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« January 2018 | Main

February 23, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #189: Stevie Sunshine's Gold

Bullyproofing racists. Plus: Olympic Gold; The Collapse Of College Basketball?; The Cubs Are Set!; Bulls Tank You Very Much; Sad Blackhawks Season Gets Sadder; and Sitton Spin.


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SHOW NOTES

* 189.

* Those ESPN commercials.

* Scythe.

* Going up?

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1:30: Stevie Sunshine's Good Deed.

* Black Chicago Blackhawk Reacts To Racist Blackhawks Fans.

* Rosenbloom: Thanks, Blackhawks Fans And Tribune Readers.

* Bullyproofing: See the items Calling All Victims and Woolly Bully.

* Eig: Violent, Unhappy And Brief - The Life Of A School Bully.

* The PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.

* "Some people are still not used to the notion that protest is an act of patriotism."

* A Long History Of Protest For Black Athletes.

18:15: Olympic Gold.

* Additional video here.

* Team USA's 'Rejects' Are Ready To Win Curling Gold.

* New York Times: Can a Canadian Carry Off Bollywood Style? Justin Trudeau Finds Out.

* New York Times: U.S. Ends Cross-Country Drought With Gold Medal. (Video here; go to 4:00 for the final push.)

* Here Comes Diggins!

* New Yorker: How Much Yelling Do We Need In Our Olympics Coverage?

* America's biathlon.

* Are Virtue And Moir Fucking Or What?

From December:

* Ice dance gold.

* It's Been A Milestone Olympics For Openly Gay Athletes.

* CNBC: Olympic Skier Who Became An Internet Sensation For Mediocrity: I Didn't Scam My Way Into The Games.

38:26: The Collapse Of College Basketball?

* Yahoo: Exclusive: Federal Documents Detail Sweeping Potential NCAA Violations Involving High-Profile Players, Schools.

* Related: Many Athletes Who Chase Olympic Glory Face Harsh Financial Reality.

43:26: The Cubs Are Set!

* Tribune: Ben Zobrist Feels Good About His Health.

(Then misses three workouts with a back.)

* BenZo!

* Leading off.

* Lester misses Lackey.

* Darvish overly impresses new teammates.

* Haugh: Out Of Thin Air, Tyler Chatwood Hardly A Fifth Wheel For The Cubs.

1:06:10: Bulls Tank You Very Much.

* CBS Sports: The Bulls Pulled Off An All-Time Tanking Loss Thursday Against The Sixers.

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 5.57.28 PM.png

1:08:01: Sad Blackhawks Season Gets Sadder.

1:08:52: Sitton Spin.

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STOPPAGE: 11:08

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:06 PM | Permalink

February 22, 2018

The Paradise Papers: 'Africa's Satellite' Avoided Millions Using A Very African Tax Scheme

Another week, another story of a project that was supposed to help Africa, but a tax scheme that did the opposite. We've published a story on a satellite, launched in 2011, which was touted as a communications and development boon for the continent.

But, that's in stark contrast to its tax strategy. A PowerPoint presentation from the Paradise Papers reveals the company would earn $936 million over 17 years, but never pay taxes above $300,000. That's thanks to some clever tax maneuvers and offshore companies in Mauritius - one of the continent's premier tax havens.

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Previously in The Paradise Papers:

* 'Paradise Papers' Reveal Tax Avoidance, Shady Dealings Of World's Rich And Powerful.

* Just How Much Money Is Held Offshore? Hint: A SHIT-TON.

* Development Dreams Lost In The Offshore World.

* Keeping Offshore 'Hush Hush,' But Why?

* Tax Havens Are Alive With The Sound Of Music.

* Today In Tax Avoidance Of The Ultra-Wealthy.

* Go To Town With This Offshore Leaks Database.

* The Paradise Papers: The View From Africa And Asia.

* The Paradise Papers: The End Of Elusion For PokerStars.

* The Paradise Papers: An Odd Call From The Bermuda Government.

* The Paradise Papers: Nevis Is An Offshore Haven Of Opportunity

* The Paradise Papers: The Long Twilight Struggle Against Offshore Secrecy.

* The Paradise Papers: A Fair Tax System Will Be Lost Without Public Pressure.

* Item: Today In The Paradise Papers: Through Death Threats And Scare Tactics, Honduran Reporter 'Perseveres.'

* The Paradise Papers: Journalists Flee Venezuela To Publish Investigation.

* Last Stop: Chicago.

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Previously in The Panama Papers:

* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Previously in tax scammage:

* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

* Study: 32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies Holding At Least $147 Billion Offshore.

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

* When A 'Tax Bonanza' Is Actually A Huge Corporate Tax Break.

* The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare: It's Bigger Than Trump.

* Oxfam Names World's Worst Tax Havens Fueling 'Global Race To Bottom.'

* Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Small Business $5,789 A Year.

* State Tax Incentives To Corporations Don't Work.

* GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 Of America's Largest Corporations A $236 Billion Tax Cut.

* Triumph Of The Oligarchs.

* Amazon Short-List Proves Something "Deeply Wrong" With America's Race-To-The-Bottom Economy.

* Apple's $38 Billion Tax Payment Less Than Half Of $79 Billion They Owe.

* U.S. Surpasses Cayman Islands To Become Second-Largest Tax Haven On Earth.

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Previously in carried interest, aka The Billionaire's Loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

* The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So).

* Fact-Checking Trump & Clinton On The Billionaire's Tax Break.

* Despite Trump Campaign Promise, Billionaires' Tax Loophole Survives Again.

* Carried Interest Reform Is a Sham.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 AM | Permalink

RECALL! Triple T Chicken Salad

Triple T Specialty Meats, an Ackley, Iowa establishment, is recalling approximately 20,630 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken salad products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium.

The ready-to-eat chicken salad items were produced on various dates between Jan, 2, 2018 and Feb. 7, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:

  • 3,950 lbs. of two 5 lb. bags with "CHICKEN SALAD, PACKED FOR FAREWAY WHOLESALE COMPANY" on the label with a pack date of 01/02/18.
  • 1,250 lbs. of two 5 lb. bags with "CHICKEN SALAD, PACKED FOR FAREWAY WHOLESALE COMPANY" on the label with a pack date of 01/03/18.
  • 3,700 lbs. of two 5 lb. bags with "CHICKEN SALAD, PACKED FOR FAREWAY WHOLESALE COMPANY" on the label with a pack date of 01/12/18.
  • 2,010 lbs. of two 5 lb. bags with "CHICKEN SALAD, PACKED FOR FAREWAY WHOLESALE COMPANY" on the label with a pack date of 01/19/18.
  • 3,660 lbs. of two 5 lb. bags with "CHICKEN SALAD, PACKED FOR FAREWAY WHOLESALE COMPANY" on the label with a pack date of 01/24/18.
  • 2,770 lbs. of two 5 lb. bags with "CHICKEN SALAD, PACKED FOR FAREWAY WHOLESALE COMPANY" on the label with a pack date of 01/31/18.
  • 3,290 lbs. of two 5 lb. bags with "CHICKEN SALAD, PACKED FOR FAREWAY WHOLESALE COMPANY" on the label with a pack date of 02/07/18.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number "P-21011" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to Fareway grocery stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

On February 9, 2018, FSIS was notified by health officials in Iowa of an investigation of Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses. The Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory determined that there is a link between the chicken salad from Triple T Specialty Meats and this outbreak.

Based on epidemiological investigation, 37 confirmed case-patients have been identified in Iowa, with illness onset dates ranging from January 14, 2018 to February 6, 2018. Results are pending on whether the outbreak strain is resistant to antibiotics.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and Department of Public Health issued a joint Consumer Advisory Issued for Chicken Salad Purchased at Fareway grocery stores on February 13, 2018, advising consumers to throw away any remaining chicken salad product. The chicken salad product subject to recall was purchased from January 4, 2018 to February 9, 2018 in various weight containers from the deli sections in Fareway grocery stores.

FSIS continues to work with state and federal health officials to determine if there are additional illnesses linked to this product, including illnesses in states outside of Iowa. This product was sold at Fareway grocery stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. FSIS will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume chicken salad that has been cooked to a temperature of 165° F. The only way to confirm that chicken salad is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.

Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Jolene Heikens, chief executive officer of Triple T Specialty Meats, at (641) 847-0031.

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Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov.

The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

NOTE: Access news releases and other information at FSIS' website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Follow FSIS on Twitter at twitter.com/usdafoodsafety or in Spanish at: twitter.com/usdafoodsafe_es.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:26 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

I just got my health insurance reinstated after a glitch by the State of Illinois, so I'm gonna go use it.

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Also:


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New on the Beachwood today . . .

RECALL! Triple T Chicken Salad
Regarding items shipped to Fareway grocery stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

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The Paradise Papers: 'Africa's Satellite' Avoided Millions Using A Very African Tax Scheme
A PowerPoint presentation reveals a company that would earn $936 million over 17 years but never pay taxes above $300,000.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Spice Girls, 2008.

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BeachBook

Study: Cops Weigh Chances Of Conviction Before Arresting Rape Suspects.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Teenage daydream.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:40 AM | Permalink

February 21, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who has served in Congress since 1993, was poised to run and win again in the Chicago-centered 4th Congressional District - until, suddenly, he wasn't," the Tribune says in an endorsement editorial.

"In late November, at the start of the brief window in which primary candidates file to run, Gutierrez announced his retirement and his preferred successor: Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia, a Cook County Board member and former candidate for Chicago mayor.

"Here was a do-si-do in the Chicago political style: Pick your guy while making it tough for other would-be candidates who'd have to scramble to file. Meanwhile, should Garcia win, Mayor Rahm Emanuel no longer would need to worry about Garcia challenging him in 2019.

"These insider handoffs rob voters of choices, or attempt to. It's not a good look for Gutierrez or Garcia."

You know who else this isn't a good look for? The Tribune editorial page!

Why? Because just before (rightly) excoriating Gutierrez and Garcia, they endorsed Dan Lipinski, who was bequeathed his seat by his father in an even more odorous maneuver than the one by Luis and Chuy.

"In 2004, Lipinski's father ran for renomination in the Democratic primary," Wikipedia recalls. "After easily winning the nomination, the elder Lipinski announced his retirement. As the Democratic committeeman for Chicago's 23rd Ward - which is virtually coextensive with the Chicago portion of the 3rd - he was able to persuade the state Democratic Party to select his son to replace him on the ballot. The move was somewhat controversial; not only had the younger Lipinski not lived regularly in Illinois since 1989 and never run for elected office before, but it allowed him to sidestep the Democratic primary - the real contest in this heavily Democratic district."

Stick around long enough - and vote Republican half the time while pretending to be a Democrat - and the Tribune will forget all about how you got there in the first place.

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"Lipinski and his district have been a good fit for a long time, and we like his thoughtful, independent approach. Lipinski is endorsed."

A good fit indeed, if by good fit one means fitting well with the traditional style of politics done there.

"In the eight years since he opened a lobbying practice, former U.S. Rep. Bill Lipinski's one-man firm has been paid $4 million by clients with issues before the U.S. House transportation committee on which his son, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Illinois, serves, records show," the BGA reported in 2016.

"The younger Lipinski is the senior Illinois representative on the 59-member committee that decides federal funding and policy crucial to transportation agencies and private companies such as railroads."

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As far as Chuy's race goes, the second he put his arm around Gutierrez is the second he lost me - though I was far less impressed with his 2105 mayoral campaign than some others; to me, Chuy managing to get into a runoff showed just how vulnerable Rahm Emanuel was - and probably never will be again.

So I actually agree with the Trib on this:

"While Gutierrez was playing succession politics with Garcia, other candidates jumped into the race, though most faded. The best still standing is Sol A. Flores, executive director of La Casa Norte, a nonprofit group in Humboldt Park. She built it into an 80-employee organization that delivers housing and social services to homeless families and victims of domestic abuse. It currently is building a community center that includes a federally funded health care center . . . We like Flores' background and enthusiasm. Flores is endorsed. Mark Wayne Lorch of Riverside is unopposed on the Republican side."

Note: I don't vote in primaries; I don't believe journalists should take part in party activities, like choosing a nominee. But that doesn't mean I don't have preferences.

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New on today's Beachwood . . .

Archer Bunker On Gun Control
Case closed!

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On This Day In . . .

2017: Aldermen want a piece of Rahm's bait-and-switch property tax rebate slush fund.

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2014: Exclusive! Inside Rahm's offer to Jimmy Fallon.

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2014: Northwestern is a university, dammit, not a place for inquiry!

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2013: So Jesse Jr. and Sandi Jackson are sitting at the kitchen table one night . . .

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2012: BREAKING: "Rahm Aide Calls The Policies Of Obama's Education Secretary A Failure."

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ChicagoTube

We're all Costanza.

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BeachBook

There's A Persistent Hum In This Canadian City And No One Knows Why.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Out of this hole.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:40 AM | Permalink

Archie Bunker On Gun Control

"Good evening, everybody. This here is Archie Bunker of 704 Hauser Street, veteran of the big war, speaking on behalf of guns for everybody. Now, question: What was the first thing that the Communists done when they took over Russia? Answer: Gun control. And there's a lot of people in this country want to do the same thing to us here in a kind of conspiracy, see. You take your big international bankers, they want to - whaddya call - masticate the people of this here nation like puppets on the wing, and then when they get their guns, turn us over to the Commies . . . "



" . . . Now I want to talk about another thing that's on everybody's minds today, and that's your stick-ups and your skyjackings, and which, if that were up to me, I could end the skyjackings tomorrow. All you gotta do is arm all your passengers. He ain't got no more moral superiority there, and he ain't gonna dare to pull out no rod. And then your airlines, they wouldn't have to search the passengers on the ground no more, they just pass out the pistols at the beginning of the trip, and they just pick them up at the end! Case closed."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

February 20, 2018

Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore'

"An extended discussion on Sinclair Broadcasting's 'Project Baltimore,' an investigative project that looks for flaws in the public school system - without addressing the root causes - and pushes for privatization."


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See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

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Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

* Trump's FCC Chair Continues To Shaft The Public, Offer Major Handouts To Big Media.

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

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

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:18 AM | Permalink

Chicago In The Rockies

Magical shows at the magical Caribou Ranch, where more than 150 artists recorded some very well-known albums. Chicago recorded five there.

1. With special guest star Al Green in 1973.


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Back at the ranch in 1974.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 AM | Permalink

Writing's Power To Deceive

When I was researching and writing my new book, The Gist of Reading, I wanted to explore long-held assumptions about reading and how we process what we read.

Some of these assumptions have changed through time. For example, as novels became popular in the 18th century, many warned that they were dangerous and had the potential to cultivate ignorance and immorality in readers, especially female ones.

Today, many would consider that view antiquated. People probably think that reading a narrative - fiction or otherwise - might be able to influence a reader's opinions or personal beliefs. But their prior knowledge of real-world facts should be safe.

For example, readers might read a story in which a character mentions in passing that Hillary Clinton, rather than Donald Trump, won the 2016 election. This shouldn't influence readers' ability to quickly respond that Trump was the real winner, right?

And yet I came across a substantial amount of psychology work that has demonstrated how reading stories - both nonfiction and fiction - has a powerful ability to distort readers' prior knowledge.

Did George Washington Really Become President?

In psychologist Richard Gerrig's 1989 study Suspense in the Absence of Uncertainty, Gerrig developed short, nonfictional narratives about well-known events, such as the election of George Washington as president of the United States, that he gave to participants.

Some participants read a version of the narrative that foregrounded facts that made it doubtful Washington would become the president; others read a narrative that made his presidency seem likely.

Readers who read the doubtful version took longer to verify that he had indeed become president (or to recognize that a sentence denying that he had become president was not true).

Even though they knew Washington eventually became president, simply reading a very short narrative had enough power to make readers significantly less sure of what they already knew.

While Gerrig's experiment presented readers with nonfictional stories about real events, another study demonstrated that reading a short fictional story containing falsehoods presented as facts can make readers more likely to treat them as facts, even if readers have previously shown that they know the truth.

In the study, participants took an online survey that quizzed them on their world knowledge - for example, identifying the world's largest ocean (the Pacific) - and then had them rate how confident they were in their answer.

Two weeks later, the same participants read two fictional stories and were warned that these stories might contain some false information. The stories actually contained inaccurate versions of the very facts that the readers had been tested on two weeks earlier. For example, in one story, a character (incorrectly) mentioned, in passing, that the Indian Ocean was the world's largest.

After reading the stories, the participants took the same world knowledge test they had taken two weeks earlier. The inaccurate information turned out to have a serious effect: Readers did worse on the world knowledge test after reading the stories than they had done two weeks before. In particular, questions they had gotten right two weeks earlier they now got wrong - even for the questions that they had answered most confidently on the earlier test.

And remember: All of this happened despite the fact that readers had been explicitly told that the stories would contain inaccurate information.

Pushing Back Against Misinformation

Given our struggle to discern misinformation from fiction, psychologists have been interested in exploring how it to combat it. It seems especially vital to develop strategies that make people smarter about what they are gleaning from what they read, and to encourage ways to become more skeptical.

In a 2016 article, psychologist David N. Rapp outlines how to defeat, or at least reduce, the misinformation effect.

Rapp describes four key strategies that have proven especially effective. First, when readers actively tag information as accurate or inaccurate while they read, inaccuracies lose much of their effect. It's not enough to know that something you read is incorrect: Unless you actively tag it as wrong while reading it, you may suffer the misinformation effect.

Second, the further removed fiction is from everyday reality, the less vulnerable readers are to believe false facts that may be embedded in it. Rapp and his colleagues found that misinformation in fantasy stories had much less effect on readers' knowledge than misinformation in more realistic stories. Rapp argues that this could mean readers are able to compartmentalize their response to fiction. Fantasy stories like The Hobbit probably have less of an ability to alter real-world knowledge than, say, a piece of historical fiction, like Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, which is grounded in historical events but nonetheless riddled with historical inaccuracies.

Third, Rapp found that some inaccuracies are so flagrant that readers do notice them. They may be persuaded that St. Petersburg, rather than Moscow, is the capital of Russia, but it's much harder to persuade them that Russia's capital is Brasilia. Brasilia is just too different from anything that readers associate with Russia to make it a convincing capital.

Finally - and perhaps most importantly in today's climate of "fake news" - readers may be sensitive to the authority of a source. False facts from a generally credible source seem to have more effect than false facts from a disreputable one. The challenge, of course, is that what counts as a credible source to one reader may count as the opposite to another reader.

I find all these psychological experiments telling precisely because they generally avoid having participants read about hot-button issues that may make them feel defensive or partisan.

The traditional suspicion of fiction arose from its ability to excite and engage. Yet the materials in these experiments are comparatively dry - and the fictional information was nonetheless able to cast a spell on the reader.

In other words, even without emotional appeals, by warping the most neutral of facts, readers can easily be persuaded to question or even reverse what they already know.

Such work underscores more than ever that suspicion of reading is not entirely ungrounded. Today, not only is the Internet filled with dubious information but there are also deliberate attempts to spread misinformation via social media channels. In this era of "fake news," scrutinizing the sources of our knowledge has become more critical than ever.

Andrew Elfenbein is an English professor at the University of Minnesota. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 AM | Permalink

Black Chicago Blackhawk Reacts To Racist Blackhawks Fans

"The Blackhawks have banned four fans from their home games for directing racist taunts toward Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly," AP reports. "The Blackhawks also apologized to Smith-Pelly and the Capitals."

The incident:

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Smith-Pelly:

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The Blackhawks' Anthony Duclair:

"How do I feel? I mean, like, we have some Blackhawks fans that think a certain way. If they're Blackhawks fans, they would know there is a black hockey player on the team.

"It's obviously a white sport, and you just want to go out there and compete. There's obviously some ignorant people in this world, so you have to deal with that."

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"Every black hockey player has been through this."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The national beverage industry is gearing up to donate to - or help fundraise for - Cook County Commissioners who backed the repeal of the soda tax, replenishing its political war chest in recent weeks and co-hosting an event on Wednesday in River North," the Sun-Times reports.

"The PAC will be endorsing candidates," said Tarrah Cooper, a spokesman for the beverage industry 'Citizens for a More Affordable Cook County' political action committee.

First, can we at least call Tarrah a "spokeswoman?" Even better, "spokesperson." Why genderize?

Second, where do I know that name from?

Oh yeah.

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See also: The Questions That Emanuel's Press Secretary Won't Answer. It's a doozy.

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"From a very young age, my parents challenged me to channel my optimism and empathy to change the world," Cooper once told Jet.

I deceive, mislead and outright lie in order to proudly achieve that goal - or the goal of whatever client is paying me!

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"Then there is the e-mail flattery," the BGA once reported. "In August 2011, just months after Emanuel took office, he marched in the annual Bud Billiken parade, a development that had one of his press spokesman gushing.

"She informed Emanuel in an e-mail that police and others in the crowd had been heard praising Emanuel's endurance. 'He's so in shape - Daley could never do this,' Tarrah Cooper e-mailed her boss."

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Cooper was also involved in the making of Chicagoland because, as the Tribune reported, the mayor's office was essentially a co-producer. (Another producer: Pulitzer-Prize winning Mark Konkol.)

What I don't get about Cooper is that she told Jet her No. 1 rule is to be "competent, committed and authentic." Emphasis mine.

I guess we have different ideas about what that word means. And I guess she's being authentically herself.

*

Speaking of authenticity, back to the Sun-Times:

"The beverage industry created 'Citizens for a More Affordable Cook County' in August. One purpose of the PAC: It was an unsubtle political threat hanging over the commissioners who did not support the repeal.

"The grassroots-sounding name was designed to deliberately obfuscate the fact that the PAC, spawned with the help of the American Beverage Association, gets almost all of its funding from companies related to the beverage industry.

"The PAC treasurer is lawyer/lobbyist Michael Kasper, who also does work for Illinois House Speaker/Democratic Party of Illinois chair Michael Madigan."

*

Tarrah Cooper, if it wasn't for Konkol and Michael Madigan, you'd be Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

But I'm not dealing with Konkol and Madigan today, so let's just say you are Today's Worstish Person In Chicago.

*

"The Chicago Sun-Times has obtained a copy of an invitation for a Wednesday fundraiser to benefit four commissioners fighting off challengers in the March 20 primary and a contender for a board seat left open because Cook County Commissioner Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia is running for Congress.

"The beneficiaries of the event at Old Crow North, 149 W. Kinzie St., are Commissioners Dennis Deer; John Fritchey; Richard Boykin - all Democrats; Republican Sean Morrison, and Democrat Angie Sandoval, running for the Garcia spot.

"The co-hosts listed on the invitation are 'Citizens for a More Affordable Cook County,' the Illinois Restaurant Association; the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce; the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association."

If those organizations are really interested in a more affordable Cook County, I've got plenty of ideas for them, starting with restaurant prices, retail wages and tax evasion.

*

"The PAC . . . took in $110,800 this month. According to records at the Illinois State Board of Elections, the donations are: on Feb. 6, $22,200 from Pepsico, Inc., in New York; on Feb. 8, $44,400 from two Coca-Cola companies in Atlanta and Rosemont; on Feb. 14, $22,000 from the D.C. based American Beverage Association and $22,200 from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group PAC in Texas."

Nice of folks so far away to be so concerned with an affordable Cook County! I look forward to seeing their reps at board meetings working on a variety of economic issues!

*

The culture of deceit is normalized - and quite rewarding to those who play along.

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Fran's Ford Folly
"The City Council's Finance Committee will jump head-first into the 'Me, Too' movement on Tuesday - by taking testimony about sexual harassment in the workplace from employees at Ford Motor Co.'s two Chicago plants," Fran Spielman writes for the Sun-Times in an "analysis."

"Aldermen will be joined by several elephants in the room, making the hearing a bit of a risky business."

Uh-oh.

"At a time when Chicago has offered a $2.25 billion incentive package to lure Amazon's second North American headquarters, what kind of message would the public shaming of another major corporation send to Amazon about the way Chicago politicians do business?"

The answer is the message that sexual harassment will not be tolerated here. But here's a better question: What kind of message is Spielman - and the Sun-Times, which is strenuously marketing itself as a paper for working folk - sending by asking such a thing?

Fran Spielman's personal #MeToo backlash has arrived.

*

"If aldermen don't like how the company has treated female employees, why is the city purchasing all its police vehicles from Ford?"

Another hard-to-believe - although less egregious - question. First, there's probably a contract in place. Second, the city appears to favor the vehicles Ford produces and would only be punishing itself to stop buying them - unless, of course, the situation was beyond tenable, like, say, the parts were made by Third World child labor (Assignment Desk: check on that) or the company wasn't taking steps (as far as we know) to fix the (horrible) situation.

And, as Ald. Margaret Laurino points out, maybe the city will cancel the contract - after it learns more at its hearings!

(Tip: The city is not going to cancel the contract.)

*

"Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke (14th), who introduced the resolution demanding the hearing, hung up on a Chicago Sun-Times reporter attempting to raise those questions."

That's your lead - and the basis of your analysis. Are these hearings for real, or just the usual Burke grandstanding/distraction? What might actually get accomplished? What could council members learn that they don't already know? Why don't they hold similar hearings to grill various city officials theoretically under their oversight - and I don't mean the occasional puffball plays they sometimes put on?

But also: Why do newspaper reporters insist on referring to themselves in the third-person? It's a trope that drives me nuts. Yes, I know it's a throwback to the days when reporters, for some reason, were not allowed to use "I" in stories; you were supposed to pretend you didn't exist! An omniscient being wrote the stories, despite the bylines! But look, it's 2018 and we've grown a lot. Just tell the truth! It's not as if Burke hung up on some other Sun-Times reporter. Just write "Burke hung up on me." It's okay, I promise!

*

"[W]hy not threaten to cancel Ford's police car contract?

"'You're putting the cart before the horse,' Laurino said. 'Let's bring `em in and see what they're doing to address decades of allegations of sexual harassment.'

"If aldermen are not satisfied with Ford's response or if Ford executives boycott the hearing, Laurino said, 'We'll make some decisions based on that.'

Guess what? Ford's executives are "boycotting" the meeting.

*

"Sources said top mayoral aides are not exactly thrilled about the hearing. But they apparently made no effort to discourage Burke from holding a hearing that could change the subject from political controversies swirling around the powerful Finance chairman because of the property tax appeals work he does on behalf of President Donald Trump and other clout-heavy clients."

Like I said, there's your lead and analysis. Instead, elephants and fears of publicly shaming badly behaving corporations.

Fran Spielman, you too are Today's Worstish Person In Chicago.

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New on today's Beachwood and since Thursday . . .

Chicagoetry: Mother
Major market blues.

*

The Beachwood Radio Hour #188: "No Competent Society Allows This To Happen"
A shitty week grinds Coach Coffman's gears. Plus: Cubs Win Winter; White Sox Battery & Assault; The Winter Olympics Are Disordered; Big If True; Ramblers On A Roll; Blackhawks Bad To Worse; and Marginal Bulls News.

*

Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore'
Hidden agendas coming to a town near you.

*

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Mac Sabbath, Galactic Empire, John 5 & the Creatures, Wintersleep, Frightened Rabbit, Brockhampton, Sons of Apollo, The Blue Water Highway Band, Rebelution, and Midland.

*

'Shady Bosses' Stealing $15 Billion In Wages From Low-Income Workers
A new investigation by Politico found that low-wage employees in the United States are contending with wage theft on a massive scale.

*

Black Chicago Blackhawk Reacts To Racist Blackhawks Fans
"We have some fans who think a certain way."

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Chicago's Hijab Campaign
A symbol of empowerment for some.

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When Oshkosh Was Sin City
Drinking, dancing, sex, boxing, and burlesque.

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Writing's Power To Deceive
Did George Washington really become president?

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The Last 100 Days Of FDR
"FDR had an amazing ability to maintain a Herculean schedule, as a self-described juggler who could handle domestic pressures as well as, later, a two-front world war that would have taxed the abilities of mere political mortals."

But in the end, it was a death watch.

*

SportsMonday: Radio Days
Spring training is here.

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Chicago In The Rockies
Magical shows at the magical Caribou Ranch, where more than 150 artists recorded some very well-known albums. Chicago recorded five there.

*

Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Whitney, Mike Broers, Brandy Clark, Kamikazee Vigilante, The Wilkof Project, and Here Come the Mummies.

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ChicagoGram

The Vibe.

#LA #chucktaylors #shoestelephonewire

A post shared by Katie Garrett (@sallylvjack) on

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On This Day In . . .
A sampling. (I don't know why the images don't always show up, it bums me out, because some are really good. They come and go. Facebook, harrumph.)

2011: Chicagoans Had A Choice.

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2013: Obama Denied Real Reporters While Endlessly Showing Up On Shows Like The View.

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2016: The Accomplice.

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2011: CPD And Sex Crimes.

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2012: Rahm's First Amendment Tightrope.

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2014: Obama, Snowden & Chicago's Mayer Brown.

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2016: Rauner In Wonderland: A Second Budget Address Before Passing The First.

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2012: The Links Are Gold, People.

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2012: Walter Jacobson's Weird Whitney Wailing.

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2012: Is Obama Lincoln Yet?

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ChicagoTube

Chicago's Best Rock, 1976.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

The Case For Impeaching Clarence Thomas.

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USA Swimming Ignored Or Covered Up Hundreds Of Cases Of Sexual Abuse.

*

Konkol Got Konkoled.

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The Final, Terrible Voyage Of The Nautilus; Death Of A Reporter.

*

The Twilight Zone, From A to Z.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: They're everywhere.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:20 AM | Permalink

When Oshkosh Was Sin City

Over the course of their history, Wisconsin's timber and paper industries have dramatically reshaped the state's landscape and continue to play a major role in its economy. Beyond launching what is still a multibillion-dollar industry and stripping away vast swaths of old-growth forests, Wisconsin's early paper barons left both deliberate and unintentional marks on the state's social fabric.

During the second half of the 19th century, laborers poured into Wisconsin, many of them drawn to lumber and paper businesses in the Fox Valley, an area surrounding the Fox River that includes the cities of Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha and Appleton. These cities rapidly urbanized and a whole new market sprang up for commercialized entertainment - from drinking and dancing and sex to boxing matches and burlesque and racist minstrel shows. These often rowdy leisure activities also gave workers a social sphere in which to share ideas about labor organizing and economic justice.

uplace-history-oshkosh-woodblock.jpgAn illustration of Oshkosh published in 1881 depicts a booming industrial city/History of Northern Wisconsin, via Internet Archive Book Images

Jillian Jacklin, a Ph.D. history student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a native of the Fox Cities and studies how the industrial and civic leaders presiding over the region's industrial boom sought to keep the working classes' social and political ferment in check.

In a presentation last August at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison, she detailed how the work of religious organizations and morally-minded reformers aligned with the political wishes of the region's powerful people.

In the talk, recorded for Wisconsin Public Television's University Place, Jacklin recounted how the Fox Valley's industrial boom played out along class lines, and how these conflicts helped to shape subsequent conservative politics in the region.

The social currents shaping Wisconsin life during the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries also played an important role in the state's progressive movement. Progressive politicians may have been economic populists, often relying on support from farmers and laborers of modest means, but they often favored policies that cracked down on activities like prostitution and public drunkenness. While these politicians benefited from a strong support base of workers and farmers, they also supported anti-vice legislation that sought to regulate the behavior of that very support base.

The political awareness of working-class Fox Valley workers helped to fuel the rise of a progressive wing of the Republican Party in Wisconsin, and was a factor in Robert La Follette's election as governor in 1900.

Key Facts

  • As it flows north over the course of 35 miles, the Fox River falls 170 feet, roughly the height of Niagara Falls. The river's potential for hydropower attracted businesses like lumber, paper, textile and flour mills to the area during the 1870s. Paper plants did not become a large part of the region's economy until the last decades of the 19th century; However, the area's first paper mill opened in Appleton in 1853.
  • Investment from Eastern industrialists during the 1880s helped to fuel much of the growth of paper mills in the Fox Valley, as did vast timber stands north of Appleton.
  • Appleton was the second city in the United States with a centralized electrical power grid, thanks to a hydroelectric operating station that opened in September 1882. This infrastructure was among the many factors that local business and civic leaders pointed to when touting the Fox Valley as a center for progress, innovation and urbanization. To such leaders, burgeoning development gave the area a "progressive" character. However, these improvements didn't translate to social equality; workers often experienced unfair treatment, were paid low wages and had their lives shaped in more subtle ways by the power of industrialists.
  • In August 1898, woodcutters in Oshkosh went on strike in an effort to gain better wages and working conditions. Half of the strikers were women and children, who earned even less than the male laborers. Many of those women and children lost their jobs after the strike. (The strike escalated into a high-profile labor battle, involving violence and the use of "scabs." Workers voted to end it after the violence led to criminal proceedings.)
  • Immigrants and transient workers who came to the Fox Valley to work in its expanding industries often brought along leisure customs and value systems that clashed with the desires of wealthy industrialists. Commercialized forms of entertainment often brought men and women together in social settings, something morally conservative community leaders objected to. These workers often liked to spend their wages on leisure activities that industrialists and members of the middle class considered "corrupting."
  • The social lives of workers also worried industrialists because workers would use social gatherings to discuss political ideas and labor organizing. Many of these itinerant laborers were willing to fight injustice, because they'd suffered injustices in other places they'd lived.
  • Some local officials didn't get in line with state-level efforts to crack down on vice because of personal connections. Edmund Fitzmaurice, mayor of Berlin, had trouble doing so because the cousin of his police chief ran a "house of ill fame" in the community.
  • One form of entertainment popular at the time was blackface minstrel shows. These performances' racist depictions of African Americans carried over into the birth of vaudeville, which also promoted stereotypes about black people and others, including the homeless and Irish immigrants.
  • As more women began to enter the workforce in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, social reformers focused more on engaging female workers. Organizations like the Young Women's Christian Association advocated for a "Christian womanhood" that centered around domestic life.
  • Social reformers responded to the quickly urbanizing area's growing leisure marketplace with actions that included opening a Young Men's Christian Association chapter in Appleton, which encouraged volunteerism among Lawrence University students and offered social activities (like Bible studies) considered more morally upright.
  • Social reformers and industrialists sought to battle activities they considered vice, and the political consciousness they believed vice helped to fuel. The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago was one example of how elites created their own gathering spaces centered around wholesome family activities. Additionally, new laws like those addressing "vagrancy" restricted the movements of migrant workers, in an effort to divide workers along lines of race, class and lifestyle.
  • Historians disagree about how "progressivism" was defined and when exactly the Progressive Era took place. Some scholars place the era around the 1920s and others a few decades earlier.

Key Quotes

  • On her connection to Fox Valley and its politics: "Growing up in the area, I became really interested when I came first to college at UW-Madison and then began my graduate work in uncovering why the area is known for its social conservatism. It maybe isn't so much in this state, per se, but nationally the area is known for its political and social conservative [character], having been the birthplace of Joseph McCarthy and, also, it's currently the home to the John Birch Society, a conservative political think tank."
  • On how people perceived Oshkosh during its period of rapid development: "Oshkosh was known not only for the Oshkosh woodcutters strike but also as Sin City at the turn of the 20th century. It gained an infamous reputation for having quite the leisure scene, with cheap laborers and a more transient workforce encompassed by single men and also lots of single women, which was pretty scandalous at the time. Gambling, drinking, and also prizefighting."
  • On the friction between industrialists' pursuit of maximum profitability and their need for a steady supply of labor: "George Paine, owner of the successful Oshkosh lumber company, for example, believed like his counterparts - Kimberly-Clark in the paper industry - that supplies should cost more than workers. This created a conundrum, given the transient nature of the post-Civil War era workforce and competition for workers with eastern manufacturers and the extractive economies of the West."
  • On policies designed to exclude people from various ethnic and racial groups: "With the assistance of law enforcement officials, local elites sought to maintain an image of a lily-white city by discouraging the foreign element from residing in the area. This resulted in an anti-vagrancy ordinance the police officers individually applied to 'blacks, eastern and southern Europeans, and Oneida from the adjacent reservation.' Similar to their treatment of African Americans, American Indians and certain European immigrant groups, the police targeted Irish newcomers as well as citizens in an attempt to keep these individuals out of the city."
  • On gender roles in this era: "Middle-class activists and local elites understood that women workers would spend more time with men while on the job but did not approve of social interaction between men and women off the shop floor. As more working-class women, generally young and single, entered the workforce in local paper mills and woodenware factories, they found themselves with new freedoms that they did not experience at home with their families. Differently than in Victorian society, the expansion of corporate capitalism created commercialized forms of entertainment that brought men and women together. This development created anxiety among local reformers and industrialists, because they worried about the moral corruption of working women. As a result, they encouraged industrial workers to stay away from saloons, billiards, dance halls and other popular venues that permitted heterosocial contact."
  • On the role of sex work in this era: "Those working women who sold sex in exchange for money viewed their profession as superior to factory work, and, in many cases, they enjoyed their profession. In these ways, working-class people influenced the shape of Progressive Era politics and reform efforts, as well as corporate designs for cultivating social order and a moral and industrious workforce in the region. Industrialists actually hurt themselves by keeping wages low and doing little to improve to the conditions under which their workers toiled. Employers could not control their workforce. Workers were going to do what they needed in order to survive and enjoy their lives."
  • On state-level efforts at moral reform: "In Wisconsin, the movement to end sex work climaxed with the formation of the Teasdale Vice Committee and the enactment of the Linley Law in 1913, which effectively outlawed organized vice in the state. Members of the government commission, tasked to investigate the prevalence of what was called 'white slavery,' sought to encourage the enforcement of the slew of moral codes that the state legislature approved, hoping to persuade county district attorneys to implement the laws. They had a difficult time doing so. Headed by state Senator Howard Teasdale, the committee worked to correspond with local reform organizations and public officials who supported their cause. The politicians did receive feedback from Fox Valley residents who worried about the corrupting effects of prostitution."
  • On Harry Houdini's connection to the Fox Valley: "He was born in Hungary, and his father was one of the first rabbis, actually, in Appleton. Again, they lived there for five years before moving to New York City, but Harry Houdini did visit the Fox River Valley a few times when he would perform in local circus acts and vaudeville performances . . . he ended up doing a lot of different escape artist acts. And, really, he promoted a sense of revolution and justice amongst workers through his performances. This idea that no matter what was getting them down at the time, that they did have the opportunity to escape. And his revolutionary message was profound, as were the messages that workers sort of imbibed when they would partake in these variety and vaudeville shows."

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

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Previously in Wisconsin:
* Song of the Moment: On, Wisconsin!

* Wisconsin Cheese Production Continues To Grow.

* Wisconsin's Specialty Cheesemakers May Be Better Off Than Other States.

* Tips For Growing Blueberries In Wisconsin.

* Amid A Boom, Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Look To Future Markets.

* The Top 10 Wisconsin Insect Trends Of 2016.

* Wisconsin's Penokees Are A Geologic Gem.

* Wisconsin Researchers Aim To Make Cows Happier.

* Wisconsin And The Extinction Of The Passenger Pigeon.

* The Life Of Land After Frac Sand.

* Blueberry Maggot Fly Poised To Expand In Wisconsin.

* Efforts To Boost Marten Numbers In Wisconsin Meet Ongoing Failure.

* How To Raise A Pizza.

* RECALL! Wisconsin Pork Sausage Patties.

* Making The Most Of Wisconsin's Autumn Garden Harvest.

* Who Is Stealing Wisconsin's Birch?

* How To Harvest And Process Wisconsin's Edible Tree Nuts.

* Lakes, Cheese And You.

* Chicago vs. Wisconsin.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

Politico: 'Shady Bosses' Stealing $15 Billion In Wages From Low-Income Workers

With American workers already struggling against stagnant wages, declining union strength, and vicious attacks by the Trump administration, a new investigation by Politico published Sunday found that low-wage employees in the United States are also contending with wage theft on a massive scale - a crisis that many states lack the resources or political will to address.

According to Politico's Marianne Levine, who examined state minimum-wage enforcement protocols over a period of nine months, "workers are so lightly protected that six states have no investigators to handle minimum-wage violations, while 26 additional states have fewer than 10 investigators. Given the widespread nature of wage theft and the dearth of resources to combat it, most cases go unreported. Thus, an estimated $15 billion in desperately needed income for workers with lowest wages goes instead into the pockets of shady bosses."

Levine acknowledges that some workers ultimately have success challenging the criminal behavior of their employers in court. But even these workers are frequently denied the wages they earned.

After surveying 15 states, Levine found that "41 percent of the wages that employers are ordered to pay back to their workers aren't recovered."

In an interview with Politico, Michael Hollander, staff attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, argued that the violations uncovered by Levine's investigation come as no surprise to labor advocates or low-wage workers themselves.

"Wage theft is the rule, not the exception, for low-wage workers," Hollander said.

Given that many low-wage American workers can barely afford rent, any amount of money taken from a worker's paycheck can have devastating consequences.

"Advocates for lowest-wage workers describe families facing eviction and experiencing hunger for lack of money that's owed them," Levine writes. "And, nationally, the failure to enforce wage laws exacerbates a level of income inequality that, by many measures, is higher than it's been for the past century."

Levine's "sobering" findings come as overall wage growth in the U.S. remains sluggish, even in the face of soaring corporate profits and CEO pay.

While a growing number of Democrats have signaled support in recent months for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, the failure of states to ensure that companies adhere to the current $7.25 minimum is an issue labor advocates and lawmakers say must be addressed if nationwide wage hikes are to be effective.

If wage theft isn't combated, "then any efforts to raise the minimum wage, strengthen overtime, or protect workers' tips are ineffectual," argued Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).

"Wages are far too low to begin with, so when money is stolen right out of workers' paychecks, we have to have effective tools in place to get that money back," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told Politico. "But wage theft is just one part of the problem that hard work simply doesn't pay off the way it should. And that's true for all worker - whether they punch a time clock, swipe a badge, make a salary or earns tips - they're working too hard for too little.

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

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See also:

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Previously in wage theft:

* Wage Theft: Unregulated Work In Chicago.

* Wage Theft In America.

* Report From The Wage Theft Front: Little Village Car Wash.

* ProPublica 'Temp Land' Investigation Nails Little Village Check Cashing Store.

* McDonald's Faces Global Crackdown In Brazil; Chicago Worker Testifies.

* CyberMonday, Amazon & You.

* Rose's Story: How Welfare's Work Requirements Can Deepen And Prolong Poverty.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 AM | Permalink

February 19, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Mac Sabbath at Subterranean on Saturday night.


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2. Galactic Empire at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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3. John 5 & the Creatures at Reggie's on Sunday night.

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4. Wintersleep at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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5. Frightened Rabbit at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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6. Brockhampton at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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7. Sons of Apollo at the Forge in Joliet on Sunday night.

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8. The Blue Water Highway Band at Schuba's on Saturday night.

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9. Rebelution at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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10. Midland at the Rosemont arena on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 PM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Mother

Mother

My mother is dead, my girlfriend
Is crying and I'm ogling
The morning weather,

Some major market blues

On a horizon
Lush with data.

Everywhere data infuse
The rain and the wrath.

She put it in writing
In 1991, taking us all
Off the hook.

Do. Not. Resuscitate.
Soft landing, in hospice jargon.
If I'm going

Let me go.
She was going
So we let

Her go.
When it was over

She was radiant.

Now what?
No wrath,
Some rain.

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:13 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Radio Days

Baseball is coming!

An African-American driver named Bubba Wallace just missed winning the Daytona 500 on Sunday (that is a big deal, people), the NBA might have actually found a compelling All-Star format, the Winter Olympics continue to thrill . . . and because I am a Chicago sports fan, today I'm focusing on baseball.

I would write more about Bubba but this is a local column and if there is anything less local around here than stock car racing, I don't know what it is.

Second there is the NBA, which stands atop the sports world right now (despite what the always delightful Laura Ingraham might think). My wife and I splurged on League Pass this season and we have thoroughly enjoyed having all the games available to us on television. The fact that she is a Celtics fan and the Bostonians have a wonderfully talented young roster led by perhaps the best point guard in the league is cool (mostly for her, of course).

There is also the fact that to basketball lovers, NBA games are oftentimes transcendent these days. And the competitive All-Star game on Sunday, with its new format of the top vote-getters in each conference becoming captains in a pick-up game, reflected that. The format counts on the competitive instincts of those captains taking over and those instincts did in fact give fans the dramatic fourth quarter of LeBron's team's 148-145 victory.

But the Bulls, while delightfully promising, still have a long way to go to be full participants in the ascendance. It was appropriate that a few young members of the local squad had roles in the festivities over the weekend but by the time the main event rolled around, they were long gone.

So back to Chicago and baseball and, specifically, the possibilities for sporting entertainment starting this weekend.

Just as when I watch college sports these days, I am often most entertained by information about which of the players involved are actual prospects and whether that status is deserved, so I am hoping to watch plenty of spring training action during the next six weeks or so looking for real promise, for the young players who deserve to be called "prospects."

And we won't have to rely on supposed experts who currently have catcher Zack Collins rated as a top White Sox prospect despite the fact that there is every reason to believe fellow Sox farmhand Seby Zavala, who is rated much further down, has much more potential.

It was Zavala who had a huge year in the White Sox system last year competing in Class A and then AA. His combined slash line was awesome - .302/.376/.485. And he led the whole system with 21 home runs.

The experts are still enamored of the fact that Collins wasn't just a first-round pick, he was a top-10 pick. And they shouldn't feel badly. Too frequently professional baseball talent evaluators working for actual teams fail to focus on actual performance, for too long preferring to rely on the most simple of criteria - where a guy was drafted.

But there is a good chance Zavala, who was taken in the 12th round in 2015, has passed Collins by. And we will have the chance to decide for ourselves in the preseason. Heck, maybe they can both play and then it starts to get very exciting for the Sox. Maybe those goofy prospect rankings might help them pump up Collins' trade value.

The White Sox' new radio home, WGN, will broadcast the call of the spring training opener this Friday. Other radio highlights from the spring will include Cubs vs. Sox games on February 27, March 10 and March 16.

(The White Sox have switched radio stations, but have they switched announcers? No. The awful Ed Farmer will still be on the play-by-play and the always trying but still too frequently dragged down by Farmer Darrin Jackson will do the commentary.)

The first TV game isn't until March 10. But the wonderful world of webcasts offers its first broadcast this Friday as well, starting at 2:05 p.m.

As for the Cubs, the television season starts on February 27 with the awesome (in comparison to the Sox radio broadcasts, that's for sure) Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies returning on the mikes. Let's get to it!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:34 AM | Permalink

February 16, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Hour #188: "No Competent Society Allows This To Happen"

A shitty week grinds Coach Coffman's gears. Plus: Cubs Win Winter; White Sox Battery & Assault; The Winter Olympics Are Disordered; Big If True; Ramblers On A Roll; Blackhawks Bad To Worse; and Marginal Bulls News.


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SHOW NOTES

* 188.

:18: A Shitty Week Grinds Coach Coffman's Gears.

* "No competent society allows this to happen."

8:55: Cubs Win The Winter.

* Joe Maddon's Hall Of Silly Paintings.

* Cubs Plan To Unleash Yu Darvish's Full Repertoire.

* Mike Montgomery Wants To Protect His Arm.

* The Twins On New Cubs Backup Catcher Chris "Jimmy" Gimenez (AKA David Ross 2.0).

* Coach Comes Around On Kyle Schwarber!

35:40: White Sox Battery & Assault.

* The White Sox Might Have A Catching Prospect!

* Shields, Now A Side-Armer, Hopes To Lead Staff.

39:45: The Winter Olympics Are Disordered.

* Quiet Starvation In Men's Figure Skating.

* Fox Removes 'Darker, Gayer, Different' Olympics Column.

* Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir:

* The Winter Olympics' Growing Pains.

* Sad 2022 Winter Olympic Bidding

* Wanted By The IOC: A City To Host The 2026 Winter Olympics.

47:48: Big If True.

48:57: Ramblers On A Roll.

* Notch 22nd Win.

* Looking Back On The 1963 Loyola Ramblers, Who Changed NCAA Basketball Forever.

* A Long History Of Protest For Black Athletes.

* Phoenix: Loyola Athletics Lack Total Transparency.

52:53: Blackhawks Bad To Worse.

* Lazerus: "'If Things Get Worse You Wonder If They'll Pull Trigger' And Fire Q."

* Go Army!

58:46: Marginal Bulls News.

* Don't sleep on the Raptors!

* Don't sleep on the Cavs!

* Steve Kerr Has Words For Critics About His Players Coaching Vs. Phoenix Suns, May Do It Again.

* Kerr on Parkland:

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* LeBron Is Brilliant:

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STOPPAGE: 10:56

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:46 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Whitney at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.


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2. Mike Broers at the Empty Bottle for the 8th Annual Chili Synthesizer Cook-Off on Sunday night.

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3. Brandy Clark at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Kamikazee Vigilante at the Tonic Room on February 9th.

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The Wilkof Project at Livewire on February 9th.

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Here Come the Mummies at the Concord on February 10th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:45 PM | Permalink

Chicago's Hijab Campaign

GainPeace, an Islamic group based in Chicago, has launched a six-week billboard campaign designed to portray the Hijab as a symbol of empowerment and to clear negative stereotypes about women in Islam.

The campaign's purpose is to provide an opportunity for Americans to look at the hijab, the modest clothing of Muslim women, not as a sign of subjugation or oppression but as a symbol of empowerment, strength and freedom.

hijab.jpg

The billboards connect the modest clothing and Hijab with Mary, the mother of Jesus, who also wore similar clothing and is taken as a symbol of chastity, modesty and strength by the world's 2.2 billion Christians and 1.7 billion Muslims.

The billboards also include a phone number to the GainPeace organization: 800-662-ISLAM. A caller to GainPeace's outreach phone line can ask any question about Hijab, Muslim women, and request a free copy of the Quran and brochures on Hijab and women.

The group also desires people of other faiths to learn the peaceful teachings of Islam, contrary to what's portrayed by some media outlets. The group has also hosted in many Mosques exhibits portraying women in Islam, women in sports, women in politics and women in America.

"Hijab is in the news with some positive, but mostly negative stereotypes about Hijab and Muslim women," said Dr Sabeel Ahmed, executive director of the GainPeace Project. "The Hijab campaign desires to educate that the Hijab stands as a symbol of strength and not as an attire of subjugation. Previous educational campaigns of GainPeace have generated numerous calls of support and building of alliances with interfaith groups, minority groups, and neighbors."

Billboard locations:

-> Highway 294, 2 miles north of Highway 88

-> Highway 55 and LaGrange Road.

Press Conference:

-> Monday, Feb. 19, 10.30 a.m., 1S270 Summit Avenue, Oakbrook Terrace

GainPeace can arrange for its staff to be available for interviews on the premises or in the studios of TV channels and radio stations. Images of the billboard and the video footage will be provided to all media personnel attending the press conference.

Background:

-> ACLU: Discrimination Against Muslim Women Fact Sheet.

-> The Economist: In British Schools, The Wearing Of The Hijab By Young Girls Is An Explosive Issue.

-> Orlando Sentinel: UCF Muslim Group's 'Try A Hijab On' Booth Ignites Twitter Fight.

-> Buffalo News: On Wearing A Hijab For A Day: 'People Look At You Differently.'

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See also: Hoda Katebi: "Know that the hijab - for me at least - represents a rejection of materialism, of capitalism, of euro-centric beauty standards (among other significance)."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

February 15, 2018

The Last 100 Days Of FDR

Many Americans and people around the world remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous first 100 days in office, but few are aware of the many challenges he faced in the final months of his presidency, which is the focus of historian David Woolner's, The Last 100 Days: FDR at War and at Peace, released in December.

Among many highlights, the book cites confidential memos from Roosevelt's doctors, recently declassified records from the Office of Strategic Services, as well as previously unreleased information from the president's daily calendar and contact list.

Woolner pulls back the curtain on everything from Roosevelt's private life to what was involved in facing Stalin at the Yalta Conference in 1945.

Accounts of FDR pushing for the establishment of the United Nations and the president's support for the creation of a homeland for Jews in Palestine are featured as well in the book, which has received rave reviews from critics and historians alike who cite both its "precision" and "authenticity."

Woolner will appear at a discussion and book signing on Wednesday at Roosevelt University, at 430 South Michigan Avenue.

Woolner Book.jpg

"This book provides insight on how Roosevelt navigated difficult terrain during the final months of World War II and showcases his superb leadership," said Margaret Rung, professor of history and director of the Center for New Deal Studies at Roosevelt University. "It also serves to emphasize the long arc of his leadership, which progressed from FDR's first 100 days in 1933 to his last 100 days in 1945. Through Woolner's study, we appreciate the incredible mark FDR left on the world."

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See also, from James Hill in the Washington Post:

"There is a point, not very far into David B. Woolner's excellent accounting of Franklin D. Roosevelt's last months in office, where one realizes that this history, intentional or not, is going to be a presidential death watch. 'Was he too ill during these last months to properly carry the burdens of office?' the author asks in his preface. 'Did Stalin dupe him at Yalta because FDR was too weak to resist? Should he have run for a fourth term? Did he ever admit to himself how unwell he was? What role did the members of his family or his closest confidants play - if any - in his ability to lead despite his reduced capacity for work?'

"All valid questions that Woolner seeks to answer in The Last 100 Days, a remarkably well-researched book on the president that Americans consistently rank among the greatest. Indeed, FDR had an amazing ability to maintain a Herculean schedule, as a self-described juggler who could handle domestic pressures as well as, later, a two-front world war that would have taxed the abilities of mere political mortals."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:58 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

Programming note: The Papers will next appear on Tuesday.

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McCarthy Madness
"In one startling interview, potential Chicago mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy likely lost not only the black vote in Chicago, but also the vote of those in the sighted community," Eric Zorn writes for the Tribune.

That, my friends, is a great line. It has the added benefit of being true.

Go read the rest of Zorn's evisceration of McCarthy's recent, mind-boggling statements about the Laquan McDonald case. They deserve more attention. Wow.

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Kass's Pain
"City Hall will tell you that downtown Chicago is safe and that yes, things happen, but if you think of it in terms of statistics, it's safe," John Kass writes for the Tribune.

"But what happened downtown Tuesday, at the Thompson Center - just across the street from Chicago's City Hall - is just the kind of thing that shakes people's sense of safety.

"Chicago police commanders aren't supposed to be shot to death, not there, not at the heart of city business and politics."

As with so many John Kass columns in this stage of his career, I can only wonder: Where to start?

1. Ignore the stats. Go by feel - perhaps the feel you get from Fox News.

2. People's sense of safety is shaken by what happened Tuesday because it was downtown. What people? Downtown people, the only people who are actually people, in Kass's construction, because a lot of other people have had their sense of safety shaken - if it ever existed - long ago.

Perhaps what Kass means is that his sense of safety has been shaken, because the killing of a cop happened so close to the office he has commuted to for decades from the suburbs.

3. Police commanders aren't supposed to be shot to death. Who is? Thugs. They're supposed to be shot to death.

It's so predictable. Since, well, forever, the media expresses shock over terrible events that happen in places where they aren't supposed to. The accretion of those events doesn't seem to teach us that they actually happen everywhere, to all kinds of people. Certainly not with the same regularity, but then, that's an equation the media ought to continue to examine with renewed vigor and compassion.

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"Now comes the politics, the finger-pointing, and the political angles taken to benefit one side or another, none of them benefiting the police. Included on this list will be the suspect's criminal record, whether he was treated leniently, how he got the gun. All of it will come out."

This is Classic Kass, always rueing in the aftermath of a tragedy that politics will rush in - as if he's "above" such things. For Kass, politics is a dirty enterprise he's been forced to taint himself with by devoting his (lucrative) career to it. Another view is that politics, as horribly as it is usually practiced, is the way a democracy works out its problems and decides how to organize its society. Politics is exactly what we need right now - just not the kind of politics drenched in cynicism by bad actors. Like Kass's buddies. But then, this is Kass's variation of the conservative call to not talk about, oh, say, guns just yet. There will be time for that later. They'll let us know when.

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"But right now I'm thinking of the cops, like one I talked to just as the news about Bauer was breaking. I'll call him Joe.

"Retired now, he spent his life as the real police - meaning he wasn't a politician or some house cat or a climber connected to an alderman. He put his hands on people, making arrests in Chicago."

Unlike all the cynics, Kass is thinking about cops. And not just any cops, but real cops. Cops with names like Joe. The rest of us aren't thinking about cops at all!

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"The rest of us who don't know the life, we look at police as men and women who make arrests, the people who put muscle behind the laws, or as human actors leveraged in political dramas about excessive police force. But it wouldn't hurt us to think of them as somebody's son or daughter, because they are that too."

Who is us? I will only speak for myself, informed in part by covering the police in several states: I don't look at the police in any way resembling what Kass describes, and I doubt many others do either. I view police officers as a collection of individuals, both simple and complex, who are highly socialized into highly problematic organizational cultures. I certainly don't view them as "the people who put muscle behind the laws" because policing isn't about muscle in a democracy even if force must sometimes be used. I think about the role of the police in maintaining order, resolving conflict and solving crimes. Note, though, that when it comes to "muscle," Kass dismisses excessive police force as invalid political dramas, despite reams of reporting showing otherwise.

And yet, I never forget, and I don't think anyone else does either, that police officers are humans with families, relatives, friends and so on. The dominant media narrative of cop-as-hero remains intact, despite everything we've learned about how broken policing in America is over the years.

This is in no way meant to disrespect the memory of Paul Bauer. I grieve for him and his family too. I cannot stop thinking about his wife and daughter. I also grieve for the city's other victims, who also had families. We can - and should - grieve for them all without disrespecting any.

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"Another thing Chicago might want to remember on this day of pain was the police radio chatter, reported in the papers, when the suspect was being chased downtown.

"'Don't anybody get hurt,' warned an officer chasing the suspect. 'We just wanted to do a street stop on him and he took off on me.'

"Don't anybody get hurt.

"That was downtown. That wasn't on the West Side or South Side."

I keep thinking about this. Police were making a "street stop" based on someone apparently acting suspiciously. We later learned that individual - the suspect - had a gun and was wearing body armor. At the time, though, the suspect apparently seemed like an ordinary mope. "Don't anybody get hurt." Not worth it. Not for this guy.

What I don't get is Kass's geographic formulation. Don't risk hurting yourself because we're downtown? You'd think maybe cops would be more vigilant downtown. Or is the idea that a suspicious person downtown isn't as likely to be as dangerous as the vast areas of the city known as the South and West Sides?

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Finally:

"In order to live our lives, we choose to become numb to almost everything. We become numb to Chicago's river of violence that for years has been claiming so many lives in the gang wars. We're become numb to the bleating of politicians with no answers. We've become numb to all of it. That's what happens in a city of pain. You grow numb."

Again, who is we? I'm sure some have grown numb, but if most of us who live in the city have grown numb, why is there still so much outrage and grief now and nearly every day when another person's life is taken by violence? Oh yeah, Kass is of the Fox News where-is-the-outrage school. As I've said before, the outrage is right in your face, John. Maybe you're the one who is looking away.

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New on today's Beachwood . . .

Quid Pro Pai?
"The FCC inspector general's office is investigating the appearance of quid pro quo behind agency rulings that have helped pave the way for Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed takeover of Tribune Media."

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Are These Poems Worth $100?
(I wrote the death poem before the events of this week. I'm not trying to be exploitive.)

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Chicken Salad Alert
Don't eat the Fareway.

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Paradise Papers Stop In Chicago
"Bell came to the United States as a teen and worked his way through college and graduate school. He attended the University of Chicago's business school, graduating near the top of his MBA class . . . He started cooperating with prosecutors soon after his arrest at his Chicago-area home in the summer of 2009."

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A Long History Of Protest For Black Athletes
And they've all been right.

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The Chicago Flamenco Festival
Best flamenco outside of Spain!

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On This Day In . . .

2017: Fact or Crap.

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2015: The 99-cent coin.

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2015: The Beachwood Radio Hour #44: David Carr, Brian Williams And Journalism's Discontents/

The case against this generation's greatest media reporter and his pals - and what it says about the way we think about journalism. Plus: Adults continue to behave badly in the wake of the Jackie Robinson West scandal - including Rahm, Sneed, Kass, Jesse and Pfleger. And: Why J schools are important.

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2015: Mmmm, Artificial Flavorings . . .

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2012: Pat Quinn Wanted To Study Up More On Gay Marriage; Rahm Denied Coordinating Group That Knew What To Do.

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2011: Saint Obama's Budget Cut Low-Income Heating Program.

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Who We Are
I know others have it far, far worse than I do - though my life is no picnic, believe me, people don't even know - but the price of my must-have prescription meds just mysteriously went up $70 a month. I don't have an extra $70 a month. We are one sick fucking country.

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Again, I realize some are grieving lost children today (and lost parents), and others are running up life-saving cancer surgery bills with no ability to pay. I have context. Don't let them ration our compassion and pit us against each other, though; it shouldn't be a race to the bottom, or pretty soon we'll all be there.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Hipster Hotel.

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BeachBook

Adam Rippon On Quiet Starvation In Men's Figure Skating.

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Bank Of Whose America?

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Art Institute Acquires A Modern Duchamp.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Journalists have been circulating this figure, too, without verifying it.

I even heard Matt Spiegel and Danny Parkins repeating this figure on The Score this morning. It's everywhere.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Soonest.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:47 PM | Permalink

The Paradise Papers: Last Stop - Chicago

"Now comes the story of the Asiaciti promotional tour of America. A newly released trove of documents gives us an incredible insight into the city-by-city itinerary of offshore specialists marketing their wares to American clients. It has all the classics of an American road trip, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Miami!" the International Consortium of Investigative Reporters reports.

Last stop: Chicago. Featuring Adrian Taylor, managing director at the Cook Islands branch of Asiaciti, a firm specializing in offshore companies and trusts. Let's take a look.

Asaiciti's Taylor was in Chicago for the last day of his tour.

By lunchtime, Gregory Bell, a computer science graduate with an MBA, was a satisfied new client, meeting notes recall. Bell created the Blue Sky Trust in the Cook Islands in July 2008 and handed it control of a Swiss bank account.

Two months later, Bell's life unraveled when FBI agents raided the home and office of his business partner, Thomas Petters.

U.S. officials accused Petters of fraud and money laundering central to a $3.7 billion Ponzi scheme that was the largest in U.S. history at the time. Single mothers and retirees who invested half a century of savings were among the victims. Petters was charged in October that year and sentenced in April 2010 to 50 years in prison for orchestrating the massive fraud.

"Almost any time there's a sizeable Ponzi scheme, there are allegations people are taking some of the money offshore," said Kathy B. Phelps, an attorney who co-wrote The Ponzi Book.

While trusts are not unbreakable, Phelps said, victims and enforcement agencies can struggle to find them or even know they exist. "And once you've done that," Phelps said, "there's the question of whether you've got the cooperation" of the country where the trust is created and of the lawyers who helped set it up.

In 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges against Bell and his Illinois hedge fund. While he wasn't central to the underlying fraud, authorities said, the SEC complaint alleged that Bell was "blinded" by multimillion-dollar fees he earned from it and misled investors about Petters' background and the details of the scheme. The SEC named Asiaciti's trust arm as a co-defendant and Asiaciti's Taylor, who met Bell in Chicago, supplied affidavits in criminal and civil cases that were helpful to the case against Bell.

U.S. authorities alleged that Bell moved $15 million to his Cook Islands trust to avoid creditors and the government. Authorities said they wanted to recover millions of dollars "before the money disappears overseas."

Asiaciti's files show that Bell made insistent evening phone calls and a fax to lawyers in July 2008 as the Ponzi scheme neared collapse.

"Mr. Bell is anxious to submit the applications, and I would like to provide him with an update tomorrow," Bell's American lawyer wrote about paperwork needed to open a bank account.

Bell was arrested in July 2009 and pleaded guilty to intentionally defrauding investors. He helped return the $15 million to the United States and was sentenced to serve 72 months in prison. Contacted by ICIJ, Bell declined to comment."

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From that last link:

"Bell came to the United States as a teen and worked his way through college and graduate school. He attended the University of Chicago's business school, graduating near the top of his MBA class . . . He started cooperating with prosecutors soon after his arrest at his Chicago-area home in the summer of 2009."

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Back to ICIJ:

"Asiaciti also cooperated with U.S. authorities, and the company was never charged. But it could never quite shake its involvement.

"Once, e-mails show, Asiaciti struggled to persuade a bank where it was hoping to help open a client's account that it bore no responsibility for the fraud into which it was ultimately drawn after meeting Bell in Chicago all those years ago.

"Said Taylor about the bank's hesitation: 'Unfuckingbelievable.'"

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More updates from ICIJ:

"We also published another story in our Inside Story series. This week, we take you to Burkina Faso in Africa to speak with Yacouba Ladji Bama. Bama worked on our Paradise Papers project, but not without several challenges - including finding a decent phone line and internet connection!"

And:

"It's live! We've released another 290,000 companies related to the Paradise Papers into our Offshore Leaks Database. So now, you can search our database for more than 785,000 companies and 720,000 officers. You also can download the database to do more sophisticated analysis."

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Previously in The Paradise Papers:

* 'Paradise Papers' Reveal Tax Avoidance, Shady Dealings Of World's Rich And Powerful.

* Just How Much Money Is Held Offshore? Hint: A SHIT-TON.

* Development Dreams Lost In The Offshore World.

* Keeping Offshore 'Hush Hush,' But Why?

* Tax Havens Are Alive With The Sound Of Music.

* Today In Tax Avoidance Of The Ultra-Wealthy.

* Go To Town With This Offshore Leaks Database.

* The Paradise Papers: The View From Africa And Asia.

* The Paradise Papers: The End Of Elusion For PokerStars.

* The Paradise Papers: An Odd Call From The Bermuda Government.

* The Paradise Papers: Nevis Is An Offshore Haven Of Opportunity

* The Paradise Papers: The Long Twilight Struggle Against Offshore Secrecy.

* The Paradise Papers: A Fair Tax System Will Be Lost Without Public Pressure.

* Item: Today In The Paradise Papers: Through Death Threats And Scare Tactics, Honduran Reporter 'Perseveres.'

* The Paradise Papers: Journalists Flee Venezuela To Publish Investigation.

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Previously in The Panama Papers:

* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Previously in tax scammage:

* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

* Study: 32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies Holding At Least $147 Billion Offshore.

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

* When A 'Tax Bonanza' Is Actually A Huge Corporate Tax Break.

* The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare: It's Bigger Than Trump.

* Oxfam Names World's Worst Tax Havens Fueling 'Global Race To Bottom.'

* Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Small Business $5,789 A Year.

* State Tax Incentives To Corporations Don't Work.

* GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 Of America's Largest Corporations A $236 Billion Tax Cut.

* Triumph Of The Oligarchs.

* Amazon Short-List Proves Something "Deeply Wrong" With America's Race-To-The-Bottom Economy.

* Apple's $38 Billion Tax Payment Less Than Half Of $79 Billion They Owe.

* U.S. Surpasses Cayman Islands To Become Second-Largest Tax Haven On Earth.

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Previously in carried interest, aka The Billionaire's Loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

* The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So).

* Fact-Checking Trump & Clinton On The Billionaire's Tax Break.

* Despite Trump Campaign Promise, Billionaires' Tax Loophole Survives Again.

* Carried Interest Reform Is a Sham.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings

The FCC inspector general's office is investigating the appearance of quid pro quo behind agency rulings that have helped pave the way for Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed takeover of Tribune Media.

In response, Free Press on Thursday called on Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to recuse himself from all decisions related to the proposed move. Free Press has raised serious concerns that the FCC chairman was acting deliberately and with extreme bias to lift any public-interest safeguards that would prevent the massive merger from being approved. In August 2017, Free Press filed a formal challenge to the proposed deal stating that the transfer of station licenses would give Sinclair a broadcast reach far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership, and would harm the public interest.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) has spearheaded efforts in Congress to call for this investigation.

"For months I have been trying to get to the bottom of the allegations about Chairman Pai's relationship with Sinclair Broadcasting," Pallone said in the statement. "I am grateful to the F.C.C.'s inspector general that he has decided to take up this important investigation."

As originally proposed, the deal would add 42 Tribune stations to the Sinclair empire, including stations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver and several other top-20 markets. Sinclair already owns 173 stations dominating many other major cities, such as Baltimore, Minneapolis, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., as well several stations in key electoral states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

If the merger is approved, the conservative broadcaster would be able to air politically biased programming to more than 70 percent of the U.S. population.

Consolidation on this scale is conceivable only following rule changes last year by Pai's FCC. In April, the agency voted to reinstate a technically obsolete loophole called the UHF discount that allows broadcast conglomerates to exceed congressionally mandated national TV-audience coverage limits. Free Press sued to overturn that decision, and oral arguments are scheduled for April in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

This loosening of broadcast-ownership rules came after press reports that Pai had conducted meetings with Sinclair executives days after the Nov. 8, 2016 presidential election, and then again off FCC grounds days before Trump appointed him to chair the FCC. At the same time, Politico reported that Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was boasting privately about a deal he had struck with the broadcaster during the campaign to air interviews with Trump uninterrupted by commentary.

"If the investigation finds that Pai or any other FCC staff did indeed let their own bias and favoritism shape decisions related to the deal, they must not be permitted to vote on this matter and they should be subject to other appropriate ethics-review processes," said Free Press deputy director and senior counsel Jessica J. Gonzalez.

"The publicly available evidence suggests a pattern of abuse where Sinclair forces its local stations to air pro-Trump messages in exchange for policy favors from the Trump administration and its FCC chairman. This should be a national scandal. If the deal is allowed to proceed, it would expand the company's long-standing pattern of evading public-interest obligations and abusing its market power to score political points, spread propaganda and serve a right-wing political agenda.

"The FCC rules against media consolidation were put in place for a reason: to promote localism, diversity and competition via access to the local airwaves. Pai's actions in support of this enormous merger blatantly violate both the spirit and the letter of this central mandate. Approving this deal would do real harm to low-income families and people of color. It would turn Sinclair into a media colossus with the power to spread xenophobic and racist pro-Trump messages that threaten these communities. Pai must recuse himself and this deal must be rejected."

A coalition of public-interest groups, including CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Free Press and MPower Change, have collected more than 400,000 petitions calling on the FCC to block the merger and investigate Chairman Pai's conduct. Following today's news, these groups are also calling on Pai to recuse himself from all agency matters involving Sinclair.

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See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

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Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

* Trump's FCC Chair Continues To Shaft The Public, Offer Major Handouts To Big Media.

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

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

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

A Long History Of Protest For Black Athletes

"Today's black athletes are part of a tradition of the intertwining of race, sports and society in America. From boxer Jack Johnson to Serena Williams, each generation has had to reckon with their era's racial climate to help move the U.S. forward."


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See also:

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

* Why Colin Kaepernick Matters.

* Your Turn: Colin Kaepernick's Protest.

* Youth Football Team (8-Year-Olds) Take Knees In Belleville.

* Taking A Knee In Trump Country.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:01 AM | Permalink

Public Health Alert For Chicken Salad Sold In Illinois

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is issuing a public health alert out of an abundance of caution due to concerns about illnesses reported in the state of Iowa that may be caused by salmonella associated with a chicken salad product. This product was sold at all Fareway grocery stores in Iowa, as well as Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

The chicken salad item for this public health alert was produced between Dec. 15, 2017 and Feb. 13, 2018. The following product is subject to the public health alert:

Varying weights of "Fareway Chicken Salad" sold in plastic deli containers with a Fareway store deli label.

This product was shipped to all Fareway grocery stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota and sold directly to consumers who shopped at Fareway. The problem was discovered following reports of illness in Iowa.

On Feb. 9, the Iowa Department of Public Health notified FSIS of an investigation of salmonella-related illnesses within the state of Iowa. FSIS continues to work with public health partners at the Iowa Department of Public Health and Department of Inspections and Appeals on this investigation. Updated information will be provided as it becomes available.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' refrigerators or freezers.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Consumption of food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

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Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov.

The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

NOTE: Access news releases and other information at FSIS' website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Follow FSIS on Twitter at twitter.com/usdafoodsafety or in Spanish at: twitter.com/usdafoodsafe_es.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:15 AM | Permalink

The Chicago Flamenco Festival

Flamenco masters return to Instituto Cervantes of Chicago for its 16th Chicago Flamenco Festival, a multi-week festival celebrating flamenco music and dance, running February 23 - March 21. This festival offers the best international celebration of flamenco outside of Spain.

The festival continues its annual tradition of kicking off with a special preview performance from Las Guitarras de España, at City Winery Chicago. This year's preview concert, titled "The Chicago-Andalusian Music Project," will take place on Monday, February 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Sample: Las Guitarras de España in 2013:

During the festival, Instituto Cervantes of Chicago will also show the Chicago premiere of three flamenco-inspired films starting with the award-winning documentary from anthropologist Miguel Ángel Rosales, Gurumbé: Afro-Andalusian Memories.

The trailer:

The film explores the contribution of Afro-Andalusians to flamenco as the art form developed. The screening is on Wednesday, February 28, at 6 p.m.

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The documentary Tocaoras explores the past, present and future of flamenco.

The trailer:

The screening is on Wednesday, March 7, at 6 p.m.

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Screening on Wednesday, March 14, at 6 p.m. is No, un cuento flamenco (NO, A Flamenco Tale) about a fictional musical film - an urban, contemporary flamenco opera - in which the action is expressed through dance and the original text is narrated through song.

The trailer:

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A beginning level bilingual family Spanish guitar class - the only course of its kind in Chicago - will be offered Saturdays, February 10 - March 31 from 11 a.m. - noon.

Taught by Rafael Vivanco from KANTUZ, the class is designed for children to take alongside their parents in addition to being taught in both English and Spanish. Students need not have previously studied music or guitar.

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A ton of performances are on tap, of course. Here's the full festival lineup and ticket information.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

February 14, 2018

WGN Anchors Ask Fashion Blogger About Nuclear War Because . . .

"I was on WGN for a live interview last week, and was asked to speak about my work and my book, but when I gave answers the hosts didn't like, their questions (and comments) started to get hostile, literally telling me I 'don't sound American,'" Hoda Katebi writes on YouTube.

"I also published a few quick thoughts about this interview (which they also refused to publish online, or give us access to the clip), as I feel it serves as a good example for a bit of commentary that can be applied to so many conversations happening now, and relevant to the work that is happening on JooJoo Azad.


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Favorite YouTube comment:

Stellouise: "What a SUPER BADASS distilling massive understanding into simple sentences and not being muscled out by their lazy understanding. I'm so enlivened to see this."

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When the fashion blogger is way smarter than the TV news people . . .

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WGN should hire her as a political commentator. And for fashion.

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See also:

So last week I did a live interview on TV, where I was asked to speak about my work and book, but when I gave answers the hosts didn't like, their questions (& comments) started getting hostile, literally telling me I "don't sound American" -- which is an incredibly loaded statement to say to a visibly Muslim woman on live TV, pushing every stereotype of "other", "foreign", and "incompatible with America" that Muslims are so systematically characterized as. I was born in this country yet they demand I am suspicious of my Iranian-ness but unquestionably patriotic of America. The double standards are wild. Anyway, link in my stories/profile to watch the interview and my discussion about it! ✌🏼

A post shared by HODA KATEBI | هدی کاتبی (@hodakatebi) on

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UPDATE:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:24 AM | Permalink

Four Suburban Chicago Millennials Shred America

"Four 20-year-olds travel from Chicago to New York on skateboards. Fueled by youthful ignorance, the four navigate America's landscape through a maze of wrong turns and unfortunate circumstances."


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Saturday, March 24, The Patio Theater (6008 West Irving Park Road). Doors 5 p.m./Show 7 p.m. All ages. Tickets.

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See also:

"The film was produced by two Niles men, Michael Kosciesza and Arthur Swidzinski, who made the 1,000-mile trek to New York with friends Anthony Michal of Park Ridge and James Lagen of Des Plaines, who also shot footage along the way."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:24 AM | Permalink

Two Poems

So I came across this poetry contest Tuesday that paid out $100 to the winner of a four-line work in which the syllable count went 1-5-5-9. The entry fee is 10 bucks. I wrote my poem and then, before submitting, asked our resident expert J.J. Tindall if he thought I had a shot and/or if the whole thing was a scam.

First, my poem:

Death
is coming soonest
Sooner than you know
Today or tomorrow it is here

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J.J. more or less said, yeah, it's a scam. See, you get more than 10 entries and you're ahead of the game - less the supposed labor of one's judging and, certainly, the administration. But it's not a bad racket and now I'm considering running a Beachwood contest. But for now . . . I wrote a new poem:

Hi
Is this real or not
Is it worth ten bucks?
Please pick me I need the money bad

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The truth is, though, that I'm so broke I can't afford to throw 10 bucks away. But if any of you out there wanna name me the winner and send me 100 bucks, that'd be swell!

I'll even mail you a signed copy of the poem!

And if you want to earmark a finder's fee for J.J., just let me know and I'll make sure he gets it.

Thanks!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:40 AM | Permalink

The Winter Olympics' Growing Pains

When the International Olympic Committee announced that PyeongChang would host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, most people outside of South Korea had probably never heard of it, let alone knew that the eastern part of the country had snow and mountains.

The shift in the type of place capable of hosting such a mega sporting event demonstrated how much the Winter Olympics has grown - but this change also brought with it a set of problems unforeseen when the event began in 1924.

Figure skating first appeared on the Olympic program in 1908, and ice hockey in 1920, but these events were part of the Summer Games. The first Winter Olympics took place in the French alpine village of Chamonix in 1924. The organizers of the Paris Olympics that year wanted to offer an International Sports Week at the beginning of the year with solely winter sports as an experiment. Only after its success did the IOC decide to call the Chamonix event the Winter Olympics.


The first few Winter Olympics took place in ski resort towns known to winter sport enthusiasts: St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1928; Lake Placid in 1932; and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 1936.

In the 1930s, the U.S. and Germany hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics because the IOC allowed the country which won the right to host the Summer Games to decide whether they wanted to organize the winter ones too. If they did not - or could not in the case of the Netherlands in 1928 - then the IOC opened up the bidding to other countries.

The Winter Olympics has always been significantly smaller than its summer counterpart in terms of the number of sports contested and countries participating. Just over 250 athletes competed in Chamonix, and it took until the 1964 games in Innsbruck, Austria, for more than 1,000 athletes to compete. Fewer than 3,000 athletes competed in Sochi in 2014, whereas more than 11,000 athletes competed in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

No More Village Ski Resorts

Although still significantly smaller than the summer event, the growth of the Winter Olympics to include 102 events across 15 sports at PyeongChang, alongside its global media coverage, means that the Games no longer take place in small ski resort villages. Instead, larger cities have bid for and hosted the Winter Games in the past few decades.

Urban centers provide many of the required amenities for a successful Olympics: huge venues for the opening and closing ceremonies, sizeable indoor arenas for ice hockey and figure skating, facilities to accommodate the world's media, and thousands of hotel rooms for all of the spectators.

However, those same larger cities tend to be further away from tall mountains and the higher altitudes needed to ensure sufficient snowfall and cold temperatures for the outdoor events of skiing, snowboarding, and the sliding sports of bobsled, skeleton, and luge.

At the 2010 Vancouver games, even with the widening of the highway that leads from the city to Whistler, it still took nearly two hours to reach the mountain venues. The organizers put on buses for those spectators who purchased tickets to events in the mountain to minimize traffic on the highway. After the initial ticket allocation, only Canadians with a postal code within a small radius of Whistler were permitted purchase the remaining tickets to some of the mountain events.

Further And Further From The Mountains

One of the reasons the IOC selected the Korean city for the 2018 event was to spread winter sport to a new part of the world which had not held the Winter Olympics. But aside from concerns about the post-Olympic use of these venues in a country where participation in skiing has declined, logistics for spectators are challenging.

advertpyeongchang.jpgAn ad in Seoul for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics/Jeon Heon-Kyun, EPA

The PyeongChang organizers recommend that visitors use the high-speed train from Seoul that opened in December. However, a major Korean holiday falls during the Winter Olympics and the majority of seats on the train have already been reserved. International spectators who purchased special train passes for the games are now unable to book seats on trains to take them to the Olympic events. There have also been concerns about accommodation shortages.

The next Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022 will be ever more spread out between venues. As larger cities further away from the mountains host the Winter Olympics, the games feel more disjointed for both athletes and spectators. Fans must decide where to stay and may decide not even to bother attending any mountain events. The organizers for recent Winter Games have built two Olympic Villages, one in the city and another in the mountains, separating athletes instead of having them all live together.

Future hosts for the Winter Olympics have to find a way to balance the interests of athletes, spectators, and post-event use of facilities. This challenge will not be easily solved, although recent past host cities - such as Salt Lake City - putting their hat in the ring to host the Winter Olympics again may be one solution.

Heather Dichter is an associate professor in the Leicester Castle Business School at De Montfort University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:30 AM | Permalink

Chicago History Museum Makes Thousands Of Blues Images Available To The Public

The Chicago History Museum announces the release of the Raeburn Flerlage archives, a collection of more than 45,000 photographic images and papers related to the photographer's life and professional career, to researchers and the general public.

Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan are just some of the artists captured by the remarkable and relatively unknown Chicago blues and American music photographer Raeburn Flerlage.

"The Raeburn Flerlage archives captured a critical moment in the development of Chicago blues," said John Russick, vice president of interpretation and education at the Chicago History Museum. "His camera was framed on the artists, fans and clubs that fueled the newly electrified Southern Blues sound as it transformed into a loud more muscular urban form - influencing musicians around the world and changing the face of Chicago music."

Magic Sam.pngMagic Sam at Sound Studios in Chicago, September 23, 1968

Flerlage spent nearly two decades in Chicago, beginning in the late 1950s, photographing some of the city and nation's most important blues artists. He is one of only a handful of photographers who documented the electrification of the city's blues scene. Though most well remembered for his blues music photography, he also captured emerging jazz and folk artists. His involvement with the Chicago music scene extended to his radio programs, music reviews, lectures and his record distribution business.

Flerlage's depictions of blues music in Chicago is the inspiration for the Museum's upcoming exhibition, "Amplified: Chicago Blues," that opens to the public on Saturday, April 7. The exhibition tells the story of how Chicago blues captured the attention of musicians and music enthusiasts worldwide, through interactives, photographs, visual material and objects.

This collection is now accessible to the public through the Museum's Research Center, which serves the Museum's archives, manuscripts, prints and photographs and more. A curated selection of more than 1,000 of Raeburn Flerlage's photographs is available online at Chicago History Museum Images. Images will continue to be added to the site during the course of the exhibition and beyond.

jackiewilson.pngJackie Wilson at the Trianon Ballroom in Chicago, 1964

In addition to early images of Chicago blues legends, notable items from the collection include:

  • Flerlage's freelance photography for recording artists and record companies, such as Folkways, Delmark, Prestige and Testament.
  • Photographs of Southside Chicago community events, like the annual Bud Billiken Parade.
  • A collection of Flerlage's journals, day planners and personal correspondences that reveal his thoughts and feelings about his work in the Chicago music scene and personal relationships.
  • Record album covers, serials, newspaper clippings, posters and other published materials using Flerlage's photographs or writings.

More information on Flerlage and the Raeburn Flerlage archives is available at the Research Center's online finding aid.

i110045_pm.pngBob Dylan at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, December 27, 1963

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:31 AM | Permalink

Little Village Shocked By Power Plant Plan

The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and Little Village community at large were shocked to learn Tuesday that Hilco and Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed the demolition of the Crawford Coal Power Plant and the building of a potential logistics facility at 3400 South Pulaski Road.

We are disappointed that Emanuel and Ald. Ricardo Munoz have already publicly proposed a plan and are pushing it forward without the involvement of our community as stipulated in the original Guiding Principles for site redevelopment agreed to with former coal plant owner Midwest Generation.

This top-down decision to plan for a diesel-intensive logistics center or distribution facility threatens to undermine the life-saving improvement in air quality won by the shut-down of the Crawford coal plant.

Indeed, our community came together to close down Crawford and fight for the right to breathe precisely because we lost 40 community members prematurely every year, had over 2,800 asthma attacks and over 550 emergency room visits annually due to the pollution that the Crawford coal power plant released.

LVEJO asserts that the siting of a diesel-intensive logistics center or distribution facility at the former Crawford coal plant is a violation of the longstanding struggle for environmental justice in Little Village.

Diesel emissions are well known to be hazardous to human health, as nitrogen oxides contributed to the formation of ground level ozone, which irritates the respiratory system, causing coughing, choking, and reduced lung capacity.

Groups at particular risk include workers in diesel industries, such as trucking and rail, and communities located near major sources of diesel pollution, such as ports and freeways.

Since the closure of the Crawford coal plant, LVEJO has listened to community leaders and advocated for the just transition of the site into a multi-purpose campus that becomes a catalyst of improved health, job access, and other economic activities that benefit long-time residents.

It is crucial that our community understand the conditions of the building to see if demolition is needed or if the building and broader site can be repurposed for community priorities.

This must be paired with a comprehensive analysis that ensures that our community's health and environment is centered in the redevelopment.

Ultimately, the use of the Crawford coal plant site must be directed by the needs and vision of the Little Village community whose future is at stake.

Due to the lack of community engagement in this decision, LVEJO is demanding:

* An immediate meeting with Hilco and Mayor Emanuel's office.

* Full information on the site conditions, including an assessment of the current status of the coal plant building and surrounding facility, that is shared with the Little Village community in culturally relevant ways.

* Adequate time to share information with the community for meaningful engagement and public deliberation to ensure the future of the site aligns with community priorities.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:21 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Public Service Announcement:

It sounds like the clatter of a nation at work! But really it's a nation's last whimper.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Two Poems
If so moved, send me the prize money.

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WGN Anchors Ask Fashion Blogger About Nuclear War Because . . .
She didn't sound American. Meet Hoda Katebi. And give her a show of her own.

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Power Plant Plan Shocks Little Village
"We are disappointed that Emanuel and Ald. Ricardo Munoz have already publicly proposed a plan and are pushing it forward without the involvement of our community as stipulated in the original Guiding Principles for site redevelopment agreed to with former coal plant owner Midwest Generation."

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New Chicago Music Photos Available To Public
Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan are just some of the artists captured by the remarkable and relatively unknown Chicago blues and American music photographer Raeburn Flerlage.

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Four Suburban Chicago Millennials Shred America
"Fueled by youthful ignorance, the four navigate America's landscape through a maze of wrong turns and unfortunate circumstances."

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The Winter Olympics' Growing Pains
Urban areas replace charming ski resorts.

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This Day In . . .

2012: When Adele Played Martyrs'.

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2013: Tutu vs. Obama.

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2013: Ald. Joe Moreno's Star Turn In The CPS School Closings Fiasco.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Really cool stuff from Lamda Mahrya. Watch!

Click through for more about supplies she used and upcoming events.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Who's with me?

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Hippity hop.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:04 AM | Permalink

February 13, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

"A federal judge has denied East Chicago residents their bid to intervene in court proceedings for the clean-up of lead and arsenic in their neighborhood," AP reports.

"The Post-Tribune reports that Judge Philip Simon ruled last week against a request from residents to intervene between the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and companies held responsible for the pollution at the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site.

"The ruling agreed with a prior opinion from a magistrate judge who ruled the residents' request came too late in the process."

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Why do I instinctually suppose East Chicago residents just got screwed (again)? Let's dig in a little.

"Attorneys representing residents have accused the EPA of minimizing health concerns and cleaning up a limited number of properties despite knowing for decades about widespread contamination," the Northwest Indiana Times reported last month.

Residents say they didn't realize the extent of contamination until summer 2016, when city officials announced families at the West Calumet Housing Complex had to relocate due to the severe contamination and that they would demolish the site.

EPA in 2014 approved a consent decree that secured $26 million from Atlantic Richfield and DuPont for a cleanup in zones 1 and 3 of the USS Lead Superfund site. Zone 2 - the middle part of the neighborhood - was left out of the consent decree.

Costs have since nearly quadrupled. Residents' attorneys argued EPA has repeatedly modified the consent decree, while at the same time arguing in court the case is closed and statute prohibits intervention.

That seems persuasive.

Simon, the judge who signed off on the 2014 consent decree, said Tuesday that EPA's cleanup does indeed appear to be a "totally different landscape" that what was presented to him back then - with the West Calumet Housing Complex now vacated and East Chicago eying demolition.

So what changed?

Simon suggested it seemed inevitable EPA would have to return, eventually, to the courts for approval because federal Superfund statute requires the agency to do so in the cases of substantial cleanup amendments.

And that move would open up the possibility for residents to intervene then, he said.

"Let's say you do something they don't like, they would have a right, at that time, to seek intervention?" Simon said, directed at EPA attorney Annette Lang.

Lang replied yes, while maintaining she believes EPA is adequately representing residents' interests in the case.

" . . . And we'll be right back here again (with another motion to intervene)," Simon said.

So they can't intervene now, but when another terrible thing happens they'll get another shot?

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"Lang also argued Tuesday the motion was filed too late and that granting them intervener status would 'unnecessary delay' ongoing time-critical cleanups at the site. According to EPA, nearly 290 properties have been remediated since summer 2016. Another 718 require remediation.

Simon appeared perplexed at that argument, saying, "Don't you feel silly, having found out about this problem (in the 1980s), and your concern is that citizens are delaying this? That's amazing," Simon said.

"You all have really known about this . . . yet your litigation position is that citizen intervention is slowing the process down. That's a little hard to swallow," he added.

And yet, swallow it he did.

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Previously:

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

* East Chicago Is Toxic.

* A Start In East Chicago.

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I haven't forgotten about East Chicago (or Flint or Aleppo or Darfur) and neither should you. That's why those cities are featured by our Weather Desk over there on the left rail.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Be A CHIdiot
The CHIditarod, Chicago's Shopping Cart Race For A Good Cause, Celebrates Lucky Year 13.

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Publisher Files Censorship Suit Against Illinois Department Of Corrections
Case centers on - but is not exclusive to - Prison Legal News. Plus: WBEZ's Natalie Moore tries to find out why her book is banned in state prisons. (You can see the entire, quite large, banned list at her piece - just follow the link.)

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Who Will Win The Ivy King Cup?
Don't miss the biggest night in Chicago roller derby!

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The Paradise Papers: Journalists Flee Venezuela To Publish Investigation
"Read the harrowing story of Joseph Poliszuk and his team, who are working to publish more stories - despite the oppression they face."

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MLK And The Ram
"What really got my goat - no pun intended - was that the sermon in question was all about the dangers of hucksterism, extreme materialism and greed, and those - ahem- huckster leaders who use their power to drive people into desperation, and distract them from what's really going on, in no small part by selling people things they don't need and can't afford. Delivered 50 years ago to the day, Dr King talked about people 'taken by advertisers.'"

We are living in a culture of normalized deceit.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Color Card, Brick Assassin, Psychic Drag, Fire From The Gods, Wet Wallet, Moon Taxi, Lotus, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Night Beats, Mickey Avalon, Ganja White Night, Gerardo Ortiz, Lara Fabian, Dennis DeYoung, The Jeff Austin Band, 3 Doors Down, The Cell Phones, and Blues Traveler.

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On This Day In . . .

2012: What The Sun-Times Left Out Of Its Fond Remembrance Of Jeff Zaslow.

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2017: What Hitler Couldn't Do.

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2014: Rahm Responds To Rooftop Snow Messages.

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2014: How The Tribune Saw The Beatles.

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2015: On Jackie Robinson West And Adults Behaving Badly.

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2016: CPD's Bogus Lineups And Missing Files.

If you're going to be in what former Tribune editor/publisher/president Jack Fuller called a "truth profession," you should be beyond reproach. Or, as Bob Dylan once said, it you want to be an outlaw you have to be honest. Also, they should all be truth professions.

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2017: Empty Statements, Empty Pockets And Susanna Hoffs.

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2011: The Real Rahm. Rated VF for Very Funny.

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ChicagoGram

#rural #landscape #mcdonalds fast food #noir corporate beacon

A post shared by @ gboozell on

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Clergy To Back Dreamers With Lenten Fast.

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BeachBook

The Campaign Of Randy Bryce, The Democrat Challenging Paul Ryan, Is Not Just Pro-Union But Unionized.

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How To Stay Warm At A Bitter-Cold Olympics: Face Tape And A Whistle-Like Gadget.

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Consumer reports via Consumer World, which I love.

Phone Prices Going Up With No End In Sight.

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LL Bean Cuts Their Lifetime Guarantee Short.

Not sure I can blame them; once again, greedy, selfish people ruin it for everyone else. Just be cool, people!

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Beware Of "Sales" At These Stores.

Our whole economy is built on deceit.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: You have to do some of the work yourself.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

Publisher Files Censorship Suit Against Illinois Department Of Corrections

The Human Rights Defense Center, a non-profit organization based in Lake Worth, Florida, will file a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Illinois Department of Corrections alleging constitutional violations related to censorship of HRDC's publications mailed to Illinois state prisoners.

HRDC publishes Prison Legal News, a 72-page monthly publication that covers news and court rulings related to the criminal justice system. PLN has been published for more than 27 years and has received the First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. HRDC also distributes around 50 self-help and legal books of interest to prisoners. More than 200 Illinois prisoners subscribe to PLN.

According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, "certain prisons within the state of Illinois have withheld all or part of issues of Prison Legal News, as well as books published and/or distributed by HRDC" in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Further, IDOC has failed to provide notice of such censorship, or has provided inadequate notice, in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The lawsuit cites specific examples where PLN was censored by prison officials, including multiple issues of the publication not being delivered to subscribers at the Big Muddy River Correctional Center between June 2016 and October 2017. The suit also claims that the Decatur Correctional Center "imposed a blanket ban against the receipt and distribution of Prison Legal News." Additional incidents of censorship were cited at the Hill, Menard, Stateville, and Pontiac Correctional Centers, among other IDOC facilities.

"In adopting and implementing the above censorship policies and practices," the complaint states, "Defendants have knowingly violated, continue to violate, and are reasonably expected to violate in the future, HRDC's constitutional rights, and have caused HRDC serious and irreparable harm including, but not limited to: suppression of its political message, frustration of its organizational mission, loss of its ability to recruit new supporters, subscribers, and writers, loss of subscriptions, loss of opportunities for purchases and sales of its publications, loss of opportunities for book sales, and diversion of its resources."

The lawsuit seeks 1) a declaration that the IDOC's censorship of PLN and other publications violates HRDC's constitutional rights, 2) a preliminary and permanent injunction against such censorship; 3) compensatory, punitive and nominal damages; 4) and attorneys' fees and costs.

HRDC is represented in its suit by Chicago attorneys Marc Zubick, Jason Greenhut and Sarah Wang with the law firm of Latham & Watkins; attorneys Alan Mills and Nicole Schult with the Uptown People's Law Center; and HRDC general counsel Sabarish Neelakanta and staff attorneys Masimba Mutamba and Dan Marshall.

"The hostility of IDOC towards publishers who report on legal and human rights abuses of the prisoners in their care is contrary to the norms of a free press and free speech alike," said Paul Wright, director and founder of HRDC.

"Prison Legal News is one of the only sources available to prisoners regarding the law and legal developments," said Alan Mills, executive director of Uptown People's Law Center. "Depriving prisoners of this important information is an affront to the Constitution."

HRDC has previously filed successful censorship cases against 10 other state Departments of Corrections, resulting in settlement agreements and consent decrees. The organization has also sued more than a dozen local jails nationwide, including a lawsuit filed against the Cook County Jail on June 30, 2016, which remains pending.

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The Human Rights Defense Center, founded in 1990 and based in Lake Worth, Florida, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human rights in U.S. detention facilities. HRDC's advocacy efforts include publishing two monthly publications, Prison Legal News, which covers national and international news and litigation concerning prisons and jails, as well as Criminal Legal News, which is focused on criminal law and procedure and policing issues.

HRDC also publishes and distributes self-help reference books for prisoners, and engages in state and federal court litigation on prisoner rights issues, including wrongful death, public records, class actions, and Section 1983 civil rights litigation concerning the First Amendment rights of prisoners and their correspondents.

The Uptown People's Law Center is a nonprofit legal services organization specializing in prisoners' rights, Social Security disability, and tenants' rights and eviction defense. UPLC currently has seven pending class action lawsuits regarding jail and prison conditions.

Latham & Watkins is a global law firm with a Chicago office.

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See also by WBEZ's Natalie Moore: My Book Is Banned In Illinois Prisons - I Tried To Figure Out Why.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:23 AM | Permalink

MLK And The Ram

Super Bowl 2018 drew the smallest audience of any national championship game since 2009, but that didn't quell the ruckus stoked by one of the mid-game ads. Listen carefully and there it was: Martin Luther King pitching the Dodge Ram.

What really got my goat - no pun intended - was that the sermon in question was all about the dangers of hucksterism, extreme materialism and greed, and those - ahem - huckster leaders who use their power to drive people into desperation, and distract them from what's really going on, in no small part by selling people things they don't need and can't afford.

Delivered 50 years ago to the day, King talked about people "taken by advertisers."

Today it's even more true than it was then. Meanwhile, the media obsesses over the stock market when it's the real market that really demands attention.

There, household debt stands at a record high: just under $13 trillion. And the one area of consumer debt that really stands out are auto loans. The New York Fed estimates that 23 million consumers hold subprime auto loans, which are based on super-low credit scores.

Like subprime mortgages, subprime auto loans aren't made by traditional banks or credit unions, but by auto finance companies such as car dealers, reports the Fed, which is to say hucksters. And one fifth of those, or 20 percent, are in default today.

Read that King speech in full. Don't be taken in by advertisers; don't compete yourself into greed, hate and bankruptcy, he says. In other words, don't buy that Dodge Ram.

But his bigger point is about extreme materialism, just one of the triple evils King was calling out in his final year. There's something spiritually wrong, he said, with an economy that prizes things over people, and spends hand-over-fist on wars and ads when families can't afford a car.

Whatever's happening on Wall Street, Main Street is in trouble - the same sort of trouble we saw just before the 2008 financial crash. In fact, family debt is up - $280 billion above its peak in the third quarter of that dangerous year. I suspect that, not the Super Bowl fracas, is what we need to be paying attention to today.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

Who Will Win The Ivy King Cup?

Don't miss the biggest night in Chicago roller derby!

All season long, the Windy City Rollers' home teams have been battling for the Ivy King Cup. On February 17, we'll see who takes the championship home!

Join us on Saturday, February 17, for our last bout of the home team season, a doubleheader at UIC Pavilion (525 South Racine Avenue).

ivykingcup.jpg

Tickets start at $20 online and at the door, or purchase them directly from your favorite skater for a $5 discount! Group discounts available.

Doors open at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m, the Hell's Belles take on The Fury for third place. The Manic Attackers and the undefeated Double Crossers face off for the championship at 7:45 pm.

IKC History
The Ivy King Cup is named after roller derby legend Ivy King, also known as Poison Ivy. King, who skated in Chicago, was a superstar of early roller derby who at one point held women's speed roller-skating records at the quarter-mile, half-mile, and mile.

IvyKing.jpgCourtesy of the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

The Paradise Papers: Journalists Flee Venezuela To Publish Investigation

Under the regime of President Nicolas Maduro, journalists in Venezuela have been constantly silenced. But that hasn't stopped our partner Armando.info from reporting on the questionable dealings of a government food program since April last year.

Now, though, four journalists from Armando.info have been forced to leave their home country as they prepare to publish more stories from their investigation. I'd encourage you all to read the harrowing story of Joseph Poliszuk and his team, who are working to publish more stories - despite the oppression they face.

Joesph-620w.jpgJoseph Poliszuk, the editor of Armando.info in Venezuela, has been forced to leave the country.

If data is more your thing, then this is a good week for you. Our data team has been working overtime to bring you the latest info from our Paradise Papers leak. We're very excited to release more data than ever before with our Offshore Leaks Database, now home to 785,000 records of trusts, companies or funds. It contains information of more than 720,000 officers and 370,000 addresses.

That's all for now, but we'll be back this week with more stories (and data!)

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Previously in The Paradise Papers:

* 'Paradise Papers' Reveal Tax Avoidance, Shady Dealings Of World's Rich And Powerful.

* Just How Much Money Is Held Offshore? Hint: A SHIT-TON.

* Development Dreams Lost In The Offshore World.

* Keeping Offshore 'Hush Hush,' But Why?

* Tax Havens Are Alive With The Sound Of Music.

* Today In Tax Avoidance Of The Ultra-Wealthy.

* Go To Town With This Offshore Leaks Database.

* The Paradise Papers: The View From Africa And Asia.

* The Paradise Papers: The End Of Elusion For PokerStars.

* The Paradise Papers: An Odd Call From The Bermuda Government.

* The Paradise Papers: Nevis Is An Offshore Haven Of Opportunity

* The Paradise Papers: The Long Twilight Struggle Against Offshore Secrecy.

* The Paradise Papers: A Fair Tax System Will Be Lost Without Public Pressure.

* Item: Today In The Paradise Papers: Through Death Threats And Scare Tactics, Honduran Reporter 'Perseveres.'

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Previously in The Panama Papers:

* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Previously in tax scammage:

* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

* Study: 32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies Holding At Least $147 Billion Offshore.

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

* When A 'Tax Bonanza' Is Actually A Huge Corporate Tax Break.

* The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare: It's Bigger Than Trump.

* Oxfam Names World's Worst Tax Havens Fueling 'Global Race To Bottom.'

* Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Small Business $5,789 A Year.

* State Tax Incentives To Corporations Don't Work.

* GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 Of America's Largest Corporations A $236 Billion Tax Cut.

* Triumph Of The Oligarchs.

* Amazon Short-List Proves Something "Deeply Wrong" With America's Race-To-The-Bottom Economy.

* Apple's $38 Billion Tax Payment Less Than Half Of $79 Billion They Owe.

* U.S. Surpasses Cayman Islands To Become Second-Largest Tax Haven On Earth.

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Previously in carried interest, aka The Billionaire's Loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

* The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So).

* Fact-Checking Trump & Clinton On The Billionaire's Tax Break.

* Despite Trump Campaign Promise, Billionaires' Tax Loophole Survives Again.

* Carried Interest Reform Is a Sham.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:07 AM | Permalink

MUSH! The CHIditarod, Chicago's Shopping Cart Race For A Good Cause, Celebrates Lucky Year 13

Who: Spectators and well-wishers are invited to witness the start of the 13th CHIditarod, Chicago's annual rambunctious, costumed shopping cart race, raising food and donations to combat hunger.

What: Part competition, part carnival, the CHIditarod is "probably the world's largest mobile food drive." This year, more than 100 teams of five people in costumes will race decorated shopping carts for a good cause. Whether it's the Apollo Lunar Module, rolling a mobile diner, or paying tribute to lost legends or movie classics, each team will contribute at least 69 pounds of food to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, with prizes awarded for largest food and monetary contributions and the most creative carts.

Now in its 13th year, the CHIditarod - a 100% volunteer driven organization - has raised more than 156,000 pounds of food for Chicago's hungry and more than $190,000 for local nonprofits fighting hunger in the Chicago area. Since the beginning of the CHIditarod Foundation's grant program, $121,500 has been given out to like-minded nonprofits who have new and creative ways of solving food scarcity.

When: Saturday, March 3rd. Teams begin arriving at 9:45 a,m. The pre-race festivities include performances by local eclectic marching band Environmental Encroachment. Race start is expected at 12:30 p.m.

Where: 1900 W. Hubbard (northwest corner of Hubbard and Wolcott).

Visuals: 500+ excited participants in costume and decorated shopping carts, 200+ dedicated volunteers, trucks being loaded with thousands of pounds of donations for GCFD, raucous race start with 100+ teams pouring out of the gate and onto Chicago streets, pre-race music from 20+ member marching band.

Registration closes February 20th.

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It looks a little something like this:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

February 12, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Color Card at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on Friday night.


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2. Brick Assassin at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on Saturday night.

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3. Psychic Drag at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on Saturday night.

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4. Fire From The Gods at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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5. Wet Wallet at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on Saturday night.

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6. Moon Taxi at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Saturday night.

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7. Lotus at the Vic on Friday night.

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8. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Vic on Saturday night.

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9. Night Beats at the Vic on Saturday night.

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10. Mickey Avalon at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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11. Ganja White Night at the Aragon on Friday night.

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12. Gerardo Ortiz at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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13. Lara Fabian at the Copernicus on Friday night.

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14. Dennis DeYoung at the Genesee in Waukegan on Saturday night.

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15. The Jeff Austin Band at Schubas on Saturday night.

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16. 3 Doors Down at the Rialto in Joliet on Saturday night.

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Catching up with . . .

The Cell Phones at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on February 2nd.

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Blues Traveler at the House of Blues on February 3rd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Darvish Signing Exposes Cubs Problem

I busted out my "W" flag t-shirt Sunday after it had sat in the closet throughout the baseball offseason. I thought the Cubs' signing of Yu Darvish warranted a little celebration. Plus pitchers and catchers report tomorrow and that is always a great day.

But the Darvish signing wasn't all good news for the North Siders. It was another reminder, in an offseason full of them, of management's failure, more than six years into its tenure, to successfully draft and develop pitchers of any note.

Darvish was the seventh free agent pitcher signed to a major league contract by the Cubs this offseason. That is the most free agent pitchers signed by a major league club to major league deals in one off-season since 2010. And that is clearly not good.

I am as confident as anyone that the Cubs will contend with the Dodgers, the Nationals and others for the top spot in the National League this coming season. And all credit to Theo and the boys for doing what needed doing to build a staff with that sort of potential.

But if the Cubs don't start churning out some better young arms at some point soon, they are going to have a problem. Augmenting your homegrown core with free agents is delightful. Making free agents your core? Less so.

Before Darvish, the Cubs had brought on board Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek to fortify the back end of the bullpen. They re-signed and signed lefties Brian Duensing and Dario Alvarez to try to ensure they could take advantage of the maximum number of match-ups.

Tyler Chatwood was brought in from the Rockies and is projected to bookend the rotation with Darvish. And the Cubs even brought in a guy, Drew Smyly, for next year. Smyly will spend at least most of this season recovering from Tommy John surgery in the middle of 2017.

Even the pitchers on the Cubs staff who seem like homegrown guys like Kyle Hendricks and Carl Edwards came to the organization in trades. They then developed in the Cubs system but still clearly don't count as drafted-and-developed talents.

Hendricks was the big prize when the Cubs dumped Ryan Dempster and Edwards came to the club along with Justin Grimm among others when the team traded Matt Garza. It is important to remember that while former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is remembered derisively as the guy who focused on signing free agents rather than developing talent, Hendry left Theo and Co. all sorts of tradeable assets when he departed. Garza, Dempster, Jeff Samardzija (Addison Russell) and Andrew Cashner (Anthony Rizzo) all brought great returns.

In fact, when you take a close look back at the Cubs' rebuild, you realize that current Cubs management did its best work with trades and free agent signings. Kris Bryant is the one, shining example of a homegrown superstar, but most observers would agree he was about ready to go at the major league level when he arrived with the club after a storied college career at the University of San Diego.

Bryant's fellow "top 10 in the first round picks," Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ, have contributed, but not as much as might have been hoped. And then you have to look hard for guys who are even major-league ready.

Want a guy in the system to root for? Stephen Ridings was the team's eighth-round pick in 2016 and later that year underwent the ubiquitous surgery named for the iron man pitcher (John) who starred for the White Sox and Dodgers among others.

Ridings missed all of last year but is ready go this time around and will probably break camp in the Cubs' low minors. I root for him because he attended my alma mater, Haverford College, and it would be awesome if a fellow Ford made the bigs, especially the Cubs. Ridings is in a bit of a race in that regard with a former teammate. Tommy Bergjans is also a former star for Haverford and was also drafted in the eighth round, although it was in 2015 and it was by the Dodgers. Prior to 2015, no Haverford baseball player had ever been drafted in any round of an MLB draft. What a program!

Bergjans was traded to the Phillies organization in 2016 and had a rough time last season, posting an ERA of over 6.00 with two different minor league teams. So even though Ridings is coming off the arm injury, he might have more of a shot than Bergjans.

Guys like those are the most fun to follow in spring training. And with the Cubs' Opening Day roster close to set (!) before the first day even dawns, we will need distractions like these to keep us interested until the real games arrive at the end of March.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:22 AM | Permalink

February 10, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #187: Olympic Narratives Open For Business

But even Shani Davis can't make all his dreams come true. Plus: Coach Coffman's Epic Super Bowl Wrap-Up; The Mirotic Trade Looks Even Better After Seeing The Rest Of The League's Deadline Deals This Week; Derrick Rose Not Welcome In Minnesota; The Blackhawks Are So Sad We Don't Even Want To Talk About Them; PECOTA PESCHMOTA; and Help Us, Loyola, You're Our Only Hope.


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SHOW NOTES

* 187.

* Governor Goofs Honest Abe Quote.

3:49: Coach Coffman's Epic Super Bowl Wrap-Up.

* Featuring Patriots-haters, racists, Jim Harbaugh, Lawrence Taylor and college basketball.

* Plus, his wife was there.

23:55: Olympic Narratives Open For Business.

* Plus: Every Four Years They Come From Norway To Plunder Your Gold.

29:14: Chicago Olympian Shani Davis Poses Our Fair City's Most Uttered Question: Where's Mine?

* From Wikipedia:

"Davis was born on Friday, August 13, 1982 (Friday the 13th) in Chicago, Illinois, to Reginald Shuck and Cherie Davis. His father selected the name 'Shani' from an African name dictionary; the name translates 'to adventure,' and he has traveled the globe as a world champion speed skater. His paternal grandmother, Louise Shuck, started a family tradition of naming her grandchildren African names. Davis has a first cousin named Johari, Kofi. The English translation of this name is a mixture of 'light' and 'weight.'

"Davis learned to roller skate when he was 2-years-old. His mother, Cherie, worked for a man who was a local lawyer as well as a speed skating official. The lawyer's son was an elite-level speed skater. At the lawyer's suggestion, Cherie enrolled Shani at the Robert Crown Center in nearby Evanston when he was 6-years-old. Within two months, Davis was winning regional races in his age groups, earning the admiration of his friends and Northbrook rivals alike.

"Cherie was determined that her son would reach his maximum potential. She would wake Shani up in the morning to run a mile on a nearby track to build up his endurance. In order to be closer to his skating club, she and Davis moved from the neighborhood of Hyde Park to Rogers Park."

33:28: The Mirotic Trade Looks Even Better After Seeing The Rest Of The League's Deadline Deals This Week.

39:44: Derrick Rose Not Welcome In Minnesota.

* From the Minneapolis StarTribune's Michael Rand: "Derrick Rose to the Timberwolves? Once again: Please, no. If you thought it was impossible for 100 percent of a group of random Twitter strangers to be aligned on a subject, you weren't paying attention Thursday afternoon."

* But maybe they want Zach LaVine back?

51:58: The Blackhawks Are So Sad We Don't Even Want To Talk About Them.

54:10: All We Have In Baseball Right Now Are Projections.

* Pecota Peschmota.

* The Cubs' Darvish Deal.

BREAKING: THEO WAS LISTENING - Darvish To Cubs On 6-Year Deal.

1:02:16: Help Us, Loyola, You're Our Only Hope.

* Missing the point about what happened at DePaul.

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STOPPAGE: 9:24

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:22 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

"More than 250 Cook County corrections officers called in sick Friday morning in a wave of illness jail officials suspect has more to do with the foot of snow covering the Chicago area than an outbreak," the Sun-Times reports.

All I can say is here we go again.

*

And if you click through to read that Sun-Times story, you'll learn that the Great Super Bowl Sick-Out never happened.

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Social Injustice Warrior
"Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios' campaign spokeswoman took steps to try to keep a primary challenger on the March ballot and prevent a one-on-one matchup with asset manager Fritz Kaegi," the Tribune reports.

All I can say is here we go again.

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Monica Trevino, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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New on today's Beachwood . . .

U.S. Surpasses Cayman Islands To Become Second-Largest Tax Haven On Earth
"We have one of the strongest economies and one of the most secret. It's a perfect recipe for attracting the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion. Internationally, this secrecy facilitates corruption that drains wealth from developing countries."

*

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Muimy Troll, Mega Ran, John Oates, Melanie Fiona, Marilyn Manson, and Grün Wasser.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #187
Will be recorded Saturday morning for an afternoon/evening posting.

And here it is . . .

Theo Was Listening.

Plus: Olympic Narratives Open For Business, But Even Chicago's Selfish Shani Davis Can't Get Everything He Wants; Coach Coffman's Epic Super Bowl Wrap-Up; The Mirotic Trade Looks Even Better After Seeing The Rest Of The League's Deadline Deals This Week; Derrick Rose Not Welcome In Minnesota; The Blackhawks Are So Sad We Don't Even Want To Talk About Them; PECOTA PESCHMOTA; and Help Us, Loyola, You're Our Only Hope.

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ICYMI: The [Friday] Papers
Dibs heroes and zeroes.

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This Day In . . .

2014: Inside The Vanecko Grand Jury.

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2012: Rahm's Mouth Stuck Shut.

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2015: Rush And Rahm. Plus, Daley's Double-Take.

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2015: David Haugh's Taxpayer-Subsidized Draft Fever.

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2010: Never Forget: Wilco Is Complicit.

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

When Chuck Goudie broke the news about ecstasy at after-hours clubs.

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Weekend BeachBook

Retired From The Brutal Streets Of Mexico, Sex Workers Find A Haven.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Zen and the art of troncin'.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:04 AM | Permalink

February 9, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Mumiy Troll at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.


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2. Mega Ran at the Emporium on Thursday night.

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3. John Oates at the Old Town School on Thursday night.

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4. Melanie Fiona at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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5. Marilyn Manson at the Riv on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Grün Wasser at the Empty Bottle on February 2nd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Judge Dibs is in session, from his suburban courtroom, where he has long presided.

I would submit he has a jurisdictional problem.

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From the Beachwood vault . . .

The Dibs Hero Of 2014.

(I could've sworn I included her in a Beachwood post, but I couldn't find it. Nor could I find my case against dibs, but I know I've written it. I'm against dibs. I don't feel like rewriting why, so I'll keep looking.)

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The Dibs Hero Runner-Up Of 2014.

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Also that year:

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Chair-Free Chicago Is Not What It Used To Be.

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We're living in a society, people. Let dibs die. It isn't cute and it isn't justice. (Though it is sometimes funny, I'll admit.)

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Wilson Men's Hotel Residents Demand Developer Cease Retaliatory Evictions
Residents are facing homelessness.

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The White Sox Report: Instant Replay Radio
"This has happened before. Maybe not quite like today, but the White Sox found themselves scrambling to find a radio outlet during the winter 47 years ago too, which is exactly what's going on right now."

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Chicago's Bric-A-Brac
Punk, junk and rock 'n' roll.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour
Will appear on Saturday afternoon/evening this week.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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On This Day In . . .

2011: Let me ask you something, Chicago: Is someone putting a gun to your head?

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2012: When Barack Obama was a Christian who opposed gay marriage.

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2015: Let's not forget how awful Obamacare is.

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2015: The Newspaper Endorsement Charade.

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2016: Riding The Dog Part 3: Meet Me At The Esquire Lounge.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The sophomore class at New Trier has set a Guinness World Record with more than 40 sets of twins and one set of triplets.

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BeachBook

How Sweden Became A Symbol.

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Arby's Now Owns Buffalo Wild Wings.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Excellent.

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*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Snow patrol.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Bric-A-Brac

"Chicago's vibrant arts scene is full of musicians, filmmakers, writers, painters, photographers, builders, collectors, and other creative types who grind and hustle each and every day. They create because they love to create, and they do so in a city where success is measured not by downloads or sales, but by impact you make on the community you live in. The Come Up shines a light on these various creators; today, we continue our story with a trip to Bric-a-Brac Records, Chicago's ultimate thrift store."


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Bric-a-Brac social media goodies:

Nice batch of She-Ra figures ranging in completeness out now!

A post shared by Bric-a-Brac Records (@bricabracrecords) on

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*

*

Bric-a-Brac from the Beachwood vault:

-> The Yolks, Son of a Gun, and the Soft Jolts at Bric-a-Brac's one-year anniversary party in 2014.

-> The Paul Collins Beat at Bric-a-Brac at 1:02; La Luz at 20:14.

-> Ausmuteants at Bric-a-Brac at 48:07.

-> CoCoComa at Bric-a-Brac in 2015.

-> Duncan Reid & the Big Heads at Bric-a-Brac in 2015.

-> The Chips at Bric-a-Brac at 1:22; Skip Church at 3:18.

-> Savage Beliefs at Bric-a-Brac's Scummer Slam in 2016.

-> Negative Scanner and Sweet Cobra at Bric-a-Brac in 2017.

-> The Make-Overs at Bric-a-Brac in 2017.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

U.S. Surpasses Cayman Islands To Become Second-Largest Tax Haven On Earth

The United States is now the second-largest tax haven on the planet, according to an updated international index.

The Tax Justice Network found that the U.S. has surpassed the Cayman Islands as the No. 2 place where corporations can easily stash their money to avoid tax liabilities. Switzerland retained its top place on the list.

"Financial secrecy provided by the U.S. has caused untold harm to the ordinary citizens of foreign countries, whose elites have used the United States as a bolt-hole for looted wealth," wrote the group in its Financial Secrecy Index.

"This is not a ranking in which the U.S. wants to be number one or even number two," said Gary Kalman, executive director of the FACT Coalition, which advocates for policies to combat criminal activity in the financial system. "We have one of the strongest economies and one of the most secret. It's a perfect recipe for attracting the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion. Internationally, this secrecy facilitates corruption that drains wealth from developing countries."

offshoreshellgames.pngOffshore Shell Games

The Index reports that shadowy shell companies in the U.S. were used to divert millions of dollars in international aid intended to improve the safety of former Soviet nuclear plants. Delaware, Wyoming and Nevada were named as states with a multitude of "shell" companies, which allow hidden owners to store and launder money gathered via criminal activity.

"The opioid crisis and human trafficking are both on the rise with the help of anonymous shell companies to launder the proceeds," said Kalman.

"Almost two million corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) are formed in U.S. states each year, many by foreigners, without the states ever asking for the identity of the ultimate beneficial owners," according to the report.

The U.S. now holds about 22 percent of the global market in offshore financial services, up from 14 percent in 2015, the last time the Index was updated.

The report notes that the U.S. government has been vigilant in protecting itself against citizens who might evade taxes by disguising as foreigners, while "preserving the U.S. as a secrecy jurisdiction for foreigners."

"This report is the latest evidence that policymakers should move forward with sensible measures to end the abuse of anonymous shell companies, increase transparency around where multinational companies pay taxes, and engage constructively in international financial transparency initiatives," Kalman said.

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

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Previously in tax scammage:

* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

* Study: 32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies Holding At Least $147 Billion Offshore.

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

* When A 'Tax Bonanza' Is Actually A Huge Corporate Tax Break.

* The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare: It's Bigger Than Trump.

* Oxfam Names World's Worst Tax Havens Fueling 'Global Race To Bottom.'

* Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Small Business $5,789 A Year.

* State Tax Incentives To Corporations Don't Work.

* GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 Of America's Largest Corporations A $236 Billion Tax Cut.

* Triumph Of The Oligarchs.

* Amazon Short-List Proves Something "Deeply Wrong" With America's Race-To-The-Bottom Economy.

* Apple's $38 Billion Tax Payment Less Than Half Of $79 Billion They Owe.

-

Previously in carried interest, aka The Billionaire's Loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

* The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So).

* Fact-Checking Trump & Clinton On The Billionaire's Tax Break.

* Despite Trump Campaign Promise, Billionaires' Tax Loophole Survives Again.

* Carried Interest Reform Is a Sham.

-

Previously in The Paradise Papers:

* 'Paradise Papers' Reveal Tax Avoidance, Shady Dealings Of World's Rich And Powerful.

* Just How Much Money Is Held Offshore? Hint: A SHIT-TON.

* Development Dreams Lost In The Offshore World.

* Keeping Offshore 'Hush Hush,' But Why?

* Tax Havens Are Alive With The Sound Of Music.

* Today In Tax Avoidance Of The Ultra-Wealthy.

* Go To Town With This Offshore Leaks Database.

* The Paradise Papers: The View From Africa And Asia.

* The Paradise Papers: The End Of Elusion For PokerStars.

* The Paradise Papers: An Odd Call From The Bermuda Government.

* The Paradise Papers: Nevis Is An Offshore Haven Of Opportunity

* The Paradise Papers: The Long Twilight Struggle Against Offshore Secrecy.

* The Paradise Papers: A Fair Tax System Will Be Lost Without Public Pressure.

* Item: Today In The Paradise Papers: Through Death Threats And Scare Tactics, Honduran Reporter 'Perseveres.'

-

Previously in The Panama Papers:

* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

Instant Replay Radio

This has happened before. Maybe not quite like today, but the White Sox found themselves scrambling to find a radio outlet during the winter 47 years ago too, which is exactly what's going on right now.

It appears that the Sox likely will be broadcast over the Cubs' once-sacred airwaves of WGN after one season on WLS, whose parent company Cumulus Media has filed for bankruptcy, negating the last five years of its contract to carry Sox games.

While a stable of promising young players provide lots of optimism for the future, back in the winter of 1970-71 no self-respecting radio outlet had the least bit of interest in airing the exploits of the South Side team. The Sox were coming off their worst year in franchise history having lost 106 games, just the third and last time that Sox losses exceeded the century mark. Just a few more than 6,000 fans per game witnessed the carnage at Comiskey Park.

Eventually the ballclub enlisted a couple of suburban stations, WTAQ in LaGrange - today it is a Polish language station with different call letters - and WEAW-FM in Evanston. However, the Sox did have a big league broadcaster as Harry Caray stormed into town after one season with the Oakland A's amid feud after feud with owner Charles O. Finley. The Oakland Coliseum wasn't vast enough to accommodate their two egos, so Caray came to Chicago and replaced Bob Elson, who had broadcast Sox games since 1931 before trading places with Harry in Oakland.

More about Elson in a moment, but Harry in his 11 years handling Sox games went through a series of sidekicks - Ralph Faucher, Gene Osborn, Bob Waller, Bill Mercer, J.C. Martin, and Lorn Brown - before teaming with former centerfielder Jimmy Piersall to form one of the more explosive and entertaining duos in baseball broadcasting history.

There was a pre-game show in 1971, and Harry would come back on the air for maybe five minutes after the last pitch to recap the game. But there was no post-game show like today with fans calling in to contribute great thoughts, or lack thereof, about the current state of the ballclub.

That's where I came in. At the time, I was covering primarily high school sports for the Pioneer Newspapers on the North Shore when my close friend Tom Weinberg, a fellow Sox enthusiast and a pioneer video documentarian, thought it might be a fine idea to approach WEAW about doing a post-game show. He knew I would have ample time since there were few prep games to cover in the summer.

Once the season began, Tom negotiated with the station and worked out a deal whereby we would provide the talent - I use that word loosely - for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes after each game. He also got the blessing of the Sox front office to do so. What did WEAW charge us? One dollar a minute.

So the Instant Replay Show was born at the beginning of June. In all, we did 106 shows by simply walking off the street sans resume and no prior radio experience.

The format included playing back Caray's highlights from the game, phone calls from fans, and frequent interviews that I got in person and occasionally over the phone.

The Sox had hired Chuck Tanner as their new manager and Roland Hemond as director of player personnel prior to the season. Tanner had never managed in the big leagues, but he had stellar minor league credentials along with a basketful of energy and enthusiasm.

I found myself on June 1 sitting in Tanner's office for an interview which would air on our initial show. The Sox were 18-26 at the time, which I felt was rather dismal, but he painted a bright, rosy picture about all the progress the team was making. I departed thinking maybe the season wasn't so terrible after all.

(The Sox would finish at 79-83, a huge improvement over the year before. Tanner departed after the 1975 season, and four years later led the "We Are Family" Pirates to a World Series championship.)

Tanner and Hemond made themselves available just about any time I asked. The parade of big league scouts who passed through town and iconic local and out-of-town sportswriters (Bill Gleason, Dick Young of the New York Daily News, Jerome Holtzman) were guests on the show.

Orioles' manager Earl Weaver was supposed to be a gruff, rude guy, but he sat in the dugout with me and cordially answered all my queries. Former players like Billy Pierce, Minnie Minoso, Ted Kluszewski, Sam McDowell and Herb Score provided insight and anecdotes.

A phone call to New York for players association executive director Marvin Miller produced a long conversation about free agency and the collective bargaining agreement. When Billie Jean King was in Lake Forest for the fledging women's Virginia Slims tour, she sat for a one-on-one interview.

Looking back, probably the most incredible solo exchange occurred at Johnny Coulon's gym on East 63rd Street with Muhammad Ali, who had a home nearby. Four days earlier the Supreme Court had overturned his conscientious objector verdict, and I have a vague recollection of simply calling the gym and told to appear the following day mid-afternoon.

I walked into a near-empty warehouse-like space with a couple of boxing rings and punching bags, and after a few minutes Ali walked out of the locker room alone and sat beside me. I turned on my tape recorder, and we talked for maybe 15 minutes, his voice rising just above a whisper. Nothing was off limits: his legal battles, Joe Frazier, visions of retirement.

When Oakland came to town, Bob Elson, who departed on rocky terms from the South Side, was eager to be interviewed, as opposed to Harry Caray who turned down a few requests. Harry liked to be the interviewer where he had control and not the interviewee.

Charlie Finley's A's won 101 games in 1971, and Chicago Today's media critic Johanna Steinmetz quoted Elson from our interview, "It's nice to be with a winning championship team for a change. The White Sox have a good manager now in Chuck Tanner, but it'll be four or five years before they're able to field a representative team that can finish in the first division. It's no great secret. All you have to do is see them play."

(The Sox traded for Dick Allen the next season and won 87 games, finishing second behind the A's.)

Elson's interview was heard after a night game, and we played it again following the next afternoon's contest. The next time I got to the ballpark, I was told that Leo Breen, the team's business manager, wanted to see me. A quiet, soft-spoken man, Breen was unhappy. In fact, he was seething. OK, play it once, he said, but why would you play it twice? Then he threatened to cancel my field and clubhouse credentials.

I offered that bad publicity was better than no publicity, a tactic used daily by our president in the White House today. Breen, who really was a nice man, relented, and the storm subsided.

Over time, we built up a reasonable audience so that the phone was continually lighting up with callers. We had a number of regulars, especially "Augie," who called on a daily basis. To this day, Tom and I refer to one another by the superfan's name.

We started a campaign for Sox outfielder Walter Williams, otherwise known as No Neck for his compact (5-foot-6), muscular physique. Walt spent six seasons with the Sox but rarely was an everyday player.

We had "Play No Neck" buttons made, and fans could simply send us a postcard or a letter with quiz questions to be asked on the air in order to receive a button. Attendance at Comiskey trended upward, and more than a few fans wore their buttons. Maybe Tanner heard us because from mid-June until the end of the season Williams became the regular right fielder, hitting .294.

No Neck Button.jpg

Diane, a 17-year-old fan from South Holland, wrote in requesting a No Neck button. "I am one of the biggest White Sox fans that exist," she penned in perfect cursive. (Obviously I have saved the letter.) "Through thick and thin I have loved the team and always will. Right now I'm writing poems for everyone on the team and I have written one for Harry Caray. I have an ambition to meet at least one player."

Well, Diane, if you haven't met a player by now, keep trying. And thanks for listening.

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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 12:15 AM | Permalink

February 8, 2018

Wilson Men's Hotel Residents Demand Developer Cease Retaliatory Evictions

In a press conference Thursday morning, tenants of the Wilson Men's Hotel, a Single Room Occupancy building in Uptown, demanded City Pads developer Andrew Ahitow cease his eviction of the residents and ensure tenants are a key part of negotiating the relocation process. Last week, all 100+ tenants of Wilson Men's Hotel were served with 60-day eviction notices.

From the beginning, tenants of Wilson Men's Hotel have demanded a binding commitment from City Pads for the right to remain in affordable, long-term housing on the North Side. They have also demanded a full relocation plan, which Ahitow offered when he first purchased the building. Ahitow ultimately refused to collaborate with tenants or ONE Northside, a community organizing group working with tenants, and has shown no evidence of moving forward on this viable relocation plan for all tenants.

In the last few months, City Pads has allowed conditions in the Wilson Men's Hotel to become increasingly unlivable. The bathrooms have sanitation issues, the heating is inconsistent, and tenants are concerned about exposure to asbestos in the walls, as CityPads has prematurely begun the demolition process. To fight these conditions, tenants have made repeated complaints to the city Department of Buildings, which required City Pads to make repairs.

Tenants say that this eviction is retaliatory, and the City of Chicago has threatened to file a lawsuit blocking the evictions as a violation of the SRO Preservation Ordinance. It is critical that the City follow through on enforcing the SRO ordinance, to protect tenants and prevent future developers from breaking the law. More than 300 community members are also in support of Wilson Men's Hotel tenants, signing a petition encouraging Ahitow to provide a real binding commitment for them to remain in affordable long-term housing on the North Side.

City Pads has said they offered tenants alternate housing, and tried to help tenants move. However, they've given these notices to all tenants, regardless of where they are in the process of moving, and the housing choices they offered were in many cases too expensive, or substandard.

"Helping people relocate, even in the best of circumstances, is a poor substitute for taking 230 affordable units from Uptown, especially when Interfaith Housing Development Corporation was willing to preserve them," said Eric Holmes, a resident of the building. "Now, residents are facing homelessness. This eviction contributes to the gentrification and displacement already happening in Uptown."

"This eviction notice is retaliation, and so is the way we're living right now," said Tommie Hannah, also a resident of the building. "We're not going anywhere until tenants are a real part of this relocation process."

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From a rally in August.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:57 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Senior White House officials are in a state of shock, and facing huge questions about their handling of the crisis, over the resignation of Staff Secretary Rob Porter after his two former wives went on the record to allege physical abuse," Mike Allen writes in his (influential, sigh) Axios newsletter this morning.

Why he matters: Porter, 40 - a clean-cut Harvard and Oxford standout who was chief of staff to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) - managed (and partly controlled) the information flow to President Trump, including clippings and briefings. Colleagues tell Axios' Jonathan Swan they can't reconcile the Rob Porter they know (consummate gentleman) with the Rob Porter they're reading about, with a police report and photos of a black eye by a former wife.

Because a clean-cut (white) "Harvard and Oxford standout" isn't the type of person who commits domestic violence?

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The next item from Allen, by the way: "Two possible solutions as trust in media tanks."

1. "An emphasis on reviving local news outlets, which help us break out of our national filter bubbles."

Sounds great! Maybe Axios should start by making some major local investments.

2. "More content from businesses and employers, which have a higher level of trust than the media."

Yes, that's what we need: more content marketing! Like the native advertising in Allen's newsletter that doesn't affect the editorial coverage at all!

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Allen's brand of journalism doesn't exactly inspire trust, either.

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How An Alt-Right Leader Lied To Climb The Ranks

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On This Day In . . .

2017: Chicago's minimized minimum wage. Plus: Serial liars, journalism and the Muslim Ban hearing.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Ice Racing.

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BeachBook

The Expanding Secrecy Of The Afghanistan War.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

When, if ever, is the public let in on the deal?

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Interactive.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

February 7, 2018

Lipstick And Lyrics

Chicago Gay Men's Chorus presents Lipstick and Lyrics: Vice Versa, performing at Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway St., on Friday, February 23, and Saturday, February 24, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. each night. This live singing drag extravaganza is a collection of beloved songs performed in new and creative ways.

Get ready for a grand total of 14 drag queens and a slew of hot dancers, all ready to entertain, tantalize, and tease, hosted by the fabulous April Scott! The show is directed by long time chorus member Terry Wittenberg with music direction and programming by Artistic Director James Morehead. "The show is an assortment of showstoppers," said Morehead. "It is guaranteed to stretch your mind, baffle your eyes and stretch your diaphragm from laughing."

ViceVersa.png

Vice Versa will be serving up your favorites with a side of sass. Audiences can look forward to an updated version of the "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago, an interesting take on "God, I Hate Shakespeare" from Something Rotten!, a Scream take on Blondie's "Call Me," a Taylor Swift version of Handmaid's Tale, and a fairy tale version of "Royals."

"The audience will leave laughing and perhaps crying from laughing so hard," said Morehead.

This year's annual Lipstick & Lyrics show will be a very intimate experience. Drag has been and always will be an important element in CGMC's performances.

"Drag is truly an LGBTQ+ art form," said Morehead. "This show allows us to celebrate and honor this tradition of our community for many more years to come!"

CGMC will continue Lipstick & Lyrics next year with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

In line with this year's L&L, CGMC announces a drag fundraiser in support of the chorus. Once we reach $15,000, James Morehead will take the stage in FULL DRAG. If we raise $25,000, other members of CGMC's leadership team, including Treasurer Blake Hankins and Board President Michael Anderson, will perform a rousing musical number together IN DRAG! They call the shots but now we're giving YOU THE AUDIENCE the chance to get them on stage in front of a rowdy crowd to show what they've got. Visit www.cgmc.org/lnl-fundraiser for more information and to donate.

Tickets are currently on sale and range from $25 - $50 online with additional ticket fees. General admission and reserved seats available. A VIP reception will be held on both nights at 7 p.m. prior to the 8 p.m. shows. VIP tickets are $50 and include a special reception, reserved seating, a free drink, and hors d'oeuvres.

ABOUT CHICAGO GAY MEN'S CHORUS
The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus (CGMC) has been an integral part of Chicago's cultural and gay communities since 1983. For more than three decades, the chorus has entertained audiences across the continent with innovative musical programming exploring everything from love to politics to the sometimes fabulous, sometimes challenging world of being gay; often all at the same time. Our always-memorable performances have included original musical revues; full-length book musicals; traditional choral concerts and intimate cabaret presentations; all punctuated with our signature joyous irreverence.

Most recently, CGMC represented Chicago's LGBT community at Mayor Rahm Emanuel's second-term inauguration ceremony. The chorus proudly sang "America the Beautiful" for the Illinois Marriage Equality Act bill-signing ceremony and was the featured guest choral performer for the star-studded concert, Broadway Rocks, with the Grant Park Music Festival in 2011. Chicago Gay Men's Chorus was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2001 and currently has four CD recordings available. CGMC has performed the National Anthem multiple times at world-famous Wrigley Field, as well as for the Chicago Sky, and for the Chicago Fire.

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We Are CGMC.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"A legislative panel is likely to approve a proposed increase in check-cashing fees at its Feb. 13 meeting. Opponents say the increase will disproportionately hurt lower-income people of color . . . who have been driven out of mainstream banking by high fees and into currency exchanges," LaRisa Lynch reports for the Chicago Reporter.

"A Chicago Reporter analysis found that currency exchanges are most common in low-income African American areas, followed by Latino communities. For instance, the 60651 ZIP code includes parts of Austin and West Humboldt Park and has a mix of black and Latino households. That ZIP code has six currency exchanges, but just one bank.

"If the rate hike is approved, for example, the cost to cash a $100 check would increase from $2.40 to $3.50. The cost to cash a $500 check will go from $11.25 to $12.50."

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See also:

* Month After Getting $3.5 Billion Tax Break From Trump, Bank Of America Hikes Fees On Poorest Customers.

* In America, Being Poor Can Cost A Fortune.

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Ferro's Fabulous Folly

Assignment Desk: An honest look at the outcome of every Michael Ferro media initiative. Just make a chart. Be sure to keep this emoji handy.

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Why Amazon Incentives Are Insane
"Business incentives have more than tripled since 1990, according to a study last year by the nonprofit W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. State and local governments spend as much as $90 billion a year, yet the tax breaks don't seem to have a large correlation with employment growth or income levels, the institute says," Bloomberg reports.

"Consider the cautionary tale of Boeing Co. in Amazon's home state of Washington. The company had threatened to relocate its 777X aircraft program. In 2013, the state offered a package estimated to cost taxpayers $8.7 billion, the biggest state subsidy package in history. But Boeing's Washington workforce shrunk to 65,829 from the January 2013 level of 86,397."

The numbers aren't as eye-popping here in Chicago, but only by comparison. A reminder:

"Seven weeks after announcing that it would move its headquarters out of Seattle, the Boeing Company selected Chicago as its new home," the New York Times reported in 2011.

"Boeing, the world's largest maker of commercial aircraft, chose Chicago over Dallas and Denver after it was promised tax breaks and incentives that could total $60 million over 20 years by the city and the State of Illinois."

Assignment Desk: Has it been worth it?

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"Illinois state lawmakers decided, shortly after Boeing said 'yes,' that the incentive package was too sweet and slashed it by $11 million, to $30 million. Another $21 million in tax breaks and incentives came from the city," the Tribune reported in 2002.

"Chicago didn't get exactly what it expected either. Rather than bringing about 400 top-level jobs from Seattle and elsewhere, Boeing moved about 150 employees and hired another 250 people locally."

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"Boeing Co.'s pay-for-performance program for top executives also can pay handsomely for doing nothing," the Knight-Ridder Tribune business news service reported in 2005.

"Consider the case of former Chairman and Chief Executive Philip M. Condit, who's poised to receive a final installment of Boeing stock, bringing the total value of a 2003 incentive to $19 million.

"Critics say Condit has done little to earn it. That's because the shares accumulating in his account have vested based on stock appreciation that happened after he was chased from the executive suite.

"Condit resigned Dec. 1, 2003, amid an ethics crisis that continues to haunt Boeing and the rest of the defense industry.

"'It looks like Condit was able to game the system,' said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group that has been critical of Boeing's ethics. 'The core purpose is to reward good executive performance, but it's set up in a way that you can have a disaster and executives can still benefit from it' after they leave the company."

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More on the inglorious CEO who brought Boeing to Chicago.

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Sports teams at least pretend to care about character when they bring athletes to town. When it comes to bring businesses to town, character and corporate citizenry are never part of the equation.

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Back to current-day Bloomberg:

"Boston has played it cool before. Deep public skepticism about the cost to taxpayers of hosting the 2024 Olympics resulted in local leaders terminating its bid two years ago.

"But, in 2016, the city and state agreed to shell out $145 million in incentives to land General Electric Co.'s relocation of its headquarters to Boston from Fairfield, Connecticut.

"Then Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt promised that for every dollar the city spent, 'you will get back a thousandfold, take my word for it.' In a column, the Boston Globe kvelled: 'General Electric moving its headquarters to Boston is all glory . . . The world can now mention Boston in the same sentence as Silicon Valley when talking about where the future is being built.'"

"Perhaps now, not so much. GE's stock price has been cut in half since December 2016, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating its accounting. Immelt, the Boston booster, has since stepped down. The headquarters, once slated to open this year, now won't be complete until 2021.

"'GE remains firmly committed to Boston,' spokesman Jeff Caywood said.

"Still, the company's current CEO, John Flannery, recently made comments suggesting that GE was considering another plan for its future: breaking up the company."

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Keep in mind that the more profitable a corporation is, the bigger the taxpayer subsidy. (Assignment Desk: Equationize this!)

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I don't believe taxpayers should be in the business of subsidizing businesses, as I've written before. In fact, I think it ought to be illegal.

But if we are going to subsidize businesses, I'd rather find ways to give breaks to those entrepreneurs - and, say, longtime businesses being gentrified out of their neighborhoods - who need them.

What taxpayer subsidies really do is go right into the pockets of the already extremely wealthy, one way or another.

And as far as jobs go, corporate taxpayer subsidies are the least efficient jobs program we could come up with. I'd rather spend that money on public works programs, which have far more economic impact than corporate subsidies do.

Related: Petition Asks Cities To Sign 'Non-Aggression Pact' In Amazon HQ2 Race.

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The state corporate subsidy program was a mess. It was killed. Now it's back.

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Today In The Paradise Papers

Inside story: Through death threats and scare tactics, Honduran reporter 'perseveres.'

Imagine being captured by a hooded man, bundled into the back of a car and having your life threatened. And all for just doing your job. That's the story of Lourdes Ramirez, an ICIJ member and investigative reporter in Honduras. The award-winning journalist tells us what it's like to report in her country, as our series Inside Story continues. It's a chilling, must-read tale.

We've also taken a look at the Russian oligarch list released by the U.S. Treasury last week. The list, which has been surrounded in controversy after it was revealed it came from Forbes' list of wealthiest Russians, has many names ICIJ (and our partners) have seen in our investigations.

And back by popular demand, we've taken another look at the mammoth tech company Apple. It released quarterly earnings last week, and (no surprises here really) their mountain of offshore cash has grown. But, what does that mean for the ordinary person?

Amy Wilson-Chapman
ICIJ's community engagement editor

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New on today's Beachwood . . .

Illinois House Bill Would Protect Voting Rights For Jail Inmates
Would ensure that the 94 percent of people being held in pretrial detention at Cook County Jail who are eligible to vote, are able to vote.

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Lipstick & Lyrics: Vice Versa
Vice Versa will be serving up your favorites with a side of sass. Audiences can look forward to an updated version of the "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago, an interesting take on "God, I Hate Shakespeare" from Something Rotten!, a Scream take on Blondie's "Call Me," a Taylor Swift version of Handmaid's Tale, and a fairy tale version of "Royals."

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On This Day In . . .

2013: Assignment Desk: What Became Of Jesus Castaneda?

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2014: Pay To Playwall.

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2014: The Wisdom Of Martellus Bennett.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Crystal Sugar - "Chicago's Bakers."

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BeachBook

The Drone War Updated.

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Labor Department Allegedly Hid Study Unfavorable To Proposal On Tip Pooling.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Ferrocious.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:11 AM | Permalink

February 6, 2018

Illinois House Bill Would Protect Voting Rights For Jail Inmates

Partners and lawmakers will gather Wednesday in the Illinois State Capitol to voice their support for a bipartisan bill, HB4469.

HB4469, sponsored by state Rep. Juliana Stratton, will ensure that the 94 percent of people being held in pretrial detention at Cook County Jail who are eligible to vote, are able to vote.

HB4469 will ensure that individuals awaiting trial are informed of their right to vote and given a voter registration form upon release as part of a re-entry process.

This bill requires IDOC to provide citizens who are released from their custody detailed information about their voting rights. This bill also requires the Cook County Jail to become a temporary polling location and all other jails across the state to establish an absentee ballot distribution and collection process for eligible voters.

Chicago Votes Voter Reg at CCJ.JPGVoter registration at the Cook County Jail

"HB4469 complements the work Chicago Votes and its partners have been doing in the jail for the past six months," said Jen Dean of Chicago Votes. "We are currently running a volunteer operation in the jail, registering voters and educating them on their voting rights.

"In one month, Chicago Votes will fill 296 volunteer shifts to ensure elections run smoothly in Cook County Jail. We will help conduct in-person voting for two days during early voting in March. This bill will enable jails across the state to take the same steps we are taking to enfranchise thousands."

House Bill 4469 was drafted by a coalition of community groups including Chicago Votes, the Illinois Justice Project, the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law, and the ACLU.

House Bill 4469 is supported by:

* ACLU of Illinois

* Business and Professional People for the Public
Interest

* Cabrini Green Legal Aid

* Change Peoria

* Chicago Board of Election Commissioners

* Chicago Books to Women in Prison

* Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

* Chicago Urban League

* Chicago Votes

* Community Renewal Society

* Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

* Illinois Public Interest Research Group

* League of Women Voters of Chicago

* League of Women Voters of Cook County

* League of Women Voters of Illinois

* National Rainbow PUSH Coalition

* Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

* Uptown People's Law Center

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See also:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:28 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

On This Day In . . .

2012: Shills, Cruel Jokes And CPS Turnarounds.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Jesuit Jam.

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BeachBook

Lie After Lie: What Colin Powell Knew About Iraq 15 Years Ago And What He Told The U.N.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: We'll make more.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:32 PM | Permalink

February 5, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Do or Die at the UIC Pavilion on Sunday night.


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2. Gramatik at the Aragon on Friday night.

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3. Reign at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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4. Big Wreck at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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5. Avatar at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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6. Polarizer at Cobra Lounge on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:30 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Foles Factor

How is it possibly possible?

How can it be that backup quarterback Nick Foles - the guy who was absolutely rejected as a possible starting signal-caller by all 32 teams in free agency last year - is the Super Bowl MVP?

First guess? The NFL has no clue what it is doing.

Foles, a third-round draft pick who in 2013 threw 27 touchdowns against only two picks for the Eagles, quickly fell off the map while playing in lousy situations for a lousy coach (the Rams' Jeff Fischer) and a coach with a scheme (the Chiefs' Andy Reid) that didn't work for him.

He ended up not just taking a backup job four years after posting the best touchdown/interception ratio in history, but a backup job behind the most promising young quarterback in the league, Carson Wentz. Then Wentz suffered a knee injury in Week 14 and we all know how the rest of it played out.

One thing Foles' success makes absolutely clear: fans and front offices need to find a way to avoid overhyping rookie quarterbacks. It almost always takes a while for guys to figure out how to play in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers spent more than three seasons on the bench in Green Bay. The young Tom Brady learned as he sat behind Drew Bledsoe in New England. Peyton Manning and Troy Aikman started immediately, and were immediately obliterated before rallying further down the line.

It must be said that one of the teams that decided Foles wasn't worth a look was our beloved Bears. Instead, General Manager Ryan Pace signed crushingly overmatched Mike Glennon to a contract that guaranteed him $18 million.

Mitch Trubisky has undeniable potential. But the Bears drafting him last year doesn't diminish the fact that Pace has been a disaster at evaluating quarterbacks. Trubisky has potential but Deshaun Watson was the best rookie QB in the league last year by far - and the Bears could have had him for so much less than what they paid for Trubisky.

And the year before was almost worse. That was the year Pace decided that the only quarterback he was interested in in the fourth round - despite having said when he was hired that he believed in drafting a quarterback every year - was Michigan State mediocrity Connor Cook. When Cook went early in that round in 2016 (to the Raiders, where he remains a backup), Pace drafted once, twice, three times in the fourth before the Cowboys lucked into now two-year rock-solid starter Dak Prescott at the end of the round. The Bears got no one despite the fact they had to know that Jay Cutler was not the long-term solution.

Of course, things might have gone differently for Prescott, or for any player, if they had found themselves in a different spot than where they ended up - like on a team without a running back like Ezekiel Elliott. But when screw-ups happen year after year, it is clear that the players' specific landing spots don't matter as much as the executives who made the calls that sent them there.

To tell the truth, though, Pace shouldn't feel too bad. He has oh so much company. The Foles situation shows that the league simply doesn't know how the heck to properly evaluate players in the position that is only the most important in sports.

What a job Fisher did with the Rams by the way. First his system crushed Foles. Then it screwed up Case Keenum and Jared Goff. Each has flourished since getting away from the guy who is probably finished coaching at the highest level.

Keenum is one of the many guys who shows that the Foles situation isn't a one-off. And one thing that both Keenum and Foles had going for them is they both had long, accomplished college football careers. Keenum starred for Houston for three years and Foles did the same for Arizona.

Let's hope desperately that that isn't the key. If a long, accomplished college career is the best predictor of eventual pro success, the Bears (and Trubisky, who had all of 13 starts at QB at that level) are in even more trouble than we already thought.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:59 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Many businesses that will be open Sunday face a seasonal staffing problem known as 'Super Bowl Fever' - the Cook County Jail is among them," WBBM Radio's Bernie Tafoya reported last week.

"Super Bowl Sunday is one of those days when huge numbers of Cook County Jail correctional officers historically have called in sick, leaving the Sheriff's Office to force other officers to stick around for overtime.

"Last year, we had approximately 350 staff that called in sick," Cook County Sheriff's Chief Policy Officer Cara Smith said.

"Smith says the Sheriff's Office knows who may have abused those privileges in the past on Super Bowl Sunday, and that they're going to be warned ahead of time this year."

Though Tafoya noted that "Super Bowl Fever" afflicts businesses of all kinds, I've often wondered - well, every year when I read this annual story - if the Cook County Jail is really all that special, or if it's just a media go-to.

After seeing the story on Twitter, I sent this e-mail to my criminal justice expert friend Tracy Siska, of the Chicago Justice Project:

Ya know, I'm not excusing this but ... my first thought was, how many other businesses get a slew of sick calls on Super Bowl Sunday? Then I realized not very many businesses are open on Sundays. But it's not as if a professional office wouldn't have people skipping out, right? Again, not excusing it, just sayin' ...

Tracy didn't have time to respond to that one, among a slew of e-mails on a variety of subjects he did address for me, but I pretty much got my answer from Fox32 News on Saturday.

"An estimated 14 million people plan to call in sick on Monday, the day after the Super Bowl," Fox reported.

"That makes Monday one of the most popular sick days of the year, according to a study from Kronos and Mucinex."

(Heh-heh, Mucinex.)

Then, of course, Fox couldn't resist going right to this:

"At the Cook County Jail in Illinois, sick calls on Super Bowl Sunday are a chronic problem. In 2017, about 240 jail guards called in sick. In 2016, 128 called in sick. That has led the jail to warn those who have called in sick in the past that they might face repercussions if they do so again this year."

I get that the number of sick calls at the jail seem inordinately high. But are they? How many total employees do they have? How many call in sick on regular days? And remember, those calls are for gameday. The 14 million in other professions are for today, the day after the Super Bowl. Those are hangover calls.

Then again, is 14 million a lot? Out of the entire working population? Again, how many people call in sick on a typical workday?

I get that a jail is different, but what is the worry - that there will be so few guards inmates will escape? Or riot?

I'm also curious how many police officers get Super Bowl Fever. Or air traffic controllers. Or customer service reps, who do more every day to put America in a bad mood than Donald Trump. Context, people!

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Maybe jail employees are particularly shirkey. But then, why would that be? And is Cook County Jail any worse than other jails across the country?

It's not the biggest deal in the media criticism universe, but it is representative of scripted, unmoored reporting that fails to provide perspective and arguably leaves readers and viewers less informed rather than more, if you believe that half-informed is often worse than uninformed.

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I'm guessing some of the points I raise have been reported on somewhere sometime, though I don't really know. I don't always have time to do everyone's googling for them!

But if the research has been done, it's been forgotten. Or has been ignored.

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"That has led the jail to warn those who have called in sick in the past that they might face repercussions if they do so again this year."

Don't jail officials say this every year? And doesn't the media report it every year like it's a new threat? Apparently it's not working!

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CBS2 also did a Super Bowl Fever report - from outside the jail! Is that really a wise use of scarce resources? Or is it too irresistible to slam public employees while stoking fear in the rest of us that a huge jailbreak is impending.

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It looks like the newspapers stayed away this year - or I missed their pieces. They'll be back next year, though, I'm quite sure. There's no way they miss this two years in a row.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Super Tweets
They're super freaky, yow.

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SportsMonday: The Foles Factor
When it comes to quarterbacks, the NFL doesn't have a clue.

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The Right To Repair
After Apple slows phones, interest spikes.

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The Hidden History Of Black Nationalist Women's Political Activism
Chicago was key.

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Meet Chicago Body Painter Diego Gonzalez
Super cool, people.

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24 Hours With FM
Lotta Dope $H!T.

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On This Day In . . .

2014: Dissecting The Daleys & Koschman.

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2015: Moody's State Of The State.

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2016: Ferro!

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Uitpakken van 5 verschillende houten treinen. (Cool toy CTA trains - not an exact translation.)

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BeachBook

Tucson Grand Jurors Rebel Against Drug Prosecutions.

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Inside The Six-Month Downfall Of Seattle's Mayor.

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The Magnetic Field Is Shifting. The Poles May Flip. This Could Get Bad.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Similarly, in Seattle . . .

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Grand Wizard Old Party.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Bananas.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:00 AM | Permalink

24 Hours With FM

No static at all.

1 a.m.: Dope $H!T

2 a.m.: FM19: Weekly Countdown

4 a.m.: Doggie Style

4:30 a.m.: Paid Programming

5 a.m.: Doggie Style

6 a.m.: Hella Old School

7 a.m.: Squads - G-Unit

8 a.m.: G.O.A.T. - 50 Cent

9 a.m.: Dope $H!T

10 a.m.: Dope $H!T

11 a.m.: Dope $H!T

Noon: Dope $H!T

1 p.m.: Rapsheet

2 p.m.: Rapsheet

3 p.m.: Rapsheet

4 p.m.: Rapsheet

5 p.m.: The Jump

6 p.m.: The Jump

6:30 p.m.: Ali

10 p.m.: Mumble

10:30 p.m.: Bubblegum

11 p.m.: Squads - G-Unit

Midnight: Squads - Murder Inc.

1 a.m.: FM19: Weekly Countdown

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Previously:
* 24 Hours With QVC
* 24 Hours With Tru TV
* 24 Hours With Current TV
* 24 Hours With The Military Channel
* 24 Hours With The Hallmark Channel
* 24 Hours With TVGN
* 24 Hours With Retroplex
* 24 Hours With Penthouse TV
* 24 Hours With The DIY Network
* 24 Hours With BET
* 24 Hours With CNBC
* 24 Hours With WWMEB
* 24 Hours With PRISM TV
* 24 Hours With Al Jazeera America.
* 24 Hours With Fuse.
* 24 Hours With Pop TV.
* 24 Hours With BET Soul.
* 24 Hours With BabyTV.
* 24 Hours With Jewelry Television.
* 24 Hours With XFHS.
* 24 Hours With Freeform.
* 24 Hours With Baby1.
* 24 Hours With RUS-TV.
* 24 Hours With The Esquire Network.
* 24 Hours With Velocity.
* 24 Hours With WYCC.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:58 AM | Permalink

Super Tweets

The best non-football part of the game - better than the ads and the halftime show - starring MVP MLK.

I mean, this is just too perfect, to get us started:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:06 AM | Permalink

Meet Chicago Body Painter Diego Gonzalez

Also, skateboards.


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See also by Diego Gonzalez:

Chicago Airbrush Supply Body Paint Workshop.

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Custom-Painted Five Nights Of Freddie Skateboard.

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Secret Playmate Body Art Shoot.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

The Hidden History Of Black Nationalist Women's Political Activism

Black History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the historical contributions of black people in the United States. Too often, however, this history focuses on black men, sidelining black women and diminishing their contributions.

This is true in mainstream narratives of black nationalist movements in the United States. These narratives almost always highlight the experiences of a handful of black nationalist men, including Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan.

Contrary to popular conceptions, women were also instrumental to the spread and articulation of black nationalism - the political view that people of African descent constitute a separate group on the basis of their distinct culture, shared history and experiences.

As I demonstrate in my new book, Set the World on Fire, black nationalist movements would have all but disappeared were it not for women. What's more, these women laid the groundwork for the generation of black activists who came of age during the civil rights-black power era. In the 1960s, many black activists - including Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Robert F. Williams, Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael - drew on these women's ideas and political strategies.

So, let's use this Black History Month to begin to set the record straight.

The Universal Negro Improvement Association

In 1914, when the Jamaican black nationalist Marcus Garvey launched the Universal Negro Improvement Association, Amy Ashwood - who later became his first wife - was the organization's first secretary and co-founder.

Her efforts were invaluable to the success of the association, which became the most influential black nationalist organization of the 20th century. The organzation's earliest meetings were held at the home of Ashwood's parents. When the organization's headquarters relocated from Jamaica to Harlem, Ashwood was actively engaged in its affairs.

In addition to serving as general secretary in the New York office, Ashwood helped to popularize the Negro World, the organization's official newspaper. She also contributed to the financial growth of the organization, relying on her parents' money to meet some of the growing expenses.

In 1922, months after Garvey's divorce from Amy Ashwood, Amy Jacques became Garvey's new wife - a position she used to leverage her involvement and leadership in the organization. During these years, she helped to popularize and preserve her husband's ideas. When her husband was imprisoned in 1925 and later deported - on trumped-up charges of mail fraud orchestrated by the FBI - Amy Jacques Garvey oversaw the organization's day-to-day activities.

AmyGarvey.pngAmy Jacques Garvey with her husband, Marcus.

In the aftermath of Garvey's 1927 deportation, women helped to popularize black nationalist politics. With limited financial resources and resistance from the FBI, these women asserted their political power in various cities across the United States.

The Peace Movement Of Ethiopia

During the Great Depression, Chicago was one of the key cities where black nationalist women organized. In 1932, Mittie Maude Lena Gordon, a former member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, established an organization called the Peace Movement of Ethiopia which became the largest black nationalist organization established by a woman in the United States. At its peak, the organization attracted an estimated 300,000 supporters in Chicago and across the country.

In 1933, Gordon initiated a nationwide emigration campaign, utilizing her widespread political networks in Chicago and across the Midwest. With the assistance of other black nationalist activists, she collected signatures for a pro-emigration petition. In August of that year, she mailed the petition to President Franklin D. Roosevelt with approximately 400,000 signatures of black Americans willing to leave the country. Drawing inspiration from FDR's New Deal programs, Gordon requested federal support for those who desired to relocate to West Africa in hopes of securing a better life.

Gordon's attempt to secure federal support failed. Yet she drew an even larger following of supporters who were inspired by her bold move. Many of these new members were women. Black women found in her organization a space of empowerment and opportunity. They occupied a number of visible leadership roles, working alongside the organization's female founder.

Celia Jane Allen, a black woman from Mississippi who had relocated to Chicago, was one of these women. In the mid-1930s, she became an active member of the Peace Movement of Ethiopia. Embracing Gordon's vision for unifying black people in the U.S. and abroad, Allen took on a leadership role in the organization. In 1937, she became one of the national organizers. From the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, Allen traveled extensively throughout the South, visiting local homes and churches to recruit new members and advocate the relocation to West Africa. By the end of World War II, she was successful in getting thousands of black southerners to join the movement and embrace black nationalist ideas.

EllaBaker.jpgElla Baker

Today, these women's stories are largely absent in popular accounts of black nationalism. More often than not, the assumption is that men exclusively established and led black nationalist organizations. This could not be farther from the truth. As these few examples reveal, women were key players in black nationalist movements, and their efforts helped to keep black nationalist ideas alive in U.S. politics. No history of black nationalism is complete without acknowledging women's significant contributions.

Keisha N. Blain is an assistant history professor at the University of Pittsburgh. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

After Apple Slows Phones, Interest In Repair Spikes In Illinois

A new survey released by Illinois PIRG, "Recharge Repair," found a surge in consumer demand for phone repair following the revelation Apple was slowing phones with older batteries. "Recharge Repair" identifies the barriers to battery replacement and phone repair that added to long repair delays for consumers. The findings support the need for Right to Repair reforms to grant consumers and third parties access to the parts and tools to repair cell phones and other electronics.

"We should be free to fix our stuff," said Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG director. "Repairing products that still have useful life reduces needless waste, but unfortunately, companies are making products harder to repair. This survey demonstrates that consumers are looking for more options to repair their phones."

Among the survey's findings:

  • Independent repair businesses reported a 37% increase in weekly battery replacement service requests since Dec. 20. This finding comes from a national survey of 164 independent repair businesses.
  • Self-repair interest surged as well - traffic from Illinois residents to iPhone battery repair instructions went up 163%. More than 8,550 people from Illinois viewed instructions in between Dec. 20 and Jan. 22.
  • eWaste is a growing concern. Illinois throws out an estimated 15,300 cell phones per day, our share of the 141 million phones tossed each year.

Eighteen states, including Illinois, have introduced "Right to Repair" or "Fair Repair" laws which guarantee access to the parts and tools needed for repair. House Bill 3030 was introduced by Rep. David Harris (R - 53rd).

In December, it was discovered that Apple was intentionally slowing down phones with older batteries. Apple defended the practice, claiming it was intended to reduce performance problems, but suspicion spread that Apple was customers to upgrade to a new phone. Regardless of intent, these issues are resolved by replacing the battery - a battery which Apple doesn't make available to customer or third-party repair businesses.

"These companies go to extraordinary lengths to keep people from repairing their devices. They glue parts to the casing so they can't be removed, they refuse to sell replacement parts, they digitally lock devices to prevent third party repair," said Repair.org Executive Director Gay Gordon-Byrne. "Apple is telling some people they can't fix their batteries until April. Certainly, there are people with easily fixable phones who will get new ones instead of waiting. Why won't they just sell their original batteries to other repair businesses? This problem would be over in a few days."

As part of the survey, James Rylek of Rylek Mobile Cell Repair in West Chicago said: "I see so many people want to just toss it and get a new phone, but then find out parts are cheaper." Syed Kazmi of Phototronics in Schaumburg said: "Apple is a seller not a repair shop. It should concentrate on sales."

Illinois PIRG supports Right to Repair reforms because they reduce waste by limiting companies abilities to push customers to toss products that still have useful life.

"Fixing something instead of throwing it away to buy new is better for the environment," said Scarr. "Repair should be the easier, more affordable choice and it can be. People are resourceful. They can find ways to fix things, to keep them from going to waste, sitting in a landfill. But the first thing we need to repair are our laws."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

February 4, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

How To Avoid The Flu At Super Bowl Parties, via WLS-TV.


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Ha, ha, they missed the best advice of all: No double-dipping.

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Beachwood Super Bowl coverage . . .

Beachwood Sports Radio: The Super Bowl Is Trolling Us
Zip lines, fedoras and Justin Timberlake. Plus: The Mirotic Miracle; Sad Saad; Oscar Gamble Was More Than Just The Game's Greatest Afro; Willson Contreras To Catch Every Game; Being Mark Appel; Foxy Friend Rips Ryan; Ramblers Off; and Testify For Basti.

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The 10th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Justin Timberlake Edition
What better way to vanquish the sublime memory of last year's Lady Gaga tour-de-force than with the weaselly little fucker who ripped off Janet Jackson's bra cup? Time's up, #MeToo!

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Talent Doesn't Explain The Success Of The Patriots And Eagles
Because talent goes only so far, it's important to evaluate a team's structure and mindset to determine its true strength.

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Highly recommended:

He played in two Super Bowls.

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Super Bowl coverage from the Beachwood vault:

* The Super Bowl Is Decadent And Depraved.

* Dear Football: I'm Breaking Up With You.

* The Trews About Those Super Bowl Ads.

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See also, from suburban Chicago reporter Bob Cook writing at Forbes: Super Bowl LII Hype Muted By Football's Accelerating Participation Decline.

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New on the Beachwood today and since Thursday . . .

The Catalog Of Missing Devices
"[G]adgets that could and should exist, if not for bad copyright laws that prevent innovators from creating the cool new tools that could enrich our lives."

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Area Housing Centers Sue Deutsche Bank
Evanston, Wheaton and Homewood join action after three-year investigation.

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On This Day . . .

2011: Obama Broke Pledge To Force Banks To Help Homeowners.

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2015: Chicago Weather Babies.

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2016: Stuck With Michael Ferro.

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2017: Fearful Americans Stockpiling Facts Before Federal Government Comes To Take Them Away.

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2012: Six More Years Of Shadowy Government.

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ChicagoGram

@erynnbutterfly in #MUsesOfMillenium #CraveArt

A post shared by Joël Maximé, Jr. (@cravechicago) on

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ChicagoTube

"Attack From Mars" Limited Edition Remake By The Chicago Gaming Company.

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Trawling.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 AM | Permalink

Talent Doesn't Explain The Success Of The Patriots And Eagles

The New England Patriots lost their best wide receiver to an ACL tear before the season started. Two months later, Patriots defensive captain and Pro Bowl linebacker Dont'a Hightower tore his pectoral muscle, ending his season.

In early December, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz - in the midst of a breakout season - tore his ACL.

Each team experienced enough upheaval to have derailed their seasons. Yet, each will be playing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LII.

While many NFL analysts deal with easily observable factors - individual performance, weather, play-calling and match-ups - it's often what can't be seen that determines a team's success.

Inside and outside of sports, I've studied what makes some teams thrive and what makes others falter. Because talent goes only so far, it's important to evaluate a team's structure and mindset to determine its true strength.

Having the ability to adapt to adverse or unpredictable situations plays a big role. So does "collective efficacy" - a team's shared belief that it can attain a given goal - and "interdependence," whether a team believes each member is valuable.

By considering these three latent team characteristics, we can dig deeper into how the Eagles and Patriots made it to Super Bowl LII.

Belichick's System: Know Your Role

In a 2012 study, I charged four groups of students with solving a murder mystery.

Some groups were told that each member had a distinct role, and that they would need to rely on everyone's expertise to solve the mystery. Unsurprisingly, these groups did the best.

Interestingly, groups whose members each had useful information - but weren't told that the information each possessed was necessary for the team to perform well - did the worst. This happened because, on these teams, individual members thought they could solve the mystery on their own.

How might this translate to football? Well, most teams are equally motivated to win the Super Bowl. But none likely understand the role and abilities of each player - and the need to coordinate - better than the Patriots. This is because head coach Bill Belichick's system is designed to emphasize specific roles linked to specific abilities.

For example, in 2007, Belichick traded for undersized wide receiver Wes Welker. On his previous team, the Dolphins, he had been an average player. But Belichick had a role in mind for Welker, bringing him to New England with the specific purpose of playing in the slot.

Importantly, in Belichik's system, Welker didn't have to outrun and outjump the opposing team's biggest, fastest defensive backs. He just had to do one thing well: Give quarterback Tom Brady a short, underneath passing option. Welker ended up thriving; his production exploded, and he redefined a position now occupied by Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

This type of system serves two functions. First, it allows the players and coaches to understand each player's strengths, weaknesses and responsibilities. It creates what management scholars would refer to as a "transactive memory system" - a "group mind" where each team member knows what each other one is good at. This naturally builds interdependence by identifying the specific skills each player needs to contribute to the team. Second, it makes it easy to adapt to adversity, setting up a dynamic where players can easily be plugged into roles to replace teammates lost to injury.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick urges his players to focus on their specific roles during a 2008 playoff game.

Then there's the Patriots' history of winning. Since 2001, they've won 15 division titles, eight conference championship games and five Super Bowls. If you're on the Patriots, you're probably pretty confident you can win, regardless of the score or situation.

It's one thing to tell the media you will win. It's quite another to truly believe it, even when you're down three touchdowns.

Indeed, the greatest predictor of being confident in your ability to win in the future is having won in the past. Confidence in your ability, in turn, has been shown to predict performance in a variety of situations, from sports arenas to the classroom to the workplace.

The Eagles Spread The Wealth

The Eagles don't have the Patriots' role-based culture and history of success. But they were nonetheless able to absorb the loss of Wentz, and now find themselves one game away from dethroning the Patriots.

It probably helped that Wentz is playing on his rookie contract, so his salary cap hit is only $7.25 million, or around 4 percent of the team's $167 million salary cap. Because the Eagles devoted a small amount of money to their quarterback - a position that usually commands the highest salaries - they were able to invest their resources in other positions.

Having a lot of resources invested in one player - even if he is a star - can be risky.

In a 2016 paper, I explore the New York Yankees' 2004 acquisition of Alex Rodriguez, and the massive 10-year contract extension they awarded him in 2007. In that case, the Yankees overestimated Rodriguez's longevity; his performance predictably started to falter as he aged. But perhaps more importantly, they underestimated the signal it sent to give a single player like Rodriguez - who failed to emerge as a respected team leader - the position of the organization's most highly paid employee.

On the other hand, Wentz's contract allowed the Eagles to distribute their wealth more evenly. They were able to acquire more players to create roster depth, while sending a broader signal about equity within the organization.

Before the season, the team was able to sign Wentz's backup, Nick Foles, to a two-year, $11 million deal. They also signed free agent wideouts Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith. At running back, inexpensive rookie Corey Clement was joined by free agent LeGarrett Blount and Jay Ajayi, who was acquired in a midseason trade.

That's not to say losing Wentz was easy for the team to overcome. Wentz had thrown for more than 3,000 yards and an Eagles record 33 touchdowns before he went down. His teammates relied on him. They were confident in him and knew what he was capable of.

In a 2014 study of basketball teams, I was able to show that players who gained the confidence of their teammates not only got the ball more, but also had more plays drawn up on their behalf. For this reason, everyone around them ended up contributing less.

So when there's a loss on the scale of Carson Wentz, there's a struggle to figure out who is going to get the ball. But it also creates opportunities for players with smaller roles to step up.

After Wentz went down, the performance of the Eagles' defense surged: The unit allowed only 33 points in their last four games. The offensive line has also played superbly, while the running backs boosted their production.

This likely occurred because when high-performing team members go down, others feel more responsible for the team's performance. Researchers have been able to show that, in lieu of an injury to a key member of a team, other players tend to improve their focus and effort.

Still, despite their sound system, the Patriots are more reliant on Tom Brady than the Eagles are on any one player. In both of the Patriots' most recent Super Bowl losses, the Giants were able to disrupt Brady's timing, dominate the offensive line and keep Brady off the field with a potent running game. Despite their many advantages, the Patriots, in this sense, are more vulnerable.

While the Patriots and Eagles represent two premiere football teams, the principles of adaptation, collective efficacy and interdependence can be applied to any setting where people come together to accomplish a collective goal. It could be in the classroom, on the battlefield, on stage or in a startup: Any team that performs well will tend to believe in its abilities, take advantage of each member's strengths and adapt to the challenges that inevitably crop up.

Kyle Emich is an assistant professor of management at the University of Delaware. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:55 AM | Permalink

National Fair Housing Alliance Sues Deutsche Bank Alleging Neglected Foreclosures In Communities Of Color

The National Fair Housing Alliance and 19 fair housing organizations from across the country - including those from Evanston, Homewood and Wheaton - filed a housing discrimination lawsuit Thursday in federal district court in Chicago alleging Deutsche Bank and associated firms neglected bank-owned homes in African-American communities while maintaining similar homes in white neighborhoods.

The organizations joining NFHA in filing the complaint include fair housing centers in Wheaton, Evanston and Homewood

NFHA filed this lawsuit on the first day of Black History Month to highlight how neglected bank-owned homes hurt African-American communities. The lawsuit alleges that Deutsche Bank purposely failed to maintain its foreclosed bank-owned homes (also known as real estate owned or "REO" properties) in middle- and working- class African-American and Latino neighborhoods in 30 metropolitan areas, while it consistently maintained similar bank-owned homes in white neighborhoods. The data presented in the federal lawsuit, which is supported by substantial photographic evidence, shows a stark pattern of discriminatory conduct by Deutsche Bank in the maintenance of foreclosed homes.

Maywood-IL-Overgrown-Shrub-and-Damaged-Fence.jpgOvergrown shrubs and a damaged fence in Maywood

The poor maintenance of homes in communities of color resulted in wildly overgrown grass and weeds, unlocked doors and windows, broken doors and windows, dead animals decaying, and trash and debris left in yards.

Deutsche Bank and its associated firms are paid and under contract to provide routine maintenance and marketing to these bank-owned homes. This includes regular lawn mowing, securing a home's windows and doors, covering dryer vent holes and other holes to keep animals and insects from nesting, keeping the property free of debris, trash, branches and weeds, and complying with nuisance abatement ordinances in each city.

The lawsuit is the result of a multi-year investigation undertaken by NFHA and its fair housing agency partners beginning in 2010.

"We chose to first file administrative complaints with HUD against Deutsche Bank, expecting the bank to review our evidence and implement changes to secure, maintain, and market its bank-owned homes in communities of color to the same standard it did in white neighborhoods," said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of NFHA. "However, even after meeting with Deutsche Bank's legal counsel in April 2015 and sharing photographs illustrating the significant differences in treatment between homes in African-American/Latino and white neighborhoods, we saw no improvement."

NFHA also met with representatives from associated firms Ocwen and Altisource to share photographs of problems. No improvements with routine maintenance and marketing issues were identified following those meetings, so NFHA and the 19 fair housing agencies amended the HUD complaint to add these companies.

The lawsuit alleges that Deutsche Bank-owned homes in predominantly white working- and middle-class neighborhoods are far more likely to have the lawns mowed and edged regularly, invasive weeds and vines removed, windows and doors secured or repaired, litter, debris and trash removed, leaves raked, and graffiti erased from the property.

NFHA and the 19 partner fair housing agencies collected evidence at each property on over 35 data points that were identified as important to protecting and securing the homes. Investigators also took and closely reviewed nearly 30,000 photographs of Deutsche Bank-owned homes to document the differences in treatment between communities of color and white neighborhoods.

NFHA conducted repeat visits to several Deutsche Bank-owned homes over the course of the investigation. However, investigators found little or no improvement in maintenance and often found the homes in worse condition.

The poor appearance of Deutsche bank-owned homes in middle- and working-class neighborhoods of color destroys the homes' curb appeal for prospective homebuyers and invites vandalism because the homes appear to be abandoned. Additionally, the blight created by Deutsche Bank/Ocwen/Altisource results in a decline in home values for African-American and Latino families who live next door or nearby, deepening the racial wealth gap and inequality in America.

This is not a new problem for Deutsche Bank. In June 2013, Deutsche Bank, as trustee and owner of record of foreclosed homes, settled a lawsuit with the City of Los Angeles for $10 million after it was accused of allowing hundreds of foreclosed properties to fall into slum conditions, leading to the destabilization of whole communities.

In the past, Deutsche Bank has taken the position that as a trustee of the loans that resulted in foreclosure, it has no legal obligation to maintain the properties once they come into Deutsche Bank's possession.

And yet, Deutsche Bank agreed to settle the City's claims and required its preservation maintenance companies to pay most of the $10 million to resolve that case.

Under the Fair Housing Act, trustees are clearly liable for discriminatory activity to the same extent as any other owner of property.

NFHA alleges that Deutsche Bank, Ocwen, and Altisource's intentional failure to correct their discriminatory treatment in African American and Latino neighborhoods - the same communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis - can only be seen as systemic racism.

"The intentional neglect of bank-owned homes in communities of color devalues the property and the lives of the families living in the neighborhoods around them," Smith said. "The health and safety hazards created by these blighted Deutsche Bank-owned homes affect the residents, especially the children, living nearby. It is important to note that Deutsche Bank, Ocwen, and Altisource were all paid to secure, maintain, and market these homes. No one is asking for special treatment of these bank-owned homes; we simply ask that these companies provide the same standard of care for all bank-owned homes, regardless of the racial or ethnic composition of the neighborhood in which they are located."

In 2011, NFHA released the first of three reports documenting poor routine maintenance of foreclosed homes in African American and Latino neighborhoods as compared to foreclosures in white neighborhoods. Many photographs of poorly-maintained bank-owned homes were shared. Each report recommended best practices to avoid Fair Housing Act violations. (The second report was released in 2012 and the last one in 2014.)

"We truly hoped the release of the reports, which included advice on how to comply with civil rights laws, would change the banks' behavior," said Smith. "However, only a few banks reached out for meetings to develop best practices, and Deutsche Bank was not one of them."

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Previously in Deutsche Bank:

* Chicago Teachers Pension Fund Sues Wall Street.

* Item: Trump Chumps.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* How Wall Street Screws Denmark.

* Deutsche Bank Flew And Fell. Some Paid A High Price.

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Previously in foreclosures:

* The Chicago Foreclosure Logjam.

* Why Millions Won't Get Help From Obama's Big Mortgage Settlement.

* How Citibank Dumped Lousy Mortgages On The Government.

* A Dream Foreclosed.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #8: Mortgage Street.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 AM | Permalink

February 2, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #186: The Super Bowl Is Trolling Us

Zip lines, fedoras and Justin Timberlake. Plus: The Mirotic Miracle; Sad Saad; Oscar Gamble Was More Than Just The Game's Greatest Afro; Willson Contreras To Catch Every Game; Being Mark Appel; Foxy Friend Rips Ryan; Ramble Off; and Testify!


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SHOW NOTES

* 186.

* The Spectrum: America's Showplace.

:2:20: The Super Bowl Is Trolling Us.

* Take the points.

* Natasha: The 10th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Justin Timberlake Edition.

* ESPN: Timberlake: My Son 'Will Never Play Football.'

* CBS Sports: LOOK: Bill Belichick Arrived In Minnesota Wearing A Fedora And Nobody Saw It Coming.

* Peter King, SI: In Rural Minnesota, A Little Town With A Big Tom Brady Connection.

* USA Today: Tom Brady Reveals The 4 things That Make Bill Belichick Smile.

* St. Paul Pioneer Press: Zip-Line Ride Over Mississippi River Brings Out Old Ladies, Sockless Man, Supermodel.

* Haugh: You Don't Have To Be A Fan Of The Patriots Or Tom Brady To Appreciate Their Excellence.

* ESPN: Doug Pederson: From Brett Favre's 'Front Doctor' To Super Bowl Coach.

* AP: Nick Foles Plans To Become A Pastor After Football Career.

* Frank Schwab, Yahoo: How Do The Patriots Maintain A Dynasty? With Offseasons Like Last Year.

20:47: The Mirotic Miracle.

* "The New Orleans Pelicans acquired forward Nikola Mirotic and a second-round draft pick from the Chicago Bulls for center Omer Asik, guards Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen, and a first-round pick."

* Trick Or Treat Tony Allen.

* Kris Dunn Will Not Join Bulls On Road Trip.

* It was Paxson:

* Tim Bontemps, Washington Post: NBA Teams Spent Big In 2016 Free Agency, And It's Haunting Them.

33:25: Saad's Sad Slump.

* Skrbina: Brandon Saad's Second Time Around With Blackhawks Nothing Like The First.

* Skrbina: Corey Crawford's Return To The Ice Put On Hold.

38:30: Oscar Gamble Was More Than Just The Greatest Afro In The Game.

* Wallenstein: The man could flat out hit.

43:00: Willson Contreras Set To Catch All 162 Games Plus Playoffs In 2018.

* Alex Avila Signs 2-Year Deal With D-Backs.

* Nationals Sign Catcher Miguel Montero To A Minor League Deal With Spring Training Invitation.

* Cubs Reach Agreement With Peter Bourjos On Minor League Deal.

49:09: Being Mark Appel.

59:46: Foxy Friend Rips Ryan.

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1:04:42: Ramble Off.

* Bradley Beats MVC Leader Loyola 69-67, Snaps Ramblers' 7-Game Winning Streak.

1:05:11: Testify!

* Bastian Schweinsteiger To Have Bayern Testimonial vs. Chicago Fire.

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STOPPAGE: 7:44

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For archives and other shows, now including The Beachwood Radio Interview Hour, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Tom Chambers:

Qualifier: I'm a huge Noah fan.

Firstly, Zen Master Phil, a disaster as a team president, gave him a completely outlandish contract. There is no hindsight. Jo had already had near Waltonesque numbers of injuries by that time. Jo was a king disrupter, good rebounder, but he was not a great player. Just made things happen.

Then, the Knicks became overloaded with centers.

The straw was when Hornacek, in a long stretch of garbage time, had Noah in there and then pulled him after only 4:40 of playing time and put the starter back in!

That's disrespectful. And Noah is just the kind of guy to "point that out." It smacks of intent that Hornacek wanted to "make an example," or something. Once a Utah Jazz - do they even have clarinets in Utah? - always a Utah Jazz.

Of course we don't know these people, but Noah always seems to be an open book, sometimes wearing it on the sleeve. Refreshing. I think he was truly anguished by the Chicago violence, and tried to do something about it.

Yeah, as if the Knicks have some grand plan.

P.S. Don't underestimate Foles. He's done a lot of good things. One of the best play-actions around.

Love Is All Around. I had to make a couple bets to get interested. I have two or three memories of Minnesota, including the long van ride to St. Cloud State.

No dome on Daley Field, buy Minny's got one. Hummphh!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:47 PM | Permalink

The 10th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Justin Timberlake Edition

Super Bowl halftime acts are announced in October, meaning that this year is truly the first halftime of the Trump era. And, much like everything related to the Molester-in-Chief, the choice is so on-the-nose it hurts. What better way to vanquish the sublime memory of last year's Lady Gaga tour-de-force than with the weaselly little fucker who ripped off Janet Jackson's bra cup? Time's up, #MeToo! We need a cis-het white guy corrective.

Look, you can argue that Justin Timberlake has the requisite career arc for a Super Bowl halftime act. He's been around an inexplicably long time, he's accumulated a back catalog of moderately notable hits, he had a somewhat successful year in 201-- no, fuck this, I'm sorry. Justin Timberlake? Are you kidding me with this shit? Nipplegate aside, this is a guy who has made a career gleefully squawking about creeping up on unsuspecting women and forcing them to gyrate with him. Don't believe me? Please allow me to quote from last year's Oscar-nominated opus, "Can't Stop the Feeling!":

And under the lights when everything goes Nowhere to hide when I'm gettin' you close When we move, well, you already know So just imagine, just imagine, just imagine

Nothin' I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance
Feel a good, good creepin' up on you
So just dance, dance, dance, come on
All those things I shouldn't do
But you dance, dance, dance
And ain't nobody leavin' soon, so keep dancin'

He is literally singing about being an unrepentant sleazebag and expecting you to like it. Forty-five thousand hashtags just exploded.

And yeah, I know you're about to ask how I know the lyrics to the Oscar-nominated opus "Can't Stop the Feeling!" It's because I have a second-grader and the song was featured on the soundtrack for a G-rated animated movie about trolls. Called Trolls. That's how normalized a misogynistic turd like Justin Timberlake is: he can insert his gross fantasies into a children's film and nobody seems to care. In fact, I'm not sure you caught this, but that shit got nominated for a fucking Oscar.

I said "Nipplegate aside" above, but the fact is there is no way to understand just how big a "fuck you" this selection is to all women without considering Nipplegate. Two performers were supposedly banned for life for that incident, and yet 15 years later only one of them gets pardoned. And of course it isn't the groundbreaking international megastar, but rather the overhyped little twerp who rode her coattails to the Big Dance in the first place. Because, at the end of the day, the problem is never that a white guy humiliates a woman of color. The problem is that the woman of color has a body.

I understand there are rumors that Janet Jackson may join Timberlake onstage this year, but that would only serve to highlight the fact that his standing has improved since Nipplegate while hers has worsened. Unless she gets to punch him in the unboxed dick, this would hardly mark a triumphant return.

I could go on and on about the latest symbolic dump the NFL just took on more than half the planet's population, but instead let's talk about the fact the Justin Timberlake is cheesy as balls and his three-and-a-half "hits" haven't aged well. His latest effort, "Filthy," is a song so goddamn lazy it couldn't even bother to write itself. When the biggest mystery of the halftime show is whether NSYNC will make an appearance, you know it's going to be cloyingly and inescapably awful. Brace yourselves, everyone. We're about to be Timberlaked.

* * *

Here are your official Super Bowl halftime show betting questions:

1. Which dated piece-of-shit songs will Timberlake play?

2. Which more talented collaborators will he use to disguise his mediocrity?

3. Will he invite Janet Jackson or just rip off her dance moves?

4. He won't actually have the nerve to were a "Time's Up" pin, will he?

5. Oh fuck, he totally will.

6. "Control" or "Nasty?"

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Previously In Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Coverage:
* The 2009 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bracket: Bruce Springsteen Edition.

* The Who's 2010 Super Bowl Suckage.

* Let's Not Get It Started And Say We Did: The 2011 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet.

* The 2012 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Madonna Edition.

* The 2013 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Beyoncé Knowles Edition.

* Tweeting The 2014 Super Bowl Suckage: Bruno Mars & Red Hot Chili Peppers Edition.

* The 2015 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet: Katy Perry Edition.

* The 8th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Coldplay Edition.

* The 9th Annual (More Or Less) Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Lady Gaga Edition.

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Comments/wagers.

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1. From Tom Chambers:

Layers. Thanks for all these layers of the puff pastry! How much shortening again?

I wouldn't know his songs if you slipped me a mainstream music mickey. Is that good?

P.S. Eagles +176. Eagles +4.5

Crush, one and all!

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WE HAVE A WINNER . . .

Oof, you guys, this was a close one again.

First of all, let me say that I didn't watch the halftime show because it was the baby's bedtime and Justin Timberlake unequivocally is not worth fucking up the baby's bedtime. So the scoring is only as good as the feisty gremlins of Wikipedia.

Second, I'd like to applaud Justin Timberlake's bold artistic choice of actually dressing like a dick in a box. I guess Andy Samberg had to wash his hair or something.

In fact, I guess everyone in the music industry had to wash their hair tonight because they sure as hell weren't showing up to support Justin Timberlake. Gee, it's almost like he's a guy who might hang you out to dry if things go wrong or something, I mean, that can't be right, can it, why would anyone think that? And, I mean, how wrong could things go? It's not like Justin Timberlake would do something completely tacky like sing a duet of "I Would Die 4U" with a projected image of Prince, who has in fact actually died for pretty much everyone, right? Cheer up, Justin! At least you didn't greenlight the Dodge truck ad . . . Oh shit, he did, didn't he?

Anyway, enough shitting on Justin Timberlake! He's proved himself more than capable of shitting all over himself. I'm giving an honorable mention to Cathy Haibach, who was the only person jaded enough to predict Justin Timberlake would actually try to score points off a dead music icon. But this competition is about guessing songs, and with five correct calls Elan Meier is this year's champion. Congratulations?

Until next year, which couldn't possibly be worse but probably will be.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:56 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Samantha Fish at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.


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2. Yung Lean at the Concord on Wednesday night.

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3. George Clinton at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:16 AM | Permalink

The Catalog Of Missing Devices

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched its Catalog of Missing Devices - a project that illustrates the gadgets that could and should exist, if not for bad copyright laws that prevent innovators from creating the cool new tools that could enrich our lives.

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"The law that is supposed to restrict copying has instead been misused to crack down on competition, strangling a future's worth of gadgets in their cradles," said EFF special advisor Cory Doctorow. "But it's hard to notice what isn't there. We're aiming to fix that with this Catalog of Missing Devices. It's a collection of tools, services, and products that could have been, and should have been, but never were."

The damage comes from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA 1201), which covers digital rights management software (DRM). DRM was designed to block software counterfeiting and other illegal copying, and Section 1201 bans DRM circumvention. However, businesses quickly learned that by employing DRM they could thwart honest competitors from creating inter-operative tools.

Right now, that means you could be breaking the law just by doing something as simple as repairing your car on your own, without the vehicle-maker's pricey tool. Other examples include rightsholders forcing you to buy additional copies of movies you want to watch on your phone - instead of allowing you to rip the DVD you already own and are entitled to watch - or manufacturers blocking your printer from using anything but their official ink cartridges.

But that's just the beginning of what consumers are missing. The Catalog of Missing Devices imagines things like music software that tailors your listening to what you are reading on your audiobook, or a gadget that lets parents reprogram talking toys to replace canned, meaningless messaging.

"Computers aren't just on our desktops or in our pockets - they are everywhere, and so is the software that runs them," said EFF legal director Corynne McSherry. "We need to fix the laws that choke off competition and innovation with no corresponding benefit."

The Catalog of Missing Devices is part of EFF's Apollo 1201 project, dedicated to eradicating all DRM from the world. A key step is eliminating laws like DMCA 1201, as well as the international versions of this legislation that the U.S. has convinced its trading partners to adopt.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

February 1, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

Lucy Parsons Labs is suing Rahm Emanuel to jar loose the city's Amazon HQ2 bid.

Amazon Suit by freddymartinez9 on Scribd

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See also: Amazon Insists On Silence From Twenty HQ2 Finalists.

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Matt Topic is the attorney doing the suing on behalf of the Parsons Labs. Topic was also the attorney who won the release of the Laquan McDonald video, among other FOIA fights. Assignment Desk: a Topic profile is due.

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New on today's Beachwood . . .

FBG Duck: Life On The Low End
Tooka, Keef and Ida B. Wells.

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TV Violence, 1976
Did Kojak cause a rape?

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Oscar Gamble Was More Than The Game's Greatest Afro
He could flat out hit.

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Illinois Senate Passes Crosscheck Bill
A step closer to removing voter data from the hands of fucked-up Kansans.

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Meet The Deplorables
Undercover in Trump America.

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Flu Season Exacerbates America's IV Bag Shortage
What say you, Deerfield-based Baxter?

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On This Day In The Beachwood . . .

In 2016: Riding The Dog, Part 1: Midnight Bus To Markham.

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In 2017: White Christians Are Killing Us.

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In 2017: Poem [The Beachwood Inn Has Collapsed!]

I have been to lots of other bars
and acted perfectly disgraceful
and collapsed here and there but not like this
oh Beachwood we love you get up

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

He Probably Likes This Song For Reasons Quite Unsimiliar To Ours.

This song is a super-popular cover choice - just check YouTube! I thought we once did a post of some of the best/oddest covers, but I couldn't find it. So maybe we didn't. If we didn't, we should. Anybody?

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BeachBook

The Problem With The Reader's New 'Executive Editor.' (See the comments, too.)

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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To reiterate:

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Like your very own comfort peacock.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:34 AM | Permalink

FBG Duck: Life On The Low End

"In 2017, FBG Duck spoke about his upbringing on Chicago's Low End in the Ida B. Wells Homes, being a self-described "problem child," and his relationship with the now-legendary Tooka before he passed at the age of 15. Duck explained the impact Tooka's death had on both himself and the community and spoke candidly about Chief Keef using Tooka's name in the song '3Hunna.'"


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Full interview here.

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Slide.

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Gang Anthem.

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When I See You.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:29 AM | Permalink

TV Violence, 1976

"Nicholas Johnson is best known for his controversial term as a dissenting Federal Communications Commission commissioner, 1966-1973, and his book, How to Talk Back to Your Television Set. He currently teaches at the University of Iowa College of Law, with an emphasis on communications and Internet law."


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See also:
* About the Kojak rape accusation. (Unvetted.)

* Research On The Effects Of Violence In Mass Media.

* Johnson's C-SPAN appearances.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:12 AM | Permalink

Meet The Deplorables

On behalf of Media Kitty member Harmon Leon, we are pleased to share with you his latest book in collaboration with political cartoonist Ted Rall. Meet the Deplorables: Infiltrating Trump America is a narrative stemming from Hillary Clinton's use of the word "deplorables" during the 2016 campaign to describe the racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic supporters of now-President Donald Trump.

Leon goes undercover deep into the heart of Trump America, and Rall adds an innovative extra dimension to the book with his own essays and full-color cartoons. The unique team brings readers on a journey of enlightenment for a firsthand account of the right-wing subcultures and those most adversely affected by Trump's policies on immigration, healthcare reform and race relations.

Deplorables.jpg

Harmon Leon is a journalist, comedian and the author of six previous books, including The Harmon Chronicles and Republican Like Me, which both won Independent Publisher Awards for humor. Leon has appeared on This American Life, The Howard Stern Show, MSNBC, Penn and Teller: Bullshit!, Last Call with Carson Daly, and the BBC.

harmon.jpg

He has performed critically acclaimed solo comedy shows at venues around the world, including The Edinburgh Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival, and Montreal's Just for Laughs. His writing can be found in Vice, The Nation, Esquire, Ozy, National Geographic, The Guardian, Wired, and more.

Ted Rall has worked in almost every aspect of cartooning. His syndicated editorial cartoons for Andrews McMeel Syndication have appeared in publications like The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Washington Post, and Village Voice since the 1990s and have earned him two RFK Journalism Awards and a Pulitzer finalistship. He has done local- and state-issue cartoons for The Asbury Park Press, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Harrisburg Patriot-News, and The Los Angeles Times and humor cartoons for MAD magazine.

rall.jpg

Rall's best-known books are the Gen X manifesto Revenge of the Latchkey Kids, the war travelogue To Afghanistan and Back, and the political bios Snowden and Bernie. His latest title is Francis: The People's Pope. Rall lives in New York.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:23 AM | Permalink

Illinois Senate Passes Crosscheck Bill

The Illinois Senate has passed SB2273, which will protect Illinois voter data by pulling state voter data out of the national Crosscheck program. The final vote broke down along party lines 35-17 with three Republicans abstaining. The bill will now head to the House where Representative Ann Williams will be the bill's chief sponsor.

"This is fantastic news," said Steve Held, one of the leaders of the Indivisible Chicago team fighting for data privacy protections and voter rights. "It's heartening to see our legislators move so quickly to protect voters' privacy. It's unfortunate that this broke down along a party-line vote at a time when the vulnerability of our voter data and concerns about identity theft have never been clearer; however, we're hopeful that we'll see more bipartisan support in the House."

Indivisible Chicago thanks the initial bill sponsors Senators Kwame Raoul and Bill Cunningham, as well as those who have joined as co-sponsors for moving so quickly on this issue.

The bill's passage comes against a backdrop of other states quitting the Crosscheck program and increasing evidence that Crosscheck leaves voters vulnerable to identity theft through the insecure handling of sensitive data. In just this past month:

  • Both Massachusetts and Kentucky have recently announced that they are abandoning the Crosscheck program.
  • Missouri, one of the original founding states in Crosscheck, announced that they are joining the ERIC program to maintain voter roll.
  • Florida election officials acknowledged that the personal data for nearly 1,000 Kansans was compromised as a result of their participation in the Crosscheck program, prompting Florida to offer to pay for LifeLock protection to all impacted Kansans. This data had been shared with a Kansas-based Voters Against Crosscheck as a result of a public records request and subsequently shared with Indivisible Chicago.

After months of assurances from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Director of Elections Bryan Caskey that Kansas' systems were secure, Netragard, a security research firm found that the Kansas government's network was "significantly exposed," posing a risk to all Kansas systems, including the Crosscheck database.

Gizmodo reported the careless exposure of the last four digits of social security numbers for thousands of Kansas state employees, including 90 percent of Kansas legislators and Secretary Kobach himself.

Caskey recently stated that Crosscheck would again be operational sometime in February but hasn't provided any details about planned changes to the programs security.

Pulling out of Crosscheck doesn't mean Illinois will be ill-equipped to manage voter data, according to Held.

"Illinois is in the much more secure national ERIC program, along with 22 others," he said. "We have the necessary tools to maintain our voter rolls. Proponents for Crosscheck are simply pursuing a highly partisan agenda to perpetuate debunked myths about voter fraud and to further an agenda of voter suppression. It's time to end this charade and get on with the serious business of protecting the integrity of our electoral process."

Efforts to persuade the Illinois State Board of Elections to voluntarily pull data from Crosscheck have been unsuccessful, with a vote earlier this month breaking out along party lines, and all Republican members voting "no."

In an e-mail to Indivisible Chicago after that SBE Board meeting, SBE Public Information Officer Matt Dietrich confirmed no voter data would be sent until any security changes are assessed and discussed in a public SBE Board meeting. The SBE's next monthly board meeting is scheduled for February 21st.

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Previously:

* State Board Of Elections Puts Voter Data At Risk.

* Illinois Legislators Urged to Act Quickly to Secure Voter Files.

* Illinois Bill Moving Forward To Pull Out Of Controversial Crosscheck.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:17 AM | Permalink

Oscar Gamble Was More Than Just A Great Head Of Hair

The hat never quite fit so it was a good thing that Oscar Gamble, who died Wednesday at 68, most often wore a batting helmet in his role as designated hitter for the 1977 South Side Hitmen.

Gamble's ample, expertly coiffed Afro already has been prominently mentioned in the announcements of his passing, but it wasn't the hair that Sox fans remember from that magical season. The guy could flat out hit.

Gamble was a controlled hitter with a fairly short swing and a working knowledge of the strike zone. He struck out just 54 times in 470 plate appearances in the '77 season. Over the course of 17 big league seasons, he never fanned more than 58 times, while his on-base percentage was .356.

Gamble originally was drafted in the 16th round by the Cubs, who traded him away when he was just 19 and had racked up only a paltry 81 big league at-bats. He played for the Phillies, the Indians and the Yankees before landing on the South Side at age 27 as part of owner Bill Veeck's rent-a-player scheme.

Veeck had bought the team that he previously owned (1959-61) in December of 1975 from Arthur and John Allyn, who had literally run the Sox into the ground and almost out of town. They were on the verge of moving to Florida when Veeck stepped forward with $10 million of financing to gain control of the team.

Two weeks later, the reserve clause met its demise in the Andy Messersmith arbitration case, and free agency was born. Veeck wasn't naive. He knew that the rich teams like the Yankees and Dodgers would be able to control the market; underfinanced owners like himself might be able to sign the Lenn Sakatas* of the world (0-for-72 against the Sox before getting a hit), but the Reggie Jacksons would be far off the radar.

So Veeck, for that one glorious season, traded prospects like Terry Forster and Goose Gossage for the Pirates' Richie Zisk and bartered Bucky Dent for Gamble**, knowing full well that each would be gone to the highest bidder after one season in Comiskey Park. But what a season it was. For many Sox fans, the most exciting in their lifetime. Keep in mind that the Sox hadn't finished above .500 since 1972, and they were coming off a 97-loss season. The Hitmen, led by Gamble's 31 dingers and Zisk's 30, led the division as late as mid-August, and were only two games behind the Royals, who won 27 of their final 33 games, going into September.

The Sox wound up with 90 wins, placing third in the American League. They hit 192 homers and drew 1,657,135 fans, the most in franchise history until the '83 season. South Side Hitmen t-shirts were silk-screened by the thousands. Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" reverberated for the first time from every corner of cavernous Comiskey, fueled by Oscar, Richie and barrel upon barrel of beer. If that's what's meant by making America great again, I'm in.

None of this could have happened without Oscar Charles Gamble. Compared to the muscular 200-pound Zisk, Gamble looked like a light-hitting utility man at 160 pounds. Zisk, a right-handed hitter, batted clean-up with Gamble, a lefty, fifth in manager Bob Lemon's lineup.

Having played at Yankee Stadium the previous year, Gamble concentrated on pulling the ball over the short right-field fence in the Bronx. It was 352 feet down the line at Comiskey, but that didn't deter Gamble, whose 31 homers were 14 more than the year before in New York.

And it just so happened that Gamble was a great guy, too.

"[W]hat you need to know was that he was a sweet, decent man without a single ounce of malice in his heart, one who came through the door every day with a smile on his face," Reggie Jackson said Wednesday upon Gamble's passing.

I remember when Veeck explored the possibility of signing Gamble for the 1978 season. He and general manager Roland Hemond traveled to Gamble's home in Alabama to make a pitch, to no avail. Gamble moved on to the Padres, then the Rangers, back to the Yankees, and then back to the White Sox to close out his career in 1985. (Long past his prime, he hit .203 with four home runs as a pinch hitter and sometimes DH.)

Gamble's passing not only brings back images of Gamble hitting liners into the right field bleachers, but also rof other ballplayers from that team. Chet Lemon was a stalwart in center field. Ralph Garr, whose strike zone was nearly as large as the stockyards, hit .300 and never stopped hustling. Jorge Orta was a solid second baseman. Steve Stone won 15 games.

Then there was Eric Soderholm, a former Twin who accidentally fell into a storm drain, injuring his knee so badly that he didn't play in 1976. Being an amputee, Veeck readily identified with someone who had been handicapped. He took a chance on Soderholm, who responded with 25 homers and fine defense at third base. It was that kind of year.

As much as anything else, sports - and baseball in particular - create vivid, heart-thumping memories that remain until our days are spent. Those days and nights of the summer 41 years ago remain among the finest of all.

Thanks, Oscar.

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

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* Editor: Hey Roger, why Lenn Sakata? Was he famous for being a journeyman? Didn't play for the Sox!

Roger: He went 0-for-72 against the Sox before getting a hit. Guess that just got stuck in my mind.

Editor: Ok, thanks!

Roger: Here's the deal.

Sakata played 11 seasons in the big leagues. He was primarily a utility player, with a .230 lifetime average.

The first 73 times he faced White Sox pitching, he was hitless. Then, after going 0-for-2 on August 11, 1983, in his first two at-bats (the Sox won the game 9-3 on their way to a division-winning season before losing in the ALCS to Sakata's Orioles) he made outs, but in the top of the 7th, he got a single off Floyd Bannister, who, by the way, was removed by manager Tony LaRussa immediately after Sakata's hit.

I have a clear memory of Sakata jumping up and down at first base applauding himself. Obviously he knew about the streak. There were seasons when manager Earl Weaver benched Sakata for entire series' against the Sox since Earl knew the guy couldn't hit Sox pitching.

Lenn eventually wound up hitting .069 (7-for-102) against the White Sox.

That's how he wound up in today's column on Oscar Gamble.

** The Sox also got LaMarr Hoyt, minor-leaguer Bob Polinsky and $200,000 in the deal.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

A Demanding Flu Season Tightens Squeeze On IV Bag Supplies

The 2017-18 flu season is proving to be rougher than many, and is still placing a lot of demand on the American healthcare system to treat people with influenza and other respiratory illnesses that flare up during the winter. Most of the United States is seeing a high level of seasonal flu activity, thanks in part to a type of influenza virus that's tough to vaccinate against and can be particularly hard on the elderly and small children. The subtype, called H3N2, is proving particularly good at putting people in the hospital.

The spike in flu cases comes as healthcare providers continue to deal with a shortage of one of their most common and crucial tools: pre-filled IV bags practitioners use for everything from hydrating patients to administering carefully measured medications.

health-influenza-2017-2018-medicalsupply-supplychain-ivbags.jpgMarcelo Leal, CC0

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico last September, it devastated dozens of pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers concentrated on the island. Hospitals and other medical facilities across the mainland U.S. depend on those factories for IV bags and many other products. In the wake of the hurricane, pharmacy buyers and federal regulators scrambled to figure out other sources of IV bags, and in some cases had to figure out ways to treat patients without them, creating a cascading disruption in hospitals' workflows.

"We continue to hear that supply will be improving in the coming weeks, but healthcare providers are still unable to procure the amounts needed and are using strategies to conserve supplies as much as possible," said Michael Ganio, pharmacy practice and quality director at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, a professional organization that is tracking these shortages. "Healthcare providers are conserving fluids when possible. That often means converting some medications to an oral dosage form, or giving some medications as an IV injection when it is safe to do so."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration addressed the shortage in a January statement, noting that "We've heard from institutions that only have a few days' worth of supply on hand; as well as institutions that have to ration diminished stores of these products."

It's Not Only A Hurricane

As devastating as Hurricane Maria was, the problem goes deeper. In recent years, the healthcare industry has experienced an increase in all kinds of drug and equipment shortages. Manufacturers, regulators and care providers don't have access to ongoing coordinated information that can help keep supply levels stable. Additionally, the system's infrastructure is dependent on situations when one crucial factory shuts down, some other facility faces more demand to help pick up the slack.

The University of Wisconsin hospital complex in Madison, for example, has been dealing with some IV bag shortages that followed Hurricane Maria and others that predated that event, said Philip Trapskin, UW Health manager of patient care services.

Deerfield-based Baxter International, a crucial manufacturer of small-volume IV bags used for hydration and drug dilution, has been gradually working to restore electricity to its facilities in Puerto Rico and step up its capacity at factories in the U.S. territory. Following the hurricane, UW Hospital couldn't get any bags from Baxter, but as of the beginning of 2018 the company is supplying about 50 percent of what it did pre-Maria, Trapskin said.

"For the small-volume bags, our supply has improved. We still have active mitigation strategies in effect to conserve, but I don't lose sleep over that one as much anymore ... one of the things that happened as a side effect of the shortage is people increased their utilization of the large-volume bags," he said.

However, medical distributors are having trouble keeping up with demand for the larger-volume IV bags, in part because of flu season, Trapskin said.

UW and other pharmacy buyers around the country have their eyes on shortages of other kinds of IV bags, particularly ones pre-filled with nutritional supplements and opioid painkillers. The culprit here isn't a natural disaster but the vagaries of the pharmaceutical industry - including the fact that, according to Trapskin, one crucial factory making such bags has "been out of commission for the last six months, and it could be as long as 2019 before it's back to 100 percent again."

There's no active system for tracking or forecasting where a disaster could disrupt a heavy concentration of medical manufacturing, as happened with Puerto Rico - not even the FDA. And it doesn't even take a disaster - sometimes a company decides that a particular drug or product isn't profitable enough to keep making and shuts down the factory, leaving providers to figure out an alternative or hope that some other manufacturer can make up for it.

"The IV saline shortage is unlikely to cause a life-threatening breakdown of medical treatments," Texas A&M University researchers Morten Wendelbo and Christine Crudo Blackburn wrote recently on The Conversation. "But the shortage does expose a dangerous flaw in the medical supply chains that everyone relies on to counter disease outbreaks or bioterrorism."

The shortage of ready-made IV bags is making it harder for hospitals to treat patients in a difficult flu season. Winter is a time of year when hospitals usually experience a spike in demand, but there's an even bigger spike in early 2018. It's not merely that IV bags are important for treating the flu, but that they're important for treating just about anything that might land a person in an emergency room or hospital. Whenever there's a spike in the number of people getting sick or injured, there's more demand placed upon this resource.

This post was originally published on WisContext, a partnership between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Cooperative Extension.

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Previously:

* Hurricane Maria Exacerbates Medical Supply Shortages.

* IV Bag Shortage Stretches On After Hurricane Maria.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 AM | Permalink

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