Chicago - May. 27, 2017
Music TV Politics Sports Books People Places & Things
 
Must-See TV
Army Of Darkness
ElRey
5 p.m.
A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
Weather Derby
Tribune: 51/37
Sun-Times: Ferro/McKinney
Weather Channel: 44/41
Ntl Weather Service: 54/43
BWM*: 82/12
Beachwood Bookmarks
K-Tel Classics
WKRP in Cincinnati
So You've Decided To Be Evil
St. Paul Saints
Nye's Polonaise Room
The Arcata Eye
Roadside USA
This Day In . . .
Onion History
Weird Al History
Baseball History
Beachwood History
History History
Spy Magazine History
#OnThisDate History
Chicago
Indicted!
Under Suspicion
Find Your Towed Car
Cable TV Complaints
Freedom of Information
The Expired Meter
The Mob & Friends
Stolen Bike Registry
O'Hare Music Tracker
Rats
Report Corruption (city)
Report Corruption (state)
Beyond
Scoundrels, State
Scoundrels, Federal
The Odds
Random Flight Tracker
Casting Calls
Cosmic Log
Buy Stamps
Beachwood Blogroll
A Handy List
Beachwood Ethics Statement
How We Roll
Today's Horoscope
Liberties will be taken.
Do We Sudoku?
No, but we do do moose stuff, and that can be anything you want it to be. Except Sudoku.
Losing Lottery Numbers
8, 25, 39
Daily Affirmation
I am open and receptive to new avenues of income. (louisehay.com)
Ellie
Knowing that a person may be unwittingly in danger of an assault imposes a moral duty to warn them.
Now Playing
Psychodrama/Marshall Law
Letters to the Editors
FAQ
About
Tip Line
"The Papers" archive
RSS
Beachwood Link Buttons
Media Kit/Advertising
 

« April 2017 | Main

May 26, 2017

TrackNotes: Clouds Over The Preakness

After a couple of emergency sessions with the urgent care psychiatrist these past few days, I've gained many insights into my addled state after Cloud Computing's gutty win by a head in the Preakness Stakes last Saturday.

I found out I may simply harbor some latent maniacal tendencies toward the horse's name, although I've been assured I have no apparent propensity to act out violently.

It took me some time to find out how this horse, the son of Maclean's Music - who supposedly showed a lot of speed in his one and only race - with A.P. Indy on his dam's side, really got his name.

First I found out he's owned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, a partnership of hedge funders. It EFFING FIGURES, I seethed. Then I learned that that's how they like to name their horses, pick a term from an industry they have their fingers in. They're also currently running Practical Joke, but they have a filly named Top Decile. You look it up. If you can stomach it, you can read more about their horses' names. Hey boys, it's not funny, clever or cute. Seriously!

After he crossed the finish line, all I could think was jeez, they thought it was a cutting edge name back more than two years ago when they submitted it to the Jockey Club. But even then, it wasn't, and it's getting cheesier by the minute. Chumps.

Much like The Dude's take on a certain band (I concur), I hate cloud computing. I heard a computer security expert once say "Get off the damned cloud! It's not safe." What, you compute on the cloud? Why? Like smoking, don't you understand that's what they want you to do? Cloud computing's convenience is the nicotine of the digital age.

I know I digress, but these inner struggles may have prevented me, I learned, from committing even $2 on a horse that paid $28.80, $8.60 and $6.00.

Piling on to my fragile state of mind, Cloud Computing and Javier Castellano actually ran a very good race, and I should have seen that they were capable of winning. There have been big winners - Mine That Bird is an excellent example - that I wouldn't bet before the race, in the winner's circle, the next day, the next race, ever. But I should have seen this one.

CC tagged along just behind the lead tandem of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Classic Empire, who appropriated the lead early in the backstretch. Classic Empire never had a chance to open up in the Derby, which probably saved him some energy.

But like the fresh horse that he was, trainer Chad Brown's strategy in skipping the Derby paying off, 'Computing ran down 'Empire to get the wire by just a head. Always Dreaming, positioned into the stretch with every chance for the win, tired badly and faded to eighth. Senior Investment, another new shooter, took Show at 31-1.

The post-race doldrums were fueled by the strong feeling that this group of 3-year-olds is nothing special. From the Derby, Lookin At Lee, Gunnevera and Hence finished middling or worse. Multiplier did not advance. Conquest Mo Money showed not much.

Always Dreaming was officially declared out of the June 10 Belmont Stakes. In trainer Todd Pletcher's world, wheeling a horse back means at least four weeks between races, but there's wheeling and there's wheeling. Citation ran the Derby Trial prep a week before his Kentucky Derby and won the Jersey Stakes between his Preakness and Belmont.

'Dreaming, Pletcher's druthers aside, ran the Preakness only because of the Derby winner's intrinsic, unwritten obligation to try for the Triple Crown. Classic Empire's connections seem to be pointing him to the Belmont.

The basis of my recovery is that I've never clung to delusional fantasies that the Belmont must be run with a Triple Crown on the line, nor is it worthless if it is not. The lobe of logic dominates with assurances that it can be a good race, all by itself, reinforced by recent memories of Union Rags, Rags to Riches, Afleet Alex and Birdstone. And the doc says it's perfectly OK to trigger the endorphins going as far back as 1973.

But we will talk about Belmont Stakes Day when the time is right.

It's a process, you know.

Derby Fever
Like a ton of bricks, we saw the supreme example of how Derby Fever clouds the thinking of so many horsemen and owners.

Whitmore, the impressive winner of the Maryland sprint Saturday at six furlongs, is clearly a sprint specialist at six or 6.5 furlongs. He won his first race at six furlongs by more than seven lengths at Churchill Downs. He then finished in area code - 15 lengths back - in the Delta Jackpot next out at 8.5 furlongs, and won his next at Oaklawn at, guess what, six furlongs.

In 2016, he was put on the Triple Crown trail. He ran very gamely in the Oaklawn preps and the Arkansas Derby, finishing two or three lengths back in each one, at 8.5 or 9 furlongs. But do you think they would see he was short in those races? He finished 19th, more than 37 lengths back in the Kentucky Derby last year. Humiliation like that has been known to ruin a horse.

He took a freshening after the Derby and won a $62K optional claimer at Aqueduct in December. At 6.5 furlongs. Since then, he won another claimer, the $125K Hot Springs and the Grade III Count Fleet Special, both at Oaklawn, and then the Maryland Sprint. All at 6 furlongs!

Thankfully, Whitmore is carving it up in the sprints, and he's going to be a lot of fun to watch this year as he heads for the Breeders' Cup.

But the next time you hear a trainer or owner say "We're going to let the horse tell us what he wants," don't necessarily believe they will be listening.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:06 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #154: Dear Cubs: Make It Stop

Please, no more cereal, no more themed road trips, no more hero worship of mundane acts. Plus: The Quintana Question; John Fox Is The Sean Spicer Of The Bears; Preds-Pens; and Schweinsteiger!


-

SHOW NOTES

* 154.

1:47: Cubs Winning On-Field, Losing Off-Field.

* The lineup.

* Situational hitting.

* The free agents: Zobrist & Heyward. (And Lester.)

* Stretching out Montgomery?

* A qualackey start.

* MAKE. IT. STOP.

* MAKE. IT. STOP.

* MAKE. IT. STOP.

* The Harry Caray Death Cult.

* Haugh: Boy Who Played Catch With Willson Contreras Cherishes Memory.

33:40: The Quintana Question.

* The Ghost Of Dayan Viciedo.

45:50: John Fox Is The Sean Spicer Of The Bears.

54:12: Gorgeous Golden State.

* LBJ surpassing MJ.

57:17: Preds-Pens.

* Trevor Daley: The one who got away.

Schweinsteiger!

* "The Fire are scorching!"

-

STOPPAGE: 2:30

-

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:52 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Record Company at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.


-

2. Reeve Carney at SPACE in Evanston on Wednesday night.

-

3. Tech N9NE at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

-

4. The Weeknd at the Rosemont arena on Tuesday night.

-

5. Jean-Michael Jarre at the Chicago Auditorium on Monday night.

-

Catching up with . . .

Los Inquietos Del Norte at the Aragon last Saturday night.

-

Two Percent at the Elbo Room last Saturday night.

-

Matianak at the Red Line Tap on May 12.

-

Big Eyes at Cobra Lounge on May 11.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:16 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Mail Call

mailcall.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

-

More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

-

Helene on Twitter!

-

Meet Helene!

-

Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

-

Listen to Helene talk about Photo Booth; starts at 57:54.

-

Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Housemates.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Have Fresh Goat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartcam.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gaslight.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Urban Wheat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Embassy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln's Cozy Corner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Glory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bowling Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Red Lion, Red Hots.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Sitting.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Jukebox Is Not A Democracy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Handicapped Milk Jug Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gumball Express.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicken Run.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bus Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Manzana.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Look Back.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Spring.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:18 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

1. WBEZ: Does New Neighborhood Watch Reduce Crime Or Create Resident-Cops?

"On the Far North Side, about 70 members of a controversial new community watch group walk the West Rogers Park neighborhood in orange jackets that were paid for, in part, by the Chicago Police Department.

"The police sergeant who spearheaded the effort sees the watch as a way for residents to work together to reduce property crime in their neighborhood. But others see the orange jackets as a polarizing symbol that authorizes residents to act as an extension of the police."

In fact, that's the stated purpose. Call it anti-community policing.

2. The Tribune's Blair Kamin Does Not Like The Much-Hyped $1 Billion Union Station Revamp.

"Almost apologetically, backers of the just-announced plans for redeveloping Chicago's Union Station are characterizing their proposals as preliminary and conceptual. Apologies are indeed in order."

3. Tribune: Chris Kennedy To Announce The Next Phase Of His Campaign.

A) You mean the not ready for prime time stage is over already? I was so enjoying it.

B) Will deposit $1 million into a black bank next week.

C) Will no longer use the name Kennedy; will just go by CK.

D) Will start dropping his "g's."

4. Tribune: Chicago Cop's Lawyer Calls Laquan McDonald's Killing 'Business As Usual.'

Stipulated.

5. Breitbart: Chicago ACORN Affiliated Group Connected To Barack Obama Shuts Down.

Just doing my duty by providing you a glimpse into the alternate universe that is now running the country.

-

Beachwood Photo Booth
Mail Call.

-

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Record Company, Reeve Carney, Tech N9NE, The Weeknd, Jean-Michael Jarre, Los Inquietos Del Norte, Two Percent, Matianak, and Big Eyes.

-

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour: Dear Cubs, Make It Stop
Please, no more cereal, no more themed road trips, no more hero worship of mundane acts. Plus: The Quintana Question; John Fox Is The Sean Spicer Of The Bears; Preds-Pens; and Schweinsteiger!

-

BeachBook

Fitness Trackers Largely Inaccurate.

*

The 1985 Chicago Auto Show.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

I know you are, but what am I?

We don't know because we have to file a FOIA for your phone records. Besides, if you were, you'd just say so. But we all know it's not the same as being there.

*

Always read the footnotes.

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Rubber, glue.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

May 25, 2017

The [Thursday] Papers

The site may be light through the weekend due to both unforeseen and foreseen circumstances. No one ever says "foreseen circumstances," but why? Often they are foreseen. In this case, both. So let's jump right to the social media.

-

BeachBook

Citigroup's Non-Prosecution Agreement.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

"And here's why you should only pay the minimum each month, and borrow more if you need to like the mayor!"

*

CPS Board Meeting, A Frank Clark Production.

*

"Clarksplain." Kudos!

*

Democracy Dies Behind A Paywall.

*

Journalism!

*

*

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 9.58.35 AM.png

*

Plus, the money isn't going toward the deficit, but to finance tax cuts to the wealthy.

Democracy dies behind bad journalism.

*


*

*

Unfortunately, voters cannot do the same.

Does early voting boost the numbers of those participating in elections? Yes. But there are other ways to do that - making election days national holidays; voting on Saturdays; more aggressively attacking voter suppression. Even shortening the early voting window would help - what's the point of increasing the number of voters if they're making their decisions on incomplete information?

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: The flip side.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:45 AM | Permalink

May 24, 2017

The [Wednesday] Papers

"To earn a high school diploma, Chicago high school students would have to take chemistry and physics in addition to biology, under a new proposal unveiled Tuesday by Chicago Public Schools officials," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

I took none of those as a student with pretty stellar grades at my affluent, highly regarded suburban high school. I did take philosophy, though. We did have basic science courses, but those were my worst. This is (another) an ill-considered proposal.

"If the tougher requirements are approved as expected Wednesday by the Board of Education, students entering high school in the 2018-19 academic year would still have to earn at least three science credits - but they would have to be in biology, chemistry and physics classes."

Wait, the board is voting on this today?

Unveiled on Tuesday, up for a vote on Wednesday.

Today's lesson is twofold, kids:

A) Introduce a potentially controversial policy proposal as close as possible to the actual vote by a handpicked board to ensure that "debate" be neutered.

B) Use it as a distraction from an even more controversial proposal that has had time to gain critical traction, though no one expects the handpicked board to buck the mayor on it.

Seventh paragraph:

"In addition, the board is poised to adopt a new requirement that would prevent high school students from graduating unless they can prove they have plan in place for college, a trade school or a job."

I've written about the folly of that plan here.

See also:

*

Now, I can't say for sure whether the new science requirements were "unveiled" just a day before the board vote for a reason, nor can I say for sure that they are being used as a distraction from the mayor's graduation plan policy. But in any case, it's insufficient notice to the public - particularly when the board's vote is pre-determined and real debate is impossible.

*

"High schoolers already take three years of science, but the new policy concentrates that specifically on biology, chemistry and physics, requiring students to achieve one credit in each course in order to graduate," Chicago Tonight reports, without a single critical voice. "Chief of Teaching and Learning Latanya McDade said the district wants to encourage students to enter Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers, as those are growing at three times the rate of non-STEM fields."

Ah, STEM, I figured as much. Please, people, do your homework.

See also: Stemming STEM.

*

"It's not clear how CPS will be able to implement the science curriculum plan. Just two-thirds of district high schools currently offer the science courses that will be required, officials acknowledged to reporters on Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"It's not known how much money the financially distressed district would have to invest in capital expenses such as upgraded classroom laboratory space to make the plan work. Teachers may need additional certifications to teach new science courses, officials said.

"It will often be up to principals facing slim budgets to prioritize spending in their schools to comply with all the new requirements, officials said."

Just let the principals figure it out.

*

"Under current requirements, students must earn one credit in biology and a total of two credits in some combination of chemistry, earth and space science, environmental science and physics."

That seems not only perfectly reasonable, but preferred. Those are the choices I would want my kid to have - more, even!

*

"Teachers at Amundsen High School in Ravenswood decided to jump in and change their science offerings for this fall, a year ahead of the mandate, said Principal Anna Pavichevich," the Sun-Times reports.

"The changes to what constitute the lab class and what didn't will require us to shift things around a little bit. We will be flexible and make the necessary adjustments as required."

But, she added, "some teachers are going to have to go back and take extra classes to get certification."

Pavichevich also lamented the loss of other science offerings - Amundsen has offered environmental science as a rigorous lab course where students also plant gardens, tend to butterflies and keep bees on the grounds of the school at 5110 N. Damen.

"I think that given the state of the world," she said, "environmental science is pretty important."

You'd think Rahm would agree.

-

Back to DNAinfo:

"In addition, high school students will have to take a financial literacy class that prepares them 'with the knowledge and skills to make empowered financial decisions.'"

It's almost too easy to say, but I'll say it because it's already on everybody's minds: it's the school board and City Hall that should be required to take this class.

-

To Raise Your Hand:

*

*

*

*

-

I also never got to this excellent Sarah Karp story for WBEZ, so now's a good time (if not too late): Few College Counselors At CPS Add Uncertainty To Post-Grad Push.

"The average Chicago high school has significantly fewer counselors than experts recommend, a WBEZ analysis has found, raising questions about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new plan to require every student to graduate with firm post-high school plans.

"There's one counselor on average for every 296 high school students, according to records from Chicago Public Schools. That figure excludes the city's public charter schools . . .

"CPS' understaffing problem has moved to center stage now that Emanuel and CPS leaders want every public school senior to produce a college acceptance letter or proof of a job offer in order to graduate. The Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote on the new requirement in the next few months.

"Despite the understaffing, CPS isn't planning on hiring beyond the school's district's 265 counselors, prompting many educators and students to wonder whether this new graduation requirement will work."

Go read it all.

-

BeachBook

Comcast Sics Its Legal Goons On Net Neutrality Advocates.

*

CEO Pay Climbed Faster Last Year, Up 8.5 Percent.

*

Everything That's Wrong With Politics In One Convenient Location.

*

Civil War Battle Recreated Near Naperville For Some Reason.

*

Northwest Side Neighborhood Blindsided By Blackhawks Hockey Rink.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Daily briefing.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:06 AM | Permalink

May 23, 2017

The [Tuesday] Papers

I'm just catching up now with the Tribune's "Cubs Mean Big Business, And Big Debt, For Spring Training Home Mesa;" keep this article in mind when journalists wax about how the Ricketts family supposedly hasn't asked the taxpayer for anything, including funding of their Wrigley Field renovation, which they actually did originally seek taxpayer subsidies for. Let's take a look - while also remembering that this is one of the nation's wealthiest families.

*

"When the Chicago Cubs opened spring training play [this year] in Mesa, nearly 15,000 far-flung fans packed the city's 3-year-old stadium, celebrating the defending world champions after more than a century of shared futility.

"For Mesa, a city of 475,000 which bankrolled the $100 million ballpark to keep the Cubs from bolting to Florida, ownership in the team's success is a source of civic pride, an economic opportunity and a major league debt.

"Much larger cities than Mesa have balked in recent years at funding sports stadiums and indeed, in Chicago, the Cubs are privately funding the $800 million renovation of their team-owned mothership, Wrigley Field, and part of the surrounding neighborhood.

"In Mesa, voters agreed to pay for the Wrigley-themed showplace in the Arizona desert more than six years ago. Full hotels, busy restaurants and sellout crowds have become the norm in March since Sloan Park opened in 2014, and on the heels of the Cubs championship last fall, the city expects sales tax revenue, tourism and its own marketability to reach new heights.

"But beyond a new upscale hotel, adjacent development has come slower than some had hoped, and while the stadium's tax burden falls on Mesa, the economic benefit flows across the border to neighboring Scottsdale, Tempe and other Phoenix-area towns."

Economic development always comes "slower than some had hoped" when it comes to stadium subsidies. There's a reason for that; it's called "economics." The data is there. The projections are almost always fanciful - and almost always accepted with little skepticism by the media.

Remember Chicago's Olympic bid? Now virtually everyone in public life is relieved to have lost that bid, understanding how economically disastrous it would have been. But back then, when it was important, virtually everyone in public life was onboard - including the media machine.

*

"Whether the one-month exhibition season provides enough of a boost to justify building the stadium remains the $100 million question.

"Faced with potentially losing its most prominent tourist attraction to Florida and unable to secure state funding, Mesa stepped up to the plate, backing the deal through a municipal bond sale. The Cubs got a state-of-the-art spring training facility and increased stadium revenue, juiced by higher ticket prices. The city got the bill."

Remember: It's not as if the Ricketts family could not afford to fund this investment themselves. And has been pointed out in the past, it's particularly galling given patriarch Joe Ricketts' emphatic aversion to government "interference" in the public sector - a stance at least a couple of his kids seems to share.

*

"Despite not winning a World Series since 1908, the lovable losers drew welcoming crowds each spring to the utilitarian Rendezvous Park, linking Chicago and Mesa in the quixotic quest for a championship.

"From 1967 to 1978, the Cubs held spring training at Scottsdale Stadium. In 1979, the Cubs moved into Hohokam Park in Mesa, which the team would call home for nearly two decades. That was demolished and gave way to a new $18 million, 12,500-seat Hohokam Park in 1997, which was funded by the city and hailed by then-team president Andy MacPhail as 'the nicest spring training ballpark in existence.'"

Emphasis mine. It's never-ending - no matter how profitable a team/corporation is. Their thirst for the public dollar is never slaked. You might call them dependent.

*

"Mesa first looked to fund the project through state legislation that called for a surcharge on Cactus League tickets. The so-called Cubs tax met with opposition from other club owners - notably White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf - and died on the vine.

"Under the gun, Mesa agreed to finance the $84 million stadium and $15 million in infrastructure improvements itself, a plan approved by voters in November 2010 . . .

"In 2013, Mesa sold $94 million in excise tax bonds to cover the cost of the Cubs stadium and an $18 million renovation of Hohokam for its new tenants, the Oakland Athletics. The bonds mature in 2027 and 2032, but the city can pay off the bonds earlier, in 2017 and 2022."

Or not.

*

"In Chicago, the Ricketts family is spending $800 million of its own money for the ongoing renovation of 103-year-old Wrigley Field and the surrounding neighborhood."

See my introduction - only because of rare political currents that forced them to use their own money. Let's not give them so much credit (as if paying for your own renovation is something to be lauded for in the first place; that shows how warped the debate is.)

*

"Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said the team's spring training facility is 'crush(ing) it' on attendance, and features 'the most shade in the Cactus League,' one of many fan-friendly amenities. He believes the benefits for Mesa have yet to be fully realized.

"We think there is more opportunity," Ricketts said earlier this month. "And it certainly brings people into the city, and hopefully that works out really well for them."

Hopefully! But if not, oh well!

*

"The Cubs keep the entire gate at Sloan - the team's primary source of spring training revenue - with average season ticket prices up 14.7 percent over last year, according to the team."

Then maybe they should use that money to pay back the city!

*

"Opening day tickets - including season packages - sold for an average of $32.30, a 29 percent increase over 2016. Individual tickets ranged from $35 for a lawn seat to $68 for an infield box seat.

"In 2015, the Cubs struck a 10-year naming rights deal with Sloan Valve of Franklin Park, plumbing supplier to Wrigley Field and the Mesa ballpark which now bears its logo, providing another revenue stream for the team.

"It used to be that spring training was a loss leader," Kenney said. "We're probably more break-even to slightly profitable."

I should think.

*

"[One] couple is spending $3,000 on a condo, and has budgeted another $2,000 for food and entertainment, with visits to the Grand Canyon and other outdoor activities on the itinerary. Deterred by rising prices, they bought tickets to four Cubs games at Sloan, opting for general admission lawn seats. Watching the Cubs play on the road this spring has become a more attractive option for them.

"Actually, it's cheaper to go to another park to see the Cubs right now, which is good for the other parks," he said. "We've got tickets to go see them play at the Brewers. We're looking at getting tickets to see them play at the Athletics at Hohokam - they're a little more reasonable."

Unintended consequences. But the Cubs only want moneyed fans now anyway.

*

Of course, it's not just the Cubs - like in most states, other teams want Arizonans tax dollars too.

-

See also from Neil deMause:
* Mesa Cubs Deal: Vote First, Ask Questions Later.

* Mesa Voters Approve Blank Check For Cubs Spring-Training Field.

* Did I Forget To Mention MLB Teams Shake Down Cities For Spring Training Money? Oh, Do They Ever.

-

America's Dirty Secret About Dangerous, Low-Wage Jobs And The Immigrants And Refugees Who Are Exploited To Fill Them
"The Bhutanese ended up at Case Farms in 2011 by way of a refugee resettlement agency. It was a marriage of the desperate. The refugees needed work that didn't require speaking English or an American education. Case Farms needed workers who would accept the low pay and grueling, cold and monotonous conditions that U.S. safety inspectors have repeatedly deemed extremely dangerous."

-

Wrong Foot Louie vs. The Fireball Kid
Vintage championship bowling from Chicago Heights.

-

Meet Chicago's Limo Bob
"His fleet includes a 100-foot-long limo and one made from a Boeing 727. He wears 33 pounds of gold jewelry on his hands and neck."

-

BeachBook

There's A Doomsday Seed Vault - And We Almost Lost It.

*

Bettors Burying Sportsbooks In May.

*

Fela Kuti Built His Music Around A Distrust Of Nigeria's Elites. Now They're The Audience For The Musical About His Life.

*

The Anti-Vaccine And Anti-GMO Movements Are Inextricably Linked And Cause Preventable Suffering.

*

Silvis Native Heads IRS Criminal Investigation Division In Chicago.

*

Children's Letters To The President.

*

Chicago Lawyer's Moon Dust Bag Could Fetch $4 Million.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

Of course, NBC News wasn't in the study.

*

"For the next four years."

*

Everything is a lie.

*

"But gravity is also just a theory . . . "

*

Almost totally without accountability.

*

Historical context illuminates the recurring schemes and scams; crucial for journalists' understanding of the events and issues they cover.

*

Trump: Pro-cancer.

*

Obtrumption of justice.

*

Even worse is the hoary and repeatedly disproven premise that Rahm was responsible for 2006, when all non-Rahm sourced reporting says then-DNC chair Howard Dean was responsible despite Rahm's raging opposition to this plan. Clearly, though, not all local journalists tweeting out the Politico story have done their homework.

See also: The [Rahmbo] Papers.

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: House of cards.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:20 AM | Permalink

Meet Limo Bob

I spotted Limo Bob in this series of photos titled "America's Obscene Wealth, In Pictures" and wondered how this character had escaped my attention.

The caption: "Limo Bob" builds, sells, and rents out limos in Chicago. His fleet includes a 100-foot-long limo and one made from a Boeing 727. He wears 33 pounds of gold jewelry on his hands and neck.

I had to know more.

*

"On June 16th, 1958, Robert J. Strauser ('Limo Bob') was born into this world of good times and hard times," his website says.

"He made - and lost - two fortunes. He rose up from the ashes of defeat and built Star Limo, Inc., his third successful Limo business (and his third fortune) that he enjoys today. This is his story, where fact is often stranger than fiction . . . God Bless America & the limo world! (Looking forward to Gracing the cover of your magazine) wearing the full 33 pounds of Gold & Diamonds and the Mike Tyson Fur Coat!"

*

Merch.

*

*

Tampa Bay Times: Reality TV, And A Dose Of Reality, For Limo Bob.

"He said he amassed a fleet of lawn mowers at age 13; took over his father's limo business five years later; fled Chicago for Florida after someone (he suspects the mob) started blowing up his limos; resurrected his limo business in Chicago a few years later and lost it again, this time in a business deal that Bob claims was a scam."

*

Winona Post: Limo Bob's Son Featured On MTV Program.

"Strauser, it turned out, had an MTV crew heading to his Chicago neighborhood to film Bobby's birthday party . . . "

*

Chicago Tribune: Ride Sometimes Bumpy For Limo Bob.

"Mike Tyson rode with us and gave me a fur coat. Bob Hope gave me 24-carat gold martini glasses with `Thanks for the Memories' on them," Strauser said. "I probably have stuff in my house from over 300 celebrities. I love the limelight and the stardom."

*

E!: Limo Bob's Life Is A Full-Time Vacation Now.

*

Limo Bob On TLC's Brides of Beverly Hills.

*

Limo Bob pilot.

*

Limo Bob's YouTube channel.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

Championship Bowling! Lou Campi vs. Joe Norris

Make that Wrong Foot Louie vs. The Fireball Kid.

Match-game competition!

From the beautiful Olympia Lanes in Chicago Heights.


-

See also:
* "Joe Norris, a bowling star who organized the first of the fabled beer teams sponsored by beer makers in the 1930's, died of complications from pneumonia on Monday. He was 93," AP reported in 2001.

* Lou Campi was known as Wrong Foot Louie.

* King Of TV Bowling's YouTube channel

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

Can Low-Wage Industries Survive Without Immigrants And Refugees?

One afternoon this fall, I knocked on the door of a red brick apartment building in Akron, Ohio, looking for a Bhutanese refugee who'd lost the tips of his fingers at a Case Farms chicken plant in a vacuum-pressure machine known as a "fat sucker."

In the apartment's tiny living room, a young man told his story in halting English. As he spoke, I realized that his name was different from the one I had, and, instead of losing his fingertips in a fat sucker at the company's Canton plant, he'd lost his pinkie to a saw at its plant in nearby Winesburg. I had the wrong guy, but I'd stumbled on yet another Bhutanese refugee who'd sacrificed part of his body for the company.

The Bhutanese ended up at Case Farms in 2011 by way of a refugee resettlement agency. It was a marriage of the desperate. The refugees needed work that didn't require speaking English or an American education. Case Farms needed workers who would accept the low pay and grueling, cold and monotonous conditions that U.S. safety inspectors have repeatedly deemed extremely dangerous.

case-farms-spot-illo-02-900*549-3952a8.pngTim McDonagh/Special to ProPublica

The Bhutanese were only the latest crop of foreign labor to stand on Case Farms' chicken lines, slicing breasts and wings for fast-food restaurants and grocery stores across the country. For decades, the company had largely relied on Mayan immigrants fleeing violence in Guatemala, many of whom were not allowed to work in the United States. Case Farms' history with the Mayans reveals how U.S. companies subvert immigration laws to take advantage of undocumented immigrants, but it also illustrates a broader - and perhaps underappreciated - truth about the American economy: So much of it depends on a never-ending global scramble for low-skilled labor.

President Donald Trump rode into office vowing to restrict the flow of refugees and unauthorized immigrants. The rhetoric played well among Rust Belt voters who had seen their industries decline just as Latino immigrants began arriving to take jobs they didn't want, seemingly transforming the towns they used to know. But Trump's efforts to make good on those promises could substantially disrupt the companies that provide America's food, build its homes, and supply workers to clean hotels and office buildings and unload shipping containers for retail stores.

Just as technology firms and hospitals have come to rely on high-skilled immigrants secured through visa programs, low-wage industries depend heavily on migrants from the world's hotspots, secured through refugee programs as well as other means. That reliance has prompted some of the nation's meatpackers to fear that under Trump the global marketplace may shut down, resulting in labor shortages that, they say, will drive up prices and reduce food supplies.

"A legal immigration system that works is the best way to address illegal immigration," Cargill chief executive David MacLennan wrote recently. "We must not close our minds or our borders."

Poultry and meatpacking companies have long drawn labor from the bottom rung of society. Jurgis Rudkus, the hero of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, was a new Lithuanian immigrant. As processing plants moved out of union-heavy cities closer to farms, they relied on poor, rural whites and, after the country desegregated, African Americans. By 2006, 46 percent of meat and poultry processing workers were Hispanic. In recent years, slaughterhouses have turned to refugees, from Bosnians in Iowa to Somalis in Kansas. Tyson Foods is based in Springdale, Arkansas, which has become home to thousands from the Marshall Islands who hold special status because of nuclear weapons testing during the Cold War.

Case Farms managers told ProPublica they are careful to follow immigration laws and say they treat workers properly, wherever they are from.

When Case Farms started in Winesburg in 1986, it mostly employed young Amish women, but they left as the company expanded and hired workers from Rust Belt cities nearby. Its second plant in Morganton, North Carolina, also had trouble staffing its lines. At the time, manufacturing was thriving in the Southeast and the white and African-American workers the company had employed - even the Hmong refugees who settled there after the Vietnam War - left for better-paying jobs at local furniture factories.

So Case Farms joined others in the industry in a search for Latino workers, recruiting along the Texas border and in farm labor towns in Florida. The number of Latinos working in the poultry and meatpacking industry grew exponentially in the 1990s. The North American Free Trade Agreement played a role by eliminating steep agricultural tariffs, which caused chicken exports to Mexico to more than sextuple and, according to some critics, devastated Mexican farmers, leading many to seek work across the border.

Case Farms eventually found the Mayans, who began settling in Morganton in the early 1990s, and a few years later started arriving around Winesburg. Case Farms recruited many of them directly from Florida, but a Guatemalan pastor I met in Ohio said the company gave him a 15-passenger van to transport immigrants from its plant in Morganton to work at its plant in Ohio. The recruitment and migrant stream that followed turned Rust Belt cities in the Appalachian foothills into immigrant gateways that now claim some of the largest populations of Awakateko and Ixil speakers in the United States.

As the Mayan workers gained strength, eventually unionizing and going on strike, the company recruited a series of immigrant groups - Cubans, Romanians, Chinese, North Africans and Burmese - seemingly pitting immigrant communities against each other.

PP_Ohio_-1689-900*601-34595c.jpegManorath Khanal, a Bhutanese refugee who works for Case Farms as a liaison to employees. The Bhutanese are one of a series of migrant and refugee communities the company has turned to for labor/Photo by Hector Emanuel

In one instance, some employees told the National Labor Relations Board that the human resources manager promised Case Farms would give everyone a raise if they could help him get the newcomers to sign papers decertifying the union, which was led by Guatemalans. The Burmese initially refused through a translator, one employee said. So the employee and a colleague waited until the translator left and explained the deal to a new worker who spoke a little English.

"She asked me, 'Oh, more money?'" the woman told the NLRB. "And I said, 'Yes, more money.' Afterward, she said something in her language to the rest and everyone signed the little pieces of paper to get rid of the union."

The Burmese didn't last long, and for a while, it seemed the Bhutanese might not either.

The Bhutanese began arriving in Akron in 2008, settling in a neighborhood that had been home to Italian and Polish immigrants before them. They had been living in U.N. camps in Nepal since the early 1990s, when the small kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayas began expelling tens of thousands of ethnic Nepalis, viewing them as a threat.

Manorath Khanal works at Case Farms in human resources and has recruited scores of Bhutanese to work there. I met him at his apartment in Cuyahoga Falls. It was the end of the Hindu holiday Diwali and he wore garlands of orange and purple flowers. Khanal, 42, recalled that when he was a teenager in Bhutan, soldiers entered his village and began arresting people, who were never seen again. One night at midnight, his family fled, crossing the swollen rivers near the border in India, and got into the back of a big truck that took them to Nepal.

He became a leader in the refugee camp and helped negotiate resettlement in the United States. Eventually, Khanal was flown to Phoenix, where he worked cleaning airplanes, before moving in 2012 to Ohio, where Case Farms hired him as a trainer in Winesburg. There weren't many Bhutanese in the plant at the time, and retention was bad. Khanal told me he was brought in to help the company communicate with the Bhutanese workers and address concerns.

"We don't have enough good supervisors on the production floor," Khanal said. "They hardly understand what is the meaning of being human, what is humanity, what is respect, what is motivation."

As the labor market and the flow of immigrants have tightened, Case Farms appears to be making an effort to hold on to the ones it has. The company now gives workers a day off for Diwali. It helps underwrite the Bhutanese association's office in Akron as well as an annual cultural celebration and soccer tournament. At the national convention of Bhutanese organizations in 2013, two of the three speakers on the entrepreneurship panel were from Case Farms. Conditions are improving, Khanal said, but workers tell him they're treated differently when he's not there.

A Bhutanese human resources assistant named Upendra Luitel said some things the company does make him uncomfortable

"Most of the employees, they are having some kind of hurt in their hands," he said.

Yet workers have to pay to replace wet gloves, he said, even though the moisture makes their hands cold, increasing the pain.

Last year, Luitel said, the company started giving disciplinary points to workers who called in sick - even if they had a doctor's note.

Case Farms said they instituted the rule because workers had abused a more lenient policy regarding absences.

Back at the apartment, Gambhir Rai, the man who lost his finger, showed me how the saw blade severed his left pinky at the knuckle and skidded over his ring and middle fingers

"At the time, I'm new in everything, I'm new in America," he said, explaining that he didn't know what to do after the 2014 accident.

Rai, 35, said he received about $4,000 in workers' compensation for his finger in addition to weekly checks while he was out of work.

He returned to the plant but quit in February, tired of the long commute and what he felt was ill treatment. Rai said many Bhutanese are happy to have the work at Case Farms when they first arrive, figuring they'll work there for a short time while getting settled.

"Anywhere we work, we love to do our job, we work hard," he said. "Everybody worries about the job and the future."

Rai now works at an auto parts warehouse in Akron, which has begun hiring in the Bhutanese community. It's much different than Case Farms, he said, raising the question - as many worker advocates do - whether the low-wage labor shortage stems from a lack of refugees or simply a lack of respect.

"They don't say, 'You're not working this way. You're not doing good,'" he said. "I get the response, 'You're a good worker. You're a hard worker. You've done a lot.' At Case Farms, I never get like that."

-

ProPublica reporter Michael Grabell traveled to Guatemala to find Case Farms workers who returned home, sometimes after years of work and crippling injuries. See the photos.

-

Previously:

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

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

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

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

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

* Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

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

* Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families.

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

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

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 AM | Permalink

May 22, 2017

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Biters at Cobra Lounge on Friday night.


-

2. Frankie + the Studs at Cobra Lounge on Friday night.

-

3. Ha Ha Tonka at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

-

4. The Gladstones at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Saturday night.

-

5. Rik Emmett & RESolution9 at the Arcada in St. Charles on Saturday night.

-

6. Sirenia at Subterranean on Thursday night.

-

7. Arkona at the Subterranean on Thursday night.

-

8. Diamond Head at Reggies on Saturday night.

-

9. Big Freedia at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

-

10. Downtown Boys at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

-

11. Ross The Boss at Reggies on Friday night.

-

12. The Meat Puppets at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

-

13. The Holdup at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

-

14. Oceano at the Wire in Berwyn on Thursday night.

-

15. Coheed and Cambria at the Aragon on Friday night.

-

16. Blue Dream at Liar's Club on Friday night.

-

17. Jambinai at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

-

18. Daniel Oulette at The Store on Saturday night.

-

Catching up with . . .

The Besnard Lakes at the Empty Bottle on May 15.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:04 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Cubs Are Ridiculous

The Cubs are alright.

And then some. And then some more. They are what we thought they were going into the season - ridiculously loaded.

When your ninth-best position player (let's make Javy Baez No. 8) is uber-prospect Ian Happ, you are out-of-control talented. When No. 10 is center field wunderkid Albert Almora . . . I mean, come on.

The better Ian Happ plays in his first stint in the majors, the more it appears Theo and Jed went three for three with the top 10 first-round picks that resulted from three tanked seasons. And while you can argue that Kris Bryant was the obvious pick when the Cubs took him second overall in 2013, Kyle Schwarber (yes I know he is hitting .180 but surely most people who know baseball know he will get it going soon) certainly was not. And while Happ was universally acknowledged as full of potential, he was far from a sure thing either.

Schwarber was drafted fourth in 2014 and Happ ninth the next year. Very few teams thought the former was a top 10 talent and genius that I am, I excoriated the Cubs at the time for drafting him in part for his signability (and he did sign quickly and for less money than he could have given where he was drafted).

Now I listen to some of the geniuses out there advocating for a trade of Schwarber for a pitcher and I want to wring their necks. The guy is potentially a historically good left-handed power hitter. I would buy an upper deck reserved ticket (I'm sure as hell not paying box prices for any one player) just to watch him swing.

That is not the sort of player you trade at the start of his career for a quick fix, unless you want to regret that trade longer than the Cubs regretted letting Greg Maddux leave as a free agent.

As for other fruits of the Cubs' three-year tank job, well, not so much. The rest of the team's top 11 players were either already in the system when that era began - Willson Contreras, Baez and Almora, who was drafted in 2012 by Jed and Theo with the top 10 pick that resulted from Jim Hendry suckage in 2011 - or obtained using Hendry assets (Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and a bunch of the team's top pitchers) or signed as free agents - Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist.

We're still waiting to see if Jed and Theo have managed to draft any big-time major league contributors in anything other than the first 10 picks of the first round.

But there is a great chance that won't matter, at least until the young Cubs stars start hitting free agency in four years.

The Cubs will probably need more pitching but their biggest concern going into Sunday's 13-6 victory over the Brewers was Jake Arrieta, who has struggled out of the gate with command and velocity. And of course, given the Cubs' charmed life of late, Arrieta threw six innings of solid, one-run ball.

Otherwise Jon Lester has been as good as usual, Kyle Hendricks has rounded into form of late, John Lackey has been the innings eater that they need him to be and Eddie Butler has shown plenty of potential as a fifth starter. If that rotation stays healthy, the Cubs will contend for everything again.

Yes the bullpen can't completely collapse but the Cubs have lots of depth there and Theo and Jed have shown they are absolute masters of turning over the pen, year after year after year.

Oh, and Joe Maddon has been proving again that he is the best orchestrator of regular-season pitching in the majors.

What a time to be a Cub fan.

-

Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker is making a $1 million deposit in a black-owned bank in Chicago, taking a page from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's playbook," the Tribune reports.

"The issue led to back-and-forth attacks from the two campaigns centered on failures of financial institutions Rauner and the Pritzker family have been involved with in their careers.

"Pritzker's planned deposit, like Rauner's three years ago in a South Side credit union, carries the goal of generating support from black voters.

"Pritzker's campaign tried to draw a distinction between the two men's actions: the Democrat's money pledge was only announced on a Chicago radio show, while Rauner's visit to the credit union was a major campaign event."

That's the distinction the Pritzker campaign is trying to draw? That's pretty weak tea - "I'm slightly less cynical if you use the metric of how much attention we each sought!"

Besides, from an insidery political strategist's point of view, it made sense for Rauner to make a big deal of his deposit - he was a whitebread Republican trying to demonstrate that he would care about the city's African Americans should he become governor. Pritzker's deposit was also no doubt the result of an insidery political strategy: Let's make the deposit and make sure enough of the right people know about it, but let's not make a big deal of it because of the potential backlash of doing so.

From an outsider's perspective, it looks like nothing but what it is: a heavy-handed tactic to buy support from a community neither candidate felt they had properly engaged. Why else would such a move be necessary? It's offensive.

Both Rauner and Pritzker had contributed millions of dollars in philanthrophy toward their causes. I'm not going to say neither of them truly care about the city's people of color. But do they know how to care? Have they done enough? Clearly the answer to that is No. If each felt it was important to have deposited a large amount of money into a black-owned bank, they would have done it long before they were campaigning, just because they thought it was the right thing to do.

*

From Rich Miller at Capitol Fax:

"Um, remember when candidate Bruce Rauner deposited a million dollars into a black credit union? The Democratic Governor's Association was not amused . . .

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner made good on a promise to deposit $1 million in a South Side credit union for small business loans.

Rauner arrived in his 20-year-old Volkswagen van. At the teller's window he made a $200,000 donation and an $800,000 deposit to help the African American-owned credit union make small business loans. [...]

"Is he the kind of person who would rather buy votes in the community as opposed to being here all along?" said Rikeesha Phelon of the Democratic Governor's Association.

*

That's measured compared to what a lot of others were saying about Rauner's "investment" back then. From the Tribune in 2014:

[T]he Democratic campaign of rival Gov. Pat Quinn accused the Republican of trying to buy black votes.

Some of those involved in securing the promise from Rauner respond by saying, in effect, so what? One of them, veteran South Side political activist Mark Allen, said in his experience, pending initiatives by politicians all have the same end purpose, whether paid for with public or private funds.

"When Pat Quinn spends $10 million for an issue like Safe Passage, what do you think he's doing?" asked Allen, referring to a program for safeguarding Chicago schoolchildren. "Every dollar is to try to get votes."

Also, as far as Rauner making his deposit pledge a major campaign event, it may have turned into that when he actually arrived to deliver the money, but it certainly didn't start that way:

For its part, Rauner's campaign initially made little public mention of what had transpired. Pictures of the event posted on the official campaign Twitter account were simply captioned, "Spent some time having a good dialogue on the South Side today."

It wasn't until Allen went public with details about Rauner's promise that the Republican confirmed he had made it.

Sounds familiar, eh?

But then, Democrats appear to be lining up behind Pritzker exactly because he can execute the Rauner playbook. The opening that creates in the primary is not for the bumbling Chris Kennedy, whose early effort to position himself as an outsider is laughable, but for state Sen. Daniel Biss or Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar. (I'd give Biss the advantage there.)

-

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Biters, Frankie + the Studs, Ha Ha Tonka, The Gladstones, Rik Emmett & RESolution9, Sirenia, Arkona, Diamond Head, Big Freedia, Downtown Boys, Ross The Boss, The Meat Puppets, The Holdup, Oceano, Coheed & Cambria, Blue Dream, Jambinai, Daniel Oulette, and The Besnard Lakes.

-

The Ghost Of Dayan Viciedo
In The White Sox Report.

-

SportsMonday: The Cubs Are Ridiculous
If the rotation stays healthy, they will contend for everything again.

-

Beachwood Sports Radio: Is Something Still Wrong With The Cubs?

Or is the narrative the problem? Plus: Coming Soon: The White Sox' Most Interesting Time Of The Year; Blacks In Baseball; Preaching The Preakness; The Bulls & Butler; NBA Putting Us Through Needless Conference Finals'; No Mitigation For Blackhawks; and Schweinsteiger!

-

Slow TV Chicago
It's time.

-

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

-

BeachBook

Loop Dermatologist Convicted For Treating Skin Conditions Patients Did Not Have.

*

Chicago Scrap Metal Company, President Plead Guilty To Tax Violations.

*

U.S. Used Car Glut Is A Dream For Dealers, A Nightmare For Manufacturers.

*

How Our Tax Code Makes Inequality Worse.

*

Corporate Giants Target Communities Of Color To Extract Wealth.

Kind of like domestic colonialism . . .

*

How The Fine Print Gets You.

*

SCOTUS Judges Used To Explain Recusals. What Happened?

*

The New Dark Times.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

Dart is right, but why do I feel like this show is on every week?

*

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Time frames.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:29 AM | Permalink

Slow TV Chicago

It's time.

-

See also: Scavhunt Videos' YouTube channel.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:03 AM | Permalink

The Ghost Of Dayan Viciedo

The kid had such a warm, endearing smile, to say nothing of his speed, power and confidence. When he was just 16, he hit .337 playing professionally in the Cuban National Serie, the same league that spawned Jose Abreu.

In the spring of 2008, he and his intrepid family clandestinely left Cuba in a boat bound for Mexico. That winter the White Sox were ecstatic to sign Dayan Viciedo to a four-year $10 million contract.

Spending the 2009 season at Double-A Birmingham, Viciedo did nothing to tarnish the promising picture the franchise painted for the aspiring youngster. He hit a respectable .280 with a dozen home runs and 78 RBI for the Barons. Playing third base, the 20-year-old prospect made 30 errors, but he was just learning, and, sure enough, when he was called up to the Sox on June 20 of the following season, Viciedo had committed only three errors in 26 games at the hot corner.

Viciedo joined that 2010 Sox team which wound up missing a post-season wild card berth by a single game. Omar Vizquel, 43 at the time, was filling in at third base after guys like Mark Teahen, Brent Morel and Jayson Nix failed to impress. The stage was set for Viciedo, who had just reached the legal drinking age, to become the White Sox third baseman right then and there and far into the future.

Funny how things sometimes don't work out as planned.

Viciedo hit .308 that first season on the South Side, and in 2012 he belted 25 homers and drove in 78. He became known as The Tank, a handle created by announcer Hawk Harrelson as the kid's stature ascended.

However, he never established any real consistency although he hit with power - 21 homers in his final season of 2014 despite a .231 average - and the Sox were unable to hide him sufficiently in the field where his weaknesses were on stark display. His knowledge of the strike zone was on a par with that fellow in Washington's familiarity with constitutional law.

He also frustrated the front office which felt that his ample physique - they pushed him to lose 20 pounds - was holding him back from real stardom.

When the Sox released Viciedo in January of 2015, general manager Rick Hahn said, "He's still young [25] and he still has a world of talent and a great deal of power that we've all seen on display over a number of years. It's not going to surprise any of us in the least if he goes on to have a very successful career elsewhere."

Where is Viciedo today? Playing in Japan where he's hitting .246 with three homers. He's 28. You be the judge of how successful he's been.

And why mention him now? Because the Sox made headlines over the weekend by agreeing to terms with another in a long line of Cubans, 19-year-old Luis Robert, who, because the rules are changing, is the last of the free agent athletes from the island that big league clubs can sign for huge bonuses. Apparently Robert's deal is in the neighborhood of $27 million.

Robert, projected as a center fielder, also is a product of the National Serie league. Last season he hit .393 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases. He's received rave notices from scouts who have watched him recently in workouts in the Dominican Republic.

The first notable Cuban to play on the South Side was Minnie Minoso in 1951, if not the greatest player in franchise history, certainly the most exciting. More recently Jose Contreras, Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez, and Alexei Ramirez played for the Sox anywhere from one to eight seasons. Today Abreu is in his fourth season as the team's first baseman, while minor league second baseman Yoan Moncada - baseball's No. 2 prospect - made a notable splash when Hahn pried him loose from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale deal. One of the selling points made to Robert was the Sox' history of Cuban players.

The Robert signing and the eventual arrival of Moncada at 35th and Shields gives us Sox fans lots to look forward to. Or at least we hope so. However, for at least this Sox fan, the memory of Viciedo is a sobering reminder that despite all the hype, publicity and attention, nothing can be taken for granted.

The case of Moncada is especially puzzling and perhaps foolish. I saw him in spring training, and his physicality and the way he carries himself are absolutely impressive. Contributing to the build-up are the Charlotte Knights' games that Comcast has been televising. The network's Mark Schanowski recently announced between innings of a Sox game that Moncada had just stolen second base that evening despite the fact that the opposing team pitched out.

Oh, brother! Let the kid play and quit this hyperbole that Moncada is the next Superman or, at the very least, Robinson Cano. Sure, the kid is hitting .331 at Triple-A, and he's belted half-a-dozen homers and stolen 10 bases. But even Jacob May, who went 2-for-36 in his Sox debut earlier this season, is hitting .324 at Charlotte. Kevan Smith, who presently is sharing the catching duties with Omar Narvaez for the big club since Geovany Soto got hurt, was hitting .377 for the Knights and is just 5-for-30 with the Sox.

Charlotte is a far cry from the American League. Moncada got a call-up last September in Boston when Dustin Pedroia was disabled, and he had four hits in 19 at-bats with 12 strikeouts. On the plus side, he had a splendid spring training, hitting .317 in 17 games with three homers and 13 RBI. But, again, it was spring training.

Most of the talk focuses not on "if" the Sox will call up Moncada, but "when." However, this also creates a bit of a dilemma for a number of reasons.

For one, after winning three in a row last weekend in Seattle, outscoring the woeful Mariners 24-2 on Saturday and Sunday, the rebuilding Sox are a respectable 20-22. Moncada's presence probably would make little difference in wins and losses.

In addition, at the present time, the Sox have a fine second baseman in Yolmer Sanchez, who is hitting .327, or about the same as Moncada. But let's be clear: He's doing it in the American League, not the International League. Sanchez arguably is better defensively than the Cuban kid as well.

With Sanchez, Tyler Saladino, Tim Anderson, Todd Frazier and Matt Davidson, the Sox have enough personnel for second, short, and third base. Bring in Moncada, and one of those guys has to go.

Frazier would be the guy most likely to move since his contract is up at the end of the season, and, as a 31-year-old veteran, he doesn't fit into the team's long-range scheme. He would be lovely trade deadline bait for Hahn if not for the fact that his slash is .200/.285/.643. Frazier fought a couple of bouts with the flu earlier this season, and he just now seems to be recovered. If he could start hitting some long balls and driving in runs, Hahn might be able to move him at the end of July and bring in Moncada.

In the meantime, let the youngster excel at Charlotte. He celebrated his 21st birthday last month. He has a long road ahead of him, and he has good company at Charlotte when it comes to prospects. Let them play, learn, and hopefully win together. If the Sox want to televise Knights games, fine. So be it. But don't forget to publicize that this is minor league baseball with scant resemblance to the major leagues.

We don't need to go back so long ago to recall the disappointment of a bright, young prospect like Viciedo. Moncada, Robert and others are different people of different skills and make-up. But they need time, and this is the perfect opportunity to give it to them.

-

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

-

1. From Kevin O'Keefe:

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:23 AM | Permalink

May 20, 2017

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #153: Is Something Still Wrong With The Cubs?

Or is the narrative the problem? Plus: Coming Soon: The White Sox' Most Interesting Time Of The Year; Blacks In Baseball; Preaching The Preakness; The Bulls & Butler; NBA Putting Us Through Needless Conference Finals'; No Mitigation For Blackhawks; and Schweinsteiger!


-

SHOW NOTES

* 153.

1:32: Is Something Still Wrong With The Cubs?

* About Kyle Schwarber:

+

-

* Miller/ESPN: The Cubs' Conventional Bullpen.

28:20: Coming Soon: The White Sox' Most Interesting Time Of The Year.

* Rebuilding with discipline.

36:46: Blacks In Baseball.

* From the pros to Payton Prep.

47:12: Preaching The Preakness.

47:21: The Bulls & Butler.

* The Celtics and the draft.

48:52: NBA Putting Us Through Needless Conference Finals'.

* Sleep for a week.

50:32: No Mitigation For Blackhawks.

* Wishing for Sens and Preds.

53:17: Schweinsteiger!

* Fire on Fire.

-

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Preaching The Preakness

It's been run one fewer time, but the first one, in 1873, was two years before the Kentucky Derby.

Its home, Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course, is the second-oldest horse track in America, 10 years younger than Saratoga and five years older than Churchill Downs.

The race is a survivor. And Survivor was the first winner, winning by 10 lengths daylight, not bested until Smarty Jones' 11-plus in 2004.

Beset by financial problems of the Maryland Jockey Club, the race was run in 1890 at Morris Park in Westchester County, New York, and was not run at all from 1891-1893. Gravesend Race Track on Coney Island hosted the race from 1894-1908. Back in Baltmore by 1909, it's been run ever since at Pimlico, which once again finds itself in financial trouble, with vultures circling around the race for the money, Pimlico be damned.

This second jewel of the Triple Crown is not named after a state, as so many derbies are, nor for a rich guy like August Belmont, as the third jewel is. It's named for, imagine, a horse, Preakness, winner of the Dinner Party Stakes, the feature, I'm guessing, on Pimlico's first day ever.

You look at the Preakness in the 21st century, my point of reference, and you see some of the great champions of the new millennium draped in the black-eyed susans.

Of course, American Pharoah in 2015 on his way to the breakthrough Triple Crown. California Chrome in 2014.

2009, Calvin Borel rode Rachel Alexandra to Kentucky Oaks glory then stunned with Mine That Bird in the Derby the next day. Preakness: "Rachel' or 'Bird?" "No question, Rachel, she's the better horse."

2008, Big Brown, and he really was a big horse just look at him, from post seven, thundered at Pimlico.

Curlin, say no more, in one of the guttiest performances of all time in any race, and this was the Preakness.

War Emblem, winner of the Illinois Derby on the asphalt covered with dirt of the last Sportsman's Park, just for the hometown factor.

If you don't watch any of the others, watch this one. Secretariat, most definitely with something on his mind, made a move for the ages on the first turn (at :57 he's out of the picture, at 1:00 pay attention to the famous blue and white checkered silks and blinkers number 3) that still drops jaws 44 years later.

As the legendary Moe Howard pixied, "I say Jasper, what comes after 75?" Puzzlement pause what? "76, that's the spirit!"

And the Preakness comes after the Derby, every year.

People now appear to be feigning it while listening to my poetic racing wax, and say "Oh, the Belmont?" Or puzzled, they have a strong feeling the Kentucky Derby is over. I say, no, it's the Preakness, the second jewel . . . Derby winner, new shooters, historical, and everything.

That's when I know I've lost them, lost them for sure, all of the playboys of the Western world, too large or too many for this niche I enjoy so much.

Luckily, there are a couple compadres who dig, and especially one who enthuses as I do. Picks, crafting wagers, all that. Liking a horse and betting on same.

Subliminal or spoken there's a Derby hangover, you get so worked up. I admit I feel it too; we got another game in two weeks. But for me, just how good is the Derby winner? That is a really fun question. Don't ever think Triple Crown, that's greedy. Prices, a new mix of horses, a track they'll never see again, just two weeks from the last race. Sounds like a tasty racing cocktail to me.

I've always liked the Preakness.

You get a few still angry with the trip they got in the Derby and want to show 'em. Some who knocked on the Derby door and seek this classic and why not. Then you have the new shooters, as they call them. A little-more-mature three-year-olds looking to make a big start here. At 9.5 furlongs, mile and three sixteenths for the record, it's a test of speed, with a little distance thrown in. How can you not love that uncomfortable staccato?

The track is "known" for its tight turns, but I once saw the Churchill oval superimposed and it looked nearly identical. I don't care. If you think it, and it seems that way, then the turns are tighter.

It's an old track, and you'll see the rickety rails and white picket fences on the outskirts that seem made to hide things. Pastoral? It's in town. I don't know.

This year's race?

Always Dreaming, the Derby winner, is 4/5 morning line and that's fine with me. Go at that price and I will try to beat him. Did you know the Daily Racing Form is calling the Derby track wetfast/sealed? WTF? It was sloppy/sealed! There is a difference, and when you wager . . . Why is the entire world trying to put the hoodwink on us?

Classic Empire, perhaps more talented, is 3-1 morning, and that might hold. Or not. He had a brutal trip in the Derby and did exceptionally well to finish fourth. Winner of the Arkansas Derby over two of these, even 2-1 or 3-1 would be decent.

I'm still intrigued by Hence, but the poop is that his closing style, as with others, may not pay, as the speed wills out. That's the the Pimlico Preakness stereotype, like Bear Weather. He's shown at times he can close, other times, no. He'll need to throw a career popper, I guess. 20-1 or better, he's worth $2.

Conquest Mo Money is the wiseguy of the race. He won a couple $100Ks at Sunland and lost to Hence in the Sunland Derby. He was a bit green in losing a half length to Classic Empire in the Arkansas Derby. His 93 career best Beyer Speed Figure is decent, but what about the speed at Pimlico? 15-1 morning line, I believe he'll go 7-1 or less, watch the tote. I think 10-1 or more. He needs to prove it, especially with this crop of threes.

This isn't in order, so I still like Lookin At Lee. The running line for the Derby even says dream trip! Corey Lanerie parked on the rail and rode it. People are not convinced, citing that trip. At 10-1, I like him, but it's time to prove a thing or two. He seems to have the tactical speed, but he needs to show he can finish. He is why we call it gambling.

Term of Art. Nobody gives him a chance. 30-1 ML. He's already a hard knocking 9-2-1-2 record Having made a 20-point Beyer improvement in the Robert B Lewis at Santa Anita, losing to then hot Royal Mo and Irap. (Note: Royal Mo broke an ankle bone in a workout for the Preakness and his racing career is over.) He then has another eight-point Beyer improvement (92) in the San Felipe. Six wide into the straight, we now wonder about Tyler Baze. Doug O'Neill, no slouch, has Jose Ortiz, as hot a jock as you want, aboard, as much an east coaster as you want, so at 30-1, give or take, I'll take.

Gunnevera. Big name. Will take money, thank you. No thanks. He needs a rest.

Cloud Computing. No better name? I hate Merlot, I hate cloud computing. It's dangerous. They named him back then, I guess. He's another wiseguy. Inexperienced, but 20-1 or better, fly. $2. Chad Brown/JJ Castellano combo one to watch.

Wanna reason? Howza about Multiplier? A valiant head winner of the Illinois Derby on April 22nd, if nothing else, he extends at the wire. And the Hawthorne stretch is one of the longest in the country. He did an 11-point Beyer improvement (94), but I've heard it should be better because the Beyer boys thought the track was biased for speed that day. So, 99? 100? 101? If I'm trainer Brendan Walsh, I'm, lickin' my chops. Joel Rosario aboard? If you breathe a word of this to anyone . . . whisper and take the 25-1. And watch that video to hear the GREAT Peter Galassi announce.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 AM | Permalink

May 19, 2017

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Black Lips at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.


-

2. RVIVR at the Chop Shop on Tuesday night.

-

3. Bonobo at the Concord on Thursday night.

-

4. Midnight Oil at the Vic on Thursday night.

-

5. Abyssal at Livewire on Monday night.

-

6. Wage War at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

-

7. Every Time I Die at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

-

8. Hall & Oates at the Rosemont arena on Monday night.

-

9. Tears for Fears at the Rosemont arena on Monday night.

-

10. David Gray at the Vic on Wednesday night.

-

11. Father John Misty at the Chicago Threatre on Monday night.

-

12. Frank and the Rattlesnakes at Cobra Lounge on Monday night.

-

13. Royal Republic at Cobra Lounge on Monday night.

-

Catching up with . . .

Skating Polly at Subterranean on Saturday night.

-

Terakaft at the Old Town School on May 12.

-

Oliver Sean at Reggies on May 9.

-

Lewis Del Mar at Thalia Hall on May 7.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:30 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"The John Hancock Center could be getting a new owner - and maybe even a new name," the Tribune reports.

"Chicago-based developer Hearn Co. plans to put the North Michigan Avenue tower's office space and parking garage up for sale, possibly by late summer, company President and CEO Stephen Hearn said."

*

Sneed reporting for the Sun-Times exactly one year ago:

"As Sneed exclusively reported last year, Hearn Co., which owns the commercial portion of the John Hancock Center - was pitching proposals that could include a naming-rights deal because the John Hancock company no longer owned the building."

So this is the third annual renaming report, right? Just sayin'.

*

The joke I was going to make today about it is the same one I made a year ago, so just go to the item Signature Building.

-

Sanford & Dylan
I came across this episode on Thursday afternoon just in time for this:

*

I'm reminded of Bob Dylan's "Hurricane" from 1975:

Meanwhile, far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin' around
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down
When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that
In Paterson that's just the way things go
If you're black you might as well not show up on the street
'Less you wanna draw the heat

*

Of course, we could go way further back in time for true historical context, but somehow a lot of white folk think these are new - or even fake - issues. Sad!

-

Beachwood Photo Booth: American Spring
Follow the instructions for proper viewing.

-

Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum
Boston designer, Prince's lyrics and high-tech.

-

Carbondale Woman Also A Winner!
Apologies to Michelle Templeton for missing her in the post Chicagoan Wins 8-Ball Classic, Advances To National Finals; she's now been added, take a look!

-

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Black Lips, RVIVR, Bonobo, Midnight Oil, Abyssal, Wage War, Every Time I Die, Hall & Oates, Tears for Fears, David Gray, Father John Misty, Frank and the Rattlesnakes, Skating Polly, Terakaft, Oliver Sean, and Lewis Del Mar.

-

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour
Will be recorded Saturday morning and posted later in the day.

Is Something Still Wrong With The Cubs?

Or is the narrative the problem? Plus: Coming Soon: The White Sox' Most Interesting Time Of The Year; Blacks In Baseball; Preaching The Preakness; The Bulls & Butler; NBA Putting Us Through Needless Conference Finals'; No Mitigation For Blackhawks; and Schweinsteiger!

-

BeachBook

Laura Kipnis Sued For Alleged Defamation Of Northwestern Student Featured In Her New Book.

*

Butterball Turkey Plant To Exit Chicago Suburbs.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

Excellent rule. Post it in every newsroom.

*

*

*

I can't even tell if Snopes is joking anymore.

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Hold his beer.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:13 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: American Spring

20170315_164311_resized.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING; ENLARGE AND CLICK AGAIN FOR ANOTHER OPTION AND LOOK CLOSELY)

-

More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

-

Helene on Twitter!

-

Meet Helene!

-

Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

-

Listen to Helene talk about Photo Booth; starts at 57:54.

-

Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Housemates.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Have Fresh Goat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartcam.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gaslight.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Urban Wheat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Embassy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln's Cozy Corner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Glory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bowling Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Red Lion, Red Hots.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Sitting.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Jukebox Is Not A Democracy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Handicapped Milk Jug Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gumball Express.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicken Run.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bus Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Manzana.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Look Back.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:38 AM | Permalink

Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum

"The first museum dedicated solely to American writers, the American Writers Museum opened to the public on Tuesday. The museum takes up more than 11,000 square feet on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Museum officials said they expect more than 100,000 visitors in the first year."


-

See also:
* Boston Globe: How A Boston Designer Just Created A Museum Of American Writers.

* AP: New American Writers Museum Lets Prince's Lyrics Rub Elbows With Hemingway's Works.

* Mashable: High Tech, Highly Political: The First Ever Museum Of U.S. Writing Opens.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:45 AM | Permalink

May 18, 2017

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

One morning in February, lawyer Marty Rosenbluth set off from his Hillsborough, North Carolina, home to represent two anxious clients in court. He drove about eight hours southwest, spent the night in a hotel and then got up around 6 a.m. to make the final 40-minute push to his destination: a federal immigration court and detention center in the tiny rural Georgia town of Lumpkin.

During two brief hearings over two days, Rosenbluth said, he convinced an immigration judge to grant both of his new clients more time to assess their legal options to stay in the United States. Then he got in his car and drove the 513 miles back home.

"Without an attorney, it's almost impossible to win your case in the immigration courts. You don't even really know what to say or what the standards are," said Rosenbluth, who works for a private law firm and took on the cases for a fee. "You may have a really, really good case. But you simply can't package it in a way that the court can understand."

His clients that day were lucky. Only 6 percent of the men held at the Lumpkin complex - a 2,001-bed detention center and immigration court - have legal representation, according to a 2015 study in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

Nationwide, it's not much better, the study of data from October 2006 to September 2012 found: Just 14 percent of detainees have lawyers. That percentage is likely to get even smaller under the Trump administration, which has identified 21,000 potential new detention beds to add to the approximately 40,000 currently in use.

In January, President Trump signed an executive order telling the Secretary of Homeland Security, who oversees the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, to "immediately" start signing contracts for detention centers and building new ones.

If history is any guide, many of those facilities will end up in places like Lumpkin, population 2,741.

The city's small downtown has a courthouse, the police department, a couple of restaurants and a Dollar General. There's no hotel and many of the nearest immigration lawyers are based 140 miles away in Atlanta.

"It's been a strategic move by ICE to construct detention centers in rural areas," said Amy Fischer, policy director for RAICES, a San Antonio-based nonprofit that supports on-site legal aid programs at two Texas facilities for detained families. "Even if the money is there, it's very difficult to set up a pro bono network when you're geographically three hours away from a big city."

ICE currently oversees a network of about 200 facilities, jails, processing centers and former prisons where immigrants can be held, according to a government list from February.

Unlike criminal defendants, most immigrants in deportation proceedings are not entitled to government-appointed lawyers because their cases are deemed civil matters. Far from free legal help and with scant financial resources, the majority of detainees take their chances solo, facing off against federal lawyers before judges saddled with full dockets of cases. Frequently they must use interpreters.

An ICE official denied that detention facilities are purposely opened in remote locations to limit attorney access.

"Any kind of detention center, due to zoning and other factors, they are typically placed in the outskirts of a downtown area," said spokesperson Bryan Cox. "ICE is very supportive and very accommodating in terms of individuals who wish to have representation and ensuring that they have the adequate ability to do so."

At Lumpkin's Stewart Detention Center, for instance, lawyers can schedule hour-long video teleconferences with detainees, Cox said.

But a ProPublica review found that access to free or low-cost legal counsel was limited at many centers. Government-funded orientation programs, which exist at a few dozen detention locations, typically include self-help workshops, group presentations on the immigration court process, brief one-on-one consultations and pro bono referrals, but they stop short of providing direct legal representation.

And a list of pro bono legal service providers distributed by the courts includes many who don't take the cases of detainees at all. Those that do can often only take a limited number - perhaps five to 10 cases at a time.

The legal help makes a difference. Across the country, 21 percent of detained immigrants who had lawyers won their deportation cases, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review study found, compared to just 2 percent of detainees without a lawyer. The study also found that 48 percent of detainees who had lawyers were released from detention while their cases were pending, compared to 7 percent of those who lacked lawyers.

Legal counsel can also speed up the process for those detainees with no viable claims to stay in the country, experts said. A discussion with a lawyer might prompt the detainee to cut his losses and opt for voluntary departure, avoiding a pointless legal fight and the taxpayer-funded costs of detention.

Lawmakers in some states, such as New York and California, have stepped in to help, pledging taxpayer money toward providing lawyers for immigrants who can't afford their own. But such help only aids those detainees whose deportation cases are assigned to courts in those areas.

"What brings good results is access to family and access to counsel and access to evidence, and when you're in a far off location without those things, the likelihood of ICE winning and the person being denied due process increase dramatically," said Conor Gleason, an immigration attorney at The Bronx Defenders in New York.

Romniel, who asked that his last name not be used for privacy reasons, said he quickly could have lost everything without a lawyer.

A native of the Dominican Republic and a U.S. green card holder, Romniel, 53, was picked up by ICE agents during an early morning raid at his New York home in 2015. He was sent to the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey.

"It was like a nightmare," Romniel said in Spanish during an interview. "It's very important to have a lawyer to defend yourself, because I didn't know anything about immigration law. I didn't know what was happening to me."

Gleason, who was paid by a local government program to assist Romniel, tracked down 17 years of his tax records, compiled 21 letters of support from family and community members, coordinated a psychosocial evaluation by a social worker and submitted research on the harsh treatment of deportees sent back to the Dominican Republic.

In court, Gleason argued that Romniel's positive contributions to society - his full-time employment as a maintenance and security person, his consistent payment of taxes, his family ties - outweighed the harm of a single drug conviction from several years earlier.

After more than four months in detention, an immigration judge ruled in Romniel's favor, allowing him to return to his family in New York. In September, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Advocates and lawyers for immigrants worry such happy endings will become even more uncommon as detentions ramp up.

Saba Ahmed, a staff lawyer at the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition in Washington, D.C., said a detainee she recently advised, a middle-aged man with a green card, was scooped up and sent to a Maryland detention facility in March because ICE agents wrongly believed he was a convicted robber - making him eligible for deportation.

When Ahmed met the man during a visit to the detention center about two weeks later, she realized that the government had meant to pick up someone else with the same name, and she helped secure his release.

"He didn't have access to do an online search to prove it wasn't him," Ahmed said. "All he could say was, 'It's not me.' You can't just go on Google. You don't have smartphones. There's really no access."

Immigrants, even those with the proper papers, can get locked up by ICE for a variety of reasons. Some are detained soon after crossing the border; others come to ICE's attention after an arrest (whether or not they're convicted of a crime). Federal agents have also swept up undocumented people in the proximity of raids targeting a specific person. Others have shown up for a scheduled check-in with ICE and are taken into custody instead.

Once in detention, even those with strong cases are at a disadvantage. Phone calls from inside the facilities can be expensive, lawyers said, limiting detainees' contact with people who can help with their cases, such as community members for letters of support or officials who can send them corroborating records.

Many detention centers have law libraries with outdated materials. Without updated resources, detainees can't research the current conditions in their countries of origin, which can be a crucial component of their defense if they fear violence or persecution there, lawyers said.

And even if they don't speak English, all detainees without lawyers must compile their own legal documents and get them translated into English, a requirement for all paperwork submitted to immigration courts. Individuals must find translators on their own, attorneys said, and they sometimes rely on fellow detainees who know more English to help fill out forms.

ICE Authorized Facility List (from February 2017); List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers (Executive Office for Immigration Review); Interviews with NIJC staff

Emory University School of Law adjunct professor Shana Tabak, who works with law students to represent immigrants facing deportation, said she typically puts together asylum packages of at least 200 pages containing documentary evidence, affidavits, testimony and expert opinions. "There's no way a client who is detained and who does not have an attorney could put together that sort of evidence in order to advocate for him or herself and successfully win an asylum claim," she said.

Perhaps as a result, 32 percent of detained immigrants with lawyers apply for asylum or other legal protections from deportation, whereas only 3 percent of detainees without lawyers do the same, according to the University of Pennsylvania Law Review study.

Ahmed, who has been working with detainees for 2 1/2 years, said some immigrants don't realize that their life circumstances may qualify them for legal relief.

One man from El Salvador, she said, initially told her that he'd fled to the United States after gang members threatened to kill him if he didn't give them money. After a few meetings, the man revealed he'd been thrown out of his family's home because he was gay and had been repeatedly sexually abused by gang members.

"This is someone who had been persecuted and feared for his life, and would not have been able to avail himself of asylum if someone had not explained, 'This is how asylum works,' and then represented him," Ahmed said.

After about five months in detention, she said, the man won his asylum case last October.

But even when detainees are linked up with attorneys, the geography of the detention system can make representing them challenging.

Arcenio, who asked that his last name not be used, was picked up in February and sent to Boone County Jail in Burlington, Kentucky, said Ted Farrell, his Louisville-based lawyer. He had a prior deportation order on his record and said he was fleeing death threats from Guatemalan gang members who opposed his political views. Farrell wanted to make sure that the 41-year-old would get the right kind of interview with the asylum office and that he would have time to prepare him for it over the phone.

But after five days in detention, Farrell said, Arcenio was sent to a facility in Brazil, Indiana. Farrell made an appointment to talk with him there, but on the day it was scheduled, he was transferred to a facility in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Farrell made a new appointment, but Arcenio was then moved to a different building in the same town. After several days of tracking, Farrell said, he finally got in touch.

Even then, Arcenio's request for an interview was denied. ICE scheduled him to be deported to Guatemala and sent him to yet another detention facility, this one in Kankakee, Illinois, Farrell said.

After multiple phone calls, Farrell learned that immigration agents had requested the wrong type of interview with the asylum office. ICE acknowledged its mistake and took Arcenio off the manifest for a flight back to Guatemala, Farrell said. Arcenio passed his initial screening in March and is now waiting in detention to make his full case before an immigration judge later this month.

Meanwhile, he is still being held in Kankakee, a four-hour drive from Farrell's office. They can only speak by phone with 24 hours' advance notice, Farrell said, and sometimes they are asked to limit calls to around 15 minutes when there are several people waiting for the phone.

Farrell took on Arcenio's case for a fee. "If he doesn't win, I'm not going to go chase him down in Guatemala and make him pay," Farrell said. "I'm sure there are attorneys out there who just won't take a detained case or a potential detained case, because of the risk that they won't ever get paid."

Most free or low-cost legal help currently goes to detained mothers and children through such programs as the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project in Texas, immigration lawyers said. The project brings in about a dozen volunteer lawyers, law students and interpreters from around the country to serve one-week stints at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, about 75 miles from San Antonio. The volunteers help mothers who have fled sexual abuse, violence or other conditions in their home countries prepare for initial asylum interviews. They also represent families in bond hearings. A small group of staff rotates through Dilley to provide administrative support.

The program is able to advise nearly all of the families who pass through the detention center, according to Crystal Massey, one of the project's coordinators. Another legal aid program that provides similar services exists 95 miles away at a family detention facility in Karnes City, Texas. Once families are released from either place, they must find their own lawyers to handle the rest of their asylum cases.

Since Trump's vow to increase deportations, newer efforts to provide legal help to detainees have accelerated, but they remain unevenly distributed across the country.

Since 2013, New York City has provided lawyers for detained immigrants unable to afford them. This year, the program expanded to cover detainees with cases in immigration courts throughout New York. The state was the first in the country to guarantee representation for its indigent detained immigrant population, but last month Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city should not provide legal aid to immigrants with certain criminal records.

In December, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a $10 million fund - half from taxpayer dollars, half from foundations - to support immigrants facing deportation. But a city council committee voted in March to exclude most individuals with violent criminal convictions. A statewide effort, which promises $12 million toward legal support, passed the California Senate last month with a similar exception.

In San Francisco, nonprofit groups have secured initial private funding to take on 180 cases per year on behalf of detained immigrants, said Valerie Zukin, a lawyer with the Bar Association of San Francisco who is helping coordinate the new efforts. Starting in June, the city's public defender office will support another three lawyers who will work exclusively on detained deportation defense cases.

And there is help coming to Lumpkin, too. A $1 million project led by the Southern Poverty Law Center started hosting volunteer lawyers last month to spend a week at a time representing eligible detainees at their bond hearings. Eventually volunteers will represent detained immigrants throughout their deportation cases, but even that effort will initially focus on detainees with the strongest cases, said Dan Werner, the attorney who is overseeing the program.

As for Rosenbluth, the North Carolina lawyer now lives in Lumpkin full time, save for the occasional weekend visit to his spouse back home. His house in Lumpkin is five minutes from the detention center and the mortgage costs about $95 a month, he said - cheaper than if he stayed for a night at a hotel.

"It takes a certain personality type to be willing to move to the middle of nowhere," said Rosenbluth, who is currently working on about 15 detained cases. "To be in the courtroom, and reading the judge's face and reading the trial attorney's face, it makes all the difference."

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

-

Previously:

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

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

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

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

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

* Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

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

* Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families.

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

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

-

Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:48 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

I've got a full day ahead, so no proper column.

ICYMI: Michael Ferro is giving us all tronchitis.

-

Immigrants In Detention Centers Are Often Hundreds Of Miles From Legal Help
Many detainees across three states must rely on a single legal aid center in Chicago.

-

BeachBook

This Is How Your Government Responds To Unfavorable News Coverage.

*

FOIA Seeking CPD Staffing Analysis.

*

Police Departments Across The Country Are Spending Millions On Riot Gear.

*

JB Pritzker Welcomes You To His Team.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

I couldn't think of anything funny to say about this because it's so absurd.

*

*

#Evergreen.

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Now is the time.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:22 AM | Permalink

May 17, 2017

The [Wednesday] Papers

"There is, as my colleague David Brooks wrote Tuesday, a basic childishness to the man who now occupies the presidency. That is the simplest way of understanding what has come tumbling into light in the last few days: The presidency now has kinglike qualities, and we have a child upon the throne," Ross Douthat writes for the New York Times.

This hasn't just come tumbling into the light, it's been right in front of us the whole time. Donald Trump built much of his campaign around attacking his opponents with childish nicknames such as "Crooked Hillary" and gleefully repeating gibes such as naming Clinton and Barack Obama the "co-MVPs" of ISIS.

To write now of the man's essential childishness as a revelation is to have slept through the whole campaign.

At least the media is no longer waiting for Trump to "pivot."

Tronchitis
"Chicago Tribune parent Tronc is seeking to purchase archrival Chicago Sun-Times, perhaps to finally combine the city's two newspaper companies if they can win Justice Department approval," Crain's reports.

"Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said in an interview that he thinks the Justice Department 'will clear us to close the transaction,' assuming no other buyers come forward within the next 15 days. Dearborn declined to say how much the company offered for its competitor.

"I know there will be a lot of emotion around it being the Sun-Times" that we're buying, Dearborn said, explaining that keeping the two newsrooms separate will be essential in winning over readers as Tronc uses this purchase to expand its footprint in an ongoing acquisition effort.

Let me put it another way: Promising to keep two separate newsrooms will be essential to winning quick Justice Department approval while maintaining a relatively calming PR stance. In time, Tronc owner Michael Ferro isn't likely to countenance the "duplication" that could instead be synergized. That's what transactions like this are all about, given that joint operating agreements have gone out of style - unless Ferro intends to run the Sun-Times as an expensive skunkworks or turn it into a celebrity-laden New York Post-style tabloid.

Either way, the end result is not likely to be good.

*

Former Sun-Times political reporter Natasha Korecki, who now writes Politico Illinois' Playbook:

"[W]hat about editorial and editorial board independence? Ferro didn't have a great track record in that area while at the Sun-Times (I was a reporter at the paper for at least part of the time Ferro was there)."

Do tell!

*

This is a good time to remind everyone that we still don't know the whole story behind the Dave McKinney affair. As far as I can determine, McKinney posted a statement online and hasn't answered questions about it since - even as he appears on the local airways. Is there a "gentleman's agreement" among the media that he not be asked?

Also, from the link above, which is a Greg Hinz column from 2014:

"My colleague Rich Miller has his own thoughts, which will publish later today. Check out his piece about how he was dismissed by the Sun-Times after penning a column critical of Mr. Rauner."

Again, unless I missed it (and please tell me if I did), Miller never posted any such column. Maybe now would be a good time to do so.

In fact, now would be a good time for anyone with a story to tell to do so.

*

Also, from just one of several former Sun-Times employees with similar sentiments:

If anyone who worked with Ferro at the Sun-Times or now with the Tribune has anything good to say about him, I have yet to hear it. But then, I haven't been following Susanna Homan's public comments.

*

The Tribune editorial board is besides itself with glee, pride and unflagging optimism, though.

Before we explore what would happen next, savor the importance of preserving what metropolitan Chicago now enjoys: thriving competition between two large news organizations that know they serve readers best by trying to outdo each other. Whether a story is breaking or waiting to be discovered, neither Sun-Times nor Tribune journalists want to finish second - in accuracy, in timeliness, in impact on readers' lives. When news is happening, each of those rival tribes wants you to turn to its coverage first. Same for opinion pieces on how Chicagoans should react to the news. The same for sports stories, the same for business or jobs developments, the same for arts coverage - the same, even, for comics.

But Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro and the company's executive leaders have stepped up, providing more certainty that the Sun-Times will continue to compete and publish. That's excellent news. Closure of the Sun-Times would profoundly weaken news and opinion journalism in Chicago. It would undercut the competitive atmosphere that we embrace - and that every Chicagoan should want to nourish.

But wait, wouldn't joint ownership of both dailies kill that competitive environment?

In a word, no. Not if the rival newsrooms and editorial boards remain independent, as we trust they would.

Does the board not read the papers they see competing so vigorously against each other? Did they miss the McKinney affair or the sordid return of the Sun-Times to the endorsement business just in time to help Ferro's pal Bruce Rauner?

I've always wondered if, when given the job of Tribune editor, Bruce Dold asked Ferro about the McKinney affair, and other rumblings of interference with the Sun-Times political team, and sought assurances of the sort of independence the paper's board now feels so confident in.

*

See also: The Chicago End-Times.

*

Back to Crain's:

"Wrapports said in a statement that it agreed to enter the discussions, after exhausting local alternatives and those outside the city, as the best means to keep operating and remain a separate newspaper voice in Chicago. In a separate statement, Tronc said it argued to the Justice Department that the acquisition is the 'best way to preserve multiple editorial voices for the greater Chicago area.'"

In other words, Wrapports couldn't find anyone else interested in buying the Sun-Times; Tronc was a last resort.

"Gannett, Shaw Media and the Daily Herald were among the newspaper companies that considered buying the Chicago Sun-Times, but all of them took a pass," Crain's reported separately.

*

"Last year, the Justice Department blocked an attempt by Tribune Publishing, as Tronc was then called, to purchase the parent of the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press-Enterprise in Southern California, saying the $56 million acquisition of the bankrupt Freedom Communications would eliminate competition and injure readers and advertisers. But that antitrust lawsuit was filed under President Barack​ Obama's administration. President Donald Trump's administration has demonstrated, for instance with recent regulatory changes at the Federal Communications Commission, that it's more likely to be sympathetic to arguments that 21st-century digital alternatives will maintain competition."

That belies an understanding of what really represents competition in journalism. With the pending debut of ProPublica Illinois, the investigative work of the Better Government Association, and newer entities such as the South Side Weekly, there are additional sources of some kinds of news in the city that folks can turn to. But those supplement the work of the daily newspaper, which is still the bulwark on the front lines.

Now, if some of those folks got together to create one larger digital news organization, then we'd have something going. That kind of operation could even include the best of the talent at the Sun-Times while the rest of the paper could be left to finally die it's long-predicted death at the hands of looters and charlatans with embarrassing to non-existent business strategies that left it unsustainable. (That includes Michael Ferro!)

*

The real dream for the Sun-Times has been that a civic savior would step forward who could properly invest in it. Unfortunately, J.B. Pritzker is running for governor instead.

*

"Ultimately, the acquisition made economic sense only to Tronc because of a printing and distribution agreement it has with the Sun-Times and because no other company wants to be a No. 2 player in Chicago battling the dominant Tribune, said Bruce Sagan, chairman of a management committee leader the Sun-Times.

"There is real economic advantage if the Sun-Times stays alive for the Tribune company because we are an integral part of their existing business," Sagan said.

So they can pay themselves to print and distribute the paper?

By my reckoning, the Sun-Times is ultimately more valuable dead to Tronc than alive. Who wouldn't want a monopoly?

Then again . . .

*

Crain's:

"While there wasn't any threat of the Sun-Times collapsing anytime soon, there was some urgency for doing a deal because the Sun-Times has a building lease that ends this year, the sources said."

Hmmm. I can't say for sure, but from what I understand the paper has been close to financial collapse at least once in the last few years.

*

"The Wrapports board assessed whether the Sun-Times was strong enough to survive on its own in the digital era, and it determined that the paper had to be part of another company, Sagan said."

In other words, the board admitted that it had no idea how to run the business. Maybe a better idea would have been to get a different board. Or, maybe this was the plan all along when Ferro bought what used to be called the Tribune Company.

*

"Much of the Tronc cost-cutting at the Sun-Times is likely to come in sales and back-office functions like accounting and marketing, though Sagan doesn't expect the reductions to be significant. He and Publisher Jim Kirk declined to say how many employees the Sun-Times has today, but it's likely fewer than 150 workers after several rounds of reductions over the past decade."

Kirk is also the editor. The editor of a newspaper refused to say how many employees it has - even as reporters have fought, for example, with the Chicago Police Department to determine how many officers it has. Proposal: News organizations should be subject to FOIA.

*

From another former Sun-Timeser:

Boy, I really won't ever work in this town again . . .

*

From a Reader writer:

*

Finally:

-

Small Donor Bill Passes State Senate
"A similar system has existed in New York City for decades and has been adopted by other jurisdictions in recent years."

-

Chicagoan Wins 8-Ball Classic
Advances to national finals, as does an Atlanta, Illinoisan.

-

BeachBook

On United Airlines And The Downside Of Secret Settlements.

See also: United Is Too Tight.

*

'I'm Just Here To Win Football Games,' Says 22-Year-Old Draft Pick Who Will Get Everyone Fired.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Crash course.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:20 AM | Permalink

Small Donor Matching System Bill Passes State Senate

The Illinois Senate voted 31-23 to lessen the influence of big money in Illinois elections by passing Senate Bill 1424. The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Daniel Biss and championed by good government groups Fair Elections Illinois, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and Illinois Public Interest Research Group, would create a small donor matching system, wherein candidates would be eligible to receive public matching funds for small contributions by voluntarily agreeing to forgo big money and corporate contributions. A similar system has existed in New York City for decades and has been adopted by other jurisdictions in recent years.

"After Citizens United, there is little we can do to limit candidates funding their campaigns by relying on a small number of mega-donors" said Illinois PIRG director Abe Scarr. "However, we can level the playing field by raising the voices of ordinary Americans through small donor matching programs. Small donor matching programs allow candidates who have broad support from voters but don't have access to, or choose not to curry favor with, big money to compete and win against big money candidates."

Public opinion polls consistently find that voters of all political backgrounds want to reduce the influence of big money in politics. Seventeen states have passed resolutions urging congress to take action to amend the constitution to overturn Citizens United, including Illinois where it passed with bipartisan support. Amending the constitution is a long and difficult process, and small donor programs allow cities and states to act now to lessen the influence of big money in elections.

There are successful, proven models to empower small donors so that their voices play a more central role in our democracy. For example, in New York City's 2013 city council campaigns, small donors were responsible for 61% of participating candidates' contributions when funds from a matching program are included. All but two of the winning candidates participated in the program, showing that candidates are able to raise the money they need to win without looking for large-dollar contributions.

Voters in Chicago voted overwhelmingly in 2015 to support a small donor matching program in city elections. Illinois PIRG Education Fund released reports in 2015 documenting the influence of big money on the aldermanic and mayoral elections.

SB1424 now moves to the Illinois House where Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy will be the chief sponsor.

-

Previously in small donor matching:
* The Secret Money Machine.

* lllinois' Top Campaign Corrupters.

* Illinois: The King Of Dark Money.

* Rahm Biggest Campaign Fund Cheater; Used Loopholes To Keep Donations Secret.

* Former Illinois Congressional Candidate Sues IRS In Quest To Bar Political Ads Funded By Dark Money Groups.

* Your Government Now Brought To You By 1% Of The 1%.

* A Few Rich People Vs. The Rest Of Us In Illinois' Governor's Race.

* 17 Mega-Donors Vs. Everyone Else.

* Rapid Rise In Super PACs Dominated By Single Donors.

* Chicago Mayoral Election Dominated By Big, Out Of Town Money.

* Big Money Dominated Chicago Mayoral Elections.

* New Study Shows Potential Impact Of A Small Donor Matching Program On 2016 Presidential Race.

* TV Ads To Illinois U.S. Senate Candidates: Knock It Off.

* Which 2016 Presidential Candidates Would Win And Lose Under A Small Donor Matching Program?

* How The Cook County State's Attorney's Race Would Be Reshaped By A Small Donor Program.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

May 16, 2017

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Ty Segall at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.


-

2. The Old 97s at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

-

3. Lincoln Durham at Township on Saturday night.

-

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

I'm dusting off the old ghosts now, and they're giving me a run for my money.

-

5. Charly Bliss at Schubas on Saturday night.

-

6. Los Black Dogs at the Comfort Station on Saturday night.

-

7. The Handcuffs at Livewire on Saturday night.

-

8. The Collectors at Livewire on Saturday night.

-

9. Mastodon at the Aragon on Sunday night.

-

10. Rival Sons at House of Blues on Sunday night.

-

11. Ian Hunter at the Park West on Saturday night.

-

12. The Cult at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond on Saturday night.

-

13. Dean at the Vic on Sunday night.

-

Catching up with . . .

Soft Jolts at Fireside Bowl on May 5.

-

Stomatopod at Fireside Bowl on May 5.

-

Suzi Analogue at the Empty Bottle on May 9.

-

Demdike Stare at the Empty Bottle on May 9.

-

Anthony Janas at Elastic on May 7.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:00 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

I wish I had time today - boy, do I! - to get to the Tronc bid to acquire Wrapports, owner of the Sun-Times and the Reader, but I don't. So I'll just leave you with this reminder of that infamous Tronc training video.

Ooops, it's gone!

Hopefully tomorrow I can piece something together. In the meantime, here's some other stuff.

-

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Ty Segall, The Old 97s, Lincoln Durham, Poi Dog Pondering, Charly Bliss, Los Black Dogs, The Handcuffs, The Collectors, Mastodon, Rival Sons, Ian Hunter, The Cult, Dean, Soft Jolts, Stomatopod, Suzi Analogue, Demdike Stare, and Anthony Janas.

-

The Trews: Cozy Propaganda
What happens when pols sit on the couch, visit The View, do Fallon.

-

Chicago's Fabulous Fountains
Noteworthy, amusing and surprising stories about these gems.

-

United Is Too Tight
"'Tightness' describes a specific type of workplace culture, one that's filled with rules so absolute that employees must follow them to the letter. In contrast, when an organization has fewer standardized rules, entrusting workers to improvise on the job, it has a culture of 'looseness.' Think startups like Airbnb, where employees bring their dogs to work or take impromptu breaks in a spaceship-themed game room.

"United is at the opposite end of this continuum. And simply put, if it does not curtail its tightness, we can expect more turbulence ahead."

-

BeachBook

Obama's Deportation Policy Was Even Worse Than We Thought.

*

The Autocrat's Language.

*

Workers say Walmart descriminated against thousands of pregnant workers, including here in Illinois.

*

Logan Square Experiences Cultural Revival (For Gentrifiers).

*

How Tax Breaks Are Helping The Richest U.S. Colleges Get Richer.

*

Burger King Got Caught In A Whopper.

*

Bumble Bee Caught In Tuna Price-Fixing Case.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

He acts as if he didn't have a huge spin machine, as well as a historic hostility to the press that was the worst in decades before Trump.

*

Were they "in offices" or "among offices?"

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Monopolistic.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Fabulous Fountains

Most people do not realize it, but Chicago is home to many diverse, artistic, fascinating, and architecturally and historically important fountains.

In this attractive volume, Greg Borzo reveals more than one hundred outdoor public fountains of Chicago with noteworthy, amusing, or surprising stories about these gems.

Complementing Borzo's engagingly written text are around one hundred beautiful fine-art color photos of the fountains, taken by photographer Julia Thiel for this book, and a smaller number of historical photos.


*

A map of the fountains.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:12 AM | Permalink

The Trews: Cozy Propaganda

When pols sit on the couch, visit The View, do Fallon.


-

Previously in The Trews, like the news if the news were true:
* What Should We Think About CIA Torture?

* CIA Torture: Guantanamo Bay Prisoner Lifts Lid.

* Coca-Cola's Christmas Commercial.

* The Sainsbury Christmas Ad.

* Who Is Our Real Common Enemy?

* Budweiser's Super Bowl Commercial.

* About Those Super Bowl Ads.

* Government Spying: Who's The Biggest Threat To Your Security?

* Ferguson's Minstrels.

* If Politics Is Dead, Is The Election Its Funeral?

* Is Rupert Murdoch More Powerful Than Your Vote?

* What Does It Mean To Support The Troops?

* Am I Mad Enough To Crash A Plane Into A Mountain?

* The Trews' Final Episode: On Cyclical, Scripted Journalism.

Note: Not so final; The Trews has been rebooted!

* Obama's Kinder, Gentler Machine Gun Hand.

* The Trews About Manning, McCain & O'Reilly.

* The Trews: How Did Trump's Muslim Ban Happen?

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:38 AM | Permalink

United Is Too Tight

Is there something wrong with the culture at United Airlines?

A series of recent incidents have reinforced this view, from the horrifying moment when security officers violently dragged a passenger off a plane in April to a more recent incident in which an airline employee canceled a man's flight after he began taping their heated exchange.

The airline has reacted to its PR debacles by profusely apologizing and vowing to revise its customer service policies. But changing a few rules won't be enough. Our research suggests the critical source of United's failure is its overly "tight" organizational culture.

"Tightness" describes a specific type of workplace culture, one that's filled with rules so absolute that employees must follow them to the letter. In contrast, when an organization has fewer standardized rules, entrusting workers to improvise on the job, it has a culture of "looseness." Think startups like Airbnb, where employees bring their dogs to work or take impromptu breaks in a spaceship-themed game room.

United is at the opposite end of this continuum. And simply put, if it does not curtail its tightness, we can expect more turbulence ahead.

unitedtight1.jpgUnited CEO Oscar Munoz, left, and United President Scott Kirby testified before Congress on May 2/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A High-Threat Industry

Our research shows that most differences between tight and loose cultures - whether among nations or companies - can be explained by their perception of threat.

When entities face potential danger and require a tremendous amount of coordination, they are more likely to tighten up and establish strict rules. For example, Singapore, with its population density of over 18,000 people per square mile and lack of national resources, needs more rules for survival. It's one of the reasons why citizens are fined incessantly for spitting and playing loud music, and why they ban chewing gum.

Countries that have fewer existential threats, like New Zealand, require less coordination and can afford to be more permissive, adaptive and innovative. Those unfamiliar to New Zealand might be bemused to visit and see people walking barefoot in banks
or witness the "National Wizard," appointed by a former prime minister to cheer up the population, chanting spells for rugby games and hatching himself from gigantic eggs.

The tight-loose distinction doesn't just apply to nations; the same logic applies to organizations.

United has a tight culture for understandable reasons. It operates in a high-threat industry where mistakes can mean death. Annoying reminders about mundane matters like how to use a seat belt reflect this relentless commitment to safety procedures. And many federal regulations govern what airlines can do and even say.

Other high-threat sectors such as nuclear power plants, the military and the police have cultivated similarly tight organizational cultures. And for good reason: We don't want our surgeons, soldiers or pilots to take a free-spirited approach to their jobs.

But excessive tightness can also be highly detrimental. Left unchecked, organizations can become overly repressive, with employees having very little discretion and blindly following rules. United clearly took its tight culture too far.

tight2.jpgGovernment regulations require airlines to say and do certain things before any flight/Adnan Abidi, AP

Following The 'Book'

Returning to the April incident that sparked United's problems, why did no crew member step up to de-escalate the situation before David Dao was dragged away? From a tightness perspective, the answer is clear: Employees were all following the "book" and too fearful to challenge company protocol.

United workers, according to insiders, quickly learn that challenging rules risks getting fired. A former United executive told the Wall Street Journal that CEO Oscar Munoz, until this very incident, probably had no idea "how rule-based the employees are." In other words, the tightness at United became too extreme.

Beyond its settlement with Dao and its public apologies, United must grapple with a far deeper challenge: how to create a culture that is adaptively tight. What we mean by this is a culture that balances the need for rules and coordination to minimize danger with the strengths of a loose culture that can adapt when the status quo is not working.

Munoz's efforts to respond to its problems so far include testifying before Congress and publishing a report last month listing the changes the airline will make to company policies. In another reassuring sign, Munoz told ABC that he plans to provide employees with "the proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use their common sense."

United also announced that it will create an external "customer solutions team" that specializes in providing creative answers to crew members dealing with challenging situations.

Loosening Up

While laudable, these initiatives are not sufficient to transform United's organization on a cultural level, something that happened to JetBlue in 2007.

The airline infamously kept passengers on a plane on the tarmac for as long as 11 hours due to a weather-related delay, an incident that pushed the airline to re-evaluate its corporate culture. It began by restructuring to empower low-level personnel. Flight attendants, for instance, are now authorized to solve customer service issues on their own without consulting rules or superiors if they can be easily resolved.

While mistakes will still be made, introducing looseness into employee training enabled the company to better adapt to customer needs and improve services.

Giving up control is a challenge for tight cultures, but luckily, this does not mean United must throw out all its rules. The fact is many of the rules that induce its cultural tightness deliver efficiency and keep passengers safe.

Moderation is key. Where possible, United should assess its protocols and see where it can introduce more discretion, empowering workers to be adaptive.

Introducing looseness into a traditionally tight culture can be fraught with turbulence. But with lasting commitment from senior leadership, it can be done.

Michele Gelfand is a professor and Distinguished University Scholar Teacher at the University of Maryland. Virginia Choi is a research associate in psychology at the University of Maryland. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

-

Comments welcome.

-

1. From Steve Rhodes:

I hate seeing things referred to as PR debacles/problems when it's not the image that's the problem but the actual underlying issue. it's not an image makeover that needs to occur in order to manipulate people into thinking differently about the airlines, it's the actual behavior of the company that needs changing. Let "image" follow that and reflect reality.

To be clear, this article does recommend real change, though I think it might be giving senior executives including Munoz too much credit. But as a general framework, it bothers me, just as the inevitable articles after any debacle or scandal that ask PR experts what should be done as essentially a deceptive quick fix instead of examining the actual economic structures and deeply embedded cynical corporate behaviors that so often spark the behaviors in question.

Also, let's not justify the ridiculous rules of Singapore, a quasi-fascist state.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:17 AM | Permalink

Chicagoan Wins 8-Ball Classic, Advances To National Finals

A Chicago resident is $15,000 richer after a recent visit to Sin City. But his good fortune didn't happen in the casino. Benjamin Almazan won the 2017 APA 8-Ball Classic Pool Championship earlier this month in Las Vegas.

Almazan was amongst nearly 6,000 pool players throughout North America who attempted to qualify for the American Poolplayer Association's 8-Ball Classic. He was one of only 582 who advanced to the national finals at the Westgate Resort & Casino.

1st-Yellow-BenAlmazan.jpeg

Almazan competed in the Yellow Tier of the 8-Ball Classic and received a prize package worth $15,000 and ultimate bragging rights upon returning home to his local poolroom. The 8-Ball Classic featured five individual tiers all based on skill level.

Almazan is a member of the South Chicagoland APA that includes more than 500 players and nearly 150 teams.

The 8-Ball Classic, held May 5-7, was part of the APA's Poolplayer Championships which featured five divisions of individual and doubles competition, nearly 2,300 total players and more than $650,000 in prize money.

The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world's largest amateur pool league, known as the APA Pool League throughout the United States, and as the Canadian Pool League in Canada. Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9‑Ball League play. The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.

The APA produces three major tournaments each year - the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship - that, together, pay out nearly $2 million in cash and prizes annually.

-

Another local winner: Taplia Renfrow of Atlanta, Illinois.

1st-Blue-TapliaRenfrow.jpeg

*

Also: Michelle Templeton of Carbondale.

1st-green-templeton.jpeg

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 AM | Permalink

May 15, 2017

Alarming Weirdness

Let's just put it this way: The White Sox and Padres won't be facing off in a World Series any time soon.

That was only one takeaway after a weekend that saw the Sox win a couple of games to end their six-game losing streak. Of course, they got lots of help as the National Leaguers were more than accommodating during two of the more bizarre games you'll ever see.
All of which left the Padres with baseball's worst mark of 14-25, which seems fitting after watching these guys play. If this is what rebuilding looks like, the San Diegans have barely broken ground.

The Padres strode into town last Friday evening and more or less silenced the Sox bats in a 6-3 win. To kick off the weekend weirdness, Miguel Gonzalez's first pitch of the game was hit into the left field seats by former Cub Matt Szczur. If not for Leury Garcia's two home runs - the kid had hit a total of four in his previous 183 games - the local group would have been shut out.

On Saturday, more than 29,000 fans jammed the park for a chance to see these two developing ballclubs. Well, that's not really true. The giveaway of Hawk Harrelson alarm clocks was the real draw. This morning eBay had 59 listings for this prize gem, one asking $500 or best offer. Let's just hope the best offer is something like $19.95.

After Hawk and his family threw out the ceremonial first pitches, Dylan Covey's very first offering yielded the same result as Gonzalez's the night before. This time the culprit was Manuel Margot, whose drive landed about 10 feet inside the right field foul pole.

The last time home runs were hit on the first pitch of consecutive games occurred in 2007 when the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano did it. However, Fonzi didn't accomplish the feat two days in a row; the first one came on a Wednesday at Wrigley Field against Cincinnati, and the second after an off-day on Thursday, against the Pirates that Friday. The day off might have helped.

On the other hand, Soriano was accustomed to leadoff homers: he hit 54 of them in his career. Szczur and Margot are not exactly household names. Yet they matched Soriano's feat, contributing to the weirdness of the series.

Covey, a University of San Diego product, entered the game with an 8.28 ERA over his five starts. However, he settled down admirably after Margot's homer, striking out the side in the first and eventually fanning nine Padres before departing with one out in the fifth inning, the bases loaded, and the score tied at 2. Anthony Swarzak, baseball's best relief pitcher at the moment, was touched for a sacrifice fly by Wil Myers before retiring the side and pitching a perfect sixth.

The Sox had tied the game in the fourth in a most unconventional manner - but not so unusual in youth baseball for, say, 12-year-olds. Jose Abreu reached on an error and came around on three wild pitches from Trevor Cahill. Many runs will be scored in a similar manner in Chicago parks this summer.

Let's pause here and check out Swarzak, who bounced around the American League for seven seasons before the Sox signed him in January. In 14 relief appearances covering 18-plus innings this spring, the righthander has been touched for just three hits while walking two and striking out 21. His WHIP is 0.273. If there has been a more effective relief pitcher this season, let him step forward now. Wade Davis and Andrew Miller are close, but still have yielded more hits and walks.

Tommy Kahnle followed Swarzak on Saturday. Kahnle is another reason that only Cleveland has had a more effective bullpen than the White Sox over the season's first six weeks. However, a 98 mph fastball that buzzed Myers' ears may have awakened the Pads' first baseman because he sent the very next pitch out of the park for a 4-4 tie. Not exactly weird but certainly alarming at the time.

However, a seventh consecutive loss was averted when Yolmer Sanchez's single up the middle just barely scored a sliding Tyler Saladino with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth for the first walkoff win of the season for the boys.

The usual hijinks following a last at-bat victory was somewhat muted since the Padres challenged the call at the plate. Yes, Sanchez and Saladino engaged in a joyful man hug, and there was a lot of jumping around, but things calmed down quickly as the umpires donned the ever-present headphones before officially declaring the game over, all in keeping with the uniqueness of the weekend.

Oh, by the way, Sox pitchers struck out 17 batters in the victory. The major league record is 20, a mark not shared by the Sox. So if this wasn't the most strikeouts by Sox pitchers in a game, it certainly was close. This also was the second time this season that the Padres have fanned 17 times. Only three teams in MLB have whiffed more. Conversely, the San Diego crew is tied for fourth in home runs.

It was the home run again on Sunday that put the Sox in a 3-1 hole after Hunter Renfroe, another young prospect in the San Diego rebuild, tagged a Jose Quintana pitch with two men on in the top of the seventh. Quintana was clinging to a 1-0 lead, a run that scored in the first inning after the Sox loaded the bases with no one out against former Los Angeles Angel Jered Weaver, who is trying to hang on with the Padres this season.

In 11 seasons with the Angels, Weaver was 12-2 with a 1.89 ERA against the Sox, so you can imagine that, despite being 0-4 with an 8.19 ERA, he wasn't exactly reluctant to take his turn in the rotation in the series finale. At age 34 with arm ailments behind him, Weaver no longer is the guy who led the AL in strikeouts in 2010. On Sunday, radar clocked him no quicker than 84 mph, and his tantalizing breaking balls were reaching the plate in the low to mid-70s. And the Sox couldn't do a thing with him for six innings.

Meanwhile, the fumbling White Sox botched two outfield pop-ups, the first when two Garcias, Avi and Leury, lost a high fly in the fourth inning. Leury at least had the wherewithal to hustle the ball to Saladino, who then nailed Myers trying to advance from first to third. In the top of the eighth, Sanchez called off Avi in short right and then couldn't corral Myers' towering pop-up. Manager Rick Renteria has said on a number of occasions that the Sox were going to play "clean" baseball. Hmmm. This was anything but.

However, the Padres were not going depart Chicago without leaving a grand gift. Reliever Ryan Buchter entered to pitch the eighth inning. After getting the first out, he walked Sanchez and Abreu before shortstop Luis Sardinas bobbled Avi Garcia's grounder to load the bases. Buchter then walked Todd Frazier on five pitches to bring the Sox within a run.

San Diego manager Andy Green did what most managers would do. He summoned his closer Brandon Maurer for a five-out save. Renteria countered with pinch hitter Melky Cabrera, who had a rare day off. Melky drove a grounder between first and second, the Sox first hit of the inning, giving the home crew a 4-3 lead.

Then in what will be one of the stranger plays this season, Saladino popped up a bunt that Myers caught at first base. However, Wil nonchalantly turned his back to the infield, which was something that Frazier, who was on third, noticed immediately as he made a break for the plate, easily beating Myers' errant throw.

Two walks, a hit batter, singles by Willy Garcia and Sanchez and a double by Leury Garcia followed as the White Sox put up an eight-spot for a 9-3 lead.

Reliever David Holmberg got the last three outs amid fans joyously do The Wave which lasted more than five minutes.

So there you have it. A Mother's Day Weekend with first-pitch homers, alarm clocks, a challenged walk-off win, lost pop-ups, a streak for home, and a liberal amount of philanthropy by the visiting team.

Next up is a 10-game road trip out west to Anaheim, Seattle, and Phoenix. Let the weirdness continue.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:23 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Just now catching up with last week's Sun-Times report "For J.B. Pritzker, Mansion's Disrepair Has Saved $230K In Taxes."

I recommend clicking through to read the whole thing; I won't summarize the basic gist of it here, so go do that first. I just want to point out the parts that really caught my eye about this billionaire behaving badly.

"The assessor based his decision on an appraisal done by a company hired by the billionaire, who refused to let the appraisers inside the home out of concerns for the security of his family."

What does that mean? What security concerns? That the assessors would plant bugs?

"Berrios agreed to cut the assessment on Pritzker's 113-year-old home based on sales of nearby homes as well as the appraisal from Renzi & Associates, whose appraisers weren't allowed inside. Renzi's 2015 appraisal found the mansion is worth $11 million - about $3.5 million less than the company paid for it nine years earlier.

"We relied on the provided information to judge the quality of the interior improvements, number and types of rooms, finishes and any special property features," Renzi noted in the appraisal given to Berrios. "It is an extraordinary assumption that the provided information was accurate and complete enough to validly assess the interior quality and features. The use of this extraordinary assumption could affect the assignment results if it proves to be contrary to the truth."

"Security concerns were the reason the Pritzkers wouldn't allow the appraisers inside their home, according to his campaign, which says this isn't unusual and notes that the appraiser was given photographs of the interior, including the basement spa and third-floor playroom. And the photos were included in the appraisal submitted to Berrios."

Again, what security concerns? That the appraisers would use the spa or make off with toys from the playroom? Couldn't they simply have been escorted?

*

"Both mansions were part of a massive renovation project, whose costs escalated from $11 million to $25 million, according to a lawsuit filed by a contractor who was awarded nearly $1 million in 2013."

Sounds ready for the governorship!

"The Pritzkers had complained the work was shoddy and overpriced. It's unclear how much work was done at the empty mansion."

Sounds ready for the governorship!

*

"Berrios originally set the mansion's value at $6.3 million in 2015. But Pritzker's lawyers convinced him the home was worth just $2.5 million and that the assessment should be cut to $968,000 because it's vacant. Berrios lowered his assessment to slightly less than $1.1 million last year and this year.

"Shaer says Berrios is continuing the county's longstanding policy of lowering assessments on vacant homes deemed uninhabitable because that 'encourages rehab' by providing homeowners and contractors with tax breaks.

"Pritzker's campaign says he plans to rehab the vacant mansion someday."

Someday when he can afford it.

*

"Pritzker, who recently put $7 million of his own money into his campaign fund, wouldn't talk about the two mansions."

This is never good. While you have the constitutional right to stay silent so as to not incriminate yourself in a criminal case, staying silent in the midst of a story like this is wholly self-incriminating. It also gives the lie to any vows of transparency he pledges as governor.

"Instead, his campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen responded with a written statement regarding the tax cut on his residence, saying that resulted from a 'routine appeal,' available to any homeowner."

Any homeowner who buys the home next door and lets it become uninhabitable just to save what amounts to chump change for a billionaire while the city starves for every penny of tax revenue it can get.

*

"[Slayen] didn't answer why Cook County should grant Pritzker tax breaks on a mansion he has left 'vacant and uninhabitable.'"

Slayen isn't from around here, so maybe she truly doesn't know that this is simply how Cook County works.

-

The White Sox Report: Alarming Weirdness
On Saturday, more than 29,000 fans jammed the park for a chance to see these two developing ballclubs. Well, that's not really true. The giveaway of Hawk Harrelson alarm clocks was the real draw.

-

BeachBook

Rauner Again Refuses To Take Any Responsibility For The Impasse.

*

Mexican Beef Exporters Look To Muslim Markets As U.S. Alternatives.

*

Aldi Raises Stakes In Price War With Walmart.

*

The Dark Secret Behind Yoga That Nobody Tells You.

*

The Islamic Jesus.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

I wouldn't exactly call it "well said."

pansies.png

He wasn't talking about flowers . . .

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 6.02.06 AM.png

Plus:

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Flowery.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:41 AM | Permalink

May 13, 2017

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Jesus And Mary Chain at the Vic on Wednesday night.


-

2. Fruit Bats at Schubas on Thursday night.

-

3. Margaret Dollrod's Heartthrob Chassis at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

-

4. Denny Laine at City Winery on Monday night.

-

5. Opeth at the Vic on Tuesday night.

-

6. Gojira at the Vic on Tuesday night.

-

7. Devin Townsend at the Vic on Tuesday night.

-

8. Robbie Krieger at City Winery on Tuesday night.

-

9. Breaking Benjamin at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:08 AM | Permalink

May 12, 2017

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #152: Are The Cubs The 1985 Bears?

World Series hangover. Plus: White Sox Back To Rebuilding; Ronnie Woo-Woo Banned From Wrigley Field Along With Other Nonpaying Customers; The Problem With Mitch Trubisky's Honda Accord; and Bastian Schweinsteiger Already Fed Up With Quality Of MLS - Just Two Months After His Move From Manchester United.


-

SHOW NOTES

* 152.

1:07: What's Wrong With The Cubs?

* 10 Reasons Why It's OK To Panic About The Cubs' Slow Start.

* Fangraphs: What Is Up With The Cubs' Rotation?

* Hendricks vs. Arrieta.

* What's the deal with Mike Montgomery?

* The stinkin' Cardinals are right back in it.

* Matt Szczur Eager For Opportunity As He Joins Padres.

* Miguel Montero Calls Out Mediocre Cubs For Taking Things For Granted.

* ENOUGH.

* Are The Cubs The 1985 Bears?

40:13: White Sox Back To Rebuilding.

* The Story About The Hawk Harrelson Clock.

* Here come the Padres!

44:12: Ronnie Woo-Woo Banned From Wrigley Field Along With Other Nonpaying Customers.

51:42: The Problem With Mitchell Trubisky's Honda Accord.

* Joins Jay Cutler's van, Joe Maddon's RV and crap like this:

55:18: Bastian Schweinsteiger Already Fed Up With Quality Of MLS - Just Two Months After His Move From Manchester United.

-

STOPPAGE: 4:02

-

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:18 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Look Back

Something might be gaining on you.

dontlookback.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

-

More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

-

Helene on Twitter!

-

Meet Helene!

-

Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

-

Listen to Helene talk about Photo Booth; starts at 57:54.

-

Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Housemates.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Have Fresh Goat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartcam.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gaslight.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Urban Wheat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Embassy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln's Cozy Corner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Glory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bowling Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Red Lion, Red Hots.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Sitting.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Jukebox Is Not A Democracy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Handicapped Milk Jug Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gumball Express.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicken Run.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bus Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Manzana.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:27 AM | Permalink

Are We Monsters?

Warner Brothers and Universal have both been dusting off an inventory of classic monsters - King Kong, Godzilla, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, etc. - which prompted New York Times film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott to speculate whether this was a reaction to a contemporary America where monstrousness now seems to run rampant. When you add in a film like the mega hit Get Out, about human monsters, you get the feeling that maybe Hollywood is onto something.

Monster films have always dealt with anxieties - the Depression in the '30s, the Soviet threat and nuclear threat in the '50s, technological change in the '60s and '70s. But today, the danger is different. Today the danger is us.

Are we monsters? I know it is a distinctly odd question to ask, the sort of question people ask in self-reflection only after losing a war of aggression, as the Germans and Japanese did in the wake of World War II, or in the aftermath of some mass derangement, as Rwandans did after their intramural slaughter.

But perhaps it ought to be asked as well when a democratically elected legislature votes to throw tens of millions of poor people off the health care rolls for no ostensible reason other than to hand one party a victory for which it was desperate, and to hand the rich another windfall, as happened when the House voted to disembowel Obamacare.

Sometimes, a nation has to look in the mirror. Sometimes it has to come to a reckoning.

Have we lost our compassion? Have we become so selfish that we have no capacity for empathy, or have we become so besotted with materialism and the lust for success that we can no longer see beyond them? Is the needle on our moral compass spinning so wildly that we have lost our bearings? To paraphrase the question attorney Joseph Welch asked Sen. Joseph McCarthy, a patron saint of the right, has America no sense of decency?

The irresistible temptation is to blame Donald Trump for all that has befallen us and for betraying the principles that defined the nation. But Trump is too easy a target and freighting him with all the blame too easy an excuse.

If we are now a failed country, as I believe we are, it is not because we have a failed presidency, although we do. It is because we are a failed people. A callousness, a self-righteousness, an obdurateness and, yes, a monstrousness has emerged from some subterranean depth where it had been forcibly submerged. We may say this is not who we are. That is denial.

In some ways, the American spirit has always been divided between the strength of community and the appeal of individualism, between empathy and selfishness. Ronald Reagan may have tipped the scales by insisting on cleaving communal goodness from national greatness to serve the interests of conservatism. But I think back to the murder of 20 schoolchildren and seven staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 as the moment when America finally transmogrified.

Many of us cried when the students and teachers were gunned down. The president cried. We couldn't look at the photographs of those innocent victims without feeling shattered and without feeling that the country owed them something more than pious pronouncements. We owed them action, even if it was only some small reform of our gun laws. If this didn't move the nation, what could?

We realized then: Nothing could. Nothing ever will. There were no tears on the right. To them, guns are always more important than children, and there was no action.

I was reminded of that when Jimmy Kimmel returned to his program after a week's hiatus a week ago Monday to describe the torment he and his family suffered as his newborn was discovered to have a heart defect and needed open-heart surgery. Kimmel wept. So did many of us watching him. And he concluded with a plea: that no parent should have to watch his or her baby die in America because that parent couldn't afford health care. This isn't a Republican or Democratic issue, he said. It's a human issue.

Only a stone would have been unmoved. But Kimmel was wrong. It is a Republican versus Democratic issue, and many Republicans don't believe a baby should survive if the parents can't afford insurance. Former Republican Illinois congressman Joe Walsh said as much. He tweeted, "Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn't obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else's health care."

Nonetheless, you can't just lay this on Trump and Paul Ryan and the heartless Republican pols who follow them. The voters who elected and enabled them bear responsibility, too, not just for Trump but for every person who doesn't get health care when they need it and for every baby who dies as a result, for every stream polluted by Trump's rescission of Obama's executive orders, for every family torn apart by Trump's immigration policies, for every woman who dies of cancer because Planned Parenthood is to be defunded, for every worker who is injured or dies by Trump's scaling back of workplace safety regulations, for every target of the hate speech that Trump has joyfully unleashed. We hear endlessly about the frustrations of the white working class who support Trump, but wounded white working-class pride doesn't justify any of these things.

Rank-and-file Republicans aren't hardened ideologues like elected Republicans. The only things they know about conservatism are the cliches about limited government and freedom and markets, and the pushback against civil rights, women's rights and immigration. But you can't pretend that they don't know the consequences of conservatism and how seriously it hurts vulnerable people. They know. I think it's why they vote Republican and why they continue to support Trump. You cannot offer them excuses. Excuses embolden them. Just look at their faces at Trump rallies, and you know they know. Indeed, the very worst false equivalency between Democrats and Republicans of all those purveyed by the media is the moral one.

There will, of course, be no national self-reflection over this cruelty, as there was in Germany and Japan, or as there was last Sunday in France when it was confronted with its own Trump, racist Marie Le Pen, and the voters overwhelmingly beat her back. Our monsters know no remorse. Hurting people is now woven deeply into the fabric of our country.

I am no psychologist. I can only guess why some people get pleasure out of hurting others and why they aren't likely to change. But if Hollywood is recognizing our monstrousness, I was struck by, of all things, a commercial for the new Wonder Woman movie (appropriately) that suggests Hollywood also recognizes an antidote. In the ad, Wonder Woman declares, "I fight for those who cannot fight for themselves."

So, yes, we now seem to have a sizable, tenacious minority of Americans who are monsters, if by monsters you mean people who get joy out of inflicting suffering on others. But there are tens of millions more, good people, who recognize an obligation to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, and to fight not just for them but for the soul of the country we profess to love. We have to take on the monsters: call them out, challenge them, shame them, marginalize them and defeat them, as the French did, because, as Times critics Dargis and Scott observed, monsters only exist for one reason: to be tamed.

This post first appeared on BillMoyers.com.

-

Comments welcome.

-

1. From Steve Rhodes:

A) How many times did I say one of Obama's favorite rhetorical tics - 'this is not who we are' - was striking in its blindness?

B) Just for the record, I wouldn't be so quick to let Democrats off the hook; it would not be a false equivalency to assign Democrats their fair share of the blame, which would make this a stronger piece.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:49 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

So the song I'm posting here used to be on the Beachwood jukebox, two different selections, "This Beat Goes On" and "Switchin' to Glide." Only amateurs failed to play both, and in the right order. Those who didn't do it right were roundly jeered.

And because it was two different selections, there was a pause in between each section. Those of us who sang along - meaning every regular in the place - knew when the pause came, and for just how long it lasted. It was a thing of beauty. This is what life is about, people.

*

One day I realized I didn't even own the song, so I went online and found a way to order the CD. A few days later I get a phone call:

ME: Hello?

Unknown Voice: Hi, it's Zero from the Kings.

ME: What?

Unknown Voice: It's Zero from the Kings. I just wanted to tell you I just put your CD in the mail.

ME:

*

It really was Zero - also known as Mister Zero - from the Kings. He was the guitar player. In "Switchin' to Glide," one lyric goes "Me and Zero request you in the Mercedes!"

Gold.

I had no idea I was ordering directly from the band. There was no indication of that.

*

Me and Zero ended up having a long talk - about the music industry, about the Chicago scene, about Toronto, where he was calling from. ("Hey little Donna, ah still wanna
You said to ring you up when I was in Toronto.")

We exchanged numbers - well, we already had them given the nature of cellphones - but still, we formally did, though I've never had another conversation with him since.

I went to the bar that night very excited. "Zero called me! Zero from the Kings!" His number has survived the transfer of my contacts through three cellphones. I still have it today, if it's still his number. I should give him a call. If only I could do so from the Beachwood.

*

I had a ton of material I was going to write up for the column today, but I'm sick of it all. Trump, Rauner, Rahm. Fuck 'em. Republicans, Democrats, they're all monsters. I had reason to send this video to a friend the other day, and then to a couple of Beachwood alums. This is all I care about right now. Turn it up to 12, because even 11 won't do.

"This channel is run by The Kings and we try and respond to every comment so keep 'em coming . . . This is the incredible video made by The Kings . . . from over 40 sources and took over 140 hours to edit."

-

Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Look Back
Something might be gaining on you.

Are We Monsters?
Yes.

Beachwood Sports Radio: Are The Cubs The 1985 Bears?
World Series hangover. Plus: White Sox Back To Rebuilding; Ronnie Woo-Woo Banned From Wrigley Field Along With Other Nonpaying Customers; The Problem With Mitch Trubisky's Honda Accord; and Bastian Schweinsteiger Already Fed Up With Quality Of MLS - Just Two Months After His Move From Manchester United.

-

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Jesus And Mary Chain, Fruit Bats, Margaret Dollrod's Heartthrob Chassis, Denny Laine, Opeth, Gojira, Devin Townsend, Robbie Krieger, and Breaking Benjamin.

-

BeachBook

To The Next U.S. President, The Unlimited Power To Spy, Imprison And Kill. ( The Next President Is Here.)

*

Life After The White House: Obama Just Launched His First Drone Strike As A Civilian.

*

The Problem With Saul Alinsky.

*

McDonald's Ups Payout To Upgrade Franchises.

*

Bear In Tree In Central Wisconsin Town.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Those passengers doing nothing are congressional Republicans.

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Among the bushes.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:46 AM | Permalink

May 11, 2017

Women + Sports Chicago

Earlier this month, ESPNw held its 2nd annual espnW: Women + Sports, Chicago event, self-described as "Thought leaders and experts from across the industry will explore topics including Women and Leadership, the Sports Industry Future and the Business of Women and Sports."

Here are some highlights from the body issue panel, featuring Christen Press, captain of the Chicago Red Stars and a member of the U.S. women's national team.

1. Body Image And The 2016 ESPN Magazine Body Issue.

"I still don't know if I did the right thing."



*

2. Femininity And Physicality.

"Do you worry about becoming too muscular?"

*

3. The Pressure To Be Pretty.

"It's a huge part of how much money the athletes are making."

*

4. Uniform Issues.

"Soccer uniforms are usually made for men. So a lot of women, we don't like how they fit us."

*

5. Advice For Middle-School Girls Participating In Sports.

"Middle school is the worst age for everything."

*

6. The Whole Panel, With Press, Tori Bowie, Amanda Bingson and April Ross.

-

See also: 20 Things You've Never Known About Christen Press.

-

Plus:

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:11 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday would not say why he didn't reveal the extent of Chicago Public Schools' money woes sooner, instead blaming state government for the problem," the Tribune reports.

If only the state didn't sew my mouth shut, I could have alerted everybody!

"The mayor's attempted blame-shifting came a day after Chicago Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown told reporters CPS is owed $467 million in state school aid held up by the budget impasse. That's on top of $215 million in state pension assistance Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed late last year."

Four hundred sixty-seven million here, $215 there, and pretty soon we're talking real money.

"The Emanuel administration has twice canceled briefings with aldermen to say how he'll make good on a pledge to keep classrooms open through the end of the school year June 20. On Wednesday, the mayor said the city would 'do its part' to keep CPS open, without elaborating on where the money would come from."

Just post-date the checks, that's what the rest of us do.

"When asked why his administration waited until so late in the school year to discuss the shortfall, Emanuel pivoted to a familiar attack on the ways the state has failed to meet its obligations."

His pivot was an attempt to change the narrative to create a new frame with better optics. In other words, he refused to answer the question.

"Emanuel also did not take the head tax off the table Wednesday, though he would be hard-pressed to reverse himself on that given how often he touts getting rid of the $4-per-month tax on each employee during his first term.

"'Everything's on the table, and when you have a state that's over $460 million behind on paying its bills, you have to look at everything,' the mayor said. 'I am proud of the fact we eliminated the head tax. I'm also proud of the fact that our graduation rate for high school' has been going up."

Nice pivot.

*

To be fair, the mayor did sort of answer the question, according to the Sun-Times:

"The bills kept climbing and growing and, in every aspect, they said they were gonna get current with it."

In other words, he took the state - whether that means Gov. Bruce Rauner or whoever - at their word. If you want to believe that.

*

"Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) was incensed by the $596 million shortfall and the hide-the-ball strategy at CPS and the mayor's office.

"I don't know why they think solving a problem everybody knows they have in the dark is gonna make it better," Brookins said Wednesday. "My committee and aldermen have no authority over CPS. But they're gonna look to our committee to solve the problem and it's a much bigger problem than we thought."

In case you're wondering, because the Sun-Times left it out, Brookins chairs the council's committee on education and child development. One might ask where he and his committee have been this whole time, authority or no.

*

"CPS is in a bind for a second straight year after balancing its budget by counting on state money that had strings attached or didn't come in on time because of Springfield's budget standoff," the Sun-Times concludes.

Let's be clear: CPS is in a bind for a second straight year because Rahm balanced its budget by counting on state money that wasn't likely to ever arrive. He wears the jacket.

-

The Problem With Rahm's Predictive Policing
Hint: Despite the media's unquestioned love for it, it's badly flawed, racist and essentially doesn't work.

-

Women + Sports Chicago
'Wouldn't You Rather Bring Home The Trophy Than Be The Trophy?'

-

Open Books' Awesome Literacy Program
"Open Books' award-winning social enterprise model combines book donations, a retail bookstore, e-commerce, and volunteers to help support our literacy programs."

-

Comey: Local Angle

*

-

BeachBook

Sears CEO Blasts Media, Says It Has Enough Customers.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Make it stop.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:55 AM | Permalink

Open Books' Awesome Literacy Program

"Open Books is a nonprofit social venture that operates an extraordinary bookstore, provides community programs, and mobilizes passionate volunteers to promote literacy in Chicago and beyond.

"Open Books' award-winning social enterprise model combines book donations, a retail bookstore, e-commerce, and volunteers to help support our literacy programs."


-

Previously in Open Books:
* The Great American Open Books Drive.

* Drop Everything And Read!

* The Open Books Store.

* Beachwood Presents: Chicagoetry Live!

* Open Books Joins Chicago Writers Conference.

* Read It Maybe.

* Dear Open Books: Did She Get It?

* Open Books' Inmate Initiative.

* Six Degrees Of Recommendation.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:29 AM | Permalink

The Problem With Rahm's Predictive Policing

In early 2017, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new initiative in the city's ongoing battle with violent crime. The most common solutions to this sort of problem involve hiring more police officers or working more closely with community members. But Emanuel declared that the Chicago Police Department would expand its use of software, enabling what is called "predictive policing," particularly in neighborhoods on the city's South Side.

The Chicago police will use data and computer analysis to identify neighborhoods that are more likely to experience violent crime, assigning additional police patrols in those areas. In addition, the software will identify individual people who are expected to become - but have yet to be - victims or perpetrators of violent crimes. Officers may even be assigned to visit those people to warn them against committing a violent crime.

Any attempt to curb the alarming rate of homicides in Chicago is laudable. But the city's new effort seems to ignore evidence, including recent research from members of our policing study team at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, that predictive policing tools reinforce, rather than reimagine, existing police practices. Their expanded use could lead to further targeting of communities or people of color.

Working With Available Data

At its core, any predictive model or algorithm is a combination of data and a statistical process that seeks to identify patterns in the numbers. This can include looking at police data in hopes of learning about crime trends or recidivism. But a useful outcome depends not only on good mathematical analysis: it also needs good data. That's where predictive policing often falls short.

Machine-learning algorithms learn to make predictions by analyzing patterns in an initial training data set and then look for similar patterns in new data as they come in. If they learn the wrong signals from the data, the subsequent analysis will be lacking.

This happened with a Google initiative called "Flu Trends," which was launched in 2008 in hopes of using information about people's online searches to spot disease outbreaks. Google's systems would monitor users' searches and identify locations where many people were researching various flu symptoms. In those places, the program would alert public health authorities that more people were about to come down with the flu.

But the project failed to account for the potential for periodic changes in Google's own search algorithm. In an early 2012 update, Google modified its search tool to suggest a diagnosis when users searched for terms like "cough" or "fever." On its own, this change increased the number of searches for flu-related terms. But Google Flu Trends interpreted the data as predicting a flu outbreak twice as big as federal public health officials expected and far larger than what actually happened.

Criminal Justice Data Is Biased

The failure of the Google Flu Trends system was a result of one kind of flawed data - information biased by factors other than what was being measured. It's much harder to identify bias in criminal justice prediction models. In part, this is because police data isn't collected uniformly, and in part it's because what data police track reflect longstanding institutional biases along income, race and gender lines.

While police data often is described as representing "crime," that's not quite accurate. Crime itself is a largely hidden social phenomenon that happens anywhere a person violates a law. What is called "crime data" usually tabulates specific events that aren't necessarily lawbreaking - like a 911 call - or that are influenced by existing police priorities, like arrests of people suspected of particular types of crime, or reports of incidents seen when patrolling a particular neighborhood.

Neighborhoods with lots of police calls aren't necessarily the same places the most crime is happening. They are, rather, where the most police attention is - though where that attention focuses can often be biased by gender and racial factors.

It's Not Possible To Remove The Bias

Some researchers have argued that machine learning algorithms can address systemic biases by designing "neutral" models that don't take into account sensitive variables like race or gender. But while it may seem possible in hypothetical situations, it doesn't appear to be the case in real life.

Our recent study, by Human Rights Data Analysis Group's Kristian Lum and William Isaac, found that predictive policing vendor PredPol's purportedly race-neutral algorithm targeted black neighborhoods at roughly twice the rate of white neighborhoods when trained on historical drug crime data from Oakland, California. We found similar results when analyzing the data by income group, with low-income communities targeted at disproportionately higher rates compared to high-income neighborhoods.

But estimates - created from public health surveys and population models - suggest illicit drug use in Oakland is roughly equal across racial and income groups. If the algorithm were truly race-neutral, it would spread drug-fighting police attention evenly across the city.

Similar evidence of racial bias was found by ProPublica's investigative reporters when they looked at COMPAS, an algorithm predicting a person's risk of committing a crime, used in bail and sentencing decisions in Broward County, Florida, and elsewhere around the country. These systems learn only what they are presented with; if that data is biased, their learning can't help but be biased too.

Fixing this problem is not a matter of just doing more advanced mathematical or statistical calculations. Rather, it will require rethinking how police agencies collect and analyze data, and how they train their staff to use data on the job.

Understanding Biases To Improve Data

Using predictive analytics in the real world is challenging, particularly when trying to craft government policies to minimize harm to vulnerable populations. We do not believe that police departments should stop using analytics or data-driven approaches to reducing crime; rather, police should work to understand the biases and limitations inherent in their data.

In our view, police departments - and all agencies that use predictive algorithms - should make their systems transparent to public scrutiny. This should start with community members and police departments discussing policing priorities and measures of police performance. That way any software the police use can be programmed to reflect the community's values and concerns.

Ensuring Transparency

It is not enough to claim or assume an algorithm is unbiased just because it is computerized and uses data; a lack of bias must be proven by evaluating the algorithm's performance itself. Police agencies should get independent experts or human rights groups to perform regular audits of the algorithms and the data they process. Much like the annual financial reviews large companies do, these examinations can ensure the input data is valid and is analyzed properly to avoid discrimination. If a company wants to claim its algorithm is proprietary and should be kept secret, it should still be required to offer robust testing environments so outside experts can examine its performance.

Further, police departments that use algorithms to make predictions about individuals, like Chicago's Strategic Subject List does, should have policies similar to a new European Union regulation requiring human-understandable explanations of computer algorithms' decisions. And no agency or company should be allowed to discriminate against people who have been identified by predictive policing.

Used correctly, predictive policing can be used to address the complex factors underlying crime trends. For example, rather than stepping up patrols, Toronto and other cities in Canada are using predictive modeling to connect residents to local social services. By improving the quality of data cities collect, and analyzing the information with more transparent and inclusive processes, cities can build safer communities, rather than cracking down harder on areas that are already struggling.

William Isaac is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Michigan State. Andi Dixon is a Ph.D. student in communications at Columbia University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

-

Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:41 AM | Permalink

May 10, 2017

The [Wednesday] Papers

*

-

Cluelessness Increases With Inequality
"The data show a surprising pattern: The more unequal a society, the less likely its citizens are to notice. Paradoxically, citizens in some of the most unequal countries think theirs is the paragon of meritocracy. How can we explain this phenomenon?"

-

Chicagoetry: Old Main
Like a Frankenstein of good old-fashioned government.

-

BeachBook

Rockies Serve Cheap Swill To Appease Cubs Fans | Don't come for my Old Style, people. Coors? Please.

*

*

Inmates In Chicago Can Now Order Pizza Delivery.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

And don't just accept an e-mailed statement from her.

*

"Mostly male, Republican and rich." Aren't these the same people we learned who most often visit Rahm?

*

Jesse White has had more last tours than the Who.

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Born under.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:35 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Old Main

Old Main

I will always love you.
In my soul, Old Main, you are
As a pyramid: holy.

Monumentally strange

And eternally beautiful,
In any guise. Like a Frankenstein
Of good, old-fashioned government

Boodle, like a Frankenstein's monster
Of good, old-fashioned, Mid-western
Government boodle,

Pieced together with obsessive will,
Not all parts matching up
But some sure force of life within.

You've seen some
Raggedy-ass days but still

From the river
You are majestic in the dusk.
A sphinx of the realm,

Brilliant at dusk.
You have a highway in your belly,
A railroad in your loins

And a river
At your back.

Shadows slice the moonlight
Over the river down there.
Don't forget the river

And that I will always love you.

A golden-haired angel watches over you,
Ogling as one would
An antique abbey or a ghost-adorned

Urn, you with the ghosts
Of men & gods: Spiegel,
Ward, Roebuck.

My mind came

From the glens
Of the near west, down the Old 110--
The Chicago-Kansas City Expressway--

Past the Magikist lips,
The original Sears Tower, The old Stadium,
Through your gut

To the Bowman and Spearman
And Buckingham Fountain.

Once across the river,
Of course, you're in Atomic Giza,
Lakefront Luxor.

I don't care
What they say about you
Downtown.

Like a sphinx
Of the realm
From dusk

To dusk:

First you, then
The sea. It was always
This way.

-

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

-

More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

Inequality Is Getting Worse, But Fewer People Than Ever Are Aware Of It

Inequality in America is on the rise. Income gains since the 1980s have been concentrated at the top. The top 10 percent today take home 30 percent of all income, and control more than three-quarters of all wealth. We have returned to the level of income inequality that marked the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s.

Who gets what in America continues to be impacted by a person's race, gender and family resources. What's striking, however, is how little people seem to notice.

johnnymiller.jpgA snapshot of inequality in South Africa/Johnny Miller, Unequal Scenes, CC BY-SA

Evidence from the International Social Survey Programme suggests that people increasingly think their society is a meritocracy - that success in school and business simply reflects hard work and talent. This belief is held most dearly by Americans, but citizens across the world are growing more convinced.

The data show a surprising pattern: The more unequal a society, the less likely its citizens are to notice. Paradoxically, citizens in some of the most unequal countries think theirs is the paragon of meritocracy. How can we explain this phenomenon?

Origins Of Inequality Beliefs

In my dissertation research, I explored the idea that people's beliefs originate in their childhood experiences.

My research suggests that people in more socioeconomically and racially diverse environments are more likely to appreciate how life outcomes are shaped by structural factors such as race and wealth - that is, the ways in which a person's family wealth, gender or skin color may impact their chances of getting into college or finding employment.

However, increasing levels of income inequality and segregation mean that modern-day Americans are growing up in less economically diverse environments than in the 1970s. Consequently, people on either side of the income divide cannot see the breadth of the gap that separates their lives from those of others. As the gap grows wider, other people's lives are harder to view. Rising inequality prevents people from seeing its full extent.

I asked 300 respondents in an online survey to explain why a person graduates from college or drops out; what makes for success at work; what keeps a person out of trouble; and what may land a person in jail.

People typically explained these outcomes in terms of meritocratic factors: Being smart gets you into college, working hard earns you a promotion and being polite to the police may save you from a speeding ticket. In the words of one respondent, "I think people are mostly capable of getting what they want out of life. If they don't, they either didn't try hard enough or are too lazy, unmotivated or whatever."

But respondents were not blind to how structural factors can shape life outcomes. They recognized that some schools better prepare their students for college; that family contacts can help you get that good job or promotion; and that living in a poor neighborhood means you're on the police radar. As one person put it, "I think that in a lot of cases, outcomes are determined by privilege and race . . . or a lack thereof."

When I looked at respondents' explanations in light of their own background, I discovered a telling relationship: People who grew up in more socioeconomically or racially diverse environments were more likely, by about 20 percent, to explain life outcomes in terms of structural factors. Conversely, people who grew up in homogeneously rich or white neighborhoods saw success in meritocratic terms.

Learning About Inequality

To look more closely at how people learn about inequality, I studied a nationally representative sample of 14,000 students across 99 U.S. colleges. I asked students about racial inequality and meritocracy as freshmen, and then again in senior year. Would students grow more convinced about meritocracy over their college years, or did they come to understand inequality in structural terms?

About half of students held on to their original beliefs about inequality. Some 30 percent developed a structural understanding of inequality, while 20 percent came to see things more meritocratic. Their beliefs were shaped by three key factors: college setting, interactions with peers from different backgrounds, and their roommate in the dorms.

In racially homogeneous and exclusive college settings, students developed a more meritocratic view of inequality in the U.S.

Conversely, those who frequently interacted with students from another racial group became more concerned about racial and income inequality, and more critical of meritocracy. Students paired with a roommate of a different race also developed a better understanding of the structural sources of inequality.

Meritocracy, Empathy And Solidarity

My research suggests that how we see and explain inequality drives our empathy and solidarity with others. We feel for people who we understand are facing hardship by no fault of their own. We have less sympathy for those whose situation, we think, is caused by poor choices or a lack of effort.

As such, our beliefs about inequality are the starting point for our politics and our policy views on criminal justice, the welfare state and income redistribution.

If we want our young citizens to develop a better understanding of the world they live in, we need to create conditions for more interaction across socioeconomic and racial lines, at school, in college and in the neighborhoods where they grow up. We can do this by ensuring access to preschool for all income groups; stepping up the effort to desegregate public schools; and considering roommate assignment and other cost-free measures to increase diversity in college life.

It would take a major intervention to bring actual opportunities in line with the American Dream of social mobility. The next generation's choices will shape tomorrow's America. It is up to us, however, to decide what world this generation grows up in, and through what prism they come to see their society.

Jonathan J.B. Mijs is an assistant professorial research fellow at the London School of Economics and a fellow in sociology at Harvard. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

-

See also: Getting Rich Is Largely About Luck.

-

Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 AM | Permalink

May 9, 2017

The [Tuesday] Papers

Let's interact with the news, shall we?

1. When Chicago Cops Moonlight, No One Is Watching.

"CPD has the weakest oversight of secondary employment of any of the nation's 50 largest local and county law enforcement agencies, according to a Chicago Reporter review of agency policies. CPD is the only one of the 50 departments that does not require its officers to get permission to work a second job."

Why is that important?

"The lack of oversight exposes the city to potentially costly misconduct lawsuits when things go wrong."

And this being Planet Earth, and this being Chicago in particular, things go wrong.

*

"I'm very surprised that Chicago does not have a policy that requires [officers] to report and get approval for engaging in secondary employment, especially police-related secondary employment," Darrel Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and a former police chief in Charlotte, North Carolina, told the Reporter. "The department has an obligation, from my perspective, to provide guidance and directions, and to know what police officers are doing."

"Two-thirds of the departments, for example, limit the number of hours an officer can work a second job in a given day or week. Most department cap an officer's combined regular shift and second job at 16 hours per day or even less. Chicago has no such regulations."

Hey, let's get government off government's back! Too many regulations!

"The Justice Department noted the lack of regulation in its report on the findings of its civil rights investigation of CPD. The report stated that 'a significant amount of alleged officer misconduct' involves moonlighting."

Oh.

*

This is a lengthy piece of reporting, with lots more, including the inevitable culpability of IPRA and the police union. Recommended.

2. Cops Outgunned By Gangs? Can't Tell From CPD Firearm Seizures.

"Cook County prosecutors on Monday said what wounded two Chicago cops in the Back of the Yards neighborhood last week was an assault-rifle attack," WBEZ reports.

"The police department said assault rifles were also used in two gang shootings that killed a total of three people and injured eight others on Sunday in Brighton Park.

"Some aldermen, meanwhile, are pushing to get more cops trained to use semi-automatic 'long guns' because, they say, gangs are increasingly armed with assault weapons.

"But a police dataset raises questions about the extent of the problem.

"The department's recovered-firearm inventory shows that the number of seizures of assault rifles and weapons has not changed much over the last decade. Last year's total was 215, five fewer than in 2007."

This is a particularly interesting piece of reporting because the police and pols are pushing the narrative of a surge in gangs using assault rifles, and the media has gone along with propagating that message enthusiastically. My understanding is the that the use of such weapons between rival gangs in Back of the Yards is nothing new - which doesn't it make it acceptable, but which should better inform police and policy responses to the latest incident, as well as misleading media coverage.

3. Preckwinkle vs. Rauner.

"Preckwinkle swipes at Rauner on health care bill," by Chicago Tribune's Hal Dardick, via Natasha Korecki's Politico Illinois Playbook:

"Democratic Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle took a swipe at Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday, saying he should have done more to oppose GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The board president said she urged the governor in March to contact Republicans in the state's congressional delegation and 'tell them how important the ACA is to Cook County,' but Rauner declined. Preckwinkle said she told Rauner during that phone call she was 'deeply disappointed.' A Rauner spokeswoman called Preckwinkle's account of the conversation 'simply untrue.' 'On the contrary, President Preckwinkle thanked Gov. Rauner during their phone call for urging Congress to move thoughtfully through the health care debate, and the governor stressed his concerns about how the Medicaid population in Illinois would be affected by the proposed changes,' Rauner spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis said in a statement."

Korecki: "Ok, what? Is the governor's office saying Preckwinkle just lied about their phone call? I circled back with Preckwinkle's spokesman, who stood firm on Preckwinkle's account of the phone call."

Preckwinkle is known to be a fairly straight shooter while Rauner is known to make plenty of things up, including meetings and conversations with legislators, so most likely we know who is lying in this case. It would be nice to see in one place a list of all of Rauner's lies and prevarications so the public can see these incidents as part of a pattern that started with his campaign and not as discrete political spats. Assignment Desk, activate!

-

Losing Logan Square
A rapid loss of culture, identity and affordability that is neither natural nor inevitable, but the result of purposeful policy choices. A nine-minute video featuring a stellar cast.

-

Anti-Muslim Incidents Increased In 2016
The acceleration was due in part to Donald Trump's focus on militant Islamist groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric, a study found.

A previous study found an increase in anti-Semitic acts attributed to Trump's campaign.

Increased attacks on Christians have not been found.

-

Jonathan Pie: Strong & Unstable
How the media carries the carefully crafted messages of pols to evoke a sentiment in voters that is the opposite of actual actions.

-

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is still in pre-production - as is last week's Week in Chicago Rock - I've fallen behind.

-

BeachBook

Bob 2020.

*

Chops Sawyer.

*

At the corner of Get It Together & Walgreens.

*

Deep Inside Macron Country | We must now confront an uncomfortable question. Why did so many French people vote for Emmanuel Macron? Was it a lack of economic anxiety, or a lack of racism?

*

Six Ways The New York Times Could Genuinely Make Its Op-Ed Page More Representative Of America.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

Still would like to know what NEIU administrators thought they were gettting out of this.

*

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Existential.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:05 AM | Permalink

Losing Logan Square

A rapid loss of culture, identity and affordability that is neither natural nor inevitable, but the result of purposeful policy choices.

-

See also:
* Timothy McManus's YouTube channel.

* TimothyDMcManus.com.

-

Comments welcome.

-

1. From Mark McCann:

I lived in Logan Square in the late 90's-early 2000's. It was a war zone. If you look at the crime rates in Logan Square since 2001, there has been a huge decrease in all types of crime. Violent crime has been cut by more than half:

http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/community/logan-square

The identities and social characters of neighborhoods change every generation or so. 30-40 years ago, Logan Square was primarily made up of Eastern Europeans. Imagine the uproar if those Eastern Europeans would have fought against the influx of Hispanics moving to their neighborhood.

What is happening in Logan Square is driven by market forces and changing consumer choices - not racism or greed. People now want to live in an urban area and close to public transportation - not in some subdivision or McMansion in the burbs. Unfortunately, most of those neighborhoods in Chicago are/have been primarily made up of poor or working class minorities since the "white flight" days of the 1960's. How do you stop people from moving into a certain neighborhood? That's exactly what this "gentrification" fight is trying to do.

The end result of gentrification is a more sustainable city with less cars, less pollution, more diversity, more opportunity, less crime and more sustainable local businesses within those neighborhoods.

When you fight against "gentrification," you are fighting against progress while fighting FOR the same "hyper segregation" that has caused a lack of opportunity for Chicago's poor residents for generations. Instead of vacant storefronts, dilapidated buildings, gangbangers on almost every corner, etc., Logan Square is now filled with locally owned stores, restaurants, and construction projects that offer jobs and opportunity for EVERYONE in Chicago, including the local residents. How is that a bad thing?

The New Yorker nicely summed up "gentrification" a few years ago: "a process by which a ghetto might cease to be a ghetto." Isn't that what we are all striving for?

*

Reply from Steve Rhodes: I couldn't disagree more with Mr. McCann, and his familiar lines of argument in favor of gentrification.

Logan Square, like other gentrified neighborhoods, would have benefited from the same police coverage it gets now when it was still mostly a working-class neighborhood. Police service, like other city services, follows the money. Let's not get confused about that.

In addition, criminals, and the poverty that drives them, do not just disappear when a neighborhood gentrifies; they simply move to a different neighborhood. No crime problem has been solved.

Also, what good is a safer neighborhood if those who helped grow the neighborhood and make it appealing can no longer benefit from that increased safety because they are priced out of their homes?

Next point: We don't have to wonder what Eastern Europeans would do if an influx of Hispanics entered "their" neighborhood. In Chicago, we know, there would be resistance. There would also be a welcome to the population that has kept the city afloat for the last couple of decades - just check the census figures.

And in the case of gentrification, no one is trying to keep an ethnic or racial group out. It's an inapt analogy. Rather than trying to keep people out, folks against gentrification are trying to stay and not be pushed out themselves.

Next: Gentrification is not solely the result of "market forces," but of public policy choices made by the city in conjunction with developers. Neighborhoods are primed for gentrification in a number of ways through the tax and zoning systems, just to name two.

Also, "market forces" are regulated in our society in order to prevent, for example, monopolies, or poisonous food. There is nothing magical about "market forces."

And the idea that gentrification creates a more "sustainable" city is noxious; it creates a city even more divided by race, class and other socioeconomic factors. Indeed, it creates hyper-segregation instead of dismantling it, as Mr. McCann argues.

Gentrification destroys the local culture that makes a neighborhood appealing to so many in the first place, and pushes out longtime residents who will never reap the so-called benefits that gentrification brings. It's great for those moving in who want to recreate a neighborhood; it's hell on those who created it in the first place.

There's no reason city services couldn't be provided to a working-class neighborhood when it comes to vacant buildings and so on. When I lived in Wicker Park decades ago, the gaping holes in the sidewalks on Division Street could have been closed up when poor people lived there, but they weren't until the neighborhood gentrified. See the point?

Gentrification surely does not provide opportunities for everyone, as Mr. McCann argues. Gentrification provides opportunities for those who can afford it. Those who can't aren't against a mixed-income community that includes the wealthy. Unfortunately, gentrifiers want nothing to do with those less affluent than themselves. They just stomp around the city deciding where to invade next, ignorant and uncaring of the consequences on the lives of others, because they have the money push everyone else around. Should the people who create appealing communities really be forced out because rich people decide they want to occupy their neighborhood? That's the problem with gentrification. Folks who resist it are tired of getting pushed out of neighborhood after neighborhood. (And if you don't think it's about greed, in innumerable ways, you are exceedingly naive.)

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:20 AM | Permalink

Report: U.S. Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents Increased In 2016

When the Masjid Al-Kareem mosque in Providence, Rhode Island, received a threatening letter in November calling Muslims a "vile and filthy people," its members were frightened enough they asked for and got extra police protection.

The 42-year-old mosque was far from alone. The letter it received was one of 2,213 anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The report found a 57 percent increase in the number of incidents in 2016, up from 1,409 in 2015. Incidents increased 5 percent from 2014 to 2015.

While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump's stunning rise in last year's presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump's focus on militant Islamist groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

2017-05-09T042423Z_1_LYNXMPED4807J_RTROPTP_3_USA-ISLAM-HATECRIME.JPGImam Abdul-Latif Sackor stands outside the Islamic Center of Rhode Island, Masjid Al-Kareem Mosque in Providence/Photos by Brian Snyder, Reuters

Rhode Island's oldest mosque was only threatened, while others in Florida and Texas were set ablaze in cases ruled arson. But the knowledge of how common threats had become was far from comforting for Faissal Elansari, a member of the mosque's board.

"Hearing about it is not the same thing as when you receive it, it was definitely a weird feeling," Elansari said.

CAIR officials decided in September to start what they intend to be quarterly reports after noticing a pickup in complaints beginning in 2014, following the rise of Islamic State killings in the Middle East and attacks inspired by the group in Europe and the United States.

"There was this widespread sense that we were going right back to how it was after 9/11," when al-Qaeda hijackers launched coordinated attacks on New York and Washington, sparking a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment, said Corey Saylor, director of the CAIR department on monitoring and combating Islamophobia. "We wanted to be able to put something factual out there."

The accounting includes a wide variety of bias incidents, from assaults and street harassment, to employment discrimination, to what the group considers unwarranted contact by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It also shows a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes to 260 in 2016, up 44 percent from 180 a year earlier. That includes all crimes recorded where CAIR saw evidence of anti-Muslim bias, not just those where hate crime charges were brought, Saylor said.

CAIR attorneys reviewed each incident reported and eliminated cases that were later disproved, including a New York City woman who alleged she had been attacked by Trump supporters shortly after his election. She was later arrested and charged with making up the encounter.

Trump promised during his campaign to impose a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the United States, presenting this as a way to prevent militant Islamist attacks. His early executive orders intended at putting a temporary stop on citizens from a half-dozen Muslim majority countries have been blocked by challenges in court.

His administration has denied any intention of religious discrimination in the travel ban, saying it is intended purely as a national security measure.

Muslims are not alone in experiencing an uptick in bias. A report released last month by the Anti-Defamation League recorded a 34 percent rise in anti-Semitic acts in 2016. "The 2016 presidential election and the heightened political atmosphere played a role in the increase," the ADL concluded in its report.

Trump made his first public condemnation of anti-Semitic incidents in February after a spate of bomb threats to Jewish community centers and vandalism in a Jewish cemetery. He was criticized by Jewish groups for responding too slowly.

At the Providence mosque, one of about 30 to receive similar threatening letters following Trump's election, Elansari said there has been an upside to the threat: "A lot of brothers and sisters from the Jewish and Christian communities gave us a lot of support, they called and sent support letters."

lettersimam.jpgA box of letters of support sent after hate letters were received at the Islamic Center of Rhode Island, Masjid Al-Kareem Mosque in Providence.

*

2017-05-09T042423Z_1_LYNXMPED4807P_RTROPTP_3_USA-ISLAM-HATECRIME.JPGImam Abdul-Latif Sackor points to a letter of support from 'The People of Evangelical Covanent Church of Riverside' sent after hate letters were received at the Islamic Center of Rhode Island, Masjid Al-Kareem Mosque in Providence.

*

2017-05-09T042423Z_1_LYNXMPED4807O_RTROPTP_3_USA-ISLAM-HATECRIME.JPGImam Abdul-Latif Sackor holds a letter of support from local Quakers sent after hate letters were received at the Islamic Center of Rhode Island, Masjid Al-Kareem Mosque in Providence.


-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:41 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Strong And Unstable

On message.


-

Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

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

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

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

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

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

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

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

* Pie's Brexit.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

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

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

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

* President Trump: How & Why.

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

* Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! 2016 In Review.

* Inauguration Reporting.

* New Year: New Pie?

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

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

-

Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

-

And:

Australia Is Horrific.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:22 AM | Permalink

May 8, 2017

The [Monday] Papers

Made In Chicago: Prick Blades.

-

Trump TV Takes Over Tribune Media
"A Sinclair journalist relayed to me during campaign they were told by corporate what questions to ask Trump."

Study: Top Colleges Denying Qualified Low-Income Students
"[E]nrollment in the best schools is often more likely to be based on family income [than merit]."

How African Americans Disappeared From The Kentucky Derby
"A Chicago sportswriter grumbled that when he went to the track and saw black fans cheering black riders, he was uncomfortably reminded that black men could vote."

Programming Note: There is some weirdness on our sports section right now; the left rail is occasionally collapsing and the whole page shifting left. We're working on it. Posts are still readable and it's not happening every time!

TrackNotes: Always Dreaming Cranks Derby
"Any horseplayer will tell you finding the horse is only one thing. Crafting the bet is the Louvre."

TrackNotes: No Gambling!
"These days, baseball games are taken out of the hands of the best pitchers and players, making handicapping impossible. Football is an inhuman, militaristic industry and not a game or a sport, civilian casualties be damned. And basketball is too painful to watch even with a wager down. But we do have Thoroughbred horse racing."

The White Sox Report: Rebuilding & Racists
"The nights will be cold. The crowds will be sparse. Spending $9.75 for a Modelo Especial is excessive. The drama won't come from the fans. No, it will be all about whether this ballclub can maintain respectability as the rebuild continues. Just the way it should be."

SportsMonday: Return To Wrigley
"The tanking years drove me away and I've never regained my drive to attend games in person and give my money to the billionaire, conservative owners."

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

-

BeachBook

Supposed Moderating Force Jared Kushner, Like His Family, Is Bullshit.

*

Staples' Secret Warranties Are Bullshit.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

Click through to the original story - a must-read with implications for journalism.

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Dino-mite.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Return To Wrigley

I returned to Wrigley Field on Sunday night for the first time this season. I had been to a game or three at the ballpark in each of the last few years after a 10-year stretch when I had a piece of a season-ticket package and attended 15-20 games annually.

And of course I have an origin (of my Cubs fandom) story: some of my best memories of growing up with my brother in the '70s and the first few years of the '80s are of taking the 22 Clark Street bus up to Addison and walking around to the bleachers. By the time the Cubs made the playoffs in '84, I was off at college.

The tanking years drove me away and I've never regained my drive to attend games in person and give my money to the billionaire, conservative owners. When I get out to the ballpark these days it is because a friend invited me (thanks Tom!). Also, Sunday just so happened to be my birthday, and my sixth-grade daughter Jenna is a Cubs fan and enjoys going to games.

We sat in box seats about 18 rows up from the Cubs dugout (close enough that a kid with a glove in the row in front of us and over to our left caught one of the balls that a Cubs player tosses into the stands at the end of just about every top half of innings).

So we had a great view of a great game, even if we did see only a little more than half of it. At 18 innings, it was way, way too long for a school night. The Yankees finally scored in the top half of the final frame and held on to win 5-4 and sweep the series. The Cubs enter this week at 16-15 and a half-game out of first in their weak division.

The best thing to watch from that spot is the speed of the pitches and to marvel at hitters ever hitting any of them. And last night it was triply so.

In the first nine innings, the Cubs faced three different pitchers (Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman) who hit 100 on the radar gun. That cannot have happened very frequently, if ever, in the annals of baseball. No wonder the teams ended up striking out a combined 48 times - a new major league record. That and the fact that they did play 18 freaking innings.

It looked like Jon Lester would be the tough-luck loser as the bottom of the ninth began. He pitched great for seven innings but the Cubs had only scored one run (on Javy Baez's towering home run - that was awesome) in the first eight frames. And Justin Grimm, the team's worst reliever this year, came on in the eighth and immediately gave up a ringing line drive hit back up the middle and a line-drive home run down the right field line.

But the Cubs found a way to rally against Chapman and tied it up when Anthony Rizzo took a hit-by-pitch for the team with the bases loaded and two outs. It was seriously exciting stuff. But it was getting late.

We thought for sure the Cubs would finish it off either right after Rizzo got on or in the 10th, but it wasn't meant to be. We were already out later than planned and we bowed out and headed home.

On the way out, we used the new exit on the west side of the park facing the new green space in the former triangle space. It was long since closed up for the night and we went through there and headed north on Clark.

During the game we had marveled at how it appeared as though everyone was in their seat on the main level of the park but the concourse was still absolutely packed with people when we went back there for concessions. The beer choices still leave plenty to be desired but it was no big deal.

All in all it was certainly worth the sizable price of admission. It was great fun to see the World Champs battling the resurgent Yankees and their amazing, mostly young lineup that appears to be even deeper than the Cubs'. Third baseman Chase Headley and his stellar .366 on-base percentage hit seventh.

But I won't be in any hurry to return.

-

Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:17 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Crombies at the Double Play Saloon in Blue Island on Saturday night.


-

2. The Mavericks at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

-

3. Johnny Moon and the Astronauts at Schubas on Saturday night.

-

4. Calling All Cars at the Double Play Saloon in Blue Island on Saturday night.

-

5. Death and Memphis at the Double Play Saloon on Saturday night.

-

6. Deadmau5 at the Aragon on Friday night.

-

7. Queensryche at the Arcada in St. Charles on Friday night.

-

8. Brick Assassin at the Double Play Saloon in Blue Island on Saturday night.

-

9. Fortunate Youth at Chop Shop on Friday night.

-

10. Josh Heinrichs w/SkillinJah at Chop Shop on Friday night.

-

11. Y&T at the Arcada in St. Charles on Saturday night.

-

12. Vulfpeck at the Metro on Saturday night.

-

13. Kehlani at the Concord on Sunday night.

-

14. Lord Mute at Elastic on Sunday night.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:02 AM | Permalink

Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation's largest television-station conglomerate, is set to get even larger, according to media reports over the weekend that it will soon finalize a deal to buy Tribune Media.

This massive media merger would add 42 Tribune stations to the Sinclair empire, including stations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver and several other top-20 markets.

Sinclair already owns 173 stations blanketing many other major cities, such as Baltimore, Minneapolis, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., as well several stations in key electoral states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

If this deal is approved, the resulting conglomerate would be able to broadcast programming to 69.4 percent of the U.S. population.

Consolidation on this scale is only possible thanks to recent rule changes by Trump's Federal Communications Commission. In April, the agency voted to reinstate an obsolete technical loophole called the UHF discount that allows broadcast conglomerates to exceed congressionally mandated national TV audience coverage limits.

The loosening of broadcast-ownership rules came following press reports that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had conducted meetings with Sinclair executives days after the Nov. 8 presidential election.

At the same time, Politico reported that Trump's adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was boasting privately about a deal he had struck before the election with the conservative broadcaster to air interviews with Trump u-interrupted by commentary.

Pai was subsequently tapped by the Trump administration to lead the agency that enforces broadcast ownership limits.

"It's a scandal," said Free Press president and CEO Craig Aaron. "Sinclair - the Trump-favoring broadcast mega-chain - gets some FCC rules changed and expects others to be erased. All so that Sinclair can air its cookie-cutter newscasts to nearly 70 percent of the country's population in local markets across the country.

"The Trump FCC has been gaming the rules so that Sinclair's holdings look smaller, but even then the company still exceeds the national ownership caps. These rules were designed to ensure a diversity of local voices, and Sinclair has been using every trick in the book to evade and undermine them for years. But under Trump, it no longer has to pretend.

"Sure looks like a quid pro quo: friendly coverage and full employment for ex-Trump mouthpieces in exchange for a green light to get as big as Sinclair wants. I feel terrible for the local journalists who will be forced to set aside their news judgment to air Trump-administration talking points and reactionary commentaries from Sinclair's headquarters. This deal would have been DOA in any other administration, but the Trump FCC isn't just approving it; they're practically arranging it."

Free Press is a nonpartisan organization fighting for people's rights to connect and communicate.

-

See also:

-

Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

* Trump's FCC Chair Continues To Shaft The Public, Offer Major Handouts To Big Media.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:28 AM | Permalink

How African Americans Disappeared From The Kentucky Derby

When the horses entered the gate for the 143rd Kentucky Derby, the jockeys hailed from Louisiana, Mexico, Nebraska and France. None were African American. That's been the norm for quite a while. When Marlon St. Julien rode the Derby in 2000, he became the first black man to get a mount since 1921.

It wasn't always this way. The Kentucky Derby, in fact, is closely intertwined with black Americans' struggles for equality, a history I explore in my book on race and thoroughbred racing.

derbyblack.jpgFrom 1921 to 2000, no black jockeys competed/Wikimedia Commons

In the 19th century - when horse racing was America's most popular sport - former slaves populated the ranks of jockeys and trainers, and black men won more than half of the first 25 runnings of the Kentucky Derby. But in the 1890s - as Jim Crow laws destroyed gains black people had made since emancipation - they ended up losing their jobs.

From Slavery To The Kentucky Derby

On May 17, 1875, a new track at Churchill Downs ran, for the first time, what it hoped would become its signature event: the Kentucky Derby.

Prominent thoroughbred owner H. Price McGrath entered two horses: Aristides and Chesapeake. Aristides' rider that afternoon was Oliver Lewis, who, like most of his Kentucky Derby foes, was African American. The horse's trainer was an elderly former slave named Ansel Williamson.

oliverlewis.jpgOliver Lewis/Hug Pages

Lewis was supposed to take Aristides to the lead, tire the field, and then let Chesapeake go on to win. But Aristides simply refused to let his stablemate pass him. He ended up scoring a thrilling victory, starting the Kentucky Derby on its path to international fame.

Meanwhile, men like Lewis and Williamson had shown that free blacks could be accomplished, celebrated members of society.

'I Ride To Win'

To many black Americans, Isaac Murphy symbolized this ideal. Between 1884 and 1891, Murphy won three Kentucky Derbys, a mark unequaled until 1945.

Born a slave in Kentucky, Murphy, along with black peers like Pike Barnes, Soup Perkins and Willie Simms, rode regularly in integrated competition and earned big paychecks.

Black jockeys were even the subjects of celebrity gossip; when Murphy bought a new house, it made the front page of the New York Times.

isaacmurphy.jpgIsaac Murphy/Wikimedia Commons

One white memoirist, looking back on his childhood, remembered that "every little boy who took any interest in racing . . . had an admiration for Isaac Murphy."

After the Civil War, the Constitution guaranteed black male suffrage and equal protection under the law, but Murphy embodied citizenship in a different way. He was both a black man and a popular hero.

When Murphy rode one of his most famous races, piloting Salvator to victory over Tenny at Sheepshead Bay in 1890, the crusading black journalist T. Thomas Fortune interviewed him after the race. Murphy was friendly, but blunt: "I ride to win."

Fortune, who was waging a legal battle to desegregate New York hotels, loved that response. It was that kind of determination that would change the world, he told his readers: men like Isaac Murphy, leading by example in the fight to end racism after slavery.

Destined To Disappear?

Only a few weeks after the interview with Fortune, Murphy's career suffered a tremendous blow when he was accused of drinking on the job. He would go on to win another Kentucky Derby the next spring, riding Kingman, a thoroughbred owned by former slave Dudley Allen, the first and only black man to own a Kentucky Derby winner. But Murphy died of heart failure in 1896 at the age of 35 - two months before the Supreme Court made segregation the law of the land in Plessy v. Ferguson.

Black men continued to ride successfully through the 1890s, but their role in the sport was tenuous at best. A Chicago sportswriter grumbled that when he went to the track and saw black fans cheering black riders, he was uncomfortably reminded that black men could vote. The 15th Amendment and Isaac Murphy had opened the door for black Americans, but many whites were eager to slam it shut.

After years of success, black men began getting fewer jobs on the racetrack, losing promotions and opportunities to ride top horses. White jockeys started to openly demand segregated competition. One told the New York Sun in 1908 that one of his black opponents was probably the best jockey he had ever seen, but that he and his colleagues "did not like to have the negro riding in the same races with them." In a 1905 Washington Post article titled "Negro Rider on Wane," the writer insisted that black men were inferior and thus destined to disappear from the track, as Native Americans had inevitably disappeared from their homelands.

Black jockey Jimmy Winkfield shot to stardom with consecutive Kentucky Derby victories in 1901 and 1902, but he quickly found it difficult to get more mounts, a pattern that became all too common. He left the United States for a career in Europe, but his contemporaries often weren't so fortunate.

Their obituaries give us glimpses of the depression and desperation that came with taking pride in a vocation, only to have it wrenched away. Soup Perkins, who won the Kentucky Derby at 15, drank himself to death at 31. The jockey Tom Britton couldn't find a job and committed suicide by swallowing acid. Albert Isom bought a pistol at a pawnshop and shot himself in the head in front of the clerk.

The history of the Kentucky Derby, then, is also the history of men who were at the forefront of black life in the decades after emancipation - only to pay a terrible price for it.

Katherine Mooney is an assistant professor of history at Florida State University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

-

Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

Rebuilding And Racists

A couple of Sundays ago at Sox Park in the ninth inning of a White Sox 6-2 victory over Cleveland, fans laughed hysterically when an over-served patron took off from the right field foul line, eluding security until he was finally tackled in left field. The first security guard to confront the fan merely got a handful of a Paul Konerko jersey - it being of the tear-off variety - enabling the scoundrel to make his way across the outfield, arms waving and bare chested with his ample belly hanging over his belt.

Despite warnings from management, this scene is repeated on a few occasions around baseball each season, and most of the time spectators get a good chuckle and say things like, "The Bears should sign him," or "Give that guy another beer."

In Sox annals the stunt has taken an ugly turn at least three times.

In 1960, a disgruntled fan vaulted the wall behind first base at Comiskey Park late in a September game to confront Fenger High School product Sammy Esposito, who happened to be playing second base for the South Siders. Sammy had booted an easy double-play ground ball against the Yankees, leading to a Sox loss. Since the fan had a bet on the Sox and quite possibly because he was drunk, he figured he would go to the source of his frustration. He took a swing at Esposito, who promptly decked the guy who then was taken off to the local lock-up.

An even uglier incident occurred in 2002, when a father-son duo jumped the wall to assault Kansas City first base coach Tom Gamboa, who suffered facial injuries and permanent hearing loss as a result. The elder degenerate - no stranger to the criminal justice system - eventually went to prison for five years for violating probation.

The very next season, a spectator was sentenced to six months in jail for running on the field and tackling umpire Laz Diaz.

Any moron whose judgement results in a foray onto a major league diamond in the midst of a game risks arrest, a court appearance, and other assorted penalties. The most recent fan to do so on the South Side has a pending court date. In the meantime, the judge gave him a mild admonition, instructing him to abstain from alcohol (yeah, sure!) and to stay away from Sox Park until further notice.

Another instance of fan misbehavior in the form of racism was in the news last week when Baltimore centerfielder Adam Jones, who is African American, claimed that the "n-word" was yelled in his direction as he stood in front of the Oriole dugout at Fenway Park.

Witnesses confirmed Jones's account, and 34 fans were ejected from the ballpark. The investigation is ongoing.

Commissioner Rob Manfred called the incident "completely unacceptable," adding, "Any individual who behaves in such offensive fashion will be immediately removed from the ballpark and subject to further action." We can only assume that the veins in his neck were protruding and his face a crimson red when he uttered his displeasure.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker tweeted, "Fenway fans behavior at Red Sox game last night was unacceptable. This is not what Massachusetts & Boston are about."
Former pitcher Curt Schilling, perhaps auditioning for a cabinet position, suggested that Jones was making up the story, telling Sirius radio listeners, "I think this is bullshit. I think this is somebody creating a situation."

Jones didn't quite see it that way, suggesting that maybe the offending fan should receive more than banishment from the ballpark.

"What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium," he said, "they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. That's how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It's a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he's done."

Or, aside from the amount of the fine, sort of like what happens when a fan runs on the field.

Jones returned home to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday to a supportive ovation from the hometown fans as Baltimore opened a three-game series against the White Sox.

And Jones and his mates found the Chicago crew a little more compliant than the Boston bunch who had split a four-game series with the Orioles.

The White Sox had been riding high at 15-12, after splitting four games of their own in Kansas City. But this was Baltimore where the Orioles now have an 11-3 home record after sweeping the White Sox.

The weaknesses of our rebuilders were out in force during the weekend. While Miguel Gonzalez, the former Oriole who is resurrecting his career with the White Sox, pitched well enough to win on Friday evening, the defense behind him doomed the Sox to a 4-2 loss.

Shortstop Tim Anderson's woes in the field continued, as his first-inning error, his seventh, gave the Birds an early lead. The Sox were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. They literally knocked out Oriole starter Wade Miley in the first inning as Jose Abreu's liner smacked off Miley's left (his pitching side) wrist followed two pitches later when Avi Garcia's smash caught Miley right in the butt.

In came Gabriel Ynoa (no relation to the Sox's Michael Ynoa), who earlier in the day was recalled from Norfork ,where he had a 6.65 ERA in five appearances. Apparently Ynoa found Sox hitters a lot easier than those in Triple-A since he pitched six shutout innings. Furthermore, Ynoa went on the DL after the game with a strained hammy. Translation: an ineffective minor leaguer shut down the Sox despite being hurt.

Once again falling behind early on Saturday behind starter Dylan Covey, the Sox fought back - Abreu's two-run homer in the eighth helped - but fell 6-5. More than anyone, Covey illustrates the Sox shortage of starting pitching. The kid - he's 25 - has made five starts, three for losses. In 25 innings he has been tagged for 37 hits and seven home runs, while walking 11 and striking out the same number. His ERA is 8.28. But hey, Covey never pitched above Double-A before this season. He's more of a sacrificial lamb at this point.

The Sox had little left on Sunday in the final game of a 10-game road trip. Oriole ace Chris Tillman, coming off the DL, made his first start of the season and was on the ropes in the first inning as the Sox loaded the bases with one out. But Todd Frazier lined out and Cody Asche grounded out, and the Sox remained scoreless the remainder of the day. It was the fourth time this season the boys have been shut out. On six other occasions, they've scored just one run.

Nevertheless, they have split the season's first 30 games. Few observers would have predicted that much success at this point. The Twins will visit for three games beginning Tuesday before a weekend set against the San Diego Padres.

The nights will be cold. The crowds will be sparse. Spending $9.75 for a Modelo Especial is excessive. The drama won't come from the fans. No, it will be all about whether this ballclub can maintain respectability as the rebuild continues. Just the way it should be.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

Top Universities Could Take Thousands More Low-Income Students, Study Says

Far more low-income students are qualified to attend the nation's most selective colleges and universities than they enroll, despite the fact that most have budget surpluses they could use to subsidize the neediest applicants, a new study contends.

Most low-income students end up at community colleges and regional public universities with low graduation rates. But some 86,000 annually score on standardized admission tests as well as or better than the students who enroll at the most selective universities and colleges, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce says.

The study contradicts the idea that low-income students aren't qualified for top schools.

marcus-thr-rich-schools-graphic-492x0-c-default.jpegTop universities with high budget surpluses and low enrollment of low-income students/Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce

In fact, said Anthony Carnevale, the report's lead author and director of the Georgetown center, enrollment in the best schools is often more likely to be based on family income.

Elite college educations are "more and more open only to the wealthy," Carnevale said.

Seventy-eight percent of low-income students who do manage to get into those selective colleges and universities eventually graduate, compared to 48 percent who go to community colleges and other open-access institutions.

Nor do top private colleges appear unable to afford to help low-income students. Most posted budget surpluses between 2012 and 2015, the last year for which the information is available, the study finds, citing federal tax documents.

The 69 most selective private colleges had average annual budget surpluses of $139 million in that period, and their endowments have a media value of $1.2 billion, it says. (These surpluses include donations to endowments and for other purposes, the authors acknowledged.) Yet fewer than one in five of their students are low income.

Some colleges and universities have particularly low proportions of low-income students. At Washington University in St. Louis, for example, fewer than 7 percent of students are eligible for Pell Grants; at Muhlenberg, fewer than 8 percent; and at Washington and Lee, Kenyon, Elon, and Colorado College, fewer than 10 percent.

Nor is it only private colleges where these rates are low. Fewer than 13 percent of students at the University of Virginia have incomes low enough to qualify for Pell Grants.

A bipartisan proposal in Congress would charge a penalty to colleges that take the lowest proportion of low-income students, measured by whether they qualify for federal Pell Grants.

The Georgetown center's findings echo those of a report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy, which in 2015 compared the percentage of low-income students who could have been expected to enroll at some of the top public universities based on their academic qualifications, versus the number who ended up at them.

It found that, without changing their admission standards, most of those schools also could take more low-income students.

-

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report , a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:58 AM | Permalink

May 7, 2017

TrackNotes: Always Dreaming Cranks Derby

The cranky Always Dreaming, along with the longtime money combo of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez, scored a decisive 2 3/4-length victory in what turned out to be, thank you for asking, a very entertaining and memorable 143rd Kentucky Derby weekend.

It seemed a celebration of this racing world we wander as the outfront owners, a coupla Brooklynites seemingly right out of central casting, Anthony Bonomo and Vincent Viola, added perhaps the ultimate chapter in their friendship-since-childhood partnership. They represent the ownership of, take a deep breath, MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz Stable, Teresa Viola, St. Elias Stable, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds.

Looking and acting like a tough-guy pussycat, Viola summed it up after the Derby. "We are truly kids, in our hearts, from the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. We always dreamed and this is one of the dreams that came true." His eyes were like saucers as he told of his father teaching him how to act as he made his first childhood visit to Aqueduct.

It was a surreal scene as the always-thundering, 20-horse herd, kicked up mud, mist, spray and water as the intermittent sun glared off the sheets of slop on the sealed track. On Saturday, after rain most of the week, the sun and blue skies made regular visits to Churchill Downs, but not without bringing even more rain in between. There was no chance they'd be able to fluff the track back to normal, but it made for a lot of speed with a few closing horses winning for good measure, adding nicely to the variety of a fun weekend.

Our prized Thoroughbreds didn't seem to mind the rain and cold. Although with a tad of requisite bitching by the announcers, the cold weather helped keep the horses cool, enabling them to summon any speed they needed without overheating.

Todd Pletcher, the brilliant trainer of 2-year-olds who has struggled with the Run to the Roses, won just his second Derby, but still couldn't dodge the barbs that follow not winning "the big one," although he has, twice now. After sending Calvin Borel and Street Sense - by the way, the first horse to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby - to the winners circle in 2010, Pletcher and Johnny V. actually went off the 9-2 favorites. Plenty of price for me, thank you again.

Visibly steamed after taking the question after the race, Pletcher seemed to be thinking, "Dammit, we just won the Derby!" but took the high road and congratulated ownership and sidekick Velazquez, the highest earning jock of all time, most of it with Pletcher. "I felt like Johnny and I needed one together." Pletcher was seen some hours after the Derby leading the elephant out of the room for the last time.

You can't ever gloat, because the losses always bring you down to earth, hard, but the wondrous performances by place horse Lookin At Lee, from the dreaded one post, and show entry Battle of Midway were enough to make you trust your hunches, I think. They were nice, but Always Dreaming, to pull out an old saw, was much the best.

Classic Empire, perhaps the most talented horse in the race, under Julien Leparoux, took punch after punch, held his legs, worked his darnedest, and finished fourth. It's one thing to need a race, as we all agree he did, but running the Kentucky Derby to do it . . . don't give up on this guy.

To complete the accounting, 'Dreaming won in a decidedly middling 2:03.59 and paid $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80. Lookin At Lee paid $26.60 and $15.20, and Battle of Midway paid $20.80 for Show. Commensurately, the exacta paid $336.20 for two dollars, the trifecta $16,594.40 for two dollars and a whopping $75,974.50 for just one dollar in the superfecta.

Potential heart breaker Gunnevera tried hard but never really threatened, finishing seventh. Irish War Cry contended most of the way, nearly satisfying his faithfuls, but fell seriously short down the stretch, finishing 10th. J Boys Echo seemed to give up, finishing 15th. Hence tried to run his race but was outrun by the horses who were better, finishing 11th.

Fluctuating for two days on the tote board, heart tugging Patch, with only one eye, his right, seemed, predictably, to try to get the lay of the land out of the gate, way out in the 20 hole, the only possible place where he couldn't see the other horses. He held his own in the heavy traffic of the Derby but could only do 14th. Irap officially earned won the One Hit Wonder award, getting hassled much in said traffic, and finished 18th.

UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow chose not to. Just steps out of the gate, he stopped, jumped straight up in the air as either one of my two cats might, bucked, and was calmed by jockey Christophe Soumillon. We can't confirm his beeline to the $2,500 mint julep stand.

It was a great weekend.

Silver-maned Bob Baffert, who's won this race four times, got unlucky without an entry vis a vis the Derby itself, but made his own inimitable impact by winning the Kentucky Oaks on Friday with Abel Tasman, piloted by the actively legendary Mike Smith, $20.40, $9.20, $6.40 thank you very much. In the interest of full disclosure and total stupidity, I was all over the window on this horse, but did not include him in my Oaks/Derby double. If I had . . . Any horseplayer will tell you finding the horse is only one thing. Crafting the bet is the Louvre.

Primary owners China Horse Club, a group of China guys so wealthy they had to find a way to spend their money and have chosen some of the Western vices, seemed in shock at the Oaks victory, but demurely enjoyed it all the same.

Friday turned out, ahem, to be very enjoyable. The morning ended without any deadline scratches in the Derby.

Fresh coffee, the Big World, Romantic Vision 1-2 at 7-1 and 15-1, respectively, in the La Troienne got things off to a smashing start. Bird Song, on paper questionable, jumped The Alysheba at 7-1. Cashing is always fun, even if it's Latent Revenge at 23-1 for place in the Turf Sprint.

We got a chance to check in with American Pharoah, the stud muffin hanging at Coolmore Farms these days. He looked great and displayed his trademark affability. He never seemed to mind having his picture taken with giggling fans of all ages. Telling how he visited the 'Pharoah while he was in town, Baffert was moved to moistened eyes, understating "It's always good to see him." And the others he trained, too.

Patch seems just as friendly.

NBCSN and NBC did a solid job with the telecast, although they might have done better with the backstories on some of the undercard stars.

You have to give a lot of respect to ESPN refugee Mike Tirico in one of his new roles at NBC. He did his homework and didn't seem to struggle getting the minutiae out, but he didn't look relaxed and didn't seem to have the racing passion. At least he's lucky to be at the network that covers racing these days and couldn't ask for much more easy fun as this. Keep the faith, he'll come around.

Coverage of the fashion didn't overwhelm, but it sure was funny to see the rain ponchos as that final accessory. The smarts used clear rain gear to let their outfits be seen.

There was no Tara Lipinski or Johnny Weir, addition by subtraction - although I'd like to see what Tara might be able to do, because she never had a chance with Weir's ego dominance.

This is stupid, I know, but it was fun and funny to see Aaron Rodgers in deep in the program intensely quizzing some racetrack wiseguy type. Teammate Randall Cobb and another guy they didn't name were so sweetly concentrating on getting their handicapping on in the festive atmosphere. Showing Tom Brady on Saturday, cynically figuring he got paid to be there, elicited the inner catcalls. Like I said: Stupid.

Churchill Downs reported 158,070 fans in attendance, short of the record 167,000 last year, but it didn't feel that way. The rain kept many inside, empty seats abounding on the apron.

My sister-in-law Kathy asked me to float a cool $20 to win on Always Dreaming. I say parlay. To be continued.

'Dreaming's connections are saying yes to the Preakness in two weeks. As difficult as it is, this horse has the talent. Does he have the American Pharoah magic?

That's why they run the races.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 PM | Permalink

May 6, 2017

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no Papers column on Friday.

1. Newborn Crowned Lemur Makes Debut At Lincoln Park Zoo.


-

2. $30,000 3BR On South Lowe.

-

3. A Brief Visual History Of Black Muslims In Chicago.

-

TrackNotes: No Gambling!
Your Kentucky Derby tout sheet.

-

Beachwood Sports Radio: Pace Still Pantsed
In retrospect, the Bears' draft still sucks. Plus: Trump-Lover Jay Cutler Joins Fox Sports; Pax & Garfield; The Cubs & Castro; The White Sox Way; and Schweinsteiger!

-

Beachwood Photo Booth: Manzana
Apple band bus.

-

Getting Rich Is Largely About Luck
And the richer a nation is, the more delusional their rich are.

-

Steve Harvey Reportedly Screws Chicago Staff
"He never said a word about them all losing their jobs."

-

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

-

BeachBook
A sampling.

Report: You Live In An Embarrassing Country.

*

*

Teacher: Jostens Yearbooks Are A Scam.

*

Diet Drinks Aren't Killing You.

*

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

*

*

-

The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Ghost ship.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:43 AM | Permalink

May 5, 2017

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #151: Pace Still Pantsed

In retrospect, the Bears' draft still sucks. Plus: Trump-Lover Jay Cutler Joins Fox Sports; Pax & Garfield; The Cubs & Castro; The White Sox Way; and Schweinsteiger!


-

SHOW NOTES

* 151.

* Mad Dog 20/20.

1:03: In Retrospect, The Bears' Draft Still Sucks.

* Kaplan/MMQB: Inside The Bears' Covert Op To Draft Mitchell Trubisky.

* King/MMQB: Inside San Francisco's Draft Room.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #150: Pace Pantsed.

* SportsMonday: The Bears' Dysfunctional Draft.

* Haugh: Pace Becomes Bears' Most Polarizing Person.

* Haugh: No Pity Party For Glennon.

* Morrissey: Tough Crowd: Bears Give Fans What They Want, Get Bashed For It.

* Fox Sports: Mike Glennon Felt 'Cheated On' After The Bears Drafted Mitch Trubisky.

* Morrissey: Mike Glennon Has Enough Rea$$urance For Mitch Trubisky Pick.

* Never Forget: Bucs Coach: Bears QB Mike Glennon reminds me of MVP Matt Ryan.

* Never Forget: Bears Do Their Homework, Bet On QB Mike Glennon's Upside.

* LOfuckingL.

31:42: Trump-Lover Jay Cutler Joins Fox Sports.

*

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha! Stop it, you're killing me! Can I tweet that?

38:11: Pax & Garfield.

* Johnson: Bulls Executives Tout Future Flexibility And Need For Player Development.

* Cowley: It's Time For Gar-Pax To Start Accepting Some Harsh Truths.

46:00 The Cubs & Castro.

54:17: The White Sox Way.

1:03:17: Schweinsteiger!

-

STOPPAGE: 4:14

-

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Slowdive at the Vic on Wednesday night.


-

2. Strychnine at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

-

3. Testament at the Concord on Tuesday night.

-

4. White Elephant Trio at Phyllis' Musical Inn on Sunday night.

-

5. Dirty Green at Phyllis' Musical Inn on Sunday night.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:55 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Manzana

Apple band bus.

busmanzana.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

Manzana.

-

More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

-

Helene on Twitter!

-

Meet Helene!

-

Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

-

Listen to Helene talk about Photo Booth; starts at 57:54.

-

Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Housemates.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Have Fresh Goat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartcam.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gaslight.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Urban Wheat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Embassy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln's Cozy Corner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Glory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bowling Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Red Lion, Red Hots.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Sitting.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Jukebox Is Not A Democracy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Handicapped Milk Jug Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Gumball Express.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicken Run.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bus Stop.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:08 AM | Permalink

Report: Steve Harvey Cowardly Screws Chicago Staff

"Steve never even addressed the staff about it. He never said a word about them all losing their jobs. These are die-hard loyal staff members. Staff was told by the Executive Producer, not Steve. The EP said that Steve would talk to them and then he never did. Not even an email saying 'thanks for what you do,' or 'good luck.'"


-

Previously in Steve Harvey:

* Survey Says: Steve Harvey Is A Terrible Father.

* Steve Harvey Doesn't Want To Host Family Feud Anymore.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:04 AM | Permalink

Getting Rich Is Largely About Luck

The UK suffers from the highest levels of income inequality in Europe - partly because of the delusions of its rich. In countries where the rich have less, they tend to be less delusional, about themselves, about other people, about what is possible, and about why some become rich.

In the UK, it is unsurprising to read that an investment banker thinks £100m is a lot of money but "not a ridiculous amount of money." In a report in the Guardian this week, we also heard that one particular banker is "fairly confident" that a driven and passionate individual could "start from zero and get to £100m within 20 years."

moneyluck.jpgGrab it while you can/Vova Shevchuk, Shutterstock

However, there is hope. In the research report that kicked off this latest set of news stories, Katharina Hecht from the London School of Economics and Political Science found that one third of her sample of extremely rich people working in the City of London agreed that "the government should reduce income differences."

The sample is extremely small and this subset of the very rich has not been asked similar questions before, but what they say chimes with reports from the U.S. last year which implied attitudes among the extremely wealthy are beginning to change.

In 2016 in New York, 50 millionaires wrote to the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, asking him to increase their taxes because they thought economic inequalities had grown too high. The group included Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Walt Disney, and Steven Rockefeller, a fourth-generation member of that very wealthy family. The offspring of the rich at least know they did not bring in their riches, let alone create them out of thin air.

In truth, no one creates wealth out of the ether as the mythic phrase "wealth creator" suggests. Most wealth is appropriated from others, not made. Wealth can grow but only when it is well shared, not corralled into the hands of a few. Wealth growth rates are highest in countries that are more equitable than their neighbors.

Four years after the great financial crash, Michael Lewis, one of the most successful people ever to write about the financial industry, tried to explain to a group of Princeton University graduates why most of his own and his audience's success would be down to luck. The author of The Big Short and Moneyball told them that the odds would just be tipped a little in their favor if they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth:

"People really don't like to hear success explained away as luck - especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don't want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either."

* * * * *

Lucking Out

The world Lewis was talking about was not the whole world, but the world as seen by the elites in unequal counties. By "world" he really meant "America," and in particular he was talking about the "American Dream" - the idea that anyone can make it if they try hard enough and are talented enough, no matter how economically unequal the society is they are competing in.

The American dream is a myth, just like the London investment banker's fantasy. Those who make money are often not very talented at all. They were just lucky at the right points in their lives. They might have worked hard and often are driven and greedy, but thousands of others will have worked as hard as them, been just as greedy as them, and not consistently struck it lucky.

Most often, those who make money had money given to them in the first place, through inheritance that increased their chances; but it is always down to luck. Don't believe the myth of the nice, kind, gifted, self-made entrepreneur.

We live in a world in which those who have got to the top have got there not out of great merit, but because they often had a few unfair advantages to start with, such as being born male, white and rich, because they had many lucky breaks on the way up, and often because they were willing to stamp on others' chances as they rose. The human world does not consist of just a few superior beings able enough to do the key things that need doing, and a lumpen mass of inferior beings who could never do these things and so should be penalized appropriately.

-

Danny Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at Oxford. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

-

Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:53 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: No Gambling!

There are two kinds of sports fans, at least in these parts.

Those who bet and those who don't. But gamblers see their games forever differently, because the inner game of the wager tints whatever is going on in the field.

In the old days, when you used to see No Gambling signs posted around the ballpark, the product was sometimes so bad that betting was the only way to enjoy yourself out at the yard.

These days, baseball games are taken out of the hands of the best pitchers and players, making handicapping impossible. Football is an inhuman, militaristic industry and not a game or a sport, civilian casualties be damned. And basketball is too painful to watch even with a wager down.

But we do have Thoroughbred horse racing, and specifically, this weekend's 143rd Kentucky Derby.

Unlike the Super Bowl, Patriots versus the NFC Patsies every year, where coaches get ego cute and players fruitlessly pound their chests as usual not realizing it's the biggest moment of their lives, the Derby promises a new, young group every year.

Some of the biggest names in horse training have never won this race. These 3-year-olds are being told to get it together and go to work, you're not a kid anymore, even when they kind of are and are not yet what they will become, successful or not.

The 20 contenders might mature more this week than in their lives, coping with the tremendous crowds at Louisville's Churchill Downs, and the idiocy of the loudspeakers and steroid-gorged video screens. Some are based at Churchill, some spend a couple weeks, some come in as few as 72 hours before the race.

They can't talk, which is fine with me, so we're spared all forms of bulletin board fodder postured from behind stupid, IQ-revealing tweets.

Sure, the distasteful pressure of American spectacle has made real inroads on the Derby and "the demographic" speaks as television focuses a lot on the pomp and the pretense. But while you bet on the Super Bowl based on who you think will win, never dreaming of a Pete Carroll blunder, once you wager a Derby horse, he's my horse, or your horse.

But I don't pay attention to the fluff and you don't have to either. You can spend your time handicapping all the other great races, Friday and Saturday. And TV does a good job with the backstories.

In post-position order:

1. Lookin At Lee (20-1 morning line odds)

Third in the Arkansas Derby (number 6), 'Lee fell well behind early and bided his time, making a move on the far turn. Blocked six out from the rail, he veered inside, too late it turned out to command the rail, but danced strong, closing at the wire. He'll need all the racing luck he can get Saturday. Starting out of the one post, he's a closer who can't get suckered into any kind of a quick pace, but will spend energy staying up and out of trouble. He's run against some decent company; trainer Steve Asmussen figures he'll be running late. He hasn't won since last August in the Ellis Park Juvenile. Fully capable, but it looks like he'll have too much to do from the one post.

2. Thunder Snow (20-1)

So impressive in a gutty, record win in the UAE Derby in March, trainer Saeed bin Suroor tries yet again to ship from the Emirates and try to win this race. It hasn't happened yet. Winner of three straight, this one is considered a turf horse. He probably has only two good things going for him in Kentucky: jockey Christophe Soumillon and possibly a wet track. But we don't know if he'll take exceptionally well to the surface. He's enough of a fish out of water to preclude a win here.

3. Fast and Accurate (50-1)

Hello Ma. Hello Pa. I know his sire Hansen cost you money and this one runs on plastic and grass, but can you see your way to love him anyway, please? No.

4. Untrapped (30-1)

Another distance-challenged suspect. My fear is that at 50 or 60-1, he might get up at the bottom of the superfecta, as long as everything falls apart in front of him. Even then, 10 furlongs aren't his cup of tea. He has no distance pedigree, challenged to run any more than eight furlongs. Asmussen, all-time winningest trainer, has never won the Derby and he won't win with this one. Read on.

5. Always Dreaming (5-1)

Once the Derby Futures favorite, this son of Bodemeister looks to have all the chance. Winner of three straight, his lone stakes win was the Florida Derby on April 1, in which he improved 26 Beyer Speed Figure points. But he's had it easy and will get into traffic he's never experienced. The 97 Beyer in Florida and Johnny Velazquez aboard give trainer Todd Pletcher a good chance. Bad news is that he's very difficult to control, requiring controlling draw reins in workouts. If JV and 'Dreaming can control the energy, he's good. 5-1 or lower may not be good value, 2-1 would stink.

6. State of Honor (30-1)

This one has a bad case of seconditis. His last win was in October in a maiden special weight on the artificial at Woodbine. He's 10-1-4-2. He's been running alongside some of these and he looks to have heart, but his only chance is in the exotics . . . aw, just forget it.

7. Girvin (15-1)

This horse has problems, foot problems including a quarter (hoof) crack. Since winning the Louisiana Derby, his training has been interrupted, he's been in a hyperbaric chamber, and he's been swimming instead of jogging the track. He'll be wearing bar shoes, which have more steel on them than the usual U-shaped shoe. They're easier on his feet but compromise his traction. Big Brown did this with bad feet, but he was a freak of nature. Not this guy.

8. Hence (15-1)

Looking like the wiseguy of the field, Hence made his bones with a commanding move and win in the Sunland Derby, as key a race as there's been this year. Several horses in that race went on to do well and improve in important races. Showing a closing knack and a 97 Beyer in the Sunland, Hence looks like he can close from a couple different tiers, and did the same thing in the slop at Oaklawn, although he clunked in the Southwest, also at Oaklawn. I'm nervous about his price, feeling I'm entitled to a minimum 10-1.

9. Irap (20-1)

We see in Irap a 10-point Beyer improvement (93, not great) in an upset win in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 8. But he was 0-7 before that. May need the fast track he had at Keeneland and didn't show well in his one slop race. Big colt should be able to hold his own in traffic, and he showed great fortitude at Keeneland, but will need a moderate or slower pace and clear sailing. Even then, others look better.

10. Gunnevera (15-1)

Everybody now, scratch your heads. He did not need the Florida Derby but impressed in the Fountain of Youth in March and the Delta Jackpot last November. He's run on a wet track. On a down-up cycle, this one is up. Has also run against much of the class of this field. But JJ Castellano took him back in Florida and I don't like to see that. It's confusing. And besides the FOY and Saratoga Special against no one last summer, he hasn't done much. But he looks capable, on a good day. That's the dilemma. But 12-1 or better is requested, just askin'.

11. Battle of Midway (30-1)

For some reason, I like this horse. He showed a lot of heart in the Santa Anita Derby, trying hard to take the rail in a race that has been roundly criticized for its slowness. His 88 Beyer in that race will scare many off. Not running at 2-years-old, he'll be running under the "curse" of Apollo, the only horse to win the Kentucky Derby without running at two. That was in 1882. But he seems to love being in the mix and has the pedigree to get the distance. He's won under Flavien Prat. I'm in.

12. Sonneteer (50-1)

We hope things eventually go better for this horse, but he may just be in the middle of a Rod Serling script. Sonneteer will try to become the first maiden to win the Kentucky Derby since Broker's Tip in 1933. You remember him, and that race. That's the one where 'Tip's jockey, Don Meade, and Herb Fisher, aboard Head Play, literally got into a rasslin' match AS THEY APPROACHED THE FINISH LINE.

It's also the only race, in 14 starts, that Broker's Tip ever won. In his life. It made all the papers.

We've seen Kent Desormeaux turn in some curious rides, but not like this. And Sonneteer is the son of Midnight Lute, two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup SPRINT and the 2007 SPRINT Horse of the Year. Why is he in this race?

13. J Boys Echo (20-1)

The son of Mineshaft impressed in the Gotham two back, running a 102 Beyer against nobody, but was hassled out of the gate in the Blue Grass and finished fourth, more than six back. He lost regular rider Robby Albarado, a very experienced Churchill jockey, to an ankle injury and will be piloted by Luis Saez. Four others in this race have beaten him and you wonder who he's beaten, which is why he has struggled for respect this spring. That 102 looks more and more like a giraffe to me. In the 13 hole, he may not be able to get the close-but-not-far-back position he needs, unless a few take off. Although he may take some wiseguy money, get a price on a flyer.

14. Classic Empire (4-1) Your pre-race favorite, this son of Pioneerof the Nile and half-brother to American Pharoah, is considered the most talented horse in the race. Winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Two-Year-Old Horse of the Year, he's faced adversity this year. After a bad third in the Holy Bull, his class showed in winning the Arkansas Derby, basically just three weeks ago. With training disruptions and very little racing this year, will he have the foundation? He's won at Churchill twice, including in the slop. I don't like Julien Leparoux aboard and trainer Mark Casse clearly has his fingers crossed. I think he needs to prove more, at a better price. But Saturday, he just might. Favorites have won the last four Derbies.

15. McCraken (5-1)

This is a good news-bad news horse. The son of Ghostzapper, he won his first four, running a 95 Beyer in the Sam F. Davis, the local prep to the Tampa Bay Derby. He's also won three times at Churchill Downs, including the Kentucky Jockey Club. Trainer Ian Wilkes is great at getting a horse ready for a big race. Although prominent early on the Road to the Roses, McCraken hasn't impressed with the company he's keeping and his Beyers, save for a 95 in the Davis, have been lackluster. He beat Tapwrit in the Davis and then regressed in an unimpressive, dull effort in the Blue Grass against the best horses he's faced. The talking heads will be touting this horse too much, but he'll need to show me a lot more before I believe, and the Kentucky Derby is a hell of a place to try it.

16. Tapwrit (20-1)

Starting just to the outside of McCraken, we can say some of the same things about him. The Tapit colt stayed in Florida and won the Tampa Bay Derby, beating not much in the way of classic distance horses, then finished a get-the-binoculars 12 lengths back in fifth in the Blue Grass. But he's also got sire Tapit, a great race horse and one of the leading sires in the world, running through his veins. If McCraken and Tapwrit want to duke it out back in the pack, fine by me. They had better both be a price but between the two, I'd take Tapwrit and his back class.

17. Irish War Cry (6-1)

The quality son of Curlin beat Gunnevera and Classic Empire in the Holy Bull, which turned out to be a key race, clunked in the Fountain of Youth and came back to win the Wood Memorial. Two 100+ Beyers. He's never run in the mud, but his Tomlinson (wet) rating is a lofty 435! Born May 2, 2014, the New Jersey-bred is the youngest horse in the field. He's in a surprisingly decent post position and has every right to win this race. If he goes 6-1, I will run between the raindrops to take it.

18. Gormley (15-1)

Jockey Victor Espinoza has won three Derbies (War Emblem, California Chrome, American Pharoah) and trainer John Shireffs of Zenyatta fame stunned this race with longshot Giacomo. But they're not running, Gormley is. The West Coast invader won the Santa Anita Derby at a slow 1:51 and has won three other stakes races, and the Sham Stakes was in the slop. Lost to Mastery at fourth in San Felipe and barely beat American Anthem, both early wonderboys who are off the Derby trail. Not sure who he's beaten except maybe Battle of Midway. Might be the best of those who are left from California, which isn't saying a lot. He's a professional, but he'll need to show a lot more speed. Call me at 10 minutes to post.

19. Practical Joke (20-1)

With Chad Brown training and Joel Rosario aboard, you have to take a look. But when you do, you see a then-and-now picture that says he shouldn't be in this race. Winner of his first three, including the Hopeful at Saratoga and the Champagne at Belmont, both Grade Is, last fall, he's lost his last three by a combined 15 lengths in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, Fountain of Youth and Blue Grass. The difference? Distance. He worked his way up to eight furlongs at Belmont, but past that at 8.5, 8.5 and 9, no dice. He also hasn't done a thing around two turns, an important rite of passage for a horse who hopes to win the Derby. He should have overtaken Irap in the Blue Grass. Jump on this guy later on this summer when he cuts back in distance.

20. Patch (30-1)

The ladies in stylish hats will either say AWW or EWW when they learn that Patch has only one eye, his right. He lost it with some sort of unexplained infection at two years old. There have been vision-impaired horses before, so don't panic, he'll be fine. Although is drawing the far outside post some sort of joke? While all of his races have been one-eyed, it put off racing at two, so he'll be running under the shroud of Apollo. The son of Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, Patch has only run three times, admirably, with a second in the Louisiana Derby, where he showed he won't take no crap from nobody. He starts from the 20 post, so he'll need some maneuvering to see what's happening. The price? Who knows? But I'll probably fly on him.

There is a true lack of a clearly outstanding horse - it's an especially weak crop this year - and the nearly ridiculous 20-horse field severely reducesthe luck quotient, but it's still the Kentucky Derby and the winner will still live forever. The field and the weather, rain expected all weekend, should make this a potentially great wagering race.

And we know how betting is a good way to enjoy yourself.

The Picks
So, who to like?

I'm singular on Hence, Battle of Midway, Irish War Cry, Always Dreaming and Gunnevera because he has the capabilty of breaking my heart.

I'm not sold on Classic Empire or McCraken, but I don't want them to beat me either.

I'll fly on J Boys Echo and Lookin At Lee. And Patch, even though he could get bet way down by the motherly types. I just like his kickass mentality.

Watching
NBC Sports Network will cover Kentucky Oaks Day and begin on Kentucky Derby Day before handing off to NBC network for the big race.

Friday 5:30, NBCSN, try to catch My Kentucky Home. It's a sappy tribute to Tom Hammonds, the Kentucky Wildcats and bourbon, but also the horses in whatever order. But at the beginning, Hammonds pays a visit to American Pharoah. What a nice guy. And he does the "You talkin' 'bout me?" routine. Man, the Pharoah looks great!

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

May 4, 2017

The [Thursday] Papers

Multiple Witnesses Report 'Mothman' In Chicago.

A huge owl-like creature that looked to be six feet with glowing red eyes. People threw rocks at it.


-

BeachBook

Where Is Craft Beer Most Popular In America?

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

They'll be in the ladies wing.


*

*

*

*

*

Sick, sad world. America 2017.

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Earnings call.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:06 PM | Permalink

May 3, 2017

The [Wednesday] Papers

Different Countries Try Malort.

"Tonight's the night you fight your dad."


-

New on today's Beachwood . . .

New Chicago Drill
What's hot now.

Federal Judge: Illinois Prison Healthcare Sucks
Certifies class-action suit.

Anti-Immigrant Hysteria Harming Churchill Downs
Labor shortage.

Roseland At Night
"Loose square sellers need to organize."

-

BeachBook

The Born-In-Chicago Nazi Who Infiltrated National Geograpic.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

I've been mad at those people my whole life - and most of them were editors.

*

*

Reminder.

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Someone told you so.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

New Chicago Drill

What's hot now.


-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:04 AM | Permalink

Anti-Immigrant Hysteria Harming Churchill Downs

Horse racing's most visible races are set to begin with the Kentucky Derby during the first week of May. The events are underscored by a concern about the future of immigrant workers who support the tracks.


-

Are Chicago-area tracks feeling the same pinch? Assignment Desk, activate!

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:46 AM | Permalink

Roseland At Night

"Loose square sellers need to unionize."


-

Previously by CharlieBo313: Englewood 79th/67th.

-

YouTube note from Charlie:

"To see other videos like this in many other cities I would appreciate a donation through my PayPal account with debit or credit cards. Or through my GoFundMe account. PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE."

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:27 AM | Permalink

Federal Court Certifies Lawsuit Charging Unconstitutional Illinois Prison Healthcare

In a decision with wide-ranging implications for prisoners across Illinois, a federal judge ruled Monday that long-standing problems with the medical and dental care provided in Illinois's state prisons must be addressed systemically, rather than relying on individual challenges from prisoners.

U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonso has held that the lawsuit Lippert v. Baldwin can move forward as a class action. The decision comes after a panel of healthcare experts found the system of providing health care for the more than 45,000 prisoners under IDOC control was woefully lacking, causing needless pain and suffering.

"The system of providing health care to prisoners in Illinois is broken and must be fixed," said Camille Bennett, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. "Until today, advocates looking to fix this broken system have been forced to seek redress for one person at a time. Allowing this action to move forward on behalf of the entire class of prisoners means that the solutions must be systemic - addressing every single facility operated by the IDOC."

The ruling by Alonso relies heavily on an expert report filed with the court last year, which reported pervasive problems across IDOC ranging from broken equipment and lack of basic sanitation and infection control to gross medical errors coupled with failures in basic care and follow-up. The report criticized IDOC for not having qualified physicians.

In one example cited in the report, a patient at Menard Correctional Center with Type 1 diabetes was being treated by a non-primary care trained physician, who erroneously discontinued the patient's insulin use after his blood sugar levels were found to be normal while on insulin. The experts described this as reflecting "a lack of understanding of the basic pathophysiology of this common disease."

"The expert report made the systemic nature of this problem undeniable," said Jason Stiehl, a partner in the Chicago law office of Akerman LLP. "We are pleased that the judge saw this reality and made this a class action so that we can move forward with efforts to fix the entire system - not simply bring individual complaints from persons who have been harmed by it."

Stiehl and lawyers from the Uptown People's Law Center filed the class action complaint on behalf of six prisoners in 2011. In 2013, the ACLU of Illinois joined the lawsuit.

Alan Mills, executive director of the Uptown People's Law Center, one of the lawyers representing the prisoners, said that "Illinois has endangered the health of thousands of people locked in our prisons for many years. Prisoners are provided care which is so inadequate that serious illnesses are left untreated, people are forced to live in pain for months with easily treatable conditions, and in some cases have suffered permanent damage, had legs amputated, and even died as a result."

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

May 2, 2017

The [Tuesday] Papers

Fly Lufthansa B747-8i Business Class Upper Deck Frankfurt-Chicago:


-

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Blackmarket Democracy, Hellbelly, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Dead Fires, Sam Outlaw, Tobin Sprout, Pissed Jeans, Frank Iero and the Patience with Dave House and Kayleigh Goldsworthy, Unwed Sailor, Treeshakers, Robin Trower, Hammerfall, Joe Lynn Turner, Aimee Mann, Delain, Gorphanage, and Ozzuario.

-

The Absurd Amount Of Entitlements That Go To Rich People
"When Medicare and Social Security are both included, the average household in the .01% - those with more than $100 million in assets - receive more in government transfers than the average household in the poorest 50%. Even without Social Security, the multi-millionaires got nearly two-thirds the government transfers received by the poorest 50%."

-

Chicago Family Sues ICE & City Over Raid, Gang Database
"A nightmarish chain of events left Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez imprisoned, in severe physical pain and mental anguish, and fighting deportation."

-

How Crossing The US-Mexico Border Became A Crime
"For most of American history, immigrants could enter the United States without official permission and not fear criminal prosecution by the federal government."

-

Chicago-Based Duracell Sues Alleged Gray Market Dealer
I did not know Duracell was based in Chicago.

-

From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

SportsMonday: The Bears' Dysfunctional Draft
The lesson Ryan Pace missed at general managers school.

The White Sox Report: Outperforming April
Firing on all cylinders - except catching the ball.

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Cycling
"In Chicago in particular, it seems black cyclists have been targeted by the police for unfair treatment."

-

BeachBook
A sampling.

CPS Won't Say Why It Suspended Activist Teacher Sarah Chambers, Leaving Us To Suspect The Obvious.

*

Casinos Bet On Skill-Based Video Game Gambling To Attract Millennials Who Don't Have Time For Your Bullshit.

*

Chocolate Chicago At Macy's For 14 Years Neither Melted Nor Eaten.

*

WCIU - The U - Mascot Engaging In Hijinks.

*

Huge Riverwalk Revenues.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

Maybe Barbara Byrd-Bennett can make pencils while in the pen.

*

Yet I keep seeing headlines everywhere . . .

*

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: United.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:33 AM | Permalink

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Cycling

Every summer, cycling enthusiasts anticipate the start of the Tour de France, and in more recent times, in the north of the UK, the Tour de Yorkshire. For the latter, yellow and blue bunting lines the streets of Yorkshire towns for one of the biggest cycle races in the country - with some of the top international teams taking part.

Events like the Tour de Yorkshire have put cycling on the map in Britain, and have had a major economic impact - with research showing that the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire boosted the region's economy by nearly $78 million.

The health benefits of cycling have also been well documented - with recent research indicating that cycling to work could help you to live longer.

This has led to calls to get Britain biking, with campaigns aiming to get more people "on your bike" to reap the health benefits that can come from commuting on two wheels.

And yet research shows that ethnicity, gender and income still strongly affect participation and preferences.

Olympic Team GB cycling coach David Brailsford has described how:

Breaking down the barriers to wider participation from black and ethnic minority groups remains the great unconquered goal for British cycling.

In London, a city where a third of the population identifies as black, Asian and minority ethnic, 86% of male cyclists and 94% of female cyclists are white - and two thirds of all cyclists are male.

Despite former London Mayor Boris Johnson's strategy to improve the demographics of cycling, it still maintains a very much white, male, middle-class constituency.

My Own Experiences

As a regular cyclist of African-Caribbean descent, I have considered how the quality of my rides differs depending on where I go and who I'm with.

In one cycling group, I ride with white friends, and have generally found my ethnicity is never an issue. The odd second look I sometimes receive has not (yet) been followed by a negative racial remark, though uneasy gazes could be interpreted as unwelcoming micro-aggressions.

In my other cycling group, all the riders are black - something of a rarity in cycling circles. And it is when I am in this group that passersby have taken time to wind their windows down to throw racial slurs in our direction.

file-20170425-13408-1ocwr9b.jpegThe traditional British cyclist/Pexels

At loftier levels, the treatment of some world-class black cyclists has been equally disturbing. In 2015, the MTN-Qhubeka Tour de France team complained of racism after members of the team were racially abused.

In what was described as a "heat of the battle" exchange, an offended MTN-Qhubeka rider was issued an apology and the offending cyclist was expelled from the race.

Racism in competitive cycling is nothing new but the emergence of more high-level black riders has unmasked some particularly ugly racism that the sport has yet to tackle full-on.

Biking While Black

In the U.S., the issue of race and cycling has led to claims of institutional police racism. In Chicago in particular, it seems black cyclists have been targeted by the police for unfair treatment.

The Chicago Tribune reviewed police statistics on the number of biking tickets issued by the police in the city. The review showed that more than twice as many tickets are being written in African-American communities than in white or Latino areas. These tickets are often given out for minor offenses, such as cycling on the pavement, but in some cases cyclists have ended up being arrested.

Chicago is a city where the bulk of cycling infrastructure is within white neighborhoods. So for white people, white privilege means there is less chance of a fine.

The police statistics also show that despite high levels of cycling in predominantly white areas, over an eight-year period (2008-2016) the top ten ticketed areas included seven that are African American and three that are Latino.

And many in the city now believe that the bike stops are just another pretext for racially motivated searches - described as the new "stop and frisk."

Beyond The White Male Image

Cycling and biking should be a sport or leisure activity anyone can get involved in, regardless of age, skin color or gender. But until the dynamics of "race," racism and whiteness in cycling are more fully understood, the sport will continue to be dominated by white, middle-aged men.

file-20170425-13411-1bbrx53.jpegOh so white/Pexels

The significance of "race" and white privilege is not only an issue for British cycling and its mass participation goals, but also for the international governing body for cycling - the UCI - whose Cycling for All Manifesto has not yet considered these subtle differences in how black riders experience cycling.

Until then, those barriers to wider participation from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups will sadly continue to be in place - for recreational cyclists, professional competitors and everyday cyclists both in the UK and beyond.

Kevin Hylton is a professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport, Leisure and Education, and heead of the Research Centre for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Leeds Beckett University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

-

Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:40 AM | Permalink

The Absurd Amount Of Entitlements That Go To Rich People

Many wealthy Americans complain about the amount of government subsidies going to the poor. Their complaints demonstrate ignorance, greed or a total lack of fair-mindedness, or a combination of all those symptoms of entitlement at the top.

The Rich Get As Much Of The Safety Net As The Poor

Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman have calculated that, on average in 2014, the middle class received more of the safety net than the lower class.

Specifically, the 40% of American adults with incomes just below the top 10% received more in safety net government transfers (Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps/SNAP, Veterans' benefits, etc., but excluding Social Security) than the bottom 50% of Americans.

Even more stunningly according to the same authors, when Medicare and Social Security are both included, the richest 10% on average received approximately as much in government transfers as the poorest 50%.

The biggest shocker: When Medicare and Social Security are both included, the average household in the .01% - those with more than $100 million in assets - received more in government transfers in 2014 than the average household in the poorest 50%. Even without Social Security, the multi-millionaires got nearly two-thirds the government transfers received by the poorest 50%.

Over 90 percent of safety net entitlement benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, or working households. This helps to explain the various estimates that the poorest 20% of American households receive only about one-third of all government benefits, or about $250 billion of the total 'welfare' budget of $740 billion. That comes to about $10,000 for each of the 25 million households in the bottom quintile, an annual government subsidy that pales in comparison to the tax benefits enjoyed by wealthy households.

The Rich Cash In On Medicare And Social Security

As the longevity of wealthy Americans increases relative to low-income Americans, they benefit more and more from Medicare and Social Security. A National Institutes of Health study found "a growing gap in projected lifetime benefits under programs such as Social Security and Medicare because higher earners are increasingly more likely to receive such benefits over longer periods of time relative to lower earners."

A Brookings report quantifies this, estimating that lowest-quintile Americans born in 1960 will receive "only 78 percent of the lifetime Medicare benefits received by the top income quintile."

Middle- and upper-income Americans are even dipping into Medicaid because of the program's accommodating asset-exclusion limits. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, "15 percent of the elderly in the middle income quintile receive Medicaid benefits, 8 percent in the upper-middle quintile receive benefits, and 5 percent in the top quintile receive Medicaid benefits."

The U.S. federal tax system is progressive, and thus big incomes lead to higher federal taxes and greater investments in Social Security. The Urban Institute calculates that a married couple with two low earners will pay only about one-third the amount paid by a married couple with one high earner and one average earner. However, 20-year annuities (ages 65 to 85) yield about $22,000 per year for the low earners and about $44,000 per year for the high/average earners.

Tax Benefits Almost Entirely For The Rich

According to West's Encyclopedia of American Law, an 'entitlement' is "an individual's right to receive a value or benefit provided by law." This includes mandatory means-tested safety net programs and subsidies resulting from new or revised tax laws. Based on analyses by the Congressional Budget Office, Pew Research, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and several trusted news sources, the following is a summary of tax entitlements taken by the households of the poorest 20%, the richest 20%, and the richest 1%.

  • The Poorest 20% Of U.S. Households Get Up To $3,000 Each In Tax Entitlements

The CBO estimates that about 8 percent of tax breaks in 2013, or $72 billion out of $900 billion, went to the bottom quintile, while the CBPP estimates 2.8 percent of $1.1 trillion, or about $30 billion. That accounts for anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 in government tax subsidies for the poorest 20%.

  • The Richest 20% Of U.S. Households Get At Least $18,000 Each In Tax Entitlements

The CBO itemizes the ten main tax expenditures, including capital gains, employer health insurance, pension deductions, and state and local tax breaks. In 2013 over half of these benefits (or about $450 billion) went to the top quintile (25 million households). That's $18,000 per household. The CBPP's estimate is much higher, with two-thirds of $1.1 trillion in benefits (almost $30,000 per household) going to the top quintile.

  • The Richest 1% Of U.S. Households Get Over $120,000 Each In Tax Entitlements

Pew Research counted $1.15 trillion in tax expenditures in 2016. Thus tax break entitlements cost taxpayers much more than the entire $740 billion safety net for the poor.

Evidence that most of this goes to the super-rich is derived from various sources, including the CBO, the National Priorities Project, the Fiscal Times, and the New York Times. The CBO estimates that 17 percent of the $900 billion in tax expenditures in 2013, or $153 billion, went to the 1.25 million households in the top 1%. The CBPP's estimate is much higher, with 23.9 percent of $1.1 trillion in benefits (over $200,000 per household) going to the top quintile.

Even More Lucrative Entitlements For The Rich

On top of everything else, there exists an incredible array of big-money tax breaks that primarily benefit well-positioned Americans:

  • The mortgage interest deduction for second homes, which might even be a yacht;
  • Another luxury home benefit with up to a half-million dollars tax-free when a couple sells their home;
  • Yet another rich-couple subsidy with properties worth up to $10 million tax-free when an estate is passed on to heirs;
  • Deductions on rental properties for landlords, who are unlikely to be low-income people;
  • The $127,200 limit on Social Security taxes, which benefits only the richest 10% of Americans;
  • Tax breaks on 401(k) accounts, which are less likely to be owned by low-income people;
  • Higher education financial aid, especially from the prestigious universities that admit more students from families in the top 1% than the entire bottom 50%; and
  • Miscellaneous entitlement perks, such as business meals, gambling loss deductions, and tax preparation.

And finally, for any defenders of high-end entitlements on the basis of federal tax paid, total taxes should be considered. It has been estimated that poor Americans pay about 25 percent in total taxes, while the 1% pays anywhere from 18 to 23 percent.

Wealthy Americans complain about 'entitlements' for the poor, but they keep collecting their own entitlements, to a degree that average Americans can only dream about.

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher in Chicago. His latest book is Disposable Americans: Extreme Capitalism and the Case for a Guaranteed Income. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:53 AM | Permalink

May 1, 2017

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Blackmarket Democracy at Star Bar in Chicago Ridge on Saturday night.


-

2. Hellbelly at Star Bar in Chicago Ridge on Saturday night.

-

3. Hurray For The Riff Raff at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

-

4. Dead Fires at Reggies on Sunday night.

-

5. Sam Outlaw at SPACE in Evanston on Saturday night.

-

6. Tobin Sprout at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

-

7. Pissed Jeans at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

-

8. Frank Iero and the Patience with Dave House and Kayleigh Goldsworthy at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

-

9. Unwed Sailor at Schubas on Friday night.

-

10. Treeshakers at the Red Line Tap on Thursday night.

-

11. Robin Trower at the Copernicus on Saturday night.

-

12. Hammerfall at the Concord on Friday night.

-

13. Joe Lynn Turner at Reggies on Thursday night.

-

14. Aimee Mann at the Park West on Saturday night.

-

15. Delain at the Concord on Friday night.

-

16. Gorphanage at the Elbo Room on Sunday night.

-

17. Ozzuario at Reckless Records on Saturday night.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:54 PM | Permalink

How Crossing The US-Mexico Border Became A Crime

It was not always a crime to enter the United States without authorization.

In fact, for most of American history, immigrants could enter the United States without official permission and not fear criminal prosecution by the federal government.

That changed in 1929. On its surface, Congress's new prohibitions on informal border crossings simply modernized the U.S. immigration system by compelling all immigrants to apply for entry. However, in my new book, City of Inmates, I detail how Congress outlawed border crossings with the specific intent of criminalizing, prosecuting and imprisoning Mexican immigrants.

Knowing this history is important now. On April 11, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his plan to step up prosecutions of unlawful entries, saying it's time to "restore a lawful system of immigration." This may read like a colorblind commitment to law and order, but the law Sessions has vowed to enforce was designed with racist intent.

The Mexican Immigration Debate

The criminalization of informal border crossings occurred amid an immigration boom from Mexico.

In 1900, about 100,000 Mexican immigrants resided in the United States.

By 1930, nearly 1.5 million Mexican immigrants lived north of the border.

As Mexican immigration surged, many in Congress were trying to restrict non-white immigration. By 1924, Congress had largely adopted a "whites only" immigration system, banning all Asian immigration and cutting the number of immigrants allowed to enter the United States from anywhere other than Northern and Western Europe. But whenever Congress tried to cap the number of Mexicans allowed to enter the United States each year, Southwestern employers fiercely objected.

U.S. employers had eagerly stoked the era's Mexican immigration boom by recruiting Mexican workers to their Southwestern farms, ranches and railroads, as well as their homes and mines. By the 1920s, western farmers were completely dependent on Mexican workers.

However, they also believed that Mexican immigrants would never permanently settle in the United States. As agribusiness lobbyist S. Parker Frisselle explained to Congress in 1926, "The Mexican is a 'homer.' Like the pigeon he goes home to roost."

On Frisselle's promise that Mexicans were "not immigrants" but, rather, "birds of passage," western employers successfully defeated proposals to cap Mexican immigration to the United States during the 1920s.

The idea that Mexican immigrants often returned to Mexico contained some truth. Many Mexican immigrants engaged in cyclical migrations between their homes in Mexico and work in the United States. Yet, by the close of the 1920s, Mexicans were settling in large numbers across the Southwest. They bought homes, started newspapers, churches and businesses. And many Mexican immigrants in the United States started families, raising a new generation of Mexican-American children.

Monitoring the rise of Mexican-American communities in southwestern states, the advocates of a whites-only immigration system charged Western employers with recklessly courting Anglo America's racial doom. As the work of historian Natalia Molina details, they believed Mexicans were racially unfit to be U.S. citizens.

Western employers agreed that Mexicans should not be allowed to become U.S. citizens.

"We, in California, would greatly prefer some set up in which our peak labor demands might be met and upon the completion of our harvest these laborers returned to their country," Friselle told Congress.

But Western employers also wanted unfettered access to an unlimited number of Mexican laborers.

"We need the labor," they roared back at those who wanted to cap the number of Mexican immigrants allowed to enter the United States each year.

Amid the escalating conflict between employers in the West and advocates of restriction in Congress, a senator from Dixie proposed a compromise.

Blease's Law

Sen. Coleman Livingston Blease hailed from the hills of South Carolina. In 1925, he entered Congress committed, above all else, to protecting white supremacy. In 1929, as restrictionists and employers tussled over the future of Mexican immigration, Blease proposed a way forward.

file-20170419-2410-1u3u9tq.jpegColeman Blease/Library of Congress

According to U.S. immigration officials, Mexicans made nearly 1 million official border crossings into the United States during the 1920s. They arrived at a port of entry, paid an entry fee and submitted to any required tests, such as literacy and health.

However, as U.S. immigration authorities reported, many other Mexican immigrants did not register for legal entry. Entry fees were prohibitively high for many Mexican workers. Moreover, U.S. authorities subjected Mexican immigrants, in particular, to kerosene baths and humiliating delousing procedures because they believed Mexican immigrants carried disease and filth on their bodies. Instead of traveling to a port of entry, many Mexicans informally crossed the border at will, as both U.S. and Mexican citizens had done for decades.

When the debate stalled over how many Mexicans to allow in each year, Blease shifted attention to stopping the large number of border crossings that took place outside ports of entry. He suggested criminalizing unmonitored entry.

According to Blease's bill, "unlawfully entering the country" would be a misdemeanor, while unlawfully returning to the United States after deportation would be a felony. The idea was to force Mexican immigrants into an authorized and monitored stream that could be turned on and turned off at will at ports of entry. Any immigrant who entered the United States outside the bounds of this stream would be a criminal subject to fines, imprisonment and ultimately deportation. But it was a crime designed to impact Mexican immigrants, in particular.

Neither the Western agricultural businessmen nor the restrictionists registered any objections. Congress passed Blease's bill, the Immigration Act of March 4, 1929, and dramatically altered the story of crime and punishment in the United States.

Caged

With stunning precision, the criminalization of unauthorized entry caged thousands of Mexico's "birds of passage." By the end of 1930, the U.S. Attorney General reported prosecuting 7,001 cases of unlawful entry. By the end of the decade, U.S. Attorneys had prosecuted more than 44,000 cases.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, the vast majority of immigrants imprisoned for breaking Blease's law were Mexicans. Throughout the 1930s, Mexicans never comprised fewer than 85 percent of all immigration prisoners. Some years, that number rose to 99 percent. By the end of the decade, tens of thousands of Mexicans had been convicted of unlawfully entering or re-entering the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons built three new prisons in the U.S.-Mexico border region: La Tuna Prison in El Paso, Prison Camp #10 in Tucson, and Terminal Island in Los Angeles.

latuna.jpgLa Tuna detention farm/U.S. Bureau of Prisons

Only the outbreak of World War II halted the Mexican immigrant prison boom of the 1930s. The war turned the attention of U.S. Attorneys elsewhere and Mexicans workers were desperately needed north of the border.

With few exceptions, prosecutions for unlawful entry and re-entry remained low until 2005. As a measure of the War on Terror, the George W. Bush administration directed U.S. Attorneys to adopt an "enforcement with consequences" strategy.

In 2009, U.S. attorneys prosecuted more than 50,000 cases of unlawful entry or re-entry. The Obama administration continued the surge, betting that aggressive border enforcement would help bring a recalcitrant Congress to adopt comprehensive immigration reform. It did not.

By 2015, prosecutions for unlawful entry and re-entry accounted for 49 percent of all federal prosecutions and the federal government had spent at least $7 billion to lock up unlawful border crossers.

Throughout this most recent surge, the disparate impact of criminalizing unlawful entry and re-entry has endured. Today, Latinos, led by Mexicans and Central Americans, make up 92 percent of all immigrants imprisoned for unlawful entry and re-entry.

Attorney General Sessions still wants more. Traveling to Southern Arizona to announce his plan to even more aggressively prosecute unlawful entry, he signaled that, in the years to come, most prosecutions will happen on the U.S.-Mexico border and will target Mexicans and Central Americans.

When the number of Mexicans as well as Central Americans imprisoned on immigration charges soon booms, there will be nothing unwitting or colorblind about it. Congress first invented the crimes of unlawful entry and re-entry with the purpose of criminalizing and imprisoning Mexican immigrants and it has delivered on that intent since 1929. The Sessions plan will bear a similar result and, in the process, discharge the racist design of Blease's law.

Kelly Lytle Hernandez is an associate professor of History and African-American Studies at UCLA. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

-

Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:07 PM | Permalink

Chicago Family Sues ICE & City Over Raid, Gang Database

The Chicago Police Department's sharing of its so-called "Gang Database" with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) triggered a nightmarish chain of events that left Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez imprisoned, in severe physical pain and mental anguish, and fighting deportation, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed on Monday.

Catalan-Ramirez is a devoted father and a mechanic who has never belonged to a Chicago street gang. Despite this fact, CPD mistakenly labeled him as a gang member and conveyed this false information to ICE. ICE relied on this erroneous information during one of its March 2017 "Gang Ops" during which ICE targeted community members who have alleged gang ties.

In January 2017, in his Back of the Yards neighborhood, Catalan-Ramirez was a bystander during a drive-by shooting that left him with multiple gunshot wounds. These injuries left him with fractures to his skull and shoulder, a traumatic brain injury and partial paralysis. Catalan-Ramirez has spent the months since the shooting in rehabilitation with the assistance of his wife Celene Adame.

On March 27, around six ICE agents entered Catalan-Ramirez's family's apartment without a warrant, slammed him to the floor and handcuffed him - aggravating his preexisting injuries, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

"I saw the immigration agents slam my husband to the floor while we told them he was injured, but they still hurt him and took him to detention," said Adame. "There needs to be consequences for everyone responsible for hurting our family, for my husband, and so that it doesn't happen to others."

The suit alleges violations of unreasonable search and seizure, and due process protections in the U.S. Constitution. The suit also alleges that the manner in which CPD gathers and disseminates false information about gang membership violated the Illinois Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial and ethnic discrimination.

In addition to CPD and ICE agents, defendants include the City of Chicago; Ricardo Wong, ICE's Chicago Field Office Director; McHenry County; and several officials working at the McHenry County Jail, which contracts with ICE to imprison immigration detainees awaiting resolution of their cases.

While in the McHenry County Jail, Catalan-Ramirez has been denied needed medical care for his injuries and spends most of his day isolated in a cell. Because of the lack of medical care, he risks living for the rest of his life with partial paralysis.

Catalan-Ramirez is represented by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and is supported by Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) and Mijente, two organizations that organize against harsh immigration enforcement tactics, and who have been advocating for an expansion of Chicago's "Sanctuary" status by removing the gang database, amongst other reforms.

"Wilmer's case is an example of how local city policies, such as the Gang Database, put immigrant communities in the path of Trump's deportation machine," said Xanat Sobrevilla, organizer with OCAD. "If the City of Chicago truly wants to be a sanctuary city where immigrants can seek safe refuge, it should stop sharing its Gang Database with ICE and inform ICE the database is rife with inaccuracies and is not a legitimate law enforcement tool."

"Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez's rights have been trampled on and his physical and mental well-being is in danger because of conditions in the ICE-approved detention facility where he is now held," said Vanessa del Valle, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center and clinical assistant professor of law at Northwestern. "ICE exacerbated his pre-existing injuries; traumatized him, his wife and children; and left him with severe injuries that could last a lifetime. Now, his condition worsens with each passing day."

"The past 100 days of the Trump Administration have meant mass raids and deportations for immigrant communities across the country," said Sejal Zota, legal director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

"The injuries suffered by Mr. Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez exemplify the extreme level of ICE abuse in raids carried out by this Administration. Mr. Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez is a long-time resident of Chicago, beloved father of young U.S. Citizen children, and recent gunshot victim with severe medical complications. It is clear that he belongs back with his family and community in Chicago where he can receive critical medical care. These rogue ICE raids must cease."

-

Previously:

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

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

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

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

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

* Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

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

* Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families.

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

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:30 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Bears' Dysfunctional Draft

I considered writing about the Cubs today but the bottom line is, they arrived at the end of April last night a tiny, tiny bit ahead of where they started the season. They are 13-12 and atop the NL Central. They have a few little worries but come on, has anything that has happened so far shaken anyone's belief they will win their diminished division and return to the playoffs?

In other words, four weeks in, everything is still the same.

So let's talk some more about the Bears and laughingstock general manager Ryan Pace.

I have a few theories about how last week's draft fiasco went down. First, it seems clear that Pace has allowed himself to repress last season entirely. If he doesn't remember that his team went 3-13, he absolves himself of responsibility for at least beginning to refill a completely depleted roster.

And so he traded away a big chunk of this draft, and an important pick next year, because he was insecure about being able to draft who he wanted with the third pick (and he was wrong - the Niners had no offers to move the second pick) to move up one slot.

Then, in addition to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, rated by no other NFL team other than maybe the Cleveland Browns as a top-5 talent, he drafted three lower division players and a safety who has suffered two major injuries in the last three years.

And that was it, five picks.

The Bears' divisional rivals, the Lions, Packers and Vikings of course, all went the opposite route. They all had better seasons last year than the Bears and they all had better prospects for the coming season going into the draft and yet the Lions executed nine draft picks, the Packers grabbed 10 and the Vikings made 11 big picks.

Those teams acknowledged what anyone with an ounce of drafting sense knows - that the process is as inexact as can be and that a team must maximize its number of picks because it will always hit on some picks and miss on others.

How did Pace miss this lesson at general managers school?

Second, a fan has to suspect that the rumors are true, that Pace and coach John Fox are at odds. And one would think it would only take a little bit of reassurance from a McCaskey that the ownership family would stick with Pace past this season no matter what for the GM to hatch a plan in which the team, with virtually no immediate help coming from this draft, struggles again this season. That would give Pace plenty of leeway to fire Fox early in 2018.

A fan would hope that even for the McCaskeys, who love to speak of their love of the Bears but mostly hang onto the team because it is a cash machine for the double-digit members of the family who work there and receive ownership shares, this plan would be embarrassingly obvious. But firing Pace and Fox would force ownership to eat chunks of two contracts and we all know how likely it is it will do that.

The other thing that goes unsaid here is that Pace hired Fox! Yes there are rumors that Fox wasn't Pace's first choice but he obviously went along with the move. How would he get to fire him and continue on without consequences?

What a mess. But literally scores of dim-witted commentators have agreed with each other during the past few days that if Trubisky turns into a Pro Bowl quarterback, all of this stuff will be forgotten. That will not happen.

There are tens of thousands of actual Bears fans who pay close attention to the draft. And they know that Pace made a fool of himself over the weekend. Not only did the general manager damage the team, he damaged Trubisky's chances to succeed whenever he starts playing by failing to get him enough good teammates. Not complicated!

I said this during the podcast Friday but I'll say it again. My only hope in the aftermath of all this is that the Bears will continue to suck over the next few years, a wide swath of season-ticket holders will bow out and empty seats will force the McCaskeys to re-evaluate ownership.

A pipe dream I know, but hey, stranger things have happened.

-

Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:33 AM | Permalink

Outperforming April

Whaddya mean the Sox can't hit? They're killing the ball.

This basically was the message I got a week ago from folks who stop here on Mondays after mentioning the team's anemic offense just as Rick Renteria's crew began a six-game winning streak which ended Sunday with a 7-3 loss in Detroit. Just maybe the fellows weren't buying comparisons to weak hitting teams of the past. They felt challenged, maligned, disrespected.

Whatever the reason - how about the patience of batting coach Todd Steverson? - the bats came alive last week in leading the Sox to a three-game sweep of Kansas City before taking two-of-three in Detroit.

Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu highlighted the three-game sweep of Kansas City before departing to Detroit. The Sox offense accounted for 43 runs in the six games while averaging .310. Abreu went 10-for-18 to raise his average to .280. Jose clubbed a couple of homers in the 6-4 10-inning victory over the Tigers on Saturday. For the week he had five extra-base hits and as many RBI.

A couple of weeks ago, this space dwelled on which direction Garcia's career was going to take. Blessed with obvious talent and potential, the 25-year-old right fielder has been pretty much a bust up until this season.

But how's this for an answer at this early juncture? Garcia, who came out of Sunday's game on a wet field in the fifth inning because of a mild groin strain, is a slimmer (by 20 pounds), faster, and far better version of his former self. So much so that Avi is leading the American League in hitting at .368 and is in the top seven in RBI, OPS, OBP and hits.

Coming into this season, Garcia has been steady, if not outstanding, in April and May, hitting .262 and .298, respectively, in the seasons' first two months. Historically Avi has tanked in June and July with a combined slash of .220/.283/.570 over those two months. Compare that to his current .368/.409/1.029. Let's just say, "so far, so good," and leave it at that.

Meanwhile, Sox pitchers continue to lead all of baseball in ERA with a mark of 3.11. No one saw that coming with a rotation minus the departed Chris Sale, the disabled Carlos Rodon, or with the re-tooled James Shields going on the DL after three sterling starts.

Trotting out the likes of Dylan Covey, who will open a four-game set Monday night in Kansas City, and Mike Pelfrey, called up to replace Shields, every five days doesn't seem to be a recipe for a club with a 13-10 mark for April, just a half-game behind division-leading Cleveland as the Age of Rebuilding has begun.

The obvious explanation is a bullpen which easily has been the most effective in major league baseball so far this season. The numbers are quite staggering: 74-plus innings, 47 hits, 89 strikeouts, 25 walks, 1.94 ERA, batting average against .181, and a WHIP of a stingy 0.97.

So now that the pitchers have outperformed all expectations, along with an awakened - at least temporarily - offense and a flourishing Garcia, it is time to pay attention to a defense that over a 162-game schedule will result in far less success than heretofore enjoyed by our athletes.

Let's begin with shortstop Tim Anderson, a gifted young man who runs like an Olympic sprinter, exudes confidence and desire, and will hit a lot better than his present .204 batting average once he stops flailing at breaking balls outside the strike zone.

Anderson was charged with his major league-leading sixth error of the season on Sunday on a ground ball that jumped out of his glove in the Tigers' four-run fourth inning. Anderson also bobbled a potential double-play ball - he had to settle with getting Jose Iglesias at first - in the same inning and couldn't handle a line drive to his right that was scored a hit. While Anderson made an amazing running catch on a pop-up off the bat of Jim Adduci in the second inning, he tends to attempt to spear ground balls rather than getting in front of the ball and setting his feet. Sunday wasn't a good day for the Sox shortstop.

In 98 games last season after being called up from Charlotte, Anderson was charged with 14 errors. Obviously he'll pass that number by mid-May unless Renteria, a former infielder, and coach Joe McEwing can fix him. Anderson exhibited similar poor mechanics when he debuted in 2016, but he improved with time and experience. There's no reason why he won't shed those bad habits again. If not, we're looking at as many as 40 miscues before the season ends. Winning teams rarely have shortstops who can't catch the ball.

Todd Frazier, Yolmer Sanchez and Tyler Saladino are more than adequate infielders. Fangraphs pegged Abreu at number 14 in fielding efficiency in 2016, which is better than most fans would say.

The Sox's outfield is adequate but still a notch below last season when Adam Eaton - more about him in a moment - was a Gold Glove candidate in right field. Melky Cabrera catches just about everything he can reach in left field, and Leury Garcia has been a nice surprise in center, but he certainly is far from an elite outfielder. Garcia made a wonderful catch in foul territory to end the game last Friday, but, again, Avi is average at best.

Geovany Soto threw out his first would-be base stealer Sunday in Detroit after seven successful stolen bases while he's been behind the plate. However, Omar Narvaez has cut down three of five steal attempts.

Getting back to Eaton, who was traded to Washington for three pitching prospects last winter, his leap to beat out an infield hit Friday night resulted in an ugly injury. He tore his left ACL while also suffering a high ankle sprain and torn meniscus. He's out anywhere from six to nine months. Eaton was off to a rousing beginning for a very potent Nationals' attack. Batting leadoff, his slash was .297/.393/.854. His 24 runs scored rank third in the National League.

Meanwhile, if Chris Sale thought he was going to enjoy great run support from his new Red Sox teammates, so far he has been disappointed. In five starts - all good ones for Sale - Boston has scored just ten runs, resulting in a 1-2 record for Sale despite a 1.19 ERA and a major league-leading 52 strikeouts in 37-plus innings. They better hide the scissors.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:17 AM | Permalink

Chicago-Based Duracell Sues Alleged Gray Market Dealer

Duracell, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, on Thursday filed a lawsuit accusing a Missouri wholesaler of illegally selling gray market versions of its copper-top alkaline batteries.

According to a complaint filed in federal court in Chicago, JRS Ventures is importing and selling batteries made in China that were intended for sale only to Duracell's original equipment manufacturers, to be packaged with products such as appliances and remote controls.

Duracell, which long used the tagline "no regular battery looks like it or lasts like it," said JRS's batteries do look like its own but come in packaging that does not mention Duracell's 10-year guarantee or how to obtain customer service.

Chicago-based Duracell said it learned of the alleged infringement in March, and said that JRS refused its demand to stop selling the infringing batteries.

2017-04-27T221822Z_1_LYNXMPED3Q1SU_RTROPTP_3_UKRAINE.JPG

Purchasers of the infringing batteries "are likely to be confused and indeed disappointed," Duracell said. "Further, such sales of infringing products cause great damage to Duracell and greatly damage the goodwill in Duracell's valuable trademarks."

JRS, based in the St. Louis suburb of O'Fallon, had no immediate comment when reached by phone and did not immediately respond to a separate e-mail seeking comment.

Duracell is seeking a halt to JRS's alleged infringement, plus unspecified punitive and triple damages.

Berkshire, which is based in Omaha, Nebraska, acquired Duracell from Procter & Gamble in February 2016.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:53 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Slow TV Chicago.
POLITICS - Dangerous, Low-Wage Industries Depend On Immigrants, Refugees.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Dear Cubs, Make It Stop.

BOOKS - Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mail Call.


Search The Beachwood Reporter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Email:

Follow BeachwoodReport on Twitter



Beachwood Radio!


Ask Me Anything!