. (Lighfoot, by the way, supports an elected school board, just not one as large as the CTU and its property tax appeal lawyer friend, Democratic ward committeeman and Toni Preckwinkle pal Rob Martwick, tried to push through the legislature. Ironically, one of the biggest flashpoints of the last mayoral campaign came when Martwick confronted - and lost badly to - Lightfoot over his proposal to make turn the elected Cook County Assessor's job into an appointed position. If memory serves, she thanked him on Election Night.)

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I wish Lightfoot would've replaced Janice Jackson, though. Not a fan.

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I'm not a fan of cops in schools, either. I also don't trust Local School Councils, which seem badly broken to me, to make their own decisions for their schools. I also wouldn't support a blanket ban on putting cops in schools. Maybe there are situations when that is the right move. It's possible that a School Resource Officer needs to be an entirely different job that combines some element and authority of policing with the skills and resources of social workers. I have found the entire debate to be unsatisfying. But ultimately, cops in schools is a symptom, like so much else, of the real problem: economically disadvantaged, underserved neighborhoods suffering from racism both structural and personal. Solving that socioeconomic puzzle would take care of so many other problems. I'm a bit of an economic materialist, you might say. If we can shift to a more just economic structure, at least a certain - and significant - number of problems will fade away. But that will and that kind of shift ultimately needs to come from the federal government - a neighborhood, city or state can hardly be its own economic actor in a vacuum.

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"Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland have all decided to end police-in-school programs in response to the recent uprisings."

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"The mayor and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson argued in favor of police in schools, with Jackson saying the decision to keep or remove police should be left to elected local school councils at individual schools. CPS says all LSCs voted last year in favor of keeping police, and Jackson is planning to have them vote again in August."

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"The vote comes after years of issues with the police-in-school program in Chicago Public Schools. It started in 1991 when then-Mayor Richard M. Daley put two uniformed police officers in high schools as a way to show he was dealing with out-of-control gun violence, even though the worst situations did not happen in schools, according to South Side Weekly. He also installed metal detectors . . .

"And accountability has been an issue. The City of Chicago inspector general issued a scathing report in 2018 that took issue with the Police Department for not having standard criteria for selecting officers assigned to schools. The department couldn't even provide an accurate list of the names of school police officers.

"Recent changes to the police-in-school program were also called on in a consent decree overseen by a federal judge that lays out reforms for the department. But last week, a monitor found the Police Department did not fulfill two key requirements: that only those with no or minimal disciplinary marks on their record are assigned to schools and that they receive extra training so they can serve more as counselors and know how to better interact with students."

One thing I'm certain of: If they can't do it right, they shouldn't do it at all. At least - or at most - let's make it a strictly controlled, minimally used program that meets the requirements of the consent decree and best practices. That shouldn't be too much to ask.

After all, we've been here time and time and time again.

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P.S.:

It's hard to read the Twitter attacks on Truss coming from people who proclaim themselves to be paragons of love and compassion. In fact, it's pretty disgusting. Try to understand where he's coming from, even if you disagree. Find common ground.

From his bio:

"Mr. Truss is a lifelong resident of the City of Chicago. Mr. Truss was born and raised in West Garfield Park and is a proud graduate of Chicago Public Schools . . .

"Mr. Truss has served his community in the following capacities: Executive Director/Coach of Austin Youth League/Austin Mandela Little League from 1990 to 2007, local school council member at Byford (now Brunson), Hitch and Ella Flagg Young schools, current member of the Columbus Park Advisory Council, former board member of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, former co-chair of the Austin Community Action Council, member of the Westside Parks Executive Advisory Council and the Westside Branch of the NAACP . . .

"Mr. Truss's major accomplishments include being the catalyst for the construction and current academic focus of the new Westinghouse High School, the renovation of Austin High School, the renovation of the new ball fields at Columbus Park, the renovation of Rockne Stadium, the reconsolidation of Austin High School as the neighborhood high school and the recent Chicago Park District investment of $3 million in capital improvements for Austin Parks . . . .

"Mr. Truss currently resides in the Austin community. He is a proud grandfather of eight grandchildren. In addition to his children, he and his wife helped raise two nieces, and two nephews."

Boldface because Lighfoot appointed someone from Raise Your Hand to the school board. With some people, you just can't win.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Data-Driven Police Reforms Have Failed
"In the past few years, we've seen renewed public interest in criminal justice reforms. Many jurisdictions are using data-driven approaches, which is a researcher's dream come true. But it's also a type of incrementalism that this week has betrayed as inadequate - the same cities that have introduced data-driven reforms are some of the ones with the most powerful protests. These cities also experienced some of the ugliest, most violent responses from police, exposed in the wave of viral videos revealing hundreds of cases of police brutality against protestors around the country."

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Safely Reopening High School Sports Is Going To Be A Lot Harder Than College And The Pros
'Extrapolate the numbers, and the estimate is frightening: About 1.7 million involved in amateur sports in the U.S. - which does not include coaches, trainers, and parents - could become infected. About 16,000 could die. The safety bubble of professional sports is a pipe dream for amateur sports.'

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Tunes To Remedy Any Existential Crisis
A Kat Mam playlist.

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An Act Of God?
Force majeure in a pandemic.

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Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Market On Fire
Hot melt technology!

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ChicagoReddit

Drivers Road Test from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Nachbarschaftsblues - Chicago Blues der coolen Art

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

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The Beachwood Blip Line: Blip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:00 PM | Permalink

Data-Driven Police Reforms Have Failed

The events of the past few weeks have put issues of racial justice, and the use of force by police officers against Black Americans, in the spotlight. But sociologists and criminologists have been studying these disparities for years, and by now there is a vast literature documenting the unequal treatment of minorities by police forces across the country.

Brianna Remster, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Penn State, is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova. In her research, she makes use of quantitative studies examining inequalities in criminal justice experiences, including issues surrounding police violence, incarceration, and mental health in vulnerable populations.

While most Undark interviews are conducted by phone or Skype, in this case the interview was conducted by e-mail earlier this month. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Undark: In 2017, you wrote that you were "surprised to discover that there have been few systematic analyses of disparities in police use of force." Is that still the case in 2020? Is your work hampered by a lack of data?

Brianna Remster: Post Ferguson - when Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown - there was an explosion of research. While it's better than it was, we still do not have the data we should: a national, standardized, and public database of police use of force. Many scholars like myself and my co-author Rory Kramer leverage administrative data, analyzing existing police records on their use of force, to fill the void.

In fact, we're in the middle of writing a systemic literature review on police-civilian encounters, and we're impressed with the growth in the field, despite data limitations.

For example, Ali Sewell shows that police violence affects the physical health of people living in local neighborhoods, and Frank Edwards, Hedwig Lee, and Michael Esposito estimate that roughly 1 in 1,000 Black men will be killed by police.

UD: One large dataset that was recently made public, and which you and your colleagues have studied, is the set of police reports of "civilian stops" in New York City, which provided officers' accounts of 3.3 million of these interactions, between 2007 and 2014. As you point out, one result of this data becoming available is that, in 2013, a federal judge ruled that New York's stop-and-frisk policy was racially discriminatory, and this in turn led to a number of policy revisions. Can you elaborate on the significance of having this data made public? What disparities did you discover?

BR: It is difficult to overstate the importance of police data becoming publicly available, especially given that taxpayers payroll police. This move was not voluntary though; the NYPD were court-ordered to begin keeping these records, requiring officers to fill out a form every time they completed an investigatory stop, known as stop-and-frisk. Once this data was collected, experts working for the plaintiff found racial disparities in who [was being] stopped. The NYPD was required to make this data public as part of the settlement in Floyd v. New York [a 2013 landmark federal class action lawsuit that addressed the controversial stop-and-frisk policies of the New York Police Department], and other cities have since made similar data publicly accessible due to similar settlements or, even better, in the interest of transparency.

Analyzing this NYPD investigatory stop data - that includes whether police used force during the encounter - my colleague Rory Kramer and I found that Blacks are more likely to experience police violence (any force as well as potentially lethal force) during a stop than White civilians when other relevant factors are held constant, including the stopped person's demeanor, whether evidence of criminal activity was uncovered, and local neighborhood context.

Further, consistent with racial stereotypes of Blacks as criminal, this racial disparity persisted when we limited our analyses to encounters that resulted in an arrest or seizure of contraband (drugs or guns). That is, when police uncover evidence of criminal behavior, Blacks were more likely to experience use of force in the process than Whites. George Floyd is a case in point.

We also found though that even when no potential culpability existed, Blacks were still more likely to be subject to police violence than Whites.

UD: You found troubling disparities concerning Black youth in particular. Can you summarize those findings?

BR: We find that the racial disparity in potentially lethal force is magnified among young folks when the stop results in an arrest or contraband is located - and I should note that this method, if anything, is biased toward finding no racial disparity.

Dean Knox, Will Lowe, and Jonathan Mummolo argue that once we correct for the bias in who is stopped (let alone who is arrested), the racial disparity in police use of force might be twice as large.

Even still, when Black kids are found in violation of the law during stops, they are more likely to experience potentially lethal force than White kids as well as older Blacks and Whites.

UD: One thing that seems to be plentiful is video-recorded footage of individual incidents. Scientists often draw attention to the distinction between "anecdote" and "data" - and yet, hundreds of video recordings that capture police using force, particularly on Black Americans, certainly seems to add up to something. As a sociologist, what can you say about the role of these video recordings?

These video recordings are largely why the racial disparities in police violence became a national debate in recent years. Because we live in a very segregated society, it was difficult for many White Americans to understand how brutal policing can be for Black people. The behavior being recorded is not new - police brutality has been the touchstone for racial unrest for generations in the U.S. - but technology made it visible to Americans who were otherwise able to avoid reckoning with it.

Although the growing number of videos is helping Americans grasp the direness of the situation, they are likely only the tip of the iceberg. Most encounters are not recorded, despite the growth in body cameras. What's perhaps most disturbing is thinking of how many cases aren't filmed and don't become part of the public debate.

UD: You have written, "Conversations need to shift from whether there are racial disparities in policing to what can be done to reduce or eliminate racial disparities in policing," and you note the move toward increased use of de-escalation techniques and implicit bias training. Can you say at this stage whether these techniques are having the desired effect?

BR: Three years later, we now know that many popular reforms have not had the intended effect. As Rashawn Ray recently explained, bad apples come from rotten trees. Efforts like changing police trainings and policies may help some apples from going bad, but it doesn't solve the problem of rotten roots. The Minneapolis Police Department had implemented most of those, including revising its training, working on community relations, and implementing body cameras. In many ways, Minneapolis was being upheld as a model for other cities after becoming one of six cities to pilot the National Initiative for Building Community Trust in Justice in 2015. And Minneapolis is not alone: Many major cities made similar changes in recent years.

As a result, calls to defund the police have eclipsed those incremental reforms and are rapidly gaining traction. Interested readers should check out Alex Vitale's work. The basic idea is to shift funds away from police toward areas like health care and housing. Changes in this vein are already occurring around the country; to stick to the Twin Cities, the University of Minnesota severed ties with the Minneapolis Police Department last week, and the city's schools followed suit.

Although reducing the size and scope of police might be new to many Americans, abolition scholars and activists have been emphasizing such approaches for decades, and in fact many countries around the world already use some form of it.

My own work supports such a move; when the NYPD dramatically reduced the number of investigatory stops annually, instances of police violence also tanked. Not surprisingly, the less contact police have with civilians, the less chance there is of escalation.

Importantly, we can implement changes like this without sacrificing public safety, as studies show that stop-and-frisk does not reduce crime.

UD: The events of the last few weeks have included countrywide (indeed, international) protests on a scale that I don't think we've ever seen before. And the Minneapolis City Council recently pledged to disband the city's police department and replace it with a new system focused on public safety; as the Guardian put it, this is "a historic move that comes as calls to defund law enforcement are sweeping the U.S." What's been going through your mind these past few days? Has some sort of tipping point been reached?

It is indeed a historic moment, spurred by the global pandemic that has had particularly devastating effects for people of color. COVID-19 is killing Black Americans at a higher rate than Whites and subjecting Blacks to historically high rates of unemployment. People are dying and can't pay their bills. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police were like lighter fluid thrown on a fire.

In the past few years, we've seen renewed public interest in criminal justice reforms. Many jurisdictions are using data-driven approaches, which is a researcher's dream come true. But it's also a type of incrementalism that this week has betrayed as inadequate - the same cities that have introduced data-driven reforms are some of the ones with the most powerful protests. These cities also experienced some of the ugliest, most violent responses from police, exposed in the wave of viral videos revealing hundreds of cases of police brutality against protestors around the country.

Still, Minneapolis' announcement to disband their department took my breath away. What comes next, though, is critical. We have Camden, New Jersey as a case in point. They disbanded their department in 2012, but it was not a step toward defunding nor abolishing police, even as some say it is. They replaced it with a force that had more instances of force and arrests than the previous one. I am hoping that Minneapolis draws on data, their residents' views, and alternative models when deciding what is next.

This article was originally published on Undark.

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Previously by Dan Falk:

* Three New Books On Consciousness To Blow Your Mind.

* A Physicist's Grand Tour Of The Universe.

* Immigrants And Epidemics.

* The Loss Of Normality.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 PM | Permalink

An Act Of God?

ALM announced Tuesday the release of COVID-19 as a Trigger for Force Majeure: A Global Survey, a resource to quickly answer key questions about the impact of force majeure on contractual obligations during and in the aftermath of the pandemic. The authors are McDermott Will & Emery lawyers who worked with ALM to produce a Q&A that readers can immediately download and put to use on behalf of their companies and clients.

The survey covers 10 countries and 16 U.S. jurisdictions including California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington, D.C. The international sections help lawyers and clients assess the contractual obligations in Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

"We are particularly pleased with this collaboration because the McDermott Will & Emery authors delivered a highly practical approach to addressing complex issues through a Q&A method that will allow firms and legal departments to quickly get to the root of the issue as well as the key authority and steps they should take," noted Molly Miller, Chief Content Officer at ALM.

Using McDermott's global platform, authors Lisa Richman, Shawn Helms, Jason Krieser and Matthew Cin collaborated with firm colleagues throughout the 16 US jurisdictions and ten other countries outlined in this survey to fully engage businesses to respond to and best leverage contractual obligations amid the pandemic.

"During this time of COVID-19, we have responded to an unprecedented need for practical advice around force majeure and related contract performance excuse issues from companies seeking to enforce or avoid contracts. My co-authors and I produced a practical, quick reference guide for any company dealing with force majeure matters, whether it be COVID-19 related or another major event," said Lisa Richman.

Co-authors Jason Krieser and Shawn Helms provide high-level force majeure issues in outsourcing agreements in their treatise "Outsourcing: Law and Business" and view this Global Survey as a significant and needed expansion of that guidance, also published by ALM.

"This report responds to the complex questions we have heard from our most important business partners, our clients. Our intention here is to provide indispensable, forward thinking and practical advice for dealing with force majeure issues and we are thrilled to partner with ALM on this effort," added Jason Krieser.

COVID-19 as a Trigger for Force Majeure: A Global Survey provides:

* Q&A for 16 US jurisdictions and 10 international jurisdictions.

* Focus on immediate questions with expert guidance including relevant precedent.

* Consistently framed questions to allow for easy comparison for companies doing business in multiple jurisdictions.

* Detailed but easy-to-digest answers that include 'what you should do if you receive a force majeure notice' as well as additional remedies available by jurisdiction.

"Providing clear and actionable content for attorneys and businesses is part of a long standing tradition at ALM," says Annie Cavlov, Vice President & General Manager of ALM's Regulated Markets. "COVID-19 as a Trigger for Force Majeure provides just that and in an easy to use e-book and online format with linking to citations. We welcome this valuable resource as part of the over 200 titles we offer for the legal and insurance professionals community."

The title will be updated at least quarterly with industry-specific guidance as well as new precedent as it becomes available.

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See also:
* JD Supra: Recent Bankruptcy Court Case The First To Provide Pandemic-Related Rent Relief To A Tenant Under A Force Majeure Clause.

* LaingBuisson: Force Majeure For The Healthcare Sector.

* Law 360: COVID-19 May Make Incomplete Contracts Renegotiable.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:55 AM | Permalink

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Market On Fire

According to the new market research report "Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Market by Chemistry (Acrylic, Rubber, Silicone), Technology (Water-based, Solvent-based, Hot Melt), Application (Labels, Tapes, Graphics), End-Use Industry (Packaging, Automotive, Healthcare), Region - Global Forecast to 2025," the global Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Market size is projected to grow from $9.5 billion in 2020 to $12.8 billion by 2025.

The primary factor driving the pressure sensitive adhesives market includes the increase in demand from end-use industries such as packaging, medical & healthcare, building & construction, and automotive & transportation.

The growth of the packaging industry in the emerging countries of APAC and South America is driving the demand for PSAs in these regions.

Furthermore, wide acceptance of PSA's owing to the ease of adaptability, growing use in tapes and labels, and high demand in APAC are driving the market.

Silicone PSAs

Silicone PSAs consist of silicone polymers and are widely used in specific industrial applications, such as medical, solar and wind energy, heavy machinery and aerospace.

It is used in the form of masking tapes, splicing, process tapes, and high-performance insulation laminates.

The consumer goods industry is a huge market for silicone PSAs. These adhesives can maintain adhesion over a larger temperature range and possess ability to adhere to difficult surfaces.

Silicone PSAs represent a small part of the total PSAs market and serve niche markets with a vast range of applications and end-use industries such as automotive & transportation and renewable energy.

Hot Melt Technology

Hot melt technology is mainly used in packaging and electrical, electronics & telecommunication industries. They are solvent-less PSAs. With advanced automation, they can be used conveniently.

This technology holds superior manufacturing flexibility when compared with water-based or solvent-based PSAs. Hot-melt PSAs are used in sealing food & beverage products, in adhesion of integrated circuits, and other packaging applications. These are extensively used in the FMCG sector in the packaging and bonding of consumer goods.

Tapes Application

PSA tapes are of various types and have different coatings on them. The types include commodity tapes and masking tapes. The coatings on PSA tapes include single-coated, double-coated, and reinforced tapes among a few others.

Labels are increasingly being used in packaging and healthcare industries owing to their ease of use and low cost when compared to traditional methods.

APAC has various developing countries, such as China, India, South Korea that have various emerging industries, including packaging and healthcare along with automotive & transportation, and building & construction. The developing industries in the APAC countries are driving the demand for PSA labels.

Medical & Healthcare

PSAs have prime importance in the medical & healthcare industry and are extensively used in hospitals. These medical products include PSA transfer tapes and single-coated & double-coated PSA tapes. Adhesive transfer tapes and double-coated tapes are mostly used in medical device OEMs to adhere to medical devices, strips, and pouches.

The market for PSA in this industry is also influenced by growing COVID-19 infections in people having existing medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes. Moreover, there is a continuous rush in vaccine development for the treatment of COVID-19 and developing medical infrastructures. All these factors are expected to increase the growth of the PSAs market in the medical & healthcare industry.

APAC

APAC is expected to account for the largest share of the pressure sensitive adhesives industry during the forecast period. The increasing demand from end-use industries is contributing to the demand for PSAs, eventually driving the market growth in the APAC region. This market is driven by increased foreign investments due to cheap labor and accessible raw materials.

Also, government proposals to improve the manufacturing and infrastructure, and to increase cash-intensive non-residential construction activities, coupled with the increase in the manufacturing of end-use products, are driving the PSAs market growth

Major vendors in the pressure sensitive adhesives market include Henkel AG & Company KGAA (Germany), The Dow Chemical Company (U.S,), Avery Dennison Corporation (U.S.), H.B. Fuller (U.S.), 3M Company (U.S.), Arkema Group (France), Sika AG (Switzerland), Scapa Group PLC (UK), and Ashland Inc., (U.S.).

Related Report: COVID-19 Impact On Adhesives & Sealants Market - Global Forecast To 2021.

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Previously in markets:

* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

* Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire.

* Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021.

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

* Global Condom Market On Fire.

* Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire.

* Industrial Lubricants Market Booming.

* Global Electric Guitar Growth.

* Early Impacts Of COVID-19 On The Pet Food Packaging Market.

* Global Music Recording Industry Trajectory & Analytics 2020-2025.

* The Global Premature Ejaculation Market Is Exploding Quickly.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

Safely Reopening High School Sports Is Going To Be A Lot Harder Than College And The Pros

Along with the revival of professional sports comes the yearning for a return to amateur sports - high school, college and club. Governing officials are now offering guidance as to when and how to resume play.

However, lost in the current conversation is how schools and club sports with limited resources can safely reopen. As an exercise scientist who studies athlete health and an emergency medicine physician who leads Michigan's COVID-19 mobile testing unit, we wish to empower athletes, coaches and parents by sharing information related to the risks of returning to play without COVID-19 testing. This includes blood tests to see if athletes have already had COVID-19 plus nasal swabs to test for the active SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Regular COVID-19 testing on all athletes may seem like overkill, but the current tally of 150 collegiate athletes, mostly football players, who have tested positive for COVID-19 grows longer by the day.

In sports - particularly contact sports - it's critical to remove asymptomatic athletes (those who do not show symptoms) before they infect others. This did not happen in South Korea, where one asymptomatic fitness instructor spread the virus to 112 people across 12 facilities, over 124 miles, and within 14 days. All this happened following a single vigorous four-hour dance session. The scariest point of this story is that these fitness instructors were spreading the virus before showing any symptoms.

Risks Can Be Considerable

The risk for virus transmission from an undetected COVID-19-positive athlete is considerable, particularly those who compete without a face cover and in close proximity to others.

Recent data suggests virus particles may travel through the air up to 27 feet, far beyond the six-foot recommendation for social distancing.

Clouds of aerosolized virus can remain suspended for three hours.

What's more, during maximal intensity exercise, athletes breathe faster and more deeply - up to 20 times faster - than when resting comfortably. This increases both the amount and depth of inhaled and exhaled virus particles.

Athletes also spit and sweat, which further contaminates equipment, clothing and playing surfaces. Saliva has been shown to contain 92% of active SARS-CoV-2 particles, and sweat can transmit the virus through contamination with saliva or respiratory droplets.

Along with all of this, vigorous training can decrease an athlete's immune function which makes them more susceptible to infections.

The latest NCAA report confirms that roughly 8 million high school and 480,000 college athletes participate in sports every year. How many could become infected?

One way to estimate is by examining current models. They suggest the virus could infect 20% of people, with a fatality rate of about 1%.

Extrapolate those numbers, and the estimate is frightening: About 1.7 million involved in amateur sports in the U.S. - which does not include coaches, trainers, and parents - could become infected. About 16,000 could die.

We recognize that testing young athletes isn't easy. It takes considerable time and expense. Our team - with approximately 80 researchers and four mobile COVID-19 units - can reliably test up to 500 people per day, at a cost of $75 to $100 per person. And those at greatest risk - frontline workers, symptomatic individuals and people in poor communities, nursing homes and prisons - must be examined first. That means routine testing of amateur athletes before weekly competitions may become unsustainable.

Our Five Suggestions

The recent reopening of college football practice is already off to a rocky start, with LSU isolating 30 of 115 players after about two weeks of practice, while both Kansas State and the University of Houston have suspended voluntary practice due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

In this evolving natural experiment, this small sample merely represents college football players returning to voluntary summer practice, where both COVID-19 cases and player-to-player contacts are expected to be low. Extrapolate that to about 8 million high school athletes competing in fall, with limited resources, and you can just imagine the consequences.

Nevertheless, to keep high school, college and club sports participation safe, we do recommend the following:

  • Prior to each competition, all athletes and on-field coaches must be tested for the virus. Anyone who is COVID-19-positive will be removed from play and quarantined for 14 days, with contact tracing initiated. Game officials should verify that competitors have tested negative 24 hours prior to play. Pooled testing would save time and money. Should a pooled sample show a positive test, then all athletes would be screened.
  • Blood tests should be considered. Athletes who have COVID-19 and are IgG antibody-positive were exposed at least two to three weeks prior to testing; they are likely carrying a dead virus and not at risk of infecting others. Provided they are asymptomatic, they could return to sports earlier. But those with the IgM antibody probably have an acute infection; those athletes should not be on the field.
  • Those at the event, including athletes/competitors, should wear face coverings. The production of "athletic-friendly" face coverings, for use during vigorous training and competition, would reduce viral transmission.
  • Social distancing, hand-washing and frequent disinfection of equipment, surfaces and clothing should remain strictly enforced, especially on the sidelines.
  • Sharing food, fluids and utensils should be avoided. Athletes should use personal water bottles.

An important point to remember is that the safety bubble of professional sports is a pipe dream for amateur sports. Daily temperature checks and symptom screenings in free-living individuals - that is, amateur sports - are not suitable replacements for daily COVID-19 testing and imposed quarantines, such as in professional sports. Forehead temperature checks are inaccurate and often underestimate fever. Once an athlete starts to develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19, they have already begun passing the virus around for about two days. Therefore, the prompt identification and removal of asymptomatic athletes - at all levels - must be enforced throughout the season and between competing individuals. If not, then our genuine hope for normalcy becomes complicit with ongoing disease transmission.

Tamara Hew-Butler is an associate professor of exercise and sports science at Wayne State University. Phillip D. Levy is an assistant vice president for translational science and clinical research innovation at Wayne State. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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See also:

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:49 AM | Permalink

Tunes To Remedy Any Existential Crisis

You can let it roll and/or share it here.

1. "Dixie Chicken" / Little Feat


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2. "Pity Party" / Sipper

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3. "Orpheus Under the Influence" / The Buttertones

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4. "Time" / Pink Floyd

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5. "A la plage" / Juniore

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6. "Bitch" / The Rolling Stones

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7. "Psycho Killer" / Talking Heads

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8. "Gotta Get A Hold Of Myself" / The Zombies

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9. "Going Out Of My Head" / The Zombies

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10. "Just Out of Reach" / The Zombies

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11. "Indication" / The Zombies

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12. "Halcyon Age" / Vansire

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13. "Locket" / Crumb

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14. "Live Well" / Palace

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15. "Tennessee Whiskey" / Chris Stapleton

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16. "Mother of Earth" / The Gun Club

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17. "Kanjincho" / Takeshi Terauchi and Bunnys

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18. "Flight of the Mosquitos" / Atomic Mosquitos

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19. "This Strange Effect" / The Kinks

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20. "The Star-Spangled Banner" / José Feliciano

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21. "Son of a Preacher Man" / Dusty Springfield

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22. "Pope Is a Rockstar" / SALES

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23. "No Milk Today" / Herman's Hermits

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24. "Fatman in the Bathtub" / Little Feat

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25. "I've Just Seen A Face" (Remastered 2009) / The Beatles

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26. "Strychnine" / The Sonics

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See the Playlist archive.

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Submit your own!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:47 AM | Permalink

June 23, 2020

40 Years Of Laibach | Is This Slovenian Avant-Garde Band The Most Controversial In Rock History?

In June 1980, Laibach was formed. Soon, they became the musical wing of the Slovenian arts collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), or New Slovenian Art. Comprising visual artists, theatre companies and a unit dedicated to social theory, NSK was concerned with exploring the relationships between art and politics.

Laibach took its name from Austro-Hungarian and then Nazi-occupied Ljubliana, the capital city of Slovenia. They were the first Western band to perform in North Korea and their most recent album is a cover of the Sound of Music, which re-presents that most saccharine of musicals as an exercise in the celebration of Austrian fascism and paedophilia.

Laibach is one of the most controversial, innovative and truly strange bands in rock history.

Exile

Cultural provocateurs par excellence, Laibach has managed to offend all points on the political spectrum.

Its earliest concerts were performed against a backdrop of images of "Tito", the revered former leader of the then in-decline Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), next to a drooping penis.

In a strategy that lent the appearance of tolerance while in fact inviting public retribution, the state invited Laibach to explain its actions on prime time TV. The band appeared in military garb and gave an interview of totalitarianesque slogans.

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Laibach was promptly declared a fascist organization by state officials, a descriptor thrust on anyone the state disagreed with.

In response, Laibach revealed its members were dressed in their Yugoslav army conscript uniforms, their words a mash-up of SFRY propaganda. The state banned Laibach from performing, and its members were forced into exile.

Laibach similarly raised the ire of the very ethnonationalist forces that brought down the SFRY. In 1984, they covered "Live is Life," by Austrian Europop band Opus. In Laibach's video, stags and majestic landscapes - symbols of romantic nationalism - are combined with symbols of Nazism and militarism, reminding Slovenian viewers of an uncomfortable public secret: the rural peasantry, who embody Slovenian nationalism most, were also willing collaborators in the violent Germanization of the country in World War II.

Rehabilitation And The Totalitarian Cure

After many pariah years, Laibach came to be rehabilitated. In 2017, the philosopher Slavoj Žižek wrote an article titled "Why Are Laibach And NSK Not Fascists." Žižek had critiqued liberal and leftists alike for their condemnation of Laibach's use of fascist and other totalitarian symbolism. There was nothing at all ironic in Laibach's actions, he argued. Rather, Laibach sought to promote an over-identification with such symbolism and it was through this that identification with fascism could be overcome.

Laibach's recordings are now regarded widely as key examples of Soviet postmodernism, exploring relationships between ideology and art. Laibach demonstrates how apparently benign musical forms conceal repressed totalitarian sentiments by transforming the musical arrangement of famous pop songs into martial anthems. The Beatles' "Get Back" was written as a song about homecoming; in Laibach's hands it is a warning to immigrants to keep out.

Laibach's live performances are even more affecting, using the discordant sounds of martial music, feedback, recordings of political speeches and barking dogs, described by the band as "ritualized demonstrations of political force." Within each show the audience goes through a full circle of alienation by identification with, and disidentification from, totalitarianism.

Not surprisingly, Laibach has cemented its status as a darling of the leftist avant-garde. Nowadays, they are just as likely to be found performing at the Tate Modern, the Venice Biennale, MONA or with philharmonic orchestras as in sweaty rock venues.

Eternal Laibach

With typical bombast, NSK once declared "only God can subdue LAIBACH. People and things never can." Laibach has gone about making itself eternal.

Mimicking the totalitarian state, NSK eschews individualism. Its manifesto states "each individual is subjugated to the whole." Indeed, when the original lead singer Tomaž Hostnik died by suicide, he was posthumously thrown out of the band for undertaking an act that was not collectively sanctioned.

More recently, Laibach's anti-individualism has manifested in core members relegating themselves to tech roles like lighting engineers, with the musicians replaced by younger artists who will outlive them.

In 1991, NSK declared itself a virtual non-territorial state, with some displaced people unsuccessfully trying to use NSK passports at actual border crossings.

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The Slovenian state now cherishes Laibach as a national icon. Children march into school assemblies to the accompaniment of a Laibach song, and rumors abound the Slovenian state is striving to have Laibach classified by UNESCO as an intangible site of World Heritage.

Laibach's method for longevity contrasts sharply with the narcissistic cult of personality approach deployed by its main cultural colleagues: totalitarian political leaders and pop stars. The SFRY was unable to survive the death of its charismatic leader Tito. Despite frantic attempts on social media, pop stars will disappear as quickly as they shoot to fame. Perhaps the key lesson to learn from Laibach is the best way to remain a star is to go out of your way to not be one.

Happy birthday, Laibach! It is likely to be just one of many more to come.

Andrew Dawson is an anthropology professor at the University of Melbourne. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 PM | Permalink

Soul Survivors

The Souls Survivor Organization, a group formed by former African-American participants of Survivor, will host "Tribes and Tribulations" on Friday, a live discussion of their experiences being Black on a competitive reality television series. The conversation will be streamed via YouTube and through the event page starting at 5:30 pm CT.

The event will focus on uncovering racism and producing a change for the future of reality television, as we know it. The group is also championing an online petition to support anti-racism efforts by Survivor.

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In the wake of heightened national attention focused on systemic racism,"Alumni of color thought it important to lend our collective voices to the conversation," said Jamal Shipman, a contestant from Survivor Season 39.

"The intersectionality between race and reality television is seen but not discussed," said Julia Carter, a contestant from Survivor Season 38.

"We want to ensure that the breadth of black stories are told because representation in media affects how you are treated in society and can be the difference between life or death," added J'Tia Hart, a contestant from Survivor Season 28.

"This event will be the first time, where I can talk freely about my experiences as a black contestant in a judgment-free zone," said Russell Swan, two-time contestant on Survivor Season 19 and 25.

The panel will be moderated by Nicole Symmonds, a Ph.D. candidate in Ethics at Emory University and will feature the following speakers:

* Ramona Gray Amaro, Season 1, Chemist

* Russell Swan, Season 19 & 25, Environmental Lawyer

* J'Tia Hart, Season 28, Nuclear Engineer

* Brice Johnston, Season 28, Social Worker

* Wendell Holland, Season 36 Winner & 40, CEO/Furniture Designer

* Julia Carter, Season 38, Medical Student

* Jamal Shipman, Season 39, Software Consultant

For more information, please visit www.jtiaphd.com/tnt

ABOUT THE SOUL SURVIVORS ORGANIZATION
The Soul Survivors Organization is a collective of former Survivor contestants of African-American descent who are focused on supporting the black community by shifting our representation in entertainment. TSSO was formed in June 2020, during the wake of George Floyd's murder by police and ardent support for dismantling systemic racism.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:22 AM | Permalink

How Grant Destroyed Confederate Control Of The Mississippi River

"Vicksburg, Mississippi, held strong through a bitter, hard-fought, months-long Civil War campaign, but General Ulysses S. Grant's 40-day siege ended the stalemate and, on July 4, 1863, destroyed Confederate control of the Mississippi River. In the first anthology to examine the Vicksburg Campaign's final phase, nine prominent historians and emerging scholars provide in-depth analysis of previously unexamined aspects of the historic siege," SIU Press says.

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"Ranging in scope from military to social history, the contributors' invitingly written essays examine the role of Grant's staff, the critical contributions of African-American troops to the Union Army of the Tennessee, both sides' use of sharpshooters and soldiers' opinions about them, unusual nighttime activities between the Union siege lines and Confederate defensive positions, the use of West Point siege theory and the ingenuity of Midwestern soldiers in mining tunnels under the city's defenses, the horrific experiences of civilians trapped in Vicksburg, the failure of Louisiana soldiers' defense at the subsequent siege of Jackson, and the effect of the campaign on Confederate soldiers from the Trans-Mississippi region.

"Rebel troops under the leadership of General John C. Pemberton sought to stave off the Union soldiers, and though their morale plummeted, the besieged soldiers held their ground until starvation set in. Their surrender meant that Grant's forces succeeded in splitting in half the Confederate States of America."

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Previously:

* The Truth About The Siege Of Vicksburg.

* The Vicksburg Assaults.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:00 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Former police officer Anthony Napolitano said on Tuesday that the notion of defunding the police is 'ridiculous' and communities, especially in Chicago, need to 'step up' to address crime in their own neighborhoods." Fox 32 Chicago reports.

"I want to see more outrage. Where is the outrage for the hundred-plus people shot in the street and these kids that have been killed?" Nothing. It is silent here," Napolitano told Fox & Friends First.

Such a well-worn trope of the right. Let me tell you something, Ald. Napolitano: If you don't see the outrage all around you, you aren't looking very hard. Maybe get out of the house - or stay in and read a newspaper or visit a website (and skip John Kass, who has propagated the same notion for years despite an exhausting number of marches, rallies, pleas and protests against gun violence and all manner of crime that courses through some of our neighborhoods). The outrage is in your face. The only way you can miss it is if you insist on turning away.

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In fact, if Napolitano and Kass don't think the outrage of the current BLM protests extend to the kind of weekends we just saw in Chicago, they're missing the big picture, and particularly a big piece of what the 'defund the police' movement is all about.

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I can't help but recall when Rahm, too, was on the no-outrage bandwagon, though maybe understandable because he was new to the city . . .

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"Napolitano said that cops hold each other accountable, contrary to popular belief."

He's right - if by "holding each other accountable" he means accountable to the code of silence.

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Better:

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"This is on parents. Raise your kids. Teach them what is right and what is wrong."

Now he's making sense. I hope the parents of police officers do this and their kids follow their advice.

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Meanwhile, here's Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White not being useful:

"I've experienced discrimination most of my life, but I've never bought into it and never let it keep me from doing what I wanted to do. Whenever I experienced it, I let it roll off my back."

Do you hear that, kids? Just let it roll of your back. Or your neck as it's being crushed. Or your back where you're being shot. Don't buy into it.

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And here's someone else I'd rather not hear from, seeing as how he's the only police chief in U.S. history to leave two departments under federal consent decrees for widespread civil rights violations:

Former Chicago Police Commissioner Garry McCarthy told The Story Monday that he has heard from police officers who are "devastated" by the current anti-law enforcement climate in several cities across America, which has been accompanied by a surge in violence.

"I'm talking to my colleagues across the country, I'm talking to rank-and-file police officers here and in New York City and in Newark, New Jersey where I worked," he told host Martha MacCallum. "They are devastated."

"To a man and a woman, they say that policing is dead in this country," McCarthy added. "I don't think we can come back after this."

Looking forward to Rahm Emanuel's next ABC appearance to explain it all to us.

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Revolving Door
"The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) of Illinois issued the following statement regarding Phase 4 reopening guidelines released by Gov. JB Pritzker's office, which allows for movie theatres to reopen beginning June 26 with a maximum capacity of 50 people."

I don't much care about that, but this:

"I asked the group's spokesperson Monique Garcia what the theaters were doing about the viral load issue," Rich Miller writes.

That would this Monique Garcia, who used to be this Monique Garcia.

I'm sorry, but if you're going to leave the business, go work for a homeless shelter or teach, don't do work that is hostile to journalism and its core values.

Beyond that, we should be immediately suspect of the work of those who are found acceptable and even desirous to be hired into such positions.

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GOP vs. FOP
I understand that the Illinois GOP would like to flip the state supreme court seat of Thomas Kilbride to their side, but I find it notable nonetheless that in trying to do so they are on record opposing the FOP's position on their latest case to reach that bench. Perhaps that sliver of an opening could widen into a wedge.

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Fireworks Frenzy
"The city has received more than 7,000 emergency calls for fireworks disturbances so far this year, compared with only 842 last year during the same time period, a 736% increase, according to data provided by the Office of Emergency Management and Communications," the Tribune reports.

"The numbers mirror increases in cities throughout the country, which those in the fireworks industry say can be traced to the cancellation of organized shows because of the coronavirus pandemic. There has been a surge in complaints about fireworks in New York, Boston and Hartford, Connecticut. Residents of other cities, including Los Angeles and Baltimore, have taken to social media to vent their frustration."

I'm glad the Trib included that national context, which is so often missing in stories that describe decidedly non-local phenomena, like, say, pothole season and overburdened unemployment offices.

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Anyway, apparently the massive increase in fireworks use is due to cooped-up folks feeling stir crazy - which, by the way, is the reason behind the massive number of shootings last weekend, according to one alderman.

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Illinois' Amazingly Awesome Unemployment Office
Speaking of overburdened unemployment offices . . .

"The Illinois Department of Employment Security is opening up about the significant hurdles they faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Thursday was the first time the Illinois Employment Security Advisory Board met since Gov. J.B. Pritzker started the state's stay-at-home order," downstate WGEM-TV reports.

People filing for unemployment are frustrated by busy phone lines and a website prone to random crashes. IDES Acting Director Thomas Chan says the department wasn't staffed for such an event. Chan explains the federal government didn't provide funding for better staffing. He says IDES has also seen a large number of employees retire, meaning there are less experienced members working right now.

For example, in 2014 86.1% of the staff had over five years of experience. That dropped to 67% by this year. Internal documents show seasoned employees with 20 or more years with IDES dropped by nearly 11%. Chan says they need to fill 170 jobs as soon as possible.

"If you look at the statistics, you can see that we're receiving around 200,000 calls from unique claimants each week," Chan said. "Even though our capacity is expanding, we've only ever been able to answer about 15% of those calls."

He feels criticism of the call center is justified since people expected the Department to be prepared for the major increase in unemployed Illinoisans.

Nice of you to say so now, Director Chan. Almost two months ago Pritzker preposterously claimed there was no backlog at IDES.

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See also, from CNN: Unemployed Kentucky Residents Descend On Capital, Demand Help After Months Of Waiting For Benefits.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Dear High Schoolers And Recent Graduates . . .
Our very own Kat Mam would like a word with you.

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How Grant Split The Confederate Nation At Vicksburg
He fucked up them Rebs but good.

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Soul Survivors
Black reality TV stars discuss their Tribes and Tribulations.

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40 Years Of Laibach
The most controversial band of all-time?

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ChicagoReddit

Has anyone had success lowering their rent when they signed a new lease during the pandemic? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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Writing on the Wall | The Wall of Respect was a mural first painted in 1967 by the Visual Arts Workshop of the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC). The mural represented the contributions of fourteen designers, photographers, painters, and others, notably Chicago muralist William Walker. Some of the artists would go on to found the influential AfriCOBRA artists collective. The work comprised a montage of portraits of heroes and heroines of African American history painted on the side of a building at the corner of Chicago's 43rd Street and Langley Avenue, an area called the Black Belt. Notable images included Nat Turner, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Gwendolyn Brooks, W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Aretha Franklin, and Harriet Tubman. Wall of Respect was an example of the Black Arts Movement, an artistic school associated with the Black Power Movement. The scholarly journal Science & Society underscored the significance of the Wall of Respect as "the first collective street mural," in the "important subject [of] the recently emerged street art movement." The Wall became famous as a "revolutionary political artwork of black liberation". The Wall became a source of inspiration and pride for the black community. #arthistory #blackliberation #africobra #jeffdonaldson #chicago #mural #artactivism #wallofrespect

A post shared by AUC Art Collective (@auc_artcollective) on

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ChicagoTube

The $300 Million Cable Between New York City And Chicago.

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BeachBook

Experts Call For Regulation After Latest Botched Art Restoration In Spain.

This can't be fucking real. Really?

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

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Dear complainers: You've benefited mightily from intentional, structural racism for quite a long time. Think of how devastating this system has been to Black wealth . . .

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Soda taxes are good and proper, though execution can be complicated.

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I mean, there's a lot going on here . . .

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The Beachwood Quip Line: Quip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:32 AM | Permalink

Dear High School Students And Recent Graduates . . .

I hate to cut the fun and excitement of teenagehood short, but I've got news for you: very soon, you'll be walking into something serious. Something that needs to be changed. Something only you can help change. I'm not talking about you going away to college. I'm talking about you playing a vital role in our society.

Look, I'm neither a philosopher, nor a psychologist, nor a saged old woman who has lived through a Depression and two World Wars, nor anyone with relevant credentials, unless of course being a jaded existential young adult counts for anything. I'm a college student. Out of the frying pan into the fire, you could say. Why do I care what high schoolers are like? I'm done with them, you might be thinking. Why would I go through the pains of drafting a slightly pretentious letter to a group of people I no longer have to deal with? If only that were the case, and that is the reason why I'm doing this. You're the change our world needs, but it comes at a cost: you have to change first.

I don't care if you go to a posh, upscale private high school or if you go to an underfunded public school. There is one thing that unites all high school students across socioeconomic disparities: immaturity. I believe the root of most, if not all, personal defects is an unshakable sense of immaturity that prevents the individual from not only seeing their flaws, but from improving upon them.

I had a friend over for coffee recently. After hearing her share about our former high school classmates (now college students, mind you) behaving in a detestable manner, she broke my horrified silence by saying what I had been thinking and seeing all around me, but couldn't articulate. "We left high school, but high school never left some people."

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High schoolers tend to be very immature. Take a look at every high school movie or TV show, and you'll see a practically uniform set of characters who are quick to anger, slow to forgive, and generally unwilling to acknowledge their flaws when pointed out. It's understandable why: they're in that awkward age where their egos are particularly fragile, thus coming to terms with the difficult truths needs more patience and time.

The issue is, as a friend of mine put it, that some of us never abandon this adolescent mentality. We paid obscene amounts for a cap and gown that we'll never wear again. We have our diplomas. We walked out of those front doors for the final time. Yet the temperament, resentfulness, and immaturity of our young selves continues to permeate.

It is understandable why so many people might reject changing for the better. It's unpleasant to acknowledge your flaws, let alone begin the arduous odyssey of self-improvement. I think part of the problem of the high school temperament that remains with us even after graduating is the fact that our culture forgives us for our immaturity. The magnanimity doesn't just end there: we're almost expected to be immature. Because we have this societal expectation as our cushion to protect us from the blows of this self-fulfilling prophecy, the determinants of immaturity don't strike us as being anything more than just a part of childhood. But here's the thing: childhood is over. We're adults . . . or close enough to start acting like it.

I often think about what our culture would be like if societal expectations held us to higher standards. Yes, of course, immaturity is inevitable, due to our brains not being fully developed, or our not having experienced much of life yet. Those marks of adolescence are, indeed, forgivable. But they shouldn't excuse us from having to improve upon ourselves.

When my class left high school, all of us were buzzing with excitement for what the future held. We confided with our friends about how nervous we were about making new friends; we boasted about how mature we were sure we'd become; we braced for impact against the debt we were about to hoist upon our shoulders. What a pity it is that most of us haven't changed.

Some of us have changed for the better! We ironed out the kinks in our temperament, abandoned the negative personality traits, and truly blossomed into someone better and maturer. Naturally among your group, there are many high schoolers who are mature and refined and exercise impressive amounts of self-control. But like most good things, those people are few in number and usually tend to mind their business, rather than invest their efforts (in vain) in awakening the zombified mob. But the vast majority of high schoolers aren't mature, which is an issue bigger than most of us want to admit.

Of course, being a college student means you and I find ourselves in the same generational conundrum. So in a way, by preaching at you, I'm also preaching to myself and my fellow college students. The difference is, however, that since I've left the trenches - I mean, high school - and have witnessed the stunted maturity of those around me (professors and students alike), I'm acutely aware of the fact that if any change is going to happen, it'll have to start with you.

As I've mentioned, I'm a firm believer in immaturity being one of the foundations for a bad personality. If you're disorganized, short-tempered, or practicing an unhealthy lifestyle, the reason you have yet to change for the better is because you're either too immature to deal with the situation or you're so immature you've yet to realize you're even in a situation that needs to be changed. Then, of course, there's the issue of growing cross with anyone who points out our flaws. It is uncomfortable and painful, but that's no excuse to not listen. Immaturity is not laughing at a reproductive-organ joke (those can actually be quite funny), rather it is willingly remaining blind to self-improvement.

This isn't a short-term problem, either. Brad Holland once said, "Art imitates life. Life imitates high school." For those thinking we'll "grow out of it," I suggest you look out the window. Have you noticed how dysfunctional, angry, and immature the world is?

High schools represent humanity in its rawest, purest self. It's a fantastically, yet depressingly perfect representation of humanity at-large.The way these future leaders of the nation behave between the walls of high school is the way humans across the nation behave once they've left, and it is the way they continue to act well into their advanced years. Yes, certain details change if they acknowledge the need and put in the work to change. But the core of the 11th immature-grader remains constant even years after walking through those wretched classrooms. No wonder our nation is populated by people who've mentally yet to graduate.

We can see the seeds of the immature teenager in full bloom around us when we just look. Have you noticed how catty and petty adults are? How unwilling they are to admit they have problems? How quickly do they lose their temper? Their infantile expectations and attitudes? It's almost as if they're us . . .

It takes a great deal of maturity and courage to look away from the rose-tinted mirror and see ourselves for what we truly are. Short-tempered, prone to sulking, irresponsible, messy, unhygienic, stubborn, selfish, egotistical, and many more unfavorable adjectives are all so closely interwoven with our daily lives that we forget they were ever there in the first place. We become so well-adjusted to living as a stubborn, messy, egotistical, poor-hygienic prick that when someone points it out to us we become offended. It simply isn't possible, we might think, that I could possibly be anything like that!

Often the case isn't that we're upset because those terms are genuinely false, rather because deep down we don't want to face the possibility that we're so flawed other people are noticing it and beckoning us to change. The mature person takes a moment after a possible strike to pride to reflect that maybe, just maybe, we could do with being more patient with others; we could let go of unnecessary grudges; we could make haste with meeting deadlines; we could change for the better.

The mature person, though slightly hurt at hearing someone use critical terms to describe them, entertains the possibility of those things being true. Mature people don't resist the disapproval, they don't clap back with stating maliciously the other person's flaws; they analyzes the other person's comments. The mature person changes for the better.

We don't let a teenager run for Congress. We don't let a teenager run a hospital. We don't let a teenager manage a multimillion dollar company. We have age restrictions for a reason. Teenagers tend to have unreliable, neurotic temperaments. They tend to get defensive and nasty when confronted. We hope that with the passage of time we'll refine our personalities, brush out the knots in our characters. Sometimes we do; often we don't. The only thing preventing us is our inner 18-year old self punching and screaming at every attempt to remove the cap and gown.

I wonder if you've grown tired of being referred to as snowflakes; as being criticized for letting PC culture rage on; as being babied and overly sensitive and thus, reluctant to change, because changing would be growing up, and growing up would mean leaving behind the comforts of childhood. I sure as hell have, and because of that, I'd like to show the adults that we are more than just wimps and kids in neckties and high heels. I'd like to show them that we can change for the better; take things on the chin; thicken up our skins a bit. None of that can happen until we've committed to maturing.

Gandhi said, "We but mirror the world." High school is like a sample petri dish of the world ahead of us. I've grown exhausted seeing the country, personal relationships, and institutions run by people as immature as teenagers. Kurt Vonnegut would agree with me, saying, "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

We can be the change everyone has been desperately waiting for. In fact, I'm writing this to implore us all to be the change. We are the future of this nation. We have immense responsibilities before us that are meant for adults, not for teenagers. I only hope others will realize this before it's too late.

Yours truly,
An existential college student

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Previously by Kat Mam: How Studying History Made Me A Stoic.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

June 22, 2020

SportsMonday: Ride, Sherman, Ride!

Talladega should be shut down as in it should be flattened. It is absolutely irredeemable. The comprehensive destruction of the Alabama racecourse could be a centerpiece of a modern-day march of justice and obliteration through every square foot of NASCAR country.

And let's be clear, by the way, that that country stretches north to New Hampshire and west through Texas all the way to at least Arizona. Hell, it even includes a portion of Chicago suburbia.

I write this as we learn that when the stock car racing circuit stopped in Talladega over the weekend the hosts made sure that the one and only Black driver involved in the entire enterprise, Bubba Wallace, would be greeted by a noose. A noose! The organizers of the Talladega race obviously, OBVIOUSLY! were telling Wallace that they were laying in wait, ready to lynch him.

At the end of the Civil War in 1865, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman (the union's second-greatest general) decided a good way to make sure everyone understood that the South had lost completely and utterly (and that unconditional surrender was the only next move) was to charge through Georgia burning and killing all white property and population he could find.

By the way: Hey America, as you are removing statues of racist traitors like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in the coming months, you could put up at least a few memorials to Sherman. He had more than a few shortcomings, but when it mattered he was also willing to do precisely what it took to decisively end the war and completely demoralize a wide swath of the South.

The full-sized stock car race track located in the heart of Alabama tried to host a race with a tiny crowd (a few thousand people showed up) this weekend. It was supposed to be run on Sunday but forced to switch to Monday. And to its tiny credit, Talladega was the first NASCAR facility to enforce NASCAR's new "no confederate flag" rule.

Of course, the good citizens of Alabama were too stupid to understand that "no confederate flags at the racetrack" did not mean anyone was coming for their flags. Unrepentant racists to the core could be seen flooding stores near Talladega to buy every bit of Confederate memorabilia they could find in the days leading up to the race - as if the government was on the verge of completely criminalizing that sort of thing any day now.

Upon further review, by the way, I now support laws that would require police in Alabama to work their way through their sorry state burning every single Confederate flag they find as a latter-day Sherman's march.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the NRA stood by, nodding their heads in approval. The National Rifle Association guys had the first highly profitable idea of pushing gun ownership paranoia, especially when Barack Obama was elected president. Despite Obama not supporting any sort of comprehensive gun control other than background checks, the NRA was able to convince thousands of Southerners that unless they bought every gun they could find immediately, government agents would arrive the next day to confiscate the weapons they already held.

Donald Trump has actually been rough on the NRA. It has been hard for them to sell the paranoia when the president has been so obviously willing to do whatever he could to reassure gun owners at every turn. Several gun manufacturers have been forced to declare bankruptcy during his tenure.

So that was the overall situation over the weekend when Mr. Wallace arrived at Talladega to be greeted by the racetrack's desperate desire that he be lynched. Next up at the very least, racist heads must roll.

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Adding: There is just so much amazing stuff in the world right now. First it was Al Sharpton expressing exactly what we had been thinking a few weeks ago and today it is Stephen A. Smith:

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:43 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Stay-at-home memes featuring the mayor sure gave Lori Lightfoot an image boost, but since what may have been a peak in her popularity she's been on a bit of a substantive losing streak. And now her credibility is crumbling - at least with me.

To wit:

* Disparate Dispersal Orders.

"Nearly half of the more than 8,700 verbal orders issued by Chicago police to enforce stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 took place on the West Side, according to data provided to WTTW News by the Chicago Police Department," the station reports.

That's counter to what Lightfoot told us at the time.

Lightfoot said she ordered Chicago police officials to equitably enforce the stay-at-home order, which she issued March 21 to stop the spread of the coronavirus and allowed to lapse on May 29 after the apparent peak of the pandemic.

However, the mayor has faced repeated complaints that White Chicagoans were allowed to gather in defiance of the order on the North Side, while Black and Latino Chicagoans were forced to disperse by police on the South and West sides of the city.

"The reality is the Chicago Police Department is active and engaged all over the city and doing it with an eye toward equity, and I would have it no other way as mayor of this city," Lightfoot said May 26. "I can tell you, based upon the statistics we've been keeping for weeks, those dispersal orders are happening all over the city - and yes, in White areas, in Latinx areas, in moneyed areas of the city."

There's wiggle room there - dispersals were happening all over the city - but the impression she gave of equity in those orders ran counter to the facts, and whatever data she says she was getting.

Now, is it possible that there was a need for more dispersal orders on the West Side? Maybe, but compared to the entirety of the much-larger North Side?

I would venture to say it's likely the dispersal orders were used to break up "loitering" and disrupt open-air drug markets, but if that's the case, the mayor should 'fess up.

That also wouldn't seem to account for the size of the imbalance in those numbers.

But then, the mayor chose not to answer WTTW's questions about the data that they got themselves from the Chicago Police Department, which isn't exactly a trusted supplier of such information.

Lightfoot did not respond to questions from WTTW News about the data and the disparity between the number of dispersal orders issued on the West Side in comparison to the North Side and Far South Side.

Not good, Mayor Meme.

* Protestors vs. Looters.

I noted this one last week:

"New data released by the Chicago Police Department from the weekend following the death of George Floyd shows that just 20% of arrests during the first few days of unrest were for looting-related crimes, contradicting earlier claims by CPD that looting made up the majority of arrests that weekend," the Chicago Reporter has found.

"Most of the 1,052 arrests were actually for protest-related charges. CPD provided the updated figures after the Reporter shared an analysis of arrest records that called CPD's numbers into question."

In other words, the Reporter did a better job analyzing the data than the cops did.

"In the days following the unrest, the Chicago Police Department maintained that the majority of the arrests that weekend were for 'criminal conduct tied to looting.' A report issued by CPD at the end of the week following the initial protests stated "1,258 individuals were arrested" during that weekend and, of those, '699 arrests were related to criminal conduct tied to looting and destruction of property."

"But according to updated numbers provided by the department Tuesday to the Reporter, only 213 of the 1,052 arrests were for looting-related incidents, about 70% less than the CPD's initial figures."

You could hang that one on the CPD, but . . .

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and top brass have claimed that CPD appropriately addressed the violence that weekend.

"Following this discrepancy, which appears to be the result of the Department relying on empirical data during the days of protests and civil unrest as well as an unintended category error, the Mayor's Office is working with the Chicago Police Department to ensure they re-run all data during this period of time to ensure a more accurate representation of arrests throughout the city," the mayor's office said in a statement provided to The Chicago Reporter.

Sure, the department could have made a category error. But Lightfoot bought it, sold it and owns it. Also, Lightfoot should have picked up the phone and answered the Reporter's questions instead of issuing a statement.

* Curfew Violations.

"As protesters took to the city's streets to highlight racial discrepancies in police enforcement, city data shows Chicago Police charged significantly more African Americans with violating a curfew imposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Of more than 400 people charged, a Chicago Sun-Times review of the violations found, 75% were African American," the paper reports.

Again, the Lightfoot administration issues a statement instead of picking up the phone (and I'm not presuming they were asked to, but they should make the call anyway):

In a statement, CPD spokesman Thomas Ahern said the department's enforcement of the curfew "was universal, regardless of race or neighborhood."

So is Ahern saying that significantly more Blacks violated curfew, and therefore were charged at a higher rate? If that's so, just say it. Maybe more Blacks took to the streets after-hours.

But . . .

In the week following the May 30 protest, police records show enforcement of the curfew largely moved away from mass arrests in areas where protests were held to almost entirely focus on the city's West and South Sides, with black Chicagoans almost exclusively charged with curfew violations . . . In the days after the protest, city records show enforcement of the curfew moved almost entirely to the West and South Sides of the city. From June 1-4, 93% of people charged with curfew violations were black, city records show.

The mayor needs to explain this.

* Consent Decree Fail.

This is the mayor's wheelhouse. She thrust herself into the mayor's race in the first place on the strength of her Police Accountability Task Force, which led to the federal consent decree governing reform of the CPD. Police accountability is supposed to be her jam. And yet . . .

"More than a year into court-ordered reforms at the Chicago Police Department, the city has missed more than 70 percent of the deadlines set by the consent decree," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"A federal court ordered the city to comply with a consent decree, or reform efforts to make changes in several areas including use of force, community policing, accountability, recruitment and training. One year into monitoring whether or not these changes are being made, the department has, essentially, a failing grade, missing more deadlines than it made."

* Police in Schools.

"Mayor Lori Lightfoot will not pull police officers from Chicago Public School buildings, despite calls from students, teachers and activists who say that having officers in schools makes kids feel less safe and can negatively impact their learning," WTTW reports.

"Yeah we're not gonna do that," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a Friday morning press conference when asked if she would consider canceling CPS' existing contract with the Chicago Police Department.

Okay, that's just a bad method - imperiously cutting off all discussion of an issue because she's already made a decision in her own head instead of agreeing to listen to what folks have to say and seeking out a solution that addresses the concerns at hand. Perhaps, for example, cutting the number of schools with police officers and raising the bar for inserting them into those buildings.

Now, it's true that later Lightfoot, as she often does, seemed to back into a conversation, including the notion of leaving the decision of cops in schools up to Local School Councils, but that in itself presents its own problems. If there ever was a time to be open-minded about rethinking everything, now is the time.

* Defunding Police.

Here's what she just told the New York Times:

When I hear this issue around defunding, I hear, "We don't have enough resources in communities of color, and you spend way too much on the police." I agree with that piece. But let's break down the practicalities of what defunding means. In our Police Department, about 90 percent of the budget is personnel. When you talk about defunding, you're talking about getting rid of officers. Most of our diversity lies in the junior officers. So when you're talking about defunding the police, you're talking about doing it in a context of a collective-bargaining agreement that requires you to go in reverse seniority, which means you're getting rid of the younger officers. Which means you're getting rid of black and brown people. Which means you are eliminating one of the few tools that the city has to create middle-class incomes for black and brown folks. Nobody talks about that in the discussion to defund the police.

Fair enough, but defunding the police isn't just about personnel, and there may be ways around the reverse seniority issue, like offering early retirement to older white officers.

Nonetheless, she also told the Times:

You have to have an honest discussion about what the job description for the police should be. We have been happy for too long to let the police be the social-service worker, the domestic-violence intervener. I'm not saying that there isn't a reason to be angry at the police. There is. But when we force them to reckon with problems that are beyond their training, we're setting the police up for failure. So going back to the narrative of "defund the police," what I know is that we must do a better job of answering a call of need in our communities - and the answer isn't the police. It's something different. It's a Marshall Plan, if you will, for infusing our urban cores with the resources that we need to connect people to hopes of a better life. If we don't give people the ability to connect with the legitimate economy, with legitimate institutions, and help them think of themselves as having value and meaning, we will, every single time, lose them to the streets.

That, in part, is what defunders are saying.

But again, Lightfoot is quick to shoot down the discussion instead of looking for ways to engage for solutions.

* The Columbus Statue.

This one should've been a slam dunk. Of course the Columbus statue should come down! Instead, she gave the same answer that racist Republicans are giving about keeping statues of other racists standing: Teach the controversy!

And on top of her opposition to Juneteenth as a city holiday.

Here's what I wrote to a friend the other day:

So more consternation from Lightfoot this week . . . one thing I've learned is to ignore her first remarks and then see what she says/does later. Like cops in schools and shifting funding priorities vis a vis the cops budget, she says no right away and then later basically enters the discussion. Anyway . . .

* Juneteenth holiday. Well, it looks like the state may do it. She says it would cost $100 million. Why not just say, hey, it's too late for his year but we should take a look going forward because we'd want to replace a current holiday, not just add one?

* Columbus statue. Does she have a pal/donor who is, like, head of the Italian-American league or something? Her answer was the same as Trumpers' answer about this. WTF? Just say, YES, GET RID OF IT, or, let's take a look at all of our statues and street names and building names and maybe even appoint a task force or ask the Chicago Historical Museum or something to help?

I just don't get her defensive, knee-jerk responses . . . though partly it's probably Fran [Spielman] baiting her.

Look, she's not Rahm 2.0. That's just ridiculous. And she's not Daley 3.0. She's a fundamentally different person than either of them. And she's better on policy than both of them. But I'm not sure she's quite got a handle on the job yet, or understands the impact of her words. It's not so much a "messaging" problem, and I'm not in the business of advising pols and their handlers how to better manipulate the media to convey their framing and narratives, but a communication problem in speaking with clarity to the public, not getting ahead of the facts, and expressing (and actually keeping) an open mind to further an inclusive discourse.

* In Her Favor: Shitty Opponents.

When a hack like Ald. Ray Lopez gets elevated by the media (as in fellow hack Spielman) as the chief of the opposition simply because he's willing to attack on the record, Lightfoot comes out looking far better than the alternatives. Same for police union president and suspended officer John Catanzara (who can also easily get Spielman's attention).

And then there's the Chicago Teachers Union, which is taking the last campaign right into the next one without any respite - or good faith.

I mean, this is just laughable:

As far as the Scoopy-Doo meme goes, I will confess that I had no idea every episode ended with the reveal of a tied-up suspect. I'm sure I'm not alone, which is a big part of the problem. But even if I did know that, I would find the image of a black mayor tied up in ropes (by a bunch of white teenagers) disturbing (the CTU, after a day defending it, deleted the offensive tweet without explanation). I liken it to the Reader cover that got Mark Konkol fired: I'm not sure either image is racist per se, but each image uses disturbing racial imagery that made me blanche (my stomach tightens just thinking about them both) and triggered trauma in some Black folks well beyond that.

Yet, CTU vice president Stacy Davis Gates tried to deflect from the problematic imagery by saying it was nothing compared to real-world violence against Blacks instead of acknowleding that some people found the image painful.

(Similarly, though:

)

Also, Lori is not a cop, but that just goes to show how there's no turning back when you so deeply propagandize a membership (and their adjacents); you can't turn around and bargain in good faith or bring a spirit of collaboration to the table when you've called your opponent the Devil.

(While Lori is not a cop, she was a federal prosecutor and spent much of her pre-mayoral public life in the police accountability realm. I bet she admires cops - and is personally offended when they lie, cheat, steal and needlessly kill. That's not a bad thing, and positions her somewhat uniquely to preside over reform or even transformation if she gets her act together.)

By the way, Lightfoot also spent time on the boards of the ACLU, the Center for Wrongful Convictions and the Better Government Association.

She did not spend time ascending to the chair of the Cook County Democratic Party like the CTU's endorsed candidate.

That's why she got elected. Now she's a year into the job and has a reported 70% approval rating, so the public likes what they see so far. And maybe they like her style and positions; after all, they elected Daley and Rahm all those times. But I think she can do better.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

What's Wrong With White Teachers?
"Extolling the need for more black teachers is not the same as demanding white teachers be less racist. Naming what's wrong with white people's teaching skills must begin with calling out racism. We certainly need more black teachers, but recruitment isn't a solution for the racism students and teachers of color face everyday. The research is overwhelming."

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Black Lives, Golden Arches
"In her recently released book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, Marcia Chatelain traces how McDonald's tested and perfected its marketing strategy on black American communities."

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Cook County's Death Cruise Ship
We're not supposed to punish people by giving them diseases, yet the five largest clusters of the coronavirus are correctional institutes.

But let's face it: the lack of outrage is because the public generally doesn't give a shit about prisoners - even if those in jails, not prisons, are largely awaiting trial and presumably innocent.

If you still can't muster any anger about the conditions in our prisons and jails, though, consider how many people work in them and bring the virus back to their homes and communities.

In The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles VIII: Prisons & Jails.

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Free Comic Book Summer!
Replacing the COVID-canceled Free Comic Book Day.

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Chicago Rescues 22 Kittens From Alabama
They'll move straight into new homes without ever having to reside at a shelter.

See also: Sweet Home Chicago vs. Sweet Home Alabama.

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New from the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation
"Trubisky requires what the equally unsolvable predecessor Jay Cutler also could have used - a rewired network of mental operational connections," our very own David Rutter writes.

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TrackNotes: Betting The Baby Belmont
Tiz the Law is beatable by a bomber.

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TrackNotes: Single Crown
The operating BS of the majority is that if one horse wins all three of the races this year, it will be a Triple Crown. No. And. NO!

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #309: Life In The Fast Lane
Walls are falling. Plus: Rob Manfred Is A Cop; Wet Hot American Long Gone Summer; Bubble Life; Better At It Than Baseball; and Belmont Betting.

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ChicagoReddit

Where is the Reddit Chicago office? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Mega Tsunami Destroys Chicago.

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BeachBook

Something For Everyone At Jarrett Publications.

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Revisiting The Devil With Sarah Shook.

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Hummingbirds See Colors We Can't Even Imagine.

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Changing The Direction Of Your Ceiling Fan Can Change Your Life.

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

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The Beachwood Flip Line: Flip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:35 AM | Permalink

The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles VIII: Prisons & Jails

We're not supposed to punish people by giving them diseases, yet the five largest clusters of the coronavirus are correctional institutes.


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Previously:
* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles Parts I - III.

* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles Parts IV and V.

* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles Part VI: Testing ALF.

* The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles Part VII: Bursting Bubble Leagues.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:27 AM | Permalink

The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation

Welcome to the Strange Mystery of Mitch Trubisky's Missing Motivation.

I just dropped in to see what condition his condition was in.

Sing it, Tevye, and narrate your strange story . . . "Mo-tee-vay-SHUN."

Trubisky Is going to be really good for the Bears in this pending fourth year of his diaspora. All his friends and allies say this is true because he is now really inspired to play quarterback for the Chicago Bears and really cares about his mental stability for that job.

Before? Not so much apparently. There is little comfort in colleagues' assurance he is working on mental stability. Or that now, he really wants to be a good quarterback.

First, it's like testimony about Jack Nicholson's "Randle McMurphy" from Nurse Ratched.

Second, when did Kyle Long become an expert on a position he never played? Odd offensive lineman, heal thyself.

As he said during whirlwind media interviews in support of his friend: "Heavy lies the head that wears the crown."

Actually, Shakespeare wrote in Henry IV: "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."

Heavy, Uneasy. What's the diff? Plus, having a heavy head also is very hard for a football player.

Wackiness is afoot.

With every strange turn in Trubisky's days wearing the crown with his heavy or uneasy head, he announces that bad news is good news because it helps motivate him. He gives the Power of Positive Thinking a bad rap.

Yes, he needs regular transfusions of motivation. A heavy head needs transfusions.

He needs lots of help with motives and inspiration which come in three basic varieties. Says the dictionary:

• Extrinsic. Doing an activity to attain or avoid a separate outcome like when the Bears lose. Chances are, many of the things you do each day are extrinsically motivated.

• Intrinsic. An internal drive for success or sense of purpose, like playing NFL quarterback. (See listings under Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, or almost, well, anyone.)

• Family. Motivated by the desire to play for the Bears so to provide for your loved ones.

The Bears are happy if Trubisky is driven by all three, but they'd prefer if No. 2 on that list was No. 1 in his heart. Why is playing quarterback for the George Halas Bears not enough motivation in itself?

It's a rhetorical question. We don't know the answer in Trubisky's case.

He acknowledges this perception himself, which is odd self-reflection. Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better. And one day I'll grow up to be an almost-competent professional football player.

Evidence of budding nutjobbery?

Ten days ago, Trubisky held a Zoom interview with reporters in which he assessed his mental state after the Bears traded for likely pretender to the throne Nick Foles. The deal was not so much the Bears affirming trust in Foles as it was distrust of Trubisky.

As Mitch says in the headlined interview: "Chicago Bears' trade for Nick Foles angered him 'in a good way. I've been motivated ever since.'"

"Ever since," he said. Think of that as a before-and-after chronology.

On his Foles reaction: "It was kind of interesting to me, but that's the business that we're in." (Your correspondent observes: Yes, the business of winning football games)

Who is this guy? "I think I was kind of pissed off in a good way. I've been motivated ever since. I've been motivated since our season ended last year. I didn't feel like it went the way we wanted it to, and we left a lot out there." (Your correspondent: Actually, that was you who left a lot out there).

Next? "But I'm excited for this year. I think it's going to be a good competition. Foles has a crazy career as well, so it's cool to have him in our room talking ball. I know we're going to push each other. But I still feel like this is my team . . . " (Correspondent: The Bears are not a prize you won at the parish church bazaar).

Goals: " . . . just getting back on the field with my guys, showing everybody what I can still do and how hard I've been working this offseason to help the Bears win games this year." (Correspondent: Where's the Gipper? We need to win one for him).

On no career-validating fifth-year option for 2021: "It wasn't really a big surprise to me because I kind of felt like I had it coming. I put myself in their shoes - if I was looking at myself - I feel like I would have to go out and earn that fifth(-year) option. I feel like the way I played last year didn't . . . But, for me, my plan is just to go out there and earn my next contract, wherever that is. I want it to be here in Chicago. I'm going to play my heart and soul out for this team and give it everything I've got . . . " (Correspondent: Wherever that is? And how can a person spend too much time "looking at myself?")

And here it comes, Motivation: "But it wasn't a huge surprise. It was more fuel to the fire for me. It was just more motivation that I could have done more to get extended, but the reality is that it wasn't, so it's not a big deal. That's not what motivates me. What motivates me now is coming back off of last year and getting this team back to the playoffs, having a better record than 8-8 and playing to the potential that I know myself and the rest of my teammates can play at."

There is an odd, naive, plaintive tone to Trubisky's analysis, as if he's trying out for the high school lead in Guys and Dolls but is not sure he has the stage chops for it.

He is ether the Little Engine Who Could, or a carpenter who does not know which end of the hammer you hold.

MO-TEE-VAY-SHUN one more time: "I hope it just motivates my teammates the way that it has motivated me. I just feel like I'm in a good mental space right now. I'm very driven and motivated to do a lot more than I did last year . . . I just feel like I'm in a good mental space right now . . . " (Correspondent: Does your "good mental space" have padlocks on the door?)

Yes, there it is, in full flower. Are you sick of "motivation'" yet and Trubisky's varied attempts at finding it? Where's Waldo? Where's Trubisky's motivation?

Somehow a young NFL quarterback played at least two lackluster seasons in which he had more to give, but didn't because he wasn't suitably motivated. He wasn't "in a good mental space." Or perhaps he just wasn't good enough.

One of these days, Trubisky asserts, he'll learn how to read defenses and not miss open receivers. I promise. Scout's honor.

These happy forecasts all might be true - including the redemptive return for football from pandemic solitude - but forecasting accurately is not the only issue. We come not to bury Caesar but to understand him.

We do not understand him or his strange, ethereal motivations. Does anyone? Is there something profound in his head or merely a large, dark hole? He explains himself in very earnest hippy-dippy weatherman vernacular.

And clearly Bears fans don't know the answer, though they have settled into permanent, disgruntled funk about Trubisky. They cannot envision why playing quarterback for the Bears requires some mystical concoction of self-hypnosis and testosterone injections not demanded of other quarterbacks in the NFL.

I feel their puzzlement though fans' attitude, or mine, don't really count for much.

But other quarterbacks in other locales seem to need only skill and intelligence, and professional coaching. Yes, professionalism. You don't want a bypass cardiac surgeon to leave the operating room shaking his head, "I should have saved old Bob, but today I just wasn't motivated enough."

Trubisky requires what the equally unsolvable predecessor Jay Cutler also could have used - a rewired network of mental operational connections. Cutler was never more than 80 percent of competent as an average - sometimes nearly perfect and nearly as often a total wreck.

It wasn't his body. It was his head.

As a historical group, Bears quarterbacks apparently often have needed a permanent supine spot on Freud's couch. Sigmund works on their deep psychoses while they work on short hitch patterns. Sigmund says it's either a "mommy thing" or a "daddy thing."

Those of us with no technical psycho-training refer to it as a "head case nut job thing."

The Bears quarterback job is reserved only for the deeply psychologically troubled. Or the very marginally talented.

We know this to be true now because Trubisky's fragile state of ego development is the dominant source of current discussion.

The leader of the discussion is Trubisky himself. Who announces to the world they are head cases? Correction. Recovering head cases.

But maybe everyone - including Trubisky - is overthinking the question.

This is a long-refined Bears personality trait - study a problem from every angle and then produce the absolute worst answer. Hiring Marc Trestman as coach reflected that method of problem solving.

Hiring quarterbacks is likewise not the Bears' organizational strength.

Sid Luckman is the only great quarterback in the franchise's history and has been dead - DEAD! - for 22 years. He was born in 1916. The modern zipper was patented a year later.

The Broncos, but mostly the Bears, needed more than a decade and $120 million to finally understand Jay Cutler's fundamental flaw. Never have one player's 23,443 passing yards and 154 touchdowns been as unsatisfying.

But his problem was obvious. He just wasn't good enough.

At least Cutler - plus Grossman, Harbaugh, Orton, the "wrong" Griese, Kramer, Krieg and all the other nondescript occupiers of that job - did not bore us with existential rumination about their state of mental focus.

They just weren't very good.

Maybe that, too, is what's wrong with Mitch Trubisky.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

* 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

* The Fonz Lives And Franco Is Dead: News You Can't Use.

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

* How To (Pretend To) Negotiate A Labor Deal.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

June 21, 2020

TrackNotes: Single Crown

The operating BS of the majority is that if one horse wins all three of the races this year, it will be a Triple Crown.

No. And. NO!

Although Tiz the Law was quite impressive in winning Saturday's running of the 152nd Belmont Stakes (Grade I, 1-1/8 miles, $1,000,000), it was really a non-competitive, dime-a-dozen 9-furlong zip race that should forever carry an asterisk. All the talking heads, except Bloodhorse's Steve Haskin on FoxSports1, either lent full endorsement to this race being a true Belmont and Triple Crown race, or basically avoided the issue.

The beauty of a real Belmont is that it is the ultimate Test of Champions, 1.5 miles. With the time between this year's races, there will be no such test.

The other nine horses were never going to beat Tiz the Law, who prevailed by a cruising 3-3/4 lengths over Dr Post and Max Player. There was no 12, or even 10, furlongs to equalize this field, a hallmark of the Belmont that delegitimizes the 2020 version.

There's more proof. While there was a lot of hope for a high-priced upset, all of the horses finished basically in the order of their odds. With the exception of Tap It to Win, who toasted after being on the lead, and Sole Volante, who took extra money as the wiseguy "closer" choice who finished mid-pack.

Also, the Belmont was the longest race of the day on dirt. That also diminished the quality of the card.

While 'Law never led until late, he was in full control of the race, under Manny Franco, and had all the gas in the tank he needed when called upon inside of the quarter pole. It gave 82-year-old veteran trainer Barclay Tagg his first Belmont Stakes win. He also trained Funny Cide for the same Sackatoga Stables when his Triple Crown was thwarted at Belmont in 2003. Tiz the Law is the first New York-bred to win the Belmont since 1882's Forester.

With Nadal injured/retired, Charlatan injured and Maxfield training for a comeback from injury, Tiz the Law is the clear leader of the three-year-olds. Sackatoga managing partner Jack Knowlton said 'Law will go next in the Travers Stakes, moved up three weeks to August 8 as Saratoga announced its 2020 stakes schedule. If Tagg can keep Tiz the Law going well, the Travers-Kentucky Derby-Preakness-Breeders' Cup races cycle will all be a month apart.

In a perfectly predictable race, Tap It to Win shot to the early lead out of the one post, pushed strongly on the pace by Fore Left. Those two were done on the turn and as soon as they spun out of the turn, Tiz the Law promptly took control and ran away. Dr Post dug in - perhaps because Irad Ortiz was beating the hell out of him in a clearly futile situation - for second and Max Player showed good speed to overcome others and take Place.

In a race like this, you look past the winner to see if any of the others may have overcome a bad trip to finish valiantly. Um, nope. Unless Tiz the Law regresses, these other don't measure up.

I had the Exacta and Dr Post, but for what? Choking chalk.

Gamine, the Bob Baffert filly who was one of two Bafferts who tested positive for lidocaine on Arkansas Derby Day, annihilated The Acorn Stakes by 18-3/4 lungs and set a new race record in 1:32.55.

Churchell Downs
When in The Hell of Kentucky is Churchill Downs Inc. going to get its vindictive act together and stop acting like babies? It has luxuriated itself in the 2020 robes of divisiveness.

This sounds hypocritical, but I do have a CDI-owned TwinSpires.com account. I keep a few dollars in there and bet with it occasionally to keep it honest. I use it almost exclusively for the track video feeds. This is what you would see at the track or the OTB. The big benefit is constant, live odds.

I log in yesterday, and the only Belmont race they were taking bets on is the Belmont Stakes! The track had six graded stakes races, four of them Grade Is. OK, fine. I'm betting elsewhere.

Then, as the clock ticks two races before the big one, the video freezes. I do the usual first aid. NBC is on, but they show the odds only sporadically and they're on the screen for about 1.3 seconds. So now, I'm all over every site I can think of to find the live odds. I thought I found them, but then I see those odds and NBC's DON'T AGREE!

Finally, I used the page at NYRA, Belmont's overseer.

What if Joe in Kokomo has only two things? TwinSpires and AOL e-mail? What's he supposed to do?

I'll say this. Churchill has a decent card next week to close out this meet. But because Belmont's meet is compressed, its stakes stacked for a couple weeks and then Keeneland opens to make up its spring meet, I won't have to worry about Churchill until they open for the Derby. But I'm not going to bet Churchill or the Derby. They won't get one dime from me.

P.S.: Arlington Park is nearly two months into what would have been its meet.

Dog Legs & Tail Wagging
Boys boys, boys: It's the BREEDING!

NBC's Eddie Olczyk, Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey all advocated in a panel discussion to space out the Triple Crown races - in a normal year - to put more than two weeks between the Derby and Preakness, and more than three weeks from Preakness to Belmont.

Moss's twisted argument was that because the Preakness is only two weeks later than the Derby, many of the better horses who lost the Derby skip the Preakness, thereby giving the Derby winner an easier road to the Triple Crown. Moss called it a "cheapening" of the Triple Crown. Horse trainers today are loathe to enter a runner at anything less than a month, or more, or way more. Tiz the Law had not run since March 28. Many of the others had not run since February or early March.

Their arguments are the tail wagging the dog, the underlying factor is that horses today run so little compared to earlier generations.

In 1948, Citation ran in the Jersey Shore between the Preakness and Belmont. I know that was a long time ago, but these money-hungry breeders have bred the structure and stamina out of these horses. Their legs are like twigs. Nadal and Charlatan both suffered broken leg bones in training and Maxfield is back in training after having bone chips removed, which cost him a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Imagine what kind of race the Belmont would have been with these horses entered, healthy.

American Pharoah in 2015 was a freak because he recovered so quickly after each grueling race. You could see it on the shed row after a race. Justify in 2018 never ran at two-years-old and got hot for his Crown. With his Santa Anita drug positive, he's not on my Triple Crown list.

I don't want to hear three TV suits yammer about "the health of the equine athlete" when breeders are taking that health out of the horses.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:59 PM | Permalink

June 20, 2020

What's Wrong With White Teachers?

In recent years, an outburst of national studies and exposés has shown that black teachers produce better academic and behavioral outcomes for black students compared to their white counterparts. This has led to numerous articles calling for the recruitment of more black teachers and/or asking where all the black teachers have gone. But the flipside to those studies isn't making as many headlines. What's wrong with white teachers? How do we close the black-white teaching performance gap?

Extolling the need for more black teachers is not the same as demanding white teachers be less racist. Naming what's wrong with white people's teaching skills must begin with calling out racism. We certainly need more black teachers, but recruitment isn't a solution for the racism students and teachers of color face everyday.

The research is overwhelming.

Black teachers on average are better for black students (and in some cases for white students, too) and white teachers on average are worse for black students. Black primary-school students who are matched to a same-race teacher performed better on standardized tests and face more favorable teacher perceptions, according to recent findings from the German economic research group Institute of Labor Economics. Some of the same researchers found

Black teachers are more likely to place high-achieving black students in programs for gifted students. Black teachers suspend and expel black students at lower rates. Singling out recruitment recuses our responsibilities to address the racism that afflicts white teachers and creates conditions that push black teachers out of the profession at an alarming rate. Trying to convince more black teachers to enter a profession they're likely to abandon after a couple years is not even half a solution.

There's much at stake for white teachers who represent more than 80 percent of the profession. Research shows that "African-American students and white students with the same level of prior achievement make comparable academic progress when they are assigned to teachers of comparable effectiveness." We need the majority of teachers of this country to improve their practice. An effective teacher must be defined as a teacher who is not racist and who acts on the high expectations she has for every child.

The unconscious bias, racial anxieties and stereotypes that contribute to the criminalization of black people, improper medical diagnoses and employment discrimination also lend themselves to lower expectations of black students and no-tolerance discipline policies in schools.

We can't put the burden on fixing racist expectations on black teachers. Black teachers are tired of being typecast as disciplinarians. The research shows they are more effective, but expecting them to single-handedly combat the racism prevalent in schools is one of the reasons so many leave the profession early. For these reasons, others have rightly recommended changing the conditions that push teachers of color out the profession.

Focusing on black recruitment insidiously shields white educators from scrutiny and downplays how important it is to provide teachers an anti-racist education before and after they enter the profession. This transcends school type. Charter schools and regular schools alike are implicated in the problem. However, there's a particular irony in the white reformers who descended upon cities like New Orleans, Newark and Philadelphia to close achievement gaps with an army of young white teachers. If they don't take seriously the way racism undermines their efforts, they're the ones who need to be disrupted, taken over and reformed.

Black educators have been focused on the problems associated with racism and bias for generations, but have not had reform systems built around their ideas. A recent offering came from Columbia Teachers College professor Christopher Emdin's 2016 book For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood . . . and the Rest of Y'all.

Emdin channels the work of University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Gloria Ladson-Billings, who, in her groundbreaking 1994 book The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, coined the term "culturally relevant teaching," which Ladson-Billings writes "empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes."

There are many others who train white teachers to be less racist, including Sonia Nieto, professor emerita at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Travis J. Bristol, assistant professor at Boston University; and Shaun Harper, professor at the University of Southern California.

But the outpouring of articles on recruiting black teachers has drowned out the scholars who aren't afraid to name racism as the main reason black students aren't as successful as they should be in school.

Make no mistake: All students benefit from having black teachers. Black children just have the additional benefit of seeing themselves represented in positions of leadership and to learn from someone who isn't just visiting their culture - if they even make the attempt.

Still, white teachers aren't going anywhere, which means that black students need for white teachers to stop being racist as much as they need new, effective black teachers.

Whiteness can no longer be a hall pass.

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

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

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

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

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

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

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

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

* When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech.

* Disrupting Education The NFL Way.

* The Voucher Program We Really Need Is Not For School - It's For After.

* Charter School Leaders Should Talk More About Racism.

* Bold, Progressive Ideas Aren't Unrealistic.

* White Coaches Pick The Wrong Side When They Talk Down To Their Black Athletes.

* The Importance Of The 1619 Project.

* Black Athletes Have A Trump Card They Are Not Using Enough.

* Making Elite Colleges White Again.

* When Acceptable Attire Depends On The Color Of Your Skin.

* White Parents Should Have 'The Talk' With Their Kids, Too.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:31 AM | Permalink

Free Comic Book Summer

Free Comic Book Day, the comic book industry's largest annual promotional event, is traditionally scheduled to take place the first Saturday in May each year.

However, the impact and spread of COVID-19 prevented the event from being celebrated at its normal time this year.

Now, the beloved event has been rescheduled and reworked to take place throughout July and early September in order to accommodate social-distancing and store capacity regulations across the country, effectively making it Free Comic Book Summer!

Scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 9, retailers will receive five to six Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) titles in their weekly shipments during each week of the promotional window.

Release of these titles may vary from shop to shop, as retailers are encouraged to release the books as they see fit for their unique circumstances.

Retailers may release one free title a day, make all of that week's free titles available at once, or any other plan that works for them.

Free Comic Book Summer is designed to be flexible and customizable so retailers and consumers can get the most out the event.

"Every year, Free Comic Book Day is our big event to thank current comics fans, welcome back former fans and invite those new to comics to join the fun," said Joe Field, originator of FCBD, and owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California.

"In this very different year, Free Comic Book Day is more like Free Comic Book Summer . . . and there's so much fun to discover in this year's FCBD comics! So many cool stories are available for this stretched-out Free Comic Book Day 2020.

"I'm confident longtime fans and newcomers alike are going to find a story that'll make them want to visit their local comic shop every week!

"Fans, bring your friends and family and head to your local comic shop every week starting July 15 through September 9 to check out the new, and fantastic, free comics available that week!"

Free Comic Book Summer will feature 45 of the previously announced titles from publishers like Marvel Comics, Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Dynamite Entertainment, DC, and more!

The 45 titles are designed to appeal to a broad range of tastes and run the gamut from superhero stories, to TV and movie tie-ins, to sci-fi adventures, all-ages tales, and beyond.

There will also be two educational support titles from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Gemstone Publishing.

A complete listing of all 45 FCBD titles, including the 10 Gold Sponsor and 35 Silver Sponsor comic books, can be viewed online at www.freecomicbookday.com. To view the weekly release schedule, click here.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

June 19, 2020

TrackNotes: Baby Belmont

When is the Belmont Stakes not a real Belmont? 2020.

This 152nd running (Grade I, nine furlongs, 1-1/8 miles, $1,000,000) will be the first leg of this year's convoluted Triple Crown. They scaled it back to nine furlongs. Always a long race, settled in at 1-1/2 miles for nearly a century, the last time it was run at this distance was 1893-1894. This distance will mean they'll start in the chute, making it only a one-turn race, which is a huge difference for many horses. Running around two turns is not automatically easy for a horse.

The only horse here who has run longer is Modernist, who went 1-3/16ths in the Louisiana Derby. I guess they figured these runners couldn't have prepped on a regular schedule, which we will see appears to be true. I still would have liked to see the classic distance of 10 furlongs, 1-1/4 miles.

While the favorite, Tiz the Law, has been labeled head-and-shoulders above the rest, I believe he is beatable with a potential bomber winning. None of these horses has ever run against any of the others.

In post-position order:

1. Tap It to Win (Morning Line odds 6-1).

Pros and cons. He has recency, running last on June 4. He loves to be on the lead and with this draw, if he can get away and maintain a responsible pace on what is usually a very fast track, they may not catch him. His Beyer Speed Figures are on a healthy uptick, but he has no class. He bombed in both the Breeders' Cup Futurity and in a small stakes at Churchill Downs. He comes in off two straight wins, including at Belmont last out. I'll need a bigger price.

2. Sole Volante (9-2).

Again, recency, June 10. He's a wiseguy pick after the favorite. His Beyers have plateaued in the mid-90s, although they're second best in the race. He's a closer who will be in the thick of the lead, but he should be able to save ground. While rider Luca Panici is a veteran Italian jockey, he's never ridden at Belmont. If Panici chases the leader, he might be cooked, although he may have to at this shorter distance. It's concerning that he didn't seal the deal in the Tampa Derby. He's capable, but I want more price.

3. Max Player (15-1).

With only three races run, this one hasn't raced since February, although it was a win in the Grade III Withers. Trainer Linda Rice has drilled him consistently since April, but will he be fit? His Beyer growth is good. He seems to have a chance, but it's funny to say that this race he needs to get into shape is The Belmont!

4. Modernist (15-1).

Like Sole Volante, Modernist seemed on his way with a win in a split Rebel Stakes in Louisiana, but then went green in the Louisiana Derby, finishing third. When trainer Bill Mott announced this week he was going to enter, it seemed a surprise, even to Mott. There's speculation he may be scratched beforehand. We know Mott will need to be convinced right up to the post parade.

5. Farmington Road (15-1).

Eddie Olczyk likes this one. I'm not sure why. His one win was a maiden special weight. He didn't assert himself at all in the Oaklawn Stakes or the Arkansas Derby. He'll need about all the others to participate in a maniacal pace, watch it break down and mop up. Won't happen.

6. Fore Left (30-1).

I don't know. He won the Group III UAE 2000 Guineas way back in February in Dubai, but a bad post, for him, and low American Beyers. I'll skip.

7. Jungle Runner (50-1).

No chance. He should be playing A ball, like at Arlington or Remington Park, where he came from.

8. Tiz the Law (6-5).

Trainer Barclay Tagg is a middling 13 percent in getting horses ready off a long layoff. He won the Florida Derby in late March and is the clear winner in the Beyers department. He won the Grade I Champagne here last October. Rider Manny Franco is not top-tier, so we'll need him to not screw up. He's only eight percent at this meet. He'll have plenty of time to get his position on the backstretch, but his post seems a tad too far out. Clearly the class of the race. Can I get 2-1? They'll probably reminisce, but Tiz the Law is out of the Sackatoga Stable, which gave us Funny Cide, the Derby and Preakness winner in 2003.

9. Dr Post (5-1).

Did Dr Post lose the post draw? He's a midrange closer and if he can save some ground, get open and run into a hot pace, he's got a good chance. In the up-and-down Beyer angle, he's due for an up, which he needs. He's won his last two. With Irad Ortiz up, there's a lot to like.

10. Pneumatic (8-1).

I can't bring myself to bet on Churchill Downs, but this one was my pick in the May 23 Matt Winn (Grade III). He was on a quick pace throughout but finished third. But there's a lot to recommend. He's a son of Uncle Mo. Beyers are improving and his two wins in three races turned into key races. That's when the horses you beat win their next time out. There were three of them. Ricardo Santana Jr., who won the very hard-fought jockey title at Oaklawn, is plenty hot. This is Pneumatic's debut at Belmont, so we'll find out if he likes it or not. Some don't. As of this writing, Pneumatic is 25-1 in Belmont Advanced Wagering. Keep that to yourself.

I'm looking at Pneumatic, Dr Post, Tiz the Law and Max Player in an Exacta box with Tap It to Win, Pneumatic and Dr Post as price plays. With an eye on the odds, as always.

Your tee/vee destination will be the Big Peacock NBC doing a coverage drive-by from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Expect a lot of hype over September's Kentucky Derby, but don't believe the Belmont is a prep for that. If you want to catch the full card, as I know you do, the Madison Square Garden (MSGHD) channel will cover from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you're really jonesing, NBC will also televise Royal Ascot from 8 a.m. -11 a.m.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:22 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #309: Life In The Fast Lane

Walls are falling. Plus: Rob Manfred Is A Cop; Wet Hot American Long Gone Summer; Bubble Life; Better At It Than Baseball; and Belmont Betting.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #309: Life In The Fast Lane

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SHOW NOTES

* 309.

* Jim Coffman: Not a chemist.

1:10: Life In The Fast Lane.

* Texas Monthly: The Damning History Behind UT's "The Eyes Of Texas" Song.

* AP: NCAA Expands Ban, Joins SEC In Targeting Confederate Flag.

* Yahoo: Mike Gundy Continues Talking About OAN T-Shirt.

* ESPN: Kirk Ferentz Admits 'Blind Spot' On Black Players' Issues.

* Sports Illustrated: James Daniels Amid Center of Controversy With Iowa.

* Calvin & Co.:

+

+

* Gonzales, Tribune: Shawon Dunston's Advice For Ed Howard.

* Hoge, NBC Sports Chicago: Why Rick Renteria Refuses To Complain About Coronavirus's Impact On Baseball.

* Ryan, Tribune: Lovie Smith's Illinois Staff Has 8 Black Coaches - More Than Any FBS Program.

* John Shoop, News & Observer: North Carolina's Athletic Director Says He Doesn't Know Why Racism Endures. His School Shows Why.

43:08: Rob Manfred Is A Cop.

* Rutter: How To (Pretend To) Negotiate A Labor Deal.

* Wolfe, man:


* Wallenstein: I've Had It.

51:52: Wet Hot American Long Gone Summer.

* "The film features an ensemble cast, including Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter (and various other members of the sketch comedy group The State), Elizabeth Banks, Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper (in his film debut), Amy Poehler, Zak Orth, and A. D. Miles."

vs.

* The film features Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and an elephant.

54:07: Bubble Life.

* New York Times: The NBA Is Coming Back. There Are 113 Pages of New Rules.

* Zorn, Tribune: We May Still Be In The Early Stages Of The Pandemic.

* Queuing theory.

1:04:56: Better At It Than Baseball.

* The NHL, MLS, NWSL and WNBA.

1:06:20: Betting The Baby Belmont.

* With mic'd up jockeys.

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STOPPAGE: 13:27

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:45 PM | Permalink

Chicago Rescues 22 Kittens From Overcrowded Shelter In Alabama

The Tree House Humane Society, in partnership with Felines & Canines Chicago, took in 22 homeless kittens transferred last month from the Felines & Canines Hunter Stephenson Rescue Center in Northern Alabama.

In Alabama and in surrounding Southern states, shelters face overpopulation in their communities because a warmer climate leads to a year-round kitten season. When local shelters there are at capacity, homeless animals like these 22 kittens are left at risk. Tree House was happy to step in to ensure these kittens have the opportunity to thrive.

Because of the incredible growth Tree House's foster program has seen over the past few months, there are currently an abundance of foster homes available to take in both the local kitten population as well as transfers from outside Tree House's immediate service area.

Image 6-19-20 at 8.20 AM.jpgTwo-month-old Luna waits for her intake exam in Tree House's Clinic

"Our foster program has more than tripled since March," said Tree House's Foster & Behavior Program Manager Shannon Wilson. "Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in Chicago, our community members have shown such compassion in offering to take in our resident cats. Because we currently have more foster volunteers than we have cats needing foster homes, we are excited to be able to use our foster resources to partner with other facilities and save more lives."

Team members from Felines & Canines in Alabama drove the kittens over 600 miles to Tree House, where medical staff were waiting to admit and evaluate them. Each kitten will receive a complete medical exam along with a spay/neuter surgery and will then become a Tree House Shelter Skipper.

Cats in Tree House's Shelter Skippers program move from their foster homes straight into their forever homes without ever having to reside at the shelter. This program allows Tree House to increase their life-saving capacity, and the Shelter Skipper cats receive the benefits of avoiding a stressful shelter environment, which can lead to medical and behavioral issues. Each of these 22 kitties will be adopted right out of their foster homes.

Tree House is accepting donations to help care for these animals. The public can help by donating at treehouseanimals.org/donate.

About Tree House Humane Society

Since its founding in 1971, Tree House Humane Society has created innovative and progressive approaches to animal welfare that not only enhance the lives of companion animals in the community but also bring a greater awareness of animal welfare issues to the general public. Tree House's vision is to see every cat thrive.

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See also:

Tree House Humane Society Offers Virtual Adoptions.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 AM | Permalink

Black Lives, Golden Arches

This past March, during the early weeks of the pandemic, McDonald's launched a campaign featuring a pulled-apart version of its iconic golden arches. Intended to "encourage consumers to keep each other safe through social distancing," the ad drew backlash from thousands of social media users - including Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Surreal as this episode may seem, it's just the latest example of how McDonald's and its global coterie of franchises have pioneered the use of community engagement and identity-forward marketing to drive profit.

In her recently released book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, Marcia Chatelain - New America's 2017 Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow - traces how McDonald's tested and perfected this strategy on black American communities.

The history she relates features a lively cast of entrepreneurs, activists, and political leaders, all of whom developed a shared investment in what the Nixon administration termed "black capitalism."

That concept has remained consistent in the intervening six decades: a belief that the most effective redress for dispossessed, disenfranchised black Americans is investment in entrepreneurship and private business in black communities - typically, fast food franchises.

9781631493942.jpg

I spoke with Chatelain about Franchise and the complex factors that led burgers - and the golden-arched chain that popularized them - to play such an outsized role in black America.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and context.

The narrative for Franchise really begins with the assassination of Dr. King. You illustrate very effectively how this violence produced not just a lot of anger and mourning in the black community, but also a shift in the approach taken to fighting for black advancement.

And, as you note, one of the more important things that led to that shift was white residential and economic flight. Now that wealthier, whiter populations are reentering cities - leaving suburbs blacker and poorer - how have the dynamics you highlight in the book evolved?

A reason I want to highlight what the fast food industry's migration into black communities has to do with these economic shifts is because when we think about the origins of the urban crisis, we often isolate them in terms of housing. But part of why so many communities were vulnerable to being infiltrated by fast food was because of the loss of businesses and the larger market. Essentially, after 1968, a lot of business owners no longer wanted to do business in predominantly black communities - either because they thought they would be the target of threats, or that they would lose their business to uprisings.

So land values started to decline during this time. McDonald's owned the real estate in which it built, so they had an opportunity not only to bring in African-American franchise owners to assume the liabilities of doing businesses in this community, but also to build much more cheaply.

So when we talk about fast food, it isn't just about market saturation. It's also about economic factors like land ownership, and it's about the federal government underwriting the franchise industry through subsidies of minority business owners. It really highlights the complexities of an economic system that makes some communities more vulnerable to having fast food migrate in.

Because of the structure of the economy and the ways the government incentivized the push toward black capitalism and fast food franchising, a wide variety of people - many of whom didn't necessarily agree in other areas - came together. How did the state convince so many disparate actors to see fast food franchising as a silver bullet of sorts?

I think that's what's so amazing about black capitalism - which then becomes black empowerment, which just becomes black economic development or black generational wealth politics. It's able to unite people across a wide ideological spectrum.

Economic investment is something people can realize in a relatively short period of time; it doesn't require the deep and hard work of dismantling white supremacy like other ways of reconfiguring or transforming society.

It also, in the late 1960s, didn't challenge segregation for people who were anti-integration. It makes liberals feel like something tangible is happening, because these initiatives do create jobs and promote some type of wealth.

It's really interesting to think of the number of people who were adherents of Dr. King and then started to pivot toward business and economic development. I think it largely happened because people were discouraged that the passage of federal policies didn't necessarily contribute to improvements in the quality of black life. The lofty goals of beloved community and brotherhood of man are really, really hard, and there's something immediate about seeing a business come into a community. So those shifts in priorities after '68, I think, reflected the fact that people had seen a tremendous amount of change, but didn't see how that change translated in the lives of the most vulnerable.

The military industrial complex makes repeated appearances in Franchise. You start the book in Ferguson, with the killing of Mike Brown - and where, during the ensuing protests, the police had access to military weapons. You also note that many of the first franchisees were veterans who saw the military as a chance to find career opportunities - and who later brought those military mindsets to the franchises they ran. McDonald's itself viewed the line system as something akin to military organization. What do you think that says about how power brokers saw black communities, and what franchising looked like as it rolled out to America at-large?

I think the military does move across this story, and I love that you brought that up. The first thing I discovered in my research was that white franchise owners who had left the military were able to use business loans that were part of the GI Bill to get into fast food franchising. This funding became an opportunity for white franchise owners to build their wealth.

The other part of it is, what brings a lot of fast food into black communities in the late '60s and early '70s is chaos - the chaos of uprisings, which brings in the military, the national guard, and local police. During these times, McDonald's was sometimes the place where people in uniform would gather, or where they were able to collect vouchers for meals. So there is a way in which that militarization of urban spaces as a response to racial unrest very much coincides with the story.

As for the African-American franchise owners I wrote about, a lot of these men were part of a generation when black men joined the military to increase their opportunities. But they still saw the inequality of what was available to them after they left military service, and they realized their displays of patriotism didn't necessarily level the playing field.

That connects to another recurrent element in the story: the gender lens that was brought to the roll-out of fast food franchises, and the way that connected to a lot of other social and political trends during this period. In giving recommendations to McDonald's and other franchises, marketing and communications agencies echoed things that appeared in government reports like the Moynihan Report, laying the blame for black poverty on family disorganization and a crisis of manhood. How do you think gender shaped our thinking on food, family, and the franchise?

Gender is really important to understanding our assumptions about who has the authority to solve problems of civil society and family. On the one hand, we see the vilification of black women in things like the Moynihan Report and in a larger culture that's constantly critical of how black women treat their family and children. And then there's a fast food industry that is deeply dependent on black women needing to provide cheap food fast for their kids.

This is also a source of criticism for them in the outside world. With the introduction of African-American franchise owners, you see more black women working inside McDonald's, and you see their entry contributing to the feminization of service after women had historically been kept out of McDonald's restaurants. So you start to see these different layers, where black women as consumers and workers are really important for the industry, but black women who feed their children fast food are vilified. Those dynamics, I think, helped reinforce not only the stereotypes, but the many contradictions of our relationship to fast food.

One thing that happened as a result of franchising was that civil rights figures like Jesse Jackson started talking about silver rights - the power of the consumer. I'm interested in what you think are the limits - but also, potentially, the power - in thinking about the ways we can influence the world as consumers.

I feel very conflicted about this idea, because I do understand and respect the power of the consumer boycott. But I'm always really cautious when we frame our participation as people in communities around ideas of consumer citizenship, or citizenship broadly: There are people who will always be kept out of that. When we emphasize this idea of being a citizen, what do we do with people who are undocumented? When we focus on the consumer, what do we do with people whose buying power isn't strong because they're poor or working class? So, ultimately, I think it's important for people to consume as conscientiously as possible. But I do not think that we should ever believe that our simple role as consumers is how we leverage our power.

As we enter a new decade, how do you think McDonald's and other fast food franchises are now viewed by the black community? And how is our understanding of food justice growing?

I think McDonald's still has a strong market presence in the black community - a presence that's challenged every day by the expansion of fast casual and people's concerns about health.

At the same time, one of the things I emphasize in my book is that the desire to eat something is about more than just the food. It's also about the complex feelings and associations people have with McDonald's.

If they knew someone who was in the McDonald's All-American Game, if there was a franchise owner who gave them a first job, if they really enjoy some of the programming McDonald's underwrites during Black History Month - there's a number of reasons to choose food that have nothing to do with your palette.

What I hope continues to happen is people doing the work of raising consciousness about nutrition, expanding the number of grocery stores in places that are deemed food deserts or victims of food apartheid, and asking more critical questions about structure - rather than fixating solely on whether people are eating french fries. Because when we hyper-focus on individual food choices, we lose sight of our responsibility to interrogate the structures that make those choices possible.

What is your view on the current landscape for publicly engaged scholarship? In the process of working on this book, did you learn anything about engaging communities and activists?

I believe in culturally engaged scholarship. Whether we're talking about medical research for vaccines, or our arts communities making beautiful music, or our ability to tell different stories about America's past, the academy must explain to the public why we are working on behalf of all people - whether or not they attend college, or want to.

Academics don't do themselves a favor if they really believe there isn't a public they can engage and ignite with their work. I'm a strong believer that history is one of the most potent tools an activist community or campaign can use, because they can learn about frameworks and models of the past that were successful and unsuccessful. It can also help people understand that they're part of a larger narrative of struggle, change, and progress.

And the thing that's most important to me - as someone who tries to do that engaged scholarship - is to be both critical and very empathetic toward people who, whether in 1970 or 2020, are trying to make the best decisions they can under conditions that are designed to limit our options and choices.

Racism and capitalism work together to make people believe they have no power, and then to limit as many opportunities as possible for people to exercise the power they have. With that kind of knowledge and appreciation, I've been able to look at these stories that are very easy to dismiss and say: This is why people were making these decisions. Or, these were places where people could have amended their approach, but they had no idea what the future held. The more research historians like myself engage, the more capacity we have to try to extend that kindness to the people that we study - both past and present.

(Editor's note: New America has amended its house style guide to capitalize Black when it is used as a proper adjective - describing a diaspora, community, or group - in order to properly recognize the identity of Black people. We defer in this piece to the author's preference of lowercasing.)

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Also by Marcia Chatelain . . .

"In South Side Girls, Marcia Chatelain recasts Chicago's Great Migration through the lens of black girls.

"Focusing on the years between 1910 and 1940, when Chicago's black population quintupled, Chatelain describes how Chicago's black social scientists, urban reformers, journalists and activists formulated a vulnerable image of urban black girlhood that needed protecting.

"She argues that the construction and meaning of black girlhood shifted in response to major economic, social, and cultural changes and crises, and that it reflected parents' and community leaders' anxieties about urbanization and its meaning for racial progress.

"Girls shouldered much of the burden of black aspiration, as adults often scrutinized their choices and behavior, and their well-being symbolized the community's moral health. Yet these adults were not alone in thinking about the Great Migration, as girls expressed their views as well. Referencing girls' letters and interviews, Chatelain uses their powerful stories of hope, anticipation and disappointment to highlight their feelings and thoughts, and in so doing, she helps restore the experiences of an understudied population to the Great Migration's complex narrative."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

June 18, 2020

The Taste Of Subservience

Sign of the changing times: Aunt Jemima, the minstrel-based, cringey racist "mammy" figure on the classic fake maple syrup of our childhoods - and for some white people, their only black friend - is about to go.

Amidst ongoing national protests for racial justice, parent company Quaker Oats has announced that before the end of the year it will remove the woefully outdated name and image on their 131-year-old, well-camouflaged corn syrup to better "reflect our values and meet our consumers' expectations."

While originally portrayed as a happy maternal servant who "many Americans nostalgically associate (with) fond familial memories," the director of the Jim Crow Museum and many others see in her "the vestiges of enslavement and segregation."

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Recognizing Jemima's origins "are based on a racial stereotype," the Jemima brand says it will "continue the conversation" by gathering diverse perspectives on race and donating at least $5 million over five years "to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community."

Hours after the announcement, Mars, the owner of the equally dubious Uncle Ben's rice, said the brand will also "evolve" in response to concerns about racial stereotyping; rumor has it that the racially ambiguous Mrs. Butterworth may swiftly follow.

Weirdly, hours before the demise of Aunt Jemima was announced, the Onion ran a spot-on spoof about Quaker Oats replacing her with Sheila, a black public defender who "eats pancakes on occasion, isn't an aunt per se though she is godmother to the child of a dear friend she met as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, (and) speaks fluent Italian, likes U2, is bisexual, and enjoys cross-country skiing."

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On social media, meanwhile, the actual news was met with the usual mix of right-wing freakouts - Aunt Jemima was a warm and comforting image of black people in their childhood and what's the problem? - and regular people suggesting that if those people had to learn their sense of racial justice from syrup bottles, that's the problem.

In a time of upheaval, others mused about the fate of other traditional breakfast faves: Is Cap' n Crunch a symbol of a colonial past? Is Froot Loops part of a gay agenda? Is Betty Crocker ageist? Most importantly, if we take away all the elements of the most important meal of the day, will we be unstoppable? Damn, we hope so.

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Two Minute History | Aunt Jemima

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See also: Quaker Oats Is Retiring the Aunt Jemima Brand, Whose Racist Origins Have Inspired Artists' Biting Interpretations for Decades.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Chicago police misconduct records that are five years old and older will remain available to the public, according to a ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday," the Tribune reports.

"The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police had sued the city contending that such records should be destroyed after five years under the city's police contract. An arbitrator had called for the city and the FOP to come to an agreement on the issue, but the city had successfully challenged it at the appellate level.

"The state's high court found . . . that the arbitration award violated clear public policy in the state's Local Records Act."

So the state supreme court ruled that state law trumped the police union contract. I wonder if that sets a precedent for other contract clawbacks.

The FOP contended that by allowing those records to be subject to open-records requests under the state's Freedom of Information Act, the city violated the union's collective bargaining agreement.

"The majority noted that the agreement does call for the destruction of disciplinary records, including those kept by the predecessor to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, after five years, and that the city did systematically eliminate them up until 1991. At that point, federal judges in civil actions began issuing orders preserving records.

The FOP filed grievances over the issue in 2011 and 2012.

In 2014, the state appellate court ruled that all complaints about Chicago police misconduct and the related investigative files, even for accusations considered unfounded, are public records and must be turned over by city officials. At the time, a three-judge panel rejected the city's claim that such files are exempt from the Illinois Freedom of Information Act . . .

The court noted "the FOP argues that there is no well-defined, dominant public policy that would allow Illinois courts to set aside a provision within a collective bargaining agreement mandating document destruction of governmental records like police disciplinary and investigation records."

But the majority disagreed.

"In light of the plain language of the Local Records Act, we agree with the City that the statutory framework the General Assembly constructed makes clear that Illinois recognizes a public policy favoring the proper retention of government records and that the destruction of public records may occur only after consideration by and with the approval from the Commission in a process established by the (Local Records) Commission."

Likewise, WBEZ reports that "The City of Chicago had argued that despite the contract language, judge after judge had ruled that the destruction of the records went against the interests of the public and so the files must be preserved.

In Thursday's decision . . . Illinois' highest court sided with those past rulings, saying the contract language conflicts with an overriding state law that demands the preservation of important public records.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier wrote the destruction of the complaint records would violate "an explicit, well-defined, and dominant public policy . . .

But the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police had argued that if the city wanted to preserve the records, it should renegotiate the contract, not ignore it.

In his lone dissent, Justice Thomas Kilbride sided with the FOP because "an arbitrator had found in favor of the union and that the validity of arbitration awards was 'a fundamental principle of labor law.'"

I'd like to see some experts sort out the implications of this decision - does it jeopardize the provisions of other collective bargaining agreements if the state finds an overruling law and/or public interest?

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"The state's highest court found that the need to preserve public records outweighed a section of the collective bargaining agreement between the city and Fraternal Order of Police that mandated the destruction of police misconduct files after five years," the Sun-Times reports.

At the crux of the lawsuit was section 8.4 of the CBA, which reads:

"All disciplinary investigation files, disciplinary history card entries, Independent Police Review Authority and Internal Affairs Division disciplinary records, and any other disciplinary record or summary of such record other than records related to Police Board cases, will be destroyed five (5) years after the date of the incident or the date upon which the violation is discovered, whichever is longer."

And via Capitol Fax:

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So it wouldn't be a new precedent, but instead the reinforcement of an old one.

Now, what else in the police union contract could be construed to violate state law?

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Conversely, some state legislators have passed laws to overcome provisions in police union contracts. Go for it, Illinois!

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P.S. 1:03 P.M.: I'll have more on this tomorrow next week, I've gotten some answers to my questions that I was too lazy to dig up this morning.

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The CTU's Scooby Doo-Doo
I mean, the day after the election the teachers' union's candidate had breakfast with John Daley, so . . .

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INBOX
Juvenile Death Sentences
A special message from Julie Biehl, director of the Children and Family Justice Center:

"I write to call your attention to an article on page one of [Wednesday's] Chicago Tribune.

The article is important to us because it quotes our tremendously talented and hard-working Shobha L. Mahadev, who is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law at CFJC, and it is important to Tribune readers because it calls attention to the plight of 30 people once sentenced to life without parole for crimes that occurred when they were children.

All of them are awaiting an opportunity to ask a judge for shorter sentences in light of court rulings prohibiting life without parole for all but the rarest of juveniles, those who cannot be rehabilitated. But the shutdown of courts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has brought delays. Although the virus isn't spreading in closed courtrooms, it has moved with deadly consequences inside the jails and prisons where they wait for courts to open.

"It's an urgent situation," Shobha told the Tribune.

"When we talk about prisons, we expect people to be held accountable for the crimes they commit," she said. "None of this is supposed to be a death sentence by virtue of a horrible pandemic, and we know that prisons are uniquely susceptible to this."

Please read the full story here.

And please consider making a donation to the Children and Family Justice Center to help us continue our work.

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INBOX
Video Matters
"As law enforcement's use of body-worn cameras and dash-cams has increased in the U.S., the growth of attorneys' introduction of video evidence in court, including jury trials, has followed. Psychology and criminal justice researchers are now trying to determine the various influences of this footage, such as its impact on trial outcomes," UIC says in a news release.

One such study, which is published in the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law, suggests both eyewitness race and available body-worn camera footage influence jurors' judgments.

To examine the matter, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Lakehead University ran a "mock trial" study using evidence from an actual case where an officer used controversial force in an altercation with a Black motorist who was charged with resisting arrest.

"High-profile police-involved deaths of African American citizens have fueled public interest in police accountability and body-worn cameras," said Bette L. Bottoms, UIC professor of psychology and co-author of the study.

Over 250 people participated as jurors, who were divided into three groups that either saw the actual body-worn camera video, which showed the officer becoming angry and agitated; read a transcript of the video, which included all statements and actions, but could not portray the officer's emotion like the video; or were given the same facts without any mention of body-worn camera footage.

Jurors who saw footage of the arrest, compared with those who read a transcript or were not aware an arrest video was available, were less likely to vote the defendant guilty of resisting arrest, and also rated the officer's use of force less justifiable, and the officer more culpable and less credible.

Witnessing on video the officer's escalating emotions and the defendant's reactions to being tasered appear to have made the jurors question the officer's credibility and whether his use of force was justifiable, according to the researchers.

Further, when an eyewitness supporting the defendant was White, compared with Black, mock jurors were more likely to believe the defendant, less likely to consider the defendant guilty of resisting arrest, and more likely to consider the officer culpable for the incident.

"This is one more of many reasons to recommend police training that emphasizes remaining calm and professional in body language, voice and action," Bottoms said. "Also, even though previous research has found African American defendants and victims are often believed to be less credible than others, now we have evidence that Black supporting eyewitnesses are considered less believable as well, highlighting the need for courtroom interventions that address bias."

Alana Saulnier of Lakehead University and Kelly Burke of UIC are co-authors on the paper.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Taste Of Subservience
"Aunt Jemima, the minstrel-based, cringey racist 'mammy' figure on the classic fake maple syrup of our childhoods - and for some white people, their only black friend - is about to go."

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ChicagoReddit

Social Distancing on The Red Line from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Plywood Street Art In Downtown Chicago.

See also from the South Side Weekly: Board-Ups As Blank Canvas.

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BeachBook

Universities Step Up Fight For Open-Access Research.

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

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The Beachwood Tip It Over Line: Tip it real good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

June 17, 2020

Amazon Ring Must End Its Dangerous Partnerships With Police

Across the United States, people are taking to the street to protest racist police violence, including the tragic police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. This is a historic moment of reckoning for law enforcement. Technology companies, too, must rethink how the tools they design and sell to police departments minimize accountability and exacerbate injustice. Even worse, some companies profit directly from exploiting irrational fears of crime that all too often feed the flames of police brutality.

So we're calling on Amazon Ring, one of the worst offenders, to immediately end the partnerships it holds with over 1,300 law enforcement agencies.

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One by one, companies that profit off fears of crime have released statements voicing solidarity with those communities that are disproportionately impacted by police violence. Amazon, which owns Ring, announced that they "stand in solidarity with the Black community - [their] employees, customers, and partners - in the fight against systemic racism and injustice."

And yet, Amazon and other companies offer a high-speed digital mechanism by which people can make snap judgements about who does, and who does not, belong in their neighborhood, and summon police to confront them.

This mechanism also facilitates police access to video and audio footage from massive numbers of doorbell cameras aimed at the public way across the country - a feature that could conceivably be used to identify participants in a protest through a neighborhood.

Amazon built this surveillance infrastructure through tight-knit partnerships with police departments, including officers hawking Ring's cameras to residents, and Ring telling officers how to better pressure residents to share their videos.

Despite Amazon's statement that "the inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop," Ring plays an active role in enabling and perpetuating police harassment of Black Americans.

Ring's surveillance doorbells and its accompanying Neighbors app have inflamed many residents' worst instincts and urged them to spy on pedestrians, neighbors, and workers.

We must tell Amazon Ring to end their police partnerships today.

Ring Threatens Privacy And Communities

We've written extensively about why Ring is a "Perfect Storm of Privacy Threats," and we've laid out five specific problems with Ring-police partnerships.

We also revealed a number of previously undisclosed trackers sending information from the Ring app to third parties, and critiqued the lackluster changes made in response to security flaws.

To start, Ring sends notifications to a person's phone every time the doorbell rings or motion near the door is detected. With every notification, Ring turns the pizza delivery person or census-taker innocently standing at the door into a potential criminal.

And with the click of a button, Ring allows a user to post video taken from that camera directly to their community, facilitating the reporting of so-called "suspicious" behavior.

This encourages racial profiling - take, for example, an African-American real estate agent who was stopped by police because neighbors thought it was "suspicious" for him to ring a doorbell.

Ring Could Be Used To Identify Protesters

To make matters worse, Ring continuing to grow partnerships with police departments during the current protests make an arrangement already at risk of enabling racial profiling even more troubling and dangerous.

Ring now has relationships with over 1,300 police departments around the United States. These partnerships allow police to have a general idea of the location of every Ring camera in town, and to make batch-requests for footage via e-mail to every resident with a camera within an area of interest to police - potentially giving police a one-step process for requesting footage of protests to identify protesters.

In some towns, the local government has even offered tiered discount rates for the camera based on how much of the public area on a street the Ring will regularly capture. The more of the public space it captures, the larger the discount.

If a Ring camera captures demonstrations, the owner is at risk of making protesters identifiable to police and vulnerable to retribution.

Even if the camera owner refuses to voluntarily share footage of a protest with police, law enforcement can go straight to Amazon with a warrant and thereby circumvent the camera's owner.

Ring Undermines Public Trust In Police

The rapid proliferation of these partnerships between police departments and the Ring surveillance system - without oversight, transparency, or restrictions - poses a grave threat to the privacy and safety of all people in the community.

"Fear sells," Ring posted on their company blog in 2016. Fear also gets people hurt, by inflaming tensions and creating suspicion where none rationally exists.

Consider that Amazon also encourages police to tell residents to install the Ring app and purchase cameras for their homes, in an arrangement that makes salespeople out of what should be impartial and trusted protectors of our civic society.

Per Motherboard, for every town resident that downloads Ring's Neighbors app, the local police department gets credits toward buying cameras it can distribute to residents.

This troubling relationship is worse than uncouth: it's unsafe and diminishes public trust.

Some of the "features" Ring has been considering adding would considerably increase the danger it poses. Integrated face recognition software would enable the worst type of privacy invasion of individuals, and potentially force every person approaching a Ring doorbell to have their face scanned and cross-checked against a database of other faces without their consent. License plate scanning could match people's faces to their cars. Alerting users to local 911 calls as part of the "crime news" alerts on its app, Neighbors, would instill even more fear, and probably sell additional Ring services.

Just last week Amazon announced a one-year moratorium on police use of its dangerous "Rekognition" facial recognition tool. This follows an announcement from IBM that it will no longer develop or research face recognition technology, in part because of its use in mass surveillance, policing, and racial profiling.

We're glad Amazon has admitted that the unregulated use of face recognition can do harm to vulnerable communities. Now it's time for it to admit the dangers of Ring-police partnerships, and stand behind its statement on police brutality.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:29 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"In the midst of an almost deafening national and local outcry over police abuses, the Illinois Supreme Court may order the City of Chicago to destroy all records of complaints against police officers that are more than five years old, potentially undermining attempts to identify problematic officers," WBEZ reports.

"A decision is scheduled to be issued Thursday in a legal challenge brought by the union representing Chicago police officers, asserting that their contract with the city requires the destruction of old complaints."

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The crux of it:

"University of Chicago Law Professor Craig Futterman said the case is fundamentally about a question being asked all over the country, whether police unions and city governments should be able to bargain away the rights of the public to have effective oversight of police officers."

vs.

"Attorneys for the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents about 12,000 rank-and-file Chicago cops, agree there may be important public policy reasons for preserving police complaint records, but argue that 'as important as those concerns may be' they do not give the city the right to ignore the contract, which requires complaint records be destroyed after five years. "Changes . . . must come through bargaining, not fiat,' a union motion reads."

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There's a lot more layers to the issue, so I recommend reading the whole thing.

But here's where, to my way of thinking, the union is wholly disingenuous:

John Catanzara, the recently-elected president of the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents about 12,000 rank-and-file cops, said he "absolutely" supports destroying complaint records after five years.

"If you have a not-sustained complaint, why should that stay in your file forever?" Catanzara asked.

Yes - because unusually large numbers of unsustained complaints signal that something may be wrong with those reviewing the complaints, as the piece notes. It's also telling that certain officers rack up a large number of complaints, sustained or not.

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Protestors vs. Looters
"New data released by the Chicago Police Department from the weekend following the death of George Floyd shows that just 20% of arrests during the first few days of unrest were for looting-related crimes, contradicting earlier claims by CPD that looting made up the majority of arrests that weekend," the Chicago Reporter has found.

"Most of the 1,052 arrests were actually for protest-related charges. CPD provided the updated figures after the Reporter shared an analysis of arrest records that called CPD's numbers into question."

In other words, the Reporter did a better job analyzing the data than the cops did.

"In the days following the unrest, the Chicago Police Department maintained that the majority of the arrests that weekend were for 'criminal conduct tied to looting.' A report issued by CPD at the end of the week following the initial protests stated "1,258 individuals were arrested" during that weekend and, of those, '699 arrests were related to criminal conduct tied to looting and destruction of property."

"But according to updated numbers provided by the department Tuesday to the Reporter, only 213 of the 1,052 arrests were for looting-related incidents, about 70% less than the CPD's initial figures."

This, too, is a piece you should click through to.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

How (Not) To Negotiate A Labor Deal
"The art of the delayed deal is pretending you are negotiating when you actually aren't," writes our very own David Rutter, drawing on his experience being in the room during newsroom union talks.

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Chicago's Matriarch Of Medical Examiners
Daughter of wealthy industrialist changed the forensic science game.

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Hollywood's Long History Of Police Myth-Making
Copaganda.

I added a relatively long comment to this that I hope you'll read.

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Amazon Ring's Police Problem
Technology companies must rethink how the tools they design and sell to police departments minimize accountability and exacerbate injustice.

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ChicagoReddit

Hi, has anyone tried to get an antibody test yet? If so, where at? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

My Local Chicago Pizzeria In Florida.

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

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The Beachwood McMuffin Line: Come back one year.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

The Chicago Woman Who Helped Modernize Forensic Science

The way most unnatural deaths are investigated in the U.S. is not as flawless or fast-paced as shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit would have you believe. But in the early 20th century, it was much worse.

In 1914, New York City's commissioner of accounts, Leonard Wallstein, investigated the city's coroner system and found it to be grossly inefficient and corrupt. Of the 65 coroners holding office at the time, "not one was thoroughly qualified by training or experience for the adequate performance of his duties," he wrote in his report. The few who had medical degrees were "drawn from the ranks of mediocrity," motivated only by the money they could extort from police, prosecutors, or the accused.

By the 1920s, two cities - Boston and New York City - had converted from the coroner system to the medical examiner system. Unlike coroners, medical examiners were required to have some kind of post-secondary education, as well as specialized training in forensic pathology - learning to decipher clues like ligature marks, decomposition, and lividity to determine the time, manner, and cause of death.

In 18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics, Bruce Goldfarb vividly recounts one woman's quest to expand the medical examiner system and advance the field of forensic pathology.

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Lee is perhaps best known for creating the "Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death," dioramas of crime scenes in miniature - macabre dollhouses - depicting victims of arson, stabbing, hanging, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more. She handcrafted most of the furniture, clothing, and other minutiae herself to get each detail just right, accurately illustrating traces of physical evidence left at real crime scenes. Stored today at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, the Nutshell Studies are still dusted off once a year and used as training tools for the Frances Glessner Lee Seminar in Homicide Investigation. However, as Goldfarb points out, Lee didn't make the Nutshell Studies until she was in her 60s, toward the latter half of World War II.

Before that, she had spent decades advocating for the medical examiner system - now practiced in 22 states, plus Washington, D.C. - and developing an educational framework for forensic pathology. In 1931, she founded the first academic department in forensic science - the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard University. After years of training police officers how to find and preserve evidence at crime scenes, she was hired as captain of the New Hampshire State Police in 1943, making her the nation's first female police captain. In the introduction of 18 Tiny Deaths, forensic pathologist Judy Melinek dubs her "the matriarch of the modern practice of forensic pathology."

Lee was born in 1878 and grew up in Gilded Age Chicago, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the city. Her father was a partner in the International Harvester Company, which made farming equipment. In addition to a generous gift of $125,000 in company stock from her father when she was 25, Lee later inherited an even larger sum from her uncle, a childless millionaire.

frances-lee-edit-1200x1518.jpgFrances Glessner Lee as a teenager/Glessner House Museum

Despite a lifelong interest in medicine, she never went to medical school, or even college. She married young, had three children, divorced her husband (Blewett Lee, the son of a Confederate lieutenant general), and never remarried. It wasn't until she was 51 and living in Boston that she began her career in forensic science.

While hospitalized with an unexplained illness at Phillips House, an eight-story mansion housing wealthy inpatients in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, she crossed paths with George Burgess Magrath, a childhood friend who was recuperating there around the same time. Magrath was the city's medical examiner - the second person to hold the position - and he had developed severe infections in his hands as the result of a failing liver (he had alcoholism) combined with exposure to formaldehyde in his work.

Goldfarb depicts Magrath as a Sherlockian figure, known throughout the city as much for his eccentricity as for his forensic expertise. Magrath captivated Lee with tales of his on-the-job exploits and impressed upon her the importance of the medical examiner system. "Every person, he felt, was entitled to a thorough, scientific, and impartial death investigation, should it be necessary," Goldfarb writes of Magrath. Rather than relying on surface-level evidence like bullet holes or stab wounds, Magrath employed his skill as a physician to detect barely perceptible signs of violence - from small spots caused by bleeding under the skin to the puncture mark of a hypodermic needle.

Lee's friendship with Magrath instilled in her a fierce determination to share his body of knowledge more widely. With his guidance, at the age of 53, she launched the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard. Lee's personal wealth allowed her to shape the department, for the most part, as she saw fit. She and Magrath had offices on campus, and she paid his salary and pension (anonymously) until his death. In 1940, its first year of operation, the department uncovered evidence of four homicides - previously ruled as accidents, suicides, or natural deaths - that would have gone undetected, and exonerated suspects in nine cases that would have otherwise been prosecuted as homicides.

Lee sent the department's first chairman on a two-year trip around the world to study forensic techniques in Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany and other places where the field was more advanced. Her private collection of books, posters and other instructional materials, eventually absorbed into the medical school's main library, contained more than 3,000 items. Despite her magnanimity, Lee faced institutional inertia at every turn - not to mention deep-seated prejudice. Even after she'd founded the department at Harvard, a Suffolk County medical examiner still saw Lee as merely "a wealthy grandmother with no formal education," writes Goldfarb. But she always employed the same "diplomacy and tact" that had helped her navigate the world as a woman in a male-centric society her entire life.

Goldfarb's background as a journalist and former EMT paramedic shines through in his telling of Lee's life story. The book is loaded with jewel-bright details that bring each personality to life - from Magrath's wild mane of hair ("like a lion resting") to the type of flower (lily of the valley) that Lee carried down the aisle on her wedding day. Most arresting is the book's central episode, in which Magrath performs an autopsy in front of Lee, soon after their release from Phillips House. Though gory, Goldfarb's description is reflective of how the unlikely duo viewed the human body, internal organs and all: "breathtakingly beautiful."

Goldfarb also currently works as a public information officer for Baltimore's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, giving him intimate access to the Nutshell Studies - on permanent loan from Harvard since 1967, as instructed by Lee's heirs - and other important sources. He does an excellent job of distilling what must have been an overwhelming amount of material into a well-paced, highly readable narrative.

Goldfarb does have a tendency to name-drop minor historical figures without much explanation. Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. was a childhood friend, but it's never mentioned that his father was the acclaimed landscape architect who designed Central Park and Prospect Park, as well as a garden for the Glessners' vacation home in New Hampshire. Maud Howe Elliott (a notable writer) and her mother, Julia Ward Howe (who penned "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"), are similarly alluded to in passing.

And a couple of the book's broader claims might also raise some eyebrows. For example, Goldfarb asserts that the Nutshell Studies "serve a purpose that cannot be duplicated by any other medium. Not even state-of-the-art virtual reality approaches the experience of viewing a three-dimensional setting." That seems debatable given today's high-tech tools - though it would undoubtedly be less charming. But such cases of hyperbole are thankfully rare.

18-tiny-deaths-Lee-crop-exp-1480x833.jpgFrances Glessner Lee working in her workshop at The Rocks/Glessner House Museum

As Goldfarb painstakingly makes clear, Lee's dream of a nationwide medical examiner system - with fully trained and independently appointed medical examiners in every state, working in tandem with the police and legal system -- never quite panned out. Although there are more than a dozen medical examiner systems operating in the U.S. to date, roughly half of the population is still under the jurisdiction of coroners, who are not required to have medical degrees or specialized training. And while there are nearly 40 forensic pathology training programs, there are not nearly enough trainees to adequately investigate all of the unnatural deaths each year. Perhaps most concerning, as much as forensic techniques have advanced over the years, none are infallible, and many are being questioned entirely.

Nonetheless, Lee left behind a lasting legacy. The Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard paved the way for other forensic pathology programs. Hundreds of police officers have been trained using her Nutshell Studies and the curriculum she developed for the Homicide Investigation Seminar. Her tireless efforts in both medicine and the law, as Melinek writes, "have made a whole world of a difference."

Sarah Witman is a St. Louis-based science journalist. This post was originally published on Undark.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

Hollywood's Long History Of Collaborative Police Myth-Making

In a recent interview, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison was asked why it's so difficult to prosecute cases against police officers.

"Just think about all the cop shows you may have watched in your life," he replied. "We're just inundated with this cultural message that these people will do the right thing."

While two of those shows, Cops and Live PD, have just been canceled, Americans have long been awash in a sea of police dramas.

In shows like Hill Street Blues, Gangbusters, The Untouchables, Dragnet, NYPD Blue and Law and Order, audiences view the world from the perspective of law enforcement, in which alternately heroic and beleaguered police fight a series of wars on crime. These shows - and countless others - mythologize the police, ensuring that their point of view has dominated popular culture.

This didn't happen by accident.

As a media historian, I've studied how, beginning in the 1930s, law enforcement agencies worked closely with media producers in order to rehabilitate their image.

Many of the shows proved to be hits with viewers, and this symbiotic relationship spawned numerous collaborations that would go on to create a one-sided view of law and order, with the voices of the policed going unheard.

The FBI's PR Machine

For FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, police served a primary role: to protect a "vigorous, intelligent, old-fashioned Americanism" that was threatened by what he saw as unreasonable demands for civil rights and liberties.

Hoover wanted his agents to reflect his vision of "Americanism," so he hired agents with an eye toward whether they fit the mold of what he deemed a "good physical specimen:" white, Christian and tall. They couldn't suffer from "physical defects" like baldness and impaired vision, nor could they have "foreign" accents.

In the 1930s, Hoover also established a public relations arm within the agency called the Crime Records Division. At the time, the image of the police was sorely in need of rehabilitation, thanks to high-profile federal crime commissions that documented widespread violence, suppression and corruption within police departments.

Hoover realized that broadcast media could serve as a perfect vehicle to disseminate his conception of law enforcement and repair the police's standing with the public.

The Crime Records Division cultivated relationships with "friendly" media owners, producers and journalists who would reliably endorse the FBI's views.

In 1935, the FBI partnered with Warner Brothers on the film 'G' Men. A G-Men radio series followed, made in collaboration with producer Phillips H. Lord and reviewed by J. Edgar Hoover, who "checked every statement" and made "valuable suggestions," according to the series' credits.

A year later, the FBI worked with Lord again on the radio series Gang Busters, whose gunshot-filled opening credits boasted of the show's "cooperation with police and federal law enforcement departments throughout the United States" and its status as "the only national program that brings you authentic police case histories."

Although Hoover and Lord notoriously clashed over the details - Hoover wanted to emphasize the science of policing and the professionalism of law enforcement, while Lord wanted more drama - the focus on the police as protagonists went largely unquestioned.

The FBI's collaborations continued into the 1970s, with the long-running series This is Your FBI (1945-1953) and The FBI (1965-1974).

Like G-Men and Gang Busters, these programs were based on solved police cases and made the most of their ripped-from-the-headlines realism.

Other writers and producers pursued similar collaborations with law enforcement. The iconic series Dragnet, for example, was written with the approval of Los Angeles police chief William H. Parker, who notoriously headed the LAPD during the 1965 Watts riots.

Reactionary Retaliation

The FBI didn't just collaborate on media production. My research on the television blacklist - a smear campaign to silence anti-racist progressives in the media industry - reveals how the agency routinely retaliated against its critics.

When journalist John Crosby criticized the FBI during a 1952 television broadcast, Hoover scrawled a note on the report of the incident: "This is an outrageous allegation. We ought to nail this. What do our files show on Crosby?"

Shortly afterwards, Crosby was denounced in American Legion Magazine as someone who supported supposedly communist performers and artists.

When lawyer and government official Max Lowenthal was completing a book critical of the FBI in 1950, the Bureau wiretapped his phone and planted stories so disparaging that few copies of the book sold, ending Lowenthal's government career.

The Bureau even succeeded in getting at least one writer fired from This is Your FBI merely because it believed his wife was not a sufficiently "loyal American citizen."

Worse was always visited on black performers, journalists and activists, who were subject to far more intense spying, surveillance and police abuse.

Law enforcement's efforts to control its image through production and repression helped create police dramas that seldom questioned their built-in bias. Meanwhile, the dearth of diversity in writers' rooms reinforced this formula.

Of course, some notable exceptions dulled the police drama's sheen, including David Simon's The Wire and The Corner, and Ava DuVernay's recent miniseries When They See Us. These dramas upend the traditional police point-of-view, asking viewers to see the police through the eyes of those most often policed and punished.

Time's Up For The Police Drama?

Periodically, Americans have been made aware of the one-sidedness of these media depictions of police conduct. In 1968, for example, the Kerner Commission explored the causes of uprisings in black communities. Its report noted that, within these communities, there was longstanding awareness that "the press has too long basked in a white world looking out of it, if at all, with white men's eyes and white perspective."

Changing that perspective requires more than recognizing the role police dramas have played as propaganda for law enforcement. It means reckoning with the legacy of stories that gloss over police misconduct and violence, which disproportionately affect people of color.

"We want to see more," Rashad Robinson, the executive director of the civil rights advocacy organization Color of Change, told the New York Times after the cancellation of Cops. "These cop reality shows that glorify police but will never show the deep level of police violence are not reality, they are PR arms for law enforcement. Law enforcement doesn't need PR They need accountability."

Carol A. Stabile is a professor at the University of Oregon. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

I wish this piece spent more time on recent and current police shows, including dreck like Chicago PD, as well as show in the aftermath of 9/11 (24), instead of focusing so much on the '30s and Hoover era. The spate of reality cop shows, for example, is legion, including shows focusing on various sheriff departments and jails.

At the same time, the author fails to note that Hill Street Blues and, particularly, NYPD Blue, were innovative. NYPD Blue also portrayed characters with moral ambiguity, particularly Andy Sipowicz, a racist brutalizer with a psychologically complex, justice-seeking sympathetic core.

Such examinations might go beyond the scope of the piece in that these shows may not have been subject to official law enforcement collaboration, but these shows undoubtedly hired past and/or present law enforcement personnel as consultants, thus shaping the viewpoint similarly.

At the same time, while the author mentions exceptions to the traditional police POV like The Wire, he leaves out The Shield, which portrays a rogue special operations unit quite similar to ones we often see in real-world scandals, and Chicago Code, which extended its view to the political influence on police operations.

Again, I realize I'm suggesting a longer, broader and deeper piece, but at least bigger nods to those shows would have brought us up to date and not spent so much time in the distant past.

See also: With 'Copaganda' TV Under Fire, NBC's One Chicago Actors - Past And Present - Take A Stand For Social Justice.

"Earlier this year, Color of Change, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization, and USC's journalism school authored Normalizing Injustice, a study detailing how television plays a major role in how police and systemic issues are viewed by consumers.

Chicago P.D. was cited among the series in which "wrongful actions were presented as ultimately good and forgivable actions on the part of 'good guys' in noble pursuit of the 'bad guys' and any limitations or accountability for those actions would only impede the pursuit of justice and the ability of [people in criminal justice] to keep good people safe."

And see also: Dirty Coppers, in which I wrote:

"[Or take a]n argument put forth by the Tribune's [Pulitzer Prize-winning] Julia Keller in the wake of 9/11. Keller, like so many other commentators suddenly developing insight into how our world would change forever, foresaw a dramatic shift in the very nature of police shows that simply hasn't come to be.

"As we continue to contemplate how culture may change in the wake of Sept. 11, I'd like to offer this prediction: Cop dramas will never be the same. It won't happen overnight - cultural products take a good long time to make their way through the various pipelines that empty out on TV and movie screens, in bookstores and on stages - but it's on its way," Keller wrote in October 2001.

"For roughly the past two decades, cop dramas have been dominated by a single idea: moral ambiguity. Cops do a dirty job, see, and the only way to do a dirty job - or so this theory goes - is to get a little dirty yourself."

That dominant storyline (a change in itself from the Dragnet days of righteous policing, I might add) would come to an end, Keller wrote.

Cops would forevermore be depicted as heroic.

It was a bad argument then and it's a particularly bad argument now, one that didn't hold up when it was written and has looks more silly by the day since.

The lack of informed critical thinking by, well, our cultural critics has also played a role standing up television's (and Hollywood's) portrayal of cops. (Even more weirdly, when you think about it, is that in Beverly Hills Cop, the officers who play by the rules are the white ones in a wealthy jurisdiction, while the cop who teaches them that rules are to be broken if you really want to crack cases is the black guy from Detroit. How about a remake switching the races?).

So Hollywood has taught us simultaneously that cops are righteous and play by the book and that violating the rules to get the job done is necessary and honorable. It has also simultaneously taught us that cops are simple, straightlaced nerds and complicated, morally ambiguous creatures.

The one constant, though, is that the point of view is always the cops', and that even the most brutal of them deserve our sympathy. That's liberal Hollywood for you.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

June 16, 2020

How To (Pretend To) Negotiate A Labor Deal

This idea was not my invention. I am merely an eyewitness to its application.

I was In "The Room Where It Happened," as Hamilton's gang might have sung it.

My eyeballs were open to the optical illusion at those moments, and I was being self-educated as a daily newspaper editor allowed into the sanctum sanctorum of labor negotiations.

My function? No power at all. Barely a hood ornament.

Now that the Major League Baseball season faces the real possibility of being stillborn, we will want to know why they could not keep the lights turned on, and who it was who pulled the plug.

That's the easy-peasy part.

It's all in Sun Tzu's 12th-century Chinese prescriptive The Art of War. The successful commander "recognizes strategic opportunities, and learns not to create opportunities for the enemy . . . They limit the cost of competition and conflict."

In the Chicago Cubs' case, it helps to have a franchise worth $2.3 billion to fund your army.

Who had the power and assets to stop an entire sports season? The owners did, just as owners automatically have the power to stall most labor deals as long they wish.

The art of the delayed deal is pretending you are negotiating when you actually aren't.

Why? It's leverage for the long-game future by people who know precisely where the financial chalk line is in the batter's box, even if the other side doesn't.

The players can be adept only at playing defense. They are more like good-field-no hit utility infielders.

The easy case can be made that MLB owners always were prepared to kill the season. They alone held the pin in Sun Tzu's grenade.

What the owners risked was losing money that would have made them even more obnoxiously rich. Players risk losing income they can never recoup in a getting-smaller-every-day career window.

Wins and losses are measurements of vulnerability. In the baseball scenario, the players only "war" leverage was the threat not to play. That, as it turned out, was no threat to the owners. The game was in stasis for months now.

For their part, the owners needed to sit still and pretend to be considering alternatives, a position of flexibility for which there is no evidence. The owners only managed to make their tactics so blatantly obvious that even Commissioner Rob Manfred was embarrassed.

That was an unforced error on a five-hop infield dribbler. Owners lost all deniability - plausible and otherwise.

But how does this work, and how do you pretend to negotiate without really negotiating?

Consider the human dynamics in the room where contract proposals with clear distinctions are being pushed and pulled.

There's always a First Pitch. The trick is to make the conditions and surrender so onerous that the employees could not possibly agree to them and remain respectable adults. Thus the cyanide pill is placed in the oatmeal and made to appear as though it's suicide.

It's not so much Sun Tzu as it is a Perry Mason script, and nearly as obvious in real life.

I know. I've seen it a half dozen times as an editor allowed to be present when corporate owners were dickering with the serfs. Editors have no real functions or authority in such talks. They are allowed in, to cultivate the appearance of management solidarity.

Editors in such circumstances are not players in the real game. The owners made the meaningful decisions elsewhere.

This face-to-face chat usually is Kabuki.

What Major League Baseball did to the players is what I've seen done consistently in other contexts: Seem to agree to one condition, then withdraw the agreement, pretend new pressures and conditions make that agreement unworkable, and then blame the union for being willful and intransigent.

It's how labor unions lose membership income, health benefits and pension contributions in negotiations.

In my experience, that tactic occasionally was so egregious that I'd sometimes offer a benefit suggestion that the union had not understood clearly and, in fact, would save jobs that otherwise could be eaten up by attrition and forced overtime.

So, what was Major League Baseball ownership doing in these talks that should seem obvious?

This is a routine application of math logic for negotiating union labor contracts. I'm only repeating someone else's description, but it certainly seems to apply to MLB owners.

The owners agreed in March to a system of prorated salaries based on how many games were played, if they ever were. We were all friends then.

Players essentially would make a percentage of what each of their deals would have been with a full schedule. Fewer games; less pay.

Then owners wanted a different deal: Pay much less if there are no fans in the stands. Let's pretend the previous agreement does not exist.

Buckle up for competing grievances and vast numbers of arbitrators. But first, the owners demand the union never seek arbitration.

It's essentially a pre-nup.

This is all very familiar.

In fact, I was eyewitness to several newsroom union negotiations with Hollinger (the old days) and the Sun-Times (later days). No matter which company spokesman is making the negotiating case, it always sounds like this:

OWNERS: Yes, we realize what we have agreed to pay you, but have a different idea. Times are very difficult and different now.

PLAYERS: Oh, how so?

OWNERS: Let's pay you $12.

PLAYERS: No.

OWNERS: How about $24 in pensions and $12 reduction in salary?

PLAYERS: No.

OWNERS: How about $2 increments in each of six payments?

PLAYERS: No.

OWNERS: We think $3 payments over four pay periods make some sense.

PLAYERS: No.

OWNERS: $6 payments twice?

PLAYERS: No.

OWNERS: Maybe 50 cents delivered 24 times?

PLAYERS: No.

OWNERS: A nickel in each of the next 1,200 pay periods? That flexibility would be great for everyone.

PLAYERS: No. Pay us what you agreed to pay us.

OWNERS: You players are not bargaining in good faith, and you are being so greedy. You are damaging America.

PLAYERS: Somebody call the NLRB.

Meanwhile, Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field and every other MLB venue - and every contractually affiliated minor league team - sits dark for a year, and COVID-19 gets the blame.

But is wasn't COVID-19. It was money.

Several owners sat in a room. Or took a Zoom chat. Or just wrote a detailed note to the Commissioner.

Whatever the mechanism, they would have calculated the central issue.

How much more or less would they lose by going dark than if they paid what their first deal demanded? They made a call. We get what we want, or we kill the season. Simple power mechanics and Sun Tzu military maneuvers.

Of course, we can always blame this on the coronavirus, though that's a little unfair, even to a deadly contagion. Someone soon will spin baseball's paternal self-immolation to a desire to protect the health and safety of fans and players. They'll use the exact phrase "fans and players alike."

That's just spin. What might be happening to baseball this summer is just as much human-made as bad luck.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

* 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

* The Fonz Lives And Franco Is Dead: News You Can't Use.

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:09 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Grinding my gears:

The media (and others) talk about police unions as if they are an entity in and of themselves, apart from actual police officers, when in fact police union leadership are elected by the rank-and-file. Police union leadership, almost universally repugnant across America, reflect the views of the majority of police officers. Let that sink in.

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And it's not as if the John Catanzaras of the world won narrow victories over reformers, or even moderates. The union president losers are only slightly less crazy than the winners.

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And yet, these horrid police union contracts didn't write themselves - they were agreed to in city after city by mayors and city councils.

Something I'd like to see is a review of each Chicago police union contract to see which mayors agreed to which provisions. Assignment Desk, activate!

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Of course, that doesn't mean change is impossible. In fact, it seems change is afoot. But in all the reporting over the years about police union contracts and accountability systems, it seems like the two biggest players - the officers themselves and the elected officials who enable them - get left out of the discussion in favor of passive abstracts.

(This isn't just a problem at the local level; several state legislatures have added to the problem with labor law provisions and police officer "bills of rights" that have only worsened the problem.)

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Finally, the media likes to pretend it isn't a part of the institutional ecosystem when it (almost always belatedly) sees the light on an issue once it has become trendy to do so.

To wit:

I've also wondered in this space before if the now-required Burge curriculum in Chicago Public Schools includes the media's failure to believe Burge's victims - and/or care enough to dig into their claims - and their monumental failure to follow-up John Conroy's deeply impressive reporting for the Reader.

The media likes to crow about its impact - and import to democracy - when they do something good, but they pretend they don't exist (or have any impact at all) when it comes to widespread institutional failures they are equally a part of.

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And, as many have now come to realize, police reform has been a widespread institutional failure - including by the media.

What I've come to learn in recent years, sadly, is that by and large the local media doesn't even understand how the multi-layered police accountability system works in Chicago.

Beyond that, nobody seems to question why we even need such a Rube Goldbergesque system built around our cops to make sure they behave, i.e., don't needlessly kill Black people.

For some reason, Internal Affairs (IAD) was not enough; we needed the Office of Professional Standards (OPS). And when OPS failed, we got the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA). And when IPRA failed, we got the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). And now that COPA has failed, we're going to get either the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) or the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC).

Cops are so bad at their jobs, and so protected by the union contracts they've been able to negotiate, that the city for decades has had to do massive bureaucratic gymnastics to create a system that, seemingly by design, fails to hold them to account. And guess what? Chicago actually might have the best accountability system, relatively speaking, in the nation!

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Here's a more precise rendering of the long, failed history of police reform in Chicago, from a 2013 UIC report and enhanced by the Beachwood staff:

History of CPD oversight - each a reaction to scandal.

1960: Police Board created.

Tribune, March 5, 1960: "Council Approves New Police Board; Wilson Is Inducted: 4 'Urgent' Needs Of Department Described Wilson Tells New Board Of 4 'Urgent' Police Needs."

1966: Mayor creates Citizens Committee.

Tribune, July 26, 1966: "Daley Appoints 23 To Study Police Department."

1967: Superintendent reorganizes Internal Investigations Division.

Tribune, November 19, 1967: "Born in '60, I. I. D. Keeps Eye on City Policemen: Its Office Acts On Thousands Of Complaints."

1970: Internal Affairs Division created.

Tribune, September 23, 1970: "POLICE FORCE SHAKEUP PUTS 40 IN NEW JOBS: 2d Big Move Following Recent Survey."

1972: City Commission on Human Relations given role.

Tribune, May 13, 1972: "Won't Change Police System, Conlisk Insists: CHICAGO'S TROUBLED POLICE."

1973: Knoohuizen Report.

1974: Office of Professional Standards created.

Tribune, February 13, 1974: "Exclusive Interview: IAD Failed To End corruption: [Chief]."

2007: Independent Police Review Authority created.

Sun-Times, November 1, 2007: "Key To Police Watchdog's New Name: 'Independent.'"

[Headlines by The Beachwood Value-Added Affairs Desk]

Reform is not working! (And I'm not sure it was ever meant to work, other than to assauge the public just enough to get by.)

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Since then, of course, we've had the Police Accountability Task Force, a Justice Department investigation and subsequent federal consent decree, and the replacement of IPRA with COPA, which will soon be replaced with GAPA or CPAC.

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And lookee here: Lightfoot Announces Committee To Review Chicago Police Use-Of-Force Policies.

Amid: Chicago Misses Two Dozen Deadlines In Police Reform Plan.

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And our police chiefs? I'll steal this review from myself in December 2019:

Eddie Johnson: Fired for lying to mayor.

John Escalante (interim): Approved bogus Laquan McDonald reports.

Garry McCarthy: Took Rahm's fall for Laquan McDonald; should've been fired much sooner.

Jody Weis: Mayor Richard M. Daley conducted his own search alongside the police board to find a 22-year FBI agent wholly unable to effectively lead the department.

Phil Cline: Resigned amidst a scandal in his special operations unit (including one officer hiring a hit man to kill another) and several instances of highly publicized police brutality.

Terry Hillard: Resigned after a forgettable five years and came back briefly as interim between Weis and McCarthy. Tried to lead reform efforts in New Orleans, creating the appropriate backlash, and cashed in with a private security firm.

Matt Rodriguez: Forced to resign because of his friendship with a convicted felon/murder suspect.

LeRoy Martin: Once suggested weakening the Constitution; named as a Jon Burge enabler.

Fred Rice Jr.: The city's first African-American police chief resigned once his pension maxed out.

Richard Brzeczek: Special prosecutors in 2006 found that Brzeczek was "guilty of 'dereliction of duty' and did not act in good faith in an investigation into claims of torture involving Burge."

I didn't go further back then that, but I'm sure the pattern is the same.

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I'd be remiss if I didn't note that the New York Times just wrote this in an article this week about police chiefs' lack of job security:

Garry McCarthy was respected in law enforcement circles for ushering in an era of modernization and experimentation as superintendent of the troubled Chicago Police Department. He was fired in 2015 by the mayor at the time, Rahm Emanuel, over his handling of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. Though Mr. McCarthy had viewed video of the shooting days after the incident, it took more than a year and a court order for the video to be publicly released.

Mr. McCarthy has said he removed the officer who killed Mr. McDonald from the streets immediately but did not have the power to fire him.

I'll take this from the bottom up.

1. McCarthy did not have the power to fire Jason Van Dyke; that power rested with the Police Board. That is a fact, not something that needs to be attributed to him. It's also besides the point, as McCarthy let stand false reports of the incident; lied in media interviews about the case; and, in fact, thought the video should not have been released until the case was over.

2. The Times makes it seem like Rahm fired McCarthy for not releasing the video, when it was Rahm who buried the video, put forth through the city council a rushed settlement with the family in which his law department was not forthcoming about the incident, and fought the release of the video.

3. I'm not sure if McCarthy was respected in law enforcement circles, but those are the very circles that have brought us to where we are; I don't get why that should be a positive credential. Beyond that, the folks in Newark, New Jersey, where McCarthy worked as chief before Chicago, were not exactly enamored of him.

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And our current police chief? He oversaw fudging the crime stats in Dallas and "retired" ahead of possibly getting fired. The Chicago media has basically ignored his real record there.

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Now is the time more than ever for a total rethink of everything, and that includes not only how to best shape a public safety department but how to best shape media coverage to better reflect reality and eliminate false assumptions and biases that have determined coverage for decades, if not for as long as we've had police officers.

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P.S.: A failed history of police reform is a failed history of policing. Policing is what's not working, and reform hasn't fixed it.

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ChicagoReddit

How to safely/legally grill on an apartment balcony from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

It's a new week and I've got a new Small Chicago Building to add to my series! I super love this piece and building. It's got Art Deco accents and a nice mix of older and newer architectural elements. This building was located in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood, and home to the "International Buddhism Friendship Association." I say "was" because this building no longer exists as it was recently torn down and a new building set to replace it. Also, I stream the painting of these live on twitch at: twitch.tv/czmdesign give it a follow for when I go live and come hang out! Prints & More: www.chaszmathieu.redbubble.com ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ #Chicago #city #chitecture #art #chicagoart #painting #watercolor #chitown #wu_chicago #flippinchi #likechicago #architecture #chitown #building #chinatown #artfeature #artfeaturehelp #watercolorpainting #supportartists #redbubbleartists #watercolor_daily #watercolorart #watercolor_guide #twitchart #twitchartist

A post shared by Chas Z Mathieu Design (@czm.design) on

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ChicagoTube

The Scorpions 1979 Chicago.

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BeachBook

A Note From The Folded Map Project.

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The Inventor Of Ibuprofen Tested The Drug On His Own Hangover.

Legend.

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Five Women Veterans Who Deserve To Have Army Bases Named After Them.

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

They get so much so wrong.

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Related: Activists Want Billions In Reparations From Chase Bank For Chicago's Black Neighborhoods.

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The Beachwood Tip Slip Line: Nip it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:25 AM | Permalink

June 15, 2020

The [Monday] Papers

The Chicago media's continuing Burge blindspot is the work of a structurally racist media.

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John Kass is also structurally racist.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Nearly 1 in 4 Workers At High Risk Of Serious Illness From COVID-19
"Many of these people may be out of work right now or working remotely, but would be at greater risk if they had to return to in-person work."

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SportsMonday: Pro-Millionaire
Baseball's owners are awful people.

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Judge Inexplicably Dismisses Walmart Homeopathy Fraud Lawsuit
Earth to Judge Florence Pan!

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Heavy Metal Now Has A Pinball Machine
"The Heavy Metal pinball machine commemorates the 300th issue of Heavy Metal, which has been running since 1977 and inspired the 1981 animated movie of the same name.

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Constellation Evolution Through Record Album Covers
Adler Planetarium dude needs a bigger record collection, though, maybe.

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ChicagoReddit

Anyone else having trouble with T-Mobile? Over 90K problems reported on Down Detector. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Southern California Food Review: The Portillo's In Buena Park

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BeachBook

The Unpresident And The Unredeemed Promise.

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Trading Sportsbooks For Brokerages, Bored Bettors Wager On Stocks, Moving The Markets.

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Probiotics Don't Do Much For Most People's Gut Health, Review Finds.


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

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The Beachwood Tip Tac Toe Line: X gets the square.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:00 PM | Permalink

Stern Pinball & Incendium Announce First Official Heavy Metal Pinball Machine

Stern Pinball, Inc., a global lifestyle brand based on the iconic and outrageously fun modern American game of pinball, and Incendium, a multi-faceted production company known for an array of animation, comic books, toys, and video games, announced today the availability of a new limited edition pinball machine celebrating the world's greatest illustrated magazine, Heavy Metal. The Heavy Metal pinball machine will be available exclusively from Incendium.

The Heavy Metal pinball machine commemorates the 300th issue of Heavy Metal, which has been running since 1977 and inspired the 1981 animated movie of the same name. An exclusive variant cover edition of issue 300 will be included with every machine. Heavy Metal is working with Incendium as a premier licensing partner to align with premium brands and their products.

"Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and metal collide in this first-ever pinball machine. This is our most ambitious Heavy Metal product yet. We couldn't be more proud of the result and we're hugely grateful for the support from Stern Pinball and Heavy Metal in bringing this amazing machine into existence," said Llexi Leon, CEO of Incendium.

"Gamifying the Heavy Metal ethos into this timeless machine is a testament to Incendium's understanding of Heavy Metal's vision. I couldn't be more excited about this product, and all of the other speciality items we have on our upcoming slate." added Matthew Medney, CEO of Heavy Metal.

The original art created for the Heavy Metal pinball machine art pays tribute to characters and worlds from the magazine's storied history. New additions from its upcoming publications join this shared universe for the first time. Gameplay revolves around the warrior heroine, Taarna and the undead tailgunner, Nelson. Both, will speak for the first time ever, supporting the in-game narrative.

The pinball machine soundtrack will feature original recordings from Sebastian Bach and Brendon Small, in addition to iconic tracks from the Heavy Metal movie original soundtrack including Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick and more.

This limited edition pinball machine is built to order and only available this year, 2020. The Heavy Metal pinball machine features cabinet armor in the unique color changing galaxy black metallic with all original art, figures of Taarna and Nelson that light up, custom art blades and a limited edition, hand numbered issue of Heavy Metal #300 with a variant cover.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price:

Limited Edition Model: $7,999

MSRP for sales to USA end-users, before any VAT, GST, Sales Tax, Duties, or other taxes.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:12 PM | Permalink

Constellation Evolution Through Record Album Covers

"Pedro, who oversees our rare astronomical artifacts, shows us the evolution of constellations through album artwork from his personal record collection."


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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

I know this is meant to be astronomically educational, but I wanted more. Surely there are more album covers with constellations on them out there! Bring it!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:57 PM | Permalink

Judge Inexplicably Dismisses Walmart Homeopathy Fraud Lawsuit

The Center for Inquiry vowed to continue its efforts to end the deceptive marketing of homeopathic fake medicine, announcing that it will appeal the dismissal of its consumer protection lawsuit against Walmart.

On May 20, 2019, the Center for Inquiry (CFI), an organization dedicated to advancing reason and science, filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia against Walmart, accusing the world's largest retailer of committing wide-scale consumer fraud and endangering the health of its customers through its sale and marketing of pseudoscientific homeopathic drugs. The suit charged Walmart with misrepresenting homeopathy's safety and efficacy by hawking homeopathic products right alongside real, evidence-based medicine on its shelves and its online store, with no distinction made between them, under signs indicating them as treatments for particular ailments.

Exactly one year later, on May 20, 2020, Judge Florence Pan of the D.C. Superior Court dismissed CFI's case on extraordinarily dubious grounds.

First, Pan claimed that the Center for Inquiry lacked standing as a consumer protection organization, an assertion belied by CFI's more than four decades of work to educate the public about the dangers of pseudoscientific health products and advocate for stricter regulation of scientifically unproven health products with legal action, lobbying, and through outlets such as Skeptical Inquirer magazine and the website Quackwatch.

"The Center for Inquiry was explicitly founded for the very purpose on which Judge Pan says we have no standing," said Nick Little, CFI's vice president and general counsel. "Consumer protection is about more than recalls of unsafe toys. It's about stopping powerful corporations from abusing the trust of their customers and risking their health with deceptive practices. It's baffling to me that this judge refuses to see that."

Second, Pan asserted that CFI failed to identify Walmart's specific actions that lead to harm to consumers, which could not have been more clear: By making no distinction between real and fake medicine, Walmart is profiting off of consumers' confusion - confusion that is attested to in a recent survey on consumer attitudes toward homeopathic products and its retailers.

"Walmart literally shelves its useless homeopathic products under signs that read 'cold and flu,' many of them packaged with Walmart's own private label branding, right next to real medicine," said Little. "Walmart creates the confusion in consumers' minds, and then benefits from that confusion. How much clearer can it be?

"This dismissal is truly inexplicable. Hucksters do not always strut on a stagecoach and twirl mustaches. By taking advantage of their customers' trust to sell them fake medicine, Walmart is as bad as any 19th-century snake oil salesman bamboozling folks with 18th-century quackery. Consumers of the 21st-century deserve better, and we intend to carry on this fight."

Homeopathy is an 18th-century pseudoscience premised on the absurd, unscientific notion that a substance that causes a particular symptom is what should be ingested to alleviate it. Dangerous substances are diluted to the point that no trace of the active ingredient remains, but its alleged effectiveness rests on the nonsensical claim that water molecules have "memories" of the original substance. Homeopathic treatments have no effect whatsoever beyond that of a placebo.

CFI has advocated for tighter regulation of homeopathic products for many years, becoming the leading advocate for science-based medicine and against the proliferation of snake oil. In 2015, CFI was invited by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide expert testimony. As a result, the FTC declared in 2016 that the marketing of homeopathic products for specific diseases and symptoms is only acceptable if consumers are told: "(1) there is no scientific evidence that the product works and (2) the product's claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts." In 2018, the FDA announced a new "risk-based" policy of regulatory action against homeopathic products.

CFI is currently waging a similar suit in the District of Columbia against the country's biggest pharmacy chain, CVS, again challenging the presentation and marketing of homeopathic products in their stores. CFI is currently awaiting the judge's decision on CVS's Motion to Dismiss in that case.

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Previously:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:56 AM | Permalink

Nearly 1 in 4 Workers At High Risk Of Serious Illness From COVID-19

A new KFF analysis finds nearly one in four workers (24%) are considered at high risk of serious illness if they get infected by the novel coronavirus, highlighting the challenges that businesses, public offices and other employers face as they move toward reopening.

The analysis estimates 37.7 million workers (based on their work status in 2018) are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19. This includes 10 million who are at least 65-years-old and an additional 27.7 million who have pre-existing medical conditions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says put people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Many of these people may be out of work right now or working remotely, but would be at greater risk if they had to return to in-person work.

"As an employer, I know that employers are largely on their own to develop policies to reopen safely," KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said. "These data suggest employers should take into account the higher risk some workers will face, allowing them to work at home where possible, to be tested and to minimize their risks if they return to work."

The analysis also estimates that 12 million more at-risk adults who do not work themselves live in households with workers. For this group, indirect exposure could be just as serious of a risk as going to work themselves.

The estimates are based on KFF's analysis of data from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey. Workers deemed at high risk based on the CDC's criteria include those who are at least 65-years-old, as well as those with diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, a body mass index above 40, or have a functional limitation related to cancer.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:50 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Pro-Millionaire

I want to make sure I have this completely straight: Major League Baseball owners, realizing the 2020 season would be shortened, asked players for help. And the players union agreed to pro-rated salaries, i.e., they only get paid the fraction of their salaries that match up to the fraction of the season that is played.

In other words, if a player has a salary of $2 million dollars and teams only play 50 percent of their season this year (81 games), the player is paid $1 million dollars. It is a move that would save owners more than a hundred million dollars and one would have thought it would surely ensure that professional baseball is played this year.

Then the owners apparently decided, "Wow, if these suckers would go for that, surely they'll agree to give us hundreds of millions more with further salary reductions! Heck, they'll probably even play for nothing."

But the players union, led by the previously feckless Tony Clark, decided that maybe just maybe that as a step too far.

Meanwhile, massively rich owners like the Ricketts family (How rich? In 2015 Forbes estimated the total wealth of patriarch Joe Ricketts alone was $4.5 billion. That was a few years after Joe had provided the money that enabled his kids to take over the Cubs and a year before the Cubs won the World Series) had to know they could pay for this entire season and still be multibillionaires.

And yet the plan is now apparently to shut everything down.

Fans could give guys like me a hard time about objectivity here because, yes, I have always supported players in situations like this. I will readily acknowledge that I have always tried to help people understand that if millionaire players weren't getting paid what they get paid, it would just mean that billionaire owners were that much further along on their quest to be trillionaires. But many fans I talk to don't care. They want players to play for peanuts no matter what.

Nevertheless, I'm thinking in this case I am justified in siding with the players again. I will acknowledge that . . . well I won't acknowledge anything. This situation is a thousand percent the owners' fault. Alone. In fact, the players probably made a mistake by extending the "pro-rated salary" olive branch.

Last week, I found myself amazed and at times delirious as the (good) hits kept coming from formerly racist-to-the-core sports entities such as NASCAR. The prominent, southern, stock car racing series made it clear they aren't just making promises this time, they are fundamentally changing their ways. Rather than winking and nodding at racist, hateful Confederate flags flying at their races going forward, the stock car series leaders now say they will forevermore force the flag flyers to stop or be banished.

Over in the NFL, I'm thinking commissioner Roger Goodell might kneel on both knees for every national anthem he hears for the rest of his life. He has been a terrible person/commissioner. For example, during his tenure Goodell decided former Ravens running back Ray Rice would be suspended only two games for hitting his girlfriend so hard she was knocked unconscious. Shortly thereafter he decreed that Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady should be suspended four games after a ball he was playing with was found to be slightly deflated.

Indications are the commissioner might have actually grown a spine in the aftermath of the torture and killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis a few weeks ago and might actually be willing to do something. He might even help Colin Kaepernick get a quarterbacking job.

A miracle I know.

I have an idea, baseball owners! Just give the teams to the players. You'll lose a little equity but no cash this year. And gosh will people think you are charitable.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 AM | Permalink

June 13, 2020

The Weekend Desk Report

"Illinois Republicans held a virtual state convention Saturday with Chairman Tim Schneider declaring President Donald Trump 'a man for our time' and contending the COVID-19 pandemic has helped Democrats move the country toward socialism while trying to win the White House," the Tribune reports.

Schneider said actions initiated to stop the spread of the coronavirus appeared aimed to "move our country more toward socialism and to defeat our president, Donald Trump, in November, and we can't let that happen."

Pritzker, Schneider said, was "ruling like an unaccountable king" during the pandemic. He accused the governor of issuing "meaningless" shutdown orders and making up "arbitrary timelines and metrics for reopening not used by any other state."

Pritzker, not Trump, is "ruling like an unaccountable king."

Pritzker's shutdown orders have been "meaningless."

Timelines and metrics for reopening are "arbitrary" - not drawn at all from Trump's CDC.

Imagine believing all that.

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"The state GOP complaints over the state's handling of the pandemic come as a study by the New York Times had Illinois showing the largest decrease in new coronavirus cases in the nation compared with two weeks ago based on changes in the seven-day average against comparable figures as of June 11," the Trib helpfully notes.

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Trump's Finest

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As for the CPD, here's the mayor responding to a reporter's question on June 5, via Capitol Fax:

REPORTER: The Chicago Police Department issued a requirement that all on duty personnel wear CPD-issued surgical masks and gloves anytime they are out of their vehicle in public.

Over the last week, there's been scores of officers, according to this question, at protests without these masks.

Can you tell us why this is happening and what your office is doing to get officers to comply with this basic public health requirement in the middle of COVID-19?

LIGHTFOOT: This was an issue that we saw way before this week.

We've spent a significant amount of money and resources to make sure that our officers are safe in discharging their responsibilities every day, including PPE, masks, gloves, cleaning supplies.

And the superintendent I know has issued a number of reminders and directives, and I've told him that our patience with this has to be and end. If officers are not complying, if they are not wearing the mask and protective gear that we provide, they need to be disciplined.

And that was an issue that we were dealing with way before the events of this week.

But clearly no officer should be going out engaging with members of the public. It's for their protection, as well as members of the public, and we expect them to abide by the directives that have been issued, and if not, then disciplinary action shall be taken.

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Assignment Desk: How many officers, if any, have been disciplined for not wearing a mask?

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Of course, it's not as if no Chicago police officers are wearing masks:

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But a lot aren't:

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FYI from the Washington Post: Spate Of New Research Supports Wearing Masks To Control Coronavirus Spread.

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Callback: Illinois Republicans Say Wearing Masks Spreads Socialism.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

E-Mails Reveal Disgusting Meatpacking Shitshow Over COVID-19 Outbreaks
A striking example of greed that values profits literally over people's lives - aided by the President of the United States.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #308: We're All NASCAR Now
A moment when everything seems possible. Plus: MLB Draft's Dizzying Heights Of Hype; We Blame The (Lying) Owners; The Neverending Sammy Sosa Saga; and NBA & NHL Flux.

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Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause
Insidious lies wrapped in charm.

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How Studying History Made Me A Stoic
"I'm not a historian, but I feel qualified enough to assert that the history of human affairs is consistently filled with misery and strife."

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There's A Unicorn Riot Goin' On
Unicorn Riot is the modern heir to a history of on-the-street grassroots video documentary filming of protests and social movements that started in the late 1960s.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Financier of Ipsento Coffee in Bucktown takes down Black Lives Matter posters from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Andy Austin has created over 3,000 watercolor sketches in her 43 years as a courtroom sketch artist in Chicago. The collection has found a new home in the Pritzker Legal Research Center, where it will be preserved for future generations of scholars. "The Andy Austin Collection visually represents some of the most important moments in Chicago legal history," says George H. Pike, director of the center. "As courtroom sketches, they represent a valuable and otherwise unavailable snapshot into the courtroom process and the lives that become entwined with those processes in a way that files and transcripts can't convey." "It's amazing what the court cases show about a city's life and history. Since I had this material, I felt like it would be wonderful if it were preserved, catalogued, organized, and able to tell a story of what was going on for those 43 years," Austin says of her decision to donate her life's work. "The courts changed and the reporting changed too." 👩‍⚖🎨

A post shared by Courtroom Art (@courtroom_art) on

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Weekend ChicagoTube

UFO Live in Chicagom, 1981 (in loving memory of Paul Chapman).

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

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The Weekend Desk Tippy Martinez Line: Durable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:30 PM | Permalink

June 12, 2020

There's A Unicorn Riot Goin' On

On-the-ground views of the protests sweeping the country are vital for understanding who is protesting and why.

Mainstream news media coverage and individuals' social media posts only go so far - and can focus on violence and disruption.

There's a grassroots media tradition in the U.S., too, which I've studied in my work on media and social movements. The livestreamed, unfiltered video coverage provided by the small staff of the nonprofit media collective Unicorn Riot is the modern heir to a history of on-the-street grassroots video documentary filming of protests and social movements that started in the late 1960s, including unstructured interviews with protesters.

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 5.10.19 PM.pngOn the streets of Minneapolis/Stephen Maturen, Getty Images

Those groups wanted to include diverse voices, stories and perspectives that mainstream media typically don't cover. But they likely didn't imagine that their successors, like Unicorn Riot, would have the tools to instantly broadcast their videos to the general public to help shape how they learn about social issues.

Early Video Collectives

Long before mobile phones and YouTube turned amateurs into video producers, documentary video production was expensive and time-consuming and required lots of heavy equipment. In 1967, Sony introduced the Portapak. The Portapak was a video camera with the first battery-operated, portable videotape recorder.

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 5.17.27 PM.pngA late 1960s Sony Portapak/Mwf95/CC BY-SA 4.0

The Portapak made it easier for community members to produce videos. It was lightweight, easy to use and relatively inexpensive.

People could initially record up to 20 minutes on a half-inch reel-to-reel videotape. They could interview community members or document events on the street and play back recordings instantly on other Sony videotape recorders.

"Grassroots video, by stressing the participation of community members in making their own electronic information, was less concerned with 'polished' products than with animating the 'process' of social change," writes historian Deirdre Boyle in the book Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisited.

The Videofreex and otherunderground media collectives quickly emerged across the U.S. New York became a hub for the underground video scene. The scene mainly attracted left-wing activists, filmmakers and artists who were interested in using media as a tool for social change.

These collectives made videos about their involvement in the counterculture movement. They documented antiwar demonstrations, campus rallies and the hippie lifestyle. They exhibited their recordings at underground theaters, art galleries and university campuses in TV-equipped vans.

At the time, CBS, NBC and ABC dominated mainstream TV. Their media coverage generally consisted of highly structured interviews and documented prearranged events, such as conventions and inaugurations. The networks weren't showing stories from the perspectives of the youth who were at the center of the vibrant counterculture movement.

In 1969, CBS turned to the underground video scene. The network wanted to counter mainstream media's conventional focus and detached storytelling approach. CBS also wanted to be relevant to a younger, liberal audience.

CBS hired the Videofreex and spent thousands of dollars on the TV pilot for Subject to Change, a weekly magazine-style series. A CBS employee had met the Videofreex with their video cameras in hand at the Woodstock music festival earlier that year. Subject to Change was supposed to replace The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, a series popular with youth.

The Videofreex traveled around the country as part of Subject to Change to show Americans an insider's view of youth counterculture. CBS sent the Videofreex to Chicago in October 1969 to interview Abbie Hoffman:.

The Videofreex also recorded an interview with Fred Hampton, the deputy chairperson of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, on Oct. 19, 1969, six weeks before the police killed him in a raid that left another Black Panther member dead, too:

CBS taped the 90-minute Subject to Change TV pilot with a live studio audience and network executives on Dec. 17, 1969. The pilot consisted of clips from Videofreex tapes that were interspersed with live rock music performed for the studio audience.

In the end, however, network executives didn't release the program to the general public because they thought it was too radical and ahead of its time. As a result, the Videofreex and CBS parted ways.

In 1972, the Videofreex started Lanesville TV, the first TV station in the country to operate without a license from the Federal Communications Commission.

Based just north of New York City, the station broadcast local community reports, live studio interviews, sketch comedy and experimental video art. The Videofreex ran Lanesville TV until the collective disbanded in 1978. The station was the model for the Low Power Television system, which the FCC established in 1982 to provide an inexpensive and flexible way to produce local TV programming in small communities.

The Videofreex influenced similar video collectives and producers across the country. One producer was Dee Dee Halleck, who co-founded Paper Tiger Television in 1981 to analyze and critique the communications industry, presenting marginalized voices and views that were largely absent in mainstream media. The show became the first nationally distributed public access television program.

Later, the Independent Media Center (Indymedia) became a pioneer in online grassroots media. Established in 1999, Indymedia was a collective of independent media organizations on the Internet.

Indymedia initially covered the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle as events happened. The volunteer journalists contributed on-the-ground, unmediated audio and video footage across the Indymedia network. Indymedia published online reports, a newspaper and five documentary films.

The work of these grassroots groups influenced the practice and style of mainstream TV coverage, inspiring the big networks to adopt small, lightweight electronic news-gathering equipment starting in the mid-1970s. This approach let them switch from film to video production and let them spontaneously cover live events and instantly broadcast eyewitness reports.

Grassroots Media Collective Tools

Grassroots media collectives have more communication tools to use in 2020 than in previous years.

Founded in 2015, the nonprofit Unicorn Riot has used video and social media to livestream coverage for several hours at a time on a nearly daily basis since George Floyd's death on May 25. Unicorn Riot can verify and document evidence easily, such as the police role in instigating violence, because its videographers are at events as they unfold.

Unicorn Riot's viewers get eyewitness accounts of events. Begun in Minneapolis, the organization is supported with private fundraising and has correspondents in Denver, Philadelphia and Boston.

Unicorn Riot's style of reporting aligns well with social media, which has created more opportunities to call attention to social issues, letting people voice collectively shared struggles and build social movements.

Errol Salamon is a postdoctoral teaching associate in journalism at the University of Minnesota. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:48 PM | Permalink

E-Mails Reveal Disgusting Meatpacking Shitshow Over COVID-19 Outbreaks

For weeks, Rachel Willard, the county health director in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, had watched with alarm as COVID-19 cases rolled in from the Tyson Foods chicken plant in the center of town. Then Tyson hired a private company to take over testing, and the information suddenly slowed to a trickle.

Blinded to the burgeoning health crisis, Willard and her small staff grew increasingly agitated. The outbreak had already spread across 100 miles of the North Carolina Piedmont, and two workers had died. But nearly a week after Tyson's testing ended in May, the county health agency had received less than 20% of the results. The little information it did receive was missing phone numbers and other data, hindering critical efforts to follow up with infected workers, to tell them to isolate and to trace their contacts.

"Our fear and alarm is the fact that close contacts and positive cases are walking around, potentially shedding the virus and infecting others," Willard, who was coordinating the response while on maternity leave, wrote to state officials on May 14.

Only after the state public health director warned Tyson that failure to turn over information could result in "injunctive relief or prosecution" did the testing company release the information. As of Wednesday, 599 workers had tested positive, more than a fifth of the plant's workforce.

The dangerous delay by the nation's largest food company is one of a series of breakdowns revealed in tens of thousands of pages of e-mails, text messages, meeting notes and reports that ProPublica obtained from dozens of public health agencies across the country.

As the coronavirus swept through the nation's meatpacking plants this spring, chaotic scenes like those in Wilkesboro have played out in small towns that have become some of the country's biggest hotspots.

The candid, often emotional messages provide a real-time reckoning of how the companies responsible for a critical part of the food supply chain were hazardously unprepared and how a system that relied on tiny local public health agencies was quickly overwhelmed by the consequences.

In Tama, Iowa, where more than 250 workers at a National Beef plant tested positive for the virus, one local health official e-mailed her colleagues a meme of the chef Gordon Ramsay shouting, "SHUT IT DOWN!"

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 4.14.37 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 4.15.29 PM.png(ENLARGE)

"They just don't get it!" Mindy Benson, the county emergency management coordinator, later wrote to the group. "They will keep going until all of their employees have this virus. They would rather risk their employees' health and keep their production going." (National Beef did not return calls and emails seeking comment.)

The nation's meatpackers along with federal and state officials have for years planned for pandemic flu outbreaks that could wipe out herds and flocks and threaten America's food supply. But those efforts focused on animals rather than the army of humans - mostly immigrants, refugees and African Americans - hired to slaughter them and cut them up for restaurants and groceries.

The failure to have a coordinated plan for workers left small, often rural communities vulnerable. More than 24,000 coronavirus cases have been tied to meatpacking plants, ProPublica has found. Though many haven't suffered severe symptoms, at least 87 workers have died. More than 25 of the dead worked for Tyson.

The coronavirus response was complicated by a lack of clarity over which agency had the authority to order meatpacking plants to make changes or shut down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could only offer guidance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture dealt with animals and food. The Labor Department had few rules that applied to a virus. And the power of local and state health officials varied from state to state.

In an e-mailed response to questions, Tyson acknowledged the delay in releasing the test results in North Carolina.

"When we learned that there was a delay with our lab partners, we acknowledged the urgency of the situation and worked to address the situation immediately," spokesman Gary Mickelson said.

He said Tyson formed a coronavirus task force in January to assess risks and work on mitigation plans and began engaging with the CDC and other health officials shortly thereafter.

"At the majority of our facilities across the country, there have been no cases of COVID-19 that we know of," he said.

ProPublica found cases at slightly less than half of Tyson's major processing plants.

But the scores of e-mails and other records show that best practices to protect workers, such as slowing the processing line to accommodate social distancing, installing plexiglass barriers and having workers wear masks, weren't implemented until outbreaks began to occur. Instead, meatpacking companies spent crucial early weeks urging officials to keep their plants open.

In mid-March, a few weeks before a massive outbreak at its South Dakota pork plant, Smithfield Foods' chief executive Kenneth Sullivan sent a letter to Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts saying he had "grave concerns" that stay-at-home orders were causing "hysteria."

"We are increasingly at a very high risk that food production employees and others in critical supply chain roles stop showing up for work," Sullivan wrote. "This is a direct result of the government continually reiterating the importance of social distancing, with minimal detail surrounding this guidance."

"Social distancing," he added, "is a nicety that makes sense only for people with laptops."

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 4.17.50 PM.pngIn late April, Pilgrim's Pride sent officials in Cold Spring, Minnesota, photos showing measures it was taking to promote social distancing in its plant/Obtained by ProPublica via a public records request

In a statement, Smithfield said, "We have continued to run our facilities for one reason: to sustain our nation's food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Once the virus hit meatpacking towns, it quickly overwhelmed rural health departments whose primary role before the crisis involved maintaining vital records and promoting public health initiatives.

Before the virus, many health officials, the documents show, didn't have much contact with the local meatpacking plant, even though it was often the town's largest employer.

Decisions about what authority health officials had over meatpacking plants, who would test workers and who would notify close contacts were made on the fly.

In Dakota County, Nebraska, home of Tyson's largest beef plant, the health director wrote the state on April 16, "We are at capacity for our monitoring as we only have one nurse." That was at 22 cases. The plant now has nearly 800.

The companies, which often employ large contingents of employees from Asia, Africa and Latin America, nevertheless didn't have health guidance translated in the languages of their employees.

And as the virus raged, public health officials struggled to communicate with patients in languages as varied as Q'anjob'al (Guatemala), Karen (Burma) and Tigrinya (Ethiopia and Eritrea).

Workers' phones were often disconnected, and they lived across county or even state lines, making coordination difficult.

In some states, laws aimed at protecting individual privacy barred health officials from releasing names of businesses where outbreaks were occurring, preventing them from alerting their communities.

In Louisa County, Iowa, where more than 200 Tyson pork workers have tested positive and two have died, the county health director said she felt that she couldn't even ask her board of health or emergency management coordinator for help "because I couldn't release the information about the outbreak."

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 4.19.27 PM.png(ENLARGE)

When local health officials did try to take action, the documents show that meatpacking companies used their power to go over their heads.

In Schuyler, Nebraska, the regional health officer reached out to Cargill regarding a "considerable outbreak" to find out what the company was doing to prevent the spread. But instead of working with local health officials, Cargill appealed to the governor's office to intervene, which e-mails suggest it did.

Cargill spokesman Daniel Sullivan said the e-mail to the governor's office was an effort to collaborate with officials at all levels.

In some communities, the fear of tangling with the main economic engine was palpable, especially given the intertwined relationships of a small town.

When workers at a Tyson chicken plant in Camilla, Georgia, started complaining about safety issues, the county health director had a problem.

"My husband and I are chicken growers for Tyson," she wrote the state. "I want to recuse myself from any investigation into these allegations based on the fact that they can and will pull my contract if I am involved."

In Waterloo, Iowa, where more than 1,000 workers tested positive at Tyson's biggest pork plant, the chair of the county board of health excused herself from discussions about whether to urge it to shut down because she worked as a chaplain for Tyson.

A Tyson spokesman said, "The contract grower should have no fear of her contract being canceled."

The meatpackers' push to keep their production lines moving ultimately won over the nation's highest office when in late April, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to put federal muscle behind ensuring meat processing plants could remain open. In e-mails, local health officials expressed frustration that it would only embolden the companies to ignore their advice. One Kentucky health director, faced with repeated reports that Perdue Farms was pressuring sick and quarantined workers to return, wrote, "My guess is they will force them to work citing the presidential order to stay open." Perdue said it has strictly followed CDC guidelines and the safety of its employees is its top concern.

Battles between health officials and the companies were compounded by constantly changing guidance from the CDC about how long essential workers who tested positive needed to quarantine. Initially, the CDC said two weeks but amended that guidance several times, eventually saying that asymptomatic workers could go back to work immediately.

All along, the documents show, some corporate and government officials sought to shift the focus away from meatpacking plants and onto the workers themselves, blaming the crowded living situations, carpooling and lifestyles of immigrants and refugees.

In Kentucky, Tyson asserted the outbreak spiked after 30 Burmese refugees gathered for an Easter celebration, even though the first infection at the plant was recorded nine days earlier.

"This is a culture issue," notes from a conference call local officials had with Tyson about the outbreak read.

For health officials like Willard, the issue was even more basic. It was unclear whether she could do anything about it.

As officials in Wilkesboro discussed how to respond to the growing Tyson cluster, Willard told them the department couldn't even make a statement about a business having an outbreak.

"We have no regulatory authority over Tyson," she wrote local officials. "We are not legally able to mandate that they put any additional measures in place or shut down."

In an interview, Willard explained how that created a difficult dynamic. "Meat processing plants sit in this weird limbo where the USDA has some authority, but then the health department doesn't really regulate them," she said. "So there's this weird gap of who really has the power and authority to make any decisions to shut the plant down."

National planning for pandemic influenza began during the George W. Bush administration, largely in response to the H5N1 bird flu that arose in the late 1990s and wiped out flocks in Asia, Europe and Africa.

"It is impossible to predict whether the H5N1 virus will lead to a pandemic," the plan issued in 2006 warned, "but history suggests that if it does not, another novel influenza virus will emerge at some point in the future and threaten an unprotected human population."

Over the next 14 years, meat producers, animal disease researchers and government regulators developed detailed and coordinated systems for planning and responding to animal outbreaks. But protections for workers further along the supply chain at meatpacking plants were not considered in those preparations.

So when a virus that was infecting humans alone began in other parts of the world, the meat industry had no clear model to follow. When the virus hit China hard in January, the country locked down. Throughout China, slaughterhouses and poultry processing plants closed and didn't reopen for weeks, wreaking havoc on the nation's meat supply but largely preventing outbreaks.

Those events appeared to do little to mobilize U.S. meatpackers. In the cache of public records, there are no e-mails discussing the risk of coronavirus in meatpacking plants until March, when some companies began restricting the travel of their executives, increasing sanitation and educating workers about hand-washing and COVID-19 symptoms.

But other measures meatpackers took, such as using attendance bonuses to keep workers on the job, coupled with longstanding policies to discipline workers who called in sick, may have helped fuel the spread, the CDC and other health officials said.

Some of the first e-mails local health authorities received about the coronavirus and meatpacking plants came not from the companies but from workers and their relatives.

On March 16, the mayor of Green Bay, Wisconsin, received one about a JBS beef plant. "I have family members that work at JBS," the son of a longtime worker wrote, "and to my understanding there hasn't been any communication about the virus, what their plan is if someone gets infected or anything of the like."

Around the same time, 700 miles west, workers at a JBS plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, told the governor they were working shoulder-to-shoulder and sent him photos of workers eating in a crowded cafeteria.

Both plants would eventually have outbreaks infecting more than 300 workers each.

In fact, one of the first communications from JBS to public health officials in Colorado concerned not the workers in its Greeley processing plant, but whether the cafeteria at its corporate headquarters had to abide by the state's restrictions on restaurants. And it came from its executive chef.

The Greeley plant would shut down weeks later as cases among its workers multiplied. To date, nearly 300 workers there have contracted the virus and seven have died, state data shows.

JBS spokesman Cameron Bruett said in an e-mail that the company began holding daily COVID-19 planning meetings to track CDC guidance in February. "Before and during this crisis, we have had regular, transparent and proactive communication with all applicable federal and state health organizations," he said.

Roxanne Smith, the health director in Louisa County, Iowa, was one of the first local health officials to contact a meatpacking company about the coronavirus when she asked for Tyson's help in getting public health guidance to the area's Burmese residents in early March. None of the Tyson managers she contacted responded. The situation, Smith said in an interview, was challenging.

Nearly a week later, the plant's nurse manager sent an e-mail to introduce herself, part of what appeared to be a corporate initiative to establish communication and begin coordinating with local health departments - or as a Tyson safety manager in East Texas put it, to "contain the spread of any of the negative around the virus, and the actual virus itself."

Several local health directors seem to have developed close working relationships with the nurses at their local plants. But those employees were often limited themselves in how much they could do.

At the Tyson plant in Wilkesboro, health officials learned that the test data had to go from the lab back to the testing company and then through Tyson corporate before it reached the local nurses who could share it with them.

When the test results finally arrived, they were so disorganized that the communicable disease nurse had to spread them out on her kitchen table and enter the data manually. "I am having to work from 3 different spreadsheets because of the methods used to provide us with the data," she wrote to the state.

The burden the meatpacking plant outbreaks placed on health officials was evident across the country. Epidemiologists and nurses were updating colleagues after 1 a.m. They worked on Easter and Mother's Day.

In Tama County, Iowa, health and emergency management officials joked about snacking on Reese's Easter eggs to get through the stress and having Cheetos and Dr Pepper for breakfast. "I'm having one of those nights where it's just like I want to throw in the towel," Benson, the emergency management coordinator, wrote to her colleagues one evening.

As the outbreak unfolded at the National Beef plant there, Benson wrote, "That petri dish needs to close."

The truth, however, was that the local health agencies on the front lines had little power to make the plants do much of anything. And when plants did shut, or local authorities could order them to, the politics were tense, requiring the organized effort of multiple local officials and navigating last-minute appeals by company officials to governors. Health officials carefully worded their letters to the companies, often noting the plants' economic importance to the community.

After ordering the JBS plant in Greeley to close, local officials discussed whether to use the word "shall" or "should" when talking about the need for workers to quarantine. "Shall is a loaded word," the county health director replied. "Should is more collaborative."

In Nebraska, Gina Uhing, the director of the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department, wrote to the governor's staff after Tyson refused to give her department the names of workers who'd been exposed to someone infected so the workers could be tested.

"We are being met with corporate gridlock," Uhing wrote, "and it makes containing these outbreaks incredibly difficult at the most inopportune time when time is of critical essence."

Tyson said that the e-mail chain reflected only a small part of the discussion, and that the company worked collaboratively with the department.

As plants began to reopen, several health directors worried that the companies weren't doing enough to ensure the virus was under control.

"I am very concerned about their handling of this situation," Smith, the health director in Louisa County, Iowa, wrote state officials. "I am concerned politics are winning over what we know is right for the citizens of our county and state."

Tensions with the companies were only one of the challenges. In Iowa, which saw some of the country's biggest outbreaks, the state communicable disease law prohibited local officials from disclosing the identity of a business where an outbreak occurred unless approved by the state medical director. Health officials in Sioux City noted that without being able to mention where the cases were coming from, "we're dancing all over the place."

The law stymied the local response and prevented health officials from informing other businesses about how to protect their customers and employees. In Louisa County, Kent Wollenhaupt, the president of the State Bank of Wapello, wrote to Smith to complain that he hadn't been told of the outbreak. The husbands of two of his three tellers worked at Tyson, he said, and the bank served many of the plant's employees.

"We could have implemented these precautions 2 days earlier, if informed," he wrote. Privacy issues, he said, "should not come ahead of public interest."

After weeks of outbreaks across the state, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds eventually released staggering numbers in early May. It wasn't until then that the health director in Dallas County, Iowa, found out that 58% of the employees at the local Tyson plant tested positive, resulting in 730 cases. This was largely because testing was being done by the state, and most employees lived outside the county where the plant is located.

The chaotic nature of the response was underscored further by the lack of coordination among the hard-hit counties and the governor's office.

In mid-April, Reynolds suddenly announced the state was sending 900 tests to Tyson's plant in Louisa County - without apparently coordinating with local officials on how the testing and contact tracing would be carried out.

"Even with all the other counties helping, I don't think it can be done," Smith wrote to a state epidemiologist she had been working with.

"What . . . 900?" the epidemiologist replied. "You are joking???"

Reynolds' office didn't respond to a request for comment.

Communication issues were even greater for Iowa's Siouxland District Health Department, which borders Nebraska and South Dakota. A significant number of its cases came from Tyson's Dakota City, Nebraska, beef plant, where workers cross the Missouri River bridge each day for work.

Because some testing of Iowa residents was done in Nebraska, Siouxland had to rely in part on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

"To further compound the situation, the DHHS system they set up has a glitch in it and we are not even getting phone numbers for many of the positive cases," Siouxland's director Kevin Grieme wrote in one e-mail. "It has created an undue burden upon us and my staff bears the brunt of the frustrated individuals that are already nervous about their results and then can't get them."

In an interview, Grieme said the glitch delayed the response four to five days.

Grieme also touched on one of the key frustrations of health officials: In the middle of a fast-moving pandemic, neither the meatpacking plants nor the health departments were prepared to deal with so many patients who didn't speak English.

Many of the workers they needed to contact, he said, spoke only Spanish, Vietnamese, Oromo, Tigrinya, French or Somali.

"My language line bill is at $9,000 with only three weeks of work," he wrote in one e-mail. It's usually $600 a month, he said.

In Dallas County, Iowa, health officials ended e-mail after e-mail with the word "Ugh" as they tried unsuccessfully to communicate with Burmese workers or dialed out-of-service numbers. In other areas, public health officials showed up to an address to find a vacant lot. And when they reached out to the companies for help, the human resources offices didn't even have current contact information for their employees.

In Owensboro, Kentucky, the hospital's patient access director noted that it often took 30 to 40 minutes to get a language interpreter on the line. But many of the Burmese workers couldn't understand the directions to the COVID-19 clinic and didn't know how to use GPS. Some of them couldn't read.

By the end of April, as dozens of plants closed in response to local pressure to control outbreaks and implement safety measures, meatpackers began witnessing huge drops in beef and pork production. Tyson took out full-page ads in The New York Times, Washington Post and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and warned, "The food supply chain is breaking."

Tyson's message was so effective that the next day Trump signed his executive order, promising to help keep plants running and try to shield them from liability. The news was a gut-punch to many of the local health departments that were still struggling to rein in multinational corporations that already had far more power than they did.

"This is completely disgusting to me," Julie Pryde, the administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in Illinois, wrote. "This is literally putting human lives at risk. It is also shifting the cost of their lack of response to local communities. >: ("

In Western Kentucky, officials at the Green River District Health Department already suspected the local Perdue plant was not giving them the full picture of what was going on inside.

"We hear proactive steps from corporate representatives about solid preventative practices being put in place," Green River health director Clay Horton wrote his colleagues a week before Trump's order. "But at the contact investigation level, we are hearing stories of management pressuring people to work while symptomatic and other anecdotal stories that don't square with the official corporate line."

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 4.21.33 PM.png(ENLARGE)

One worker who tested positive and still had a cough and sore throat told the department that Perdue told him "as long as he didn't have a fever he needed to return to work."

Another who tested positive said that Perdue had fired her because "they didn't believe I was sick."

Conference calls between health officials and Perdue's medical director had become heated at times, and Kentucky officials strongly considered recommending the plant be temporarily closed.

But after Trump's executive order, Horton said in an interview, "it was more of like, 'We can't listen to you because of this executive order. We have to stay open.'"

The situation was frustrating, Horton wrote in one e-mail, because the company wanted public health agencies to provide it with "$65,000 worth of testing" without even committing to bar workers who tested positive from the plant.

"I believe we/they should err on the side of caution," Horton wrote. "They are erring on the side of you better get back to work."

So far, nearly 300 workers have tested positive at the plant and at least one has died.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced a new milestone: beef, pork and chicken plants were back, operating at more than 95% of their average capacity compared with this time last year. A statement from the USDA credited Trump's executive order with "the safe reopening" of America's meatpacking plants.

Local officials, however, have been left thinking about how the virus exposed the fragility of the system designed to protect the nation's food supply and how few tools they had to respond. The worst part, Benson, the Tama emergency coordinator, remembers, was watching what was happening and feeling helpless.

"We were flying the plane as we were building it because you didn't have all the pieces that you needed," she said. "But you were still in the air and still trying to keep things from crashing and burning, and we were doing the best that we could."

Melissa Sanchez and Benjamin Hardy contributed reporting.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:40 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #308: We're All NASCAR Now

A moment when everything seems possible. Plus: MLB Draft's Dizzying Heights Of Hype; We Blame The (Lying) Owners; The Neverending Sammy Sosa Saga; and NBA & NHL Flux.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #308: We're All NASCAR Now

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SHOW NOTES

* 308.

:41: We're All NASCAR Now.

* "The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."

* The Black Bubba.

* Coffman: "It seems right now that everything is possible."

* Rhodes: "Right now, everything is on the table - all kinds or arrangements for society."

* New York Daily News: Teen Who Recorded George Floyd Video Is Getting Therapy For Trauma.

* Frank Luntz:

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* Athletes in the weeds:

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* Eugene Robinson: Trump Might Go Down In History As The Last President Of The Confederacy.

* Coffman: Monstrous cohorts in the North.

* Post-recording Coffman e-mail: "One thing I just read that I didn't know: The guys Bragg and Hood were indeed two of the worst generals in American history."

* New York Times: LeBron James And Other Stars Form A Voting Rights Group.

* Washington Post: Michael Jordan Pledges $100 Million In Support Of Social Justice.

* NPR: U.S. Soccer Lifts Ban On Kneeling During National Anthem.

* Tribune: Theo Epstein Helped MLB Initiate A Drive To Donate More Than $1 Million To 5 Organizations That Support Black Lives Matter.

* AP: In Wake Of Protests, Epstein Says Cubs Planning To Create Diversity Committee.

37:40: Baseball Draft's Dizzying Heights Of Hype.

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45:26: We Blame The (Lying) Owners.

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* FiveThirtyEight: How Much Do MLB Players Really Make?

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50:56: The Neverending Sammy Sosa Saga.

* Sullivan & Greenstein, Tribune: What Was It Like To Cover Sammy Sosa's Career In Chicago? Simply Put, He Was One Of A Kind.

* Gonzales, Tribune: Sammy Sosa Came Of Age For The Cubs In 1998.

* Rhodes: The Hall of Fame should have a PED wing.

* Don't forget about the corked bat.

* Why the Cubs don't welcome him back.

1:00:50: NBA & NHL Flux.

* AP: NHL Camps To Open July 10 If League, Players Agree To Resume.

* The Salt Lake Tribune: As NBA Lays Out More Details About Resuming Season In Orlando, Some Players Are Raising Concerns.

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STOPPAGE: 4:40

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

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Tom Chambers:

Richard Petty never had a Confederate flag-painted car.

I thought I remembered one of the other drivers who had a version of that with the big X-bars on the white hood with the stars inside, but I couldn't find that.

Petty ran Mopar for decades until he had a falling out and went to Chevy. That was in the waning days of when they truly were stock cars. He and Plymouth made up and he came back. He's most famous for the 1968 Satellite, which was a real Satellite and, of course, the Superbird. It was a '70 Satellite Road Runner with the streamline nose and the big wing on the back for downdraft. Of course, they had to build enough to make it available to the public so they could call it "stock." Because of those two things, the car was so efficient and fast that NASCAR banned it.

About 2,000 Superbirds were built. After they were banned, many of those that were at or made their way to Plymouth dealers, they took off the bullet nose and wing thinking the consumer didn't want that. Needless to say, they had monster Hemi engines. They can go from $250,000 up to $1 million, totally original, proven numbers matching.

As for the Confederate theme, I was surprised I couldn't find it. I thought I remembered a small Confederate flag on the side of the roof just above the door. That's not to say some redneck didn't do that. One problem is that the "General Lee" Charger from Dukes of Hazzard was decked out to look like a stock car. Chicken/egg tie-in, rednecks love both NASCAR and stupid TV shows. When Jeff Gordon started winning, the boy from Indianapolis, home of the rebirth of the Klan, was just a little too Northern for the deep drawlers and he took a lot of shit from people who hated him. "WHA, he don't talk like us!"

But Petty never did. In fact, at some point, Plymouth used the color and called it "Super Blue." Petty called it "Petty Blue." I'm sure they made a financial arrangement.

NASCAR today is fixed. One car gets ahead? Yellow caution flag for "Debris on the track." In a 500-mile race, they stop the race two times to restart and drivers are given points for the "Phases." They want to keep the cars together to create crashes. "Do'es boys wrecked up real good Booby Bob!"

As for Sammy Sosa, he was a terrible baseball player. He was better all-around as a White Sox than he evolved into as a Cub.

As the years went on, the reason he didn't have any errors is because he never got to a ball, as much by choice as anything. Like a flailing clown, how many balls did he let go into the corner and go "BOOBOOBY BOOBOODY BOOP" as he flailed his arms, waited for the ball to die and pick it up. His eternal hope was that the ivy would eat the ball. "No Mas!" He didn't hustle on the basepaths. He struck out 27 percent of the time. How many games did the Cubs win with all those GD home runs? As a teammate, when the going got tough, he quit and left the ballpark. He was an enabled, marketed punk who should have been knocked out by one of his teammates.

I remember watching his home runs: "To what end? What's it worth?" Nothing. As usual, the Cardinals won.

RHODES REPLY: But I remember the Stars and Bars on Petty's car, the X coming down on the door where the number was! Yet, as Tom points out, I could not find it. It does not seem to exist, except in some of our minds. I'm picturing it right now!

As for Sosa, I have to disagree with Tom here. He was way better as a Cub than a White Sock. He was the first player in MLB history, I believe, to hit 60 HRs in three consecutive seasons. Sure, those years were Flintstones vitamins-enabled, but he turned into a pretty good hitter when he wasn't chasing sliders down and away.

But yes, not a great all-around player, and a terrible teammate.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:34 PM | Permalink

Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause

Consider a life hating a book that everyone else seems to love. And hating the nearly-as-beloved movie made from that same despicable book.

I have spent much of my life telling relatives, friends, acquaintance, passers-by and total strangers that Gone With The Wind is a terrible movie, and that Margaret Mitchell's book is even worse (419,000 words! It's like one of L. Ron Hubbard's artery-choking books).

Kin always laughed at my self-righteous piety and argumentative silliness.

But they were wrong. GWTW always made me angry. Deeply so. It even makes me angry that it does not make other people angry.

Now HBO has decided to "reframe" the 1939 movie with "context," presumably a panel discussion, and then re-show it again, and again and again. It's just what Black Lives Matter needs to make it even more justifiably angry about white mindlessness.

In GWTW, black lives don't matter at all. They are charming props.

gwtw1.jpg

But the movie won eight Oscars including "Best Picture" and remains a valuable piece of HBO property. If slavery taught us anything about economic morality, it's that owners hate to waste property.

HBO's resuscitation is another lost opportunity (lost cause?) to simply kill a bad piece of visual literature. Put it in a vault, slam the door shut permanently and walk away.

As for reframing, you could reframe the Confederate Stars and Bars flag with nice fringe, but it still would be the flag of traitors. No need to put translated footnotes in Mein Kampf.

Yankees don't quite get the metaphysics of that flag. Or the movie. Or the book. It's just another way to flip the bird at Lincoln and everything his Union followers believed. The Confederacy didn't lose. It just ran out of time.

I take the Confederacy's treason personally as I do GWTW's sly elevation and affirmation of racism. As for the "Stars and Bars" flag, no one raises the Nazi battle flag and suggests it's just heritage being honored.

GWTW's central premise keeps resuscitating the idea that the Confederacy and its treason were "quaint," and almost-noble-though-flawed in its misunderstandings. The South was provoked, you know?

No, the Confederacy was a brutal regime based on human misery. GWTW as a movie mugs at that proposition.

Even with NASCAR dumping the Confederate flag, we seem unable to loosen the Confederacy's grip on our windpipe.

If it sounds as though this is personal to me, that's because it is. I am a man of Southern birth, upbringing and temperament. I have fought the fake gentility of GWTW's racism among my own relatives for most of my life. It was my "Lost Cause."

Why? GWTW is an insidious lie wrapped in charm. Mitchell deliberately mythologizes Southern victimhood with central characters not even their mothers would love. In one of Mitchell's most disturbing but deliberate concoctions, she invents a mob of black men who attack Scarlett, and are driven away by noble saviors from the KKK.

Scarlett O'Hara (Shriek!) is one of the most truly unlikable heroins in literature. In Mitchell's world, she's a tempestuous feminist (Gasp!) and her slaves are happy-go-lucky dark people who love being owned. (Let me outta here!)

The first time I read GWTW as a teenager, I regarded it as among the two dozen or so other terrible books that teachers insisted were "classic."

Mitchell's book is 500 pages of shallow bodice-ripping breathiness and likely the worst novel ever to win the Pulitzer. Critics debate how such an insipid book could have been called "great" for so long.

But GWTW both as a book and movie prove that bad ideas and human cruelty can find artistic defenders if you portray bigotry as charming. But the book is not a good book, not only structurally for bad writing.

If it were well-written, would the seminal anti-Semitic screed The Elders of Zion be a good book? Even as fictional characters, unrequited bigots are very forgiving of their own bigotry. As a result, we have consumed Mitchell's interpretation of charming, scalawag traitors for 80 years.

That testifies to the power of visual and written literature, even very bad literature.

For reasons that astound and disturb me, the book remains beloved for reasons that leave me stone cold. It's still among Amazon's most positively reader-rated books of all time.

The alternate view seems more appropriate. As one of the few bad reviews on Goodreads notes: "A great ending to this book would be, 'And Mammy pulled so hard on Scarlett's laces that Scarlett's organs failed and she died. El Fin.' Then you wouldn't have to keep reading the next 500 pages or so."

gwtw2.jpg

You remember Clark Gable's "Frankly, Scarlett" comeuppance but little else, except for Hattie McDaniel's role as "Mammy," and Thelma "Butterfly" McQueen's turn as the addled, squeaky-voiced maid Prissy. The Prissy role - an accurate interpretation from the book - was so riddled with deep Southern racism even in 1939 that it earned McQueen the undying enmity of black audiences for generations.

As a testament to endemic racism's power to endure, she was typecast in that role for the rest to her acting life. McDaniel won the Supporting Oscar - the first black woman to win an Oscar.

When 300,000 Atlantans and guests poured into the street to celebrate the movie's debut there in 1939, McQueen and McDaniel didn't get to see it.

The movie debuted at the Atlanta Loew's Grand Theatre. It was segregated.

When the Oscars were awarded, McDaniel was not allowed to sit with the white actors. She had to sit in the back of the theater. Even that indignity was a negotiated accommodation because Gable threatened to boycott the event if McDaniel was banned.

David Selznick, the movie's producer, printed posters all across the South before the movie debuted. The posters in the South omitted the faces of all the black actors.

At her death at age 59, McDaniel's family was barred from burying her in the famous Hollywood Cemetery. It was segregated.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

* 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

* The Fonz Lives And Franco Is Dead: News You Can't Use.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:05 PM | Permalink

How Studying History Made Me A Stoic

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." - Marcus Aurelius

With some chagrin, I have to admit that I was one of those students in history class who always jumped in to correct the teacher; challenge the teacher; thought I was more qualified than the teacher.

Maybe it was my zeal for history that made me such a pain in the ass, though it's important to know that doesn't mean I romanticize the past like some history buffs. I'm able to see quite clearly that being born today is far better than to have been born in another era. No, things aren't perfect today. Yes, it's possible that some things were done better in the past. But with improved plumbing, the refinement of democracy, open-heart surgery, and Starbucks, there isn't much competition between today and yesterday.

Remarkably, however, the thread that binds the pages of our past and present into history books is uncannily identical. Despite the stark differences between yesteryear and the contemporary world, I've learned that history in its meat and bones is uniform from country to country, decade to decade.

I'm not a historian, but I feel qualified enough to assert that the history of human affairs is consistently filled with misery and strife. Very few people have known a good life. The day to day of nearly everyone who has lived has been filled with back-breaking labor; disease and its inconvenient friend, the Grim Reaper, came rapping on the door so often some no longer bothered keeping it shut; personal development, which today consists of a gym membership and self-help books, used to be considered just not dying another day. Suffering was so common that it was practically considered a synonym for "living."

I can only imagine I speak for the majority of history enthusiasts when I say the World Wars are my favorite events to study. In such a short period of time (four years for the First World War and six for the Second) there was an incomprehensible amount of suffering. And this suffering was made all the more real and unbearable for a number of reasons. It really wasn't all that long ago, if you think about it. Only a few days ago VE Day was being celebrated. Technology was advanced enough to document the anguish, which brought light to the horrors that couldn't be articulated. Technology was also advanced enough to come up with new weapons. Mustard gas, shot guns, machine guns, and tanks (just to name a few) must have appeared like physical manifestations of hell to the soldiers who came face to face with these instruments of death. How can I continue to study these events, given how disturbing the first-hand accounts are? How can I flip open textbooks to look at the photographs taken, given how stomach-turning the maimed limbs and faces twisted in pain are?

Emperor_Marcus_Aurelius.jpgMr. Aurelius/Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

For the suffering is my primary fascination. The conditions for the soldiers were unimaginable. The anxiety of the civilians must have been unbearable, never knowing what to expect. And yet, life went on. Amidst all the hell, civilians did their best to establish a normalcy. Shops continued to run. Houses needed cleaning. Clothes needed sewing. People even found the strength to help one another, and to smile and tell jokes. The soldiers, of course, had it far worse. Yet they, too, managed to fight on, to live another day. I'm truly baffled by the strength of the people who - when faced with such inhumane, hellish conditions - marched on, dared to show their face the next day, held fast to whatever it was that kept them alive.

The people of today, at least those born in First World countries, are not without pains of their own. But a majority of us are so familiar with comfort and ease that we've forgotten what a privileged position we're in. We have the latest devices that connect us with the world. We have food in our refrigerators. We have clothes on our backs. We have laws on our side. We have opportunities galore. Life is difficult, of course . . . but we're just fine if you think about it.

It's inaccurate to say the youth of today don't know what suffering is. Suffering is diverse; it comes in many different forms. My fellow Generation Z-ers are faced with the doom and gloom of unstable economies; problematic governments; withering personal relationships; shaky morals and societies; and now a pandemic. But we're still in a better position than our forebears. Despite all that we have against us, we are not 9 feet under in a muddy trench in a different country only a few meters away from a blood-thirsty enemy. Life is no picnic . . . it never has been. But I'll take the woes of today over the woes of yesterday any day of the week.

Stoicism is a philosophy that emphasizes self-mastery, discipline, and control by learning how to accept the negatives of life gracefully. Before I started studying history in my free time, my reaction to pains and hardships would be: "Poor me! How can this happen to me? I'm all alone! No one can understand what I'm going through!" But after reading about boys my age - or younger - enlisting to go and fight in a war; houses being blasted to rumble; the enemy invading and occupying; and women being raped by their "liberators," I began to realize that my life and whatever challenges I have dealt with really haven't been so bad. I started having these epiphanies just as I stumbled across stoicism, and I made the connection between the two that changed my life.

History showed me that to live is to suffer, but stoicism taught me that trying to run away from the inevitable was useless. Instead, I ought to buckle down, brace for impact, and remember it could always be worse. Keep calm and carry on? Maybe back then. Now? Post about your out-of-perspective hardships on Tumblr with a "doomsday-esque meets damsel in distress" tone instead of tackling the problem head-on with discretion and resilience and a degree of privacy. I don't believe in sharing every woe and foe on social media; I don't believe in juvenile and theatrical outbursts when you're an adult; I don't believe in thinking the world is terribly mean and unjust to you and only you. Quite regretfully for everyone, the world is cold and unkind. To some more than others, true; however, no one leaves this life scarless. I wonder what sort of a world we'd live in if more people thought this way, too.

Kat Mam is a Communication student at UIC.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

June 11, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

Lori Lightfoot was at her best today when she absolutely ripped a handful of Chicago police officers caught on video inside the burgled office of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush making popcorn, taking naps and lounging about while the rest of the city burned. Follow the A.D. Quig's thread:

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Also:

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Plus:

Police chief David Brown was asked about newish police Chicago FOP president John Catanzara's declaration that officers who took a knee alongside protestors are subject to removal from the union. I didn't get the exact quote down, but he marveled that, with everything going on, that question would even float anywhere near the top of the list. Then he refused to "dignify" the question with a comment.

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Meanwhile:

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And:

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Back to Rush: He was so effusive in his praise of Lightfoot that I thought he was going to endorse her re-election right then and there. Reminder:

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Rush today reminded me of Chance the Rapper in April:

I wouldn't say "damn good," but ok.

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Yet, there are the deadenders still pining for a City Hall run by the unyielding ally of Joe Berrios, whose office which she defended perpetrated one of the greatest acts of institutional racism in our history, and who is probably lunching at this very moment with John Daley as she contemplates more party purges.

Contrary to the bizarre CTU-approved script, Lightfoot has spoken out against the far more egregious offenses committed by Chicago police officers during the recent protests. In this case, it's not Rush's popcorn that is the issue, it's that they abandoned their posts when they were needed most, putting their fellow cops and citizens in more danger than they were already in.

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I'm not cheerleading for Lightfoot, but this was her at her best. (In fact, she was starting to lose me. I'm 50-50 on her job performance so far, but starting to get discouraged. This, however, is her wheelhouse, and now a golden opportunity for police accountability and a reordering of priorities is at hand. I hope she keeps an open mind and invites some imagination into the possibilities.)

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

CPD's Records Are A Mess
"Such a scattershot system has real-life consequences for prosecutors, who need complete documentation to build a case; criminal defendants, who have a right to see evidence that may exonerate them; and for the city itself, which has been chastised in court for its failure to produce relevant documents in civil suits.

"One staffer told the Office of Inspector General Joseph Ferguson that to determine if an investigative file was complete, they would simply look to see if it seemed thick enough - and if it was too thin, they would search digital records."

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Dogs Still Biting Mail Carriers
Post Office releases national rankings.

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ChicagoReddit

Why are cpd officers not wearing masks? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

ギュスターヴ・カイユボット 《パリ通り:雨の日》 Gustave Caillebotte Paris Street; Rainy Day のオマージュ #ballpoint #ballpointpendrawing #ballpointpenart #hitecc #blackworknow #drawingart #draweveryday #drawingtime #animaldrawing #animaldesign #inkpen #inkdrawing #blackandwhitedrawing #black andwhiteart #artinstituteofchicago #artchallenge #artgallery #chicagoart #gustavecaillebotte #ギュスターヴ・カイユボット #カイユボット #ハイテック #ハイテックC #ボールペン画 #ペン画 #細密画 #シカゴ美術館 #パリ通り雨の日 #オマージュ

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ChicagoTube

"Bronzeville Jump" / Three Bits of Rhythm (1941, Chicago)

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

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The Beachwood Quip Line: Make it snappy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:12 PM | Permalink

U.S. Postal Service Releases Dog Attack National Rankings

The number of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees attacked by dogs nationwide fell to 5,803 in 2019 - more than 200 fewer than in 2018 and more than 400 fewer since 2017.

Today, USPS highlights technology that helps reduce potential attacks, while releasing its annual list of cities with the most recorded dog attacks.

The organization also highlights safety initiatives to help protect its employees and offers tips to pet owners as part of the Postal Service's National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which runs Sunday, June 14, through Saturday, June 20.

dogattacks.jpg

"Even during these difficult times, it's important for our customers to understand that letter carriers are still coming to homes daily and need to deliver mail safely," said USPS Safety Awareness Program Manager Chris Johnson. "We are confident we can keep moving the trends of attacks downward, and ramping up overall awareness for everyone is the best way to do that."

Tips And Technology

According to Johnson, technology supports carrier safety in two ways: Mobile Delivery Devices, handheld scanners used by carriers to confirm customer delivery, include a feature to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address. And the Informed Delivery service alerts customers to mail and packages coming to their homes, allowing them to plan for the carrier's arrival by securing dogs safely.

The Postal Service offers the following safety tips:

* When a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate glass windows to attack visitors.

* Parents should remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

* If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office location or another facility until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner's neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area's Post Office location.

2019 Dog Attack Rankings By City

A total of 5,803 USPS employees were attacked by dogs in 2019. The top 20 rankings comprise 30 cities, as some cities reported the same number of attacks:

A total of 5,803 USPS employees were attacked by dogs in 2019. The top 20 rankings comprise 30 cities, as some cities reported the same number of attacks:

Screen Shot 2020-06-11 at 12.53.27 PM.png

Top 10 Dog Bite States

Screen Shot 2020-06-11 at 12.57.26 PM.png

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

Unfortunately, these numbers aren't per capita, rendering them fairly useless, but if someone wants to do the conversion, I'll post it!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

CPD's Records Are A Mess

The Public Safety section of the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) completed a review of the Chicago Police Department's (CPD) processes for managing and producing its records for criminal prosecution and civil litigation arising out of law enforcement activities.

OIG's review found that the Department's records management practices are inadequate to ensure that it can identify and produce all requested, relevant, and/or responsive records in its possession, and, therefore, to ensure that CPD meets is constitutional and other legal obligations for disclosure.

CPD's inability to ensure that it meets these obligations poses fundamental risks to due process and the fairness of criminal and civil litigation.

Specifically, OIG found the following:

* CPD's Subpoena Unit and Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) lack the means to determine what records may exist in CPD's possession for any case or incident, making it impossible to know whether all relevant records have been identified and produced.

* When receiving a request for "any and all" relevant records, CPD members routinely fail to conduct a thorough search beyond certain, frequently requested categories of records, and members may be unable to determine which of CPD's units may hold relevant records.

* Records produced by CPD members have not been uniformly recorded or documented in a comprehensive tracking system.

* CPD's processes lack clarity around the circumstances under which records productions should be subject to an internal legal review, to guard against the improper disclosure of records which may raise privacy and public safety concerns.

OIG recommended that CPD develop department-wide records management and production policies, procedures and trainings to ensure that CPD members understand legal and constitutional obligations - their own individually, the department's, and those of the prosecutors' offices with which they work - to effectively identify and produce records.

CPD should also develop and implement a records management system that allows for the effective and efficient identification of records across CPD's various units, systems and physical locations.

Finally, OIG recommended improved communication, coordination and transparency with stakeholders to develop these policies, procedures, trainings and systems, and to resolve any issues moving forward.

CPD agreed with many of OIG's recommendations, and has created an internal working group comprised of OLA, the Records Section, the Office of Operations, and the Research and Development Division to "spearhead changes to CPD orders, creation of internal standard operation procedures for each of the units and to share information to make CPD records management process better."

Additionally, the Mayor's Office has convened an external working group comprised of CPD and other stakeholders, including the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the Department of Law, to "ensure that any concerns raised by these entities are addressed and that record production by CPD is a fulsome process."

"CPD's failure to identify and produce all records in its possession has put due process and the fairness of criminal and civil litigation at stake, with enormous potential consequences for individual litigants and their liberty interests," said Acting Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg. "CPD has identified areas for immediate attention, and while we recognize that these challenges are complex and monumental, we still urge the department to fully commit to improving mechanisms for identifying and producing records in its possession. Doing so is critical to improving public trust and confidence in the competent and transparent operation of the Department."

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See also:

* Tribune: "Such a scattershot system has real-life consequences for prosecutors, who need complete documentation to build a case; criminal defendants, who have a right to see evidence that may exonerate them; and for the city itself, which has been chastised in court for its failure to produce relevant documents in civil suits.

"One staffer told the Office of Inspector General Joseph Ferguson that to determine if an investigative file was complete, they would simply look to see if it seemed thick enough - and if it was too thin, they would search digital records, according to the report.

"Last summer nearly three-quarters of requests sent to the CPD's subpoena unit were never forwarded to other offices within CPD to find related records, the office said."

Click through and read the rest.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:22 AM | Permalink

June 10, 2020

The Fonz Lives And Franco Is Dead: News You Can't Use

You always hope to be open enough to your own ignorance to seek intellectual redemption.

So, as an ancient habit, I collect "wait, wut?" news-of-the-day items just to make sure I still can be shocked, appalled and mystified, occasionally about myself.

Over the years, your field of vision shifts and drifts, so that your amazements do as well. If the shift is positive, you become self-actualized. If the shift does not open your mind, then you stay the same useless reprobate you always were.

But here's a starting point for this discussion. The Planet Earth is a relentless hot mess, and the human creatures living upon it seem unsuited to survive for very long.

The news we write about ourselves proves that.

For example, 40 years ago, I collected Associated Press briefs in my news job. They were almost-daily dispatches along themes related to Third World transportation. I was the unassigned but defacto Third World Bus Accident Editor at the Evansville Courier.

These were the days before political terrorism became its own category of global misery.

For example, this headline: "Bus Carrying 136 Wedding Partiers Careens Over Cliff In India And Kills All Aboard."

Buses always careen.

That was a best-of-the-week news clip that I saved for 20 years before it started to feel too creepy. The Associated Press figured this news was worth about two short paragraphs, though they did note the bride and groom were wearing their wedding finery when the bus exploded.

Third World buses always explode.

Addendum word to the wise: Stay off ferries in the Philippines.

I do not recall ever worrying, or even thinking about what the people on the bus thought. I did wonder occasionally who was in charge of Third World bus transportation, and how that many people could fit onto one bus.

The fact no one in journalistic authority suggested pursuing those insights does not absolve me of callousness. The mindlessness of those days still troubles me. I have no defense except an attraction to the morbid and bizarre.

The effect of news remains the personal reaction to what grotesquery is placed right in front of you. You care about what you see, as the death of George Floyd affirms.

Nothing that was true about American tolerances for bigotry on the day before he died would have changed without us witnessing his death.

It literally was the power of news.

So, if you can, be surprised when you stumble over news large and small that illuminates your mind's darkened corners. What bothers you - and doesn't - says a lot about who you are.

We go now to the daily news desk.

1. AP news note headline this week: "A group of 35 black former students at Liberty University thanked (school president) Jerry Falwell Jr. for apologizing for what they called a racist tweet."

Wait. Liberty University has black alumni? This is a true triumph of marketing over reality.

2. Entertainment news note headline: "HBO Max has removed 'Gone With the Wind' from its catalog citing racist depictions."

Wait. Wut? Somebody still thought GWTW was a good movie? Margaret Mitchell's equally bad novel by the same name won the 1937 Pulitzer for fiction.

White people in the arts have a lot to answer for.

3. Politico headline: "Trump allies fear the election is now shaping up as a simple referendum on Trump and his performance in the White House."

Or as we proletariat riff-raff call it: An election.

Or as the Armenians call food in an Armenian restaurant: Food.

4. New York Times story tag: "Choirs have been linked to several coronavirus outbreaks. And some scientists are skeptical about efforts to bring them back with protective measures."

For religious believers who consider every aspect of life is controlled the Deity, is this not an unambiguous signal? Maybe the Deity really does not like church choirs - hates them, in fact - and wishes they would all go away.

God did not like Betamax, and see what happened to that.

5. Facebook total insanity. Henry Winkler is not dead despite this internet clickbait: "Henry Winkler Dead at 77 - A Huge Trump Supporter and Lifelong Gun Lover." - ConservativeTears.com. Jan. 31, 2019.

Since January 2019, news the former Happy Days and Arrested Development star is dead has been posted on Facebook 150,000 times.

Think for a moment about the sheer insane, incomprehensible magnitude of that number, and how many stupid people that entails. It's a signal.

In these "obits" he is always noted as a big Trump supporter and NRA donor, neither of which is true.

This week Twitter's trending hysteria was re-provoked by pictures that seemed to confuse Winkler with images of New York City Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch.

For the fifth time, Snopes had to recall fans from the Fonz Rapture.

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. The Fonz lives.

But just in case, I've sent an e-mail to Winkler's talent agency (CAA) suggesting he stay away from Third World bus excursions.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

* 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:29 AM | Permalink

The Elevator Is The Latest Logjam In Getting Back To Work

When the American Medical Association moved its headquarters to a famous Chicago skyscraper in 2013, the floor-to-ceiling views from the 47th-floor conference space were a spectacular selling point.

But now, those glimpses of the Chicago River at the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed landmark, now known as AMA Plaza, come with a trade-off: navigating the elevator in the time of COVID-19.

Once the epitome of efficiency for moving masses of people quickly to where they needed to go, the elevator is the antithesis of social distancing and a risk-multiplying bottleneck. As America begins to open up, the newest conundrum for employers in cities is how to safely transport people in elevators and manage the crowd of people waiting for them.

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 10.17.03 AM.pngHannah Norman/KHN

If office tower workers want to stay safe, elevator experts think they have advice, some practical, some not: Stay in your corner, face the walls and carry toothpicks (for pushing the buttons).

Not only have those experts gone back to studying mathematical models for moving people, but they are also creating technology like ultraviolet-light disinfection tools and voice-activated panels.

"When there is risk of disease spreading from human to human, continuing to maintain a clean and safe vertical transportation system is critical to help people return to work and safe living," said Jon Clarine, head of digital services at Thyssenkrupp Elevator, in an e-mail.

After all, most elevators are inherently cramped, enclosed spaces that can barely fit two people safely spaced six feet apart, much less the dozen or more that elevators in commercial and residential buildings were designed to hold. They're a minefield of buttons and surfaces tempting to touch. Air circulation is limited to what a few vents and the opening doors can manage. Plus, they're usually mobbed during the morning, lunchtime and evening rushes.

The good news is, while infection transmission is possible if people leave behind respiratory droplets of virus in the elevator, the time spent on a ride is short, said infectious disease expert Dr.Steven Lawrence of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Still, he said, "You're in a small box."

To mitigate those risks, elevator experts stress, those riding elevators should wear masks, resist touching surfaces as much as possible and use items such as disposable tissues or, indeed, those toothpicks to touch the buttons. Also, use hand sanitizer frequently.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends limiting time in elevators and taking one-directional stairs instead, when possible, as well as maintaining six feet of distance.

Karen Penafiel, executive director of the National Elevator Industry trade association, also recommends people face the elevator walls and not talk to minimize the spread of respiratory droplets that could carry the coronavirus.

"It makes sense when you think about it, but it's so contrary to every social protocol we have been raised with," Penafiel said. "It's not comfortable."

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 10.19.14 AM.pngThyssenkrupp Elevator

But the biggest hang-up across city skylines for offices and residences may be the recommendation by Penafiel and other elevator experts to limit the number of riders to four to accommodate social distancing for most elevator rides - one in each corner. That creates a logistical challenge for building managers and employers who have thousands of people to move within a single building.

AMA Plaza owner Beacon Capital Partners plans to limit its elevator riders to four at a time, according to an e-mail from company spokesperson Maureen Richardson. The same goes for the more than 90-floor One World Trade Center in New York City and the roughly 8,000 people who report to work there, said Jordan Barowitz, spokesperson for the Durst Organization, which oversees the management of the iconic skyscraper.

Cutting the number of people moving up a building per ride - in some places by as much as two-thirds - means people wait and wait, huddling in the lobby, coughing, sneezing and talking loudly.

"That's where you're going to get the queuing," said Chris Smith, vice president of marketing and product strategy for elevator manufacturer Otis Elevator, optimistically using a word suggesting orderly standing in line. It's no wonder Smith's customers have been calling nonstop about the elevator bottleneck. So Otis staffers have been simulating for customers how staggered times for starting the workday and different employee spacing could help slow the flow of traffic.

It all comes down to hard math. On a normal day, over 3,000 people work in the 52-story AMA building. With only four passengers at a time, which is about half of a typically crowded elevator, that translates to about 750 elevator rides each morning launching from 24 elevator cabs (and that's not counting the trips made by separate freight cabs).

The Langham, a luxury hotel occupying the building's first 13 floors, will place a sign with graphics in the elevator foyer to encourage social distancing, e-mailed spokesperson Deepika Sarma. Hotel staffers are looking into possible decals for the floors of the elevators indicating where to stand, and requiring riders to wear masks.

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 10.21.00 AM.pngWeWork

Another tenant of AMA Plaza, WeWork, whose business model depends on people renting its office space, will be placing signage denoting safe distances in the elevator lobbies of its buildings, as well as touch-free hand sanitizer dispensers.

WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani told CNBC that 40% of its sites occupy office space low enough within buildings that people could take the stairs instead.

But climbing, say, 36 flights of stairs isn't an option for most people. (Top stair racers take five minutes to cover that many floors. It takes a person of average fitness up to 25 minutes.)

And stairs aren't viable in buildings of any height for those with physical disabilities or mobility issues or when carrying heavy loads.

To be sure, those who live in high-rises have already been navigating these questions - whether in luxury buildings with resources or public housing units without.

But as more offices look at reopening, Otis and Thyssenkrupp have been swamped with calls from customers asking for new technology to help them manage these new challenges sparked by the coronavirus.

Destination dispatching, in which employees can swipe a key card at a turnstile that notifies the elevator where they need to go, has seen a surge of interest due to its touchless control - and during the pandemic, elevators have been reprogrammed to limit the weight load to a smaller number of passengers.

Other product offerings in the works include calling the elevator via cellphone, antiviral stickers for elevator buttons, lobby concierge-run elevators, express service for each elevator ride, ultraviolet-light HVAC purification systems and even elevator buttons that riders can activate with their feet, their voice or hand gestures.

To reduce the need to touch buttons, Otis' Smith said, elevators could be placed into "Sabbath service" mode, where they automatically go to each and every floor - a service offered for decades for those whose religion dictates they not operate electrical devices on certain days.

Brand new businesses designed to make elevators safer are emerging. Over two months ago, Philip Rentzis helped found Ashla Systems, which sells ultraviolet-light systems designed for elevators that are similar to those used to kill viruses for hospital instruments. At least 100 buildings have already signed up to install the technology, he said, in part because building owners are terrified about the long-term costs of keeping up their new rigorous cleaning regimens.

Michael Rogoff, president of the New York City and South Florida residential management firm Akam Living Services, said some of his building staffs are cleaning the elevators more than once per hour - or even after every use. When residents complain that they shouldn't have to pay for communal amenities they're not able to use, he points to the new cleaning costs.

"The elevator cleaning and disinfecting is just on a whole new level than it was previously," Rogoff said.

But even as companies evaluate their suite of elevator options, harsh realities are emerging of how challenging it will be to move the workforce where it needs to be, Thyssenkrupp's Clarine said.

"Look, you're going to disrupt the flow of traffic in your building, but how long are you willing for that to be an inconvenience before it becomes a disruption?" Clarine said. "It's all about helping customers manage risk, and some want to manage more so than others."

For now, the American Medical Association said it plans to allow its roughly 1,000 employees to return to their offices approximately 30 days after city and state leaders lift their stay-at-home orders. Chicago's orders were loosened June 3rd.

The association's initial return-to-work phase will begin with "approximately 10% of employees on a voluntary basis," according to a statement issued by association media manager Robert Mills.

It's not yet clear when - or how - it will be able to get the rest of its staffers up to their offices in the sky.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:59 AM | Permalink

White Parents Should Have 'The Talk' With Their Kids, Too

Every black parent, at some point, has to have "the talk," the proverbial sit-down where we engage our children in a serious discussion about how black people are treated by police. We explain how to converse with police, how to make eye contact, how or when to show respect, how, when necessary, they must sometimes genuflect to unjust authority in order to protect themselves.

Inevitably, it's not just one talk. Circumstances force us to have a series of conversations throughout our children's young lives, because racism is a constant presence.

If you are just having "the talk" with your child for the first time this week to explain the protests they're seeing on television or outside their windows over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, you have a problem. It probably means you're not regularly talking with them about current events and they're not getting a good education about American history in school. It also means you have willfully buried your head in the sand to the stark injustices that disrespect the very notion of our American democracy and to the role you may be playing in those injustices by your silence.

In the face of almost daily occurrences of racial violence against black people, there shouldn't be one talk about police when you're a parent - of any race. We teach our children every day to help them navigate the communities they live in. We should be talking to kids about racism in this country all the time.

Early on, we teach them not to play with electrical outlets and to be careful near the stove. We teach them to say please and thank you, and to be nice and share. Just as organically as we teach our children to look both ways when crossing the street, we should be giving them regular, developmentally appropriate lessons about race and racism. As we've seen, a bad run-in with a cop can be as fatal as a car accident. Failing to have a conversation about the police killings, ensuing protests, and the pain, anxiety and anger they cause is to willfully ignore the cars coming from both sides of the street.

No, I did not show my child the video of George Floyd's murder, but we did talk about it in the context of the racism and white supremacy that led to it. Those ordinary lessons prepare our children for the inevitable challenges they will face directly.

Don't imagine that avoiding these conversations will shield your child from the horrors of racism; they will absorb this information somehow. And if you ignore it, that's the lesson they'll learn from you.

The sheer number of extrajudicial killings of black people at the hands of police in the last nine years obligated me to give numerous talks to my son about the images and words he invariably sees and hears. When he was 4 in 2014, I talked to him about how Michael Brown had been killed by the police. I explained why I watched the television so intently and how greatly people were upset that a person had died unnecessarily. When my son was 5, Freddie Gray died from injuries he sustained while in police custody. As Roby got older, the deaths of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd all incited age-appropriate conversations.

These conversations are as heartbreaking as they are necessary, especially when they touch a child's life directly. Growing up in New Orleans, we taught him the Mardi Gras tradition of extending his arms as the floats go by and shouting, "Throw me something, mister!" In 2006, during a Mardi Gras parade, 5-year-old Roby reached up and caught a beaded necklace thrown at him by someone riding a float. The necklace was studded with plastic Confederate flags. We had to have another talk.

Fortunately, my wife and I had given him early lessons about figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Rosa Parks and the history of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. Thankfully, his school at the time taught similar lessons. So when I explained to Roby that the people who supported Confederate flags also supported slavery, and that we couldn't keep the beads, he understood. He allowed me to throw the racist beads away. Not a tear was shed.

This last week, we had to have a new talk, about a hero who had let him down. When my son was newly born, I gave him a New Orleans Saints football jersey, inscribed with the name Drew Brees. That same year, the Saints won a Super Bowl with Brees as quarterback. Since I'm originally from Pittsburgh, my allegiance belonged to that other team in black and gold, the Steelers. But the rise of the Saints after Hurricane Katrina symbolized the rise of the city. The purchase of a Brees jersey was a down payment on my belief that Brees and the Saints cared about New Orleans residents.

Not surprisingly, it became his favorite jersey. Then, last week Brees responded to the death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed with these words: "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country."

I explained to my son that we'd have to get rid of his Brees jersey because we simply can't represent someone who willfully ignores the suffering inflicted on people in his own city, on his own team and on the millions of people globally who are tired of police violence. My son didn't shed a tear when I threw the jersey away because I gave him lessons that prepared him for moments like this; not just one "talk," but many conversations large and small about the scary world around him.

Brees eventually apologized for his statement. But it's clear that if anyone needs to have "the talk," it's Drew Brees and the many white people whose views he represents. Lessons about police violence, Constitutional rights and white privilege should not be subjects only discussed in black homes: This is information white people need to impart to their kids, too. All the time. Ending racism requires white people to recognize it and address it with their children. Ignoring anti-black policy and policing disrespects our shared humanity, let alone the American Flag.

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

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

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

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

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

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

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

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

* When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech.

* Disrupting Education The NFL Way.

* The Voucher Program We Really Need Is Not For School - It's For After.

* Charter School Leaders Should Talk More About Racism.

* Bold, Progressive Ideas Aren't Unrealistic.

* White Coaches Pick The Wrong Side When They Talk Down To Their Black Athletes.

* The Importance Of The 1619 Project.

* Black Athletes Have A Trump Card They Are Not Using Enough.

* Making Elite Colleges White Again.

* When Acceptable Attire Depends On The Color Of Your Skin.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:22 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Inbox:

Chicago Field Museum Workers Join National Movement Demanding Management Protect Their Livelihoods During COVID Pandemic

Museum Workers Organize & Fight Decision to Fire Workers Rather Than Trim Executive Compensation

Chicago - Hundreds of Field Museum of Natural History workers escalate their fight to save their jobs by coming together, delivering a petition with over 1,000 signatures to management, and going public to stop the museum from slashing jobs and cutting wages during the COVID pandemic and historic unemployment.

Even though the museum received CARES Act dollars, and Field Museum workers have donated over $200,000 in vacation time to support struggling co-workers, employees' calls for executives to share in the collective sacrifice to save working families' incomes have fallen on deaf ears.

On May 19, museum CEO Richard Lariviere held a town hall-style meeting to announce potential layoffs. Jackie Pozza, Assistant Exhibitions Registrar said of the announcement, "When one of the staff asked our CEO Lariviere, who made close to $800,000 in total compensation in 2018, if he would be willing to take a graduated pay cut to save museum staff, and Lariviere said, 'It would be a meaningless gesture.' Museum staff disagree."

Field Museum workers have already sacrificed for the museum, for their colleagues, and for the Chicago community through donating vacation time to their co-workers and struggling families, sewing masks for the public, and repurposing the museum's 3D printers to make face shields for frontline essential workers.

On Monday, Field Museum workers delivered to management a petition signed by hundreds of workers. They demand:

* A moratorium on all layoffs and pay cuts;

* Museum management share in sacrifice and graduate pay cuts to their own salaries, in line with the Museum's peer institutions;

* Staff participation in planning for cost-cutting measures, including through a staff representative at all future budget meetings.

What: Field Museum Workers Available for Press Interviews in Fight for Their Livelihoods on Wednesday, June 10

Who: Chicago's Field Museum Workers

Where: "Man with Fish" statue, Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr

When: Wednesday, June 10, at 3 p.m.

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Also from the Inbox:

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White Flight Site
"Merrillville, the city that was formed by whites after they fled Gary during the era of Black political power, has sworn in its first Black police chief," the Crusader reports.

Merrillville was formed in 1971 during the height of Black political power in Gary. The historic 1967 election of Richard Gordon Hatcher as Gary's first Black mayor led many white residents to flee south. Most of the retail and bank establishments relocated from downtown Gary and Hammond to Merrillville, as suburban malls and office complexes sprang up in the cornfields.

In 1971 white lawmakers passed legislation that exempted Lake County from a "buffer zone" law that prohibited cities to incorporate within three miles of large cities. The legislation allowed whites to incorporate Merrillville as their new city.

In 2017, at the 50th Anniversary at West Side Leadership Academic marking Hatcher's historic election, Reverend Jesse Jackson joked that Hatcher should also be recognized as the founder of Merrillville.

Seemingly relevant, via Wikipedia:

"The Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana (formerly the Gary Post-Tribune) is a daily newspaper headquartered in Merrillville, Indiana, United States. It serves the Northwest Indiana region, and is owned by the Chicago Tribune Media Group.

"The paper was founded in 1907 as The Gary Weekly. It was established to serve steel industry residents.

"On September 7, 1908 the weekly became a daily and changed its name to the Gary Tribune. Its founder, J.R. and H.B. Snyder, purchased the Gary Evening Post from Gary mayor Thomas Knotts on March 9, 1910.

"In July 1921 the two papers were merged producing the Post-Tribune a weekday evening and weekend morning paper.

"In August 1966, the Snyder heirs sold the publication to Northwest Publications, Inc., a subsidiary of Ridder Publications. 'Gary' was dropped from the masthead to further 'regionalize' the Post-Tribune, although critics charged that it was an attempt to distance itself from the declining city.

"In 1974, the Post-Tribune became part of the Knight-Ridder chain of productions.

"Hollinger International (later the Sun-Times Media Group) took over the production on February 2, 1998. The Post-Tribune consolidated its printing with that of the Sun-Times in 2007, at which time it closed its printing plant on Broadway in Gary, ending more than 50 years of press runs there. It had moved its main editorial offices from Gary to neighboring Merrillville in 2000.

"In 2014, it was purchased by the Chicago Tribune Media Group."

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From the Northwest Indiana Times, which used to be the Hammond Times and eventually moved to Munster, in 1999:

"When informed of the decision by a Times reporter Tuesday, the director of the city's economic development department described the Gary Post-Tribune's move as 'mind-boggling' and said the company is moving out just as a downtown revitalization project is hitting its stride.

"Naturally, we are disappointed that (the Gary Post-Tribune) is moving in that direction," said Gary Economic Development Department Director Ben Clement. "I really wish they had come to the table and consulted with us. Perhaps we could have looked at helping them with whatever expansion needs they had. Perhaps we could have discussed the development of the downtown area."

Gary Post-Tribune executives also failed to notify their partners in the Gary Chamber of Commerce of their plans to relocate a substantial portion of their business outside the city, said Jeffrey Williams, executive director of the chamber.

Now imagine if Gary was a declining white city due to black flight and Merrillville had become a prosperous black enclave. Do you think the Post-Tribune would have been moved to Merrillville?

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"Former Gary Post-Tribune Publisher Scott Bosley said the move to Merrillville may help the newspaper attract employees who otherwise would have been reluctant to work in downtown Gary."

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Bank Shot
"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is citing Chicago as a 'hotbed' of past fraudulent actions by Fifth Third Bank employees," Crain's reports.

"The agency is making the charge as part of its push against the bank's effort to move the CFPB's lawsuit to federal court in Fifth Third's home city of Cincinnati rather than Chicago.

"In recently filed court documents, the CFPB provided data showing that Chicago consumers bore the brunt of workers who established fictitious accounts and took other actions that resulted in inappropriate fees but helped the employees meet internal sales goals.

"For the better part of a decade, Fifth Third Bank has opened deposit and credit-card accounts, established lines of credit, and activated online-banking services for consumers without the consumers' knowledge or consent," the CFPB wrote in a May 22 brief. "Unfortunately for Chicagoans, Fifth Third's unlawful acts and practices were more prevalent in this district than elsewhere; Chicago has been a hotbed of unscrupulous conduct by Fifth Third's employees - conduct that the bank caused with its toxic sales culture and failed to timely and adequately address."

Atop Fifth Third's website right now:

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 1.03.46 PM.png

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Alternate Summer 2020

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New on the Beachwood . . .

"#ICantBreathe"
A new song from Korporate Bidness w/J. Writes and Gee Gray.

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An ANTIFA American Hero
"Martin Gugino is not the 82nd Airborne landing at Normandy, but he serves the related moral principle. That encounter in Buffalo was a precise re-enactment of what letting fascists run the world looks like."

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BLM And The Point Of Jonathan Pie
Or, Defund TV News.

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White Parents Should Have 'The Talk' With Their Kids, Too
"Lessons about police violence, Constitutional rights and white privilege should not be subjects only discussed in black homes."

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What Being A White Sox Fan Taught Me
"Even today, as recently as last season, you can find a conversation on Yelp initiated by, 'Is the White Sox Neighborhood Safe?'"

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A Black Booklist Beyond Baldwin
'A lot of the books I see going around, and the lists I see going around, are literally like all James Baldwin, which is totally fine, it is important to read an author who paved such a path in the black - and especially the black queer - community but it's been awhile. It's been awhile since then.'

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The Fonz Is Dead & Franco Is Alive: News You Can't Use
By the former defacto Third World Bus Accident Editor of the Evansville Courier.

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Killer Elevators In The COVID Age
"Product offerings in the works include calling the elevator via cellphone, antiviral stickers for elevator buttons, lobby concierge-run elevators, express service for each elevator ride, ultraviolet-light HVAC purification systems and even elevator buttons that riders can activate with their feet, their voice or hand gestures."

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And Now, Your Hoffman Estates Bulls!
A proposal.

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ChicagoReddit

Servers, how is being back at work? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Just in: BEYOND HEAVEN: CHICAGO HOUSE PARTY FLYERS VOLUME II, FROM 1981-1992 As per publisher @almightyandinsanebooks about this second volume: "With the original out of stock, we were at a crossroads. But luck was on our side when Mario "Liv It Up" Luna dug up a long-forgotten cache of material, and from that we bring you Beyond Heaven: Volume II. Same format but with all new flyers documenting an extended window of history, from early "mobile discos" that reflect roots of the underground movement before the term "house" was even coined, to the emergence of a new generation of house DJs and artists in Chicago inspired by the pioneers of the genre. As with the original, this book reflects a mix of figures and parallel movements that were entangled with the world of house. From dance groups to party crews, alongside promoters, labels, and record stores, both well established and lesser known--all are points of departure to good memories and/or further investigations into one of the greatest eras in the history of Chicago music, with a legacy that is profoundly influential to this day." $20 USD, paperback 96 pages, full color 6 x 9 in | 16 x 23 cm Link in bio to order. Or come to get one in person when we open on Thursday! 😁 #Quimbys #quimbysbookstorechicago #quimbyschicago #housepartyflyers #almightyandinsanebooks #marioluna #mariolivitupluna #chicago #chicagohousemusic #chicagohouse #dj

A post shared by Quimbys Bookstore (@quimbysbookstore) on

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ChicagoTube

Young Boy Protests Alone (Sort, Of, Not Really, But It's A Really Good Thing) In South Shore.

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BeachBook

Donald Trump Put A Fence Around The White House To Keep People Away. It Is Now Completely Covered In Protest Art.

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Prominent Harvard Archaeologist Put On Leave Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations.

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Quarantined Travel Photographer Creates Miniature "Outdoor" Scenes With Everyday Objects.

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

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The Beachwood Yield My Time Line: Operators standing by.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:05 AM | Permalink

A Black Booklist Beyond Baldwin

'A lot of the books I see going around, and the lists I see going around, are literally like all James Baldwin, which is totally fine, it is important to read an author who paved such a path in the black - and especially the black queer - community but it's been awhile. It's been awhile since then. Also, black people are more than their pain. You can't just push pain, pain, pain, because at that point you're almost fetishizing the pain.'


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:25 AM | Permalink

"#ICantBreathe"

Call for my mother
mama couldn't help me
Hate's on my neck
and it's suffocating me


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

And Now, Your Hoffman Estates Bulls!

How about a tournament in which an NBA team can win a draft-order lottery by winning? Or one where they can avoid being replaced in the NBA by the Gatorade League team based closest to them (for the Bulls that would be their Hoffman Estates-based affiliate)? Best idea yet! A combination of the two.

The Bulls were bad enough when their regular season was permanently suspended back in March that they are among the eight teams on the outs in the NBA. We learned last week that they don't qualify for the recently announced, "expanded so much it resembles an every-player-gets-a-trophy old-time youth sports event," 22-team NBA playoff set to kick off next month.

We also learned last week that the Bulls will be looking for something to do while the big event is happening rather than just keeping everything that might happen out on a basketball court essentially shut down for much of the rest of the year. Current projections have the NBA starting the 2020-21 season no earlier than Christmas.

The team's new management, led by vice president for basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley, appears to fear not doing anything during the next three months more than they fear having their players participate in some sort of an event that could expose them to the COVID-19 virus. And my guess is a sizable number of players agree - to a certain extent.

Regarding the 22-team tournament, many details have yet to be publicized but there must be a sort of fundamental agreement between players and management limiting lawsuits if someone gets sick. I fear this will cause personal injury attorneys to fling themselves off cliffs (then again, there is enough potential new liability in other areas to keep those guys busy for a while), but it has to happen.

Because when you really think about it, there is no way these teams can come together in contact competition pre-vaccine and believe that there is a system to prevent all infections.

The premier professional German soccer league, known gloriously as the Bundesliga (go ahead and say that out loud - Boon-dis-league-a - how fun is that?) has shown the way to a certain extent. One thing that has become clear after a couple weeks of Bundesliga live action is that you can have all sorts of standards regarding players not having hand-to-hand contact and a variety of other things, but those standards will slip.

And the extremely low fatality rate for people in the 15- to 25-year-old age range who contract the COVID-19 virus also has to be a consideration. If a player is in a confirmed risk group - because he has hypertension or some other pre-exisiting condition - they don't play. Something tells me there will be enough players to fill all the rosters even if a few are held out.

That doesn't mean you don't take precautions. It does mean not denying that some precautions work in all circumstances and some do not. It is that acknowledgement that has enabled Bundesliga (woo-hoo!) to play without masks. And their head coaches don't wear them either. And so far there have been no reports of positive tests among players since the games started.

The first thing we need for the consolation NBA tournament is a host, at least for the basketball part of it. I nominate the Bulls facility adjacent to the United Center. If you put the practice courts and the stadium court to use, you should be able to cycle teams through for what, three weeks worth of practices? And surely the Bulls could nail down an otherwise completely closed hotel that would house the teams for as long as they are playing in Chicago.

Then the games start: I propose you seed the teams in a bracket according to their records at the end of the season and then start with best-of-three quarterfinals. The second round is two best-of-three championship semifinals and two consolation semis. And the final round is a best-of-five championship series and two- or three-game series' for third, fifth and seventh. The primary motivation will be that teams will be slotted into the draft lottery based on where they finish, i.e., the championship series winner will be get the No. 1 pick, the third-place winner will be placed third and so on.

The team that loses the seventh-place series will not only draft eighth, it will also be relegated. The players on that team will start next season playing for the Hoffman Estates Bulls (also known as the Windy City Bulls). The players who were on the Hoffman Estates roster when their season was shut down in March will form the Bulls' roster for next season.

This will be a one-time situation unless it works so well that players and owners agree on having consolation tournaments for non-playoff participants at the end of future seasons. Not likely but also not impossible.

You're welcome and, Play ball!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:46 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie's Black Lives Matter Report Brilliantly Illustrates The Point Of Jonathan Pie

The truth always comes in what he says off-camera. Then when the light goes on, he shifts to the professional but false veneer his job demands under the guise of . . . truth. Defund TV News!


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Previous Pie:
* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

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

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

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

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

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

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

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

* Pie's Brexit.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

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

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

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

* President Trump: How & Why.

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

* Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! 2016 In Review.

* Inauguration Reporting.

* New Year: New Pie?

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Strong And Unstable.

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

* Socialism Strikes Back!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Carnage.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Papering Over Poverty.

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

* Showdown: North Korea vs. Trump.

* Time For The Royal Scroungers To Earn Their Keep.

* Cricket vs. Brexit.

* The Real Jonathan Pie.

* A Hostile Environment.

* Jonathan Pie | Trump's America.

* Pie: Putin's America.

* Amazon And The Way Of The World.

* Horseface, Ho-Hum.

* Of Turbines, Trump And Twats.

* Breaking: Trump Still Racist.

* It Says Here.

* The Real Climate Crisis Hypocrites.

* Jonathan Pie On The Campaign Trial.

* We're Fucked, Mate.

* The Tale Of Dominic Cummings.

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Previously in Pie's Lockdown:
* Jonathan Pie: Lockdown: Low-Footprint Content.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 2.: Spare Bedroom Shithole.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 3: Tele-Vision.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 4: A Trump Drinking Game.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt 5: Madness Sets In.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 6: Question Time.

* Jonathan Pie On Lockdown, Pt. 7: Back To School.

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

June 9, 2020

What Being A White Sox Fan Taught Me

Friends of mine growing up who were Sox fans often had parents and grandparents who emigrated from the South Side. They landed in the leafy environs of Highland Park on the North Shore to flee the burgeoning African-American population brought on by the Great Migration. The White Sox were part of their heritage.

Our family was different since my parents were Cincinnatians who came to the Chicago suburbs in the early '50s because of my dad's job. He rooted for the Reds, the ones who played ball. Being a patriot and a conservative Republican, he did a 180 when it came to the other Reds.

Hailing from Cincinnati, Dad knew little about the American League, which was just one reason why my brother and I should have become Cub fans. Traveling to Wrigley Field, where the Cubs played only in daytime, was a breeze. The North Shore Line, which resembled a streetcar and traveled between Milwaukee and Chicago, stopped in downtown Highland Park, a 10-minute walk from home. We transferred at Howard en route to Addison. The trip took no more than an hour.

Plus, it was safe to go to a Cubs game. Nice neighborhood. Small crowds. Friendly ushers. Ladies Days. Cheap tickets. Only problem was the team. They were god-awful.

The Go-Go Sox were far more appealing. Even to our youthful eyes, we could see that the charismatic Minoso, Fox, Pierce, Aparicio, Lollar and others were genuine professionals. Maybe not the equal of the vaunted (and despised) Yankees, but pretty close to Casey's Yogi, Mickey, and Whitey.

Furthermore, the juxtaposition of the two ballparks couldn't have been more striking. Wrigley's capacity was 37,000 compared to almost 50,000 at Comiskey, with its imposing upper deck covering the entire lower seats except in dead centerfield. The ballpark was majestic and stately while Wrigley, without a roof over most seats, was built for sunbathers, ladies, and kids who sat in the seats while the men were at work.

Wafts of butchered livestock from the Union Stockyards were common in late afternoon at Comiskey, while fans in Wrigley's upper deck - which usually was closed because of paltry crowds - gazed longingly at sailboats on Lake Michigan.

However, the trip from Highland Park to Comiskey was a challenge. The North Shore Line didn't go there. We had to depend on Dad driving us if we wanted to see the Sox play. The journey began on the Edens, which at that time ended at Peterson. (The Kennedy wasn't completed until late 1960, a year before the Dan Ryan.)

Driving east on Peterson to Lake Shore Drive was no picnic, nor was LSD at rush hour if we were going to a night game. By the time we exited at 31st Street, we might have been in the car for two hours. Our father wasn't keen about making the trip, so two or three Sox games a season was the max. However, once my brother, who was two years my senior, and his friends got their driver's licenses, going to Comiskey became a regular occurrence.

Keep in mind that we were coming from Highland Park, physically 30 miles north but a world apart from the neighborhood surrounding the ballpark. I attended a high school of 2,100 students. There may have been one or two black students, but I can't remember any. If there were, they were the children of soldiers stationed at Fort Sheridan in Highwood. Like many of my peers, the only African Americans we had contact with worked in our homes as maids. To say that I was on the receiving end of white privilege is like saying Henry Aaron could hit.

When we pulled off the Drive at 31st, in no way did we acknowledge that the beach to our left was the scene of the stoning death of a black youth in 1919 because he crossed the line segregating black and white swimmers. Violence erupted and within a week 23 African Americans and 15 white people were dead. A thousand black families' homes were burned. Not only did we not recognize this painful time in history, we weren't even aware of it.

But we were cognizant of the fact that driving west toward the ballpark, we were in a black neighborhood. I can't remember for certain, but my guess is that we made sure the windows were rolled up. Did anyone ever threaten or so much as bother us? Never. The fact that the Sox played on the South Side where black people lived dictated that numbers of white folks simply were programmed to the point of staying away. After all, they could always watch the Cubs. Even today, as recently as last season, you can find a conversation on Yelp initiated by, "Is the White Sox Neighborhood Safe?"

The Sox won a pennant in 1959, and Dad in mid-season assured us that we'd go to the World Series if the Sox got there. Today I'm thinking he might have been a closet Yankee fan. More likely, he just never had much confidence that the Sox could overcome the New Yorkers.

As it turned out, Dad didn't have the clout to get Series tickets, so we proposed that brother John, I and a few pals go to Comiskey Park the night before Game 1 and wait in line for bleacher tickets which were going on sale the next morning at 8 a.m. Maybe Dad felt guilty he couldn't produce the goods, so he was more or less a pushover. But our mother was adamant that we couldn't be allowed to spend a night outdoors on the South Side of Chicago.

Lucky for us, she lost the argument, and that didn't happen with regularity. We were among a couple hundred fans on lawn chairs outside the bleacher entrance for the opportunity to pay two dollars to see the Sox and Dodgers tangle. Around midnight we walked across Armour Square Park to visit a hamburger stand. We lived to tell about it. And we repeated the event for Game 6 as Los Angeles closed out the Series.

A few years later, Comiskey Park was the locale for a Motown concert, featuring some of the biggest names in R&B. A couple of carloads of us white kids made the trip. The only other white people we saw that night were Andy Frain ushers, one of whom warned us that we were entering "a Ubangi jungle."

The park was packed by more than 50,000 people, and we walked both the lower and upper decks looking for a seat, of which there were none. I can't say I felt comfortable. I'd like to think that if I had found a seat, I would have stayed. No one made an issue of our presence. No one, aside from the guy at the turnstile, so much as questioned why we were there or confronted us in any way.

By comparison, let's say an African American at that time had decided to attend a Kingston Trio or Simon and Garfunkel concert. Would he or she have been in any danger of harassment or worse?

Years later when Comiskey was scheduled for demolition to make way for the new stadium, we parked our car at Mr. Brown's house. He lived approximately where left centerfield is located at The Grate today. Mr. Brown had room for about 10 cars in his yard, and we often parked there. He was a gentlemanly, sweet man, and Sunday was special because Mr. Brown had a 55-gallon drum that he built into a smoker. Sunday was his day to slow cook meat.

I don't know what the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority paid Mr. Brown for his property, which was bulldozed to make way for the present ballpark, but I hope it was fair. What I do know is that Mr. Brown had no choice except to move, whether he wanted to or not. I just hope he was able to take that smoker with him.

Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy talks about the need for proximity, meaning that people of different races and backgrounds need greater contact with others different than themselves. We tend to stick together with people who look like us, think like us, and experience the world as we do. We need more crossover, according to Stevenson, in order to separate reality from perception.

I think about those days long ago, the trips to the South Side to watch the White Sox play. I suppose that was as much proximity as I would experience as a young person. It wasn't much, but I'm thankful for those memories.

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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 6:10 PM | Permalink

An ANTIFA American Hero

If modern medical science prevails and I do my part by looking both ways before crossing the street, there is some chance I will get to be 75.

The age. Not the speed.

In fact, the science of predictable death forecasting assesses that I have a 62 percent chance at this moment of reaching 80, and a worth-the-bet chance of making it to 90.

If you statistically excluded childhood deaths and those who step in front of a truck, I can hit 100 without a sweat.

Because I have never had a 62 percent chance of anything good happening to me, I consider these odds are, to turn a phrase, literally a mortal lock.

But reaching for some statistical finish line is not the point.

What do you want out of life when you are 75?

I want to be "ANTIFA provocateur" Martin Gugino, the witness-for-justice Buffalo peace activist, who somehow tricked riot police into pushing him down, bashing his head on the pavement and letting his brain fluids gush out.

Put aside whether the venerated Christian principle of witnessing silently for justice just wastes time when guns work so much better. Instead think of any 75-year-old man retaining enough vitality, balance, and desire for such activity.

The boy's got moxie.

I want moxie, too.

If he were actually a "planted provocateur," he needed to get in much better physical shape. Bashing your head on the pavement is hard work that can kill you.

No, I think the most conservative Occam's Razor view of that event is that the police whacked him last week during anti-police brutality demonstrations because they wanted to whack him, and he fell backward.

Had to be done. You know how dangerous 75-year-old men of principle are to public order.

When I'm 75, I hope to still be able to tie my own shoe laces, and also hope shoes still have laces by that time.

The truth is that I would join ANTIFA to which the president's conspiracy-to-go pipeline suggested Gugino belonged.

But I can't because I can't find ANTIFA. I've tried.

It's sort of a random, organizational mess, like my first marriage.

Anybody know a good ANTIFA book club? What are the dues?

I can't find any visible organization by that name. Even the FBI and William Barr have tried, but the provocateurs drift away into the deep greenery of Sherwood Forest like Robin's merry men.

Though it's not my preferred state of being, I wouldn't mind being in the "merry men." I was once a member of Kiwanis, and we thought of ourselves as "merry men," although "pleasantly jovial men" was more accurate.

As far as I can tell, ANTIFA is rudely, confrontationally anti-facist, and fascists dislike this approach because they are sticklers for manners. The KKK has become so touchy about etiquette.

ANTIFA seems mostly to be a shared idea without a phone number or even a clear structure. It's mostly affiliates who believe in the same idea simultaneously. They are like rabble-rousing versions of Amway and Mary Kay without the marketing fees.

I'd like to be a rabble rouser.

They just show up and cause discomfort for fascists, racists, anti-Semites and assorted right-wing scum.

Maybe they are violent on occasion, but why not?

They might well be described as provocateurs because they force fascists to unmask themselves. They are provoking the truth, though I doubt the president actually wrote the phrase "Antifa provocateur" because I do not believe he could spell that word or even think of it.

For those of you who came into the room late, fascists are like Heinrich Himmler and grave-but-stable General Francisco Franco.

Though fascists demand opposition be measured and orderly, fascists prefer making political points by murdering people in the millions.

World War II and the Holocaust were their ideas.

By the 1940s, we all had figured out who fascists were, but now seem to have mislaid that information. We have become fuzzy on the human boundaries that millions perished to preserve.

My father took up arms against them because, he figured, you just can't let murdering savages run the world.

There have to be at least a few Martin Guginos these days as a moral counterweight.

He is the ultimate American hero. He often stands up and says "No!"

He's not the 82nd Airborne landing at Normandy, but he serves the related moral principle. That encounter in Buffalo was a precise re-enactment of what letting fascists run the world looks like.

I offer this brief historical treatise only because we have lost track of several distinctions over the past three years. And our president is not a man of fine moral distinctions. Or any moral distinctions that I can identify.

So, if Martin Gugino actually is a member of ANTIFA, tell him he has friends in the world.

We admire old men of moral principle.

In fact, some of us would like to join, but you guys need a good 800 number.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

* 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Inbox:

After Four Taco Bell Workers Test Positive for COVID-19, Chicago Fast-Food Cooks, Cashiers to Protest Employers' Failure to Keep Workers Safe

Taco Bell workers first raised the alarm over a lack of proper PPE in their store weeks ago

Employees file public health complaints alleging managers failed to inform them of positive COVID-19 cases or properly sanitize stores

CHICAGO - Chicago fast-food workers on strike over their employers' failed COVID-19 responses will hold a caravan protest Tuesday, as Taco Bell workers file two public health complaints spotlighting conditions that pose an "imminent danger" at a Lincoln Park location where four workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Workers at the same store filed a complaint with OSHA in April alleging a lack of proper PPE in their store. OSHA has not completed an investigation of that original complaint.

Now, less than two months later, four workers are sick, including a pregnant worker.

In one particularly egregious case, Taco Bell management kept a worker on the clock after she received her positive test result while on the morning shift. The store stayed open for the rest of the day, even after the worker was eventually allowed to go home.

"We demanded proper masks and gloves months ago, and Taco Bell refused to listen. Now four workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and the company is still failing to keep us safe," said Taco Bell worker, Angela Jones. "Fast-food companies are saying they believe that Black lives matter, but their actions during this pandemic only expose how they have put the lives of Black and brown workers in jeopardy, especially for us here in Chicago. We don't want to risk our lives for Taco Bell's bottom line."

WHO: Taco Bell, McDonald's, and other fast-food workers

WHAT: Caravan protest over employers' failed response to COVID-19

WHEN: Tuesday, June 9th - 12 p.m. CDT

WHERE:

START: Taco Bell, 2575 North Clybourn Avenue

END: McDonalds, 180 West Adams Street

Lincoln Park Taco Bell workers filed additional complaints with OSHA and the Chicago Department of Public Health, alleging "willful violations" of public health guidance. Workers allege that their managers never informed them of co-workers who had tested positive for COVID-19, leaving them working in close proximity to sick and contagious employees. The workers also allege that managers never implemented proper social distancing procedures or ordered any kind of special sanitization beyond daily cleanup - even after learning of positive cases in the store.

The caravan protest will bring workers to a downtown McDonald's where workers have also tested positive for COVID-19. Chicago McDonald's workers have filed multiple OSHA complaints at stores where managers have failed to disclose positive cases to workers. Workers and their family members also filed a class action lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court alleging McDonald's "plainly inadequate" response to the pandemic has endangered its workers, their family members, and the public.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate toll on Chicago's Black communities. According to a recent report from the Chicago Urban League, while Black residents make up 30% of the city's population, they account for 60% of its COVID-19 fatalities. They also have the highest rate of infection statewide, making up a quarter of Illinois' total confirmed coronavirus cases.

WAVE OF STRIKES NATIONWIDE

The Chicago protest comes as McDonald's workers in Oakland and Los Angeles are on strike over the burger giant's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers at one location were told to wear doggie diapers as masks; now 11 workers at that location have tested positive for COVID-19, as have six of their family members, including a 10-month-old.

McDonald's workers in 20 cities went on strike in May, on the eve of the company's shareholder meeting, highlighting the company's continued failed response to the pandemic, even as it moves to reopen dining rooms across the country.

Since workers at over 50 Chicago McDonald's and other fast-food restaurants went on strike in April, some stores have responded by providing workers with additional PPE and temporary hazard pay. Workers at one McDonald's location won a permanent wage hike to $15/hour, ahead of the schedule set by Chicago's minimum wage laws.

See also:

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Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Altercation

That reminds me of something.

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Enemy Of The People

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It's not equivalent, but I chanced upon this yesterday and I never tire of reminding folks how bad Obama was on press issues.

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Assignment Desk

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

You Have A First Amendment Right To Record The Police
Nonetheless, here are some tips and guidelines.

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When The Mafia Controlled Gay Bars
"Gay bars were profit centers for all the Mafia families. Among the powerful mobsters who oversaw vast interests in LGBT nightlife were Gambino underboss Aniello Dellacroce, Genovese capo Matty 'the Horse' Ianniello, Colombo underboss John 'Sonny' Franzese Sr. in New York, and Joseph 'Caesar' DiVarco, who ran the Rush Street crew on the Near North Side for the Outfit in Chicago."

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Racism And The Dawn Of Sesame Street
"The show had had originally been conceived as a novel way of bringing remedial education into the homes of disadvantaged children, especially children of color. [Dr. Chester] Pierce, though, saw a different kind of potential for a show like this - one that could directly counter and counteract the racist messages prevalent in the media of his time."

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Open Up And Say, "Aargh!"
COVID-19 surcharges are spreading - inside your mouth!

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20 Albums That Are Very Important To Me
"These lists are interesting at times like these when people rush to the arts to ease their suffering and better understand the world around them."

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Why Crowd Noise Matters
The sense of connection - and social cues - crowd noise provides is so crucial to sport that various leagues are restarting with their own version of canned laugh tracks.

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ChicagoReddit

Where's Chicagoist? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Wiener's Circle | We're Here For You

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BeachBook

How Much Money Do MLB Players Really Make?

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One Less Thing To Worry About: Undercooked Pork.

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

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And there's no "seems" about it.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Limited time only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 AM | Permalink

Racism And The Dawn Of Sesame Street

In the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, a newly formed group called the Black Psychiatrists of America began to challenge their white colleagues to think about racism in a new way.

Its members had been discussing for some time the possibility of creating an organization that would address their lack of representation within the key bodies of American psychiatry.

But now, as one of these men, Dr. Chester Pierce, later put it, ''We anguished in our grief for a great moderate leader," and it seemed that the time for moderation on their side was also over.

In Pierce's words: "As we listened to radio reports and called to various sections of the country for the on-the spot reports in inner cities, our moderation weakened and our alarm hardened."

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Racism had led directly to King's assassination, and not only had white psychiatry consistently failed to take racism seriously; it had, in ways both subtle and overt, enabled it.

The decision was thus made to organize black psychiatrists into an independent body that would use tactics of the civil rights movement to force American psychiatry to acknowledge both its own racism and its professional responsibility to address the scourge of racism in the country.

On May 8, 1969, representatives from the Black Psychiatrists of America interrupted the trustees of the American Psychiatric Association while they were eating breakfast, and presented them with a list of demands.

These included a significant increase in African-American representation on APA committees, task forces, and other positions of leadership; a call for the APA to commit itself to desegregating mental health facilities; and a demand that any individual member of the society who was found to be guilty of racial discrimination be barred from practicing psychiatry.

The most fundamental demand made that morning, however, was that the profession begin to think about racism differently than it had in the past. Racism did not just happen because some bad people had hateful beliefs. Unlike many of their liberal white colleagues, who were fascinated by the potential mental pathologies of individual racists, the Black Psychiatrists of America (drawing on new sociological work) insisted that racism was built into the systems and structures of American life, including psychiatry itself. For this reason, as some of them put it in 1973, "institutional change (as opposed to personality change) are needed to root out and eliminate racism."

Chester Pierce - the founding president of the Black Psychiatrists of America - was most concerned about the pernicious influence of one institution in particular: television.

By 1969, virtually every American family home had at least one set. As one commentator at the time observed: "American homes have more television sets than bathtubs, refrigerators or telephones; 95 percent of American homes have television sets."

Small children of all ethnicities were growing up glued to TV screens. This worried Pierce, because he was not just a psychiatrist but also a professor of early childhood education. And from a public health standpoint, he believed, television was a prime "carrier" of demeaning messages that undermined the mental health of vulnerable young black children in particular.

In fact, it was Pierce who first coined the now widely used term microaggression, in the course of a study in the 1970s that exposed the persistent presence of stigmatizing representations of black people in television commercials.

It seemed to Pierce, though, that the same technology that risked creating another generation of psychically damaged black children could also be used as a radical therapeutic intervention.

As he told his colleagues within the Black Psychiatrists of America in 1970: "Many of you know that for years I have been convinced that our ultimate enemies and deliverers are the education system and the mass media . . .

"We must," he continued, "without theoretical squeamishness over correctness of our expertise, offer what fractions of truth we can to make education and mass media serve rather than to oppress the black people of this country."

Knowing how Pierce saw the matter explains why, shortly after the founding of the Black Psychiatrists of America, he became personally involved in helping to design a new kind of television show targeted at preschool children.

The show had had originally been conceived as a novel way of bringing remedial education into the homes of disadvantaged children, especially children of color. Pierce, though, saw a different kind of potential for a show like this - one that could directly counter and counteract the racist messages prevalent in the media of his time.

The issues for him were even more personal than they might otherwise have been: at the time, he had a 3-year-old daughter of his own.

He thus agreed to serve as a senior advisor on the show, working especially closely with the public television producer Joan Ganz Cooney, one of its two creators (the other was the psychologist Lloyd Morrisett).

In 1969, the show aired on public television stations across the country for the first time. It was called Sesame Street.

It was not only the most imaginative educational show for preschoolers ever designed, it was also, quite deliberately, populated with the most racially diverse cast that public television had ever seen.

All the multi-ethnic characters - adults, children and puppets - lived, worked and played together on a street in an inner-city neighborhood, similar (if in an idealized way) to the streets in which many minority children were growing up.

Each show opened with scenes of children of different races playing together. Episodes featured a strong black male role model (Gordon, a school teacher), his supportive wife, Susan (who later is offered the opportunity to develop a profession of her own), a good- hearted white storekeeper (Mr. Hooper) and more.

Within a few years, Hispanic characters moved into the neighborhood as well. As Loretta Moore Long (who played Susan) later reflected: "Sesame Street has incorporated a hidden curriculum . . . that seeks to bolster the Black and minority child's self-respect and to portray the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural world into which both majority and minority child are growing."

The radical nature of this "hidden curriculum" did not go unnoticed. In May 1970, a state commission in Mississippi voted to not air the show on the state's newly launched public TV network; the people of Mississippi, said some legislators, were not yet "ready" to see a show with such an interracial cast. The state commission reversed its decision after the originally secret vote made national news - though it took 22 days to decide to do so.

Sesame Street would go on to become the most successful children's show of all-time. Over time, though, the radical mental health agenda fueling its creation was largely forgotten. Later critics would instead increasingly suggest that the show, as a straightforward experiment in early education, benefited white middle-income children more than its primary target audience of disadvantaged minorities, and in that sense had arguably partly misfired.

Pierce, however, never lost sight of the hidden curriculum that, for him, had always been at the heart of Sesame Street.

"Early childhood specialists," he reflected in 1972, "have a staggering responsibility . . . in producing planetary citizens whose geographic and intellectual provinces are as limitless as their all-embracing humanity."

What mattered most about Sesame Street was not the alphabet songs, the counting games or the funny puppets. What mattered most was its vision of an integrated society where everyone was a friend and treated with respect.

The program had originally been a radical experiment in the use of mass media to give the youngest generation of Americans their first experience of what Martin Luther King Jr. had famously called the Beloved Community - one based on justice, equal opportunity and positive regard for one's fellow human beings, regardless of race, color or creed.

Anne Harrington is a professor of the history of science and medicine at Harvard. This post was originally published on Undark.

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Previously in Sesame Street:

* Open Sesame Street.

* This Is Why Children's TV Is So Weird.

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And it's not Sesame Street but . . .

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:20 AM | Permalink

Open (Your Wallet) Wide: Dentists Charge Extra For Infection Control

After nearly two months at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Erica Schoenradt was making plans in May to see her dentist for a check-up.

Then she received a notice from Swish Dental that the cost of her next visit would include a new $20 "infection control fee" that would likely not be covered by her insurer.

"I was surprised and then annoyed," said Schoenradt, 28, of Austin, Texas. She thought it made no sense for her dentist to charge her for keeping the office clean since the practice should be doing that anyway. She canceled the appointment for now.

Swish Dental is just one of a growing number of dental practices nationwide that in the past month have begun charging patients an infection control fee between $10 and $20.

Swish and others say they need the extra money to cover the cost of masks, face shields, gowns and air purifiers to help keep their offices free of the coronavirus. The price of equipment has risen dramatically because of unprecedented demand from health workers.

Dentists say they are struggling to pay these extra costs particularly after most states shut down dental offices in March and April for all but emergency care to reserve personal protective equipment for hospital use.

They are also seeing fewer patients than before the pandemic because some fear going back to the dentist and at the same time dentists need to space out appointments to keep the waiting room uncrowded.

Nearly two-thirds of dental offices across the country have reopened for routine care, according to the American Dental Association.

The association, which sets industry standards, says dentists who opt to charge the extra infection control fee should disclose it to patients ahead of each visit, a spokesperson said.

"The infection control fee is helping us mitigate the costs of the extra expenses," said Michael Scialabba, a dentist and vice president of 42 North Dental, whose 75 dental offices in New England are charging an extra $10.

Why don't dentists just raise prices instead? Dentists said they have little or no leverage with large insurance companies to force them to raise their reimbursement rates. The ADA asked insurers to take into account additional COVID costs dentists face and many insurers responded by agreeing to pay extra fees.

For example, Harrisburg, Pennyslvania-based United Concordia Dental agreed to pay dentists $10 per patient per visit in May and June to offset their PPE expenses for all fully insured clients. The company has more than 9 million members nationwide.

The new infection control fee upsets some patients, although most understand that the cost of dentistry has increased, said Rishi Desai, director of operations and finance at Swish Dental, which has eight locations in the Austin area.

"We are just as frustrated with all of these, too, but as a small business we had to reassess things," Desai said.

Desai, whose wife, Viraj, is a dentist and founder of the dental chain, said the extra money will help the practice survive.

"We are not making money off this," he said. "This is just to sustain us so we are not bleeding out cash."

He noted that last year Swish was paying about $6 for a box of 20 face masks. Today, $6 buys a single mask.

The dental office has also installed sneeze guards, staffers are wearing face shields over their masks, and the offices have added air filtration systems and hired additional sanitation staff members to clean their offices every day.

He estimates the offices are working at only about half capacity since reopening in mid-May. In weighing how to handle the extra costs, Swish was reluctant to cut employee wages, he said. "Everyone is trying to figure this out," he added.

Kim Hartlage, office manager of Klein Dental Group in Louisville, Kentucky, said insurers recommended the office add an infection control fee. The insurers balked at raising their reimbursement rates.

She said the small office has had to buy many more disposable masks and gloves.

"We've had to step up our game," she said.

So far, she hasn't heard any feedback on the $10 fee.

"We have very understanding clients," she said

Tamar Lasky, an epidemiologist, said she likes her Owings Mills, Maryland, dentist and was glad the office was communicating the many precautions it was taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But she was stunned when informed by e-mail that a $15 "infection control charge" would be added to her bill.

"I can readily imagine there are a range of additional expenses, as well as a loss of revenue associated with the pandemic, but infection control is not an extra service. It is part of the practice of dentistry," Lasky said.

"I'm not sure what is the best solution to the increased costs of tighter infection control, but this new charge may not be covered by insurance, and that passes all the burden to the patient."

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See also:

* CNBC: Watch Out For COVID-19 Surcharges: Here's How Much The Fees May Cost - And How You Can Avoid Them.

* NBC5 Chicago: Chicago Restaurant Adds Coronavirus Surcharge, Prompting Backlash.

* Tribune: Chicago Restaurants Test COVID-19 Surcharges, Face Backlash.

* CreditCards.com: 'COVID Surcharges' Are Spreading, And Customers Aren't Happy.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

No one wants to absorb the extra cost of added "infection control" measures, so it rolls downhill until it hits the consumer/citizen. Insurance companies, which are in the best position to absorb the cost, pass it on to the dentists and their companies, and they pass it on to their customers, who may or may not be in a position to pay. It's a fucked-up economic system - or at the least, a fucked-up health care system that does not have health care as its priority. (Everyone in every business should start thinking of ways to add infection control costs to insurers and dentists. See a dentist walking into your store? Surcharge the fuck out of them.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:33 AM | Permalink

You Have A First Amendment Right To Record The Police

Like the rest of the world, we are horrified by the videos of George Floyd's murder. Once again, police brutality was documented by brave bystanders exercising their First Amendment rights. Their videos forcefully tell a painful truth that has further fueled a movement to demand an end to racism and abuse of power by police officers.

Recordings of police officers, whether by witnesses to an incident with officers, individuals who are themselves interacting with officers, or by members of the press, are an invaluable tool in the fight for police accountability. Often, it's the video alone that leads to disciplinary action, firing, or prosecution of an officer.

This post provides some practical tips to record the police legally and safely, and explains some of the legal nuances of recording the police.

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What To Know When Recording The Police

* You have the right to record police officers exercising their official duties in public.

* Stay calm and courteous.

* Do not interfere with police officers. If you are a bystander, stand at a safe distance from the scene that you are recording.

* You may take photos or record video and/or audio.

* Police officers cannot order you to move because you are recording, but they may order you to move for public safety reasons even if you are recording.

* Police officers may not search your cell phone or other device without a warrant based on probable cause from a judge, even if you are under arrest. Thus, you may refuse a request from an officer to review or delete what you recorded. You also may refuse to unlock your phone or provide your passcode.

* Despite reasonably exercising your First Amendment rights, police may illegally retaliate against you in a number of ways including with arrest, destruction of your device, and bodily harm. We urge you to remain alert and mindful about this possibility.

Your First Amendment Right To Record Police Exercising Their Official Duties In Public

You have a First Amendment right to record the police. Federal courts and the Justice Department have recognized the right of individuals to record the police.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has not squarely ruled on the issue, there is a long line of First Amendment case law from the high court that supports the right to record the police.

And federal appellate courts in the First, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits have directly upheld this right. EFF has advocated for this right in many amicus briefs.

Federal appellate courts typically frame the right to record the police as the right to record officers exercising their official duties in public. Thus, if the police officer is off-duty or is in a private space that you don't also have a right to be in, your right to record the officer may be limited.

Special Considerations For Recording Audio

The right to record the police unequivocally includes the right to take pictures and record video. There is an added legal wrinkle when recording audio - whether with or without video. Some police officers have argued that recording audio without their consent violates wiretap laws. Courts have generally rejected this argument.

The Seventh Circuit, for example, held that the Illinois wiretap statute violated the First Amendment as applied to audio recording on-duty police officers.

There are two kinds of wiretaps laws: those that require "all parties" to a conversation to consent to audio recording (12 states), and those that only require "one party" to consent (38 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal statute).

Thus, if you're in a one-party consent state, and you're involved in an incident with the police (that is, you're a party to the conversation) and you want to record audio of that interaction, you are the one party consenting to the recording and you don't also need the officer's consent.

If you're in an all-party consent state, and your cell phone or recording device is in plain view, your open audio recording puts the officer on notice and thus their consent might be implied.

Additionally, wiretap laws in both all-party consent states and one-party consent states typically only prohibit audio recording of private conversations - that is, when the parties to the conversation have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Police officers exercising their official duties in public do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy. Neither do civilians in public places who speak to police officers in a manner audible to passersby. Thus, if you're a bystander and want to audio record an officer's interaction with another person in a public space, regardless of whether you're in a state with an all-party or one-party consent wiretap statute, you may audio record the encounter.

Finally, the Massachusetts wiretap statute is unique in that it prohibits the secret audio recording of conversations without regard to whether those conversations are private absent all-party consent. There is a case pending in the First Circuit that is challenging under the First Amendment the Massachusetts wiretap statute to the extent it prohibits secretly audio recording police officers when they are engaged in non-private activities - that is, performing their official duties in public. The plain view rule also applies in this state because, as the First Circuit has held, open recording is not surreptitious.

The ability to secretly record the police (whether with photos, video or audio) is critically important given that officers often retaliate against individuals who openly record them. A good example of this is a case that's currently pending in the Tenth Circuit, in which a bystander used his tablet to record Denver police officers punching a suspect in the face as his head repeatedly bounced off the pavement, and tripping his pregnant girlfriend. The officers retaliated against the recorder by seizing his tablet without a warrant and deleting the video (which he was later able to retrieve).

Do Not Interfere With Police Officers

While the weight of legal authority provides that individuals have a First Amendment right to record the police, courts have also stated one important caveat: you may not interfere with officers doing their jobs.

The Seventh Circuit, for example, said, "Nothing we have said here immunizes behavior that obstructs or interferes with effective law enforcement or the protection of public safety."

The court further stated, "While an officer surely cannot issue a 'move on' order to a person because he is recording, the police may order bystanders to disperse for reasons related to public safety and order and other legitimate law enforcement needs."

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Independent recordings of police officers are critical for ensuring police accountability. We urge individuals to keep recording. We hope this blog post helps you to do so legally and safely.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:39 AM | Permalink

20 Albums That Are Very Important To Me

Most of the albums that I ever pick for these lists were recorded in the late '80s and early '90s. No surprise since I was in my formative years at that time.

Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation is and will always be probably almost my favorite album of all time. It's about as perfect as a record can get. I think the thing I loved about bands like Sonic Youth is it felt like they were ours. They belonged firmly in the Gen X generation and spoke our language. They helped invent the language.

I chose Yo La Tengo's Fakebook next because it will always be my soundtrack to living in Austin, Texas in the mid-'90s. And being an Okie, I always appreciated that they did a cover of the Kinks' "Oklahoma U.S.A."

It's certainly not their best album, but it is the one that will take me back to a time when I was a cashier at this health food store hardly anyone had ever heard of called Whole Foods. My girlfriend at the time had a job at this new chain of coffee shops called Starbucks. Good times.

Up next is Jane's Addiction's Nothing Shocking, which is an overlooked and underappreciated album. Sure it got its fair share of attention, but was overshadowed by Ritual de lo Habitual and now most people remember Perry Farrell for Lollapalooza. But when I was a teenager trying to find good music that was not heavy metal, Nothing's Shocking fit the bill. Honestly, the first time I heard that album, I didn't know what it was or what to think about it.

Mingus at the Bohemia is my fourth album. To put this into context, I first heard Mingus in probably 1994 after visiting a record shop in Oklahoma City called Charlie's. Charlie would always talk to you and on more than one occasion would make gin drinks for us and we'd drink them and talk about music. Charlie not only turned me on to Mingus, but he also opened my eyes to Funkadelic - Maggot Brain made No. 5 on the list - Lead Belly, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman and Lightnin' Hopkins. Maybe one day I'll do a Charlie's Greatest Hits list.

That only gets us to a quarter of the way through the list, but the remainder largely consists of '80s and '90s emo and post-punk banks - The Cure's Disintegration, Joy Division's Still, Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted, etc. - and '70s garage and glam bands like The Real Kids, Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and Big Star's #1 Record.

These lists are interesting at times like these when people rush to the arts to ease their suffering and better understand the world around them. I would have included a Tom Waits album if I'd been tasked with naming 30 albums, but I would have picked Small Change over Rain Dogs, which I have seen appear on several lists. I love that Tom Waits quote that goes something like, "Bad art is ruining the quality of our suffering." Truer words were never spoken.

Here is the full list with additional commentary cadged from Facebook, where these selections originally appeared:

1. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation.

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2. Yo La Tengo, Fakebook.

This will always make me think of Austin, Texas.

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3. Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking.

Every song on this album is pure gold.

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4. Charles Mingus, Mingus at the Bohemia.

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5. Funkadelic, Maggot Brain.

I actually first heard this when I was living in Norman. I picked it up at a record store in OKC called Charlie's. Charlie was a really nice guy and turned me on to so much good music back then. I'll never get tired of it.

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6. Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted.

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7. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

I was really into this album in my first year of college.

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8. Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes.

Saw them just last year at a Riot Fest after show. They were incredible and used both a conk shell and stand-up BBQ grill as instruments.

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9. Words and Music of Lou Reed, The Best of the Velvet Underground.

Why a best-of album, you ask? I dunno. This is the first thing I ever heard by The Velvet Underground and I've always loved the arrangement of songs in this greatest hits record.

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10. Joy Division, Still.

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11. The Cure, Disintegration.

I used to listen to this nonstop when I was in junior high. I had a one of those fancy Walkmans that had a loop option, so both sides of the tape would play. I used to listen to it while I was asleep, and I'd be awakened by it every 25 minutes or however long one side of the album is.

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12. Dr. Dre, The Chronic.

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13. Elvis Costello, This Year's Model.

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14. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain.

I was 10 when Purple Rain came out, so I wasn't really buying music yet, but I remember seeing Prince on MTV at some point and thinking, "Wow this guy is super famous." He was a master at conveying that larger-than-life persona.

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15. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory.

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16. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless.

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17. The Real Kids, The Real Kids.

I wish I could hear this album for the first time again.

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18. Big Star, #1 Record.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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19. Willie Nelson, The Poet.

Do yourself a favor and listen to this this immediately because it's the greatest.

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20. Elliott Smith, Roman Candle.

I was never sadder about a celebrity dying.

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See the Rocklist archive.

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Submit your own!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

When The Mafia Controlled Gay Bars

In celebrating LGBTQ Pride this June, when so much of the world has embraced equality, it's difficult to imagine that illicit bars run by the Mafia once were one of the few gathering places for gays and lesbians.

In The Mafia and the Gays, author Phillip Crawford Jr. meticulously documents how the mob once had a near-monopoly on gay bars for decades in New York and Chicago, relying upon an extensive collection of primary sources including FBI files, many of which were not publicly available until acquired by the author through the Freedom of Information Act.

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Crawford illustrates how the gay bars historically were integrated into the Mafia rackets. For example, the establishments often were financed through mob-tied coin-op vendors and their related loan companies.

Jukebox king Alfred Miniaci funded dozens of gay bars and other joints controlled by the Mafia in the 1950s and 1960s, including the Peppermint Lounge.

Miniaci supplied slot machines in the 1930s to Frank Costello and had dined with the mob boss on the May 2, 1957 night he was shot.

Gay bars sometimes served as drug drops. Forget about the pizza connection; this was the pansy connection.

Club 82 in New York's East Village was a popular club with drag revues, and in the 1950s was also part of the distribution network in the Genovese family's heroin trade for which boss Vito was convicted in 1959.

Gay bars were profit centers for all the Mafia families. Among the powerful mobsters who oversaw vast interests in LGBT nightlife were Gambino underboss Aniello Dellacroce, Genovese capo Matty "the Horse" Ianniello, Colombo underboss John "Sonny" Franzese Sr. in New York, and Joseph "Caesar" DiVarco, who ran the Rush Street crew on the Near North Side for the Outfit in Chicago.

The Mafia had ties to some of the most iconic gay establishments, including the Continental Baths in the Hotel Ansonia from 1969 to 1976 on the Upper West Side, which received protection from the Colombo family in exchange for installing its vending machines.

Continental owner Steve Ostrow, a classically-trained opera singer, developed such close ties with Joe Colombo that he was performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the June 29, 1970 Italian-American Unity Day rally in Columbus Circle when the mob boss was shot.

The LGBT community once was married to the mob out of forced necessity, but after gay bars became legal, the relationship often continued in many establishments out of mutual convenience well into the 1980s.

Gay bars no longer were busted simply for homosexual assembly, but they still risked raids if serving as sex clubs or drug drops.

Accordingly, the mob still had both services to provide and protection to offer, particularly during the party decades following the Stonewall riots.

If a bar had a back room for anonymous sex, operated after hours, or sold drugs or boys, then odds are it was a Mafia joint, and that involved numerous places during the 1970s and 1980s.

Indeed, the Mafia hijacked gay liberation for political cover and used so-called Auntie Gays - the Uncle Toms of the gay community - as frontmen for their bars to evade suspicion.

The wiseguys allegedly even infiltrated the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee and Christopher Street Festival Committee, which ran New York City's gay pride parade and some related events for much of the 1970s and 1980s.

Over the decades there has been a fair number of gay guys in the mob's ranks, including cross-dressing Genovese soldier Little Davey Petillo, who once was a boy prostitute; hitman Vito Arena from Roy DeMeo's Gambino crew; and DeCavalcante boss John D'Amato.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

Why Crowd Noise Matters

Sports are restarting as part of easing restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. But, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, there's one crucial ingredient missing: crowds.

To provide atmosphere in the absence of people, broadcasters are experimenting with canned crowd noise, much like the laugh tracks used in sitcoms. Last weekend the National Rugby League unveiled its fake audience noise, drawing a mixed response from viewers.

Germany's top soccer league has been using it for weeks, and the English Premier League, which returns on June 17, is even considering borrowing crowd noise from EA Sports' popular soccer video game FIFA.

But why do we care so much about crowd noise, and why do many of us feel we need it?

It's because it bonds us with members of our tribe, provides us a sense of connection, and acts as a psychological cue for when to pay particular attention to the action, like a goal opportunity. Without it, sport just doesn't seem as exciting.

We Bond Over Sports

Following a team brings a sense of connection with others who follow the same team.

That sense of belonging is an incredibly powerful motivation for people - it drives our thoughts and our emotions.

And following a team is an emotional experience. We share the highs when they win, and the lows when they lose.

Spectators may not even play the sport they watch, but still refer to "us" and "we" when talking about their team, and use "they" and "them" for the opposition.

And when the crowd supporting our team is the one making all the noise, it drives home that sense of connection.

Crowd Noise Is A Cue

For a couple of rounds of competition, before the COVID-19 suspension, we saw games of the Australian Football League where we could actually hear the players yelling to each other.

When they scored, the only noise was from the players themselves. It sounded similar to watching an amateur match at the local park. Even the most tense moments, or heroic efforts, were somehow not as exciting without the crowd.

That's because crowd noise is a cue for spectators. We know something exciting has happened when the crowd goes nuts. When a game comes down to the last few minutes, and the scores are very close, the crowd noise adds to the tension. When my team is getting cheered on, I share in the excitement with others like me - my tribe. It seems the broadcasters are reflecting this by increasing the volume of fake crowd noise during exciting moments.

Without crowd noise, we just don't get the same level of excitement, because we've learned to link excitement with crowd noise. You can have the most amazing players, with so many things to cheer on, but the only noise you're likely to hear will be from whoever is watching with you in the lounge room (and maybe your neighbor if they're watching too).

If we're not sharing the moment with everyone, we're missing out on that sense of belonging.

Crowds Also Influence Players And Referees

The most important factor in home field advantage appears to be the crowd (though some argue that the home crowd advantage used to be larger than it is now).

Most teams have their own home field, but in some cases, two or more teams might share a home field. When they're playing against each other, one team is still designated as home, and the other as away.

Neither team has to travel far, and both teams are familiar with the stadium's quirks, but the designated "home" team will have a more sympathetic crowd.

A 2015 study used this exact scenario at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to find that essentially the entire home advantage between two teams comes down to the crowd effect.

So crowd noise can support players, and spur them on.

Further, home crowd noise has also been found to have an effect on referees, umpires and judges. Teams appear to be less likely to receive yellow cards in soccer when playing on their home pitch, because of the home crowd's impact on referees.

A 2010 study found referees used crowd noise as a cue when making decisions such as whether to give a yellow card for a foul.

The home crowd is more likely to be loud for fouls against their own team, rather than fouls their team has committed against the opposition. Because crowd noise is strongly associated with exciting action, and fouls are exciting, referees may not even be aware they're using crowd noise as a cue. Further, they may just want to appease the home crowd.

Sports Won't Be As Exciting Without Crowds

I distinctly remember the moment when Nick Davis kicked that goal with five seconds to go to defeat the Geelong Cats and send the Sydney Swans into a 2005 preliminary final. The crowd went nuts and I loved sharing that moment with everyone. I belonged.

But if something like that happened this year, and there was no crowd to see it and cheer it on, would it be as exciting? I doubt it.

And that's precisely why fake crowd noise is on TV. It might feel forced, and some people might not like it much, but at least there's just a little bit more excitement with it. With any luck, we won't have to worry about it for too long.

Alex Russell is a senior postdoctoral fellow at CQUniversity Australia. This post is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas, and is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:02 AM | Permalink

June 8, 2020

The [Monday] Papers

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Speaking not as an advocate but as a journalist, it's crucial the media gets this right - particularly as the phrases "abolish the police" and "defund the police" are already shaping up to be used as political weapons against Democrats. (And I'm not here to stand up for Democrats, but I am here as someone quite aware of how well Republicans play this game and how often an easily cowed and manipulated media plays along with it.)

That's not to say that some advocates don't favor actually abolishing the police. Some do! But that's not actually the point of the movement as far as I can tell. (Some folks I know do want to abolish the police, which is why at first I thought the whole thing childish and ridiculous, but then I read this Reader article a few years ago (2016) and I realized that some pretty smart people have some pretty smart ideas about, as they say, transforming the police in the face of failed reform - and in a way that doesn't abandon public safety, but finally places it within the context of root causes and real solutions by redirecting money to starved social services. Integrating policing with social services and community organizations would change the very definition of policing, more in line with a European view of guardianship instead of warriorship, and change the very people who seek and stay in those jobs. The bonus is that such a transformation - if it worked - would likely save money in the long run.

That isn't to say such a move wouldn't have its limits. You'd still want a detective bureau that could solve, say, jewelry rings and murders and help put bankers in jail. But instead of being weighed down by the way things have always been done, a from-the-ground-up revisioning could give us a police department of the sort that stakeholders want. (And then let's do newspapers. Defund the media!)

Can it happen? It already has in some places, including Camden, New Jersey, which the media is discovering (or discovering anew). And of course, this discussion is now driven by what's happening in Minneapolis, where the city council appears to be on the verge of disbanding the police department.

Can it happen here? I don't know, but given the seemingly intractable twins of police corruption and poverty-driven violence in Chicago, it's as good a place as any to at least have an open-minded, good-faith discussion of the possibilities. After all, how much has already been written about a "new normal" given the societal fissures "laid bare" by the coronavirus? Was any of that talk real? If so, this is a time for rethinking everything. It's also a necessity given the extreme budget deficits we now face at every level of government. This is an opportunity.

And the person who needs to keep an open mind most of all is the mayor. She can't be set in her ways on this one; instead, she can lead, whether the end result is "defunding" or something else. Lori Lightfoot should know this more than anything; this is her bailiwick, having worked in police accountability (and reform) for years, from CPD's Office of Professional Standards to president of the Police Board and, most importantly, chair of the post-Laquan McDonald Police Accountability Task Force, which is what really sent her into the mayor's race. This is her moment, if she wants it to be. The federal consent decree is one thing, and should move forward. But so too should this new discussion, which is a chance to reorient city government and the budget as a whole.

*

Lightfoot to NPR's Scott Simon on Saturday:

" . . . I also prosecuted corrupt police officers when I was a federal prosecutor . . . "

That's news to me. I checked in with a couple of folks most likely to know, and it was news to them as well. Sources close to Google also could not confirm.

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P.S.: "Free college" for those in the back never meant "free college." It meant - and continues to mean! - that college would be "free" only insofar as elementary school and high school (and parks and roads) are "free;" prepaid for via (progressive) taxes. This is also how universal health care would work, just as it does in a number of other countries.

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Police, Protests & Politics

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Sly Like A Foxx?
"Today people talk about progressive prosecutors and the evolution of criminal justice reform and I think people have to remember that the senator was one of very few people of color leading prosecutor's offices and very, very, very few women of color leading prosecutor's offices when she first assumed office," Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx tells Politico. "Things we take for granted now are things she was trying to pioneer back then."

I thought one of the problems Harris had during the Democratic presidential primary was that she was more of a law-and-order prosecutor, not a progressive one. Is my memory faulty?

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Related: Harris endorsed Foxx in her re-election bid earlier this year.

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That's Fran!
"Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been on the defensive against those who contend that she protected downtown against looting and mayhem at the expense of Chicago neighborhoods," Fran Spielman writes for the apparently editorless Sun-Times.

Please identify "those who contend."

"Chicago aldermen have accused the mayor of being caught flat-footed by violent protests she should have anticipated, then belatedly imposing a curfew and sealing off downtown. They say that paved the way for the destruction to spill out into South and West Side neighborhoods."

I'm not saying this isn't true, but I'm saying I have no idea if it's true because by "Chicago aldermen" Spielman seems to mean Rey Lopez and Anthony Beale, two of the lesser lights on a very dim body. But that's Fran's style.

"If the mayor's popularity takes a hit because of the allegations, Lightfoot apparently can afford it."

Okay. And maybe she can afford to "take a hit" because others think she's done a bang-up job! Who knows. (I, for one, am 50-50, as I am overall with Lightfoot's tenure thus far.)

A poll conducted in late May for the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition showed Lightfoot's favorability rating at a sky-high 77%, and her job approval rating at 75%.

"The Chicago sample of the statewide poll by Global Strategy Group, Gov. J.B. Pritzker's pollster, was a relatively small 126 people."

Relatively small? That's disqualifyingly small. This is an article that should have never been written.

"That means the margin for error is plus or minus eight percentage points. But even if Lightfoot loses eight percentage points, she would still be in rare air for a big-city mayor who has endured countless controversies during her first year in office."

Don't even come at me with margins of error on such a small sample. But more importantly, countless controversies? Hardly. Compared to her two most recent predecessors, whom Spielman took a much more charitable view toward, the controversies Lightfoot has faced in her first year have been quite countable.

"If the new poll is right, she has held her ground since then - even after enduring a teachers strike, eliminating an $838 million budget shortfall, firing a police superintendent and leading the city through a pandemic."

Even after all that? Some might say that's a record of achievement, not a record to overcome.

*

"Lightfoot's political director Dave Mellett acknowledged that the sample size is small. But, Mellett said Lightfoot's numbers are 'not far from what we saw' during polling done before the March primary.

"Across the country, a lot of leaders demonstrating strong leadership during the COVID crisis have seen even better numbers than they have before everything started. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor [Bill] de Blasio are two examples," he said.

That is just flat-out wrong: Bill de Blasio's favorable rating is between 8 and 13.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #307: Black Lives Finally (Might) Matter
Cancel culture. Plus: Defund Baseball; Bring On The Blackhawks; Bulls Miss Playoffs; Coffman Wish Granted; and Biggs Time.

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ChicagoReddit

Anyone added a motorcyle endorsement to their license post-covid? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Sinbad Blames Rod Blagojevich For Celebrity Apprentice Firing.

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BeachBook

Government's Use Of Algorithm Serves Up False Fraud Charges.

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When The NBA Returns It May Use NBA 2K For Crowd Noise.

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What Do Pets See When They Watch Television?

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

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Assignment Desk: America's Top 10 Worst Editorial Page Editors.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: In participating areas only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:41 AM | Permalink

June 5, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #307: Black Lives Finally (Might) Matter

Cancel culture. Plus: Defund Baseball; Bring On The Blackhawks; Bulls Miss Playoffs; Coffman Wish Granted; and Biggs Time.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #307: Black Lives Finally (Might) Matter

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SHOW NOTES

* 307.

2:00: Cancel Culture.

* Drew Brees.

View this post on Instagram

I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it's like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening...and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

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* Vic Fangio.

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* Washington Redskins.

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* Akiem Hicks.

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* Coffman: The NFL Should Do This One Simple Thing.

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* Brian Urlacher.

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* Jonathan Toews.

View this post on Instagram

A lot of people may claim these riots and acts of destruction are a terrible response. I'll be the first to admit that as a white male that was also my first reaction. But who am I to tell someone that their pain is not real? Especially when it is at a boiling point and impossible to hold in anymore. It's obviously coming from a place of truth. This reaction isn't coming out of thin air. I'm not condoning or approving the looting, but are we really going to sit here and say that peaceful protesting is the only answer? There has been plenty of time for that, and if it was the answer we would've given it our full attention long ago. Listen to these two men debate. They are lost, they are in pain. They strived for a better future but as they get older they realize their efforts may be futile. They don't know the answer of how to solve this problem for the next generation of black women and men. This breaks my heart. I can't pretend for a second that I know what it feels like to walk in a black man's shoes. However, seeing the video of George Floyd's death and the violent reaction across the country moved me to tears. It has pushed me to think, how much pain are black people and other minorities really feeling? What have Native American people dealt with in both Canada and US? What is it really like to grow up in their world? Where am I ignorant about the privileges that I may have that others don't? Compassion to me is at least trying to FEEL and UNDERSTAND what someone else is going through. For just a moment maybe I can try to see the world through their eyes. Covid has been rough but it has given us the opportunity to be much less preoccupied with our busy lives. We can no longer distract ourselves from the truth of what is going on. My message isn't for black people and what they should do going forward. My message is to white people to open our eyes and our hearts. That's the only choice we have, otherwise this will continue. Let's choose to fight hate and fear with love and awareness. Ask not what can you do for me, but what can I do for you? Be the one to make the first move. In the end, love conquers all. #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

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* Coffman on Twitter!

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* Pete Ricketts.

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* Tom Ricketts.

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22:45: Defund Baseball.

* Wallenstein: I've Had It.

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* Tim Anderson.

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30:05: Bring On The Blackhawks.

* Connor McDavid.

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33:40: Bulls Miss Playoffs.

* Now team can fire Jim Boylen.

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39:05: Other Sports Also Back While Baseball Botches It:

* MLS, Players Agree To Orlando Tournament.

* NASCAR/IndyCar Doubleheader On July 4th Weekend Without Fans . . . But Indy 500 In August With Fans.

* Arlington To (Try To) Resume WIthout Fans . . . But Triple Crown Will Be Bogus!

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45:25: Jean Lenti Ponsetto Finally Grants Coffman One Of His Biggest Wishes By Announcing Retirement.

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50:36: Biggs Time.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 PM | Permalink

Here's Why Captain America Helped The VA Ring In The NYSE Closing Bell

Two-and-a-half years ago, top officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange. Standing on the podium with them was a cheering, flexing Captain America. Spider-Man waved from the trading floor below.

The event had been billed as a suicide prevention awareness campaign. No one could figure out what the Marvel characters were doing there. David Shulkin, the VA secretary at the time, said in a memoir about his tenure that he was as surprised as anyone.

The answer, it turns out, lies with the sweeping influence over the VA that President Donald Trump gave to one of his biggest donors, Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter.

Before the event, Perlmutter e-mailed senior VA officials that he had "arranged" for Marvel characters to be there, according to a newly released yearlong audit by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' independent watchdog.

Recognizing the potential for ethical questions, a VA official sought advice from the agency's lawyers.

"Marvel Communications is doing this and we don't, as far as I know, do business with them," the unnamed official wrote in an e-mail cited in the GAO report.

The report reinforces the findings of ProPublica's investigation into the sway that Perlmutter and his friends held at the VA, even though none of them had experience serving in the U.S. military or government.

After the election, Trump asked Perlmutter, an intensely private billionaire, to advise him on veterans issues, and Perlmutter enlisted the help of a doctor, Bruce Moskowitz, and a lawyer, Marc Sherman.

The trio "created a 'shadow reporting structure' in which they were stakeholders without a formal role," an unnamed former official told the GAO.

They became known inside the VA as the "Mar-a-Lago crowd" because they met at Trump's club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Perlmutter is a paying member.

Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman communicated with VA officials as often as every day from late 2016 until mid-2018, the GAO said, giving advice and recommendations on VA policies, programs and personnel.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Brian Schatz, who requested the GAO's review after ProPublica's coverage, said the report confirms that Trump empowered his friends to secretly steer the second-largest government agency without any accountability or oversight.

"Three unqualified, unaccountable cronies used their personal relationship with the president and membership at his country club as leverage to exert personal influence over health care, technology, personnel and other key decisions at the Department of Veterans Affairs," Warren, D-Mass., said in a statement. "The VA must make decisions based only on the best interests of veterans - not on the whims of private individuals with special access to the president."

In a statement, Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman said they provided assistance to the president and VA officials who asked for it.

"We volunteered to assist the VA solely because we wanted to help America's veterans get the best possible care," they said.

Disney, which owns Marvel, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The VA told the GAO it had no comments on the report.

In more than 1,000 e-mail exchanges, as well as interviews with current and former officials, the GAO found that the trio interacted with the VA about a large number of issues: hiring of senior executives; a $10 billion contract to overhaul the agency's electronic medical records; suicide prevention and mental health efforts; a conference on registries for medical devices, and; a government partnership with Apple to develop a mobile app.

The trio also discussed "veterans' ability to seek health care outside of VA facilities," the GAO said. That issue - which Trump calls "choice" and critics call a march toward privatization - was a campaign promise and political priority for the president.

The GAO did not make any conclusion about the propriety of the trio's involvement in the VA. A federal judge has rejected a claim by a liberal activist group that the trio's involvement violated a Watergate-era sunshine law regulating how agencies can seek outside input. The group, VoteVets, has appealed.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee has its own investigation into Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman. In particular, House investigators have shown interest in a possible connection to a risky antidepressant that Trump has personally promoted for preventing veteran suicides. A spokesman for the trio has said they weren't involved in the VA's consideration of the drug.

Do you have access to information about the VA that should be public? E-mail Isaac Arnsdorf. For more coverage, read ProPublica's previous reporting on Trump's VA.

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Previously: How Trump Turned To A Comics Titan To Shape The VA.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:49 AM | Permalink

June 4, 2020

The Global Premature Ejaculation Market Is Exploding Quickly

The Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market is expected to grow from $2.3 million in 2018 to $4.3 million by the end of 2025, according to a new report (up to $1,090 off until June 10).

On the basis of Type, the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market is studied across Oral Therapies and Topical Therapies.

Research Methodology
Our market forecasting is based on a market model derived from market connectivity, dynamics, and identified influential factors around which assumptions about the market are made.

These assumptions are enlightened by fact-bases, put by primary and secondary research instruments, regressive analysis and an extensive connect with industry people. Market forecasting derived from in-depth understanding attained from future market spending patterns provides quantified insight to support your decision-making process. The interview is recorded, and the information gathered in put on the drawing board with the information collected through secondary research.

The report provides insights on the following pointers:

1. Market Penetration: Provides comprehensive information on sulfuric acid offered by the key players in the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market.

2. Product Development & Innovation: Provides intelligent insights on future technologies, R&D activities, and new product developments in the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market.

3. Market Development: Provides in-depth information about lucrative emerging markets and analyzes the markets for the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market.

4. Market Diversification: Provides detailed information about new products launches, untapped geographies, recent developments, and investments in the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market.

5. Competitive Assessment & Intelligence: Provides an exhaustive assessment of market shares, strategies, products, and manufacturing capabilities of the leading players in the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market

The report answers questions such as:

1. What is the market size of Premature Ejaculation Treatment market in the Global?

2. What are the factors that affect the growth in the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market over the forecast period?

3. What is the competitive position in the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market?

4. Which are the best product areas to be invested in over the forecast period in the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market?

5. What are the opportunities in the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market?

6. What are the modes of entering the Global Premature Ejaculation Treatment Market?

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Previously in markets:

* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

* Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire.

* Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021.

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

* Global Condom Market On Fire.

* Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire.

* Industrial Lubricants Market Booming.

* Global Electric Guitar Growth.

* Early Impacts Of COVID-19 On The Pet Food Packaging Market.

* Global Music Recording Industry Trajectory & Analytics 2020-2025.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 PM | Permalink

5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say

As an angry, old, white man, I will give this country one more chance with the clear understanding that I might just walk out the door and never return.

America is pissing me off. Seriously.

I am angry, and anger is not becoming on me.

This has been a long, simmering anger. My problem, but also yours. All of ours, really.

But being old and white and male will conspire to drain your patience in a way amplified by our ticking life clocks.

So I offer this advice to all my angry, old white male friends (and similarly inclined female friends) on the clear understanding it might provide no benefit to anyone.

1. FRIENDS: Don't make your very few black friends explain all this to you. It's not their job to explain four centuries of racial victimhood to you just because you know each other on a first-name basis.

Be "woke" if you wish, but wake up your own damn self. Need an alarm clock? Your education is not somebody else's job.

Read. Think. Talk. Involve your heart is this world. Reconsider who you are and why. Be better. Can you be better? Can I?

2. STOP BITCHING: You, I and every other angry old white man in the world have had every chance to win at life.

We have stood at the very cultural pinnacle of the richest nation in the history of the planet. If you haven't triumphed as a white American, it's not "their" interference that stopped you.

Maybe you were unlucky. Or maybe you were just not good enough. Own your life and all the dumb decisions you've made.

The success of black Americans - when it occurs - is not your zero-sum defeat. That defeat belongs just to you.

3. BEING ALIVE: Not being fearful of being killed by police or having your children murdered is your most important white privilege. It's a nice perk for being white.

It's real, palpable.

Stop saying you don't have any special privileges just because you're white. It's a factual lie, and we must give up our self-deceptions.

Nobody with a badge kills you just because you are white. That's a good place to start.

This privilege is so ubiquitous, you don't even think about it. It's a utility, like clean municipal water or paved streets. But it's a utility only for old, angry white guys like me. If you are a black mother or father, it's a luxury that no one guarantees.

White people and black people in America have different nightmares. In our white nightmares, the police do not break into our homes and kill our children.

That fear has to change. It just has to. There is an implied "or else" in that sentence. "Or else" we go away as a nation worth saving.

If you have adult black friends with children, every one of them has had "the talk" with their kids about how not to be killed by police while out on a date.

You have never had to have that talk. Think of how much more satisfying life is to know your children won't be killed by your own hired public employees.

4. BAD APPLES: Local police departments are not filled with "good apples" and a "few bad apples" who don't intermingle.

That's not how rot works.

First, the "barrel of apples" analogy is wrong. Any barrel filled with apples does not cleanse itself from rot. The rotting apples eventually disperse their biological disease to every other apple in the container.

Rotten apples spread the infection until they are purged. That happens to police departments, too.

But "bad" police require "good" police to shield them from the law and integrity. That is a self-generated, systematic, corrupting rot that never gets cured without radical surgery.

Police essentially have legal immunity from their own conduct. You don't.

Even good police departments bear the responsibility for having protected the violent thugs among their ranks. That's the invisible corruption. The power to protect criminals with badges is what gives police unions their ultimate power. They are protected from accountability.

Before you insist your hometown police department is without stain, check how much your town has paid out in police liability claims and liability insurance

Chicago has paid out an average of $52 million a year for a decade to settle such claims. That bill does not include the $213 million to private lawyers since 2004.

New York City, with an annual cop budget of over $5 billion, spent nearly $40 million on police misconduct settlements through midyear 2019.

5. WE'RE THE RACISTS: This is the most important principle.

Stop saying everyone shares in the task of curing racism.

No, that's the "everybody's at fault" dialectical debating trick. If the theoretical "everybody" is responsible, then nobody is really responsible. It's a clever contrivance because it only seems to accept responsibility.

Own what we built. This is us.

Our racism is the sole creation of white America. We created it, and we benefited from its seized advantages and imposed cruelties; only we can cure it.

It's the product of white greed, racial animus, and intolerance. Be honest enough to accept that.

This is our deal. When someone announces piously that "This is not the kind of country we are," be reminded that actually this is precisely who we are. And have always been.

Maybe we are still good enough to change.

Black Americans might help us figure out what we don't know, and how we might repair the wound. Perhaps we have enough intelligence and heart to shout down our own worst demons.

Talk. Reach out. Share. Engage. Demand generosity in yourself.

But we are broken fundamentally and cannot demand someone else cure us, if we won't cure ourselves.

Asking black Americans to help cure the rot we created seems, well, racist.

Even an old, angry, white guy can figure out that. And so can you.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. This post originally appeared at his Theeditor50's blog.He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"After days of street protests urgently calling for changes in the way police treat African Americans, Mayor Lori Lightfoot lamented in a televised speech this week that 'the process of reform has been too slow,'" the Tribune reports.

"Indeed, it took decades to even get to the starting line of reforming the historically troubled Chicago Police Department."

This isn't exactly true.

Technically, the CPD has been at the "starting line" since Day One.

But more to the point, mayor upon mayor and police chief upon police chief have promised, planned and enacted reforms - however tepid some of them may have been - for decades. (The Trib does acknowledge in the 19th paragraph of today's story that "The city has a long history of steps toward reform that failed to satisfy those who want change." Instead of those steps having "failed to satisfy those who want change," though, which is an odd way to put it, the Trib might have just reported that the reforms by and large failed, period. It's not as if they only failed to those who are never satisfied.)

For example, however flawed, and however sadly this illustrates the horrific shape of policing in America, Chicago has one of the nation's most robust accountability systems going. The question, then, is why that isn't enough.

The answer seems to be public officials lacking the will to see reforms through (does anyone believe Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel really wanted fundamental change in the department? Just look at the police chiefs they hired, each one disgraced after the other), do their jobs properly (police boards, IPRAs and COPAs are only as effective as those running them), and recalcitrant officers who prove daily that the problem isn't a few bad apples but the institutional mindset of rank-and-files who elect the likes of John Catanzara to represent them.

And let's not forget the media's performance on policing and reform, something the media leaves out of stories it does about policing and reform.

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C'mon, Kwame
"Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is leading an effort to give state attorneys general authority to investigate police departments that have shown a pattern of abuse as the nation is torn apart by the killing of a black man in Minneapolis at the hands of a police officer," Politico Illinois Playbook reports as a "scoop," because it feels the need to inflate non-scoops into SCOOPS and non-firsts into FIRSTS and rudimentary PR statements into TOLD PLAYBOOKs as part of its disingenuous marketing efforts to make readers think they have an inside track on the real skinny.

"George Floyd's death 'shocked' the nation, but this is just one of many in a long line of African Americans who have lost their lives to the use of excessive force by police, Raoul told Playbook."

Playbook puts "shocked" in quotes because it's something someone said. Well, actually it's something hundreds of millions of people have literally said, but this is how the media manufactures news.

Also, you don't need to attribute the fact that "many in a long line of African Americans who have lost their lives to the use of excessive force by police" to anyone because it's a fact, and thereby stands alone. But part of Politico's Playbook strategy is to give a platform to officials who hardly need one to create access.

Meanwhile, Politico Illinois Playbook continues . . .

Raoul and New York Attorney General Tish James are leading a coalition of 15 attorneys general urging Congress in a letter today to expand federal law to give AGs clear statutory authority to investigate patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing.

A little history: Congress gave similar authority to the DOJ in 1994, prompted by the 1991 Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police officers. That authority is part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which Raoul and the other AGs want to expand.

Their letter to Congress comes as Attorney General William Barr and his Justice Department has taken heat for not initiating a "pattern-or-practice" investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department in wake of George Floyd's death. Such a probe could lead to a consent decree and reforms. Between 1994 to 2017, there were 69 investigations into police departments resulting in 40 consent decrees, according to Raoul. Under the Trump administration, there have been no investigations, and DOJ officials have indicated that states should handle such probes. Raoul agrees, saying, "Even if a more friendly administration were to come along, the reality is federal law enforcement doesn't have the bandwidth to do it all."

Wait, is it true that Raoul agrees with the Trump administration that DOJ shouldn't do "pattern-or-practice" investigations? That is news, and should be reported as such, including questioning Raoul on the matter - particularly the notion that DOJ doesn't have the "bandwidth" to do such investigations. First, there's simply no evidence that's true. DOJ has had the bandwidth to do 60 such investigations since 1994 resulting in 40 federal consent decrees - according to Raoul but again a fact that can stand alone. Second, state AG offices have the bandwidth? Hardly. Illinois's AG office doesn't even have the bandwidth to operate a public access office.

Besides that, the heavier and steadier hand of federal enforcement of consent decrees is preferable to the vagaries and relative weaknesses of state enforcement.

"It's no surprise Raoul is leading the way on this effort. It's a plan he had been working on before George Floyd's death last week."

Really? Assignment Desk, activate.

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Here's the press release from Raoul's office, which says the move is in fact to step into the void left by Trump's DOJ - as does he and his fellow AGs' letter to Congress.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say
"I will give this country one more chance with the clear understanding that I might just walk out the door and never return," our very own David Rutter writes. He's pissed.

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Global Premature Ejaculation Market Exploding Quickly
Expected to grow from $2.3 million in 2018 to $4.3 million by the end of 2025.

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ChicagoReddit

Graffiti Artists Bomb Neighborhood Viaducts with Colorful Designs; City Paints Them Over from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

LIVE CHICAGO BLUES! The Recovered WXRT Radio Tapes.

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

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