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July 31, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #315: Seasons Greetings

Worst baseball season ever. Shut it down. Plus: Kubs Killers; Rickey Boylen; Chicago Vikings; Blackhawks Bubble; Eddie Goldman Opts Out; Remembering Lou Henson; Jim Boylen Is Still Here And We're Here; and Sky High, Fire Fluke.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #315: Seasons Greetings

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SHOW NOTES

* 315.

1:38: Seriously, How Can MLB Go On?

* South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Positive COVID-19 Tests Keep Coming: Now 18 Marlins Infected.

* CNN: MLB's Phillies Say Two Staffers Tested Positive For Coronavirus After Playing Marlins.

* Bubblicious.

* New IHSA schedule.

* Cancun, Indiana.

14:51: Kubs Killers.

* Coffman: Most Unpleasant Win Ever.

* Craig "Rusty" Kimbrel.

23:45: Rickey Boylen.

* Ozzie Renteria.

26:42: The Chicago Vikings.

* NWSL appears to have pulled it off.

32:18: Blackhawks Bubble.

* Does Home-Field Advantage Exist Without Fans?

37:37: Eddie Goldman Opts Out.

* A true Patriot.

41:01: Remembering Lou Henson.

* Coffman: "As much of a legend as they have."

43:53: Jim Boylen Is Still Here And We're Scared.

* What's the dealio?

48:56: Sky High, Fire Fluke.

* Plus, Pandemic Baseball.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:17 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

In no way outside of my job as a census field supervisor do I represent the U.S. Census Bureau; just bringing you the latest census news in an objective, informative, non-partisan fashion.

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COVID Tourism
"A city order, threats of a $500 fine, and a roped-off Bean sculpture didn't stop tourists from traveling to Chicago to spend an afternoon at Millennium Park Wednesday," WBEZ reports.

"It took WBEZ less than an hour at the downtown park to find around 10 people who said they were either blatantly ignoring or completely unaware of a travel order that's meant to force travelers from certain states to quarantine for 14 days before hitting the Chicago streets."

They'd rather risk killing people than give up their right to be entertained.

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"The tourists came from Kansas, Arizona and Wisconsin, three of the 22 states listed on the city order. States are added once they start seeing an average of more than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people a day. Tourists who come from those states, or Chicagoans who visit them and come back, are supposed to quarantine for two weeks, the city says.

"With work and everything, [a] two week quarantine just really isn't an option," said a Kansas native who didn't want WBEZ to use his name, since the city is threatening to fine people up to $500 each day they break the quarantine rule.

"We had this trip planned long before all of this stuff, so we weren't going to back out of it just because of an order that's unenforceable," he said.

The order is unenforceable, so we're gonna go ahead and kill others in our path because we really want to see a giant kidney bean.

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Logan from Wisconsin told WBEZ he (or she) is "just rolling with it," so I guess we should all chill.

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See also:

* Tribune: Here's A Rundown Of Chicago's COVID-19 Quarantine Rules.

* Forbes: See Which States And Cities Actually Enforce Their Travel Advisories.

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Mask Misinformation Madness
I reported a bus driver to the CTA the other day for allowing people on buses who were not wearing masks. He told me "it's just a suggestion." I (correctly) told him it's the law - and that he needed to pull his mask above his nose.

The CTA confirmed with me the obvious: Masks are required on buses and trains, and indeed in all public places.

*

Let's just say not all government agency managers have gotten the message either - and once again I've had to be the skunk at the garden party. Excuse me for trying to save lives.

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Wear a goddamn mask. And make sure everyone around you is wearing one too. Report those who are not to the proper authorities. This is no joke.

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COVID Air
"The City of Chicago is taking steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus at O'Hare and Midway airports," WBBM Newsradio reports.

"Effective Friday, unless you work at one of the two airports, have a ticket for a flight, or are assisting a traveler, you will not be allowed inside O'Hare or Midway international airports."

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Walvid

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #315: Season Greetings
Is in preproduction!

Worst baseball season ever. Shut it down. Plus: Kubs Killers; Rickey Boylen; Chicago Vikings; Blackhawks Bubble; Eddie Goldman Opts Out; Remembering Lou Henson; Jim Boylen Is Still Here And We're Here; and Sky High, Fire Fluke.

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Rockers To Pols: Knock It Off
"Falsely implying support or endorsement from an artist or songwriter is dishonest and immoral."

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Who Mourns For Basie?
"Music fans should be worried as if this art were an old friend struck down by a virus and is unable to rise up."

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Don't You Forget About Them
"We need millions more from the federal government to protect the most vulnerable school staff if we're going to keep everyone safe in schools."

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Fixing ComEd
"It has been plain to see to anyone willing to look: ComEd and Exelon have used political power to corrupt utility regulation in Illinois."

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The Cubs Now Come With Trigger Alerts
Most unpleasant win ever.

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Does Home-Field Advantage Exist Without Fans?
A rare chance for a controlled experiment.

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Fixing The ADA
"Instead of designing systems for able-bodied people and offering 'accommodations' for the disabled, I prefer universal design: designing systems that are accessible for everybody. That way, nobody is left out, and nobody is 'othered' or stigmatized."

See also: What Is The Curb Cut Effect? Five Ways Disability Rights Benefit Everyone.

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Matisse's Bathers By A River
"When the painting was acquired by the Art Institute in 1953, Matisse told the museum's director that he viewed the painting as one of his five most pivotal works."

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ChicagoReddit

Opening Ceremonies 1972 Olympic Swim Trials at Portage Park from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Eating The $15 Pizza Pot Pie From Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Company

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

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The Beachwood Tippecanoe Line: Real good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:47 AM | Permalink

Who Mourns For Basie?

Editor's Note: Our very own David Rutter not only writes for the Beachwood but plays third chair trombone in the Big Band Sound of Deerfield.

For reasons no one but musicians know, Fletcher Henderson was the most influential man in modern music - before the Beatles.

The jazz great of the 1920s was a pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, who handed his musical arrangements to clarinetist Benny Goodman.

Though he bridged Dixieland into Big Band music on stage and recordings, Henderson could never break through the racial divide of pop music success, though his writing, arranging, and performances were incendiary.

So he became Goodman's musical muse.

Here, Benny, your band should play these.

So Goodman's great band did.

He became a musical founder, a national star in 1935 on radio and big band Swing music as a phenomenon was invented.

That sound - Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Woody Herman and the Dorsey brothers among 200 others - carried us musically into the 1950s. It was American as Apple Brown Betty.

Those who still love that music the most still play it regularly. Or did until four months ago when the pandemic arrived.

Of all the punishments inflicted by the COVID-19 virus, human suffering has been staggering.

But the virus has afflicted us all with other, more subtle cultural wounds.

There are dozens of community based big Swing bands arrayed around Chicago playing that old-time Swing. But they all are silent now.

Just as the pandemic shut down movies, live bar music, musical stages, and theatricals of all kinds from the Chicago Symphony down to dinner theaters, the virus also has flicked off the lights on Chicago's Swing community.

But there will be a Ravinia summer fest next year in Highland Park, and a Lollapalooza. But will Swing survive? That's a more nuanced question

Owen Marks hopes so. He has been a teacher, arranger, conductor, and player in such bands for 30 years. His current primary gig is directing the Big Band Sound of Deerfield, a 20-piece full swing band that has been in continuous operation for 40 years. It plays everywhere north of the Loop.

"Strictly in terms of very local groups, besides Deerfield there's the In Session Orchestra, RJO (Reunion Jazz Orchestra), OMJB (Old Man's Jazz Band), Highland Park Pops, Lakes Area Swing Band, Night Express, and those are just within about 30 minutes or so of Deerfield," Marks said in an e-mail conversation. "I think there are many more than most folks realize."

And the future?

"I believe that there is a very high risk of these bands not surviving thanks to the principle of inertia," said Marks, who is a classically trained bassist and trumpeter. "By the time our facility (Patty Turner Community Center in Deerfield) becomes available, particularly if we're talking about a year or more, I think it's likely that some members will have forgotten what they enjoyed about playing and will stay entrenched in their new pastime. It's also possible that practice facilities will never reopen to large groups, having decided that it's not worth the risk of having lawsuits brought against them by people who went to rehearsals and got sick."

Is there some risk that we are witnessing a tectonic shift in cultural habits and expectations?

Because Swing is only a modest slice of the entire music pie, its margins are always slimmer. The casts of amateur bands are mostly 70- and 60-year-old retirees. They are not only at-risk physically to the virus, but also culturally. Maybe Swing simply goes away because the audience - also primarily older listeners in residential centers - also face attrition.

Or maybe the virus will do to Swing what rock 'n' roll could not. Doom it.

"I think there's lots of risk there," Marks said. "People have always combined a love of the arts with socializing. Folks go to the symphony together; they go to the movies together, and sporting events and rock concerts and comedy shows . . . although I hope I'm wrong, the consequences could be these venues closing before there is a vaccine and before people begin to feel safe gathering in crowds again. People will lose the expectation and excitement of an upcoming live show because they won't want to attend."

So what? All live music is shelved. There always will be recordings of the old greats, and many listeners revere those sounds.

Vintage radio programming does not disappear.

But big band music is a complicated art form that must be played live and heard live to be appreciated. It's meant for dance partners.

"I have missed it terribly because to me and to so many others, music is inextricably tied to emotion," Marks notes.

"Being classically and technically trained in music I might listen with different ears than some others. But what fun music is! What joy! By the way, that's just the listeners . . . being a player is a whole 'nother side of that universe. The satisfaction THERE is starting with music that seems a bit out of reach, working it and working it and working it, and then, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, the notes on paper make a magical transformation into music."

It takes years for a group to get good at Swing, and hours of rehearsal to maintain the edge. For example, the Big Band Sound of Deerfield has 500 arrangements from which to produce live performances.

Culture, after all, is an expressive entertainment and necessarily less important in a reality where people are dying.

But given the age of both its players and audience, Swing music's lifeline is fragile. That's one reason the BBSOD maintains a reserve roster of 70 players who wish to summoned for fill-in duty.

Music that has melded into the Great American Songbook might go away forever if no one is left to play it. Will anyone remember Ellington, Stan Kenton or Glenn Miller?

Or songstress Ella Fitzgerald?

Swing is a continuum of decades, musicians, and singers who span those decades.

Now even the always-being-reconstructed touring Count Basie Orchestra has gone dark, as has the brilliant Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in New York under Wynton Marsalis.

Musically speaking, the entire world has gone dark.

Will Swing survive?

No one knows the answer to that question, and the world has a lot on its mind now.

But music fans should be worried as if this art were an old friend struck down by a virus and is unable to rise up.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

* On Boredom.

* Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe.

* Blackhawk's Life Mattered.

* A Blackhawks Proposal.

* Launching College Football.

* Tom Hanks Meets His Match.

* The Truth About Hamilton.

* Goodbye, Columbus.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 AM | Permalink

July 30, 2020

Fixing ComEd

On Wednesday, the Illinois Commerce Commission heard from the Commonwealth Edison Company to address recently implemented ethics reforms. Illinois PIRG director Abe Scarr made the following comments during the public comment period.

Good morning. My name is Abe Scarr and I am the director of Illinois PIRG. Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment today. Also, thank you to the new Commission leadership for your commitment to operating with increased transparency.

We're here today because of the recent revelations of ComEd's corrupt and illegal schemes, but this corruption is not news. It has been plain to see to anyone willing to look: ComEd and Exelon have used political power to corrupt utility regulation in Illinois.

The state constructed a system to regulate utilities to ensure a public good by creating an opportunity for private profit. ComEd flipped this on its head: guaranteeing private profit while leaving regulators without the tools to hold it accountable to the public.

The Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, or EIMA, was crafted such that ComEd could quickly and automatically convert massive spending into profits. ComEd's profits have increased by 47% between 2011 and 2019. Its authorized profits were over $739 million in 2019.

EIMA has severely limited Commission authority, while shouldering it with an overwhelming number of proceedings and not enough time, or the proper tools, to analyze utility filings.

To provide one example of how ComEd has undermined this Commission: After passing EIMA, ComEd did not get its desired outcome in several accounting decisions made by the Commission. Having lost in the fact based administrative process, ComEd moved to the General Assembly, where it could win with political power. Through resolutions in 2012 and trailer bill in 2013 ComEd gained almost $400 million in additional profits through 2019. These were accounting changes that added no new service or benefits to ratepayers.

Many benefits that ComEd promised when championing EIMA have not arrived. For example: Green Button Connect is a failure; that ComEd customers won't broadly be able to opt in to time of use rates until 2024 or 2025 is a failure; many more of the uses of smart meters are not currently available to ComEd customers, or are embarrassingly under-utilized. Even for a no-brainer capital investment like Voltage Optimization, ComEd used FEJA to take money that should be used to incentivize energy efficiency.

While customers and the public have seen some benefits from EIMA and FEJA, without proper examination, we have no way of knowing if customers are getting real value from the 40% increase in delivery rates they have paid since 2011, or if alternative investments would have brought more value at lower cost.

Many of the needed reforms will take place in the Illinois General Assembly, and we have a broader agenda we will be taking there, but here are recommendations for Commission action:

* First, the Commission should subject ComEd to a comprehensive audit. The entire grid and its costs must be analyzed. ComEd has lost our trust.

* Second, the commission must demand and receive usable and useful data. Documents must be machine readable and available in workable formats. If a utility uses a different methodology from year to year, they must explain the difference and allow for apples to apple comparisons.

* Finally, the Commission should re-evaluate the relationship between ComEd and Exelon Business Services and affiliated companies. The conflicts of interests in Exelon's ownership of ComEd drive many of our current problems.

Thank you again for the opportunity to provide comment today.

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See also:
* Capitol Fax: ComEd On The Hot Seat.

* WTTW-TV: Could ComEd Customers Get Reimbursed For 'Wrongfully Inflated Rates?'

* Tribune: ComEd Battles On 2 Fronts: Class-Action Lawsuit Demanding Refunds, Federal Investigation.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:18 AM | Permalink

Fixing The ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated its 30th birthday this July. Three decades ago, the ADA represented a huge step forward for the rights of people with disabilities. In 2020, it's time to advance even further.

The ADA offers people with disabilities the right to "reasonable accommodation" so long as it does not pose an "undue burden" to their school or employer.

People with disabilities do not automatically get accommodations. They first need to get diagnosed with a disability by a medical professional (which requires access to health care), and then they need to seek out accommodations.

I had migraines every day for a decade before I sought any accommodations at school, something I've since learned is common.

Now I teach college, and every semester I have students who qualify for accommodations but don't know it. I wonder how many more students would qualify for accommodations but have never been diagnosed with ADHD, PTSD, or anxiety because they have never been assessed for it.

Some people don't want a diagnosis of a disorder that carries stigma, while others may not have access to a health professional. In either case, they never receive the accommodations they are entitled to.

What's more, the ADA leaves a lot of power in the hands of schools or employers. It's essentially up to them to decide what constitutes a "reasonable" accommodation and what is an "undue burden."

I don't expect the world to revolve around me, but I get frustrated when an institution won't accommodate me in relatively simple ways. It can make those of us with disabilities feel like society just wants to throw us away because we might cause someone a slight inconvenience.

But what if the burden wasn't on people with disabilities to seek these accommodations out?

Instead of designing systems for able-bodied people and offering "accommodations" for the disabled, I prefer universal design: designing systems that are accessible for everybody. That way, nobody is left out, and nobody is "othered" or stigmatized.

Before the pandemic, fighting to convince someone to allow me to attend class or meetings remotely was exhausting. Now that most white-collar workplaces have built remote work into their standard operating procedures, I no longer have to fight. We're all doing it.

People with disabilities are often defined by what we can't do - a tendency the "accommodation" system reinforces. But when systems are designed that allow us to participate alongside everyone else, we can also appreciate that there are things disabled people can do that able-bodied people often cannot.

For example, my disability gives me a unique vantage point in society that I can bring to my field, sociology. It makes me a better social scientist and a better teacher because it allows me to empathize with other people with disabilities.

When I'm teaching, sometimes minimal effort from me can make the difference between a disabled student passing or failing that class. Teachers who haven't lived that themselves may not always realize when students need that kind of outreach.

I know exactly how it feels to live in a society that was not designed for me. My disability helps me be more inclusive to others, and more empathic.

I've relied on the ADA a lot in my career and my education. I'm so grateful for it. But by continuing to design systems for people without disabilities and then placing the onus on them to request accommodations, we continue to see disabled people only as a burden on society.

Universal design includes disabled people as equal members of society and paves the way for a day when disabled people can be appreciated for their unique talents.

This post originally appeared at Other Words.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

Does Home-Field Advantage Exist Without Fans?

Baseball and basketball might be returning, but the boo birds and thunder sticks will have to wait 'til next year.

Baseball teams have begun playing in their regular stadiums without fans. Meanwhile, all NBA games will be played inside the Orlando bubble before empty crowds.

For sport psychology researchers like me, this is an extremely rare opportunity: We can see what happens when fans disappear for an extended period of time.

Almost like a controlled experiment, it will be possible to compare the outcomes of games with and without fans, with all other things being approximately equal. We'll even be able to compare fanless home stadium games, like those in baseball, to fanless neutral site games, like in the NBA.

For these reasons, it might be possible to see the extent to which fans and stadiums play a role in an oft-debated aspect of sport psychology: home-field advantage.

Screen Shot 2020-07-30 at 6.05.50 AM.pngCorey Seager warms up as cutouts of fans 'look on'/Jae C. Hong, AP

Home Sweet Home

Despite evidence that it's diminished a bit over time, the advantage of playing at home - whether on a field, court or ice - is definitely real.

In 2019, 52% of NFL games were won by home teams. In the NBA, prior to the pandemic pause, 55% of games were won by the team playing at home.

In college sports, the advantage for the home team can be even more stark. SEC conference football games were won by home teams 61% of the time in 2019. For the ACC conference in men's basketball in 2020, it was 63%.

And yet the source of that advantage has never really been identified. Analysts have attributed it to a variety of factors. Some say the away team struggles because of travel fatigue. Others think it's because the home team has a certain familiarity with the field - the playing surface in football or the park dimensions in baseball. Some claim it's because referees and umpires are influenced by the crowd and are thus biased in favor of the home team, or that stadium sounds and a jeering crowd can get in the heads of opposing players.

Psychology researchers have also puzzled over the cause of home-field advantage. Robert Zajonc proposed a theory called social facilitation, whereby a performer's "arousal" increases in the presence of others. In this context, arousal means that you care more about what you're doing when you're being watched. For athletes, it implies that they'll be more motivated when there's a crowd. And if the crowd is supportive, this might "facilitate" a better performance from the athlete.

But since then, others have reported that the effects of social facilitation in studies of sports have tended to be weak. And there are some who believe that the crowd has nothing at all to do with performance.

Home-Field Advantage On Pause?

We'll have to see what happens over the course of the baseball and basketball seasons. But the Bundesliga, Germany's top soccer league, began playing without fans back in the middle of May, and players have noted that something seems to be missing during these games.

"The stadium is always full at Bayern, and it's really amazing," Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich said. "You feel more when you score a goal. It's more emotional when there are fans."

I know from my own research that heightened emotions aren't necessarily helpful. They can cause you to overthink a situation or become nervous. But they can also improve performance if you're feeling particularly in control and confident. The latter feelings can, in fact, lead to better-than-usual, clutch performance.

So what happens if we remove the fans in the stands, but everything else stays about the same?

Screen Shot 2020-07-30 at 6.07.23 AM.png A June Bundesliga match between FC Cologne and Eintracht Frankfurt /Rolf Vennenbernd/Pool via AP

Before the pandemic, Bundesliga home teams had won 107 games, lost 100 and tied 63 times. Excluding the ties, this win-loss percentage for home teams - 52% - was comparable to those in other leagues, translating to a modest home-field advantage.

When play resumed without fans, Bundesliga home teams fell apart for the first six weeks: Their win-loss percentage was an embarrassing 29%. Outlets like The New York Times and ESPN noticed, and ran articles wondering if, without fans, home-field advantage had vanished.

But then the results started to shift in mid-June. Over the final three weeks of the season, Bundesliga home teams' winning percentage surged to 63%.

Right around then, the other European leagues began play. England's Premier League home team winning percentage before the pandemic was 60%; since restarting, their success rate has been identical. Before the break and with fans, Spain's La Liga home teams' win-loss rate was 66%; afterward, it's been a respectable 56%. Home teams in Italy's Serie A have actually been more successful so far without fans - 58% - as compared with before, when they won 52% of home games before packed stadiums.

It seems the early struggles of home teams in the Bundesliga were more of an outlier.

A Matter Of Perception

So maybe outlets were too quick to attribute home-field advantage solely to the presence of the fans. Based on this preliminary data out of Europe, the advantage seems to be preserved, even in empty stadiums.

Could it be that even without fans, players still believe they have an edge at home?

Sport psychologists have studied how athletes' perceptions of their environment can influence performance.

A survey by psychologists of female college basketball players suggests that athletes perceive their team's collective efficacy - or confidence as a group - to be greater at home.

So it's entirely possible that players interpret their home stadium environment as more comfortable, regardless of whether there's a crowd. This perception leads to more confidence among the players at home, which may be the root cause of the home advantage.

In other words, the advantage might not necessarily come from the cheers or the refs, but simply the belief that playing at home makes you play better.

Mark Otten is a psychology professor at California State University-Northridge. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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See also: What Really Causes Home-Field Advantage - And Why It's On The Decline.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:43 AM | Permalink

July 29, 2020

Don't You Forget About Them: Custodians, Cafeteria Workers, Bus Drivers And Substitutes

"Students want and need to come back to school," Kimberly Martin, a principal of Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. told me two weeks ago. Martin explained that although social distancing may reduce exposure to coronavirus it also distances children from services and supports that are critical to their well-being.

As an example, Martin told of a student in special education who returned to Wilson High for support when he was confused about how to obtain a necessary work permit for a new job.

"After he met with me and the social worker to address the work permit issue, I saw him just hanging around the school staff, and I realized how much he missed them." Martin added, "Many students miss the network of adults that provide their needs, including teachers, custodians, social workers and all non-instructional staff."

Society needs schools to open even as this pandemic rages, for both children's academic and social needs. Schools are also a critical cog in the machine that is the U.S. economy. Many workers, whether they're construction workers, nurses, teachers or grocery clerks, can't easily leave their children at home, particularly children in the primary grades.

To shield children from the spread, school leaders must take the necessary precautions to protect every member of their school community - including the speech therapists, social workers, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other non-academic personnel who fill out a school population. Without clear and enforceable health and safety standards for schools, evidence of sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for school employees, and universal paid sick leave, to include custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and others who may not receive this benefit, re-opening schools will likely further inhibit our ability to contain outbreaks of coronavirus.

The majority of public school employees (about 57 percent) are not full-time teachers. In conversations about reopening, consideration of its effect on bus drivers, cafeteria workers, substitute teachers and cooks seldom reaches the forefront. Because many non-teaching school positions are not unionized, these workers tend to have fewer protections, less benefits, and lower wages. Observational evidence suggests many are also more likely to come from more disadvantaged populations. Consequently, if we are serious about keeping children safe, then we must protect the most vulnerable people closest to them.

Based on detailed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019, there are significant earnings disparities between regular full-time teachers and other public school employees. Median annual earnings for regular full-time teachers are over $57,000 per year. Among the 10 most common school occupations, apart from full-time teachers, only education administrators and guidance counselors have median annual earnings over $38,000.

For example, more than 1.5 million school employees in 2019 were teaching assistants and substitute teachers in grades K through 9. Their median earnings are less than $30,000 per year, about half that of full-time teachers. Just like full-time teachers, these instructional staff have regular contact with kids and other adults at school. If they or someone they live with gets sick, children and other school staff could be at high risk.

But in addition to being paid less, hourly and part-time teachers often lack the same access to paid leave and health insurance. Employees who do not have adequate paid sick leave often can't afford to take time off without pay and come in to work with symptoms or after exposure, potentially risking the spread of COVID-19 to everyone around them.

Nationally, 93 percent of school workers have access to paid sick leave, and 90 percent have access to health insurance. But the statistics on sick leave may be slightly skewed as they include 12 states and the District of Columbia which require paid sick leave in some form for most workers. Consequently, the percentage of school workers who can take time off from work if they are ill may be lower in the other 38 states.

While the federal CARES Act has attempted to ensure sick workers are able to stay home from work - at least during the pandemic - with a program that gives almost all workers up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave if they cannot work for specific reasons related to COVID-19, this may not be enough. It is not clear if workers are aware of this option, or if roughly two weeks is enough time to keep an infected worker quarantined when recovery can take six weeks or more.

In addition, cleaning and custodial staff, along with cafeteria and office workers, who also have median annual earnings that hover around $30,000, will likely be asked to perform additional work in pandemic conditions if schools are re-opened, given that schools will need to adopt more stringent cleaning procedures. Although the Centers for Disease Control has issued optional guidance for health and safety in schools, we have yet to see adequate funding that would allow schools to implement the new cleaning guidelines or to give hazard pay to the low-paid workers who must carry it out.

Furthermore, the current administration is threatening to withhold stabilization funds from school districts that do not re-open. Despite record surges in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, funding and administrative pressures could spur many districts to re-open schools well before they are equipped to do so safely.

Even if the funding comes through, there probably won't be people in place to make sure school leaders follow through. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has historically low numbers of federal inspectors, according to an analysis of OSHA enforcement data by the National Employment Law Project.

We need to establish a mechanism for employees - regardless of their occupational classification - to stay physically distanced if they or someone they live with is in a high-risk population for serious illness if infected by COVID-19. We need more physically distanced roles within the school for the less-protected bus drivers and custodians, and - because schools cannot open safely without bus drivers and custodians - we may need additional funds to hire temporary, less vulnerable, replacements until a vaccine is developed. In addition, protecting essential workers also means expanding unemployment benefits as well as providing assistance in making a career transitions to safer occupations.

As anchor institutions, schools play a significant role in filling gaps created by a healthcare "system" that is tied to employment. Placing the burden of proof on the employer that the work environment will be safe for everyone will be critical for counteracting structural health disparities and unequal healthcare access for uninsured school employees. If our systems structurally provide uneven coverage, it's imperative that schools and other institutions do what they can to make the overall environment safer.

The evidence mustered makes one thing very clear: Ordering schools simply to open is foolish without billions in additional funding and major changes to operations and school spaces to protect kids, school employees, and their surrounding communities.

Safety should be the top consideration when figuring out ways to re-open schools in the fall. If there is one lesson the coronavirus has taught us, it's that when our neighbors are sick, we are vulnerable. Therefore, keeping children safe requires that we safeguard all who are the least protected. That means prioritizing the protection of essential workers who are not regular, full-time teachers too.

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

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

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

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

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

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

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

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

* When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech.

* Disrupting Education The NFL Way.

* The Voucher Program We Really Need Is Not For School - It's For After.

* Charter School Leaders Should Talk More About Racism.

* Bold, Progressive Ideas Aren't Unrealistic.

* White Coaches Pick The Wrong Side When They Talk Down To Their Black Athletes.

* The Importance Of The 1619 Project.

* Black Athletes Have A Trump Card They Are Not Using Enough.

* Making Elite Colleges White Again.

* When Acceptable Attire Depends On The Color Of Your Skin.

* White Parents Should Have 'The Talk' With Their Kids, Too.

* What's Wrong With White Teachers?

* Defund Private Schools.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:30 AM | Permalink

Henri Matisse's Bathers By A River

'Started in 1909 and completed in 1917, Henri Matisse originally painted this work as a pastoral scene, but over the next decade transformed it into the cubist-inflected composition seen today. When the painting was acquired by the Art Institute in 1953, Matisse told the museum's director that he viewed the painting as one of his five most pivotal works.'


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See also:
* New York Times: Exploring Mysteries Of Matisse's Bathers By A River,

* Artnet: Contemplating The Influence Of Matisse's Bathers By a River.

* Singulart: Bathers By A River: Henri Matisse's Experiments With Cubism.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:03 AM | Permalink

Rockers To Pols: Knock It Off

July 28, 2020

Dear Campaign Committees:

As artists, activists, and citizens, we ask you to pledge that all candidates you support will seek consent from featured recording artists and songwriters before using their music in campaign and political settings. This is the only way to effectively protect your candidates from legal risk, unnecessary public controversy, and the moral quagmire that comes from falsely claiming or implying an artist's support or distorting an artists' expression in such a high stakes public way.

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This is not a new problem. Or a partisan one. Every election cycle brings stories of artists and songwriters frustrated to find their work being used in settings that suggest endorsement or support of political candidates without their permission or consent.

Being dragged unwillingly into politics in this way can compromise an artist's personal values while disappointing and alienating fans - with great moral and economic cost. For artists that do choose to engage politically in campaigns or other contexts, this kind of unauthorized public use confuses their message and undermines their effectiveness. Music tells powerful stories and drives emotional connection and engagement - that's why campaigns use it, after all! But doing so without permission siphons away that value.

The legal risks are clear. Campaign uses of music can violate federal and (in some cases) state copyrights in both sound recordings and musical compositions. Depending on the technology used to copy and broadcast these works, multiple exclusive copyrights, including both performance and reproduction, could be infringed. In addition, these uses impact creators' rights of publicity and branding, potentially creating exposure for trademark infringement, dilution, or tarnishment under the Lanham Act and giving rise to claims for false endorsement, conversion, and other common law and statutory torts. When campaign commercials or advertisements are involved, a whole additional host of rules and regulations regarding campaign fundraising (including undisclosed and potentially unlawful "in-kind" contributions), finance, and communications could also potentially be breached.

More importantly, falsely implying support or endorsement from an artist or songwriter is dishonest and immoral. It undermines the campaign process, confuses the voting public, and ultimately distorts elections. It should be anathema to any honest candidate to play off this kind of uncertainty or falsely leave the impression of an artist's or songwriter's support.

Like all other citizens, artists have the fundamental right to control their work and make free choices regarding their political expression and participation. Using their work for political purposes without their consent fundamentally breaches those rights - an invasion of the most hallowed, even sacred personal interests.

No politician benefits from forcing a popular artist to publicly disown and reject them. Yet these unnecessary controversies inevitably draw even the most reluctant or apolitical artists off the sidelines, compelling them to explain the ways they disagree with candidates wrongfully using their music. And on social media and in the culture at large, it's the politicians that typically end up on the wrong side of those stories.

For all these reasons, we urge you to establish clear policies requiring campaigns supported by your committees to seek the consent of featured recording artists, songwriters, and copyright owners before publicly using their music in a political or campaign setting. Funding, logistical support, and participation in committee programs, operations, and events should be contingent on this pledge, and its terms should be clearly stated in writing in your bylaws, operating guidelines, campaign manuals, or where you establish any other relevant rules, requirements, or conditions of support.

Please let us know by August 10th how you plan to accomplish these changes.

Sincerely,

Aerosmith

Alanis Morissette

Amanda Shires

Ancient Future

Andrew McMahon

Artist Rights Alliance

B-52s

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Blondie

Butch Walker

CAKE

Callie Khouri

Courtney Love

Cyndi Lauper

Dan Navarro

Daniel Martin Moore

Duke Fakir

Elizabeth Cook

Elton John

Elvis Costello

Erin McKeown

Fall Out Boy

Grant-Lee Phillips

Green Day

Gretchen Peters

Ivan Barias

Jason Isbell

Jewel

Joe Perry

John McCrea

John Mellencamp

Keith Richards

Kurt Cobain estate

Lera Lynn

Lionel Richie

Linkin Park

Lorde

Lykke Li

Maggie Vail

Mary Gauthier

Matt Nathanson

Matthew Montfort

Michelle Branch

Mick Jagger

Okkervil River

Pearl Jam

Panic! At The Disco

Patrick Carney

R.E.M.

Regina Spektor

Rosanne Cash

Sheryl Crow

Sia

Steven Tyler

T Bone Burnett

Tift Merritt

Thomas Manzi

Train

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See also: Neil Young's similar letter.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

July 28, 2020

The Cubs Now Come With Trigger Alerts

That might have been the most unpleasant Cubs victory I have ever had the displeasure to watch all the way through on television. And I have watched a few games on TV in my 50 years or so of Cub fandom.

Did I mention that game was not pleasant?

After a one-hour-and-47-minute rain delay (of a game that was scheduled to start at 5:30 CDST), the Cubs managed to spend almost four hours playing the contest in question on Monday night before they miraculously hung on to defeat the Reds 8-7 in ultra-humid Cincinnati. I thought about turning off the game and going to bed at 10 p.m. but I figured surely they could get the game finished up in the next half hour or so. I didn't end up hitting the sack until well after midnight EDST.

"At least they won," you might be saying at this point. Yes, the Cubs won. And in the process they improved their early season record to 3-1 and are on the verge of accomplishing that thing that everyone is looking for in this 60-game sprint - a fast start. But they also punched their fans in the gut once, twice, but not quite three times, right?

Then again, in the ninth inning they certainly faked about a half dozen shots to the stomach before finally wrapping things up. And almost miraculously, the win went to Jon Lester, who hours before had actually limited the Reds to no hits in five stellar innings.

Sports trigger alert: I am now going to spend some time talking about the details of last night's game, making this column, at least partly, a gamer. So many print/digital sports editor/managers have been telling everyone for a long time now that people don't want to read gamers anymore. Shockingly, those editors are idiots. The phrase "people don't read gamers" is almost as true as "you can do more with less," another idiot editor/manager favorite.

A well-written gamer - to which I aspire but which I know I am unlikely to create - in the aftermath of a big win or at least an eventful win is a joy to behold. Why is that so difficult for said editors to understand? Anyway, let's begin.

The Cubs took it right up to the edge of blowing a 7-0, middle-of-the-sixth inning lead before Jeremy Jeffress recorded two extremely fortunate outs to earn his first save of the season in the ninth. Jeffress deserves all sorts of kudos just for being reasonably functional after manager David Ross waited until the last possible moment to bring him in - bases loaded, one out, tying run at third. The reliever last seen struggling for the Brew Crew last year struck out the Reds' Phil Ervin swinging on a three-ball pitch that was a good six to eight inches inside.

Then Jeffress went to a three-ball count against the ultra-scrappy Joey Votto, who ultimately lined out to center for the final out.

Craig Kimbrel had started the ninth with a three-run lead and no one on - just about the easiest save situation there is. He proceeded to walk four, hit one batter, uncork one wild pitch (it could have been four or five wild pitches) and get one out. He threw two more pitches that were headed right toward batters' knees before they displayed amazing reflexes to avoid getting hit.

Just like "the contact play," the phrase "this game is his to lose" is accepted as baseball dogma way too frequently. Announcers excusing lousy base-running from third by saying that "the contact play" must have been on is No. 1 oftentimes wrong, i.e., they have no idea if the play was actually on, and No. 2, a fundamental misunderstanding about the way the game works.

Unless it is OK, with less than two outs, for a baserunner to sprint away from third on any kind of hit, i.e., even on a catchable line drive, "the contact play," is nonsense. Baserunners are expected to wait to see if line drives are caught before they head home from third in that sort of situation. It should be played exactly the same way when a hitter hits a hard ground ball. The baserunner should be waiting to see if the ball goes thru or if at least he can tell that the ground ball is going to force a fielder to move side to side. If it is a ground ball right at a fielder, the runner should be sprinting back to third, just like he would if it was a catchable line drive.

Man, I have been waiting my whole sportswriter career to get that out there. Thank you for your time, good night everybody! Sorry about that "this is his game to lose." No game is ever automatically there for the losing when a closer comes in. And that is especially the case at the start of a ninth inning with a multiple-run lead. The bottom line is, no reliever should ever be allowed to allow more than three batters to reach base. The new three-batter-minimum rule makes this even clearer - if a reliever allows the first three hitters he faces to reach, he should come out even if he is vintage Mariano Rivera.

So, if we can stop ever saying that an idiotic "contact play" was on and we can stop saying that a game is "his to win or lose," especially when Craig Kimbrel is involved, we will have done an important public service. Hey David Ross, these are my gifts to you on the occasion of your first-ever week of managing in the Majors.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:40 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Programming note: There will be no column Wednesday, hope to return Thursday.

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Programming Note
Back to the census mine today; after we get through training-up "enumerators," which is the fancy census word for door-knockers, my schedule there should stabilize somewhat. Hopefully starting next week.

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ChicagoReddit

Illinois Unemployment Website from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago River Metal Detecting Treasure

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

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The Beachwood Tip It Over Line: Tip it real good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:25 AM | Permalink

July 27, 2020

Weirdness Reigns

Baseball in the Time of Coronavirus made its debut over the weekend amid joyous cries of "Baseball is Back," empty stadiums, cardboard cutouts of fans, dubious rule changes, and the inconsistent wearing of face coverings by players, coaches and umpires. Weirdness reigned.

Dr. Anthony Fauci began the festivities on Thursday by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in Washington. Maybe shot-putting would be a better description as the ball arced far to the left of home plate, touching down about 50 feet from the nation's leading epidemiologist. As futile as it was, I've seen worse from White Sox relievers.

Moments before the Nationals and Yankees squared off, Washington's sensational young outfielder Juan Soto was scratched from the lineup after testing positive for the virus. This came on the heels of the commissioner's office announcing that 16 teams will now advance to post-season play. Just think: We could have our first sub-.500 ballclub in the playoffs, just like pro hockey and basketball. What's next? A short centerfielder?

Soto was far from alone. The Marlins, who are accustomed to playing in an empty stadium, have 14 players and staff members who have tested positive - putting the season in danger. Suddenly it seems like small potatoes that the Braves have two veteran catchers, former White Sox Tyler Flowers and Travis d'Arnaud, who have played in 1,280 big league games between them. Both tested positive, meaning that two rookies - one being William Contreras, brother of the Cubs' Willson - with six games big league experience were activated to handle the Braves' catching duties.
Former White Sox Matt Davidson, who slugged 46 homers the seasons of 2017-18 on the South Side before playing with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate last season, had signed with the Reds to be one of their DHs. He batted twice on Friday before testing positive, putting his career in limbo.

So we shall see if the season proceeds, but from what we've seen so far, some things remain the same. The Twins can still hit. In taking two of three games from the White Sox at The Grate, the Minnesotans scored 27 runs, banged out 30 hits, and stroked seven home runs. Nelson Cruz, the elder statesman at 40, spent the weekend taking batting practice against a Sox staff that emerged from the three games with an ERA of 9.00, the worst in baseball.

Cruz departed town with a slash line of .538/.571/1.956, along with three homers and 10 RBIs. Thankfully, the local outfit won't see Cruz and his pals again until the end of August - providing everyone is still playing then.

All was not lost as the Sox scored a 10-3 victory on Saturday, displaying many of the reasons for optimism that have been emphasized since the end of last season. Newcomer Dallas Keuchel, a soft-tosser in the Mark Buehrle mold, was superb, leaving in the sixth inning with one out and two runners on base and the Sox leading 5-0. Reliever Steve Cishek, who switched sides of our city during the off-season, was victimized by one of Cruz's blasts, but the game developed nicely from there as the Sox continued to score while the visitors did not.

Luis Robert showed his many talents both at bat and in the field. With all due respect for Jim Landis, Ken Berry, Chet Lemon and Aaron Rowand, the team hasn't had a centerfielder who covers as much ground since, well, maybe never. The soon-to-be 23-year-old looked comfortable at the plate, hitting his first homer on Sunday and scalding a couple of balls right at the defense.

However, the demons from seasons past still reared their ugly heads beginning Friday evening with Lucas Giolito's first pitch of the season to Max Kepler, who deposited the ball into the empty right-field bleachers. He also homered in his next at-bat.

Also in the first inning, second baseman Leury Garcia screwed up a probable double play, failing to extract the ball from his glove. A sloppy ground ball, which went for a hit, ensued, and before fans got settled in front of their TVs, the Sox were in a 4-0 hole.

On Saturday, shortstop Tim Anderson, whose 26 errors last season led the major leagues, misplayed a ball off the bat of Cruz for his first miscue of the season, but Keuchel then retired Jorge Polanco on four pitches for the third out.

While Giolito had a breakout season a year ago, the young pitcher could be excused if butterflies were fluttering as he made his first Opening Day start. Had his mates helped him defensively, he still could have exited the first inning with only Kepler's blast denting his outing. Giving a wrecking crew like the Twins four or five outs in an inning is an invitation for disaster, and that's exactly what occurred. Sure, Giolito might have pitched over the shoddy defense like Keuchel did the next day, but Giolito still is a work in progress.

There's little doubt that, barring injury, the White Sox will score with far more regularity than they did a year ago. However, if they fail to catch and throw the ball any better, then the wins won't come as easily as people think. Anderson holds the key at shortstop, the busiest position in fair territory. He's a gifted athlete, and he's still young at 27. He needs to improve.

Aside from the threat from the coronavirus, Sunday's 14-2 pasting at the hands of the Twins resulted in potential injuries unrelated to COVID-19 that this team simply can't afford. Starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez, who most certainly needs to show improvement this season, was totally ineffective after retiring the first two batters. The next five all reached base on a walk, a double, another walk, Jake Cave's grand slam home run, and another single, after which Lopez admitted to right (his throwing) shoulder "tightness." That ended Reynaldo's afternoon, and we're awaiting a report of the extent of his injury.

Left-fielder Eloy Jimenez, who provides a crucial piece of the Sox offense, left the game shortly after Lopez with "light headedness" after crashing into the fence chasing Cave's homer. Eloy made a valiant effort, but you had to wonder what the Sox bullpen was doing since Jimenez hit the wall very close to where the relief staff was sitting. We'll never know whether Eloy's mates gave him warning of how close he was to the wall.

Finally, after he accounted for two doubles, a homer, and four RBIs in the first two games, as well as playing a stalwart third base, manager Rick Renteria held Yoan Moncada out of Sunday's loss, saying that he didn't want to stress his best all-around player after Moncada had been idled by a positive corona test. Then Renteria said that he especially didn't want Moncada throwing a baseball. Let's hope an injury isn't the real reason and that Moncada plays against Cleveland this evening.

Other Developments Of Note
* Pitcher Carson Fulmer, the Sox' top draft choice in 2015 (8th overall), was designated for assignment, and the Tigers picked him up. Fulmer never developed in the Sox organization, exiting with a 6-9 record and an ERA of 6.56 in 44 games. Every now and then Fulmer would break off a Grade A slider or fastball, but he never consistently threw his best stuff for strikes. In three years at Vanderbilt, Fulmer averaged 3.8 walks per nine innings. At the big league level, that number rose to 6.1. He simply couldn't throw strikes. Maybe the Tigers can fix him.

* Yolmer Sanchez, the popular second baseman who hit .252 and won a Gold Glove for the Sox last season, didn't make the Opening Day roster with his new club, the Giants.

* There were four extra-inning games in the baseball over the weekend. With the new rule that inserts a runner on second base to open each extra frame, all four contests ended in 10 innings. Looks like the commissioner's office is getting what it wanted - no marathon games and stress on bullpens. The rule is misguided. Extra-inning games provide what the avid fans like, which is more baseball.

* Seems like there's no universal agreement about masks. Some players in the dugout wear them while others don't. Oakland's Matt Olson hit a walk-off grand slam on Friday, and the predictable celebration followed at home plate with some players masked up and others bare-faced. Social distancing was absent.

* In the What's Missing Department, tossing the ball around the infield after an out with no one on base apparently is not allowed this season. That's too bad since the practice gives players a chance to catch and throw the ball, to stay involved, to remain part of the game.

The risk of having more people touch the ball and spreading the virus obviously is the reason, just a speck of the weirdness of this strange and mystifying time.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:14 AM | Permalink

Goodbye, Columbus

In fourteen hundred, ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But he was lost. Oh so lost.

And when he slogged ashore in the Bahamas the morning of October 12 - a Thursday - he had become the first official male traveler who got lost because he wouldn't stop to ask for directions.

"Is this Fort Lauderdale?" he reportedly asked the first person he met.

"No," said Bruce, the first AAA Indigenous Peoples' Travel Agent.

"Which direction is Fort Lauderdale? And where's the gold?"

"Dunno," said Bruce.

"You don't look Chinese," the lost traveler said. "I'm also trying to find China. Is this China?"

"No. Never heard of it, either. You must be lost, mister. Here, let me get you some travel brochures."

And thus was launched the official historical misaligned career of "The Man Who Discovered America," although technically he did not discover anything, and it certainly wasn't America.

While protesters bring down Stonewall Jackson and Bobby Lee statues, the real Lost Cause is Christopher Columbus, whose reputation for cultural worthiness might well be doomed. He deserves every obliteration that's going to happen to his legacy.

in the 1930s, abused and insulted Italian-Americans wanted to cheer for any Italian not named Bonanno, Gambino, or Genovese; so they picked Columbus.

America had treated Italian immigrants with much the same gentle regard as they did Irish and Jewish immigrants, which is to say, better than it treated Black slaves.

The Knights of Columbus asked, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the first national observance of Columbus Day in 1934. Lots of Catholics vote.

Italian-Americans loved him as a hero. Almost nobody else can stand him, because he was always a very odd choice. He was responsible for more deaths than the Mafia.

Not really their best decision Why? You ask.

You know how you can marry the wrong person, and then can't get out of it? And then you pretend everything is fine.

That's what Italian-Americans did.

First, Italian-Americans did not designate Columbus as the American Discoverer. That was done by Revolutionary War politicians and historians desperate for a heroic national origin story that did not mention the loathed British. We were sore winners.

Spain's King Ferdinand also stiffed Columbus on his prize and tossed him in jail. So post-Colonial Americans loved any story that made European monarchies look like jerks.

But it's even more simple than marketing.

The authors of the first Revolutionary-era histories needed a first chapter: How we got started. They needed a first hero, and so they invented Columbus's good intentions.

Almost no one in Europe had paid any attention to him for 300 years. He was a second-string adventurer.

Otherwise, the most obvious choice might have been John Cabot, who landed in 1497 on actual America - Newfoundland or Labrador. Cabot was as Italian as Columbus, but he was working for the British king. So he was out.

Or even more fair and accurate, the title could have gone to Leif Erikson. We should have backed Vikings in the discovery derby because they got here 500 years earlier. But "ocean blue" rhymes with "14 hundred and 92," and "Leif Erikson" doesn't rhyme with anything.

As for Columbus, he was a professional pillager and plunderer, but he was the first European to see a hummingbird, so that was nice.

Also, he and his men launched pandemics that killed millions of natives and obliterated a marvelous, peaceful culture of which only faint echoes remain.

Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas detailed the Columbus heroism in his eyewitness book whose title is roughly translated: "You kill a few million natives here, and a few million there, and sooner or later people will start to notice."

When he arrived on the island of Hispaniola (shared by Costa Rica and Haiti) in 1508, Las Casas says, "there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it . . . "

Eventually, there were 500 left of the original Arawak tribe. Now there are none.

If you can't efficiently mass murder unarmed natives who don't even know what a sword is, you can't call yourself a conquering cultural hero. It's the Cortez Rule.

Nonetheless, Italian-Americans have loved Columbus for reasons that somewhat baffle other Americans with no Italian tendencies, except for liking spaghetti and spumoni. His Chicago cultural heirs have suffered grievous insult and heartache in recent days.

More grief is coming.

Cristoforo Colombo's fame has come upon hard times nationally, including last week when protesters inspired Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to pull a pair of Columbus statues out of public venues, lest they be melted into bronze ingots.

Columbus statues are being pillaged - karma is fair - and besides, there was very little culture in Columbus to cancel. He was good at murder, but not much else.

First, the cultural cancellation bandwagon cancels TV's Cops. And then it smites 15th-century mercenary thugs. Someday the anarchists will tear down Vanilla Ice statues.

Just on heroic definitions, Columbus had it coming. Start with the definition of "discover." If you drive west far enough on I-80, you will find Denver, but you won't really discover it. You and Columbus both will have crashed into something that already existed.

A burglar can break into your home and find a large-screen TV to steal, but he hardly can be said to have "discovered" it.

It's not even as if Italian-Americans didn't have better choices.

They could have picked Julius Caesar, who was the most famous man in the world for several centuries and also was good at finding already populated nations to steal. After all, Chicago already has a monument and street (Balbo Drive) named after Mussolini's fascist air commander and donated by Il Duce.

Or they could have gone cultural and backed Marco Polo, Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo (1475-1564), or tossed in Vivaldi, Puccini or Verdi.

They didn't murder anybody. That's a good start.

Personally, I would have picked Sophia Loren, who is a historical monument to good Italian genes. It's not too late. She's only 86.

Columbus is a far more obsolete historical artifact, many of which seemed like bright ideas at the time. But their usefulness passes, and then you wonder what idiocy made you want them. Then they go away once you are "Woke."

The flaming Ford Pinto seemed a good idea momentarily, too. Remember the last time you made a collect call from a pay phone? All gone.

Junk clutters history that way, too. Columbus is junk culture.

If you are fond of Christopher Columbus, this is a warning that he's also expired, like mayonnaise left out too long.

Even in a 15th European century replete with plundering slave traders and religiously inspired genocidal murderers, he was notoriously vile.

Ever so slowly, cities across the country are ditching Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples' Day, an inelegant title for a well-it's-about-time premise. It's a slow-motion search to discover sanity.

Evanston and Oak Park became the first of Chicago's neighbors to adopt the position.

It's a quasi-federal holiday, but burgs that don't let workers off work that day can simply change their minds and ignore Columbus. The doomsday clock on the Columbus fib is ticking ever closer to extinction.

St. Paul, Minn., Seattle and Portland - centers of the current uprising - have joined the movement to designate the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Why not honor millions of innocent people from a culture that Columbus enslaved, pillaged, and raped? And that was on Chris's good days.

Once the more-or-less total fabrication of the Columbus myth was embedded in our schools, we surrendered to Italian immigrants' natural desire to be respected. We should be happy Italians didn't insist on National Mussolini Day.

As for Columbus, almost no positive tidbit attached to his legend is true.

He called his announced discovery-that-wasn't this way: "October 12, the day of Our Lord 1492 when I claim the New World for all of civilization." (By the way, all your gold is now mine.)

There wasn't any gold.

Folks on the beach called the day Thursday because it almost was the weekend.

Over the next few years, Columbus stole as much as he could, lopped off ears and noses to show he was a deity-inspired discoverer, enslaved everyone he could find, and drafted 8-year-old girls into sexual slavery. This was all done according to the Almighty's will, as all national conquests are.

He even wrote that the inhabitants had pleasing faces, did not use weapons and were perfect for servitude. Easy-peasy.

Luckily for Europeans, they found enough slaves to repopulate the Southern Hemisphere after the natives were killed by torture and European microbes.

As for Denver, or Fort Lauderdale or Hoboken, Columbus never found that part of the New World or knew it existed. He never found Asia, either.

Columbus was lost most of the time, as is the culture he helped kill.

It's about time to lose him, too.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

* On Boredom.

* Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe.

* Blackhawk's Life Mattered.

* A Blackhawks Proposal.

* Launching College Football.

* Tom Hanks Meets His Match.

* The Truth About Hamilton.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

I'm back!

I've said it before - maybe not here, I really can't remember - but counting people is a lot more complicated than you may think. #CensusSideGig

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Okay, I'm not really back, the census calls. Things will settle down soon, I hope.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Goodbye, Columbus
The real Lost Cause, our very own David Rutter writes.

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The Truth About Hamilton
"Miranda has been confronted by these issues from the very beginning and acknowledged what he wrote is not close to the truth," our very own David Rutter also writes. "It's not even an artistic 'truth.'"

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Pie: Put On A Fucking Mask
"It's not like you're being asked to shove a tin of beans sideways up your ass."

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See also:

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #314: Red Stars, Blue Skies, Bat Cracks & COVID-19
Chicago's First 2020 Champions? Plus: The Cubs Are Back; The White Sox Are Back; Thibs Timeline; and Adam Bomb.

Note: Recorded before the Red Stars lost in the championship game for the second consecutive year. 😢

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Ahhh, So That's Who Rosalind Franklin Is
Namesake of North Chicago medical school.

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Go Ahead, Eat Those Cheetos
Advice about food-related health news: "Treat it like a kitten: Have fun playing with it, but don't let it change your life.''

*

Simply Cynicism
An antisociety antiphilosophy.

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ChicagoReddit

Upcycling go-kart tires to house my first garden! Any and all tips for DIY balcony gardening welcome (and needed). North facing from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Alice Hargrave.

"Visual artist, Alice Hargrave discusses her work with Marina Post of the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors. Hargrave is a photo-based artist working in Chicago. Hargrave incorporates sound and video within layered installations of her photographic imagery in space. Her work reflects on the notion of impermanence: environmental insecurity, habitat loss, and species extinctions."

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BeachBook

They Agreed To Meet Their Mother's Killer. Then Tragedy Struck Again.

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Statement On Burger Records And Artists.

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

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*

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine Is Back: Limited time only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

Put A Fucking Mask On

It's not like you're being asked to shove a tin of beans sideways up your ass.


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

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

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

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

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

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

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

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

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

* Pie's Brexit.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

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

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

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

* President Trump: How & Why.

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

* Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! 2016 In Review.

* Inauguration Reporting.

* New Year: New Pie?

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Strong And Unstable.

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

* Socialism Strikes Back!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Carnage.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Papering Over Poverty.

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

* Showdown: North Korea vs. Trump.

* Time For The Royal Scroungers To Earn Their Keep.

* Cricket vs. Brexit.

* The Real Jonathan Pie.

* A Hostile Environment.

* Jonathan Pie | Trump's America.

* Pie: Putin's America.

* Amazon And The Way Of The World.

* Horseface, Ho-Hum.

* Of Turbines, Trump And Twats.

* Breaking: Trump Still Racist.

* It Says Here.

* The Real Climate Crisis Hypocrites.

* Jonathan Pie On The Campaign Trial.

* We're Fucked, Mate.

* The Tale Of Dominic Cummings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:18 AM | Permalink

Ahhh, So That's Who Rosalind Franklin Is

What do coal, viruses and DNA have in common? The structures of each - the predominant power source of the early 20th century; one of the most remarkable forms of life on Earth; and the master molecule of heredity - were all elucidated by one person. Her name was Rosalind Franklin, and the story of her triumph over sexism and rise to scientific greatness is made even more remarkable by the fact that she lived only 37 years.

In Franklin's day, sexism ran rampant in science. Her own father, judging science no career for a woman, actively discouraged her aspirations.

Her doctoral supervisor at Cambridge, eventual Nobel Laureate Ronald G.W. Norrish, called her "stubborn and difficult to supervise" and offered little support.

James Watson, whose Nobel Prize hinged in large part on her work, referred to her in his memoir as "Rosy" (against her preference), and stated that, because of her "belligerent moods," colleagues knew she "either had to go or be put in her place."

Despite the attitudes of those around her, Franklin maintained her scientific acumen and thirst for knowledge, crucially contributing to one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century.

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 3.36.30 AM.pngRosalind Franklin at age 25/Elliott & Fry, National Portrait Gallery, London

Becoming A Chemist

Franklin was born in London on July 25, 1920 to a prominent family. Her great uncle served in the British Cabinet, and her father was a banker and science educator.

Franklin was an outstanding student. She received a scholarship to Cambridge, where she earned honors on her examinations and won a research fellowship. A lack of rapport with her supervisor, Norrish, drove her from his lab. She ended up conducting groundbreaking research anyway for her Ph.D. thesis on the molecular structure of coal.

Franklin then moved to Paris, where she studied X-ray crystallography, a powerful means of inferring the structure of molecules from how they bend beams of X-rays. She produced a number of important articles before returning to the UK.

Assigned to work on the structure of DNA in her new position at King's College London, she applied her knowledge of X-ray diffraction and created crucial images of its molecular structure. At the time, determining DNA's structure was one of science's holy grails.

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 3.38.33 AM.pngRosalind Franklin in the lab/Jennifer Flynn, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Structure Of Life's Molecule

Recalling a moment in 1953, Watson described first seeing one of Franklin's images of the DNA molecule, known as "Photograph 51:"

"The instant I saw the picture my mouth fell open and my pulse began to race. The pattern was unbelievably simpler from those obtained previously. Moreover, the black cross of reflections which dominated the picture could only arise from a helical structure."

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 3.40.57 AM.pngDiagram of Franklin's experimental setup aiming X-ray through DNA sample with resulting "Photograph 51" that implied the double-helix structure of the molecule/MagentaGreen, Wikimedia Commons

Watson and his Cambridge collaborator and eventual fellow Nobel Laureate Francis Crick were not doing laboratory research on the structure of DNA, but they were actively attempting to build a model of it. Franklin's image provided them with a breakthrough. Franklin was a cautious scientist, believing that modeling should await airtight scientific evidence. But Watson and Crick were less hesitant and became convinced that their double helix model must be correct.

In 1953, when Watson and Crick announced their now famous double helix model for DNA, tensions at King's College were driving Franklin to Birkbeck College. She joined John Bernal, an X-ray crystallographer known for promoting the careers of women.

There Franklin worked on characterizing the structure of RNA, another key information-bearing molecule in living organisms. She also studied the tobacco mosaic virus, the first virus shown to be harmful to a living organism, the tobacco plant.

During a trip to the U.S. in 1956, Franklin first noticed that she was having difficulty fitting into her clothes. Upon her return to London, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the result of mutations in the DNA of her own cells. Yet she did not let her illness interfere with her work and published a half dozen or more scientific papers in both 1956 and 1957. She died in April of 1958.

Franklin faced sexism for much of her professional life in science. Watson repeatedly described her in sexist terms in The Double Helix, criticizing her "choice" not to "emphasize her feminine qualities" and her lack of "even a mild interest in clothes."

Moreover, he and Crick chose not to reveal the extent to which their model depended on her DNA photograph.

Even in this atmosphere, Franklin was a great scientist, as captured in this passage from her obituary, composed by her mentor, Bernal:

She was distinguished by extreme clarity and perfection in everything she undertook. Her photographs are among the most beautiful X-ray photographs of any substance ever taken . . . Her early death is a great loss to science.

Franklin's Reputation Grew After Death

Franklin certainly did not sink into obscurity.

One of her students, eventual Nobelist Aaron Klug, continued her work, helping to develop a new form of crystallography that relies on electrons instead of X-rays and advancing the understanding of the structure of viruses.

And of course initial skepticism about a double helix structure for DNA waned. Watson, Crick and another X-ray crystallography researcher at King's College, Maurice Wilkins, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for its identification.

Many have wondered why Franklin did not receive the Nobel Prize. First, she was never nominated, perhaps in part because of her gender. Another problem was the fact that the prize cannot be divided among more than three people, though some historians have argued that she deserved it more than Wilkins. Perhaps the most decisive reason is that Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously.

Franklin has been memorialized in many ways. King's College and Cambridge University both created residence halls in her name, and Birkbeck established the Rosalind Franklin Laboratory. Her portrait now hangs next to those of Watson, Crick and Wilkins in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

And outside of Chicago is the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, which uses Photograph 51 as its logo.

Franklin saw herself less as a female scientific pioneer than as a researcher whose work should be assessed purely in the light of her scientific contributions. Although she was not focused on gender, perhaps her greatest and most enduring legacy is the many women who have been inspired by her example to pursue scientific careers.

Richard Gunderman is a professor of medicine, liberal arts and philanthropy at Indiana University. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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See also: "Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science announced today that its new Helix 51 incubator has garnered corporate support from AbbVie."

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:12 AM | Permalink

Go Ahead, Eat Those Cheetos

Do I dare to eat a Cheeto? I do not; I can't even let one into the house. The same goes for its delectably plump twin, the Cheez Doodle; its tasty rotund cousin, the Cheez Ball; and its heavenly brother by another mother, that sandwich of two Cheezy crackers glued together with peanut butter. I dare not even walk down the supermarket aisle where this neon orange family lives, for while others may succumb to chocolate or pastry, my Waterloo is this cheesy goodness - let's call it Cheez. One Cheez Doodle would lead to a bag, then to more bags, and then to the certain catastrophe of a larger, sicker me.

I know these delicacies are terrible for a person's health. How exactly do I know that? It's not because I'm a medical professional, that's for sure; there were zero discussions of Cheez in our pre- or post-graduate training. I know because I just know, is all. Overprocessed chemical-laden stuff is bad for you; it's pure malevolent junk. Everyone knows that.

George Zaidan, an MIT-trained chemist of contrarian bent, knows it too. That is, he knows it to be piously reiterated received wisdom, and thus legitimate fodder for dissection, examination, refutation, and cheerfully self-indulgent obscenity-laden riffs.

Further, he has chosen this junk food truth as an excellent starting point for Ingredients: The Strange Chemistry of What We Put in Us and On Us, an entertaining and enlightening jaunt around the perimeters of exactly what we can ever hope science can teach us about stuff that is good and bad for us. And it all begins with a single Cheeto, the putative first brick on the winding golden road to nutritional hell.

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 6.47.50 AM.png

Zaidan describes himself as a science communicator and holds a day job producing videos for the American Chemical Society. On YouTube, where he interviews scientists or examines the ingredients in such common household items as toothpaste and lipstick, he comes across as a perfectly pleasant, sober, intense young geek. On the page, though, he is somehow transformed into a wildly inventive, disheveled, irreverent comic - a little stand-up here, a little frat house there, and a gigantic quantity of general subversion. All is delivered in the fluent lingua franca of the text and Twitter generation (which is to say that more than once I had to look up the definition of some impenetrable group of consonants).

Zaidan takes the easy shots first. Foodstuffs with chemical content are terrible for you: Could any sentiment be more likely to provoke a chemist's inner, er, chemist? Zaidan cheerfully considers some candidate methodologies for distinguishing among the chemicals that compose the entirety of all food. He offers up and then disproves the theory that the more total syllables in any list of ingredients, the worse for the health of the consumer. He pivots around to contemplate the currently popular sentiment that most of our intake should be plant-based, and reviews some basics of plant biology, including the liberal quantities of dire poisons elaborated by many plants.

From there it is but a quick leap to the word "process" - as in highly processed junk food, but also as in the methods the earliest humans used to detoxify their plant foodstuffs. (When it comes to poisonous wild potatoes, the trick is to coat them with a little clay and eat both; a water bath will remove the cyanide from cassava root.) Then there are history's many efforts to stop food from spoiling by processing it: brining, drying, fermenting, and the rest. Is an innocent little Cheeto truly more processed than a dill pickle, or a slab of dried salt cod, or a tablespoon of honey (otherwise known as ultra-processed nectar)?

Zaidan considers the valiant members of the bacterial genus Lactobacilli, heading in for a day's honest labor processing a quart of milk: Each one "eats sugar, excretes lactic acid, and reproduces at speeds that make rabbits look like nuns. In the rich tradition of ancient Rome, they eat, drink, multiply, vomit, and then pass out," leaving behind a "corrosive hell-swamp, 100 times more acidic than milk and absolutely unlivable to the vast majority of all other microbes, including and especially the ones that make us sick.'' That swamp would be yogurt.

In other words, it's hard to sustain the proposition that processed foods are necessarily to be avoided.

Once the semantics have crumbled in face of a satisfying quantity of science, Zaidan heads off into the methodologic and statistical morass of nutritional epidemiology. After all, the chemical composition of individual foods means little, health-wise; it's the content of a lifetime of meals that counts. Here the author's inner chemist yields the floor to a reasonably sage if still comedic inner statistician as he methodically enumerates the mathematical potholes awaiting researchers seeking to mine the kind of big data contained in diet studies.

There is little included here not available on various science blogs, but it never hurts to hear it again, from the unsurprising news that scientists can both make and merrily publish simple arithmetical errors that bolster their results, to the perils of the mindless adulation of the "statistically significant" p-value. (This is the calculation that allows scientists to conclude the results of any given experiment are very unlikely to be due to chance alone.)

Massaging big data sets for meaningful correlations legitimized by their p-values - "p-hacking'' - turns out to be an excellent way to achieve great things in diet studies by publishing sexy, headline-making, utterly meaningless results.

And, of course, even when correlations are actually legitimate, they must be examined carefully: Just because two things rise or fall together doesn't mean they embody cause and effect.

Meanwhile, the news media breathlessly trumpets every passing food breakthrough, especially when it contradicts last week's breathless breakthrough. Zaidan's advice about food-related health news: "Treat it like a kitten: Have fun playing with it, but don't let it change your life.''

He briefly leaves the stomach for the skin to review the science behind our current national sunscreen obsession and concludes more or less the same thing. After all, possibly the only incontrovertible piece of scientific wisdom we do have about an invaluable health promoting behavior (don't smoke, period) was cobbled together long ago with a variety of primitive statistical tools we have all but outgrown. And people still smoke.

As for the Cheez family: Eating one doodle or 10,000 may not be all that bad for you, Zaidan concludes, depending on a host of factors. However, not eating any of those 10,000 doodles may well be somewhat better.

"To really understand the issues with nutritional epidemiology or any other science, you have to learn how to appreciate its beauty - and its flaws," he writes. "You have to learn to spot a mistake or logically tear something apart. You have to sniff out alternative explanations or an argument's weakest link. In short, you have to see the best in people, but you also have to be kind of an asshole. Don't worry; it's really fun.''

Indeed, others have written insightfully about medical statistics (Charles Whelan), the flaws inherent in diet studies (Gary Taubes), the internecine scientific warfare surrounding food groups (Marion Nestle), and about the annoying fact that plenty of foods apparently can be both good and bad for you, depending on a variety of factors (any random author in any issue of any health magazine you care to name). No one to my recollection has wadded it all up together with as much exuberance and charm as Zaidan.

Abigail Zuger is a physician in New York City and a longtime contributor to The New York Times. This post was originally published on Undark.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

July 26, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #314: Red Stars, Blue Skies, Bat Cracks & COVID-19

Chicago's First 2020 Champions? Plus: The Cubs Are Back; The White Sox Are Back; Thibs Timeline; and Adam Bomb.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #314: Red Stars, Blue Skies, Bat Cracks & COVID-19

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SHOW NOTES

* 314.

:14: Chicago's First 2020 Champions?

* Nothing but blue sky.

* Planning a pandemic parade.

5:20: The Cubs Are Back.

* Kyle Hendricks twirled a gem.

* Yu Darvish grinds Coach's gears.

* Rizzo delivers hand sanitizer to home plate at inopportune time.

* Coffman: "It was Pickle Central out there."

13:16: The White Sox Are Back.

* More about the Cubs!

* Wallenstein: Muscled Up.

20:20: The Battle Of Natural Disasters.

* Fire Falls To Earthquakes.

20:46 Corey COVID.

* Jonathan Toews now "unfit to play."

25:20: Thibs Timeline.

* Over/Under at 2 1/2 years.

* World Wide Wes.

27:46: Adam Bomb.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:53 AM | Permalink

July 24, 2020

Why We Should Love Hamilton Less And Truth More

Note to Hamilton author Lin-Manuel Miranda. Yes, we all loved your brilliant invention, but every day I love it less.

Every day I wonder more what I liked about it. What's wrong with me?

That happens when you reconsider illusions. Do illusions bring you closer to seeing the truth, or only drive you deeper into error?

New generations of Americans are being introduced to America's "Founding Fathers" through Disney's ownership and distribution of Hamilton with distortions that are even more pronounced than the odd views we always have held.

Miranda's sale of Hamilton to Disney, plus the 4,000 or so New York and Chicago stage performances, has transformed an artful four-year theatrical experience into consumable faux history for the masses. Now more of us will know even less that is true.

Miranda has been confronted by these issues from the very beginning and acknowledged what he wrote is not close to the truth. It's not even an artistic "truth."

It's stupendously clever. But that's all.

Historians have pointed out the deeply embedded errors in the show. But they're experts, and we hoot at experts now because they know stuff. We are too deeply in love with Thomas Jefferson as a hip-hopping rapper.

"People of color" might see Hamilton somehow as closer in spirit to an underlying American value that is more hopeful and human. You might secretly wish Hamilton was true.

But Hamilton is so wrong on so many characters that it seems dangerous, mindless propaganda. It's an origins story built on attractive, choreographed fabrication. Miranda's work is not less false because it is deliberately untrue.

For example, the Hamilton version of "George Washington" is invariably a Black actor. Black actors play "Thomas Jefferson" and "James Madison."

So far; so good. That makes a valuable and artful statement for inclusion.

But Washington owned 123 slaves at the time of his death and though he occasionally had suggested he might get around to freeing them, he never did.

He chased down escaping slaves and beat them, just as Robert E. Lee did. He, like Lee, and at least six Founding Fathers, was an activist slave owner who coveted his human property.

Only John Adams, Sam Adams and Thomas Paine were ardently against slavery. Ben Franklin owned slaves.

And the intellectually brilliant Thomas Jefferson? As one historian noted, Jefferson was a deep thinker and man of principle "in everything but slaves, Indians and women."

There is distortion and ambiguity enough inside proven history that there's no need to fabricate new misrepresentations. But welcome to Hamilton.

Washington claimed he never freed his slaves for their own good because the complication of freeing an inferior human was too difficult for anyone to imagine.

For this to be true, you must accept that a man talented and organized enough to defeat the British Empire's military, create a continental country's identity out of nothing, and twice was its president, could not conquer the subtleties of freeing slaves.

Seems more likely he just didn't want to give up valuable property. That's a less pleasing hero.

Martha Washington had inherited 74 of her own slaves from her father's family. After Washington died, she let one of George's slaves go live with his relatives as "sort of" emancipation.

James and Dolly Madison, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson each owned slaves, and Martin Van Buren owned one during his early career.

The point is that New Yorkers and Southern people of means - especially Virginians - used, bought, sold, raped, and tortured slaves. That does not cancel culture. It merely accepts facts.

Do we still cheer for them as loudly as we did before we knew them?

We even have created an odd deflective voice to describe the practice human bondage when charming "Founders" did it.

For example, many texts refer to Washington euphemistically as "employing enslaved people" as if he were a curious but uninvolved bystander. This "employed enslaved people" is a passive linguistic deception adopted to describe most of the Colonial slaveholders.

But this was not some 17th-century form of "Kelly Temp Services." Owning and using people was the life the Founders lived. It was a choice. They clung to it.

This was treating humans as things, as useful tools and farm implements. Slavery is not an employment category. Slaves were stolen people with families and dreams.

When you marvel at Washington's palatial 8,000-acre Mount Vernon farm, you should also consider the 317 slaves who made Washington rich there. Or the 47 within a 30-year period who escaped. Or the at-least 70 buried there.

Until recently, the slaves of Mount Vernon were barely mentioned.

Those slaves were the fundamental source of Washington's continued wealth.

At Washington's funeral, Jefferson acknowledged Washington had a dangerous temper, and his many slaves learned to avoid him in those moments. But mostly, Washington stole their humanity to make himself rich.

That wealth offers a darkness to our country's origins that often surprises us in modern times.

But that evil was standing there in the shadows staring at us from the very beginning and has never been overcome. We simply ignore it, as Hamilton does.

Hamilton masks it cleverly. That's why Hamilton is both a great but terrible piece of art that could shape how we think and not necessarily for the more enlightened.

As a performance, Miranda's lyrics give artistic yearning and voice to people of color but simultaneously gives cover for the real people who bore those names.

Must we say it plainly? The American Revolution was not meant to free you if you are female or black.

Or if you were among the 75 percent of some colonies that were indentured servants - which functioned for destitute white immigrants much like slavery did for Blacks. Indentured servants were considered human, but just barely for legal purposes.

The Revolution was not about civil rights.

Beyond rhetoric, the Revolutionary War had very little to do with liberty, except property-owner emancipation from British taxes. That is hardly the underlying moral meme of Hamilton. That motive drove the real Hamilton.

The idolized "land of the free' created by the Founders was not meant for most of us.

I remind friends that it's no surprise that Jefferson and protege President William Henry Harrison had overlapping points of view and conduct both about slaves and women. They were cultural frat brothers. As was Washington.

And the real Hamilton? As a teenager, he took over operations of the entire St. Croix branch of Beekman & Cruger, an import-export business that engaged in the African slave trade and sugar business. That's where he became the brilliant financial theorist that Miranda extols. Several academic researchers have theorized he hated his slave interactions and took his loathing to New York.

But he was no freedom rider on his way to Selma as he seems in Hamilton.

He and his towering ambition always cared more about his property rights than eliminating slavery. In Hamilton's world, he debated against slavery, but he despised civic disorder and mundane people more.

He was no man of the people.

As a theatrical character, Miranda's Hamilton had little reason to sneer at Jefferson's blind spot about slavery. Even as Miranda has been forced to admit more recently, everyone on the stage he created was complicit in slavery.

That should never have been only unformed, unstated subplot. What's missing in Hamilton is its great sin.

But you don't get the feeling of slavery's reality in Hamilton. That truth would not be attractive or nearly as entertaining.

It seems clear that Miranda deliberately avoided slavery as a central Hamilton theme. Those characters could not have been so relentlessly upbeat and heroic.

Multiple academic researchers, led by Harvard Law School Professor of History Annette Gordon-Reed, demonstrate without rebuke that Hamilton bought slaves for his in-laws and almost surely owned several himself.

After he moved to the United States, Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, a member of an influential, slave-owning family in Albany, New York. She and her sisters are lovingly portrayed in Hamilton. They grew up in slave-managed homes. Slaves tended to their Scarlett O'Hara lives.

Miranda did not mention that in Hamilton, which also does not mention that New York of the 1790s was a slave city in a slave colony. One in five households in New York City had slave domestics.

The entire environment of Hamilton's reality was drenched in slavery. Neither was Hamilton an advocate of the underdog common man. He was not trapped in a world he hated. He was an elitist who supported the presidency as a lifetime position.

That reality is not the sensibility Hamilton signals. But so what? It's a play, though a much more powerful document in Disney's hands.

Art is a powerful teacher. Example? Unless you can read Latin, likely all you know about Roman Emperor Julius Caesar comes from Shakespeare's play. And the 10 movies and TV series that portray him. All concocted.

There is a temptation to analyze Hamilton as both wonderful and destructive. Art need not be accurate about anything except the honesty of its ideas. There is little danger in such distortion, as long as the audience knows the truth.

But does America really know the truth, or does it even want to know?

Truth need not be factual. Truth is the deep ocean in which facts swim. This duality is not cognitive dissonance.

You can absorb art in its own language.

But what is Hamilton now except an unintended documentary, an artful component of our cultural self-delusions, especially dangerous now because the truth as a value is under assault? It temps us to dismiss the cruel, deep, human failure that slavery was.

Hamilton is a beautiful but dishonest delusion. And now Disney ownership has turned it into Mary Poppins.

The man, his history, and the truth have been fully rebranded. I wish Hamilton did not depress me so.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

* On Boredom.

* Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe.

* Blackhawk's Life Mattered.

* A Blackhawks Proposal.

* Launching College Football.

* Tom Hanks Meets His Match.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:15 AM | Permalink

July 23, 2020

Simply Cynicism

Upon hearing "cynic," what comes to mind? A snarky, arrogant, disillusioned person with a know-it-all-attitude, claiming that the thing preventing the world from being a better place is the greedy and corruptive nature of humans, perhaps? That's one definition of "cynic," but there are two. There's the first, written with a lowercase c, that refers to a person with a pessimistic, distrusting view of society. This is the definition that's used most colloquially, and the one we see most often in films, TV, and everyday life.

There is, however, one more definition. Capital c Cynics are those who follow the ancient Greek philosophy, Cynicism, described by Simply Philosophy as "a "natural way of life, asceticism, and individual virtue." Cynics, SP says, felt "a demonstrative disdain for accepted norms and traditions that interfere with the solution of pragmatic tasks and those that are of little use in a practical sense." Or, as the BBC 4 podcast In Our Time explains, Cynics wanted to "expose the meaninglessness of society."

Created by Antisthenes but popularized by Diogenes, Cynics, "stress virtue, simplicity, freedom, and social criticism," according to Gregory Sadler's YouTube lecture, "Epictetus' Evaluation of Cynicism - Philosophy Core Concepts."

Virtue to the Cynics, Sadler says, is much different from what we're used to hearing in society. Indeed, much of what the Cynics preach is meant to disturb and shake us, as they reject all social conventions.

To the Cynic, material possessions, familial relations, and friendships didn't matter; the concern of life was working out what is good and virtuous for oneself only, and living by that. That often meant Cynics would go up to people to pester and point out how wrong their priorities were. They took pride in their frankness of speech, or parrhesia, and were known for their satire and sharp wit. They felt it was up to them, seeing themselves as a sort of "messenger from God" to tell humans what they "need to know" but don't want to hear, which was how wrong and bad social conventions were.

"Humor, scorn, shouting at people" were common to Cynical methods of communication. Public indecency, law-breaking, and scene-making were all used to prove points about the importance of breaking social norms. "[P]rovocation or exhibitionism . . . [are] an undoubted feature of Cynicism in general," Roger Caldwell writes in "How To Be A Cynic."

Cynics lived in strict accordance with nature and self-sufficiency, taking it to such an extreme that their fierce independence of material possessions later was known as "Cynic Poverty," a self-imposed state of poverty. Asceticism, or a strict rejection of sensual pleasures, was one of the bedrocks of this philosophy, with its followers dedicating themselves to a life of both mental and physical endurance. Diogenes was known for hugging statues in winter. Begging was the way to earn food, but with the frequent rejection and ridiculing, sharpening their mental endurance.

Diogenes felt that "human nature was often at odds with [humans]," who were intrinsically good, but were corrupted by social conventions, as the BBC podcast puts it. Diogenes felt humans ought to "be rid of the unnecessary and unnatural desires which human society has installed within us." The idea was not to do what society felt we should do, but to "do what we want, whenever we want, where we want." Whilst many might see this as being shameless and almost arrogant, the Cynics saw this as freedom.

Diogenes-statue-Sinop-enhanced.jpgOne of these is Diogenes

But just as the Cynics took the idea of simple to an extreme, they took the idea of freedom to act however they like to a similar extreme: "anything that you can do, you can do in public." Diogenes was known for his public indecency, which included urinating, defecting, and masturbating in public.

When Cynicism grew in popularity amongst Romans, it was slightly rebranded, with the Romans leaving out this shameless street behavior. Although classical Cynics felt the street behavior was essential, Romans were more "restrained as modest." It was in this way Cynicism amongst Romans became known as "Roman Cynicism," which was "fundamentally at odds" with classical philosophy.

The Stoics, who were heavily influenced by the Cynics, did a very similar thing. They modified the philosophy with its idea that some social conventions were good, or at the least very should be respected, and that shamelessness should be replaced with eloquence; however, this is at total odds with Cynicism, which completely "[pitted] itself against all civilized values." In this way, "Cynics are anarchists in a strong sense."

Caldwell writes that "In its extreme individualism [Cynicism] ignores the needs of society at large," rendering it an "anti-society philosophy . . . not one that everyone - or even a significant fraction of people - could follow if society was to properly function."

Cynicism certainly gives us quite a lot to think about. Right or wrong, all can agree that the Cynics were extreme in their methods. But since those extremes aren't practical enough to be practiced by a whole society, can they really blame society for not listening?

And yet, Cynics had a disdain for "those that are of little use in a practical sense" even as their philosophy isn't practical in the slightest. They neither contribute to society nor champion self-realization, because Cynics believed in a "limited curiosity," mocking intellectualism and "academic philosophizing."

The Dilemma Of Virtue

Is there any virtue in the Cynical extremes of life? Going to extremes to prove a point sounds childish and egotistical. It's almost a way of admitting what you have to say isn't worthy enough of being heard when said peacefully, so you'll resort to making a ruckus.

If a simple life is enough, as it should be according to Cynics, why do they reduce themselves to the level of poverty? Living closely to nature and giving away all goods does not make anyone virtuous. People with bad intentions can just as easily live close to nature and sell all of their belongings. What makes denouncing all material goods inherently virtuous?

"Modesty is the color of virtue," Diogenes says. But why does he assume that poverty (what he lived by) is the same as virtue? What is the inherent virtue of not owning things?

Surely true modesty, and thus, virtue, is in gratitude for what you own - not taking pride in not owning anything.

Diogenes famously threw away his cup, one of his few possessions, when he saw a child using his hands to drink. This act may seem noble at first, but it begs the question of whether making yourself suffer alleviates the suffering of others. By using his hands to drink, did the child suddenly have a cup? What is the immorality of using a cup yourself when you've earned it? Why not share the cup? Now, both of them have to drink from their hands. That's not a practical or efficient way to look at societal problems.

Some societal standards, like interacting with respect, are good, and thus should be followed. Digones said once, "What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others." If a societal value is sharing and helping those who need it, why would Diogenes want to overthrow that convention?

One might argue that Cynics meant only to stop practicing the "bad" social conventions; however, that is a naive way of looking at life for a few reasons. Firstly, who decides what is and isn't a virtuous value?

Secondly, you have to recognize there will be a balance in social values. Some good, some bad. If you want to fight the bad, you have to first embrace the good. Then, you have to accept the bad, for you can only control and change something when you've learned to accept it.

Thirdly, why would Diogenes expect to have any positive effect in society when he is treating it so poorly? He was known to mock and ridicule and use his sharp tongue. Can he really expect others to listen when he's metaphorically (maybe even literally; the man was known for acting unusually) screeching and screaming unforgivably in people's ears?

What exactly is virtue to the Cynic? Is there virtue in tearing apart the social fabric? Also, what business is it of the Cynics to preach to everyone in completely ineffective provocative measures? If their goal is to point out the absurdity of the values people have, surely making fun of them isn't a very intelligent way to go about. It reminds me of that one nosy friend who goes out of their way to give you advice you're not interested in hearing. Nobody likes unsolicited advice. Especially when it's unnecessarily rude.

One of the goals of leading this Cynically simple life was living a life of leisure. Diogenes said, "By embracing the simple life, leisure, the most enviable thing of all, is always mine to enjoy." If all Diogenes did, however, was practice a life of leisure, how was he of any use in any way?

The philosophy refuses to look anywhere other than what is under its nose; it is stubbornly in the present and concerned only with itself. There is no impulse to make the world a better place. Where is the virtue in that? Cynicism seems impulsive and too immediate to produce any good for society, which raises a quizzical eyebrow, since part of the disdain Cynics had was for "those that are of little use in a practical sense."

Furthermore, Cynicism encourages adults, those who uphold society, to have the impulses, responsibilities, and carelessness of teenagers. It is an antisociety antiphilosphy. It viciously disregards society. It mocks intellectualism and encourages a limited curiosity. A frugal life is not the issue here, because that is not what the Cynics believed in. They had a very extreme interpretation of "a simple life."

Society wouldn't have gotten anywhere if everyone lived in Cynical Poverty and practiced the imprudence and disdain of societal norms Cynics preached. Conformity is needed to a certain extent. How else will societies keep from breaking down? Much more than that, there must be labor and toil and ambition and competition. Yes, greed and materialism may be consequential values, but that is the price we have to pay. How else would we have progressed so far in life? One needs to take the bad with the good. One can't have cake and eat it too, as the saying goes. What Cynicism does is keep the individual trapped in primal instincts with its pride in shameless societal disrespect and crude methods of living.

Diogenes said that "In a rich man's house there is no place to spit but his face." The self-absorbed, pseudo-righteousness of this is odd. What is the inherent evil in riches? What, in turn, is the inherent good in poverty? For all Diogenes knew, that rich man used his riches to build up the town center, feed the poor, and put a roof over orphans. If he didn't, who exactly was Diogenes to think he was above the rich man? Is a poor man any less capable of being greedy, corrupt, and morally polluted?

The renunciation of all material goods and social values was what Diogenes thought made him the freest man, but is it possible to be crippled by your freedom? Is doing whatever you want true freedom? Or, with no greater purpose to serve, are you enslaved by instinct and momenty desire? If your freedom is unfruitful, then how can you prove you were free?

Virtue, in Cynicism, is more of a buzzword than an actual concern when one looks at the pride Cynics took in their shamelessness and vulgarity. Where is the virtue in exhibitionism, in vulgarity, in creating unproductive outrage?

When Diogenes was compared to dogs by a disgusted crowd, he took pride in this comparison and decided to model his life off of the shamelessness and instinctual living of dogs. In other words, "what is not shameful for the dog should not be shameful for the human." Dogs urinate, defecate, and engage in sexual activity publicly. Diogenes would, too.

A firm believer in propriety and prudence, I'll call upon the all-knowing Dowager Countess for her wisdom, who suggests, "Vulgarity is no substitute for wit."

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

* Dear High School Students And Recent Graduates . . .

* Tunes To Remedy Any Existential Crisis.

* Flex You.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

July 22, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

Sorry, more census work, we're training enumerators, probably through Saturday. But I should be able to turn a column out Thursday afternoon.

THURSDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Nope!

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Worse Than Brock?
For all Theo Epstein has achieved, he may also go down as having made one of the worst trades in baseball history.

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ChicagoReddit

Floating cinema equipped with social distancing boats coming to Chicago from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Unboxing/Gear Review - Epiphone ES 339-Pro from Chicago Music Exchange

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

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The Beachwood Tip-O-Matic Line: Tip-O-Matic.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:38 PM | Permalink

Worse Than Brock?

Um, yeah so, Theo. Tell us again what you were thinking when you made that trade with the White Sox for Jose Quintana a few years ago now?

Because I have to say at this point, it is looking like you could have won more World Series' for the South Siders with that trade than you have won for the Cubs.

You and your guy Jason McLeod have drafted and developed exactly one potential star pitcher during your eight (!) years at the helm of the Cubs and you traded that guy, Dylan Cease, to the White Sox? I don't want to hear about Adbert Alzolay. Let's see if he can stay healthy for just one stinking month in the majors at some point. Then I suppose some sort of pathetic conversation can begin.

Maybe I'm wrong but almost certainly not: Alzolay will never be as good as Cease is right now.

You tossed Cease into the trade for Quintana to go with a prospect, Eloy Jimenez, who you already knew was a potential star? And a charisma machine to boot? Eloy may end up being a permanent DH sooner than later but you had to know that the DH was coming to the National League eventually, didn't you?

And I know you were not surprised when Eloy not once but twice last year sent himself to the injured list because he is next-level clumsy. That just adds to his charm and it will no longer be a factor when he doesn't have to worry about the outfield anymore.

You realize that if Cease and Jimenez both make All-Star teams at some point during their careers, and hell, they could have done it this year if there was an All-Star game, that goes down as one of the worst trades in baseball history?

Oh, and you had to trade them to the White Sox?

This is a bit personal because my son and one of my best friends are both White Sox fans who are going to be giving me a hard time about this for a long, long time.

The one guy who had been flat-out good for the Cubs during summer camp, pitcher Kyle Hendricks, got his ass kicked by the middle of the White Sox lineup Sunday night. And he gave up a home run to one of the worst hitters in the American League in Adam Engel. Not good.

Is this an overreaction to a couple meaningless preseason games at the start of this week? Of course it is. But it won't take long to doom this shortened season with mediocre at best baseball execution in the first few weeks of real games.

Yes, rookie center fielder Luis Robert will have growing pains and it will just not be possible for diminutive rookie second baseman Nick Madrigal not to struggle for long stretches against major league pitching. But these rookies are exactly what the White Sox needed to round out a lineup for the ages.

Their returning third baseman, Joan Moncada, you remember him, almost won a batting title last year, suffered through COVID-19 in the weeks leading up to summer camp and no one on the White Sox seemed to sweat it. And he is already starting to lock in at the plate. The shortstop, Tim Anderson, makes too many errors. But he was the guy who won the batting title.

First baseman/designated hitters Jose Abreu and Edwin Encarnación will provide power. The free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal was the best-hitting catcher in baseball last year. And clearly he is more than decent defensively. There is Jimenez in left and Nomar Mazara in right. Robert will have to cover a wee bit of ground between those guys but anything is possible.

And that is definitely enough about the White Sox. And this is the preseason so we must include at least a little bit of optimism. The Cubs' lineup will be feast or famine but the feasts will be fun. Kyle Schwarber is the poster child for that state of affairs but he is a better left fielder than people think.

The Cubs have options at catcher. Josh Phegley will probably make the team, at least initially, as a third catcher. But his defensive "work" against the White Sox was not exactly promising. I have long believed that anyone who really knows anything about catching knows that a contender cannot afford to have Willson Contreras behind the plate. And new manager David Ross obviously knows this better than anyone.

I believe that before long Contreras will move to the designated hitter role and Victor Caratini and his impressive switch-hitting skills will get a long look behind the plate. That is all for now.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:18 PM | Permalink

Japan's Child Abuse In Pursuit Of Olympic Medals

Child athletes in Japan suffer physical, sexual and verbal abuse when training for sport, Human Rights Watch said in a new report, released today, that documents depression, suicides, physical disabilities, and lifelong trauma resulting from the abuse. Japan will host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics beginning July 23, 2021.

The 67-page report, 'I Was Hit So Many Times I Can't Count': Abuse of Child Athletes in Japan, documents Japan's history of corporal punishment in sport - known as taibatsu in Japanese - and finds child abuse in sports training throughout Japanese schools, federations, and elite sports.

In interviews and a nationwide online survey, Japanese athletes from more than 50 sports reported abuses that included being punched in the face, kicked, beaten with objects like bats or bamboo kendo sticks, being deprived of water, choked, whipped with whistles or racquets, and being sexually abused and harassed.

"For decades, children in Japan have been brutally beaten and verbally abused in the name of winning trophies and medals," said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch. "As Japan prepares to host the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo in July 2021, the global spotlight brings a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change laws and policies in Japan and around the world to protect millions of child athletes."

Human Rights Watch documented experiences of more than 800 former child athletes - more than 50 from in-person interviews, and 757 from an online survey - including Olympians and Paralympians. The survey had participants from 45 of the 47 Japanese prefectures, and 50 sports.

Human Rights Watch also monitored Japanese media reports of child abuse in sport, contacted sports federations to assess the availability of hotlines, interviewed academics, journalists, parents, and coaches, and met in person with government and sport federation officials.

In 2013, while Japan was bidding to host the 2020 Olympics, a series of videos of high-profile elite athlete abuse cases, coupled with suicides of child athletes, spurred leading sports agencies to speak out on the need for child protection in sport. In 2018, a video surfaced showing an Aichi prefecture high school baseball coach repeatedly slapping, punching, and kicking the players on his team. In the video, the coach is seen striking at least five players hard enough to cause the teenage athletes to stagger backward.

Public outrage led to important reforms such as setting up hotlines to report abuse. However, Human Rights Watch found that these reforms are optional "guidelines" instead of rules, that progress has been uneven and unmonitored, and that there is no mandatory reporting of abuse complaints or statistics.

This abuse violates Japanese laws against child abuse, international human rights standards, and International Olympic Committee regulations on safeguarding athletes.

Human Rights Watch found that child abuse in sport remains accepted and normalized in many parts of society, and that it is difficult for young athletes to file complaints against a powerful coach or official. Schools and federations rarely punish abusive coaches, often allowing them to continue coaching, Human Rights Watch said.

"Sports federations in Japan are allowed to set up their own systems to track abuse and abusers - which many simply choose not to do," said Kanae Doi, Japan director at Human Rights Watch. "This exposes children to unacceptable risks, and leaves parents and athletes with few options to file complaints or seek remedies against powerful abusers."

Child abuse in sport is a global problem with a lack of unified, clear systems to address violence and abuse. The burden of reporting abuse is often on the victims, while the systems for reporting are opaque, unresponsive, and inadequate.

Worldwide, coaches and other abusers go unpunished or are promoted to positions in which they can threaten and silence their accusers. Two presidents of sports federations, in Haiti and Afghanistan, have been accused of sexual assault of female athletes over the last 18 months. The United States Olympic doctor Larry Nassar abused hundreds of female gymnasts over decades. Children and teens who come forward are often not believed when accusing powerful coaches who hold the athletes' success hostage. On June 26, 22-year-old South Korean triathlete Choi Suk-hyeon committed suicide after filing many complaints with sport and government officials about the physical and psychological abuse she suffered.

"Sport can bring benefits like health, scholarships, and careers, but too often victims of abuse experience suffering and despair," said Takuya Yamazaki, a sports lawyer on the Executive Committee of the World Players Association, the global athletes' trade union who partnered with Human Rights Watch on the report. "One of the reasons why it is so hard to deal with cases of abuse is that athletes are not encouraged to have a voice. Just like the many brave athletes who are increasingly speaking up for their rights, sports bodies must show courage to deal with the past, if sport is to be a true force for good."

Human Rights Watch's main recommendation is that the country set up a Japan Center for Safe Sport, an independent administrative body tasked with addressing child abuse in Japanese sport to ensure reporting and tracking of abuse complaints, establish meaningful remedies for athletes and parents, and deter child abuse by identifying and decertifying abusive coaches.

With the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games delayed until Summer 2021, Japan has one year to take convincing action before the games begin, Human Rights Watch said.

"Taking decisive action to protect child athletes will send a message to Japan's children that their health and well-being are more important than medals - while placing abusive coaches on notice that their behavior will no longer be tolerated," Worden said. "If Japan acts now, it can serve as a model for how other countries can end child abuse in sports."

Illustrative Quotes From The Report

"I was hit so many times, I can't count. Everyone [on my current team] was hit as high school athletes, everyone experienced taibatsu. I was playing baseball as a pitcher . . . The coach told me I was not serious enough with the running [during practice], so we were all called to the coach and I was hit in the face in front of everyone. I was bleeding, but he did not stop hitting me. I did say that my nose was bleeding, but he did not stop."

- Daiki A. (pseudonym), 23, a professional athlete, spoke of his experience playing baseball in junior high school in the Kyushu region

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"We use a cap for water polo. Athletes were dragged out from the pool by the cap strap, choking us. Another punishment is pushing kids underwater so we couldn't breathe . . . It is like the military. The younger kids were not as good. They would be frightened and quit the sport."

- Keisuke W. (pseudonym), 20, a former elite water polo player

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Almost every day after training, the coach had elite athlete, Chieko T., meet in his classroom, where he had her take off all of her clothes and would touch her naked body, saying he was doing it for "treatment." "[Each time] I wanted to vomit, his smell, hands, eyes, face . . . voice, I hated everything of him."

- Chieko T. (pseudonym), an elite athlete in her 20s from eastern Japan, whose coach sexually abused her while claiming he was treating her dislocated shoulder

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"He punched me on the chin and I was bloody in my mouth. He lifted me up by my shirt collar. 90 percent of my teammates experienced physical abuse . . . We were all kind of joking, 'You haven't been beaten yet, when is it your turn?'"

- Shota C. (pseudonym), 23, a former high school baseball player in Saitama prefecture

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"The coach would kick the players, and throw the ball at them from a close distance. When the players were wearing helmets, the coach would hit the players on the helmet with the bat as punishment for mistakes on the field."

- Tsukuru U. (pseudonym), 20, a junior and high school baseball player in Kanagawa

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 AM | Permalink

July 21, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers

I've got census duty today, I'll be back tomorrow.

Meanwhile . . .

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ChicagoReddit

14 day quarantine enforcement? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago worker: Support Black lives on front lines

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

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The Beachwood Get A Grip Line: Grip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

July 20, 2020

The [Monday] Papers

The return of sports - baseball in particular - may be a much-needed salve to our wounded hearts, though it may also be a death race of sorts, but our very own David Rutter reminds us this morning that the return of sports brings with it the return of maddening sports media. His dispatch:

Monday a.m. sports takeaways.

CUBS/WHITE SOX: It's been so long since baseball, some local media have forgotten how to cover the sport. First example: the ABC-Channel 7 web page coverage of the Sox/Cubs exhibition groundbreaking, courtesy of Dionne Miller and Alexis McAdams.

Good morning, Dionne and Alexis.

It took two of them - both together as a team - to announce that the White Sox won 6-3. Nope. It was 7-3.

Channel 7's effort here was a full-team performance. The unnamed web editor not only didn't fix the score, the anonymous she/he put it in the headline. Onward and upward, said the Hindenburg's captain.

By 10 a..m., the score still was listed erroneously.

Editor's Note: Still unfixed at 11:24 a.m.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 11.24.29 AM.png

Back to Rutter:

CLICHÉS DON'T HEAL THEMSELVES: Based on first impressions, the delayed time frame and general pandemic discombobulation didn't thwart the cliché mill. Participants seem to be in midseason form, or maybe it's midseason hideous distortion.

Reported-for-actual-publication the Daily Herald's Scot Gregor: "I've covered thousands of games for the Daily Herald through the years, and this one will be sitting pretty high on the most memorable list when it is time to take inventory."

We have inserted that statement in the "who cares" file cabinet though it proves why now non-existent editors still are needed.

There was no one at the Daily Herald office who cell-phoned him the message: "Hey numbskull! Who cares?"

SAY WHAT: Point of order. When a player such as the Sox's Luis Robert who speaks no English is asked a question by a reporter who speaks no Spanish, how does anyone know the interpreter is telling the truth?

Why doesn't the reporter have her/his own interpreter who confirms: "Yep, that's what he said?"

Editor's Note: YES! There is a history of interpreters "cleaning things up" - or being blamed for controversial statements "lost in translation." You might as well let a PR person translate a player's statements into PR-ese.

THE LEAD: On the shaky theory that news organizations still report what they think is most important first, ESPN's website led on Monday morning with . . . a major league soccer match between Miami and New York.

We all have too much time on our hands. New York-Miami soccer apparently is the real world, and you are not.

It was stirring and at least did not end nil-to-nil, which is the most symbolic score ever for an American pro soccer game.

ESPN supplies texted play-by-play: "Offside, New York City FC. Valentín Castellanos tries a through ball, but Ismael Tajouri-Shradi is caught offside.

"Substitution, Inter Miami CF. Julián Carranza replaces Matías Pellegrini."

I was breathless and agog. But mostly agog.

In case you have missed it, thousands more are playing American soccer every day. So many play soccer, just so they don't have to watch it.

Hurry. Seats on the Hindenburg are filling fast.

FYI: Rutter calls this perhaps sporadic feature "Pandemic Time On My Hands."

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Also by Rutter:

How Did An Indiana High School Get Named For A Slaveholding Serial Rapist?

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E-mail exchange . . .

Rutter: My plan eventually was to write about Harrison for my blog as a result of my original research on Chief Blackhawk. But my thinking accelerated after watching Hamilton again a few times. The Thomas Jefferson in that show was buffoonish and prancing. He was cool. But the Broadway theater is not reality.

That was not who he was. Jefferson was Harrison's mentor and guide, Harrison was called Jefferson's "Hammer" for their joint planning to purge Native Americans from the entire Midwest . . . which they did. It was brutal.

In fact, Blackhawk fought for the British in the War of 1812 precisely because he knew who Jefferson and Harrison were and that they were not to be trusted.

Harrison and Jefferson had common habits. Just as Harrison had his coerced companion, Jefferson had Sally Hemings who traded her sexual slavery for the future freedom of her children. Jefferson never did free her. Though I admired Jefferson's intellect, I never understood why he was beloved.

It took a court-ordered DNA Y-chromosome haplotype study 200 years after Jefferson's death to prove Sally Hemings' children were his. Nobody who studied the issue much had ever doubted that. I knew that when I was 20.

It is always a moment of disappointment for me when people believe they know historical characters without knowing the truth. I expect the Harrison piece to draw anger and denial in Evansville though the facts are clearly visible.

So I hold up a very small flashlight and hope people can see how much they never knew. After that, it's up to them.

Me: History, man. We don't know much about it. Maybe people are finally figuring out that they've been sold fairy tales. That we are deeply misinformed. That they've essentially been indoctrinated into a cult - the cult of Americanism. That, in part, is what drives Trumpism - it's the anger of being confronted with a world different than they one they were taught. It's the adolescent anger upon learning that Mom and Dad are not only deeply flawed, but pretty horrible people. They - and a lot of others, frankly - loved the story. They want to believe. They loved the America they were sold with all their heart and know their worldview is under attack and at risk of shattering. This is not the America we knew, Laura Ingraham says. Ah, but it's the America that is. Never meet your heroes - and in this case, that means never learn the truth about your country!

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ABC 123
As long as I've opened the ABC7 website, a rare occurrence indeed, let's use that as a starting point to review some of today's news.

"Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday she had 'great concerns' about the possibility President Donald Trump could send federal agents to Chicago given what has occurred in the city of Portland," the station reports.

Here's the tweet that, along with other comments coming out of the White House, spurred Lightfoot's response:

Back to the story:

"I have great concerns about that, particularly given the track record in the city of Portland," Lightfoot said. "I spent a lot of time yesterday talking with the mayor of Portland to get a sense of what's happened there. We don't need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully. That's not what we need."

I'm not picking on Lightfoot when I say my concerns are grave; nor when I say we don't need federal agents with insignias taking people off the streets, either.

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The Tribune has more:

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to Chicago this week, the Chicago Tribune has learned, a move that would come amid growing controversy nationally about federal force being used in American cities.

"The Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, agents are set to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in crime-fighting efforts, according to sources familiar with the matter, though a specific plan on what the agents will be doing had not been made public."

Who the fuck are Homeland Security Investigations agents?

"One Immigration and Customs Enforcement official in Chicago, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, confirmed the deployment was expected to take place. The official noted that the HSI agents, who are part of ICE, would not be involved in immigration or deportation matters."

I'll interpret: Trump's secret police.

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Chicago Moms, activate.

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P.S.: We live in a time in America when we have to wonder who has the military - and if the military can prevail over the border patrol.

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Bar Burrs
"Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago public health officials have announced that they will reimpose COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and other businesses as a precautionary due to a recent increase in COVID-19," ABC7 reports.

"The reinstated restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 24, to give businesses time to comply."

If only the feds were sending troops to American cities to enforce a mask mandate.

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Block Club Chicago notes:

"For weeks, the city was in a 'moderate' incidence category by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but Chicago has since been seeing more than 200 new cases per day, placing the city back in the "high-incidence state" category, according to the mayor's office.

"On Sunday, the city saw 233 new cases and officials said this increase is coming from 18-29 year olds in bars, restaurants, parks and the lakefront."

If we give you free college will you behave? Win-win.

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I'd bring you more from ABC7 but there isn't much more to bring, unless I wander into the clickbait from Louisville, Philadelphia and elsewhere.

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ABC BTW
"['One Bad Apple'] was written by George Jackson, who originally had the Jackson 5 in mind when he wrote it. According to Donny Osmond, Michael Jackson later told him that the Jackson 5 almost recorded this song first, but chose to record 'ABC' instead."

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Sick And Tired Of Being Tired And Mad?

See also: Black People Are Tired Of Explaining Racism.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Jesus Was Not White
Stop erasing history.

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EU Court (Again): NSA Spying Makes U.S. Companies Privacy-Deficient
Knock it off, America.

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Muscled Up
Perhaps the only thing that will stop the White Sox this short season is the damn virus.

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Dolly Parton Is Right
Free books work.

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ChicagoReddit

Filling out the Census can help our community get funding for critical infrastructure, safer roads, and a better commute. from u/ILCensus

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

drop forge

A post shared by Dan (@sbstrtr) on

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ChicagoTube

Meet the Artist - Mark Yonally from Chicago Tap Theatre

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

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The Beachwood Rip Line: Rip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:53 AM | Permalink

Muscled Up

Baseball, being a game rich with numbers, has a new statistic in this shortened season that just might be the one analytic which will determine whether all 60 games for each ballclub will be played. Of course, I'm referring to the number of positive tests for COVID-19 that potentially could sideline an entire team if folks aren't careful.

So far the results appear promising although this virus doesn't differentiate between ballplayers and factory workers where the track record is alarming and dangerous. Tests for players and other personnel last week totaled 10,458, and just six - five players - came back positive. That's so far below the Mendoza Line that you have to reach back to pitcher Bob Buhl, who in 1962 went hitless in 70 at-bats with the Braves and Cubs, for a close comparison. We can only dream of the days when world health emulated Buhl's futility.

Among the latest athletes to test positive was Yasiel Puig, who was poised to sign a free-agent contract with Atlanta to play right field after Nick Markakis, a very capable 14-year veteran, became one of 14 players and 11 umpires to opt out of this season. Markakis has banked almost $120 million in his career, so his ability to feed his family is not a mystery.

Last week's announcement could indicate that safeguards have been effective since the opening of what's called Summer Camp or Spring Training 2.0. Nevertheless, 26 of the 30 teams have reported at least one positive test of either a player or staff in the last three weeks.

So far the White Sox have been fortunate because third baseman Yoan Moncada, who tested positive with minimal symptoms, now is back with the team after two consecutive negative tests. Providing that none of the major contributors to the Sox lineup becomes sidelined by the virus, the team figures to win over the 31.5 victories the oddsmakers have installed for the local crew.

Defending AL Central champion Minnesota, whom the Sox will host in the season opener on Friday evening, is predicted to win 34 games while Cleveland is listed at 32.5. All of which means that the division race in the short season will be close.

Diverting for now to other statistics far less intimidating than COVID testing, let's consider the rage of all baseball, the home run. Last season the Sox hit 182 of them, eclipsing the total of just five other teams.

This summer's edition will feature far greater muscle thanks in great part to the addition of DH/first baseman Edwin Encarnación, who has hit more homers (297) the last eight seasons than anyone in the game. The Twins' Nelson Cruz is close behind at 295, and superman Mike Trout has clubbed 280, but no one else is close.

We also should note that Encarnación has averaged 106 RBIs since 2012, playing for four teams in ballparks with dimensions not unlike The Grate.

Encarnación turned 37 last January, but age doesn't seem to have slowed him down. He's averaged 141 games played in the already-mentioned eight previous seasons. Apparently general manager Rick Hahn agrees with this assessment since he's paying Encarnación $12 million this season (prorated, of course) with a club option for the same purse for 2021.

A right-handed hitter, Edwin's lifetime batting average against righties is a respectable .263, two ticks above what he hits against port-siders. Seeing as a third (20 games) of this season's schedule will be against NL Central opponents, we should also note that the Dominican strongman has slashed .272/.360/.922 in interleague play.

Many power hitters such as Encarnación have enjoyed productive years at the end of their careers. Frank Thomas, the Big Hurt, was exactly that in the glorious 2005 season after which Kenny Williams released him. Not a good idea as it turned out. Thomas, as a 38-year-old, signed with Oakland and hit 39 home runs and drove in 114 in 2006 followed by another fine season in Toronto a year later.

David Ortiz averaged 35 homers his last four seasons, retiring when he was 40. Barry Bonds slowed down a bit, hitting 118 dingers from age 37 until he quit at 42, but he also slashed a mind-boggling .325/.534/1.233 in that time period. Harold Baines hit 25 homers, drove in 103 runs, and hit .312 when he was 40. The list goes on and on. The point is that Encarnación has plenty left in the tank, and now he's a White Sox. How cool is that!

Furthermore, talking about increased production, new catcher Yasmani Grandal accounted for 28 home runs last season in Milwaukee, the fourth straight year he's hit at least 22. New right fielder Nomar Mazara, acquired from Texas for minor leaguer Steele Walker, has averaged 20 homers for his four seasons as a Ranger. Keep in mind that Mazara is only 25 and still developing. Also consider that White Sox right fielders last season accounted for just six home runs, and you can easily understand the potential for increased pop in the lineup that Hahn has assembled.

Jose Abreu led the league last season with 123 RBIs while hitting 33 round-trippers while Eloy Jimenez, despite two trips to the IL last season, still hit 31. Moncada accounted for 25 while Tim Anderson added 18.

And then, ladies and gentleman, you have the most heralded White Sox prospect since Frank Thomas's debut 30 years ago. Like Thomas, centerfielder Luis Robert is entering The Show at age 22 after 200 minor league contests, about the same number Frank played. Playing last season at three levels, Robert amassed 32 homers, 92 RBIs while slashing .328/.376/1.001.

Prudent people remain cautious when predicting stardom for "can't miss" youngsters, but this kid already is creating a huge buzz that only became louder last Saturday when he stroked two mammoth home runs in an intrasquad game at The Grate.

Those followed his memorable four-bagger a week earlier while falling flat on his back.

After striking out in his first at bat Sunday against the Cubs, he lifted a single into short right field before burying a double into the Wrigley foliage in the Sox six-run fifth inning, contributing to a 7-3 White Sox triumph.

At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, the Cuban youngster could be the fastest athlete on the team which is lovely news since he's be playing between Jimenez and Mazara, two fellows not to be mistaken for gazelles.

If the White Sox were to equal their home run production of last season on a pro-rated basis, they'll hit 67 dingers between Friday and the end of September. They should pass that around Labor Day.

Of course, power hitting is just one facet of the game, although you'd think it was about 90 percent judging from all the attention the long ball receives. But on the cusp of opening this strange and otherworldly season, we're excused for indulging ourselves. A power-packed lineup with big, strong, sculpted athletes is such a novelty on the South Side.

Very possibly only COVID-19 can hold back these guys, and we already have a potential red flag in the mix due to Mazara, who was held out of Sunday's contest with the Cubs because he was "a little bit under the weather," according to manager Rick Renteria. This is not helpful. Are we to infer that 1) Mazara has tested positive, 2) Mazara has tested negative, and he's just not feeling well, 3) he's been tested but no results yet, or 4) what a hangover the kid had on Sunday? We don't need to hear about upper or lower body injuries. With so many unknowns and misinformation emanating from people in the highest places, we deserve the cold, hard truth at least from the ballclub that we've loyally supported for decades.

Aspirations, excitement, and hopes are riding high even though the season is truncated, different, and maybe even illegitimate. At least let us know if all signs continue to point up, or if we simply have another balloon that's about to pop.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:53 AM | Permalink

Jesus Was Not White

The portrayal of Jesus as a white, European man has come under renewed scrutiny during this period of introspection over the legacy of racism in society.

As protesters called for the removal of Confederate statues in the U.S., activist Shaun King went further, suggesting that murals and artwork depicting "white Jesus" should "come down."

His concerns about the depiction of Christ and how it is used to uphold notions of white supremacy are not isolated. Prominent scholars and the archbishop of Canterbury have called to reconsider Jesus' portrayal as a white man.

As a European Renaissance art historian, I study the evolving image of Jesus Christ from A.D. 1350 to 1600. Some of the best-known depictions of Christ, from Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper to Michelangelo's Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, were produced during this period.

But the all-time most-reproduced image of Jesus comes from another period. It is Warner Sallman's light-eyed, light-haired Head of Christ from 1940. Sallman, a former commercial artist who created art for advertising campaigns, successfully marketed this picture worldwide.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.04.50 AM.pngSallman's Head of Christ

Through Sallman's partnerships with two Christian publishing companies, one Protestant and one Catholic, the Head of Christ came to be included on everything from prayer cards to stained glass, faux oil paintings, calendars, hymnals and night lights.

Sallman's painting culminates a long tradition of white Europeans creating and disseminating pictures of Christ made in their own image.

In Search Of The Holy Face

The historical Jesus likely had the brown eyes and skin of other first-century Jews from Galilee, a region in biblical Israel. But no one knows exactly what Jesus looked like. There are no known images of Jesus from his lifetime, and while the Old Testament Kings Saul and David are explicitly called tall and handsome in the Bible, there is little indication of Jesus' appearance in the Old or New Testaments.

Even these texts are contradictory: The Old Testament prophet Isaiah reads that the coming savior "had no beauty or majesty," while the Book of Psalms claims he was "fairer than the children of men," with the word "fair" referring to physical beauty.

The earliest images of Jesus Christ emerged in the first through third centuries A.D., amidst concerns about idolatry. They were less about capturing the actual appearance of Christ than about clarifying his role as a ruler or as a savior.

To clearly indicate these roles, early Christian artists often relied on syncretism, meaning they combined visual formats from other cultures.

Probably the most popular syncretic image is Christ as the Good Shepherd, a beardless, youthful figure based on pagan representations of Orpheus, Hermes and Apollo.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.06.53 AM.pngThe Good Shepherd/Joseph Wilpert

In other common depictions, Christ wears the toga or other attributes of the emperor. The theologian Richard Viladesau argues that the mature-bearded Christ, with long hair in the "Syrian" style, combines characteristics of the Greek god Zeus and the Old Testament figure Samson, among others.

Christ As Self-Portraitist

The first portraits of Christ, in the sense of authoritative likenesses, were believed to be self-portraits: the miraculous "image not made by human hands," or acheiropoietos.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.07.53 AM.pngAcheiropoietos

This belief originated in the seventh century A.D., based on a legend that Christ healed King Abgar of Edessa in modern-day Urfa, Turkey, through a miraculous image of his face, now known as the Mandylion.

A similar legend adopted by Western Christianity between the 11th and 14th centuries recounts how, before his death by crucifixion, Christ left an impression of his face on the veil of Saint Veronica, an image known as the volto santo, or "Holy Face."

These two images, along with other similar relics, have formed the basis of iconic traditions about the "true image" of Christ.

From the perspective of art history, these artifacts reinforced an already standardized image of a bearded Christ with shoulder-length, dark hair.

In the Renaissance, European artists began to combine the icon and the portrait, making Christ in their own likeness. This happened for a variety of reasons, from identifying with the human suffering of Christ to commenting on one's own creative power.

The 15th-century Sicilian painter Antonello da Messina, for example, painted small pictures of the suffering Christ formatted exactly like his portraits of regular people, with the subject positioned between a fictive parapet and a plain black background and signed "Antonello da Messina painted me."

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.09.20 AM.pngChrist crowned with thorns/Antonello da Messina

The 16th-century German artist Albrecht Dürer blurred the line between the holy face and his own image in a famous self-portrait of 1500. In this, he posed frontally like an icon, with his beard and luxuriant shoulder-length hair recalling Christ's. The "AD" monogram could stand equally for "Albrecht Dürer" or "Anno Domini" - "in the year of our Lord."

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.12.38 AM.pngAlbrecht Dürer/Alte Pinakothek Collections

In Whose Image?

This phenomenon was not restricted to Europe: There are 16th- and 17th-century pictures of Jesus with, for example, Ethiopian and Indian features.

In Europe, however, the image of a light-skinned European Christ began to influence other parts of the world through European trade and colonization.

The Italian painter Andrea Mantegna's Adoration of the Magi from A.D. 1505 features three distinct magi, who, according to one contemporary tradition, came from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. They present expensive objects of porcelain, agate and brass that would have been prized imports from China and the Persian and Ottoman empires.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.17.07 AM.pngAndrea Mantegna's Adoration of the Magi

But Jesus's light skin and blues eyes suggest that he is not Middle Eastern but European-born. And the faux-Hebrew script embroidered on Mary's cuffs and hemline belie a complicated relationship to the Judaism of the Holy Family.

In Mantegna's Italy, anti-Semitic myths were already prevalent among the majority Christian population, with Jewish people often segregated to their own quarters of major cities.

Artists tried to distance Jesus and his parents from their Jewishness. Even seemingly small attributes like pierced ears - earrings were associated with Jewish women; their removal with a conversion to Christianity - could represent a transition toward the Christianity represented by Jesus.

Much later, anti-Semitic forces in Europe including the Nazis would attempt to divorce Jesus totally from his Judaism in favor of an Aryan stereotype.

White Jesus Abroad

As Europeans colonized increasingly farther-flung lands, they brought a European Jesus with them. Jesuit missionaries established painting schools that taught new converts Christian art in a European mode.

A small altarpiece made in the school of Giovanni Niccolò, the Italian Jesuit who founded the "Seminary of Painters" in Kumamoto, Japan, around 1590, combines a traditional Japanese gilt and mother-of-pearl shrine with a painting of a distinctly white, European Madonna and Child.

In colonial Latin America - called "New Spain" by European colonists - images of a white Jesus reinforced a caste system where white, Christian Europeans occupied the top tier, while those with darker skin from perceived intermixing with native populations ranked considerably lower.

Artist Nicolas Correa's 1695 painting of Saint Rose of Lima, the first Catholic saint born in "New Spain," shows her metaphorical marriage to a blond, light-skinned Christ.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.20.34 AM.pngNicolas Correa's The Mystic Betrothal of Saint Rose of Lima

Legacies Of Likeness

Scholar Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey argue that in the centuries after European colonization of the Americas, the image of a white Christ associated him with the logic of empire and could be used to justify the oppression of Native and African Americans.

In a multiracial but unequal America, there was a disproportionate representation of a white Jesus in the media. It wasn't only Warner Sallman's Head of Christ that was depicted widely; a large proportion of actors who have played Jesus on television and film have been white with blue eyes.

Pictures of Jesus historically have served many purposes, from symbolically presenting his power to depicting his actual likeness. But representation matters, and viewers need to understand the complicated history of the images of Christ they consume.

Anna Swartwood House is an assistant professor of art history at the University of South Carolina. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

And who, but this author, can forget this classic:

Also, I'm not a believer but if I were I might believe that it's a point of Jesus that nobody knows what he looks like.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:49 AM | Permalink

EU Court (Again): NSA Spying Makes U.S. Companies Privacy-Deficient

The European Union's highest court last week made clear - once again - that the U.S. government's mass surveillance programs are incompatible with the privacy rights of EU citizens.

The judgement was made in the latest case involving Austrian privacy advocate and EFF Pioneer Award winner Max Schrems. It invalidated the "Privacy Shield," the data protection deal that secured the transatlantic data flow, and narrowed the ability of companies to transfer data using individual agreements (Standard Contractual Clauses, or SCCs).

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 8.31.38 AM.png

Despite the many "we are disappointed" statements by the EU Commission, U.S. government officials, and businesses, it should come as no surprise, since it follows the reasoning the court made in Schrems' previous case, in 2015.

Back then, the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) noted that European citizens had no real recourse in U.S. law if their data was swept up in the U.S. governments' surveillance schemes. Such a violation of their basic privacy rights meant that U.S. companies could not provide an "adequate level of [data] protection," as required by EU law and promised by the EU/U.S. "Privacy Safe Harbor" self-regulation regime. Accordingly, the Safe Harbor was deemed inadequate, and data transfers by companies between the EU and the U.S. were forbidden.

Since that original decision, multinational companies, the U.S. government, and the European Commission sought to paper over the giant gaps between U.S. spying practices and the EU's fundamental values. The U.S. government made clear that it did not intend to change its surveillance practices, nor push for legislative fixes in Congress. All parties instead agreed to merely fiddle around the edges of transatlantic data practices, reinventing the previous Safe Harbor agreement, which weakly governed corporate handling of EU citizen's personal data, under a new name: the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.

EFF, along with the rest of civil society on both sides of the Atlantic, pointed out that this was just shuffling chairs on the Titanic. The Court cited government programs like PRISM and Upstream as its primary reason for ending data flows between Europe and the United States, not the (admittedly woeful) privacy practices of the companies themselves. That meant that it was entirely in the government and U.S. Congress's hands to decide whether U.S. tech companies are allowed to handle European personal data. The message to the U.S. government is simple: Fix U.S. mass surveillance, or undermine one of the United States' major industries.

Five years after the original iceberg of Schrems 1, Schrems 2 has pushed the Titanic fully beneath the waves. The new judgement explicitly calls out the weaknesses of U.S. law in protecting non-U.S. persons from arbitrary surveillance, highlighting that:

Section 702 of the FISA does not indicate any limitations on the power it confers to implement surveillance programs for the purposes of foreign intelligence or the existence of guarantees for non-US persons potentially targeted by those programs.

and

[N]either Section 702 of the FISA, nor E.O. 12333, read in conjunction with PPD‑28, correlates to the minimum safeguards resulting, under EU law, from the principle of proportionality, with the consequence that the surveillance programs based on those provisions cannot be regarded as limited to what is strictly necessary.

The CJEU could not be more blunt in its pronouncements, but it remains unclear how the various actors that could fix this problem will react. Will EU data protection authorities step up their enforcement activities and invalidate SCCs that authorize data flows to the U.S. for failing to protect EU citizens from U.S. mass surveillance programs? And if U.S. corporations cannot confidently rely on either SCCs or the defunct Privacy Shield, will they lobby harder for real U.S. legislative change to protect the privacy rights of Europeans in the U.S. - or just find another temporary stopgap to force yet another CJEU decision? And will the European Commission move from defending the status quo and current corporate practices, to truly acting on behalf of its citizens?

Whatever the initial reaction by EU regulators, companies and the Commission, the real solution lies, as it always has, with the United States Congress. Last week's decision is yet another significant indicator that the U.S. government's foreign intelligence surveillance practices need a massive overhaul. Congress half-heartedly began the process of improving some parts of FISA earlier this year - a process which now appears to have been abandoned. But this decision shows, yet again, that the U.S. needs much broader, privacy-protective reform, and that Congress' inaction makes us all less safe, wherever we are.


Previously:
* Yahoo E-Mail Scan Shows U.S. Spy Push To Recast Constitutional Privacy.

* Snowden: 'Journalists Are A Threatened Class' In Era Of Mass Surveillance.

* AT&T Spying On Americans For Profit.

* ACLU Demands Secret U.S. Court Reveal Secret U.S. Laws.

* Obama's New Era Of Secret Law.

* EFF To Court: Government Must Inform People That It's Accessing Their E-Mails, Personal Data.

* A Plea To Citizens, Websites: Fight The Expansion Of Government Powers To Break Into Users' Computers.

* NSA Today: Archives Of Spy Agency's Internal Newsletter Culled From Snowden Documents.

* U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council.

* Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* What's The Evidence That Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much.

* Why The Close Collaboration Between The NSA And AT&T Matters.

* First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail.

* EFF Sues For Records About 'Hemisphere' Phone Call Collection And Drug Enforcement Program.

* Snowden Documentarian Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

* Court: NSA Phone Program Illegal.

* The Chicago Connection To The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind The Mumbai Attacks.

* Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection Of American's Telephone Records.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Amnesty International Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program.

* Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

* The NSA's "U.S. Corporate Partners."

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

* U.S. Supreme Court Limits Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF To Court: There's No Doubt The Government Destroyed NSA Spying Evidence.

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

* Which Tech Companies Help Protect You From Government Data Demands?

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

* Human Rights Organizations To Foreign Ministers: Stop Spying On Us.

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

* Dear Supreme Court: Set Limits On Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

* Jon Stewart: The Old Hope-A-Dope.

* Four Blatantly False Claims Obama Has Made About NSA Surveillance.

* EFF To DOJ In Lawsuit: Stop Pretending Information Revealed About NSA Over Last Seven Months Is Still A Secret.

* Judge On NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn't Actually Support His Ruling.

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

* Filed: 22 Firsthand Accounts Of How NSA Surveillance Chilled The Right To Association.

* Claim On 'Attacks Thwarted' By NSA Spreads Despite Lack Of Evidence.

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

* Government Standards Agency: Don't Follow Our Encryption Guidelines Because NSA.

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

* NSA Briefing: It Just Got Worse (Again).

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

* It Not Only Can Happen Here, It Is Happening Here.

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

* America's Lying About Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Obama Continues To Lie His Ass Off About The NSA.

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Has The U.S. Government Lied About Its Snooping? Let's Go To The Videotape.

* Who Are We At War With? That's Classified.

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

* NSA Says It Can't Search Its Own E-Mails.

* Does The NSA Tap That?

* Obama Explains The Difference Between His Spying And Bush's Spying.

* FAQ: What You Need To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Programs.

* NSA: Responding To This FOIA Would Help "Our Adversaries".

* Fact-Check: The NSA And 9/11.

* The NSA's Black Hole: 5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

* Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Citing Chicago Case Omit Most Of Mumbai Plotter's Story.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* ProPublica's Guide To The Best Stories On The Growing Surveillance State.

* The Fight To Rein In NSA Surveillance.

* Taking Short Break From Denouncing Trump Authoritarianism, House Dems Join With GOP To 'Violate The Privacy Rights Of Everyone In The United States.'

* Edward Snowden's Permanent Record.

* Defending Edward Snowden's Permanent Record.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:23 AM | Permalink

The Literacy Secret That Dolly Parton Knows: Free Books Work

Literacy experts have long known that reading to toddlers, even babies, can make a big difference in children's reading abilities later in elementary school. But does simply giving away free books to low-income families with young children help with early reading? An analysis of 44 studies of book giveaway programs concludes that free stuff does work.

Three researchers from the Netherlands and Australia looked for all the high-quality studies they could find on book giveaway programs, which reach millions of children under 5 in North America and Europe, and focused on the ones that compared the early literacy of children who received books with those who didn't.

Despite the large number of studies that made the cut (44), only three giveaway programs were analyzed by all of them: Bookstart, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read. (Multiple studies of the same program tested how the program worked with different kids and in different places.)

The three programs are quite different. Bookstart, a program that originated in the United Kingdom, gives only one or two free books on one or two occasions. Imagination Library, launched by American country music star Dolly Parton, mails a new book a month from birth to age 5. Reach Out and Read uses health professionals instead of the postal service; pediatricians and nurses hand out books out during regular checkups and are trained to tell parents that reading is important for cognitive development. At some health clinics, volunteers model effective book reading strategies for parents. Some of the programs give books to all families who want them regardless of income, but the studies mostly focused on low-income children - the intended target audience.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 7.51.15 AM.pngDolly Parton reads her book The Coat of Many Colors to schoolchildren at The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C./Shannon Finney, Getty

All three programs worked when measured by how much parents read to children and by how much kids' early literacy skills improved. But the program that used healthcare professionals to give out the books and personally tell parents to read them achieved the largest literacy gains.

"Participation in any book giveaway program yielded a positive effect," said Ingrid Willenberg, one of the researchers, by e-mail. "[But] we found that programs like Reach Out and Read, that involve interaction with parents and provide guidance on how to read, showed a greater effect."

Willenberg, a senior lecturer at Australian Catholic University, was one of the three authors of the meta-analysis Do Book Giveaway Programs Promote the Home Literacy Environment and Children's Literacy-Related Behavior and Skills?, published in the journal Review of Educational Research in May 2020.

The number of free books, it turned out, didn't matter. Bookstart, which gives away only a few, was just as effective as Dolly Parton's Imagination Library which gives out 60 books to each child over five years. (Reach Out and Read distributes about 10 books to each child over the same period.)

What this means is that the giveaway programs don't need to build an entire library for each child to be successful. This compilation of research supports the theory that an age-appropriate book or two laying around the living room can be an effective nudge for the parent to read.

"The book gift may entice caregivers to try shared book reading, which may then lead to the development of a regular book reading routine, especially when these incidental attempts are positive experiences for both the caregiver and the child," the authors wrote.

Harvard education professor James Kim, a reading specialist, cautions against mailing out books without some sort of parent interaction. "I would say that the most cost-effective and effective approach is not simply to give books to kids/families but to ensure that there is some form of support via contacts, tips on shared reading, and providing ongoing nudges/supports," Kim told me via em-ail. "Books are not a causal mechanism. Reading books and shared reading is the mechanism that leads to better skills. Books are just the resource that facilitates these literacy processes."

And yet the authors of the book giveaway meta-analysis characterized the literacy benefits of simply giving away books as "impressive." They noted that in a 2011 meta-analysis, more expensive family programs that involved parent guidance and training had a smaller literacy benefit than what they calculated for book giveaways. Eliminating human intermediaries also keeps costs low. Dolly Parton's 60-book giveaway can cost as little as $126 per child over five years, the authors noted. A doctor's or an educator's time is much more expensive.

Given the cost effectiveness of the hands-off approach, the researchers suggest expanding book giveaways to more countries, especially places like sub-Saharan Africa and Middle Eastern refugee camps where many children don't have access to books. As Dolly Parton herself once wrote, "True love, so hard to find, it knows no boundaries." The same might be said for reading.

This post was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for their Proof Points newsletter.

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Previously by Jill Barshay:

* When "School Choice" Leads Families To Trade One Bad School For Another.

* Punishing Bullies Doesn't Work.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:26 AM | Permalink

July 18, 2020

TrackNotes: Racing's Raging Grassfire

When you were a kid, did you ever play with matches and set the drought-stricken short lawn on fire?

It spreads, fast, and you start doing a clog dance, as if your hair is also on fire, to stomp it out, your mind spinning: Where's the hose?! Let alone getting caught.

I'm not going to comment on how this nation, regionally or as a whole, is handling the coronavirus, but I am firmly in the camp that it's nearly out of control and I surely cannot get it.

Focus in. If you want to know what might happen as America's behemoth team sports chase the money - it's only about the money - head-on to restart, take a look at Thoroughbred horse racing.

Coronavirus has now struck the jockey colony with some of the top riders in America being reined in in more ways than one.

Victor Espinoza, of American Pharoah fame, and Flavian Prat ran at Los Alamitos over the July 4 weekend, and were the first to test positive a week later. Javier Castellano, in Florida at the time, tested positive in March and has since recovered from mild Covid-19 symptoms.

They were two of the Del Mar jockey colony that packed up and rode over at Los Alamitos that weekend. As the week went on, 14 of 15 of them tested positive. Other big names I could glean included Martin Garcia, Luis Saez, Florent Geroux, Umberto Rispoli, Drayden Van Dyke, Eduard Rojas Fernandez, Gerard Melancon and Agapito Delgadillo. Del Mar officials say none are symptomatic.

Many of the infected riders ran at tracks as dispersed as Belmont, Del Mar, Keeneland, Indiana Grand and Prairie Meadows. That looks like a superspread to me.

After beginning its meet July 10, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club shut down the track for this weekend, forcing it to move the San Diego Handicap and Eddie Read Stakes, both Grade II, to some point next week. Del Mar says it will reopen July 24, and the California Horse Racing board has granted July 27 as an extra day of racing.

This corona grassfire will have an enormous impact as we enter the big hunk of summer racing with ramifications on Saratoga, Del Mar, Monmouth and, on Labor Day weekend, Churchill Downs.

Saratoga, whose meet began Thursday, has closed its doors to any jockeys coming from any other track. And, if a jockey leaves Saratoga to ride elsewhere, he can't come back. If a rider had been sidelined and did not ride anywhere else before July 16, the meet's opening day, he could be considered to ride at Saratoga.

It had ramifications just this Saturday. Saratoga has no worries, as the creme de la creme of America's jocks are already there. Including the Ortiz brothers, Velazquez, Santana, Alvarado, Franco, Saez, Lezcano, Carmouche, Castellano, Leparoux, Rosario, and Gaffalione. The colony is made of of 22 jockeys/apprentices. We can only hope there is not a rash of injuries, especially because these guys will be riding a lot on each card.

Down the line, Monmouth, which is hosting its big Haskell Invitational Stakes day Saturday, will not see the handful of top jocks flying in for the card. Joe Bravo, who's HQ'd at Monmouth anyway, will be aboard Dr Post, replacing Irad Ortiz Jr., and Mike Smith rides Authentic, who is trained by Bob Baffert. Baffert has won the Haskell eight times, with runners including Point Given, War Emblem, Lookin at Lucky and, of course, American Pharoah.

What about superjock Smith? Where will he go? His stomping grounds these days, Del Mar, has also banned outside jockeys from coming in. Do we anticipate string pulling?

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BREAKING TV NOTE: Apparently Monmouth did allow 1,500 fans into the track for the races Saturday. Looks to me like all the racing personnel wore masks, while the majority of the knucklehead fans did not. There you go.

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Maryland and Ohio racing officials have mandated restrictions. Ellis Park, North Henderson, Kentucky has instituted milder restrictions based on testing.

Then, there's the elephant in the room, the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs has not commented on any jockey restrictions. It has already announced it will allow fans to attend, encouraging masks, but hasn't said how many. All I know is that they'll try to get away with whatever they can.

Truly separate rooms or cubicles for each jockey? Have you ever seen the storage area for jockey silks? Massive racks with all the silks hung together. Is that safe? Hand washing at every turn?

Terence Meyocks, president and chief executive officer of the Jockeys' Guild, obviously tried to protect his riders, but he also pointed out how the the fragmentation of racing in general, just like across the 50 states, caused this outbreak.

"We thought we had protocols in place, but then there were more positives," Meyocks said. "Our industry doesn't work well together. And this is one case where [protocols] need to work and we've all got to be on the same page. It's not only the jocks, but the backside, the grooms, the horsemen, and everybody back there. It's very difficult with people close together."

While praising Keeneland and Gulfstream, Meyocks blasted others, without naming names, and described some jock room conditions.

"We talk about social distancing. Spread out the room - no steam room, no sauna. And (some) tracks haven't done it. You just can't do it that way. There have to be minimum standards if they want to continue racing."

Darrell Haire, western regional manager of the Jockeys' Guild, said protocols were not standardized across Santa Anita, Del Mar and Los Alamitos.

Weekly testing and onsite jockey isolation at Santa Anita; no testing, just masks at Los Alamitos; and at Del Mar, testing began only when the spike started.

Earlier this year, track backstretch personnel at Belmont, which was dark at the time, began testing positive. Because horses, grooms, exercise riders and such shuttle between there and Aqueduct, racing at Aqueduct was shut down. Belmont's spring Belmont Stakes meet was delayed. Not a peep about Saratoga until it was given a go for Thursday.

This game-wide A-bomb was dropped from Los Alamitos.

Now, Saratoga, the best meet of the year, appears to be in a good, tough bubble.

Out of the Feds, we get sadistic, malevolent, murderous "leadership." In racing there is no leadership.

Horse racing has pretty much been running most of the year. It has been blessed. Fans have enjoyed it all along. I did not see any marketing efforts on mainstream advertising outlets. Something like "We're OFF, and RUNNING! Really!"

If these restrictions by the various tracks are strictly enforced and the reasonable semblance of racing's ritual summer mileposts continue on, racing will forget how the game, fractured like the shards of an old mirror, failed to take care of what only it had: Real races.

If racing can't see that it needs a coordinating governing body, it can't see anything.

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What About Bob
The fragmentation was illustrated again when we learned of the suspension and horse DQs of super trainer Bob "What, Me Worry?" Baffert.

The Arkansas Racing Commission ruled on an appeal by Baffert after the commission found heightened levels of 3-hydroxylidocaine in May 2 Arkansas Derby division winner Charlatan and Gamine, who won an allowance race the same day. Gamine went on to win the Acorn Stakes at Belmont in an eye popping 19-length, race-record victory. Each horse failed two lab tests.

Baffert was suspended for 16 days and both horses were disqualified from their races. Purse money was also forfeited. Charlatan would have lost his Kentucky Derby points, but he's injured and would have missed that race anyway. Gamine's prospects for either the Derby or Kentucky Oaks are uncertain.

Baffert, as he did with Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown "winner," cried "environmental contamination." The therapeutic substance must not be administered less than 72 hours before a race. Gamine's tests were nine times higher than the accepted threshold; Charlatan's double.

Interviewed on NBC Saturday before the Haskell, Baffert said his assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, saddling the Baffert horses that day, was wearing a Salonpas patch for back soreness and did not realize it had lidocaine in it.

"Touching, bridling them, putting in the bit, tying their tongues, that's when we realized what happened," Baffert said.

Like Orange Frisbeehead in Washington, Baffert said the testing is too much, and he's not worried about his reputation.

"We need to change these rules and the horses should not be penalized. We're like sitting ducks the way they're testing these horses, we're doing our best."

Baffert previously said something got into Justify's Santa Anita Derby feed. He also benefited from a California Horse Racing Board that went dark, including one commissioner who had horses trained by Baffert. They violated their own rules and just couldn't come up with a report before the Kentucky Derby, extended the inquiry through the Triple Crown, and then just dropped it.

Okay, Baffert, lidocaine can be dangerous if a horse does not feel its lameness. It doesn't really matter how it got into the horse. It did. I know you have the owners on your ass, but you've made enough money. Reimburse them, take the rap and do your time.

Uncle Bobby, this is Arkansas, and they don't put up with this crap. This makes 27 on his rap sheet for drug positives. If I print the full name, it'll crash the Beachwood, but there are guidelines for drugs and penalties. Baffert and Barnes were over the line. When he could be a crusader to eliminate horse medications, he's pretty quiet, because that's how he wins.

P.S. Baffert won his ninth Haskell with Authentic today.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:27 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

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Paging Peter Falk
Lori Lightfoot's position ('it's erasing history') on this is among the most mystifying of her administration. She should appoint a task force, perhaps aided by the Chicago History Museum, to review all of the city's properties, from buildings to statues to street and park names. It's a no-brainer.

And to offended Italians: I would think you would be mollified by how much pizza we eat in this city, but if you want to pick out someone else to replace Columbus wherever he is in these parts, form your own task force - or hold a contest - and I'm sure the city will be quite agreeable.

I believe someone else - or perhaps many people - has suggested replacing all Columbus statues with Columbo statues. I am so behind that.

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P.S.: Lightfoot statement today in part:

"For several weeks, my team has been working to develop a plan to pursue that public conversation, and to engage in a comprehensive review of our public icons to identify which should change, and where we need new monuments and icons to be erected to ensure the full, robust history of our city is told. The details of that plan are forthcoming, but please know that we hear and take seriously these questions."

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Here we have yet another example of a Lightfoot trait I've written about before: She says something immediately in response to a question that is just plain weird, bizarre, thoughtless, defiant, whatever, and then later actually considers what she had previously shut down and engages the debate. This has become such a pattern that I told someone recently that I've learned to ignore her first controversial reaction and instead watch what she does, which is almost always a ton better and what she should have said/done in the first place.

I'll reiterate that I don't consider this to be a messaging problem, because messaging essentially falls into the realm of too-often cynical political strategists working to sell their program by crafting language that is rarely honest in order to propagandize the public through the media. I consider this to be a communication problem by someone - the mayor - who is either undisciplined in keeping certain thoughts to herself (though I'm not at all advising her to censor herself) or doesn't yet grasp the nature of public communication and the impact her reactive thoughts have on the rest of us.

For example, I follow the news pretty closely and I had no idea she and her team were considering how to move forward figuring out what to do with our public properties. I'm not saying that was never reported - perhaps it was - but I hadn't seen it until I stumbled by chance up on her statement today.

Now, I'd take her style of Rahm's any day; he employed an army of smoothies desperate to "win the day" with the media every day, no matter what it took. Lightfoot's style is both rougher and more honest. But it's also less competent in the communication department.

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Police Riot
Meanwhile, you'd think police would be on their best behavior in the current environment, but no, they seem hellbent on making every one of us believe that every one of them truly is a pig.

"An 18-year-old activist who had just spoken to a crowd protesting at the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park had several front teeth knocked out by a Chicago Police officer Friday evening, according to video and multiple elected officials," Block Club Chicago reports.

"An outraged Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) said Miracle Boyd, 18, of the group GoodKids MadCity was assaulted by a police officer during the tense Friday night protest where police pepper-sprayed protesters trying to tear down a towering, nearly 90-year-old statue of Columbus."

Boyd was hardly the only victim last night. But the assault on her was one of the most maddening.

"Ald. Taylor said watching video of the attack horrified her. Taylor's daughter is good friends with Boyd, who could not be reached for comment Friday night.

"I'm going to tell you right now, if this was my kid - and Miracle is one of mine - I would burn this city to the ground," Taylor said. "You beat people up over a statue? You rough them up over a statue? They're so busy protecting white supremacy, they're so busy protecting a Christopher Columbus statue that they beat her."

And yes, some cops have felt provoked - or maybe were provoked, though certainly not in Boyd's case - but their job is to keep their cool. This was an embarrassment to CPD, Lightfoot and police chief David Brown.

Also, the Columbus statue is a no-brainer. Lightfoot should have had it removed in the first place; she could have still gone ahead with whatever her team is cooking up regarding statues, buildings and street names throughout the rest of the city.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Trump Administration Shelving Bank Redlining Probes
If you don't investigate, you don't have cases!

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The Fox News Coronavirus Misinformation Machine
Laura Ingraham is the worst.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #313: Opening Daze
Is this really happening? Plus: Launching College Football; Corey Crawford Is "Unfit To Play;" Don't Bank On The Chicago Marathon; Fluky Fire Singe Sounders; Red Stars vs. Reign, and more!

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All 9 FreeCreditReport.Com Commercials
Now instead of looking fly and looking phat, my legs are sticking to the vinyl and my posse's getting laughed at.

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Solar Panel Camouflage
Panels on a terracotta tile roof, for example, could present a photo-like image of the tiles underneath, making them practically disappear. An acre of panels in a field of clover could present an image of a field of clover.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Cook County Tax Sale from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Monet in Chicago - A Conversation with the Art Institute, Half Acre, and the Chicago Brewseum

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Weekend BeachBook

Laura Ingraham's Descent Into Despair.

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California's Surprising History Of Confederate Monuments.

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The True Story Of The Heartthrob Prince Of Qatar And His Time At USC.

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

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Remember, these positions are elected; therefore police union bosses reflect the views of a majority of their voting members.

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The Beachwood One More Question Line: Oppa.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:23 PM | Permalink

Trump Administration Shelving Bank Redlining Probes

In the spring of 2018, bank regulators trained to spot discriminatory lending detected something alarming at Bank of America. The bank was offering fewer loans to minority homebuyers in Philadelphia than to white people in a way that troubled examiners from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to two people directly involved in the probe and internal documents reviewed by ProPublica and The Capitol Forum.

The officials suspected the second-largest bank in the United States was "redlining," or deliberately turning its back on minority homebuyers, the people said. But after complaints from Bank of America, the OCC's investigation stalled by September 2018. The OCC, which is part of the U.S. Treasury Department, never sanctioned the bank.

The abandoned Bank of America inquiry is part of a larger, previously unreported pattern in which the Trump administration has pulled back on civil rights enforcement as a part of its overall relaxation of bank oversight. Since Donald Trump took office, the OCC has quietly shelved at least six investigations of discrimination and redlining, according to internal agency documents and eight people familiar with the cases.

Flagstar Bank, a leading lender in Michigan, wrongly charged Black homeowners more through a network of mortgage lending affiliates, OCC officials concluded in 2017.

That same year, agency examiners found that Colorado Federal Bank, an online lender, was doing the same to female borrowers.

Another inquiry by OCC officials concluded that Chicago-based MB Financial, a lender acquired by Fifth Third Bank last year, charged Latinos too much on mortgage loans.

Cadence Bank, a lender in several Southern states, was turning away minority borrowers in Houston, according to an OCC investigation.

Fulton Bank, a lender based in Pennsylvania, had been discriminating against minorities in parts of Richmond, Virginia, and its home state, regulators concluded.

In each case, despite staff recommendations that fines or other penalties be imposed, the OCC took no public action and closed the investigations quietly.

Each of the banks declined to comment on the specifics of the investigations and said they are committed to providing equal access to credit.

In the past, banks have had to pay substantial sums after similar investigations. In 2012, for example, in the wake of the housing crisis, Wells Fargo paid $175 million to resolve allegations that it charged Blacks and Hispanics more to buy a home after an investigation that began with the OCC years earlier.

The OCC has historically prioritized the well-being of banks over bank customers, said current and former examiners, but the balance has shifted even further under the Trump administration.

"We have not always been the biggest defender of consumers," said one veteran OCC attorney who has handled enforcement matters but asked not to be named for fear of losing his job. "Lately, though, we are outright hostile."

Career staff and ordinary agency employees who have raised alarms about discrimination and other consumer abuses have seen their concerns brushed aside by the agency's leadership, according to two current and two former OCC officials who have left in the last three years. The OCC was run from November 2017 until May of this year by Joseph Otting, a former bank executive with ties to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The administration has not only held back from redlining enforcement but tinkered with rules for applying the Community Reinvestment Act, a law that has helped combat discrimination for five decades.

Homeownership remains a key path to building family wealth in America, but the homeownership rate among Blacks is 44 percent compared to whites at 74 percent, according to the most recent census data.

One major obstacle to narrowing that gap is discrimination in mortgage lending. A 2019 study by the Consumer Financial Bureau found that white borrowers are more likely to get a home loan than Black borrowers with the same credit score.

Yet in June 2018, as OCC examiners on the ground in Philadelphia scanned loan records and interviewed Bank of America employees to detect discrimination on mortgages, Otting testified before Congress that he had never seen racial bias in banking. "I have not personally observed that," Otting told the House Financial Services Committee, stunning lawmakers with a statement that he tried to walk back a day later, telling the Senate Banking Committee that "there's lots of evidence of inequity in the world."

Brian Brooks, a former bank executive who has led the OCC on an interim basis since Otting stepped down in May, said recently that public enforcement actions were of limited value in addressing the "root cause" of banking discrimination.

In a statement to ProPublica, Brooks said: "I will not comment on decisions and actions that preceded me, but under my leadership the OCC will use all our tools as warranted to ensure everyone has fair access to banking services and receives fair treatment from the banks and savings associations the OCC oversees."

Bigwig Of Banking Regulators

The OCC is the bigwig of banking regulators, conceived under Abraham Lincoln to make sure banks were safe and sound, and it has a unique role in fighting discrimination.

The OCC is responsible for checking that national banks comply with the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968, which banned redlining.

The agency also has a key role enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires banks to lend in poor neighborhoods and grades banks on how well they meet the goals of the law.

Otting spent much of his two-and-a-half years in office rewriting the rules for the CRA, and he stepped down the day after he unveiled a plan that gives banks more flexibility in satisfying the law.

In a different era, regulators and law enforcement worked together to try to stamp out racial bias. Eight federal agencies have a role in policing discrimination in the marketplace, and all are required to inform the Justice Department when they see it. The Justice Department received 22 fair lending referrals from a variety of agencies in 2016, President Barack Obama's last year in office. In 2018, under Trump, the Justice Department received four referrals, according to the latest Justice report.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has made a large share of fair lending referrals since the agency was created in 2010. During the Obama administration, the OCC made six referrals and worked closely with the CFPB on other fair lending cases, said Richard Cordray, the first CFPB chief.

"There was just a lot more cooperation and a lot more interest in taking on banks to protect consumers," Cordray said of the Obama years. "That has changed dramatically."

Backing Down On Bank Of America

As Otting downplayed racial discrimination in his congressional testimony, his examiners in Philadelphia saw enough troubling data to take the next step in the probe. Officials involved in the Bank of America matter declined to say exactly what raised alarms except that it was rooted in data they saw about the price and availability of home loans.

OCC examiners can see information such as customer credit scores and the costs associated with a loan. Overall in the city, Blacks are disproportionately denied when they seek to purchase homes, according to reporting by Reveal.

The examiners brought in OCC lawyers who were trained to tell when a bank's lending practices could be deemed discriminatory, according to two people involved in the Bank of America matter. Bringing OCC lawyers into an exam often signals that the agency is moving toward an enforcement action, said former examiners.

When the OCC brought in its lawyers, Bank of America bristled. Bank of America's chief counsel's office insisted that its own attorneys be in the room if OCC examiners wanted to keep talking to its employees. The OCC exam manual explicitly discourages such involvement. When conducting investigations, OCC examiners should generally resist allowing a bank's lawyers to be part of a routine exam since that "may be an unacceptable restriction on the examiner's access to information," according to portions of the exam manual seen by ProPublica.

As a routine exam becomes a deeper probe, the agency should allow examiners to finish their work to build a case, said the former examiners, who declined to be named since they still have professional dealings with the OCC. A bank's lawyers would typically become involved in the later stages of an investigation if OCC examiners believed they had found wrongdoing, several former examiners said.

Nevertheless, Morris Morgan, the OCC's head of large bank supervision, who had previously been the regulator's top examiner overseeing Bank of America, agreed to the bank's request to have its lawyers sit in early on the probe.

The OCC then took another step that potentially helped Bank of America. The agency assigned a separate team of OCC lawyers to scrutinize the whole Bank of America probe - an unusual step considering that the exam was still ongoing and that such a move could chill an investigation, said the two former examiners.

Moreover, said two officials involved in the probe, the OCC never fully engaged the expert economists, statisticians and other specialists of the agency's Risk Analysis Division who are trained to spot patterns of abuse among hundreds of thousands of mortgage loans and who can help build a case against a bank.

Within the OCC, one step below the Comptroller is the Major Matters Supervision Review Committee, a panel that decides the most sensitive enforcement issues at the agency. Fair housing matters are typically decided by this committee, which is largely staffed by officials who report to the Comptroller. It's not clear if Otting himself weighed in on the case. Otting did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment. The Bank of America probe was not brought before the committee.

By September 2018, the OCC had killed the Bank of America probe. The OCC did not bring any sanctions against the bank. The matter was shelved before examiners could decide if their first suspicions about Bank of America had merit, according to the two officials involved who said the agency's investigation was halted before it could finish.

The OCC and Morgan both declined to comment on the Bank of America redlining matter, which involved confidential supervisory work. David Leitch, Bank of America's chief counsel, declined to comment. Bank of America also declined to comment on the investigation but said: "We are committed to fairly and responsibly meeting the credit needs of our clients and to complying fully with the letter and spirit of fair lending laws, regulations and principles."

A spokesperson also pointed to a recent Bank of America statement that the lender has earmarked $1 billion in future corporate gifts and loans to help local communities fight inequality. The bank is still finalizing details of the plan.

Houston And Chicago

In 2018, as OCC examiners in Philadelphia were looking at Bank of America, a separate team of examiners looking at loans in Texas spotted abuse at Cadence Bancorp, a regional lender based in Houston.

Cadence was making minority borrowers pass a wealth threshold that white customers did not have to meet when they borrowed against the equity in their home in second-lien or "piggyback" mortgages, according to OCC documents reviewed by ProPublica and The Capitol Forum.

Examiners opened a formal investigation and pushed its findings through several internal reviews for most of 2018. The bank said any unequal treatment was accidental, but OCC experts did not find that credible. Experts within the Risk Analysis Division endorsed the Cadence findings. In controversial cases, the OCC gets a second opinion from its independent ombudsman, Larry Hattix, who backed the OCC staffers.

In December 2018, the OCC referred the redlining matter to the Justice Department as a civil rights concern. The Justice Department would not comment on the status of the investigation, but a DOJ spokesperson said that "the department, to date, has taken no action."

"It is not unusual that we defer to the financial regulators," said the spokesperson. "Deferral may be appropriate, for example, when the lender has self-identified the problem, changed its policies, and compensated any affected borrowers."

But OCC officials reporting to Otting decided last year not to publicly sanction Cadence, according to OCC documents and two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

In a statement, Cadence said that it could not comment on its dealings with the OCC but that it stopped offering piggyback mortgage loans last year and that the bank never discriminated.

"Cadence Bank does - and always has - treated minority consumers in a fair and non-discriminatory manner and is always looking for ways we can do better," the bank said.

In another investigation, OCC examiners scrutinized home loans at MB Financial, a lender based in Illinois, and found that Latinos and women were not being offered discount mortgages as often as white men, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.

This looked like deliberate bias, examiners determined after reviewing loan records, and by late 2018 economists at the OCC Risk Analysis Division agreed, as did Hattix, the agency's ombudsman. The OCC referred the matter to the Justice Department as a discrimination case, but the DOJ, under Attorney General William Barr, sent it back, according to two people involved in the matter. If bank regulators wanted to punish MB Financial, they would have to do it themselves.

In the end, the OCC did nothing. MB Financial was bought by Fifth Third Bank, an Ohio lender, and essentially slipped out of OCC jurisdiction. The OCC notified the Federal Reserve, which oversees Fifth Third, about what it found at MB Financial. The Fed has the ability to block mergers if it sees wrongdoing but it allowed the MB Financial deal to go ahead.

"Discrimination has no place in our society and the Fed takes these issues seriously in its role overseeing banking organizations," a Fed spokesman said. "However, the Fed does not have direct supervisory authority over all banks."

In a statement, Fifth Third said: "The intent of Fifth Third is to be in full compliance with all fair lending regulations. MB Financial had a similar intent."

Michigan And Colorado

Two of the scuttled redlining investigations involved banks that use outside agents to originate a significant portion of their mortgage loans. The OCC found that agents working for Flagstar Bank of Michigan were charging Black homebuyers more than whites and Colorado Federal, an online lender, was charging women more than men, according to two people involved in the matters. Both cases had come to light during the Trump administration, and both were dropped without a public enforcement action.

Flagstar Bank declined to comment for this story. Colorado Federal did not respond to several requests for comment.

Regulators fall short if they turn a blind eye to discrimination or only issue quiet reprimands and private wrist-slaps when they find abuses, said Jeremy Kress, a former Federal Reserve attorney who now teaches business law at the University of Michigan.

"Banks are less likely to misbehave if they think they are going to be called out for wrongdoing," he said. "We can't rely on regulators to do their job in secret, as recent scandals have shown."

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they're published.

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See also:

* Newsday: Long Island Divided.

* WBEZ: Where Banks Don't Lend.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:54 AM | Permalink

The Fox News Coronavirus Misinformation Machine

Fox News hit viewers with an "avalanche of misinformation" in its weekday coverage of the coronavirus crisis from July 6 through 10, according to a national media watchdog group that documented at least 253 instances of the network's coverage undermining science, politicizing the pandemic, emphasizing economic issues, and promoting other lies or problematic positions in those five days alone.

Media Matters for America (MMFA) noted in a statement that its new analysis released Thursday follows Yahoo News reporting from earlier this month which claims that Fox News' messaging on COVID-19 was undergoing a "remarkable turn" from its earlier coverage to "acknowledge . . . that the coronavirus is a far graver threat."

In contrast with the kind of shift reported by Yahoo, MMFA revealed that:

* Nearly half of Fox's coronavirus misinformation was about the science of coronavirus and health recommendations from experts (115 instances).

* Fox politicized recommended public health measures, such as face masks usage and business closures, 63 times.

* Fox emphasized the economy and reopening schools 46 times despite public health concerns.

* Fox's The Ingraham Angle was responsible for a quarter of all coronavirus misinformation on the network.

* Fox's "straight news" shows accounted for more than one-third of all coronavirus misinformation.

"Fox host Laura Ingraham and her prime-time show The Ingraham Angle traded in coronavirus misinformation far more often than other Fox personalities and shows during the week of July 6," MMFA research analyst Rob Savillo said in the report.

"Ingraham herself pushed coronavirus misinformation 38 times, which included 21 instances of undermining and misrepresenting the science on the coronavirus and 13 instances of politicizing the response to the pandemic. Fox personalities and guests on The Ingraham Angle were responsible for an astonishing 63 instances of misinformation."

The MMFA report features multiple videos of the network's Covid-19 coverage, including this July 8 clip from Fox & Friends, which ranked second after Igraham's show in terms of misinformation during the analyzed period:

"Fox has argued against stay-at-home orders and business closures even though evidence shows that shutdowns likely averted up to 60 million infections in the U.S.," Savillo notes. "The network at times even continues to argue against the efficacy of wearing masks, with host Tucker Carlson claiming 'there is no evidence' that masks help stop the spread of the coronavirus. This explicitly goes against the World Health Organization's and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations of mask use for the general public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus."

Citing six polls that have shown Fox viewers "are woefully - and dangerously - misinformed regarding the coronavirus," Savillio reports that "these recent events illustrate the real-world consequences of Fox's continued broadcasting of coronavirus misinformation that downplays the threat of the virus, dismisses the recommendations of public health officials, and misrepresents the scientific consensus on the disease."

Major corporations including Amazon, Kraft Heinz, Pzifer and Verizon are leading sponsors of the network's shows, "and as a result helped fund Fox News' disinformation effort to undermine public health and help President Trump's reelection chances," according to MMFA's statement announcing the report. "They all advertised on the network multiple times in July."

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 AM | Permalink

All 9 Free Credit Report.Com Commercials

Now instead of looking fly and rolling phat, my legs are sticking to the vinyl and my posse's getting laughed at.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:11 AM | Permalink

July 17, 2020

Camouflage For Solar Panels

General Design & Innovation's patented Solar-Image™ process can transform unattractive panels into a solid color, a full-color pattern, or a panoramic photo, all while maintaining high output power.

Panels on a terracotta tile roof, for example, could present a photo-like image of the tiles underneath, making them practically disappear. An acre of panels in a field of clover could present an image of a field of clover. Virtually any preselected color or image can be produced.

Beyond camouflage, the imagery chosen could be promotional: a large ground mounted solar array could display a corporate logo and message, or a rooftop or field array could become a billboard, displaying an advertisement.

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The company describes the technology as a revolutionary process based on reflective nano-structure filters. The filters are highly efficient and can be tuned to reflect over very narrow wavelengths so nearly all of the sun's useful energy passes through to the panels. Using the filters to reflect the wavelengths of red, green and blue light allows a static full color image to be produced, in much the same way that a color TV screen or computer display produces an image.

Partnerships with established manufacturers will enable commercialization of the technology, both as part of the solar panel manufacturing process and as an aftermarket option for camouflaging or beautifying existing panels. More information is available at solar-image.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:08 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #313: Opening Daze

Is this really happening? Plus: Launching College Football; Corey Crawford Is "Unfit To Play;" Don't Bank On The Chicago Marathon; Fluky Fire Singe Sounders; Red Stars vs. Reign, and more!

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #313: Opening Daze

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SHOW NOTES

* 313.

:33: Opening Daze.

* Bleacher Nation: White Sox Vs. Cubs In Wrigley Field Exhibition On ESPN Sunday Night.

* The Cubs open their regular season at home Friday night, July 24th, with a three-game series against the Brewers.

* The White Sox open their regular season with a three-game series in Cleveland, starting Monday night, July 27.

* Bleed Cubbie Blue: City Has Approved Friday Night Games At Wrigley For 2020.

* Eater: Cubs Want Street Dining In Front Of Wrigley.

* MLB: Moncada Back In Camp After COVID Recovery.

* Cubbies Crib: Cubs Had To Go With Kyle Hendricks, Not Yu Darvish, On Opening Day.

* Save our clichés!

* Let the freak organ fly.

* The NFL's Silent Game.

* WGN-TV: Anthony Rizzo Sheds 25 Pounds During Quarantine.

* Tribune: Clock Ticks On Anthony Rizzo's Return From A 'Frustrating' Back Injury.

* Let's make this the funnest 60-game season ever.

* Varsity Blues trailer:

* True Blue LA: Terrance Gore Might Find A Spot With The Dodgers.

* Tampa Bay Times: Devil Rays Think Outside The Box With Five Infielders, Two Outfielders.

(According to the Beachwood Style Guide, they will always be the Devil Rays to us.)

* Levine, The Score: Rodon Ready To Return To Rotation.

* How MLB intrasquad games are like Bears training camp.

32:15: Launching College Football.

* Pantagraph: Illinois Football To Ban Tailgating, Limit Memorial Stadium To 20% Capacity And Require Masks During The 2020 Season.

* Rutter: "People in charge of making life-and-death decisions about athletes are speaking with more clarity and wisdom about perilous decisions than anyone demanding a cattle call return to schools."

* Coffman: "The situation is dire, man. We're in big trouble."

* Forde, SI: Trump's Fumbling Of The Coronavirus Crisis Could Kill The College Football Season.

* O'Brien, Sun-Times: IHSA Getting Out Of Return-To-Play Business, Will Let Other State Agencies Take The Lead.

47:24: Corey Crawford Is "Unfit To Play."

* Emma, The Score: "The Blackhawks aren't at liberty to discuss details of players' health as part of the NHL's return-to-play protocols."

51:35: Don't Bank On The Chicago Marathon.

* Wikipedia: "The Modern Era Chicago Marathon was founded over the objection of Ed Kelly, Chicago Park District Superintendent who refused permission to run in the parks or along the Lake Michigan lakefront.

"With the help of Lee Flaherty, the event's founder who operated out of Flair House in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley's support for the marathon was enlisted.

"Although Mayor Daley died, his successor Michael Anthony Bilandic approved the race and got Kelly on board. Michael Bilandic, a runner, and his wife actually passed out medals at the first marathon on September 25, 1977.

"This first edition of the modern Chicago Marathon was called the Mayor Daley Marathon. Flaherty footed the bill for the first race, which had no sponsors. He again footed the bill in 1978 when the race was again called the Mayor Daley Marathon. In 1979, however, Beatrice Foods became the first race sponsor."

59:55: Fluky Fire Singe Sounders.

* Coffman: "It was their best win in years."

* Hot Time In Old Town: Of Goals From Berić And Pineda, Chicago Fire Beat Seattle Sounders 2-1 To Open MLS Is Back Tournament.

1:01:52: Red Stars vs. Reign.

* Mikula, Tribune: After Scoring Just 2 Goals In 4 Games, Red Stars Hope To Find Footing In NWSL Knockout Round.

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STOPPAGE: 2:53

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 PM | Permalink

Tom Hanks Meets His Match

Tom Hanks has always been the perfect movie American mid-level military manager. Smart, dedicated, strong but not overbearing or willful. He is a mannerly soldier and, if not a father figure, at least a good uncle model.

He now has found his perfect leading lady to complement that personality. She is powerful, elegant, heroic, and sleek. And deadly.

She is a World War II destroyer. Greyhound, the fiction-based-on-real-events movie about their relationship, is big. How big?

Apple's spokesfolks have told Deadline analysts that Greyhound has become the largest opening-weekend release ever for Apple TV and turned in a viewing audience commensurate with a summer theatrical box office hit. That's what it was built to be.

Apple subscriptions leaped 30 percent this month, apparently to see just this one movie.

Until the arrival of Greyhound, the World War II naval thriller that Hanks wrote based on C.S. Forester's novel The Good Shepherd, neither he nor anyone else had managed to translate an actual sea battle into a raw, emotional reality.

There have been big sweeping cinematic encounters, but the battles never seemed personal. The only exception was Russell Crowe's 2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Greyhound scales the top of the mast on that list. Its psychological hand-to-hand combat does not require either side to see the other face-to-face. But it is personal.

You can appreciate how and why sailors care about their ships. They kept each other alive.

Greyhound was made by Sony for $50 million but the pandemic has jilted every theatrical release date, so Sony sold it to Apple TV for $70 million for Apple's streaming service. It might be more than a year before an actual theatrical release.

This is good and bad.

It's good because you will see a CGI-laced movie so close to reality that you feel saltwater splash onto your face. Winter at night in the North Atlantic is chilling in every way, though the movie was made without any water.

It's bad because this is a movie that screams to be displayed on a very large screen. Anything less is like the Charlton Heston Ben Hur chariot race on an iPhone screen.

This is a big-league action movie.

But it's slyly unique in other ways, too.

No movie involving submarines and destroyers hunting each other has ever been as real as this, for reasons that do not seem obvious until you rethink the details of which there are a thousand.

By comparison, the best movie of its genre was The Enemy Below, the 1957 Robert Mitchum/Curd Jürgens vehicle. Except for the German-focused Das Boot, no example of the genre has even come close to such realism, except for now.

Hanks' acting, Aaron Schneider's quick-cut, high-movement direction and editors Mark Czyzewski and Sidney Wolinsky achieve it flawlessly.

By design, Hanks and the ship dominate every scene.

But here's what previous war movies have never shown, but Greyhound does.

The bridge of a wartime destroyer under fire is a taught, precisely staged crucible that relies on discipline and choreography. Knife's-edge drama and precise language all meld inside one tiny stage, like Hamilton.

Forrester's novel got the linguistic psychology of combat command so accurately that his book was used as a text for many years at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Everyone moves inside a tight bridge; everyone's eyes are on the horizon; orders are called and repeated by the recipient; binoculars swing in unison to catch sightings; it is a ballet.

Speed, course, angle, rudder, turn radius. Always moving and darting. No one curses. No one is rude. There is an enforced courtliness based on discipline.

When Hanks shouts for "flank speed," her 2,500 tons fly at 35 miles an hour.

A destroyer's bridge is not where the captain relaxes because Hanks seldom sits anywhere. He races from open platform both left and right off the main bridge to track prey and avoid being blown up. When Hanks announces calmly "I'll take the conn," the Officer of the Deck responds, "Captain has the conn," and the ship lurches to attention.

In this case, Hanks' rookie Navy Cmdr. Ernest Krause leads the destroyer USS Keeling (code-named Greyhound for convoy duty). No one calls him Commander. He is the Captain.

Greyhound portrays a quality that almost no Hollywood military movies try to show: the mannerly, thoughtful, genteel, respectful relationships of teammates whose performance precision keep each other alive.

When the commanders of the other three escorts under Hanks command speak by radio, they often end with "Godspeed." It is not an idle hope.

A destroyer guarding a 37-ship convoy and facing a German Boat wolfpack was a lithe, muscular hunting dog that employed intersecting and diverging angles, speed and luck. The name "Greyhound" fits. As a canine species, greyhounds were bred as hunting dogs to chase hare, foxes, and deer.

Hanks' Krause is allowed only one rookie tactical mistake in his first U-boat pursuit - he misses his attack approach by hard-turning right when he should have gone left. Everyone on the bridge knows he's erred. He does, too.

He doesn't miss again.

The captain of a destroyer at war also is an athlete, a characterization seldom seen in a movie.

Hanks plays the aging but athletic commander perfectly, almost as if he wrote the character for himself which, in fact, he did. He prays on his knees. And seldom sleeps or eats during the five days in "The Black Pit" where the convoy has no air protection.

Except for an opening and closing scene with Elisabeth Shue that shows Hanks has a love interest waiting for his war to end, there are no women in Greyhound except the ship itself.

She holds everyone's attention.

When Hanks needed an actual ship for filming, he used the USS Kidd, one of the very few World War II "Fletcher Class" destroyers in existence. She is a restored museum piece moored in Baton Rouge. She never moved for the movie.

Hanks has developed a refined skill at making war movies. What he learned in Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers is on full display here. He is economical both as an actor and a writer. He is precise.

Hanks never forgets what is most important."The Kidd" is the real love interest in Greyhound. The clarity of that relationship was a sound theatrical decision,

Love? Human romance would only have intruded on 90 minutes of tense and relentless hell.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

* On Boredom.

* Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe.

* Blackhawk's Life Mattered.

* A Blackhawks Proposal.

* Launching College Football.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:02 AM | Permalink

July 16, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

"In the days before the Kane County Health Department ordered Smithfield Foods' St. Charles meat processing plant to close due to concerns about COVID-19, and before the health department confirmed an employee had died, a call came in to police," the Tribune-owned Aurora Beacon-News reports.

The caller had concerns about Smithfield, a police transcript of the call shows, and told dispatchers their mom was a COVID-19 patient and an employee.

The 911 call is among several complaints raised about Smithfield's St. Charles plant, a dry sausage-making facility that employs about 325 people, before the county health department ordered it to close April 24, police reports and documents obtained by the Beacon-News through an open records request show.

The health department received at least two reports, and the 911-caller contacted police twice, once days before the closure and once days afterward. Kane County sheriff's deputies visited the plant twice before the closure at the request of the health department, following up on complaints, police reports and a spokesman indicated.

The documents paint a picture of mounting concern at the facility in the days before it was ordered closed, as meat processing plants across the country faced pressure over social distancing, protective equipment and COVID-19 safety practices. Workers at some plants nationwide became sick and some facilities temporarily closed, including other locations of Smithfield, which bills itself as the world's largest pork processor.

And one of the world's largest purveyors of bullshit.

"In response to specific Beacon-News questions about the St. Charles plant, Smithfield officials issued a statement emphasizing safety precautions the company has taken across the board and highlighting the company's role in the country's food system."

Go read the rest and then throw out all your Smithfield products and never buy any again.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Protestant White Supremacy
It's all entwined, people.

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Launching College Football
"People in charge of making life-and-death decisions about athletes are speaking with more clarity and wisdom about perilous decisions than anyone demanding a cattle call return to schools," our very own David Rutter writes.

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Pent-Up America Is Swinging
Pandemic threesomes all the rage.

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Carnival People
Freaks, pimps, tramps, miners, an insult dunk clown, masked gunmen and the King of the Sideshows.

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A Chicago-Inflected Concert For Cuba
Tom Morello, Dionne Warwick, Michael McDonald, Reginald Robinson and many more brought to you by HotHouse.

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ChicagoReddit

since the extra $600/week unemployment is ending in a couple of weeks, what will happen if Chicago goes back 1 or 2 phases and people can't work?(regular unemployment payments probably not survivable in Chicago) from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Sydney's Quarantine Policy Made Our Move From Chicago Easy

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

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Maybe they hired McKinsey.

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At Beachwood, line tips you.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:06 PM | Permalink

Protestant White Supremacy

In the long-overdue discussions taking place over the legacy of slavery and racism in the United States, few appear to be addressing the relationship between religion and racism.

This comes despite notions of white supremacy being entwined with the history of religion in the United States.

As a scholar specializing in issues of religion and identity, I argue for a deeper introspection around how white supremacy permeates all parts of American society, including its religious institutions.

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 12.23.12 PM.pngA New Jersey minister welcoming members of the KKK into his church in 1923/Bettmann via Getty Images

Race And Religion

In 1835, French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville described the character of the U.S. as the result of "the spirit of religion and the spirit of liberty," which he argued, "elsewhere have often been at war but in America have somehow been incorporated into one another and marvelously combined."

However, there's a perpetual tension between the narrative of the U.S. as a nation built on diversity and religious freedom and the experiences of many who live in the U.S. - especially racial, ethnic and religious minorities, who have faced discrimination and marginalization.

It is true that Americans have a mandate for the free exercise of religion and the freedom from religion enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

But those promises of religious freedom and tolerance have historically been more readily extended to varieties of Protestantism than other religions. As the former British ambassador to the U.S. Viscount Bryce noted in 1888, Christianity is given "a species of recognition" at a federal and state level that is inconsistent with the view that the country is "neutral in religious matters."

As the dominant religion in the U.S., Protestant Christianity's dominance has long been enmeshed with the racial dominance of whiteness - white supremacy.

'Anglo-Saxon Heritage'

From the Puritans to Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, the early leaders of the United States were steeped in a racial ideology of a divinely ordained Anglo-Saxon heritage, a romanticized account of the ancestral and cultural roots of inhabitants of England. They believed they were building a new nation with a divine purpose, a "new Israel" with a twofold mission: racial and religious.

This ideology is symbolized in the seal Jefferson proposed for the new nation, which President John Adams described as depicting "the Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by day, and a Pillar of Fire by night, and on the other Side Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon Chiefs, from whom We claim the Honour of being descended and whose Political Principles and Form of Government We have assumed."

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 12.25.15 PM.pngMany of the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, depicted here, owned slaves/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

This is part of an old, defining narrative of America as chosen by God, rooted in a white Anglo-Saxon heritage and exceptional in its devotion to values of liberty and individual rights - a narrative of American exceptionalism.

This narrative has also supported the notion that the ideal or "true" American citizen is essentially white and Protestant - a view that historians of Protestantism have noted was reflected in the pulpits of pre-Civil War America.

Notions linking "whiteness" to Protestantism were further entrenched in the second half of the 19th century, when immigrants from Ireland, Germany and Italy came to the U.S. bringing Catholicism with them.

These non-Protestant, non-Anglo immigrants were seen as "less white" than more established Anglo communities and were subject to significant discrimination.

Only after assimilation into Anglo cultural norms, especially speaking English, were they granted the social and economic privileges that came with "whiteness." Yet many continued to experience anti-Catholic discrimination.

And the U.S. continued to see other immigrant groups - Latino, Jewish, Asian and Middle Eastern - racialized, discriminated against and set as perpetual "foreigners" in contrast to the norm of the white Christian American.

The supposed superiority of white Protestantism, supported by interpretations of biblical texts, was for centuries used to justify the institution of slavery.

Biblical texts were also used to justify segregation and Jim Crow. Even the Ku Klux Klan rooted their ideology of white supremacy in Protestant theology and the Bible.

In the reasoning of many white Protestants, white dominance was not the consequence of a political and economic arrangement, but the will of God - the way things are supposed to be. As Kelly Baker, author of The Gospel According to the Klan, states: "Even liberal Protestant churches supported white supremacy. That seemed the natural order of things. Just as people used biblical texts to support slavery."

Such notions of race and religious superiority also combined in the forcing of Native American children into Christian boarding schools from the mid-19th century. The children were robbed of their families, cultures and religion under the rationale that they would benefit from the "civilizing influences" of Anglo Christian culture.

The 'Other'

Today, rising rates of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia remind America that religious minorities continue to face a social and
political climate of bias and discrimination
that marginalizes them as foreign or "other."

The old narrative of Anglo-Saxon America continues to feed notions that a "real" American citizen is essentially white and Protestant.

Sikhs are attacked and told "go back to your country." Buddhist temples are vandalized and mosques are denied building permits. Muslim community leaders are reportedly asked to sign "loyalty pledges" to verify their "American-ness."

Understanding religious difference in America requires a view of how the country has been shaped by racism. And interrogating racism in the U.S. requires a view of how it pervades social institutions, including religion.

Tiffany Puett is an adjunct professor of Religious and Theological Studies at St. Edward's University. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 PM | Permalink

Pent-Up America Is Swinging

The coronavirus pandemic has caused thousands of swingers in the United States to revise their hook-up strategies. According to a report by the leading threesome dating app "3Fun," the American city with the highest rate of active swingers is New York. These statistics are based on the number of people who have used the 3Fun app since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States back in March.

Top Cities With The Most Swingers During The Pandemic

The report shows that out of the 721,927 total active swingers in the country, New York City saw the highest number of swingers with a total of 22,874. Second place was Los Angeles with a total of 12,228 swingers. The next down the line was Houston at 9,068; Chicago at 7,347; Las Vegas at 5,744; San Antonio at 5,375; Philadelphia at 4,894; Phoenix at 4,606; Dallas at 4,509 and San Diego at 4,251.

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The report also reveals that the number of messages sent between these users had increased stably in April, May, and June. Users are apparently more active in cities with more users - the number of messages sent out per user in New York City is three times the number sent in San Diego.

The coronavirus pandemic has given Americans a lot of free time over the last several months. With millions of people out of work or furloughed, they're stressed out beyond belief. That would explain why the number of active users interested in threesomes has increased exponentially.

"Social distancing makes offline meetings tough because all the bars, hotels and restaurants are closed. That means most open-minded people are trying to meet new friends online during the pandemic," spokesperson Jennifer White said. "Once the pandemic is over, they will finally meet offline for the first time and live out their fantasies together."

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See also:
* New York Times: Masks, No Kissing And 'A Little Kinky': Dating And Sex In A Pandemic.

* Independent: Cybersex, Erotic Tech And Virtual Intimacy Are On The Rise In A Pandemic World.

* 3w Market News Reports: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic impact On Global Sex Toys Market.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:57 AM | Permalink

Launching College Football

Get out your Sharpie and circle August 7 on the calendar. It's a Friday.

For this brief "August 7 Survey," you will be required to select one of two preliminary answers.

Eyes straight ahead, class.

In the realm of human cognitive ability, do you think humans would most usually be A) Smart, or B) Stupid. For streamlining, we have omitted C) Box of Igneous Rocks Stupid.

I always pick B and have no reason to change my attitude. So I do not believe there is much evidence that the brick-brain bozos who refuse to wear face masks and take normal sanitary precautions will stop the pandemic virus.

We apparently are a species with a suicide wish because, as we tell ourselves constantly with no evidence, we're all entitled to our opinion. We have found a large cliff and come to the opinion we should hurtle over the edge.

That's because we have left matters we care most about - living, for example - in the hands of the most dense, willful and ignorant among us. Many of them throw temper tantrums while sitting on the floors at Walmarts and screaming about having to wear a face mask.

The entitled opinion-holders, as every public health official acknowledges, are the single variable demographic that stops the nation from winning the pandemic scrum. You'll have to stuff that face mask into my cold, dead hands, Snowflake.

August 7 is important because on that day you will know several things you don't know now. It's Launch Day for college football.

You will know on that day if COVID-19 is close enough to controlled resolution that college football in our neighborhood can be allowed. College football is nearly as important as life itself in some locales.

That is the day the NCAA has set aside to begin a five-day on-campus acclimatization - and no I don't know what that means - to be followed by 25 on-field practices before the official launch of the season.

If you are concerned this fateful day is driven only by the financial self-interest of college officials, you would be wrong. As Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick told USA Today while tiptoeing through the garden patch of roadside explosives, his decision will originate "higher in the chain" than he stands.

And, no, he doesn't mean "Touchdown Jesus."

Swarbrick seems honestly relieved this is not his call.

The actual chain for Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin will go this way with some local variations: The governor will tell the head of the state health department to determine if the games are safe and how many fans will be allowed in the stands; that official will inform the presidents of the universities; who will tell the athletic directors; who will tell the coaches; who will tell the players.

This is not a private matter for universities to decide alone. It is fundamental public health. If Illinois bans more than 25 in a restaurant, it is unlikely to approve a Northwestern football superspreader colony. At least restaurant patrons wash their hands first.

"This starts with the national output," Swarbrick said. "What's going on with the disease? If the current trend lines continue - as negative as they've been the past few weeks - America is not going to return to normal. College football is just going to be a victim of that."

Did he just say no Notre Dame football? Consider that slowly.

It's even more profound.

Dallas public school Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said last week that he doubts there will be high school football in Texas this year. It is not safe to risk everyone's life, he suggested.

No one in white lab coats showed up to spirit him away for treatment.

But it's not his call. The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is the state governing body for public school extracurricular activities. That body will decide if COVID-19 is too risky for the 167,428 students who play football in the state.

Texas high school coaches cling to hope, but even they admit reality might not allow the season.

We actually have come to this strange moment. No high school football in Texas or college football in South Bend, Evanston or Champaign? What are we, Italy?

But it does offer some hope that rationality and science have not fled the premises.

People in charge of making life-and-death decisions about athletes are speaking with more clarity and wisdom about perilous decisions than anyone demanding a cattle call return to schools.

At the least, the caution and prudence of the sports world suggests not everyone is a mindless idiot. And truth still matters. It's about time.

I continue to feel that really stupid people might get their way on the bigger issues, and we are no longer the nation of exceptionalism we insist we are. Maybe we never were.

But that's just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to one they hope is wrong.

On the other hand, as noted public policy analyst Mick Jagger suggests: You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime you find you get what you need.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

* On Boredom.

* Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe.

* Blackhawk's Life Mattered.

* A Blackhawks Proposal.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

Carnival People

American Oz is a rollicking, gritty, adventurous story of life in the secretive subculture of traveling carnivals. You'll never see your state fair or steer fest the same way again.

Michael Sean Comerford writes a bold, inspiring true story of a year working behind the scenes with the colorful characters and legends of carnivals.

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He shares stories of freaks, a carnival pimp, a tramp gold miner, and the last King of the Sideshows. An insult dunk clown is shot. Masked gunmen rob his carnival. And a young showman friend dies on the road.

It's a new classic American road story as he hitchhikes to shows in California, New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Alaska, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia and Florida, where he works in a freak show.

He becomes the #1 hitchhiker in the USA and a top agent at the State Fair of Texas. He travels to the lawless foothills of Mexico to see the new face of the American Carny. He exposes the truths about immigration, labor abuse, and living between two worlds. Comerford finds carnival people seeking meaning and love in their lives, and the answers always seem to be somewhere down the road.

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 12.02.33 PM.png

"Say NO to the Square Life, say No to the Blahs! Say Yes to the Wonders of American OZ!

If your local Bookstore doesn't have American OZ, Comerford will personally send you or your local bookstore a copy ASAP.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

A Chicago-Inflected Concert For Cuba

More than 60 renowned musicians from around the globe, including Dionne Warwick, Michael McDonald and Tom Morello, will perform in a Concert for Cuba this weekend, the world's first COVID-19 era international music fest.

Joining them in honoring Cuba - its music and its people - will be a variety of well-known activists, political leaders and cultural icons including Danny Glover, Medea Benjamin, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Michael Moore.

Longtime Chicago musicians Erwin Helfer and Reginald Robinson have contributed compositions.

Concert for Cuba- poster- final (07-12-20) (English).jpg

The broadcast is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. CST each night, and available exclusively on TWITCH.TV/HotHouseGlobal.

The official radio sponsor, The Pacifica Foundation, will also carry the show live on radio stations across the U.S.

In addition, the two nights will be carried via watch parties by hundreds of host organizations across the U.S. as well as in Argentina, Cuba, and Canada.

"After 30 years running a brick-and-mortar cultural center, we started this event as a small online project to provide some pocket change for artists from around the world during COVID," HotHouse empresario Marguerite Horberg said.

"We've been experimenting with how to use essentially a gaming platform for arts presenting and tinkering with the technology.

"Little did we know a month later we'd be turning away some of the planet's top stars because we were too full in the already six-hour show! What a great problem to have!

"It's just a rare and sad moment when nobody can tour, [but] people are at home with their iPhone and able to broadcast their concert performance to our channel."

Those wishing to keep up with any program changes and additional broadcast should register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/concert-for-cuba-tickets-111083545876.

About the sponsors . . .

HotHouse
A nonprofit, arts presenting organization formed in 1987 in Chicago, HotHouse has been long the city's principal venue for presentation of contemporary and traditional performance and art from throughout the African diaspora. HotHouse was one of a handful in the entire country to host Cuban artists during the years of the U.S. blockade from groups like Irakere to artists such as Chucho Valdez.

In 2017, HotHouse was one of 12 organizations in the U.S. to receive a State Department grant via the Embassy in Havana to create the Chicago-Guantanamo Blues Exchange.

In March, HotHouse developed an online streaming initiative to serve the NGO, small business, and cultural industries adversely affected during this health and economic crisis.

The HotHouseGlobal Twitch channel facilitates a variety of multi-arts and community-based content and a worldwide network in the social justice and cultural sector. Since March more than 14,000 people have tuned in to HotHouseGlobal.

The Cuban Institute Of Music
The Cuban Institute of Music (ICM) is a department within the Ministry of Culture of Cuba and is one of the most important cultural institutions of the country. It is tasked with the implementation of the policy of development, promotion, and projection of music inside and outside the island.

It has a system of subordinate institutions, which house more than 16,000 artists throughout the country.

Today it is the governing institution of the Music Development Programs, whose ultimate objective is to achieve a stronger affinity with culture in the Cuban people, applying a strategy aimed at stimulating, developing and implementing actions supporting musical institutions throughout the country.

ICM produces a variety of shows in the country that ensure the development, protection, enrichment, defense, and promotion of the musical heritage of the nation.

Raul Cuza
Raul is the principal at Cuza Talent Agency, a company based in Montreal, specializing in World Music, with a very strong knowledge in Latin and African music. Cuza has been active in this music field for more than 20 years and has served as Programming Director of Festival Nuits d Afrique, co-owner of Eye For Talent Canada, President of Mango Music, and Vice President of GEM Latina. He has been responsible for the tour of artists like: Septeto Santiaguero, Adalberto Alvarez, Amparanoia, Azucar Negra, Los de Abajo, Paris Combo, Seckou Keita, Sierra Maestra, Qbanito, Orquesta Sensación.

Bill Martinez
Martinez is an immigration attorney who has also produced and managed cultural events in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1973. A native San Franciscan, he is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and Hastings College of the Law. He has worked in the Community Law Collective ('74-'79), New College of California School of Law ('79-'83) and the Volunteer Legal Services Program of the Bar Association of San Francisco ('84-'93).

In 1981, he co-founded the Encuentro del Canto Popular, a San Francisco-based Latin American music festival. His work with the Encuentro lead him to become one of the nation's leading experts in U.S.- Cuba cultural exchanges and artists' visas.

He co-founded the Latino Entertainment Partners which produced historically significant concerts of Cuban artists.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:04 AM | Permalink

July 15, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

"A group of Gold Coast residents is opposing plans for a marijuana store near their neighborhood, saying the dispensary would be too close to a park and a nearby school, and would add to congestion in the area," the Tribune reports.

"Chicago-based PharmaCann wants to open the marijuana store, called Verilife, at 12-14 W. Maple St., less than a block away from Mariano Park at the intersection of State and Rush streets.

"Nobody's against having a pot dispensary," said Matthew Newberger, president of the Mariano Park Advisory Board. "It's just that we think it's an inappropriate place to put one."

What a classic case of NIMRABY: Not. In. My. Rich. Ass. Back. Yard.

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"Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, said he plans to formally oppose the planned dispensary at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Friday, and has already filed a statement of opposition with the board.

Hopkins said he supports planned marijuana shops in other parts of his ward, but the Gold Coast residents were adamantly against PharmaCann's plans.

"It's rare to see such a one-sided opinion from a community like the Gold Coast, where, like any neighborhood, there's controversies," he said. "As an elected representative of the area, I can't defy such a strong outpouring of opposition."

From such rich people.

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"Customers at Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse, which is less than a block from the proposed dispensary location, have been discussing concerns over dinner, said John Colletti, managing partner with Gibson's Restaurant Group.

"We live in the neighborhood here, we work in the neighborhood, and we've always obliged the concerns of the neighbors," he said. "My partners and I are not talking as prudes. If people want to smoke, god bless them, let them smoke, but why in this neighborhood?"

Yeah, that's more of a cocaine neighborhood.

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What if they sold Viagra at the dispensary? Would that be a fair compromise?

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Bari Weiss vs. Barry White
One decries cancel culture, the other appeared on the Simpsons episode "Krusty Got Canceled." And so on.

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Stand Up For Your Lungs
Because the Trump administration certainly isn'ting.

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ChicagoReddit

Where to go for same-day Covid testing, no prior symptoms? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Chicago, July 13, 2020. #chicago #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Meg Handler (@meghandler) on

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ChicagoTube

The Best Guide To Inflatable Art Is Blowing Up During the Shutdown - Chicago

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BeachBook

In California Manufactured Home Park, Seniors Asked To Sign Leases That May Outlive Them.

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Highly recommended.

David Lee Roth Is Letting His Art (Mostly) Do The Talking.

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Numbers Game: What A Census Undercount Means To A Community.

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

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The Beachwood McTip Line: Mc it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:18 AM | Permalink

Stand Up For Your Lungs

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, a public health success which continues to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

Despite this progress, climate change poses new challenges to protecting the nation's air quality, placing the health of all Americans at risk.

To drive collective action on climate change and air pollution, American Lung Association launched Wednesday the Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, encouraging everyone to pledge to take action at Lung.org/air; to take small, individual actions that can add up to a big, collective difference.

The American Lung Association has long been a leader in protecting the public health from climate change and air pollution. Through this new Stand Up For Clean Air initiative, the organization is highlighting how everyone can make a difference, from choosing clean, renewable electricity and reducing energy use to spreading the word and calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to set more protective air pollution standards.

"Air pollution may oftentimes be invisible, but its mark on our health and lives is not," said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. "Climate change is harming our air quality and the health of Americans. We have long known air pollution causes asthma attacks, heart attacks and even premature death. Emerging evidence has found even small increases in exposure to particle pollution over the long term make a person more likely by die from COVID-19. Clean air matters to our health and standing up for clean air has never been more critical. The climate crisis is going to require systemic change and collective action - that's why we're asking everyone to pledge to stand up for clean air."

The 2020 "State of the Air" report found nearly half of Americans live in areas with unhealthy air quality, and the effects of climate change worsen air pollution.

Climate change results in increased levels of wildfire smoke, worsened ozone pollution, and more extreme storms and frequent flooding, which leave behind mold, polluted floodwater residue and other damage, exposing people to indoor air pollution as they clean up and repair homes.

Many sources of climate pollution - power plants, oil and gas operations, and cars and trucks - also produce air pollution that is directly harmful to lung health.

Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks and lung disease flare-ups and cause coughing and wheezing, heart attacks and stroke, developmental and reproductive harm, and lung cancer. Air pollution can even be deadly.

While everyone's health is at risk from climate change and air pollution, some people are at greater risk, including children, older adults, communities of color and those living with chronic diseases like asthma or heart disease.

"Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change and ensuring clean air for all," Wimmer said. "Our hope is that everyone - from individual citizens to industries, federal and state governments, and companies and brands - recognize that everyone is needed to ensure clean air for all and address an obstacle as unprecedented as climate change. I hope you'll join us in realizing our vision of a world free of lung disease."

The Lung Association is proud to recognize our partners ComEd, Dyson and Aprilaire in this initiative, helping us work across industries to ensure a cleaner, healthier future for all.

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See also:
* Tribune: Trump EPA Brushes Aside Public Health Experts, Fails To Tighten National Standard For Lung-Damaging Smog.

* ABC50: New York State Wins Lawsuit Against EPA Inaction On Smog Pollution.

* New York Times: Trump To Weaken Environmental Rules To Speed Infrastructure Permits.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

Bari Weiss vs. Barry White

Weiss: Didn't get enough love
White: Can't get enough of your love

White: Worked with Lisa Stansfield and Chaka Khan
Weiss: Worked with David Brooks and Bret Stephens

Weiss: Previously worked at Wall Street Journal
White: Previously worked for local gang

White: Signed by Forward Records
Weiss: Worked for The Forward

Weiss: Criticized #MeToo
White: I'll Do For You Anything You Want Me To

Weiss: Supported by Don Jr.
White: Has a son named Barry Jr.

Weiss: Bisexual
White: Hypersexual

Weiss: Former husband founded Toilets for People
White: Don't Make Me Wait Too Long

Weiss: Decries cancel culture
White: Appeared in Simpsons episode "Krusty Gets Kancelled"

White: Did a voiceover for Arby's
Weiss: Ma'am, this is an Arby's

White: Soul
Weiss: LOL

White: Distinctive voice
Weiss: Dismaying voice

Weiss: Needs a hug
White: Will hug you

White: Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up
Weiss: I quit

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Previously from the Vs. Affairs Desk:

* Sweet Home Alabama vs. Sweet Home Chicago

* The Kennedy Curse vs. The Cubs Curse

* Oprah vs. Obama

* Lincoln vs. Obama

* The Ryder Cup vs. NATO

* Chicago 2016 vs. Baghdad 2016

* Tank vs. Troutman

* James Brown vs. Gerald Ford

* Hester vs. Hastert

* Cubs vs. Hawks

* Quinn vs. Quade

* Alexi vs. Everyday People

* BP vs. Big Z

* McCain vs. McRib

* Subway vs. McDonald's

* IPRA vs. Oprah

* Marlon Byrd vs. Robert Byrd

* Lilo vs. Blago

* Rahm vs. Rob

* Chicago vs. Wisconsin.

* ICEE vs. ICE

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

July 14, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers

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"Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned Monday that Chicago was falling short in responding to the 2020 census, threatening millions of dollars in federal aid to the city," WTTW-TV reports.

"Approximately 55% of Chicagoans have already responded to the census, but that is 'not even close to where we need to be,' Lightfoot said, giving the response a letter grade of C - something she said she would never have been satisfied with as a student. 'We have to aim higher.'"

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Minnesota Leads The Nation In Census Response.

*

Now, about the Dreadhead Cowboy. It's a pretty great moment in the Lightfoot press conference when he rides into the scene. But if it seems as if (nearly) every major Chicago news organization has felt the need to work up their own Dreadhead feature in the last couple of months, well, it's because they have.

-> Block Club Chicago, May 13: This South Side Cowboy Has Become A Viral Video Star.

-> WBEZ, May 14: Who's That Man Riding A Horse On The Streets Of Chicago? The Dreadhead Cowboy.

-> WBBM NewsRadio, May 15: 'Dreadhead Cowboy' Blazes Trail In Chicago.

-> WTTW News, May 21: Chicago Portrait: The Dreadhead Cowboy.

-> Fox TV Digital Team, June 1: Man Rides Through Chicago On Horseback To Spread Positivity And 'Keep The Peace' Amid Protests.

-> WGN Radio, June 3: Viral Sensation 'Dreadhead Cowboy' On Riding His Horse In The George Floyd Protests: 'I Had To Represent Chicago.'

-> Fox 32 Chicago, June 20: Chicago's Dreadhead Cowboy Turns Heads, Brings Smiles To Protest.

-> Sun-Times, June 26: How Chicago's 'Dread Head Cowboy' Became An Agent Of Change.

-> Tribune, July 5: Chicago's Dreadhead Cowboy Travels City Streets On Horseback, Rallying Protestors And Offering Rides To Starry-Eyed Kids: He's 'Our Batman.'

Okay, that's a little much.

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On a different tack, on July 5th the New York Times reported How A Black Cowboy Became A Misinformation Target.

Also on July 5th, from Fox 32 Chicago: South Side Cowboy Targeted By False Social Media Posts.

Block Club Chicago was there three days earlier, on July 2nd, with South Side Cowboy Harassed After False Social Media Posts Claim He Stole Police Horse.

Fame, man.

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The Dreadhead Cowboy has shown up in a few other places, but none as noteworthy as Outside, which reported June 25th on The Black Equestrians Fighting Police Brutality. Subhead: "From Houston to Minneapolis, protesters on horseback are sending a powerful message."

I always appreciate an expanded view.

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I just hope we can now let the Dreadhead Cowboy be, and not turn him into Alligator Robb and Chance The Snapper, of whom we're still getting cartoony wide-eyed updates. Sometimes it's best to let things be in all their glory instead of smothering them to death.

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Dateline Indiana
Greater Chicagoland Correspondent David Rutter sends us this dispatch from across the border.

Dr. Brian Labus is a leading analyst and professor of epidemiology at UNLV, a Highland, Ind. product and friend of Mark Lazerus, who covers the Blackhawks for The Athletic. Mark is an old friend from newsroom days.

Mark asked Labus for his best guess about the immediate future of Indiana and COVID-19. Indiana is slow-walking its responses.

Says Labus: "The numbers show us what happened three weeks ago. You are knee-deep in fucked. You just can't see it yet."

"Knee-deep in fucked." It's the new preferred scientific description of our age.

"Every planned opening attached to a date (sports, business, academic) will have to be called off," Rutter adds. "The state has been warned."

We, too, have been warned. Build that wall!

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ChicagoReddit

FOUND: Indiana ID in Grant Park from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

#indiana

A post shared by El Viajero (@1001_viajes) on

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ChicagoTube

Indiana Pulling League Tractors and Indiana Truck Pullers Association trucks from beautiful Idaville, Indiana, July 11th 2020.

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BeachBook

Women Speak Out About Warren Ellis: 'Full And Informed Consent Was Impossible.'

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

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The Beachwood Swiffer Line: Swiff it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

July 13, 2020

The [Monday] Papers

"Mayor Lori Lightfoot's administration closed a West Loop bar and cited a handful of other venues over the weekend for flouting COVID-19 capacity or social distancing rules, part of her promised crackdown on violators aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus cases throughout the city," the Tribune reports.

"Wise Owl Drinkery & Cookhouse was shut down because it was over capacity and groups of patrons weren't at least 6 feet away from each other, wearing masks or seated, according to the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection."

Wise Owl - which is neither wise nor an owl - bills itself as "a refreshing return of the local neighborhood tavern." It's hardly that, either.

But I digress.

"Wise Owl's operator could not immediately be reached for comment. City officials did not respond to questions about whether the establishment had reopened.

"On Monday morning, Wise Owl's Twitter account advertised a Wednesday night screening of the Janet Jackson-Tupac Shakur movie Poetic Justice at the bar."

It looks like that tweet has been deleted.

*

Wise Owl opened in 2015.

In 2016:

"Donald Trump supporters from different backgrounds found common ground watching the inauguration at the Wise Owl Drinkery and Cookhouse in the West Loop, each supportive of the new president and what's to come," CBS2 Chicago reported.

But again, I digress.

*

"In all, six businesses were issued citations for failing to meet the city's current guidelines to operate during the pandemic."

For some inexplicable reason, the Tribune doesn't name the other five businesses.

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Block Club Chicago has more.

"As part of the shutdown, the Wise Owl was shut down on Saturday and Sunday evenings and received four citations that could total up to $40,000, city officials said.

"Because of the violations, the city revoked the bars expanded outdoor dining permit and will not allow the Wise Owl to operate on their parking lot.

"The closing only impacted Saturday and Sunday operations but [the city] is pursuing additional disciplinary actions, city officials said."

Sounds like it was really going off at the Drinkery; the coronavirus liked this post.

*

"Chicago Lakefront Cruises was also shut down for egregiously violating social distancing requirements."

That's too bad, because it's the Summer of George at CLC.

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"Lightfoot said the tour boat operator had allowed nearly 100 people to cram onto the top deck of one of their vessels," CBS2 Chicago reported.

"That was unbelievably irresponsible, and there's going to have to be consequences for them. They had no pretense of social distancing," she said. "It's just outrageous."

The mayor said she wouldn't repeat the words she uttered when she first saw images of the crowd aboard the Chicago Lakefront Cruises boat.

"You can be sure that I let off a few colorful words at the stupidity of this boat, and there will be consequences for them," she said.

According to the mayor, a Chicago Police Department Marine Unit boat escorted the tour boat back to shore after discovering the violations, and everyone was told to leave the boat.

I'm trying to remember: Was "doing the opposite" part of the Summer of George?

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

We Tortured Some Folks
"During rendition flights, victims were often stripped naked, sexually assaulted, diapered, chained, and strapped down to the floor of an airplane as part of a brutal procedure known as 'capture shock' treatment."

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New from the Beachwood sports desk . . .

A Blackhawks Proposal
A way for the team to honor Black Hawk's legacy by ensuring a better future for his cultural heirs.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #312: Options & Futures
We're day-to-day, folks. Including: Play (COVID) Ball!; Unless Someone Dies, Part 2; Blackhawk's Life Mattered; Cubs Closer Posers; If The Pros Can't Get It Together, How Can High Schools And Colleges?; Oh, Canada; WNBA Dedicates Season To Social Justice; Red Stars Life, and more!

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Gold Stars For The Red Stars
The future is (almost) here.

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The Revolution, Evolution & Devolution Of Cuban Baseball
From the Sugar Kings to the South Side, Castro to Trump.

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ChicagoReddit

Rush "Hemispheres" Tour Pictures - International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois 12/14/1978 from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Born In Chicago" / Gravenites-Cipollina Band, Sweden 1979

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BeachBook

3 Things ZeroZeroZero Gets Right About The Cocaine Trade.

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Climate Change Is Changing The Flavor Of French Wine.

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

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The Beachwood VIP Line: VIP it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:29 PM | Permalink

Gold Stars For The Red Stars

The Red Stars are on the board! And they did it just before the National Women's Soccer League gets swamped by other sports, at least on standard TV, cable and satellite. On streaming services? The Red Stars still have a great chance to dominate that platform this summer, especially among young fans, which is almost exactly redundant.

And how glorious was it that Naperville's Casey Short scored the critical (indeed only) goal! It is the ultimate local angle combined with the ultimate Black Lives Matter angle given that Short made national news with her emotional taking of a knee with teammate Julie Ertz when the NWSL tournament started two weeks ago.

National team goalie Alyssa Naeher made Short's goal stand up with three sparkling saves on the way to the shutout. After the preliminary NWSL round-robin wraps up Monday, the teams are seeded into quarterfinals later this week.

Hopefully in the coming years we can have a fundamental rearrangement of spectator sports in the media. My soccer-loving older daughter Alana, who will begin her freshman year at Syracuse next month and who is all about participatory sports, is interested in watching women's soccer. She will occasionally stop by her dad and settle in to watch whatever soccer happens to be on at any given point, but if you want her to get completely into it, it needs to be women's soccer.

And that soccer is now available to her on her devices, pretty much any time. It isn't free but what is these days other than NFL football, where the teams are already so rich they don't need streaming fees or anything media fees. Outfits like ESPN can't throw hundreds of millions of dollars at the NFL fast enough.

One thing I knew for certain as I struggled (OK I didn't really struggle thanks to the miracle of search engines but I think you know what I'm saying) to find video of Short's goal. Alana and my 21-year-old son Noah would have found it in about two seconds. It took me longer. And Noah, the huge young spectator sport fan in our house, has been fired up to watch the Red Stars this past week.

Noah will be a huge sports consumer no matter what. He is just like his parents in that he is happy to settle in and watch just about any high-level sport that happens to make it onto our TV these days.

Alana, on the other hand, is much more of a sophisticated online shopper. And so are her friends. Keep that in mind, potential sponsors of sports in the media. What's that, you already are? There I am falling behind yet again.

My other daughter Jenna is four years younger than Alana. She will sit and watch a cooking show or a Windy City Rehab type thing. And she has binged her way through every episode of Friends and the (I think) 18 seasons of Grey's Anatomy.

Will she become a streaming sports fan? I'll give you a hint: If you put live SEC, Big Ten or Pac 12 gymnastics in front of her, she will be enthralled. That would be women's gymnastics, of course.

Stanford made big news last week when it announced it would shut down a dozen non-revenue sports. Many hands were wringed and teeth were gnashed. Except for one thing: Who, outside of Palo Alto proper, gives a rat's ass about Stanford fencing, field hockey, rowing, sailing, synchronized swimming, sailing, men's volleyball and wrestling?

The only thing those sports have been good for is for rich monsters like Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin to scam their kids into schools like Stanford even though those kids don't have an iota of athletic talent and the kids know it.

Then again, the best athlete to ever attend Bell, my kids' CPS elementary school, is a young man named Clayton Mendez. Mendez was a great basketball player in middle school, at least he was a great North Side player (and always remember guys like longtime pro - after he started for a national championship team at Kansas - Sherron Collins and youngster Markese Jacobs - last I checked he was still on the roster at DePaul - have grown up on the North Side).

Mendez quit basketball after the eighth grade. He knew his chance for absolute greatness was distance running and he has been killing himself in training day after day for the past five years to be one of the world's great Steeplechase runners. He richly deserved his full ride to Stanford. His story and those of other meaningful young athletes are the ones my kids want to see on their screens.

The Red Stars are in the vanguard. So is the NBA (and the WNBA), for that matter. Something tells me Major League Baseball ain't gonna make it.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:57 AM | Permalink

The Evolution, Revolution And Devolution Of Cuban Baseball

Before there was the Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, Mexico or Puerto Rico, there was Cuba.

As in professional baseball, in which Cuba led all Caribbean and South American countries in 1878 with the inception of the Cuban League. That's just one little tidbit from César Brioso's Last Seasons in Havana: The Castro Revolution and the End of Baseball in Cuba. With today's absence of the game formerly known as the National Pastime, a baseball fix is welcome, and Brioso's tome has been preferable to watching the Korean League at 5 a.m.

Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 9.17.27 AM.png

Of course, the presence on the White Sox roster of Cubans José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, Luis Robert and catcher Yasmani Grandal, who emigrated from Cuba at age 10, continues to pique my interest in Cuban ballplayers going back to the early '50s when Minnie Miñoso was the most exciting and talented player in town.

For almost 70 years the South Side club has featured many Cubans such as shortstop Alexei Ramírez (2008-15) and pitcher José Contreras, who went 15-7 for the 2005 champions and holds the club record of 17 straight wins. In what has to be a Top 10 highlight in team annals, we won't soon forget Orlando (El Duque) Hernández. Pitching in relief in the series-clinching '05 ALDS against Boston, he entered the sixth inning protecting a one-run lead with the bases loaded and no outs. Two pop-ups and a strikeout later, El Duque's magic propelled the local Sox to a 3-0 sweep of the series.

There were other Cubans starring for the White Sox long before El Duque, who spent just that one season on the South Side. Sandalio (Sandy) Consuegra pitched three years for the Sox including 1954 when he was 16-3, and teammate Mike Fornieles became a stalwart of the team's bullpen at that time.

Summer In Winter

Winter baseball in Cuba featured four teams, Havana, Almendares, and Marianao, all located within the capital city, and Cienfuegos, 230 miles to the southeast. As a kid, a few games every winter were beamed back to the States so we could watch in black and white.

Each club was limited by Major League Baseball to three non-Latino big leaguers. Some general managers didn't want their players, whether Latin or not, participating in winter leagues where they had little control. Brioso writes that White Sox GM Frank Lane prohibited Miñoso from playing soon after Minnie joined the Sox. Other GMs also stopped their Latin stars from playing, which cut into the Cuban League's attendance.

However, in 1955, delegates from the Caribbean Confederation came to an agreement with MLB to relax those rules whereby native players like Miñoso could play in Cuba in the winter and expanding non-Latin participation as well.

And play they did. For instance, take a guy like Cuban pitcher Pedro Ramos, who toiled for the inept Washington Senators and then Minnesota Twins when the team moved in 1961. Ramos led the American League in losses four straight seasons (1958-61) despite an ERA of a not-so-horrible 3.91. He averaged just shy of 258 innings pitched in those four seasons.

When we saw Ramos on TV playing winter ball in Cuba, we simply considered him a mediocre pitcher who gave up a lot of home runs for losing teams. Even the fact that he hurled another 190 frames for Cienfuegos the winter of 1958-59 for a total of 449 between April and February - his combined record was 10-31 - wouldn't have impressed us in those days long before pitch counts and Tommy John surgeries.

The guy who did make an impact was Ramos's teammate and fellow Cuban Camilo Pascual, who pitched for the Senators-Twins from 1954-66 in an 18-year big league career that saw him win 174 games. Pascual was known for his curveball. As far as right-handers go, he was in a class with Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven. Sandy Koufax, a southpaw, arguably had a most intimidating 12-to-6 curveball, but for righties, Pascual was right up there.

Pascual had a breakout year in 1959 when he went 17-10 for a Senators team that finished last, 31 games behind the pennant-winning White Sox. That winter, pitching for Cienfuegos, Pascual posted a 15-5 mark and an ERA of 2.01. He added two more wins in the Caribbean World Series - Cienfuegos represented Cuba - for a 34-15 record over a 10-month period. You won't see anything like anytime soon if ever.

Black And White

At the start of the 20th century, white players from Cuba began to appear in the major leagues. Miguel (Mike) González, a catcher, debuted in 1912 and played 17 seasons in the National League. The biggest Cuban star and first Latino pitcher in the first half of the century was Adolfo (Dolf) Luque (pronounced loo-kay), who won 194 games over 20 seasons, starting in 1914. In 1923 pitching for Cincinnati, Luque went 27-8 with a 1.93 ERA. He also pitched a couple of innings against the White Sox in the infamous 1919 World Series, and Luque won a game for the Giants in the 1933 Series, becoming the oldest pitcher to do so at age 42. Camilo Pascual credited Dolf Luque with teaching him to throw the curveball.

Of course, Black Cubans like Miñoso, who appeared in nine games for Cleveland in 1949, wouldn't wear a Major League uniform until after Jackie Robinson broke the barrier in 1947. However, Black players were welcomed into the Cuba League beginning in 1900 following the war of independence from Spain. Slavery ended on the island in 1886, so it took but 14 years for Blacks to be accepted into professional baseball in Cuba compared to 82 years in the U.S.

Stars from the Negro League flocked to Cuba in the winter. Many of the great Black players of the era like Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and many others joined teams in Cuba while future major league regulars Monte Irvin, Sam Jethroe, Don Newcombe and Hank Thompson came later.

Minnie Minoso.jpgMinnie Minoso, in a photo hanging on a wall in Roger Wallenstein's home

Being a native Black Cuban, Miñoso occupied a unique position in baseball history. Writing in his autobiography Baby Bull, Puerto Rican Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, whose first MLB season was 1958, claimed Minnie "is to Latin ballplayers what Jackie Robinson is to black ballplayers. As much as I love Roberto Clemente and cherish his memory, Minnie is the one who made it possible for all us Latinos. Before Roberto Clemente, before Vic Power, before Orlando Cepeda, there was Minnie Miñoso. Minnie is the one who made it possible for all us Latins . . . He was the first Latin player to become a superstar."

Sugar Kings

Havana occasionally was mentioned as a possible major league franchise prior to expansion in 1961. Beginning in 1954, the city had a Triple-A International League team, the Sugar Kings, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The roster was sprinkled with Cubans like shortstop Leo Cárdenas and pitcher Mike Cuellar both of whom had long major league careers.

However, once Castro's revolution overthrew the Batista regime, officials in the U.S. got a bit nervous, to say the least, as U.S.-Cuban relations soured. In the middle of the 1960 season, the Sugar Kings morphed into the Jersey City Jerseys. They left Havana on a road trip and never returned.

On the heels of the Sugar Kings' exit, the Cuban Winter League ceased operation after the government created a sports federation, ending professional baseball in Cuba.

This was 60 years ago, but the stream of Cuban players continued to flow through defections and human trafficking. Thirty Cuban-born players were listed on MLB rosters at the start of the 2019 season - compared to 102 from the Dominican Republic.

José Abreu, a Cienfuegos native who hit .341 over 10 seasons in the Cuban national league, has never divulged the details of his leaving Cuba to sign with the White Sox. Other Cubans like Aroldis Chapman have chilling stories. He walked out of a hotel in 2009 in the Netherlands where the Cuban team was playing in an international tournament, got into a waiting car, and left behind his entire family in Cuba to play baseball in the United States. Chapman's family eventually was permitted to leave the island although the details - no doubt involving a chunk of the $100 million Chapman has made pitching baseballs - have never been disclosed.

Finally, a bit more than two years ago, MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation came to an agreement whereby Cuban players would not have to defect to play in this country. Up to 20 percent of signing bonuses would go to the Cuban Federation, and players would be treated like those coming from Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan.

However, the Trump administration canceled the agreement last year, recreating a situation where defections and human trafficking could ignite once again. Commissioner Rob Manfred vowed to stand by the deal.

A week from Friday the White Sox are slated to being the fan-less, 60-game season cobbled together amid the global pandemic. It will look nothing like any season in history. What will look familiar is a Sox lineup that includes Abreu, Grandal, Robert and Moncada (if he tests negative for COVID-19), who will continue the long line of Cuban players on the South Side beginning with Minnie Miñoso 69 years ago.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 AM | Permalink

We Tortured Some Folks

In a historic decision released last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights determined that four survivors of the U.S. secret detention and torture program have the right to present their case before the regional tribunal.

Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel, Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah and Bisher al-Rawi are victims of the U.S. extraordinary rendition program - the post-9/11 coordinated global enterprise of kidnapping, bounty payments, incommunicado detention, and torture. Their landmark complaint was lodged with the Inter-American Commission in 2011 after a federal case they filed was thrown out on the basis that allowing the case to proceed would have revealed "state secrets."

In ordering the case to move forward, the Inter-American Commission found that "insurmountable obstacles within the U.S. legal system" prevent victims of U.S. counterterrorism operations from obtaining remedies before U.S. courts. The four individuals are jointly represented by the NYU Global Justice Clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Unlike U.S. courts, the Commission found that victims of U.S. extraordinary rendition and torture can have their claims heard," said Steven Watt, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Human Rights Program. "Our clients' decades-long pursuit of justice has finally paid off."

The Inter-American Commission, an international human rights tribunal based in Washington, D.C., found that the U.S. is responsible under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man to respect the rights of everyone under U.S. control, even when such persons are located outside the country. The Inter-American Commission will now consider the merits of the survivors' legal claims, including any U.S. violations of the rights enshrined in the American Declaration.

"At a time when the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to thwart accountability for U.S. torture, this decision demonstrates that the U.S. is not above the law," said clinical law professor Margaret Satterthwaite, director of the NYU Global Justice Clinic and counsel for Bashmilah. "President Trump has relentlessly attacked international justice institutions, most recently with an executive order authorizing sanctions against the International Criminal Court for even investigating U.S. war crimes. The Inter-American Commission's decision to accept this case shows that the quest for accountability will not be quashed."

Mohamed, Britel, Bashmilah and al-Rawi filed their joint petition before the Inter-American Commission after U.S. federal courts dismissed their lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan, a Boeing subsidiary that provided flight support services to the CIA as part of the extraordinary rendition program.

During rendition flights, victims were often stripped naked, sexually assaulted, diapered, chained, and strapped down to the floor of an airplane as part of a brutal procedure known as "capture shock" treatment. The U.S. government intervened in the lawsuit to invoke the state secrets privilege, leading to the lawsuit's dismissal.

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See also:

"We tortured some folks."

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And:

* Vox: Instead Of Prosecuting Torturers, Obama Prosecuted The Guy Who Revealed The Program.

* The Atlantic: Obama's Legacy Of Impunity For Torture.

* Just Security: IACHR Condemns Guantánamo Abuses In First "War on Terror" Decision.

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Previously in torture:
* Doc Of Rages.

* They Said No To Torture.

* The Trews: What Should We Think About CIA Torture.

* The Tortured History Of The Senate Torture Report.

* Torture USA.

* The Best Reporting On Detention And Rendition Under Obama.

* Primer: Indefinite Detention And The NDAA.

* The Senate Report On CIA Interrogations You May Never See.

* Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out.

* The Prison That Just Can't Be Closed.

* Barack Obama's Secret Island Prison.

* Guantanamo Prisoner Lifts Lid.

* Read The Fucking Torture Report, People.

* American Torture Story - Chicago Chapter.

* Obama Administration Blocks Release Of New Torture Details.

* REVEALED: The Boom And Bust Of The CIA's Secret Torture Sites.

* Torture By Iraqi Militias: The Report Washington Did Not Want You To See.

* 'Stunning:' CIA Admits 'Mistakenly' Deleting Copy of Senate Torture Report.

* Incommunicado' Forever: Gitmo Detainee's Case Stalled For 2,477 Days And Counting.

* The Terror Suspect Who Had Nothing To Give.

* Abducted, Tortured And Held 14 Years Without Trial, Gitmo Diary Author Finally Free.

* CIA Cables Detail New Deputy Director's Role in Torture.

* How Torture Tears Apart Societies From Within.

* Homan Square: A Report Back.

* Did The U.S. Commit Crimes In Afghanistan? International Prosecutors Want To Find Out.

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And:

* John Conroy's Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:34 AM | Permalink

July 11, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #312: Options & Futures

We're day-to-day, folks. Including: Play (COVID) Ball!; Unless Someone Dies, Part 2; Blackhawk's Life Mattered; Cubs Closer Posers; If The Pros Can't Get It Together, How Can High Schools And Colleges?; Oh, Canada; WNBA Dedicates Season To Social Justice; Red Stars Life, and more!

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #312: Options & Futures

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SHOW NOTES

* 312.

* Youth softball is on!

* The Positive Coaching Alliance.

* Noahbbatacola.

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7:07: Play (COVID) Ball!

* Coffman: "Let's bust out all the classics."

* The Wrigleyville petri dish.

* Sun-Times: 2 Hurt In River North Shootout Involving Concealed-Carry Holder.

* Capitol Fax: Pick a lane, Wirepoints.

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18:13 Unless Someone Dies, Part 2.

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30:07: Blackhawk's Life Mattered.

* Rutter: "Blackhawks management and their fans are laboring under a self-enhanced delusion. Just because you stole something a long time ago does not make it yours."

* Rutter: A Blackhawks Proposal.

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33:44: Cubs Closer Posers.

* Tribune: Cubs Release Morrow.

* AP: Craig Kimbrel Looking To Bounce Back After Tough Debut With Cubs.

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38:49: Pandemic PECOTA!

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50:36: If The Pros Can't Get It Together, How Can High Schools And Colleges?

* Washington Post: The College Football Season Is In Trouble.

* Yahoo: Dallas Schools Superintendent Has Serious Doubts About Texas High School Football In The Fall.

* Sun-Times: IHSA Revises Return-To-Play Rules, Won't Allow Any Physical Contact At Summer Practices.

* Tribune: Chicago Public Schools Student Athletes Can Start Summer Workouts Next Week, But with COVID-19 Precautions.

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55:10 Oh, Canada.

* NHL: Edmonton, Toronto Chosen As Hub Cities For NHL Return-To-Play Plan.

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1:00:27: WNBA Dedicates Season To Social Justice.

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1:04:35: Red Stars Life.

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STOPPAGE: 10:43

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 PM | Permalink

A Blackhawks Proposal

Friends both Internet and Real have insisted for years that the NHL franchise naming itself for a 19th-century war chief was an honor to him.

He should be happy for having everything of value in his life taken from him, as long as he gets a good NHL logo.

There is a comfortable hubris to this point of view because it requires no proof because there is none. It's a talking point.

The Blackhawks themselves make the same non-evidentiary case by occasionally trotting out Native Americans during game ceremonies. Token gestures are pretenses.

None of that posing or fandom self congratulation counts as actual "honoring" of anyone.

But one idea would.

I propose the Hawks honor his legacy by ensuring a better future for his cultural heirs. It's a challenge for which there need be no losers.

I propose the Chicago Blackhawks increase contributions to their charitable foundation and fund college educations in perpetuity for every graduate of the Meskwaki Settlement School in Tama, Iowa. The 1,500 human remnants of the Meskwaki Nation (the original Sauks of Blackhawk's band on the Mississippi) live there.

The Meskwaki Nation members are officially registered and recognized as legitimate for having 1/8 blood relationship to the original tribe. There are descendants of Black Hawk who live there. They have federal standing and identity.

The Settlement School in Tama has 70 K-12 students and a half-dozen high school graduates annually. I propose the Chicago Blackhawks guarantee that graduating class and each class that follows permanent matriculation to a great college of their families' choosing - the University of Iowa, Iowa State or perhaps Northwestern. The team should guarantee and administer this process.

Best guess is that a half-dozen grads in each of four college academic years would run the Blackhawks about $1 million. Too much?

For a franchise that Forbes rates is worth $1 billion with an annual revenue of $208 million, spending $1 million on college educations for 25 teens does not seem so exorbitant.

It's a sharing that Chicago's hockey fans could employ to prove their respect for the team's namesake.

This Monday is the Meskwaki National Day, when they celebrate court victories that gave them permanent legal identity and protection. The Sauk survivors have a long history of beating U.S. federal legal arguments in court every time they engage. But those victories did not guarantee them or their children prosperity.

Of the two dozen charities that are currently beneficiaries of the Blackhawks foundation, only an art gallery seems to have to have any direct connection to Native Americans, and none of the Blackhawks' contributions go directly to tribal issues.

This would not solve the issue of "honoring" the first Blackhawk, but it's a good start. And mostly, this is the right time historically to rebalance the scales by repaying a debt.

With the Meskwaki Nation's approval, the Chicago Blackhawks can stand on the right side of history.

The scholarships would be a tangible value bestowed in his honor. An actual cultural outreach guarantees better futures for people who have some right to be called his children.

Talk is cheap, but a degree from Harvard, Stanford or Northwestern is not.

Blackhawk's heirs need a little help in the 21st century.

What say you, Blackhawks. You up for a real game?

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Previously: Blackhawk's Life Mattered.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

* On Boredom.

* Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:48 AM | Permalink

July 10, 2020

The [Friday] Papers

"After missing out on cleaner air during the coronavirus lockdown, the Chicago area just suffered its longest streak of high-pollution days in more than a decade," the Tribune reports.

"Eight consecutive days of bad air swept through the region amid an emerging scientific link between exposure to pollution and COVID-19 death rates. Low-income, predominantly Black and Latino communities are being hit the hardest.

"Air quality has been so poor, the entire Chicago area ended up dirtier than notoriously smog-choked Los Angeles during the beginning of the month, according to a Chicago Tribune review of federal data."

So I wasn't imagining an unusual number of "unhealthy air" alerts on my phone's weather app.

But why?

Satellites and land-based monitors tracked how unusually hot, sunny weather in the Midwest baked exhaust from automobile tailpipes, diesel engines and factory smokestacks into smog, also known as ground-level ozone.

Independence Day celebrations added to the problem. Stagnant air prevented soot pollution released by fireworks from dispersing, increasing the likelihood that even healthy people had trouble breathing during the holiday weekend.

Lake Michigan also played a role. Smog-forming pollutants - scientists call them precursors - often collect over the lake on sunny days, then drift inland during late afternoons.

"If you have precursors cooking up in this sunny zone and then the lake breeze pushes all of that air back toward the shore, it can make for a really crummy day," said Patricia Cleary, a University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire chemist involved in a federal study of smog sources and trends in Lake Michigan states.

Go read the rest, there's lots more.

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Last Call, The Saddest Call Of All
"Mayor Lori Lightfoot is ordering all bars, breweries, and restaurants that serve liquor to close at midnight, in an effort to further curb the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"The city already required bars, restaurants, and other businesses with on-site consumption liquor licenses to stop serving alcohol after 11 p.m. Now those establishments must close their doors entirely at midnight."

It's the right thing to do; I'm not sure bars and restaurants should even be open yet. It's just sad. I'm a late-stayer when it comes to bars. I've never been able to figure out why anyone would leave a bar before they were legally required to do so.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Flex You
Pics, or it didn't happen!

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #312
Will be recorded and posted on Saturday this week.

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ChicagoReddit

Triangulation Station marker 054 from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Millennium Park at Home: The Braided Janes & Jon Langford

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

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Deep Mental State.

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I don't know if I want to go to a Walgreens doctor.

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The Beachwood Scrip Line: At the corner of sad and pathetic.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:50 AM | Permalink

Flex You

Before social media:

Flex. Verb. Merriam-Webster defines "flex" as "to bend especially repeatedly" or "to move or tense (a muscle) by contraction."

After social media:

Flex. Verb. Urban Dictionary (clearly an authoritative voice in this matter) defines "flex" as "showing off your valuables in a non-humble way."

As someone who doesn't use social media, I tend to be oblivious to the trends budding and blossoming on a weekly basis. Despite my rejection of social media, though, it's been impossible to avoid its influence on popular culture, and the people around me, so I've always been all too painfully aware of influencers and their "product culture" social media, mostly on Instagram. They are the culprits who have brought flex culture to the rest of us. Whilst flexing ("back then" known as just showing off) existed long before social media, social media platforms have invigorated, encouraged and normalized this grotesque act.

I wonder if our welcoming of flex culture is a subconscious reflection of what's going on on a deeper level in our collective societal psyche. Specifically, I sense a collective inferiority complex is plaguing our culture. According to Merriam-Webster, this psychological phenomena is "an acute sense of personal inferiority often resulting either in timidity or through overcompensation in exaggerated aggressiveness." An inferiority complex drives individuals to overcompensate. What often follows is over-the-top behavior.

Psychologist Alfred Adler was the first to coin the term inferiority complex. As psychology professor Saif Farooqi notes on his Life and Psychology blog, Adler believed that the basis of this sense of inferiority " . . . develops due to the innate human tendency of striving for superiority." It's no secret that a certain sector of Instagram is a competition of who's prettier, richer, happier, more adventurous, more fit, more productive, more . . . whatever . . . so long as I'm better than you and we all know it.

Whilst working to be the best version of yourself is perfectly healthy, this part of Instagram (and parts of other social media platforms) corrupts productive self-ambition and poisons it with a desire to be better than everyone else, not better than the person you were yesterday. Why else would people feel the need to posture and pose and fake their posts so often?

And because our society doesn't value things that really matter (strong values, good relationships, appreciating the arts, healthy fiscal habits, pragmatic mindsets, and practical lifestyles to name a few), the only way to compete is by capitalizing on what society does value: money, and the shiny things you can buy with it.

With the societal pressure we feel, thanks to sayings like "Pics, or it didn't happen," "Post, or it didn't happen," and "FOMO," it's not like these personal indulgences can be modest, respectable, and private. Forget it! Didn't you hear? Pics, or it didn't happen!

And obviously you don't want people thinking you're missing out on the fabulous life everyone else seems to be leading, so you decide to post whatever small good thing (sometimes staged or exaggerated) is happening.

But with the vicious competition for attention, you can't just share sometimes about only one or two things. It has to be all or nothing every time. Dare I say that people who feel the need to showcase their riches and success online are people deeply riddled with an inferiority complex. For what other reason would someone put before the world their symbols of success, if not to a.) incite jealousy, or b.) seek attention and approval? Either way, I find the behavior despicable, superficial, and fraught with a boatload of psychological issues.

Bragging about one's seemingly perfect, yet totally unrealistic life and semi-irresponsible fiscal habits has become normal. It almost seems as if the foundation of our culture is flexing; the number of people showing off flashy, expensive purchases is grotesque. The constant stream of seeing people lead such luxurious lives makes consumers feel like they, too, need to have all of these fancy items, and maybe they'll be just as happy as the people posting these ridiculous and fake posts. Picture after picture we see of women sitting on their staircases, surrounded by luxury handbag boxes. Post after post we see of guys standing in front of fancy cars, strategically placing their arm out so we see them sporting the latest wristwatch. The number of "luxury hauls" we see of grown men and women showcasing how many overpriced shoes they own; how many belts; how many coats would make me laugh if it weren't so depressing. It's tacky. It's childish. It's pointless. Why do we continue fueling these people's egos by liking, clicking, watching? It does us no good. It only encourages this shallow culture of mindless overconsumption; of building an identity around luxury goods. I almost feel sorry for these people. Their goods, which so easily can vanish, is what brings them joy and a sense of identity. Take off the stupid hat, ugly jacket, and gaudy jewelry, and what is left? Based off of the facade they've built with their posts: nothing.

Perhaps you think you are immune to flex culture as long as you don't pursue it in your social media feeds. But flex culture is like the latest gossip about Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian: you may not go looking for it, but it somehow - almost impressively - manages to find you.

And we wonder why our country is known for its overconsumption! Could it be that we've been conditioned to believe we can buy our way into a happy life? Why else would Americans have such crushing consumer debts? It's because we've been conditioned by our society to believe that buying, buying, buying is the way to a happy life, and there's plenty of evidence (empirically collected and anecdotal) to show for that cultural mindset.

"Provoking envy and anxiety makes fans want to spend, leading a generation too willing to go into impulsive consumerism and higher levels of debt," clinical psychologist Tracy Bennett writes in the blog post "Social Media Culture: Flexing on the Gram."

In "11 Stats That Will Change the Way You Think About Consumerism" at Relevant magazine, Jesse Carey, an editor there, describes how Americans spend more on fashion accessories - $100 billion - than college tuition. Also, "The average American household has more than $7,500 in consumer debt." Studies document this growing sense of materialism leading to children with high self-centeredness and aggression, Carey says.

Liking the finer things in life is fine - hell, even I can't help but do a double-take when I see a perfectly tailored coat or shiny loafers. There is nothing wrong with liking "stuff" and "luxury items." The problem is a flex culture that champions and prioritizes the flashy, tacky, and expensive material goods and gaudily flaunts them. Contrary to what we're told by our culture, overpriced clothes don't matter. Luxury cars don't matter. Exotic vacations don't matter. A stomach-sucked-in, butt-sticking-out gym photo doesn't matter. Morals do. Principles do. A strong sense of self, divorced from mindless materialism and bragging like a spoiled brat, does.

We deserve to live in a more meaningful, sophisticated, and noble culture. But before we can embark on the odyssey of achieving decency, we need to leave all of this - the glamourized dishonesty, materialism, shallowness, obnoxious behavior, ostentatious tastes, and fishing for attention - behind.

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See also:
* These Rich Parents Are Bragging Their Ridiculous Wealth On Instagram. More Like Instabrag!

* Rich Kids Of Instagram Can't Stop Flaunting Their Daddies' Money.

* Meet The 'Rich Kids of London' Who Flaunt Their Wealth On Popular Instagram Account.

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

* Dear High School Students And Recent Graduates . . .

* Tunes To Remedy Any Existential Crisis.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 AM | Permalink

July 9, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

Three-and-a-half hour conference call for census training this morning set my day back. In that vein, enjoy these census tweets/stories (I am in no way officially representing the census):

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Blackhawk's Life Mattered
Blackhawks management and their fans are laboring under a self-enhanced delusion. Just because you stole something a long time ago does not make it yours.

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Defund Private Schools
"Public schools are not the problem. Racism is. Parents don't need escape hatches; we need states to remove the structures that inhibit public school districts that serve Black and Brown children."

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Beware Crooked Tow Truck Drivers
Some guidance for y'all.

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ChicagoReddit

What is the point of closing Chicago beaches? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago's Black Lives Matter Plywood Murals

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

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The Beachwood Crown Me Line: Crown me.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:31 PM | Permalink

Unscrupulous Tow Drivers Costing Consumers Thousands

DES PLAINES, Ill., - Unsuspecting drivers in the Chicago and Houston areas are scammed out of hundreds to thousands of dollars due to the deceitful deeds of tow truck drivers, according to special agents of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The NICB is warning consumers about dishonest tow truck drivers through PSAs and billboard ads in the two regions.


Across the nation special agents of the National Insurance Crime Bureau are finding multiple towing scams that end up costing consumers hundreds - thousands even - of dollars to get their vehicles back. Be wary of tow trucks that arrive at an accident scene unsolicited. If one arrives without police or one of the involved parties calling for one, that's a red flag.

Following an accident, many drivers are understandably shaken by the experience. The scam is designed to get drivers to sign blank documents to "authorize" the tow. After that, the sky's the limit when adding other charges and your signature demonstrates your agreement. In many cases, tow companies are associated with or even operated by auto body repair facilities and collaborate to add extra charges onto a tow bill for services not performed or unnecessary.

"We have seen instances in which tow truck drivers have become belligerent with accident victims," said Fred Lohmann, director of operations for the Southwest Region of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. "Any legitimate tow operator will satisfy your concerns. An illegitimate one will not."

The NICB recommends drivers follow these steps to avoid crooked tow truck drivers:

* Never give permission to a tow truck operator who arrives unsolicited to take your vehicle.

* If you or law enforcement did not call a tow truck to the scene, do not deal with that operator.

* Do not provide tow truck operators with your insurance information.

* Do not provide tow truck operators with personal lien holder information.

* Verify tow truck signage is identical to what appears on any documentation the tow truck operator provides (they may say they "work with" your insurance company).

* If the tow truck does not display signage identifying the name of the tow company, ask for company identification.

* If a tow operator's legitimacy is in doubt, call the police.

* Do not give a tow truck operator permission to tow your vehicle until they provide a printed price list, to include daily storage fees and miscellaneous charges that will apply if they tow your car (if the prices seem too high, ask the police or your insurance company to call a towing service for you) and documentation indicating where the vehicle is being towed if it is not a location of your choosing.

You can find more protection tips here.

Report Fraud
Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

About The National Insurance Crime Bureau
Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, learning and development, government affairs and public affairs. The NICB is supported by more than 1,400 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote more than $526 billion in insurance premiums in 2019, or more than 82% of the nation's property casualty insurance. That includes more than 95% ($241 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:04 AM | Permalink

Defund Private Schools

A national uprising for racial justice and a pandemic killing disproportionately more Black people have made the call to action clear: We must dismantle the structures that generate racial disparities. Education activists have joined that call by demanding that districts defund police in schools. School boards are listening. The Los Angeles Board of Education last week voted to cut funding to its school police force by 35 percent, amounting to a $25 million reduction.

Calls to defund the police, whether in schools or in our cities, are just one part of what must become a larger movement to end taxpayer funding for institutions that are anti-Black at their core. But as millions of protestors across the country call for monies to be redirected from police to institutions that propel economic and social growth, democracy and unity, school choice advocates are holding fast to their sordid legacy of defunding already under-resourced traditional public schools that serve Black children.

Late last month, choice advocates won a legal battle that is out of step with the current march toward racial justice and democracy.

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that a program that grants tax credits to "those who donate to organizations that award scholarships for private school tuition" cannot prohibit families from using such scholarships for tuition at private religious schools.

The scholarship tax credits were passed by the Montana legislature in 2015, but the program was effectively modified a year later when Montana's Department of Revenue barred the scholarships from being used at religiously affiliated institutions.

In support of its decision, the department cited the Montana Constitution's Blaine Amendment, which prohibits the state from allocating public dollars to any school "controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination." Kendra Espinoza and two other parents took the state to court; the case eventually reached the Supreme Court.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court's conservative majority found that barring religious organizations from a "public benefit" was unconstitutional. "A state need not subsidize private education," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. "But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious."

There are several states with similar tax credit programs; this ruling could open the door to more religious schools accessing state dollars from voucher-like programs

The Black Lives Matter uprising should turn its sights to these states.

Voucher programs have largely failed at delivering better educational outcomes, and they prevent us from removing the barriers that stand in the way of quality for public schools. By diverting tax revenue and students away from school districts, states remove much-needed dollars that support a vital necessity of neighborhoods and society: public schools in which people of different religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic classes and genders can learn basic national principles of justice, fairness, tolerance and the common good. Vouchers support private institutions which do not have to make room for this kind of inclusion.

Public schools are not the problem. Racism is. Parents don't need escape hatches; we need states to remove the structures that inhibit public school districts that serve Black and Brown children.

Voucher advocates use the words "choice," "freedom" and "liberty" to promote their programs, but their use of these words is as fraudulent as that of the slave owners who signed the U.S. Constitution. Some earlier supporters of vouchers were unabashed in proclaiming that the sole reason they supported these grant programs was to maintain racial segregation. After the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision struck down "separate but equal" educational systems, various state governments used public funds to facilitate the choice of many white people to send their children to private schools.

Shortly after the Brown decision was announced, Virginia Gov. Thomas Stanley was of one of many white leaders to look for a work-around. Thomas established a 32-member Commission on Public Education to study the effects of the Supreme Court decision and make recommendations that would, in essence, nullify the Court's ruling. The group, known as the Gray Commission after its chair, state Sen. Garland Gray, met its mandate.

The Gray Commission's 1955 Report to the Governor argued that "compulsory integration should be resisted by all proper means in our power." It included suggestions such as using public funds to "prevent enforced integration by providing for the payment of tuition grants for the education of those children whose parents object to their attendance at mixed schools." Across the South, many families chose private segregation academies, many faith-based, moving resources away from local districts. Ever since, choice movements in this country have been tied and rooted to anti-Blackness.

Combined with racist housing policies, the concept of school choice has often been a weapon against Black people's pursuit of quality and justice in public schooling. The collective choice of the majority of white Americans to opt out of integrated school systems, by sending their kids to private schools or by drawing district maps that continue racial and socioeconomic segregation in the suburbs or exurbs, has resulted in $23 billion less funding for schools predominated by people of color than for majority white schools.

Even charter schools, many launched as a way to better serve Black children, have been used as a tool for segregation or have been strategically concentrated in Black districts to defund traditional district schools. Many charters embedded racist disciplinary practices that helped drive the school-to-prison pipeline.

Just last week, the nation's largest charter chain, KIPP, jettisoned its iconic slogan, "Work hard, be nice," which it acknowledged "diminishes the significant effort required to dismantle systemic racism, places value on being compliant and submissive, supports the illusion of meritocracy, and does not align with our vision of students being free to create the future that they want."

Voucher advocates, on the other hand, have celebrated the Supreme Court's decision and doubled down on rhetoric around choice that fails to recognize the need for the communal good provided by public education and that is short on any acknowledgement that the promotion of individualism has hurt public schools that Black students attend. Choice advocates will say that Black parents should have the same options as white families, but they do not concede the cost of white choices on Black schools - and democracy itself. While public systems should not eclipse individual rights or needs, institutions like public schools that benefit the common good facilitate individual growth and societal stability. Exclusion, which private schools inherently facilitate, has distorted how people view public institutions. Private doesn't mean better - for students or society. Filtering out students isn't a reform we should be adopting.

At the precipice of change, we have an opportunity to do more than create escape hatches. We can actually get at the sources of inequality - anti-Black policies and practices within supposedly democratic systems. We don't know what kind of choices traditional districts serving a majority of Black students could offer, because states have underfunded them for decades. White Americans who wave the banner of choice are promoting racism and getting in the way of real educational reform. And choice is blocking equity in public schools.

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

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See also: U.S. Supreme Court Decision Forces Taxpayers To Pay For Religious Schooling 😠.

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

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

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

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

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

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

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

* When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech.

* Disrupting Education The NFL Way.

* The Voucher Program We Really Need Is Not For School - It's For After.

* Charter School Leaders Should Talk More About Racism.

* Bold, Progressive Ideas Aren't Unrealistic.

* White Coaches Pick The Wrong Side When They Talk Down To Their Black Athletes.

* The Importance Of The 1619 Project.

* Black Athletes Have A Trump Card They Are Not Using Enough.

* Making Elite Colleges White Again.

* When Acceptable Attire Depends On The Color Of Your Skin.

* White Parents Should Have 'The Talk' With Their Kids, Too.

* What's Wrong With White Teachers?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

Blackhawk's Life Mattered

Even more than the Atlanta Braves (stupid), the Cleveland Indians (idiotic), and the Washington Redskins (overtly but mindlessly racist), the use of Blackhawk in Chicago makes me angry.

We rationalize that using his name "honors" him when we - the Army we pay for - spent years trying to murder him.

It's not merely an accidental theft of a tribal icon to make a buck; it's deliberate cultural cancellation.

What's more, the hockey team is not even actually named after him.

Frederic McLaughlin, the first owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, named the team after the 86th Army Infantry Division, which was called the Blackhawk Division in WWI. The Army stole his name first. McLaughlin, "fiercely patriotic," stole it from them.

That only makes me angrier. The Army spent a decade trying to track down the Sauk chief now taken as the Chicago Blackhawk and kill him - unsuccessfully. They managed to kill 600 of his tribe.

The American military which gunned down most of Blackhawk's tribe should not see that relationship as one to celebrate without an abject apology. Of course, no one asked the Sauks and Fox in 1916 if they wanted the Army that tried to murder all of them, and their chief, to take his name and place it on tanks.

What's more, that's not even his real name. He was not Blackhawk or Black Hawk. He was: Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak. "Blackhawk" was made up by idiot white politicians.

Blackhawk_Cover.jpg

I wrote about "Blackhawk" for a suburban magazine last year. The summary:

* We stole Northern Illinois from him. All of it, from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.

* We stole his home villages.

* We tried to kill him and managed to murder most of his tribe.

* We turned over the last remnant of his tribe to Sioux mercenaries to be murdered. They were.

* Then we took his name - twice - to "honor" him.

Blackhawk would have seen this as predictable and typical. He did not like Americans. He had good reason then and good reasons now.

At the least, the state that stole Blackhawk's life and prosperity should return his name with honor. And then leave it alone forever because it's not ours.

We are thieves.

No one should have to tell us it's a bad thing that we stole someone's name for a buck.

Even Americans know stealing is wrong.

And he wasn't just any ol' Native American. He was one of the great Native Americans of the 19th century. He is not a cartoon amalgamation of bigotry. He was an actual man with an actual life. I have read his autobiography, which he dictated to white friends.

Blackhawks management and their fans are laboring under a self-enhanced delusion. Just because you stole something a long time ago does not make it yours. The last thing anyone should need is for some Fox or Sauk heirs to stand up and demand the name be returned.

The Blackhawks should step up and do what's honorable.

It's the right thing to do.

We remember what that is, right?

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See also: Black Hawk | The Battle for the Heart of America.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

* On Boredom.

* Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe.

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

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1. From Jim Coffman:

The Blackhawks don't have to change their name immediately, but clearly they should change it. I have some suggestions.

From here forward the official team name is Black Hawk, not Blackhawks. And the logo is changed to something resembling the image of Black Hawk contained in David Rutter's brilliant column.

And most importantly, Blackhawk staff gets to work, today, on a comprehensive biography of Black Hawk and on a story of the glory of Native Americans on this land. Yes, Americans committed genocide against them, but their history is so, so much more than that. Their history is 99.999 percent the history of mankind on Earth.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

July 8, 2020

Play (COVID) Ball!

I'm sorry, but they look like they are just a bunch of guys having a good time, albeit in masks.

The Cubs, and the White Sox, held workouts at their respective ballparks Tuesday and if they had worries in the world, their facial expressions certainly didn't show them.

I think what we have seen in the European soccer leagues the last month is pretty similar to what we will see when baseball cranks up later this month. Players follow protocols, mostly. Networks pipe in crowd sounds and singing. I think that could be especially cool on baseball broadcasts, where we could listen to organ music. Hell, it wouldn't be terribly difficult at all to make it live organ music now, would it?

I am definitely up for a couple "Da da da da, da da . . . Charge!(s)" when the Cubs get a rally going. Let's bust out all the classics, potentially one per inning.

Any player who tests positive or who is too uncomfortable opts out. No biggie. There is a supply of thousands of minor league ballplayers, most affiliated with major league clubs, who stand ready to step in. If I were Mike Trout, whose wife is scheduled to give birth in the coming months, no way would I play. But I'm definitely not Trout, who is by virtually any measure one of the five greatest baseball players of all time through the first nine years of his career.

This is Trout's 10th season in the majors. How the hell is that possible? Unbelievably at the end of all of those seasons, Trout has played in three playoff games, all losses. His team, the Angels, were swept out of a divisional series in three games by the Kansas City Royals, you know back when the Royals dominated the American League in the middle of the last decade. During that series, Trout went 1-for-12.

Not playing would torture Trout, an absolute lover of the game who cannot like what he sees when he looks back at his stats and can't help but steal a glance at the ones about the postseason. Guys like Dodgers pitcher David Price, who already have generational wealth, definitely don't have to risk anything and, I suspect, don't really love the game anymore, have already opted out. Again, that is their right.

And Price, a delightfully bright, if sometimes flaky three-year attendee of Vanderbilt, could probably better spend his time figuring out how to best to help Los Angeles. Or he could help Boston, where he won a World Series title. Or Tampa, where he started his major league career. Maybe even Nashville, home of his alma mater.

The bottom line is, if Joe Maddon and any other senior citizen manager is willing to report for work at the ballpark every day, I would think the rest of teams' staffs would be right there as well. Again, they don't have to be but my guess is they will be.

Large canopies should be strung up above, what, 30 seats behind each of the dugouts? When guys aren't in the field or in the lineup they sit back there with their individualized water bottles and their masks. If I were in charge, I would have players wear their uniforms to the park and carry an outfit for the post-game. At the end of a game, the guys who played would quickly strip down in the locker room and the uniforms would be cleaned and sanitized. They would take a second clean uniform home when they left and that's what they would wear the next day.

The guys who didn't play that day could wear their uniforms home or opt to wait until the first wave of guys finished in the locker room and then go down there and do the strip and carry as well.

Umpires wear masks and the home plate ump stands behind the pitcher. Technology calls strikes and balls. Joe West, who apparently buys into the notion that COVID-19 is just one big conspiracy, has to wear a full infectious disease suit. The guy is ornery enough that he just might survive it just to spite everyone.

From July 24 until the end of the regular season, the teams essentially stay in bubbles. There is a two-week break, then the postseason. I suspect the postseasons may be series' of games between local rivals, like a seven-gamer around here titled "The Red Line Series!" But maybe there are playoffs instead.

I have enjoyed the soccer immensely and I am confident I will enjoy the baseball as well.

Until the Cubs come on. Then I suppose I will suffer like I always have.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:00 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The red-light camera company entangled in a federal corruption investigation and an airport janitorial contractor in Chicago are among the clout-heavy companies getting large amounts of federal funding to weather the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents released this week by Trump administration officials," WBEZ reports.

"Another loan from Washington's new Paycheck Protection Program went to the security firm owned by Sean Morrison, the south suburban politician who leads the Cook County Republicans and is a commissioner on the county board."

OK, but did these companies do anything wrong in applying for and receiving PPP funds?

Are those companies larger than the intended beneficiaries, the way that, say, Potbelly was?

Because we've got a lot of what I call inference journalism going on - so-called objective journalists making inferences - without all the dots connected - that something hinky has gone on and you should be outraged about it.

The most common form of inference journalism I see locally is when a news report will note that Subject A gave, say, $100 to Subject B's campaign 20 years ago, and that's why, at least in part, the report infers, Subject B is doing Subject A a favor right now. I get it if you are trying to show a long association between parties, but even the mopiest aldermanic mope is going to return a favor for a hundred bucks two decades prior.

So when it comes to PPP payouts, by all means scrooten. But let's not engage in Paycheck Protection Porn. That money is intended to keep people on payrolls of small companies, no matter how noteworthy the companies or their owners are. The program originally required that 75% of the payouts go to payroll, though that has now been amended. I don't know if the feds will truly keep track - pushing the money out the door seems to have taken precedence over whatever oversight will occur. That's not to say there aren't abuses we should be outraged about, such as the Kushner family taking several PPP packages. On the other hand, the regulations apparently didn't state that immensely wealthy folks have to dip into their own accounts to keep their payrolls afloat rather than sponge off taxpayer money. Maybe they should have!

The larger issue, as has been raised by many others, is whether people of color, and Blacks, specifically, were disproportionately left out of the program. And the answer is, Yes! Of course. If nothing else, this is yet another example of structural, or institutional, racism. Those who designed the program may not personally be bigots, but they failed to understand (or didn't care) how the structure of banks and other lenders would disadvantage Black folk.

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Here's Rich Miller on his Capitol Fax blog making the same point about Oberweis Dairy, owned by uber-wealthy state Sen. Jim Oberweis, taking PPP money:

"Yeah, he's a conservative Republican. But the forgivable loan was for payroll. The idea was to keep people working during the most momentous economic downturn in American history. He didn't pocket the money . . . "

If the money truly went to his workers, and they get paid more than they would get on unemployment, it's a win for his workers. I'm sure they're thrilled he applied for the funds.

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Now let's go back to that WBEZ report. SafeSpeed is the red-light camera company "entangled in a federal corruption investigation." Should that make SafeSpeed ineligible to receive funds to help maintain their payroll during a global pandemic?

"We are a small, minority-owned business that employs a diverse workforce that is predominantly minority and we wanted to do all we could to preserve as many jobs as possible," SafeSpeed spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said in a statement sent to WBEZ. "Although some layoffs were necessary, we were able to keep a core staff employed."

I don't know if Gaffney and/or SafeSpeed execs refused to come to the phone, but it's not an outrage until I know how the money was disbursed, why there were still layoffs and if the execs took any honey for themselves.

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The airport janitorial contractor is the ever-problematic United Maintenance Co., and their PPP funds raise several unanswered questions (I realize it's only been, what, less than 24 hours since the data was released, but just sayin'). United has a contract with the city, so presumably they've gotten paid or are still getting paid. It's not clear to me that their payroll was threatened, but I actually have no idea (and neither do you!).

The laundry list of United's misdeeds over the years is a nice reminder, but again, should that have made them ineligible to keep their janitors whole - if that's what is happening - through the use of federal funds?

Also:

"[Company President Richard] Simon long has been a major campaign contributor to Chicago politicians, including Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, who is facing federal corruption charges."

Is there an inference being made?

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Finally, Sean Morrison, the Cook County commissioner and county GOP chair. It turns out those aren't his only jobs (I don't know if the party job pays, just sayin'). He also has a business of his own, Morrison Security Corp. This distresses me more than his PPP funds; I'm not fond of "part-time" pols with full-time salaries and side jobs - or, more like, when their elected job is the side job to their real business.

Anyway, Morrison took about $610,000 in PPP money. Was that wrong?

"To many, many private-sector businesses, it's been a godsend," Morrison told WBEZ. "The whole purpose is to be able to keep people employed, which it's done. It's certainly done that."

He said the loan has saved "multiple dozens of people" who work for him from losing their jobs and going on unemployment.

The real reporting work is ahead of us - finding out if that's true. (Also, you'd think he'd know the exact number of people who's jobs have been saved by the PPP funds he procured, but, for now, whatever.)

"Morrison publicly weighed in to defend Trump in his verbal battles with Lightfoot and Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker."

Is that an inference?

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The Tribune's account is even-handed; they play the list of well-known names on the PPP list as a curiosity - without trying to manufacture outrage - and even indicative of a bigger picture:

"The list is notable for its breadth and diversity, emblematic of the widespread economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the statewide stay-at-home orders that have disrupted business since March."

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The Sun-Times noted which zip codes got the most PPP funds (60062, which encompasses most of Northbrook, though that total could be disproportionately one or a few big corporations located there), as well as the top bank (Chase) facilitating the loans (and taking in generous servicing fees from the government).

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The Sun-Times also notes:

"Atlas Financial Holdings is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven. The company, with its executives based in Schaumburg, got a $4,600,500 loan from Fifth Third Bank to cover 286 employees in various locations."

That bears further reporting.

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The Sun-Times also found about 475 religious institutions in Illinois that took in at least $475 million in PPP funds - their Paycheck Protection Prayers were answered!

"Some of the groups getting the loans provide social services or operate community centers; the list also includes houses of worship of a variety of religions. Another 170 operators of religious schools were awarded at least $70 million more."

See also: Trump Administration's Church Bailouts Cost Taxpayers $6 Billion - $10 Billion.

And I'm not saying religious organizations should have been ineligible; they have payrolls too. But look, the whole thing should probably have been more tightly run to make sure this isn't an area of abuse. Then again, pushing money out the door in a hurry through a somewhat improvised program was the priority. It's just glaring who didn't get the money, and that needs to be remedied - pronto.

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And yes, it feels kind of icky to see the media organizations who took money, as well as brand-name museums and cultural institutions. But should it? Perhaps we pause and stumble here and on other familiar names we see on these lists because under normal conditions, this would seem like a massive giveaway to folks whom we somehow want to see earn their keep on their own. But the Trib is right when it says that "The list is notable for its breadth and diversity, emblematic of the widespread economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic." We're just still having a hard time getting our heads around the gravity of what has happened.

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On the other hand, maybe the feds should dole this money out every year!

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False Inference
Rich Miller also notes that while Michael Madigan's name appears on the PPP data released Tuesday, a spokesperson says he didn't take any money.

"This SBA list represents applications submitted and approved, not loans processed. Like many businesses, an application for a PPP loan was submitted, but was withdrawn at the request of Speaker Madigan and Bud Getzendanner. No loans were processed and no PPP funds were received."

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On that score, I might as well add this:

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The Rest Of The Story: Lightfoot vs. Trump & The Trib Edit Board

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Racial Mortgage Gap
"The gap is widest in Milwaukee, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis, where denial rates for Black homebuyers are more than 10 percentage points higher than they are for white homebuyers. In Milwaukee and San Francisco, specifically, Black loan seekers are more than three times as likely to be denied a mortgage."

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The Slave Who Escaped George Washington
"When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation's capital. In setting up his household he brought along nine slaves, including Ona Judge. As the president grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn't abide: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

"Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, she was denied freedom. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just 22-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property."

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Play (COVID) Ball!
Let's bust out all the classics.

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Chicago's Bad-Ass Buddha
The largest in the mainland United States is right here.

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ChicagoReddit

FYI: If you live near a Walgreens they will deliver your prescriptions to your house for free this month from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Lightfoot Announces 'Census Challenge' To City Wards.

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BeachBook

How Northern Publishers Cashed In On Fundraising For Confederate Monuments.

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'We Prefer Their Company' - Black British History.

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When You Want To Tour Europe, But Europe Won't Let You In.

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

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I mean, it's right there . . .

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The journesia is strong with this one.

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Kanye West is krazy.

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The Beachwood Yip Line: Yip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:42 AM | Permalink

The Slave Who Escaped George Washington

"A startling and eye-opening look into America's First Family, Never Caught is the powerful story of Ona Judge, who escaped the George and Martha Washington and evaded their efforts to bring her back to slavery."


"When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation's capital. In setting up his household he brought along nine slaves, including Ona Judge. As the president grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn't abide: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

"Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, she was denied freedom. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just 22 years old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property."

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"Erica Armstrong Dunbar discusses her book Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster). Michele Norris, Director, The Bridge at the Aspen Institute, and Founding Director, The Race Card Project, moderates the conversation."

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Dunbar on C-SPAN
.

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Erica Armstrong Dunbar.

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See also: That Time George Washington Ordered "Total Destruction And Devastation" Of The Haudenosaunee.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

The Racial Mortgage Gap

Nearly 16% of Black Americans who apply for mortgages are rejected nationwide, compared with just 7% of white Americans, according to a Redfin analysis of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The gap is widest in Milwaukee, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis, where denial rates for Black homebuyers are more than 10 percentage points higher than they are for white homebuyers. In Milwaukee and San Francisco, specifically, Black loan seekers are more than three times as likely to be denied a mortgage.

"Getting denied a loan serves a huge blow to a person's self esteem - especially for people of color, who often feel like the world is already falling on them," said Brittani Walker, a Redfin agent in Chicago. "My mother has been a renter since she moved out of her parents' house. I tried to get her pre-approved for a mortgage a couple of years ago, but she was rejected because she had some blemishes on her credit. She broke down in tears and hasn't tried again since. When people of color are stuck in this cycle of renting; their children often meet the same fate, missing out on thousands of dollars worth of home equity. If your parents never owned a home, where do you learn the value of homeownership?"

Overall, Americans today are half as likely to be denied a mortgage loan as they were in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The share of total applicants who faced rejection dropped to 8.9% in 2019 from 18% in 2008, according to the latest annual figures just released by the CFPB. Still, Black loan-seekers are more frequently denied due to debt and low credit scores. These two factors are more likely to be roadblocks for Black mortgage applicants due to decades of wealth inequality, as well as bias among lenders.

While the racial mortgage gap has been narrowing over the years, Black Americans are still denied home loans at a higher rate than white Americans in every one of the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas.

The Largest And Smallest Gaps

In Milwaukee, 19.5% of Black mortgage applicants are rejected, compared with just 4.8% of white applicants. In other words, Black applicants are four times more likely to face rejection. Milwaukee's 14.7 percentage-point gap represents the biggest disparity among the top 50 metro areas.

San Francisco has the second largest gap (19.2% vs 5.9%; 13.3 percentage points), followed by Detroit (20.3% vs 7.2%; 13.1 percentage points), Chicago (18.5% vs 5.7%; 12.8 percentage points) and St. Louis (18.1% vs 5.6%; 12.5 percentage points).

Milwaukee is the most segregated metro in the nation - with almost 90% of African Americans living in the inner city - while Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis are the third, fourth and sixth most segregated.

Milwaukee also has the second-lowest Black homeownership rate of any metro area in the U.S. Just 27% of Black families there own their homes, compared with 70% of white families - 13 percentage points wider than the national gap.

"The residue of redlining is still very tangible in Milwaukee and Chicago," said Arnell Brady, a Redfin Mortgage adviser who represents both cities. "Segregation continues to perpetuate the uneven playing field for Black communities, which are severely underserved when it comes to financial education and access to credit. Buying a home isn't like walking into a bank and getting a credit card. Everyone wants a piece of the American Dream, but that's hard to achieve when you don't have access to the right tools and information."

Meanwhile, the metro area with the smallest gap is San Diego, where 10.8% of Black mortgage applicants are rejected, compared with 7.3% of white applicants, making for a difference of just 3.5 percentage points.

In second place is Seattle (10% vs 5.2%; 4.8 percentage points), followed by Sacramento (11.2% vs 6.2%; 5 percentage points), Anaheim (13.2% vs 8.1%; 5.1 percentage points) and Las Vegas (13.7% vs 8.1%; 5.6 percentage points).

Reasons For Denial

While debt is the number one explanation lenders provide when denying applicants across races, Black homebuyers are more frequently turned down for this reason, according to the CFPB. Of Black mortgage applicants who are refused home loans, 32.5% are turned away because of their debt-to-income ratios, versus 27.9% of white applicants.

In a Redfin survey from February 2020, 45% of the 232 Black respondents said that student debt, specifically, stopped them from trying to buy a home sooner. That compared with 31% of white respondents.

The discrepancy is even more stark when it comes to credit, with a quarter of Black applicants being shown the door due to their credit histories, versus just 18.5% of white applicants. Research has shown that the algorithms many lenders now use in credit scoring, which are meant to be unbiased, may actually systematically deny credit access to specific groups.

Lender Discretion

While banks often cite debt or a low credit score as the reason for denying mortgages to Black Americans, biases held by lenders also play a part.

"Banks still have a lot of power when it comes to determining who gets a loan," Brady said. "Black applicants are more likely to be asked to provide additional documents despite very clear guidelines from federal agencies on what's required. I'm a mortgage adviser who knows the rules backward and forward, and I've encountered this as a loan applicant myself. Why are you asking me for two years of tax returns when the requirement is one?"

One way to curtail this discrimination would be to hide applicant names and races/ethnicities from underwriters when they are determining risk, according to Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico whose work focuses on the dynamics of housing markets.

Another problem is the lack of incentive to help clients with low credit scores, Brady said. Loan officers are more likely to offer advice to a borrower who already has a high FICO score and just wants to secure a better interest rate than to help someone who needs to increase their score to the 620 minimum just so they qualify for a loan, he said.

Opportunities For Change

Beyond providing bias training and incentivizing mortgage brokers to lend money to people of color and low-income Americans, there are countless ways to even the playing field. For example, offering more homebuyer classes and financial education in minority communities could help more people of color realize homeownership is within their means.

"Many people aren't aware that you don't need a 20% down payment or a 750 credit score to buy a house," Walker said. "There are down payment assistance programs that buyers can take advantage of, but they have higher interest rates. Luckily, you can refinance out of those higher rates, but in order to do that, you need to understand refinancing."

Diversifying hiring within the mortgage and real estate industries is another way to help ensure that underserved communities have advocates to educate and guide them through the loan application and homebuying process. Just 26.4% of workers in the housing industry identify as a racial or ethnic minority, according to Fannie Mae.

Alternative credit-scoring models could also help combat the racial mortgage gap. For instance, credit agencies could value on-time rent payments the same way they value on-time mortgage payments, helping more renters prove their creditworthiness. They could also place more emphasis on job stability, said Jason Bateman, head of Redfin Mortgage.

"If you've worked for the post office for 20 years, that should be scored higher than working for a start-up out of someone's garage for two months," he said. "The post office is going to be here 10 years from now, but the start-up in the garage might not be."

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See also, from WBEZ: Where Banks Don't Lend.

"In Chicago, lenders have invested more in a single white neighborhood than all the black neighborhoods combined. Call it modern-day redlining."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Bad-Ass Buddha

'The largest Buddha in the mainland United States, this monumental granite sculpture, created in about the 12th century, originally would have graced a monastic site at Nagapattinam. This Buddha is seated with his legs in the meditating posture of padmasana, or lotus position, and with his hands resting on his lap.'


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From Wikipedia:

"Some of the earliest artistic depictions of the Buddha found at Bharhut and Sanchi are aniconic and symbolic. During this early aniconic period, the Buddha is depicted by other objects or symbols, such as an empty throne, a riderless horse, footprints, a Dharma wheel or a Bodhi tree. The art at Sanchi also depicts the Jataka narratives of the Buddha in his past lives.

"Other styles of Indian Buddhist art depict the Buddha in human form, either standing, sitting crossed legged (often in the Lotus Pose) or laying down on one side. Iconic representations of the Buddha became particularly popular and widespread after the first century CE. Some of these depictions of the Buddha, particularly those of Gandharan Buddhism and Central Asian Buddhism, were influenced by Hellenistic art, a style known as Greco-Buddhist art."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

July 7, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers

In no way do I want to diminish the awful, horrific gun violence we've been seeing lately in Chicago that has, in particularly, led to the deaths of several children. It's almost unspeakable and unimaginable, yet hauntingly familiar. It's heartbreaking, and like so many others, including y'all, I don't know what to say about it anymore.

But I do want to point out - because it's necessary if we're ever going to find a solution - that this isn't just a Chicago problem, though it's always been more intractable here than in New York City and Los Angeles.

For example, here's today's New York Post:

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 10.39.38 AM.png

The same demand, of course, has been made here of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. And those demands are valid. It's also not that easy, in part because this type of violence is not just a local issue - it's happening nationwide.

"Chicago is not alone," the New York Times reports. "Before the coronavirus hit, homicides were escalating nationwide in early 2020, and although the lockdown brought a pause, they began rising again as the stay-at-home measures were lifted. A national study showed that homicide rates fell in 39 of 64 major cities during April and began creeping up in May."

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"Tragedies struck in urban centers thousands of miles apart, with 65 people shot over the weekend in New York and 87 in Chicago, and homicides climbing from Miami to Milwaukee," the Washington Post reports.

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See also:

* 'It's Got To Stop': Atlanta's Mayor Decries A Surge of Violence As A Girl Is Killed.

* Charlotte Leaders Met To Talk About The Spike In Crime And Violence In The City.

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And so on.

Crime tends to trend nationally, for reasons criminologists still don't understand. (For example, in the recession that followed the global financial scandal of 2008, an expected rise in crime never materialized.)

That means it's at least partially folly to lay the blame (or the credit) for crime rates on local leaders. It might be different at times when your city is an outlier, but when cities across the country are experiencing the same horrors, how can it be your mayor's fault?

That's not to say that a mayor and a police chief can't do anything and should take no responsibility whatsoever about crime. But without massive strategic innovation and radical restructuring, the best they can do is make microdents in the problem. (One might argue that stricter national gun control would go a long way to changing the dynamic, and I tend to agree, even though I view the issue as a fundamentally economic one.)

So, yes, by all means press the mayor, the police chief and, yes, the city council. But also ask the right questions. Are mayors (and police chiefs) communicating with each other? Consulting criminologists? What does the best science say?

It's cheap, easy and lazy to be locally outraged without acknowledging the bigger picture. That's where the New York Post is wrong. Yes, Bill de Blasio is a terrible mayor. But, ultimately, what do you want him to do? Something!, I know. But the Post and the rest of the media can do something too, which is to think about and provide context; doing so leads to better questions, coverage and understanding.

Meanwhile, heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak.

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What Cops Do
"Of the nearly 18 million calls logged by the LAPD since 2010, about 1.4 million of them, or less than 8%, were reports of violent crimes, which The [Los Angeles] Times defined as homicides, assaults with deadly weapons, robberies, batteries, shots fired and rape. By contrast, police responded to a greater number of traffic accidents and calls recorded as 'minor disturbances,' The Times found."

This is why I never got hung up on the Cops TV show - now taken off the air - being police propaganda. Sure, they didn't show you brutality. What they did show, though, illuminated just how mundane the job mostly is (a lot of domestics and drunks). That's not to criticize what police do, but to describe it. (Most cops will never draw their weapon over the course of their career.) It's just to say that we have to understand the job if we want to redefine it.

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Black Census Response
"Chicago's predominately Black wards now have the second highest U.S. [Census] response rate among the city's 50 wards, according to the latest ward reports on the city's website," the Crusader reports.

"As of June 22, some 191,405 Black households in Chicago have submitted their U.S. Census counts. That is a response rate of 49.7 percent of 385,861 Black households in Chicago. There are 18 Black wards among Chicago's 50 wards."

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Just a conflict-of-interest reminder: I'm currently in training to spend a couple months as a census field supervisor. I love the census.

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"Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in 2010 only two-thirds or 66 percent of Chicagoans participated in the Census. For this year's U.S. Census count, Mayor Lightfoot has set a goal of 75 percent participation to ensure every Chicagoan is counted."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe
"We are committed to saving the elderly's physical bodies from harm, but not their souls," our very own David Rutter writes.

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WNBA Dedicates Season To Social Justice
"In its inaugural season, the Social Justice Council will cultivate designated spaces for community conversations, virtual roundtables, player-produced podcasts, and other activations to address this country's long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted Black and brown communities."

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Sea Control: Why Chicago?
Because of its long maritime history, that's why.

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ChicagoReddit

6300 Chicago Businesses Received Federal Paycheck Protection Loans from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

3324 W Wrightwood Ave. Logan Square.

A post shared by Brick of Chicago (@brickofchicago) on

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ChicagoTube

Old TV Sound: Chicago Hope

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

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The Beachwood Zip Line: Zip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:45 AM | Permalink

WNBA Dedicates Season To Social Justice

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Women's National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) announced Monday the launch of a new platform, The Justice Movement, and the creation of the WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council.

The collaborative efforts of the League and the Players Association represent an unprecedented and bold new commitment to advancing social justice by the longest standing U.S. sports league for women, as well as the first labor union for professional women athletes.

The mission of the Social Justice Council is to be a driving force of necessary and continuing conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and gun control amongst other important societal issues.

In its inaugural season, the Social Justice Council will cultivate designated spaces for community conversations, virtual roundtables, player-produced podcasts, and other activations to address this country's long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted Black and brown communities.

With an intentional plan to educate, amplify and mobilize for action, the WNBA and the WNBPA will focus on engaging educators, activists, community and business leaders with players, team and league staff, and fans.

With a common goal to build bridges to communities and create sustainable change, the League and the Players Association are committed to continuing this collaborative work at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, the Official Home of the WNBA 2020 Season.

The work of the Social Justice Council will be led by players like Layshia Clarendon, Sydney Colson, Breanna Stewart, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, A'ja Wilson and Satou Sabally, among others.

Those who have proudly stepped up to champion and advise the players include Alicia Garza (Founder, Black Future Labs, political activist, and co-founder of Black Lives Matter), Carolyn DeWitt (CEO, Rock the Vote), and Beverly Bond (Founder/CEO, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! and Celebrity DJ).

The expanded list of Social Justice Council members, advisors, and programming will be announced at a later date.

The WNBA will begin its season in late July with a weekend of competition centered around the Black Lives Matter movement, during which teams will wear special uniforms to seek justice for the women and girls, including Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Vanessa Guillen and many more who have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence.

Throughout the season, players will wear warm-up shirts that display "Black Lives Matter" on the front. Additionally, "Say Her Name" will adorn the back of the shirts. "Black Lives Matter" will also be prominently displayed on courts during games.

"We are incredibly proud of WNBA players who continue to lead with their inspiring voices and effective actions in the league's dedicated fight against systemic racism and violence," said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. "Working together with the WNBPA and the teams, the league aims to highlight players' social justice efforts throughout the 2020 season and beyond. Systemic change can't happen overnight, but it is our shared responsibility to do everything we can to raise awareness and promote the justice we hope to see in society."

"As many WNBA players - past and present - have said and, more importantly, consistently demonstrated, the reason why you see us engaging and leading the charge when it comes to social advocacy is because it is in our DNA," said WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike. "With 140-plus voices all together for the first time ever, we can be a powerful force connecting to our sisters across the country and in other parts of the world. And may we all recognize that the league's stated commitment to us - in this season and beyond - offers a pivotal moment in sports history."

As part of The Justice Movement platform, the WNBA and players will continue to work together to drive impactful, measurable and meaningful change.

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See also:

Renee Montgomery To Sit Out The Season To Focus On Social Justice Reform.

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Maya Moore Sat Out Entire Season To Free Innocent Man From Prison.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:23 AM | Permalink

Sea Control: Why Chicago?

"Navy Pier, Midway and O'Hare airports, the U.S. Navy's Recruit Training Command, the Illinois Naval Militia (of captured Spanish ships!), paddlewheel aircraft carriers and more!

"New CIMSEC Chicago Chapter President Akshat Patel and Dr. Ted Karamanski join the program to discuss the new Chicago CIMSEC chapter and the city's incredible maritime history."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

July 5, 2020

Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe

Your life is a novel you are both writing and reading simultaneously.

And then, without intent, you lose your place in the novel. Was I on Page 220 or 350? Who was the main character? Who was I?

Life is the narrative bleep that happens.

The main character in your novel can become someone else. Maybe that's what all the various dementia diseases are. You forget who you are, and why. You lose the bookmark.

You can't plan that, because orchestrating your life only recognizes a pending future, not the specifics. The novel has many alternative plot lines, all of which end at the inevitable last page of your novel. But how you get there is an unwritten page.

All humans intuitively hope their novel has many blank pages yet to be filled with life.

I thought of that when I read the news of Rod Moore, 76, who is missing. We all hope for his safe return. He walked out of his Valparaiso home on Tuesday night and has not been seen since. I officially request the universe gives Rod a break and returns him safely.

Hasn't he - and all of us for that matter - put up with enough as it is? Life is hard enough without torture's exclamation point in the last chapter.

Perhaps he picked Independence Day weekend as a symbolic gesture, or perhaps that was only coincidental.

Rod is famous around Valparaiso. He was the head athletic trainer at the university for 50 years, and physical ed professor until he retired in 2016. He's a revered Indiana Football Hall of Famer in his profession and cared for generations of the school's athletes. Valpo high school's kids, too.

He grew up in Spokane but lost his sports career due to his own injuries. But Michigan State basketball coach Jud Heathcote got him into athletic training.

He said he wanted to retire so, oddly enough, he could have more time to officiate high school games.

"There's a lot you can't do when you're working a 90-hour week. It takes time away from the family," he told an interviewer in 2016 upon his retirement. "I'm looking to do more with the family, the grandkids especially. I'll still be around."

And though Rod is older than I and manages what his relatives affirm is dementia, I can see myself in his mind as it meanders and takes his body with it.

Have you never been lost? Have you forgotten the desperation of it?

Or more precisely, I can wonder what is in his mind and hope that he is thinking. Even if dementia has not seized control of the steering wheel, we can sympathize with the enforced powerlessness of being old. Especially if you have never been powerless about any aspect of life.

Dementia is a specific set of brain diseases; not merely old age. A thousand valid scientific observations describe what happens to someone suffering dementia. But almost none examine what the person is thinking. Only Rod Moore can tell you that.

Dementia is observed anguish; the observer merely watches it but does not feel it.

Moore is alone with those thoughts this weekend. He is lost, or perhaps is just gone.

Old people do not necessarily lose the memories that prove they were once proud, fit, and respected members of their town and family just because mental maladies now strip them of their focus.

They are lost.

Police then launch into their Dillinger's Escaped Mode and send Army surplus armored personnel carriers to track down the fugitive.

When these strange, unfortunate plot twists happen to others, you will wonder how you would react if they occurred to you, which they might well do. We might all have our "Dr. Richard Kimball" fugitive moment.

So what if Rod, and several million other elderly Americans, were not only suffering from a specific mental decline, but also just got tired of the life they were living, and left for . . . where? Doesn't make any difference. Just anywhere, as long as it's not here.

Over there cannot be less happy than here.

Two conflicting realities can be true at the same time.

Dementia does not mean your emotions are wrong, but the world rescinds and overrides your right to have them.

We see the effect, but not how chemical changes cause a self-directed, thoughtful mind to intersect with dementia's disconnection.

For unfathomable reasons, humans seem smitten with this irresistible urge to run away at age 3 and carry that desire unabated the rest of their lives. Without this urge, there would be no circuses, mountain climbers or volunteer armies.

I was almost 4 when I ran away the first time. I packed up all my possessions in a big quilted bundle and marched across the street from my home in Boynton Beach, Fla., to my great aunt and uncle's vacation home. The trip was about 100 feet. One small step for man. I had "had it" up to here.

That would become a common theme in my worldview.

I took my 2-year-old brother with me because, really, he could not look out for himself.

We were in our pajamas. There were pictures of the escape.

After a nice lunch, I was returned forcibly across the road to the tyrants and required to express deep, but totally insincere, regrets.

I am always very deeply but insincerely sorry.

At least 20 times over the years, I have repressed the same urge to disappear into the great maw of the cosmos. I was always a flight risk.

Change the plot in your self-novel and be someone else. Not re-create me in another geography, but actually be someone else. Someone better, I hoped.

Buy a motorcycle. And then go. Where? Didn't care. We're jumping bail, and riding like the wind.

Have you not stormed out of the house, slammed the car door shut and drove off to . . . Where? Doesn't make any difference. But you can bet a stiff alcoholic drink will seem a good solution very shortly.

At some moment in these predictable episodes you lose the authority - and the self-identity - to decide what happens next for you. You are old and perhaps clinically demented. Tough luck.

But when you leave, you aren't missing. You're just gone. You left. This happens to dogs, cats, and parakeets all the time. Owners (caregivers?) claim they have "gone missing," but the fugitives know exactly where they are and decided to leave for better owners. Or no owners. They all ran for freedom.

We apply different vocabulary to describe troublemakers rather than freedom seekers.

So a dementia patient apparently loses the dignity even to be a parakeet or Braveheart's William Wallace.

Non-elderly people often leave without warning or clear reason. They know where they are when the episode begins, and why they want to inhabit somewhere else.

Maybe many wandering elderly citizens haven't "gone missing," but they've just gone feral.

Nonetheless, if you have crossed over the generally useless but intrusive Social Security Maginot Line of Presumed Incompetence, some alarmed relative will call the police and blurt that "Grandpa is missing."

If Grandpa and Grandma still are alert and self-aware of any residual degree, they will know this is a humiliation. Old age first and permanently deprives a person of dignity. You raised children, built homes, and conducted professional careers. But now? You must be watched and guarded against your mental feebleness and the threat of embarrassing the family in public.

We try not to be cruel. But we are inadvertently. We are committed to saving the elderly's physical bodies from harm, but not their souls. Those we crush because their lives no longer have a clear meaning.

That reality would make sense that almost anyone should run for safety, or just run away.

This flight trait is so ubiquitous that clinical psychologist Dr. Julie J. Exline studies and writes about even her tendencies to the same urge. One story in Psychology Today detailed a weekend when her planned seminar presentation turned into a random, desperate flight to escape. Where? Didn't matter.

From that experience, she analyzed the components of her flight - the pressure of too many people, too many tasks, too many negative thoughts building a wave. Some people ignore the wave. Others can't.

The mind has a flight instinct, just as your body developed 120,000 years ago when confronted with a saber-toothed tiger. "All I wanted to do was to keep driving," she wrote. "I wanted to keep going, farther into the desert, putting mile after mile between me and everyone else. This desire was so intense, it didn't feel like something I merely wanted; it felt like something I needed. It seemed so urgent, pressing . . . desperate. I had to get away."

She had lost control. She came back eventually but is not entirely sure she shouldn't have kept going. She expressed deep but insincere regret.

I, and thousands of his friends across the nation, hope that can happen with Rod Moore, wherever he is; whoever he is. We hope he is happy, content, and safe. He doesn't even have to say he's sorry.

But mostly I hope he is still the author of his own novel.

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Postscript: Three days after we posted this, Rod Moore was found dead.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

* On Boredom.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 PM | Permalink

July 4, 2020

The Weekend Desk Report

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New on the Beachwood . . .

On Boredom
"'What? Are you just going to SIT there all day?' they would announce as if I had not made my intentions perfectly obvious," our very own David Rutter writes.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #311: Unless Someone Dies
Sports now really a life and death proposition. Plus: The Washington Appropriators: Coach Loves The Princess Bride; Seeing Red Stars; Q-Anon; COVID Cubbie; Dash Cam; Hubba Bubbles; I'd Tap That; and Beachwood Sports Specials.

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Pandemophenia
"We've been itching to release a lot of this material since it was archived as 'b-sides' or 'outtakes,'" Bloodshot Records announces, "but could never find the right reason or the right time to bring them all together. And then the shit hit the fan."

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NBC's 1976 Bicentennial Special
Including commercials for Stroh's beer, the Dodge Colt, the AMC Pacer, the Volkswagen Rabbit, and Krylon spray paint.

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Don't Believe Proven Liars
The Absolute Minimum Standard Of Prudence In Merger Scrutiny.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Diversey Driving Range looks happy from above from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Bill Withers / "Lean On Me" in Chicago, 1972

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Weekend BeachBook

Beachwood Beer.

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Women's Roller Derby Has A Plan For COVID, And It Kicks Ass.

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

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It still amazes me that Daniel Dale owns this turf - the turf of cataloging the daily lies of the President of the United States - all to himself. Isn't this what every political reporter (and a few others) should be doing every day? And shouldn't these lies be the bases of stories that lead the news every hour of every day?

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Red tail lights.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:15 PM | Permalink

"Don't Believe Proven Liars" - The Absolute Minimum Standard Of Prudence In Merger Scrutiny

"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." - President George W Bush

Anti-monopoly enforcement has seen a significant shift since the 1970s. Where the U.S. Department of Justice once routinely brought suits against anticompetitive mergers, today, that's extremely rare, even between giant companies in highly concentrated industries. (The strongest remedy against a monopolist - breaking them up altogether - is a relic of the past).

Regulators used to go to court to block mergers to prevent companies from growing so large that they could abuse their market power. In place of blocking mergers, today's competition regulators like to add terms and conditions to them, exacting promises from companies to behave themselves after the merger is complete.

This safeguard continues to enjoy popularity with competition regulators, despite the fact that companies routinely break their public promises to safeguard users' privacy and rarely face consequences for doing so. (These two facts may be related!)

When they do get sanctioned, the punishment almost never exceeds the profits from the broken promise. "A fine is a price." Today, we'd like to propose a modest, incremental improvement to this underpowered deterrent:

If a company breaks a promise, and then it makes the same promise when seeking approval for a merger, we should not believe it.

Read on for three significant broken promises we'd be fools to believe again.

1. Amazon's Clones.

"There's a sucker born every minute." - Traditional (often misattributed to PT Barnum)

Amazon promised not to use data from the sellers on its platform to launch competing products. It lied.

In the summer of 2019, Amazon's General Counsel Nate Sutton made the company's position crystal clear when he told Congress, "We don't use individual seller data directly to compete."

In April, the Wall Street Journal spoke to 20 former Amazon employees who said they did exactly this, confirming the suspicions of Amazon sellers, who'd been told that it was just a coincidence that the world's largest online retailer kept cloning the most successful products on its platform.

2. Facebook's Data Mixing.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." - Rita Mae Brown (often misattributed to Albert Einstein)

In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, and promised users that it wouldn't harvest their data and mix it with the surveillance troves it got from Facebook and Instagram. It lied.

Years later, Facebook mixes data from all of its properties, mining it for data that ultimately helps advertisers, political campaigns and fraudsters find prospects for whatever they're peddling.

Today, Facebook is in the process of acquiring Giphy, and while Giphy currently doesn't track users when they embed GIFs in messages, Facebook could start doing that anytime.

3. Google's Ad Data Merging.

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action." - Ian Fleming

In 2007, Google bought DoubleClick, a web advertising network. It promised not to merge advertising data with Google user profiles. It lied.

Like most Big Tech companies, much of Google's growth comes from buying smaller companies. Because Google's primary revenue source is targeted advertising, these mergers inevitably raise questions about data-mining. As Google's role in online advertising is under scrutiny, antitrust enforcers must not accept a new "We mean it, this time. Seriously, guys" promise to protect user data.

It would be easy to argue that promises made in a formal settlement with antitrust enforcers will carry more weight than mere public statements about what a company will do. But those public promises can keep customers unaware, and enforcers away, as the company extends its dominance. Those promises have to mean something. Hiding privacy abuses behind false promises "effectively raises rivals' costs, as they try to compete against what appears to be high quality, but is, in truth, low quality." That could raise antitrust liability. An overhaul to competition enforcement is long past due, but while that's happening, can we take the absolute smallest step toward prudent regulation and stop believing liars when they tell the same lies?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:34 AM | Permalink

NBC's 1976 Bicentennial Special

Including commercials for Stroh's beer, the Dodge Colt, the AMC Pacer, the Volkswagen Rabbit, and Krylon spray paint.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

Pandemophenia

The world is hunkered down, socially distanced, tearing apart and pulling together. Studios are closed, tours are cancelled, and festivals just seem terrifyingly stupid. Cramming into a stuffy club to have friends and bands alike sweating and shouting all over the room? Not us, buddy, and hopefully not you either. Not until tides turn; not until science, empathy and common sense re-emerge.

We count ourselves among the fortunate who have some spare (though worry-filled) time on our hands. And with that time we scoured the vaults to bring together this collection of heretofore unreleased or hard-to-find tracks from the Bloodshot gang of wayward music makers - who miss you just as much as you miss them.

It thrills us to share what we found when we rolled up our sleeves and spelunked the catacombs of our ramshackle office (well, we're not sharing everything we found down there; some of it was pretty gross). There's everything from alternate versions to oddball songs that didn't quite fit an album, to cover songs, and more. We've been itching to release a lot of this material since it was archived as "b-sides" or "outtakes," but could never find the right reason or the right time to bring them all together.

And then the shit hit the fan.

Pandemophenia is a thank you to all the fans who have been so supportive during this challenging time. It is something positive to enjoy and something for the artists to share with the world while they're grounded. And, of course, hopefully it'll put some cash in their alarmingly empty pockets.

Getting these artists together on one release, in a time when we can't all be together, is special in and of itself. It's a reminder of the simple, but profound, joys music brings to us, individually, and as members of a missed community.

So, enjoy! Stay safe, stay smart, be well, tip your "bartenders," support independent businesses and artists of all kinds, and take care of yourselves and your neighbors.

We'll see you when this storm passes.
- Your friends at Bloodshot

a0678581517_16.jpg

Pandemophenia track list:

1. Jason Hawk Harris / "I'm Not There Yet"

2. Ruby Boots / "Keeping Me Alive"

3. Banditos / "Keep on Smilin'"

4. Kelly Hogan / "Homewrecker"

5. Ramblin' Deano & Jon Langford / "Quarantine Rock"

6. Murder By Death / "The Moon Is Up"

7. Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers / "This Land Is Your Land"

8. Robbie Fulks / "Seventies Jesus"

9. William Elliott Whitmore / "New Skateboard"

10. Cory Branan / "Wish on the Moon"

11. Jon Langford & Skull Orchard / "Old Devils" (Live at Small Chicago)

12. Barrence Whitfield & the Savages / "Dream of June"

13. Ha Ha Tonka / "Rendezvous"

14. Freakwater / "Frayed and Bare"

15. The Yawpers / "Ace of Spades"

16. Scott H. Biram / "Baby in a Well"

17. ROOKIE / "Hold On Tight (Acoustic)"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:28 AM | Permalink

July 3, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #311: Unless Someone Dies

Sports now really a life and death proposition. Plus: The Washington Appropriators: Coach Loves The Princess Bride; Seeing Red Stars; Q-Anon; COVID Cubbie; Dash Cam; Hubba Bubbles; I'd Tap That; and Beachwood Sports Specials.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #311: Unless Someone Dies

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SHOW NOTES

* 311.

:49: So Much News For So Little Sport.

* Coffman: Your Move, Dan.

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14:35: Coach Loves The Princess Bride.

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22:30: Seeing Red Stars.

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26:26: Is Baseball Back To Stay?

* Coffman: "Things are going forward unless someone dies.

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30:26: Q-Anon.

* Those had to be awfully sharp dishes. We suspect the Deep State.

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38:09: COVID Cubbie.

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39:55: The State Of Play.

* Absurdities and assumptions.

* Wired: Women's Roller Derby Has A Plan For COVID-19, And It Kicks Ass.

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48:17: Dash Cam.

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54:06: Hubba Bubbles.

* Sun-Times: NHL Will Reportedly Reject Chicago, Choose Toronto And Edmonton As Hub Cities.

* Tribune: Chicago May Host Second NBA Bubble.

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57:27: I'd Tap That.

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58:22: Beachwood Sports Specials.

* Wallenstein: Service Time.

* Rutter: Remember The '85 Bears? No, Actually You Don't.

* Mashable: Sorry Internet, Sinbad Never Played A Genie And Shazam Doesn't Exist.

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STOPPAGE: 2:30

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:27 PM | Permalink

On Boredom

At some moment four years ago, author Cal Newport was so bored that he wrote a book.

The book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, was about how to be bored and also more productive.

I read it. It was boring. I was more bored after I read it than before.

But I soon realized that without planning, or structuring activities and even trying to conduct myself productively, I was very good at boredom. Happy, in fact.

Having no expectations is useful because it thwarts life disappointments. But this is not about Seinfeldesque "nothing." It's "something."

Boredom only mimics nothingness but gives you a chance to think. A chance to weigh how others are dealing with their human activity. A way to enjoy solitude. Enjoy the quiet. Or merely exclude the world and live inside your own thoughts, which is a surprisingly rich universe.

The Hunkered Down Universe is worth visiting. It's quiet there.

What you call boredom, I call creative contemplation.

For while what I do always looks to others as if I am bored in their framework, I am hardly ever bored the way they define the word. That's because I don't need others to make the seeming inactivity worthwhile or even defensible.

Reading, writing, and thinking only look boring to those who don't do any of those things. Or sitting under a 50-foot maple tree, and looking at the clouds.

Others exercise and seem to enjoy it. I have found no joy in deliberately sweating.

In fact, the presence of other sweaty people who want to "do things" only gets in the way.

Contemplative boredom is an unappreciated skill. By that I mean those around me did not appreciate doing absolutely nothing and feeling good about it.

"What? Are you just going to SIT there all day?" they would announce as if I had not made my intentions perfectly obvious. Why, yes, I do believe I am just going to sit here, thank you very much.

Without giving myself too much credit, I was the LeBron James of boredom. It came easily to me. I had a natural gift for it.

A year ago, this skill was indistinguishable from other aspects of my special aptitude skillset - laziness, chronic nap-taking, meandering. All are useful in their own ways.

But observers use that term not to hail your ability at a necessary life skill - shocking cruelty by them - but because you were a useless doofus who was absorbing oxygen you didn't deserve. You were wasting life.

But everything is different now.

When the Coronavirus arrived, it was suggested we all wear face masks and steer away from large crowds of people who do things and have ambition.

I needed no big alteration in what I call my "lifestyle." Because I was always a quarantinian by preference.

Just this week, it became apparent even to America, which is that learning-disabled country between Tokyo and Iceland, that being bored is somewhat better than being dead.

This is an insight I understood very early in the pandemic. I needed no threats or exhortations. Large crowds of sweaty, inebriated event-goers never appealed to me, although immersion in that environment seems a basic human right for others.

They raise clenched fists filled with firearms to proclaim their right to contract a deadly disease and give it to as many of their friends as possible. There are actual parties by young Alabamian people designed to do exactly that as a contest.

Want to be really bored? Try being dead for a week or so, just to get used to your new permanent normal. Which is, dead.

Until this week, large portions of America thought COVID-9 killed other invisible unknown people, somewhere else. That was a terrible tragedy, of course. But at least it was somewhere else.

But now the virus has killed off many of the 130,000 most vulnerable, but still, the infections have crept higher to 50,000 a day.

That means every day that thousands of people who thought themselves unreachable because of "good lifestyle" choices, religion, or rural living accommodations must reconsider.

They now have turned out to be more or less not safe.

We have 4 percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of the viral infections. The world will see within two weeks if we can make it across the river, or be consumed by this calamity contagion.

Owing to the human trait to subdivide massive truths into smaller digestible bites, we interpreted COVID-19 as more dangerous for the elderly, the infirm, the already medically impaired and anyone who spends more than 30 minutes a day in an average nursing home.

The illusion of subdivision is an inductive trick because all facts are a probability ranging through virtually sure, most likely, less likely, hardly ever, and never. Applying the spectrum to COVID-19, you naturally enlist in the "hardly ever catches even a minor case" group.

But this is meaningful only if real life actually is a marketing questionnaire.

If you have not realized it, these are dark times for those who need interesting activities to do and wonderful events to attend. The pandemic has sucked this useless energy from the universe and replaced it with thoughtful apprehension.

This happened at just the wrong time for most Americans who have lost both attention span and appreciation for hunkering down. Try leaving your smartphone at home, and see how boredom so easily overwhelms you. The phone is smart, but you are not.

America does not know how to be bored.

Those who not understand the therapeutic, reviving qualities of creative boredom will suffer doubly.

Sort of like running into an ex-spouse at your school reunion. Not only does she look better than you, but she looks better than she did at 20. At these moments, the cost-benefit analysis of plastic surgery does not seem to be so vain and stupid. Actually, vain yes. Stupid, no.

For those inept at boredom, life is replete with these unhappy reminders.

Luckily, I am not only bored but happy to be so. It does not mean I am safe. Only stoic, but at least I am 85 percent safer than you. I wear the damn mask.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

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

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

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

* So Long, Jerry.

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

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

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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

* Gone With The Wind: My Lost Cause.

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

* The Mystery Of Mitch's Missing Motivation.

* Dave's French Foreign Legion Tour Of Chicagoland.

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

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 PM | Permalink

July 2, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

"The Taste of Chicago is back this year as 'Taste of Chicago To-Go' with safe ways to participate in the yearly tradition during the pandemic," Block Club Chicago reports.

I'm not exactly a fan of Taste of Chicago, but this is a decent idea.

Instead of a massive event in Grant Park, this year's Taste - happening virtually between July 8 and 12 - will include community meals hosted by Chicago residents, online cooking classes, and virtual music and dance events.

In early June, the city canceled the Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and every large outdoor event held through Sept. 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eateries participating in this year's festival include a mix of Chicago classics, neighborhood favorites, and food trucks, such as the Billy Goat Tavern, La Cocinita Food Truck, and the Original Rainbow Cone.

The full list of restaurants, their menus, and their preferred method of ordering and food delivery can be found at the Taste of Chicago website.

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I'm not claiming to be the first or only one who said something like this, but . . . well, I can't find where I wrote what I thought I wrote, which was that Chicago ought to consider doing what some folks in Minnesota have done to replace canceled state fair booths. (I got the idea when my brother called me from a Menard's parking lot, where he was enjoying some kind of state fair food or another.)

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Thinking I might have tweeted what I thought I wrote, I came across some archival Taste of Chicago tweets that still hold up (IMHO).

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And: The New And Improved Taste of Chicago.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Your Move, Dan
Defund the racial slurs!

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ChicagoReddit

New study concludes that the official US COVID-19 death toll may be underestimating the true pandemic death burden by 28%, and Illinois's may be 45-60% higher from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

TV Report Of Nina Hagen At The Metro For Estrojam In 2006

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BeachBook

Yes!

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

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Tip it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:53 AM | Permalink

Your Move, Dan

Defund the racial slurs!

It has been obvious for a long, long, long time that the Washington (D.C.) football team should change its name. It is as stupidly obvious as obvious can be, with a heaping helping of obvious and obvious on top.

But one crushingly dimwitted (if not just racist and hateful) individual stands in the way. And while I strive to not include personal insults in my columns, I think starting today I will never again refer to owner Dan Snyder without a personal insult until his football team's goddamned Redskin nickname is changed.

There is news on this front this Thursday morning.

If there is one thing in professional sports that drives me around the bend - as in completely, furiously bonkers - it is the fact that the football team in our nation's capital continues to call itself what it calls itself. And that was before the post-George Floyd reckoning. Now that nickname is a boil that absolutely, positively, must be lanced.

Dan, you vomitous mass, change the name.

That's another thing. I'm not just going to use personal insults, I'm going to use personal insults from one of my favorite movies of all time, The Princess Bride. And yes it is as lily white a movie as a movie can be. I just want to acknowledge that here and then hopefully we can move on for now.

So Dan, you warthog-faced buffoon, be aware that we sports fans have seen amazing things happen in past few weeks. We have seen NASCAR convincingly condemn racism in the strongest terms and then disinvite the Confederate flag from its events forevermore.

We have watched as star Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill announced that he would no longer play for the team if the state flag wasn't changed. (Way to leverage the South's attachment to college football to beat down the South's attachment to celebrating the Confederacy, Kylin!)

The Mississippi state government, which had schemed for decades to keep the Confederate flag as a part of its flag, then took all of a weekend to devise and pass a plan to make the big change. And on Monday of this week the previous state flag, which had paid obvious tribute to the racist, treasonous Confederacy, came down for the last time.

This past week the Washington football team was forced by the District of Columbia government to remove a monument celebrating George Preston Marshall, the original owner of the team, from the site of RFK Stadium.

Let's always remember that Marshall wasn't just a racist, he was a happy, hateful racist. He loved the fact that his team was a racial slur. When the other owners of other teams in the league, pushed by uber-commissioner Pete Rozelle, decided to finally integrate in the early '60s, Marshall refused to go along. But even that nightmare of a man knew when he was boxed in and he began to draft Black players in 1962. Marshall was the guy who made the racist connection between an anti-Native American slur and all anti-Blackness clear.

In a league where just a month ago, the otherwise crushingly incompetent Roger Goodell grew a backbone and issued a straightforward statement that he and the NFL had been wrong to react to Colin Kaepernick's protest of the national anthem the way they did, Snyder has nowhere to go. Literally.

As longtime non-voting DC congresswoman Eleanor Norton Holmes pointed out last week, the only centrally-located site (i.e., convenient to fans from the district, Virginia and Maryland) that is even a little bit feasible for a new Washington football team stadium is on the site of the old RFK Stadium in the district. And the district ain't letting the racial slurs in unless the name changes.

There is only one path toward redemption for you Dan! It is to call a press conference, work up a little fake emotion and announce that you have seen the light! You will change the name!

More remarkable things have happened. Just in the last week.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

July 1, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Civil rights advocates and some criminologists are panning a Chicago plan to arrest teenagers on 'drug corners' this week to keep them from inflaming the city's traditional July 4 gun-violence surge," WBEZ reports.

First, the civil rights advocates and some criminologists are right.

Second, I'm glad WBEZ specified who is panning the plan instead of just using the catch-all "critics," which tends to, in my mind, diminish those voices and make them subservient to "officials."

But on with the story.

"Police Superintendent David Brown, announcing the plan during a Monday news conference, said teens are often paid to carry guns at drug-retail locations because they can face lighter penalties and said they are getting out of jail too quickly after their arrest."

I'm under 18, I won't be doing any ti-yee-ime.

"Brown said he is asking Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Chief Judge Timothy Evans to make sure these teens remain in jail over the holiday weekend."

I understand the impulse, and rounding up the usual suspects before holiday weekends isn't new. It may even help. It also is likely unconstitutional.

"Our endgame is arrests for the precursors to violence," Brown said. "Every day we're going to be clearing drug corners to protect these young people from the violence. But when we clear the corner, we're pleading with the court systems: Keep them in jail through the weekend."

That makes me quite uncomfortable. Isn't Brown asking the courts to deviate from standard practice?

"Civil rights advocates said Brown's plan amounts to punishing pre-trial defendants who are supposed to be presumed innocent."

And:

"Foxx's office, asked whether it will heed Brown and ask judges to order 'drug corner' teens to be held through the weekend, e-mailed a statement that says Illinois law does not allow prosecutors to make such a request."

Maybe they do things different in Dallas, but even a new police chief should have been advised as such.

Plus:

Karen Sheley, an attorney with the ACLU of Illinois, said Brown's plan resembles the summer holiday approaches of past superintendents: "We have heard this all before - that young men should be in jail for their own safety."

Where is the innovation? Where are the new ideas? Isn't there another way to keep folks occupied instead of throwing them in jail?

"This is a terrible idea in the best of times," Sheley said, referring to COVID-19's spread in Cook County Jail this spring. "In the midst of a pandemic, it could be a death sentence for these young men or members of their family on release."

Oh yeah, the pandemic. Maybe Phase 4 allows for more people to get infected in our jails and prisons.

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And where is the mayor in all this?

"Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a Monday news conference said she communicates with Brown on a daily basis. But her office did not immediately respond whether she backs Brown's plan to sweep up teens from drug corners before the weekend."

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"Police Superintendent David Brown apparently doesn't like it when people suggest that he hasn't been in Chicago long enough to grasp the violence that has plagued our city for decades," Dahleen Glanton writes for the Tribune.

"I keep hearing . . . 'you are new here,'" he said at a news conference Monday where he revealed his plan to curb shootings during the typically deadly Fourth of July weekend. "I will never accept . . . this level of violence, never."

We hear you, Superintendent Brown.

That's exactly how many Chicagoans feel every time he holds a news conference and tells us what we already know. The last thing we need is a police superintendent who acts as though people don't understand the violence they live with day in and day out.

As I basically said on this podcast, Brown is still hayseed enough to say look who's in the big town.

(Don't blame me, I voted Cato!)

Glanton:

"There is no doubt that Brown, who has been on the job a little over two months, has good intentions. It is questionable, though, whether he has any fresh ideas."

Hey, I just said that!

"So far, we haven't heard anything new. Week after week, Brown has taken to the podium following a weekend of unbridled violence and regurgitated the same tired lines Chicago police superintendents have been feeding us for years."

Yup. And next week, he and the mayor will tell us how the violence we'll have just seen is "unacceptable."

We need bigger ideas, y'all.

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Go read the rest of Glanton. She pretty much nails it.

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Meanwhile . . .

"As the number of murders in Chicago soared in June, there was a huge slowdown of police activity that the police union blames on rock-bottom morale among cops and distrust of Mayor Lori Lightfoot," the Sun-Times reports.

Given what's going on in the country right now, I don't doubt that police morale could be at "rock-bottom." On the other hand, if I had time this morning I would do an archival dig for "low police morale" and document how we've heard about it every year for decades. Assignment Desk, activate!

Besides that, the villain here is police union president John Catanzara, who remains suspended from duty (again), and is hardly a credible source.

"I'm not telling them not to do police work," Catanzara said of his members. "But I hope they just slow down and decide 'Is this necessary?' before they do it."

Read one way, that's something we've begged for for years. Read the way Catanzara means it, though, is an admission of advising dereliction of duty.

It's also not clear at all that there's been an intentional slow down of police work, as the article does consider, given that the coronavirus lockdown has put fewer people on the street, in bars and businesses, and so on.

But the Sun-Times is quite happy to amplify Catanzara's voice because he'll say outrageous things and criticize the mayor, and that means conflict and quotes and bingo! Another lazy day at work for the self-proclaimed hardest-working newspaper in America.

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See also the item Brown Blunder. From corridors to corners!

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Forces Taxpayers To Pay For Religious Schooling 😠
'This Court has been opening a hole up in Thomas Jefferson's Wall of Separation between church and state. Now they've built a two-lane highway through that hole, inviting churches to raid the public treasury and drive gleefully away with taxpayer money."

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The Legacy Of Racism For Children
"Now more than ever is the time to learn from social science as we change the legal system to be equitable for all."

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

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The Weird Backstory To M*A*S*H's Theme Song
In remembrance of composer Johnny Mandel.

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The Chagall Windows
One of the Art Institute's most beloved treasures.

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ChicagoReddit

Tell me again why it's against the law to buy alcohol after 9pm, but I'm free to go to a bar and buy it? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass - Gateway Classic Cars #1762 Chicago

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

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The Beachwood Fripp Line: Fripp it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

Remembering M*A*S*H Theme Song Composer Johnny Mandel

"Johnny Mandel, who composed and arranged for some of the leading big bands of the 1940s and '50s before establishing himself as a writer of memorable movie scores and themes like 'The Shadow of Your Smile,' 'Emily' and 'Suicide Is Painless,' died on Monday at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 94," the New York Times reports.

"Mike Altman, the teenage son of Robert Altman, the director of M*A*S*H . . . wrote the words for "Suicide Is Painless," Mr. Mandel told JazzWax, after his father tried writing them himself but decided, "I can't write anything nearly as stupid as what we need."

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The original version from the movie:

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via JazzWax:

JW: How did you work on the project?

JM: I was brought in before the movie was even shot, which was highly unusual. In most cases, you're the Mash last one in the line to see the film when scoring it. So Bob and I were sitting around getting rather ripped one night. Bob said to me, "You know, I need a song for the film. It's that Last Supper scene, after the guy says he'd going to do himself with a pill because his life is over, because couldn't get it up with the WAC the night before." I said, "A song for that?" He said, "Yeah, that Last Supper scene where the guy climbs into the casket and everybody walks around the box dropping in things like scotch, Playboy and other stuff to see him into the next world. There's just dead air there."

JW: But if I recall, the scene features just a guy singing with an acoustic guitar.

JM: Right. Bob said, "We've got one guy in the shot who can sing and there's another guy who knows three chords on the guitar so we can't use an orchestra." Bob also said the song had to be called Suicide Is Painless. "Since [Capt.] Painless commits suicide with a pill, that would be a good title," he said. Then he said, "It's got to be the stupidest song ever written."

JW: What went through your mind?

JM: I said to myself, "Well I can do stupid." Bob was going to take a shot at the lyrics. But he came back two days later and said, "I'm sorry but there's just too much stuff in this 45-year-old brain. I can't write anything nearly as stupid as what we need."

JW: So who wrote the lyrics?

JM: Bob said, "All is not lost. I've got a 15-year-old kid who's a total idiot." So Michael Altman, at age 15, wrote the lyrics, and then I wrote the music to them. It was the first scene in the movie that they were going to shoot. They had to have the song for it as a pre-record, so the actor could mouth the words, allowing for a dub later.

JW: So if you had seen the movie before composing Suicide, the song that has become so famous would likely have turned out quite differently, and perhaps not nearly as endearing.

JM: Oh sure, it's quite possible.

JW: When you gave them the song, what did Bob think?

JM: He loved it. In fact, he loved it so much that they started trying it over the title credits.

JW: What did you think?

JM: I said, "You guys are crazy. It doesn't fit." You have these army medic helicopters flying in a war zone with this soft melody playing. It felt odd. But I wasn't Picture_1_2 about to get into a fight over it. So I left the screening room. Sure enough, when I saw the film, the song was used over the opening credits. Then it was used on the TV series in 1972.

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The TV show version:

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via Songfacts:

"Marilyn Manson covered this in 2000 as the theme for the sequel to the movie The Blair Witch Project. Manson said this is 'More depressing and offensive than anything I've ever written.'"

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Manic Street Preachers version:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:46 AM | Permalink

The Chagall Windows

"Marc Chagall's America Windows is one of the most beloved treasures in our vast collection. First debuting at the Art Institute in 1977 and made forever famous less than 10 years later by an appearance in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the 'Chagall Windows,' as they are more popularly known, hold a special place in the hearts of Chicagoans."


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From Wikipedia:

"Marc Chagall (born Moïche Zakharovitch Chagalov, 6 July [O.S. 24 June] 1887 - 28 March 1985) was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin.

"An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in a wide range of artistic formats, including painting, drawings, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic tapestries and fine art prints.

"Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as 'the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century' (though Chagall saw his work as 'not the dream of one people but of all humanity').

"According to art historian Michael J. Lewis, Chagall was considered to be 'the last survivor of the first generation of European modernists.'

"For decades, he 'had also been respected as the world's pre-eminent Jewish artist.'

"Using the medium of stained glass, he produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, windows for the UN and the Art Institute of Chicago and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel.

"He also did large-scale paintings, including part of the ceiling of the Paris Opéra."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:51 AM | Permalink

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Forces Taxpayers To Pay For Religious Schooling 😠

The Center for Inquiry condemns Tuesday's Supreme Court's ruling in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue for forcing American taxpayers to pay for religious indoctrination, gutting the protections in both the United States Constitution and in No Aid Provisions of three-quarters of state constitutions that forbid the use of taxpayer dollars for religious purposes.

"This Court has been opening a hole up in Thomas Jefferson's Wall of Separation between church and state," said Nick Little, Vice President and Legal Director of the Center for Inquiry, an organization that advances reason, science, and secularism. "Now they've built a two-lane highway through that hole, inviting churches to raid the public treasury and drive gleefully away with taxpayer money."

In 2015, Montana enacted a tax credit voucher program whereby taxpayers received a credit for donating money to Student Scholarship Organizations, which would fund scholarships for students attending private schools.

As the overwhelming majority of private schools in Montana (and across the country) are religious, and the Montana Constitution, Article X, Section 6, specifically bans the use of tax dollars for religious education, the Montana Department of Revenue adopted Rule 1, stating that the vouchers could not be used to pay for religious education provided by religious schools. Parents at religious schools sued.

The Montana Supreme Court in 2018 found that such support for religious schools would violate the Montana Constitution and struck down the entire program, preventing the vouchers being used at any private school, religious or not. Despite the fact that the program no longer exists, the Supreme Court nonetheless agreed to review the ruling.

"Let's be clear about what just happened: The Supreme Court has decided that atheist taxpayers are now required to fund religious schools," said Robyn Blumner, CFI's President and CEO. "Members of non-Christian faiths are now required to fund Christian education. The religious right has gotten exactly what it wanted from Trump's justices: the erasure of a fundamental principle of American law, that no person shall be forced to participate in religious expression by subsidizing religious education."

"This ruling sets us on a dark, theocratic path," continued Nick Little. "The Founders made clear that the public purse must not fund religious activities, especially education. Now, with this ruling, it not only can fund them, but it is compelled to."

In November 2019, CFI joined an amicus brief supporting the Montana Department of Revenue in upholding Montana's constitutional separation of church and state. CFI is also a proud member of the National Coalition for Public Education, which vocally opposes all forms of private school voucher legislation in the U.S. Congress. In June 2020, CFI joined a diverse coalition urging congressional leadership to strike language in COVID-19 relief legislation that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had used to divert emergency education funds to a private voucher scheme.

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See also:
* New York Times: Supreme Court Gives Religious Schools More Access to State Aid.

* Washington Post: Supreme Court Says States That Subsidize Private Education Must Include Religious Schools.

* Education Dive: Despite Espinoza Decision's 'Seismic Shock' To Public Schools, Context May Vary By State.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

The Legacy of Racism for Children

The extent of discriminatory treatment Black adults and children experience at every point of contact within the legal system and the biases that result in Black children's behavior being managed more harshly in school are detailed in two new analyses from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Their findings are published in the forthcoming book The Legacy of Racism for Children: Psychology, Law, and Public Policy.

The book explores the challenges that racial minority children face due to racism within U.S. law and public policy, from early life experiences to teenage years, and offers recommendations for informed policy and lawmaking. The book is co-edited by Bette L. Bottoms, UIC professor of psychology; Kelly Burke, UIC Ph.D. candidate in psychology; and Margaret Stevenson of the University of Evansville.

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"Recent events have rightfully brought more attention to the ways in which Blacks face discrimination in our legal system," Burke said. "Now more than ever is the time to learn from social science as we change the legal system to be equitable for all."

Beginning with the first point of contact in the legal system - the police - racial disparities are evident in officers' decisions to stop, arrest and use force, write the book's co-editors and others in the chapter "Adults' Perceptions of Law-Involved Minority Children and Youth: Implications for Researchers and Professionals."

They report that prosecutors are more likely to seek the death penalty and defense attorneys are more likely to recommend plea deals resulting in more punitive outcomes for Black defendants in comparison to white defendants. Racial minority youth are more likely to be transferred from juvenile court into adult criminal court, making them less likely to receive rehabilitation-oriented services. At trial, judges and jurors are more likely to recommend harsher sentences and verdicts for Black defendants.

Burke notes that racial bias is not limited to offenders.

"When a victim is Black, versus white, police officers are less likely to make an arrest, prosecutors are less likely to seek the death penalty, and jurors are less punitive toward offenders," she said.

The chapter's authors, which also include Tayler Jones of UIC, Taylor Petty of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Gent Silberkleit of University of California-Davis, reviewed psychological research to understand why racial disparities exist, beginning with racial stereotypes.

Legal actors, such as police and jurors, are more likely to associate Blacks with crime and to perceive Black youth as older and more mature than white youth. They suggest that these stereotypes lead individuals to perceive Blacks, even children, as more threatening and culpable, resulting in harsher outcomes.

"Stereotypes that associate Black women and girls with promiscuity can explain why jurors are more likely to blame Black victims of sexual assault compared to white victims," Burke said. "Beyond this, Blacks are disadvantaged by institutional and systemic racism, which contributes to inadequate access to proper legal defense."

For Black children, experiences with school discipline are often not an opportunity to learn, they are a pathway into the criminal justice system, according to UIC's Kate Zinsser.

The chapter she co-authored with Shannon B. Wanless of the University of Pittsburgh details implicit and explicit biases that result in Black children's behavior being managed more harshly, perceived as more dangerous, and more often deemed sufficient to justify expulsion in comparison to their white peers.

"There are formal and informal pathways for removal, starting in preschool, and the consequences for Black children, in particular, are stark," said Zinsser, UIC associate professor of psychology. "Policies often allow racial disproportionality in the school-to-prison pipeline to be ignored, or even facilitated."

Zinsser and Wanless offer some ways that schools, districts, and teacher preparation programs can undo the school-to-prison pipeline, such as increasing educator knowledge and skills in a professional learning community, providing holistic supports to teachers, and enhancing preservice teacher preparation.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

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